Saturday, November 7, 2009

Reissue of the Month - "Quincy Jones Explores the Music of Henry Mancini"

Reissue of the Month
"Quincy Jones Explores The Music of Henry Mancini" (Mercury/Universal) 1964/2009

The first official domestic (US) CD reissue of this one-of-a-kind album in Q's discography. Originally released on the Mercury label (catalog number SR-60863) in 1964 (not 1968, as wrongly mentioned on the CD liner cover), when Jones was at the age of 31, it reappers supervised by Harry Weigner on the "Verve Originals" series, with Hollis King coordinating the digipack design which reproduces the original back cover.
Actually, it was one of the few Quincy LPs from the 60s that included credits to the musicians, plus detailed data about recording sessions, studios, engineers etc. Plus the original liner notes by Jack Tracy, who got a Grammy nomination
Most of the arrangements, however, were written by Bobby Scott, Quincy's pianist and "ghost arranger" at that time... (Bobby also scored the entire "Quincy Plays For Pussycats" album).
As far as I know, Quincy scored only three tracks ("Soldier in the Rain," "The Pink Panther" and "Odd Ball," although he conducted the orchestra throughout the sessions.
Also noteworthy is the fact that "Quincy Jones Explores the Music of Henry Mancini" was one of the 1965 Grammy finalists in the category of "Best Instrumental Jazz Performance - Large Group or Soloist with Large Group," competing with Laurindo Almeida's "Guitar from Ipanema," Rod Levitt's "Dynamic Sound Patterns of the Rod Levitt Orchestra," Shelly Manne's "My Fair Lady with the Unoriginal Cast," Oscar Peterson/Nelson Riddle's self-titled collaboration, Miles Davis/Gil Evans' pairing on the controversial "Quiet Nights," Evans' own "The Individualism of Gil Evans," and Woody Herman's "Woody Herman '64".
Guess who won? Laurindo Almeida!
Anyway, don't miss this chance to check Q's vision of Mancini's masterpieces, if you haven't done it before. I fortunately did, firstly when I had the chance to savour the ultra-sophisticated versions of "Dreamsville" and "Mr. Lucky" that had been included in a compilation ("Ndeda") released in 1972 in Brazil, when I was 9 years old.
There were no musicians' credits, though, so it's great to see that this CD reissue gives the proper credit to such people as Phil Woods, Clark Terry, Roland Kirk, Ernie Royal, Urbie Green, Quentin Jackson, Major Holly, Milt Hinton, Osie Johnson, Mundell Lowe, Jerome Richardson, Toots Thielemans, Zoot Sims, a very young Gary Burton, and the "usual studio suspects," ie, the always underrated studio masters of the caliber of James Buffington, Phil Kraus, Gloria Agostini, Vincent Bell, Snooky Young, Wally Kane, Ray Alonge et al. Not to mention my dear late friend Bobby Scott, at least credited as pianist.

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