MAO Legendary Albums | Harry Sweets Edison: Going For Myself

Opus Jazz Club
  • Attila Korb - trumpet
  • János Ávéd - tenorsaxophone
  • Áron Komjáti - guitar
  • Gábor Cseke - piano
  • György Orbán - double bass
  • László Csízi - drums

Modern Art Orchestra’s Legendary Albums series presents the most important and unique albums of jazz history. By learning and playing these compositions and arrangements, the musicians are paying tribute to the jazz legends and are undergoing an intense process of musical improvement. The band absorbs the material of the original recordings, sticking to the arrangements, forms and compositional features. As improvisation is at the heart of jazz, solos are invented by the players at the moment. Due to the respect shown towards the original conceptions of the legendary composers and the level of craftsmanship known from Modern Art Orchestra, the Legendary Albums series both brings you the essence of jazz tradition and guarantees a fresh musical experience.

Two shining stars of the Count Basie big band have teamed up for this session, accompanied by a noble band indeed. It was released under Harry Sweets Edison’s (1915-1999) name as the leader, but the presence of his friend of many decades, Lester Young is even more memorable. Unfortunately, Young’s health had been fragile for some time, and he hardly made any more recordings. He died next year, at the age of 49. „Sweets” on the other hand, lived long and enjoyed being awarded as a NEA Jazz Master in 1992.
The year of the recording, 1957 is usually referred to as a transitory period in jazz. Unphased by what changes were to come, these two stars of their instrument, plus their pianist, Oscar Peterson, and some other celebrated artists, think of Ella Fitzgerald for instance, have developed a perfect blend of mainstream combo jazz these years. It was crystallized at the tours and concerts of Jazz at the Philharmonic, and it was down-to-the-point, really meant business, avoided extremes, and was always witty. They didn’t feel the urge to change what they have been doing in the coming years, and it was indeed the standard for many years.

The shiny trumpet sound of Edison, always natural, talkative, able to put forward as many long notes as catchy variations, has already made him famous in the thirties. Over time his taste developed, and his soli conquered new grounds. All the greatest names wanted him to play trumpet when they were singing, from Billy Holiday to Frank Sinatra. The personality of Lester Young was different, he was prepared to reveal the darker side of his soul, and he felt the complexities of the world around us, however he and Edison provided absolutely perfect harmony, despite their emotionally contrasting disposition. Young took up the clarinet on two tracks and the band members were leaving him all the space he needed. Well, it is hard to imagine a better rhythm section at the time than the Peterson–Herb Ellis–Ray Brown–Louie Bellson section of this ensemble. The fading powers though still captivating beauty of Young’s playing will be impersonated by János Ávéd.

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