Illinois Jacquet - Birthday Party
Styles: Saxophone Jazz
( 4:06) 1. Ebb Tide
(10:37) 2. Birthday Party Blues
( 5:24) 3. The Shadow Of Your Smile
(12:59) 4. On The Beach
( 5:48) 5. Polka Dots & Moon Beams
Recorded to celebrate Jacquet's 50th birthday, this date is an all-star collaboration with some of the greatest names in jazz: Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Joe Newman, Art Farmer, Jimmy Smith (on piano,) Gerry Mulligan, Jack Six, and Roy Haynes. It comes off loose and free, as if no charts were thrown at the musicians and they simply went at these three standards (two being movie-theme ballads), along with two of Jacquet's numbers, completely off the cuff. Moody leads on flute for the sultry bossa "Ebb Tide," with Farmer playing flugelhorn and Jacquet only getting his feet wet later in the bridge; all three counter jab near the end. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is more typical, with Burrell leading, Jacquet's mushy, blues-drenched tenor playing the melody, and Moody's flute filling whatever cracks crop up. The low-down "Birthday Party Blues" ballad is set up by Burrell and Six; Mulligan and Newman traipse through the midsection of this ten-minute jam, while Illinois' woodwind howls and the others chime in a bit. "Polka Dots & Moonbeams" is all Jacquet's, and he takes the baton, although Six goes it alone twice, and Burrell takes the rhythm section on solos. The cover of "On the Beach" is a hard, rip-roaring swinger that runs over 13 minutes, with the birthday boy leading and others to follow. Moody's smoother tenor provides a fine contrast to Jacquet's signature Texas edge; Newman's great muted trumpet with the rhythm trio is only further evidence that he should not continue being an uncrowned king. As short as it is (36 minutes), it's a shame there isn't more material too bad, for this was an incredible band. ~ Michael G.Nastos https://www.allmusic.com/album/birthday-party-mw0000667247
Illinois Jacquet - tenor saxophone;
Joe Newman - trumpet;
Art Farmer - flugelhorn;
Jimmie Smith - piano;
Kenny Burrell - guitar;
Jack Six - bass;
Roy Haynes - drums;
Gerry Mulligan - baritone saxophone;
James Moody - tenor saxophone, flute.
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