Monday Sep 25

4 on 2

Creek BankMellow Moods

Each of this pair of Prestige reissue CDs rescues two LPs from back catalog oblivion.  Creek Bank opens up with ten excellent tracks from Young Man Mose and follows with ten more from the Creek Bank LP.  Mose Allison recorded both for Prestige in 1958.The music on Clark Terry's Mellow Moods CD originally came out in the early '60s as two LPs on Prestige's Moodsville subsidiary.  The first was the unforgettable Everything's Mellow and the second was not so memorable All American.

ARTIST:Clark Terry
TITLE:Mellow Moods
LABEL:Prestige PRCD-24136-2
DATE: 1961, 1962
TIME: 68:42
MUSIC: 4
SOUND: 4

Everything's MellowAll American

Mellow finds Terry in the excellent company of Junior Mance, Joe Benjamin, and Charlie Persip.  The mood is indeed mellow with Mance insinuating a cool blue strain into the relaxed warmth.  The up-close and personal perspective of the recorded sound emphasizes the intimacy of these quartet performances.

The other half of the CD offers up jazz versions of the score of the Broadway show All American, an all but unknown effort by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, the team that brought the world Bye Bye Birdie.  There only familiar song is "Once Upon a Time."  A quick listen to the others will make clear why they didn't burrow their way into our collective musical consciousness.  What's not at all clear is why Prestige producer Esmond Edwards decided to devote an entire album to this thin material.

Oliver Nelson sketched arrangements for a seven-piece band which includes, in addition to Terry, Budd Johnson on tenor sax, and Eddie Costa on piano and vibes.  Switching to blues choruses for the blowing section of the utterly inane "The Fight Song" was Nelson's most inspired idea.  And in every case, the solos Terry, Johnson, and Costa toss off make wading through the ensembles bearable.  But I'll bet that you'll usually stop this CD in its tracks right after the Everything's Mellow session.

ARTIST:Mose Allison
TITLE:Creek Bank
LABEL:Prestige PRCD-24055-2
DATE: 1958
TIME: 75:56
MUSIC: 5
SOUND: 4

Young Man MoseCreek Bank LP


Mose Allison's Creek Bank combination works much better.  Sure, it's a bit of a surprise when the mono of the first tracks gives way to the highly separated stereo of the tracks from the later session, but in generally everything flows together marvelously.

These are classic Allison trio performances with Addison Farmer (twin brother of trumpeter Art) on bass and either Nick Stabulas or Ronnie Free on drums.  The original two LPs included some of Allison's best known and most enjoyed performances:  "The Seventh Son," "Mule," "I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out!," and "Stroll."  That last tune has Allison on tasty tightly muted trumpet rather than piano.

If your collection is a bit light on early Allison, Creek Bank is the ideal way to fill that lamentable gap.