C. Andrew Hovan joined All About Jazz in 1999
An avid audiophile and music collector, Hovan is a Cleveland-based writer/photographer.
Let’s now cut to the chase and lay out the details for one of the few albums the drummer ever recorded under his own name. The “in crowd” that Richmond assembles here includes pianist Jaki Byard and bassist Cecil McBee, with the guitars of Toots Thielemans and Jimmy Raney on various other cuts, not to mention some added Latin percussion on a trio of tracks. There’s definitely a quirky sound to these short cuts which owes as much to the tenor of the times as to the contributions of Byard, heard in rollicking stride fashion on of all things, Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Jimmy Raney’s “Freedom Ride” is one of the best cuts, its propulsive groove firmly established by Richmond and also featuring one of the few drum solos to be found on the record. Also worth mentioning are two Gary McFarland gems, namely “High Camp” and “Pfoofnick.” And let’s not forget the country twang that comes with Thieleman’s “Mister Nashville,” the idea being that pretty much anything goes when it come to this “in” jazz for the culture set.
In the end, nothing all that dramatic will be found between the covers, but it’s a definite treat to hear some overlooked solo work from Byard, not to mention Thielemans’ guitar picking which has largely been overshadowed by his individualistic ways with the harmonica. But then, there’s a ‘60s vibe to the entire package, Campbell’s soup cans and all, which continues to endear itself to me every once in awhile when I get the turntable spinning.
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