Thursday, May 3, 2007

Various Artists: One More — The Summary Music of Thad Jones, Vol. 2

By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 5.3.07
Buy CD: One More: The Summary Music of Thad Jones, Vol. 2

Many famous jazz artists are named Jones, but one family stands out for having produced three brothers who became giants: Thad was the trumpet player, Hank was the pianist and Elvin was the drummer. 

This album, the second with this group released by IPO, features Hank's piano and Thad's compositions. 

Born in the mid- to late 1920s, they were key members of the group of musicians who created the "East Coast sound" that ruled jazz from the 1940s through the '70s. Although Dizzy Gillespie was the trumpet player whom everyone emulated, Thad Jones wasn't far behind, as far as popularity in the jazz fraternity was concerned. Aside from playing wonderfully, he was a prolific composer and arranger. 

Thad Jones was a key member of the Count Basie orchestra; after Basie's death, he took over the group and kept it active for a number of years. In later years, he was part of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. Jones lived in Denmark for several years and played a key role in the development of jazz in that country. 

The musicians featured on this CD are from the Who's Who list that made that period so great. The reed section consists of Eddie Davis, Benny Golson, James Moody and Frank Wess; the rhythm section features Hank Jones on piano, Kenny Washington on drums, and Richard Davis on bass; and the brass section includes Jimmy Owens on trumpet and John Mosca on trombone. 

This isn't modern jazz, but it is the best retro album to come along in years. Volume I, released a few years ago, was a smash hit; Volume II matches it. 

Because the tunes are Thad Jones originals, their titles won't ring any bells unless you're a "remember when" jazz fan. Suffice it to say, they all swing ... and I'd forgotten how great jazz flutist by Frank Wess was; his instrument really moves me. 

IPO is to congratulated for this album, and it's a handsome CD package, as well.

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