Dick Collins, Al Porcino, Charlie Walp, John Howell (tp), Sonny Russo, Billy Byers (tb), Med Flory (as), Bill Perkins (fl, ts), Dick Hafer, Richie Kamuca (ts), Al Cohn (ts, arr), Jack Nimitz (bs), Nat Pierce (p, arr), Herb Ellis (g), Red Kelly (b), Chuck Flores (d)
Bar code: 8427328611367
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The Runaway Herd, led by trumpeter Dick Collins (1924-2016), primarily consisted of members of Woody Herman’s New Third Herd, with the exception of alto saxophonist Med Flory and tenor saxophonist Al Cohn.
Dick Collins, one of the standout stars of the Third Herd, showcases his small yet incisive tonal approach, effortlessly rising above each chord with a lyrical and swinging quality. The remaining members of Collins’ Herd, including notable tenor stylists Bill Perkins and Dick Hafer, along with baritone saxophonist Jack Nimitz, consistently deliver outstanding performances. Nat Pierce’s piano contributions add depth and captivation, while Red Kelly on bass and Chuck Flores on drums provide a solid and unwavering rhythmic foundation.
For the recording with his 14-piece orchestra, Collins assembled a trumpet section with Al Porcino and Charlie Walp (alternating with John Howell). Sonny Russo and Billy Byers contributed their trombone expertise to the ensemble. The saxophone section included Al Cohn, Jack Nimitz, Bill Perkins, Dick Meldonian, and Richie Kamuca, each adding their unique flavor to the sound. The rhythm section remained unchanged, providing a solid foundation, but Herb Ellis was added, bringing his mastery of the guitar to enhance the overall musical experience.
All the arrangements in both groups were crafted by Cohn and Pierce, with each of them contributing three original compositions. In fact, the entire writing showcases good quality. Moreover, the frequent and generously distributed solos exhibit a high overall level of musical conception. Collins’ warm, modern-Beriganesque tone and, above all, his refined taste shine through in this collection, aptly titled ‘Horn of Plenty.’