Benny Golson - You’re Mine, You (1957)
Yes to the romance.
If I Should Lose You (Rainger-Robin) by Wynton Kelly from Piano Interpretations (1951, Blue Note) album
Wynton Kelly, piano
Oscar Pettiford, bass
Lee Abrams, drums
Thanks for posting this exquisite early moment with Wynton Kelly.
Moonlight In Vermont - Wynton Kelly (Piano Interpretations, 1951)
Jimmy Heath - On The Trail (1964)
Listening to this version of On The Trail alongside another recorded two years later by Donald Byrd and a crack squad of hard boppers leads to only one conclusion: both versions delight.
It is always an occasion to hear the Heath brothers—in this case Albert and Jimmy—play together. Add Wynton Kelly, Kenny Burrell and Paul Chambers to the mix, and the session enters “must-listen” territory.
Benny Golson - Alone Together (1962)
Happy birthday to Wynton Kelly; he would have turned 81 today.
Kelly supports Golson here with Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb, who would subsequently become the legendary “Wynton Kelly Trio.”
For pure listening pleasure, check out the trio’s quintessential interpretation of Tadd Dameron’s If You Could See Me Now with Wes Montgomery. Peerless.
Miles Davis - ‘Round Midnight (1961)
From Miles Davis’ autobiography:
"I also got to know Thelonious Monk better when I was working with Bean [Coleman Hawkins’ nickname]; Monk was in the band, too. Denzil Best was playing drums. I really liked Monk’s tune, “‘Round Midnight," and I wanted to learn how to play it. So I used to ask him every night after I got through playing it, "Monk, how did I play it tonight?" And he’d say, looking all serious, "You didn’t play it right." The next night, the same thing and the next and the next and the next. This went on for a while.
"That ain’t the way to play it," he would say, sometimes with an evil, exasperated look on his face. Then, one night, I asked him and he said, "Yeah, that’s the way you play it."
Man, that made me happier than a motherfucker, happier than a pig in shit. I’d gotten the sound down. It was one of the hardest. “‘Round Midnight” was very difficult because it had a complex melody and you had to hang it together. You had to play it so you could hear the chords and changes and also hear the tops; it was just one of those tunes that you had to hear. It wasn’t like a regular eight-bar melody or motif and it stopped, like in a minor key. It’s a hard tune to learn and remember. I can still play it, but I don’t like to do it too much now, except maybe when I’m practicing, alone. And what made it so hard for me to play was that I had to get all those harmonies. I had to hear the song, play it, and improvise so that Monk could hear the melody.”
Wynton Kelly and Gene Ramey at the Sonny Rollins Volume One session, Hackensack NJ, December 16 1956
Grant Green, Hank Mobley and Wynton Kelly at Mobley’s Workout session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, March 26 1961 (photo by Francis Wolff)
Wynton Kelly Trio - Blues On Purpose (1965)
Headphones recommended if you have ‘em handy for this majestic Wynton Kelly Trio blues; Paul Chambers’ bowed, sing-along bass solo is a sublime experience despite the less-than-stellar recording quality.
Wynton Kelly during Sonny Red’s Out Of The Blue session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, December 5, 1959 (photo by Francis Wolff)
Hank Mobley - Hello Young Lovers (1961)
On Mobley’s classics from 1960-61: Soul Station, Roll Call, Workout and Another Workout, he connects deeply with Wynton Kelly’s impeccably lyrical accompaniment. They played and recorded during almost the entirety of 1961 together in the Miles Davis Quintet, in addition to cutting Mobley’s four albums. It’s a shame they only recorded together once more after this session.
Miles Davis - Walkin’ (1961)
After Coltrane left the Miles Davis Quintet, Miles hired Hank Mobley. It was a very difficult year for Mobley. It is well documented that Miles wasn’t “stimulated” by Mobley’s playing, but it may have been more personal than that. Miles had kicked heroin, and Mobley’s heroin addiction was still very much an issue at this juncture in his life, so this may have provided the schism that drove them apart personally and musically.
As for the music, it’s hard to say how there isn’t something stimulating in the fast-paced groove that Mobley mines on this famous Miles tune. It does help to have the all-time rhythm section of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb backing you up, but you can still detect very different musical directions in the solos of Miles and Mobley.