2 sublime sessions from arranger Ralph Burns – easily one of our favorite talents in large group 50s jazz
! First up is the rare Verve album Ralph Burns Among The JATPs – a classic set of work that has Burns meeting up with players from the Jazz At
sessions, and very much in the same style as his work on the legendary Jazz
Scene set. The set's far from a "soloists with strings" snoozer, and features some stunningly edgey arrangements by Burns, with purposefully off-kilter orchestral parts, which provide a startling counterpoint to solos by players like Flip Phillips, Jimmy Hamilton, Roy Eldridge, Ray Brown, and Bill Harris. Hard to find in any format, and with the tracks "Pimlico", "Perpetual Motion", "Sprang", "Chuck A Luck", "Music For A Strip Teaser", and "Taxco". Next up is Jazz
Studio 5 – from the Decca series of albums – a record that shows why Burns had an approach that was quite different than most of his contemporaries. Burns 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.