A special album featuring two of the giants of the tenor saxophone, Bobby Wellins and Don Weller, playing a selection of four tunes each individually and a version of Di's Waltz together, especially arranged by Mark Edwards in settings including a string quartet and clarinet choir featuring jazz saxophonist Alan Barnes.
1. Cuddly (Stan Tracey) 15.51 2. Good Bait (Tadd Dameron) 19.25 3. Stardust/Old Folks (Hoagy Carmichael) (Willard Robison) 10.00
1. Bluesette (Toots Theilmans) 20.10 2. Lover Man (Ray Ramirez) 12.17 3. Wee (Denzil Best) 10.29
Recorded at the Appleby Jazz Festival, Appleby In Westmoorland, July
29th 2006 Sound Engineer : Dave Bellwood
Design, Sound Recording, Mixing and Mastering: Andrew Cleyndert Festival Director: Neil Ferber
This release celebrates the wonderful Appleby Jazz Festival that has been so sadly missed this year. The set, comprising of a roaring meeting of three Appleby favourites and a searing rythm section to light the touch paper, is presented in its entirety.
As Spike Wells sums up in the liner notes:
As every seasoned drummer knows, when saxophonists lock horns in primaeval battle, the rhythm section usually goes with a collective sigh of resignation on to autopilot and sets the controls for umpteen choruses of robotic accompaniment.
O ye of little faith! Unlike many festival promoters, Neil knows
exactly what he’s doing in putting his programme together and he
never makes the classical mistake of throwing together mismatched
soloists just because the musicians involved are all present and
hanging around looking to pick up another gig.
What you have in your hand is an excellent live recording of that legendary Saturday afternoon set - the debut performance by a sextet which, to the delight of all involved, instantly jelled into a unit of great character, power and sensitivity and has since gone on to score a big hit at Brecon 2007 (with a return invitation in 2008).
Of course with this line-up I should have realised that it was never going to be just a makeshift jam session.
These very special ‘three tenors’ are after all each in their own right distinctive, original and (most importantly) contrasting voices. There’s no edgy ego-protective competition. Totally relaxed, with mutual respect and a collective insouciance, they perfectly complement each other’s styles.
Art and Don have famously sparked off each other’s unique soloing for many years – I never cease to smile at the way the seminal influence of Dexter Gordon comes out of their respective instruments so differently – but to throw Mornington Lockett into the mix as well – now that was a truly inspired piece of booking.
As Mornington acknowledged on the microphone, Art and Don were heroes and influences when he was learning his trade but now he himself adds a fresh ingredient: the harmonies and rhythms of a new generation, from George Coleman through Michael Brecker and beyond.
There is another vital factor in the success of the overall performance: the truly awesome piano of Mark Edwards. Mark plays with such drive, soul and conviction (he had another personal triumph at this festival in duet with John Donaldson released on Trio Records TR571) that he constantly lifts the other members of the band to play above themselves.