Med Flory (as, ts, vcl), John Bello, Al Derisi, Jerry Kail, Doug Mettome, Joe Burnett, Ed Leddy, Jack Holman, Ray Triscari, Lee Katzman, Al Porcino, Conte Candoli (tp), Billy Byers, Urbie Green, Milt Gold, Bob Burgess, Dave Wells, Lew McCreary (tb), Hal McKusick (cl, as, ts), Charlie Kennedy, Joe Maini (as), Al Cohn, Bill Perkins, Bill Masinghill, Arno Marsh, Richie Kamuca, Bill Holman (ts), Jack Agee, Leo Anthony, Bill Hood (bs), Johnny Williams, John Banister, Russ Freeman (p), Jim Hall (g), Teddy Kotick, Red Kelly, Buddy Clark (b), Art Mardigan, Mel Lewis (d), Bob Brookmeyer, Lennie Niehaus, Bob Enevoldsen (arr)
Reference: FSRCD 923
Bar code: 8427328609234
Although saxophonist Med Flory (1926-2014) was associated with the West Coast jazz scene for most of his life, he started his career in New York in 1950, playing with the bands of Claude Thornhill, Art Mooney, Woody Herman and Tommy Tucker. In 1954 he had his own band there and he did his recording debut as a leader for Mercury’s jazz label, EmArcy.
While freelancing around New York, he recorded as a sideman with groups led by trumpeter Dick Collins, trombonist Urbie Green, pianist Nat Pierce, but in October 1955, Ray Anthony, who was touring the country with his band, hired him. By February 1956 they had arrived in Los Angeles and Flory decided to settle there, where he wrote arrangements for such combos as Billy Usselton’s and Dave Pell’s. Eventually he did some fine swinging arrangements for a 14-piece band that drew heavily on Anthony’s personnel, recording them for Kapp on March 12, 1956; the highlight of the session was his own Joanie’s Jump, a truly swinging piece with a Basie-like opening ensemble.
The following year he assembled a great band featuring Al Porcino’s superb lead trumpet work and recording for the Jubilee label, the album “Jazz Wave.” Their spirit, and the quality of the writing by Flory, Bill Holman, Bob Enevoldsen, Lennie Niehaus and Bill Hood, turned these big band sessions into jazz of the highest order. This compilation closes with two tracks by a saxophone band that Med Flory formed in 1959, called “The Sax Maniacs,” a concept he would revisit later with his renowned band “Supersax”.
"In 2014, the jazz world lost saxophonist MED FLORY a man who was responsible for many of the most compelling sounds to evolve on the West Coast. Originally from Indiana, Flory achieved initial exposure on bands like those of Woody Herman and Claude Thornhill. He lived in New York City at the time, but in the mid-50s, he moved to Southern California.
Med Flory and His Orchestras 1954-1959 (Fresh Sound – 923) contains tracks by big bands led by Flory in the 1950s. The initial four tracks were recorded in New York in 1954, followed by four 1956 selections recorded by his first West Coast aggregation. In 1957, he led his Jazz Wave Orchestra, one that he formed with trumpeter Al Porcino and alto saxophonist Charlie Kennedy, into the studio to lay down 11 exciting tracks. This band actually became the core of the legendary Terry Gibbs Dream Band.
The final four tracks on this CD are by Med Flory and The Sax Maniacs, a band that presaged the Supersax group that he formed with bassist Buddy Clark, and received critical acclaim for using a fivesax section to recreate the work of Charlie Parker. This is a disc replete with great charts by the likes of Flory, Al Cohn, Bill Holman and Bob Enevoldsen, played by first-call cats from both coasts. It is a must for big band enthusiasts."
Joe Lang (October, 2017)
Jersey Jazz Magazine
"Med Flory (1926-2014) will always be best known as the leader of Supersax, the ensemble of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s that expertly played harmonized versions of Charlie Parker solos as the basis for songs. However Flory had a long career before that success. He spent 1950-55 freelancing in New York, including having associations with Woody Herman, Claude Thornhill and Ray Anthony. Flory moved permanently to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s.
Go West Young Med has all of the sessions that Flory led during that decade. He plays alto and tenor, contributing two of the four arrangements for a lesser-known big band session from 1954. The bulk of this CD has Flory heading his Jazz Wave Orchestra on 15 songs from 1956-57. The saxophonist, who sings the good-humored if silly “I Love You, That’s All,” wrote four of the arrangements with the other being penned by Al Cohn, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman, Lennie Niehaus, Bob Enevoldsen, Bill Hood and Sy Johnson. Al Porcino is heard on most of the selections on lead trumpet, trumpeter Conte Candoli is on some of the numbers, and other key sidemen include altoist Charlie Kennedy, tenor-saxophonist Richie Kamuca, pianist Russ Freeman and drummer Mel Lewis. The music, which falls between swing and West Coast jazz, is often hard-driving and stirring.
Go West Young Med concludes with two eccentric pieces performed by Flory’s Sax Maniacs in 1959. The group, comprised of six saxophonists and a rhythm section, hints ever so slightly at Supersax."
Scott Yanow (May, 2017)
-Los Angeles Jazz Scene
"Mostly known these days as the founder of the famed Charlie Parker tribute band Supersax, alto saxist Med Flory also had an impressive career as a sideman in Claude Thornhill’s band, and lead some impressive bands on his own as well, as demonstrated by this single cd. The recordings are mostly done in Hollywood in the late 50s, but the album starts with a NYC session from ’54 with a bopping session including saxists Hal McKusick and Al Cohn for some velvety tunes such as “Straight Ahead” and “No Thanks.”
A saxy session with Bill Perkins which is driven by drummer Mel Lewis has some hip pieces like “Wonderful You” and “Joanie’s Jump” while dashes of Thornhill’s textures are felt with Richie Kamuca and Bill Holman sitting in the tenor chairs for “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and “Ocean Motion.” Foreshadowings of Supersax are palpable with Joe Maini, Bob Hardaway, Bill Perkins, Bill Holman, Bill Hood and the leader on reeds with cool support by Russ Freeman/p, Jim Hall/g, Red Mitchell/b and Mel Lewis/dr on “Shish-Ka-Bob” and”Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” Reed rapture, indeed!"
George W. Harris (April 13, 2017)