24. Teddy Charles / The Teddy Charles Tentet (1956)
The credits on this impressive cool jazz album include J.R. Monterose, Gigi Gryce, Jimmy Raney, and arrangements by Gil Evans, Mal Waldron, and Jimmy Giuffre, as well as Teddy Charles. Those arrangements predominate: they are tight, fluid, and very cool. I love the orchestration, which uses both brass and reeds to cover the baritone, tenor, and alto ranges. In George Russell's "Lydian M-1," there are alternately brasses or reeds pinning down the top and bottom, while Monterose and Gryce take turns filling in the middle, and Peter Urban's brassy cornet soars above the continuo by Charles and Waldron. The instrumental textures mesh nicely, and each player has a strong sense of ensemble playing as well as a creatively swinging solo voice. Raney's solo in "Nature Boy" is sensitive and the perfect compliment to Charles soft work on the vibes. If you rule out the Miles Davis projects with Gil Evans from the next year, this album is quite different than anything going on in 1956.