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Mosaic Select: Johnny Mercer

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 23, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

This Mosaic compilation draws from material that comprised five separate RCA Victor LPs of the 1950: Al Cohn's The Natural Seven and The Jazz Workshop: Four Brass, One Tenor, Freddie Green's Mr. Rhythm, plus two Joe Newman records, All I Wanna Do Is Swing and I'm Still Swinging. Cohn, Green, and Newman are the common element to all of the recording sessions, leading bands ranging from septets to nonets.The Natural Seven was inspired by the Kansas City Seven drawn from the Count Basie band of the 1930s, and while the arrangements by Cohn and Manny Albam swing lightly in the style of Basie's septet, the focus is more on originals written for the session rather than simply recreating earlier recordings. Joining them are pianist Nat Pierce, trombonist Frank Rehak, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Osie Johnson, highlighted by the upbeat unison horn line in Cohn's "Pick a Dilly" and Albam's swinging "Jump the Blues Away." Johnson even adds a vocal on his fun-filled "Osie's Blues." Cohn's other session as a leader includes Thad Jones with either Joe Wilder, Bernie Glow, or Phil Sunkel on third trumpet, with Dick Katz doubling on valve trombone and trumpet, pianist Dick Katz, and bassist Buddy Jones subbing for the previous personnel. Once more, Cohn and Albam split up the arrangements, with the tenor saxophonist benefiting from the quartet of brass players accompanying him. "Rosetta" and the leader's "Cohn Not Cohen" are among the highlights. Freddie Green was known for his superb timekeeping in the Basie band, a tenure which lasted a half-century until his passing in 1987, just a few years after the leader. Mr. Rhythm marked the first issued under his own name, plus eight of the dozen songs are Green's compositions, with Green sticking to playing rhythm throughout the date. Cohn, Albam, and Ernie Wilkins provide the swinging arrangements of the mostly blues-oriented material, while Cohn doubles on both clarinet and bass clarinet in addition to playing tenor sax. Two dates led by Newman in 1955 also fit in nicely, with either Frank Rehak or Urbie Green on trombone, Wilkins or Gene Quill on alto sax, and Pierce or Dick Katz on piano. Newman, who tended to be overshadowed by many of the other swing and bop trumpeters active at the time, shines on both open and muted horn, while featuring his musicians prominently throughout both dates. Green's "Corner Pocket" and a buoyant treatment of the standard "Exactly Like You" especially stand out. Most of this music was reissued on CD during the '80s and '90s, though none of it remained in print for long. This Mosaic limited-edition set is an affordable way to collect this rare material, available exclusively at www.mosaicrecords.com. ~ Ken Dryden, Rovi

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. A Kiss to Build a Dream On
  2. Doggin Around
  3. Jump the Blues Away
  4. Jack's Kinda Swing
  5. The Natural Thing to Do
  6. A.C. Meets Osie
  7. Baby Please
  8. 9:20 Special
  9. Pick a Dilly
  10. Count Me In
  11. Freddie's Tune
  12. Osie's Blues
  13. Up in the Blues
  14. Down for Double
  15. Back and Forth
  16. Free and Easy
  17. Learnin' the Blues
  18. Feed Bag
  19. Something's Gotta Give
  20. Easy Does It
  21. Little Red
  22. Swinging Back
  23. A Date with Ray
  24. When You Wish Upon a Star

Disc: 2

  1. Pretty Skinny Bunny
  2. Leonice
  3. Jack's Wax
  4. Topsy
  5. Captain Spaulding
  6. I Could Have Told You
  7. Soon
  8. Limehouse Blues
  9. Dream a Little Dream of Me
  10. Corner Pocket
  11. If I Could Be with You
  12. It's a Thing of the Past
  13. Lullaby of Birdland
  14. Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails
  15. You Can Depend on Me
  16. We'll Be Together Again
  17. It's Bad for Me
  18. Exactly Like You
  19. Shameful Roger

Disc: 3

  1. The Daughter of Miss Thing
  2. Sometimes I'm Happy
  3. Sweethearts on Parade
  4. Slats
  5. Lament for a Lost Love
  6. Perfidia
  7. Rosetta
  8. The Song Is Ended
  9. Linger Awhile
  10. Every Time
  11. Haroosh
  12. Just Plain Sam
  13. I'm Coming Virginia
  14. Cohn Not Cohen
  15. A Little Song
  16. Foggy Water
  17. Sugar Cohn
  18. Alone Together


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 23, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mosaic Select
  • ASIN: B001U2H6IG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,826 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The Capitol Vaults Collection of Johnny Mercer recordings are marvelous. Well remastered without over-processing.
If you like the music of the '40s and '50s, this is a great opportunity to get a collection of Mercer at his best.
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I am interested in this period of American music and was very happy to find such an archive. Many of these gems are culturally specific to the time and place and very telling on our collective sense of humor. I was disappointed that I could not order the CDs - as I would really like the liner notes.
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The music is great but don't pay 40 bucks for stuff as old as this. The whole thing is on Sp*tify.......
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The best collection there is for a Mercer fan. He wrote some of the best, and sings with joy.
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Format: Audio CD
This isn't a review of the product, but of the product description. None of the tracks that are listed are on the album "Mosaic Select: Johnny Mercer". I believe these track listings belong to a different album, "Mosaic Select: Al Cohn, Joe Newman and Freddie Green." For the correct track listing, see Mosaic's website, [...]
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