The album is largely dominated by the opening multi-sectional piece, three parts interlocking into a suite-like whole. Each part can stand-alone or together as evidenced by other versions of the first two: “Route 4” and “Lyriste” recorded by other groups on other albums. Another fascinating reading of “Route 4” is available on Coltrane’s Dakar with an unusual two baritone, tenor frontline. “Lyriste” is also afforded an unorthodox run through on the recently reissued Curtis Fuller & Hampton Hawes With French Horns date. Moving from the fast paced first section, through a meditative middle to a fast tempoed close a wealth of melodic and harmonic ideas are unveiled. Waldron’s geometric “Meta-Waltz” advances the modernist sentiments, whereas his “Dear Elaine,” a dreamy ballad dedicated to his wife, redirects the group onto less probing terrain. Closing out with the appropriately threadbare “Friday the 13th” the four men are allowed generous room to improvise. Charles malleted planks sound particularly luminous and invest the group with a warm glow.
The Prestige Jazz Quartet was relatively short-lived as a regular recording entity, soon morphing into the more dynamic sounding Teddy Charles New Directions Quartet. But even with their truncated longevity this date and the earlier debut with Macero are both well worth considering. Perhaps not ‘modernist’ by today’s terminology, they more than likely bent a few ears when they were waxed.
Track Listing: Take Three Parts Jazz/ Meta-Waltz/ Dear Elaine/ Friday the 13th .
Personnel: Teddy Charles- vibes; Mal Waldron- piano; Addison Farmer- bass; Jerry Segal- drums. Recorded: June 22, 1957, Hackensack, NJ.
Record Label: Prestige Records
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