Blues And Other Shades Of Green
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(Urbie Green, Slide and Valve Trombone; Jimmy Raney, Guitar; Dave McKenna, Piano; Percy Heath, Bass; Kenny Clarke, Drums)
(Released in 1955)
You Are Too Beautiful
Frankie And Johnny
One For Dee
Am I Blue
It's Too Late Now
Album Notes: I guess the fact that I LIKE URBIE GREEN, and have so stated a few thousand times over the air in the last six years, gives me the right to bat out a few words on his behalf. There are some musicians who can justify their existance within a very short time. Urbie Green is one who, if he did nothing else but play blues, would be accepted as a member of good standing. His REMINISCENT BLUES here, and his portion of BLUE FLAME, recorded with Woody Herman, gave him rights to claim part of my ear lobes. Without getting too involved with words, Urbie Green's trombone, and his personality are fairly compatible. Soft, relaxed, even in the really moving passages, Urbie maintains a fat velvety tone.
I understand that Urbie has a couple of musicians in the family, and that he's from Alabama. For those details and where he went to school and whose bands he was in, and all, I suggest Leonard Feather's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JAZZ. I am interested more in the music created here by URBIE GREEN. I believe this album reflects honestly the talents and expressions of Urbie Green. There is a comfortable tempo, choice of tunes and division of assignments here to bring out a pleasant balance.
If you're looking for a taste of technique and facility, may I call your attention to FRANKIE AND JOHNNY, on which URBIE switches to valve trombone. Urbie gets around and it doesn't seem to be any effort. Also, there are trombonists who play the instrument like it's a trumpet or something else. It may not seem like anything to expect, but you know it's a trombone when Urbie plays, and what's more - you know it's Urbie.
There's a nice type of intimacy here in the Quintette. Urbie has surrounded himself with a congenial and happy sounding quartette. Securing the percussion division is one referred to in the biz as "Klook," which is a very short for Kenny Clarke. Percy Heath is a bassist who has learned considerably more than the rudiments. Dave McKenna on piano is new to me and is good news. James Raney on guitar gets a few licks in on PARADISE, and is heard throughout with some delectable bits.
This album is a happy experience for me to listen to, and I feel that you will know URBIE GREEN plays the trombone. I wish you many happy hours with URBIE GREEN.
Al "Jazzbo" Collins
Contemporary Music Communicator
MONITOR (National Broadcasting Co.)