Conrad Gozzo, Mickey Mangano, Ray Linn (tp), Milt Bernhart, Dick Nash (tb), Bill Hitz (cl, arr), Russ Cheever (as), Buddy Collette (as, ts, fl), Bill Ulyate (ts), Chuck Gentry (bs), Gerald Wiggins (p), Curtis Counce (b), Larry Bunker (d, vib), Lyle Murphy (arr), Greig McRitchie (lead, arr), Ray Triscari, Joe Triscari, Jimmy Zito, Uan Rasey (tp), Joe Howard, Herbie Harper, Lloyd Ulyate, Si Zentner, Hoyt Bohanon (tb), George Roberts, Marshall Cram (b-tb), Marty Berman (bs), Russ Freeman (p), Tony Rizzi (g), Joe Mondragon (b)
Reference: FSRCD 959
Bar code: 8427328609593
WEST COAST SERIES · Jazz & Swing Orchestras
Rare & Collectible Albums by Unsung Bandleaders
When the dust from the collapse of the Swing Era settled, there were few big bands left that had survived. Yet, because they loved the swinging drive of a full-on jazz orchestra, a series of adventurous and unsung bandleaders optimistically organized some fine, but short-lived, new orchestras that were packed with jazz and studio musicians, holding the flag of Swing high.
On Music for This Swingin’ Age, Bill Hitz’s made his record debut with an orchestra spotted with driving West Coast soloists. All arrangements, by Hitz himself and Lyle (Spud) Murphy, use Murphy’s 12-tone system, each building horizontally, full of incident and a fresh, satisfying approach. They deliver a rousing, brass-edged sound while Hitz’s cool clarinet fits perfectly into the mood of the arrangements.
Greig McRitchie on his album Fighting Back, certainly captured that swing era “feel”, but he dressed it up with the distinctive rhythm and bass figures of Rock and Roll—piano, bass, guitar, drums and baritone, plus a rare, modern touch of harmonic color. His repeated use of vibes, alto, flute and guitar adds a refreshing perspective to a repertoire of easily identifiable tunes, all delivered by a powerful big band unit full of the cream of the crop of West Coast jazzmen.
"Jordi Pujol, the owner proprietor of Fresh Sound Records is currently issuing a series of Jazz and Swing Orchestra CDs while noting as a general introduction to the series:
“When the dust from the collapse of the Swing Era settled, there were few big bands left that had survived. Yet, because they loved the swinging drive of a full-on jazz orchestra, a series of adventurous and unsung bandleaders optimistically organize some fine, but short-lived, new orchestras that were packed with jazz and studio musicians, holding the flag of Swing high”
Jordi has place two Jazz and Swing Orchestras on each CD and further group these “rare and collectible albums by unsung bandleaders” as part of the West Coast Series and East Coast Series.
From the standpoint of the high quality of musicianship on display and the intriguing and well-written arrangements, these are “must have” CDs for anyone who is a serious collector of big band Jazz and you can locate more information about the series on the Fresh Sound website by going here.
The editorial staff at JazzProfiles will highlight a number of these excellent recordings in a week long series beginning with Fresh Sound CD-959: Bill Hitz: Music for This Swinging Age … Greig McRitchie: Easy Jazz On A Fish Beat."
Steve Cerra (November 12, 2018)