The Pacific Jazz Group: The Pacific Jazz Group

California quartet including Anthony Braxton and Boz Scaggs associates covers Pacific label tunes that helped define West Coast jazz


This CD celebrates the legacy of Dick Bock’s Pacific Jazz label which began operations in 1952. Having lived in the San Francisco Bay area Dred Scott “developed a special affection” for what became known as West Coast jazz. His selections, mostly by Gerry Mulligan, highlight some of the small-group originals that defined the genre.

Mulligan’s quartet put Bernie’s Tune on the map with its 78 rpm recording – the label’s first release. It was composed by Bernie Miller, an obscure pianist from Washington DC, although it had undergone a name-change. It began life as Bobby Socks when it was recorded in 1944 by Boyd Raeburn. Serge Chaloff was in the saxophone section on what was his first recording date. Russ Freeman’s Maid In Mexico was introduced by Chet Baker on his debut as a leader.

Line For Lyons from 1953 was Mulligan’s dedication to San Francisco disc-jockey Jimmy Lyons. The title was probably designed to achieve regular radio air-time for his new quartet and Nights At The Turntable would have helped too. The 1954 Casa De Luz was written by Shorty Rogers for Bud Shank’s first date as leader, which included that master of understatement Jimmy Rowles. Festive Minor was recorded in 1957 on Mulligan’s Reunion date with Chet Baker but was not released until the 1983 Mosaic box-set. Utter Chaos, reminiscent of A Smooth One, was his theme tune throughout the 50s and into the 60s with the CJB.

Dred Scott has worked with Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille and Joe Morello, resulting in an eclectic approach that has echoes of the great Roger Kellaway. Eric Crystal, who has been with Boz Scaggs since 2002, also draws inspiration from a similar wide source of influences including performances with the Four Tops, Clark Terry and Huey Lewis.

Bernie’s Tune; Maid In Mexico; Line For Lyons; Casa De Luz; Festive Minor; Nights At The Turntable; Utter Chaos (39.38)
Eric Crystal (ts); Dred Scott (p); John Wiitala (b); Smith Dobson (d). Sebastopol, California, 24 & 25 July 2019.
Ropeadope RAD-719