In honor of the new Riverside album, co-leader Chet Doxas reflects on his favorite Jimmy Giuffre arrangements and compositions. Dave Douglas and Doxas formed the new collaborative project honoring the musical legacy of composer, bandleader, saxophonist and clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre. Riverside is out tomorrow!
“The Boy Next Door”
I always enjoy hearing Mr. Giuffre’s command and respect for the great songs that came before him. As an obvious lover of original melodies, I like to think that he especially enjoyed playing this one. Also, I believe that he chose carefully when deciding what standards he and his group were going to perform. This performance is from 1960 at Paris’ Olympia Theatre.
This is one of several compositions by Carla Bley that Giuffre’s trio recorded in 1961. I love how timeless this piece and its performance is. I feel like this style of improvising is still so relevant today. Thanks to the brilliance of Paul Bley and Steve Swallow, the freshness hasn’t worn off. Yet another great tune from Carla Bley, go figure!
“Mack the Knife”
Along with Jim Hall and Ray Brown, Jimmy Giuffre makes this special arrangement of Kurt Weill’s “Mack the Knife,” a real treat. The feel is so good that I never want the tune to end, and all of the written unison passages make me think of another one of Giuffre’s associates, the trombonist and arranger, Bob Brookmeyer.
“Western Suite 2 mvt, Apaches”
Similar to the first song on this playlist, I included this piece to highlight another one of Jimmy Giuffre’s compositional languages. His love of American folk melodies and his unique writing and arranging for his early trio of Jim Hall and Bob Brookmeyer. This style is a contribution to instrumental music that I think should be cherished.
Another composition by Carla Bley, this beautiful melody is still like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It’s such an original melody and the improvised solo section is something to take note of–amazing listening and contributions to enhancing the mood of the piece.
“The Train and the River”
Probably the most popular of Jimmy Giuffre’s western swing tunes, “The Train and the River” is a blast to play. We recorded it on Riverside. In fact, I think it was at the top of the list of Jimmy Giuffre tunes we wanted to take a stab at. Great playing from Mr. Giuffre on this track.
“The Song is You”
Another track from Lee Konitz meets Jimmy Giuffre, this one highlights Giuffre’s arranging talents. The band is quite a collection of all-stars including Bill Evans on piano and Warne Marsh on tenor saxophone. Giuffre is playing baritone saxophone on this cut. Again, listen for the unison writing, specifically the trombone and baritone saxophone. It makes me think of Bob Brookmeyer’s arranging and how much he favoured that sound.