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!!
Three days after his high school graduation he joined Lionel Hampton’s big band playing the Alto sax and it was “Hamp” who encouraged Griff to change to the Tenor, and what a Tenor…His first album as leader came in 1956 on the Blue Note label called simply “Introducing Johnny Griffin” featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums, this recording brought Griffin critical acclaim. In 1957 he recorded another hit Blue Note album”A Blowing Session” that features him with fellow tenor players John Coltrane and Hank Mobley. This album is a Hardbop treat, not so much of a Tenor battle here as these three artist have very distinctive sounds and plenty of solo’s abide here. Bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Blakey combine for some killer rhythm, trumpet man Lee Morgan and Wynton Kelly on the Keys make up for some classic Hard Bop. Happy Birthday to one of my favorites!!
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.
“Jazz is a very democratic musical form. It comes out of a communal experience. We take our respective instruments and collectively create a thing of beauty.” -Max Roach
“I always resented the role of a drummer as nothing more than a subservient figure.” -Max Roach
“Art is a powerful weapon that society, or the powers that be, use to control or direct the way people think. Culture is used to perpetuate the status quo of a society. Even though I’m involved in music for the sake of entertainment, I always hope to offer some kind of enlightenment.” -Max Roach
“One thing I gloried in, working with people like Charlie Parker, was the built-in rhythm section. You didn’t need a drummer or a bass player to know where the time was.” -Max Roach
“I used to take musical instruments home from elementary school. There were some music teachers there – we all learned instruments. A lot of us got started in public schools. Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, for example. But now there are no more music teachers in public elementary schools. It’s like (Senator) Moynihan said, ‘benign neglect.’ Just let it rot and fester.” -Max Roach
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.
On this day in 1917 Bebop’s most influential arranger, composer and pianist was born. He arranged for Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Jimmie Lunceford, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, and Sarah Vaughan. Tadd along with lyricists Carl Sigman wrote “If You Could See Me Now” for Sarah Vaughan one of her first hit songs. Dameron composed several bop standards, including “Hot House”, “Our Delight”, “Good Bait”, and “Lady Bird”. His bands featured some of the finest in Bebop jazz Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Wardell Gray.
Dameron was addicted to narcotics at the end of his career, and suffered from cancer and had several heart attacks before he died at the age of 48 of cancer in 1965.
Mating Call is an incredible album of tunes really highlighting Dameron’s compositional skill and Coltrane’s talent. “A Must Have” in you collection and one of my favorites. I return to this one quite often. Discover, Enjoy!!
Harold Land (Feb 18, 1928– July 27, 2001) today is the birthday of the most underrated Tenor saxophonist in Jazz history. From very early in his career he ‘s played with the best, he played in The Max Roach and Clifford Brown Quintet and what a wonderful Post-Bop vehicle for his talent it was.
Harold grew up in San Diego and started playing the saxophone at 16 when he heard ‘Body And Soul”. In 1949 he recorded his first album as leader for the Savoy label, Harold Land Allstars. During a jam session at the home of Eric Dolphy, Clifford Brown heard Land play and hired him on the spot for his quintet with Max Roach replacing Teddy Edwards on the tenor. He stayed for 2 years playing some of the best in Bebop becoming quite famous in jazz circles. In 1955 Harold returned home upon hearing his grandmother was dying in L.A., What might have he became if he stayed in the New York Jazz scene we will never know. As it was he remained on the West Coast and joined The Curtis Counce Group recording with them and making his own albums as leader for the Contemporary label. In the 1970’s, he recorded a number of albums for the Concord label and in the 80’s he joined the Timeless All-Stars sextet. He returned to performing on his own more frequently and widely in the late 1990’s and even became a teacher of Jazz at the University of California in L.A.