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Red Garland: Red's Blues

Douglas Payne By

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Pianist Red Garland (1923-84) could spin any of a million tunes into a smoky, slow after-hours blues. Churning 'em out one after the other with his melodic block-chord style, he could go set after set, leaving listeners wanting more. Red's Blues collects eleven such tracks from as many albums the pianist recorded for Prestige Records between 1956 and 1962 (around the same time he was with Miles Davis's famed quintet). The blues featured here combine Garland's basic originals and a few traditional numbers and chronicle some superb blowing by top-drawer reedmen like Coleman Hawkins ("Red Beans"), John Coltrane ("Birk's Works"), Arnett Cobb ("Black Velvet") and Oliver Nelson ("Skinny's Blues"). Red's Blues is a terrific introduction to one of jazz's finest pianists, doing what he does best (though I would have added the lengthy "Soul Junction" too). Long time fans will want the original LPs (all now available on CD), but beginners could hardly hope for a better introduction to the man who gave Miles Davis's 1955-58 rhythm section much of its appeal.

Songs:See See Rider; Red Beans; Your Red Wagon; Birk's Works; Ralph J. Gleason Blues; The P.C. Blues; Black Velvet; St. James Infirmary; Skinny's Blues; Ahmad's Blues; Prelude Blues.

Players:Red Garland: piano; Coleman Hawkins or John Coltrane or Arnett Cobb or Oliver Nelson: tenor sax; Donald Byrd or Richard Williams: trumpet; Sam Jones or Doug Watkins or George Joyner or Paul Chambers or Wendell Marshall or Peck Morrison or Jimmy Rowser: bass; Arthur Taylor or Charles "Specs" Wright or George Joyner or Charlie Persip or Philly Joe Jones: drums; Ray Barretto: conga.

Title: Red's Blues | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Prestige Records

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