Melba Liston – Melba Liston And Her Bones (Full Album)

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Melba Doretta Liston (January 13, 1926 – April 23, 1999) was an American jazz trombonist, musical arranger, and composer. She was the first woman trombonist to play in big bands during the 1940s and 1960s.

On this recording she joins a variety of other trombonists, including Bennie Green, Al Grey, and Benny Powell (three tracks); Jimmy Cleveland, Frank Rehak and Slide Hampton (five tracks); and Frank Rehak (the four bonus tracks). The leader’s interplay with the other trombone players adds to the musical richness of the recording.

Even in the company of high-quality, accomplished master musicians like these, her musical skills stand out. Her lyrical improvisations are melodic, clear and gay when she plays unmuted, and mysterious and warm when muted. This recording is one of the few places to hear Melba Liston solo, in addition to two tracks on Ernie Henry’s Last Chorus (Riverside, 1958) and a beautiful solo on “My Reverie with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra.

This hard-swinging music is firmly planted in the bop tradition, enhanced by the playing of Marti Flax (baritone sax) and Kenny Burrell (guitar) on specific tracks. Melba Liston’s playing matches her compositional skills; she wrote four of the twelve pieces, and they shine with originality. Liston has long been ignored as a composer and horn player, in large part due to gender bias, and so this reissue is long overdue—not just because of its historical value, but also the quality of the music (AllAboutJazz.com).

Tracklist:

1 Christmas Eve 4:57
2 What’s My Line Theme 4:18
3 You Don’t Say 3:55
4 The Dark Before The Dawn 3:18
5 Pow! 4:01
6 Blues Melba 6:30
7 The Trolley Song 2:31
8 Wonder Why 3:58
9 Insomnia 3:29
10 Very Syrian Business 4:22
11 Never Do An Abadanian 5:07
12 Zagred This 4:41

Personnel:

Trombone – Al Grey (# 3, 6, 7), Bennie Green (# 3, 6, 7), Benny Powell (# 3, 6, 7), Frank Rehak (# 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9 to 12), Jimmy Cleveland (# 1, 2, 4, 5, 8), Melba Liston
Trombone, Tuba – Slide Hampton (# 1, 2, 4, 5, 8)
Baritone Saxophone – Marty Flax (# 9 to 12)
Bass – George Joyner (# 3, 6, 7), Nelson Boyd (#9 to 12)
Drums – Charlie Persip (# 3, 6, 7, 9 to 12), Frank Dunlop (# 1, 2, 4, 5, 8)
Guitar – Kenny Burrell (# 3, 6, 7)
Piano – Ray Bryant (# 1, 2, 4, 5, 8), Walter Davis Jr. (# 9 to 12)

 

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