21 October 2006
KENNY CLARKE FRANCY BOLAND BIG BAND - OUR KINDA STRAUSS
Back with a big band banger and its more from Messrs Clarke and Boland-TWO files to download for this swingin' re-issue from Schema records of Italy.Here's a couple of reviews the first from Doug Payne's terrific Soundinsights.
The jewel of Rearward’s current batch of issues is The Clarke-Boland Big Band’s Our Kinda Strauss, a collection of modally-oriented waltz themes recorded between 1966 and 1972. Ten of the disc’s 16 tracks come from the C-BBB’s 1966 Philips LP, Swing, Waltz, Swing. The remaining six titles are similarly inclined, but released here for the first time ever. Boland shows a great deal of his Ellington influence here (think Nutcracker), swinging the band -- featuring Americans Benny Bailey, Sahib Shihab, Johnny Griffin and Sal Nistico with European stalwarts Ake Persson, Derek Humble and Karl Drewo – through colorful, Ellingtonian passages. The program mixes some Strauss (R and J), Gershwin and Lehar with a hefty helping of Boland’s originals, two Coltrane trademarks ("Greensleeves" and "My Favorite Things") and a C-BBB favorite, Burt Bachrach’s "Wives and Lovers." The soloists are simply superb, with Drewo clearly out in front (the LP was originally devised as a feature for the tenor saxist). Overall, the outing offers an ideal example of this superb band’s individual and collective capabilities. The only unusual exception is Boland’s solos on a strangely tuned organ during "Lotus" and "Lobsang." Eventually, Boland’s writing became a bit more abstract (check out Verve’s Change of Scene, a not altogether successful pairing of Stan Getz with the C-BBB from 1971). But here, the C-BBB is at the peak of its powers and charm.
And another from Ken Dryden at All Music Guide:
Of all the big bands that flourished during the 1960s, none was an innovative and featured better sidemen than the Clarke-Boland Big Band. This album features a complete reissue of the 1966 C-BBB Swing, Waltz, Swing album as well as unreleased material from 1967 and 1972 recording sessions. This is a unique compilation in that it features big band arrangements of waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr. as well the the famous waltz from Richard Strauss' (no relation) opera Der Rosenkavalier. In addition to the jazz waltzes, there are also a number of compositions of Francy Boland's that were among the last to be recorded by the band before it disbanded for good in 1973.
Another unique feature of the album is that it is the only recording of the C-BBB to feature arrangements by someone other than Francy Boland. Bora Rokovich wrote the arrangments of the Strauss waltzes because Francy Boland didn't want to tamper with music he felt to be already in perfect form.
Special mention should be made of Boland's original compositions "Lotus" and "Lobsang." These works are daringly original and sound as fresh today as they did when they were originally recorded in 1972. Much of 1960s big band music sounds dated today, especially that of Don Ellis and even some of Buddy Rich and Stan Kenton, but Boland's arrangements and compositions have a timeless quality about them. Boland was also a gifted keyboardist and on these two compositions we get to hear him play organ. The flugelhorn solo by the legendary Benny Bailey on "Lobsang" is stratospheric in its tessitura and unlike any other flugelhorn solo in recorded jazz history. Herb Geller also contributes the best big band English horn work since Bob Cooper of Stan Kenton fame.
For those jazz fans who lived in Europe during the 1960s or who were lucky enough to have a short-wave radio and were able to listen in on C-BBB broadcasts on Willis Conover's Voice of America programs, this album will bring back a lot of great memories. For those who are discovering the C-BBB for the first time, Our Kinda Strauss will prove to be a revelation.
Personnel: Benny Bailey, Shake Keane, Jimmy Deuchar, Dusko Gojkovic, Ahmed Muvaffak Falay, Idrees Sulieman, Derek Watkins, Art Farmer, trumpets; Ake Persson, Nat Peck, Erik van Lier, trombones; Derek Humble, Karl Drewo, Sal Nistico, Sahib Shihab, Johnny Griffin, Ronnie Scott, Tony Coe, Herb Geller, Stan Robinson, saxophones; Jimmy Woode, Jr., bass; Kenny Clarke, Kenny Clare, drums; Fats Sadi, Tony Inzalaco, percussion; Francy Boland, piano and organ