Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Hard Bop - forwards and backwards...
It looks as if I have gone seriously old school these last couple of weeks with all the folk/acoustic gigs and reviews (Pete Morton at the Pack almost finished)... apart from that wild Coltrane track a few days ago. But – it's what comes up and out.. So- some hard bop of the classic variety first up – Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers from the remastered album 'Moanin.' But not the title track - a couple of different tunes, I think, to be perverse. 'Along Came Betty' is a Benny Golson compostion. 'Come Rain Or Come Shine' an old standard – here done in a loping mid-tempo smartly clipped arrangement. One of the Blakey band's great strengths apart from soloists in depth and the mighty power of the leader's drums was the continual excellence of his arrangers, as well as all the classic original compositions for the band. This particular incarnation had Timmons and Golson – two very original writers of themes that have stuck around. Solos are great – Timmons romping, rolling, almost barrelhouse at times, Lee Morgan signifying why his death was such a loss – but listen especially to Golson on 'Come Rain...' - almost edging into Coltrane territory? Well, they were from the same town...
And then there was original bop – which doesn't come harder and faster than this aptly titled track: 'Dizzy Atmosphere.' Classic live recordings from 1947 - brief theme statement – then into a whirling Parker solo punctuated by crisp cymbals and those sporadic bop bombs from the drummer. Then Gillespie – an equally barnstorming, lipburning solo. Brief re-statement and out to wild applause. The bass and piano (Al McKibbon and John Lewis) are all but inaudible but the horns and drums of Joe Harris are enough to display how fast bop became a mature style – a mere couple of years. Those theme statements - a precursor echo of what Ornette Coleman would sound like with Don Cherry ten years or so later. Hindsight being a mult-faceted analytical tool...
Along Came Betty_mp3
Come Rain And Come Shine_mp3