on 8 October 2013
I have often noticed Tommy Flanagan before as a sideman, part of the rhythm section on many recordings and even with a solo spot but this album is a revelation when he leads his own groups. The King And I was originally issued by the Wilbur Harden Quartet. Wilbur is a fine jazz trumpet player whose range and imagination give new life to the show tunes. If you have not met Wilbur before this item alone is worth the price of the whole album. Recorded on 23 & 30 September 1958, it was originally a Savoy LP. "Jazz ...It's Magic" was a Joint venture with trombonist Curtis Fuller and Sonny Redd on alto sax,recorded 5th September 1957 . The album consists of an extended medley, which includes "It's Magic" to justify the title, and four Fuller originals which seem to have a railway theme. Straightforward small group jazz if a bit lacking in inspiration.. Tommy leads his own Trio on "Trio Overseas", recorded in Stockholm on 15 August 1957,- hence the title.this gives him a chance to show his versatility on three standards (Relaxin' At Camarillo, Chelsea Bridge and Willow Weep For Me) and six of his own compositions, one of which, Eclypso, also appears on "The Cats" which was recorded by the Prestige All Stars on 16th April 1957. The Stars include John Coltrane, Idrees Suleiman and Kenny Burrell who appear on four of the five tracks which are all Flanagan compositions. The odd one out is a trio version of "How Long Has This Been Going On".
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable if somewhat uneven double CD although I have deducted one star because I feel it was rather naughty of Avid to put this out under Tommy Flanagan's name as he was only the leader on one and a half of the four original LPs.