Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Jazztet - Meet the Jazztet (Argo, 1959)

This was the debut album from the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet, featuring Farmer on trumpet and flugelhorn, Golson's tenor saxopnone and compositions and introducing a very young McCoy Tyner on piano. This wonderful album is one of the "Ur-texts" of the whole hard-bop movement, wedding some blues and gospel feeling to the virtuosity of bebop. "Serenta" is a tune with an upbeat and jaunty feel, giving way to a nice tenor saxophone solo with horn riffs filling in behind. "It Ain't Necessarily So" is a strutting trumpet feature over straight ahead drumming. Tyner contributes a cautious and careful piano solo as well. "Avalon" begins with a drum solo and then opens up with a stuttering trumpet solo and deep and fast tenor saxophone solo. The famous ballad "I Remember Clifford" is next and would fast become a standard along with a couple of other tunes from this album. Farmer takes a sad and forlorn trumpet solo paying tribute to his fallen comrade Clifford Brown.

"Blues March" is another Benny Golson composition that would become famous opening with marching drums and the fanfare of the instantly memorable theme. "That's All Right With Me" has a tandem opening and fast trumpet solo, while "Mox Nix" has a strutting opening and a very nice Benny Golson solo. He doesn't get too many solos on this record, but when he gets one, he makes the most of it. The final standard to be (three on one album!) is "Killer Joe" which features the amusing spoken word introduction before the band kicks in with the theme and the music segues into a nice Golson tenor solo. The term classic is bandied around all to much, but this album truly falls into that "gotta have it" category. Amazing playing from legendary musicians and classic compositions... what more could you want?

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