Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reissue of the Month - "Creed Taylor Orchestra: Panic/Shock"

CD Reissue of the Month
The Creed Taylor Orchestra: "Panic/Shock" (Righteous)

Two cult albums by The Creed Taylor Orchestra - "Shock" (1958) and "Panic: The Son of Shock" (1959) - were reissued on a single CD released by the UK-based Righteous label. Oddly, they placed the tracks of "Panic" ahead of "Shock." Although they used vinyls as master sources - it's possible to hear some scratches and noises -, this CD sounds much better than another "unofficial" previous compilation, "Shock, Panic and Nightmare" that came out on the stranger Fear label in 2001.

It's a shame that, except for Phil Woods and Phil Kraus, none of the other great musicians(Barry Galbraith, Jerome Richardson, Milt Hinton, amongst others) neither the composers(!) are credited on the CD booklet, which includes terrible liner notes written by Dave Henderson, full of ridiculous mistakes. One of the unbelievable sentences says that Creed Taylor "played with Sammy Davis, Jr., Les Brown, Astrid (sic) Gilberto!"

In the late 50s, Creed was working as A&R at ABC-Paramount, where he would found the Impulse! label in 1960. Later, he joined Verve, A&M, formed his own CTI and the rest is history.
Sub-titled "Don't Dare Listen To This Music Alone," "Shock" had his cover art conceived by Matt Schutz, with front cover and liner pics by Tony Triolo. David Drew Zingg signed the liner notes, and Kenyon Hopkins wrote the arrangements and most of the compositions. There are also amazing versions of "Gloomy Sunday," "Spellbound" and specially Alec Wilder's "It's So Peaceful in the Country". Creed Taylor, who was 29 at that time, assembled an all-star cast, featuring Phil Woods (lead alto sax), Jerome Richardson (second alto & flutes), Ray Beckenstein (soprano & bass sax), Ray Alonge (French horn), Barry Galbraith & Mundell Lowe on guitars, Milt Hinton on bass, Osie Johnson on drums, and percussionists Joe Venuto & Brad Spinney.

Tracks like "Jungle Fever" anticipate the wild sounds that Brazilian percussion masters Airto Moreira (both as a leader and sideman) and Dom Um Romão (who recorded for CTI only as a sideman) would develop for Creed in the early 70s, explaying why the producer was so fond of their talents. As Zingg points out, "the female voices. groans and screens were provided by Toni Darnay (she can be found in a state of shock on the cover of this album) and Gertrude Warner," with extra sound effects added by Keen Crockett. "A heavy percentage of the gasps, shrieks and groans belong to Keen, and all of the wildly varied sounds were conjured up by him. One microphone was aimed at his feet for the sound of the shuffling intruder, and the other was poised at his mouth for the sounds of breathing. No wonder he couldn't cry for help!"

For the follow-up "Panic," Creed and Kenyon Hopkins repeated both the same musicians (Phil Kraus was added to the percussion section) and formula, including amazing renditions of "You're Driving Me Crazy," "Heartaches" and "Out of This World." The album design was done by the Viceroy company, with liner notes provided by Jerry Lanning. An excerpt: "Creed Taylor, who hosts this more-than-slightly-askew soirée, is a blithely imaginative young man...Mild and unassuming to the naked eye, he has constructed here an album which, to the naked ear, may sound a trifle strange. It is not, however, merely a trifle strange."
For more deatils and rare pics, please check:

No comments: