Sunday, March 29, 2015

Listening to Prestige Records Part 96: Quincy Jones

The Lionel Hampton gang still in Sweden, still breaking away from Hamp to play some bebop with the Swedes, still giving Gigi Gryce and Quincy Jones to work out the arrangements they want to hear. This time it's Jones, and these are archetypal Quincy Jones arrangements -- full, melodic, adventurous, great ensemble voicings, plenty of room for improvisation.These Swedish sessions are the first recordings of Jones as an arranger, and they really show him already at a peak of form.

Jones doesn't play any trumpet on this set -- I guess if you've got Art Farmer handling that aspect, you don't really need to. Farmer has plenty of room to stretch out here, and he sounds great.

Jones doesn't play any piano, either, but it turns out that's covered very nicely too. Bengt Hallberg never ventured far beyond his native Sweden, but he made a name for himself that stretched far beyond the Scandinavian borders. Miles Davis, in a 1955 Leonard Feather blindfold test for Billboard, was
played one of these tunes, and said,
The piano player gasses me – I don’t know his name. I’ve been trying to find out his name. He’s from Sweden. . . . I think he made those records with Stan, like “Dear Old Stockholm.” I never heard anybody play in a high register like that. So clean, and he swings and plays his own things…
Hallberg died in 2013, at age 80.

No comments: