Thursday, April 2, 2009

R.I.P.: Bud Shank

(born May 27, 1926, in Dayton, Ohio, USA;
died April 2, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Clifford Everett "Bud" Shank, Jr. has died on April 2, 2009 of pulmonary failure at his home in Tucson, Arizona, after returning from a recording session in San Diego, California, the State where he spent most of his life. Shank was 82.

One of the masters of the "cool jazz" (aka "West Coast Jazz"), the saxophonist & flutist developed an intimate relationship with Brazilian music through his collaborations with Laurindo Almeida (which resulted in a series of legendary 10-inch LPs titled "Brazilliance", later reissued on two volumes of 12" LPs) and João Donato (beginning with the "Bud Shank and His Brazilian Friends" album in 1963 and completing the cycle with the DVD "Ao Vivo no Rio de Janeiro", voted one of the best DVD releases of the year in the 2008 Jazz Station Poll).

Shank also played some live gigs with Donato in LA, in the 60s, and later recorded with him on the frenetic jazz-funk masterpiece "A Bad Donato" (1970), resuming their collaboration on the much less interesting CD "Uma Tarde com Bud Shank e João Donato," recorded in 2004 but only relased three years later.

A very pleasant collaboration with Sergio Mendes happened on the "Brasil '65" studio album (with the Mendes Trio including Tião Neto and Chico Batera, plus guests Rosinha de Valença and Wanda de Sah). He reunited with Mendes on the "Brasil 88" album, actually recorded in 1978 and reissued (for the first time) on CD, produced by Arnaldo DeSouteiro, in 2002.
In the early 2000s, a 2-CD set compilation titled "Bud Shank - Bossa Nova Years," mixed some of Shank's tracks with Donato, Mendes and Clare Fischer. For more details, we suggest you to visit the excellent websites about Donato and Mendes created by B.J. Major.

Another very interesting project was Shank's fusion-oriented "Tomorrow's Rainbow" CD, released on the Contemporary label (distributed by Fantasy) in 1989, as a result of his meeting with Brazilian keyboardist/arranger/composer Marcos Silva, and also featuring Ricardo Peixoto, Gary Brown, Michael Shapiro & Michael Spiro.

However, the longtime association with Laurindo Almeida proved to be the most important one not only in historical terms (due to the breakthrough 50s sessions), as well as in musical relevance of kindred spirits, as proved by the many albums they cut during the 70s and 80s as founding members of the "LA 4" unit (Almeida, Shank, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne, later replaced by Jeff Hamilton).

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