Rey DeMichel (lead & cond), Marvin Brown, Ollie Mitchell, Irv Bush, John Anderson, Johnny Audino (tp), Dave Wells, Ed Freudenberg (tb), Lanny Morgan (as), Jay Corre, Jack Kernan, Teddy Edwards (ts), Dave Madden, Modesto Briseno, Ted Parker (bs), Dick Grove, Joyce Collins (p), Buddy Matlock (g), Jack Smalley (b), Roy Roten (d), John De Foor, Kenny Farrar (arr)
Reference: FSRCD 970
Bar code: 8427328609708
WEST COAST SERIES · Jazz & Swing Orchestras
Rare & Collectible Albums by Unsung Bandleaders
When the dust from the collapse of the Swing Era settled, there were few big bands left that had survived. Yet, because they loved the swinging drive of a full-on jazz orchestra, a series of adventurous and unsung bandleaders optimistically organized some fine, but short-lived, new orchestras that were packed with jazz and studio musicians, holding the flag of Swing high.
Reynold A. DeMichel knew how to instill his youthful enthusiasm and excitement into just about any big band. He started as a trumpet player in Ashtabula, Ohio, where he was born in 1928, and as an ex-sideman himself, he always got great mileage from his crew—everyone in the band respected him.
Early in 1959 he assembled a powerful big band to record in Los Angeles his albums Cookin’ with Rey and For Bloozers Only!, released on Challenge Records. To take care of the band’s library, DeMichel recruited two talented arrangers, one young, the other a seasoned veteran: John W. DeFoor and Kenneth L. Farrar, from the famed Westlake College of Music, which was, from 1947 and until 1960 the college for aspiring big band musicians.
The whole band delivered a marvelous funky bluesy feeling, and not only in their up-tempo escapades—their treatment of ballads and standards is equally praiseworthy. Excellent soloists who particularly catch the ear in these sessions are trumpeter Marv Brown, trombonist Dave Wells, saxophonists Lanny Morgan, Teddy Edwards, Jay Corre and Dave Madden, pianists Dick Grove and Joyce Collins, guitarist Buddy Mattlock, and drummer Roy Roten.
"The late 50s and early 60s were tough times for touring jazz orchestras. What people forget is that the studios which were used for TV and radio were fertile grounds for some exciting big band sounds. These two sets show what happened once the dust from the Swing Era settled, with two orchestras being featured here.
From Hollywood, California, Rey DeMichel brought together some top notch Angelenos such as Lanny Morgan/as, Buddy matlock/g, Teddy Edwards/ts and Dave Wells/tb to form a 12-13 member big band. With arrangements by John De Foor and Kenny Farrar, the pair of 1959 sessions include a Basie-esque “Meet the Rey” and a boppy “The Continental.” Teddy Edwards gets a bunch of room for some hip bluesy solos on “A Rompin’ We Will Go,” “Twelve Bars High” and “Ho Dere” with some nice ‘bone work by Wells on the sleek “Kingfish” and rich “Blue Rey.” A chart buster! Includes informative liner notes in the booklet, with the music an oasis for Big Band fans."
George W. Harris (January 21, 2019)
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