Tony Fruscella & Brew Moore, The 1954 Unissued Atlantic Session (Fresh Sound).
Fruscella was an enigmatic trumpeter with a deeply personal style, Moore a tenor saxophonist who once said that anyone who didn’t play like Lester Young was wrong. At a time when Dizzy Gillespie’s fiery playing was the general model, Fruscella was one of a few young trumpeters who concentrated on tone, lyricism and quiet melodic invention. Others were Don Joseph, Phil Sunkel, Miles Davis and Chet Baker. The Atlantic recordings that Fruscella and Moore made together in March of 1954 have never been released until now. Fruscella died in 1969, Moore in 1973.
The pieces are all blues except for one composition by pianist Bill Triglia. The CD contains nothing as captivating as Fruscella’s solo on “I’ll Be Seeing You” from the self-titled album he recorded for Atlantic the next year. Nonetheless, the trumpeter’s flowing lines and deep sound combine with Moore’s relaxation and swing in performances whose inventiveness surmounts the simplicity of the material. The rhythm section—Triglia, piano; Teddy Kotick, bass; Bill Heine, drums— is excellent in support. The underrated Triglia solos briefly and well. Fresh Sound rounds out the album with “Blue Bells” and “Roundup Time,” pieces that Fruscella recorded with Stan Getz in 1955 when he was in Getz’s quintet.
This is a valuable find. The album, all but a rumor for decades, was widely anticipated. Reports are that its first pressing sold out within weeks of release. Presumably, there will be another.