The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, All My Yesterdays (Resonance)
This is an alert to an event—a recording documenting the birth of an ensemble that electrified listeners and set a new standard for big band jazz. Count Basie trumpeter Thad Jones and Stan Kenton drummer Mel Lewis first played together at a jam session in Detroit in 1955. More than a decade later, their affinity coalesced into the creation of a big band that debuted in New York’s Village Vanguard. Fifty years later, its successor still appears there every Monday night. What began as rehearsals of leading jazzmen playing for the joy of it became one of the most admired outfits in the music’s history. Resonance Records’ George Klabin recorded the band’s first night. He captured the joy in excellent sound. This is an invaluable addition to the Jones/Lewis canon. For background, see Mark Stryker’s essay on Jones in yesterday’s Detroit Free Press.