Brew Moore: The Kerouac Connection
The Kerouac Connection
Tenor saxophonist Brew Moore was one of the disciples of Lester Young whom Young himself referred to as "the greys." As a man who believed that anyone who didn't do it like Young was just plain wrong, Moore arguably hewed closer to the work of the master than any of the others. There were elements of his playing, however, that marked him out as a player with his own identity, for all the journeyman nature of his career.
Those elements come out here on the quintet reading of "Imagination," on the second disc of this double set. The languid quality of Moore's phrasing has a charm all its own, and the way in which he seems to have all the time in the world is a potent antidote to hyperactivity. Slim Gaillard's guitar on this one is hardly present, but on the following "Oh, Lady Be Good" his brand of exquisite nonsense is deconstructive in the best sense, before Moore comes in with plenty to say and the means to say it. His phrases roll along, albeit it in a manner less idiosyncratic than that of his master.
While a set like this serves as a Moore primer it does have a less beneficial effect, because Moore wasn't that distinctive a stylist. He lacks, for example, Zoot Sims's ability to render the listener buoyant of spirit and consequently the music gets a little wearing. It's perhaps also true to say that in exclusively covering the early years of the man's career, this compilation is also a summation of his career as a whole, so little did his style change with the passing years. Thus, the quartet reading of "Brew Blue" from March, 1948 similarly contains all the trademarks of his work even while the performance seems to slip by without causing ripples on the surface of the listener's consciousness.
With the Claude Thornhill band in October, 1948 Moore seems comprehensively outblown by the likes of Lee Konitz on alto sax and Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax. Frustratingly, the presence of only one track from this aggregation deprives the listener of a more extensive opportunity to gauge how Moore really fitted in.
As a member of a sextet headed by trombonist Kai Winding in April of the following year, Moore comes into his own on the likes of "Bop City"for all of his rhythmic ambivalence towards bop as such. He also comes as close as he ever does on the four sides compiled here to Sims's always evident lust for life, communicating on a level more profound than he does on other occasions. The sheer drive of his work on "Crossing The Channel" underscores that point.
The septet led by pianist George Wallington from May, 1949 also offers evidence of how Moore drove when the tempo was up, but Buddy Stewart's vocal, dealing as it does in the scat vocabulary which all too quickly got mired in cliches, detracts from it.
It would be unfair to argue that a little of Moore went a long way, but such is the impact of his playing throughout this set that it might be true to say he'll always fox listeners in a blindfold test. His playing was only infrequently compelling on the basis of this evidence, but he's still worthy of his modest, unassuming place in the music's history.
Tracks: CD1: Blue Brew; Brew Blue; More Brew; No More Brew; Godchild; Ubop City Pts. 1 & 2; Vacilando; Howard's Blues; Cubop City; Four And One Moore; Indianola; How High The Moon; Bop City; Wallington's Godchild; Crossing The Channel; Sleepy Bop; Knockout; Igloo; The Mud Bug; Goldrush; Lestorian Mode; Kai's Kid; Broadway. CD2: Lo-Flame; Fuguetta; Fluid Drive; Maciendo; Donellon Square; Imagination; Oh, Lady Be Good; Wee (Allen's Alley); Babarabatiri; Tanga; Bernie's Tune; Perdido; Fools Rush In; Rotation; Lover Come Back To Me; Will You Still Be Mine?; Blues From Havana; Pat's Batch.
Personnel: Brew Moore: tenor saxophone; Johnny Napton, John Carisi, Gene Roland: trumpet (CD#5); Mario Bauza, Paquito Devila, Buddy Woodlen: trumpet (CD1#6-9, 11, 12; CD2#9, 10); Howard McGhee: trumpet (CD1#8, 9; CD2#1-5); Jerry Lloyd: trumpet (CD1#17-22); Miles Davis: trumpet (CD2#8); Dickie Mills: trumpet (CD2#14); Allan Langstaff, Leon Cox: trombones (CD1#5); Kai Winding: trombone (CD1#13-23); J.J. Johnson: trombone (CD2#1-5, 8); Al Antonucci, Alvin 'Junior' Collins: French horn (CD1#5); Danny Polo: clarinet, alto sax (CD1#5); Lee Konitz: alto sax (CD1#5); Eugene Johnson, Freddie Sherritt: alto sax (CD1#6-9, 11, 12; CD2#9, 10); Charlie Parker: alto sax (CD2#12); Mario 'Jet' Rollo: tenor sax (CD1#5); Jose Madera: tenor sax (CD1#6-9, 11, 12; CD2#9, 10); Stan Getz: tenor sax (CD1#10); Al Cohn: tenor sax (CD1#10); Allen Eager: tenor sax (CD1#10); Zoot Sims: tenor sax (CD1# 10); Harold Wylie: tenor sax (CD2#18); Gerry Mulligan: tenor sax (CD1#5), baritone sax (CD1#5, 13-23); Leslie Johnakins: baritone sax (CD1#6-9, 11, 12; CD2#9, 10); Gene Di Novi: piano (CD1#1-4); Claude Thornhill: piano (CD1#5); Rene Hernandez: piano (CD1#6-9, 11, 12; CD2#9, 10); Walter Bishop: piano (CD1#10); George Wallington: piano (CD1#13-23); Kenny Drew: piano (CD2#1-5); Billy Taylor: piano (CD2#6, 7); Tadd Dameron: piano (CD2#8); Paul Bley: piano (CD2#11, 12); Johnny Marabuto: piano (CD2#13, 14, 18); Manuel Duran: piano (CD2#15-17); Slim Gaillard: guitar, vocal (CD2#6, 7); Dick Garcia: guitar (CD2#11, 12); unknown: guitar (CD2#13); Jimmy Johnson: bass (CD1#1-4); Joe Shulman: bass (CD1#5); Roberto Rodriguez: bass (CD1#6-9, 11, 12; CD2#9, 10); Gene Ramey: bass (CD1# 10); Curley Russell: bass (CD1#13-23; CD2#1-5, 8): Clyde Lombardi: bass (CD2#6, 7); Neil Michel: bass (CD2#11, 12); Max Hartstein: bass (CD2#13, 14); Manuel Duran: bass (CD2#15-17); John Mosher: bass (CD2#18); Stan Levey: drums (CD1#1-4); Bill Exiner: drums (CD1#5); Charles Perry: drums (CD1#10); Max Roach: drums (CD1#13-16; CD2#1-5); Charlie Perry: drums (CD1#17, 18); Roy Haynes: drums (CD1#19-23); Charlie Smith: drums (CD2#6, 7); Art Blakey: drums (CD2#8); Ted Pastor: drums (CD2#11, 12); Gus Gustafsson: drums (CD2#13, 14); John Markham: drums (CD2#18); Luis Mirana: congas (CD1#6); Ralph Miranda: congas (CD1#7-9; CD2#9, 10, 15-17); Luis Miranda: congas (CD2#15-17); Ubaldo Nieto: timbales (CD1#6-9, CD2 tracks 9, 10); Bayardo Velarde: timbales (CD2#15-17); Jose Mangual: bongos (CD1#6-9; CD2#9, 10); Machito: maracas, vocal (CD1#6-9; CD2#9, 10); Buddy Stewart: vocal (CD1#17).