Mel Powell It's Been So Long
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- by Ruby Braff ~ Linger Awhile ~ $16.18
- Released: June 22, 1999
- Label: Vanguard Records
JazzTimes - 1-2/00, pp.129-30"...concentrates on the hotter, more swinging performances by this sometimes frustratingly diverse musican....[The album] reveals that...his rhythmic concept was deeply rooted in older patterns, i.e., swing era phrasing grafted onto laid back West-coast cool..."
- 1.'S Wonderful
- 2.It's Been So Long
- 3.You're Lucky to Me
- 4.When Did You Leave Heaven
- 5.Makin' Whoopee
- 7.Quin and Sonic
- 8.Pennies From Heaven
- 10.Stompin' at the Savoy
- 11.Cross Your Heart
- 12.If Dreams Come True
- 13.Gone With the Wind
- 14.What's New
- 16.Bunny Hug
This is part of Vanguard's John Hammond Vanguard Jazz Showcase series.
Personnel: Mel Powell (piano); Steve Jordan , Mundell Lowe, Tommy Kay (guitar); Nick Caiazza (tenor saxophone); Al Mattaliano, Johnny Glasel, Buck Clayton (trumpet); James Buffington (French horn); Henderson Chambers (trombone); Eddie Phyfe, Jimmy Crawford , Bobby Donaldson (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Samuel Charters; Steve Buckingham.
Recording information: 1953-1956.
Photographers: Paul J. Hoeffler; Popsy Randolph; Bob Parent.
One of the many frustrating ironies of jazz history has to do with Mel Powell. A superb swing pianist in the Earl "Fatha" Hines/Art Tatum/Teddy Wilson vein, Powell was at the height of his powers as a jazz improviser when, in the 1950s, he decided to retire from jazz and put his time and energy into classical music. Before making that decision, he recorded some inspired small-group swing dates for Vanguard in the early to mid-'50s. One of the CDs that illustrates the excellence of Powell's Vanguard output is It's Been So Long, which spans 1953-1956 and contains selections from four of his classic John Hammond-produced LPs (including Borderline and Out on a Limb). Joined by such accomplished soloists as trumpeter Buck Clayton, clarinetist Edmund Hall, and the Lester Young-influenced tenor saxman Paul Quinichette, Powell lets loose and really goes that extra mile. Not surprisingly, many of the songs are associated with Powell's one-time employer Benny Goodman, including "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Avalon," and "If Dreams Come True." After his Vanguard sessions, Powell didn't record another jazz album as a leader until 1987's The Return of Mel Powell on Chiaroscuro. In Powell's case, jazz's loss was certainly classical's gain. ~ Alex Henderson
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