Illinois JACQUET – Desert Winds 1964

Illinois JACQUET – Desert Winds 1964
2004 Issue.


Hats off to Verve for continually culling their vast vaults and re-releasing long out-of-print classic jazz albums as limited edition CDs. Recently this effort has included a bunch of old Argo LPs, including this one by tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet. Though I’m very familiar with this legendary jazzman, it’s hard to believe “Desert Winds” is the first album of his as a leader I’ve ever purchased. And overall it is quite enjoyable as the sextet of Illinois, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Wendell Marshall on bass, Ray Lucas on drums, and Willie Rodriguez on bongos & conga are in top form on this 2/13/64 session. On “Desert Winds” the band breezes through a set of mostly standards with the title track, “Lester Leaps In” and “Canadian Sunset” the highlights. The disc’s one Jacquet original, “Blues for the Early Bird,” also gives us the opportunity to hear Illinois on alto sax.
By Michael B. Rich.
It’s nice that Verve has made this excellent Argo release from 1964 available again. Illinois Jacquet is in great form, and gets excellent support from all involved, especially pianist Tommy Flanagan and guitarist Kenny Burrell. WHEN MY DREAMBOAT COMES HOME is taken medium-tempo and played in the bluesiest manner, which brings out the best of all three frontline men. Flanagan is especially impressive on LESTER LEAPS IN, on which he playes an attention-grabbbing intro and then lays out a sparkling single-note solo later on. Burrell takes a nice solo on CANADIAN SUNSET. Jacquet presents a rare treat on BLUES FOR THE EARLY BIRD by playing alto sax, but is super fine on STAR EYES, which is the highlight of the album. This is one of those albums that could easily have fallen through the cracks into oblivion had it not been reissued; grab it while it’s still available.
By Bomojaz.
The group acquits itself admirably on hard-swinging bop (“Lester Leaps In”), aching, wistful ballads (“You’re My Thrill”), and loping ’60s grooves (“When My Dreamboat Comes Home”). “Blues for the Early Bird” allows Jacquet to stretch out, while the title track, with its beautiful, serpentine melody, seems to meld Latin rhythm with a vague Eastern flavor (Jacquet and Burrell turn in especially tasteful, lyrical solos on this one). Dazzling individual chops and group interplay abound throughout, making DESERT WINDS a fine slice of soulful early-’60s jazz.
First recognized for his bright tone and proto-R&B approach, Illinois Jacquet rose to prominence in the 1940s playing with Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie. DESERT WINDS (recorded in ’64) finds Jacquet in a somewhat more reflective mode than the hyped-up style for which he is known. The laconic, bluesy contributions of guitarist Kenny Burrell, and a rhythm section that includes Latin drumming from the distinctly grooving Willie Rodriquez help craft the subtle mood. The warm, pristine sound associated with Rudy Van Gelder’s engineering (the album was cut at his studio) doesn’t hurt either.
Illinois Jacquet- (Alto Sax);
Kenny Burrell- (Guitar);
Tommy Flanagan- (Piano);
Wendell Marshall- (Bass);
Ray Lucas- (Drums);
Willie Rodriguez- (Congas, Bongos).
01. When My Dreamboat Comes Home 5:22
02. Desert Winds 4:20
03. Star Eyes 4:16
04. Blues For The Early Bird 3:17
05. Lester Leaps In 7:38
06. You’re My Thrill 3:53
07. Canadian Sunset 6:13

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