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With the parade of okay albums that got the RVG treatment, probably not a bad idea to highlight some of those that may have been unjustifiably overlooked. Slow Drag arguably should be slotted behind Blackjack in the queue for the spotlight treatment, but it's still deserving. Was this album ever thought poorly of that it needs to be reassessed? That I don't know. But it is an album that shouldn't be thought of as just another addition to a Donald Byrd collection. Slow Drag, in my stereo, only gets played when I'm in the mood to listen to this particular album, and not just some unidentifiable album in a vague collection of Byrd cds. Is has its own nuanced groove, a slower stroll than other albums from this period of Byrd releases, and one that sets itself apart from the discography. Of course, I think Byrd was pretty badass, so maybe this is all just fanboy talk. Damn good album.
I wasn't prioritizing it against any other album. I just like the record, and took the chance to say so.
D Sumner makes an interesting point, as there were some albums that most definitely should have gotten the RVG treatment in place of some that shouldn't But it's each to their own and everyone has different tastes of course. However in the case of Slow Drag, is it deserving of a serious re-appraisal? Not a major one, for sure, but it does need an extra thumbs up. It's one of Byrds very best jazz albums but is quite often left of the 'top 5' lists.And also I've seen many ignore it because they've assumed from the cover picture and the title that it's in fact one of his seventies funk albums.
It's not for me his strongest, but it is so very good, and it really should get much more notice than is often afforded.
Like Greg said, he isn't prioritizing and he plans to do more. I hope other writers "reassess" older releases too. I posted a solicitation in the last contributor announcement (see http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=39690) about relaunching the "Reassessing" column and Greg was the first one to submit a review. Thanks, Greg!
Thanks for writing this piece about Slow Drag. I've always loved this album and, judging from the responses above, other people also seem to have some strong feelings about it (even if they took issue with the title of the column). This album also happens to contain, what must be, one of the only examples of Billy Higgins' time wavering to a noticeable degree (in one or two spots), but I actually think these little imperfections make the record better. I'm glad you brought some attention to this album. Nice work!!!!!!
Jane Ira Bloom
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