Available at AMAZON, iTUNES and through online music distributors.
Original Release Date: March 14, 2010
Copyright: 2010 LiquidJazz™
Total Length: 1:16:37
Sam Most, flutes
Joe Bagg, organ
Mark Ferber, drums
Produced by Fernando Gelbard
Recorded at Multi Media Music, Hollywood, California by Mark Vincent, January 2009
Mixed by Fernando Gelbard and Sam Most at same studio
Mastering and art direction by Maria Puga Lareo, My Keter Records, New York
Photos: Mark Vincent, Fernando Gelbard
Liner notes: Scott Yanow
Special thanks to Jazz Flutist Dr. Edgardo Falero, Canelones, Uruguay
SAM MOST - ORGANIC FLUTE
Listening to Sam Most throughout this album, it is very difficult to believe that he is almost 80. On the second selection, "Bluesette," he plays the melody chorus fairly straight while organist Joe Bagg and drummer Mark Ferber create a furious double-time behind the flutist. Considering Most's age, it would not have been surprising if he had decided to just treat this song as an excuse to make a brief and thoughtful statement. But once the melody is out of the way, he increases the excitement with a dazzling solo that finds him not just being swept up in the intensity generated by his sidemen, but leading the way, playing with the energy of a musician in his twenties.
While Sam Most is also a fine cool-toned tenor-saxophonist, has cut full albums on which the focus was on his very impressive clarinet playing, and is a witty singer, his most significant musical legacy is as a flutist. Prior to him leading his first record date in 1953 and especially before he joined Tommy Dorsey's orchestra in 1948, the number of jazz flute players could easily be counted on one hand. Alberto Socarras was the first jazz flutist to record, back in 1927 with Clarence Williams, but performed relatively little jazz after 1933. Wayman Carver was in the spotlight on a handful of recordings that he made with Chick Webb's Little Chicks, but otherwise was buried in the saxophone section of Webb's big band. Larry Binyon in the early 1930s and Harry Klee in the mid-to-late 1940s added an occasional flute passage, and bandleader Jimmie Lunceford on a broadcast once played flute on "Holiday For Strings." But that is pretty much it for the pre-Most history of the jazz flute.
Born in 1930, Sam Most was inspired by his older brother, clarinetist Abe Most. After joining Dorsey, he had stints in big bands led by Boyd Raeburn and Don Redman before becoming a busy part of the New York cool jazz scene of the 1950s. Frank Wess with Count Basie's orchestra, James Moody, Buddy Collette, Herbie Mann and Rahsaan Roland Kirk (who emulated Most's ability to hum through his flute when he played) soon followed, but Most was on the scene first and set the standard. He relocated permanently to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, appearing on a countless number of sessions as a studio musician, occasionally teaming up with Abe as the Most Brothers, and always being available to jam with the top straight ahead jazz players.
Producer Fernando Gelbard, a flutist himself, first heard a Sam Most record in 1958. They have been friends ever since meeting in 1976, and have worked together on other projects, most notably three albums for the [...] label. These include Most's unprecedented recording Solo Flute, which features his unaccompanied solos on alto flute.
For "Organic Flute", Most is joined by two of his favorite sidemen. Joe Bagg, who is considered by many to be the top jazz organist based in the Los Angeles area, is an equally talented pianist. He has the ability to uplift every session on which he appears.
Mark Ferber, who has spent time living both in Los Angeles and New York, like Bagg has appeared with the who's who of jazz, always adding swing, color and an element of unpredictability.
On this project, Sam Most, Joe Bagg and Mark Ferber perform a dozen top-notch jazz standards. Due to the flute-organ-drums instrumentation, which is not exactly common, and the abilities of the masterful players, all of the selections sound fresh and creative.
The opening "Speak Low" swings from the start. Most sounds quite distinctive on flute, Bagg comps and contributes heated bass lines, and Ferber keeps the momentum flowing. On "Bluesette," in addition to Most's remarkably fluent solo, most impressive is Bagg's rapid bass lines generated by his feet; it is not a talent that should be taken for granted.
On "Yesterdays," Most plays the melody beautifully before eating up the chord changes with a lot of original ideas. The flutist caresses the theme during a heartfelt "The Nearness Of You" and the trio performs a tasteful and melodic version of "Darn That Dream." "So In Love" is given a particularly catchy and danceable treatment. Their version of "Relaxin' At Camarillo" revives the famous eccentric introduction of pianist Dodo Marmorosa. Most comes up one inventive idea after another during his seven chorus solo.
The remainder of this highly enjoyable outing includes an expressive version of "We'll Be Together Again," a cooking "Pensativa," an uptempo romp on "Indiana," a medium-tempo exploration of "Blue Daniel," and the closer, a rendition of "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" that is a little funky. The trio sounds pretty reluctant to end this piece, and listeners will have the same feeling when the outing comes to an end. Fortunately pushing the repeat button is pretty simple!
Throughout his career, which has now lasted over 60 years, Sam Most has always delighted and impressed audiences. Organic Flute adds to his musical legacy and is quite fun to hear.
Scott Yanow, author of ten books including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings, Bebop, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film