Former Crusaders drummer Stix Hooper assembles a starlight cast of characters for a stroll through some unlikely standards.
This collaborative release is interesting for what is missing— war-horse standards. The standards that are here are tastefully "different" from the standard fare (pardon the pun). Former Crusader's drummer Stix Hooper assembled this wild bunch for two discs worth of memorable music. To break to the chase, it is really the vocals that shine (though there are some instrumental exceptions. The absolute centerpiece of the recording is Shirley Horn's ultra slow "It Never Entered My Mind". This performance alone should secure her place as a supreme ballad interpreter. Jon Hendricks is revelatory on "Cloud Burst", "When the Lights are Low", "Last Night When We Were Young", and "New Rhumba". Ernie Andrews tastefully presents "Old Man Jazz" and James Moody on his own "Moody's Mood for Love".
On the instrumental side, Larry Koonse's guitar take on "Blue Monk" is bold, as if his performance on "Memories of You", with Ray Brown providing the bass underpinning. Kenny Burrell gleefully strums his way through "River's Invitation" and "Centerpiece" while Cedar Walton's piano provides ubiquitous support to all using him. The overall tone of this collection is maintained fairly consistently in spite of multiple bands performing. While the music is clearly jazz, it almost does not sound so. The rhythms, instrument combinations, and tune choices come off very fresh and new. This is not an all-star blowing sessions. All of the music is finely arranged and performed. This thoroughly enjoyable disc should be a welcome addition to even the fussiest jazz enthusiast.
Track Listing: (Disc 1) Sunset Eyes; The Last Train To Overbrook; Cloud Burst; Blue Monk; Lovin' It, Lovin' It; When The Lights Are Low; River's Invitation; It Never Entered My Mind; Shirley's Soliloquy. (Total Time: 45:26). (Disc 2) Jazz; Old Man Jazz; Memories Of You; Centerpiece; New Rumba; Sweet Lorraine; Moody's Mood For Love; Last Night When We Were Young. (Total Time: 46:13)
Personnel: Kenny Burrell, Larry Koonse: guitars; Teddy Edwards, James Moody: Tenor Saxophone; Louis Taylor: Baritone Saxophone; Oscar Brashear: Trumpet; Pete Jolly; Shirley Horn, Cedar Walton: Piano; Ray Brown, Luther Hughes, Al McKibbon: Bass; Roy McCurdy, Stix Hooper; Steve Williams, Paul Kreibich, Willie Jones: Drums; Jon Hendricks, Shirley Horn, Ernie Andrews: Vocals.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.