Keith Jarrett, who first recorded with his college band in 1961, has been a major pianist ever since 1966 when he worked with both Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Charles Lloyd Quartet. He became famous in the 1970s for his solo concerts of freely improvised music, for his quintets (with either Dewey Redman or Jan Garbarek on tenor), and for his longtime trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. However in recent times, he has quietly disappeared from the scene into apparent retirement. Jarrett’s last recording with the trio was in 2009 and since 2011 he has only recorded twice, both as a solo pianist: 2014’s Creation and now Munich 2016. The latter may very well turn out to be his final recording.
45 years after his very first solo recording (1971’s Facing You) and decades after his successful Solo Concerts and Koln Concert, Jarrett was still performing unaccompanied concerts on which he sat at the piano without any preplanning and simply created. Unlike in his earlier concerts, his improvisations were no longer 40-60 minutes long and instead they were much briefer and tended to emphasize one particular theme rather than seguing from one to another.
The double-CD Munich 2016 consists of 12 parts plus three encores. While Part I is nearly 14 minutes long and has two sections, starting quite violently (as if to blow away the audience’s preconceptions) before becoming a purposeful piece with strong forward momentum, the other sections time in between 2:20 and 9:01. A few of the numbers are soulful and bluesy, there is a straight-ahead blues, and a couple of the improvisations sound like hymns. There are also sections that emphasize dissonance or become wistful ballads. No matter the mood, they hold one’s interest throughout.
The three encores are respectful renditions of “Answer Me, My Love,” “It’s A Lonesome Old Town” and finally “Over The Rainbow.” Will the latter piece be Keith Jarrett’s final statement on record? Even after such a productive career, one hopes for more.
Munich 2016 is available from www.amazon.com.
Dayna Stephens Trio
Most tenor-saxophonists at one time or another have to deal with the legacy of Sonny Rollins. Among his many accomplishments, Rollins made several brilliant albums in a trio with bass and drums. Just as trumpeters may find it difficult not to sound like Miles Davis when utilizing the Harmon mute, the shadow of Rollins is impossible to avoid when heading a pianoless trio.
Dayna Stephens had led at least eight albums prior to Liberty. At the age of 41, he has developed individual sounds on tenor, alto and baritone with Rollins being one of the influences. In his career he has worked with such notables as Kenny Barron, Julian Lage, Taylor Eigsti, and Ambrose Akinmusire, carving out his own career in post-bop jazz.
Liberty features Stephens performing with bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. They perform ten of the leader’s originals plus one song by Aaron Parks. While some of the chord changes seem a little reminiscent of earlier standards at least part of the time, the material is mostly quite original, swinging in a modern way.
Dayna Stephens is in the spotlight most of the time, mostly heard on tenor but also playing alto and baritone. He manages the difficult feat of paying respect to the Sonny Rollins model without sounding too close to him, performing a different repertoire and coming out with his own fresh ideas within the tradition. While none of his originals will likely become a standard in the future, the melodies are pleasing, the chord changes inspire creative playing, and Dayna Stephens is heard throughout in top form, making Liberty an excellent opportunity for listeners to discover the talented saxophonist.
This fine outing is available from www.daynastephens.net.
Christopher Hollyday was one of the Young Lions of the 1980s, a very talented young alto-saxophonist who was most inspired by Jackie McLean and Charlie Parker. He made his first recording as a leader when he was 15, toured with Maynard Ferguson, and led four excellent albums for the Novus label during 1988-91. However after that period, he largely disappeared from the national jazz scene, becoming a jazz educator based in San Diego by 1996.
Just last year, Hollyday re-emerged, recording his excellent album Telepathy in a quintet with trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, pianist Joshua White, bassist Rob Thorsen, and drummer Tyler Kreutel. Dialogue is his follow-up and he utilizes the same talented musicians.
While Telepathy (which has become the name of his group) featured boppish versions of six jazz standards, Dialogue mixes together standards, obscure material, and three swinging Hollyday originals. The leader has grown through the years, largely shedding the Jackie McLean influence in favor of Phil Woods while developing his own voice within the hard bop tradition. Castellanos’ solos are as fiery as ever and White takes some creative improvisations while leading the tight rhythm section.
Whether it is his “Dialogue,” Horace Silver’s lesser-known “Kiss Me Right,” “On The Trail,” the vintage ballad “Dedicated To You,” or Mal Waldron’s “Minor Pulsation,” Christopher Hollyday is in prime form throughout this set. If jazz had a comeback of the year award, he would be this year’s winner. This set (and the preceding Telepathy) is highly recommended and available from www.christopherhollyday.com.
Veteran tenor-saxophonist Charles Lloyd celebrated his 80th birthday in style, performing at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre on March 15, 2018. The night’s performances have been released in two different ways. The deluxe box set is available as two-CDs or three Lps along with a DVD that has all of the night’s music, plus a 96-page hardcover book. Included are guest appearances by pianist Gerald Clayton, organist Booker T. Jones, and bassist Don Was.
I have the other smaller set which consists of a single CD and a DVD that cover the first half of the night’s music which, judging by reviews, seems to be the most rewarding performances. The four lengthy numbers (ranging from 9:01 to the 21-minute “Dream Weaver”) team Lloyd with guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland. The music ranges from free form improvising to some heartfelt ballad playing by Lloyd on “La Llorona.”
Charles Lloyd sounds pretty ageless throughout these performances, constantly stretching himself, never seeming to run out of creative ideas, and playing with a light but full tone that has been his personal signature since the 1960s. Lage sounds quite at home in this loose setting, acting as a perfect foil and an inspiration to Lloyd while Rogers and Harland contribute stimulating support.
Any listener who has enjoyed Charles Lloyd’s music in the past will certainly want this set whatever the format. It is available from www.bluenote.com.
I Surrender Dear
Throughout his career, Peter Brotzmann has consistently been one of the most ferocious of all improvisers. From the start when he recorded For Adolphe Sax in 1967, and in the years since, his music has been characterized by no-nonsense free improvising that is full of violent sounds and forbidding explorations.
I Surrender Dear is a rare departure. This recent set of solo musings has Brotzmann surprising everyone by mostly exploring vintage standards including such songs as the title cut (heard twice, sandwiching the rest of the program), “Con Alma,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and Sonny Rollins’ “Sumphin.” While displaying a large tone a little reminiscent at times of Ben Webster and Rollins, Brotzmann is mostly in restrained form, improvising melodically and only hinting now and then at his usual playing. He embraces the melodies and mostly plays out of tempo, as if he was thinking aloud and with nostalgia towards the jazz of his youth.
This unexpected project, which is analogous to Cecil Taylor deciding to explore music from Teddy Wilson’s era, is available from www.trost.at.
The Duo Sessions
Lennie Tristano was a very original pianist who became an influential teacher. While one can hear bits of Earl Hines and Bud Powell in some of his early playing, Tristano developed his own voice in the 1940s that was independent of the bebop movement, and he helped lead the way towards both cool jazz and the avant-garde. His emphasis on lengthy melodic improvising while accompanied by light steady rhythms, along with his general virtuosity and ability to create endlessly over common chord changes, was quite unique.
Tristano became reclusive in his later years, particularly after visiting Europe in 1965, and his last recordings (other than accompanying singer Betty Scott) were believed to be in 1966. However the recent release of The Duo Sessions has three duet dates from later years and shows that, despite being off records, Tristano had not lost a thing.
Six songs are from Oct. 15, 1970 and team the pianist with tenor-saxophonist Lenny Popkin whose approach to improvising has similarities to Warne Marsh. Their collaborations are full of restrained excitement. There are also eight duets with drummer Roger Mancuso from 1967-68 that, even with the drum accents, put the focus on the pianist’s creative abilities on such contrafacts as “Minor Pennies,” “Home Again,” and “My Baby.” Most intriguing of all are a pair of free improvisations ( “Concerto Part 1” and “Concerto Part 2”) that are the only recorded duets that Tristano ever made with a fellow pianist, Connie Crothers. Dating from 1976, this final statement (so far) from Lennie Tristano shows that he never lost his inventiveness.
The Duo Sessions is quite valuable and available from www.dottimerecords.com.
Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra
Live From Nashville
Ryan Middagh, who was born and raised in Iowa, has been part of the Nashville jazz scene since 2007. A studio musician as both a saxophonist and an arranger-composer, Middagh is also the Director of Jazz Studies at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School Of Music. In early 2018 he founded the Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra which is comprised of some of the top jazz musicians in town. Live From Nashville is their debut recording.
The 18-piece orchestra (counting the leader who plays baritone sax on some of the numbers) is joined by four special guests during a wide ranging set of swinging music, all of it arranged by Middagh who also contributes four originals. The opener, “The Commissioner,” is a medium-tempo blues which, after fine solos from bassist Patrick Atwater and altoist Alex Graham, becomes a showcase for the always-wondrous trombone playing of Wycliffe Gordon. He begins his very expressive solo by duplicating the altoist’s high note and concludes the piece with a brief but wild cadenza. “Marina Arena,” which has the first of two appearances by singer Bethany Merritt, features a dramatic beginning, hypnotic Latin rhythms, a nice vocal, and an excellent extended Jamey Simmons trumpet solo. “Don’t Push” has Middagh’s baritone and pianist David Rodgers getting spots on the ensemble-oriented gospellish arrangement. An uptempo version of Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance” has a fine feature for guitarist Lindsey Miller before Jeff Coffin takes a blazing tenor solo. Coffin’s “Move Your Rug” utilizes New Orleans parade rhythms by drummer Marcus Finnie which inspires boisterous solos from trombonist Roy Agee and Coffin, this time on alto. “Indra Kunindra” is a bit different, a mysterious and dark piece that includes a passionate improvisation from altoist Graham.
The next two performances offer a change of pace. “It’s All Coming Back” is a bluesy number that features guest singer and guitarist Keb Mo’ along with altoist Jovan Quallo. Tenor-saxophonist Don Aliquo guests on his own “Tune For Dee,” a moody ballad that serves as an excellent showcase for his adventurous playing. The high-quality program wraps up with a joyful version of the New Orleans standard “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” that is over 11 minutes long. Bethany Merritt returns for a colorful vocal that includes some excellent scat-singing, the arrangement turns the piece into a medium-tempo blues for a stretch, and there are inventive solos from Middagh on baritone and tenor-saxophonist Evan Cobb while drummer Finnie drives the band.
Anyone with an interest in hearing a modern and swinging big band will certainly enjoy Live From Nashville, an impressive debut by the Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra that is available from www.ryanmiddagh.com.
Jon Hassell has long been a highly original and, in his own way, innovative trumpeter. A sound explorer rather than a jazz improviser, Hassell mixes together acoustic and electronic sounds, aspects of various World Music traditions, minimalism, and plenty of space in his playing. He has long called his music “Fourth World.”
1976’s Vernal Equinox (available from www.jonhassell.com) was his recording debut as a leader. During that period he sought to play Indian ragas on the trumpet but with electrified sounds, a little influenced by Miles Davis. The six performances on this reissue CD blend his trumpet with percussionists (including Nana Vasconcelos) and an occasional synthesizer. The results are both primitive and futuristic, predating both New Age and the ECM sound while not quite sounding like either.
One needs patience in listening to this drone-filled music which often seems to stand still, but the effort is worth it.
Jay Migloiri and Dick Twardzik
Jazz Workshop Quintet
Dick Twardzik (1931-55) was a potentially brilliant bop-based pianist who died at the age of 24 from a heroin overdose. He is perhaps best known for touring with Chet Baker in Europe during his last period but he also worked some engagements with Charlie Parker in 1952, played and recorded with Serge Chaloff, Charles Mariano and Lars Gullin, and led two sessions of his own.
While the main appeal of this previously unreleased performance at a radio station in May 1954 will be Twardzik’s participation, the quintet actually includes more solo space for the excellent tenor-saxophonist Jay Migliori and vibraphonist Johnny Rae who are joined by bassist Jack Carter and drummer Bob Atcheson. The highlights of the boppish set, which is well recorded, include two versions apiece of Terry Gibbs’ “Fatty,” and “Get Happy” plus a piano feature on “’Round Midnight.” The final incomplete “Blues” has Ray Santisi on piano and, as a bonus, there is a synthesized version of Twardzik’s original “Bouncin’ With Bartok” which he never recorded.
Valuable as this CD is historically, fortunately its musical value is also high and the results are enjoyable, making it a must for 1950s bop collectors. It is available from www.freshsoundrecords.com.
Carrie Marshall is a very versatile singer and songwriter based in North Carolina who has had a wide-ranging career. By the time she was a teenager, she was writing her own songs and lyrics. Since then she has performed frequently on the East Coast, lived in Nashville for four years where she worked as a session singer, recorded her debut album (Redemption), and moved to North Carolina in 2008. The multi-talented Ms. Marshall, who joined the Moonlight Stage Company as the music director and songwriting instructor, has written music for films, been an actress, and released her CD Home in 2013 (new compositions written in the style of the classic songwriters including Cole Porter) and a Holiday EP Songs For Christmas in 2018.
Waves is different than all of those projects. It features 11 of Carrie Marshall’s songs including “Monday Blues” which she co-wrote with Tim Ross. The music ranges from passionate bluesy explorations to quieter ballads, from rockish romps to moments of spirituality. Utilizing a band comprised of organist Chuckey Robinson, guitarist Scott Sawyer, either Darion Alexander or Ron Brendle on bass, drummer Jim Brock, tenor-saxophonist Dave Finucane, and occasionally Carter Minor on harmonica and Carrie’s husband actor Estes Tarver on second vocals, the focus is primarily on the singer who also contributes some piano playing.
On Waves, Carrie Marshall shows a great deal of variety in her singing. She is haunting on “Rainy Season” (a song with a “House Of The Rising Sun” vibe although covering a different topic), displays plenty of power on “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” is sensuous on the atmospheric “Under The Moonlight,” and exudes a happy country feel on “Pollyanna.” She hits some particularly strong notes at the end of “Monday Blues,” is touching on the poignant love song “Me, My Lonely Heart, and I” (which has Dave Fox on piano), sounds intense on the rockish “Undone” (which features members of the group Peter Lamb and the Wolves), and is quite passionate on the blues ballad “Dividing Lines.” Waves also includes the gospel ballad “Come Weary Child,” “Phases” (which sounds like a vintage folk song), and the infectious “Waves” which has a powerful guitar solo from Scott Sawyer.
Not that many singers can sound sincere and musical in so many moods and styles, or write such thought-provoking and enjoyable songs. Carrie Marshall, who sings throughout with understated power, occasionally cutting loose in impressive fashion, has created a set of music that is filled with subtle surprises and inner heat. She is a talent well worth following. Waves is available from www.carriemarshall.net.
Joseph Yun is a technically skilled and creative fusion guitarist who is based in Los Angeles. His tone is often rockish but he improvises with the experience of a veteran jazz artist even though he is near the beginning of his career. It’s Time is his recording debut as a leader.
On this fairly brief (38 minute) CD, Yun performs seven of his originals with four different rhythm sections. Best-known among his sidemen are keyboardist Jeff Colella, bassist Ernest Tibbs, and drummer Simon Phillips although all of the musicians are excellent. There are some concise spots for his bassists and some of the other players but the focus is mostly on the leader.
While much of the music would fit into fusion and funk, there are occasional straight ahead sections that prove that Joseph Yun could also play in that idiom if he wanted to. In any case, throughout It’s Time, the guitarist shows that creative fusion has a bright future and that, with luck, he will be an important force in years to come. This fine set is available from www.josephyunmusic.com.
Thinking of Some Other Time
Gerry Bryant has had a busy life as an entertainment lawyer, a volunteer for arts organizations and, most significantly, a world class pianist. Bryant had extensive classical training starting during his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio and continuing at Phillips Academy. At one time he planned to become a concert pianist but took a few detours, earning a law degree at Harvard and broadening his musical activities to include work with jazz, r&b and rock groups. He has released at least nine CDs, led the quintet PocketWatch, and consistently displayed the rare talent of being to play both jazz and classical pieces with equal sensitivity, understanding, and freedom.
That talent is very much in evidence throughout his latest recording, Thinking of Some Other Time, which follows his successful Somewhere In My Imagination and Rhapsodic CDs. Gerry Bryant’s newest effort is, with three exceptions, a set of solo piano performances. He performs originals along with classics by the likes of Chopin, Debussy, Gershwin, Bernstein and Cyndy Lauper.
The opener, Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time,” sets the standard for the project with Bryant contributing a quietly emotional version of a beautiful song. He begins “What A Difference A Day Made” with a classical-type introduction before it evolves into a soulful and optimistic interpretation. Bryant’s “Rhapsody For Piano and Violin (A Ballad in G)” is a duet with violinist Mark Cargill who has also made guest appearances on Bryant’s other albums. Cargill introduces the pretty melody, the pianist continues the mood in his solo, and the two musical friends trade melodic phrases for much of the performance’s second half, building upon each other’s ideas.
Gerry Bryant embraces the famous melody of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and is dramatic on Debussy’s “La Catherdrale Engloutie.” On Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” he creates a boogie-woogie flavored bassline and welcomes guitarist Greg Cook (from PocketWatch) for a heated duet. Bryant adds plenty of subtle creativity to Gordon Lightfoot’s melodic pop tune “If You Could Read My Mind”, and gives Thomas A. Dorsey’s classic spiritual melody “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” an infectious rhythm that is quite effective. Thinking Of Some Other Time concludes with a beautifully interpreted rendition of Chopin’s “Nocturne In B Major,” the thoughtful and picturesque “Lovely Day,” and a soulful duet with Greg Cook on “Think.”
The excellent musicianship, constant creativity, and wide variety in repertoire make Gerry Bryant’s Thinking Of Some Other Time (which is available from www.gerrybryant.com) an enjoyable listen.
Jeong Hwan Park Quartet
Sound Of Bronze
Bassist Jeong Hwan Park was born in Seoul, South Korea. He moved to New York in 2011, attended the New School, and earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from NYU in 2016. He has worked and recorded with Kenny Werner, Alan Broadbent, Rich Perry and Billy Drummond, and played regularly in New York clubs with many young talented musicians. In addition, the bassist has appeared at quite a few international jazz festivals and performed in South America including in Ecuador and Chile. Sound Of Bronze is his debut CD as a leader.
Park contributed all eight compositions for a quartet that also includes tenor-saxophonist Rich Perry, pianist Nitzan Gavrieli, and drummer Takehiro Shimizu. The program begins with “Sound Of Bronze” which, after the pianist emulates what sounds like the tick-tock of a clock, leads into a quietly emotional jazz waltz. Park, Gavrieli and Perry all take fine solos. “A Letter From The North” is a brooding ballad that showcases a strong and a lyrical tenor improvisation. “Blues For GD” is a modernized blues that has a theme that sometimes recalls Thelonious Monk although the structure and solos are more modern.
“Cringe Moments” may have a humorous title but there is nothing cringe-worthy about the hard-driving music. The uptempo swinger inspires some heated statements by Perry, Gavrieli and Shimizu. A contrast is provided on “Ultimo Fin de Semana,” a warm and modern ballad with fine statements from Perry and the leader of bass. “Maldivia” is a thoughtful medium-tempo piece that one could imagine John Coltrane enjoying exploring. The set concludes with the introspective “Entreat” and the passionate and spiritual piece “Oracion.”
Throughout Sound Of Bronze, Jeong Hwan Park provides concise solos, subtle but creative accompaniment of the other players, and eight thought-provoking compositions that are quite original. He has great potential and his debut recording, which is available from www.music.apple.com, has its share of memorable moments.
Girl Gone Wilder!
Alec Wilder (1907-80) was an eccentric but creative composer and a multi-talented individual. Self-taught, he wrote a large series of songs (the music and often the lyrics) of which “I’ll Be Around,” “It’s So Peaceful In The Country,” and “Blackberry Winter” were most popular. He also composed classical pieces and 11 operas, recorded with his unusual Alec Wilder Octet during 1938-40, authored the book American Popular Song: The Great Innovators 1900-1950, and hosted a radio show in which he talked about popular music.
Susannah B, a delightful singer, recorded 14 of Wilder’s songs on her Girl Gone Wilder CD. Full vocal sets of Wilder’s pieces are quite rare but Susannah B. has the vocal chops and versatility to pull it off. She is joined by a rhythm section with guitarist-producer John Ballinger and pianist Michael Farrell, and several horn players (including saxophonist Sal Lozano) with the instrumentation changing from song-to-song, Susannah B. takes the Wilder songs through a variety of styles ranging from swing and modern jazz to cabaret and middle-of-the-road ballads. In addition to his best-known numbers, such obscurities as “Crazy In The Heart,” “Mimosa & Me,” “Don’t Stop,” and “Lullaby Land” receive welcome revivals. And I did not realize that Wilder had written the lyrics to Thad Jones’ “A Child Is Born.”
The release of Girl Gone Wilder is a happy surprise, one that is easily recommended and available from www.susannahb.com.
Charles Owens Trio
Three & Thirteen
Tenor-saxophonist Charles Owens has a big sound and a modern jazz style all his own. He lived and worked in New York during 1992-2004 and had a regular Friday night gig at Smalls for eight years. Currently based in Charlottesville, Virginia where he teaches and plays locally, Owens returns to New York on a regular basis. In his career he has worked with such notables as Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Omer Avital, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brian Blade, and Peter Bernstein among others and has led eight albums of his own prior to his new double-CD Three & Thirteen. The release’s title refers to the size of the groups that Owens is featured with on this twofer.
While Charles Owens displays some of the intensity of John Coltrane and hints briefly at Sonny Rollins during part of “Stardust” and 1970s Stan Getz on “Tron Song,” he has an original sound and personal phrasing that sometimes, in his more rapid lines, is almost staccatoish. He consistently manages to be both soulful and explorative at the same time, sounding quite modern while also being accessible.
The first disc is a trio set with electric bassist Andrew Randazzo and drummer Devonne Harris. The rhythm section mixes together funky rhythms with straight ahead swinging, clearly inspiring Owens to stretch out. He digs into an eclectic program of material that includes Bennie Maupin’s “It Remains To Be Seen,” Burt Bacharach’s “Always Something There To Remind Me” (playing melodically even while the rhythm section is swinging hard), an intense version of Radiohead’s “15 Step,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (which has a particularly inventive framework), and even “God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen.” A highlight is an atmospheric “Stardust” which has bassist Randazzo almost sounding like an orchestra behind Owens. The verse is taken quite slow and the chorus does not emerge until 3 1/2 minutes into the performance. Owens caresses the melody throughout and plays beautifully.
The second disc showcases Charles Owens as the only soloist with the 13-piece 10-horn R4ND4ZZO Big B4nd. Leader Randazzo, who contributed all of the arrangements, and drummer Harris keep the music swinging. The live set consists of three Owens originals, Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out,” Thundercat’s “Tron Song,” and an even better version of “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” The harmonies and chord changes are modern and the way that Owens’ tenor emerges from the dense ensembles and eventually returns is a little reminiscent of John Coltrane on “Africa.” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” benefits from a particularly creative arrangement along with Owens’ impressive playing but there are no slow moments during this colorful performance.
Two of the musical sides of Charles Owens are on full display on Three & Thirteen, an excellent set that is easily recommended and available from www.ropeadope.com.
Johnny Burch Octet
(Rhythm And Blues Records)
When one thinks of bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, the name of Eric Clapton immediately comes to mind since the three masterful musicians formed Cream. However the first time that Bruce and Baker played together was not in a rock group but back in 1963 as members of the Johnny Burch Octet.
Pianist Johnny Burch (1932-2006) was part of the British jazz scene starting in 1959. After a period as a member of Allan Ganley’s Jazzmakers and with Don Rendell’s group, he evolved to become a leader in modern jazz without achieving much fame. He did get to accompany such visiting American greats as Freddie Hubbard, Red Rodney and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and wrote a few songs for the popular singer Georgie Fame.
Jazzbeat has Burch at the head of two different octets, playing live in 1963 and 1965. Other than Burch, Bruce and Baker, the earlier set features trumpeter Mike Falana, trombonist John Mumford, altoist Graham Bond, Stan Robinson on tenor, and baritonist Miff Moule, These seven selections have so-so recording quality but are full of plenty of excitement with the numbers including “Moanin’,” “Del Sasser,” and Burch’s “Nightwalk.” The later group has completely different personnel other than Burch: trumpeter Hank Shaw, trombonist Ken Wray, altoist Ray Swinfield (sometimes recalling Eric Dolphy), tenor-saxophonist Peter King (who later on would become better known as a top bebop altoist), baritonist Harry Klein, bassist Joe Clyne, and drummer Mike Scott. Their 11 numbers, which have pretty decent recording quality, include “Milestones” and two versions apiece of “Oleo,” “Stolen Moments,” and “The Champ.”
On both broadcasts, the playing is top-notch and at the level of their American counterparts. The music is very much in the modern mainstream of the mid-1960s, forward-looking while never hinting at the music of Cream. This enjoyable release along with many other worthy sets is available from www.historyofrnb.net.