Dick Cary, John Glasel, John Plonsky, Don Stratton, Phil Sunkel (tp), Urbie Green (tb), Will Stanley, Bill Barber (tuba), Bob Wilber (cl, ts), Carl Janelly (cl), Dick Hafer (ts), Hall Overton, Tony Aless, John Williams, Dave McKenna (p), Sal Salvador, Don Arnone (g), Bill Stanley (b, tuba), Jack Zimmerman, Chuck Andrus (b), Jerry Segal, Mel Zelnick, Karl Kiffe (d)
Reference: FSRCD 950
Bar code: 8427328609500
“Progressive Dixieland” is a term which would appear to be self-contradictory, the two words being often used individually to describe two different conceptions of jazz. Judged by their work on Dixieland Goes Progressive, Dick Cary and John Plonsky must surely be listed as two of the brighter arrangers in the field of jazz history. Given identical assignments—the refurbishing of Dixieland standards in the manner of progressive jazz—they both accepted the challenge and came up with a fresh concept of old music which is astonishingly pleasant and thoroughly amusing, which seems to indicate that there is a point at which both concepts and sounds can come together without being out of context with one another. Throughout the album, men like Urbie Green, Sal Salvador, Hall Overton, Tony Aless, Johnny Glasel, Don Arnone and, of course, Cary and Plonsky themselves, are consistently wonderful.
On Modern Jazz with Dixieland Roots, Don Stratton and Phil Sunkel went about adapting chiefly Dixieland opuses to their own use, and they wrote two originals apiece. First they assembled a group with unique instrumentation, yet one based firmly in jazz history. Two trumpets lead the way here—lead it brightly and weavingly and with sensitive interplay. Abetting them is the muscular tenor saxophone of ex-Woody Hermanite, Dick Hafer. Rhythm section is bassist Chuck Andrus, drummer Karl Kiffe, and Dave McKenna and John Williams splitting piano chores. The set swings, and the men responsible are clearly modernists, with roots not only to some extent in Dixieland, but more tellingly in the blues and in the best of the swing era.
01. Mahogany Hall Stomp (S.Williams) 2:36
02. Muskrat Ramble (E.Ory) 2:12
03. That's a Plenty (L.Pollack) 3:19
04. St. James Infirmary (J.Primrose) 3:18
05. Darktown Strutters' Ball (S.Brooks) 1:59
06. Milenberg Joys (Morton-Mores-Rappolo-Melrose) 2:35
07. Royal Garden Blues (Williams-Williams) 2:45
08. High Society (Piron-Williams) 2:04
09. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans (Creamer-Layton) 3:01
10. Basin Street Blues (S.Williams) 2:54
11. When the Saints Go Marching In (P.D.) 2:46
12. South Rampart Street Parade (Bauduc-Haggart) 2:18
13. Black Bottom (Henderson-DeSylva-Brown) 2:43
14. Wigglin' an' Gigglin' (Don Stratton) 4:22
15. What Is This Thing Called Love? (Cole Porter) 3:37
16. Sunday (Conn-Styne-Krueger-Miller) 3:54
17. Moxahala (Phil Sunkel) 3:42
18. Royal Garden Blues (Williams-Williams) 3:29
19. Sow Goo Mang (Phil Sunkel) 4:14
20. Charleston (Johnson-McPherson) 3:08
21. Yesterdays (Kern-Harbach) 3:19
22. R.H.S. (Don Stratton) 3:04
Tracks #1-12, from the 12-inch album “Dixieland Goes Progressive”
(Golden Crest CR 3024)
Tracks #13-22, from the 12-inch album “Modern Jazz with Dixieland Roots”
(ABC Paramount ABC-118)
Personnel on tracks #1-6:
THE DICK CARY GROUP
Dick Cary, trumpet, alto-horn; Johnny Glasel, trumpet; Urbie Green, trombone; Will Stanley, tuba; Bob Wilber, clarinet, tenor sax; Hall Overton, piano; Sal Salvador, guitar; Bill Stanley, bass, tuba; Jerry Segal, drums.
Recorded in New York, June 11, 1957
Personnel on tracks #7-12:
THE JOHN PLONSKY GROUP
John Plonsky, trumpet; Urbie Green, trombone; Bill Barber, tuba; Carl Janelly, clarinet; Tony Aless, piano; Don Arnone, guitar; Jack Zimmerman, bass; Mel Zelnick, drums.
Recorded in New York, June 7, 1957
Personnel on tracks #13-17:
DON STRATTON GROUP
Don Stratton, trumpet; John Williams, piano; Dick Hafer, tenor sax; Chuck Andrus, bass; Karl Kiffe, drums.
Recorded in New York, February 9, 1956
Personnel on tracks #18-22:
Don Stratton, Phil Sunkel, trumpets; Dave McKenna, piano; Chuck Andrus, bass; Karl Kiffe, drums.
Recorded in New York, February 12, 1956
Original recording produced by Clark Galehouse and Creed Taylor
Liner notes: Jordi Pujol / Jack Tracy
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Hi Fi / Mono · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"The two 1956 sessions made up an album called Modern Jazz With Dixieland Roots and the 1957 dates were combined as Dixieland Goes Progressive. In both years one session is superior to the other. The two trumpets of Stratton and Sunkel can’t match the Stratton-Hafer team because Hafer is better than both the brassmen. His personal adaptation of Lester Young’s approach has more emotion than most who were influenced by Young and his solos are of very high quality. The Dixieland roots are actually hard to detect here and only three themes belong in that field but both pianists are excellent and the swinging rhythm sections make up for the trumpeters’ lack of distinction.
Dixieland certainly provided the repertoire for the 1957 sessions and Cary’s arranging has a sophistication which Plonsky’s lacks. In fact some of Cary’s textures, with the tuba blended in, are remarkably similar to sounds created by Gil Evans a year later for his New Bottle Old Wine album. It’s fortunate that Urbie Green was present on both dates here because his ability to combine earthy strength with technical brilliance made him ideal for these attempts to reshape Dixieland. Plenty of arranging combined with soloists and rhythm sections reflecting later trends certainly make this music interesting though nine of the dozen tracks last less than three minutes which means solos are mostly brief. Wilber, of course, doesn’t sound particularly “progressive” but Sal Salvador (immortalised in the film Jazz On A Summer’s Day) certainly does and so does Jerry Segal at the drums. Four stars are awarded for Hafer’s and Green’s solos and Dick Carey’s arranging."
Jazz Journal (April, 2017)
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