Shorty Rogers: Portrait of Shorty - JazzWax

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March 01, 2011


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Bill Forbes

Thanks for that, Marc! An excellent piece on music that I rate absolutely at the top!

Jeff Helgesen

"Cool and Crazy" was later released as "The Shorty Rogers Big Express", with a photo of Shorty sitting on the grill of a locomotive.

Art Pepper is credited as "Art Salt" in the liner notes, presumably due to contract issues.

Doug Zielke

"Portrait of Shorty": What a hidden gem this is! And to think some critics said West Coast jazz was too "cool". This swinging disc will set your feet a tapping! Thanks to Marc for another good one.

mel house

I love Shorty!
You can always tell an arrangement is Shorty's...his arrangements always have a distinctive sound; his sound. And of course, in addition to his own groups, he arranged for Kenton, Herman and other big bands as well.

Steve P.

MIlton was actually a MA boy. Swinging soloist, with a light chromatic touch. Funny how there seems to be so much tonal consistency among all the West Coast trumpeters. Don Joseph and Tony Fruscella would have fit in-and may have lasted a few years more under the CA sun.

James Cimarusti

RE:Jeff-When "Cool and Crazy" was issued as a 12" album (from the original 10"), it was retitled "The Shorty Rogers Big BAND Express" with 4 new titles recorded to round out the 12" format.

In the "Peter Gunn" clip, the trombonist is the great Dick Nash and the vibraphonist is the fantastic Victor Feldman.

Rick M

Lola Albright was pretty steamy on that clip. I'm surprised we never heard much from her.


In response to Steve's post I have to point out that Don and Tony actually sounded much more "west coast" than any of the west coast players. Even Chet didn't play as quietly as Don.

Gary Carner

Any knowledge of what studio RCA used in LA for Portrait of Shorty or Plays Richard Rodgers?
Gary Carner

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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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