Tune in to the Jazz Show with Gavin Walker every Monday night,
Pianist Red Garland had been with Miles Davis’ “First Great Quintet” but in 1957 was freelancing and toward the end of the year he formed a fine quintet with tenor saxophone master John Coltrane. Coltrane had finished playing in the Summer of 1957 with pianist Thelonious Monk and had also like Garland been part of the Davis Quintet. They would soon rejoin Davis. Garland got some club gigs and several recording opportunities with Prestige Records in the fall of 1957 and this fine quintet became well documented, Along with Coltrane, Garland used trumpeter Donald Byrd who had matured into a very strong and lyrical player. Newly arrived from Memphis was George Joyner (aka Jamil Nasser) on bass and the great Arthur Taylor on drums. One of the band’s finest discs is tonight’s Jazz Feature. It’s called “Soul Junction”. It’s a beauty and is a fine portrait of where all these great players stood at the time.
Vibist Walt Dickerson was a totally unique stylist on his instrument. He sadly is somewhat forgotten when the kudos are extended to major exponents of the vibes. When you hear him, you’ll realize how original his style was. Here is one of his masterpiece recordings. Dickerson is joined by pianist Andrew Hill, bassist George Tucker and drummer Andrew Cyrille. The album is called “To My Queen” and that title tune is dedicated to Walt’s devoted wife, Elizabeth. It is the longest tune on the set and is a very touching and moving piece. Walt’s interpretation of one of Irving Berlin’s finest compositions, “How Deep is the Ocean” is masterful and the closing tune is Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” played as a duet with Walt Dickerson and bassist George Tucker. A beautiful ending to Walt’s finest album.
Drummer Max Roach is tonight’s Jazz Feature artist with one of his finest groups. Three great players from Pittsburg make up some of the band. The Turrentine Brothers, Stanley on tenor saxophone and brother Tommy on trumpet plus Bobby Boswell on bass. The third horn is Chicago-born trombonist Julian Priester. Max Roach had dispensed with having a pianist and so this band had a unique sound and it placed a great load on bassist Boswell to keep the engine running and the tunes coherent. Of course Max Roach is masterful behind the kit and propels the music along. There are six tunes here that the band explores all except one are written by Jazz players. The one show tune standard is by Harry Warren called “The More I See You”. One tune called “As Long as You’re Living” written by Max Roach and Tommy Turrentine is one of the very first tunes to be recorded in 5/4 time. Mr. Roach’s concept of that time signature is very different from Dave Brubeck’s. The album title is “Quiet as It’s Kept” and that tune is written by Spike Lee’s Dad, Bill Lee.
Legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd is up tonight with an amazing international quartet with Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Anders Jormin and American drum master Billy Hart. Mr. Lloyd is heard mostly on tenor saxophone but also is heard on flute and Chinese oboe as well. Lloyd is a still living Jazz master and this album recorded a few years ago is one fine date. It’s called “All My Relations” and all the compositions are by Charles Lloyd.
We conclude this month with the late great vibist Bobby Hutcherson with his band of San Francisco based players. This is a rather neglected period in Hutcherson’s career in that recordings of this great band are hard to find. This one is a gem and it’s called “View From The Inside” and was first issued on Blue Note. Bobby’s band included the wonderful Manny Boyd on tenor and soprano saxophones, Larry Nash on keyboards, James Leary III on bass and the great Eddie Marshall on drums. The tunes are written by Hutcherson, Boyd and Leary plus one fine standard tune. This was a beautiful band and sounded like none other. Check it out tonight.
Stan Getz is acknowledged as one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists and one of the most famous and had a fine long career and seemed to always re-invent himself just when one was ready to call him “passe”. This was a set that was done during his “bossa nova” period when he toured with this group and singer Astrid Gilberto. The band went into the studio and recorded this fine date without bossa nova tunes and without Astrid. However it was never released until after Getz’ death. It’s a great band with Getz and young vibes master Gary Burton at the beginning of his career. Bassist Gene Cherico and drummer Joe Hunt make a great rhythm section. This album more than demonstrates what a fine band this was and this date sounds so modern too even though it was recorded in 1964. The album is called “Nobody Else But Me” and that tune by Hammerstein and Kern is the title track. There are many highlights to this date including a great version of “Summertime” and Gary Burton’s original called “Out of Focus”. One hip little band!
If Stan Getz was one of the best known tonight’s Jazz Feature artist is relatively unknown but a master player. His name Tina (pronounced “Tyna”) Brooks. Brooks sadly died young but made some wonderful recordings for Blue Note Records but sadly only one was issued in his lifetime. Tonight’s album was scheduled to be issued and advertised too but never was until many years later after Brooks’ death. Brooks was a hard driving virile saxophonist with a bluesy soulful sound like no other and this album typifies New York Jazz of the early 60s. Brooks has great players backing him including Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Arthur Taylor on drums and a cameo appearance on one tune by alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. Brooks wrote three of the tunes and there are two standards. “Back To The Tracks” is the album’s title and it cooks.
Time to get funky with legendary alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. “Papa Lou” is still with us and semi active at age 92! This album called “Alligator Boogaloo” is a great example of Jazz-funk. Lou has New Orleans born Melvin Lastie Sr. on trumpet along with Dr Lonnie Smith on Hammond organ, the incredible George Benson on guitar and Idris Muhammad (aka Leo Morris) on drums. This music is great for both listening and dancing too. Fun and funk with Papa Lou!
We end the month with the great drummer/leader Art Blakey and a special edition of The Jazz Messengers. This was the only album recorded by this edition and was only available in Japan. It was recorded in Tokyo in February of 1970. The band included veteran trumpeter Bill Hardman and from Panama, tenor saxophonist Carlos Garnette, bassist Jan Arnet from the Czech Republic and the first female to join the Jazz Messengers, pianist extraordinaire, Joanne Brackeen. This band had a great sound and the repertoire was standard Blakey fare including Benny Golson’s “Blues March” and “Whisper Not” and Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin'” plus Bill Hardman’s “Politely” and of course Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia” among other tunes. “Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers ’70”