Tenor saxophonist George Coleman
is an artist who plays with both proficiency and comprehension, but has been under-recognized as a major figure in post-bop jazz. In this Reel To Real 180 gram LP release, co-produced by Cory Weeds and Zev Feldman, Coleman and his cohorts trumpeter Danny Moore
, pianist Albert Dailey
, bassist Larry Ridley
and drummer Harold White
showcase their talents in a previously unreleased live session recorded at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore
MD on May 23, 1971.
Prior to this initial outing as a leader, Coleman had gained some measure of recognition with the Max Roach
Quintet 1958-59, and the revamped Miles Davis
Quintet 1963-64. Fast forward to the new millennium and Coleman was part of a quartet with fellow Memphis native, pianist Harold Mabern
until the Mabern's death in 2019.
Side One has two long tracks, John Lewis
' "Afternoon In Paris" and Clifford Brown
's "Sandu." The former has become a standard part of the jazz repetoire. All the players are given lengthy solo spots starting with Coleman. He begins with an interesting pattern of extended melodic figures, that float and swing over the rhythm section. Moore comes along using the upper register of his horn building his musical edifice of melody and harmony. Eventually the two horns exchange fours for several rounds, before White does his thing after which the front line takes the number out. The second track is a readily recognizable bluesy theme that Moore showers with a burst of perky grooves. All the while Dailey is comping in the background using block chords in a Red Garland
fashion. Coleman's expressive solo has a smokey quality that builds powerfully while Dailey's excursion shows a combination of his single note touch coupled with thick block chords.
Side Two leads off with George Gershwin's " I Got Rhythm" opening in a rapid-fire fashion, and is the advent in a run for the wire pace throughout the number. Coleman charges through the composition at lightning speed with the chord changes all a blur. The tempo changes considerably as Coleman dives into Johnny Green's "Body And Soul" with Moore sitting out. Given the opportunity to carry the composition, Coleman is full value for the money as he shows he is a deceptively complex harmonist. Dailey has a brief solo wherein he slows the tempo to demonstrate his lyrically buoyant playing.
The final track is another Clifford Brown classic, "Joy Spring." Although at a slightly brisker cadence than Brown's original version, it still captures the intent of the composer through Coleman's exploration of the composition's harmonic shapes. Moore has a brief but bright solo and Dailey spins out some bop lines with effortless cool. .fortless cool.
In 2020, eighty-five years old, George Coleman continues playing regularly, adding to his distinguished career.
Side One: Afternoon In Paris; Sandu.
Side Two: I Got Rhythm; Body And Soul; Joy Spring.