Benny Bailey (tp), Ake Persson (tb), Arne Domnérus (as), Bernt Rosengren, Bjarne Nerem (ts), Lennart Jansson (bs), Gösta Theselius, Lennart Grunnell (p), Kurt Lindgren, Sture Nordin, Gunnar Johnson (b), Herbert Katz (g), Egil Johansen, Joe Harris (d)
Reference: FSRCD 562
Bar code: 8427328605625
Trumpeter Benny Bailey (1925-2005) had the rare combination of a brassy, powerful attack and a lyrical, melodic line. He was a true successor of Freddie Webster, Fats Navarro and Clifford Brown. In 1948 he joined the ground-breaking Dizzy Gillespie band and, as a member, paid his first visit to Sweden shortly after.
He joined Lionel Hamptons orchestra one year later and stayed for five. In 1954 he went back to Europe, this time as a member of the Freddy Mitchell band, but left after a few chaotic months in Italy and returned to Sweden to play with Seymor Österwalls band. He remained in Sweden, where he became one of the most in-demand jazz soloists, and appeared on several record dates as leader and sideman, all before leaving to join the Quincy Jones band for its European 1959-60 winter tour. Quincy, who wrote the song Meet Benny Bailey and admired him for his marvelous breath control and remarkable range, said Baileys technique was most perfect. As a trumpeter himself, he should know.
"Trumpeter Benny Bailey first visited Sweden in 1948 with Dizzy Gillespie's big band. He returned to Europe in 1954 and eventually settled in Sweden, where the atmosphere apparently suited him well. Another American expat, drummer Joe Harris, also emigrated to Sweden in 1956, and he is heard on several tracks of this collection, which is assembled from sessions recorded between 1957 and 1959, before he was lured back to the USA by Quincy Jones.
I first became really aware of Benny Bailey when I heard Quincy's composition Meet Benny Bailey on a recording of a 1957 Lionel Hampton concert at Newport. The tune at that concert was played not by Benny Bailey but by Joe Newman, yet Quincy Jones's appreciation of Benny Bailey was evident just from that one tune.
In fact the last six tracks in this compilation come from an album of compositions by Quincy Jones, featuring Swedish trombonist Ake Persson as well as Benny Bailey and Joe Harris. Appropriately enough, the album ends with Meet Benny Bailey, with Benny's muted trumpet simultaneously hot and restrained. Arne Domnerus's melodic alto sax is also given its moment of glory.
Of the remaining tracks from this session, Fallen Feathers displays Bailey's skill at poignancy; The Golden Touch seems to be based on the chords of Liza and has some outspoken trumpet from Benny; and Plenty, Plenty Soul is just what it says on the tin: a soulful number, with bluesy solos from pianist Gösta Theselius and Benny Bailey.
The remaining tracks come from a variety of sessions originally released on 7-inch extended-play discs. The Swedish musicians generally acquit themselves well, although the main spotlight is rightly on Benny Bailey, whose perfect technique is never used for show but always at the service of musicality. It's You or No One proves that he could play bebop with the best of them, and Charlie Parker's Confirmation has him letting loose some perfectly-pitched high notes to add piquancy to his solo.
Benny Bailey has seldom been numbered among the famous stars of the trumpet, but this album suggests that he should have been."
Tony Augarde -Jazz CD Reviews
"Bailey had some training on piano and flute early in his career, switched permanently to trumpet, and studied at the Cleveland Conservatory of Music. In the early 1940s, he played with groups led by Bull Moose Jackson and Scatman Crothers. After gigging with Jay McShann, he was with Dizzy Gillespie's big band from 1947-1948, and then became a key member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra (1948-1953). The trumpeter left Hampton during a European tour, settling overseas. He spent a long period in Sweden, working with Harry Arnold's big band (1957-1959), recording with Stan Getz and touring with Quincy Jones (1959). A brief visit to the United States in 1960 (during which he recorded a near-classic album for Candid, Big Brass) was followed by his relocation to Germany. Bailey worked steadily, recording with Eric Dolphy in 1961, being featured with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band, touring with George Gruntz's Concert Jazz band, and in 1986 he became a member of the Paris Reunion Band. In addition to the Candid date, Bailey led sessions for many European labels, including Sonet, Metronome, Saba, Freedom, Enja, Ego, Hot House, and Gemini, plus an American set in 1978 for Jazzcraft. But it is his explosive solos on "Cold Duck Time" and "Compared to What" from the Harris/McCann concert (now also available on video) that made him most famous. Bailey recorded a well-received tribute to Louis Armstrong titled The Satchmo Legacy in 2000 and maintained an active touring schedule. The veteran trumpeter passed away April 15, 2005 at his home in Amsterdam."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide