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Ralph Burns

 

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New Ralph BurnsFree Forms/Winter Sequences ... CD
Verve/Fresh Sound (Spain), 1946/1951/1954. Used ... Just Sold Out!
2 very rare slices of work by arranger Ralph Burns – both of them unique! First up on the set is Free Forms, a modern jazz-meets-strings session that follows from Burns' exploratory "Introspection" title for the Jazz Scene collection (included here as a bonus track.) Ralph pens some inventive charts that utilize a 15 piece chamber orchestra as backdrops for his own bold lines on piano, as well as some key solo bits from Lee Konitz on half the tracks. Titles include "Places Please", "Cameo", "Lileth", "Spring Is", and "Someday Somewhere". The modern feel of that set is balanced by the more whimsical Winter Sequence – a 1954 record written by Leonard Feather, with 8 tracks named after each of Santa's reindeer (save for Rudolph.) The format's a lot less Christmasy than you'd expect – but there is a nice sort of Holiday bounce to the whole thing – a joyful and playful feel that's a nice contrast from some of Burns' more modern work. Players include Joe Wilder, Kai Winding, Herbie Mann, and Billy Bauer – and titles include "Donner", "Cupid", "Comet", "Vixen", and "Blitzen". CD
 
Possible matches: 6
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New Oscar Brown Jr.Tells It Like It Is/In A New Mood ... CD
Columbia/Collectables, Early 60s. Used ... $7.99
2 of Oscar Brown's classic Columbia albums – back to back on one CD! Tell It Like It Is is a great early album by Oscar – one that focuses on his own compositions, and a few other hip tunes written by other jazz players, with new vocals added by Oscar! These kind of tracks are the stuff that made him a legend instantly – strongly voiced vocal tunes, handled with a flair that few other singers could match, save for Jon Hendricks, who also shared Oscar's talent for crafting a jazz-based lyric. Arrangements are by Oscar's hometown talent Floyd Morris – and titles include "One Foot In the Gutter", "The Snake" (later covered by Al Wilson), "So Help Me (A Little 3/4 For God & Co)", "The Tree & Me", and marvelous lyrical versions of Miles Davis' "All Blues" and Duke Pearson's "Jeanine". Essential stuff for jazz juice fans! In A New Mood is a tight set featuring Oscar Brown Jr. performing jazz material written (mostly) by other composers, shifting the focus away from his earlier records, which have more of his own compositions. Ralph Burns and Al Cohn handled the arrangements – and Oscar sparkles with a straight jazz flair on tracks that include Mood Indigo", "Hey There", "Go Down Moses", "Where or When", and "Straighten Up and Fly Right". CD

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Al CohnAl Cohn & His Charlie's Tavern Ensemble (East Coast West Coast/Mr Music) ... CD
RCA/Fresh Sound (Spain), 1954. Used ... $12.99
An album and a half from Al Cohn – all with his batch of players from the Charlie's Tavern scene! The core material here is from the RCA set Mr Music – a tight little record with a strong focus on Al Cohn's solo work! Al's the lead soloist in a number of largish groups that are often tightly arranged, but which let the leader break out nicely – cutting with an edge on his tenor that's sometimes even sharper than usual. Cohn handled most of the arrangements – but a few are by Johnny Carisi, Ralph Burns, or Manny Albam –a nd players include Joe Newman on trumpet, Billy Byaers and Frank Rehak on trombone, Gene Quill on alto, and Jimmy Raney on guitar. Proceedings are tight, but never too uptight – and titles include "Cabin In The Sky", "Lullaby Of Birdland", "This Reminds Me Of You", "Move", "Cohn My Way", "La Ronde", and "Never Never Land". The remaining three tracks on the record are from Al Cohn's "east" side of the album East Coast West Coast – a batch of material arranged by Al, and featuring Joe Newman on trumpet, Billy Byers and Eddie Bert on trombone, and Hal McKusick and Gene Quill on alto saxes. Titles include "Inside Out", "Autumn Leaves", and "Serenade For Kitty". CD

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Chris ConnorChris Connor ... CD
Atlantic, 1956. Used ... $6.99
The first album in a legendary run of vocal jazz classics on Atlantic Records – and a set that really helped Chris Connor move to a new level of expression in her music! The sound here is much richer than Connor's previous recordings for Bethlehem – and the small combo jazz backings have been replaced by fuller orchestrations by Ralph Burns – done in a cool, edgey sort of way that really pushes Chris into newly sophisticated territory! The sound's on a par with the best June Christy/Pete Rugolo collaborations on Capitol – and the group's filled with some great jazz players, including Zoot Sims, John Lewis, Milt Hinton, and Oscar Pettiford. Titles include "I Get A Kick Out Of You", "My April Heart", "He Was Good to Me", "Where Are You", and "Get Out Of Town". CD
(Out of print.)

Possible matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bill HarrisComplete 50s Sessions (Bill Harris & Friends/Ex-Hermanites/Bill Harris Herd) ... CD
Lonehill (Spain), 1946/1952/1957. Used 2CDs ... $19.99
The only 3 albums ever cut as a leader by trombonist Bill Harris – a player who first rose to fame in the Woody Herman group of the early 50s, but who was also a heck of a great leader on his own! Like other Hermanites, Harris here displays an amazing talent for both tightness of group formation and respect of solo space – a style that allows for some bold head arrangements on most tunes, but also really makes the best of solo voices from players who include Ben Webster on tenor, Terry Gibbbs on vibes, Lou Levy on piano, and Harris himself on trombone. Most of the tunes are standards, but arranged in a manner that's quite fresh – another Hermanite touch – and the 2CD package features 7 tracks from Bill Harris & Friends (with Ben Webster), 8 more from Bill Harris & The Ex-Hermanites (with Gibbs, Lou Levy, and a bit of vocals), and 12 from The Bill Harris Herd, which features four trombones and four saxes, in Hermanite formation. CD also features one 1946 track recorded with Ralph Burns – making for a total of 28 tracks that include "It Might As Well Be Spring", "Laura", "Apple Honey", "Just One More Chance", "I Surrender Dear", "Your Father's Moustache", "Lemon Drop", "Early Autumn", "Bill Not Phil", "You're Blase", "Jive At Five", "Tutti Frutti", "Sue Loves Mable", and "Introspection". CD

Possible matches6
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Pat KirbyWhat Is This Thing Called Love (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Decca/Universal (Japan), 1956. Used ... $21.99
Pat Kirby's looking a little bit like a school teacher on the cover of this one – but the music inside is lush, mature, and all-adult – hardly the stuff of schoolboy fantasies! Kirby's a lesser-known singer from the 50s, but she's a great one too – a vocalist who never goes too far, but who also doesn't resort to any cliches to carry over a tune – often singing with a gentler kind of approach that reminds us more of singers to come in the 60s. Backings are by Ralph Burns, and penned with some nice jazzy touches, but also some of those great modern Burns strings – and titles include "In Love In Vain", "Like Someone In Love", "All Or Nothing At All", "Lover Man", "Love Is A Simple Thing", "The Gentleman Obviously Doesn't Believe", and "I Fall In Love Too Easily". CD
(Out of print. Includes obi.)

Possible matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Sonny StittSensual Sound Of Sonny Stitt ... CD
Verve (Japan), Early 60s. Used ... $24.99
Long-overdue reissue of this excellent album that has Stitt playing with moody string backings by Ralph Burns. This sort of album became one of the Verve trademarks after the success of the Charlie Parker & Strings sessions – but this Stitt LP gives the sound a whole new twist, thanks largely to Burns' fantastically off-kilter arrangements. Stitt's tone is right on the money, and he soars dreamily, cut free from a rigid bop rhythm section. The sound is better than we'd ever expect, and the album's a beautiful suite of late night tracks that show Stitt as a master ballad player, on material like "Try A Little Tenderness", "Once In A While", "Talk To Me", "All of You", and "World Really Isn't". CD
(Out of print. Includes obi.)
 
 
 



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