CHET BAKER
                      Sesjun Radio Shows

                        Recording Date:
                               February 1985 tk 1-5
                               1976-85         tk 6-12

                              Chet Baker              TP
                              Jacques Pelzer         AS,FL
                              Wolfgang Lackerschmid VB
                              Harold Danko          P
                              Michel Graillier         P
                              Phil Markowitz         P
                              Philip Catherine        G

Cameron Brown           B
Scott Lee                     B
Jean-Louis Rassinfosse B
Frank Tusa                   B
Jeff Brillinger                 D
John Engels                   D
Alphonse Mouzon         D


Reviewby Ken Dryden
Chet Baker was often not at his best in later years, taking nearly every live gig or recording date regardless of whether he was physically and mentally up to it (due to his longtime drug habit) or the musicians were truly compatible. Happily, Baker is in top form during these live broadcasts from the Sesjun radio shows (which aired from 1973 to 2004) in The Netherlands. The first four songs feature Baker with his regular pianist Harold Danko, bassist Cameron Brown, and flutist Jacques Pelzer. The breezy rendition of "There Will Never Be Another You" comes across effortlessly, with fine solos all around and the leader offering a strong vocal and intricate trumpet in the ensembles. Just as potent is the extended interpretation of Dizzy Gillespie's "Ray's Idea" with spirited solos by Pelzer, Baker, Brown, and Danko. One track was recorded during the same show that appears on the Criss Cross CD Live at Nick's (though it is not included on that CD), a heartfelt vocal setting of "This Is Always," with Baker backed by his regular band (the brilliant pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Scott Lee, and drummer Jeff Brillinger). One of the more unusual groups Baker led includes vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid, bassist Frank Tusa, and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. Although Mouzon had a tendency to play in a rock-influenced style that infuriated the leader, he is remarkably restrained on brushes in the easygoing vocal treatment of "Just Friends," while he uses both brushes and sticks in Baker's potent take of Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird." The two tracks from 1984 feature Baker with his regular pianist of the time, Michel Graillier, plus a pickup rhythm section, bassist Jan Voogd and drummer John Engels, with the trumpeter subbing for an ill Phil Woods. The band came together rather well on short notice, particularly in the lengthy but never dull rendition of "My Foolish Heart," showcasing the leader on both vocals and trumpet, both in a lyrical mood. Saxophonist Allan Eager appeared as a guest in Hal Galper's raucous bop vehicle "Margarine," but his substandard solo was mercifully edited out of the track. The last five songs feature Baker in an intimate trio with guitarist Philip Catherine and bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, highlighted by the low-key but infectious take of Horace Silver's "Strollin'," the warm arrangement of J.J. Johnson's timeless ballad "Lament," and Kenny Dorham's infrequently performed blues "Shifting Down." This two-CD compilation showcases Chet Baker in peak performances from late in his career; hopefully similar issues will be forthcoming from the Sesjun radio archives.


             THELONIOUS MONK
                  At Town Hall

                     Recording Date:
                         February 28, 1959

                         Donald Byrd       TP
                         Eddie Bert         TB
                         Bob Northern      FRH
                         Jay McAllister     TU
                         Phil Woods         AS
                         Charlie Rouse      TS
                         Pepper Adams     VB
                         Thelonious Monk  P
                         Sam Jones           B
                         Art Taylor            D


Review by Scott Yanow
Pianist Thelonious Monk's appearance with a tentet at a 1959 Town Hall concert was a major success. With Hal Overton contributing arrangements of Monk's tunes (including a remarkable transcription of Monk's original piano solo on "Little Rootie Tootie") and solos provided by trumpeter Donald Byrd, trombonist Eddie Bert, altoist Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse on tenor, and baritonist Pepper Adams, this date was a real standout. The program (plus three additional numbers) has also been included in Monk's huge Riverside box set but, for more budget-minded consumers, this CD is a must. There would only be one other recorded occasion (Monk's 1963 Philharmonic Hall concert) when the unique pianist was as successfully featured with a larger ensemble.


                   LOUIS ARMSTRONG
                    Hot Fives session 
                     Recording Date: 
                          February 26, 1926

                        Louis Armstrong   CT,Vo
                        Kid Ory               TB
                        Johnny Dodds      Cl,AS
                        Lil Hardin            P,Vo
                        Johnny St. Cyr     BJ


Review by Scott Yanow
To say that the performances on this CD (plus the ones on volumes two through four) are classic would be an extreme understatement. With these first 16 recordings by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, the trumpeter revolutionized jazz, changing it from an ensemble-oriented music into an art form dominated by virtuoso soloists. The most powerful jazz improviser of the 1920s, Louis Armstrong's beautiful tone, his sense of swing (which set the stage for the big band era), and his chance-taking yet melodic improvisations amazed his contemporaries and permanently altered the future of jazz. Among the many gems on this first volume are "Come Back, Sweet Papa," "Heebies Jeebies" (which is highlighted by Armstrong's highly influential scat vocal), the brilliant "Cornet Chop Suey," the debut of Kid Ory's "Muskrat Ramble," and the joyous "Don't Forget to Mess Around." With clarinetist Johnny Dodds (the pacesetter on his instrument), trombonist Kid Ory, pianist Lil Armstrong, and banjoist Johnny St. Cyr all making strong contributions, the music is consistently memorable and innovative.

Georgia Grind
Heebie Jeebies
Cornet Chop Suey
Oriental Strut
You're Next
Muskrat Ramble


                 CLIFFORD BROWN
                      MAX ROACH
                   Study in Brown
                    Recording Date:
                         February 23, 1955 tk 3-4,7,9
                         February 24, 1955 tk 5,8
                         February 25, 1955 tk 1,2,6

                         Clifford Brown   TP
                         Harold Land       TS
                         George Morrow  B
                         Richie Powell     P
                         Max Roach         D



Review by Scott Yanow
This CD reissue features the 1955 version of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet, a group also including tenor-saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Richie Powell and bassist George Morrow. One of the premiere early hard bop units, this band had unlimited potential. Highlights of this set are "Cherokee" (during which trumpeter Brownie is brilliant), "Swingin"' and "Sandu." All of the group's recordings (which have been included in the Clifford Brown ten-CD box set) are well worth acquiring.



                        Recording Date:
                             February 24, 1975

                             Dolo Coker       P
                             Ray Crawford   G
                             Sonny Criss       AS
                             Larry Gales       B
                             Jimmie Smith   D 


Review by Scott Yanow
This is one of the very best Sonny Criss albums. The distinctive altoist, who is here joined by guitarist Ray Crawford, pianist Dolo Coker, bassist Larry Gales, and drummer Jimmie Smith, is in prime form on a lengthy "The Isle of Celia," Benny Carter's "Blues in My Heart," the boppish blues "Crisscraft," and two shorter pieces. Criss, who had not recorded as a leader in six years, was really ready for this session, making this his definitive set to get. The CD reissue adds an alternate version of "Blues in My Heart" plus a slightly later version of "Out of Nowhere" to the original (and memorable) program.


                  OLIVER NELSON
     Blues and the Abstract Truth
               Recording Date:
                     February 23, 1961

                    George Barrow    BS
                    Paul Chambers     B
                    Eric Dolphy       Fl,AS
                    Bill Evans             P
                    Roy Haynes          D
                    Freddie Hubbard  TP
                    Oliver Nelson     AS,TS


Review by Michael G. Nastos
As Oliver Nelson is known primarily as a big band leader and arranger, he is lesser known as a saxophonist and organizer of small ensembles. Blues and the Abstract Truth is his triumph as a musician for the aspects of not only defining the sound of an era with his all-time classic "Stolen Moments," but on this recording, assembling one of the most potent modern jazz sextets ever. Lead trumpeter Freddie Hubbard is at his peak of performance, while alto saxophonists Nelson and Eric Dolphy (Nelson doubling on tenor) team to form an unlikely union that was simmered to perfection. Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Roy Haynes (drums) can do no wrong as a rhythm section. "Stolen Moments" really needs no comments, as its undisputable beauty shines through in a three-part horn harmony fronting Hubbard's lead melody. It's a thing of beauty that is more timeless as the years pass. The "Blues" aspect is best heard on "Yearnin'," a stylish, swinging, and swaying downhearted piece that is a bluesy as Evans would ever be. Both "Blues" and "Abstract Truth" combine for the darker "Teenie's Blues," a feature for Nelson and Dolphy's alto saxes, Dolphy assertive in stepping forth with his distinctive, angular, dramatic, fractured, brittle voice that marks him a maverick. Then there's "Hoedown," which has always been the black sheep of this collection with its country flavor and stereo separated upper and lower horn in snappy call-and-response barking. As surging and searing hard boppers respectively, "Cascades" and "Butch & Butch" again remind you of the era of the early '60s when this music was king, and why Hubbard was so revered as a young master of the idiom. This CD is a must buy for all jazz collectors, and a Top Ten-Fifty favorite for many.


                         ORNETTE COLEMAN
                         Something Else

                       Recording Date:
                            February 10, 1958 tk 1-3
                            February 22, 1958 tk 4-6
                            March 24, 1958 tk 7-9

                            Don Cherry         CT
                            Ornette Coleman AS
                            Walter Norris      P
                            Don Payne          B
                            Billy Higgins        D


Review by Thom Jurek
This 1958 debut recording by the Ornette Coleman Quintet, which featured Coleman on his trademark white plastic alto, Don Cherry on trumpet, Billy Higgins on drums, Walter Norris on piano, and Don Payne on bass, shook up the jazz world — particularly those musicians and critics who had entered the hard bop era with such verve and were busy using the blues as a way of creating vast solo spaces inside tight and short melody lines. Something Else!!!! is anathema to that entire idea, and must have sounded like it came from outer space at the time. First, Coleman's interest was in pitch, not "being in tune." His use of pitch could take him all over — and outside of — a composition, as it does on "Invisible," which begins in D flat. The intervals are standard, but the melodic component of the tune — despite its hard bop tempo — is, for the most part, free. But what is most compelling is evident in abundance here and on the next two tunes, "The Blessing" and "Jayne": a revitalization of the blues as it expressed itself in jazz. Coleman refurbished the blues framework, threaded it through his jazz without getting rid of its folk-like, simplistic milieu. In other words, the groove Coleman was getting here was a people's groove that only confounded intellectuals at the time. Coleman restored blues to their "classic" beginnings in African music and unhooked their harmonies. Whether the key was D flat, A, G, whatever, Coleman revisited the 17- and 25-bar blues. There are normal signatures, however, such as "Chippie" in F and in eight-bar form, and "The Disguise" is in D, but in a strange 13-bar form where the first and the last change places, altering the talking-like voice inherent in the melodic line. But the most important thing about Something Else! was that, in its angular, almost totally oppositional way, it swung and still does; like a finger-poppin' daddy on a Saturday night, this record swings from the rafters of the human heart with the most unusually gifted, emotional, and lyrical line since Bill Evans first hit the scene.


                     BILLIE HOLIDAY
                     Lady in Satin
                       Recording Date: 
                           February 19-21, 1958

                           Billie Holiday    Vo
                           Ray Ellis Orchestra
                           Barry Galbraith  G
                           Mal Waldron      P 
                           Urbie Green      TB 
                           Milt Hinton        B
                           J.J. Johnson     TB
                           Osie Johnson     D 
                           Phil Kraus          Per
                           Tommy Mitchell TB


Review by Scott Yanow
This is the most controversial of all Billie Holiday records. Lady Day herself said that this session (which finds her accompanied by Ray Ellis' string orchestra) was her personal favorite, and many listeners have found her emotional versions of such songs as "I'm a Fool to Want You," "You Don't Know What Love Is," "Glad to Be Unhappy," and particularly "You've Changed" to be quite touching. But Holiday's voice was essentially gone by 1958, and although not yet 43, she could have passed for 73. Ellis' arrangements do not help, veering close to Muzak; most of this record is very difficult to listen to. Late in life, Holiday expressed the pain of life so effectively that her croaking voice had become almost unbearable to hear. There is certainly a wide range of opinion as to the value of this set.


                ARCHIE SHEPP
        Live in San Francisco
              Recording Date:
                   February 19, 1966

                  Donald  Garrett  B 
                  Beaver Harris     D 
                  Roswell Rudd     TB 
                  Archie Shepp     P,TS,Vo 
                  Brad Worrell      B  


Review by Scott Yanow
This Impulse recording features the fiery tenor Archie Shepp with his regularly working group of the period, a quintet also featuring trombonist Roswell Rudd, drummer Beaver Harris and both Donald Garrett and Lewis Worrell on basses. Although two pieces (Shepp's workout on piano on the ballad "Sylvia" and his recitation on "The Wedding") are departures, the quintet sounds particularly strong on Herbie Nichols' "The Lady Sings the Blues" and "Wherever June Bugs Go" while Shepp's ballad statement on "In a Sentimental Mood" is both reverential and eccentric.


                RON CARTER
                  Dear Miles
                  Recording Date: 
                      February 18, 2006

                     Ron Carter          B
                     Payton Crossley   D
                     Stephen Scott     P 
                     Roger Squitero    Per


Review by Scott Yanow
Although he has participated in a couple of Miles Davis tribute bands and Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P., Ron Carter always resisted leading a CD of Davis tunes, until this project. Actually only seven of the ten songs that are performed by Carter's quartet on Dear Miles were associated with the trumpeter (not the two Carter originals or "As Time Goes By"), and "Bags' Groove" is a bit borderline. In any case, there are no trumpeters emulating Miles and these versions rarely hint at Davis' versions. This project simply served as a good excuse to play a variety of superior songs. Carter has plenty of solo space and sometimes takes the melodic lead. Pianist Stephen Scott gets his solos and occasionally throws in unexpected and offbeat song quotes. Drummer Payton Crossley and percussionist Roger Squitero are very much in the background. Dear Miles is a cheerful and upbeat session, most highly recommended to listeners who enjoy hearing a lot of bass solos.


                CLIFFORD BROWN
                    MAX ROACH
                  At Basin Street

                  Recording Date:
                     January 4, 1956  tk 4,7
                     February 16, 1956 tk 1-2
                     February 17, 1956 tk 3,5,6

                     Clifford Brown   TP
                     Sonny Rollins      TS
                     Richie Powell     P
                     George Morrow  B
                     Max Roach         D


The Clifford Brown-Max Roach quintet was already one of the best in modern jazz, but when they added Sonny Rollins to the fray in late 1955, it became a lineup for the ages. Basin Street, recorded in early 1956, marks the studio debut of Rollins with the band, and the result is a supercharged highlight of the postbop era. The three furiously paced standards that kick off the set feature superb blowing and crafty arrangements that offer spontaneous intros and rhythmic shifts. Of special note are the contributions of pianist Richie Powell, Bud's younger brother, who not only adds three excellent compositions (the intricate "Powell's Prances," the poignant "Time," and the irresistibly catchy "Gertrude's Bounce"), but also proves himself to be a standout soloist and accompanist. Of course, Brown's bright tone and remarkably fluid ideas are in full bloom as well. Sadly, the quintet would record only once more (Plus 4, issued under Rollins's name) before the June 1956 accident that claimed the lives of Brown and Powell. --Marc Greilsamer


                   STAN GETZ
                Stan Meets Chet

                    Recording Date:
                         February 16, 1958

                        Chet Baker           TP
                        Jodie Christian      P
                        Stan Getz             TS
                        Victor Sproles        B
                        Marshall Thompson D


Review by Scott Yanow
Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and trumpeter Chet Baker never particularly liked each other and, even though they had musically compatible styles, they only worked together briefly in three periods. Their mutual hostility can be felt in subtle ways on this session which has been reissued on CD. Getz ignores Baker's attempt to state the melody of "I'll Remember April" and he plays it himself several bars after. The two horns do not meet at all on the ballad medley and, since Baker sits out on "Jordu," they only play together on two of the four performances. Getz battles a squeaky reed on "I'll Remember April" and Baker seems a bit subpar in general although he really digs in on "Half-Breed Apache" (a very fast "Cherokee"). So overall this CD (which also includes pianist Jodie Christian, bassist Victor Sproles, and drummer Marshall Thompson), even with some good moments, does not live up to its potential.


                   JACKIE McLEAN
            A Long Drink of The Blues

                 Recording Date:
                        February 15, 1957 tk 2-4
                        August 30, 1957     tk 1

                      Webster Young   TP
                      Curtis Fuller        TB
                      Jackie McLean    AS
                      Gil Coggins         P
                      Paul Chambers    B
                      Louis Hayes         D

                      Mal Waldron        P tk 1
                      Arthur Phipps      B tk 1
                      Art Taylor           D tk 1

Review by  Samuel Chell
This CD reissue begins with what is titled "Take 1" of "A Long Drink of the Blues." After a false start, the musicians argue for two minutes about the tempo; why was this ever released? "Take 2" is a much more successful 20-minute jam featuring Jackie McLean (doubling on alto and tenor), trombonist Curtis Fuller, trumpeter Webster Young, pianist Gil Coggins, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Louis Hayes. The second half of this reissue is from a quartet session that showcases McLean on three standard ballads with pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Arthur Phipps, and drummer Art Taylor. Although not quite as intense as McLean's later Blue Note dates, the ballad renditions show just how mature and original a soloist he was even at this early stage. Despite "Take 1," this CD is worth getting.
The first side of this obscure but worthwhile session is a loosely-organized, extended jam session on a blues in the key of F, much like Jimmy Smith's celebrated "Sermon." The cast combines obscure players (Gil Coggins, Webster Young) with established stars (Curtis Fuller, who offers some of his best choruses on record; Paul Chambers, the heart of the rhythm section; the long-lived, much-traveled Louis Hayes). But the main message is offered by Jackie, first a rare solo on tenor saxophone, then a quick costume change and he's back with his alto on the same tune. On both instruments he reveals, along with his command of the language of modern jazz and deep-rooted blues indebtedness, that always controversial but inescapable personal "sound"--raw, acidic, pungently sour, and slightly sharp. If he ever listened to and learned much from a Johnny Hodges or Paul Desmond, it's certainly not apparent in his playing from this period. He's like the talented, irrepressible kid with all of the tattoos and body piercings--hard for some of us instantly to embrace yet always in your face and winning your respect in spite of yourself.


              SONNY ROLLINS
         All the Things You Are

             Recording Date:
                   February 14, 1964

                   Sonny Rollins      TS
                   Herbie Hancock  P
                   Ron Carter         B
                   Roy McCurdy      D


Review by Scott Yanow
The remainder of this CD (three selections apiece from the former LPs Now's the Time and The Standard Sonny Rollins) is more conventional but has its moments of interest. The young Herbie Hancock is on piano for all of these tracks and guitarist Jim Hall helps on "Trav'lin Light." Rollins's RCA recordings of the 1960s are all worth picking up even though they are currently being reissued in piecemeal fashion.


                    SONNY ROLLINS
                     The Bridge

                 Recording Date 
                      January 30, 1962  tk 4
                      February 13, 1962 tk 1,2,5
                      February 14, 1962 tk 3

                      Bob Cranshaw   B
                      Jim Hall            G 
                      Ben Riley          D 
                      Sonny Rollins     TS 
                      Harry Saunders   D


Review by Scott Yanow
The music on this 1996 CD has been reissued many times, including in the Bluebird series. Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins' first recording after ending a surprising three-year retirement found the great saxophonist sounding very similar to how he had played in 1959, although he would soon start investigating freer forms. In a pianoless quartet with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Ben Riley, Rollins explores four standards (including "Without a Song" and "God Bless the Child") plus two fiery originals (highlighted by the title cut). The interplay between Rollins and Hall is consistently impressive, making this CD a near-classic and a very successful comeback.


              MARIO SCHIANO &
               GIORGIO GASLINI
                 A Confronto 8

                 Recording Date:
                    February 12, 1974

                    Mario Schiano          AS
                    Bruno Tommaso        B
                    Michele Iannaccone   D
                    Maurizio Giammarco TS tk 1-3,

                                                  FL tk 1, P tk 1
                    Toni Formichella      TS  tk 1-3
                    Massimo Urbani        SS tk 2-3
                    Giorgio Gaslini         P tk 3,5


By jazzfromitaly.blogspot.com
This is the first meeting, and the only on record, from two great jazz master, supported from the young hopes of the italian jazz, like a Massimo Urbani, Maurizio Giammarco and Toni Formichella. These young musicians followed the first course of jazz that Gaslini held to the conservatory of S. Cecilia of Rome, with also to Patrizia Scascitelli, Bruno Tommaso, Tommaso Vittorini and more.So, the critics tells that, between Schiano e Gaslini, there was hostility, because Schiano had recorded for first the young lions on the beginning of 1973, in your beautiful "SUD".

Really, it had happened because Mario Schiano knew the roman jazz clubs much more that the academic pianista. When Aldo Sinesio proposed he to recording for the HORO, Schiano proposed to meet Gaslini, own with "they" young students.
All roman jazz world said that Giorgio would not have accepted. That day, Gaslini, was not only introduced in advance in the "Titania" studies, but in all two tracks that it recorded with Schiano, there is a clear message. In one it's on the title "Unità", in the second it's in the beauty and in the grace of the composition "Canto Ritrovato", an ancient Lombardic song relaborated from he. This is the first meeting, and the only on record, from two great jazz master, supported from the young hopes of the italian jazz. 


               JACKIE MCLEAN

                  Recording Date:
                        February 11, 1963

                       Jackie McLean   AS
                       Donald Byrd      TP
                       Herbie Hancock  P
                       Tony Williams    D
                        Butch Warren    B


Review by Scott Yanow
This 1963 session has the recording debut of drummer Tony Williams along with strong contributions from Byrd, pianist Herbie Hancock (then also near the beginning of his career), and bassist Butch Warren. The latter unit sticks to group originals by Byrd, Hancock, and McLean, and the music ranges from catchy funk and hard bop to strong hints of the avant-garde.


                  ART  BLAKEY
                Free for All

                 Recording Date:
                     February 10, 1964

                     Art Blakey           D
                     Curtis Fuller        TB
                     Freddie Hubbard TP
                     Wayne Shorter    TS
                     Cedar Walton      O,P
                     Reggie Workman  B


Review by Al Campbell
Free for All is a high point in drummer Art Blakey's enormous catalog. This edition of the Jazz Messengers had been together since 1961 with a lineup that would be hard to beat: Freddie Hubbard on trumpet (his last session with the Messengers), Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Cedar Walton on piano, and Reggie Workman on bass. Shorter's title track is one of the finest moments in the Jazz Messengers' history. In the eight minutes of "Free for All," an emotional apex is reached that skirts the edge of free bop without losing Blakey's rhythmic glue. Another Shorter composition, "Hammer Head," is a mid-tempo soul-blues groove, with Shorter, Hubbard, and Fuller taking exceptional solos while Blakey keeps the mid-tempo vigorously swinging. Hubbard's "The Core," dedicated to the Congress of Racial Equality, comes close to capturing the heat of the title cut, as it contains similar fiery interplay. The session's closer, Clare Fischer's "Pensativa" (brought to the Messengers songbook by Hubbard), would remain a favorite with Blakey for years. A passionate Jazz Messengers workout that proves essential.


                     DIZZY GILLESPIE
                Blue N Boogie session

                    Recording Date:
                                February 9, 1945

                            Dizzy Gillespie     TP
                            Dexter Gordon     TS
                            Frank Paparelli      P
                            Chuck Wayne       G
                            Murray Shipinski   B
                            Shelly Manne        D


Review by Scott Yanow
The great trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie plays "Blue 'N' Boogie" with a sextet in 1945 including Dexter Gordon; he teams up with Charlie Parker for five early bop gems ("Groovin' High," "Dizzy Atmosphere," "All the Things You Are," "Salt Peanuts" and "Hot House"); he plays two numbers with Sonny Stitt in a combo; and he also performs five songs (including "Things to Come") with his 1946 big band. One way or another, get this important music, but only pick up this particular CD if found at a budget price.


                    JIMMY SMITH
                   Prayer Meetin'
                     Recording Date:
                            February 8, 1963

                          Donald Bailey       D 
                          Sam Jones            B 
                          Jimmy Smith        O 
                          Stanley Turrentine TS 
                          Quentin Warren     G 


Review by Steve Leggett
Playing piano-style single-note lines on his Hammond B-3 organ, Jimmy Smith revolutionized the use of the instrument in a jazz combo setting in the mid-'50s and early '60s, and arguably his best albums for Blue Note during this period were the ones he did with tenor sax player Stanley Turrentine. Recorded on February 8, 1963, at Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, and featuring Quentin Warren on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums in addition to Smith and Turrentine, Prayer Meetin' is a delight from start to finish. Forming a perfect closure to Smith's trio of albums with Turrentine (Midnight Special and Back at the Chicken Shack were both released in 1960), Prayer Meetin' was the last of four albums Smith recorded in a week to finish off his Blue Note contract before leaving for Verve. The blues roots are obvious here, and the Smith-penned title track might even be called jazz-gospel, but the single most striking cut is a version of Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind," with both Smith and Turrentine building wonderful solos, suggesting new pathways for organ and sax as complementary instruments.


                 COLEMAN HAWKINS
                     And Confreres

                      Recording Date:
                           February 7, 1958  tk 3-7
                           October 16, 1957  tk 1-2

                      Personnel tk 3-7
                           Roy Eldridge        TP
                           Coleman Hawkins TS
                           Hank Jones           P
                           George Duvivier   B
                           Mickey Sheen       D

                      Personnel tk 1-2
                          Coleman Hawkins   TS
                          Ben Webster          TS
                          Oscar Peterson       P
                          Herb Ellis               G
                          Ray Brown             B
                                                                                                            Alvin Stoller               D


In first two tracks Hawkins is joined by the ever-swinging Oscar Peterson trio, Ben Webster (who takes back seat on second track) and drummer Alvin Stoller, a nice group of hard swingers who nevertheless show more of their mellow side than some might expect…The rest of the album is equally rewarding; the Hawk stretches his wings working with Roy Eldridge (tp), Hank Jones (p), George Duvivier (b) and Mickey Sheen (dm) – the drummer is the only musician on the album I don’t think I’ve heard before; Hank Jones and Duvivier show the swinging ellegance I’ve heard from them before…
In his liner notes Nat Hentoff says something interesting and quite significant – when playing with Hawk, Eldridge doesn’t feel the urge to light up the proceedings with a fierce solo (pyrotechnical hysteria is something often mentioned by Roy’s detractors…). Hawkins’ playing is so full of energy even in slower tempoes that Eldridge also takes it down a notch and constructs his solos with less high register explorations…This, at first glance quite laid back album (Hawk relaxes, one might say) is therefore a great example of the jazz giants at the hight of their power, playing subtly and intelligently, toying with the jazz-idiom they helped to create (or that they joined with a lot of respect).