439

Clifford Brown / Sonny Rollins / Max Roach Quintet: Complete Studio Recordings

Eric J. Iannelli By

Sign in to view read count
Clifford Brown / Sonny Rollins / Max Roach Quintet: Complete Studio Recordings Even now, fifty-three years after Clifford Brown's untimely death (a multiple tragedy that also took the lives of pianist Richie Powell and his wife), his recordings are still being mined for fresh—or rather, refreshed— releases. Although it's not entirely clear why this particular lineup merits this particular release at this particular time, any Brownie is good Brownie.

That said, this is a release for neither longtime jazz listeners nor Brown devotees. It combines two easy-to- find 1956 albums, Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street and Sonny Rollins Plus Four, that will already grace most jazz collections in one form or another. Here, oddly, the track listing is out of sequence with the original releases. "Count Your Blessings," from the latter disc, is highlighted as a bonus track, presumably just because Brown sits it out. The proper bonus tracks from the 2002 rerelease of At Basin Street—alternate takes of four of the songs—are not included on account of the already high 79-minute running time. The original liner notes from the two source albums, however, are enclosed, which is the least one might expect. The new, brief liner notes by Leon Trump don't attempt to justify this double album's release or even explain why the track list has been rearranged.

For the casual jazz listener or the newcomer who's just beginning to build a collection, this disc is...well, the label doesn't call itself Essential Jazz Classics for nothing. At Basin Street is both essential and classic, and the same could easily be said of Plus Four. At Basin Street's "I'll Remember April," sculpted out of a spontaneous Morse code-like Powell vamp, has fantastic ensemble playing and a stellar solo from Max Roach in particular. "Gertrude's Bounce" opens like a cross between a Christmas carol and '70s game show tune until Brown, frisky and indefatigable as ever, carries things forward with a breathless solo before segueing seamlessly to Rollins; the saxophonist then gives it to Powell (often a far more exciting arranger than soloist), who finally passes off to Roach, who, in his trademark style, maintains both distinct melody and impeccable rhythm.

The Plus Four portion of this disc begins, more fittingly, with Rollins' arrangement of Dorothy Fields' standard, "I Feel a Song Coming On," instead of his own "Valse Hot." Even though the performers for this session are the same who recorded only one or two months earlier for At Basin Street, it's just amazing how much this incarnation of the quintet has its own identity with Rollins at the helm. There's something about it that feels freer, more raucous, more whimsical, like when the bottom falls out of "Pent-Up" house, leaving just Brown and George Morrow (yes, Roach crashes in too from time to time); Brown springs from the individual bass notes as if leaping from cloud to cloud. Although not perfectly packaged, this two-for-one album is nevertheless strong where it counts: the playing.


Track Listing: Gertrude's Bounce; Step Lightly (Junior's Arrival); Powell's Prances; I'll Remember April; Times; The Scene Is Clean; Flossie Lou; What Is This Thing Called Love?; Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing; I Feel a Song Coming On; Pent-Up House; Valse Hot; Kiss and Run; Count Your Blessings.

Personnel: Clifford Brown: trumpet; Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone; Richie Powell: piano; George Morrow: bass; Max Roach: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Essential Jazz Classics | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Beginning of A Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Beginning of A Memory
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland" CD/LP/Track Review One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!