Sunday, July 24, 2011

Great Jazz Albums (IMO) #43

Art Farmer &  Benny Golson.  Meet the Jazztet (1960).  As you can tell by perusing the list of albums/artists I highlight every week (see below), I am particularly drawn to a soulful style of jazz of the mid-1950s/ early 1960s that evolved from 1940s bebop known as hard bop.  As opposed to its precursor, "the melodies tend to be simpler . . . the rhythm section is usually looser, and there is more of a blues/rhythm & blues feel.

While one can never really pinpoint with precision where a musical genre originated, 1954 gets you pretty close in this instance.  A Night In Birdland With The Art Blakey Quintet is widely considered the seminal hard bop recording, and it is the one that originally hooked me.  It included Horace Silver on piano, Clifford Brown on saxophone and Blue Mitchell on trumpet.  At the end of 1954, Blakey and Silver recorded Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, with Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor sax and Doug Watkins on bass.  In 1956, Horace Silver left the Jazz Messengers to Blakey (taking Mobley with him for a time) and went on to record several fabulous albums through the early sixties and beyond.  Art Blakey continued with various incarnations of the Jazz Messengers for three decades, surrounding himself with young musician, many of whom became quite prominent in their own right (e.g., Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis).

In the early 1960s, trumpeter Art Farmer and saxophonist/composer Benny Golson formed the Jazztet which, at least for a short time, arguably rivaled Horace Silver's quintet and Blakey's Jazz Messengers as "the definitive hard bop combo."  On their first album, Meet the Jazztet, the great jazz pianist McCoy Tyner makes his recording debut. (Tyner is replaced in later albums by Cedar Walton).  There are memorable solos by Farmer, Golson, Tyner and trombonist Curtis Fuller.  Golson's compositions, including the first recording of his epic tune Killer Joe, as well as I Remember Clifford and Blues March, stand up well to Cole Porter's It's All Right With Me and George Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So.  In sum, this is a "hard bop classic."

[Related posts:  Great Jazz Albums  #1 (Hank Mobley), #2 (Horace Silver), #3 (Sonny Rollins), #4 (Sonny Clark), #5 (Dexter Gordon), #6 (Cannonball Adderley); #7 (Bill Evans), #8 (McCoy Tyner), #9 (Clifford Brown), #10 (Sinatra), #11 (Monk), #12 (Kenny Dorham), #13 (Coltrane), #14 (Duke Ellington), #15 (Miles Davis), #16 (Wayne Shorter), #17 (Dinah Washington); #18 (Sarah Vaughan); #19 (Stan Getz); #20 (Blue Mitchell); #21 (Gene Ammons); #22 (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers); #23 (Red Garland); #24 (Ella Fitzgerald); #25 (Charlie Parker); #26 (Art Pepper); #27 (Bud Powell); #28 (John Hicks); #29 (Kenny Barron); #30 (Coleman Hawkins); #31 (Count Basie) #32 (Benny Carter w/ Ben Webster and Barney Bigard); #33 (Chet Baker); #34 (Thad  Jones); #35 (The Great Jazz Trio); #36 (Ahmad Jamal); #37 (Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond); #38 (Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis); #39 (Charles McPherson);
 #40 (Harold Land); #41 Booker Little); #42 (Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim)]

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