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Maggie's Back in Town

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Audio CD, February 17, 1992
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Audio, Cassette, October 17, 1990
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 17, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ojc
  • ASIN: B000000YWJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,054 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Demon Chase
2. Willow Weep For Me
3. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
4. Sunset Eyes
5. Maggie's Back In Town
6. Summertime
7. Brownie Speaks

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By William Faust on June 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Before buying this disc I was guilty of pidgeon-holing Howard McGhee as strictly a bebop trumpeter based on his earlier associations with Fats Navarro and others. But this recording from 1961 shows his range and versatility. Sure, there's a bop-influence here but there's also plenty of driving swing (hard to miss with Manne & Vinnegar as the engine) and ballads to make us "mainstreamers" happy. The charts are tight, the playing excellent and the recording first rate. I was surprised and delighted by this CD and have yet to tire of it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Dawson on September 15, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Like so many of his generation, after flying to the highest point during the halcyon '40's, bopper Maggie took a nose dive during the fifties only to stabilise and get his phenomenal talent back on track towards the end of that decade. Drug abuse has a lot to answer for but if you want a real indication of just how magnificent this player was then go to the Coleman Hawkins 'Hollywood Stampede' session. No other date during that period showcased Maggie's idolised style like that recording does. Typically, it was Hawkins to the rescue of yet another young talent.

Maggie's Back In Town is just as special, glowing with a suave maturity and rhythmic sophistication, his playing is incredibly fluid, crammed full of glistening notes. Sometimes, as on Demon Chase, open trumpet soloing is followed by a muted section followed by open trumpet again which keeps up a contrasting interest. It's great just to have Maggie the only horn, especially with such a rhythm section where Phineas Newborn Jr. on piano becomes the other main soloist. The choice is sublime as these two are the most perfect foil. Newborn plays a lot of notes also but not just with the right hand, both hands ramble through the complex matrix of his counter point like, dare I say it, a cat on a hot tin roof but scampering across the keyboard. The title track is the albums lengthiest and best at around ten minutes of breath taking, musical adventure where bass and drums have space for their own interplay as well as a fubulous set of exchanges between trumpet and drums.

Maggie's Back In Town swings hard with a soft amber glow that does West Coast Jazz proud and gives the ironic humour of McGhee plenty to smile about.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carter on February 14, 2011
Format: Audio CD
One of the great successes of this album goes not to the musicians (who do indeed all play well), but to the engineer: Roy DuNann. Still vastly undervalued in comparison to his direct contemporary, Rudy Van Gelder, DuNann often created much more natural sounding, and (I'll say it) better sounding recordings than his East Coast counterpart. From the first note, there are virtually none of the drawbacks from recordings of this era -- drums aren't recessed, the piano sounds like it's practically in your lap, and the bass isn't relegated to near inaudibility (or, conversely, booming with each pluck of a string). The sound is warm, life-like, but without the feeling of overutilized EQ-ing.

You can still hear some Roy Eldridge, and even Harry Edison, in McGhee's playing here. The bop influence (mainly Navarro, though McGhee's tone never resembled Navarro's) is somewhat less present, mainly as a result of Maggie choosing his notes more carefully, and more selectively. The liner notes quote McGhee, at this point in his life (after cleaning up from the "tailspin" of addiction, and considerably after his greatest period of recognition), as just wanting to "play himself," and play himself he does. This is in no way second-tier hardbop (or post-bop; or whatever bop you want to call it). Here's a voice that's assimilated the harmonic and melodic advancements since the death of Charlie Parker into his own brand of jazz -- not without any influences, of course, but very much asserting his own choices and personality as a trumpet player. The music swings like mad, is alternately hip at times, and brims with a sense of renewal, very likely because this session was literally a re-newal of McGhee's stature in the pantheon of jazz trumpet players.

This is also some of the best Phineas Newborn Jr.
Read more ›
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