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Two More Sax-Section Albums


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I melt at the sound of a swinging reed section. But I don't keep the swooning to myself. As readers know, I routinely add to our list below of reed-centric albums that I've posted about. Today, I'm letting you know about two more—Frank Tiberi's 4 Brothers 7 (Jazzed Media), released last year, and John Williams' Baritone Band (Spotlite), from 1997.

At 89, Tiberi is still a monster player and remains director of the Woody Herman Orchestra. The section Tiberi leads here is like a swarm of hornets. Buzzing around Tiberi (ts, ss) are Larry McKenna (ts), John Nugent (ts) and Mike Brignola (bs), with David Berkman (p), Lynn Seaton (b) and Matt Wilson (d). The joy of this album is that the band doesn't stick to Hermonite sax charts. After Four Brothers and The Goof and I, there's John Coltrane's Central Park West, Al Cohn's Woody's Lament, Hank Mobley's Tenor Conclave as well as a bunch of originals, including Tiberi's Buzzogle Boggled and The Garz, and Nugent's Four of a Kind. There also are a bunch of jazz standards. Arrangements are by Tiberi, Brignola, McKenna and Nugent. By the way, that Buzzogle Boggled is a doozy.

John Williams' Baritone Band features a boiler-room level batch of baritone horns, many of whom double and triple on other instruments. Williams is a British saxophonist who has been leader of the resident big bandat London’s legendary Marquee Club, a member of Count Basie's ghost band in Europe, and music director of Harlech television in Wales. He also has played behind pop vocalists and in the pit bands of West End shows in London.

On the album's first session (# 1, 2, 6, 8­10, 12, 13 and 15), the musicians are John Williams (bs, fl, bcl), Alan Wakeman (bs, ss, cl), Andy Panayi (bs, ts, fl), Chris Biscoe (bs, as, acl), John Horler (p), Jim Richardson (b) and Trevor Tomkins (d).

On the second session (# 3­,5, 7, 11 and 14) Williams (bs), John Surman (bs, ss), Steve Waterman (flhn), Jay Craig (bs), Alan Barnes (bs, bcl), Horler (p), Tim Wells (b) and Tomkins (d).

It's a joy to hear a herd of baritones muscling their way through arrangements of Gerry Mulligan's Walkin' Shoes, Shorty Rogers' Short Stop, Bill Evans' Funkallero, Charles Mingus's Moanin' and, of course, Four Brothers, among others.

Here's our list of sax-section albums thus far...
  • Woody Herman's Four Brothers band (1947)
  • Gene Roland's Boppers (1949)
  • The Brothers!—Al Cohn, Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca (1955)
  • Jay Cameron's International Sax Band (1955)
  • Al Cohn and the Sax Section (1956)
  • Zoot Sims Plays Alto, Tenor and Baritone (1956)
  • Zoot Sims Plays Four Altos (1956)
  • Reeds in Hi-Fi—Pete Rugolo (1956)
  • Four Brothers Together Again! (1957)
  • The Gerry Mulligan Song Book (1957)
  • Hymie Schertzer: All the King's Saxophones (1957)
  • Coleman Hawkins Meets the Big Sax Section (1958)
  • Cross Section: Saxophones—Hal McKusick (1958)
  • Saxophones Inc.—Bobby Prince and His Orchestra (1959)
  • Ten Saxophones and Two Basses—Pete Rugolo (1961)
  • Further Definitions—Benny Carter (1961)
  • Pony Poindexter's Pony's Express (1962)
  • Bud Shank and the Sax Section (1966)
  • Dave Pell's Prez Conference (1978)
  • Supersax (1972-1988)
  • Marlene VerPlanck Meets Saxomania (1993)
  • John Williams' Baritone Band (1997)
  • 4 Brothers 7—Frank Tiberi (2007)
  • Oh Gee!—Barnes / O'Higgins & the Sax Section (2015)
  • The Candy Men—Harry Allen (2016)
JazzWax clips: Here's Walkin' Shoes by John Williams' Baritone Band...

And here's Al Cohn's arrangement of Jimmy Giuffre's Four Brothers...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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