Russ Musto joined All About Jazz in 2002
Russ Musto has been a member of the jazz community for more than thirty years, working as a writer, radio personality, record producer, promoter and proprietor of the Village Jazz Shop.
Lee Morgan's The Gigolo (with Wayne Shorter) and Hank Mobley's Dippin' (on which Morgan's trumpet shares the front line with Mobley's tenor) encompass some of the finest performances in these masters' much celebrated discographies. The two sessions benefit greatly from the solid support of superb rhythm sections piloted by pianist Harold Mabern and propelled by drummer Billy Higgins - with Bob Cranshaw and Larry Ridley, respectively, anchoring the trios on bass. The music on the discs documents the development of the leaders as composers and players and the evolving Blue Note sound of the day - deeply rooted in the hard bop of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, while moving in subtly different directions.
Both dates begin with funky hit-seeking originals by each of the leaders in the tradition of Morgan's hugely successful "Sidewinder - Mobley's with "The Dip , a soulful Latin line with a poppish bridge and Morgan's with "Yes I Can, No You Can't , a blues-drenched backbeat-driven outing built around Cranshaw's down home bass line. But the similarities end there. Dippin' is the more conventional date, though Mobley's deeper darker tone on the opener immediately demonstrates a distinct change from his earlier work, as does his up-tempo arrangement of "Recado Bossa Nova which follows. The rest of the date remains squarely in the boppish tradition of the tenorist's earlier dates; however his increasingly hip harmonies and clever compositional constructions show a maturing mind at work. Mabern's powerful two-handed pianistics serve the music well, taking it to higher level, while his tender playing on the ballad "I See Her Face Before Me , beautifully complements Morgan's muted trumpet and Mobley's warm resonant horn.
Wayne Shorter's contribution to The Gigolo, "Trapped , signals a switch in Morgan's direction to a more thoughtful line of attack. The exuberant trumpeter and pensive saxophonist show themselves to be supremely compatible despite their contrasting styles. The date debuts Morgan's "Speedball , the rapidfire burner that would eventually become the band's theme song, as well as his soon to be classic arrangement of "You Go To My Head , which changed the way the jazz world would approach the standard. Two takes of the commanding title track fill out the date; a newly issued alternate take that has Higgins' indomitable drums swinging the band mightily and the incomparable original, with even more astonishing solos by Morgan (cunningly referencing "It Ain't Necessarily So ), Shorter and Mabern, whose authoritative comping and long harplike arpeggios drive the powerful piece.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: The Dip; Recado Bossa Nova; The Break Through; The Vamp; I See Your Face Before Me; Ballin'.
Personnel: Hank Mobley: tenor saxophone; Lee Morgan: trumpet; Harold Mabern Jr: piano; Larry Ridley: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.
Tracks: Yes I Can, No You Can't; Trapped; Speedball; The Gigolo; You Got to My Head; The Gigolo [alternate take].
Personnel: Lee Morgan: trumpet; Wayne Shorter: tenor sax; Harold Mabern, Jr: piano; Bob Cranshaw: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.
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