Archive for the Junior MANCE Category

Junior MANCE – Straight Ahead 1964

Posted in JAZZ, Junior MANCE on December 17, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Junior MANCE – Straight Ahead 1964
T 2218

Jazz

Of the three recordings Junior Mance made for Capitol, two were within a big-band format. Straight Ahead is the second of the two large-group recordings. The band is populated by some of the top studio musicians and bandmembers on the West Coast, including Don Fagerquist and Pete Candoli on trumpet, Milt Bernhart on trombone, and Shelly Manne on drums. Bob Bain fronts the group and wrote the charts. The major difference from the previous recording is that it’s all brass here; no reeds are present. Combining Mance’s natural blues-inflected piano with a big horn sound is a true aural treat. The result is a musical conversation with each side taking turns playing on or over the melody line. On “Li’l Darlin’,” the band plays the familiar slow-drag melody while Mance improvises on top. There’s a heated call and response on “Happy Time,” with Mance going out swinging against blaring riffs by the brass. A similar swinging conversation takes place on “The Late, Late Show,” with the band kicking off the cut with a roaring trumpet call. Usually a large-ensemble format doesn’t allow for much diversion from the charts. Here it’s clear that the band stayed with the charts, but Mance was allowed a good deal of leeway in his playing. He could respond to the call of the band as he saw fit. The result is a dynamic session combining the best of a disciplined brass assembly with the unfettered play of a top jazz improvisor.
By Dave Nathan, All Music Guide.
**
Bass- Monty Budwig
Drums- Shelly Manne
Guitar, Arranged By- Bob Bain
Piano- Junior Mance
Trombone- Lew McCreary , Milt Bernhart , Vern Friley
Trombone [Bass]- George Roberts , Kenny Shroyer
Trumpet- Al Porcino , Don Fagerquist , John Audino , Pete Candoli , Ray Triscari
**
A1. In a Mellow Tone   2:28
A2. Hannah Strikes Again   1:45
A3. Li’l Darlin’   4:52
A4. Diane   2:43
A5. Happy Time   2:35
B1. The Late, Late Show   2:07
B2. Fine Brown Frame   2:08
B3. Señor Mance   2:11
B4. Stompin’ at the Savoy   2:57
B5. Trouble in Mind   2:18
B6. The J.A.M.F.   2:10
**

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Junior MANCE – Happy Time 1962

Posted in JAZZ, Junior MANCE on December 11, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Junior MANCE – Happy Time 1962
1999 Issue.

Jazz

Pianist Junior Mance was in excellent company on this inspired 1962 session with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Mickey Roker. Its unfortunate this trio only recorded together on this one date as their unity propels the blues, gospel, and bebop ideas Mance consistently feeds them. The program is highlighted by three Mance originals “Out South,” “Taggie’s Tune,” and the torrid joy of the opening theme “Happy Time,” along with versions of “Jitterbug Waltz,” “Tin Tin Deo,” and Mance at his soulful bluesy best on Clark Terry’s “The Simple Waltz.”
Al Campbell, All Music Guide.
**
Junior Mance- Piano
Ron Carter- Bass
Mickey Roker- Drums
**
01. Happy Time 6:17
02. Jitterbug Waltz 5:22
03. Out South 5:28
04. Tin Tin Deo 4:42
05. For Dancers Only 5:50
06. Taggie’s Tune 4:39
07. Azure Te 5:36
08. The Simple Waltz 5:20
**

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Junior MANCE – Sweet Lovely 1960-1961

Posted in JAZZ, Junior MANCE on November 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Junior MANCE – Sweet Lovely 1960-1961
2004 Issue.(From Lps: Soulful Piano Of J.M. 1960 & Big Chief 1961)

Jazz

In the `60s, the terms “soul-jazz” and “organ combo” went hand-in-hand — frequently, but not always. Although organ combos dominated soul-jazz in the `60s, there is another valuable part of `60s soul-jazz that isn’t discussed quite as much: piano trios led by funky, soulful players like Ray Bryant, Bobby Timmons, Ramsey Lewis, and Gene Harris. All of those artists demonstrated that earthy down-home soul-jazz didn’t have to have an organ, and Junior Mance was also well aware of the piano’s possibilities as a soul-jazz instrument. The Chicago native has often made it clear that piano jazz (to borrow Marian McPartland’s term) can also be soul-jazz — a fact that is quite evident on Sweet and Lovely. This 2004 release unites two of Mance’s early-`60s sessions on a single 77-minute CD: The Soulful Piano of Junior Mance and Big Chief (minus the Big Chief track “The Seasons,” which Fantasy omitted due to space limitations). Both albums were produced by Orrin Keepnews for Jazzland/Riverside, and both of them find Mance leading cohesive piano trios. Whether Mance is joined by bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Bobby Thomas on Soulful Piano, or bassist Jimmy Rowser and drummer Paul Gusman on Big Chief, the pianist is in fine form throughout Sweet and Lovely. Mance excels on 12-bar blues themes, and he is equally convincing on standards that range from George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” to Thelonious Monk’s “Ruby, My Dear”. Occasionally, Mance ventures into cerebral territory; “Love for Sale” and the original “Swish,” for example, underscore the Chicagoan’s ability to play tough, complex, demanding bop changes at a fast tempo. But most of these trio performances thrive on groove-oriented accessibility and will easily appeal to those who prefer their jazz on the melodic side. ~ Alex Henderson
**
The heyday of hard bop was a boon for jazz piano enthusiasts. New names on the ivories surfaced continuously like seedlings after a fresh rain. Along with the acknowledged masters like Powell and Monk were their second generation acolytes: Bobby Timmons, Cedar Walton, Harold Mabern and Junior Mance among them. Like their forbearers these fellows paid their dues as sidemen. A Chicagoan by birth, Mance got his first high profile gig with Gene Ammons. Future employers included Lester Young, Cannonball Adderley as well as a recurring spot at the Windy City watering hole The Beehive Lounge where he served as pinch-hit piano man for Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Stitt. Quite an enviable resume and all before he hit the age of 32. The steady exposure led to a contract with Milestone Records and the two albums reissued here, his first and third for the label.

On both of the dates collected here Mance isn’t especially adventurous in terms of his tune choices, but his playing is quite often agile and creative with an emphasis placed on propulsive drive rather than structural complexity. Toe-tapping blues patterns fuel the bulk of the seventeen tracks with a judicious balance between standards and originals adding to the variety. Tucker shows himself the better of the two bassists, but Rowser fulfills his role competently. The two drummers come across basically as session men, doing what’s required behind their respective kits, but little more. Gathered under somewhat slapdash title The Soulful Piano of Junior Mance , the first nine cuts find pianist capitalizing on a keen confluence between his hands and fingers. “The Uptown” is a marvel of interlocking rolls and adroit accents as his left holds down a funky stride-derived vamp and his right tinkles away with a string of variations. “Ralph’s New Blues” almost sounds like a continuation, so seamless is the transition, starting slow and quickly gaining steam under the aegis of the leader’s bright rippling progressions. Drummer Bobby Thomas spends a surprising amount of time wielding brushes and his relaxed sensitive demeanor only augments the after hours ambience of the session.

Big Chief! , the second platter represented, reflects the then-vogue kitsch of all things Native American only in its cash-in title. A wise move on the part of Mance as it wards off any chance of the date sounding dated. Even the eponymous piece avoids any faux Indian rhythms and instead focuses on some particularly punchy bass work from Rowser reeled out on a corpulent walking line. The menu is much the same with a cerulean hue tinting much of the action. Was there a keyboardist in the Sixties who didn’t take a stab at “Summertime”? Mance notches his name in the long roster of interpreters with a muscular reading that transforms the theme into a steady strolling march emphasizing momentum over sanguine reflection. Another standout of the session is “Swish,” a feature for second drummer Paul Gusman who paints the purpose of the title in bold relief with his supple and speedy brush play before stoking the fires with some ferocious stick-driven press rolls. Around the time of these sessions Mance was also tapped as the pianistic sparkplug for the joint tenor venture of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Johnny Griffin. No doubt the music on the first of these albums had something to do with their decision to recruit him.
By Derek Taylor.
**
2 albums’ worth of sweet early soul jazz work from Junior Mance — both of them pretty darn hard to find! The records both hail from Junior’s early 60s years — a time when he was getting a bit more freedom to stretch out on the keys and work through some soulful inflections — in a style that was encouraged by the contemporary success of pianists like Ray Bryant and Bobby Timmons. Like those two, Junior’s working here in a style that’s dripping with influences from gospel and blues, yet which also still firmly swings in a jazz-based sensibility — lightly gliding up and down the keys, with help from either Ben Tucker or Jimmy Roswer on bass, and Bobby Thomas or Paul Gusman on drums. The set’s got 17 tracks in all, with lots of original tunes — and titles that include “Uptown”, “Ralph’s New Blues”, “Main Stem”, “Playhouse”, “Sweet & Lovely”, “In The Land Of Oo Bla Dee”, “Swish”, “Swingmatism”, and “Big Chief”. Note: CD omits the track “Seasons” from the album Big Chief due to space restrictions.
From Dusty Groove.
**
Junior Mance- (Piano);
Ben Tucker, Jimmy Rowser- (Bass);
Paul Gusman- (Drums);
Bobby Thomas, Jr.- (Drums).
**
01. The Uptown 2:12
02. Ralph’s New Blues 4:24
03. Main Stem 4:44
04. Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup 3:27
05. Playhouse 4:14
06. Sweet And Lovely 3:44
07. In The Land Of Oo-bla-dee 4:36
08. I Don’t Care 4:27
09. Swingmatism 5:12
10. Big Chief 4:16
11. Love For Sale 4:48
12. Fillet Of Soul 4:27
13. Swish 3:38
14. Summertime 5:20
15. Ruby, My Dear 4:46
16. Little Miss Gail 4:45
17. Atlanta Blues 5:52
**

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