Pun-laden title aside this is a gourmet collection of hard swinging jazz. Philly Joe in his later years may have been a shade less audacious than in his youth, but you’d never know it listening to his bristling precision traps work on these five tracks. Manning his kit like a man possessed Jones pushes his rhythm mates with well-worn sticks and cast iron swing. He and Carter are actually the only constants with two different front lines cycling through the cuts and Cables sitting out for two. Adderly and Sullivan are paired on “Confirmation,” “Jim’s Jewel” and “United Blues.” Gordon sounds off all by his lonesome on “Neptunis” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams.”
The tunes have a loose ‘blowing date’ ambience that contributes to feeling of good cheer. Bird’s “Confirmation” receives the royal treatment via Cables resplendent chord negotiations and Sullivan’s fluttery tenor brawn. Jones moves in for a solo that is surprisingly sedate before taking things out. Gordon keys the pace down a few notches on the ballad “Neptunis.” Blowing beautiful commentary with Cables colorful comping on the initial head he moves effortlessly into a signature solo bursting with healthy sentiments and confident poise. Carter’s walking gait is a little rubbery due to amplification, but Jones keeps the rhythm ambulating with strategically wedged cymbal accents. The absence of Cables and Sullivan’s exotic soprano on “Jim’s Jewel” again shifts the mood. It’s an interesting opportunity to hear Jones without the chordal safety net provided by the presence of a piano. Also unexpected and of interest is Gordon’s raspy vocal preface to the romantic run through of “Polka Dots and Moonbeams.” Old ground to be sure, but even a well-trodden tune such as this is ideal fodder for these musicians to uncover the magic just under the surface. As a mixed entrée of meaty vittles and nourishing musical greens this disc definitely hits the spot.
Track Listing: Confirmation/ Neptunis/ Jim
Personnel: Nat Adderly- cornet; Ira Sullivan- tenor & soprano saxophones; Dexter Gordon- tenor saxophone; George Cables- piano; Ron Carter- bass; Philly Joe Jones- drums. Recorded: November 29 & 30, December 1, 1977, Berkeley, CA.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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