Studio Recordings
  • Argo LPS 700
    Argo LPS 700
  • Argo LPS 711
    Argo LPS 711
  • Al Grey
    Al Grey
  • Billy Mitchell
    Billy Mitchell

Al Grey & Billy Mitchell

Studio Recordings

Fresh Sound Records

Al Grey (tb), Billy Mitchell (ts), Dave Burns (tp), Floyd Morris, Earl Washington (p), Bobby Hutcherson (vib), Herman Wright (b), Eddie Williams, Otis 'Candy' Finch (d), Philip Thomas (perc)

Reference: FSRCD1138

Bar code: 8427328611381


Al Grey and Billy Mitchell's musical paths first crossed in various bands led by prominent jazz leaders. After pursuing separate musical endeavors, fate brought them back together in the exciting Count Basie organization during the late 1950s, where they became key members of the band. Their time with Basie lasted until the late 1960 when they decided to chart their own course and co-lead an impressive sextet.

In these two sessions in 1962, under Grey's leadership, the group became a septet with pianist Floyd Morris joining in the first session and pianist Earl Washington in the second. The front line, featuring Grey and Mitchell, also included trumpeter Dave Burns and the exceptional young vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Completing the lineup were the strong bassist Herman Wright and the vigorous drummer Eddie Williams.

The first five selections are from the “Snap your Fingers” album. The septet's musical approach emphasized hard swing with a touch of carefree exuberance, humor and a conscious return to the fundamentals of healthy, fun and spontaneous swing, while incorporating updates. Grey was in fine snarling form through his mute, and blowing some slippery open horn. In Melba Liston's lovely ballad Just Waiting, Mitchell outsides playing it in a wonderfully relaxed and smooth way.

The second session includes the “Night Song” album, on which Grey's big, broad shouldered trombone swaggers across all the tracks. Mitchell, who has a relatively minor role on the album, is provocative whenever he appears. On the track Stardust, he delivers a beautiful verse that sets the stage for an excellent solo from Grey, which is followed by a brilliant muted trumpet from Burns. Earl Washington, for his part, shines on his only solo on Stella by Starlight. The last track, Dirty Low Down Blues, was released only on a single, without personnel details.

This set proves that Grey and Mitchell were good established jazz musicians, whose friendship and musical partnership left an indelible mark on the history of jazz.

—Jordi Pujol


01. Nothin’ but the Truth (Billy Bowen) 3:20
02. Three-Fourth Blues (Gene Kee) 5:24
03. Just Waiting (Melba Liston) 2:58
04. R.B.Q. (Gene Kee) 4:58
05. On Green Dolphin Street (Kaper-Washington) 4:20
06. Blues in the Night (Arlen-Mercer) 5:18
07. Stella by Starlight (Young-Washington) 6:08
08. The Way You Look Tonight (Kern-Fields) 4:52
09. Through for the Night (Trummy Young) 4:11
10. Stardust (Carmichael-Parish) 5:20
11. Night and Day (Cole Porter) 4:26
12. Laughing Tonight (Frish-Alfred) 2:55
13. Dirty Low Down Blues (Al Grey) 4:12 *

Album details

(*) Bonus Track

Tracks #1-5, from the side A of the album “Snap Your Fingers” (Argo LPS 700)
Tracks #6-12, from the album “Night Song” (Argo LPS 711)
Track #13, from the Al Grey-Billy Mitchell single Argo 5421


Tracks #1-5: Dave Burns, trumpet; Al Grey, trombone; Billy Mitchell, tenor sax; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Floyd Morris, piano; Herman Wright, bass; Eddie Williams, drums.
Recorded at Ter Mar Recording Studio, Chicago, February 19, 1962

Tracks #6-12: Dave Burns, trumpet; Al Grey, trombone; Billy Mitchell, tenor sax; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Earl Washington, piano; Herman Wright, bass; Otis “Candy” Finch, drums; Philip Thomas, conga added.
Recorded at Ter Mar Recording Studio, Chicago, November 1, 1962

Track #13: Al Grey, trombone & Billy Mitchell, tenor sax; with Dave Burns, trumpet; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Floyd Morris, piano; Calvin Newborn, guitar; Herman Wright, bass; Eddy Williams, drums.
Recorded in Chicago, 1962

Argo cover-art by Don Bronstein
Original back-liner notes by Sid McCoy & Del Shields
New liner notes written by Jordi Pujol

Original recordings produced by Ralph Bass (#1-5),
Esmond Edwards (#6-12), unknown (#13)
This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
© 2023 by Fresh Sound Records

Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas, S.L.

10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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