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Blue Mitchell: Smooth as Wind

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Blue Mitchell
One more Tadd Dameron album that is a masterpiece—Blue Mitchell's Smooth as the Wind. Recorded in 1960 and '61 for Riverside, the album showcased Mitchell's fleshy trumpet backed by sophisticated and sympathetic brass and strings. Seven of the songs were arranged by Dameron, with the remaining three by Benny Golson. The songs arranged by Dameron are Smooth as the Wind, But Beautiful, The Best Things in Life Are Free, For Heaven's Sake, The Nearness of You, A Blue Time and Horace Silver's Strollin'. (Benny arranged Silver's Peace, For All We Know and I'm a Fool to Want You.) Benny's arrangements are glorious, but it's a shame Dameron didn't have an opportunity to complete the album. Having just been released from a federal prison rehab hospital in Lexington, Ky., Dameron probably found the full number too much for him to meet producer Orrin Keepnews's deadline. Or Dameron may have been sidelined by health issues. Many people compare this album to Clifford Brown With Strings. For me, Dameron and Benny's scores are far more interesting than Neal Hefti's string writing five years earlier on the Brown album. But it's all subjective.

Here are the Dameron scores:

Here's the title track...



Here's But Beautiful...



Here's The Best Things in Life Are Free...



Here's The Nearness of You...



Here's For Heaven's Sake...



Here's Dameron's composition, A Blue Time, which bears some resemblance to Tenderly...



And here's Strollin'...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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