Various Artists: Town Hall Concert
Does the world need another recorded version of Cataloupe Island? Slip this reissue of the 1985 Blue Note relaunch into your player and, with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and the inimitable Tony Williams kicking as the rhythm section, the occasion is one of such joyful reunion the answer is plain.
Founded by the evening's guest of honour Alfred Lion way back in 1939, Blue Note can lay claim to being the greatest Jazz label ever, and the thirty or more Sixties new bloods invited to play in 1985 by label president Bruce Lundvall and producer Michael Cuscuna constituted a roll call of post war stars. Just six can be heard on this disc - Hancock, Carter, Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson and Tony Williams are joined by Eighties new blood vibraphonist James Newton - but their delectable playing is like enjoying the finest meal in the finest company - yet at mid-price.
Always anchored and powered by Ron Carter's dancing or dreaming bass, the other players switch over just five of their own definitive tunes. Each carries echoes of the players' careers - so Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, Miles and Monk are all just a memory away. And the tracks themselves - neatly stitched together from different sections of the evening - embrace a freshness and sheer smiling bravado that escapes any hint of masterclass.
From the delicate cinematic romanticism of vibraphonist Hutcherson's Bouquet to the percussive and snaky tour-de-force of Henderson and Hubbard trading bop lines on Recorda Me or the propulsive, muscular r'n'b of Cantaloupe Island, this is a fitting tribute to an explosive chapter in Jazz history. And one that reads as though we've just barely turned the page to find out what happens next.
TRACK LISTING:Cantaloupe Island, Recorda Me, Little B's Poem, Bouquet, Hat and Beard
PERSONNEL:Ron Carter - bass, Herbie Hancock - piano, Joe Henderson - tenor sax, Bobby Hutcherson - vibes, Freddie Hubbard - trumpet, James Newton - flute, Tony Williams - drums.