Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two albums by The Creed Taylor Orchestra reissued on a single CD

Two cult albums by The Creed Taylor Orchestra - "Shock" (1958) and "Panic: The Son of Shock" (1959) - were reissued this week on a single CD released by the Righteous label.
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.
As Zinng 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."
(Creed Taylor & Kenyon Hopkins during the "Shock" sessions)
Righteous Records, which recently also released a CD credited to Kenyon Hopkins, "Rooms," including another collaboration with Creed Taylor on the tracks culled from the "Sounds of New York" LP, is advertising the "Panic/Shock" CD with the following text: "Digitally remastered two-fer containing a pair of super rare early albums from the mighty Creed Taylor Orchestra. Fusing soulful Jazz vibes with bizarre and scary effects, Shock and The Son Of Shock, Panic are legendary sets that are off the scale of musical normality. Created by the man who brought Bossa Nova to Jazz and introduced John Coltrane to Impulse, these are stylish Jazz noir affairs with plenty of twists and turns. Unique and powerful arrangements and haunting melody lines."

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