Reference: FSRCD 1069
Bar code: 8427328610698
Fresh Sound Records presents:
Rare and Obscure Jazz Albums
A CD series created for the most discerning jazz collectors
· Hard to find albums in Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Hi Fi Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Paul Severson (1928-2007) was a well-schooled musician with symphony, studio, and traveling band experience. He began studying piano at the age of 5, in his home in Fargo, ND. At the age of 13, he switched to the trombone and never looked back. In 1951 he got a master's degree from Northwestern, and entered the world of big band sounds. He spent two years as first trombone with Ralph Marterie's band, followed by a stint with Hal McIntyre and a Stan Kenton concert tour in the fall of 1953. During the 1953-1954 season he was also first trombonist with the Chicago Civic symphony orchestra. For over two years he was a staff musician for CBS in Chicago. In 1956, he was assigned to record the first in a series of Midwestern jazz albums for Chicago's Academy label. The session clearly captured the creativity of the group Paul put together with Kenny Soderbloom on tenor, Mel Schmidt on bass, and drummer Bob Tilles. Throughout these gently flowing tunes, Severson proved to be a warm, fluent trombonist, his writing was loose and conducive to swinging, and most of his compositions are engaging.
Jazz Young Blood
A native of Lancaster, Ohio, “Chuz” Alfred (1932-2018) came of a musical family
entourage. Chuz became interested in music around sixth grade, when he began
studying the clarinet. While studying at Ohio State University in August 1954, he
organized his first professional group, called the Chuz Alfred Quartet. Even though he always considered himself a jazz man, because of the greater demand for the tenor sax in club work, he switched to tenor, and roughly seventy-five percent of his repertoire was in the Rhythm and Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll fields. A year later they became a Quintet with Chuz on tenor; Ola Hanson, trombone; Chuck Lee, piano; and two younger newcomers to the group, Paul Holt, bass; and Jim Markham, drums. When Ozzie Cadena from Savoy Records asked Chuz to make a jazz album, Paul and Jim sat it out, figuring they'd better get more experience, and Cadena replaced them with two masters of their respective instruments, bassist Vinnie Burke, and drummer Kenny Clarke. In September 27, 1955, they recorded a long-playing album in a single session that was released early in 1956 under the title “Jazz Young Blood” and has become a true collector's item.
"Midwest Jazz, was the name of the original album by trombonist Paul Severson, but that title also applies to Jazz Young Blood by tenorist Chuz Alfred.
Alfred hails from Lancaster, Ohio; Severson from Fargo, North Dakota. Their respective styles could indeed be situated somewhere halfway between the East Coast and the West Coast. A bit spicier than what came to us from the West Coast at the time, but compared to New York more tasteful than soulful [...]
After internships in successively the orchestras of Ralph Marterie, Hal McIntyre and Stan Kenton, Severson delved into the world of radio studios. Alfred continued to work in and around Ohio, on the jazz and R&B circuit. The approach of baritone saxophonist and composer Gerry Mulligan was apparently an example for Severson. Like Mulligan (born in New York and active on the West Coast for a long time), he opted for an orchestral approach, with unison themes and collaborative solos in counterpoint. All but one of the songs are less than three minutes in length; a track even clocks in at less than two.
The approach of Charles 'Chuz' Alfred, in whose sound we can hear Lester Young, but also that of Phil Urso, was more soloistic. And a lot more relaxed than Severson's quartet. It will come as no surprise that the drummers, Bob Tilles on the trombonist set and Kenny Clarke on the saxophonist one, mainly use the brushes."
—Eddy Determeyer (June, 2022)
Doctor Jazz Magazine
"Spain-based label Fresh Sound Records shows that there are periods of Western Civilization when art is at a peak, and other times at a nadir. The mid 50s had such a surfeit of great sounds and bands that it was impossible to keep up with all of them. Thankfully, we have the chance to finally catch up with what really happened musically during the Eisenhower years on these pair of discs, each holding this rewarding yet obscure albums.
First up is a 1956 unit by trombonist Paul Severson with Kenny Soderbloom/ts-bs, Mel Schmidt/b and Bob Tilles. The team is California Cool with Soderbloom's tenor in vintage Stan Getz fashion on the easy swing of “Too Much” and Mulligan misty for his baritone work on “Gone With The Wind”. Severson’s brash glows on the warm “I Could Write A Book” and creates rich harmonies on the fun “One More Mambo”, getting hipper than Dumbo on “I Only Have Eyes For You”.
Tenorist Chuz Alfred sounds like a mix of Lester Young and Dexter Gordon on his quintet with proto bopping drummer Kenny Clarke, Ola Hanson/tb, Chuck Lee/p and Vinnie Burke/b on a slick 1955 session. Alfred is long and tall as he saunters on “A Message From Home” and blueses up “Manta Wray”. Alfred is in a Prez mood for a foggy “I Can't Get Started” and is nimble with Clark on “Chuz Duz”. How did we miss these guys?
Both albums have wonderful liner notes giving lots of background information. You'll get started on a treasure hunt for more of the same by these guys."
—George W. Harris (April 18, 2022)