This release includes the complete Mike Zwerin album presenting modern jazz musicians playing the music of Kurt Weill. Eric Dolphy and John Lewis were the stars of half of this album (Dolphy died before the second session was scheduled in 1965).
The material featured on the Dolphy-Lewis studio collaborations consists mainly of compositions by Gary McFarland and John Lewis, a single track by music producer Arif Mardin and further arrangements of three theatrical tunes by Weill & Brecht, which were originally on the 1965 RCA LP Mack the Knife and other Berlin Theatre Songs of Kurt Weill, presented here complete with all known alternate takes.
As a bonus, this CD compiles all of the other small group studio recordings by Dolphy and Lewis playing together.
01. Alabama Song
02. Havana Song
03. As You Make Your Bed
04. Mack The Knife
05. Bilbao Song
06. Barbara Song
07. Pirate Jenny
08. Mack The Knife [Alternate Take]
09. Bilbao Song [Alternate Take]
10. Pirate Jenny [Alternate Take]
11. The Stranger (*) Bonus Track
12. Afternoon In Paris (*) Bonus Track
13. Night Float (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 79:49 min.
Tracks #1-7 originally issued as SEXTET OF ORCHESTRA U.S.A. "Mack the Knife and other Berlin Theatre Songs of Kurt Weill" (RCA Victor LPM 3498).
Personnel on 1-3: Eric Dolphy (as, fl), John Lewis (p), Nick Travis (tp), Mike Zwerin (b-tb, arr), Richard Davis (b) and Connie Kay (d). Recorded in New York City, on January 10, 1964
Personnel on 4-10: Thad Jones (cnt), Mike Zwerin (b-tb), Jerome Richardson (as, b-cl), Jimmy Raney (g), Richard Davis (b) and Connie Kay (d). Recorded in New York City, on June 1, 1965.
Track #11: Eric Dolphy (as, fl), Benny Golson (ts), Jimmy Giuffre (bs), Herb Pomeroy (tp), Gunther Schuller (flh), John Lewis (p), Jim Hall (g), George Duvivier (b) and Connie Kay (d). Arif Mardin (arr). Recorded in New York City, on September 8, 1960.
Tracks #12-13: Same as 11 except John Lewis (arr. on 12) and Gary Mc Farland (arr. on 13). Recorded in New York City, on September 9, 1960.
"Third Stream, Gunther Schuller's well-intentioned but commercially doomed idea of forcing contemporary classical (i.e. serial) composition music to cohabit with hard bop, produced but a handful of fine recordings, most notably the classic 1960 Atlantic "Jazz Abstractions" and this 1964 sextet outing under the stewardship of trombonist Michael Zwerin. The choice of Kurt Weill's sleek and elegant compositions was astute: the bittersweet harmonies of Weill (who ultimately emigrated to the USA from Germany) lend themselves particularly well to jazz soloing, and accordingly an outstanding rhythm section featuring the Modern Jazz Quartet's John Lewis (an enthusiastic advocate of Third Stream from its inception) and Connie Kay and bassist Richard Davis is on hand to support some splendid horn work from Thad Jones, Nick Travis, Jerome Richardson and most notably Eric Dolphy, whose wild bass clarinet leaps on "Alabama Song" are a pure joy to hear, and proof that the saxophonist's harmonic concept, while undeniably "out" for the standard-based harmonic repertoire of bop was most definitely "in" the wider scheme of musical thought that Third Stream aspired to."
Dan Warburton -All Music guide