Billy Bauer ‎– Plectrist (Full Album)

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Billy Bauer never gained much prominence following his stint with Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, and Warne Marsh in the late 40s and early 50s. In the ensuing decades the guitarist made his living as a studio player and teacher.

Plectrist, released in 1956 on Norman Granz’s Norgran label and reissued by Verve, is Bauer’s sole outing as a leader. With 11 previously released tracks and four alternate takes, the beautifully packaged disc reveals Bauer not as a Tristano disciple but rather a straight-ahead stylist in the mold of Jimmy Raney and Tal Farlow. His tone is rich and bright, and his lines swing vividly on medium-fast tempos like “The Way You Look Tonight” and Irving Berlin’s “Maybe I Love You Too Much.” He begins the album with a ballad, however, interpreting “It’s a Blue World” with high-register block chords. The old Satchmo anthem “When It’s Sleepytime Down South” gets a similar treatment. Four Bauer originals also appear: the boppish “Lincoln Tunnel,” the ballads “Night Cruise” and “Estelle’s Dream,” and the enigmatic solo piece “Blue Mist,” which concludes the original program (and was misidentified as “Moon Mist” on the original back cover).

Bauer’s quartet includes, most notably, the recently departed bassist Milt Hinton, who gets plentiful solo room. Drummer Osie Johnson and pianist Andrew Ackers complete the lineup; Ackers keeps to the background mostly, but plays a strong solo on “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” (AllABoutJazz,

Billy Bauer was an accomplished studio guitar player whose only studio date as a leader was this release, finally reissued as a part of the Verve Elite Edition limited edition CD series in 2000. Throughout the CD he is never overpowering, but a solid rhythmic player, whether essaying a gently swinging “Too Marvelous for Words” or a more sprightly “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.” Bauer also wrote several originals for the date, including the easygoing bop vehicle “Lincoln Tunnel,” the tender ballad “Night Cruise,” and the unaccompanied “Blue Mist.” Accompanying Bauer is bassist Milt Hinton, drummer Osie Johnson, and the obscure pianist Arnold Ackers. While this won’t be an essential CD for every jazz fan, those who acquire it will not be disappointed (AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden,

Track listing:

1 It’s A Blue World 4:10
2 Maybe I Love You Too Much 2:31
3 Lincoln Tunnel 4:05
4 Night Cruise 4:44
5 Too Marvelous For Words 2:59
6 Lady Estelle’s Dream 3:39
7 You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To 3:12
8 When It’s Sleepy Time Down South 3:45
9 The Way You Look Tonight 3:38
10 Lullaby Of The Leaves 3:58
11 Blue Mist 2:11
12 The Way You Look Tonight – Alternative Take 3:43
13 The Way You Look Tonight – Alternative Take 3:46
14 The Way You Look Tonight – Alternative Take 3:47
15 Lullaby Of The Leaves – Alternative Take 4:10

Recorded – 1956 at Fine Sound, New York City: # 1-4 on January 23; # 5-15 on March 12
# 12-15 previously unissued


Billy Bauer – guitar
Milt Hinton – bass
Osie Johnson – drums
Andrew Ackers – piano


Released: 1956
Duration: 55:55
Recorded: January 23, 1956 – March 12, 1956
Fine Sound, New York, NY