I have to claim a special affinity for the music of trumpeter Carmell Jones as documented on this three-disc set. Going back to an interview I conducted with Mosaic’s Michael Cuscuna a few years back, I commented on how much of the Pacific Jazz material that had been reissued up to that point consisted largely of albums from the ‘50s, ignoring the following decade’s trinkets. Cuscuna shared my feelings and expressed his desire to find some way to package items from the Pacific Jazz catalog that might not be as commercially viable as those classic Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Bud Shank sides. Now we have the Jones set at hand and things seem to be looking up.
Although the misconception exists that the prevailing jazz climate on the West Coast was much cooler than its East Coast counterpart, a quick listen to “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’” from 1961’s The Remarkable Carmell Jones should put that myth to rest. Jones is fluid and fiery throughout, as is tenor saxophonist Harold Land, who contributes some of his most incendiary improvisations. A rare item that fetches high prices on vinyl, this set has been long overdue for reissue, yet even more remarkable is the availability here of two additional Pacific Jazz rarities, Business Meetin’ and Brass Bag. These sets sport large ensemble charts arranged by Gerald Wilson and not only add much to our knowledge of Jones’ work, but also speak to the arranging prowess of Wilson. Little need exists for singling out specific performances as every moment deserves to be savored and the anonymity of these performances simply defies explanation.
Completing this package are two sessions that were not recorded under Jones’ leadership, but prominently feature his contributions. The first of these is a previously unissued 1963 Pacific Jazz date led by Frank Strazzeri. Consisting largely of the pianist’s originals, nothing all that revolutionary occurs, but Jones and tenor man Hadley Caliman form a potent front line and the solo spots are uniformly fine. Harold Land’s Jazz Impressions of Folk Music is entirely something else, an extensive hard bop reworking of public domain ‘oldies’ such as “Hava Na Gila,” “Tom Dooley,” and “On Top of Old Smokey.” To say that Jones and Land whip things into a vibrant froth is an understatement and the album’s inclusion here is an unmitigated bonus.
As an introduction to Mosaic’s new line of reissues, this title succeeds brilliantly. As for the individual artist involved, the recorded work is of substantial merit, especially considering that it has long been unavailable.
Issued in limited editions of 5000, this recording is available solely through Mosaic Records; 35 Melrose Place; Stamford, CT. 06902; (203) 327-7111. Check their website at www.mosaicrecords.com for more information.
Track Listing: DISC ONE:
1. I'm Gonna Go Fishin', 2. Come Rain Or Come Shine, 3. Night Tide, 4. Sad March, 5. Stellisa, 6.
Full Moon And Empty Arms, 7. That's Good, 8. Suearl, 9. Hip Trolley, 10. Beautiful Love
1. Business Meetin', 2. Stella By Starlight, 3. Toddler, 4. Cherokee, 5. Brass Bag, 6. Angel Eyes, 7.
Celery Stalks At Midnight, 8. Mood Indigo, 9. Moten Swing, 10. Canadian Sunset, 11. Ow!, 12. Bluer
1. New Orleans, 2. Lope In, 3. Yvette, 4. Huskey, 5. Injun Jo, 6. Effusion, 7. Antler Rock, 8. Take This
Hammer, 9. Hava Na Gila, 10. Tom Dooley, 11. Scarlet Ribbons, 12. Foggy, Foggy Dew, 13. Kisses
Sweeter Than Wine, 14. On Top Of Old Smokey, 15. Blue Tail Fly
Personnel: Carmell Jones with Harold Land, Gary Peacock, Tricky Lofton, Gerald Wilson, Frank Strazzeri, Red
Mitchell, and many others.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.