Ernie Royal (tp), Ted Kelly (tb), Russell Procope (as), James Moody (ts), Hubert Fol (bs), Billy Taylor, Raymond Fol (p), George Barnes, Sydney Gross (g), Oscar Pettiford, Pierre Michelot (b), Osie Johnson, Kenny Clarke (d)
Reference: FSRCD 403
Bar code: 8427328604031
Ernie Royal was by no means a new or budding star in the jazz firmament when these recordings were made. His work on trumpet had for a long time been solidly in evidence in both concert and on recording. In the first eight tracks, recorded in 1955, we can hear him during a session in New York fronting an All-Star Mainstream sextet, featuring Oscar Pettiford and Billy Taylor as highlighted soloists beside him. This compilation also contains the recordings he made in Paris in 1950 when he was on a European tour with Duke Ellingtons band.
The line up included some of the best Ellington sidemen, three famous French musicians and two outstanding American boppers who were then living in Paris: tenorist James Moody and drummer Kenny Clarke. For the first time on CD, and despite his extensive and brilliant career, here are the only recordings Ernie Royal did as leader of a jazz ensemble.
"A brilliant technician with a beautiful tone and a wide range, Ernie Royal spent most of his career in the anonymous settings of studio bands, uplifting the music but only gaining fame among those in the music industry. The younger brother of altoist Marshall Royal (who was nine years older), the trumpeter picked up early experience playing in Los Angeles with Les Hite & His Orchestra (1937-1938) and with Cee Pee Johnson (1939). Both of the Royal brothers were with Lionel Hampton & His Big Band (1940-1942) and Ernie Royal hit the famous screaming high notes on the original Hampton version of "Flying Home."
After a period in the Army (1942-1945), he worked in San Francisco with Vernon Alley and in Los Angeles with Phil Moore, and then spent much of 1946 with Count Basie & His Orchestra. Royal was a member of Woody Herman's Second Herd during 1947-1949 and had short stints with Charlie Barnet and Duke Ellington. He played in France with Jacques Hélian & Son Orchestre, worked with Wardell Gray in 1952, and was with Stan Kenton & His Orchestra twice (1953 and 1955). After becoming a staff musician at ABC in 1957, Ernie Royal settled into the life of a well-respected studio musician, appearing on a countless number of recordings but rarely soloing. During his career he made few recordings as a leader: just ten titles in Paris in 1950 and an LP for Urania in 1954."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide