When he recorded Music to Listen to Red Norvo By, Norvo was no stranger to extending the idea of jazz composition, or to jazz as chamber music. It was he, after all, who hired Eddie Sauter to be his chief arranger for the superb big band Norvo operated from 1935 to 1939. And it was Norvo whose trios of the 1950s remain superior examples of jazz in chamber settings. So it came as no surprise that he would encourage a classically oriented artist like Bill Smith to write an extended work for the Norvo sextet, another great chamber group. Smith's "Divertimento" is the primary attraction of this enduring album, but the other compositions by Smith, Jack Montrose, Lennie Niehaus, Duane Tatro, and Norvo are substantial and important. They are also, not incidentally, beautifully played by six supremely accomplished musicians.
with Buddy Collette, Bill Smith, Barney Kessel, Red Mitchell, Shelly Manne