Sunday, January 08, 2006

Harold Vick - Straight Up (RCA, 1966)

Late in 2000, Sonny Rollins put out a much praised album called This is What I Do that included an original song called "Did You See Harold Vick?" I liked the tune, and decided maybe I would check out this Vick guy. Well, almost six years later I finally get around to hearing one of his albums, and you know what? Mr. Sonny is right... he's really good! "If I Should Lose You" has Vick performing a rich, lyrical deep tenor solo accompanied strongly by pianist Al Dailey. "Like a Breath of Spring" Is a gentle bossa nova with a with a swanky, nearly loungish arrangement built around fingerpicked guitar. After letting this build, Vick enters improvising over the groove with a deep, patient sound.

"Gone With the Wind" is taken at a medium boil with Virgil Jones' trumpet keeping pace with Vick's tenor saxophone while playing the theme before the tenor breaks free for a solo. Some strong, deep tenor playing is the order of the day here. The title song "Straight Up" is short and sweet at 2 1/2 minutes. Jones is let loose for a nice trumpet solo before Vick, not to be undone, storms in with a strong and blustery solo of his own. This song also features an attractive but brief vibraphone solo from Warren Chiasson. The entire band gets to hone their ballad chops on a nicely well paced "We'll Be Together Again." It says on the back of the LP that this is a "well rounded program of standards and originals by Harold Vick and his combo." Truer words were never spoken. This record was just re-released on compact disc and it will be a treat to fans of straight-ahead jazz. Thanks for the tip!

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