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!

198

George Braith: The Complete Blue Note Sessions

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
George Braith is not as widely known as Roland Kirk, but he too made indisputably musical sounds playing two horns simultaneously. He in fact played one of Kirk’s signature instruments, the stritch (a type of straight alto), often in tandem with the soprano. This Blue Note reissue combines the three albums Braith made for the label between 1963 and 1965: Two Souls In One, Soul Stream, and Extension. Braith, guitarist Grant Green, and organist Billy Gardner appear on all three albums, but the drummers change every time. They are Donald Bailey, Hugh Walker, and Clarence Johnson, respectively.

Braith’s two-horn work is showcased mainly on the first album. It’s a quasi-primitive affair that opens with the Rollins-esque calypso "Mary Ann" and goes on to include a lovely "Poinciana" and a swinging (yes, swinging) "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Perhaps this last is Braith’s answer to Trane’s "Inchworm," recorded the previous year. The album ends with "Braith-A-Way," thirteen-plus minutes of brooding, non-resolving harmony with solos over a repeated rhythmic motif. Soul Stream kicks off with an unusual version of "The Man I Love." The title track, a haunting rubato tribute to the late JFK, is Braith at his most inspired. Wisely, this track was picked to end disc one; to segue straight into the lively "Boop Bop Bing Bash" would have been jarring. Braith also puts his oddball spin on the William Tell Overture, titling it "Billy Told" and transforming it into a modified rhythm changes with a minor-key bridge. Extension begins with the fast waltz "Nut City." It also includes the ballad "Ethlyn’s Love," the angular "Out Here," the minor blowing vehicle "Extension," and the soulfully swinging "Sweetville." Braith ends the album with an up-tempo version of Cole Porter’s "Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye," opting to give the tender melody the two-horn treatment.

Perhaps it was inevitable that George Braith would be overshadowed by Roland Kirk, but his compositional gifts and strong playing deserve greater appreciation. In addition, these are also essential Grant Green dates, doubly so considering the presence of the organ.

Title: The Complete Blue Note Sessions | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
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 "Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn" CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Retrorespective" CD/LP/Track Review Retrorespective
by Phillip Woolever
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Qitara" CD/LP/Track Review Qitara
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017