One of the few sides ever recorded as a leader by Chicago soul jazz pianist John Young – a tasty trio set with just the right touch of pepper! The tracks are short and lively, very much in the mode of other Chicago trio players – like John Wright or Ramsey Lewis – and most of the tunes have a nicely rolling groove, thanks to great backing from from Sam Kidd on bass and Phil Thomas on drums – both of whom echo strongly the great Chicago groove going on at the time. The album also features a strong mixture of originals and upbeat standards – with titles that include "Joey", "In Other Words", "Blues Oreenee", "The Bridge", "Serenata", and "Search Me".
Prime Keith Jarrett on Impulse Records – and a still-wonderful session that features work by Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian! The sound here is a bit more focused than on some of Jarrett's earlier Impulse sides – but still has that rich and organic sound overall – blending instruments from all players with a sound that's spontaneous and flowing. Jarrett himself plays a bit of percussion and wood flute – and Redman also plays maracas and musette! Tracks are long, and include "Kuum", "Inflight", "Vapallia", and "Backhand".
A great lost date from the wonderful Gigi Gryce – a set that features the altoist in an sextet, but often swinging with a looser vibe than on some of his better-known albums from the 50s! There's a mix of soulful and modern here that's not unlike the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet – both players of Gryce's same postwar generation, and coincidentally recording for Mercury at the same time. Although the groove here is definitely different – less emphasis on the bottom, and more on the top – not just Gryce's wonderfully raspy alto, but also the trumpet of Richard Williams too. All other players are great as well – and Eddie Costa brings in some sweet vibes – in a lineup that also features Richard Wyands on piano, and either Reggie Workman or George Duvivier on bass, and either Walter Perkins or Bob Thomas on drums. Tracks include "Reminiscing", "Gee Blues Gee", "Blue Light", and "Night In Tunisia".
Dark and moody work from Keith Jarrett – a record that builds strongly off his ensemble feeling of the Impulse years, but which also seems to carry a bit more of the introspective vibe he was building up in some of his more stripped down solo recordings! The group's still a great one here – with Dewey Redman on reeds, Charlie Haden on bass, Paul Motian on drums, and Guilhermo Franco on percussion – and the tunes, although long and somewhat free, still show Jarrett's great ear for a lyrical melody – carried off wonderfully without cliche, and still with more sharp edges than you might expect. Titles include "Rotation", "Everything That Lives Laments", "Flame", and "Mysteries".
Early early work by Paul Bley – years before he picked up the synthesizer, and years before he became the moody modernist he was in the 70s! The album's a relatively straight batch of tracks, but does have a touch of modernism – an early example of the sharp sounds that Bley would fully forge in alter years. The lineup is nice, too – with either Percy Heath or Peter Ind on bass, both players who clearly feel Bley's intentions – and Al Levitt on drums. Tracks are mostly standards, but they're done by Bley in a way that's fresh and sprightly – and titles include "My Heart", "Topsy", "I Want To Be Happy", "Autumn Breeze", and "My Old Flame".
There's a nicely warming vibe on this album from Keith Jarrett – a sound that's sometimes a bit more laidback and personal, but which is still carried off with familiar associates Dewey Redman on tenor, Charlie Haden on bass, and Paul Motian on drums! Most of the tunes are shorter compositions built around gently lyrical lines – somewhat introspective, and a bit less organic than in years past – but in a way that more than makes up for that difference with their own inner beauty. Titles include "Konya", "Rainbow", "Trieste", "Fantasm", "Yahllah", and "Byablue".
Here is another LP helping from the Keith Jarrett "American" Quartet's last recording session – one that is almost as consistent in quality as its predecessor. The happy-go-lucky groove of the title track perfectly expresses its name, with Jarrett blithely singing along; both Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden get plenty of solo space on Redman's "Gotta Get Some Sleep" and Haden's "Pocket Full of Cherry" (a pun referring to Haden cohort Don Cherry); and Paul Motian remains a marvelously flexible drummer. Moreover, there is another fascinating swatch of Middle Eastern experimentation on "Pyramids Moving."
A lost gem from Keith's "with horns" period – a quintet session from the mid 70s, recorded with a group that features Dewey Redman on tenor, plus Charlie Haden on bass, Paul Motian on drums and percussion, and Guilherme Franco on additional percussion. The feel is a bit straighter than Jarrett's excellent Death & The Flower set – as the tunes have a highly rhythmic component, and make good use of the extra percussion to create a flowing, organic groove. There's still a nice loose feel overall, though – almost a take on the loft jazz sound, especially at the moments when Jarrett goes a bit outside on piano. Titles include "Shades Of Jazz", "Southern Smiles", "Rose Petals", and "Diatribe".
The Modern Jazz Quartet make a rare appearance on Verve Records in the 50s – splitting half the album here with the classic Oscar Peterson Trio! The live performance was recorded in Chicago, and definitely has the MJQ working in a looser vibe than on some of their late 50s recordings for Atlantic – a bit more open and swinging, in a Verve mode – with some of the bop inspiration that first showed up on their early Prestige recordings – as you'll hear on the cuts "Now's The Time", "Round Midnight", and "D&E Blues". The second half of the record features live material from Oscar Peterson's hip group with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass – that great drum-less lineup that really lets Oscar take off on piano – on tunes that include "Big Fat Mama", "Should I Love You", "Indiana", and "Elevation".
Sophisticated Swing is the fifth album by jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, and his fourth released on the EmArcy label, featuring performances with Nat Adderley, Junior Mance, Sam Jones, and Jimmy Cobb. A couple of decades ago Sophisicated Swing was the title of an instrumental tune - by Will Hudson, if our memory holds up - and the music that corresponded with it had a certain sleekness that probably justified the title by the standards of that era. But today sophistication in jazz has a somewhat deeper meaning. The true jazz sophisticate has absorbed the lessons of a new musical generation, one that brought with it great advances in harmonic, melodic and rhythmic subtlety. The word "swing", too, has acquired a significance mare far-reaching than any of us could have imagined in the days of monotonous four-to-the-bar rhythm sections and comparatively limited and unimaginative syncopation.