The Quintessence New York - Chicago: 1933-50

The Quintessence New York - Chicago: 1933-50

by Teddy Wilson



Were it not for the complete and total absence of Lester Young, this would, in fact, be a truly quintessential Teddy Wilson retrospective. The liner notes are informative and the diversity of material is impressive. Saxophonists include Ben Webster, Chu Berry, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Hilton Jefferson, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Tab Smith, Gene Sedric, Rudy Powell, and even Wardell Gray. But where is Lester Young? This is a puzzling omission, given the crucial role Young played in the Teddy Wilson Orchestra and the work both men did with Billie Holiday's Orchestra in 1937, 1938, and 1940. Given the fact that each disc contains roughly one hour of music, there should have been plenty of room for Pres, who is conspicuously absent. It is the only flaw in an otherwise enjoyable compilation. "Once Upon a Time," recorded in 1933 by an ensemble calling themselves the Chocolate Dandies, shows off Wilson's unique way of handling the piano as well as the warmth and charm of Max Kaminsky's trumpet. Wilson's piano solos are well-represented, beginning with "Somebody Loves Me" from 1934. There's more than a little evidence here of Wilson's influence on Art Tatum, or Tatum's influence on Wilson. (The obvious point is that they influenced each other.) Several tracks from 1937 illustrate how integral Teddy Wilson was to the evolution of swing. "Fine and Dandy" finds the Teddy Wilson Orchestra sporting an Ellingtonian front line of Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, and Harry Carney. Most exciting for collectors is the inclusion of the legendary "Just a Mood," a blues in two parts starring Harry James, Red Norvo, and John Simmons. The Billie Holiday selections are lovely, but anyone familiar with this music will sorely miss the presence of Lester Young. "Liza," dating from 1939, showcases Wilson's accelerated piano technique in front of a rather large and loud band. Drummer J.C. Heard joins bassist Al Hall in rigorously supporting Wilson's lively improvisations during a pair of trio stomps from 1941. Wilson vocally introduces a delightful 1943 V-Disc quartet performance of "How High the Moon." Unfortunately, this appears to be the only included example of Wilson's remarkable collaborations with clarinetist Edmond Hall. As the turbulent decade of the 1940s unfolded, Wilson continued to challenge himself by sitting in with the very progressive Coleman Hawkins (the example from Hawk's Keynote catalog is a smoker), and leading a series of small ensembles in suitably modernized updates of the swing tradition. If Roy Eldridge, Bobby Hackett, Buck Clayton, and Jonah Jones were the perfect choices earlier on, Charlie Shavers is about as advanced as a swing trumpeter could get in 1945 without emulating Dizzy Gillespie. Wilson's 1946 piano solo, "Cheek to Cheek," reveals harmonically advanced ideas, which are in step with the times. As if to emphasize the point, bop legend Wardell Gray appears on "Cookin' One Up," an aircheck from 1948. The leader on this track is Benny Goodman; his trios and quartets appear throughout this compilation, and the aircheck works well as the last word on Wilson's important work with Goodman. This is a wonderful bundle of exciting and endlessly rewarding jazz from a period with which many Americans are all too unfamiliar. Once again, the French have done an excellent job of reissuing our music. The question, however, remains: Why does Lester Young not appear on this important quintessential history of Teddy Wilson?

Product Details

Release Date: 07/29/2003
Label: Fremeaux & Assoc. Fr
UPC: 3448960224024
catalogNumber: 240

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Teddy Wilson   Primary Artist,Piano,Leader
Mildred Bailey   Vocals
Billy Bauer   Guitar
Chu Berry   Tenor Saxophone
Buck Clayton   Trumpet
Roy Eldridge   Trumpet
Benny Goodman   Clarinet
Wardell Gray   Tenor Saxophone
Bobby Hackett   Cornet
Lionel Hampton   Vibes
Johnny Hodges   Alto Saxophone
Harry James   Trumpet
Jonah Jones   Trumpet
Max Kaminsky   Trumpet
John Kirby   Bass,Guitar
Gene Krupa   Drums
Red Norvo   Xylophone,Vibes
Pee Wee Russell   Clarinet
Tab Smith   Alto Saxophone
Ben Webster   Tenor Saxophone
Charlie Shavers   Trumpet
Cozy Cole   Drums
Stan Hasselgård   Clarinet
Vido Musso   Tenor Saxophone
Coleman Hawkins   Tenor Saxophone
McKibbon   Bass
Walter Page   Bass
Harold Baker   Trumpet
Benny Carter   Clarinet,Trumpet,Leader,Alto Saxophone
Artie Bernstein   Bass
Billie Holiday   Vocals
Johnny Blowers   Drums
Floyd Brady   Trombone
Wayman Carver   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Harry Carney   Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Big Sid Catlett   Drums
Doc Cheatham   Trumpet
Pete Clark   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Bill Dillard   Trumpet
Eddie Dougherty   Drums
Kansas Fields   Drums
Karl George   Trumpet
Gordon Griffin   Trumpet
Hall   Bass
J.C. Heard   Drums
J.C. Higginbotham   Trombone
Ernest "Bass" Hill   Bass
George Irish   Tenor Saxophone
Hilton Jefferson   Alto Saxophone
Keg Johnson   Trombone
Lawrence Lucie   Guitar
Rudy Powell   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Buddy Schutz   Drums
Cecil Scott   Clarinet
Gene Sedric   Tenor Saxophone
Arvell Shaw   Bass
John Simmons   Bass
Dave Tough   Drums
Jackson Wiley   Trombone
Mel Zelnick   Drums
Allen Reuse   Guitar
William Coles   Drums
Dick McDonough   Guitar
Glyn Paque   Alto Saxophone
Fred Robinson   Trombone
Prince Robinson   Clarinet
Arnold Fishkind   Bass
Joe Thomas   Trumpet
Nan Wynn   Vocals
Charles Williams   Trumpet
Dick Clark   Trumpet
Albert Casey   Guitar
Johnny Russell   Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

Paul James   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Benny Goodman   Composer
Lionel Hampton   Composer
Teddy Wilson   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Edgar Sampson   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Vernon Duke   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Jack Pettis   Composer
Harry Barris   Composer
Benny Carter   Arranger,Composer
Anne Caldwell   Composer
J. Fred Coots   Composer
Henry Creamer   Composer
Buddy DeSylva   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Haven Gillespie   Composer
Johnny Green   Composer
Nancy Hamilton   Composer
Otto Harbach   Composer
Edward Heyman   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Turner Layton   Composer
Ballard MacDonald   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Cole Porter   Composer
Ralph Rainger   Composer
Leo Robin   Composer
Elmer Schoebel   Composer
Billy Meyers   Composer
Alain Gerber   Liner Notes
Alain Tercinet   Liner Notes
Kay Swift   Composer
Ted Koehler   Composer
Robert Sour   Composer
Frank Eyton   Composer
Phil Boutelje   Composer
Clifford R. Burwell   Composer
Gordon Clifford   Composer
Morgan Lewis   Composer
Benjamin Franklin Spikes   Composer
John Jacob Loeb   Composer
Lee Roberts   Composer
John Spikes   Composer
Dick Winfree   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Laure Wright   Adaptation,translation
Jacques Réda   Quotes Researched & Compiled
J. Will Callahan   Composer

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