When Lenny McBrowne and the 4 Souls began gigging in Sacramento and San Francisco clubs they were critically hailed as the greatest promise for the future of West Coast jazz. The leader had gained much of his experience working with Harold Land and playing engagements with Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson and Curtis Fuller. His renowned finesse as a drummer was acquired while mastering the subtleties of his mentor, Max Roach. In these sessions for Pacific Jazz and Riverside, he showed he had become one of the top drummers on the jazz scene, and his young musicians—average age 25—swing hard as a unit. Terry Trotter, Don Sleet and Daniel Jackson are here on top of the demands he placed on them.
Joyce Collins (1930-2010) was an assertive two-handed pianist who listed Erroll Garner and Bud Powell as major influences—incidentally, she was also the first woman jazz pianist to serve on the board of directors of Los Angeles, Local 47, American Federation of Musicians.
When 26-year-old Carmell Jones left his native Kansas for California in August 1960, he made an immediate impact on the high-calibre West Coast jazz scene. Snapped up exclusively by Pacific Jazz, he recorded his first album as a leader, “The Remarkable Carmell Jones,” the following June.
In Memoriam. RIP Mr.Wess. There’s no Count Basie here, but his spirit pervades these relaxed, swinging sessions, not least because five Basie alumni – Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Henry Coker and Eddie Jones – splendidly lead the way. Aided by guitarist Kenny Burrell and drummer Kenny Clarke, with arrangements that offer plenty of space for soloists, this is a typically accomplished, unpretentious Basie-type small group blowing session. The piano-less rhythm section is buttressed by the solid bass of Eddie Jones and a cooking Kenny Clarke, while Kenny Burrell proves a fine comper and a down-home blues player.