Blues À La Mode: Budd Johnson Septet and Quintet Featuring Charlie Shavers
Label: Charley/Affinity Records (Aff 169) [AKA Felsted]
Details and Credits:
New York City, February 11th, 1958
Charlie Shavers (tp), Vick Dickenson (tb), Budd Johnson (tsax), Al Sears (barsax), Bert Keyes (p, org), Joe Benjamin (b), Jo Jones (d)
New York City, February 14th, 1958
Charlie Shavers (tp), Budd Johnson (tsax), Ray Bryant (p), Joe Benjamin (b), Jo Jones (d)
1- Foggy Nights (Budd Johnson)
2- Leave Room in Your Heart for Me (Budd Johnson-Dobson)
3- Destination Blues (Budd Johnson)
4- À La Mode (Budd Johnson)
5- Used Blues (Budd Johnson)
6- Blues by Five (Budd Johnson)
Bud Johnson (born 1910) was one of the best players from the Texas school of tenor sax, though his playing style couldn't be always as aggressive and as staccato-like as other major players from that area. He also was playing soprano and alto saxophone, and one of my greatest experiences with his music goes back to a soprano sax introduction for Summertime in a Jimmy Rushing/Earl Hines album. He started working with bands like Terrence Holder, Jesse Stone, and George E. Lee in Kansas City. Made his recording debut with Louis Armstrong's big band (1932-1933). Worked with the Earl Hines Orchestra as an arranger and tenor player (1932-1942). Recorded with Coleman Hawkins on the first bebop session (1944). Worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Sy Oliver (1947). Here, Budd remembers working in Earl Hines band and arrival of Dizzy:
"We didn't really have the new sound in the Earl Hines band. 'Cause we started to do a little bit of it, after we heard Dizzy. The cats said, "Oh man, that's it," and they wanted to play like that, so we'd write some of the passages and pick up on it. Of course he wasn't doing too much playing that way then. Because, I mean, like you're limited. For instance I was beginning with Sy Oliver—Red Oliver—and Sy likes [sings back beat on two and four]; that's all he likes. And when I get up to play my solo, I can't do a thing. You either wind up honking or . . .imagine when Dizzy was with Cab, it would be very difficult for him to play that progressive music against the background he had because they didn't play that way—they had a very great band, but they didn't play that way. What I'm tryin' to say is it's hard to push one style against another style. A modern cat comes in with just a plain ordinary group, and they play none of the changes that he's playing, and the drummer ain't dropping a whole lot of bombs like he's been used to hearing, and it's gotta mess with him. He can't really play his thing. When we were all with Earl's band, the progressive style of music, 'cause most of the guys of the new music that came in Earl's band were the guys that I brought in the band because they were all buddies, like Dizzy, Bird.
When I did come to New York to settle down in 1942, I joined Dizz, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, and all those men at the Onyx Club. We really started to get into it, getting down arrangements, head arrangements, and recordings and all of that. So that's what I did. That's when it started. The Street made everybody aware of this new music. Dizzy was the theoretician to this music to my way of thinking and my knowledge, and he was really. It was lots and lots of fun. But some guys it didn't really influence too much—a lot of guys like Don Byas and Lucky Thompson and all of 'em. They stayed more in the Hawk thing, but they got the swiftness and the changes but they didn't necessarily sound in the exact style."
Johnson led his own groups in the 1950s, in addition to touring with Snub Mosley (1952) and Benny Goodman (1957). Working with big bands of Quincy Jones (1960) and Count Basie (1961-1962) before renewing ties with Earl Hines (1964-65). Touring USSR and South America (1966-69). On tour with Charlie Shavers (1971). He was very active in the 1970s and practically performed in all major American and European jazz festivals. He died in 1984.