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The recording kicks off with Shaw's 'Zoltan', which apart from its march-like intro is typical of the three Shaw originals which I find to be the strongest material here. Then Young takes an immediate step sideways (and backwards, into boppish territory) with a duo take on 'Monk's Mood' with Elvin Jones. It's a competent but unremarkable performance, and for me it temporarily breaks the mood. Ironically, the duo format allows one to hear Young's playing clearly as nowhere else. The Henderson original 'If' and the Shaw tune 'The Moontrane' get the session back on track, but the mood is then broken briefly by the corny melody of the only standard - 'Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise' - fortunately abandoned almost immediately for spirited improvisation. Shaw's closer, 'Beyond All Limits' is well up to the standard of his earlier contributions and ends the record on a high.
Aficionados of Young's playing represent him as the premier post-Jimmy Smith jazz organist, but to be frank that makes him number one in a field of one. What this recording does is to point up the sheer difficulty of integrating the Hammond sound into a modern acoustic jazz ensemble. Your take on this album may well depend on your liking for Young's comping sound, which is forward in the mix and shows the characteristic warm, soft Hammond attack that makes it so different from the piano in the performance of the accompanist's role.Read more ›
On this album Larry Young really moved the organ forward as a Jazz instrument. As much as anyone recording in this period he understood and assimilated the ideas which John Coltrane was pursuing. Young and Coltrane also play their instruments in the same way: with power, emotion and freedom.
Henderson, who writes one tune, and Shaw, who writes three, are both excellent, the tenor man in particular, and add to the power of the album. Elvin Jones plays just as well as he'd been doing for the previous 5 years in Coltrane's band.
I don't think that the great recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder ever captured any instrument's sound as well as the swirling attack of the organ: sometimes pointed and precise, at other times there's a warmth which seems to envelope you.
This reissue is part of the Van Gelder Editions which means that the great man has done the excellent remastering and there are new liner notes.
If you enjoy this, as you can't fail to do, I'd also recommended Young's appearances, in a more conventional format, on two Blue Notes by guitarist Grant Green: `Talkin' About' and `Street of Dreams`.
The opener Zoltan, composed by Shaw, starts with a bar or two of martial drumming (Jones sounding more like Blackwell or Roach, with their `woody` attack) then the leader`s organ is there in a clear spray of notes and the number is underway. Henderson shines on his solo. A great track.
Next is Monk`s Dream, with organ to the fore form the off. Young isn`t a `funky` organist, and has the smoothest, clearest tone of any I`ve heard, with a lyrical, impressionistic approach which reminds me not a little of one of my favourite musicians, vibist Bobby Hutcherson.
One excellent aspect of this set is that there`s so much room for each musician to breathe. And no bass player! Young and an explosive Jones bop around this Monk tune as a duet, no brass on this one.
Shaw & Henderson, as if impatient to be back in the fray, blast off the tenor`s own number If, a swinging affair which boasts some of Joe`s most Trane-like playing, before Shaw comes in, his trumpet a balm to the ears as he extemporises a fine, treble-heavy solo behind an insistent Young and percussive Jones.
That`s half the album. The rest is just as good. Shaw has two more of his own, The Moontrane, a wonderful track with urgent solos all round, and the closer Beyond All Limits, an apt name for this modest marvel of an record.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great Blue Note recording. Typical Rudy van Gelder quality sound.Published 9 months ago by Dr A G Brown
Good album, bought to reminisce that Hammond sound, but memory fonder than experience....Published 14 months ago by Hell of a Backdrop
As well as having the pleasure of hearing Larry Youngs great skills, Woody Shaw also is a dominant force on this one.Published 15 months ago by TheShadow
It took me a bit of time to get into this but it was worth the trouble. Have ordered an LP version for the hifi.Published 22 months ago by planningpal
The greatest unsung jazz album . A quartet recording - Young on organ with the trumpet of Woody Shaw , tenor sax of Joe Henderson and the explosive Elvin Jones on drums . Read morePublished on 26 July 2014 by david handy ( a mackem )
Hammond organist Larry Young(1940-1978), aka Khalid Yasin Abdul Aziz, was originally influenced by Jimmy Smith but John Coltrane is the major inspiration on this marvellous quartet... Read morePublished on 9 Aug. 2013 by Jazzrook
I purchased a Toshiba Emi 2008 Japanese import of this album from amazon, but it turned out to be the same 1998 RVG remastering of the 1999 Blue Note release that I didn't like,... Read morePublished on 24 May 2010 by Thomas Rohnacher