Dennis Farnon, Skip Martin (arr, dir), Pete Candoli, Frank Beach, Don Fagerquist, Paul Geil, Ed Leddy, Shorty Sherock, Conrad Gozzo (tp), Tommy Pederson, Joe Howard, Milt Bernhart, Kenny Shroyer, Ray Klein, Stumpy Brown (tb), Bob Enevoldsen (v-tb), George Roberts (b-tb), Jack Dumont, Brian Farnon, Ronny Lang (as), Ted Nash, Gene Cipriano, Justin Gordon, Babe Russin (ts), Chuck Gentry (bs), Jimmy Rowles, Lou Levy, Milt Raskin (p), Howard Roberts, Al Hendrickson, George Van Epps (g), Cliff Hills, Artie Shapiro (b), Alvin Stoller, Frank Carlson (d)
Bar code: 8427328611206
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.
Dennis Farnon (1923-2019), this roaring, vibrant album has all the drive, sparkle and vibrancy that characterized swing big bands in their heyday, plus imaginative new ideas and brilliant stereo recording quality. “Caution! Men Swinging” stands out for its precision and powerhouse sound of the brass and sax sections in the overall set, arranged and conducted by Canadian Dennis Farnon. In addition, there is ample room for solo blowing by Don Fagerquist, who plays all the jazz trumpet; pianists Lou Levy and Jimmy Rowles, guitarist Howard Roberts, tenor Ted Nash, plus the superb lead trumpet work of Frank Beach and George Roberts' bass trombone very present at all times. This 1957 album was the only jazz LP Farnon recorded in his entire career and, possibly thinking he could hardly have surpassed it, he devoted his work primarily to writing arrangements and conducting for pop singers. Enjoy this fantastic swinging big band session!
Skip Martin (1916-1976) a topflight bandleader and film musical arranger, made this
album of swing music, via the services of the title aggregation “8 Brass, 5 Sax, 4 rhythm.” The selections cover some of the finest standards in popular music and a Skip original with a fine solid beat and moving along its way with no waste of motion. It's very danceable stuff, but with a solid jazzy feel to it. Excellent solo work is done by Justin Gordon, Milt Bernhart, Pete Candoli, Frank Beach, Jimmy Rowles, and Milt Raskin. But, as good as the soloists are, Skip’s writing is the main show here. Skip Martin, one of the truly wise arranger-conductors of the 1950s’ Hollywood scene, revealed on this album the genius that made him one of the most successful conductors in American pop and swing music.
"Back in the 1950s, as the Big Band Era was slowly dying, the money for musicians was to be made in the studios, with alumni from Herman, Rogers and Kenton playing for TV shows and movies in order to pay off their mortgages in the San Fernando Valley. Here are a couple swinging albums from Hollywood in the swinging Eisenhower Years.
Canadian conductor Dennis Farron leads a 1957 studio orchestra that includes Pete Condoli/tp, Ted Nash/ts, Bob Enevoldsen/vtb, Howard Roberts/g, Jimmy Rowles-Lou Levy/p and Alvin Stoller/dr for a mix of originals and standards. They sound like a background sound track for a film noir on the swaggering “Caution! Men Swinging” while the muted horns sway on “Lover Come Back To Me”. West Coast Cool moods dominate “Why Don’t You Do Right” while big brass is bold on “Just You, Just Me” with the team sounding like Kenton on the hard hitting “Three Little Words.” Bright primary colors.
Bandleader Skip Martin uses the crème of the Hollywood crop on this 1958 album with sidemen including George Van Eps/g, Babe Russin/ts, Jimmy Rowles/p, Milt Bernhart/tb, and Peter Condoli/p. You almost think that Martin wonders to himself, “Who should I sound like on this next song?” as he does a nice imitation of Billy Mays on “Drivin’ Home”, Basie on the hi “You Turned The Tables On Me” and Nelson Riddle on the classy “Do-Do-Do.” Kenton ideas are never far away as on “Until The Real Thing Comes Along” and there’s even a dash of Gil Evans on “East of the Sun.” Not necessarily distinct, but distinctly impressive."
—George W. Harris (August 29, 2022)