After years on the road with the Modern Jazz Quartet and a series of sterling solo and all-star jazz performances, vibraphonist Milt Jackson decided it was time to see some green. Watching kids half his age, possessing half his talent, earn millions playing rock, he insisted he could earn more without the restraints of the MJQ. He sought out Creed Taylor in 1972 and Sunflower became his first (and best) of three CTI albums. The album is significant in many ways, not the least of which is Pete Turner's lovely ostriches-in-the-morning cover photo and a peerless version of Freddie Hubbard's classic ode, "Little Sunflower." Jackson is joined here by an outstanding aggregate of younger all-star musicians including Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn, Herbie Hancock, swapping chores on piano and Fender Rhodes, Ron Carter (of course) on bass and Billy Cobham on drums. Don Sebesky provides the subtle, and quite complimentary, string and horn arrangements. Acoustic guitarist Jay Berliner is also heard to enchanting effect on Jackson's "For Someone I Love." In addition to the alluring beauty of Hubbard's title track, Sunflower also includes one of the best instrumental versions of the popular "People Make The World Go Round." Hubbard carries the tune (as he did on the 1972 Hollywood Bowl record issued by CTI in 1977). Jackson scores one clever lick after another off the changes. Hancock comps seductively on Rhodes but gives one of his baddest-ever all-piano funk solos (his piano solo on "Sunflower" is a jazz beauty to behold too). Carter, as you'd expect, churns the groove like it boils in his blood. This quintet sounds so good together that it's a shame "SKJ" (which stuck out originally on the vibraphonist's 1973 CTI follow-up, Goodbye ) is the only bonus track available. I don't know if Milt Jackson made any money from Sunflower. But despite all the great music he's made over the years, Sunflower is certainly one of his most memorable.
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.