Sunday, March 20, 2016

Max Bennett

Max Bennett became one of the top session bassists in California, but beforehand was in the midst of the West Coast early progressive jazz movement that was informed by bop. His debut recording for the Bethlehem label (recorded in New York City) featured an amalgam of eastern boppers like Bostonians alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano and pianist Dave McKenna, and fellow members of the Stan Kenton bands like trombonist Carl Fontana, baritone saxophonist Jack Nimitz, drummer Mel Lewis, and Woody Herman alumnus trumpeter Nick Travis. This straight reissue of the original 1955 LP features a handful of standards, some hot hard bop originals, and nary a speck of the laid-back sounds the Los Angeles scene was identified with. The tracks with just a quartet have the brilliant Fontana leading out on the melody lines. The trombonist breezes through the ballad "Polka Dots & Moonbeams," a song he would perform as a signature tune for decades onward. No slouch on bop for "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," Fontana rips through the melody supported by McKenna's modal comping chords, and clamps down firmly for the joyous "Strike Up the Band," as close to perfection as can be. McKenna, who is well known for playing early style vintage jazz outside of bop, is outstanding, and could go note for note against even the vaunted Bud Powell on this date. With Bennett and Lewis, they do the delightful original of the pianist's "13 Toes," while McKenna gets ample solo space on Al Cohn's fun and well swung "Max Is the Factor." While an expert at quarter-note walking, Bennett gets to play lead melodies for "Something to Remember You By" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It." The entire septet goes for it on the singing and tuneful then-fashionable bopper written by Lennie Niehaus, "Johnny Jaguar," Travis gets a big piece of the action for Bob Brookmeyer's "Ira of the I.R.A.," while the whole horn section chirps at and strafes over Bennett for "Nice Work." This is clearly a cooperative band no matter the configuration, featuring the common sense approach of the leader, great musicianship from all ; it's very well recorded, and made for an auspicious debut recording that perfectly reflects the sound of the time.
Michael G. Nastos

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gcfwxq8rldhe

Max Bennett
Max Bennett

Tracks

1 Johnny Jaguar (Niehaus)  5:17
2 My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Porter)  3:37
3 Something to Remember You By (Dietz, Schwartz)  2:36
4 I Hadn't Anyone 'Till You (Noble)  3:31
5 Ira of the I.R.A. (Bookmeyer)  4:52
6 Max Is the Factor (Cohn)  3:04
7 Strike Up the Band (Gershwin)  3:33
8 13 Toes (McKenna)  3:11
9 Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Burke, VanHeusen)  4:07
10 Nice Work If You Can Get It (Gershwin)  2:28

*

Personnel 
Max Bennett - b
Carl Fontana - tb
Mel Lewis - dr
Dave McKenna - p
Charlie Mariano - as
Jack Nimitz - bs
Nick Travis - tp

Recorded  in New York City ; December 14, 1955

29 comments:

Bhowani said...

Max Bennett

Always in the excellence ! thank you Mel !

jpo said...

intersting to hear thid early stuff from MB... i first heard max on jeff becks seminal "Wired" album...
great post

jpo said...

just realized--i was referring to Max Middleton!
got my max's mixed up
anyhow--listenint to this now--nice stuff
thnx

Kneigh said...

This is great!! Never knew Mr. Bennett had releases under his own name. Being a 'bone freak, I happened on this searching Carl Fontana. Many THANX for this one and the M.B. "Plays"!!!

Kovina Kris said...

Actually going through the Dave McKenna stuff when I found this. Great lineup. Can't wait to hear this. Thank you!

Pet said...

JPO - Getting the Maxes mixed isn't that bad maybe, as Bennett played in Zappa's Hot Rats later, and a propos FZ, below in the blog is the Bobby Jaspar entry featuring Buzz Gardner who would play in Zappa's classic group Mothers Of Invention right when the very Hot Rats sort of broke up the ealier band...

rog said...

Mel, Max and these "Left Coast" guys are awesome ! Love this '55 period. Great jazz, cars, hormones... and memories... :-) Thanks for bringing these back.

Baron said...

Thank you Mel

DEEP said...

Melvin,

Please post "MAX BENNETT PLAYS".

Premature CLASP!!

CrunchyFrog said...

very nice... thanks!

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel!

Melanchthon said...

http://www61.zippyshare.com/v/25hseZz3/file.html
http://www61.zippyshare.com/v/yczvJAa8/file.html

deGallo said...

Nice! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for one I had overlooked.

Anonymous said...

Thank You

Nathalie Bourgaud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rodney said...

Thank you, mel

Mike said...

Not a familiar name to me, but I've learned to trust your judgement in these things... Thanks in advance!

Historicus said...

Thanks a lot!

Newlyner said...

Many thanks Mel. Great post.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Hi Mel,
Thanks a lot!
Pedro

adakun said...

Thank you, Mel!!

Luis Lorenzo said...

Gracias, Mel!

Axel.T. said...

Thanks for this one. cream of the crop players.

steve said...

Max will always be the bass player for the LA Express to me. This group of personnel is impossible to ignore though! Thanks for the listen Mel.

Carlos Tibau said...

Great artist great album
Thanks

ProfessorCalculus said...

Howdy anybody having ' cannot open the file unexpected end of data" problem with this file ??? others open fine,Never a problem, any advice ??? Many Thanks for this and others. I love the Blue Notes.

AmyBRAINS said...

It's a very nice album.
Thanks a lot, Melanchthon.

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You