Artist: Buddy Rich Big Band
Title: Buddy & Soul (Recorded Live in Hollywood At the Whiskey A Go-Go)
Label: World Pacific Jazz Records
Musicians: Buddy Rich-Drums, Joseph Romano-Alto sax, flute, Richie Cole-Alto sax, Pat LaBarbera-Tenor sax, Donald Englert-Tenor sax, flute, Joseph Calo-Baritone sax, Mike Price, Kenneth Faulk, Oliver E Mitchell, Robert Yance-Trumpets, Salvador Marquez-Trumpet, tambourine, Vince Diaz, Rick Stepton-Trombones, Donald Switzer-Bass Trombone, David Dana-Guitar, Robert Magnusson-Bass & Fender Bass, David Lahm-Electric Piano
Producer: Richard Brock
Engineer: Lanky Linstrot
Per the liner notes: “This recording of the Buddy Rich Orchestra at the Whiskey A Go-Go marked a new plateau in the success of his band. For the first time a rock-and-roll club opened its doors to the sounds of a contemporary big band for an extended engagement no less. High school and college age listeners used to dancing frenetically to the sounds of electrified rock bands were content to sit and listen to what Rich and his men had to say. Packed crowds gave the band standing ovations at The Whiskey.
Rich plays what he and his band like, the way they want to play it. If you dig it, fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Rich feels the audience can understand his music emotionally if not technically and thinks if they can’t enjoy it on that level, perhaps they’re not ready for it. Rich and his band never tried to cash in on fads or ridden on anyone else’s success, never lowered themselves to fit any lowest common denominator or popular appeal”(as so much do these days).
I love that statement and back then it was due credit to the audiences or listeners then. Sadly today for the majority of folks who have been duped into getting their music on their phones and computers and who are used to the flash mass-produced music of today, that statement would be giving far too much credit in my opinion.
There are a couple of moments that sound like fade errors in the recording, but it’s not a real distraction and since this is live I wonder if it is not due to mic placement. The brass work on this LP is fantastic.
Soul Lady – Composed and arranged by Don Sebesky featuring Richie Cole on alto sax solo and David Dane on guitar solo. Interestingly it sounds like a Doors tune, but it’s not.
St. Petersberg Race – This is from a motion picture called Run Sunward. Here is where the band gets the groove on and the brass section really shines in this number.
Soul Kitchen – Yes, this is a cover of The Doors tune. And you thought Buddy Rich didn’t rock! John Densmore is one of the great drummers in rock and Buddy Rich obviously knows it, so why not do a Doors tune? I wonder if the Doors ever heard his covers of their songs? I think Ray Manzarek (RIP) would have liked it. Once again this features Richie Cole and David Dane in their respective solos.
Wonderbug – Composed and arranged by Kim Richmond.
Ruth – Composed and arranged by Bill Holman. Featuring Pat LaBarbera on tenor sax solo. This is a groovy number
Love and Peace – written by Arthur Adams and arranged by Joe Sample (yes, the same) featuring Richie Cole on alto sax solo. Again the brass section stands out on this number
Hello I Love You – Yes, we have another Doors cover. I told you Buddy Rich rocks.
Comin Home Baby – written by Ben Tucker and R. Dorough. This number has a great groove to it.
The Meaning Of The Blues – Written by Bobby Troupe (yes, the actor as well) and Leah Worth. This is the slowest number on the LP, but it is Buddy Rich so it’s good.
Greensleeves – Traditional. The obligatory Greensleeves, but you never heard it like this. This is the only song on the album that features a drum solo too.