Jack Montrose Sextet (1955)

Selected track: “Listen Hear” (crackles a little at the start – you will too at that age – subsides soon after) I>

Jack Montrose (ts) Bob Gordon (bar/s) Conte Candoli (t) Paul Moer (p) Ralph Pena (b) Shelly Manne(d)  Recorded  May 6 and 27, 1954, June 24 and July 6, 1955.

The cream of west coast jazz, composer: arranger/ saxophonist Jack Montrose, not to be confused with East Coast tenor JR Monterose.

Whitney Balliett , New Yorker  jazz reviewer, wrote of Jack  Montrose’s arrangements: “Montrose uses suspended rhythm, broken rhythms, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and rhythm instruments for color instead of accent and foundation. He makes every front line voice an individual one, pitching them against each other rhythmically, harmonically, and for color contrasts, making them talk and swing and jar one another dissonantly”

Yeah. That’s what I thought too. Grrreat!!!

You won’t find a lot more of Bob Gordon’s baritone sax on record: yet another talented musician claimed by a motor accident, August 28, 1955. Add Scott La Faro, Clifford Brown, Bob Gordon, some swinging cats up there.

Labels, run-out, liner notes, and the elephant in the room: the vinyl

Well you were bound to spot it sooner or later. The vinyl.  Its clear and red, isn’t it? A friend feared they might be hallucinating when they first saw it. 1955 and seriously hip. Doesn’t appear to affect play, for better or worse,  but I started looking a round for retro home decor opportunities in case it wasn’t up to snuff. Unfortunately its great, if a little crackly at times.

It’s mono and unbelievably, its Deep Groove as well. Nowhere does anyone mention it’s “red” vinyl: that’s a suprise waiting for you when you take it from its jacket. “OMG It’s red vinyl!”

Deep groove red vinyl. The expression “totally freakin awesome” comes to mind.

Collectors Notes

Inexpensive ebay – I guess no-one knew what to make of it. I figured, wrongly as it happens, Jack Montrose might be JR Monterose. A lucky mistake. Shelley Manne on drums a big plus. Conte Candoli – sounds like the circus clown, you know, with the white face and conical hat plays soprano sax. Or that was Charlie Caroli? Conte hailed from Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All stars, where he played alongside Art Pepper, so that’s good enough for me. Oooh and its got a baritone sax, which I love. So a fine pedigree, well worth  about  £8 as I recall. Great music, almost Chamber Jazz with all that simultaneous brass counterpoint and good Californian sunshine.

6 thoughts on “Jack Montrose Sextet (1955)

  1. usually West Coast music is regarded with suspect by hard bop lovers.
    I love it instead, especially early 50’s.
    if you dig Montrose, you should go for Meet Mr. Gordon, Pacific Jazz PJLP-12, subtitled: Bob Gordon plays the compositions and arrangements of Jack Montrose, interesting tenor and baritone 1954 recording.


      • the third in the row (after PJLP 12 and PJLP 1208) is:

        arraged/played/composed BY JACK MONTROSE with BOB GORDON.
        London LTZ-K 15043 ex Atlantic LP 1223.

        P.J. 1208 is the same Montrose/Gordon quintet, plus Conte.

        Jack Montrose was a very talented musician who excelled also on
        the Chet Baker Ensemble, Pacific Jazz PJLP 9, and the Clifford Brown Ensemble, Pacific Jazz PJLP 19.

        The five albums above, plus the five Lennie Niehaus albums on Contemporary, are the hard core in my collection, n’en déplaise aux Hard Boppers, prevailing these days.

        In the fifties there was the fight between the integrists/traditionalists(moldy figs) vs. the modernists. When the modernists had won this war, an other front was opened East vs. West. East appears to have won. This notwithstanding, early West Coast was very refreshing and creative and fortunately we are left with the tangible proof.


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