Nat Adderley, Carmell Jones, Art Farmer (tp), Bob Brookmeyer (tb), Phil Woods, Jerry Dodgion, Zoot Sims, Harold Land (reeds), Eddie Costa, Joe Zawinul (p), Vic Feldman (vib), Herb Ellis (g), Bill Crow (b), Mel Lewis (d)
Reference: FSRCD 844_2
Jazz, once outlawed in the Soviet Union, finally got official approval when the Benny Goodman Band spent a rapturously received six-week tour there in mid-1962. Back stateside, eight from the band, including Zoot Sims and Phil Woods, with guests Eddie Costa and Marky Markowitz, commemorated the tour by recording Jazz Mission to Moscow, an ebulliently swinging album of jazz standards and Russian popular songs arranged by Al Cohn.
It was soon followed by one with an even more pronounced Russian flavour. Vic Feldman, vibist on the Goodman small combo numbers during the tour, had enhanced his knowledge of Russian musical activity and, back on the West Coast, recorded Soviet Jazz Themes, an album of jazz compositions by local composers. His choice of players was vindicated by the work of Carmell Jones, Nat Adderley, Harold Land, Joe Zawinul, Herb Ellis, Bob Whitlock, Frank Butler and Feldman himself.
In December 1962, however, the soviets slammed the door on jazz again. Responding, Radio Liberty launched a half-hour weekly programme of US modern jazz in June 1963, broadcasted through Europe from its base in the beach of Pals (Spain). This series became a showcase for Soviet jazz composers when members of the Benny Goodman group recorded with other top musicians some jazz originals composed by their Soviet counterparts. Al Cohn was once again assigned to score the tunes, and Jazz at Liberty, featuring such luminaries as Art Farmer, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Woods and Zoot Sims was the impressive result.
01. Mission to Moscow (Powell) 4:19
02. The Song of the Volga Boatman
(Aka The Sochi Boatman) (Traditional) 5:16
03. Midnight in Moscow
04. Lets Dance (Baldridge-Bonime-Stone) 4:32
05. Russian Lullaby (Berlin) 5:40
06. Dark Eyes (Aka Red, White and Blue Eyes)
07. Ritual (Towmosjan) 5:01
08. Blue Church Blues (Golstein) 7:08
09. Madrigal (Golstein) 6:20
10. Vic (Gachechiladze) 4:55
11. Polyushko Polye (Arr. Golstein) 3:53
12. Gennadi (Golstein) 5:17
01. Believe (You May BelieveOr Not)
02. Madrigal (Golstein) 5:48
03. Madrigal New York (Golstein) 5:41
04. Nyet (You Will Say No) (Nosov) 3:06
05. Believe (You May BelieveOr Not)
(Unknown) [Take 1] 4:53
06. Madrigal New York (Golstein) [Take 1] 5:45
07. Madrigal New York (Golstein) [Take 2] 5:36
08. Nyet (You Will Say No) (Nosov) 3:03
09. Phil Woods interview & solo 1:00 *
Tracks #1-6, from the album
Jazz Mission to Moscow (Colpix SCP433)
Tracks #7-12, from the album
Soviet Jazz Themes (Ava AS-19)
Tracks #1-8, from the album Jazz at Liberty:
American Musicians Play Soviet Originals Over
Radio Liberty (RKO 131542)
Track #15, Phil Woods interview and solo / Excerpt from a Phil Woods appearance on the Radio Liberty show This Is Jazz hosted by Boris Orshansky.
Personnel on 'Jazz Mission to Moscow'
Arranged and Conducted by Al Cohn
Jimmy Maxwell, Markie Markowitz, trumpets; Willie Dennis, trombone; Phil Woods, alto sax & clarinet; Jerry Dodgion, alto sax & flute; Zoot Sims, tenor sax; Gene Allen, baritone sax; Eddie Costa, piano; Bill Crow, bass; Mel Lewis, drums.
Recorded at Webster Hall, New York, July 12, 1962
Personnel on 'Soviet Jazz Themes'
The Victor Feldman All Stars
Tracks #7-9: Nat Adderley, cornet; Harold Land, tenor sax; Victor Feldman, vibes; Joe Zawinul, piano; Bob Whitlock, bass; Frank Butler, drums.
Recorded at United Recording Studios, Hollywood, October 26, 1962
Tracks #10-12: Carmell Jones, trumpet; Harold Land, tenor sax; Victor Feldman, piano & vibes; Herb Ellis, guitar; Bob Whitlock, bass; Frank Butler, drums.
Recorded at United Recording Studios, Hollywood, November 12, 1962
Personnel on 'Jazz at Liberty'
The Bill Crow-Phil Woods All Stars
Art Farmer, trumpet & flugelhorn; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Phil Woods, alto sax; Zoot Sims, tenor sax; Nick Brignola, baritone sax; John Bunch, piano; Bill Crow, bass; Walter Perkins, drums.
Recorded at RKO Sound Studios, NYC, May 1963
Original recordings produced by Jack Lewis (Colpix), Leonard Feather (Ava), and Boris Orshansky (Radio Liberty)
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Stereo / Mono · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"Most of the music was written by Russian jazz composers Gennadi Goldstein, Konstantin Nosov and Andrej Towmosjan. Theyre very good, and on the (1) and (4) sessions their work has the benefit of being arranged by Al Cohn. It must have been satisfying indeed for the Russians, if they heard these recordings, to hear their works receive the Cohn treatment.
The (1) tracks give an impression of what Goodmans Russian tour could have sounded like if music like this had replaced the very tired Henderson charts. Markowitz, who wasnt on the Russian tour, is perhaps the big surprise here. He is in turn a delicate and then an explosive soloist. He worked with most of the good name bands over the years, but we never heard him solo like this in his other recordings. Eddie Costa connoisseurs will immediately be in thrall to the piano rumble that opens the first track, and throughout the soloists, notably Sims and Woods, play at or near their best. Zoot and Costa are good on Lets Dance and Mel Lewis pins the (1) tracks beautifully. Perhaps Frank Butler could have benefited from trying to emulate him.
The dense arranging of the Russian composers leaves plenty of blowing room for the fine soloists in the Feldman group. Their attractive themes have the feel of the gospel-soul popular at the time. The sessions are illuminated by fine horn solos and lovely work on piano and vibes from Feldman. Land is dominant and very much in the midst of the Coltrane fashion. The much-recorded Adderley and the under-recorded Carmell Jones, both more significant and gifted jazz figures than they were given credit for, are both on good form. Early Zawinul or effective Herb Ellis grace the two sessions.
Radio Liberty, still active, seems to be an American (I cant be certain) propaganda broadcaster. The Crow-Woods tracks were recorded for broadcast and the musicians played without fee. Again the music is excellent - the list of the horns speaks for the high quality. Brookmeyer hadnt quite achieved his ultimate style, but was getting close. The final track, pretty irrelevant to Westerners, has brief English from Phil Woods, a bit of alto and some impenetrable Russian."
-Steve Voce (Jazz Journal, February 2015)
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