HERB ELLIS
            Meets Jimmy Giuffre

                      Recording Date:
                          March 26, 1959

                          Herb Ellis        G
                          Jimmy Giuffre BS,TS
                          Jim Hall          G
                          Richie Kamuca TS
                          Stan Levey      D
                          Lou Levy         P
                         Joe Mondragon B
                          Art Pepper      AS
                          Bud Shank       AS


By Michael B. Richman  
"Herb Ellis Meets Jimmy Giuffre" features an all-star cast of West Coast Jazz greats -- Bud Shank and Art Pepper on alto sax, Richie Kamuca and Jimmy Giuffre on tenor sax, Jim Hall and Herb Ellis on guitar, Lou Levy on piano, Joe Mondragon on bass and Stan Levey on drums. This 1959 session was a rare, highly sought after LP and will be soon be equally scarce on CD, as this title had a limited pressing of 6500 copies. While I'm glad I purchased this soon-to-be collector's item, I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the music. Despite the fact that so many creative musicians collaborated on this session, at times the playing is rather straight-forward and uninspired. Jimmy Giuffre's arrangements, are very tight, but they are written to allow Ellis to stretch out on the tunes, and not Pepper, Shank or Hall, who only plays rhythm guitar lines. Additionally, Giuffre's arrangements don't reflect the modern, exploratory writing and playing we would find two years later, in 1961, on Giuffre's classic albums "Fusion" and "Thesis." With that being said, this is still a very good session and kudos to Verve for bringing back in print. Fans of the first edition of the Jimmy Giuffre 3, or other classic Verve dates featuring Ellis (like all those great Oscar Peterson discs), will definitely enjoy "Herb Ellis Meets Jimmy Giuffre."

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