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Buck Clayton All Stars: Brussels, 1961

These discs were both recorded during a tour by the best of several bands Buck Clayton led in Europe. It was composed of old Basie associates (Dicky Wells, Emmett Berry, Earle Warren, Buddy Tate) and an excellent rhythm section of Sir Charles Thompson, Gene Ramey and Oliver Jackson. Like the groups of Ellingtonians Johnny Hodges took over there, it appealed to Europeans for what might be termed its homogeneity. Unity of purpose, mutual understanding and no clashes of style once more defied the thinking that idiomatic differences had a stimulating effect on musicians. This Clayton group perpetuated pre-bop values very effectively, both in solos and its reduced-size ensembles.

The Storyville set has all the titles on the TCB except “St. Louis Blues” and it adds “St. James Infirmary” (a trumpet and vocal showcase for Berry), “Don’t Blame Me” (a Thompson solo) and “Stomping at the Savoy” (a quartet feature for the leader). The Swiss concert, however, retains Clayton’s engaging announcements (in French) and offers an opportunity for comparisons between each individual’s solos.

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