Milt Hinton, Wendell Marshall, Wyatt Ruther (b), Joe Newman, Jimmy Nottingham (tp), Billy Byers (tb, arr), Hal McKusick (as, ss, fl), Al Cohn (ts, arr), Tony Scott (cl, b-cl), Danny Bank (bs), Gene Di Novi, Dick Katz (p), Barry Galbraith (g), Al Hall (b), Osie Johnson (d), Manny Albam (arr)
Reference: FSRCD 999
Bar code: 8427328609999
Basses Loaded! is the suggestive name of this 1955 album featuring three jazz bass specialists in four numbers each.
Milt Hinton needs no introduction: having started with Cab Calloway’s great band of the 1930s, Milt added his personal touch to a wide variety of musical units, both large and small, and recorded with just about every name in the field. Here he has the first four tracks, all arrangements (plus one original) by Al Cohn.
The next four feature Wendell Marshall, who was Duke Ellington’s bassist for quite some time, but also enjoyed a long and successful career afterwards. His technique is amazingly varied, his tone firm and flexible; he was, in short, one of the versatile players who helped the instrument reach its current, exalted position. The arrangements are by Billy Byers, while Marshall penned the original.
The last four tracks are by Wyatt “Bull” Ruther, with arrangements and the one original by Manny Albam. Ruther debuted with the Dave Brubeck quartet, then joined the Erroll Garner trio, and then the Chico Hamilton and George Shearing groups, among many others. No matter what musical thought, he always kept a clear head and a straight course —he is, like both Hinton and Marshall, in there to stay, plucking a fantastic variety of notes from what is often seemingly thin air, offering the most vital proof of the instrument’s place in the jazz family.
The second album of this set, also from 1955, is by Milt Hinton, who at age 40 finally got his first LP under his own leadership, and it is a magnificent quartet session. His trademark full sound is always present, as are his quivering imagination and infectious joy of living and playing. Toni Scott blows with a feeling, conception and tone unsurpassed in jazz —notice the beautiful sound of the bass clarinet. Dick Katz plays with expressive economy, sometimes traditional, never trite, while Osie Johnson is the epitome of tasteful accompaniment. The whole endeavor is best summarized as a sincere, heartfelt lament.