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Clifford BROWN & Max ROACH – A Study In Brown 1955

Posted in Clifford BROWN, JAZZ, Max ROACH on December 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Clifford BROWN & Max ROACH – A Study In Brown 1955
1985 Issue. 814 646-2

Jazz

When these nine sides were cut in February 1955, trumpeter Clifford Brown was not even 25 years old, but he’d already emerged as jazz’s greatest trumpeter this side of Miles Davis. Whereas Davis made his mark through conception, composition, and cool tones, Brown was a blowing, blaring, blistering fire who navigated chord changes without a second’s pause. This record will give listeners plenty of chance to marvel at his fleet improvisations and sharp tone, which remarkably never lost its fullness at any speed. The m.o. of the quintet was pretty well set at this point: reinvigorated standards augmented by crafty introductions and taken at full bore; sprite originals with complex melodies; and an urgency unmatched in jazz before or since. Pianist Richie Powell and tenor Harold Land admirably keep pace with the leaders.
By Marc Greilsamer. AMG.
**
This is another outstanding CD headlined by Brown and Roach, with the same fabulous line-up as the 1954 “Brown and Roach, Inc.” You can’t go wrong with either CD, both feature Brownie’s blistering (at times) pace and full rounded tones, Roach’s archetypal bop drumming, soulfully rapid soloing by Harold Land, and consistently excellent, creative work by Ritchie Powell (piano) and George Morrow (bass). Roach adds more texture and flash. His drumming is recorded much better here than on “Brown and Roach, Inc.”; his fans may want to pick this one first
It opens with “Cherokee,” and, after a somewhat trite beginning, Brown and Land get down to it with zip and verve. Land compliments Brown’s tone beautifully, and together they swing and move all over the bop landscape. Ritchie Powell’s long piano lines sound Tatum-esque, and Max Roach is particularly effective here (as he is on “Jacqui” –a clinic in bop drumming!). “George’s Dilemma” features exquisite solos by Brown and an “island” beat. This is a slower, more relaxed number, with superb work by Land and bell-like sounds from Powell. This and “Gerkin for Perkin” are more in the “straight-ahead” genre, and may be enjoyed by bop and non-bop fans alike.
Powell sounds almost Basie-like on “Sandu,” featuring excellent phrasing and dynamics by Brownie. His trumpet is more in the “cool” mode here, and it’s just as incredible as the bop. Finally, “Take the A Train” mirrors the opening number in its somewhat gimmicky beginning (though I happen to like instruments emulating train sounds!), followed soon by dazzling work by all players. Brownie, as always, sounds self-assured and interesting, with soaring high notes. Powell’s atmospheric comping (with a too brief excursion into Monkish dissonance) and Roach’s pyrotechnics continue to astonish. More solos by Brown and Land, and then Roach slows the train down via smooth brush strokes and a final beat on the bass drum.
Although it’s easy to dwell on the solos, this band played great ensemble music: They complement each other superbly. Extending beyond bop, this creative gem is most highly recommended!
By  M. Allen Greenbaum.
**
This CD reissue features the 1955 version of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet, a group also including tenor-saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Richie Powell and bassist George Morrow. One of the premiere early hard bop units, this band had unlimited potential. Highlights of this set are “Cherokee” (during which trumpeter Brownie is brilliant), “Swingin”‘ and “Sandu.” All of the group’s recordings (which have been included in the Clifford Brown ten-CD box set) are well worth acquiring.
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
**
One of the three most important (not to mention brilliant) trumpet players in the history of jazz, Clifford Brown adds to his luster on this varied program of nine engaging tunes. The 1950’s were indeed a “golden age” for jazz, offering up many such recorded programs by trumpet-tenor frontlines plus rhythm section. In the early sixties, modal harmonies began to prevail along with simple melodic riffs played over a single interminable rhythmic pattern. The shift can be heard not only in the musical transformations of Roach-led groups but the ensembles of Miles, Blakey, Silver, and Adderley.

“A Study in Brown” isn’t a perfect session, but it would be hard to fault not just Clifford but the equally sublime Harold Land. Perhaps the man never got his due because his tenor is so completely in synch with Clifford’s horn that the two speak as a single voice during the ensemble sections, uncannily so during the unison passages. It’s not just the tightness but the phrasing and “contouring” of their lines. In fact, it’s Land, more than Clifford, whose attention to dynamics and the “swelling” of phrases assures that the ensemble choruses take on a breathing, living quality (subtleties such as this, incidentally, would be lost, or “flattened out,” were this a Blue Note rather than Emarcy recording).

Land has the unenviable task of following Brown on most of the solos, and he’s invariably up to the challenge. His fluid technique, purposeful melodic ideas, and expressive use of dynamics constitute a musical voice that is no less inimitable and personal than Clifford’s. The primary anticlimax occurs during the Richie Powell piano solos that follow Land’s inventions. On “Land’s End,” Harold takes not only the first but the best of the solos. On a couple of the tunes (e.g. “Take the A Train”) the disappointment is that he’s given less solo time than Clifford.

The trumpet-tenor sax format of hundreds of jazz combos and thousands of recordings certainly was overdone, soon becoming tiresomely limited and repetitious. But not with this pair. The combination of Brown and Land provides a study in colors and textures that’s all but inexhaustible.
By  Samuel Chell.
**
George Morrow- Bass
Richie Powell- Piano
Clifford Brown- Trumpet
Harold Land- Tenor Sax
Max Roach- Drums
**
01. Cherokee  5:44
Written-By – Ray Noble
02. Jacqui  5:11
Written-By – Powell
03. Swingin’  2:52
Written-By – Brown
04. Lands End  4:56
Written-By – Land
05. George’s Dilemma  5:36
Written-By – Brown
06. Sandu  4:56
Written-By – Brown
07. Gerkin For Perkin  2:56
Written-By – Brown
08. If I Love Again  3:24
Written-By – Oakland , Murray
09. Take The A Train  4:18
Written-By – Strayhorn
**
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