Correspondence: Speaking Of The Hi-Los…

Regarding the Singers Unlimited item in the following exhibit, Rifftides reader David Perrine writes:

The Singers Unlimited was an updated and expanded (via technology) version of Puerling’s previous group the Hi-Lo’s (which in a later edition also included Don Shelton as one of the four voices.) While Fischer probably wasn’t involved with “In Tune”, he did write instrumental arrangements for both groups and one of the Hi-Lo’s finest tracks is a Fischer piece called “Summer Sketch” from the “and all that jazz” album.

The Hi-Los And All That Jazz (1959) is an indispensable album, but Columbia Records dispensed with it. It has been out of the catalogue for more than 20 years, last reissued on CD—nearly in secret—in 1991 by the label’s Sony Music Special Products division. Amazon offers a few used copies for less than twenty bucks, but the album is rapidly disappearing. Marty Paich’s Dek-Tette accompanied the Hi-Los. The horn soloists were among the west coast’s major players; Jack Sheldon, Bud Shank, Herb Geller, Bill Perkins, Bob Enevoldsen and Vince DeRosa. Gene Puerling’s liner notes mention that he, Fischer and Marty Paich each wrote vocal arrangements for the date, although he doesn’t identify the arrangers track by track. “Summer Sketch” is almost certainly Fischer’s arrangement for the voices, and I have a hunch that “Then I’ll Be Tired of You” is, too. It seems to have his harmonic earmarks. This may be the definitive version of that great Arthur Schwartz song (lyrics by Yip Harburg). Sheldon demonstrates with his trumpet work on the bridge section of the final chorus that “just” playing the melody can be the most creative option for a soloist——if he has tone, phrasing and taste like Sheldon’s.

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  1. Jim Brown says

    This album has long been on my desert island list — for the wonderful charts by a great band, the great singing, and some of Sheldon’s finest work on record. Sheldon’s solos on this date, especially “Then I’ll Be Tired” and “Small Fry” are also on my list of “grand larceny by a sideman” — sessions where the sideman’s contribution is so great that he practically steals the leader’s thunder. Two others on that list are Prez’s lovely clarinet solo on Basie’s “Blue and Sentimental,” which was his section mate Herschel Evans’ feature, and Clifford Brown’s solos on the Sonny Rollins session that included “Valse Hot”. Other musicians capable of that sort of theft almost any time they stood up to play include Armstrong (for example, his entrance in the finale of the film version of Hello Dolly), Hodges playing a ballad with Duke, and Desmond, including his sessions with Chet and much of his work with Brubeck. And those are some pretty tough guys to steal from!

    • Doug Ramsey says

      The Sonny Rollins Plus 4 album on Prestige was by the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quartet recording under Rollins’s leadership to avoid contractual conflict with Emarcy, Brown-Roach’s label. He was the band’s tenor saxophonist from late 1955 and remained with Roach for nearly a year after Brown’s death in June of 1956.

    • Doug Ramsey says

      How about all four parts? Getz’s solo comes near the end of this Ralph Burns masterpiece. The final movement was the precursor to “Early Autumn.” Following the video you will find names of the musicians and identification of the soloists.

      Woody Herman and His Orchestra – Summer Sequence, Part.1-4 (1946-47)

      Pts.1, 2 & 3 Personnel: Woody Herman (clarinet, alto sax, conductor), Sonny Berman, Cappy Lewis, Conrad Gozzo, Pete Candoli, Shorty Rogers (trumpet), Bill Harris, Ralph Pfeffner, Ed Kiefer, Neal Reid (trombone), Sam Marowitz, John LaPorta (alto sax), Flip Phillips, Mickey Folus (tenor sax), Sam Rubinwitch (flute, baritone sax), Red Norvo (vibraphone), Ralph Burns (piano, arranger), Chuck Wayne (guitar), Joe Mondragon (bass), Don Lamond (drums)

      Solos; Wayne, g; Burns, p; Harris, tb; Rubinwitch, bar; Burns, p; Herman, cl; Burns, p; Wayne, g; Mondragon, bass; Phillips, ts; Herman, as

      Pt. 4 Personnel: Woody Herman (clarinet, alto sax, conductor), Stan Fishelson, Bernie Glow, Irv Markowitz, Ernie Royal, Shorty Rogers (trumpet), Earl Swope, Ollie Wilson (trombone), Bob Swift (bass trombone), Sam Marowitz (alto sax), Herbie Steward, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Serge Chaloff (baritone sax), Ralph Burns (piano, arranger), Gene Sargent (guitar), Walt Yoder (bass), Don Lamond (drums)

      Solos; Burns, p; Sargent, g; Wilson, tb; Herman, as; Getz, ts

  2. says

    In 1978, the Hi-Lo’s did a reunion album called BACK AGAIN, with vocal arrangements by Gene Puerling and instrumental arrangements by Rob McConnell. The vocal chart on “Then I’ll Be Tired of You” by Puerling is virtually identical to the 1959 version. Jack Sheldon’s tender solo on the ’59 version definitely trumps McConnell’s double-timed, pseudo-rock ensemble passage on the ’78 version–not one of McConnell’s most inspired moments.

    • says

      Bill’s right about that passage, but let’s consider a couple of things: 1) the chart was done with Puerling’s input and approval; 2) McConnell was tasked with ‘freshening’ the accompaniment to the original vocal arrangement. It was, after all, 1978, and pretty much everyone (read: record label) was pretty sure that the Future of Jazz was somehow jazz/rock.

      I knew both Rob and Gene (Rob moreso), and I got the feeling that Puerling was so impressed with McConnell’s writing for the album he did with The Singers Unlimited and the Boss Brass that he wanted Rob to do the Hi-Lo’s reunion album as well. And, the Boss Brass backed the HiLo’s at the Monterey Jazz Festival, c. 1980.