This CD is the rest of a live performance of the Don Reitan Quintet at the Chez Joey in Biloxi, MS in 1961. The first part of the session is on Vol. 1. This group of young performers were helping to introduce the style of music being played by Art Blakey Messengers and other progressive jazz groups. There are a few important differences between this volume and the first. The latter had five originals by Reitan, here there is only one. The rest of the play list features standards and what were to become jazz standards by Horace Silver and Frank Foster. The most important change is that the playing is much crisper and forward looking. That's evident on the usually innocuous "That Certain Smile" with some out front bop playing by Mike Serpas on trumpet. Another smoothie, "Serenata" is the vehicle for hovering above the melody treatment by Rick Bell on tenor. Jackie Henderson was on hand for three vocals in a row.
Not only was this session, and others like it, bringing this brand of jazz to the Gulf Coast. It also was a kick start for young jazz players who moved on to bigger things. Drummer Lee Charlton played with Mose Allen for many years. Tenor Rick Bell went on to work with Milt Jackson, Clark Terry and other notables. Better sound and a more diverse play list clearly separate this volume from the first. The problem with the tinny piano sound still remains.
Track Listing: Blackeyed Peas Collard Greens; That Certain Smile; Serenata; Soft Winds; Love For Sale; He's Funny That Way; What is There to Say; Cry Me a River; Orbit; Blues Backstage; The Preacher
Personnel: Don Reitan - Piano; Mike Serpas - Trumpet; Jay Cave - Bass; Rick Bell - Tenor Sax; Lee Charlton - Drums; Jackie Henderson - Vocals
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.