Dick Collins: Horn of Plenty - JazzWax

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September 24, 2009


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Larry Kart

Med's comments on Collins are lovely, "real pretty punch" is perfect. I have a LP reissue of "King Richard the Swing Hearted" and recall it as not being as good as "Horn of Plenty," but that may be because it's a dim Spanish (Andorran?) pressing, probably not from the master tapes, and also because the ensemble was expanded to the size of a standard big band (adding NY studio regulars to the Herman-ites) which seemed to make things a bit logy.

Larry Kart

Some notes on "King Richard the Swing Hearted," which I listened to today. To the degree that the album has a problem, it's that there are too many flagwavers with longish strings of solos. As Med Flory's comments indicate, Collins was essentially a player of lyrical temperament, and while he could play "hot," that wasn't really his thing.

The guitarist credited as "Bunny Harris" in the personnel is Jimmy Raney under that pseudonym. While the tenormen on the date are a formidable trio -- Al Cohn, and Herman sectionmates Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca -- Perkins is not in top form IMO; I wish that Kamuca (who is in top form and makes a nice contrast with Collins) had been given more than one solo spot (Perkins gets four). Finally, Collins is listed as the final soloist on the Nat Pierce piece "Donna Mia"; I'm quite sure that he's trading passages there with another player, probably Charlie Walp.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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