SWING FEVER presents
CLARK TERRY, TERRY GIBBS
Terry Gibbs & Bryan Gould
Buddy DeFranco & Swing Fever
Clark Terry & Jackie Ryan
1 CD with 19 tracks, 14 songs
2 bonus DVDs - 90 minutes with
additional songs, additional concerts
20 page Booklet with bios and 27 photo portraits
Liner notes by Will Friedwald
CD - Not to be missed:
CLARK's haunting version of "Topsy"
BUDDY's skillfully creative "Speak Low" and "Liza"
GIBB's virtuoso "Love For Sale" and stunning "Body and Soul" with Jackie's a cappella intro
JACKIE's luscious "East of the Sun" and "You Go To My Head"
SWING FEVER and GIBB's electrifying "Airmail Special"
DVD - Not to be missed:
CLARK and SWING FEVER's rousing "Swingin' The Blues"
CLARK's vocal antics on "I Want A Little Girl" - one of three best videos recorded of Clark's vocal classic
CLARK's and JACKIE's mischievous banter on "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone"
GIBB's anecdotes on working with Benny Goodman
GIBB's flurry of sticks dueling with Jim Rothermel's clarinet on
"Airmail Special" and Ray Loeckle's sax on "Autumn Leaves"
BUDDY's semi-confidential Gene Krupa story
BUDDY'S endlessly inventive solo on "Dancing In The Dark"
SWING FEVER's mesmerizing "Splanky" featuring bandleader Bryan Gould on trombone and Steve Campos on trumpet
SWING FEVER MUSICIANS
JIM PUTMAN guitar
RUTH DAVIES bass
TONY JOHNSON drums
DEAN REILLY bass
HAROLD JONES drums
BRYAN GOULD bandleader, trombone
STEVE CAMPOS trumpet
RAY LOECKLE tenor sax, flute
HOWARD DUDUNE alto sax, flute
JIM ROTHERMEL alto sax, clarinet
PEE WEE CLAYBROOK tenor sax
Grand Masters Of Jazz; Clark Terry, trumpet, Buddy DeFranco, clarinet, Terry Gibbs, vibes.
Yeah, I think it might be safe to refer to these three marvels as Grand Masters of Jazz. These recordings were all made between 1998 and 2001. And not every guy plays on every track. The disc also features various members of Swing Fever, a 35-year-old, much beloved swing band in San Francisco. To all of this luscious music, add the solid vocals of Jackie Ryan on six of the 19 cuts, and you end up with a real gem of a record. To break it all down a bit: Gibbs is featured on "Airmail Special," "Love For Sale" and "Autumn Leaves." Clark is in fine fettle on "Topsy," "I Want a Little Girl," "Swingin' the Blues" and "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone." And Buddy shines on "Speak Low," "Liza" and "My Lean Baby." The graphics are outstanding and feature a 20-page booklet chock full of photos, bios, history, color and style. In the dozen years that have passed since these sessions were done, all three of these Grand Masters are, happily, still with us. Their contribution to jazz, individually and collectively, is immeasurable. They are jazz royalty and it's pretty darn cool to hear them on this "old but new" recording.
Open Art Productions; 2013, 74 minutes
— George Fendel, JAZZ SOCIETY OF OREGON
Giving an album the title Grand Masters of Jazz (Open Art 07452) makes a potential buyer expect a lot. Well this album delivers. It is a compilation of performances by the San Francisco swing band SWING FEVER with guest artists CLARK TERRY, BUDDY DeFRANCO, TERRY GIBBS and JACKIE RYAN. The ten-piece Swing Fever band, led by trombonist Bryan Gould, has now been active for about 35 years. The recordings found in this package of one CD and two DVDs were made between 1998 and 2001. On the CD, the sessions are effectively mixed to give the feeling of a continuous performance. Terry plays trumpet, flugelhorn and contributes some vocalizing, while DeFranco plays clarinet, and Gibbs makes his statements on vibes. They are all players who give it their all every time they get on stage, and it is a joy to hear each of them. Ryan performs vocals with all three guests as well as doing a few sensational selections with just guitarist Jim Putman and reed player Jim Rothermel. The DVDs contain some material that is not on the CD. Put it all together with a full color 20 page booklet, and it is a package that gives you a lot of listening pleasure for a very reasonable outlay.
— Joseph Lang, JERSEY JAZZ JOURNAL
Swing Fever, "Grand Masters of Jazz" (Open Art)
A Bay Area mainstay led by trombonist Byron Gould, the large ensemble Swing Fever lets us all in on its 35th anniversary through an ambitious CD/two-DVD release. While Swing Fever has a storied history — predominantly playing up and down the Northern California coast, appearing seemingly equally in concert settings, high-end functions and celebrity weddings — it's the augmentation of its big band that really adds flavor to this release.
Here, the Swing Era big band put its celebratory compendium together as a showcase for a trio of icons from that era: trumpeter/flugelhornist Clark Terry, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and vibraphonist Terry Gibbs. The threesome's appearances are augmented by guest vocalist Jackie Ryan. The CD preserves material captured from 1998 to 2001 and covers swing to bebop, played in a variety of speeds from slow-paced ballad to mid-tempo blues to an upbeat-frenzied pace.
There are 19 tracks here; 14 arrive via a smattering of live dates that are sequenced to give a sense of a singular event when, in fact, that's not the case. No matter, it's done in a way that doesn't detract from the effort. The other five entries took place in the studio. There is a good deal of banter, historical anecdotes offered by each grandmaster or bandleader Gould that offer the audience insight before a given selection.
Each giant — Terry, DeFranco and Gibbs — owns separate stints that cover the big-band era in a big way, from working with Duke Ellington and Count Basie to Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and beyond. They know this style — and the compositions that come with it — backward and forward; vocalist Ryan, though much younger than her counterparts, also is quite familiar with the sub-genre.
Ultimately, after several listens, I came away with a good feeling. On one hand, "Grand Masters of Jazz" should be thought of as a period piece — but, on the other, it's anything but an antique frozen in time. Swing Fever rightfully takes a back seat to the stars, but it has this stuff down, which isn't surprising given its 35-year tenure as a working band. So while the collection contains a passel of classics such as "You Go To My Head," "East of the Sun," "That Ole Devil Called Love," Body and Soul," "Airmail Special" and "Autumn Leaves," the delivery sounds fresh. There's no hint of staid or stale here, though. If you shut your eyes, you can feel yourself drifting onto a film noir set, sitting in a fancy hotel nightclub filled with good guys and gangsters.
These days — more than a decade after this recording took place — Terry, now 92, is in ill-health; sadly, his playing days have, in essence, come to an end. "Grand Masters" reminds us just how vibrant and seminal a talent he was just a short time ago, as well as how historically significant he remains. Gibbs, the 89-year-old New Yorker-turned-West Coaster, was an essential player in the Lighthouse's heyday, the venue that brought together Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Howard Rumsey and so many other Southern California musicians. As for DeFranco, he still seems to be defying age; he's now 90 and still playing with a great deal of fervor and energy. "Grand Masters of Jazz" is big fun. Check it out.— Jon W. Poses, COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE
phone: (347) 726-8325
Phone: (415) 459-2269
City Hall Records
Phone: (415) 457-9080
OpenArt Productions LLC
P.O. Box 131, Mill Valley CA 94942
Phone: (415) 380-8020