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Harry Goldson: Plays the Big Band Sessions

Using new singing arrangements in the classic big band style by Bob Florence, Lon Norman, Gary Urwin, and Dan Higgins, clarinetist Goldson and altoman/director Pat Longo employ to their advantage such L.A. jazz session men as Lanny Morgan, Kim Richmond, Terry Harrington, Jack Nimitz, Frank Szabo, George Graham, Brian O’Rourke, and Frankie Capp in this performance of 14 hallowed standards from the Swing Era. The level of musicmanship is exceptionally high throughout, and the long submerged Goldson-until recently a 40-year career investment banker and C.P.A.-does not disappoint. Indeed, he emerges as a impressively strong lead clarinetist and a well-intoned jazz soloist with a affinity for Abe Most and Buddy DeFranco, and, more basically, Artie Shaw and Benny Goldman.

Recorded in 1997, this is a third in a series of self-produced documents revealing the latter-day growth of this admirably committed phoenix, the previous releases being his quintet’s Mood Swings, Volume 1 from 1995 and his sextet’s Mood Swings, Volume 2, a far more polished and creative session from a year later. Obviously addicted to self-improvement, the now 68-year-old Goldson has shown remarkable progress between the first two years of his return to professional playing, and the present album, with its even more assured posture, only augers better for the future. He also doubles, quite respectably, on alto and tenor on a few tunes sprinkled throughout the three CDs.

Originally Published