Bobby Bryant (tp, cond. arr), John Howell, 'Flip' Ricard (tp), John Avant, Bill Porter (tb), Bill Adkins, James Spaulding, Eddie Williams (reeds), John Young (p), Bobby Blevins (org), Robare Edmondson (b), Marty Clausen, Larry 'Wild' Wrice (d)
Reference: FSRCD 865
Bar code: 8427328608657
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These recordings were made when Bobby Bryant (1934-1998) lived in Chicago, and document the beginnings of his later successful career in the Hollywood studios. The first ten tracks were recorded in 1961 for Vee Jay Records, but were released only in 1974 as Big Band Blues. As he recalled in the album notes, it was intended to bring out of obscurity a number of talented musicians. As it turned out, a couple of them did become better known, while others just remained in Chicago and are no more prominent today than they were then. The band was specially assembled for the session; we never did any gigs together.
The second album, Wild!, was made when drummer Larry Wild Wrice returned to Chicago in 1959, after eight months away, and formed the group heard here, with James Spaulding, Bobby Blevins, and Bobby Bryant, who arranged much of the groups material and wrote all the albums tunes except Travelin, written by Wrice.
The last track on this collection comes from the album The Billy Williams Revue, an example of the musical excitement with which the irrepressible Williams and company packed the countrys most celebrated night spots. A unique blues in waltz time, Blues for the Q features an electrifying trumpet solo by Bryant.
This CD is testimony to the memory of the talented soloist, composer and arranger Bobby Bryant was.
"This is a really good big band in shouting form but you wouldnt know it unless you are into every aspect of the Chicago scene in the late 50s and early 60s. Bryant spent his early professional years there before moving to LA and getting swallowed up in film and television studio work.
Lost to jazz to a large extent, here he arranged a big band of largely unknown players he felt should receive more exposure. A fiery, brassy trumpet soloist, he gets to work on Blues Express and Round Midnight with some stratospheric high-note blowing before calming down somewhat on the remaining tracks. One standout is James Spaulding, who gets in some tasty, bluesy tenor solos instead of his more usual alto.
The rest of the personnel might have come from Mars for all I know. But the big band swings mightily all through, the solos are inventive and free flowing and that is all most aficionados will want to know. This set from 1961 only came out on a Vee Jay LP in 1974 so presumably few people even in Chicago got to know it.
The second set is led by Larry Wrice, a very wild drummer who sounds at times like a cross between Philly Joe Jones and Art Blakey but lacks their subtlety. Bryant and Spaulding again shine in solos, the latter on alto as well, this time. And the bonus track Blues For Q is a real goodie."
Derek Ansell -Jazz Journal (August, 2015)
"Im not sure how Fresh Sound Records keeps finding these obscure gems, but all I can say is, whoever youre bribing to get them, keep slipping them the money. This single disc from trumpeter Bobby Bryant is a SMOKER!
Bryant (1934-1998) made his name with Charles Mingus and Gerald Wilson, but made his living in the studios and with Vic Damone, playing for and arranging much of the vocalists music. There are two albums squeezed onto this disc. The first one up from 1961 is a hard hitting big band session which includes James Spaulding/ts-fl, and its got a swagger that is like getting a sock in the jaw from Ali on Blues Excerpt with a hummer of a tenor solo from Mr. S. A read of Round Midnight has Spaulding glowing mysteriously on the flute, but the star here is Bryant. His muted horn is a force to be reckoned with on Cry Me A River and his sense of rhythm is gospel drenched on Cry Me A River. The arrangements have a cocky feel that is infectious, hard hitting bop with just a dash of looking left of center, with more hooks than Joe Frazier.
The second session from 1959 has him in a session led by frenetic drummer Larry Wild Wrice along with Bobby Blevins/B3 and a return of Spaulding. Bryant and Spaulding do tag team wrestling on Husky and Church Seat. Spauldings horn cries like Earl Bostic on Nocturne and Bryant pierces like an ice pick on Swingin & Things. Wrice sizzles in the pan as hes featured on Wild Wrice and the whole album brims over from exuberance. This is a mother of a roller coaster ride. Raise up your hands and enjoy the G forces!"
-George W. Harris (October 8, 2015)