Curtis Fuller - Da Baby (1958)
It flies under the radar, but this recording is well worth a listen for some signature swing-times. The two trombones toot well together with the rollicking rhythm section led by the myth, the legend, the brilliant Sonny Clark.
There is no groundbreaking modal post-bop here, just a straight-ahead, hip-shaking swing-a-long.
Horace Parlan - Congalegre (1960)
A groover from the vault.
Bobby Hutcherson - Mirrors (1963)
Friday afternoon vibes care of Bobby Hutcherson, recorded one month after and with the same personnel as Grant Green’s seminal Idle Moments.
This would have been Bobby Hutcherson’s first LP as a leader for Blue Note, but it wasn’t released until 1999 as part of the Blue Note Connoisseur Series. This Joe Chambers piece offers a premonitory glimpse at the type of sound that Hutcherson and Chambers would cultivate throughout the 60s together.
Ike Quebec — Easy - Don’t Hurt (1961)
Stanley Turrentine - Cotton Walk (1962)
This is Sonny Clark’s final appearance on record, just three months before his death in 1963.
Swing in peace, Sonny.
Bobby Hutcherson - The Kicker (1963)
This bright, soon-to-be-made-famous-by-Horace-Silver tune by Joe Henderson would have featured on Bobby Hutcherson’s first Blue Note LP, recorded just a month and a half after the exact same personnel came together for Grant Green’s groundbreaking Idle Moments. Bummer these tracks didn’t see the light of day for another 36 years.
Curtis Fuller - Five Spot After Dark (1959)
There’s something about a Benny Golson tune from this era that offers a definitive version of jazz as it can sound: relaxed but swinging hard, with a melody that begs whistling.
Benny Golson - Blues After Dark (1959)
This tune is from a trio of overlooked, underappreciated Benny Golson LPs from the late 50s that offer a final glimpse of Golson before his playing fell under the spell of the mighty Coltrane, who around this time began to cast a preponderant shadow over every tenor who wasn’t Coltrane.
This tune tells us all we need to know about Golson as a composer and a player. He was a genius of the blues, and the intensely cool, swinging buildup to his solo is a perfect counterweight to Coltrane’s frenetic “sheets of sound.” It’s a shame the jazz found here was out of favor so soon after it was realized.
Grant Green - Idle Moments (1963)