Awe-inspiring musicianship, incredible musical interplay, fantastic dynamics, inspirational solos, climactic crescendos, and a great repertoire of amazing music from the brilliant mind of Frank Zappa….makes this band one of the best ever!…
"Plays" is the debut album of Battista Lena Via Veneto Jazz, but is also and above all an album that marks a sort of "back to basics", ie to the essential dimension of the jazz trio. This work differs from previous recordings of the guitarist and composer, focusing on projects with extended and rich in organic contamination with other musical universes (remember the experience with the Plectrum Orchestra Senese and the Banda Sonora); "Plays" is configured as a return to the starting point in the musical journey of Lena (a decidedly elliptical path, which often included the composition of film scores), and as a re-taking possession of the instrument, after having concentrated years mainly on writing.
Sam Most in two wonderful settings – a large group on half the record, then a smaller combo with David Schildkraut on tenor, Bob Dorough on piano, and Tommy Potter on bass! Sam plays clarinet throughout, but uses some of the phrasing he'd be more likely to employ with a saxophone – a practice that makes the album a great showcase for Most's really unique talents on his instrument. And although the title might make you think the whole thing's a bop rehash record, the arrangements are pretty darn inventive – and really help bring new life into tunes that include "Serpent's Tooth", "Celia", "Bluebird", "Strictly Confidential", and "In Walked Bud" – especially from Sam's solos, and the trumpet work of Doug Mettome.
The first album ever from drummer Stan Levey, but a set that already shows his mighty talents as a leader! Stan wisely chose some great songs to work with here – penned by west coast highlights Jimmy Giuffre, Bob Cooper, and Bill Holman – and taken into a small combo mode that really shakes the tunes free of any of the larger Kenton-esque qualities of the composers. Giuffre is on the record – playing baritone in the sextet along with Zoot Sims on tenor, Conte Candoli on trumpet, Claude Williamson on piano, and Max Bennett on bass – about as great of a Bethlehem lineup as you could hope for at the time. Sims brings in a really rich sense of soul tot he record – and titles include "Drum Sticks", "Lightnin' Bug", "Exaktamo", and "Extraversion".