Coming in for a fast hit today...
Introduced by Stan the Man, this is 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams' from the classic 1954 album 'Live at the Shrine.' An easy swing through this ballad, Getz solos first, elegant and smooth. Brookmeyer next, a more bluff tone via the valve trombone, backed by obbligato from the sax - then they start to spin lines off each other, moving through an unaccompanied coda up to the end. Short, pithy and rather beautiful.
Another ballad, another 1954 track, this is Sonny Rollins' take on 'More than you know.' Late night, bleary sax, you could imagine Sinatra sat somewhere nursing a whiskey, replete in raincoat and that iconic hat. Thelonious Monk comps succinctly, feeding a gnarled arpeggio here and there as Rollins starts to dig in. The pianist takes the next solo, thoughtful and probing, his unexpected intervallic leaps and flinty chordal voicings giving some edge. Low to mid-register mainly, keeping the sombre mood. Rollins returns to take it out... A classic...
Rollins again - another ballad, same year, different rhythm section. 'Silk N'Satin.' As befits the title, a smooth and sensual reading. But big and powerful tone, muscular all the same... Elmo Hope eases in, delivers some rippling fluid lines (compare to Monk in the previous track). Rollins again, with an odd muffled afterthought of a trumpet obbligato which sounds as if it's in another room, from Kenny Dorham.
Moving on a few years... the late Jimmy Lyons, from a live trio session with Sunny Murray and John Lindberg. Consider the space that had become available by now for the three musicians - this is the curtly titled 'Riffs #5.' Alto swirls in with melodic fragments, followed closely by the bass, speedy playing across the registers as Murray's cymbals ebb and flow. On one line of progress, a light year away from 1954 - yet there was always a touch of Lyon's original master, Charlie Parker, residing in his playing, with some oddly boppish touches and the sheer brave-hearted dash of it all. Getting pretty frenetic with high-register squawks, but you always know he has complete control over his instrument. A master himself, fascinating to hear in this piano-less setting, away from his long-time bandleader Cecil Taylor. Murray takes a brief stomping coda then out to applause.
To end on: another live belter. George Adams and Don Pullen from 'Live at the Village Vanguard Vol 1.' 'Intentions.' And their intentions here are evident from the start - coming fast out of the traps, building up to a full-scale fire storm. Adams first record was with Roy Haynes, but he arguably made his bones with the Mingus band. Plus a few stints with Gil Evans... Hooking up with Don Pullen (who also played with Mingus)to form a great quartet in the 80's, the connection with the bassist/composer is maintained by the presence of Danny Richmond on drums, on fine unfettered form throughout. Cameron Brown in the bass chair, fluid and driving. Adams, an extremely underrated player, skids up and down his saxophone, deep honk to high squeal, entwining himself in tight melodic knots to suddenly bound free, chased by the bass, drums and thumping piano. Pullen solos, treble single notes stretched across jabbing left hand, then those swirling clusters, his trademark, jumping across the styles and the years to bend them all into his individual over-arching paradigm. Cameron Brown now, mobile melodic grace. Adams returns to lead off the exchange of eights that ratchets up the energy even further.
In the Videodrome...
Adams and Pullen quartet...
Adams and Pullen (with Lewis Nash replacing Danny R)...
George Adams does the Blues March... positively stunning...
Stan Getz/Bob Brookmeyer
Bob Brookmeyer (vtb) Stan Getz (ts) John Williams (p) Bill Anthony (b) Art Madigan (d)
Polka Dots and Moonbeams
Sonny Rollins (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) Tommy Potter (b) Art Taylor (d)
More than you know
Sonny Rollins (ts) Kenny Dorham (t) Elmo Hope (p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d)
Silk N Satin
Jimmy Lyons/Sunny Murray
Jimmy Lyons (as) John Lindberg (b) Sunny Murray (d)
Riffs # 5
George Adams/Don Pullen
George Adams (ts) Don Pullen (p) Cameron Brown (b) Danny Richmond (d)