VOICES Notes and news on Jazz releases
14 NOV 12 CHRIS SLAWECKI
No, not Abbott & Costello. Jazz In Hollywood puts together two 1954 Nocturne Record dates by Bud Shank, whose alto saxophone and alto flute leads a large ensemble with longtime friend and collaborator Shorty Rogers (Shorty's first recording on flugelhorn); plus a trio date led by pianist Lou Levy that was somehow lost and rediscovered four decades later for this 1998 Original Jazz Classics release.
I like listening to Hollywood backwards, with Levy's smaller trio first and then the larger ensemble with horns. Levy proves an amazingly quick and dexterous bop pianist. "The Gentleman Is A Dope" blasts off from his unaccompanied intro and never slows down, and his strong, ringing sound brings out the vocal song of Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody'n You."
The first six tunes are Rogers originals for Shank's ensemble, including two tribute to his musical buddy: The floating ballad "Lotus Bud," full of space for Shank's flute to fill; and the fine blowing session "Shank's Pranks," the sound of modern jazz before the abstractions of the 1960s. "Casa De Luz" highlights their combined voice, made soft and warm by the flugelhorn's mellow, round tones.
Sessions recorded for Nocturne in the mid-1950s by trombonist Herbie Harper (with Shank on tenor and baritone) were also titled Jazz In Hollywood when released by OJC in 1998. In 1985, Shank and Rogers recorded the live California Concert (Contemporary/OJC, 1997). You can hear other tracks from Nocturne on the Specialty/Hi-Fi/Nocturne Sampler (OJC, 1995).