Let’s take a walk back 44 years in jazz history to the making of this live recording at the Village Vanguard. Of all the famous musicians involved, only Bob Brookmeyer is alive today. But these six numbers have certainly not gathered the dust or become musty. Quite the opposite in fact! Where today can one find a group which can play a contemporary composer and arranger’s complex arrangements with such precision yet so relaxed and swinging?
The team of Cohn-Mandel-Brookmeyer and the boss himself provided the framework for the soloists, the public were electrified right from the very start, an absolutely top performance was demanded and the recording team was luckily on the ball. There’s only one complaint to be made: why were only these six recordings released? Where is the rest of this performance which lasted at least a week long?
But on to the music. Exciting exchanges in the opening number "Blueport", the tender "Body And Soul" in a new arrangement by Gerry Mulligan and an excellent solo by Clark Terry in "Black Nightgown" are the highlights of Side 1. "Come Rain" features the tightly knit sound of the ensemble, while "Lady Chatterley" gives Clark Terry a further opportunity to show off his musicianship in a brilliant final solo. In "Let My People Be" Mulligan sits down at the piano, the Concert Band closes their music books and a glorious, improvised dialogue takes place between the saxophones and the rest of the band.
All in all, this LP is absolutely top class and certainly deserves to keep on spinning on the turntable - even 44 years on. You won’t regret buying this album!