Today is a very sad day with the passing of a great bop jazz guitarist. His most famous gig was playing with Oscar Peterson’s Trio from 1953 to 1958. This master will be missed and I have included links, videos and albums as a tribute. Here’s to Herb Ellis!
I came in this evening from a long day at the job and checked the mail and surprize! A new album had arrived from the Telarc label. John Pizzarelli’s Rockin’ In Rhythm, A Tribute to Duke Ellington. Well I was excited to discover this artist and his new album, especially his take on one of the jazz’s greats “The Duke”. As I loaded the CD in the tray and pressed “Play” I was exported back to a time lost to us with this music, but with a lively freshness to the tunes. The album name really says it all, Mr. Pizzarelli’s voice rockin and croonin’ along with a very nice band. And the band, WOW, the Swing Seven open the set with (In A Mellow Mood), (East St. Louis Toodle-Oo) and (Don’t Get Around Much Anymore), all Ellington classics and I have to say this band has such a nice swing to it, a very tight group. There is a beautiful solo (Just Squeeze me) that highlight Pizzarelli’s great guitar style. Four tracks that feature his quartet, Larry Fuller piano, Martin Pizzarelli (brother) bass, and Tony Tedesco drums. I absolutely loved (Satin Doll) with a guitar solo by John’s father Bucky, this one I think is my favorite. Another HOT track (C-Jam Blues) really rocks with Aaron Weinstein on violin and saxophonist Harry Allen, and while John solo’s on guitar, he can be heard “Scattin” in the background, a nice touch. Mr. Pizzarelli’s (In My Solitude) performance on this album is superb and comes at just the right time, slowing things down a bit. A Lambert, Hendricks and Ross moment takes place on the (Lost/Perdido) track with Pizzarelli, Kurt Elling and Jessica Molaskey, this one brings back memories. I noticed I was smiling and then it struck me, this album is full of smiles and happiness, all orchestrated by John Pizzarelli. It’s nice when music can have this effect on you when you least expect it, it changes your mood. and before you know it I had forgot about that long day I’d had. John Pizzarelli’s Rockin In Rhythm is one of the best Duke Ellington tributes I have heard. Thank you Mr. Pizzarelli, your music just made my day. Discover and Enjoy.
Jazz guitar, I love the sound of a guitar solo amidst a sea of piano,bass and drum beat. Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, and Wes Montgomery are some of the talents who comes to mind, but Jimmy was a master swinger from Louisville, Kentucky, my home town. He could jam to any style, Swing, Bop, Mainstream, etc. He worked with Stan Getz in 1951 to 1952 and again in 62 and 63. In 53 to 54 he was with the Red Norvo Trio replacing Tal Farlow. He did a couple of albums with Bob Brookmeyer. 1967 Jimmy left the New York scene and didn’t resurface until the 1970’s when he cut some albums with his son Doug. Jimmy passed in 1995 and a New York Obit stated “Jimmy Raney was one of the most gifted and influencial post war jazz guitarist in the world”
Jimmy Raney featuring Bob Brookmeyer, 2 Guitars, and Complete Recordings 1954-1956 are three hot albums. 2 guitars is a unique set featuring Kenny Burrell as the other guitarist and 2 horns, Jackie McLean, and Charlie Byrd.
Grant Green an underrated artist whom recorded almost exclusively for Blue Note. He had a very recognizable style in which he didn’t like to play chords. His favorite artist who he listened to were horn players, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. His single note playing style mimics the horn playing giving him his own unique sound. The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark is a 1962 double album from Blue Note and a great place to start listening to him. Idle Moments is a 1963 Blue Note release featuring Bobby Hutcherson, a great pair. Early in his music he played the Gibson ES330TD Full Body guitar. Matador, another very interesting release on the Blue Note label from1964 pairs him with Coltranes rythm section, MCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison. Grant Green played Hardbop, Bebop, and Soul Jazz with a virtuosity, and his signature sound is a jazz guitarist who needs to be represented in your Jazz library.
Kenny Burrell a leader and sideman for 40 years, known as “Ellingtons favorite Guitarist” appearing on several hundred albums. A few albums that are classics of his are, the 1967 Midnight Blue album he did for Blue Note. This features Stanley Turrentine on tenor, a masterpiece of a album. The Rudy Van Gelder remaster is fantastic. Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane the 1958 Prestige album is another classic, a duet album full of sensitivity instead of heavy blowing. The playing is excellent by all means, own it. Finally I have to say A Night At The Vanguard a 1959 Verve session that’s a trio set with Richard Davis on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. This is a great example of Jazz guitar in a “Live” Jazz club setting.