The Midnight Roll

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Herb Ellis is known primarily for playing with small ensembles, so this recording as part of an octet is a departure for the great guitarist. This "all-star" combo includes trumpeter Roy Eldridge in a sublimated role, while tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate is featured a bit more, and pianist Ray Bryant solidifies the nucleus of a very talented band of old pros and unsung heroes. Trumpeter Frank Assunto may not be a common garden-variety name to most, but he asserts himself quite well during this session. Twin bass underpinnings from Israel Crosby and Jimmy Rowser add heft to the rhythm section, while always reliable drummer Gus Johnson shows his mettle as a solidly ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Herb Ellis is known primarily for playing with small ensembles, so this recording as part of an octet is a departure for the great guitarist. This "all-star" combo includes trumpeter Roy Eldridge in a sublimated role, while tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate is featured a bit more, and pianist Ray Bryant solidifies the nucleus of a very talented band of old pros and unsung heroes. Trumpeter Frank Assunto may not be a common garden-variety name to most, but he asserts himself quite well during this session. Twin bass underpinnings from Israel Crosby and Jimmy Rowser add heft to the rhythm section, while always reliable drummer Gus Johnson shows his mettle as a solidly swinging timekeeper. The fare is split between standards, originals, and favorites, including Duke Ellington's rousing "It Don't Mean a Thing" with the jamming Eldridge leading the charge, and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" as everyone joins in and Assunto takes a fine, distinctive solo. The classic "Gravy Waltz" of Ray Brown is done here, as Bryant's deft chords with the sax and trumpets form a strolling, impenetrable front line -- one of the very best, fully formed and realized versions of this great song. Ellis contributed the folkish "Poor Darlin' Nellie," derived from the story of banished African-American slave Nellie Gray, a light rural swing with no horns save Assunto's muted trumpet solo. "Roy Showed" is a bouncy bop blues punctuated by Tate's tenor as Ellis further accents with sharp strumming chords. Everybody plays together in sweet agreement on "Broadway," a stock jam tune that shows the band has no issues with grandstanding, egos, or finding enough space to play. The band strips down to a trio on the pristine ballad "Willow Weep for Me" and Tate presents a spare, spacious melody line during "It Makes No Difference Now." The balance of this group should duly receive high marks especially since it was a one-shot, Ellis sounds right at home with these fellow legends, and the obscure Assunto deserves individual stars on his own.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/9/2009
  • Label: Wounded Bird Records
  • UPC: 664140703421
  • Catalog Number: 7034
  • Sales rank: 152,355

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Herb Ellis Primary Artist, Guitar
Ray Bryant Piano
Roy Eldridge Trumpet
Buddy Tate Tenor Saxophone
Israel Crosby Bass
Frank Assunto Trumpet
Gus Johnson Drums
Jimmy Rowser Bass
Technical Credits
Jimmie Davis Composer
Floyd Tillman Composer
Herb Ellis Composer
Leonard Feather Liner Notes
Irving Mills Composer
Billy Bird Composer
Ray Brown Composer
Duke Ellington Orchestra Composer
John Hammond Audio Production
Teddy McRae Composer
Henri Woode Composer
Willard Robison Composer
Ann Ronell Composer
Dedette Lee Hill Composer
Ted Persons Composer
Alex Alstone Composer
John F. Hammond Producer
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