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...

24

Fats Navarro: Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron – The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings

Marc Davis By

Sign in to view read count
There aren't many jazz records I'd consider essential. This is one.

Granted, Fats Navarro isn't in the pantheon of jazz trumpeters. For starters, he didn't live long enough. He died in 1950 at age 26, so his discography is short. For another, Navarro's brief career overlapped that of trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie, and came just before trumpet greats Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. It's hard to stand out in that crowd.

But look closer: Fats Navarro produced some fantastic bebop alongside the era's greatest players. And he wasn't just a secondary band member. This 2-CD collection is solid proof.

This is jazz in the heart of the bebop era—36 tracks (including 14 alternate takes) recorded from 1947-49. And if it sounds at times like Bird and Diz... well, so what? If you like bebop, you will love these CDs.

On paper, pianist Tadd Dameron was the leader for half of these sessions, and he wrote much of the music, too. But Dameron is truly a background presence; he rarely takes the spotlight. This is an album for fans of trumpets and saxophones, and Navarro's fast, powerful voice is the star of most of these tunes.

These CDs cover seven different recording sessions, so the tone varies from date to date. The Navarro-Dameron cuts are best: pure bebop bliss. They feature saxmen such as Dexter Gordon, Charlie Rouse, Ernie Henry and Wardell Gray, alongside Navarro's trumpet. Another series of cuts feature Bud Powell on piano and Sonny Rollins on sax, in addition to Navarro. Two of my favorite tracks, two takes of "Double Talk," feature a trumpet battle between Navarro and Howard McGhee—barn-burners that remind me of Jazz at the Philharmonic.

And then there are a few odd cuts. Three uninteresting vocals. One cut with a Benny Goodman small group (!). And four Navarro-less tunes with a band that includes Dameron, trombonist J.J. Johnson and a very young Miles Davis.

But this is Fats Navarro's show, and it's a terrific one. If only he had lived longer.

(Note: An alternative to this collection is the more expansive 4-CD set The Fats Navarro Story, which includes a lot of earlier Navarro recordings with such greats as Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Kenny Dorham and Illinois Jacquet, among others, mostly for Savoy.)

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Availability: Easy to find, but not cheap

Cost: $22

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read My Fats Waller Obsession: Why Do We Collect Music? My Blue Note Obsession
My Fats Waller Obsession: Why Do We Collect Music?
by Marc Davis
Published: May 31, 2017
Read Ike Quebec: Blue & Sentimental - 1962 My Blue Note Obsession
Ike Quebec: Blue & Sentimental - 1962
by Marc Davis
Published: May 14, 2017
Read Jack Wilson: Something Personal – 1966 My Blue Note Obsession
Jack Wilson: Something Personal – 1966
by Marc Davis
Published: May 1, 2017
Read Ronnie Foster: Two Headed Freap – 1973 My Blue Note Obsession
Ronnie Foster: Two Headed Freap – 1973
by Marc Davis
Published: April 18, 2017
Read Bud Powell: The Scene Changes - 1958 My Blue Note Obsession
Bud Powell: The Scene Changes - 1958
by Marc Davis
Published: April 4, 2017
Read Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup - 1959 My Blue Note Obsession
Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup - 1959
by Marc Davis
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Wodgi" Extended Analysis Wodgi
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "Clarinet Tales with Arun Ghosh" Radio Clarinet Tales with Arun Ghosh
by Nick Davies
Published: October 30, 2018
Read "A Conversation with Kosi" Radio A Conversation with Kosi
by Lorens Chuno
Published: October 14, 2018
Read "Bob DeVos Quartet At Trumpets Jazz Club" Live Reviews Bob DeVos Quartet At Trumpets Jazz Club
by David A. Orthmann
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Nouveau Fusion: Superette And Visitors" Multiple Reviews Nouveau Fusion: Superette And Visitors
by Doug Collette
Published: September 8, 2018
Read "Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival 2018" In Pictures Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival 2018
by Gregory Savage
Published: July 13, 2018