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Michel Legrand: Legrand Jazz

Album Reviews:

Record Collector (magazine) (p.93) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] 1957 big band session with stellar cameos from Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and a host of US luminaries."

Album Notes

Recorded June 25, 27 and 30, 1958 in New York City.

Personnel: Michel Legrand (conductor-arranger); Phil Woods, Gene Quill (alto saxophone); John Coltrane, Seldon Powell, Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Jerome Richardson (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); Teo Macero (baritone saxophone); Frank Rehak, Bill Byers, Jimmy Cleveland, Ernie Royal, Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, Joe Wilder, Miles Davis (trumpet); James Buffington (French horn); Eddie Bert (trombone); Major Holly (tuba, bass); Herbie Mann (flute); Betty Glamann (harp); Eddie Costa, Don Elliot (vibraphone); Barry Galbraith (guitar); Bill Evans, Nat Pierce, Hank Jones (piano); Milt Hinton, Paul Chambers, George Duvivier (bass); Kenny Davis, Osie Johnson, Don Lamond (drums).

Known primarily as a film composer, Michel Legrand made occasional, and highly notable, excursions into jazz as an arranger and conductor. LEGRAND JAZZ is his masterwork on this front, featuring his superb arrangements on 11 jazz standards performed by three different all-star groups. Legrand's re-workings of these familiar chestnuts are lush, ambitious, and often startling.

Even if Legrand's hadn't had a hand in the sessions, though, the personnel list would be enough to drool over. The first group, which covers Monk's "'Round Midnight" and Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," among others, features Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and pianist Bill Evans in its lineup. The second group takes on "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and Django Reinhardt's "Nuages," with help from tenor sax great Ben Webster and flautist Herbie Mann. "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Night in Tunisia" are performed by the third group, which boasts trumpeters Art Farmer and Donald Byrd, bassist Milt Hinton, and saxophonist (and famed producer) Teo Macero. Top-drawer playing, exquisite arrangements, and fine conducting make this Legrand album a classic.


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