Record of the Day: Marty Paich, "Paich-Ence"

Record of the Day: Marty Paich, “Paich-Ence”

Marty Paich
Paich-Ence (Cd Fresh Sound B000ENWID0)

Many jazz listeners are familiar with the name of Marty Paich thanks to the excellent arrangements he made for the saxophonist Art Pepper in “Modern Jazz Classics”, undoubtedly the most famous of the works created by this great arranger who is today rather in the shadows, although having been a very important figure on the West Coast jazz scene.
Paich's work is actually very vast and includes dozens of records made with the biggest names on the jazz scene (another great album is “Ella Swings Lightly”, among Fitzgerald's best works) which have made him one of the most visible in the environment; the esteem given to him by his colleagues was comparable to that of Nelson Riddle, Gil Evans, Oliver Nelson and (as the recordings demonstrate) this consideration was fully justified.

In the 1950s Paich made a series of recordings under his own name at Capitol Studios featuring him in company
of the crème de la crème of Californian musicians; these, however, did not achieve particular success, and soon went out of print. After years of oblivion, these recordings are back in circulation thanks to the resourcefulness of the Spanish label Fresh Sound, which presents us with the entirety of these works in a newly remastered version; thanks to the care with which it was created it is now possible to enjoy every single detail of Paich's complex scores, perfectly at ease both with the traditional Big Band ensemble and in a smaller formation whose refined chamber sound has something in common with the octet recordings by Count Basie.

In his studio activity Paich has covered dozens of American standards with new colors, but in these records he has concentrated
the focus mainly on their own compositions (although there are exceptions such as Mulligan's “Line for Lyons” and Strayhorn's “Take the «A» Train”).

Even if Paich's themes are rarely memorable, the scores he created remain a model of writing thanks to the lightness in the conduct of the parts, the rigorous and never starchy use of counterpoint (Paich studied composition with severe teachers such as Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Schönberg ), the naturalness of the harmonic movements and the swing that infuses every performance.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.