A saxophonist buddy of mine who went to the same high school as I did and then also studied with Joe at Berklee after I did just sent me a recording that I have been dying to hear for many, many years. It is Joe Viola's 'Jazz in the Classroom' album that was put out by Berklee in 1959. The album was done in the Berklee studios on two track reel to reel. Viola overdubbed all of the woodwind parts, playing all of the saxophones, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, and bass clarinet. The first side is in a Classical style and the second side is sax quartet with an added rhythm section of Ray Santisi, Gene Cherico and Alan Dawson. Manny Albam was a rising star as a composer and arranger and he composed everything on the album. The entire recording is truly mind blowing. The sax quartet tracks just sound impossibly good, because no section sounds that in tune, tight or phrases together so well. The great thing about this recording is that you can play along with it because all of the Jazz in the Classroom scores are in the online Berklee archives. I have included links to each score with each MP3 track. Playing along with Joe makes me feel like I am back in his studio with him again. Hearing this was incredibly inspiring, but it also made a mere mortal like myself feel like a lazy slug.
Joe Viola Plays Manny Albam: Berklee's Jazz in the Classroom series, Vol.III
7. Sunny Sunday
10. Minor Mannerisms