A striking little set from vibesman Freddie McCoy – not just for the cool superhero image on the front cover, but also for the tight grooves underneath! The album's one of McCoy's most unified for Prestige – as all tracks feature a core quartet with Freddie on vibes, Charlie Wilson on piano, Steve Davis on bass, and Rudy Lawless on drums – not your usual Prestige players, and all musicians who really make the album sparkle! There's a bold soul jazz vibe running through the set – similar to some of Freddie's other work, but a bit more open too – and titles include a groovy take on "Girl From Ipanema", plus the soul jazz classics "Speak Out, Deagan!" and "Hav' Mercy" – as well as the cuts "Yesterdays" and "Spider Man".
This set covers the last two years of McCoy Tyner's tenure with Blue Note, beginning with the pianist's Expansions, the first album on which his own identity as a leader-composer-pianist came ringing through. With Woody Shaw, Gary Bartz, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter (on cello), Herbie Lewis and Freddie Waits, he fashioned a new sound, inspired by, but not mimicking his work with the John Coltrane Quartet. McCoy blended modality, Eastern music, African elements and spirituality into a music that was unmistakably his own.
This is McCoy Tyner in the Blue Note studios five months after his boss of the previous six years, John Coltrane, had died. Tyner had made albums under his name during the Coltrane period, but this set for a bigger Tyner band, including the tenor saxist Bennie Maupin and trumpeter Lee Morgan represents a more radical break from the more orthodox piano trio or sax-led quartet jazz the pianist had fitfully explored since 1963.
This well-recorded outing (which has been reissued on CD by Drive Archive) was trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's first worthwhile studio recording (with the exception of Super Blue) since the mid-'70s. Essentially a bebop date, Hubbard is teamed with a sextet comprised of altoist Richie Cole, trombonist Ashley Alexander, pianist George Cables, bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer John Dentz; altoist Med Flory sits in on "Byrdlike." Hubbard shows on such standards as "Shaw Nuff," "Star Eyes" and "Lover Man" that he could still play straightahead jazz with the best of them, Alexander is featured on "Stella by Starlight" and Cole is also in excellent form.
This collection on the U.K.'s Soul Brother imprint is a very compelling look at a big slice of Freddie Hubbard's long career as a leader, and one that gets ignored for the most part. Hubbard recorded over 20 records between Backlash, his Atlantic debut in 1966, and Ride Like the Wind for Elektra in 1982, with lengthy stops at Columbia and CTI (as well some straight hard bop and post-bop outings for labels Fantasy and Pablo). In many cases, some of these original recordings were not only disregarded by more traditional jazzheads, they were regarded with outright hostility. It didn't matter to Hubbard, however, because at the time, these were among his best-selling albums and connected with the public deeply.
It seems only fitting that the initial new release on the latest revival of the Impulse label features McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker. When Impulse started out in 1960, John Coltrane and Tyner were the first artists to be signed, and when Impulse was briefly brought back by MCA in the 1980s, two of its most important albums were recordings by Brecker. There are not a lot of surprises on this quartet matchup (with bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott) except perhaps for how well Tyner and Brecker mesh together.
Chico Hamilton Trio Introducing Freddie Gambrell is an album by drummer and bandleader Chico Hamilton released on the World Pacific label. Freddie Gambrell was a little known West Coast pianist playing at San Franciscos Bop City club when, in 1956, Chico Hamilton heard him for the first time. I was so impressed while listening to him play that I felt I must play with this guywhich often happens to a musician when he hears something that he really digs, especially if he is right there when its happeningand so I did, said Hamilton. Gambrells fresh, lively talent was immediately accepted throughout the jazz scene when his playing was heard on his first album, under Chico Hamiltons leadership.
Pianist Freddie Redd has not recorded all that much during his 45-year career, but most of his records have been special events. This particular set has eight of Redd's tightly arranged compositions being performed by a fine sextet that also features tenor-saxophonist Teddy Edwards, altoist Curtis Peagler and trombonist Phil Ranelin.