Monday, August 7, 2017

Lennie Niehaus - Vol. 1 (The Quintets)

Alto saxophonist Lennie Niehaus is better known as the arranger for Clint Eastwood's films, but he has long been familiar to jazz fans as a respected bandleader, composer, arranger, and soloist. This limited-edition audiophile reissue of his first solo recordings (following stints with Stan Kenton and Shorty Rogers) is a stunner. Included is the first 10" LP he recorded with a three-saxophone front line — in this case, with Jack Montrose (tenor), and Bob Gordon (baritone) — and other quintet sessions with musicians including pianist Hampton Hawes, and fellow Kentonite Shelly Manne (who was responsible for Niehaus' record deal with Contemporary's Lester Koenig in the first place). The involvement of Kenton bandmembers familiar with one another lends an ease and excitement to the proceedings. These quintet sessions are West Coast jazz at its finest. Melodic tunes give plenty of air to the lyrical yet complex nature of much of the music coming from that region at the time, with no remnants of the cool jazz period. These 1954 sides stomp with swing, color, and style. Bebop is called upon for tempo and pace, while swing and hard bop are referenced as checkpoints. There is a genuine glee in Niehaus' playing on "I Can't Believe You're in Love with Me," when he trades solos with Stu Williamson, while he paces the slightly faster take on "I Remember You" until slipping into one of those long, melodically sophisticated solos of his, just when you expected another chorus. Listening to this, it's hard to believe West Coast jazz ever got a bad rap. This set sounds as fresh today as it did then.
Thom Jurek

Source :

Lennie Niehaus
 Vol. 1
The Quintets


1 I Remember You (Mercer, Schertzinger)  2:39
2 Poinciana (Bernier, Simon)  3:53
3 Whose Blues ? (Niehaus)  3:24
4 Prime Ribs (Niehaus)  3:13
5 I Should Care (Cahn, Stordahl, Weston)  3:18
6 Inside Out (Niehaus)  2:59
7 I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me (Gaskill, McHugh)  3:33
8 You Stepped out of a Dream (Brown, Kahn)  2:43
9 I'll Take Romance (Hammerstein, Oakland)  3:03
10 Happy Times (Niehaus)  3:31
11 Day by Day (Cahn, Stordahl, Weston)  3:40
12 Bottoms Up (Niehaus)  3:14


Lennie Niehaus - as
Jack Montrose - ts
Bob Gordon - bs
Monty Budwig - b
Shelly Manne - dr
[# 2, 5, 7 & 10 only]
Lennie Niehaus - as
Stu Williamson - tp & tb
Hampton Hawes - p
Red Mitchell - b
Shelly Manne - dr

Recorded at Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles ; July 2 [# 4, 6, 9 & 12] ; & July 9 [# 1, 3, 8 & 11], 1954


Orbyt said...

Another West Coast classic. Great post Mel.

PlantDoctor53 said...

Thank you Mel for the "swing, color, and style."

stringbender said...

Thank you for posting this fantastic LP.

the doc said...

I have this and love it. You don't by any chance have vols 2 & 4 do you?

the doc

dreadco said...

The cover reminds me of "Good Fellas" and they look so formidable... But the music is so sweet! Thank you.

Melanchthon said...

@ the doc :
Vol. 2 "Zounds" is here :

I'll post vol. 4 (Quintets with Strings) and 5 (Sextet).

Anonymous said...

podrias resubir el link? gracias

Anonymous said...


musician3 said...

AMAZING...........................THANK YOU FOR ALL

Luis Lorenzo said...

Gracias Mel!!

Mike said...

Excellent! Thanks a lot.

deGallo said...

Thank you.

jazzandylan said...

Many thanks Mel.

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel! I had Vol 2-4 and I'm happy to have the first volume finally.

Melanchthon said...

Kovina Kris said...

Thank you very much Mel!

daniel genovese said...

Thank you.