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Bob Brookmeyer: Mosaic Select 9

Bob Brookmeyer has accomplished so much in his career that no label could really do him justice, but a term that definitely doesn’t work is “cool.” The music on Mosaic Select 9 shows clearly how his approach to valve trombone was defined by the hot schools, as well as what an effective pianist and creative musical thinker he was from the start.

The earliest recordings here produced a 1954 10-inch LP that’s never been rereleased on CD or even on 12-inch, called The Bob Brookmeyer Quartet. This is nice, no-nonsense stuff that grows on you with each listen. Particularly enjoyable are original tunes by Brookmeyer and Red Mitchell. The first CD is rounded out by an excellent date, The Street Swingers, that was co-led by Brookmeyer, Jim Hall and Jim Raney. The two Jims produced some of their best work in tandem, outstanding examples including a great session with Zoot Sims and the informal jams recorded at David Young’s flower district loft, which is where this particular group was conceived. The interplay between the two guitars is endlessly intriguing, and it speaks volumes that when Brookmeyer plays piano nobody ever gets in anybody’s way-generally it’s hard enough for one guitarist and a pianist not to step on each other’s toes. Hall’s “Arrowhead” is a minor masterpiece that foreshadowed the classic work he and Brookmeyer would soon do with Jimmy Giuffre.

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