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Recorded in late 1965, while keyboard player Joe Zawinul was still a member of saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's band, Money In The Pocket is a remarkable albumremarkable in that gives absolutely no hint of the shape shifts that would transform Zawinul's work a few years later. The first of three albums he recorded for Atlantic, it's a conventional mix of mid-1960s hard bop and soul jazz. Trumpeter Miles Davis' revolutionary In A Silent Way (CBS), recorded in early 1969, which featured Zawinul (who also wrote the title track), is on another planet, while Weather Report's eponymous debut (CBS, 1971) is in another galaxy.
"Money In The Pocket" itself, one of three Zawinul originals here, made with tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan and trumpeter Blue Mitchell, is classic Blue Note hard bop in everything but record label. Four other tracks recorded with a three horn frontlinetenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams and Mitchell, with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes from the Adderley bandtake in bop and soul jazz. Jones' "Some More Of Dat" is a generic dead ringer for contemporaneous Adderley or pianist Horace Silver (Mitchell, Jordan, Henderson and Hayes were all Silver alumni). All these tracks are good, but even by the standards of the time they are pretty ordinary. Zawinul's modal-flavored "Riverbed," though hardly radical, is the disc's most singular composition.
There are, however, two ballad readings of note: Guy Wood's and Robert Mellin's "My One And Only Love" and Rudy Stephenson's "Sharon's Waltz." The first is performed solo by Zawinul, the second with Jones and Hayes. Lyrical and just the right side of rococo, Zawinul's solos are delightful, in the same ballpark as "Come Sunday," the Zawinul feature with the Adderley band heard on the YouTube clip below.
Zawinul's Money In The Pocket, reissued as part of Warner Jazz's Atlantic Masters series, isn't to be confused with the Adderley band's album of the same title, recorded live in 1966 and later released by Capitol.
Track Listing: Money In The Pocket; If; My One And Only Love; Midnight Mood; Some More Of Dat; Sharon's Waltz; Riverbed; Del Sasser.
Personnel: Joe Zawinul: piano; Blue Mitchell: trumpet (2, 4, 5, 7); Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone: (2, 4, 5, 7); Clifford Jordan: tenor saxophone (1); Pepper Adams: baritone saxophone (2, 4, 5, 7); Sam Jones: bass (2, 4-8); Bob Cranshaw: bass (1); Louis Hayes: drums (2, 4-8); Roy McCurdy: drums (1).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.