There are a lot of Grant Green records on the market these days, entirely too much for those of us who think of him as one of the more erratic talents in the distinguished Blue Note catalog. But Sunday Mornin', coming immediately after the recent release of three funk-themed Green compilations of questionable value, is a gem, arguably the finest album of his career.
Green had the misfortune of being saddled by his record company with painfully stupid concept albums that may have contributed to his depression and drug abuse. Imagine if Impulse Records had asked Archie Shepp to do a country and western collection or a cliche-laden gospel set? Green suffered these indignities and more. Sunday Mornin' suggests just how consistently great he would have been if Blue Note had permitted him to do no-nonsense, mainstream jazz sessions.
The high points include a towering "God Bless the Child," where every note Green carefully chooses sings and sobs simultaneously. Equally remarkable is a sharply executed cover of Miles Davis' "So What," with the deeply inventive rhythm section of pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Ben Dixon taking economic but dramatically memorable solo spots.
The original tunes by Green are perhaps a notch lower in intensity, but they are highly engaging in their own modest way. "Freedom March" is a kind of strutting march which probably references the Civil Rights march common to the time it was originally recorded (1961). The "bonus" track on this remastereed reissue, "Tracin' Tracey," sounds like a Horace Silver composition, but Green and Silver often sounded like brothers. There's not a bad tune on this peerless set, and whatever your feelings about Green's place in jazz history, it's highly recommended.
Track Listing: Freedom March, Sunday Morning, Exodus, God Bless the Child, Come Sunrise, So What,
Tracin' Tracey (bonus track).
Personnel: Grant Green: piano; Kenny Drew: piano; Ben Tucker: bass; BenDixon: drums.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.