Wardell Gray – Way Out Wardell (Full Album)

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“This album was recorded live in Los Angeles in 1948, and finds the great Wardell Gray amidst some of the finest musicians of the time. In the late 1940s, the West Coast jazz scene introduced the big band jazz concert idea to the public. At this time in his short career, Gray was starting his ascent and would achieve lasting fame in tenor sax history. The recorded sound on the album is tinny, given that it was recorded in a hall, and the echo is distracting. However, the compact disc cleaned much of this up, and the dueling between the two tenors shines right through. Vido Musso, the other fine tenor here, was with Stan Kenton for a time. His punchy style plays off the smoother swing of Gray. There’s also some strong, bright soloing by Howard McGhee, Ernie Royal, Barney Kessel, and Red Callender. The rhythm section swings hard throughout the session, and Gray knows how to ride the wave with a vengeance. He had that effortless tone of Lester Young, and was full with the fire of bop at the same time. His improvisation was prodigious, and he could translate a landslide of ideas through his horn. The genius Erroll Garner, then only 35, renders a fine solo version of “Tenderly.” The compact disc version adds the bonus cut “Sweet Georgia Brown.” This is what ignited jazz at the summit sounded like in concert in the late 1940s. Recommended.” – Mark Romano/AllMusic.

“Seminal sounds from the LA scene of the late 40s – one of the most important records to showcase the tenor talents of the legendary Wardell Gray – a key player on the harder side of the west coast for its formative bop years – and one whose career was cut short all too soon! The material here really shows that strong LA tradition of fervent jam session work – recorded here with Gray alongside additional tenor from Vido Musso – plus guitar from Barney Kessel and Irving Ashby, trumpet from Ernie Royal and Howard McGhee, trombone from Vic Dickenson, piano from Arnold Ross and Erroll Garner, and bass from Red Callender and Harry Babison. Tracks are nice and long – with plenty of room for Gray to show of his solo talents – and titles include “Tenderly”, “Blue Lou”, “Just You Just Me”, and “One O’Clock Jump”. ” – DustyGroove.

Tracklisting:
A1 Blue Lou 0:00
A2 Just You, Just Me 6:14
B1 One O’Clock Jump 16:44
B2 Tenderly 28:14

Personnel:
Wardell Gray, Vido Musso – tenor saxophone
Benny Carter – alto saxophone
Erroll Garner, Arnold Ross – piano
Red Callender – bass
Don Lamond, Jackie Mills – drums
Howard McGhee, Ernie Royal – trumpet
Vic Dickenson – trombone

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Label: Crown
Released: 1956
Recorded: Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA, 1947

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