The last 2 sessions in Decca's Jazz Studio series – both of them pretty darn unique! Jazz Studio 5 was put together under the leadership of arranger Ralph Burns – one of our favorite jazz arrangers ever! As proven by some of his impeccable work crafting larger backings for artists on the Verve and Clef labels, Burns had an approach that was quite different than most of his contemporaries. He worked in a mode that seemed pretty standard at the outset – with an approach to backdrops that worked in broad colors of sound and tone – but he also had a talent for putting in strange modern twists, little surprises, and other embellishments that never detracted from the soloist, and instead seemed to keep them on their toes, forcing them to really come up with some great stuff during their time at the recording. You'll hear plenty of that kind of action going on here – in one of Burns' rarest sets ever, recorded with a group that includes Billy Byers, Joe Newman, Dave Schildkraut, Herbie Mann, and Milt Hinton. Mann's particularly great, and plays a number of horns with ease – and titles include "Cool Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", "What Am I Here For", "I'll Be Around", "Jazz Club USA", and "South Gonzales Street Parade. Jazz Studio 6 is an equally enigmatic set of modern jazz – recorded by the Amram-Barrow Quartet – an obscure group led by tenor saxophonist George Barrow and horn player David Amram, the latter of whom would go onto great fame in the 60s and 70s for his groundbreaking arrangements, soundtrack work, and world/
jazz experiments! At this point, Amram's a young modernist with some very fresh ideas – and contributes some wonderful original tunes to the session with a moody east coast style that almost has traces of the Mingus camp – particularly the work of Jimmy Knepper and Pepper Adams. George Barrow's tone on the tenor is really tremendous – sharp and soulful, reminding us a bit of the freshness that Hank Mobley brought to some of his early sessions in the 50s, but with less of a hardbop fire. The rhythm in the group is by Arthur Phipps on bass and Al Harewood on drums (Amram plays a bit of piano as well) – and titles include "City Talk", "Someday Morning Will Come", "Somewhere Along The Way", "Phipps Quipps", "Lobo Nocho", and "I Love You".