Monday, February 27, 2017

The Mello Sound of Don Elliott & The Music of Jerry Wald

Delving into the hidden depths of a great artiste’s discography can be a fascinating business and dedicated followers are keen to unearth early indications of burgeoning talent. This reissue brings together, for the first time on CD, two "cocktail" jazz sessions in which Bill Evans performs as a sideman revealing himself to be an accomplished session musician contributing to the prevailing mood rather than asserting the developing individualism that was already emerging through his work with George Russell’s "Jazz Workshop" and the clarinettist, Tony Scott.
The earliest session here is the Kapp album Listen to the Music of Jerry Wald. Wald was a very different clarinet player than Tony Scott, more in the Artie Shaw mould, and performing with a sextet embedded within a lush string section, he beguiles the ear with an easy listening set of standards that showcase his talent and offer some tasty interludes for his colleagues. Evans excels with sprightly solo in a jaunty version of "Love for Sale" and anticipates the spare chromatic romanticism of his mature work his solo in Bernstein’s "Lucky to be Me". Given that this dining and dancing music Evans playing is constrained by prevailing conventions but he is never hackneyed and frequently works flashes of the brilliance that was to come into his brief three or four bar interludes. Incidentally this was, apparently, the first time Evans and Paul Motian recorded together and is fascinating to hear the feisty avant-garde drummer that he was to become in this well mannered setting.
The second featured album is The Mello Sound of Don Elliot and comes nearly  two years after Evans made his leadership debut with New Jazz Conceptions and whilst he was in the midst of challenging sideman assignments with the likes of Russell, Scott and Charles Mingus. Elliot, who played the mellophone, a cross between a trumpet and a trombone with a vaguely French horn sound, was a friend from Evans` past and they had previously performed together live at Newport. To be part of this project must have come as a relaxing diversion for Evans because like its partner this is another relatively easy listening session with a jazz combo augmented by a harp and a six voice choir. The sextet is a top drawer group and there are some choice solo passages including three tunes where they get to play without the enhancements. Of these a bouncy version of "Play Fiddle Play" is the standout track with the leader on trumpet and the mellowness provided by McKusick’s bass clarinet. More typical of the set, however, is a version of the waltz from Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony entitled "The Story of a Starry Night" complete with swirling harp and "ooh-whaa" vocal refrain.
Notwithstanding the overtly commercial nature of the music it makes for very pleasant listening on several levels and its re-issue shouldn’t be dismissed as a mere novelty for completists. There is some impeccable musicianship to be heard even though it will never be regarded as a significant milestone in Evans’ career ; that came a mere three months after the Elliot session when Evans joined the Miles Davis sextet. The disc comes with a useful booklet replicating the original cover art and album notes including an informative appraisal by Mel Parson.
Euan Dixon

Source :

Don Elliott
The Mello Sound of
Listen to the Music of Jerry Wald
(featuring Bill Evans)


1 A Million Dreams Ago (Quadling, Howard, Jurgens)  2:32
2 It's Only a Paper Moon (Arlen, Rose, Harburg)  3:11
3 Dinah (Akst, Lewis, Young)  2:27
4 Blue Waltz (Elliott)  2:56
5 Poinciana (Song of the Tree) (Simon, Bernier)  3:19
6 Play Fiddle Play (Deutsch, Altman, Lawrence)  3:36
7 Summer Scene (Elliott)  2:44
8 Tired of Me (Elliott)  2:26
9 I Don't Want to Walk Without You (Styne, Loesser)  3:07
10 When the Sun Comes Out (Koehler, Arlen)  2:37
11 The Story of a Starry Night (Curtis, Livinsgton)  3:32
12 A Waltz (Elliott)  1:49
13 Who Cares ? (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:55
14 If I Had You (Shapiro, Campbell, Connelly)  3:26
15 Mad About the Boy (Coward)  2:41
16 Dancing on the Ceiling (Rodgers, Hart)  2:50
17 Lucky to Be Me (Bernstein, Comden, Green)  3:43
18 Three Little Words (Kalmar, Ruby)  2:54
19 Love for Sale (Porter)  2:49
20 I've Got a Crush on You (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:30
21 You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me (Kahal, Fain, Norman)  3:27
22 Gloomy Sunday (Javor, Lewis, Seress)  2:57
23 Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart)  2:43
24 Maybe (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:40


[# 1-12] The Mello Sound of Don Elliott
Don Elliott - tp, mel & vb
Hal McKusick - fl, cl b, as & ts
Barry Galbraith - g
Bill Evans - p
Ernie Furtado - b
Paul Motian - dr
Janet Putman - harp
Six voice vocal group
Recorded in New York ; February 10 # 1, 4, 7 & 10] & February 11 [# 2-3, 5-6, 8-9 & 11-12], 1958
[# 13-24] Listen to the Music of Jerry Wald
Jerry Wald - cl & cond.
Eddie Costa - vb
Unknown - g
Bill Evans - p
Unknown - b
Paul Motian - dr
String Orchestra unknown
Recorded in New York ; 1955


Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

Great! Thank you.

francisco santos said...


Bill said...

Nice one again, thanks!

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks a lot Mel.

neil said...

Sucker for Poinciana; many thanks, mel...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the great stuff. You've opened my ears to a lot of music.

Mikel Hal said...

moltes Gracies!!!!!!!!

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

OMG! Special thanks, again Mel!!
I have these 2 albums (320k & flac & original LPs), but I like so much your flac files and your work.
You're great (as always)

deGallo said...

Thank you.

cvllos said...

Thanks, Melanchthon!

Luis said...

Love it! Obrigado

ProfessorCalculus said...

Thanks Mel

Xue Bao said...

Great share,
thanks a lot

Kovina Kris said...

Wonderful post. Thank you so much Mel!

AmyBRAINS said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, dear MM, this is pure art and joy. Helps me, and us all, i hope, to go thru another day.