This final installment of a 1975 concert in Amsterdam finds tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan in fine form, joined by Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. The set includes an extended workout of Jones' "Seven Minds," Sonny Rollins' calypso favorite "St. Thomas" (which is marred somewhat by problems with the master tape), and two enjoyable works by Walton. Like the previous two volumes, this one is also recommended.
The second of three volumes recorded in 1975 featuring tenorist Clifford Jordan with Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins finds the quartet in top form. Walton's "Midnight Waltz" is the first of three extended performances, the upbeat midtempo waltz featuring a rollicking solo by its composer, while Jordan's suave playing is buoyed by Higgins' driving rhythm. Walton's "Bleecker Street Theme" sounds more like a set closer due to its barely one-minute length; then the focus turns to standards, including a spacious treatment of "I Should Care" that has Jordan taking quite a few liberties with the melody from the very beginning, followed by a glistening interpretation of "Stella by Starlight." The CD reissue adds Higgins' tribute "Alias Buster Williams," which opens with a drum solo and then transforms into an uptempo post-bop setting with a Latin undercurrent as the band is added.
The first of three CDs featuring tenorman Clifford Jordan and his "Magic Triangle" (pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins) has fairly lengthy versions of "Pinocchio," "That Old Devil Moon," Walton's "The Maestro," and Jordan's "The Highest Mountain." Recorded live in Amsterdam, the musicians sound inspired by each other's presence, and there are many strong solos from Jordan and Walton. Well worth investigating.
In a way, Brown was the Wynton Marsalis of his time; like Marsalis, Brown came on the jazz scene following a period of significant stylistic change. However, unlike Marsalis (who rejected the free jazz made famous by the generation just preceding his own), Brown chose to embrace the innovations of his immediate elders. In the process, Brown became one of the great post-Gillespie trumpeters, developing a voice that spoke the language of bebop with a distinct, personal inflection. In September 1953 – having just recorded his first dates as a leader for Blue Note – Brown went to Europe with Lionel Hampton.
Whether at the helm of a record date or as a sideman, Clifford Jordan was known for giving his all. These studio recordings were originally made for Strata East, a label known for its adventurous spirit. The tenor saxophonist leads two separate groups. The sextet selections include trombonist Julian Priester, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassists Wilbur Ware and Richard Davis, drummer Albert Heath, and trumpeter Don Cherry. Jordan's pensive "Vienna" is given an extended workout, with Cherry's somewhat abstract playing fitting in rather well. The second piece, Jordan's "Doug's Prelude," is also a bit brooding, showcasing the leader, Priester, and Kelly.
Although undoubtedly an expensive acquisition, this ten-CD set is perfectly done and contains dozens of gems. The remarkable but short-lived trumpeter Clifford Brown has the second half of his career fully documented (other than his final performance) and he is showcased in a wide variety of settings. The bulk of the numbers are of Brownie's quintet with co-leader and drummer Max Roach, either Harold Land or Sonny Rollins on tenor, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow (including some previously unheard alternate takes), but there is also much more.
Happily, Blue Note Records and Michael Cuscuna have reissued this wonderfully relaxed recording, which dates from a very fertile period of the renowned jazz label's history. Tenor saxman Jordan was influenced by and shares influences with Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Hank Mobley; the early inspiration of Lester Young can also be heard. On this date, the selection of tunes is pleasantly balanced between three originals, two bebop standards, and Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady." Trumpeter Art Farmer's playing is up to his usual high standard - thoughtful, sensitive and technically brilliant. Pianist Sonny Clark is captured during the most prolific phase of his ten-year recording career; together with bassist George Tucker and drummer Louis Hayes, they create a solid, swinging and simpatico rhythm section.
Lee Morgan’s first meeting on record with Clifford Jordan was in June 1957, when Morgan was about to turn nineteen and Jordan had just begun making a name for himself. After their first collaboration, the precocious Morgan occasionally called Jordan to play tenor on his recordings; thus they recorded together twice in 1960 and once in January 1962.