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Organist Charles Earland was known as “The Mighty Burner”. His distinctive sound and pulsating bass lines were killers. This album called “Intensity” was one of his best. Earland is accompanied by a large band with stars like drummer Billy Cobham, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and flute master Hubert Laws and the ill-fated trumpet giant Lee Morgan. This was Lee Morgan’s last recording session done two days before he was fatally shot in a domestic dispute at age 34. This is the last of his legacy.
Tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin possessed a unique voice that made you sit up and listen. His voice was strong and belonged to no one else.This is one of his finest dates called “Exultation!”. Great tunes and super backing by pianist Horace Parlan, bassist Butch Warren and drummer Walter Perkins, The real bonus here is alongside Booker Ervin is the totally distinctive alto saxophone of Frank Strozier, one of the most shamefully overlooked masters of that horn. One great recording!
Milt Jackson was truly the Modern Jazz Master of the vibraphone. Jackson made hundreds of recordings either on his own or as a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet but this one called “Opus De Jazz” was one of his best. Here Milt is accompanied by the great Frank Wess on mostly flute and also on tenor saxophone. The rhythm section is not to be discounted: Hank Jones on piano, Eddie Jones (no relation) on bass and the pioneer Modern Jazz drummer, Kenny Clarke. This is a great recording to turn non Jazz fans into Jazz lovers. “Opus De Jazz” hits the spot!
“Grand Encounter” is the title of this date and it is a true classic. It puts two East Coast based players together with three West Coasters in this historic and understated outing. Pianist John Lewis is the musical director here and bassist Percy Heath lays down the foundation. Soft toned tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins is a wonderfully lyrical voice here and guitarist Jim Hall compliments him. The tasteful brushwork of drummer Chico Hamilton adds to the subtlety of this classy session. This quietly intense date will kill the stereotype of Jazz music being busy, noisy and lacking melody. “Grand Encounter” truly is!
Tonight’s Jazz Feature is in the opinion of your host Gavin Walker, one of the finest examples the piano trio. Piano, bass and drums. “Kelly At Midnight” featured the great Jamaican pianist Wynton Kelly. Kelly starred for years with Miles Davis and guitarist Wes Montgomery and was everyone’s favourite accompanist. Kelly’s music has that bounce and optimism that expresses the joy of making music. Wynton is accompanied by the great Paul Chambers on bass and drum master Philly Joe Jones. Their communication is uncanny. “Kelly At Midnight” is a true masterpiece.
Alto saxophonist/bandleader Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and his Sextet is in the spotlight tonight playing the music from the ever popular “Fiddler On The Roof”. This music was written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick was a Broadway hit play about Jewish life in the ghetto. The music is interpreted by Cannonball and his band in a Jazz manner and proved to be one of Adderley’s finest recordings and yet often overlooked. Look no further than tonight’s Jazz Feature to hear this great band with Cannonball, brother Nat on cornet, then new member flutist/tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd, pianist/arranger Joe Zawinul and bassist and drummer Sam Jones and Louis Hayes respectively. Jewish soul music!
The Count Basie Orchestra take the stage of the Jazz Feature tonight in a live date done at a breakfast dance and barbeque at a posh Florida hotel in Miami before an enthusiastic crowd. Loose, swinging and fun. This brings out the best in the Basie organization of the late 1950s when the band was full of great soloists like Thad Jones and Joe Newman on trumpets and the two Franks (Foster and Wess) and Billy Mitchell on tenor saxophones plus Basie himself, outgoing drummer Sonny Payne and guest artist Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet plus a few vocals by the Joe Williams. A fun time and great music Basie style!
Pianist Jutta Hipp is one of the great Jazz legends. This young lady, raised in Hitler’s Germany survived that era and after the liberation lived many years in a refugee camp. She had studied piano and somehow heard Jazz despite it being banned in Nazi Germany. After the war and camp she made a name for herself in the “new” Germany then emigrated to America and New York. She made some fine recordings for Blue Note and then disappeared from the Jazz scene, a victim of the macho and male dominated attitudes of the times. She was also a victim of betrayal by a prominent member of the Jazz community. She became a recluse and never performed again although she lived a good long life pursued other options. Her life is worth exploring so check her bio out on the internet. Tonight we present Jutta and her trio with bassist Peter Ind and drummer Ed Thigpen recorded in April 1956 at New York’s finest piano Jazz club of the time, “The Hickory House”. Jutta was a wonderful player and deserved more than she got from the Jazz community. Here is your chance to discover Jutta Hipp.
One of the most exciting tenor saxophone tag teams was the Johnny Griffin/Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Quintet. Two contrasting styles on the horn made for great listening. Griffin with his smaller tight sound and incredible speed and agility was always compelling and Lockjaw with his big open gruff sound and balls out concept was what made this dynamic duo exciting. They stayed together for almost three years and made some great recordings with different rhythm players. This one called “Battle Stations” was one of their earliest and had two great Chicago players, Norman Simmons on piano and Victor Sproles on bass plus newcomer Ben Riley on drums. Hard swinging and hard blowing was this band’s forte but they could play pretty ballads too. Griff and Lock lock horns!