Archive for the Max ROACH Category

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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The Max ROACH 4 – Plays Charlie Parker 1958

Posted in JAZZ, Max ROACH on December 13, 2010 by whoisthemonk

The Max ROACH 4 – Plays Charlie Parker 1958
1995 Issue.

Jazz

All songs written by Charlie Parker except “Raoul” (Maxwell Lemuel “Max” Roach), “This Time The Dream’s On Me” (Harold Arlen/John Herndon “Johnny” Mercer), “Tune-Up” (Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson) and “Anthropology” (John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie/Charlie Parker).

The music on this CD finds drummer Max Roach for the first time dropping the piano out of his quintet and performing with a pianoless quartet. With the departure of Sonny Rollins (who is replaced on three songs apiece by either Hank Mobley or George Coleman), Roach’s group (which also featured trumpeter Kenny Dorham and either George Morrow or Nelson Boyd on bass) was temporarily without any major innovators (outside of the leader). So it was perfectly fitting that Roach would look backwards and perform six of Charlie Parker’s compositions. Highlighted by “Yardbird Suite,” “Confirmation” and “Ko Ko,” this set is generally fine although the lack of a piano is really felt on some of this material. ~ Scott Yanow

Recorded in New York on December 20 & 23, 1957 and April 11, 1958. Originally released as THE MAX ROACH 4 PLAYS CHARLIE PARKER on EmArcy (SR 80019) and as MAX ROACH + 4 & MORE on Mercury (Japan) (195J-39). Includes liner notes by Brian Priestly and original release liner notes by Dom Cerulli.
**
The music on this CD finds drummer Max Roach for the first time dropping the piano out of his quintet and performing with a pianoless quartet. With the departure of Sonny Rollins (who is replaced on three songs apiece by either Hank Mobley or George Coleman), Roach’s group (which also featured trumpeter Kenny Dorham and either George Morrow or Nelson Boyd on bass) was temporarily without any major innovators (outside of the leader). So it was perfectly fitting that Roach would look backwards and perform six of Charlie Parker’s compositions. Highlighted by “Yardbird Suite,” “Confirmation” and “Ko Ko,” this set is generally fine although the lack of a piano is really felt on some of this material.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
**
With the break-up of the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, the legendary drummer would take some curious, experimental paths toward greater musical freedom, chief among them the elimination of a pianist or chordal instrument. On some of his recordings–“Max Roach at Newport” on Mercury comes to mind–he even replaced the pianist with a tuba player(!) but to less than productive or satisfying effect. Roach’s recordings from this period did not establish any vital directions in the music, nor do they hold up as well today as do the musical paths taken by Miles, Coltrane, Ornette, or Bill Evans. (Elvin Jones tried similar instrumentations beginning in the late sixties but was far more successful, to my ears, in supplying the colors and textures normally provided by the piano. Gerry Mulligan, on the other hand, always compensated for the missing piano through the polyphonic textures of a 2-3 horn frontline.)

“The Max Roach 4 Plays Charlie Parker” is not a recording I go to often, and when I do it’s for some of the inventive melodic work by Hank Mobley and George Coleman, who split the tenor sax duties on the date (unfortunately, none of the tracks includes both musicians).

If you’re a Roach addict and appreciate relatively straight-ahead jazz sans piano, this recording may hold some appeal.
Bt Samuel Chell.
**
Max Roach- (Drums),
Hank Mobley, George Coleman- (Tenor Sax),
Kenny Dorham- (Trumpet),
Nelson Boyd, George Morrow- (Bass).
**
01. Yardbird Suite
02. Confirmation
03. KoKo
04. Billie’s Bounce
05. Au Privave
06. Parker’s Mood
07. Raoul
08. This Time The Dream’s On Me
09. Tune-Up
10. Anthropology (Thriving On A Riff)
**

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Max ROACH – Deeds, Not Words 1958

Posted in JAZZ, Max ROACH on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Max ROACH – Deeds, Not Words 1958
1991 Issue.

Jazz

Master jazz drummer Max Roach pretty much put the “be” in bebop, playing with practically every major figure in jazz, from Bird to Dizzy to Miles to …    Full DescriptionMingus and more. It’s a tribute to his own musical vision that his numerous solo recordings are just as worthy as his famous sessions. Roach’s first solo date for Riverside, 1958’s DEEDS, NOT WORDS, nevertheless finds the drumming doyen in grand company. Listening to the fleet-fingered musical dialogue between Roach and saxophonist George Coleman on “It’s You or No One,” or the way trumpet demon Booker Little blows the roof off of “Jodie’s Cha-Cha,” it’s immediately clear that a major part of Roach’s genius lies in surrounding himself with jazz giants who can bend notes, beats, and phrases to their desires in just as seamless a manner as the man on the skins.
**
With the tragic deaths of Clifford Brown and pianist Richie Powell in 1956, Max Roach’s first great quintet literally lost two of its members. Kenny Dorham and Ray Bryant would replace Brown and Powell and Max’s new group was called the Max Roach Plus Four, and it featured the tenor saxophone talents of none other than Sonny Rollins. By 1958 it proved too difficult to keep a band with this many individual stars together, and Roach founded a new quintet, featuring George Coleman on tenor sax and another young, immensely gifted trumpeter (who himself would die tragically in few short years) named Booker Little. This group made excellent recordings for Mercury (recently collected with other sessions as “The Complete Mercury Max Roach Plus Four Sessions on the Mosaic label), and this title “Deeds, Not Words” for Riverside. This album is a classic, solid hard bop affair led by Raoch’s driving stick work, and surprisingly by Ray Draper’s robust tuba! Not that Little, Coleman and bassist Art Davis (he is replaced on one track by Oscar Pettiford) aren’t in great form too, because they are indeed. You can take my word that “Deeds, Not Words” is a great disc, or better yet you can do the deed yourself. Go out and buy it!
By Michael B. Richman.
**
George Coleman- (Tenor Sax);
Booker Little- (Trumpet);
Ray Draper- (Tuba);
Oscar Pettiford, Art Davis- (Bass);
Max Roach- (Drums).
**
01. You Stepped Out Of A Dream 7:46
02. Filide 7:06
03. It’s You Or No One 4:13
04. Jodie’s Cha-Cha 4:56
05. Deeds, Not Words 4:34
06. Larry-Larue 5:12
07. Conversation 3:48
08. There Will Never Be Another You 5:51
**

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