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Billy Butterfield - What's New?: His 24 Finest



A jazz treat! Here is a Retrospective survey covering 21 years of one of the all-time greats of the trumpet: Billy Butterfield.

Billy Butterfield (1917-1988) – the very name belongs in the pantheon of jazz trumpet giants. To quote another trumpeter, Digby Fairweather: “Butterfield’s gifts were a natural extension of Armstrong’s strengths: warm, buttered tone, and a magician’s ability to pull melodic creations of arresting originality from battered jazz hats. He remains the most artistic swing trumpeter of post-war America”.

Yet much of his music has been unavailable for far too long. What’s New? (the title of his first big success, with Bob Crosby), in addition to featuring all the milestones of his career from 1938 to 1959, presents many gems from long-deleted 10” LPs of the 50s made when he was at the peak of his powers. There are also choice selections from his short-lived big band of the 40s, plus a trio of his sensitive accompaniments to singers Margaret Whiting (the million-selling Moonlight In Vermont), Lee Wiley and Frank Sinatra. As Digby says: “every track here represents a richer legacy from one of jazz’s greatest-ever trumpet masters”.

Billy Butterfield - What's New?: His 24 Finest


"Digby Fairweather's liner notes say it all: Butterfield was a jazz trumpeter who can rightly be hailed as one of the greatest. Never an international star like Harry James, Louis Armstrong or Dizzy Gillespie, he was nevertheless in that bracket as far as instrumental virtuosity is concerrned and these 24 tracks prove it. Whether leading his own orchestra or merely one of the trumpet section of another band such as Bob Crosby or Artie Shaw, Butterfield's sound is unmistakable. There is a tremendous range of music here, whether it be wonderfully lyrical STARDUST with Artie Shaw's Orchestra, acting as more than a mere accompanist to Margaret Whiting on MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT and Sinatra on NEVERTHELESS and concluding with those collaborations with Ray Conniff that enjoyed so much success in the late Fifties. Apart from the exemplary liner notes there are the usual high Retrospective production values. Excellent" In Tune July 2012

"The displays of trumpet playing are inspiring of great awe. Although he makes it sound easy Billy always gives the impression that he’s putting everything he’s got into it. Here are two of the best Crosbys, Shaw’s greatest classic, excellent Goodman/Powell, absorbing Brad Gowans with all nine of them good, fine Whiting, Hucko and Wiley along the way and Boomie and McGarity romping on the Gus Hoo tracks. Five stars."- Steve Voce, Jazz Journal

Billy Butterfield was a superb trumpeter who spent time playing with the orchestras of Bob Crosby and Artie Shaw, led his own short-lived big band in the mid-1940s, appeared on a countless number of studio dates, and in his later years performed high-powered Dixieland with The World’s Greatest Jazz Band. What’s New has 24 examples of his playing from 1938-59 including with free-wheeling Dixieland groups, on warm ballads with orchestras, and jamming with swing bands. His powerful opening statement on Artie Shaw’s recording of “Stardust” (arguably the finest instrumental version of that classic) is here along with two numbers with Crosby (including the original version of “What’s New”). Butterfield is also featured with Mel Powell, valve trombonist Brad Gowans’ New York Nine, Frank Sinatra (“Nevertheless”), Lou Stein, Ray Coniff and on several sessions of his own. Among the other highlights are “Moonlight In Vermont” (featuring Margaret Whiting’s singing), “Carolina In The Morning,” “Moten Stomp,” a heated “I’m An Old Cowhand” and “I’ll Be A Friend With Pleasure” from a Bix Beiderbecke tribute set. Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene