316

The Earl May Quartet: Swinging The Blues

By

Sign in to view read count
The Earl May Quartet: Swinging The Blues Over the course of the last half-century, Earl May has been one of the busiest bass players in the New York Area. He spent just about the entire decade of the 1950s with the long-running Billy Taylor Trio. Dr. Taylor arranged for a reunion recording of the original trio (with Percy Brice on drums), which was recorded for Prestige in 2003 as Billy Taylor Trio with Earl May/Percy Brice.

On this latest effort, May shows his ability to provide the pulse of this quartet as well as manage some nimble solos. Recording for Arbors, one of the key labels specializing in post-war swing music, the Earl May Quartet fits right in and then some. Altoist David Glasser takes most of the melody statements, providing the right touch. On the jump tunes, like the Count Basie piece "Swinging The Blues," Glasser sounds very much like Paul Desmond in his prime. On the first ballad, "Blame It On My Youth," Glasser's notes curl inward on the beautiful Oscar Levant/Edward Heyman melody. Dave Glasser also contributes a fine ballad, "Blue Iridescense," and his solo on that composition explores the blues content of the piece.

Earl May's reputation is that of a workhorse who has to be coaxed to take a solo. I am pleased to see that he does get the opportunity on this album, taking a walking bass solo on the title tune, beginning the melody line of "My Foolish Heart" before turning it over to Glasser, and putting in another good one on the Comden & Green/Jule Styne piece "Make Someone Happy." Larry Ham proves a most serviceable pianist, whether providing a romantic cushion for the ballads or fine comping on the up-tempo "Make Someone Happy." After having seen drummer Eddie Locke a number of times, I'd forgotten just how good he can be with brushes. You can hear that throughout the album and especially on Dave Glasser's "It's So Divine." Locke even contributes an original tune, "Wishes Are Starting To Don't Come True."

In addition to the standards and originals, the quartet tackles some bebop staples like "Lester Leaps In" and "Confirmation" rather smartly.


Track Listing: Swinging The Blues; Blame It On My Youth; My Foolish Heart; Tea For Two; Blue Iridescense; Make Someone Happy; Under African Skies; Sioux Suite; My Old Flame; Confirmaton; Wishes Are Starting To Don't Come True; It's So Divine; Lester Leaps In.

Personnel: Earl May: bass; David Glasser: alto sax; Kenny Ham: piano; Barry Harris: piano (4,9); Eddie Locke: drums.

Title: Swinging The Blues | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Arbors Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by John Sharpe
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "All Through the Night" CD/LP/Track Review All Through the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "A Kenton Celebration" CD/LP/Track Review A Kenton Celebration
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Someone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Trinity One" CD/LP/Track Review Trinity One
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 31, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.