Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

147

Gene Ammons & James Moody: The Chicago Concert

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Gene Ammons took the stage countless times during a career that spanned well over three decades. On a significant number of those dates, Jug found himself in the company of other horns, but sparks were often most plentiful when his foil in the frontline was a single tenor saxophone. Sonny Stitt abetted as his most common accomplice in this capacity and the pair solidified a place as one of the preeminent tandems in jazz. But Jug also found the opportunity to lock horns with others. This entertaining set, taped live at the North Park Hotel in Jug’s hometown in 1971, preserves one such encounter with James Moody, who trades up his usual alto for a facsimile of Ammons’ heavier caliber horn.



The blue-chip rhythm section enlisted to support the heavyweights distinguishes itself from the start by keeping things loose and spontaneous with true after hours' flair. Another venerable Chicagoan, Jodie Christian supplies stalwart comping and soloing skills while Cleveland Eaton and Marshall Thompson accept their supportive roles amicably and without protest. The pieces are obviously edited and several of the splices are quite coarse, as on “Just In Time,” where Ammons’ lusty, roughshod improvisation curtails abruptly into Moody’s smoother and swifter style of phrasing. Fortunately the blemishes remain mainly cosmetic and the vigor of the music largely subsumes them. “Work Song” offers another example of the suspect production values, fading in from its start with the quintet already hitting mid-stride. Ammons basks in the bluesy theme at length, tugging legato lines from his tenor’s bell and tapering his tone with peculiar pitch variations. The latter tricks are the influence of the then flourishing avant-garde and it’s exciting to hear Jug incorporate them so enthusiastically into his aesthetic. Moody follows in a more ‘inside’ mood, but still manages to inject urgency through trilling cries.



“Jim-Jam-Jug” opens with a quick unison riff before spreading wing on a blustery statement from Moody. Thompson’s galloping sticks keep the rhythm moving at a fast clip while the saxophonist revels in a high-speed slalom through the changes. Jug’s statement starts slow, almost lethargic, but rapidly gathers interia until he too is rocketing along on a soaring trajectory. Through it all Eaton’s slightly amplified strings shore up a bubbling momentum that pushes everyone along. Thrifty, but thoughtful readings of two more standards close the original album out with Jug annexing “I’ll Close My Eyes” and Moody calling the shots on the majority of Ellington’s “C-Jam Blues.” The disc’s crowning acheivement takes shape in a burning bonus track version of “Yardbird Suite” that sprawls out over nearly a quarter of an hour. The two tenors trade off powerfully on the Charlie Parker classic, but it's also an opportunity to hear the rhythm section at length and Christian indulges in a sparkling solo that nearly steals the show.



It was a twilight time for Ammons; in three more years he’d be gone. This concert, like others of its vintage, shows the Chicago tenor savoring his final years with a maturity and focus that fed directly into the iconic status his memory holds today.



Prestige on the web: http://www.fantasyjazz.com


Track Listing: Just In Time/ Work Song/ Have You Meet Miss Jones?/ Jim-Jam-Jug/ I

Personnel: Gene Ammons- tenor saxophone; James Moody- tenor saxophone; Jodie Christian- piano; Cleveland Eaton- bass; Marshall Thompson- drums. Recorded: November 21, 1971, Chicago.

Title: The Chicago Concert | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Prestige Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Chapter Five" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Live at Barbes: Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Barbes: Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "NJO 40" CD/LP/Track Review NJO 40
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Moonlight Vision" CD/LP/Track Review Moonlight Vision
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Ultimate Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Ultimate Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "In The Shadow Of A Cloud" CD/LP/Track Review In The Shadow Of A Cloud
by John Kelman
Published: August 14, 2017