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The Fox

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 1, 1988
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 1, 1988)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics
  • ASIN: B000000YJ1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,526 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"The Fox" is Harold Land's finest recording as a leader and is well worth purchasing by anyone who loves good hard bop jazz. Recorded by the Contemporary label in 1959, "The Fox" features the seldom heard trumpeter Dupree Bolton (an aside, another great album featuring Bolton, "Katanga," has just been reissued), Elmo Hope, Herbie Lewis and Frank Butler. If you don't know these players now, you will after one listen because they can all play their you-know-what's off. Another nice feature of the album is all the songs are either Land or Hope compositions, so it documents not only these underappreciated musician's playing talents but their writing talents as well. In the late 60s, Land achieved more notoriety in a quintet with Bobby Hutcherson that recorded several outstanding albums for Blue Note. But his playing has never been better than on "The Fox," his finest hour.
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Format: Audio CD
"The Fox" has to be Lands best record. His style of playing sax is hard to categorize because he has hints of past tenor men like Hawk, Byas, Prez, yet he also sounds very modern with hints of Trane, Rollins, and surprisingly quite a bit of George Coleman. Sharing the studio with Harold are Dupree Bolton on trumpet who has barely been recorded, but it is easy to tell he has been influenced by many of the best trumpeters such as Diz, Clifford Brown, Fats Navarro, etc. Elmo Hope not only a pianist with great chops but great composing skill too. Herbie Lewis a very Ron Carterish type sounding Bassist makes his recording debut here (along with bolton) at 18. Frank Butler is a strong Bop Drummer rooted in the Max Roach/Kenny Clarke tradition.

The title track by Land, resembling the blues, is taken at a speedy tempo, Land, Bolton, and Hope are up for it though. The The second track is an especially interesting ballad titled "Mirror Mind Rose" composed by Elmo Hope. Land comments in the liner notes by saying that in Hopes playing he hears freedom but he hears form in His Composing.

I Strongly reccomend this album to anyone intersted in jazz and particularly bop or hard-bop. It is post-bop oriented and is not to be mistaken for the Cool west coast style.
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Format: Audio CD
When Harold Land left the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet to attend to family matters back in California, he may have forfeited any chance at "stardom," but his recorded legacy is no less sterling. A slight man, whose horn almost seemed to dwarf him, Harold was easy to overlook on the bandstand (I recall how out of place he seemed at a "tough tenors" session matching him with Dexter, Jug, and Jaws). But listening to him carefully and repeatedly on virtually any of his recordings is to experience one of the most ceaselessly inventive, warmly intelligent voices this music has ever produced. No one plays with a cannier sense of logic--it's as if he sees the whole playing field before each of his solos. The destination is clear to him from the outset, and the marvel for the listener is in experiencing his opportunistic note choices and efficient phrases--forward-leaning lines that always reach their target without being predictable.
"The Fox" is not my favorite Land session. One wishes he had included a couple of standards, or that the competent but unexceptional Elmo Hope had been replaced by Carl Perkins or Victor Feldman. But the recording more than lives up to its reputation as a classic. If it's your first exposure to Land, it may be a good idea to begin in the middle of the program. Listen to his elegant, dynamically sensitive phrasing on the head of "Little Chris," then notice how he maintains that glowing, vibrant quality throughout his solo. Compared to a Sonny Rollins (who replaced him in the Max-Clifford group), Harold's is a quiet, unassuming voice, but it's also as purposeful, resourceful, and purely musical as any on record. It requires a certain amount of brilliance to impress an audience; it takes another form of genius to attend to the music exclusive of its effects. Harold Land never wasted a note--which is why his recordings remain priceless.
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Format: Audio CD
Mr Chell's offhand dismissal of Elmo Hope in his review here deserves a response. While The Fox is clearly Land's album--Land provides two of the tunes and recruited Dupree Bolton, who sounds like a far-more-daring version of Dizzy Gillespie--it was also clearly conceived as a session co-led by Elmo Hope, who wrote four of the tunes and solos first on a couple of them. The greatness of the sessions that produced this album, besides the inspired horn work by both Land and Bolton, is that they provided a full-blooded setting for the compositional work of Elmo Hope, whose intricate, puzzle-like tunes were almost snake-like in their complexity, but also dripping with sadness and emotionality frequently all-too-lacking from the "bebop" school from which Hope arose. Elmo Hope was one of the most criminally neglected talents of the 1950s and 60s, and Land at the time was all too aware of it, making The Fox Land's lasting tribute to the audacity of Hope.
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By AndreasG on January 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album is really great. Harold Land is one the most under-appreciated jazz artists ever, possibly due, in part, to his decision to base himself in LA rather than New York. Land is the owner of an immediately identifiable sound on the tenor. All the other players are great, but I was particularly impressed with the trumpet player, whom I didn't know previously. Every cut on this album is strong. If you don't know Harold Land's work, this is a great introduction.
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