Monday, August 18, 2008

Hal McKusick Quartet

( Naar de Nederlandse vertaling.)
The Hal McKusick Quartet, released by Lonehill Jazz ( Lonehill Jazz LHJ 10176 ) is another jewel in my collection. This 2 CD album is a reissue of four Hal McKusick albums from the mid 1950s. Hal McKusick will be for a lot of us an unknown name and that is obvious because he hasn't made any record under his own name since the late 1950s when he made these great sides. Born in Medford Massachusetts, June 1924 he became a saxophone player in several big bands in the 1940s and and early 1950s in bands like Boyd Raeburn, Claude Thornhill and Elliot Lawrence and like so many jazz musicians, who worked in such big orchestras, they are now almost forgotten.
f.l.t.r.: Arnold Ross piano - Blinky Gardner drums - Dale Pearce trumpet - Harry The Bear Babasin cello - Hal McKusick alto saxophone - Herbie Harper trombone and Jimmy Giufffre tenor saxophone.
In 1955 he formed his own quartet, featuring himself on the alto saxophone, Barry Galbraith on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass and Osie Johnson on drums. This Hal McKusick Lonehill Jazz album contains four albums: Hal McKusick Quartet as released on the Bethlehem label; In A Twentieth-Century Drawing Room and the Jazz Workshop both on RCA Victor and the Coral LP Jazz On The Academy. These recordings were imporant because Hal experimented with a quartet without a piano, like Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartets and the guitar of Barry Galbraith and Hal's alto saxophone gave a lot of musical possibilities, which were specified by arrangers like Manny Albam or Al Cohn. This is clear, forward-thinking, emotional Jazz played by a quartet of unusual empathy, and technical ability, Creed Taylor tells about the Bethlehem album. For me the tune Blue-Who is a great example of Albam's arrangement. In In A Twentieth-Century Drawing Room Albam experiments with a cello quartet which gives the quartet a really great sound in tunes like Gift of the Magi or Can't We Be Friends. The last album reissued, The Jazz Workshop is probably the most interesting and adventurous one, recorded as Hal McKusick Jazz Workshop - interesting because it contains work of some great arrangers like George Russell, Manny Albam again, Gil Evans, known for his Miles Davis Orchestra arrangements, Al Cohn, Johnny Mandel and Jimmy Giuffre. Great tunes like Jambangle and Blues for Pablo (Gil Evans) and Jimmy Giuffre's One Score and Eight Horns Ago.
This summer a Fairweather documentary will be released, titled Playing Around the Corners by about Hal McKusick and I found a trailer that shows you some highlights of that ..... Enjoy it !!

Hal McKusnck Quartet / The Complete Barry Galbraith, Milt Hinton and Osie Johnson Recordings ( Lonehill Jazz LHJ 10176 ) A must-have !!
Yesterday we remembered the fact that Jimmy Sherman was born 100 years ago - today we memorate the fact that Zinky Cohn, sometimes spelled as Cohen, was born in Oakland CA on the 18th of August 1908. He was a piano player and played during the second half of the 1920s in the Roy Palmer Orchestra and in Jimmy Noone's band. During the 1930s he recorded with the Francois Mosely Louisianians and with Erskine Tate, Eddie South and Carroll Dickerson. The picture of the band above is Erskine Tate's Vendome Orchestra. Later he led his own band in Chicago and accompanied Ethel Waters. Zinky Cohn organized weekly sessions at the Jazz Ltd. in Chicago during the 1950s and passed away April 1952.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Nederlands ( To the English translation )

Als je een groot deel van je muzikale leven doorbrengt op rij drie achteraan in één of andere grote big band of studio orkest, is het begrijpelijk dat je naam al lang vergeten is. Alleen als je uit die anonimiteit weet te ontkomen en onder eigen naam platen kunt maken, heb je kans dat je naam in het jazzgeheugen bewaard wordt. We kennen daar genoeg voorbeelden van, zoals Lee Young, die onlangs overleed of Lou McGarithy. Hal McKusick opereerde in de jaren veertig vooral in de anonimiteit van het grote orkest en maakte halverwege de jaren vijftig een aantal onvergetelijke platen. Daarna zijn er geen eigen opnamen meer van hem verschenen. Over deze Hal McKusick opnamen morgen meer in de bijdrage: Hal McKusick's Kwartet opnamen.
Hans Koert -

Gisteren werd de 100ste geboortedag van Jimmy Sherman herdacht; vandaag halen we Zinky Cohn, soms ook wel eens als Cohen gespeld, uit het stof. Hij werd precies vandaag 100 jaar geleden in Oakland CA geboren op 18 augustus 1908. Hij was pianist en speelde in de tweede helft van de jaren twintig al bij het orkest van Roy Palmer en in de Jimmy Noone band. In de jaren dertig zien we hem terug op platen van Francois Mosely Louisianians en de Erskine Tate Orchestra, Eddie South en Carroll Dickerson. De foto hierboven is het orkest van Erskine Tate. Eind jaren dertig had hij een eigen band in Chicago en begeleidde o.a. Ethel Waters. Zinky Cohn organiseerde wekelijkse jazzsessions in de Jazz Ltd. in Chicago tijdens de jaren vijftig totdat hij overleed in april 1952.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

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Anonymous Dave James said...

If you're interested in learning more about Hal McKusick, who, BTW, is still with us, check out The moderator posted his conversation with Mr. McKusick in four parts, so it's actually quite substantial and very informative. This guy is a really wonderful player who seems to have spent his career flying under the radar.

Dave James

9:50 PM  

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