Track Selection: Foster Dulles (Frank Foster)
Donald Byrd (trumpet) Phil Woods (alto saxophone) George Wallington (piano) Teddy Kotick (bass) Bill Bradley (drums), recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, January 20, 1956.
Wallington was pianist with Dizzy Gillespie’s first bop band in the 1940’s. In 1956, young trumpeter Donald Byrd and altoist Phil Woods were regular members of his quintet, along with bassist Teddy Kotick and ubiquitous drummer Art Taylor. The selected track Foster Dulles falls between bebop and hard bop with Woods sounding particularly strong with Byrd the promising youngster leading the solo’s.
Phil Woods is a particular favourite of mine. Perhaps not the lightness of touch and fluidity of Konitz, but a more sinuous bluesy swinging phrasing, honed here in bop. His Alto Summit with Konitz is worth listening out for, along with Four Altos, with Gene Quill and another two alto voices.
Vinyl: Esquire 32-032 UK 1st release of US Prestige PRLP 7032
Esquire unusually using the original cover art rather than a locally commissioned alternative cover. RVG hand etched, not Abbey Mfg – no indication of which US plant prepared the metal.
Original cover pictured below. I like the band wearing Sunday-best suits, as you would, for a “special occasion” like a funeral.
The label bears an indistinct stamp, I think, “RETURN TO LIBRARY”. Quite possibly the record was originally in a radio library like the British Broadcasting Company, taken out for radio play. This would be consistent with the residue of a paper label on the back cover, a filing reference. The BBC sold off their vinyl library many years ago, according to one dealer I spoke to, who had acquired and subsequently sold a good number.
Pictures updated June 29, 2016. I am embarrassed at the quality I posted back in 2011. This LP was released by Esquire in December 1957, a tad short of sixty years ago. It has weathered that length of time better than I have, still sharp corners, and no seam splits. The record, not me. My seams went long ago, so much so that I’m actually held together with sellotape.