on 21 September 2013
Jimmy Forrest's footnote in jazz history is not entirely respectable for the most famous claimed composition "Night train" became involved in a wrangle over a copyright issue with Duke Ellington who considered that the tune's theme had been lifted from his own substantial stable. Forrest is also remembered in boxing circles as the musician of choice for a Sonny Liston training session.
The excellent and very reasonably priced Avid offering presents four albums recorded by Forrest in 1961 & 1962. On three albums Forrest fronts a rhythm group but Soul Street is a mixed bag comprising quintet, sextet and big band under the direction of fellow tenor man Oliver Nelson. Worthy of note on three albums is the fine piano work of Hugh Lawson
Together with such robust players as Eddie Barefield and John Hardee Forrest, a hard driving player, now tends to be somewhat overlooked. Fortunately he is quite well recorded and a number of CDs are currently available. The Avid issue is a very good introduction to the work of a soloist and reed section man who worked with both Count Basie & Duke Ellington. Forrest is also heard to good effect on Avid's tribute to Harry Edison. Here on disc one the two horns front a very competent small group.
on 28 May 2014
A bit of a peculiar mixture in some ways. Jimmy was a strong tenor player who occupied the ground in between mainstream and modern jazz, a convincing player of the blues, and usually an out and out swinger. Most of the tracks here are straight ahead and highly satisfying, but every now and then Jimmy is just a little too relaxed, and on 'Soul Street' there are a few attempts to set him up in slightly unsuitable surroundings.
'Out Of The Forrest' is very good. On it he is accompanied by Joe Zawinul, Tommy Potter and Clarence Johnson. Bass and drums were obviously part of Jimmy's working band of the time, and produce a comfortable relaxed beat. Zawinul is a surprise, and fits in perfectly, eschewing the jangly stuff he did a little later with Cannonball, or the cod electronics that came even later.
'Sit Down and Relax' is equally good. Bass and drums remain the same, Hugh Lawson replaces Zawinul on piano, and Calvin Newborn is added on guitar, The band are very comfortable with each other, and the new boy, Newborn, is an attractive player, obviously at home with the blues, albeit technically slightly limited. Again, a thoroughly satisfying session.
'Most Much' features the same band but with Ray Barretto on conga drums replacing the guitar. The music is pretty much as before but with one or two conga features and with the resounding thwack of the conga laying down the back beat on most of the other tunes. Barretto was a frequent and welcome visitor to modern jazz sessions around this time, and shows why here.
So far the slight changes in personnel provide variety and interest to the first three sessions. The problems start with 'Soul Street', which seems to be a collection of odds and ends from several sessions. The only personnels given are collective and misleading. 'Soul Street' has Oliver Nelson and King Curtis on tenors, Gene Casey on piano, George Duvivier on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. Various combinations of Hugh Lawson, Calvin Newborn, Tommy Potter, Clarence Johnson and Ray Barretto feature on 'I Love You', 'Sonny Boy' and'That's All'. The remaining tracks feature a medium size band organised by Oliver Nelson and consisting of Ernie Royal, Jimmy Cleveland, George Barrow and Seldon Powell on tenors,Chris Woods on piano, Mundell Lowe on guitar, Richard Davis on bass and Ed Shaughnessy on drums, and appear to be an attempt to set Jimmy up in the pop business with some twangy guitar. The final tune on the original CD, 'I Wanna Blow, Blow Blow' by the Prestige Blues Swingers does not appear at all on this collection and the collective personnel naming those band members should be ignored.
on 17 November 2013
Jimmy Forest was in a group of Tenor men that were not the greatest, but very satisfying, I only had one of his CD's previouslym'Sit down and Relax', very pleasant.now had 3 unheard sessions,all satisfying,3,Tenor with Rhythm and 'Soull Street with a bigger band,the last two, 'Most Much' and 'Soul Steet', with an added Bongo player-most effective,As stgated earlier,most satisfying and recommended.