Quartet & Quintet 1956-1957 · Jazz:West and Intro Sessions
  • Jazz:West LP-9
    Jazz:West LP-9
  • Julius Wechter
    Julius Wechter

Julius Wechter

Quartet & Quintet 1956-1957 · Jazz:West and Intro Sessions

Fresh Sound Records

Julius Wechter (vib), Cy Colley, Jr. (as), John Bambridge, Jr (cl), Dennis Budimir (g), Jim Bates (b), Frank DeVito, Jerry Williams (d)

Reference: FSRCD1126

Bar code: 8427328611268


Julius Wechter played vibes in a combo that won first place at the initial Festival of Inter-collegiate Jazz in April of 1954 sponsored by Howard Rumsey at the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach. Saxophonist Cy Colley was part of that combo and joined Wechter as they formed a quartet to play clubs in Los Angeles after graduating from Los Angeles City College.

Herb Kimmel heard the quartet and recorded them for his Jazz:West label in 1956. The resulting album, Linear Sketches, JWLP-9, was awarded three and a half stars in Nat Hentoff’s review of the albumin Down Beat. Herb Kimmel departed the jazz scene after recording his last album, The Return of Art Pepper, JWLP-10, in August of 1956.

Don Clark was hired as director of A&R to continue the jazz line as Intro Records for the parent company handling distribution for Jazz:West, Aladdin Records. Clark produced several albums for the new label including a second album by Julius Wechter that reached the test pressing stage before Aladdin terminated the jazz line. The aborted album showcases the recording debut of guitarist, Dennis Budimir, who continued to forge an impressive jazz career with Harry James, Chico Hamilton, Bobby Troup, and Bud Shank to name a few.

Wechter replaced Arthur Lyman in Martin Denny’s exotica ensemble in 1958 where he played vibes, marimba, percussion, and continued to compose original music for Denny’s group. A chance studio gig playing marimbas on Herb Alpert’s first Tijuana Brass album in 1962, The Lonely Bull, led to joining the Tijuana Brass and later creating a spin-off, the Baja Marimba Band.

—James A. Harrod

01. Trousseau (Julius Wechter) 3:54
02. Autumn Leaves (Mercer-Prevert-Kosma) 3:23
03. Love Letters (Heyman-Young) 3:53
04. My Melancholy Baby (Norton-Burnett) 3:45
05. Cy’s Blues (Cy Colley) 4:02
06. I Remember You (Mercer-Schertzinger) 4:10
07. I’ll Close My Eyes (Kay-Reid) 3:41
08. Sissy (Julius Wechter) 4:06
09. Undecided (Robin-Shavers) 4:52
10. Dave’s Tune (Julius Wechter) 4:37
11. Scotch Hop (Julius Wechter) 2:52
12. Peanuts (Julius Wechter) 2:03
13. Melancholy Serenade (Jackie Gleason) 3:21
14. Lover Man (Davis-Ramirez-Sherman) 3:44
15. Blues Riff (Julius Wechter) 3:26

Album details

Tracks #1-8, from the album “Linear Sketches,” (Jazz:West LP-9)
Tracks #9-15, from a previously unissued album by Intro Records

Julius Wechter, vibes; Cy Colley, Jr., alto sax; Jim Bates, bass; Frank DeVito, drums.
Recorded in Los Angeles, Master Recorders, May 5, 1956

Julius Wechter, vibes; John Bambridge, Jr., clarinet; Dennis Budimir, guitar; Jim Bates, bass; Jerry Williams, drums.
Recorded in Los Angeles, Audio Arts Recording Studio, March 27, 1957

Original liner notes: Herbert Kimmel
New liner notes: James A. Harrod
Cover photo: © Ray Avery / CTSIMAGES
Don Clark photo: © Fresh Sound Archives

Recordings produced by Herbert Kimmel (#1-8) and Don Clark (#9-15)
This CD compilation produced by Jordi Pujol
© 2023 by Fresh Sound Records

Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas, S.L.
Important note: Tracks 9-15 are previously unreleased and they have been taken from a unique disc (test pressing) used to check the recording quality of a vinylmaster. The original sound is very good, unfortunately on this only copy we hear a superficial noise that is sometimes quite present. We have chosen not to seek to attenuate it down at all costs, preferring to keep the sound as natural as possible. In spite of everything, we regret not having been able to include the three tracks that are missing from this album which, due to their state of deterioration, have not been able to be restored.

Press reviews

"I didn’t recognize Julius Wechter’s name but with a little digging I found he played vibes and percussion for Martin Denny in the 1950s. In the 1960s he worked on movie and television soundtracks.

He did session work for people like the Beachboys, the Monkees, and Sonny & Cher. He played with Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass for quite a while. In 1963 he formed the Baja Marimba Band.

Before all this Wechter recorded two delightful west coast jazz records, LINEAR SKETCHES and a quintet recording that never saw the light of day. Somehow Fresh Sound Records found a test pressing of the unreleased material and released it as a 24-bit digitally remastered CD . The sound on both of the recording dates is excellent.

LINEAR SKETCHES featured Cy Colley, Jr. on alto sax with Julius Wechter on vibes, James Bates on bass, and Frank DeVito on drums. Colley seemed to disappear after this recording which is strange because he was a good player. He’s not Art Pepper but that’s who he reminds me of. Colley wrote ‘Cy’s Blues,’ one of the better tunes on the album.

Bass player Jim Bates is a great timekeeper and he throws out some really nice solos on both sessions. ‘My Melancholy Baby ’is one of the most overworked tunes in the jazz repertoire but this version is pleasantly upbeat. Bates solo adds some needed panache.

For the 1957 recording John Bambridge, Jr. was added on clarinet. He’s a fine player but he sounds like swing-era Benny Goodman. Someone like Buddy DeFranco probably would have been a better fit.

Dennis Budimir was on guitar and his fluid single note improvs sound great. Budimir died this year at the age of 84. He mainly did session work but he seemed to have worked with everyone from Tom Waits and Frank Zappa to Stan Getz and the Carpenters. He played on more than 900 movie soundtracks.

Cool West Coast jazz was a response to the fast-paced bebop style of jazz coming out of the East Coast. Cool jazz tried to be laid back. It used multiple melodic lines interweaving with subtle harmonies. You could often catch glimpses of classical composers like Debussy and Ravel.

Besides the great jazz vibes from Julius Wechter this is another example of Fresh Sound Records preserving a piece of jazz history. American labels would never reissue these sessions.. It wouldn’t be profitable enough for them."

—Tim Larsen (Jun 15, 2023)

"Before vibraphonist Julius Wechter became a pop-rock studio musician in Los Angeles,  played marimba on Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass recordings, led Alpert's Baja Marimba Band, wrote "Spanish Flea" for the Tijuana Brass and played on movie and television soundtracks in Hollywood, he was a West Coast jazz combo leader.

Born in Chicago in 1935, Wechter moved to Los Angeles when he was 8. When he was 21, he recorded two swinging albums in the mid-1950s —Linear Sketches for the Jazz:West label in May 1956, and an album for Intro Records with a quintet in 1957 that went unreleased. Now, both have been issued on a single, 24-bit digitally remastered CD as The Julius Wechter Quartet & Quintet 1956-1957 by Fresh Sound.

Linear Sketches featured Cy Colley, Jr. (as), Julius Wechter (vib), James Bates (b) and Frank DeVito (d). Colley recorded this one album and then disappeared, either into the studios or another occupation. Which is rather odd given how good he is on here, with a sound on his alto saxophone that's somewhere between Art Pepper and Charlie Mariano. I'm not sure if James Bates is still with us and Frank DeVito has a webpage.

The second album features a Wechter-assembled quintet: John Bambridge, Jr. (cl), Julius Wechter (vib), Dennis Budimir (g), James Bates (b) and Jerry Williams (d). Bambridge's last known recording was in 1998, Budimir died in January, and Williams' last known recording was in 1990. Bill Kirchner tells me Bambridge later played alto saxophone and arranged for the Tonight Show band in Los Angeles. So how did Fresh Sound wind up issuing what was never released?

There's a fascinating note in the booklet accompanying the new release:
“Tracks 9-15 are previously unreleased and they have been taken from a unique disc (test pressing) used to test the recording quality of a vinyl master. The original sound is very good, but unfortunately, on this copy, a superficial noise appears that is sometimes quite present. We have chosen not to seek to attenuate it down at all costs, preferring to keep the sound as natural as possible. In spite of everything, we regret not having been able to include the three tracks that are missing from this album which, due to their state of deterioration, we have not been able to restore.”

I didn't hear the sound referred to in the note above, so if it's there, higher-end systems may pick it up. And I count five missing tracks: Get Happy, Greensleeves, Mambo, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and an untitled song.

The music on both albums is uniformly excellent. Here, again, is what Fresh Sound does so well —rescuing little-known jazz recordings that would never be re-issued by label conglomerates in the U.S. Can you imagine if Fresh Sound never existed? We wouldn't have had the joy and privilege to experience thousands of great jazz albums by astonishing artists simply because there's no way for U.S. labels to turn a profit. For filling this gap in jazz history, Jordi Pujol, the founder and owner of Fresh Sound, is truly a jazz hero and savior.

Julius Wechter died of cancer at age 63 in 1999."

—Marc Myers (May 4, 2023)


10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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