Benny Bailey (tp), Curtis Fuller (tb), Julius Watkins (frh), Phil Woods (as, b-cl), Sahib Shihab (bs), Tommy Flanagan (p), Les Spann (fl, g), Buddy Catlett (b), Art Taylor, Osie Johnson (d)
Reference: FSRCD 746
This memorable pairing of trumpeter Benny Baileys Big Brass and altoist Phil Woods Rights of Swing unites two albums which illustrate the virtues and the possibilities of the hard bop idiom. Made within months of each other at the start of the 1960s, they share largely the same brilliant players, but use them somewhat differently to achieve outstanding results.
For Big Brass Bailey had a blowing septet that included Woods, pianist Tommy Flanagan and French hornist Julius Watkins, and a programme mostly of originals, including pieces by Quincy Jones and Oliver Nelson. Simple arrangements gave the soloists a chance to shine and they took it, with Bailey, Woods, Flanagan and Watkins outstanding on the blues Hard Sock Dance and Mauds Mood (with Woods on bass clarinet), and on Tipsy and Please Say Yes in particular.
Rights of Swing is even better, an ambitious, unfailingly inventive, five-part suite composed and arranged by Woods, with the same group, with minor changes, expanded to an octet that included trombonists Curtis Fuller or Willie Dennis, and baritonist Sahib Shihab. Imaginatively conceived and deftly crafted writing lends the octet a huge sound, while the soloists respond magnificently to the opportunities it offers, notably on Part III (Ballad), the contrapuntal Part IV (Scherzo) and a marvellous Part V (Presto). Its success makes it surprising that Woods didnt attempt this kind of project more often.
01. Hard Sock Dance (Quincy Jones) 5:46
02. Alison (Hale Smith) 6:48
03. Tipsy (Oliver Nelson) 6:59
04. Please Say Yes (Tom McIntosh) 5:58
05. A Kiss To Build a Dream On (Hammerstein II-Kalmar-Ruby) 8:07
06. Mauds Mood (Benny Bailey) 6:29
07. Prelude and Part I 6:34
08. Part II (Ballad) 7:40
09. Part III (Waltz) 5:40
10. Part IV (Scherzo) 11:22
11. Part V (Presto) 7:17
Tracks #7-11 composed and arranged by Phil Woods
Tracks #1-6, from the album "Benny Bailey - Big Brass" (Candid CJS9011)
Tracks #7-11, from the album "Phil Woods - Rights of Swing" (Candid CJS9016)
Personnel on #1-6:
Benny Bailey (tp), Julius Watkins (frh except on #5), Phil Woods (as on #1,2,3 & 4, b-cl on #6), Tommy Flanagan (p), Les Spann (fl, g), Buddy Catlett (b), Art Taylor (d)
Recorded at Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York City, November 25, 1960
Personnel on #7-11:
Phil Woods Ensemble: Benny Bailey (tp), Curtis Fuller (tb), Julius Watkins (frh), Phil Woods (as), Sahib Shihab (bs), Tommy Flanagan (p), Buddy Catlett (b), Osie Johnson (d). Composed and arranged by Phil Woods.
On track #11: Willie Dennis (tb) and Mickey Roker (d), replaces Fuller and Johnson
Recorded at Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York City, January 26 & February 10 (#11) 1961
Original recordings supervised by Nat Hentoff
Engineered by: Bob dOrleans
Original cover designs: Frank Gauna
This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"Intellectual property first; its Benny Baileys Big Brass and Phil Woodss Rights of Swing though both men play in the others band. The elite personnel ensure that solo outings and ensembles are never without interest. Taking Baileys portion first we find that this November 1960 session stands up pretty well. Theres a striking hard bop blues feel to it which is varied through the use of the rather pensive ballad Alison and the frolicsome Oliver Nelson tune Tipsy where French horn player Julius Watkins makes a valuable contribution, Woods picking up his phrases with characteristic insouciance, his alto splendidly agile and gleaming. Tommy Flanagan is the dates pianist and he kicks off A Kiss To Build A Dream On with his trademark lyricism and warmth. Les Spann stretches out here, but its Benny Baileys sprightly trumpet that dominates through its daring and its bristling unconventionality. Woods plays his bass clarinet on several of these cuts, notably Mauds Mood, a Bailey original and an insouciant blues.
Woods Rights of Swing is divided into a Prelude and five succeeding parts, thus titled. The first part is variable but its not until Part II, a Ballad, that things begin to excite. Bailey plays a richly lyrical solo, and Woods a heartfelt one, though Watkins disappoints in his less fluent solo. Woods is ebullient in the waltz motif of Part III, Flanagan taking a goodish but not outstanding solo. Woods is drenched in the Blues and shows it in Part IV, a scherzo with intriguingly voiced ensemble writing, arranged by Woods. Theres a Gospel kick here too. The final part was recorded a fortnight later with a change of personnel; trombonist Willie Dennis and drummer Mickey Roker replace Curtis Fuller and Osie Johnson. Theres an uncredited flute solo and one can plainly hear Woods coming in a fraction too soon before an ensemble passage.
These well-restored tracks come with an excellent sleeve note."
Jonathan Woolf (www.musicweb-international.com)
Notes on "Big Brass":
"Big Brass marks one of trumpeter Benny Bailey's earliest efforts as a leader, but it is also one of the best releases of his career. Joined by an all-star septet including Phil Woods, Julius Watkins, and Les Spann in the front line, plus a rhythm section consisting of Tommy Flanagan, Buddy Catlett, and Art Taylor, Bailey and his musicians shine in their interpretations of charts by Quincy Jones, Hale Smith, Oliver Nelson, and Tom McIntosh. Smith's lightly swinging "Alison" is one of the high points, with great solos all around. Bailey's understated muted trumpet is the focus of the sole standard, "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." Woods makes a rare appearance on bass clarinet (in addition to playing alto sax) in Bailey's peppy "Maud's Mood." The entire session has a relaxed air, as if old friends got together to play some well-rehearsed material, so it is warmly recommended."
Ken Dryden -All Music Guide
Notes on "Rights of Swing":
"This Candid recording is such a major success that it is surprising that altoist Phil Woods has rarely recorded in this context. The all-star octet not only features the altoist/leader but trumpeter Benny Bailey, trombonist Curtis Fuller, baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, the innovative French horn player Julius Watkins (a major factor in this music), pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Buddy Catlett, and drummer Osie Johnson. This set consists entirely of Woods' five-part "Rights of Swing" suite, which clocks in around 38 minutes. The colorful arrangements use the distinctive horns in inventive fashion and the music (which leaves room for many concise solos) holds one's interest throughout. One of Phil Woods' finest recordings, it's a true gem."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide