Just back from my vacation. I see that Ray Brown and Rod Steiger have both died while I was away. Sad stuff. Ray Brown probably played on at least 10% of the records in my collection… I remember Steiger mainly for The Pawnbroker, a 1964 flick with a superb Quincy Jones score.

Compilation - The Jerry Ross Symposium: 'The Jerry Ross Symposium' (CD; Sequel; 1969-1972)
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A strange item. I bought this very cheaply used in London. I was interested in Ross because of the great, smooth easy listening version of 'Little Green Bag' on the budget 'Lounge Deluxe' 3 CD set.

What clinched the purchase was the footnote on the cover that said 'arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman'. I'm pleased to see Ogerman get recognition, but in fact, this disc contains 2 albums worth of material, the first of which is from 1969 and is arranged by Ross himself, not Ogerman. In fact, these tracks are the best ones. The Ogerman-produced tracks, while nice, are of less appealing material, and include a number of multi-song medleys.

This is just a short review, since I haven't listened to this in detail yet. The first track, 'Ma Belle Amie' sounds great - a kind of hybrid of British late 60s easy listening instrumentals and the kind of beautiful lush percussive stuff coming out of Italy at the time (I'm thinking of the track 'Jet Society' by the Cordara orchestra). There are rich strings, and occasional vocals. The other bonus on the collection is the inclusion of a Morricone-written track, 'Duck you sucker'.

More details on this when I've listened more.

Reporting Back: Much of this disc is actually rather unbearably shmaltzy. This is strange, since I like a few of the tracks very much. But too often, the material is unforgivably fey. Still, a few good tracks, and I wouldn't be surprised if 'Ma Belle Amie' makes it onto one of my compilations.

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