Jackie McLean - Climax (1965)
Certain solos are so ferocious they literally take your breath away. JMac’s solo on this tune is, in my humble opinion, one of his top five moments on record. You can really hear how much drummer Jack DeJohnette and the rhythm section—made up of Larry Willis and Larry Ridley—drive him upward, outward and into the stratosphere on this cut. Sensational stuff.
[L to R] Larry Ridley, Patricia Greaves (waitstaff) and Roy Haynes at Lennie’s on the Turnpike, Salem MA, February 1964
(from the Salem State Archives on Flickr)
Larry Ridley and Thelonious Monk performing circa 1972
Larry Ridley performing with the Young Giants of Jazz, Bologna Italy, 1973
Hank Mobley - The Break Through (1965)
From Ira Gitler’s original liner notes:
“The Break Through,” by Hank, is an unabashed, straight-ahead cooker with its roots planted firmly in bop. As in most Mobley compositions, there are interesting twists and turns, and the writer-leader makes good use of them. After Morgan’s short solo, Mabern alternates a single-line with his two-fisted style before Higgins and the horns trade “fours.”
Mobley and Morgan together = Happy place.
Hank Mobley - Ballin’ (1965)
Hank Mobley was a genius. Dig it.
Jackie McLean - Kahlil the Prophet (1962)
Happy birthday Jackie.
Jackie McLean - Soft Blue (1965)
Similar to an earlier post highlighting the hard bop symbiosis of Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan lighting up the Englewood Cliffs studio, this recording introduces the great Jack DeJohnette to the Blue Note stable, and he provides a unique backbeat to this Morgan cut. The secret sauce on this recording, however, is the additional trumpet of Charles Tolliver, who together with Morgan and McLean, completes a memorable front line.
Freddie Hubbard - Cunga Black (1965)
I woke up with this song resolutely stuck in my head. I haven’t listened to this LP in months, so I attribute the sudden appearance to the specific mysteries of a remarkably catchy, whistle-able melody. It seems serendipity often dictates how a song makes its way here.
Lee Morgan - Cornbread (1965)
This LP is a must-have, not simply because of the lineup, which is astonishing even for the time, but for the fact that it captures all these players in the midst of a collective musical and creative peak.
On this tune, Morgan’s solo literally bursts out of the gate, crackling and building layers of virtuosic groove. Mobley then takes a short but thoroughly breathtaking turn on tenor, and McLean screams out for some with his instantly identifiable sharp tone. Everything is underpinned by Herbie Hancock’s swinging accompaniment (He was deep into his run as 1/3 of Miles Davis’s rhythm section), and the ubiquitous syncopated rhythms of the one and only Billy Higgins. Seminal.
Lee Morgan - Ceora (1965)
Hands down the most beautiful ballad Morgan ever wrote. Hank Mobley is in a particularly lyrical mood, in this song and on the entire LP. Herbie Hancock also shines in accompaniment.
Hank Mobley - Recado Bossa Nova (1965)
Hank’s bag of Brazilian tricks, part deux.