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 beyond his hometown of New Orleans, but based on his intriguing work collected here it’s difficult to discern why. Matching an equal facility on soprano and alto with a deep passion for hard bop and Dixieland, Poindexter opted for a program of tunes that would conjure the sights and sounds of his birthplace. Grey’s tailgate trombone and Ervin’s booting sax help him toward these ends and the rhythm section fronted by bop scholar Gildo Mahones keeps things moving at a percolating pace. A mystery conga player is also attendance beginning on the soulful “Creole Girl” which tips its hat to the Herbie Hancock-inspired 60s sound. “4-11-44” continues along the same path and is awash in gris-gris grooves compliments again of the rhythm section and most noticeably Tucker’s thick-fingered bass lines. Tucker’s taut figures also shine on the rousing rendition of “Wade In the Water” which takes the session out. Several of the tracks including “Moody’s Mood” feature Poindexter’s vocals, which are fairly forgettable in comparison to his musicianship.
The Larry Young session appended to the end of the disc is as frustrating as it is revelatory. The frustration comes with the brevity of the meeting, a mere four tracks and one alternate, but what’s included is by and large well worth hearing. The date predates Young’s ascendancy to the title of ‘Coltrane of the organ,” but his dense, meaty lines still push the envelope at this early stage and goad Ervin into some thrilling solo passages. Thomas gives sufficient, if sometimes clunky, support and the three burn through the handful of tunes with a surefooted groove in tow. Though this disc does consist of a rather bizarre match of sessions the music is uniformly entertaining and should be investigated, particularly by listeners who harbor an appreciation for Ervin.
Track Listing: Front O
Collective Booker Ervin- tenor saxophone; Pony Poindexter- alto & soprano saxophones, vocals; Al Grey- trombone; Gildo Mahones- piano; George Tucker- bass; Jimmie Smith- drums. Larry Young- organ; Jerry Thomas- drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.