Les Brown: Bopple Sauce
Les Brown and his Orchestra
Les Brown and his Orchestra Vol. 2, 1949 (Hindsight HCD 131)
Wes Hensel, Frank Beach, Bob Fowler, Bob Higgins (trumpets), Ray Sims, Stumpy Brown, Ray Klein (trombones), Ronnie Lang (alto sax), Dave Pell, Eddie Scherr (tenor saxes), Butch Stone (baritone sax), Geoff Clarkson (piano), Ray Leatherwood (bass), Jack Sperling or Dick Shanahan (drums).
Composed by Bob Higgins.
Recorded: Los Angeles, 1949
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Despite the unison sax/trumpet melody, this is hardly a bebop composition, although Les Brown's band played bop very well. But it hardly matters, since the band plays this Bob Higgins original beautifully. This was one of those pieces that was played once or twice and then pulled from the book (Brown didn't even remember recording it), and that's too bad because the harmonic structure is perfect for solos. Higgins was only one of several excellent arrangers who wrote for Brown during this period; Frank Comstock was the chief arranger, with regular contributions by trumpeter Wes Hensel, Skip Martin, and Brown himself, who continued to write for his band until his death. Solos are by Abe Most (who could stand toe to toe with pretty much any jazz clarinetist of any period, and had a full, gorgeous tone to boot), Ralph Pfeffner (a fine soloist who had been in Woody Herman's First Herd and was rarely heard to advantage with either Herman or Brown), and guitarist Tony Rizzi. Although the ending is not as strong as the rest of the piece, this is still an exciting performance.
Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof