Continuing apologies for lack of blog presence... lingering illness (cough bloody cough) and another project that I am way behind on (the CD/Download label) have taken my time... so here are three tracks to re-start the fandango...
Holding the bop line in 1957... on the West Coast... Curtis Counce, another who went too young (died in 1963), a respected bass player around and about, formed his group in the fifties and recorded a few fine albums. This is a spacy, swaying reading of the old bop warhorse, 'Woody 'n' You.'
The Book had a way of hitting a note smack dab that gives his playing a diamond-hard edge... couple this to a fine sense of exploration and a bluesy swagger that earths his playing solidly – and I get: one of my favourite tenor players. From 1968, 'In a Capricornian Way' swings in on a dancing 6/8, Ervin's saxophone accompanied in the front line by the exemplary Woody Shaw. Tenor solos first – swirls of notes, high long-held cries, powerhouse blowing. Shaw next, bright and brassy. Barron follows, pithy and succinct. The whole kicked smartly along by bass and drums – Billy Higgins in fine fettle.
Marilyn Crispell is renowned for raising up stormwinds of dense hard-hitting piano. Here, she throttles way, way back and drops acres of space into her reading of 'Open, to Love,' taken from the album of Annette Peacock compositions she recorded with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian - 'Nothing ever was, anyway.' Thoughtful, quietly discursive, but with an edge of steel. Peacock roams around deep mainly as Motian colours and subtly punctuates. Paul Bley recorded many Peacock compositions (and was married to her – as was the bass player on this session, Gary Peacock, earlier – gee, it gets complicated) – perhaps some of his presence hovers over this track especially.
Curtis Counce (b) Jack Sheldon (t) Harold Land (ts) Carl Perkins (p) Frank Butler (d)
Woody 'N' You
Booker Ervin (ts) Woody Shaw (t) Kenny Barron (p) Jan Arnet (b) Billy Higgins (d)
In a Capricornian Way
Marilyn Crispell (p) Gary Peacock (b) Paul Motian (d)
Open, to love