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"Don't Follow The Crowd", a song on Frank Strozier's second release for Jazzland, is an apt title for an artist who worked hard to carve out a niche for himself in the jazz world. Unfortunately, Strozier is one of many who never got his due; despite gigs with Miles Davis, Don Ellis, and Chet Baker, Strozier quit playing music in the seventies out of frustration. His two early records for Jazzland have been reissued as a two-fer, and they show an talented altoist with strong similarities to Cannonball Adderley, or Jackie McLean before he discovered Ornette Coleman. Strozier delights in finding obscure songs to tackle, like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “March of the Siamese Children” and seems quite comfortable with waltz time, but is also capable of contributing some wonderfully unique originals as well. The ace up his sleeve is his flute playing; whereas some musicians who double on the flute treat it as a passing fancy, Strozier creates some lovely textures with it on tunes like the lilting “Crystal Ball”. With the able support of George Coleman, Harold Mabern, and Bill Lee (who also contributes some fine tunes), Strozier lays claim to being an artist who could hold his own with the best. Strozier, in pursuing the original and unexpected, has created a pair of albums that criminally suffered from neglect when they were released, yet are prime examples of the music of the post bop era.
Track Listing: Long Night; How Little We Know; The Need For Love; The Man That Got Away; Happiness IS A Thing Called Joe; The Crystal Ball; Pacemaker; Just Think It Over; March of the Siamese Children; Extension; Something I Dreamed Last Night; Don't Follow the Crowd; Our Waltz; Will I Forget?; Lap; Hey, Lee!
Personnel: Frank Strozier-alto saxophone, flute; George Coleman-tenor saxophone; Pat Patrick-baritone saxophone, flute; Chris Anderson-piano; Bill Lee-bass; Walter Perkins-drums, Harold Mabern-piano; Al Dreares-drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.