Tommy Alexander (tb, lead), Clyde Reasinger, Pete Candoli, Conrad Gozzo, Manny Klein (tp), Dave Wells, Frank Strong, Lew McCreary, Jay Hill, Si Zentner, Tommy Pederson (tb), Dick Paladino, Lanny Morgan (as), Bill Trujillo, Ted Nash (ts), Chuck Gentry, Lennie Mitchell (bs), Arnold Ross (p), Tommy Tedesco (g), Harry Babasin (b), Alvin Stoller (d), Bill Holman, Jim Bates (arr), Keith Williams (tp, lead, arr), Johnny Audino, Don Fagerquist, Wes Hensel, Frank Beach, Cappy Lewis (tp), Joe Howard, Herbie Harper, Harry Betts, George Roberts (tb), Russ Cheever, Bob Hardaway, Don Renfrew, Bill Ulyate (reeds), Al Hendrickson (g), Curtis Counce (b), Larry Bunker (d), Gene Estes (perc), Russell Garcia (arr)
Reference: FSRCD 965
Bar code: 8427328609654
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.
Alexander The Great showcases the orchestra led by Tommy Alexander, a young trombonist who formerly was with Billy May. His new band had an impeccable pedigree in players like Bobby Stiles, Arnold Ross, Harry Babasin, Dave Wells, Lanny Morgan and Bill Trujillo, all coolly, crisply and intelligently encased in the modern contemporary idiom by arrangers Bill Holman and Jim Bates. The Band’s sound is different, in the sense that it often uses trombones as lead voices instead of the customary saxes, and it successfully combined progressive jazz with the best of danceable rhythm, walking a swinging line between two opposite poles in jazz.
The Dazzling Sound. For this album, the band of Keith Williams delivered a balanced program of standards and original songs cleverly arranged by Williams himself and Brinley Bethel, as well as the original Wiki Wiki by Russ Garcia. Without the rhythmic support of neither piano nor guitar, the band shines by the ensemble work of its skilled reed section, pushed by the high-pitched, dazzling brass sound, and a tasty and colorful percussion. The main jazz soloist is tenor saxophonist Ted Nash, but Herbie Harper, Don Fagerquist, Cappy Lewis, Russ Cheever, Bob Hardaway and guitarist Tommy Tedesco are also heard in some daring, albeit brief, solos.
01. Mad About the Boy (Noel Coward) 3:14
02. Tomboy (Bill Holman) 2:09
03. We'll Be Together Again (Laine-Fischer) 2:53
04. I Hadn't Anyone 'Till You (Ray Noble) 2:42
05. Midnight Sun (Hampton-Burker-Mercer) 3:47
06. Lullaby of Birdland (George Shearing) 2:12
07. Old Devil Moon (Lane-Harburg) 2:20
08. The Song Is You (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:02
09. All the Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:25
10. It Could Happen to You (Van Heusen-Burke) 2:31
11. Flamingo (Grouya-Anderson) 3:20
12. Don't Be That Way (Goodman-Samson-Parish) 2:46
13. Was That The Human Thing to Do? (Fain-Young) 2:48
14. Trees (Rasbach-Kilmer) 2:51
15. Mine (G. & I. Gershwin) 2:28
16. I Remember You (Schertzinger-Mercer) 2:48
17. Carioca (Youmans-Kahn-Eliscu) 2:31
18. Toscana (Williams-Bethel) 2:27
19. Winter Interlude (Williams-Bethel) 2:58
20. Easy to Love (Cole Porter) 2:30
21. Wiki Wiki (Russell Garcia) 2:26
22. Bernie's Tune (Bernie Miller) 2:32
23. Sleeping Princess (Williams-Bethel) 2:33
24. When Your Lover Has Gone (Einar Aaron Swan) 2:49
25. Caleta (Lyle Murphy) 3:04
26. Solo (Bob Russell) 2:30
27. Why Not? (Williams-Bethel) 2:47
Tracks #1-11, from the album “Alexander the Great” (Liberty LRP-3008)
Tracks #12 & 13, from the 78 rpm disk MGM 11921
Tracks #14 & 15, from the 78 rpm disk MGM 11994
Tracks #16-27, from the album “The Dazzling Sound” (Liberty LRP-3040)
Personnel on #1-11: TOMMY ALEXANDER and His Orchestra
Clyde Reasinger, Ed Bordenave, Bob Clark, Bobby Stiles, trumpets; Dave Wells, Frank Strong, Lew McCreary, Jay Hill, trombones; Dick Paladino, Lanny Morgan, alto saxes; Bill Trujillo, tenor sax; John Bambridge, tenor & baritone sax; Lennie Mitchell, baritone sax; Arnold Ross, piano; Tommy Tedesco, guitar; Harry Babasin, bass; Sal LaPertche, drums. Arrangements by Bill Holman (#2,4,6,9 & 11), and Jim Bates
Recorded at Capitol Records Studio, Hollywood, November 24 & 25, 1955
Personnel on #12-15: TOMMY ALEXANDER and His Orchestra
Pete Candoli, Conrad Gozzo, Manny Klein, Uan Rasey, trumpets; Murray McEachern, Si Zentner, Tommy Pederson, trombones; Ed Kusby, bass trombone; Skeets Herfurt, alto sax; Ted Nash, Fred Falensby, tenor saxes; Bob Dawes, Chuck Gentry, baritone saxes; Cliff Fishback, piano; Al Hendrickson, guitar; Joe Mondragon, bass; Alvin Stoller, drums. Arrangements by Billy May
Recorded at Capitol Records Studios, Hollywood, May 11, 1954
Personnel on #16-27: KEITH WILLIAMS Big Band
Keith Williams, conductor & trumpet; Johnny Audino, Don Fagerquist, Don Smith, Wes Hensel, Jerry Kadovitz, Frank Beach, Cappy Lewis, trumpets; Joe Howard, Herbie Harper, Harry Betts, Ed Freudenberg, Tommy Pederson, Roy Weigand, trombones; George Roberts, Marshall Cram, bass trombone; Jack Dumont, clarinet, alto sax; Russ Cheever, soprano sax; Ted Nash, tenor sax; Bill Ulyate, Don Davidson, baritone sax; Al Hendrickson, Tommy Tedesco, guitar; Curtis Counce, Joe Comfort, Francis James, bass; Larry Bunker, John Lais, drums; Gene Estes, mallets, bongos; Ralph Collier, Dick Shanahan, percussion. Arrangements by Keith Williams, Russell Garcia (#21), and Brinley Bethel (#19).
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, July 16, December 4 & 21, 1956
Original recordings produced by Harry Babasin & Simon Jackson (#1-11), unknown (#12-15) and Russell Keith (#16-27).
Engineers: John Palladino (#1-11), unidentified (#12-15), Val Valentin (#17,22,27), Ted Keep (#16,19,24,25) and John Kraus (#18,20,21,23,26)
Original cover designs: Ed Graves / Alex de Paolo
Liner notes: Simon Jackson, Bob Russell & Jordi Pujol
Compiled for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"Fresh Sound Records continues to find wonderfully obscure recordings from the 50s and 60s by unsung jazz artists. They’ve recently started a series of West and East Coast CD sets that focus on studio orchestras that were filled with guys that had successful careers in the Swing Era, and were now finding work playing for TV shows and movies.
The first set is the third of the West Coast Series, featuring Tommy Alexander and His Orchestra. The 1954-55 band boasted arrangements by Bill Holman and Billy May along with members including Pete Candoli/tp, Ted Nash/ts, Alvin Stoller/dr, Wrecking Crew member Tommy Tedesco/g and future Supersaxer Lanny Morgan. The orchestra delivers a bold “Flamingo” and brings a rich mood to “Mad About The Boy” and a nice Basie groove to “Lullaby of Birdland.” Keith Williams’ big Band includes charts by Williams and Russ Garcia, boasting a cast of Larry Bunker/dr, Curtis Counce/b, Nash and Tedesco. This big band sounds a lot more Stan Kentony, with a hard hitting “I Remember You,” and extroverted “Bernie’s Tune” and hard swinging takes of “Easy to Love,” while Garcia’s “Wiki Wiki” is an absolute hoot. Lots of fun here."
George W. Harris (August 13, 2018)
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