Al Caiola, George Barnes, Al Cassamenti, Don Arnone, John Pizzarelli, Billy Bauer, Barry Galbraith (g), Clark Terry (tp, flh), Tony Studd (b-tb), Phil Bodner (as, bs, fl), Dick Hyman (p, harpsichord), Phil Kraus, Eddie Costa (vib), Sandy Block, George Duvivier (b), Don Lamond, Osie Johnson (d)
Reference: BMCD 875
Bar code: 8427328008754
· Collectors Edition
· Issued in Digipack
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art and Liner Notes
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Al Caiola’s mastery of the guitar was always abundantly clear, both in his recordings as a studio musician and in his stage performances, and it is just as self-evident in these two albums and in his relationship with the two solid jazz groups that accompany him on them. "High Strung" was recorded in 1959, and without climbing way out on a limb, Al and his supporting cast of guitars—George Barnes, Al Cassamenti, Don Arnone, John Pizzarelli, and Billy Bauer—set new ideas to a solid swinging beat in “electrifying” up-tempo evergreens and a couple of his own compositions, backed by an excellent rhythm section.
As for "Cleopatra and All That Jazz," Al Caiola and his Nile River Boys introduced two fine renditions from the Alex North film score, plus nine standards and an original by Caiola. This septet, featuring such top soloists as Dick Hyman, Clark Terry, Phil Bodner, and Barry Galbraith, performed the leader’s arrangements— ranging from the humorous to the wistful. Each man is consistently brilliant and together they run the gamut of popular jazz forms, from swing to bossa nova.
"Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, people actually played the guitar to create soft and seductive moods, and not just to show off how loudly or quickly they could thrash the strings. Here's an album with the tasty guitarists of studio giants Al Caiola depicting a style and era unfortunately long forgotten.
Studio star Al Caiola released a lot of his own albums as well. Two interesting ones include a 1957 session that included guitar guests George Barnes, Billy Bauer and John Pizzarelli among others. With Sandy Block/b, Phil Kraus-Eddie Costa/vib and Don Lamond/dr, you gets some short and suite pieces like “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Cherry” and a swinging “Rosetta.” For a 1963 release, Caiola arranges a session with Clark Terry/tp, Tony Studd/btb, Phil Bodner/as-bs, Dick Hyman/p, Barry Galbraith/g, George Duvivier/b and OSie Johnson/dr which has Terry in wonderful form on “Body and Soul” and the rhythm team giving a Latin groove to “Lover Man.” Hyman is in tasty form as well during “Love For Sale” and Caiola serves well on an overhand “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby.” Fun on the frets."
George W. Harris (October 17, 2016)