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Red Garland: Red Garland Trio at the Prelude (2006)

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Red Garland: Red Garland Trio at the Prelude How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

This double-disc set gathers material from four previous albums that dribbled out over twenty years, from the '60s to the '80s. It's the complete record of one night in Harlem—October 2, 1959—when the Red Garland trio did three sets at a club called the Prelude. The night was historic for many reasons; my focus is what the music actually sounds like, and why it's still of interest nearly half a century later.

Aside from the incomparable energy of a live date, including some false starts, audience laughter, and the distinct loosening-up of players and listeners by the third set, this recording conveys the essence of no-frills trio playing. Garland had an open, deceptively simple style with a lot of space and air; it supposedly developed at the urging of his one-time boss, Miles Davis, who wanted an Ahmad Jamal-like sound in his quintet. Whatever the source, it's an uncluttered approach that lends itself to both swing and blues—see, for example, "Perdido," "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "A Foggy Day" and any of the three versions of "One O'Clock Jump" for the former, and the nearly ten-minute "Bohemian Blues" for the latter.

This music remains relevant and enjoyable: it's timeless. (So is the revelation that in 1959, in the very cradle of jazz, people were also talking over bass solos!)

Track Listing: CD1: M Squad Theme, There Will Never Be Another You, Let Me See, We Kiss in a Shadow, Blues in the Closet, Satin Doll (previously unissued), Lil' Darlin' (previously unissued), Lil' Darlin', One O'Clock Jump, Perdido, Bye Bye Blackbird, Like Someone in Love. CD: It's a Blue World, Marie, Bohemian Blues, One O'Clock Jump, A Foggy Day, Satin Doll, Mr. Wonderful, Just Squeeze Me, Prelude Blues, Cherokee (previously unissued), One O'Clock Jump (previously unissued).

Personnel: Red Garland: piano; Jimmy Rowser: bass; Charles "Specs" Wright: drums.

Record Label: Prestige Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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