Fantasy Jazz in 20-bit Glory: Red Garland, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Fantasy Jazz continues its service to the jazz community with four appropriately remastered discs from the Prestige and Riverside labels..

Red Garland
Red Garland's Piano
Prestige 7086

Dallas Texas native Red Garland did not lead a recording session until August 17, 1956 when bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Art Taylor, and Garland entered Rudy Van Gelder's studio and recorded what would become A Garland of Red. Red Garland had just completed a year with Miles Davis and the trumpeter's first great quintet (Davis, pianist Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and saxophonist John Coltrane). Little more than five months later, the trio was back at Van Gelder's for a date that would become the first sides of Red Garland's Piano. The next time Garland entered a studio was to record the epochal Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section (Contemporary 3532, January 19, 1957). Red Garland's Piano was then completed March 22, 1957 at Van Gelder's Hackensack Studios. The disc is made up of nine standards, beginning with a sublime nine-plus minute setting of Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love." Garland divides the remainder fo the recording between up-tempo pieces separated by ballads, bot of which he plays with his characteristic block chords and deft soloing. Several of the pieces are lifted directly from the Miles Davis Book ("If I Were a Bell," "But Not for Me"). Paul Chamber's bass is very easily heard, raised out of the mud of the original tapes. Art Taylor's splendid brush work has never be heard better.

John Coltrane and the Red Garland Trio
Traneing In
Prestige 7123

Using the same rhythm section as on Red Garland's Piano , John Coltrane records this date as a leader August 23, 1957. The sides recorded result in Traneing In. Coltrane recorded these sides during a year sabbatical he was taking from the Miles Davis Quintet. The recording was preceded by a trio session with Earl May on Bass and Taylor on drums recorded August 16, 1957 and itself preceded a Sonny Clark session recorded September 1, 1957. The highlight of the disc is certainly the 12-minute Coltrane blues, "Traning In." Red Garland performs with finger rolling abandon on the piece, soloing for a full three and one half minutes before Coltrane emerges to take charge. Coltrane's tone has never been pretty to this writer, but it has always been commanding. Chambers is afforded a lengthy pizzicato solo in the piece. Chambers introduces "Slow Dance" which shows the roots of Coltrane's ultimate conceptions to manifest on his Impulse recordings. Trane's own "Bass Blue" shows how firmly planted the saxophonist was in the Hard Bop tradition at the time of the recordings. Art Taylor's rim shots ring like pistol fire. Coltrane ends the recording with two ballads, "You Leave Me Breathless" and "Soft Lights and Sweet Music," illustrating that one did not need the buttery tone of Ben Webster to elicit the soul of balladry.

Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Himself
Riverside 235

Thelonious Monk was like a strange butterfly that flew over and through the Be Bop revolution. To virgin modern ears, Monk was always adding one wrong note to pepper all of his playing with an intelligent dissonance that somehow sounded right. Monk was well into his recording career when these solo sides were laid for Riverside Records. And technically, this collection is not exclusively Monk on piano as he is joined by bassist Wilbur Ware and John Coltrane on "Monk's Mood." No matter, this disc finds Monk in top form, carefully sketching out both originals and standards alike. "April in Paris" and "I Don't Stand A Ghost of a Chance" fractured and beautiful, show the great care with which the pianist approached and then claimed standards as his own. Monk demonstrates this more fully on his original blues, "Functional," where he becomes as organic as Robert Johnson. This same organicity can readily be heard in the 21:39 minutes of takes of Monk's epochal "'Round Midnight." The extended piece reveals much about Monk's recording process and would compare this to the 12 minute take of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Little Village" on Bummer Road but in a less argumentative and colorful manner. As for the single non-solo recording, "Monk's Mood" it is an interesting tidbit, a historic anomaly were all of the stars were aligned.

Wes Montgomery
The Wes Montgomery Trio: A Dynamic New Sound
Riverside 1156

This is the stuff that legends are made of. The 36-year-old Montgomery, shuffling from one job to the next in Indianapolis is heard by the Adderley Brothers and Gunther Schuller, who. in turn, publicize the guitarist. Montgomery ultimately signs with Riverside and comes to New York City to record with his Indianapolis trio members. Using a guitar and amplifier supplied by Kenny Burrell, Montgomery and his home boys record was this to be the first of many sides for Riverside. Montgomery waxes definitive versions of Monk's "'Round Midnight," Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays," and Ellington's "Satin Doll." Montgomery's own "Missile Blues" is covered in two takes on the disc as is "Satin Doll." At the same time, Montgomery accomplishes the previously impossible: to play and solo in octaves and block chords. He did this only because he was unaware a guitarist could not play this way, being self taught and performing in his Midwestern vacuum. This is the time to here the real Wes Montgomery, before Verve wasted his earthy sound with big bands and strings. Like John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery had a very short time in which to ply his trade. But, he made the most of his time and these are some of his finest recordings.

Visit Fantasy Records on the web at www.fantasyjazz.com .


More Articles

Read Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read Duke Ellington on Storyville Records Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read Lee Morgan On Music Matters Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Montreux Through The Decades: Jazz Recordings, Part One" Multiple Reviews Montreux Through The Decades: Jazz Recordings, Part One
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Piano & More: Rich Halley 5, Casey Golden Trio, Jeff Denson Quartet, Fred Hersch Trio, Peter Erskine Trio, & Sirius Quartet" Multiple Reviews Piano & More: Rich Halley 5, Casey Golden Trio, Jeff...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus


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!