Monday, December 22, 2014

Bob Brookmeyer Portriat of the Artist Atlantic 1960

Bob Brookmeyer Portriat of the Artist Atlantic 1960 CAT# 1320

Bob Brookmeyer was born in Kansas City, MO and began his career in town. He was renowned as a valve trombonist throughout his career working with many jazz greats throughout his career. However, as this compilation showcases, he was also an accomplished pianist.

As a teen, he attended the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, but began playing professional as a pianist prior to graduation. His jazz stardom came to when he concentrated on valve trombone while a part of a Stan Getz led group that featured Gerry Mulligan.

This album also showcases his skills as an arranger and it should be noted, trombone isn't the typical instrument for a bandleader, although others did do it. Again, though, Brookmeyer wasn't limited to the trombone. He arranged at the piano and let his classical music education work it's way into his jazz arrangements. He's pretty square, but can be as complex as another area jazz great, Stan Kenton.

The music featured here is almost cinematic in scope. He can swing when he wants, but he concentrates on trying to impress. The liner notes present a "Gee Shucks" kind of character, but given the amount of respect Brookmeyer had at this time-he was trying to show off. The first side is entitled, "Blues Suite" and seperated into 4 movements. The second side is more basic, but still pretty cinematic in it's approach. The best moments are when he came up with a melody that gets it's legs from guys like Ellington and Monk. Those are the moments is his work that the listener can connect with and hold on to.

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