[Front of sleeve]

Near East Brass
West Coast Style
Jerry Fielding and his Orchestra

[Back of sleeve]

You’ve Never Heard Anything Like This Before!
The Exotic Sounds of the Near East
The Powerful Impact of Brilliant West Coast Brass
brought together by

JERRY FIELDING and His Orchestra

Today’s music is exploding with colourful new sounds … the exotic strains of Indian music and the sitar … the excitement of bouzoukis from Greece … the sinuous dance music of Turkey … the sound of the oud and the santoor … the fascinating new rhythms that are part of the musical heritage of these lands.

Jerry Fielding has been exploring a very special sound for several years – the infinite variations that can be found in the sound of a brilliant brass ensemble. His “Hollywood Brass” is a virtuoso group that has opened up all kinds of new and unsuspected areas for brass ensemble  performances. But they never tried anything like this before.

Here are the provocative sounds and rhythms of the Eastern world – a world where the traditional musical instruments are colorful plucked strings, keening woodwinds and exotic drums – given a completely new accent by mixing them with the brilliance and impact of a virtuoso brass team.

You’ve never heard anything like this before because music has never been played like this before!

Originated and produced by Loren Becker, Robert Byrne and Robert Thiele
Art director, Daniel Pezza

Side 1:

Never on Sunday
Pende Patimata
Sailors’ Dance

Side 2:

Gole Gandom
Illya Darling
Theme from Zorba the Greek
The Uplifted Veil of a Downhearted Frail
Baubles, Bangles and Beads

US album inner cover text kindly provided by Richard Shook

(My copy doesn't have this - the version Richard has opens out, and has all this inside)

The musical sounds of the East have been having such a striking and provocative effect on the music of the West recently that it was inevitable that some adventurous mind should return the compliment - to find out what effect Western musical thinking might have on the music of the East.

To Jerry Fielding, who has been having adventurous musical ideas for more than 20 years, a natural way to approach this mutation was to make the Western element a brass ensemble, since this is the instrumentation around which he has built a great deal of his most successful work. The brass ensemble became an obvious necessity when he found that Eastern music, in its traditional form, never was played on brass instruments. They use stringed instruments, a variety of percussion tools and many flutes and reeds. But no brass.

Thus, a challenge was born. 

Add to this the fact that, in Western music, the accents usually occur on the second and fourth beats in given groups of four whereas in Eastern music the accents fall on the first and third beats - provided the measures happen to be grouped in fours. In actuality, the four-beat bar is not particularly common in  Eastern music. The measures are liable to be counted in fives, sevens, nines or elevens. 

Result: A little more challenge.     

In back of all this challenge, there were motivating reasons.        

"The idea of mixing elements of Eastern and Western music seemed especially pertinent," Fielding explained, "because I believe that what we used to call 'rock 'n' roll' has grown past its painful adolescence and is now to be seriously considered as the most important, pliable musical form our culture has produced in more than a generation. Its expanding frontiers are beginning to include elements of other cultures. Witness the growing popularity of the sitar and of Ravi Shankar.  The time is right to experiment in these new areas, to find and develop new and valid uses for our own 'new' music."          

To stress the validity of his experiment, Fielding sought out the instruments that are used in making the music of the Near and Middle East. In his percussion section, he included the classical sound of the doumbeck and the darabouka. He called for ankle bells and other tinkly things. His strings included Eastern bouzoukis and balalaikas side by side with the Western electric guitar and gut-string guitar. He found a genuine Turkish santoor, a stringed instrument that sounds like a dulcimer and is struck with mallets as a cymbalum is.

He called in percussionists who could master the demands of unusual time signatures - Shelly Manne, Larry Bunker, Emil Richards and Victor Feldman. He joined them to a brass ensemble with which he has been making musical history in Hollywood for several years. This brass ensemble did not actually originate in Hollywood. Its start can be traced to a musical town in Austria.

In 1960, when Fielding was in Munich, he drove over to Salzburg one weekend to have his picture taken at Mozart's home.    "Real tourist stuff," he admits with a laugh. "I spent the night at an 800-year-old hotel. The next morning, a Sunday, I was blasted out of bed at quarter to seven by a cannonade of sound. I dashed to the window. Out in the square below was the town band, a band made up of from 70 to 80 brass instrumentalists. The musicians were all local people - plumbers, farmers, everything except musicians.

There were double bell euphoniums, almost literally 76 trombones, goat carts pulling bass drums. Technically, their playing may not have been great but they produced a sound that was overpowering.

               "I thought, Wow! If these local musicians can get such a great sound, what could I do back in Hollywood where some of the greatest brass players in the world happened to be concentrated at that time!"

When Fielding got back to Hollywood, he brought these brass men together and found out how they would sound. It was even better    than he had anticipated. Since then, this brass ensemble has played show tunes, Christmas songs, even Methodist hymns - but they have never faced as fascinating an assignment as they received in this album. Jerry Fielding has poured everything into his arrangements. The music is Greek, Turkish, Iranian and Russian. Composers such as Gliere and Borodin are represented. Broadway and the film world are here. The exotic stringed instruments are here. The brass is here. When Jerry Fielding puts them all together, a strange and tantalizing new music emerges - and the unusual rhythms seem to swing as readily as the familiar 4/4 beat as East and West are joined on an exciting musical common ground.


USKADAR. Even listeners who are convinced they don't know any Turkish music will recognize this old favorite. Jerry Fielding's version opens with a wailing statement - a distant call played by Morrie Harris on a B flat soprano trumpet. "It's an incredibly difficult instrument to play," Fielding points out, "because the opening in the mouthpiece is so small. It's like blowing into a closed coke bottle. It has to be blown softly but, at the same time, in a brass ensemble you have to produce volume. In this case, Morrie uses it to get a special effect - the sound of a ram's horn." With the percussion section clip-clopping like camels and the various plucked strings producing a variety of exotic sounds, the trombones move in, deep, dark and commanding. Along about the middle of the trip, the trumpets and trombones take off on a Middle Eastern fugue. Tommy Tedesco's guitar, played mandolin style, slows the caravan down as it reaches an oasis and Morrie Harris gets out his soprano trumpet again, keening away until Tedesco's guitar closes the tent flap for the night.

MISERLOU. This song has been used as a vehicle to display the music of many different cultures and regions, primarily Middle Eastern and Spanish settings. Jerry Fielding chose it primarily because of its haunting familiarity and its built - in sadness. Then he proceeded to bend it to fit a form of dance done mostly by the Turks. It begins with a wild 9/8 percussion pattern. Then the strains of the familiar melody are strung across this framework and made to fit. Because of the unfamiliar rhythm patterns, the playing of this section and of the final portion is extremely difficult for Westerners. The slow, sensuous middle section, introduced by a figure on Fender bass, builds to a brassy climax topped by Bobby Bryant's brilliant trumpet. Then the drummers stir things up again and get back to that old 9/8.

NEVER ON SUNDAY. Seeking a fresh, new approach to this very familiar tune, Jerry Fielding decided to play it in 7/8 - not as a gimmick but because this is one of the standard uneven time patterns used for many Greek songs although, so far as Fielding knows, it has never been used on this one. The result is that the first note of the melody is played on the "first" beat of the bar instead of at the delayed entrance of the pickup phrase, as the song was originally written. This throws the whole phrase forward a beat and produces the unusual rhythmic effect of the opening ensemble passages. The middle portion slows down for some unusual and charming effects and then returns to the original 7/8 ("with an occasional 5/8 tossed in just to throw you," Jerry adds).


"The people of Greece have the happy faculty of feeling quite at home dancing to music built in patterns of uneven numbers," said Jerry Fielding. "This particular classic form is called tsamiko and the title - which is pronounced 'Pen-day Puh-tee-muhtah' means 'five steps.' The metre is in 5/4. This is not an authentic Greek song. It's an original of mine which makes use of the elements of the tsamiko and also takes on some Westernization. I think you will find that, as it moves along from its gentle, swaying beginning through its development, the pattern of five will become refreshingly comfortable to you even though you are used to twos, threes and fours."

SAILORS DANCE. To be specific, this is a Russian sailors' dance, composed by Gliere for the ballet, Red Poppy. This arrangement is the work of Bill Holman who opens the dance with the deceptively mild-mannered tinkle of Vince De Rosa's French horn. Then, with a brass blast and an invitation from the balalaika, the dance gets going, building from deep, rhythmic trombones, French horns and baritone horns to a brass ensemble that is topped by Morrie Harris' soprano trumpet. This is a build-up in intensity. Later there is a buildup in rhythm as, in almost tarantella-like fashion, the dancers go faster and faster until they suddenly drop.

MYKONOS. This catchy Greek song by Yani Spanos is built very much like our rock tunes, with the accents coming at what Westerners would consider the "right" places. After a gospel introduction, Dick Nash and Bob Enevoldsen state the theme on their valve trombones. The ensembles have a massive, rugged quality that goes beautifully with the steady insistence of the beat. It's a solid brass presentation except for a brief and sturdy flurry of drumming and an equally brief peek at the sounds of bouzoukis and the santoor, the dulcimer-like stringed instrument of the Middle East which is played by Sam Chiannis, a member of the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles who is the only santoor virtuoso residing in Los Angeles.


GOLE GANDOM. Jerry Fielding fashioned this piece from several authentic segments of Persian folk music that were brought to him by an Iranian cameraman, Reza Badiyi. The title (pronounced with accents on the last syllable of each word) means "Flower of the Wheat." The first portion, done in 6/8, is very much as it is done in its original form in Iran, with just a touch of harmonic license. "Then," said Jerry, "the tune seemed to me to suggest a natural, almost inevitable, rock development. This part is led by the trombones of Joe Howard, Llody Ulyate, Charlie Loper and Bob Knight, climaxed by a staggering high G from Bud Brisbois' trumpet."

ILLYA DARLING. Manos Hadjidakis, who wrote Never on Sunday, also composed this tune for the Broadway musical, Illya, which is an adaptation of the film, Never on Sunday. "The song seems to want to play itself," said Jerry, "so that's what we allow it to do. Its melody, which is simple and predictable, is absolutely infectious." The tinkle of bouzoukis, the catchy bounce of the gruff horns all contribute to its melodic, rhythmic spirit.

ZORBA THE GREEK. Jerry Fielding's arrangement of this movie theme calls for a dazzling display of virtuosity in brass playing. The opening is a fade - in, with the music going full tilt. Then it stops, with a sustained French horn passage, gathers itself and, very deliberately, moves into a deep trombone figure which supports an airy bouzouki solo. Gradually this sudden bit of reticence fades away and, spurred by a rich and resonant tuba, the brass takes off again, flying through a dizzying set of passages with fantastic aplomb.

THE UPLIFTED VEIL OF A DOWNHEARTED FRAIL. What lies behind those downcast eyes? (It was a "downhearted frail," you may recall, who emitted the wail that became an integral part of the blues, according to the lyrics of the song, The Birth of the Blues). What Jerry Fielding finds behind the veil is part belly dance syndrome, part plain old rock. "It has," he says of his composition, "Arabian overtones (or undertones) and a frightfully simple melody. "A bit of tambourine chinking leads to a brass figure that builds into a musical round. A tinkle on a cymbal, a drum roll and we're into the rock portion, the full brass team loping, striding and even opening up to let the trumpets take a sudden break before the fadeout.

BAUBLES, BANGLES AND BEADS. Borodin borrowed from the music of his native Caucasus when he wrote this tune, Broadway borrowed it for Kismet, and now Jerry Fielding returns it to the East, dressing it in "every kind of tinkly thing we could find." Muted trumpets and open trumpets are interwoven to launch the thematic statement. The whole brass ensemble whirls along, merrily until West meets East and it slows down, to a jazz rocker with deliberate, clipped trumpets led by Johnnx Audino and then, with a brief borrowing of Count Basie's April in Paris figure, it goes jingling off to wherever it came from.

Thanks Richard!

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