I discovered these two gems about a month ago and have been listening to them almost non stop. These albums were produced in 1954 by the well-known French pianist/producer Henri Renaud. He gathered together some incredibly talented musicians all of whom were regulars playing the famous Birdland club at the time and what a group of Allstars, these bebop orientated sessions are fantastic. Big things do come in small packages!! Discover and enjoy!!
Trumpeter Thad Jones recorded this superb album in 1956 with Billy Mitchell on tenor, Barry Harris piano, Percy Heath on bass, Max Roach drums and Kenny Burrell on guitar. The rhythm section here is Top-Notch and demonstrates that Thad was a great soloist and performer. This is Bop at its best and Thad’s second album as leader before his famous association with Mel Lewis. This music has given me a great Sunday afternoon and you will definitely want to include this in your collection.
In my opinion Max Roach was the finest Post-Bop drummers in the 50’s. A Pioneer of Bebop, a member of the 52nd. Avenue set. He had formed a “Super Group” with the infamous Clifford Brown, and if that band had been able to stay together, the jazz world would be much different from what it is now. Interestingly few of his groups after his Brown/Roach quintet days had a pianist, making for an open ensemble sound in which the drums played a prominent role. My question is have you discovered his music?
A significant innovation that Max Roach made in the 1940s, was when he and jazz drummer Kenny Clarke invented a new concept of musical time. By playing the beat-by-beat pulse of standard 4/4 time on the “ride” cymbal instead of on the thudding bass drum, Roach and Clarke developed a flexible, flowing rhythmic pattern that allowed soloists to play freely. This new approach was a perfect set-up for the free blowing sessions that Bebop was to herald forth. This new method also left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, “crash” cymbal and other components of the trap set. If you are a lover of “Classic Jazz” some of his music must be in your collection.
Happy Birthday to the trombone master. From Indianapolis, Indiana born 1924. The first Trombonist to play in the Bebop style. J.J. came out of the Swing era regarded as the top trombonist playing with Benny Carter’s Orchestra and Count Basie’s Big Band from 1942 – 1945, he also played in the first “Jazz at the Philharmonic” concert in Los Angeles. By 46′ J.J. was playing in New York small group bebop settings and toured with Illinois Jacquet. He recorded as leader on Blue Note featuring greats such as Max Roach, Sonny Stitt, and Bud Powell. He recorded with Charlie Parker for Dial Records upon Parker’s release from Camarillo Hospital. At this point to say J.J.Johnson has some very deep roots in the history of Bebop would be an understatement. in 1954 J.J.Johnson played and recorded with fellow trombonist Kai Winding forming a unique combo under the name Jay and Kai creating several highly successful albums. After the mid fifties J.J. continued to play with some of the greatest names in Jazz, Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry and many more. The late 80’s saw him playing Village Vanguard in New York which yielded Standards from the Polygram label, J.J. would pass in 2001 from cancer.
Stanley Turrentine a great tenor saxophonist, Grant Green on guitar and the Horace Parlan Trio played at New Yorks “Mintons Playhouse”. This album is a true classic, full of energy and will have you jumpin in your seat. It has been discontinued but still available as a MP3 download from Amazon.
Joe Albany… I used to play with Charlie Parker. Pioneer Bop pianist, Joseph Albani (Known as “Joe Albany”) (January 24, 1924 – January 12, 1988)
It is remarked on his being among the few white pianists to have played Bebop with Charlie Parker.
Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he had studied piano as a child and by 1943 he was working on the West Coast in Benny Carter’s orchestra. In 1946 he was playing with Parker and also Miles Davis. He continued for a few years afterward and was on an album by Warne Marsh album in 1958. Despite that most of the 1950s and 1960s saw him battling a heroin addiction or living in seclusion in Europe. He also had several unsuccessful marriages in the period. He returned to jazz in the 1970s and produced a few albums. He died in New York City
He was the focus of a documentary in 1980 titled Joe Albany … A Jazz Life and his daughter Amy Jo “AJ” wrote the memoir Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood concerning him. The book received favorable reviews.
May 15, 1953
Legendary jazz concert; jazz immortals Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach play together for the only time in their lives. It was the only time that the five men recorded together as a unit, and it was the last recorded meeting of Parker and Gillespie. Parker played a Grafton saxophone on this date; he could not be listed on the original album cover for contractual reasons, so was billed as “Charlie Chan” (an allusion to the fictional detective and to Parker’s wife Chan). The record was originally issued on Mingus’s label Debut, from a recording made by the Toronto New Jazz Society. Mingus took the recording to New York where he and Max Roach dubbed in the bass lines, which were under-recorded on most of the tunes, and exchanged Mingus soloing on “All the Things You Are.”
The original plan was for the Jazz Society and the musicians to share the profits from the recording. However the audience was so small that the Society was unable to pay the musicians’ fees. The musicians were all given NSF checks, and only Parker was able to actually cash his; Gillespie complained that he did not receive his fee “for years and years”.
A 2004 re-issue contains the full concert, without the over-dubbing which was added by Charles Mingus on the original recording. The new version was titled “Complete Jazz at Massey Hall”.
Jazz at Massey Hall was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995. It is included in National Public Radio’s “Basic Jazz Library”. The concert was issued in some territories under the tag “the greatest jazz concert ever”.