Peter Appleyard and The Jazz Giants – The Lost 1974 Sessions – Linus 270135, 73:08 ****:
(Peter Appleyard – vibes; Hank Jones – piano; Zoot Sims – tenor sax; Slam Stewart – bass; Bobby Hackett – cornet; Mel Lewis – drums; Urbie Green – trombone)
Peter Appleyard is one of Canada’s best known and highly-regarded jazz musicians. After emigrating to Canada from England via Bermuda in 1951, he first established his reputation as a member of the Toronto-based Calvin Jackson Quartet in the mid 1950s, and then went on to front his own bands. He toured with Benny Goodman in the 1970s and it was during his time with the band in 1974 that this session was recorded.
This highly infectious and swinging session was a fortuitous occasion. Appleyard took advantage of having all the participants in Toronto for a concert led by him, and subsequently he arranged to bring all of them into the studio. This was the one and only record date by this aggregation and although it has been close to 40 years since then, the session holds up remarkably well. Using “head “ arrangements, the band kicked off the session with a Duke Ellington medley with Appleyard leading the way on “Sophisticated Lady” and each of the players picking up flawlessly on the other Ellington classics. “After You’ve Gone”, following a lovely slow intro from Bobby Hackett, is a knockout with both Appleyard and Sims especially forceful. The group segues into an up-tempo “Tangerine” with Hank Jones leading the way and a couple of strong choruses from Urbie Green along with some interesting exchanges between Sims and Appleyard.
The band then starts a series of feature performances beginning with Bobby Hackett, who was the natural heir to Bix Beiderbecke. He treats us to a sympathetic rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” with a stylish accompaniment by Hank Jones. Urbie Green who was a much under-appreciated trombonist shows his mettle on “But Beautiful”. Zoot Sims has never been more rhythmically infectious than on “You Go To My Head”. As with all these features, the ever- inventive Hank Jones keeps up his sensitive piano comping in the background and then from time to time embarks on some glorious solos. On “Indiana“ Slam Stewart gives the tune his unique singing/humming bass interpretation. The Benny Goodman opus “A Smooth One” brings the entire band together for a well throughout interpretation with Hackett on cornet again showing his classy style. Finally Hank Jones demonstrates his impeccable taste with a solo rendition of “Dancing On The Ceiling”. There is a final track of outtakes that really adds nothing to the session and should have been dropped.
Overall this is a gem of a disc and listeners should be appreciative that it has been resurrected after all these years.
TrackList: Ellington Medley; After You’ve Gone; Tangerine; You Don’t Know What Love Is; But Beautiful; You Go To My Head; Indiana; A Smooth One; Dancing On The Ceiling; Bonus Track
A bona fide jazz legend is celebrated with an all-star documentary soundtrack vinyl soundtrack.