Live at the Iridium

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Telarc
ALBUM TITLE: Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison
PERFORMER: Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison (t); Clark Terry (flug, t); Frank Wess (ts, f); Junior Mance (p); Marcus McLaurine (b); Dave Gibson (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 83425

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‘The Golden Horns’, as Edison, Terry and Wess call themselves, have a total of 232 years between them. Each had a spell with Basie, ‘Sweets’ himself joining his band in 1937. After Basie disbanded in 1950 he joined Norman Granz’s ‘Jazz at the Philharmonic’ concert series, worked as MD to Josephine Baker and, as a master of obbligato playing, was much in demand as an accompanist. (Edison’s witty and poignant mute playing can be heard in Sinatra’s best recordings with Nelson Riddle.)

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With that crisp tone and fleet technique still intact, and because he’s such an engaging character on the stand, Edison is always in demand. And old friends Terry and Wess make perfect sparring partners in a live set like this. Egged on by the blue bounce of Junior Mance, the Golden Horns lock with the kind of comfortable precision that younger players dream of, Wess adding to the luxuriant embrace with flute, Terry lobbing in boisterous, almost vocal cries. They could do it in their sleep, but it’s obvious they enjoy it too much to coast. Garry Booth