Bobby Hackett - trumpet; Ben Webster - tenor sax; Bud Shank - alto sax; Dick Katz - piano; Wyatt Reuther - bass; Jo Jones - drums
George Wein loves a good jam session. And from the very beginning of the Newport Jazz Festival, the piano playing impresario has endeavored to put together all-star aggregations for loose, spirited interplay on the bandstand, often with himself in the middle of the proceedings. For the Sunday evening program on July 17, 1955, Wein arranged for a whole slew of jazz giants of the day to participate in series of jams with revolving personnel. While the rhythm tandem of bassist Wyatt Reuther and former Basie drummer Jo Jones remained the same through all of these jams, various individual soloists were showcased from piece to piece, eventually culminating in a whirlwind jam with all the participants from the different aggregations on stage at the same time for a rousing finale.
This track highlights three distinctive players of the day handing off the baton to each other in an alluring ballad medley. Trumpeter Bobby Hackett, a Swing Era veteran who spent time in the bands of Benny Goodman, Eddie Condon, Glenn Miller and also with the Casa Loma Orchestra, opens with an eloquent take on the hauntingly beautiful melody "My One And Only Love." Hackett hands off to alto saxophonist Bud Shank, an alumnus of the Stan Kenton band and a central member of the '50s West Coast cool jazz scene, who blows inventive lines over "Lover, Where Can You Be," a melancholy number associated with the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday. Next, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, a star soloist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra of the 1940s, delivers with typical warmth and smoky tones on a gorgeous reading of "Someone to Watch Over Me."
This gentle, heartfelt medley was like a cleansing breath in the midst of all the fireworks that took place on stage this day at Newport with these illustrious giants of jazz. (Milkowski)