Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Louie Bellson’s Magic 7: Air Bellson

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Louie Bellson’s vigor and flair prove to be undiminished on this mix of blues, bossa nova, ballad and waltz tempos. A hand-picked septet is captivating and classy on 13 swinging originals penned by the 72-year-old drum legend.

The album opens with “Air Jordan,” a tribute to the Chicago Bulls’ star that showcases Pete Christlieb’s strong tenor. Conte Candoli’s trumpet is the creative voice on “Mele Kalikimaka,” while Andy Martin works his slide on “150 Pounds of Bones” and Christlieb renders the tender theme of “Ballade.”

Other tributes, “Tito” (for bandleader Puente) and “Tempo De Carlo” (for late Concord Jazz founder Carl Jefferson), also allow quality solo space. “Another Shade of Blues” showcases pianist Larry Novak and soprano saxophonist Sal Lozano, who plays alto and flute on other tracks. The four-horn choir harmonizes on “Lou’s Blues,” bassist Dave Stone is the star of “Bassiano,” and pianist Novak and bassist John Heard take turns exploring “Waltz A-Way.”