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Jackie Coon and His Pals: Softly

What can I say? These are the guys I’d want on MY gig! Coon looks like a middle linebacker on a Lombardi “take no prisoners” team. But he plays like a sweetie, extracting TASTY HONEY from his mellow flugelhorn (no trumpet here). The tunes are gentle swingers from the ’20s and ’30s, viz., “You Took Advantage of Me” and “Blue Room” by Rodgers & Hart, Ray Noble’s “The Touch of Your Lips,” “Look For the Silver Lining” by Jerome Kern and B.G. DeSylva. The combo is, mainly, the late Bob Haggart, bass; Johnny Varro, piano; Ed Metz Jr., drums. Everybody solos on every tune. They’re joined by trombonists Dan Barrett, a stalwart of the Arbors list, on two tracks, and John Allred, also two tracks (with a sensational reading of “If I Had You”). Rick Fay adds beautiful tenor sax on “Man With a Horn.” And Fay, Coon, and Barrett have fun with the vocal on “Four or Five Times,” a big hit for Jimmy Lunceford in the late ’30s. If you like your jazz relaxed and melodic, this one is for you. Call it “easy listening” with outstanding musicianship.

Originally Published