Nick Travis (tp), Al Cohn (ts, bs, arr), Urbie Green, Frank Rehak, Eddie Bert (tb), Hal McKusick (as, cl), Zoot Sims (ts), Ralph Burns, Horace Silver, John Williams, Elliot Lawrence, Richard Wess (p), Park Hill, Johnny Smith, Mundell Lowe (g), Max Bennett, Teddy Kotick, Curley Russell, Chubby Jackson, Aaron Bell, Milt Hinton (b), Mousey Alexander, Max Roach, Art Mardigan, Don Lamond, Osie Johnson (d)
Reference: FSRCD 912
Bar code: 8427328609128
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Though Nick Travis (1925-1964) spent his brief life in the shadow of other mas- ters of his instrument, he was one of New York’s jazz elite, part of the formida- ble clique of first-call trumpet players for recording sessions in the city and a key man in the trumpet sections of the Ray McKinley, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Sauter-Finegan, Elliot Lawrence and Gerry Mulligan bands. Technically impressive, with great range and crisp articulation, he was also a reliable and sometimes brilliant soloist. It was little wonder he was in great demand.
Despite this, he made only one album as leader, The Panic Is On, a quintet recorded with his great musical buddy, tenor saxophonist Al Cohn. Their undoubted rapport and Cohn’s arrangements contribute much to the success of this assured and pleasurable album. Cohn also wrote most of the charts for the quartet, octets and big band dates in which Travis is a featured soloist in this tribute to his talent. If a glance at the stature of the players involved shows he belonged at the top table, a listen to the opening How About You? confirms it.
While not a profoundly original improviser, Nick Travis was always profession- al, usually interesting and sometimes exceptional. It’s time for a re-evaluation to give him the credit he deserves.
"Trumpeter NICK TRA VIS was a stalwart on the New York scene from the late 1940s through the mid 1960s, playing on many of the name bands, and especially noted for his trumpet work with the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra. He was on the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band when he passed away at the age of 38. Travis only served as leader for one album, The Panic Is On. This album serves as the focal point of How About You? (Fresh Sound - 912).
This quintet date with Al Cohn on tenor sax, John Williams on piano, Teddy Kotick on bass and Art Mardigan on drums is sensational on its own. As a bonus, this disc also contains the track from the album Sons of Sauter-Finegan that gives the title to this collection, a four-track 10” LP that was released under the name of Al Cohn, two tracks from the Elliot Lawrence album Jazz Goes Broadway, a pair of tracks from Music She Digs Most under the leadership of Richard Wess, and a great Al Cohn arrangement of his own “Blues Alley” that appeared on the Elliot Lawrence Band Swinging at The Steel Pier. This serves to present a fine cross-section of the trumpet stylings of Travis, with the added benefit of having the ubiquitous Cohn, who also provided several of the arrangements, present on all except one track. Put on (take off?) your listening shoes, sit back, and enjoy some wonderful sounds!"
Joe Lang (October, 2017)
Jersey Jazz Magazine
"A first rate trumpeter, Nick Travis served his time as a sideman for the likes of Benny Goodman, Woody Herman and Gerry Mulligan. He recorded only one album as aleader, The Panic Is On from 1954, and it’s the centerpiece of this impressive reissue of that session and others that featured him as a sideman.
Travis’ warm Chet Baker-like tone teams up with Al Cohn/ts-arr, John Williams/p, Teddy Kotick/b and Art Mardigan/dr for 8 toe tappers, with Cohn’s horn and pen doing wonders with “Tickletoe” and “Nick’s Knacks.” Travis’ own “ Cohn Pone” is a hepster’s delight, while a quintet under the leadership of Cohn, but also including boppers like Horace Silver/p, Curley Russell/b and Max Roach/dr drives like a truck on the uptempo “I’m Tellin’ Ya” and the bluesy “Jane Street.” A couple of tunes lead by pianist Elliot Lawrence have a big band swagger on “Blues Alley” and swing with aplomb as Zoot Sims, Cohn and Chubby Jackson/b make for great sounds on “Standing on the Corner.” Travis gets a rich solo during a ’57 session with Richard Wess’ octet on “Blues For someone” and “Lover Man” making you wonder why we missed this guy the first time around. Check it out!"
George W. Harris (March 27, 2017)