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Oscar Pettiford/Vinnie Burke: Bass by Pettiford/Burke

The Pettiford portion of the Bethlehem release Bass by Pettiford/Burke is even better, as Watkins is joined by Charlie Rouse on the front line and the rhythm team is rounded out by Duke Jordan and drummer Ron Jefferson. Jefferson would soon join Watkins and Rouse in their fascinating but still little-known group The Jazz Modes. The mid-’50s was an interesting period for Rouse. His tone seems slightly softer than it had been earlier or would be with Monk, and he has a few different tricks in his bag, not that he will get by anybody’s blindfold test. The group spices the intricate arrangements with excellent blowing, and the tunes include some of Pettiford’s best, like “Tricotism” and “Oscar Rides Again.” The Vinnie Burke Quartet is a chamber-style group featuring clarinet, accordion and guitar. The highly polished ensembles are interesting for the unusual instrumentation, but the soloing is lackluster.

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