Conte Candoli “Little Band Big Jazz” (1960)

Track Selection: “Muggin’ the Minor”


Conte Candoli (t) Leroy Vinnegar (b); Buddy Collette (t s); Vince Guaraldi (p); Stan Levey (d). Recorded February 3rd, 1960, Hollywood (or so it says on the front cover)

Lots of Buddy Collette, a well-known multi-instrumentalist but new to me. Candoli I know from several West Coast recordings, and the ever reliable Leroy Vinnegar on bass, Stan Levey on drums, all promise of a good session.


Go West young man! The liner notes pick up on the transition from big bands of the preceding two decades and the trend towards smaller combos (by 1960 certainly not a new trend) This is a great little band as the title suggests, with satisfying and interesting solos, good rhythm and flow, nice sound well-played and recorded. Not a record to set the world on fire, solo’s could have benefitted from a second take, even a little behind the curve overall with what was happening on the East Coast, but good fare nonetheless.


Originally released in 1960 on the US long disappeared Crown Records label CLP-5162 Conte Candoli All Stars: Little Band Big Jazz LP,  the Crown logo sits exactly below where the Eros logo has been positioned. 1961 Eros  effectively the first UK release, as indicated by A1 and B1 matrix codes.


Collectors Corner

OK, the cover sold it to me. Put it up full screen. That colour photo is great, totally “film” in its interpretation of the warm colour temperature of tungsten light inside the recording studio. Take that shot today, on a digital back with neutral full colour temperature management, and LED lighting banks, and it’s toast. The printing technology is similarly of another time and place,  great period look and feel.

The expressions are also great. Conti has sheet music thrust into his hand, though the look on his face says “Hey, WTF is this”?. Levey has that drummer “look to one side”, absorbed in the rhythm, cutting out any incoming distraction, whilst Vinnegar has decided to keep his shades on despite being inside a darkened recording studio, cool to the end. Everyone (with the exception of Candoli) is in a white shirt, and no jeans. They are “professionals, at work”, not attention-seeking talent-lite celebrities.

The typography – individually coloured letters and mixed fonts –  is suitably naff and a trademark of the Sixties. Thankfully the Eros/Decca  pressing is just great on the ears. They didn’t let the trendies into the engineer’s side of the studio until several decades later. That is where the real professionals sat.

Not especially a valuable or rare record, just a nice record with a nice cover. That’s me sold.


6 thoughts on “Conte Candoli “Little Band Big Jazz” (1960)

  1. I’ve just been playing this and noticed that today is its 62nd birthday! It’s still sounding great even after all this time, it has certainly aged well.


    • Review written ten years ago, and the record was then already fifty years old. What is it about this music that makes it so enduring? I often ask myself the question. So much of music today is a singular mind, laptop composers, assembling samples, soundscapes, I find sterile. Here are five cats with music in their blood, creating together. It connects.


  2. This is one of my favorites. Had my vinyl copy for decades . . . but for someone who has studied the record jacket, you may wish to note the correct title of this track: “Muggin’ The Minor” .


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