Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Charlie Mariano Playlist


Charlie Mariano's plaintive wail on alto saxophone was one of my earliest associations with the "sound" of West Coast Jazz as he was for many years the featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra as well as a member of drummer Shelly Manne's Quintet, all of which occurred during my Jazz awakening. His solos on the former's Stella by Starlight and the latter's second movement of Bill Holman's Quartet from the quintet's Vol. 5 Contemporary Jazz LP are just riveting with their passion and sensitivity.

The first video in the playlist features Charlie's solo on the Holman/Quartet/2nd Movement as played on the LP version.  When the LP was issued as a CD on Original Jazz Classics many years later, someone, quite startlingly to my ears at the time, substituted a different version of the 2nd Movement. The second video in the playlist uses this different Mariano solo as an accompaniment to the art of Salvatore Dali. Can you discern the difference between the LP and the CD versions of the 2nd movement to Bill Holman's Quartet?

Also included are videos with Charlie performing Johnny Mandel's Tommyhawk and Bud Powell's Un Poco Loco with Shelly's Quintet, working with Jerry Dodgion on a marvelous small group arrangement of K-K-K-Katy and a closing video tribute to Stan Kenton on which Charlie performs his famous Stella by Starlight solo.

Charlie had one of the most distinctive sounds in all of Jazz on alto sax and his solos were full of "the sound of surprise."

See what you think.


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