Reference: FSRCD 590
These two albums, under the leadership of trombonist Al Grey, were recorded while he was a member of Count Basies band. With the exception of the pianists, the men assembled to play in these sessions were all well known Basie-ites. All the charts share a spare, functional approach ideal for the three brass-two saxes instrumentation. The arrangements delve cleanly and right to the heart of swinging. Grey, famed for his plunger mute work, plays vigorously and inventively.
Both groupsan octet and a nonetdisplay that warm, moving blues feeling that characterized the Basie band, with all the soloists blowing with sure-footed intensity alongside the tastefully swinging leader.
01. Things Aint What They Used to Be (Ellington-Persons) 3:46
02. Open Wider, Please (Grey) 4:49
03. I Got It Bad and That Aint Good (Ellington-Webster) 3:18
04. Dont Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington-Russell) 3:06
05. How Come You Do Me Like You Do (Austin-Bergere) 2:31
06. Bluish Grey (Jones) 3:49
07. The Elder (Jones) 5:15
08. Bewitched (Rodgers-Hart) 3:36
09. Kenie-Konie (Foster) 6:05
10. Salty Papa (Grey) 5:50
11. Dont Cry Baby (Johnson-Bernie-Unger) 2:22
12. Stranded (Foster) 5:28
13. Tenderly (Gross-Lawrence) 2:04
14. Rompin (Foster) 3:44
15. King Bee (grey) 5:38
16. When I Fall in Love (Young) 2:32
17. Al-Lamo (Jones) 4:52
Total time: 69:00 min.
Tracks #1-9 from the album "The Last Of The Big Plungers" (Argo LP 653).
Tracks #10-17 from the album "The Thinking Man's Trombone" (Argo LP 677).
Personnel on "The Last Of The Big Plungers"
Al Grey Octet: Joe Newman (tp), Al Grey, Benny Powell (tb), Billy Mitchell (ts), Charlie Fowlkes (bs), Floyd Morris (p), Ed Jones (b) and Sonny Payne (d).
Recorded at Ter-Mar Recording Studios, Chicago, September 25 & 28, 1959.
Personnel on "The Thinking Man's Trombone"
Al Grey Nonet: Joe Newman (tp), Al Grey, Benny Powell (tb); Billy Mitchell (ts), Charlie Fowlkes (bs); Freddie Green (g), Billy Higgins (p), Ed Jones (b) and Sonny Payne (d).
Recorded at Ter-Mar Recording Studios, Chicago, August 23,24 & 25, 1960.
Arrangements by Frank Foster (#1-5,8,9,12,14); Thad Jones (#6,7,11,17); Al Grey (#10, 15); nat Pierce (#16) and Clare Fischer (#13).
Original recordings supervised by Jack tracy
Recordings engineers: Malcom Chisholm (#1-9) and Ron Malo (#9-17)
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Note: The four-bar trombone exchanges on 'Open Wider, Please' between Gray and Powell are initiated by the former. The second trombone solos on 'Rompin' and 'Al-Amo' are by Powell.
-The Thinking Man's Trombone
"A great if little-known LP, this set by trombonist Al Grey features him with other Count Basie sidemen (Eddie Higgins fills in on piano) playing three standards and tunes by Frank Foster, Thad Jones, and Grey himself. A boppish trombonist who was a master at using the plunger mute (crossing over into swing), Grey holds his own on this set with trumpeter Joe Newman, tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell, and fellow trombonist Benny Powell. Among the high points of this enjoyable set are "Salty Papa," "Don't Cry Baby," "King Bee," and a very pretty version of "Tenderly" that is taken by the horns a cappella. Swinging and witty music."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide