Cat's in the Alley

Cat's in the Alley

by Cat Anderson
     
 

As the lead soloist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra and recognized in smaller circles as one of the all-time great jazz trumpet improvisers, Cat Anderson did not have much time for fronting a band of his own. Up until his passing in 1981, Anderson still took many a backseat for listeners, critics, and the general public who knew virtually nothing about him. This…  See more details below

Overview

As the lead soloist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra and recognized in smaller circles as one of the all-time great jazz trumpet improvisers, Cat Anderson did not have much time for fronting a band of his own. Up until his passing in 1981, Anderson still took many a backseat for listeners, critics, and the general public who knew virtually nothing about him. This single CD should change all of that, a reissue of his first two dates as a leader, with a 15-piece big band Cat on a Hot Tin Horn for Mercury records, and Ellingtonia, for octet, originally on the obscure Wynne label. Both have been out of print on vinyl for decades, making this release more than merely long awaited. Anderson, a proprietor of the upper octave high note solos that bent notes and challenged air traffic lanes, surprisingly takes a backseat for the greater good of the ensemble on most of this, and also finds him an adept composer of original swing to bop music. Of course the bands are fully loaded with great soloists, Ellingtonians or not, most notably fellow trumpeters Clark Terry and Ernie Royal, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, tenor saxophonists Jimmy Forrest and Ernie Wilkins (also arranger,) and drummer Panama Francis. Of the nine big band charts from 1958, the opener and longest jam, "Little Man," gets the ball rolling with standout solos from the wailin' Forrest, baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, Cleveland, and a free-for-all from the trumpet section. The rest of the tunes are short, ranging from Anderson's supremely confident low octave, vocal-like lead on "Birth of the Blues," the dramatic, Latin "Besame Mucho" flavored, light lavender colored "Blue Jean Beguine," and the jumpier "Mexican Bandit." Earle Warren's bravissimo vibrato on alto sax is featured during "My Adorable D," while the rocking drums of Francis set off the sparks of a "Blues for Sale" spin-off "Cat's in the Alley," and the skittering and even slightly irritating but big themed "June Bug." The large group pieces from 1959, with legendary Elllington trombonist Quentin "Butter" Jackson and different (than Francis for sure) drummer Sam Woodyard, sports an entirely different lineup, with two features, the sensual "Lovelinnessence" and the classic ballad "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," for the immortal violinist Ray Nance. Budd Johnson and Rudy Powell split sax and clarinet chores. Johnson is backing Nance, and Powell adds to the advanced modern swinger "Between Some Place, Goin' No Place" the bouncy, fun "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," and the bright, happy "Like Dig." Throughout the disc you hear many typical Ellington phrases, as if the master is looking over Anderson's shoulder, but they are snippets and not clichés. Besides "Flower," the big band with Anderson upfront does a muted trumpet wah wah plunger-accented "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," while the octet performs a perfect "Chelsea Bridge" and a lush, Ellington-like, hot, slow, and sultry "Summertime," but those are the few and far between covers. This one should, by definition, be impossible to nit-pick, for the recording sound is excellent, the players beyond reproach, and the variety of (then) modern jazz fits the progressive aesthetic of Ellington and the then expanding Anderson to a T. This comes highly recommended; it's nearly essential, and is one of the best mainstream jazz reissues in recent years.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/25/2007
Label:
Fresh Sounds Spain
UPC:
8427328604604
catalogNumber:
460

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cat Anderson   Primary Artist,Trumpet
Jimmy Cleveland   Trombone
Jimmy Forrest   Tenor Saxophone
Budd Johnson   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Ray Nance   Violin
Frank Rehak   Trombone
Ernie Royal   Trumpet
Jimmy Woode   Bass
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Ray Copeland   Trumpet
George Duvivier   Bass
Henderson Chambers   Trombone
Clark Terry   Trumpet
Ernie Wilkins   Tenor Saxophone
Panama Francis   Drums
Jimmy Jones   Piano
Reunald Jones   Trumpet
Leroy Lovett   Piano
Rudy Powell   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Sahib Shihab   Baritone Saxophone
Sam Woodyard   Drums
Chief Justice Earl Warren   Alto Saxophone

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Cat Anderson   Arranger
Duke Ellington   Composer
Ernie Wilkins   Arranger
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Dom Cerulli   Liner Notes
Jordi Pujol   Producer

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