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The Matador

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 5, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

A brilliant 1964 quartet session with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones. Green cooks from first note to last with some of his purest jazz playing.
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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10:23
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9:10
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11:41
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000005HDH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,238 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tyler Smith on April 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Flowing and endlessly inventive in its own right, "Matador" is also a great musical document in that it unites half of John Coltrane's quartet and Sonny Rollins' bassist (Bob Cranshaw) behind Green's liquid guitar. While Coltrane in particular was in the midst of reinventing jazz as we know it at the time of this release (1965), his sidemen, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, seem perfectly at ease with Green's relaxed but firmly swinging approach.
Particularly interesting from an historical perspective is Green's reworking of "My Favorite Things," the show tune that Coltrane had made famous in 1960. Trane reworked it many times, and by the time of his volcanic performance at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival, it bore little resemblance to the gentle, Eastern-flavored waltz he'd created three years before.
Green brings "My Favorite Things" back to the way Coltrane originally recorded it. Tyner plays the familiar recurring vamp and Jones sets up the waltz beat over which he lays multiple rhythms. Because Green played a single-note style with little or no chording, the guitar easily takes the place of Trane's soprano sax.
The only way that I can describe Green's solo on the tune is that it sings. He stays with the complexity of Jones' drumming as well as Trane would and remains in firm control throughout the course of a great solo that recalls the saxophonist's work and phrasing without ever sacrificing his own unique voice. Careful jazz listeners who have not already done so will enjoy playing Grant's version of "My Favorite Things" back to back with any and all of Trane's incarnations.
The CD includes a great bonus track as well: the Bacharach tune "Wives and Lovers," which was recorded by Dionne Warwick.
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Format: Audio CD
Some might say that it takes guts to use Coltrane's rhythm section from "My Favorite Things" and go into the studio to do that song as the centerpiece of an album, but Grant Green was a musician to pull it off--with spades. Maybe it's just that I spent so many hours of my wasted youth in listening to Coltrane, but I find Green's rendition of the song as interesting as Coltrane's. And there are some tracks that surpass that even. "Matador" showcases Green as among the most inventive and skillful improvisors of his generation. The title song is a catchy melody replete with improvisational possibilities, and Green exploits them to the fullest. This was a guitar player who could turn a song inside out and discover the possibilities of a simple structure. On the popular front he was eclipsed by Wes Montgomery and George Benson, but his skills are more on the level of Jim Hall (the consummate guitar master to my mind). Tyner's solo on the title track is an excellent example of his improvisational technique at its best. "Matador" is a fine recording, and to my hearing Green's version of "My Favorite Things" is equal to Coltrane's. The rhythm section sounds familiar, but Grant Green's guitar has a linear fullness that washes Coltrane's soprano saxophone from my ear. The solos that emerge from the little riff of Green's "Green Jeans" are magnificently clear and clean--linear in movement and coherence. In Duke Pearson's "Bedouin" Green's explicit statement of the theme is followed with intricate variations. Tyner follows, and Elvin Jones' drum solo is a Jones solo--full of texture and variety. It's a Jones solo. Not as predictable as Blakey, man. The bonus track is Bert Bacharach's "Wives and Lovers," and it's not bad.
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Format: Audio CD
I felt very surprised when I heard Green's version of "My Favorite Things", and backed by Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner.
Having Green's inventive guitar work in place of Coltrane's passionate sax, allows one to better compare this music with some of the more transcendental, guitar-influenced, polyrhythmic rock music that came out around the time of this recording
(Hendrix, Doors, Santana, etc.). One can really hear the influence of artists like Coltrane, Green, Tyner, and Jones on rock musicians. Actually on this recording Green makes a strong case for the belief that all the good riffs and sounds in rock music have been sampled or stolen from jazz and blues greats. I mean, listen to Bedouin, or My Favorite Things, and ask yourself if you've ever heard more thoughtful, enlightening jam sessions. Green, Jones, Tyner, and Cranshaw are all very lyrical musicians, and to have them come together on this recording represents a truely special occassion in Jazz. It doesn't get much better than this in a quartet setting.
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Format: Audio CD
Not much else I can say apart from what the fan from Milwaukee said. This is Grant Green. He works great with Elvin. And they've done a whole bunch together... with and without Larry Young. Check them all out. Keep Green's name alive!
This albums is beautiful. It is real nice to hear them cook on My Favorite Things. I always wonder what Coltrane's Atlantic version of the song would have sounded like had it been recorded by Bluenot. But by this time, Elvin and McCoy had been playing the song for almost 5 years. They knew every in and out, every nook & cranny. Sounds like they enjoyed the freshness of this version with Green. And Green he is. He introduces simplicity to the song, but lifts the song like a balloon in the breeze.
Matador, the song, has that Green styled sound to it. A lot like Jean De Fleur on Idle Moments. As does Green Jeans, another Green original. Both tunes work up a nice, smooth medium tempo, with some mean guitar licks, filled with all sorts of space and feel.
Bedoiun is a treat. Grant played on this Duke Pearson original for the recent release of Bobby Hutcherson's The Kicker which had been sitting in the Bluenote vaults for 35 years. Curiously, Mike Cuscuna who was the reissue producer and liner note writer for The Matador and The Kicker, writes in this album (Matador) that The Kicker was a somewhat disappointing session, and then in the liner notes for The Kicker has mostly nothing but praise. Go figure. Listen to it yourself. Pick it up! Grant is playing on that one too... albeit only on three tracks! But they're good.
So I'd say though, pick this album up. Idle Moments and Talkin' About are great... classics! But this one is too. Get it. The sound is pretty nice Bob Cranshaw's bass is a little muddy, but the rest sounds nice. This session is real nice...
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