Buddy Montgomery (vib), Monk Montgomery (el. b), Richie Crabtree (p), Benny Barth (d)
Reference: FSRCD 621_2
Bar code: 8427328606219
The Mastersounds were together from January 1957 up until late 1960, and although they were often compared to the Modern Jazz Quartet, they played with far more fire. Their basic conception was less highbrow than the MJQ floating workshop.
Vibist Monk Montgomery, who acted as spokesman of the group, said, The first thing, it must swing, and they stuck to that credo throughout the three albums that make up this splendid example of their work.
The first, Play Horace Silver was considered one of their best efforts on record. It takes notable talent to play Silvers compositions and, while respecting the qualities that tie Silvers works so closely to the central core of jazz, to put a distinctively personal brand on them as The Mastersounds managed to do.
On the second, Ballads and Blues the groups playing is striking throughout. Buddy Montgomery cooks, pianist Richie Crabtree displays a firm, almost classical touch, with formidable technique and ideas, while Monk Montgomerys skill on electric bass is pre-eminent. He and drummer Benny Barth provide sympathetic and driving support, contributing some fine solos of their own.
In Concert, the third album on this set, was recorded live at the Pasadena Junior College on April 1959, and produced some polished, graceful performances. Playing a nice selection of finely crafted arrangements, the group displayed the kind of synergy rarely achieved in working relationships, while compromising not one whit on their ability to play with heat and swing.
-Ballads & Blues
"For a few years in the late 1950s, the Mastersounds were a popular band. Consisting of vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery, electric bassist Monk Montgomery, pianist Richie Crabtree and drummer Benny Barth, the group was essentially an easy-listening and less classical-oriented version of the Modern Jazz Quartet. On this LP, the band performs a "Blues Medley" (which includes among its three songs numbers by Milt Jackson and John Lewis), three originals, "Solar," "How Deep is the Ocean," "Mint Julep," and Dizzy Gillespie's "The Champ." The music is quite accessible."
"Having recorded several popular albums of show tunes that sold fairly well, the Mastersounds had an opportunity in 1959 to stretch out on a live album. On four standards, a three-song ballad medley, and "Two Different Worlds," the quartet [...] are heard throughout in prime form, swinging hard on such songs as "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Love for Sale" and "Star Eyes."
-Play Horace Silver
"The Mastersounds explore six Horace Silver tunes on this obscure but worthy LP. They were at the height of their success at the time (the quartet would break up in 1961) and sound in fine form on "Nica's Dream," "Doodlin'" and four lesser-known Silver songs. Excellent music that was endorsed by Horace Silver himself; he even wrote the liner notes."
All three notes by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"'The Mastersounds Play' is a double-CD with three albums worth of material: Play Horace Silver, Ballads & Blues and In Concert. Dating from 1959-60, these sets feature vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery and electric bassist Monk Montgomery (Wes' brothers) in a popular quartet with pianist Richie Crabtree and drummer Benny Barth.
While having the same instrumentation as the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Mastersounds were bluesier and often swung harder. They are heard at their best throughout this rewarding two-fer."
Scott Yanow -Los Angeles Jazz Scene
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