As an earlier review points out this is a four disc box set consisting of seven LP's of music led by or featuring tenor saxist Clifford Jordan. He was always a very good player, fluent and swinging, with a sound originating from pre sheets of sound John Coltrane, although somewhat lighter. This placed him in the same bag as quite a lot of other players of the time, so you do't expect a great deal of originality but he always remained a very satisfying player. Another plus point of this collection is that Jordan worked with a number of the better players around at the time so you get a bird's eye view of quite a lot of good musicians. The first session is 'Blowing In From Chicago' on which Jordan is coupled with fellow tenorman John Gilmore and a forceful rhythm section of Horace Silver, Curly Russell and Art Blakey. A very good session indeed although the two tenors are a little difficult to tell apart. Gilmore later developed into a very original player indeed but here both are young Turks trying to establish themselves. Next comes 'Cliff Jordan - 1957' with a collective personnel of Jordan, Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, the little known John Jenkins on alto and a rhythm section of Ray Bryant, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor. Another very good session with all the horns playing well, with Lee Morgan probably the standout. Ray Bryant, another genuinely original musician probably takes the honours overall. 'Cliff Craft', also from 1957, features Jordan with Art Farmer, Sonny Clark, George Tucker and Louis Hayes. Jordan as ever plays well, Farmer with great clarity and incisiveness and the great Sonny Clark with swing and melody, both of which seem to have come absolutely naturally to him. Another fine session. There was then a slight gap until 1960 and 'Spellbound', a quartet session with Jordan, Cedar Walton, Spanky DeBrest and Albert Heath. By this time Jordan's style had become slightly more angular, although the difference is not great. Walton is a fluent pianist, DeBrest a powerful swinging bassist and Heath a very good and original drummer. 'Starting Time', from the following year, has Jordan with Kenny Dorham, Walton and Heath again and Wilbur Ware on bass. It is a good session, with Dorham a thoughtful player but doesn't quite have the zing of the earlier dates. 'Expoobident', from 1960, was a Lee Morgan date and disappoints a little. Everybody sounds a little under wraps and the session never quite catches fire, which is a bit of a surprise, bearing in mind that Art Blakey is stoking the drum kit. I have noticed this on other Vee Jay recordings and it may be nothing more than a slightly dull recorded sound. Certainly, nobody plays badly. The last session, Max Roach's 'It's Time' features a sextet with a choir throughout conducted by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and with a vocal by Abbey Lincoln on one track. To my surprise it works quite well although I am not sure I would want to repeat it. The choir work as the equivalent to a backing big band and are quite intrusive. The front line horns are Richard Williams on trumpet, Julian Priester on trombone, and Jordan, with Mal Waldron on piano. All play absolutely brilliantly, either because they were lashed into life by Max' drumming or inspired by the singing behind them. Williams, a most exciting and extrovert player and Waldron are probably the star soloists but all four are committed and exciting. I very nearly avoided buying the collection because of the presence of this session but I now find I enjoy it One thing that is noticeable, however, when Abbey Lincoln sings in front of the choir is just what a difference there is in the timing of a jazz and blues singer and a classical choir.
Great music & sound quality. However, the seven albums are split across four CDs and several albums are split across two disks. This makes importing into iTunes not straightforward. It can be done but be prepared to do some file manipulation to make each album appear separately iniTunes.
The Real Gone Jazz label has garnered some really good reviews for sound quality. The digitally enhanced sound is a good indicator but for a proper review I really suggest you read other, more knowledgeable people's reviews. The collection is on 4 CDs encased in a double wide jewel case. `DIGITALLY REMASTERED & ENHANCED FOR SUPERIOR QUALITY' as the title says on the cover makes this a tempting buy. BUT Dear Reader,
Amazon, at the time of writing, has not provided a track list. So this may be of interest and use? The albums are
"Blowing In From Chicago (1957)", "Cliff Jordan (1957)", "Cliff Craft (1957)", "Spellbound (1960)", "Starting Time (1961)", "Expoobident (with Lee Morgan)(1960)" and "It's Time (with Max Roach)(1962).
As always if you see any typos add a note and I will correct and credit you with the correction- just add a comment......
[Disc 1] Blowing In From Chicago 1. Status Quo 5.34 2. Bo-Till 5.55 3. Blue Lights 6.36 4. Billie's Bounce 9.33 5. Evil Eye 5.12 6. Everywhere 5.43 Cliff Jordan 7. Not Guilty 11.41 8. St. John 8.14 9. Blue Shoes 9.35
[Disc 2] Cliff Jordan (cont.) 1. Beyond The Blue Horizon 6.56 2. Ju-Ba 3.53 Cliff Craft 3. Laconia 7.01 4. Soul-Lo-Blues 8.28 5. Cliff Craft 6.28 6. Confirmation 7.30 7. Sophisticated Lady 6.44 8. Anthropology 7.01 Spellbound 9. Toy 4.23 10. Lush Life 5.13 11. Moon-A-Tic 4.39 12. Spellbound 5.51
[Disc 3] Spellbound (cont.) 1. Hot Water 5.04 2. Last Night When We Were Young 6.28 3. Au Privave 8.31 Starting Time 4. Sunrise In Mexico 6.03 5. Extempore 5.16 6. Down Through The Years 4.46 7. Quittin' Time 4.02 8. One Flight Down 4.43 9. Windmill 3.54 10. Don't You Know I Care 4.57 11. Mosaic 4.58
[Disc 4] Expoobident (with Lee Morgan) 1. Expoodident 4.59 2. Easy Living 5.57 3. Triple Track 5.00 4. Fire 4.50 5. Just In Time 3.32 6. The Hearing 3.36 7. Lost And Found 3.33 It's Time (with Max Roach) 8. It's Time 6.43 9. Another Valley 8.45 10. Sunday Afternoon 6.14 11. Living Room 7.29 12. The Profit 7.30 13. Lonesome Lover 7.01