If we were to choose one word to link the respective talents of Buddy Weed and Don Elliott, it would unanimously be: Versatility. Both are men of many facets in the musical world. Pianist Weed is a musical director, combo leader, arranger, singer and composer who has performed with a host of top names, including Paul Whiteman. Currently, he is dividing his time between scores of record dates, radio and TV shows and TV commercials. The commercial field also keeps Don Elliott’s mellophone, trumpet and vibes busy. A seven-time winner of ‘Down Beat’s’ annual jazz poll, Don is frequently heard on recordings in one or several of his specialities. Besides his numerous broadcast and night club appearances, he also composed the music and directed the combo for the Broadway hit, A Thurber Carnival. Buddy and Don, featured soloists of The Buddy Weed Septet, begin the set with a hustling-bustling jump number that captures the sounds of the subway in a Five O’Clock Rush. The train sounds are continued on the next track, but at a different pace, as the combo flags a south-bound express for Dixie in a shuffling swing number that promises I’m Gonna Flag That Train. Buddy’s light-hearted piano is assisted by Don’s muted trumpet licks. The tempo then gives way to a barrel-house novelty in which Buddy’s raucous honky-tonk piano provides the sawdust-on-the-floor atmosphere for Honky Tonk Mama. Mr. Imagination, which follows, is a mental image set to music, a wish-upon-a-star ballad that finds Don obliging with some fanciful vibes patter. Don’s trumpet then combines with Buddy’s vigorous piano rolls in the next tune, called Blue Boy, which is a boogie that is anything but blue. The flip side starts with a tiger hunt, a melodic safari led by Don Elliott and his mellophone … which through Don’s imaginative explorations has become an accepted jazz instrument. This novelty number is aptly called Rajah’s Spree. A shuffle beat takes over next as the Septet offers a reprise of vaudeville days and a chance for some Sweet Reminiscence essayed by piano, trumpet, clarinet, guitar and rhythm. Preceding vaudeville’s heyday, there was the era of ragtime which flourished in the casinos, dance halls and barrel-houses of the flashy, gaudy, naughty gay-nineties period, and is personified by the combo’s version of Jackpot Rag. Then the bongos ripple and the bass strings quiver as the Septet contributes the stirring melody of a Brazilian Serenade, a rapturous rumba that stars Stan Webb on alto flute. The boys close the album with a frisky swing session that highlights a piano-vibes unison supplied by Buddy and Don. It’s the kind of cooperation and instrumental interplay in this Minor Swing and the other entries in ‘Buddy Weed Meets Don Elliott, Vol. 1’ that makes The Buddy Weed Septet, one of the most exciting groups in ensemble jazz. The Buddy Weed Septet: Buddy Weed, piano; Don Elliott, mellophone, trumpet, vibes; Stan Webb, woodwinds; Barry Galbraith and Allen Hanlon, guitar, banjo; Arnold Fishkind, bass; Morey Feld, percussion.
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