Shorty Rogers

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Krentz Ratings:
Modern Sounds (1951), 7/10
Popo (1951), 5.5/10
Cool and Crazy (1953), 7.5/10
New Directions Vol 4 (1953), 6/10
The Three and the Two (1954), 6/10
Swinging (1955), 6/10

Los Angeles-based white trumpeter Milton "Shorty Rogers" Rajonsky (1924), an alumnus of Woody Herman's orchestra (1945) and Stan Kenton's orchestra (1950), was mainly a superb arranger and subtle composer as he proved on Modern Sounds (october 1951), for which he recruited the likes of altoist Art Pepper, drummer Shelley Manne, tenorist Jimmy Giuffre and pianist Hampton Hawes (plus French horn, tuba and bass). After the piano quintet with Pepper of the Popo (december 1951), a mediocre album but that contained his signature tune Popo, Rogers formed his Giants, a 16-piece orchestra (featuring Pepper, Giuffre, Manne, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, altoist Bud Shank) that recorded Cool And Crazy (april 1953), entirely composed by him (notably Tales Of An African Lobster and Infinity Promenade). A quintet featuring Rogers Giuffre, Manne and vibraphonist Theodore "Teddy Charles" Cohen (credited as the leader) predated both modal improvisation and free jazz on New Directions Vol 4 (august 1953). A quartet with Manne and Giuffre toyed with serial composition (Three On A Row) and free improvisation (Abstract No 1) on The Three and the Two (september 1954), credited to Manne. The collaboration with Giuffre and Manne was resumed in another quintet recording, (and quintessentially "cool"), Swinging (march 1955), that contained the bluesy Martians Go Home. Rogers was one of the most daring explorers of texture, timbre and color of cool jazz.

Rogers died in 1994.

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