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Jazz Primer

More Obscure Favorites

By Published: December 9, 2004
Ornette Coleman—Something Else!: Ornette's only album with deliberate chord changes, and it is a great one.

Cannonball Adderley—Country Preacher: One of the funkiest legitimate jazz albums ever. Nuff Said.

Larry Young—Unity: What not to say? Elvin, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw and Larry. put those in a blender and enjoy. repeat.

Chick Corea—Now He Sings...: Chick's last great album pre RTF. with Roy Haynes and Dave Holland.

I hope that helps.

Keep Your Ears Open, Paul

Date: 13-Oct-1998 21:10:41
From: Jonathan Kranz ( )
Elliot's right: it would be appropriate to include annotation with our choices (as Paul has done). Here goes:

"Lucky Strikes": Lucky Thompson is a tenor and soprano saxophonist who crossed over from heavy-duty, Hawkins-like swing to bebop. (In fact, he was in Charlie Parker's quintet for the 1946 Dial recordings). "Lucky Strikes" comes later in his career, (I'm not sure when. Late '50's? Early '60's?) and features a beautifully balanced mix of originals and standards, all of it understated and sensitive without getting "precious."

"Buck and Bud": A mid-seventies meeting of two greats: the famous Bud Freeman, a renowned tenor often associated with the traditionalist movement; and Bucky Pizzarelli, an underrated guitarist with flying fingers and powerful bebop leanings. This one could have been an odd couple pairing, but they listen to each other well and obviously find inspritation in the match—which they generously share with the audience.

"Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas": The first recording (mothballed for years) under his own name by a pianist associated with some of jazz's all time greatest recordings, such as Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus." With bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Elvin Jones (yes!) they record powerful and poetic covers of Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo," Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" and other great stuff that eludes me at the moment. This is one of those rare albums that will please both an afficionado who loves great jazz piano and a newby.

"Jugs and Dodo": Jugs is Gene Ammons, son of the great stride pianist and a master of the big-bellied, masculine tenor sax sound. Dodo is Dodo Marmorosa, one of the many white bebop pianists (like Joe Albany and Al Haig) who showed great promise in the '40's before sinking into obscurity. Dodo, like Lucky Thompson, played with Parker in the 1946 Dial sessions. They're an even odder couple than Buck and Bud, but their album, like the former's, works really well, gritty and pretty at the same time.

Here's another one: "It's Uptown with the George Benson Quintet." Yup, that George Benson. Before he greased the airwaves with smoooooth (albeit well-played) lite jazz makeout music, Benson burst on the scene as an up-and-coming traditional jazz guitarist ready to take his place with Montgomery et al. Great mix of material, including a flamenco-inspired piece and even some early (and charming) Benson vocals.

Also, I agree with Paul about Billy Higgins. I don't know if Higgins is THE most underrated drummer, but he sure has to be one of them. Damn he's good.

And for you Lee Morgan fans out there, check out Art Blakey's "The Big Beat": Morgan's solo on "Paper Moon" is a masterpiece of architecture and fire. I'll definitely look into "Candy" and "Cornbread."

Date: 14-Oct-1998 01:48:22
From: Paul ( face it, you already have it )
John, you have made my list of top 10 brilliant jazz types in reference to the thumbs up on Morgan's solo on Paper Moon. I knew I wasn't the only one...

Date: 14-Oct-1998 02:07:00
From: Steve Wilson ( )
O.K., this looks like a fun and informative area so here goes with the albums I find myself coming back to after the newness has worn off most of the current jazz: Miles (who else): Jack Johnson Bitches Brew In A Silent Way Seven Steps To Heaven Chronicles (The Complete Prestige...) Buddy Rich: Mercy, Mercy The New One Rich In London Woody Herman: Giant Steps Chick Corea: Return To Forever (The very first one with Flora, Airto, Joe Farrell, and Stanley Clarke.) Now He Sings, Now He Sobs Hymn To The Seventh Galaxy John McLaughlin: My Goals Beyond Billy Cobham: Crosswinds Maynard Ferguson: The complete Roulette Recordings Brubeck: and Mulligan, Live at the Berlin Phil. Mulligan: Quiet Nights The Age Of Steam Joe Farrell: Quartet Bill Evans: All Vols. of Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival Stan Getz: Focus Captain Marvel Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage Thrust Stanley Turrentine: Sugar

All for now, mini-reviews later. Steve.

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