All Smiles


All Smiles

MPS Records

Print, Radio, Online


Without ever making concessions to the trend of the moment, the Kenny Clarke– Francy Boland Big Band was the embodiment of the timeless art of the jazz orchestra. Its play was proof positive that a jazz big band compiled of top-flite musicians from both sides of the Atlantic could take off and soar. Regarded as the most important big band outside of the US, this bi-continental orchestra recorded over two dozen albums, close to a third of these under the SABA and MPS labels. Recorded in May, 1968, “All Smiles” was one of the Band’s highpoints. The album exhibits a style that became synonymous with this US-European enterprise: it not only swung – it was the perfect vehicle for Boland’s sophisticated modern arrangements. Trumpeters Benny Bailey and Idrees Sulieman, saxophonists Johnny Griffin and Ronnie Scott, as well as special guest vibraphonist Dave Pike are some of the jazz giants among the soloists in this 17-man combo who turn out some masterly short portraits. From the fleet-footed waltz “I’m All Smiles” to the bluesy party piece, “By Strauss” and the sensuous theme from “Gloria”, the journey continues on through to the furious John Phillip Souza finale, “High School Cadets”. Preferring varicolored intricacy over massive walls of sound, The Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band stood up against the constant flow of momentary fads, remaining true to the inventive tradition of the great big bands.