Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

31

Thad Jones: The Magnificent Thad Jones – Blue Note 1527

Marc Davis By

Sign in to view read count
Enter the album name hereMan does not live by hard bop alone, even on Blue Note. Sometimes, you just got to have a ballad. When you're in the mood, this is the record for you.

Thad Jones provides the horn, and he has never been better. Jones is best known as co-leader of the big band that bore his name, but this 1956 recording is his break-out moment as both a small-group leader and trumpeter. And while you may think of Jones as a hard bopper, five of this CD's seven tracks are either ballads or slow blues numbers.

Add the fact that this is the recording debut of pianist Barry Harris—whose long career led to a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award—and you've got the makings of something special.

First, the bop. Two tunes show off the hard bop chops of Jones, Harris and tenor-man Billy Mitchell (backed by the impeccable rhythm section of Percy Heath on bass and Max Roach on drums). "If I Love Again" and the 10-minute Jones original "Thedia" give each member a chance to play hard and fast. Harris and Mitchell particularly shine.

But it's the slow stuff that stands out here, in a variety of ways.

The CD begins with the classic "April in Paris"—a slower, more subdued take than the famous version recorded by Count Basie just a year earlier. It continues with a slow blues original by Jones called "Billie-Doo," a play on the French word for "love letter," though it's far more smoky and noir-ish than any love letter I've ever received.

The highlight—at least to these ears—are the final two cuts, which weren't even on the original LP. The Gershwin classic "I've Got a Crush on You" is a fine piano-trumpet duet, with the bass and drums sliding in almost unnoticed nearly two minutes into the piece. Now this is what a love letter should sound like.

Finally, the CD closes with a quiet little duet of Jones and guitarist Kenny Burrell, with no rhythm section at all, on "Something to Remember You By." It's been done before, sometimes as a schmaltzy ballad, sometimes as a fiery blues, but this dreamy little lullaby is the perfect way to end this almost-perfect CD.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Availability: Easy to get

Cost: $5 used

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read My Fats Waller Obsession: Why Do We Collect Music? My Blue Note Obsession
My Fats Waller Obsession: Why Do We Collect Music?
By Marc Davis
May 31, 2017
Read Ike Quebec: Blue & Sentimental - 1962 My Blue Note Obsession
Ike Quebec: Blue & Sentimental - 1962
By Marc Davis
May 14, 2017
Read Jack Wilson: Something Personal – 1966 My Blue Note Obsession
Jack Wilson: Something Personal – 1966
By Marc Davis
May 1, 2017
Read Ronnie Foster: Two Headed Freap – 1973 My Blue Note Obsession
Ronnie Foster: Two Headed Freap – 1973
By Marc Davis
April 18, 2017
Read Bud Powell: The Scene Changes - 1958 My Blue Note Obsession
Bud Powell: The Scene Changes - 1958
By Marc Davis
April 4, 2017
Read Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup - 1959 My Blue Note Obsession
Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup - 1959
By Marc Davis
March 21, 2017
Read Paul Chambers: Paul Chambers Quintet - 1957 My Blue Note Obsession
Paul Chambers: Paul Chambers Quintet - 1957
By Marc Davis
March 3, 2017