Reference: FSRCD 1070
Bar code: 8427328610704
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
· First time on CD
· 2 Original 10-inch LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Hi Fi Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
TED NASH's "The Music of Frank Comstock"
The incredible versatility of Ted Nash (1922-2011) spanned the entire range of reed instruments. A native of Boston, from a very young age he already showed that he had the potential to become a great flutist. However, he was so fascinated with the tenor of jazz notables like Ben Webster, Joe Thomas and Lester Young that he switched instruments at the age of 14. At just 18, he began to tour with a succession of dance bands. He joined Les Brown in 1944 and quickly became recognized as an instrumentalist of limitless range. Ted left the Brown group in 1946 to settle in Hollywood, where he combined recording dates, for Billy May or Jerry Gray, with the rest of his professional activity between film, radio and television. On this 1954 album for Starlite Records, Ted swaps from tenor to alto, flute and piccolo, to showcase composer-arranger Frank Comstock’s progressive music in divergent moods.
TONY RIZZI's "The Music of Frank Comstock"
Tony Rizzi (1923-1992) grew up in Los Angeles and studied violin for 11 years before taking up the trumpet. At 18, he began playing guitar and soon developed into a sideman of sufficient ability to qualify for the Air Transport Command band during World War II. After the invaluable experience of playing in service bands, Tony was ready to compete with the best. In 1946, his first professional jobs were with Boyd Raeburn’s and Earle Spencer’s progressive bands, performing and recording with distinction as a soloist. This earned him a contract with Les Brown, becoming a keymusician in his band until 1953. That same year he became a member of the Dave Pell Octet, one of the most popular jazz ensembles in Southern California, which was formed with the core members of Brown’s orchestra. Beginning in 1954, Tony expanded his activities by joining the staff of the NBC Orchestra, which played on many television variety shows. It was there that he met Frank Comstock, who would be responsible for the production and music of Tony’s first album as a leader for Starlite Records.
"It is simply staggering to consider how much fantastic jazz was recorded in the 1950s and early 60s. It makes you wonder why certain albums gained fame and popularity, while others, like this reissued gem from the vaults of Blue Moon Records, wallowed in undeserved obscurity. Well, at least we have it now, and it's worth appreciating and re-assessing.
Woodwind specialist Ted Nash (1922-2011, and uncle to today’s Ted Nash) had an impressive studio career working with the likes of Nat Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. He impresses on these two albums here, one as a leader in his own right, and the other as a sideman for Chuck Wayne-inspired guitarist Tony Rizzi. Both sessions from the summer of 1954 in Capitol include brother Dick Nash/tb, Morty Corb/b and Alvin Stoller/dr along with the guitarist and reedmeister.
The emphasis is on California Cool tones, with Nash’s tenor in glowing form on the bopping “Nash-Inalize” whle his flute blends well with his trombonist sibling on “South Of Brazil” and “Passion Girl”. Rizzi veers well around “Nightfall” and “Teddy Bear” while relaxed and nimble on “Laurel” and “The Grabber”. Nash’s alto sax glistens on “Here’s Tony” and the rhythm team works like marines in an obstacle course on “Footloose’ and “Frantica”. Driving on PCH with the top down.
The set includes great liner notes, listing of musicians and informative background detective work. How did we miss this first time around?"
—George W. Harris (February 16, 2023)
"Frank Comstock is a name today that has long been forgotten. Many of those who are familiar with Comstock probably associate him with the Hi-Lo's vocal group, for whom he arranged and conducted their first eight albums in the 1950s. Or they know him as the composer of the theme for the Rocky and His Friends TV cartoon series in the 1960s. But Comstock was a much bigger deal.
He arranged for Les Brown's cool, contrapuntal band from 1943 to 1955 and is widely considered to be a forefather —with Shorty Rogers and Gerry Mulligan— of the West Coast studio sound. Comstock also played a major role in film. He arranged, orchestrated and conducted scores for 'Some Like It Hot,' 'The Fortune Cookie,' 'Thoroughly Modern Millie,' 'Valley of the Dolls,' 'Finian's Rainbow' and 'Hello Dolly,' among others. He also arranged for TV variety shows and composed themes to more than 10 TV dramas and sitcoms. In the Hollywood recording studios of the 1950s, Comstock and his touch were admired by many of his peers.
Two session musicians who took on his music were Tony Rizzi and Ted Nash. Nash's album, Plays Frank Comstock, was recorded within days of Rizzi's in July 1954, in the same studio and for the same label —Starlite.
Ted Nash was a prolific studio jazz musician who played saxophone, flute and clarinet. His brother was trombonist Dick Nash, also an in-demand session player. The personnel on both albums was identical: Ted Nash (ts, as, fl, pic), Dick Nash (tb), Tony Rizzi (g), Morty Corb (b), Alvin Stoller (d) and Frank Comstock (arr, conductor).
On the Nash album, Comstock's music and arrangements are gorgeous. And the playing by Ted Nash alone and in tandem with his brother is extraordinary, not to mention Rizzi peeking through on guitar in the gaps. The music is nearly 70 years old and yet sounds as fresh and novel as the day it was recorded. One can only imagine what the busy recording scene must have been like in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s.
Light traffic on new highways, spacious homes in the San Fernando Valley, kids in the pool, strip malls and large supermarkets just opening up, television and color movies evolving rapidly, weekends at the beach, and musicians recording jazz and pop day and night.
The music on this album will give you a sense of the bliss felt in L.A. at a time when the country for many was shimmering with economic prosperity and possibility. After years spent working on the road in big bands, these musicians now could earn a living on their own, start a family and settle down. The musicians on the Comstock recordings were just five of dozens of talented artists who, all of a sudden, found they had it made."
—Marc Myers (February 9, 2023)