Eddie Bert (tb), JR. Monterose (ts), Ben Aronov (p), Bill Crow (b), Eddie Locke (d)
Reference: FSRCD 198
This live date from New York City's fabled Birdland captures old blowing companions trombonist Eddie Bert and tenor saxophonist J.R. Monterose recorded some 36 years following the two frontmen's joint appearance on a Savoy session. After that they went their separate ways, including service for each in different Charles Mingus workshops. Bert became an ace studio musician and a much in demand trombonist, and Monterose became a peripatetic soloist who made his home in Europe for a time, before eventually settling in Utica, NY. Though original copies of his Blue Note LP from 1956 are much sought after by collectors, Monterose was never a big name. But he was a consistently inspired soloist with a sound similar to mid-period Coltrane with a pronounced Lester Young inflection. Despite their mutual ties to Mingus, this date is devoted more to the music of their youth - the swing they first fell in love with mixed with the bop style they adopted as young upstarts. A special treat is the inclusion of four Shorty Rogers compositions. Though associated with the West Coast scene, he did get his start in the East, and his progressive swing compositions prove fitting vehicles for celebratory playing by Bert, Monterose, and company.