Harry Allen's Four Others
I've just found a wonderful new YouTube clip of a concert performance by Four Others. Harry Allen put this all-star ensemble together last year as a tribute to Woody Herman's legendary second Herd, the late-40's orchestra whose saxophone section of Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Herbie Stewart and Serge Chaloff was immortalized in the Jimmy Giuffre composition, "Four Brothers." Four Others boasts three hard-swinging tenors in Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart, and Allen as well as Gary Smulyan, who continues to earn the #1 baritone saxophone ranking in the annual Downbeat Critics Poll. Here you can enjoy the rich sonorityof this outfit's unison playing on the Billie Holiday classic "What a Little Moonlight Can Do." Smulyan utilizes a favorite practice for his two-chorus solo by breaking idown to a duo with drummer Chuck Riggs. That's Rossano Sprotiello at the piano and Joel Forbes on bass. The performance is from the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. I'd say it's high time these guys started touring stateside!
By the way, today is Harry Allen's 45th birthday. We'll hear a few sets of his music in tonight's Jazz a la Mode.
Gary Smulyan gave a memorable performance of "My Shining Hour" at the Northampton Jazz Fesitval two weeks ago. Gary employed the bridge from Miles Davis's "Seven Steps to Heaven" in his arrangement of the Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer standard. Smulyan will be back for Green Street Cafe's Jazz Workshop series next Tuesday, October 18.
Grant Stewart and Eric Alexander formed a group called Reeds'n'Deeds a few years ago that celebrates such legendary tenor pairings as Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt; Eddie 'Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin; Dexter Gordon and James Moody. Their third session for Criss Cross Jazz, Tenor Time, was released earlier this year. Stewart will bring his New York-based quintet to the Cultural Center at Eagle Hill in Hardwick, Mass., on January 28, 2012.
P.S. Here's the original Herman recording of "Four Brothers," made on December 27, 1947. The order of the saxophone solos is Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Herbie Steward, and Stan Getz.