While making a whirlwind package tour of Europe with "Jazz Club U.S.A." in the early part of 1954, guitarist Jimmy Raney and pianist Sonny Clark were brought together at two recording sessions both supervised by Leonard Feather. It was a rare and inspired pairing never to be repeated. At the time, Clark had recently replaced Kenny Drew as pianist in the Buddy DeFranco Quartet while Raney, along with bassist Red Mitchell, was with the Red Norvo Trio. Since Sonny was based on the West Coast and Jimmy on the East they had no real chance to play together until the went to Sweden in January 1954. But it was an undeniably happy circumstance that they were placed in each other’s musical company.
The star attraction of the bill was Billie Holiday. Along with the DeFranco and Norvo groups, the package included the all-girl trio of Beryl Booker with Elaine Leighton on drums.
They opened in Stockholm on January 11, 1954, and after a successful week in Scandinavia spent ten days in Germany, two in Holland, appeared in Paris and wound up with three dates in Switzerland. En land was not part of the schedule because the British Musicians’ Union was still adhering to its total ban on American players.
This hectic rush ot engagements did not preclude record dates in both Stockholm and Paris. The two Swedish sides featuring Raney and Clark were actually cut the day after the opening concert. As Feather wrote at the time, even the Americans had been thrown together suddenly in a unit that had made its debut just the previous night. Yet there are no signs of strain on either Raney’s tricky "Invention" or Feather’s "Jumping For Jane".
The bulk of the Raney/Clark collaboration within this album stems from a date held more than a month later, by which time Jimmy and Sonny had struck up a close musical understanding. The common ground was formed by six standard songs, most of which were familiar to Clark as part of DeFranco’s repertoire and were at the same time meat and drink to the guitarist...
Mark Gardner (from the Xanadu booklet)
Swingin' in Sweden
1 Indian Summer (Herbert) 2:37
2 Darn That Dream (DeLange, Van Heusen) 6:08
3 Jumping for Jane (Feather) 3:05
4 Invention (Raney) 5:27
5 'Round Midnight (Monk, Williams, Hanighen) 4:59
6 Blue Bird (Wallington) 7:25
[# 1 & 2] Jimmy Raney Quintet
Jimmy Raney - g
Putte Wickman - cl
Bengt Hallberg - p
Simon Brehm or Red Mitchell [# 2] - b
Elaine Leighton - dr
[# 3 & 4] Jimmy Raney Quintet
Jimmy Raney - g
Goesta Theselius - ts
Sonny Clark - p
Simon Brehm or Red Mitchell [#3] - b
Elaine Leighton - d
Recorded Stockholm, Sweden ; January 13, 1954
[# 5 & 6] George Wallington & His Swedish All Stars
Lars Gullin - bs
Arne Domnerus - as
Aake Persson - tb
George Wallington - p
Simon Brehm - b
Jack Noren - dr
Recorded Stockholm, Sweden ; September 14, 1953