This rare item is untypical of the type of session that Prestige Records put out in the 50's. The head honcho of Prestige was Robert Weinstock and he preferred the "one take" jam session approach as he felt that too many "takes" would spoil the feel. Vibist/composer/bandleader Teddy Charles produced a number of Prestige recordings in the 50's and his sessions were much more organized and rehearsed yet still sounded spontaneous. Perhaps Teddy encouraged his musicians to rehearse or perhaps he paid them to do this but it worked and a Charles produced session was always well organized and he always contributed some of his own compositions to the date. This one features, as the title suggests four alto saxophonists. All of these men were in one way or another influenced by Charlie Parker but they had their own identities and sounds. Phil Woods is still with us and is the most identifiable voice and is arguably the most developed stylist. The wonderful and passionate Gene Quill plays with great swing. Sahib Shihab is on tap and although he reflects Parker, his sound is influenced by some earlier players like Tab Smith. Hal Stein, who worked with Teddy Charles and Charles Mingus is a thoughtful and cliche-free player. These four men blend into a great sound and are backed by Mal Waldron on piano who also contributes two compositions to the date. Tommy Potter is solid on bass and a very young, 19 year old Louis Hayes mans the drums.Teddy Charles contributes two tunes and arranges Hal Stein's "Kinda Kanonic" and the ballad of the date Jimmy McHugh's "Don't Blame Me". Waldron arranges his own two tunes. All in all a fun and well organized date that swings and and is interesting at the same time. "Four Altos" indeed!
Charles Mingus · Mingus at the Bohemia.
Charles Mingus · A Jazz Symposium
Charles Mingus · Blues and Roots.
Charles Mingus · Mingus Mingus Mingus!
Orange was the Color
Charles Mingus · Mingus at Monterey
Keith Jarrett · Testament: Paris
Phil Woods and Co. · Four Altos.
No More Nights
Don't Blame Me