Discussion Max Greger
and his Orchestra (featuring Benny Baileytrumpet, Rich Richardsontrombone,
Dick Spenceralto). Personnel: Max Greger, leader, tenor; Ron
Simmonds, Benny Bailey, Ferenc Aszodi, Fredy Brock, trumpets; Karl-Heinz
Donick, Helmut Rink, Rich Richardson, Fritz Gläser, trombones;
Dick Spencer, Manfred Mende, Rudi Flierl, Fred Spannuth, Horst Reipsch,
saxes; Armin Rusch, piano; Branco Pejakovic, bass; Pierre Favre,
drums. Composed by Hans Hammerschmid. From European Jazz Sounds,
Brown: That sounds to me like a good studio band.
Getz: It sounded like an English band.
Brown: Yes, could have been. It was very clean. It reminded me a little bit
of the Woody Herman type of band. The solos were soso. The
alto sounded pretty good. And I enjoyed the nice, crisp rhythm section.
It had nothing identifying about it. Ill just say that it
doesnt sound like a band thats travelling on the road.
They usually have things built around a prominent person in the
Getz: It would breathe more, too, wouldnt it?
Brown: Yes, it would flow a little more together. This sounded very crisplike
good studio musicians, you know.
Getz: Those are about my sentiments, too. Its very goodbut weve
heard it so much.
Brown: For my money now, you can go into New York or L.A. and call for a
record date, and get a band to play just like that. In fact, if
you call early enough you can get better soloiststoprate
studio guys like Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Phil Woods. And theyll
play the parts perfectly, too.
Getz: All rightI cant wait any longer. Who was it?
Tomkins: It was made in Germany by a band led by tenorman Max Greger. The band
has something of an international nature. The soloists there were
all Americans (giving details).
Getz: The alto player seemed to have a little more breath in him than the
other soloists. I think Ive heard of Dick Spencer.
Brown: It was a studio band, though, wasnt it?
Tomkins: Well, they work regularly in TV shows.
Brown: Sure, thats the same thing.
Getz: Its hard to judge a record like that. You neither like it nor
Brown: I cant find anything bad about itbut its nothing
that I would particularly play that often, either.
One Note The Joe Daley Trio (Joe Daley tenor,
Russell Thornebass, Hal Russell drums). Composed by
Joe Daley. From The Joe Daley Trio At Newport 63,
Getz: Theres two ways to look at this record. I found it very interesting
and the instrumentalists were very good the drummer, the bassist
and some parts of the saxophone. Personally, I thought it didnt
ever tell a story. I think he was trying to say too muchto
be too modern, or something. You know what I mean, Ray?
Brown: This is a question that always comes up. Sometimes in night clubs,
when weve done something really fast, Ill go down to
somebodys table after the set and theyll say: Just
tell me between you and Iwhat do you get out of playing
that fast. And thats a good question, because sometimes,
when you play fast, all youre really showing is that youre
a good musician your facility, and the groups. There
arent that many people who are expressionists at playing fast.
People said things about Art Tatum playing fast, but he was able
to do it, he was serious about it, and he didnt have to scuffle
for the technique. Now Thelonious Monk hardly uses any technique
at all but people like him. But if a guy has that much technique
just laying there a guy like Phineas Newborn, for example
its going to be used. In this particular record the
technique of the people involved seemed to be very good. I was trying
to find some sort of tiein between the changes played by the
bass player and the saxophone. A lot of the bass notes werent
coming out clear, because they were covered up by the drum cymbal
sound. Plus the fact that he played quite a few chromatic things.
Getz: Wasnt it on the same change?
Brown: Well, it started that way. But there were parts there where everybody
went for themselves. I am surewhere the guy was playing up
above the end of the fingerboard, or at times below the bridge.
Which were more or less effects. Im not too good a judge of
this type of thing, not being too involved in it. I guess my only
view is that its good if it comes off. The tenor saxophonist
can get over his horn pretty well.
Getz: I wouldnt want it for my record collection.
Brown: No. not unless there were some more interesting tracks on it.
Tomkins: The idea of this, I think, was to show what can be done in extemporising
around one note.
Getz: Yes, but if it didnt come off they shouldnt have put it
on the record.
Tomkins: And you dont think it did come off?
Brown: Wellevery time you say something like this you sound like an
old man. Lester Young could do something with one noteat a
digestible tempo. Of course, I know that everybodys playing
faster now. Its just that things are going that way. I wasnt
overly impressed with it. Im positive the bass player wouldnt
be able to play all those same notes over again. It sounds like
more of a modern group.
DEspagne and PrClude A LArchet (Prelude
For The Bow) Francois Rabbathbass (second track onlywith
Armand Molinettidrums). Composed by Francois Rabbath. From
The Sound Of A Bass, Philips.
Brown: Well, the first thing was a bass solo. It sounded as if it was done
in the key of D. Its the sort of thing you do with D in the
thumb positionD and A, to the B flat, up to the C, up to the
D. Then he came back down, using some tenths with the D and so forth,
working down to a fifth in the half position, which was D and Athen
he went up to E; flat with an open G. It wasnt real difficult,
but it was very nicely laid out. I enjoyed it. The second track
might have been something overdubbed. You get that sort of
exercise in Simandl, Book 2which I remember very wellwhere
you bow across three strings. We used to call it pumping water.
Most guys could play that bottom part. The top part, though
if it was played by a bass, doubletrackedwas very good.
Much more difficult. It was somebody with excellent bow technique,.
who Id say has been studying classically. I know I couldnt
play it. It was played mostly up in the harmonic section.
Getz: How do you do that? Is that the pressure of the bow, or what?
Brown: No, its just the technique of having the touch up there. You
have to study to play up in those positions. I know classical guys
that can play like thatquite a few.
Getz: That first one was very nice, interesting to listen to. It was great.
But the second one I couldnt become involved with like Ray
did. He looks at it as a bass player would look at it. And I didnt
care for the piece of music at all whatever it was.
Tomkins: These were both original compositions by the bass player, who is
a Frenchman named Francois Rabbath. It was recorded in France. And
he was doing the whole thing on the second track by overdubbing.
The first one was intended to be in the flamenco idiom.
Brown: Yes, it was like flamenco guitar, played with the fingers. I had some
of my students do thatyou use the thumb. Typical flamencotype,
but you do it on bass. It sounded like a small instrumentmust
have been a solo threequarter bass.
Getz: I thought it was a cello at first.
Brown: It could even have been a viola that first part.
Hall Johnny Dankworth and his Orchestra (featuring Ronnie
Scott, Bobby Wellins, Tony Coe, Dick Morrissey, Peter Kingtenors).
Composed by Johnny Dankworth. From What The Dickens! ,
Brown: (at Tony Coe solo) Somebody likes Coleman Hawkins. It really sounds
Getz: Yes, it really does. The first part didnt, though.
Brown: No, not the first partbut here, Im saying.
Getz: Lucky Thompson? (at Morrissey solo) Its two tenor players, I
think. That was good compared to what you played before.
Brown: I enjoyed the tenor player. On the slow part he showed a lot of Hawkins
influence. He sounds in that vein of Lucky Thompson, Paul Gonsalves
that type of tenor playing. The band, once again, was of the studio
variety. It didnt sound like anything recognisable. But the
rhythm section was really 100%. Yes the drummer had that good feeling
Brown: Both the drummer and the bass player were cooking very nicely. There
seemed to be a potpourri of tunes there. I was sitting trying to
figure out who the band and tenor player were, trying to keep up
with thatthen all of a sudden the changes of I
Cant Get Started went by. Then they went into the bridge
of Cherokee, went back into the theme and finished
the tune out.
Getz: I liked the tenor and, as Ray says, the bass and drums. I liked the
brass alsoit reminded me of Duke. It had that feeling. Of
course, the saxophones dispelled that notion when they came in.
Tomkins: You said earlier you felt there was more than one saxophonist. In
fact, there were five different tenor soloistsone after the
Getz: One of them sounded like Tubby. Was he in there somewhere?
Tomkins: No, he wasnt (giving details).
Brown: I didnt find the styles that varying. Stan might, being a saxophone
player. I couldnt really distinguish that much. They sounded
a lot alike, except on that ballad section.
Roll Count Basie and his Orchestra (featuring Frank Fostertenor).
Composed and arranged by Quincy Jones. From Lil 01
Groovemaker Basie! , Verve.
Getz: Thats Diz, isnt it?
Brown: It could be Jimmy Smith. Wait and see if he comes in. Hes got
arrangements like that. Or Oliver Nelson.
Getz: Yes, I think it is Oliver Nelson. I think Ive heard it before.
But that sounds like Diz on muted trumpet.
Brown: That rhythm he plays on.
Getz: Yes, thats what he likes. I love it when a drummer plays like
that. Right there. And the bass stays right with him, too. Now theres
a difference, huh? Take a plain old bluesand right away everybodys
feet were tapping.
Brown: It sounded like something out of New York to me.
Getz: With some ringers thrown in.
Brown: Yes. Well, Ill give you an example. I went down to do a big
band date in New York and I had Cannonball Adderley on lead alto,
Budd Johnson playing baritone, Yusef Lateef and Jerome Richardson
on tenors, Phil Woods on alto. Which is a pretty good reed section.
Then I had Ernie Royal, Clark Terry, Nat Adderley and Roy Eldridge
on trumpets, Melba Liston, Jimmy Cleveland andcant think
of the other trombone players name. And I had Hank Jones on
one date and Tommy Flanagan on the other, and Osie Johnson and Sam
Getz: You couldnt ask for anything more. Is that a new one?
Brown: No, it came out last year. It was an allstar big band. And about
half an hour after that date started this band was burning it up.
I told em I was going to take em on the road. But that
record we just heard was like that type of band. These guys are
used to playing together. For a while I thought it might have been
Basie, but I didnt hear Freddie Green in there. Good saxophone
player, too. The overall feel was very good.
Getz: Beautiful. Unpretentious, right down to the point. Get right in thereand
you feel as if you want to start dancing.
Brown: It didnt sound like anybodys band, like there was a leader
or anything. So I dont know where this band came from.
Tomkins: It was written by Quincy Jones.
Brown: Yes, I thought of Oliver Nelson, Quincy or Ernie Wilkins. Or this
other guy, that used to write for Woody Ralph Burns.
Getz: Nothat wouldnt be Ralph Burns.
Brown: Listen, Id have said that at one time, but have you heard some
of the Ray Charles things he did? Whew!
Tomkins: That was a thing of Quincys called Belly Roll.
Getz: Was that Osie on drums?
Tomkins: The band was, in fact, Basie. Frank Foster on tenor. Sonny Payne on
Brown: Two things were missing. I couldnt hear Freddie, and Basie wasnt
Tomkins: Well, he had a short piano bit.
Brown: So you couldnt really tellit was so small. Are you sure
that was Frank Foster, though? Or Eric Dixon? Because Eric sounds
quite a bit like Paul Gonsalves. Frank usually sounds a little different.
Getz: Okay, whats next? Now were getting to the good ones.
in 9/4 The George Shearing Trio (George Shearingpiano,
Israel Crosbybass, Vernel Fournier drums). Composed
by George Shearing. From Jazz Moments, Capitol.
Getz: You know, the older I get the less I even listen to how good a guy
plays, technically or anything. I just look for something emotional
in the musicsomething that gets to me. Everything seems so
contrived here. You know what I mean? It just doesnt give
you an experience.
Brown: The opening and closing part sounds as if it was written, or laid
out. Its in 9/8 or something. And then they go into some blues,
practically. The bass solo was all rightnothing unusual. I
didnt get that much from the record. The jazz part of it wasnt
as good as the first part.
Getz: As a musician, you can search your musical mind and soul. You can
think: Well, lets seethe bass players got good
intonation. The drummers doing this. The piano players
got a good touch. You can go through all that but whats
the end result? Thats what is important. Sounded like another
European band. Was it?
Tomkins: It was the George Shearing Trio, with Israel Crosby on bass.
Getz: Well, then its European in origin.
Brown: I was going to say that sounded like a Shearingtype player.
But it didnt sound like George himself, unless thats
a very old record.
Tomkins: No, its quite recentJune, 1962. It was the last recording
Israel made before he died.
Brown: Well, George has done a lot better playingIll say that.
Because I like the way he plays the piano. I prefer his ballads,
of course, because his touch and his harmonic sense are so beautiful.
To The Stars Dexter Gordon Quartet (Dexter Gordontenor,
Bud Powellpiano, Pierre Michelot bass, Kenny Clarkedrums).
From Our Man In Paris, Blue Note.
Getz: So far hes ruining the tune. Hes trying to get too soulful
for a pretty tune.
Brown: Sounds like hes trying to play like Gene Ammons, who is really
soulfulbut hes like that all the time. This guy doesnt
have the sustaining quality that Gene Ammons has, I dont think.
Hes that vintage, thoughthe StittAmmonstype
Getz: With a little bit of latter Lester Young, too, you know.
Brown: Yes, a little of Dexter, too. I havent heard Dexter for so longI
wouldnt know him now if I heard him. The piano player reminds
me a little of Bud Powell. Its been years since I heard him,
to. Its 19 years since I played with himbut that sounds
like him to me. What hes doing is adequate enough, but I would
have preferred to hear Hank Jones play a ballad like this. But,
by the same token, I dont think that what Hank would play
on this ballad would go with what the saxophone player is playing.
So theyre actually together.
Getz: I really find nothing admirable about it at all. I dont think
he treated the tune like its supposed to be treated. His intonation
was bad and his tonguing was overpowering. But otherwise it was
Brown: That, I guess, is a perennial hassle. This thing is more sensitive
to saxophone players or trumpet players, if that be the case, than
it would be to somebody in the rhythm section.
Getz: Oh, there you go. Youre going to be nice and temperate.
Brown: No, what Im going to say is this: I know its not possible
for everybody to like the same tune the same way. Although I have
often told students that I think it would be nice, if youre
going to play a ballad, to look up the lyrics and see what the man
had to say. You may get a little insight into itwhich wouldnt
hurt. There are a lot of ballads that I think shouldnt be
what I call sweetened, as a lot of guys do. Then there are some
that lend themselves to it, maybe. Jazz musicians, in their search
to express themselves, find certain tunesor it could be just
the changesthat suggest certain treatments. And, like I say,
Stan as a saxophone player might see this a little different to
the way I would see it, as far as approach to the tune.
Getz: And how do you see it?
Brown: I could take it either way. I wasnt particularly impressed by
the way he played the melody, but I wasnt chagrined either.
He played some fairly nice things on the changes after the tune
started. He ran them fairly well.
Getz: Youre able to look at it in a broader way than I am. Actually,
I thought it was lumbering. And I dont think you should run
any changes on a tune like that. You should state the melody, play
a few choice notes when you dont play the melody, and take
Tomkins: Do you normally know the lyrics of a ballad when you play it?
Getz: No, only vaguelysome of them. I forget them, but when I hear
the tunes usually I hear them with the lyrics. I listen mostly to
vocalists when I hear ballads. But I dont know them word for
word, though I could quote a few.
Brown: But are you impressed by a tune primarily by its lyrics before you
play it a lot of times?
Getz: Lots of times lyrics, do sway mewhich they shouldnt,
actually. Because you cannot play lyrics on a saxophone. Unfortunately,
nobodys invented a way to do that. So its mostly the
melody and the whole feeling of a ballad thats important.
The lyrics are important, because they can change the interpretation.
Tomkins: Well, it was Dexter and it was Bud Powell.
Getz: How about that?
Brown: Dexter kind of reaches up for those notes. You hear that in some of
the younger guys playing now. Like Coltrane does that sometimes.
Which I guess extends back to Coleman Hawkins again, if you want
to go backhim and Adolphe Saxe.
For Carl The Pete Jolly Trio (Pete Jollypiano., Ralph
Pefia bass, Nick Martinisdrums). Composed by Ralph Pefia.
From Five Oclock Shadows, MGM.
Getz: Is that imitators of the Peterson trio? Or is it you guys? Its
a good ping on that
bass player. Its not you?
Brown: No, thats not us. I was going to say Ray Bryant at first, but
it sounds more like that bluesy type of playing that Junior Mance
Getz: Come to think of it, it could be him. This and the Basie are about
the best of the whole batch today.
Brown: I dont know who the bass player was, but he sure had nice time.
It might have been Bob Cranshaw.
Getz: He had that Ray Brown ping
in his playing.
Brown: That loped along very nicely. I enjoyed it. There wasnt any
particular technique involved, but the feeling was good. And they
played together. The pianist and has player obviously had a good
affinity changewisethe way they played the lines and
Getz: Thats a beautiful rhythm section. Id have that one in
my record collectionfor real lateatnight listeningwhen
I just want to snap my fingers.
Tomkins: I think you probably know these men personally. Pete Jolly? Ralph
Getz: Oh, yes. Was that Ralph? Thats very good. And the drummer? Nick
Martinis? I just fired him off my band. But he sounded good on that.
See how things work out?
Brown: Yes, I liked that. Pete and Ralph had a duo together. They work constantly
out in L.A. Pete is some player.
Getz: Well, Nick and I just worked together briefly. Its different
listening than it is playing with a musician.
La Scala, She Too Pretty To Be Blue Duke Ellington and
his Orchestra, with the Orchestra of La Scala, Milan (featuring
Russell Procope clarinet, Paul Gonsalvestenor, Lawrence
Brown trombone, Cootie Williamstrumpet). Composed by
Duke Ellington. From The Symphonic Ellington, Reprise.
Brown: Whats thisEllington with strings? That sounds like Lawrence
Getz: I think he made an album with strings, didnt he?
Brown: It sounded like Paul Gonsalves before and Ellington on piano in the
introduction. I dont recognise the clarinet player.
Getz: What are those strings doing in there?
Brown: They dont need em. Thats Paul Gonsalves,
Getz: Sounds like him.
Brown: Hes got a great sound, a beautiful tone. Well.
I didnt enjoy the strings. They seemed to be cumbersome. It
sounded as if they wanted to keep the voicing real plain so it wouldnt
lumberyou know, blah-blah-blah. But it didnt help. I
would have enjoyed that much better, I think, just hearing the band
play it by themselves. And the guys didnt play enough. Nobody
really got a chance to stretch out. It was just like little fillsthe
kind of thing you might play behind a singerexcept for, maybe,
the trumpet solo. I could take it or leave it, you know. But it
just sounded like Ellingtonor somebody really imitating him
down the line. In either case, I think the strings were unnecessary
Getz: You know, everything you hear in music is in relation to
what you heard before. Did you ever notice that? You hear certain
records in an afternoonand one comes up that you ordinarily
might not really care for. Butbecause of what weve heard
beforeI enjoyed that record. Everything is a comparison. Anyway,
I love Ellington. Hes my favourite band in the whole world.
But those strings, as Ray says, sounded like they were playing in
another band or something. They were just sawing awayit didnt
make sense. Of course, that was a beautiful saxophone sound. That
was Paul Gonsalves? Yes, its a lovely way he has of
making a sound out of the saxophone.