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Bob Brookmeyer/Bob Brookmeyer Quartet: Blues Hot & Cold/7 X Wilder *

Album Notes

Bob Brookmeyer pioneered playing jazz on the valve trombone, and employed an open-ended approach that embraced both cool and chamber jazz elements. This CD combines two of his finest early period albums from 1960 and 1961, playing standards and originals alongside a stock backup piano/bass/drums trio with Jimmy Rowles, and interpreting the music of Alec Wilder in tandem with guitarist Jim Hall. For the latter date, Brookmeyer goes back and forth between trombone and piano, with drummer Mel Lewis on both sessions. The first group is more sedate on songs like the polite "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "Languid Blues," but hop it up for the happy swinger "I Got Rhythm," or up and down title track. Brookmeyer has a delicate touch on piano for the waltz "While We're Young" and "The Wrong Blues," but on the trombone bops along for the fun tune "That's The Way It Goes," and epitomizes California cool for classics like the immortal "It's so Peaceful in the Country," paired beautifully with Hall on "Who Can I Turn To?" or on the muted trombone during "I'll Be Around." As you listen, you notice Brookmeyer gets around on his brass instrument as a trumpeter, not with the acumen of J.J. Johnson's slide trombone, but with an attack that combines the subtleties of Chet Baker with the alacrity of Shorty Rogers, who must be a telling influence. These albums were highly rated when they came out, and stand the test of time as excellent early examples of Brookmeyer's performance prowess. ~ Michael G. Nastos


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