Tina Brooks: True Blue (2005)
As with Minor Move and Back to the Tracks, Tina Brooks' True Blue is an album of hard bop excellence. Recorded in '60, it finds the tenor saxophonist accompanied by Freddie Hubbard on trumpet (a week after Brooks helped Hubbard on his debut album, Open Sesame), Duke Jordan on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and Art Taylor on drums. The six original compositions by Brooks are well-crafted, though none are stellar. The group's cohesive sound, its consistent blues-induced jazz groove, and the numerous well-defined solos are the album's strengths.
You'd never know it from listening to his distinctive tone and melodic attitude, but Brooks never made it big. Though he recorded four albums for Blue Note, True Blue was the only one that was released during his lifetime. Ill health and drugs eventually took their toll and he passed away in '74 at 42 years of age.
Though released several years ago on CD, this new Rudy Van Gelder edition of True Blue will undoubtedly be easier to find. Packed with Blue Note's best amenities, 24-bit digital sound, original and new liner notes, as well as alternate takes of "True Blue," and "Good Old Soul," True Blue finally gets the attention it deserves.
Track Listing: Good Old Soul; Up Tight's Creek; Theme for Doris; True Blue; Miss Hazel; Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You.
Personnel: Freddie Hubbard: trumpet; Tina Brooks: tenor saxophone; Duke Jordan: piano; Sam Jones: bass; Art Taylor: drums.