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Trigger Happy!: TRIGGER ALPERT’s All Stars


RLP-117 118 A
RLP-201R front.jpg
Trigger Happy!: TRIGGER ALPERT’s All Stars
RLP-117 118 A.jpg
RLP-117 118 B.jpg

Trigger Alpert’s All Stars: Tony Scott (cl, ts) Zoot Sims (as, ts) Urbie Green (tb) Al Cohn (ts, brs) Joe Wilder (tp) Ed Shaughnessy (drs) Arrangements by Marty Paich, Tony Scott & Dick Hyman

New York; October 29, November 23 & 30, 1956


1. Treat Me Rough (2:50) (I. & G. Gershwin/ arr. Hyman)

2. Looking at You (4:21) (Cole Porter/ arr. Paich)

3. Love Me Tomorrow (4:51) (Latouche – Duke/ arr. Paich)

4. Trigger Happy (2:26) (Tony Scott)

5. Tranquilizer (4:28) (Dick Hyman)


1. I Like the Likes of You (4:08) (Harbach – Duke/ arr. Paich)

2. I Wish I Were In Love Again (3:37 (Hart - Rodgers/ arr. Paich)

3. I Don’t Want to Be Alone Again (3:29) (Mercer – Smith/ arr. Scott)

4. Trigger Fantasy (5:23) (Trigger Alpart/ arr. Hyman)

5. Where’s That Rainbow? (3:35) (Hart – Rodgers/ arr. Hyman)

   The most immediately noticeable reason for feeling excited about this LP is spelled out by the personnel listing above. For this is surely one of the most impressive collections of sheer jazz talent assembled in a recording studio in quite some time. More than that, all this talent fitted together into a smooth-working unit (which is not automatically the case with "all star" groups) and, supplied with material by three highly skilled modern jazz arrangers, has produced some remarkably happy music.

   The man initially responsible for all this is Trigger Alpert, long recognized as a sure and sensitive bass player. Trigger's idea was for an album that would avoid the rather self-conscious and somber aspects of some of current jazz. Emphasizing sturdy, unhackneyed standards, he wanted to create music that would be (to use a couple of overworked adjectives that still describe very basic functions) funky and swinging. And he wanted to achieve this by rounding up some of the best musicians and arrangers available.

   It sounded promising, although we didn't anticipate such a staggeringly first-class group. But Trigger had no trouble rounding up exactly the men he wanted. By the simple trick of being both a superior musician and a nice buy, he has made a lot of friends and also earned the respect of many (such as Zoot Sims and West Coast arranger Marty Paich) to whom he was only a name.

   One of Trigger's key ideas for this project involved using only bass and drums as the rhythm section. His feeling for pianoless jazz stems from the days when, playing theater dates with big bands, he would get together with some of the horns for dressing-room jam sessions between shows. However, it wasn't until he heard the first Gerry Mulligan Quartet sides (a "most profound musical experience") that Alpert thought seriously of recording with such a set-up.

   Trigger points out that he has no desire to work this way with regularity: it's just that this is one offshoot jazz direction he finds interesting and important. Playing without guitar or piano, he feels freer, and able to add more to the overall band sound, to really lay down the strong, walking bass and long sound for which he has always aimed ever since first Jimmy Blanton (whom he knew and admired deeply) back at the start of their careers.

   Although the bass-drums set-up leaves him with more solo room, for Trigger the primary role of the bass remains accompaniment: "I dig lots of bass players as soloists, but my biggest charge is from hearing the bass as a happy, walking, bottom instrument." And that's exactly the sort of bass to be heard on this recording, for which we should all be happy.

Some Notes on the Personnel:

   TRIGGER ALPERT, born in Indianapolis in 1916, started on trumpet and claims he was so bad that the leader of his high school band suggested the switch to bass. Within a very short time he landed his first professional job. It was with Alvino Rey, whose band then included Davey Tough, a drummer Trigger has always held in high esteem ("he made you play") and from whom, then and on many subsequent gigs, he learned much. Benny Goodman recommended Alpert to Glenn Miller, who hired him (without ever having heard him) in 1940. From then on he was the Miller bass, in both the civilian and Army bands. After the war he worked with "all sorts of groups," including brief stands with Woody Herman and Goodman, but has since passed up the travelling-musician grind in favor of steady studio work: radio, TV and recording (for such good reasons as a wife and three children).

   TONY SCOTT, a highly individual stylist and a Julliard graduate, closed out 1956 in a blaze of glory by taking the top clarinet spot in both the Down Beat and Metronome readers' polls, underlining the description of him by the Beat's Nat Hentoff as "our finest contemporary clarinetist." Tony also provides two rich-voiced arrangements, one an original.

   JACK "ZOOT" SIMS' free-swinging, inventive tenor style is currently being rewarded, in the various jazz magazine polls, by a rating just one small notch below Stan Getz and Lester Young. His solid background includes being part of Woody Herman's famed "Four Brothers" sax section and working with Benny Goodman , Gerry Mulligan and Stan Kenton. Indicating that his is a still-expanding talent, Zoot has recently also turned himself into a man to be reckoned with on alto.

   AL COHN, a top modern tenor in the Lester Young vein, has recorded prolifically and worked with such as Herman, Georgie Auld, Elliot Lawrence. As one of this LP's several off-trail attractions, Al is heard mostly on baritone sax, which, it turns out, he handles with very considerable skill and agility.

   URBIE GREEN first established himself during a two-year stand with the Herman Herd (1959-52) in which, as Leonard Feather has put it, he "made a reputation comparable with that achieved by Bill Harris in an earlier Herman band." Much outstanding work on records since then has helped solidify that reputation.

JOE WILDER is generally regarded by musicians as without peer in versatility, equally effective as lead trumpet or tasteful soloist. He has been with Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and in several Broadway musical pit bands (currently "The Most Happy Fella").

   ED SHAUGHNESSY is a stand-out modern drummer who adds greatly to his stature by the ease with which he handles his tough duties in the two-man rhythm section here. He worked on 52nd Street in the '40s, was with Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Charlie Ventura, and has most recently concentrated on recording and studio work.

   MARTY PAICH, a pianist (!) and among the West Coast's busiest arrangers, has written for Shelley Manne, Chet Baker, Mel Thome, etc. The four imaginative scores he has turned out specifically for this group ought to do much to tone down the myths about the wide gap between Eastern and Western jazz "schools."

   DICK HYMAN is also a highly regarded pianist. He was with Sims and Shaughnessy on Benny Goodman's 1950 European tour, and has played or arranged for, among others, Roy Eldridge, tony Scott, Lester Young, Mundell Lowe. He has provided four warm scores that help bring out the best in this all-star septet.

Some notes on Instrumentation:

   Among the features of this album is considerable 'doubling' by the three star reed men, although the basic lineup is Scott on clarinet, Sims on tenor, Cohn on baritone. On Looking at You, Tony switches to tenor in the middle ensemble, with Urbie Green's trombone joining in to produce a "Four Brothers" effect. On Love Me Tomorrow, the first tenor solo is by Zoot, the second by Cohn. On Trigger Happy, Zoot plays also throughout. Tranquilizer has three tenor solos: Cohn, Sims and Scott, respectively. Finally, on Trigger Fantasy, the ensemble lineup has Sims on alto, Scott playing tenor.

   Alpert and Shaughnessy can both heard on Riverside on three 12-inch albums:

MUNDELL LOWE Quartet (RLP12-204)

Guitar Moods by MUNDELL LOWE (RLP12-208)

New Music of ALEC WILDER (RLP12-219)

   The last-named also features Joe Wilder. Sims can be heard on

ZOOT! - THE ZOOT SIMS Quintet, with George Handy, Nick Travis (RLP12-228)

   Unusual Hyman arrangements for two trumpets are featured on

Counterpoint for Six Valves: DON ELLIOTT and RUSTY DEDRICK (RLP12-218)


Produced by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer

Notes by Orrin Keepnews

Cover designed by Paul Bacon; photographs: Carole Reiff Galletly

Engineer: Jack Higgins (Reeves Sound Studios)


418 West 49th Street New York 19, N.Y.

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