Although not exactly a household name, vibist/composer Teddy Charles was one of the most important musicians in the 1950's. He was at the forefront of cutting edge Jazz as a musician, bandleader, producer and a.& r man for various record labels. Teddy came through the last era of the big bands and in 1952 formed his New Directions Quartet and went on to working with his close friend, the mercurial bassist Charles Mingus in the Jazz Composer's Workshop. Teddy's triumph is our Feature for tonight: The Teddy Charles Tentet. This band with a few changes in personal was together for a couple of years and scored triumphs at the 1955 and 1956 Newport Jazz Festivals. The Tentet has only one instrument of it's kind so the solos are easily identifiable and some of the players are Art Farmer on trumpet, J.R.Monterose on tenor saxophone, Gigi Gryce on alto, Jimmy Raney on guitar, Mal Waldron on piano and Charles on vibes. Teddy featured not only his compositions but those of George Russell, Waldron, Jimmy Giuffre, and Gil Evans. "The Teddy Charles Tentet" is indeed a classic and a one of a kind recording that combines improvisation and composition in equal parts.
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