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by Marc Davis
There's a kind of music I like to think of as harder bop. It's a lot like conventional 1950s hard bop, but tougher, more muscular, more cerebral. Booker Ervin's The In Between is that kind of record. Ervin has an edgy style. It starts with a John Coltrane feel, then pushes a little further. Not into the crazy, atonal, unapproachable territory that Trane created in his later years, but into music that's more from the head than the ...read more
by Troy Collins
The first of four thematically linked albums, tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin's The Freedom Book is an overlooked classic. The Song Book, The Blues Book and The Space Book were all subsequently recorded in 1964 for Prestige, but this seminal 1963 recording is a masterpiece of unconventional, advanced hard bop.
Less free than the title suggests, the album remains challenging and utterly contemporary. While not as willfully avant-garde as his contemporaries Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman, Ervin (best known ...read more
by Norman Weinstein
I always thought the ultimate performances of tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin were on (arguably) the greatest studio recordings of Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um and Blues and Roots. This magnificent and long-overdue reissue of a Booker Ervin Blue Note session from 1968 has caused me to alter my opinion. I think this was the tenor saxman's greatest session, and given the company he found himself in, particularly trumpeter Woody Shaw and pianist Kenny Barron, it is little wonder that a ...read more
by Derek Taylor
A strange combination of sorts, this release gathers two disparate sessions whose only apparent common denominator is the incredible Booker Ervin. Ervin’s name on the bill should be a signal to most jazz fans that the contents contained herein are worthy of their attention. The added bonuses are many as well and include a brief, but tantalizing meeting between the Texas tenor titan and forward-thinking organist Larry Young.
Poindexter is something of an enigma. He never really made it big ...read more