Saturday, October 1, 2016

Howard Roberts - 1967 - Jaunty-Jolly!

Howard Roberts 

01 I Will Wait For You 2:27
02 So Nice 2:37
03 Winchester Cathedral 1:49
04 Sing No Blues 3:55
05 Theme From "The Sand Pebbles" 2:24
06 A Man And A Woman 2:15
07 Music To Watch Girls By 2:17
08 All 2:26
09 If She Walked Into My Life 3:09
10 The Face I Love 2:08
11 Mercy, Mercy, Mercy 2:50

Howard Roberts - g
Dave Grusin - p
Shelley Manne - dr
Chuck Bergofer - b & Fender b
Larry Bunker, Emil Richards - dr
Bill Pitman - g

Recorded in Hollywood, California ; February 21 & 28, 1967 & March 7

From 1963 through 1973, Howard Roberts recorded a series of eleven albums for Capitol Records. The marketing ploy of Capitol Records was obvious: make jazz-oriented versions of the day's popular music and keep the tracks under three minutes, which made them perfect for AM radio exposure. With a recipe like that one would think these albums would be superficial and quickly forgotten, but Howard Roberts made sure that would not happen. He managed to slip into the mix some jazz standards and a plethora of his original compositions. Add to that the fact that the man had an encyclopedic knowledge of music based on his years of studio work and throw in his considerable talent as a guitarist, and you have a series of enjoyable, funky albums.
~ The first eight of the Capitol albums have been reissued by Sundazed Music on their Euphoria label. In doing so, Euphoria has combined the albums in pairs in chronological order: "Color Him Funky: H R Is a Dirty Guitar Player", "Somethings Cookin: Goodies", "Whatevers Fair: All Time Great", and "Jaunty Jolly: Guilty".
~ The list of musicians accompanying Roberts on these albums reads like a who's who of Los Angeles studio stars, so the musicianship is of the highest caliber. On "Guilty" H.R. is joined by Dave Grusin (organ), Chuck Berghofer (bass), Al Hendrickson & Jack Marshall (guitar), John Guerin, Paulo Fernando de Magalhaes, Claudio Miranda & Larry Bunker (drums and percussion), and Vic Feldman (electric piano and percussion). On "Jaunty Jolly" H.R. is joined by Dave Grusin (piano), Shelley Manne, Larry Bunker & Emil Richards (drums), Chuck Berghofer (bass and Fender bass), and Bill Pitman (guitar).
~ The short duration of the tracks (all under three minutes) imposed an interesting challenge on the soloists: make your solo clear, concise, and interesting. There was no time for meandering. The soloist, especially Howard Roberts, were up to the challenge. Indeed, these albums can almost be considered a tutorial in jazz guitar playing and distilling a solo down to its essence.
~ For those looking for examples of Howard Roberts playing more traditional jazz with extended solo space, you will have to look elsewhere (his Verve and Concord recordings), but if you are looking for an enjoyable, joyful, funky ride through the 1960's you are going to enjoy all of the Euphoria 2-fer reissues of the first eight of Mr. Robert's Capitol recordings.
~ Highly Recommended.

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