Bud Shank And the Sax Section – A Forgotten Jazz Classic

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Forgotten Jazz Classics


Bud Shank And the Sax Section

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

A True Demo Disc of the highest order! The sound of multiple saxes playing these lively arrangements is audiophile magic to these ears. We played a ton of copies and none of them had two sides like this! You aren’t going to believe how open, lively and tubey magical the sound is throughout.

Both sides here are SUPER HOT. It must have something very close to 100% of the sound the engineer recorded, because it is just out of this world. The engineer in question? None other than Bruce Botnick, the man behind Sergio Mendes’ first album, The Doors, Love and countless others, a true wizard in the studio if ever there was one.

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Botnick Is The Man

He sure knew what he was doing on this session. Botnick succeeded brilliantly in capturing the unique sound of each of the saxes. The album is really more of a West Coast pop jazz record than it is a “real” jazz record. The arrangements are very tight, the songs are quite short — none exceed three and a half minutes — so there is not a lot of classic jazz saxophone improvisational blowing going on. (If you’re looking for the kind of thing Rudy Van Gelder did back in the day, it’s not here.)

The Bass Sax — What a Sound!

The reason this album is so appealing to us audiophiles is that the sound of each of the saxophones is clearly recognizable as they weave in and around these arrangements. On the back cover you can see a fellow holding a bass saxophone, an instrument you don’t hear too often — perhaps it’s fallen from favor. (It solos at the beginning of Sidewinder on side one. Once you hear it you will be dying to play that song for your audiophile buddies, I guarantee it. What a sound!)

Even the baritone working off of the tenors and the altos is exciting and fun on this album. These guys are swinging big-time in the West Coast style we love here at Better Records. They’re not angry. They’re not out to prove anything. What they have going for them is lots of musical chops (being studio guys who can read and play anything you can throw at them) and some very clever, very interesting arrangements by the amazingly talented Bob Florence, who worked out variations for all the sounds that a saxophone can make, or in this case, the sounds six saxophones can make. These guys are having a lot of fun in the studio with these tunes and the feeling is contagious.

(There is a wonderful picture on the inside of the fold-open cover showing all the saxophone players grouped around a forest of microphones in the studio. A couple of them are even wearing sunglasses indoors. How cool is that?)

Supersax on MoFi

I remember in the early ’80s when I bought the MOFI of Supersax (#511), which has something in common with this album: multiple saxes, for one thing. But it’s really a piece of garbage, with no musical value whatsoever and sonics to match. Their experiment didn’t work.

This album, however, works like a charm. The version of Take Five on here is Demo Quality. I used to sell reissues of this record back in the day, which aren’t bad, but they certainly cannot hold a candle to the originals, and to a Hot Stamper like this one? Forget about it!

This Copy Is Wonderful

Both sides are so rich, sweet and spacious, with such wonderfully breathy saxes, that you almost cannot imagine the music sounding any better. (The horns on this record can get hard and sour on the less than stellar copies.) Tight bass and extended highs complete the nearly perfect sonic picture.