Claude Thornhill (p, dir), Randy Brooks, Conrad Gozzo, Steve Steck, Rusty Dedrick, Jack Koven, Louis Mucci, Clarence Willard, Emil Terry, Red Rodney, Paul Cohen, Johnny Carisi, Gene Roland, Sonny Rich (tp), Tasso Harris, Bud Smith, Bob Jenney, Ray Schmidt, Leon Cox, Billy Ver Planck (tb), John Graas, Vincent Jacobs, Fred Schmidt (Frh), Bill Barber (tuba), Danny Polo, Bob Walters, Lee Konitz (cl, as), Gene Quill, Med Flory (as), Ted Goddard, George Paulson, John Nelson, Jerry Sanfino, Brew Moore, Ralph Aldridge (cl, ts), Buddy Dean (cl, bs), Gerry Mulligan (bs), Barry Galbraith, Joe Derise (g), Marty Blitz, Joe Schulman (b), Irv Cottler, Billy Exiner (d), Al Epstein (perc), Buddy Hughes (vcl)
Reference: FSRCD 365
Bar code: 8427328603652
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This edition presents the historic 1942-1953 recordings of the lively sound of the Claude Thornhill at it's best.
For many years, Claude Thornhill's orchestra of the Forties and early Fifties was frequently referred to as a musicians orchestra, as it focused as much on the musicians as the music itself. Thornhill's music was clearly way ahead of its time, yet today his sumptuous, mellow jazz sound remains one of the biggest influences for many contemporary big band jazz arrangers. He worked to extend the range of a popular dance orchestra by continually adding new harmonies and voices. In the truest sense of the word, the Thornhill orchestra was an experimental group and this experimentation made mostly exciting and provocative listening. As the respected music critic George T. Simon stated: "One of the many charms of Claude Thornhill's music has always been his amazing ability to mingle seemingly opposite forms of dance music with one another, setting one against the other so delicately and so delightfully that each benefits by comparison, and yet never losing its own identity of that of a Thornhill orchestra." The richness of the Thornhill sound ranged from the delicate treatment of ballads to imaginative instrumentals that exploited the full sonorities of the group. The reed section was the most outstanding part of the band. This was more than just a five-man sax team, for a great deal of the material was written with two French horns, then scored right along with the reeds.
Claude, like very few other leaders, always displayed a rare talent for organizing and encouraging adventurous musicians, for uncovering budding talent and giving it the opportunity to grow. In this compilation we can hear the most outstanding jazz arrangements that Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan penned for the orchestra right before these gifted musicians achieved fame as two of the most talented, creative and progressive arrangers in the modern jazz language. Both were major voices in forcing and shaping the sound of the historic 1949 recordings of the Miles Davis Nonet for the Capitol label. They added both form and depth to Thornhill's style and what is loosely termed as jazz feeling. What started out as the greatest sweet band in the land became one of the finest modern jazz aggregations of them all. In addition, it continued to play the prettiest, most mood-provoking ballads in the history of the dance band idiom.