Tony Aless And His Long Island Suite
This album is a happy musical trip to eight Long Island communities written by Tony Aless (1921-1985). A pianist of broad big band experience—Bunny Berigan, Teddy Powell, Georgie Auld, Charlie Spivak, Woody Herman, Charlie Ventura, Neal Hefti, Chubby Jackson, George Siravo—he also worked on networks and independent stations around New York and recorded with the groups of Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, George Handy, Seldon Powell and John Plonsky. These years of iron-clad, elite experience not only inform his authoritative playing, but are also distilled in this impressive project into a personal musical credo. “More than anything else,” he said, “my concern was swinging. I think we got that across.”
Besides his persuasive contributions as player, composer and arranger on what was the only album released under his own name, there is much to admire; in a first-rate rhythm section of Billy Bauer, Arnold Fishkin and Don Lamond, Bauer is also one of the better soloists on the date; of the others, Nick Travis is crisply vibrant, and Dave Schildkraut swings hard and Bird-like. Tenorman Seldon Powell, imaginative, visceral, with a fine, full sound, is best of all. Also effective in their brief appearances are the alternating trombones Kai & J.J.
But even the most casual hearing of the Long Island Suite will confirm Aless’s judgment: it swings all the way. And it is, as he hoped it would be, “simple, like Basie. Because, as far as I am concerned, that’s the only thing, to swing all night-long.”
1. Levittown - 4:29 2. Corona - 4:41 3. Aqueduct - 5:03 4. Riverhead - 5:29 5. Valley Stream - 3:35 6. Greenport - 4:20 7. Fire Island - 4:23 8. Massapequa - 4:38
Music composed and arranged by Tony Aless
Originally released as a Roost album (LP 2202)
Nick Travis (trumpet) , J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding (trombones) , Dave Schildkraut (alto sax) , Seldon Powell & Pete Mondello (tenor saxes) , Tony Aless (piano) , Billy Bauer (guitar) , Arnold Fishkin (bass) , Don Lamond (drums)
Recorded in New York City, July 1955
Musical producer: Tony Aless
Original recordings supervised by Teddy Reig
Art and photographs by Burt Goldblatt
Liner notes: Barry Ulanov
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
1. AllMusic - Ron Wynn
An infrequently recorded pianist, Tony Aless mixed bop, mainstream and cool elements into his compositions and solos. Aless played with trumpeter Bunny Berign in the late '30s, then recorded with Teddy Powell in the early '40s. After serving in the army, Aless played briefly with Charlie Spivak, then worked and recorded with Woody Herrman in the mid-'40s. Later stints included stretches with George Auld, Flip Phillips, Chubby Jackson, Neal Hefti, Stan Getz and Charlie Parker, plus radio appearances. Aless's best-known album is the 1955 release Long Island Suite, notable for the inclusion of twin trombone dynamos J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, and contributions from another solid, undervalued musician, alto saxophonist Dave Schildkraut.