Clifford Brown & Max Roach
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Clifford Brown And Max Roach
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In his brief career, Clifford Brown provided a new model for trumpeters, combining crisp articulation, fluent lines, and a beautifully brassy sound. When this material was recorded in 1954, Brown had only recently formed the quintet with drummer Max Roach, but the strengths that would make it a preeminent group were already apparent. Both Brown and Roach delighted in an incendiary precision, fast tempos on complex material played with joyous ease, and tight rhythmic definition. Brown's inspired invention is apparent everywhere, from the pensive Ellington ballad "What Am I Here For?" to Bud Powell's sleek "Parisian Thoroughfare," while the more relaxed, boppish tenor of Harold Land is a fine complement. Among Brown's tunes for the sessions, "Daahoud" and "Joy Spring" would become frequently played anthems of the hard-bop movement. --Stuart Broomer
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Highly recommended for the jazz fan.
Guess what folks, I'm gonna keep the second identical unopened copy. It's that good . . . if that makes any sense..
As a drummer, I'm partial to Max Roach and along with the album "Drums Unlimited", which features some of his solo pieces like "The Drum Also Waltzes", this is one of the best ways to hear what Max is up to in conventional group. He's very tasteful in his accompaniment with dynamics and his solos make a lot of logical sense and have lots of space. For beginning drummers, it's a more accessible path to workable solos than starting out with Elvin Jones or Tony Williams but no less deep in its own away.
All of the tunes are great and the arrangements make these definitive versions of the these tunes. "Joyspring" is a favorite. If you like chord changes like this tune or "Daahoud", consider it an encouragement to go deeper into jazz harmonically and head towards the Wayne Shorter arranged stuff like Speak No Evil and the deeper Blue Note sound. "Parisian Thoroughfare" is a Bud Powell standard and that points toward more Parker influenced bebop like his Dial sessions or Complete Bud Powell on Blue Note. "Blues Walk" is just fun and points toward some of the big band or swing era stuff where folks just blow. Duke Ellington's Newport '56 is a great album if you want to hear another famous blues solo.
There's other great stuff here as well and it's nice to have the ballad bass feature of "These Foolish Things" added on.
It's tragic that Brownie's life was cut short but this and the rest of the music by this quintet is a testimony to a spiritual joy that can accompany disciplined mastery of jazz. This is music that speaks to both head and heart.
The list of trumpet giants who were his disciples includes Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton -- and this undoubtedly is not all. Listen to this CD, and you'll understand why. Brownie's tone was always crisp and incisive (without becoming like scraping your fingermails down a blackboard). Whether playing up-tempo or caressing a ballad, his ideas were consistently logical and lyrical -- and so original that some of his solo licks are among those most frequently quoted by other musicians.
If Brownie had never played an instrument but had only written originals like "Joy Spring," "Daahoud,"and "Parisian Thoroughfare," his place in Jazz as a composer alone would be assured. "Joy Spring" has to be one of the most uplifting pieces of music ever penned, and the band does a matchless job on it here.
One of the most underrated tenor sax players is Harold Land, who works superbly with Brown in the ensemble passages. His solo work on this CD should have catapulted him to a level of fame rivalling the best of them.
Max Roach was already known for his work with Charlie Parker and others as the quintessential modern drummer. He continues to evolve as an artist on this album.
Pianist Richie Powell may not have been the brilliant comet his brother Bud was, but the quirky charm of his playing (for my ear) fits in beautifully with this group and often provides a change of mood after the slick solo work of the front line.
Space doesn't suffice for all the superlatives that could be written about this album and about arguably the best-loved trumpet player of them all -- Clifford Brown. He has been greatly missed. Don't deprive yourself of the endless joy this album will bring you.