Bob Freedman (arr, cond, as), Keith Williams (cond, tp), Herb Pomeroy, Lennie Johnson, Bill Berry, Frank Beach, John Audino, Don Fagerquist (tp), Gene DiStasio, Joe Howard, Herbie Harper (tb), George Roberts (b-tb), Benny Carter, Ted Nash (as), Varty Haroutunian, Joe Caruso (ts), Jimmy Mosher (bs), Ray Santisi (p), Tommy Tedesco (g), John Neves (b), Jimmy Zitano (d)
Reference: FSRCD 987
Bar code: 8427328609876
EAST & 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.
The exciting motion picture score from Anatomy of a Murder, written and performed by the Duke Ellington orchestra, became one of the best sold jazz albums of 1959. That same year, Ellington's dramatic jazz score, was recorded again in fine stereo sound and by an eleven-piece band arranged and conducted by Bob Freedman (1934-2018). For this job, he assembled some of the best musicians from the Herb Pomeroy orchestra—the leading band in Boston. Freedman's writing is sturdy, unpredictable, and succeeds in getting an excellent crosssection from the shouting richness of full-blown brass to the multishades of gray in muted and creatively voiced horns. The soloing we find sprinkled throughout the album is of high level.
The resurgence of the Big Band Jazz Sounds during the '50s was due in part, to the trend which started with the sweeping popularity of jazz themes from motion picture scores, notably Elmer Bernstein's “The Man With the Golden Arm” and Leith Stevens' “The Wild One,” and later developed into an even stronger pattern with popular jazz successes from television, such as Hank Mancini's “Peter Gunn,” and Count Basie's “M-Squad. Prior to his emergence as a big band leader, the musical career of Keith Williams (1924-2008) was multi-tangential, with indelible marks of success in each segment of the music business. But it was his never-ending desire to organize a swinging jazz aggregation, which in 1956 led to the creation of his 17-piece band labeled “The Dazzling Sound.”
"A few years ago Fresh Sound Records came up with the brilliant idea of reissuing soundtracks from vintage B movies. This latest disc is a honey of a set, led by a pair of relatively unknown band leaders, Bob Freedman and Keith Williams. These two sessions from Boston and Hollywood had orchestras that were filled with top rate jazzers, and the music swung with muscle.
Freeman’s ban included Herb Pomeroy/tp, Bill Berry/tp, and Joe Caruso/ts, and they give a fitting tribute to Duke Ellington for his soundtrack to the famous James Stewart flick Anatomy of A Murder. Jimmy Mosher’s baritone sax is spot on for the driving “Main Title (Upper and Outest)” and hits magma on a noirish “Midnight Indigo.” Ducal textures are palpable on”Haupe” with Ray Santisi’s piano sparkling on “Happy Anatomy Part II”. This is a hummer!
Keith Williams’ orchestra took on some vintage TV and movie themes with an orchestra that included no less than Don Fagerquist/tp, Benny Carter/as, Ted Nash/as and Wrecking Crew member Tommy Tedesco/g. The swing like there’s no tomorrow on Count Basie’s “M-Squad” theme, and cruise through the streets of LA on “Perry Mason” and “Themes from ‘The Wild One’”. Some hp voices join in on a kick of “77 Sunset Strip” and you’ll look over your shoulder on the lurking “The Man With The Golden Arm” and “Richard Diamond”. Music to get mugged by!"
George W. Harris (February 3, 2020)
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