You can make real discoveries if you take the time to browse through Jazz discographies, heavy tomes which include, to the collectors delight, international jazz releases in their entirety.
You frequently encounter pseudonyms or cover names of ensembles that very often conceal famous jazz musicians. Well, experts wont have any difficulty identifying the “C-jam All Stars“ whom we are going to introduce to German jazz fans with this LP. Their name reveals their origins. Its derived from the title of one of the most popular, infectious and striking swing standards: Duke Ellington's “C-Jam Blues”, a tune that continues to thrill us with taut and enigmatic rhythms. When Ellington came to Europe For an extensive tour in fall 1958, his band had a reputation as the very best of his entire career. Even more: Ellington's big band was ranked Number One in the International Critics poll conducted by Down Beat, the American jazz magazine.
The Duke's performance in London, kicking off the European tour, already showed the orchestra in superb form. The band was enthusiastically celebrated by audience and press alike. On top of that and this is important for our LP—the solo performances were particularly praised. In an article on the London performance, jazz-Podium magazine (No. 12, 1958) reported: “This orchestra's soloists are among the best in the world—that's indisputable." Anyone who knows the international jazz scene will absolutely agree with this evaluation. After sold-out performances in France, Holland and the Scandinavian countries, the Ellington orchestra eventually arrived in Germany. In Munich the unique opportunity arose to engage four orchestra members for a special Bertelsmann Schallplattenring (record club) recording session, joined by German pianist Carlos Diernhammer for the occasion. The recording took place on November 13, l958.
Don't expect an Ellington brand—name sound; it would not do justice to these particular recordings. The uniqueness of the Ellington sound is based on the orchestral idiom. Here, though, we are dealing with small—band jazz and a band that is ready and quite eager to improvise. What grabs one immediately is the spontaneity of its music. Their energetic, swing and blues—inspired style reveals Count Basie's influence (Clark Terry, trumpet, and Paul Gonsalves, tenor saxophone, once played in Basie's band). Indeed, one can also find a bit of the “cool” East Coast spirit in these recordings; a spirit that actually combines blues, swing and “cool” in a captivating synthesis. The musicians of the East Coast school, with influences like Basie's, brought energetic and vivid impulses to modern jazz and prevented jazz from ossifying in an academic way. The first title, Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue even recalls, in certain passages, the musical conception of Kansas City jazz.
It would go too far to give a detailed account of each tune's individual qualities. Therefore we are only going to mention the following: Clark Terry's and Paul Gonsalves' highly characteristic improvisations emerge over and again from the Combos homogeneous interplay. Terrv's brilliant trumpet technique evokes a totally personal sound. The independent intellect that characterizes his harmonic conception is coupled with energetic forms of expression derived from traditional jazz styles. He has developed an incredibly vivid style that is reminiscent of Miles Davis in terms of intonation and phrasing. The tunes Evad, Hildegard and Ocean Motion reveal the felicitous connection between modern arrangements and the basic values of traditional jazz styles. Terry subtly combines bop figure-s—which he uses often———with “cool“ harmonies, with dynamic results. By contrast, the raw yet lyrical ballad style of the
tune Hildegard is just another example of this superb trumpet players versatility.
The same can be said of Paul Gonsalves. He does not fit any scheme and is one of the most original personalities of the modern jazz scene. Many of his improvisations are inspired by Coleman Hawkins. He is able to showcase his art best in the improvisation on I Cover the Waterfront. The excellent rhythm section provides the swinging beat. Carlos Diernhammer adjusts with admirable sensitivity to the group's idiom. His presence For this session must be considered a real honor.
Notes from the original Bertelsmann Record Club LP, 1958
Paul Gonsalves - Tenor Saxophone
Clark Terry - Trumpet
Carlos Diernhammer - Piano
Jimmy Woode - Bass
Sam Woodyard - Drums
1. Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue (Ellington)
2. I Cover the Waterfront (Green & Heyman)
3. C Jam Blues (Ellington)
4. Evad (Terry)
5. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (Ellington)
6. Autobahn (Gonsalves)
7. Willow Weep for Me (Ronell)
8. Hildegard (Terry)
9. Ocean Motion (Terry)
10 .Jivin' With Fritz (Gonsalves)
Recorded 13th Novemeber 1958 - Munich, Germany
Bertlesmann Schallplattenring LP-61134
Reissued 1999 - RCA Victor