Prelude & Deodato 2
Themes from The Exorcist, The French Connection, The Sting and other great films & Flashpoint
Hiroshima & Odori
Operation Jam Session
Kenny Baker & The Jazz Today Unit
ORIGINAL LP JTL 1 (1955)
On the Alamo (Kahn; Jones); What's new? (Haggart); Makin' whoopee (Donaldson; Kahn); How long has this been going on? (Gershwin); Sweet and lovely (Arnheim; Tobias; Lemare); I'm beginning to see the light (Hodges; Ellington; George) Arranged by Kenny Baker
Blues in threes (Baker)
Tribute to Benny Carter
Kenny Baker & The Jazz Today Unit featuring Bertie King
ORIGINAL LP JTL 5 (1955)
Symphony in riffs (Carter)
The Bertie King Jazz Group
Blues in my heart (Carter; Mills)
Blue Lou (Sampson; Mills)
Once upon a time (Carter)
The Bertie King Jazz Group
FROM THE ORIGINAL LP Mainstream at Nixa Vol.2' NJT 506 (1956)
Blue interlude (Carter arr Baker)
Skip it (Carter arr Baker)
Lazy afternoon (Carter; Cook arr Baker)
Introducing the Don Harper Quintet
ORIGINAL EP NJE 1034 (1957)
I'm easy (Banks)
Just rockin' (Harper)
I may be wrong (Ager; Yellen; Sullivan)
Swinging that old grandfather clock (Trad arr Harper)
The superlative trumpet playing of Kenny Baker is one of the main attractions on this Vocalion release. On many of the tracks he leads The Jazz Today Unit, which on Operation Jam Session (1955) includes in its ranks special guests Joe Harriott, Bruce Turner and Bertie King (alto saxes). Produced by Denis Preston, side one of the original LP was taken up by an elongated medley of jazz standards including On the Alamo, What's New? and Sweet and Lovely. Arranged by Kenny Baker, there is plenty of solo space for, among others, Jimmy Skidmore (tenor sax), Dill Jones (piano) and Keith Christie (trombone) as well as Kenny himself.
Tribute to Benny Carter (1955) is, as the title suggests, a tribute to the famous American alto saxophonist. With many of the same personnel as Operation Jam Session' (1955), it features The Jazz Today Unit as well The Bertie King Jazz Group. The Jazz Today Unit perform Carter's ten-minutes-plus Symphony in Riffs, while Bertie King's Jazz Group swings its way through five Benny Carter compositions including Blues in My Heart, Skip It and Lazy Afternoon. Incidentally, both Bertie King and his sideman trombonist George Chisholm had appeared on the original 1937 Benny Carter recordings of Skip It and Lazy Afternoon.
The last four tracks are from a rare 1957 EP by the quintet of Australian-born violinist and composer Don Harper. Born in 1921, Harper arrived in the UK in 1955 and shortly afterwards began performing with his group at various London nightspots. In the 1960s and '70s he was a heavily in-demand session musician, pioneering the use of electric violin and performing on countless TV and film scores as well as recording several albums under his own name. Introducing the Don Harper Quintet was his debut UK recording. It features a mix of standards (I May Be Wrong) with Harper originals (Just Rockin'), all showcasing the lithe improvisations and virtuosity of Don Harper.
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