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Illinois Jacquet - Flying Home - The Best of the VERVE Years

track 1. SPEEDLINER:
(Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - CARL PERKINS
guitar - OSCAR MOORE
bass - RED CALLENDER
drums - J.C. HEARD

in Los Angeles
on January 18, 1951

track 2. PASTEL:
(Callender)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - CARL PERKINS
guitar - OSCAR MOORE
bass - RED CALLENDER
drums - J.C. HEARD

in Los Angeles
on January 18, 1951

track 3. GROOVIN':
(Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - HANK JONES
guitar - JOHN COLLINS
bass - GENE RAMEY
drums - ART BLAKEY

in New York
on May 24, 1951

track 4. COTTON TAIL:
(Ellington)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - HANK JONES
guitar - JOHN COLLINS
bass - GENE RAMEY
drums - ART BLAKEY

in New York
on May 24, 1951

track 5. BOOT 'EM UP:
(Jacquet-Salim)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET; COUNT HASTINGS
trumpet - RUSSELL JACQUET; JOE NEWMAN; ELMON WRIGHT; LAMAR WRIGHT, JR.
trombone - HENRY COKER; MATTHEW GEE
alto sax - ERNIE HENRY; EARLE WARREN
baritone sax - CECIL PAYNE
piano - JOHNNY ACEA
guitar - FREDDIE GREEN
bass - AL LUCAS
drums - SHADOW WILSON
arranger - SALIM

in New York
on March 21, 1952

track 6. BLUESITIS:
(Jacquet-Salim)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET; COUNT HASTINGS
trumpet - RUSSELL JACQUET; JOE NEWMAN; ELMON WRIGHT; LAMAR WRIGHT, JR.
trombone - HENRY COKER; MATTHEW GEE
alto sax - ERNIE HENRY; EARLE WARREN
baritone sax - CECIL PAYNE
piano - JOHNNY ACEA
guitar - FREDDIE GREEN
bass - AL LUCAS
drums - SHADOW WILSON
arranger - SALIM

in New York
on March 21, 1952

track 7. LEAN BABY:
(Alfred-May)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - HANK JONES
organ - COUNT BASIE
guitar - FREDDIE GREEN
bass - RAY BROWN
drums - JIMMY CRAWFORD

in New York
on July 22, 1952

track 8. PORT of RICO:
(Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - HANK JONES
organ - COUNT BASIE
guitar - FREDDIE GREEN
bass - RAY BROWN
drums - JIMMY CRAWFORD

in New York
on July 22, 1952

track 9. WHERE ARE YOU?:
(McHugh-Adamson)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
piano - Sir CHARLES THOMPSON
organ - HANK JONES
guitar - JOE SINACORE
bass - AL LUCAS
drums - SHADOW WILSON

in New York
on December 31, 1952

track 10. HEADS:
(Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - RUSSELL JACQUET
trombone - MATTHEW GEE
baritone sax - CECIL PAYNE
piano - JOHNNY ACEA
bass - AL LUCAS
drums - SHADOW WILSON

in New York
on December 11, 1953

track 11. IT'S THE TALK OF THE TOWN:
(Livingston-Neiburg-Symes)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - RUSSELL JACQUET
trombone - MATTHEW GEE
baritone sax - CECIL PAYNE
piano - JOHNNY ACEA
bass - AL LUCAS
drums - SHADOW WILSON

in New York
on December 11, 1953

track 12. THE KID and THE BRUTE:
(Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
tenor sax - BEN WEBSTER
piano - JOHNNY ACEA
bass - AL LUCAS
conga - CHINO POZO
drums - OSIE JOHNSON

in New York at Fine Sound Studios
on December 13, 1954

track 13. SOPHIA:
(Edison-Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - HARRY 'SWEETS' EDISON
piano - CARL PERKINS
organ - GERRY WIGGINS
guitar - IRVING ASHBY
bass - CURTIS COUNCE
drums - AL BARTEE

in Los Angeles at Radio Recorders
on November 3, 1955

track 14. HONEYSUCKLE ROSE:
(Waller-Razaf)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - HARRY 'SWEETS' EDISON
piano - CARL PERKINS
organ - GERRY WIGGINS
guitar - IRVING ASHBY
bass - CURTIS COUNCE
drums - AL BARTEE

in Los Angeles at Radio Recorders
on November 3, 1955

track 15. STAR DUST:
(Carmichael-Parish)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - HARRY 'SWEETS' EDISON
piano - CARL PERKINS
organ - GERRY WIGGINS
guitar - IRVING ASHBY
bass - CURTIS COUNCE
drums - AL BARTEE

in Los Angeles at Radio Recorders
on November 3, 1955

track 16. LAS VEGAS BLUES:
(Eldridge)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - ROY ELDRIDGE
piano - JIMMY JONES
guitar - HERB ELLIS
bass - RAY BROWN
drums - JO JONES

in Los Angeles at Radio Recorders
on October 16, 1956

track 17. ACHTUNG:
(Jacquet)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - ROY ELDRIDGE
piano - JIMMY JONES
guitar - HERB ELLIS
bass - RAY BROWN
drums - JO JONES

in Los Angeles at Radio Recorders
on October 16, 1956

track 18. HAVE YOU MEET MISS JONES? :
(Rodgers-Hart)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
trumpet - ROY ELDRIDGE
piano - JIMMY JONES
guitar - HERB ELLIS
bass - RAY BROWN
drums - JO JONES

in Los Angeles at Radio Recorders
on October 16, 1956

track 19. NO SWEAT:
(Davis)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
organ - 'WILD BILL' DAVIS
guitar - KENNY BURRELL
drums - JOHNNY WILLIAMS

in New York at Fine Sound Studios
on April 21, 1958

track 20. FLYING HOME:
(Goodman-Hampton-Robin)

tenor sax - ILLINOIS JACQUET
organ - 'WILD BILL' DAVIS
guitar - KENNY BURRELL
drums - JOHNNY WILLIAMS

in New York at Fine Sound Studios
on April 21, 1958


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Illinois Jacquet - Flying Home - The Best of the VERVE Years

Flying Home:
The Best of the Verve Years

Illinois Jacquet

Clef - Verve Records
[314 521 644-2]

LP cover art - David Stone Martin

Liner Notes:
_____________Jean-Baptiste Illinois Jacquet (bio) is one of the survivors of the great swing saxophone tradition. While still young he was a star of, first, Lionel Hampton's big band (recording a classic solo on "Flying Home") and then the Cab Calloway and Count Basie (bio) bands. Since then, the Louisiana-born tenorist has continued to extend the tradition of his Basie predecessors Herschel Evans (from Texas, where Jacquet was raised) and Lester Young - as well as, in a more general way, Ben Webster and even Coleman Hawkins. His first fame in the mid-1940s placed him on the cusp of both the swing-into-r&b and swing-into-bop styles. With all the attention given to Dexter Gordon in his later years, it's instructive how similar in many respects is the playing of Jacquet, born only four months earlier than Gordon.

_____As with most performers who have enjoyed great popular success, Illinois Jacquet's reputation has seen many ups and downs. One of his most recent high-profile appearances was sharing a tenor saxophone with President Clinton, and you can't get much higher than that. But his initial fame was closely bound up with the then Los Angeles-based Norman Granz. As well as taking part in Granz's informal sessions with Nat 'King' Cole at Billy Berg's, Illinois Jacquet's participated in one of Norman Granz's first independent recordings, which he sold to the Disc label under the name of the King Cole Quintet. Illinois Jacquet was also an added starter for Granz's 1944 short film "Jammin' the Blues", which immortalized the image of Lester Young.

_____His appearance in the very first "Jazz at the Philharmonic" [JATP] concert, however, was the event which sealed Illinois Jacquet's reputation, thanks to its subsequent issue on record. In the notes to the tenor saxophonist's very first 10-inch LP, Norman Granz called him:

    "...not only one of the important components of our organization but one who, in a sense, helped form our organization and, in turn, was helped by it..."
Illinois Jacquet puts it this way:
    "...We were doing a benefit for the city of Los Angeles, they had a race riot there. And Norman Granz put these musicians together. We had a record strike - we weren't allowed to make any records at that particular time, and the Army [AFRS] made a record for the fighting soldiers in Europe. After the war, they released these records, and they become a big success for Jazz at the Philharmonic, And that record ("Blues" part 2, featuring Jacquet's solo) is the one that really kicked it off..."
_____Even before these revolutionary live recordings were generally available, Illinois Jacquet was sufficiently popular on the West Coast to start touring with his own septet (including Bill Doggett on piano and Charles Mingus on bass), whose coupling of "Bottoms Up" and "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" helped to establish Apollo Records. Then came his period with Count Basie (for whom he made his mark on "The King") followed by his own nationally touring octet, which scored another hit with the laid-back bounce of "Robbins Nest".

_____What earned his populist appeal, however, was the riff-like insistence of his "Flying Home" solo and the high harmonics of "Blues - Part 2" in what was then called the 'freak' register. ("...They used to call me all sorts of things..." says Jacquet.) The ability to control these may have come from his study of the soprono saxophone at high school in Houston, Texas, but it seems likely that the unstoppable swing of his improvisations stems from his experiences tapdancing with his family, in a group of four brothers, which he was doing from the age of three.

_____Illinois Jacquet's fame in the late Forties was such that he signed a three-year contract to record for a major company, (RCA Victor), and it was only after this that Norman Granz's label was able to take on the original-JATP star. The affiliation lasted seven years, while Illinois Jacquet remained a solid popular attraction and an enormous influence on every r&b tenor player (whether the guy was Bill Haley or such session men as the young King Curtis, another Texan). Only towards the end of the decade, as the rock & roll industry got into high gear, was he overtaken by its less welcome side-effects.

_____Meanwhile, the sessions surveyed here present several aspects of Illinois Jacquet's expertise, including the ways in which his instrumental jazz overlapped with popular sounds aimed at the nation's jukeboxes. Each of the first eleven tracks here was issued as a single, and it's interesting to note Norman Granz's early-Fifties choice of words from that first LP:

    "...Jacquet's qualities are all obvious, simple, and real. He swings like mad and that, after all, is one of the basics of jazz..."
_____By contrast, there are also several performances here that reflect the jukebox success of fairly straight readings of ballads, though Illinois Jacquet's use of tone and inflection show his thorough musicality. Among them, "It's the Talk of the Town" was associated since the Thirties with Coleman Hawkins, while Ben Webster (second of the two honorées on the eponymous "Kid and the Brute") made excellent Fifties versions of "Star Dust" and "Where Are You?". Most remarkable, perhaps, is the medium-tempo "Have You Met Miss Jones?", where Illinois Jacquet creates the illusion of a duet by playing both the straight melody and the fills. The one ballad original, Red Callender's "Pastel", is the same tune done by Erroll Garner at the conclusion of Charlie Parker's "Cool Blues" session and (as "Please Let Me Forget") by Helen Humes with Lester Young. And the medium tempo "Sophia" is strangely similar to "Tour de Force", recorded the following year by Dizzy Gillespie.

_____The contributions of the accompanying personnel in this set are hardly negligible. Illinois Jacquet's comments about the 1956 session ("...Throughout the world, everywhere we go, they used to walk up to me with this particular album to sign...") says much for the work of Roy Eldridge and Jo Jones. But the preceding date with pianist Carl Perkins and trumpeter Harry 'Sweets' Edison (like Jo Jones, still a member of the Count Basie band during Illinois Jacquet's stint with Count Basie) is hardly less impressive. Count Basie himself, of course, guested on organ for the session that produced the tenorist's biggest hit of the Fifties, "Port of Rico", which was significant in establishing the popularity of the tenor-and-organ combination. Filling the organ role on the '58 "Flying Home" was an old buddy from Texas and the Milt Larkin band of twenty years earlier, the still active Wild Bill Davis. Throughout this period Illinois Jacquet was, except for tours with JATP, reassembling the octet that is heard on "Heads" or putting together larger bands, as on the "Boot 'Em Up" session.

_____And among the sidemen, hear the very recognizable backing of Art Blakey on two tracks, including Illinois Jacquet's assault on the Ben Webster classic, "Cotton Tail". There's a story about this band, where a backstage argument took place between baritonist Leo Parker and the leader as to who was 'the most' at playing the freak high notes - an argument settled by Art Blakey bringing down his tom-tom on Illinois Jacquet's head. This compilation proves above all else that, while showmanship undoubtedly won over fans, Illinois Jacquet has absolutely no need of such tactics to prove his undeniable musicianship.

...from Brian Priestley.

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Illinois Jacquet: a bio
____________Jean Baptiste Illinois Jacquet was born in Boussard, Louisiana on Hallowe'en 1922. One of the great tenors, Illinois Jacquet's 1942 "Flying Home" solo is considered the first R&B sax solo, and spawned a full generation of younger tenors (including Joe Houston and Big Jay McNeely) who built their careers from his style, and practically from that one song.

_____Illinois Jacquet, whose older brother Russell Jacquet (1917-1990) was a trumpeter who sometimes played in his bands, Illinois Jacquet grew up in Houston, and his tough tone and emotional sound defined the Texas tenor school. After playing locally, he moved to Los Angeles where, in 1941, he played with Floyd Ray. He was the star of Lionel Hampton's 1942 big band ("Flying Home" became a signature song for Illinois Jacquet, Lionel Hampton, and even Illinois Jacquet's successor Arnett Cobb), and also was with Cab Calloway (1943-1944) and well featured with Count Basie (1945-1946). Illinois Jacquet's playing at the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert (1944) included a screaming solo on "Blues" that found him biting on his reed to achieve high-register effects; the crowd went wild. He repeated the idea during his appearance in the 1944 film short "Jammin' the Blues".

_____In 1945, Illinois Jacquet put together his own band, and both his recordings and live performances were quite exciting. He appeared with JATP on several tours in the 1950s, recorded steadily, and never really lost his popularity. In the 1960s, he sometimes doubled on bassoon (usually for a slow number such as "'Round Midnight") and it was an effective contrast to his stomping tenor. In the late '80s, Illinois Jacquet started leading an exciting part-time big band that only recorded one album, an Atlantic date from 1988. Through the years, Illinois Jacquet (whose occasional features on alto are quite influenced by Charlie Parker) has recorded as a leader for such labels as Apollo, Savoy, Aladdin, RCA, Verve, Mercury, Roulette, Epic, Argo, Prestige, Black Lion, Black & Blue, JRC, and Atlantic.

...from Scott Yanow.

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Count Basie: a bio
____________Count Basie was a leading figure of the swing era in jazz and, alongside Duke Ellington, an outstanding representative of big band style. After studying piano with his mother, as a young man he went to New York, where he met James P. Johnson, Fats Waller (with whom he studied informally), another pianist of the Harlem stride school. Before he was 20 years old, he toured extensively on the Keith and TOBA vaudeville circuits as a solo pianist, accompanist, and music director for blues singers, dancers, and comedians. This provided an early training that was to prove significant in his later career. Stranded in Kansas City in 1927 while accompanying a touring group, he remained there, playing in silent-film theaters.

_____In July 1928, he joined Walter Page's Blue Devils which, in addition to Walter Page, included Jimmy Rushing; both later figured prominently in Count Basie's own band. Count Basie left the Blue Devils early in 1929 to play with two lesser-known bands in the area. Later that year, he joined Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra, as did the other key members of the Blue Devils shortly after. Count Basie When Bennie Moten died suddenly in 1935, the band continued under Buster Moten, but Count Basie left soon thereafter. The same year, with Buster Smith and several other former members of Bennie Moten's orchestra, Count Basie organized a new, smaller group of nine musicians, which included Jo Jones and later Lester Young, and as the Barons of Rhythm began a long engagement at the Reno Club in Kansas City. The group's radio broadcasts in 1936 led to contracts with a national booking agency and the Decca Record Company. The contract expanded and within a year The Count Basie Orchestra, as it had become known, was one of the leading big bands of the swing era. By the end of the 1930s, the band had acquired international fame with such pieces as "One o'clock Jump" (1937), "Jumpin' at the Woodside" (1938), and "Taxi War Dance" (1939).

_____In 1950, financial considerations forced Count Basie to disband, and for the next two years he led a six- to nine-piece group; among its sidemen were Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Serge Chaloff, and Buddy Rich. After reorganizing a big band in 1952, he undertook a long series of tours and recording sessions that eventually established him as an elder statesman of jazz, and his band was established as a permanent jazz institution and training ground for young musicians.

_____He made the first of many tours of Europe in 1954, visited Japan in 1963, and issued a large number of recordings both under his own name and under the leadership of various singers, most notably Frank Sinatra. In the mid-1970s, a serious illness hampered his career, and in the 1980s he sometimes had to perform from a wheelchair. Count Basie devoted time increasingly to his autobiography. After Count Basie's death, the band continued under the direction of Thad Jones (1985-6) and Frank Foster (from 1986). As The Countsmen, a number of his former sidemen have also reconvened occasionally for concerts and tours.

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Kenny Burrell: a bio
____________Kenny Burrell was born in Detroit on July 31, 1931. He has been a very consistent guitarist throughout his career. Cool-toned and playing in an unchanging style based in bopKenny Burrell, Kenny Burrell has always been the epitome of good taste and solid swing. Duke Ellington's favorite guitarist (though he never actually recorded with him), Kenny Burrell started playing guitar when he was 12, and he debuted on records with Dizzy Gillespie in 1951. Part of the fertile Detroit jazz scene of the early '50s, Kenny Burrell moved to New York in 1956. Highly in demand from the start, Kenny Burrell appeared on a countless number of records as a leader and as a sideman. Among his more notable associations were dates with Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Stanley Turrentine, and Jimmy Smith. Starting in the early 1970s, Kenny Burrell began leading seminars and teaching, often focusing on Duke Ellington's music. He toured with The Phillip Morris Superband during 1985-1986, and led three-guitar quintets, but generally Kenny Burrell plays at the head of a trio - quartet.

...from Scott Yanow.

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