Mosaic Select: Johnny Mercer

Performers Johnny Mercer

Mosaic Select | July 9, 2009 | Compact Disc

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This Mosaic compilation draws from material that comprised five separate RCA Victor LPs of the 1950: Al Cohn's The Natural Seven and The Jazz Workshop: Four Brass, One Tenor, Freddie Green's Mr. Rhythm, plus two Joe Newman records, All I Wanna Do Is Swing and I'm Still Swinging. Cohn, Green, and Newman are the common element to all of the recording sessions, leading bands ranging from septets to nonets.The Natural Seven was inspired by the Kansas City Seven drawn from the Count Basie band of the 1930s, and while the arrangements by Cohn and Manny Albam swing lightly in the style of Basie's septet, the focus is more on originals written for the session rather than simply recreating earlier recordings. Joining them are pianist Nat Pierce, trombonist Frank Rehak, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Osie Johnson, highlighted by the upbeat unison horn line in Cohn's "Pick a Dilly" and Albam's swinging "Jump the Blues Away." Johnson even adds a vocal on his fun-filled "Osie's Blues." Cohn's other session as a leader includes Thad Jones with either Joe Wilder, Bernie Glow, or Phil Sunkel on third trumpet, with Dick Katz doubling on valve trombone and trumpet, pianist Dick Katz, and bassist Buddy Jones subbing for the previous personnel. Once more, Cohn and Albam split up the arrangements, with the tenor saxophonist benefiting from the quartet of brass players accompanying him. "Rosetta" and the leader's "Cohn Not Cohen" are among the highlights. Freddie Green was known for his superb timekeeping in the Basie band, a tenure which lasted a half-century until his passing in 1987, just a few years after the leader. Mr. Rhythm marked the first issued under his own name, plus eight of the dozen songs are Green's compositions, with Green sticking to playing rhythm throughout the date. Cohn, Albam, and Ernie Wilkins provide the swinging arrangements of the mostly blues-oriented material, while Cohn doubles on both clarinet and bass clarinet in addition to playing tenor sax. Two dates led by Newman in 1955 also fit in nicely, with either Frank Rehak or Urbie Green on trombone, Wilkins or Gene Quill on alto sax, and Pierce or Dick Katz on piano. Newman, who tended to be overshadowed by many of the other swing and bop trumpeters active at the time, shines on both open and muted horn, while featuring his musicians prominently throughout both dates. Green's "Corner Pocket" and a buoyant treatment of the standard "Exactly Like You" especially stand out. Most of this music was reissued on CD during the '80s and '90s, though none of it remained in print for long. This Mosaic limited-edition set is an affordable way to collect this rare material, available exclusively at www.mosaicrecords.com. ~ Ken Dryden

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: July 9, 2009

Genre: Bebop

Style: Jazz Instrument

Number of Discs: 3

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Label Name: Mosaic Select

UPC: 094639056224

Found in: Bebop

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Mosaic Select: Johnny Mercer

Performers Johnny Mercer

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: July 9, 2009

Genre: Bebop

Style: Jazz Instrument

Number of Discs: 3

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Label Name: Mosaic Select

UPC: 094639056224


Editorial Notes

This Mosaic compilation draws from material that comprised five separate RCA Victor LPs of the 1950: Al Cohn's The Natural Seven and The Jazz Workshop: Four Brass, One Tenor, Freddie Green's Mr. Rhythm, plus two Joe Newman records, All I Wanna Do Is Swing and I'm Still Swinging. Cohn, Green, and Newman are the common element to all of the recording sessions, leading bands ranging from septets to nonets.The Natural Seven was inspired by the Kansas City Seven drawn from the Count Basie band of the 1930s, and while the arrangements by Cohn and Manny Albam swing lightly in the style of Basie's septet, the focus is more on originals written for the session rather than simply recreating earlier recordings. Joining them are pianist Nat Pierce, trombonist Frank Rehak, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Osie Johnson, highlighted by the upbeat unison horn line in Cohn's "Pick a Dilly" and Albam's swinging "Jump the Blues Away." Johnson even adds a vocal on his fun-filled "Osie's Blues." Cohn's other session as a leader includes Thad Jones with either Joe Wilder, Bernie Glow, or Phil Sunkel on third trumpet, with Dick Katz doubling on valve trombone and trumpet, pianist Dick Katz, and bassist Buddy Jones subbing for the previous personnel. Once more, Cohn and Albam split up the arrangements, with the tenor saxophonist benefiting from the quartet of brass players accompanying him. "Rosetta" and the leader's "Cohn Not Cohen" are among the highlights. Freddie Green was known for his superb timekeeping in the Basie band, a tenure which lasted a half-century until his passing in 1987, just a few years after the leader. Mr. Rhythm marked the first issued under his own name, plus eight of the dozen songs are Green's compositions, with Green sticking to playing rhythm throughout the date. Cohn, Albam, and Ernie Wilkins provide the swinging arrangements of the mostly blues-oriented material, while Cohn doubles on both clarinet and bass clarinet in addition to playing tenor sax. Two dates led by Newman in 1955 also fit in nicely, with either Frank Rehak or Urbie Green on trombone, Wilkins or Gene Quill on alto sax, and Pierce or Dick Katz on piano. Newman, who tended to be overshadowed by many of the other swing and bop trumpeters active at the time, shines on both open and muted horn, while featuring his musicians prominently throughout both dates. Green's "Corner Pocket" and a buoyant treatment of the standard "Exactly Like You" especially stand out. Most of this music was reissued on CD during the '80s and '90s, though none of it remained in print for long. This Mosaic limited-edition set is an affordable way to collect this rare material, available exclusively at www.mosaicrecords.com. ~ Ken Dryden
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