Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - The Complete Cookbook Sessions (Solar, 2010)

During the late 1950's and early 1960's tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis was a very busy man, playing in well regarded groups with Johnny Griffin and this group with the organist Shirley Scott. The organ and tenor format was very popular in the clubs of the northeast US during this time period with fertile scenes in New York, Newark, Philadelphia and other places. This set collects the three "Cookbook" albums Davis and Scott made with Jerome Richardson on flute and tenor saxophone, George Duvivier on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums, and also includes some odds and ends from other sessions. The music on these discs shows that the band's repertoire was grounded in blues and ballads with swinging uptempo tunes also making their presence felt. Davis had a deep and rough tone on the tenor saxophone that was immediately recognizable and served him well on both riff based burners (he was featured in the Count Basie band in the mid '60's) and lyrical ballads. Scott had developed a swirling, gospel tinged style of organ playing that ceded the bass work to Duvivier and concentrated on creating swirls of driving sound on the uptempo pieces and lush backdrops for the ballads. Richardson was the wildcard, adding swooping flute and extra saxophone heft that took these albums away from the standard "grits 'n' gravy" organ and tenor sessions. Discs one and two collect the band's cooking at full boil with strong uptempo performances in "The Chef" and the tenor feature "Have Horn Will Blow." A heartfelt and longing version of the standard "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" features biting and lyrical tenor and lavish organ accompaniment. "Blue Lou" takes them deep down in the alley for a storming performance of gritty saxophone and brisk organ. Disc three warps up the collaboration with songs that appeared on other LP's like well known Davis performances "The Rev" and "Jaws." A bonus session has Scott switching to piano for a selection of standards and ballads. Fans of the organ and tenor sound will certainly gravitate toward this collection if they don't already own the records. The liner notes are well done with photographs and clear re-prints of the essays from the original albums. Complete Cookbook Sessions -

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