If you think that the most famous and popular albums are the only ones to own, Avid Records from the UK will shatter your preconceptions. They dig up lost sessions, obscure sessions, buried treasures and forgotten treasures from the 40s-60s and make you wonder what the people back then were eating, as the music back then just had a different (and better?) feel to it.
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis is one of the essential Texas Tenors in the jazz world. His thick, high cholesterol and smoky tenor sax says more in four bars than is voiced in four ALBUMS by today’s anemic artists. What you’ve got here is the Basie alumnus in 4+ settings, some of them being a Selmer delight. Davis’ tenor with the B3 y either Bill Doggett or Eddie Bonnemere on a 52-53 session has a burning version of “My Blue Heaven” and “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Basie himself sits in on a cooking 57 date with Shirley Scott/B3 and Joe Newman/tp for a KC treatise of “Broadway” and “Save Your Love For Me.” Tiny Grimes’ guitar strums blue chords and does some down home pickin’ and grinnin’ on a set with Jaws on a feisty “Airmail Special” and “Grimes’ Times” while a front line of Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Arnett Cobb and Buddy Tate create a tenor heaven on material like “Very Saxy” and “Lester Leaps In” on an unforgettable 1959 recording. Was this the zenith of the tenor? Any Coltrane freaks want to write in?
Fragile toned trumpeter Kenny Dorham has always been under the jazz radar, but for Pete’s sake, he toured with BIRD, and then DIZ! These late 50s-early 60s find Dorham at his creative, if not commercial peak. The 1958 This is the Moment is a rarity as it features Dorham in a singing mode along with a hip team of Cedar Walton/p, Sam Jones/b, Curtis Fuller/tb and Charlie Persip/dr. Not quite an acquired taste, even with a hint of Jackie Paris, and better than you’d think versions of “I Remember Clifford” and “Where Are You?” A collection of ballads makes the ’59 Quiet Kenny one of his all time strongest sessions with a take of “My Ideal” and “Old Folks” emphasizing his delicate sound. A concert from 1962 with the bright toned Jackie McLean/as, Walter Bishop/pr, Leroy Vinegar/b and Art Taylor/dr is an exciting affair with “US” (which later got retitled as “Una Mas” on a Blue Note session) and “San Francisco Beat” the epitome of bluesy and lyrical hard bop. The same year Dorham and McLean got together again, this time with a hammering Bobby Timmons on the piano on Matador, and unheralded classic. This is assertive and adventurous stuff (as on “Melanie Part 1-3”), yet can be as gracious as a butterfly as on “Beautiful Love.” Oh Yeah!
No one played the blues and boogie on piano better than Sam Price, and these mid 50s sessions are as hot as a coffee pot on an open campfire. A 55 session with a small band with Vic Dickenson, Jonah Jones and Pete Brown, Milt Hinton and Cozy Cole has him singing like a watch salesman at Times Square on “Sam’s Pretty Blues” while the band boogaloos to “Rockin’ The Rocket” and “Shakin’ and Rattlin’.” Sidney Bechet and Herbie (brother of Edmund) Hall go a bit more traditional on a 55 recording with swinging pre-swing tunes like “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” and “Memphis Blues.” Bechet’s soprano is wide enough to park a Buick in, while Price keeps hits the keys like he’s taking something out on them. The blues are on display with another 55 studio meeting that jams the flats on “Paris Lament” and a red hot poker of “Janin Boogie.” By the time you’re finishing up with a 1959 meeting with Al Casey/g, Al Lucas/b and Panama Francis/dr on tunes like “Boogie Cha Cha” and “Roll ‘Em Sam” you realize that what is missing in today’s artists is that they wasted their best years going to Berklee or Manhatten School of Music instead of living a life that would have put the music into their soul. Casey and Baker do some stuff with the strings that essentially started that thing called rock and roll. This is the tap root of the whole she-bang, and music like this has dirt under its fingernails.
AVID Jazz Records