The Buddy Rich Big Band
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Blue Note Records
Compared to the previous Mercy, Mercy, this recording is a lesser effort by the Buddy Rich big band. However, the outing does have its notable moments, with the key soloists being the young altoist Richie Cole, tenor saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, guitarist David Dana and the drummer/leader. Recorded live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go, some of the songs are stronger than others; a pair of tunes by the Doors sound silly in this context. Highlights include Don Sebesky's "Soul Lady," Bill Holman's "Ruth" and "The Meaning of the Blues." ~ Scott Yanow
Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Blue Note Records
This CD reissue brings back the finest all-round recording by Buddy Rich's big band. The original version of "Channel 1 Suite" is a classic and contains tenor saxophonist Don Menza's most memorable solo, plus a couple of brilliant improvisations from the explosive drummer/leader. Another highlight is an inventive Phil Wilson arrangement of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and even "Alfie" (a melodic feature for altoist Art Pepper) and "Ode to Billie Joe" come across well. In addition to the original LP program, three selections were released for the first time on this CD. "Chelsea Bridge" is particularly significant, for it showcases Pepper, who was making a brief (and unsuccessful) comeback seven years before he finally returned to the scene. This spirited and often-exciting set is a real gem and is essential. ~ Scott Yanow
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