Jimmy Giuffre: Cool One

Nic Jones By

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Within the archetypal West Coast sound, Jimmy Giuffre always had his own thing going on, and in the case of both The Four Brothers Sound (Atlantic) and Tangents In Jazz (Capitol), the two dates brought together here from the mid-1950s, that point seems obvious.

He was of course a tenor saxophonist every bit as influenced by Lester Young as Zoot Sims, but as with that master, his take on Young's legacy was an individual one, and even at this comparatively early stage in his career, it's obvious he was moving into his own musical world.

That said, there are examples here, as per a quintet rendition of "I Only Have Eyes For You" of the West Coast sound in its most recognised form, the politeness of the soloists deflecting the ear towards Shelly Manne's ever-distinctive rhythmic conception.

When the music is presented in this way, it gives the listener the chance to plot the progress of a musician with the passing of time, and between February of 1954 and May of the following year, it's clear that Giuffre embarked upon some kind of journey. Thus, "Finger Snapper" from the latter date is anything but, and indeed has the air of a wholly composed piece. This is borne out by the fact that before the decade was out, Giuffre was recording in the company of the string section of the Sudwestfunk Orchestra of Baden Baden in Germany, performing pieces that had nothing in common with any of the Herman or Kenton bands, or indeed anything from the jazz canon per se.

Giuffre's career has always been a matter of plotting a trajectory, but then the same could be said of Coltrane. The degree of exclusivity between the two men is pronounced, and according to a glib interpretation, it could be said that one moved towards Africa, musically speaking, whilst the other moved towards Europe. In both cases, their efforts expanded the jazz vocabulary, and Giuffre's music as it was caught here amounts to the formative work of a singular intelligence.

Track Listing: Do It!; All For You; I Only Have Eyes For You; Four Brothers; Sultana; Nutty Pine; Wrought Of Iron; Iranic; Someone To Watch Over Me; A Ring-Tail Monkey; Chirpin

Personnel: Tracks 1-3: Jimmy Giuffre: clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones; Jack Sheldon: trumpet; Russ Freeman: piano; Curtis Counce: bass; Shelly Manne: drums. Tracks 4-7: Jimmy Giuffre: clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones; Jack Sheldon: trumpet; Shorty Rogers: flugelhorn; Bob Enevoldson: valve trombone, bass; Bud Shank: alto saxophone; Ralph Pena: bass; Shelly Manne: drums. Tracks 8-10: Jimmy Giuffre: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Jack Sheldon: trumpet; Ralph Pena: bass; Artie Anton: drums. Tracks 11-20: Jimmy Giuffre: clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones; Jack Sheldon: trumpet; Ralph Pena: bass; Artie Anton: drums.

Title: Cool One | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Giant Steps

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