Sitting over by the bar in the cheap seats at Birdland during a Monday night jam session, I watched a group of aspiring young drummers roll their eyes and shake their heads in disbelief. I saw them nudge each other, smile and even laugh out loud. They sat forward with their chins on their hands watching and listening intently to the great Philly Joe Jones.
Philly Joe was playing with his old buddy, Elmo Hope, on piano and young Larry Ridley on bass. Julian Priester was on trombone and a good alto player whose name I can't recall was also ...read more
Did Philly Joe Jones do anything after leaving the first great Miles Davis Quintet? Jones left shortly before Davis recorded Kind of Blue in 1959. He went on to appear as a sideman on hundreds of recordings many now considered classics. It is a bit disingenuous to suggest that Jones had his high water mark with Miles Davis and never approached that mark again. Jones’s recordings as a leader are few in comparison, but are uniformly fine and worth of a listen. Drum Songs is a newly released twofer that reunites all of the music recorded on October ...read more
Pun-laden title aside this is a gourmet collection of hard swinging jazz. Philly Joe in his later years may have been a shade less audacious than in his youth, but you’d never know it listening to his bristling precision traps work on these five tracks. Manning his kit like a man possessed Jones pushes his rhythm mates with well-worn sticks and cast iron swing. He and Carter are actually the only constants with two different front lines cycling through the cuts and Cables sitting out for two. Adderly and Sullivan are paired on “Confirmation,” “Jim’s Jewel” and “United Blues.” Gordon ...read more