The State of Reissues 2010: Dave Brubeck, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Joe Pass
Recording sporadically during the first half of 1957, Coltrane eventually came into the orbit of Thelonious Monk when the pianist was beginning his famous extended stay at New Work City's Five Spot Cafe. It was during this period that the sides that would become Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane were recorded. A mixed bag, to be sure, Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane features the two musicians in quartet and octet settings. The quartet pieces"Ruby, My Dear," "Trinkle, Tinkle," "Nutty," and "Functional"had bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Shadow Wilson as the rhythm section. The octet pieces"Off Minor" and "Epistrophy"retained Ware, replacing Wilson with Art Blakey and adding altoist Gigi Gryce, tenorist Coleman Hawkins and trumpeter Ray Copeland.
In the development of John Coltrane as a soloist, Monk acted as a leavening agent, that organic thing that turned Coltrane from the hard bop tenor saxophonist into the enigmatic "sheets of sound" performer he would be thereafter. It would have been a very different Coltrane rejoining the Miles Davis in January 1958, had he not interned with Monk during this important evolutionary period, not to mention the effect it would have had on the canon what would become Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959).
Coltrane was not the only one to benefit from this collaboration. Monk also benefited. Just prior to his stint at the Five Spot, Monk had just had his cabaret card reinstated after its 1951 revocation on drug charges. The six months Monk was in residence at the club was the period when he solidified his reputation and went on to change the sound of jazz. That influence, that germinal spirit, is readily evident on Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane. Monk's compositions are unique.
Visit Thelonious Monk on the web.
Original Jazz Classics Remastered
Virtuoso is the outlier in this series of reissues. Released in 1973, it is 20 years away from the forward-thinking Jazz at Oberlin, choosing rather to look back. It is a supreme example of the soloist's art and can only be properly compared to the solo performances of pianist Art Tatum from his Pablo period. Born Joseph Anthony Passalacqua in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Joe Pass began playing guitar just after his ninth birthday. He began to perform widely after age 14, fell in to drug addiction and spent most of the 1950s out of the spotlight.
After a two and a half year stay at the drug rehabilitation center Synanon (where Art Pepper would rehab a decade later), Pass emerged with The Sounds of Synanon (Pacific Jazz, 1962). In 1970, Norman Granz brought Pass into the Pablo fold where he stayed until his death in 1994. Virtuoso put Pass fully on the jazz map without a true peer in sight. The album is a collection of 11 standards and one original that span the depth and breadth of jazz guitar playing. Pass' technique is characterized by the near simultaneous ability to control the bass, harmonic and melodic structure of songs.
Pass possessed both an encyclopedic knowledge of the American Song Book and the ability to perform songs in different styles. Like Art Tatum, Pass is difficult to digest in a single sitting. His performances are crammed full of intelligence, humor and a bit of showing off. But hey, if you have the chops, why not use them?
Visit Joe Pass on the web.
Tracks and Personnel
Jazz at Oberlin
Tracks: These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You); Perdido; Stardust; The Way You Look Tonight; How High The Moon.
Personnel: Dave Brubeck: piano; Paul Desmond: alto saxophone; Ron Crotty: bass; Lloyd Davis: drums.
Meets the Rhythm Section
Tracks: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Red Pepper Blues; Imagination; Waltz Me Blues; Straight Life; Jazz Me Blues; Tin Tin Deo; Star Eyes; Birk's Works; The Man I Love.
Personnel: Art Pepper: alto Saxophone; Red Garland: piano; Paul Chambers: bass; Philly Joe Jones: drums.
Way Out West
Tracks: I'm an Old Cowhand; Solitude; Come, Gone; Wagon Wheels; There is No Greater Love; Way Out West; I'm an Old Cowhand (Alternate Take); Come, Gone (Alternate Take); Way Out West (Alternate Take).
Personnel: Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone; Ray Brown: bass; Shelly Manne: drums.
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
Tracks: Ruby, My Dear; Trinkle, Trinkle; Off Minor; Nutty; Epistrophy; Functional; Monk's Mood.
Personnel: Thelonious Monk: piano; John Coltrane: tenor saxophone; Wilbur Ware: bass; Shadow Wilson: drums (1, 2, 4); Art Blakey: drums (3, 5); Colman Hawkins: tenor saxophone (3, 5); Gigi Gryce: alto saxophone (3, 5); Ray Copeland: trumpet (3, 5).
Tracks: Night and Day; Stella by Starlight; Here's That Rainy Day; My Old Flame; How High the Moon; Cherokee; Sweet Lorraine; Have You Met Miss Jones?; 'Round Midnight; All the Things You Are; Blues for Alican; The Song Is You.
Personnel: Joe Pass: guitar.