Les Brown: Where's Prez?
Les Brown and His Band of Renown
'S Wonderful: 1949-1950 Recordings (Jazz Band EBCD 2177-2)
Wes Hensel, Bob Fowler, Bob Higgins (trumpets), Ralph Pfeffner, Ray Klein, Stumpy Brown (trombones), Jack Tucker (alto sax), Abe Most (alto sax, clarinet), Eddie Scherr (tenor sax), Butch Stone (baritone sax), Tony Rizzi (guitar), Geoff Clarkson (piano), Roy Harte (drums).
Composed by Frank Comstock.
Recorded: Los Angeles, February 16, 1949
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Les Brown liked bebop when he first heard it, but wondered whether it was appropriate for his dance band. By 1949, both singers and arrangers had woven bop elements into popular music of all types, and several musicians in Les's band were fluent in the new language. "Where's Prez?" was the type of original composition with bebop touches that filled the Brown book during this period, usually written by either Frank Comstock or Wes Hensel. Interestingly, the melody begins in 2-beat style, then segues into a 4-beat feel with plenty of altered intervals and harmonies. The composition next leads into a bass clarinet solo by Dave Pell, and a screaming trumpet solo by Frank Beach. An exciting out-chorus, with a solo by bassist Ray Leatherwood and melodic punctuations by trombonist Ray Sims, leads to a restatement of the melody and a final altered chord. This recording is missing part of the arrangement (which can be heard via air checks not yet on CD), and was not issued until 1954, long after Brown signed with another record label.
Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof