Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

186

Ray Drummond: 1-2-3-4

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Despite a lengthy (though low profile) career in jazz, this recording marks the first time 52 years young bassist Ray Drummond has recorded as leader of a quartet. 1-2-3-4 is his fourth recording for Arabesque and as such exemplifies the label’s continued documentation of Drummond’s honest, unpretentious musical style. This style is best understood by considering that Drummond is possessed of a deeply personal commitment to remain consistent within jazz legacy while simultaneously striving to move the music forward.

To realize this vision, Drummond has assembled an extraordinarily sympathetic band consisting of long time ally Billy Hart (drums), Craig Handy (saxophones), and Stephen Scott (piano). It may be cliché to say so, but this is one well-balanced outfit. The playing is persistently selfless, intelligent, and disciplined without being rigid or staid. Drummond’s arrangements are sparse and uncluttered, leaving room for himself and his partners to roam gracefully. This is not to say that the music is simplistic however. It simply refrains from gratuitous ornamentation. Neither is it to say that the music is meek or listless. On the contrary, it is imbued with passion.

1-2-3-4 consists of 12 tunes, including 5 Drummond originals. The remainder are drawn from amongst classic tunes, e.g., Wayne Shorter’s “Ana Maria” and “Nefertiti” (a long time Drummond favorite), peer Ron Carter’s “Little Waltz”, Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” and John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.”.

But despite this wealth of traditional material, as the liner notes attest, the “common pattern of head-solo-head-and-out does not dominate.” (Jon W. Poses) Furthermore, not every tune is configured for the entire quartet. Drummond performs “Prelude to a Kiss” without accompaniment. “Mr. P.C.” is performed admirably and unconventionally as a duet between Drummond and Hart. Interestingly, this duet scenario doesn’t unfold as a sparring match between instrumentalists, but more as a playful dance. Drummond states that with 1-2-3-4 he didn’t want to make just another quartet record. In that respect, 1-2-3-4 is successful.

To conclude, 1-2-3-4 was created, performed, and recorded by a singularly intuitive group of musicians under the guidance of a legitimate mainstay in the modern jazz tradition. An in-depth critical analysis of 1-2-3-4 is unnecessary; it should simply be listened to and enjoyed. After a respectable career, there shouldn’t be much left for Ray Drummond to prove. The fact that Drummond has gone largely ignored is not only unjust but also inexplicable. Hopefully. 1-2-3-4 will go a long way to rectify this situation.


Track Listing: Ana Maria; Ballade Poetique; Driftin'; Prelude To A Kiss; What Is Happening Here?; Little Waltz; Goin' Home; Kinda Like; Nefertiti; Mr. P.C.; Oh Jay; Willow Weep For Me.

Title: 1-2-3-4 | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
1-2-3-4

1-2-3-4

Arabesque Jazz
1999

buy
 

Excursion

Abracadabra Music
1993

buy
 

Susanita

Abracadabra Music
1984

buy

Related Articles

Read Our Story Album Reviews
Our Story
By Troy Dostert
March 25, 2019
Read Influences Album Reviews
Influences
By Don Phipps
March 25, 2019
Read The Transitory Poems Album Reviews
The Transitory Poems
By Mark Corroto
March 25, 2019
Read Birckhead Album Reviews
Birckhead
By Mike Jurkovic
March 25, 2019
Read Live At Moods Album Reviews
Live At Moods
By Chris M. Slawecki
March 25, 2019
Read Live at Frankie's Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at Frankie's Jazz Club
By Jack Bowers
March 24, 2019
Read Asperger Album Reviews
Asperger
By Don Phipps
March 24, 2019