Earl HINES – Once Upon a Time 1966

Earl HINES – Once Upon a Time 1966
Recorded 10 & 11 January, 1966
2003 Issue.


Once Upon a Time is a 1966 studio album by Earl Hines, accompanied by members of the Duke Ellington orchestra
For reasons that are unclear, this LP reissue of an Impulse set drops one of the seven songs (“Black and Tan Fantasy”) from the program, reducing the playing time down to a mere 29 minutes. But if one finds this LP at a budget price, it is worth picking up, for the great pianist Earl Hines is featured on three selections with many of the members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra (including on the exciting “Once Upon a Time” and “Cotton Tail”), in a quartet featuring Jimmy Hamilton and with a nonet that also includes clarinetist Pee Wee Russell along with some Ellingtonians. Great music, lousy packaging.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
Once Upon a Time (Impulse) is basically a 1966 Ellington date with Earl “Fatha” Hines at the piano and trumpeters Ray Nance, Cat Anderson, Bill Berry and Clark Terry; trombonists Lawrence Brown and Buster Cooper; saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Harold Ashby and Paul Gonsalves; and clarinetists Jimmy Hamilton and Pee Wee Russell (!). The big surprise, though, is the inclusion of bassist Richard Davis and drummer Elvin Jones on more than half the numbers. It’s quite amazing to hear how well these two fit in while still expressing their own dynamic, and at times explosive personalities. Everyone has his moment on what is essentially a blowing session. Brown brays and moans on “Black and Tan Fantasy,” and drummer Sonny Greer is positively slammin’ on “Cottontail.” Nance sings about a woman “who don’t need no hair at all” on Lionel Hampton’s “The Blues in My Flat,” and Hines plays a hip two choruses on his own “You Can Depend On Me” before giving way to Russell’s delightfully spasmodic clarinet solo. The most incredible moment may well belong to Terry, whose pocket trumpet solo with plunger on the title track is brash, playful and ultimately stunning. He starts his solo with clipped swinging phrases, follows it with perfectly placed repeated notes that end with a shake instead of a vibrato and then caps it up on the high wire with a tricky figure I had to listen to three times before I could figure out what he did.
By Larry Appelbaum.
To me this is a perfect jazz album. It has so much variation in the styles that one can never get bored listening to it. We have some hard bop tracks; Hash Down and Once Upon a Time, then we get some slow modals with Fantastic, That’s You, some blues with The Blues in My Flat, even a spaghetti western type jazz with Black and Tan Fantasy. The only other Earl Hines disc I own was recorded in 1957 and that was just as amazing as this one, 9 years apart. On this recording you can tell that the band seemed to have a lot of fun playing these sessions simply because I can almost see the smiles on thier faces while the players each do thier own solos, which are marvelous. I’m a big Impulse! fan and this one stands out by far in my collection and sadly it was the only recording he did with the label.
By Mark.
Clarinet- Pee Wee Russell (tracks: 02, 05 to 07)
Clarinet, Tenor Sax- Jimmy Hamilton (tracks: 01, 03 , 04)
Piano- Earl Hines
Alto Sax- Johnny Hodges (tracks: 01, 02, 04, 07) , Russell Procope (tracks: 01, 02, 04, 07)
Tenor Sax- Harold Ashby (tracks: 01, 02, 04, 07) , Paul Gonsalves (tracks: 01, 02, 04 to 07)
Trombone- Buster Cooper (tracks: 02, 01 to 03) , Lawrence Brown (tracks: 01, 02, 04 to 03)
Trumpet- Cat Anderson (tracks: 01, 02, 04 to 07) , Ray Nance (tracks: 01, 02, 04 to 06)
Bass- Aaron Bell (tracks: 02, 03, 05 to 07)
Drums- Elvin Jones (tracks: 01, 03, 05, 06) , Sonny Greer (tracks: 02, 04, 07)
01. Once Upon A Time  7:55
02. Black And Tan Fantasy  5:11
03. Fantastic, That’s You  4:09
04. Cottontail  3:11
05. The Blues In My Flat (Vocals- Ray Nance)  8:00
06. You Can Depend On Me  5:00
07. Hash Brown  3:43

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