on 4 August 2011
This is not the same as the original Blue Note version from some years ago. This and Volume 2 have now been sorted out into their constituent sessions and Volume 1 now consists of the entire session with Clifford Brown. Everything else has gone onto Volume 2. With J.J.on this disc are Clifford Brown, Jimmy Heath on tenor (and baritone in some ensembles) and a rhythm section of three quarters of the then MJQ, minus only Milt Jackson. So, it's pretty much an ideal group for the time (1953) and each and everyone of them plays at the top of his game. You couldn't want much more.
'Lover Man' is an attractive ballad feature for J.J. and John Lewis, and the other horns drop out completely on 'It Could Happen To You'. 'Sketch 1' is a slightly more formal composition by John Lewis, involving tempo changes and some appealing ensemble sounds. That sounds slightly off-putting, but it's not third stream and does repay repeated listening. The remaining three tunes, 'Capri', 'Turnpike', and 'Get Happy' also appear in alternate versions and are bright swingers with good solos all round.
Brownie was the top trumpet of the time and shows why here. Melodic and swinging throughout, he shows what a loss his early death was. J.J. is as fast and smooth as ever, but shows real content in his solos, which wasn't always the case. Jimmy Heath plays well, again swinging throughout, and sounding a bit like Hank Mobley. I suppose the difference is that Mobley made a number of near perfect records in the late fifties just because he was such a class act, but with Jimmy you always know there's a lot of vigorous paddling going on underneath.
The rhythm are pretty nigh perfect. Kenny Clarke was always one of the great drummers and John Lewis, in addition to being a most individual soloist, doesn't just comp but sets up a whole series of comments and counter melodies.
For me, probably the best record J.J. ever made.
This might seem from the title to be a compilation album but it isn't, it is a session from June 1953 and features JJ Johnson (tmb), Clifford Brown (tpt), Jimmy Heath (tenor / baritone), John Lewis (p), Percy Heath (b) and Kenny Clarke (d) [the latter three members of the recently formed M.J. Q.] The major voices are Brown and Johnson, with good solos and support from John Lewis. Although from the late bebop period this music is far more melodic and approachable. Six tunes (with three alternates). The album starts with the entertaining "Capri" (Gigi Gryce) and there is a track by JJ Johnson (Turnpike), one by Lewis (Sketch) plus three "standards" including Lover Man, Get Happy and "It Could Happen To Me" which is used as a showcase for Mr Johnson.
Overall a fine album.
on 29 October 2011
I am a CD's collector and I love music a lot, jazz is my favourite. Trough the years, I've been increasing my collection and making a few mistakes. Sometime ago, I lost this item because my stupidity...now when I saw it again and so cheap, I was over the moon!...it wont go away from me again, for sure!!!