Hal Stein – Warren Fitzgerald Quintet
When he made his recording debut in 1955 - with an album that was destined to become a cult classic in Japan - Hal Stein was a 27-year-old alto and tenor saxophonist with a solid, big band background. Both he and his co-leader, trumpet player Warren Fitzgerald, another young musician, had just signed for the recently reactivated jazz label, Progressive Records, under the control of Joe Maggio, with Gus Grant in charge of a&r and as session supervisor.
The album revealed Stein as a competent, vigorous soloist, a Bird-molded altoist and a hard-school tenor out of Byas-Hawkins’ school, and Fitzgerald as a percussive trumpeter with a sharp-toned, rough-edged conception, though not a markedly individual soloist. But the most impressive contributors to the session were also to become the most widely known. Pianist Bob Dorough,later also celebrated as a singer and composer, delivered fluent, inventive solos and offered fine support in a rhythm section notable for the presence of the soon-to-be great and influential drummer, Paul Motian, with Al Cotton on bass.
Stein was to amass an impressive CV during his career, working with players as disparate and notable as Artie Shaw, Charles Mingus, Claude Thornhill and Phil Woods, and remained active until his death on April 28, 2008 in his home in Oakland, California, at the age of 79.
1. Bee Dee’s Blues (Dorough) - 4:31 2. Zounds (Fitzgerald) - 5:32 3. Have You Heard (The Latest Blues in Town) (Newman) - 4:49 4. Medley: - 7:08 -You Go to My Head (Gillespie-Coots)
-Goodbye (Jenkins) 5. The Sarong is New (Newman) - 5:00 6. Nan De Mo Nai (Stein) - 6:23 7. Choice Derby (Newman) - 5:23 8. This Love of Mine (Parker-Sinacola-Sinatra) - 7:45 9. Do You Really Care? (Fitzgerald) - 5:21 10. Twonky (Fitzgerald) - 5:01 11. Fitz’ Tune (Fitzgerald) - 5:22 12. Cattin’ (Stein) - 5:48 13. Just Friends (Lewis-Klenner) - 5:45 14. Bee Dee’s Blues [Alternate take] (Dorough) - 4:47
Tracks #2-7, 9 & 10, from the Progressive album "Hal Stein-Warren Fitzgerald" (PLP1002)
Tracks #1, 8 & 11-14, from the Progressive album "Hal Stein/Warren Fitzgerald – Starring Bob Dorough" (7050)
Personnel: Hal Stein-Warren Fitzgerald Quintet
Warren Fitzgerald, trumpet; Hal Stein, alto sax & tenor sax (on #1,6,10,11,12 & 14); Bob Dorough, piano; Al Cotton, bass; and Paul Motian, drums.
Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey, July 19 (#1-7 & 14), 20 (#8-12), and August 31 (#13), 1955
Original sessions supervised by Gus Grant
This CD reissue produced by Jordi Pujol
"So much great music came out of the mid 50s that it’s forgivable to overlook various artists. Fresh Sound Records brings back into sharp focus two trumpet players that will make you wonder where they’ve been your whole life.
The 1955 album co-lead by Warren Fitzgerald/tp and Hal Stein/as-ts along with Bob Dorough/p, Al Cotton/b and Paul Motian/dr (!) is a cult classic in Japan, and it’s easy to see why. This session is vintage West Coast cool, with sleek harmonies, lithe grooves and optimistically lyrical soloing. A gorgeous medly of “You Go To My Head” and “ Goodbye” show the two horns in lyrical form, while uptempo pieces such as “Bee Dee’s Blues” and “Zounds” cruise like a vintage Chevy Bel Air, fins included. This is as delightful as anything done at the same time by Shorty Rogers, so if you’re a fan of that, jump right in."
-George W. Harris (June 8, 2015)
2. Knight in Tunisia -Amazon.co.uk
"I was sparked to buy this after hearing a great Al Cohn session with Hal Stein on alto. He had done a few impressive recordings, yet was hardly a guy I was familiar with. This was a great purchase; excellent straight-a-head hard bop -with an all-star cast by the way- including Bob Dorough on piano and Paul Motian on drums. Another lesser known but highly qualified guy on bass in Alphonso Cotton. A nice surprise and highly recommended."