Thursday, May 24, 2012

I remember Clifford Part 2

In Part 1 I provided some of my favorite albums in which Clifford was a leader of co-leader. I also referenced a pair of essential albums featuring Clifford at Birdland with Art Blakey in this post. In this post I am going to add a few additional essential albums. In my final post that should be finished in another day or so, I'll provide some nice-to-have albums on which Clifford backed Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington.

First is the Complete Quebec Jam Session. This album delivers a lot more than the title suggests. It not only contains the July 28, 1955 in Quebec, but radio and TV broadcasts through 1956. While the quality is spotty, the value of this album remains high for Clifford Brown fans because it provides even more examples of his playing.

Tracks 1-6 are the Quebec jam. Clifford on trumpet, with Rob McConnell on trombone, Harold Land on tenor, Max Roach on drums and Richie Powell on piano and George Morrow on bass. Here is a clip from that part of the album forgive the noodling - it adds to the ambiance in my opinion:

Tracks 7-11 are from a radio broadcast from the Bee-Hive, Chicago on November 1955. Clifford on trumpet, Billy Wallace on piano, Max Roach on drums, George Morrow on bass, Leo Blevins on guitar and Sonny Rollins and Nick Hill on tenor.
Tracks 12 & 13 are from a radio broadcast from the Storyville Club, Boston in early 1955. Clifford Brown on trumpet, Max Roach on drums, George Morrow in bass, Richie Powell on piano and Harold Land on tenor. From that broadcast:

Tracks 14 & 15 are from a Soupy Sales TV program from Low Angeles in early 1956 (a nostalgic trip for we baby boomers!) Clifford was backed by Richie Powell on piano, Max Roach on drums and George Morrow on bass. Here it is:

For a die hard Clifford Brown fan this is an essential addition to a collection because it provides further examples of his playing in less formal settings and on radio (and TV) broadcasts.

Next up is Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street. This is a live recording captured at the Basin Street Club, NY on May 6,1956. The historic value of this album is that it's the last non-bootleg recording that Clifford (and Richie Powell) made. Both perished shortly afterwards in a car accident, depriving jazz of one of the most gifted trumpeters and solid pianists. In addition, there is Sonny Rollins who had established himself as a force to be reckoned with as both a leader and sideman by the time he appeared on this album.
Each track features Clifford's gorgeous tone and playing, but I agree with another reviewer that Richie Powell's piano was a standout too. I guess lights burn the brightest before they are extinguished. The rest of the rhythm section comprised of George Murrow on bass and the great Max Roach on drums laid a perfect foundation for Clifford and Sonny. From the album:

Last Concert. I am not going to argue about sound quality, which is admittedly less than optimum. Instead I am grateful for the legacy left behind on this album. To put it into perspective, would a newly discovered yet marginally audible and scratchy wax cylinder of Buddy Bolden merit disappointment or elation? For me it would be elation.
Tracks 1-7 were recorded at the Continental Restaurant in Norfolk, Virginia on June 18, 1956. Eight days later both Clifford and pianist Richie Powell (also on this disc) would perish in a car accident. The ensemble captured on this recording consisted of Clifford on trumpet, Sonny Rollins on tenor, Richie Powell on piano, Max Roach on drums, and George Morrow on bass. For those who do not know - Richie was Bud Powell's brother. Clifford's tone, articulation and musical genius are all evident on every track. The entire ensemble is hot and in spite of the recording quality is an historic treasure and shining example of music at its best in my opinion. From that session:

The remaining tracks are from the 1955 Newoport Jazz Festival, recorded a little less than a year earlier (July 16, 1955). This set (tracks 8-12) includes Clifford on trumpet, Harold Land on tenor, Richie Powell on piano, Max Roach on drums and George Morrow on bass. The last track is spectacular. It's a jam with the following musicians: Chet Baker and Clifford on trumpet, Paul Desmond on alto, Gerry Mulligan on baritone, and the rhythm section comprised of Dave Brubeck on piano, Norman Bates on bass and Joe Dodge on drums (essentially the Dave Brubeck Quartet as it existed at that time, plus Clifford, Chet and Gerry.) here is the finale from that venue:

In my final post I will provide some albums on which Clifford backed some of my favorite divas. Enjoy.

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