Marty Paich Big Band – What’s New

More Marty Paich

What’s New

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

This is a wonderful example of the kind of record that makes record collecting FUN.

Albert Marx was the producer of the original sessions back in 1957. Fast forward to the ’80s and Marx is now the owner of his very own jazz label, Discovery Records. Who would know the sound of the original tapes better than he? Working with Dave Ellsworth at KM, Marx has here produced one of the better jazz reissues we’ve heard in years.

As we never tire of saying, Old and New can sometimes work extremely well together. What’s New is another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, with the added benefit of mastering on the more modern cutting equipment of the early ’80s. We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 35 years ago, not the bad modern mastering of today.

This album was surely mastered from the real two track analog tapes, not some digital copies of whatever master they could lay their hands on. And the difference of course is not just audible. It’s night and day.

Cool West Coast Jazz

If you like the sound of relaxed, tube-mastered jazz — and what red blooded audiophile doesn’t — you can’t do much better than Marty Paich and the group of pro’s pros he rounded up for these sessions. The warmth and immediacy of the sound here are guaranteed to blow practically any Large Jazz Group recording you own right out of the water.

Both sides of this very special pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. As soon as the band got going we knew that this was absolutely the right sound for this music.

Amazing Tubey Magic

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1957 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy should be just the record for you.

This copy is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.

This is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of the album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable could care less.

Top West Coast Players Letting Loose

Baritone Saxophone – Marty Berman 
Bass – Joe Mondragon 
Drums – Mel Lewis 
Engineer – Bones Howe, Wally Kamin 
French Horn – Vince De Rosa 
Mastered By – Dave Ellsworth 
Piano – Marty Paich 
Producer – Albert L. Marx 
Saxophone – Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, Herb Geller 
Trombone – Herbie Harper
Trumpet – Buddy Childers, Jack Sheldon, Pete Candoli 
Valve Trombone, Clarinet – Bob Enevoldsen 

TRACK LISTING

Side One

From Now On 
Walkin On Home 
Black Rose 
Tommy’s Toon

Side Two

New Soft Shoe 
What’s New 
Easy Listenin 
Martyni Time 
Nice And Easy

Review

Allmusic rates the album 4 1/2 stars but declines to review it. Allmusic users rate it the full Five Stars (and so do we)!

Amazon 5 Star Insightful Review

The title notwithstanding, this album comes across as a small-group session. A medium-sized small group to be sure, where the soloist–not the ensemble–is paramount. The “Big Band” is mostly de-emphasized, playing little background riffs here and there to kick the soloist into high (or low) gear. It is, nevertheless, the finest Marty Paich album I’ve heard to date. It has a warm and relaxed “fifties” ambience to it that is irresistible–and most engaging.

This is a review of the vinyl album that I received in the mail just a few days ago. The liner notes only list a handful of musicians, so I don’t know the complete personnel. But the tenor saxophone soloist is superb. He has a smooth, voluptuous, silky sound–rich and supple. It’s the most ravagingly gorgeous tenor sound to bless these ears. The liners indicate that Bob Cooper plays in the section, but if the tenor soloist isn’t the great Bill Perkins, I quit! What an awesome, tubular sound (to paraphrase the Valley Girl, his sound is so awesome, it’s TUBULAR!)

The alto saxophonist sounds like another heavy, Herb Geller, to me. Maybe someone with the CD version can tell me if my guesses are accurate. I’ve always considered Herb (along with Sonny Criss) to be the two of the finest alto players West Coast Jazz has produced. In fact, I consider Herb and Sonny, along with Buddy Collette and Lennie Niehaus, to be much better altoists than the overrated Art Pepper. And this is among the best Geller I’ve heard on record–his playing is gripping and forceful, full of confidence and all enrobed in that rich, dark sound, so dark that at times it almost sounds as if he’s playing tenor sax. I hear some Bird, Benny Carter and Willie Smith in Herb’s playing here, a heady mixture to be sure, but Geller emerges as his own man on this session–as he does today (still playing well at 82!).

For those of you who like screaming, roaring big bands like Herman, Kenton and Ferguson (yeah, and I’m one of ’em), this may or may not be your cup of tea. Texturally, the music here is more akin to subtle big bands such as Clare Fisher and Gerald Wilson. But a couple of tracks–particularly the closer, “Nice and Easy” (not the Sinatra tune)–sound almost exactly like something Duke Pearson would write for his big band a decade later. Come to think of it, let’s forget “almost.” “Nice and Easy” sounds EXACTLY like Pearson. There, I said it.

Jack Sheldon–still in his Chet Baker phase–plays some nice solos here with that cloudy, smokey tone he had back in the fifties and early sixties. Tonally, it’s almost as if his trumpet were made out of nebulous gases instead of brass. It’s an interesting but foggy sound. Bobby Enevoldsen–sounding at times like Bob Brookmeyer–also wails on valve trombone.

I gave this relaxed-yet-visceral album five stars because the soloists (particularly Perkins and Geller) are emotionally powerful, the interesting Paich compositions have a subtle strength, the recording is crisp and clear akin to Contemporary label releases from the same period, and there’s a wonderful, almost nostalgic, fifties West Coast Jazz vibe warmly glowing throughout. This album is a “sleeper” that may get lost in the shuffle of hundreds, even thousands of reissued jazz vinyl now on CD, so I wrote this review to enlighten the masses out there to its excellence. It is highly recommended to fans of WCJ, the superb soloists involved and subtle big bands (but it still comes across as a Marty Paich Octet album, somewhat similar to Tenors West on GNP Crescendo, yet much better–and that LP wasn’t bad).

Dan Feldman

Allmusic Bio

One of the best-known arrangers of the post-World War II era, Marty Paich had much stronger jazz credentials than many of his peers, thanks to his active presence on the West Coast scene during the ’50s.

Paich soon graduated to higher-profile gigs, playing and arranging for Shelly Manne and Shorty Rogers (the latter on the big-band album Cool and Crazy) over 1953-1954, and also serving a stint as Peggy Lee’s accompanist and musical director. He led his own groups as well, and in 1955 he began recording for a succession of labels that included Mode, Tampa, Candid (The Picasso of Big Band Jazz), Warner (I Get a Boot Out of You), and RCA Victor.

During the mid- to late ’50s, Paich wrote arrangements for a who’s who of West Coast jazz, including Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Ray Brown, Dave Pell, and Stan Kenton, among others. Perhaps his most notable work came with Mel Tormé, whom he often backed with a ten-piece group dubbed the Dek-tette; the pairing resulted in the classic album Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette (aka Lulu’s Back in Town), plus numerous other high-quality sessions through 1960.

Additionally, Paich contributed the arrangements to altoist Art Pepper’s 1959 masterpiece Art Pepper + Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics. Paich’s work for both Tormé and Pepper reflected one of his greatest strengths as an arranger: making relatively small groups sound like full-size orchestras.

By the close of the ’50s, Paich had already begun to branch out from his West Coast roots, arranging material for Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, and big-band leader Terry Gibbs. Around 1960, he elected to move away from his own recording career to focus on arranging for pop (and sometimes jazz) vocalists. Over the course of the decade, he worked with the likes of Ray Charles, Lena Horne, Helen Humes, Al Hirt, Andy Williams, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Astrud Gilberto, and Mahalia Jackson, among many others.