The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra: Consummation

ConsummationThe Songs:

  1. Dedication
  2. It Only Happens Every Time
  3. Tiptoe
  4. A Child Is Born
  5. Us
  6. Ahunk Ahunk
  7. Fingers
  8. Consummation


  • Thad Jones – flügelhorn
  • Mel Lewis – drums
  • Eugene “Snooky” Young, Danny Moore, Al Porcino, Marvin Stamm – trumpets
  • Jimmy Buffington, Earl Chapin, Dick Berg, Julius Watkins – French horns
  • Eddie Bert, Benny Powell, Jimmy Knepper, Cliff Heather – trombones
  • Howard Johnson – tuba
  • Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion, Billy Harper, Eddie Daniels, Richie Kamuca, Pepper Adams, Joe Farrell – saxophones, woodwinds
  • Roland Hanna – acoustic & electric piano
  • Richard Davis – acoustic & electric bass
  • Dave Spinozza – guitar

The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra was formed in the mid 1960’s as a reading/rehearsal band to give a creative outlet to some of New York’s top session players. Thad Jones, formerly from Count Basie’s band and brother of pianist Hank and drummer Elvin from John Coltrane’s classic quartet, wrote and arranged most of the music. The group’s co-leader was Mel Lewis, who had previously played in the Stan Kenton orchestra. The group developed a devoted following and soon established a weekly Monday night residency at one of New York’s top jazz clubs, the Village Vanguard, (a residency that continues to this day, long after the deaths of both leaders). During this time, they recorded several classic albums for Solid State/Blue Note, the last of which, (and widely held to be the finest), was Consummation.

The album consists of all Thad Jones compositions and arrangements, including his most famous piece, “A Child Is Born”. Jones’ great writing shines on each chart and includes the addition of French horns and tuba on the opening and closing cuts. Consummation also features sparkling performances from many of the star sidemen, especially the keyboard work of Sir Roland Hanna. From the funky rock infected songs like “Us” and “Ahunk Ahunk” to the swinging “Tiptoe” and “Fingers” and the delicate beauty of “A Child Is Born,” the album represents the band at its finest, receiving the band’s third Grammy nomination for best large group jazz performance. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Chris Smith. The View From The Back Of The Band: The Life And Music Of Mel Lewis.

Suggested Viewing:

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra & Woody Herman Band. Jazz Casual.