|Two of LA's finest working out at a Pacific Jazz recording date. Art Pepper and Bud Shank also moonlighted for Decca in 1957, under the direction of composer Howard Lucraft. William Claxton photo|
Here's a recording I came across in the stacks a few months back that I realized I'd never listened to (got quite a few like that!). I'd judged it by its cover when I acquired it a few decades back, thinking it was just another attempt by a major label to sell "jazz" to a mainstream audience with syrupy arrangements and restrained soloists. Wrong.
|Lucraft with Lady Day during her|
appearance on his "Jazz Inter-
national" TV show.
A renaissance man, in other words.
Born in London during the first world war, Lucraft arrived in Los Angeles in 1950 and decided to stay. He worked in the studios, wrote, composed, arranged, broadcasted and even played out a bit. In '54 he hooked up with Stan Kenton and formed "Jazz International," an organization that promoted America's classical music worldwide. He even found time to make a few records.
This album didn't set the world on fire, but it's a fine, swinging affair with very tasty performances from the cream of the West Coast crop in 1957. Present are Bud Shank, Art Pepper, Conte Condoli, Bob Cooper, Buddy Collette, Pete Jolly, Red Mitchell, Stan Levey, Mel Lewis and others. It's almost as though Lucraft and Decca hijacked a Pacific Jazz session for this date. While the results are somewhat less adventurous than a typical PJ recording, the performances are excellent, and Pete Jolly's accordion is an added treat. The guitarist isn't really John Doe, by the way – it's Lucraft himself. Chalk up another skill for the multi-talented Brit.
This gem required no cleaning of sound, so what you hear is pure vinyl – taken directly from the original, of course.
Showcase for Modern Jazz
Howard Lucraft & Outstanding West Coast Jazz Men
Decca DL 8679
Collective personnel: Conte Condoli, Stu Williamson, tp; Bud Shank, Buddy Collette, Art Pepper, Charlie Mariano, Bob Cooper, reeds; Frank Rosolino, tbn; Pete Jolly, Claude Williamson, p; Howard Lucraft, g; Red Mitchell, Monty Budwig, Leroy Vinnegar, b; Mel Lewis, Stan Levey, Shelly Manne, d. (see cover for specific personnel)
Los Angeles, CA; 1957
1. Blue Moon
2. I'll Never Say Never Again
3. California Zephyr (Lucraft)
4. I may Be Wrong
5. Larrissa (Lucraft)
6. Midnight Sun
7. Smog a la Mode (Lucraft)
8. Jazz for Gene (Lucraft)
9. Two Part Contention
Find it here: https://www.mediafire.com/?4cak9a0mfc0bncn