Don Joseph (cnt, tp), Don Ferrara, Jerry Lloyd, Phil Sunkel (tp), Bob Brookmeyer (v-tb), Milt Gold, Jim Dahl, Frank Rehak (tb), Lee Konitz, Hal McKusick, Gene Quill, Dave Schildkraut (as), Al Cohn, Caesar Di Mauro, Charlie Rouse, Zoot Sims (ts), Gerry Mulligan (bs, p, arr), John Williams, Eddie Costa, Bill Triglia (p), Chuck Wayne (g), Clyde Lombardi, Teddy Kotick, Joe Benjamin, Curley Russell (b), Art Mardigan, Jimmy Campbell, Dave Bailey (d), Jackie Paris (vcl)
Reference: FSRCD 919
Bar code: 8427328609197
Don Joseph (1923-1994) merged jazz and poetry in his style. He was a cornet player of sweet sound and controlled passion, with the most delicate of timbres, a feeling for melody and an exquisite choice of notes, who was not at all compromised by any particular style. Too shy to ask for recognition, as if playing was the essential thing, it was a pity that such a gifted, sensitive player—like his friend trumpeter Tony Fruscella—was seemingly incapable of sustained work habits.
His imagination and cornet sound was a marriage that yielded sheer poetry. Throughout a well-structured, diverse set his solos are consistently excellent, but his chorus on What a Difference a Day Made is certainly one of the highpoints. It is poetry expressed in music, a combination of emotion and creative invention intuitively brought to life by his wonderfully expressive, personal sound, and an impeccable sense of time and pacing, all facets to be found in his work over this set.
His appearances on records were very few, and his solos rare. This CD contains the most complete collection of his work. Some of his phrases are timeless statements. He was a unique personification of jazz.
About Don Joseph, by Bill Crow:
“I knew Don, he played both trumpet and cornet, but I think he only owned a cornet when I knew him. When he recorded with Gerry Mulligan once, he didn’t even own a cornet. Gerry loaned him one that someone had given him. Don’s addiction caused him to pawn anything of value, for a while. There are some stories about Don in my book ‘From Birdland to Broadway’.”
"For those who like to dig around in jazz history, and discover talents who have slipped under the radar, you might have heard of cornetist, and occasional trumpeter, Don Joseph. Most jazz enthusiasts are probably not aware of him. He was a shy man with a wry sense of humor, a keen intellect, and a drug addiction. He was on the New York scene from the mid-1940s through the early 1960s when he dropped out to return to his native Staten Island where he taught and played occasional gigs.
He recorded his only album as a leader in 1984, and then disappeared from the public eye once more. While recorded examples of his work are limited, A Tribute to the Jazz Poetry of Don Joseph (Fresh Sound – 919) gathers the most important examples of his recorded work on one exceptional CD. He is heard with groups under the leadership of Al Cohn, Chuck Wayne, Gerry Mulligan and Dave Schildkraut, another cat who has been under recognized.
This compilation offers a valuable opportunity to enjoy the artistry of this jazz equivalent of the subject of the song “Mr. Cellophane” from the musical Chicago."
Joe Lang (October, 2017)
Jersey Jazz Magazine
"Here’s a horn player that was so obscure and overlooked, that you can get (essentially) all of his solo work on this single CD. Don Joseph played cornet and trumpet in a variety of jazz settings before dropping out of the scene. He has a tone and style similar to Chet Baker, and he’s got a wonderfully sleek sense of swing. This album has him in four studio settings and one live gig from 1952-1957, and you’re gonna love it.
The three tune gig from 1952 has Joseph as a sideman with alto saxist Dave Schildkraut leading a team of Curley Russell/b, Earl Walker/dr and Bill Triglia/p. A very hip Jackie Paris brings bopping vocals to “ Jackie’s Blues” while the team stretches out for “Whooz Blues” and Charlie Parker’s “Buzzy.” Joseph is relaxed and hip as he stretches out with the band here, while he is also able to handle modern harmonics a couple of y ears later under the leadership of Al Cohn for some West Coast cool on “Golden Touch” and a sauntering “I Found A New Baby.”
Cool toned guitarist Chuck Wayne leads a couple of 1957 sessions and is deft with the cornetist and alto saxist Gene Quill on a desultory “Lover Man” while he sounds fluffy with Wayne’s delicate pickings on “Embraceable You.” Teamed with Gerry Mulligan’s ’57 Orchestra which included Charlie Rouse, Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz and Bob Brookmeyer, Joseph floats on “All The Things You Are” and bounces with delight on “Throwaway.” Did Miles steal his sound from this cat? Check it out!"
George W. Harris (January 23, 2017)