Two complete LPs from the defunct Famous Door label are reissued on this single CD, both featuring underrated horn players from the late '40s. Herbie Steward was one of Woody Herman's Four Brothers, but by the time he recorded in 1981 he was playing alto, soprano, and clarinet rather than tenor. Although he had been a studio musician for years, he could still swing well, as shown on such songs as "Take the 'A' Train" (taken as a waltz), "The Song Is You," and "Gone With the Wind." He is heard in a quintet also featuring guitarist Eddie Duran and either Smith Dobson or Tee Carson on piano.
This two-fer combines two of trumpeter/flügelhornist Clark Terry's albums for the Impulse! label: 1964's The Happy Horns of Clark Terry and 1967's It's What's Happenin'. Generally considered one of Terry's best '60s outings, The Happy Horns of Clark Terry is a jaunty, swinging affair that finds Terry joined by such names as saxophonists Phil Woods and Ben Webster, bassist Milt Hinton, and others. Featuring a lively take on Duke Ellington's "Rockin' in Rhythm," Bix Beiderbecke's "In a Mist," and even an Ellington medley, the album is a must-hear for Terry fanatics.
This album is billed as 'acid jazz', and if that's defined by hard-funkin' horns combined with modern beats, then this is certainly it. But it certainly doesn't fall into the usual image of acid jazz, as being sort of mellow and ambient. This is anything but mellow; in fact, it's easily the most lively of the JB Horns albums. Part of the reason the formula works so well here is that the drum programs are fortified with traditional funky instruments like the clavinet and Fender Rhodes. And Maceo himself gets down on the Hammond organ on several occasions in addition to blowing his horn. I would definitely recommend this CD to any Funkateer who loves hearing Maceo, Fred and Pee Wee blow their horns, particularly if they don't mind a little of that hip-hop flavor. It's a little less organic-sounding than their usual works, so jazz-oriented Funkateers might balk at the album's overall sound. It's slick, but not so slippery that you can't get both hands on the funk.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. We'd hate to get caught in the force of a baritone explosion – as the horns are so big, that's a lot of metal to have to deal with! Fortunately, pianist Rein De Graaf's got the proceedings here on rock-solid territory – providing just the right sort of swing to keep things moving, yet also keep things in control – while both Ronnie Cuber and Nick Brigola open up on the bigger horns – reminding us why they're some of the few players able to carry forward the deftly soulful legacies of earlier baritone greats like Pepper Adams or Serge Chaloff! The album's a live one, and tracks are nice and long – plenty of room for solos on titles that include "Caravan", "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise", "Crack Down", "Night In Tunisia", and "Blue Train" – plus two short beautiful ballads, "What's New" and "In A Sentimental Mood".