Kent Harian (lead), Nick Travis, Al Maiorca, Billy Butterfield (tp), Sonny Russo, Rex Peer, Ollie Wilson (tb), Tommy Mitchell (b-tb), Andy Fitzgerald (cl, fl), Harvey Estrin (fl, as), Hal McKusick (as), Al Cohn, Eddie Wasserman (ts), Charlie O’Kane (bs), Buddy Neal (p, cel), Jerry Bruno (b), Joe Venuto (d), Jim Timmens, Bill Finegan, Gil Evans (arr), Marion Evans (arr, lead), Bernie Glow, Burt Collins, Doc Severinsen, John Bello (tp), Urbie Green, Sy Berger, Frank Rehak (tb), Dick Hixon (b-tb), Dick Meldonian, Gene Quill, Herb Geller (as), Zoot Sims (ts), Sol Schlinger (bs), Nat Pierce (p), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton, John Drew (b), Osie Johnson, Don Lamond (d)
Reference: FSRCD 967
Bar code: 8427328609678
EAST COAST SERIES · Jazz & Swing Orchestras
Rare & Collectible Albums by Unsung Bandleaders
When the dust from the collapse of the Swing Era settled, there were few big bands left that had survived. Yet, because they loved the swinging drive of a full-on jazz orchestra, a series of adventurous and unsung bandleaders optimistically organized some fine, but short-lived big and medium-sized orchestras that were packed with jazz and studio musicians, holding the flag of Swing high.
In 1956, a newcomer named Kent Harian assembled a blowing group; he handed them some clean arrangements, and produced a swinging dance record called Echoes of Joy. Jim Timmens did most of the arranging, with two contributions by luminaries Bill Finegan and Gil Evans. Harian’s studio band was an exuberantly flagwaving outfit—and a joy to hear at that, playing this collection of unpretentious and swinging scores with plenty of solos spotted throughout.
Although Big Band Swing by the Ted McNabb & Co. is one of the most ebullient, crisply swinging and superbly performed big band albums of the 50s, it is also one of the rarest and most obscure despite its dream personnel. What’s more: Ted McNabb was just the guy who raised the money. He paid for the charts by arranger Marion Evans, the musicians, and the studio. For him it was a dream come true; a big band in the Swing Era style, clean, precise and stomping, like the old Basie and Goodman bands, playing some standards that hadn’t been overdone at the time.
"Fresh Sound Records continues to find wonderfully obscure recordings from the 50s and 60s by unsung jazz artists. They’ve recently started a series of West and East Coast CD sets that focus on studio orchestras that were filled with guys that had successful careers in the Swing Era, and were now finding work playing for TV shows and movies.
The second of the East Coast Series set has Kent Harian’s Echoes of Joy and Ted McNabb’s Big Band Swing, both from the late 1950s. Harian’s band has charts from Jim Timmens, Bill Finega and een Gil Evans, with the NYC musicians including all stars Al Cohn/ts, Hal McKusick/as and Billy Butterfield/tp. The band has a gas of a time with an exciting “Carioca,” and Al Cohn’s tenor is hip on “Cheek to Cheek” and on “take the A Train” along with Nick Travis’ trumpet. “ McKusick shintes on “I Got It Bad” and Sonny Russo’s trombone teams with Cohn and Andy Fitgerald’s clarinet for a sweet “Miss Brown to You.” Ted McNabb’s Big Band is arranged and conducted by Marion Evans, boasting of a hot band that includes Doc Severinsen/tp, Urbie Green/tb, Gene Quill/as, Al Cohn/ts, Zoot Sims/ts, Milt Hinton/b, Osie Johnson/dr and Nat Pierce/p. They flex their muscles on a strong “Mountain Greenery” and punch like Sonny Liston with Sims tearing apart “I’ll Never Say ‘Never Again’ Again” while sounding coy on “Three Little Words.” Guitarist Barry Galbraith sweetly glows on “Blue Moon” and Green is buttery during “Close As Pages in a Book.” Great stuff!"
George W. Harris (August 13, 2018)