Tune in to the Jazz Show with Gavin Walker every Monday night,
October 2, 2017:
This month The Jazz Show will spotlight a group of great Jazz players/leaders that are so obscure that even the most knowledgeable Jazz fan might not have heard of them. I can assure you that the music you hear on this series is first rate and in some cases the obscure leader is surrounded by widely known players. That is this month’s premise. We begin with a man named John Erskine “Rocky” Boyd. Rocky had played with both Max Roach and Miles Davis when he made this, his only recording in March 1961. Boyd possessed a huge sound on the tenor saxophone and a wonderfully economic concept with no wasted or gratuitous notes. The album is full of good tunes by several people and Rocky. He picked his sidemen well as they were all well-known players. Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Walter Bishop Jr. on piano, the great Ron Carter on bass and fiery Pete LaRoca on drums. First rate music from bar one!
October 9, 2017:
Pianist Valdo Williams was a journeyman player and this his only album shows his adventurous approach. He couples the abstract and dissonant with lyricism and straight-ahead swing. Valdo had played with many greats including Charlie Parker and Lester Young but this date featured his own concept and his own tunes. Valdo is backed by bassist Reggie Johnson and drummer Stu Martin. “New Advanced Jazz with Valdo Williams” pours from your speakers tonight.
October 16, 2017:
Here is one of the finest saxophonists that Canada had ever produced! His name, Brian Barley. Sadly he died too young but this album is monumental. We hear Brian on tenor and soprano saxophones playing with Daniel Lessard on electric bass and the legendary Claude Ranger on drums. This album was recorded in Montreal in June of 1970. Brian died of a seizure as a result of a car accident in 1971. There are four Barley compositions here and one by Claude Ranger. This is a superb date and makes one wonder what more was to come from this great player.
October 23, 2017:
Flugelhornist Wilbur Harden has always been a bit of a mystery. He was self-taught and gained experience in local blues and r&b bands in his birthplace in Birmingham, Alabama. He later moved to Detroit and then to New York. He switched from trumpet to the more mellow flugelhorn. Illness forced him to stop playing in 1961 and he died in obscurity in 1969. In 1958 he made three stunning recording dates and tonight we’ll hear one of them. Wilbur was also a wonderful composer too and wrote all the tunes on this date. His sidemen are John Coltrane on tenor saxophone who was in the midst of a very settled and profound period in his playing. Tommy Flanagan on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and Louis Hayes on drums. Harden had established a musical relationship with all of these men when he resided in Detroit. This is simply great Jazz!
October 30, 2017:
The last obscure player is perhaps the most mysterious. He was a former singer who took up the tenor saxophone. His name, Hank Bagby. Bagby was from Denver and took up the saxophone when he lived in San Francisco. Hank played with many important west coasters including pianist Elmo Hope, Frank Butler and many others. His only album is very rare and we hear it tonight. It was recorded in Los Angeles in 1964 and it’s called “Opus One by the Hank Bagby Soultet”. Hank’s big toned hard swinging tenor saxophone is heard with Chuck Foster on trumpet, Dave McKay on piano, Al Hines on bass and Chiz Harris on drums. Never heard of any of them? You’re not alone. The music is hot and creative and a-one. And so wraps a month of obscure and lesser known players that I hope bring you much listening pleasure.