First released in 1984 and reissued in 2001, this disc featuring the Alban Berg Quartet's recordings of the string quartets of Debussy and Ravel, as well as Stravinsky's Three Pieces, Concertino, and Double Canon for string quartet should never be out of the catalog. The Alban Berg Quartet is not necessarily the first group one would think of for this repertoire, but the performances here are consistently impressive, if somewhat uncharacteristic.
This reissue is unrelated to another V.S.O.P. set simply titled A Jazz Band Ball. Terry Gibbs on vibes and marimba matches wits and creativity with Victor Feldman and Larry Bunker, both of whom double on vibes and xylophone. Assisted by pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett and drummer Mel Lewis, the intriguing frontline essentially plays bop, but with a great deal of color. The interaction between the vibraphonists, who are all featured and occasionally trade off, is the main reason to acquire this very interesting set.
Alexander Arutiunian was born on 2 September 1920 in Yerevan, where he received his education (he later completed his training under Genrikh Litinsky in Moscow in the period 1946–48). During the fifty years of his composing career Arutiunian has written a large number of instrumental concertos, rhapsodies, poems for piano, violin and cello, flute, oboe, female voice and orchestra, and also the first Armenian concertos for brass instruments: the trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba. As a result of his interest in brass instruments, he wrote his Armenian Sketches quintet that became a repertory piece. His vocal and orchestral works has strengthened the international acclaim accorded to him. Arutiunian holds titles including Professor of Composition of the Conservatoire of Yerevan, People’s Artist of 1 ashug: a Caucasian folk singer and poet.
A hip hootenanny from vibist Terry Gibbs – hardly the folksy set you might guess from the title, and instead a lively batch of small combo tunes that grooves better than most of Gibbs' work from the 60s! Most tracks are of traditional origin – folk tunes, if you will – but the jazz inflections of the group quickly takes them bast their roots, using the core melodies mostly as a framework for improvisation – featuring great vibes from Gibbs, plus tenor and flute from Al Epstein, guitar from Jimmy Raney, and piano from Alicir McLeod. Terry's vibes are nice and bold, and titles include "Michael", "Joshua", "John Henry", "Greensleeves", "Tom Dooley", and "Sam Hall".