The historic Eric Dolphy/Booker Little quintet that helped to change the face of mainstream modern jazz has a second volume of their legendary live performances at the Five Spot Cafe issued, including two previously unreleased bonus tracks from the original LP. This release is further proof why this ensemble was an important stylistic bridge between the Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane quartets. The incredibly visceral, extroverted sound Dolphy extracts from his alto sax, flute, and especially bass clarinet is something to behold, while the rest of the group follows suit in supporting the wayward notions of their leader while not standing in perhaps the shock and awe of him, as were the patrons in attendance must have been that night.
Kenny Burrell is a jazz guitar icon and probably the better known of the three members of the group but don't let that bother you because all three are on fire through out this live recording from start to finish. I once had this rare recording on cassette but was glad to find it here on cd. Thanks Amazon. Bobby Broom along with Rodney Jones are some of the best of the newer breed of jazz guitarist and are both masters of the jazz guitar.
In 1958, Pepper Adams and Donald Byrd were pivotal members of a sextet led by Chicago tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. They also formed their own quintet with fellow Detroiters Doug Watkins and Elvin Jones, and the then-rising star Bobby Timmons as the fifth wheel. This album, one of the first club dates recorded for the Riverside label, may have presented logistic problems with the acoustics, mic placements, and reel to reel tape technology, but there were no such issues with the extraordinary music contained on this effort. A tight, in tune and exciting ensemble, Adams and Byrd laid it all out for this single 39-minute set of modern jazz at the Five Spot Café in New York City. The symmetry between the witty and raw baritone sax of Adams and Byrd's stirring and sometimes strained trumpet is the stuff of legends, and the hallmark of the bop to hard bop era.
Just after John Coltrane left him and before the arrival of Charlie Rouse, Thelonious Monk formed a quartet with Johnny Griffin, which played at the Five Spot in New York in August & July, 1958. Half of this music was issued on two original Riverside albums: “In Action” and “Misterioso”. This edition contains all known music from these famous gigs plus as a bonus, a rare sextet selection by Monk including Griffin, Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams.
After having left the ensemble of Charles Mingus and upon working with John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy formed a short-lived but potent quintet with trumpeter Booker Little, who would pass away three months after this recording. Despite all of the obstacles and subsequent tragedy, this quintet became legendary over the years – justifiably so – and developed into a role model for all progressive jazz combos to come. The combined power of Dolphy and Little – exploring overt but in retrospect not excessive dissonance and atonality – made them a target for critics but admired among the burgeoning progressive post-bop scene.
Digitally re-mastered two CD collection containing the complete recordings by the Eric Dolphy Quintet with Booker Little made live at the Five Spot Café in 1961. This material originally appeared on three separate LPs (Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot Vols. 1 & 2 and Memorial Album) It has become legendary, not only for it's high musical quality, but also due to the fact that both talented horn men died at a tender age soon after. Booker Little passed away on October 5, 1961, at the age of 23, and Dolphy on June 29, 1964, at the age of 36.
The urban mythology surrounding this non-professional recording – suggesting that Naima Coltrane (aka Mrs. John Coltrane) was running tape during this particular set – is fortunately true. Fortunate, that is, for lovers of bop or anyone who ever wished in vain that they could be transported to a legendary night such as the one captured during this short disc. The raw nature of this audience tape more accurately reveals the reality of experiencing a performance during the Five Spot's halcyon days. What can also be found beyond the sporadic chatter and general hubbub of a New York City Harlem nightclub is arguably the strongest aural evidence of the unique working rapport these two jazz icons shared.
This limited-edition CD reissue covers six tracks recorded in the studio (since they obviously omit any of the background noise, and the usual out-of-tune piano heard on live dates recorded at the long defunct New York City nightclub is missing). The band includes trumpeter Al Kiger, trombonist David Baker, tenor saxophonist Dave Young, bassist Chuck Israels, and drummer Joe Hunt, along with Russell's sparse piano. Things kick off with a driving take of Miles Davis' "Sippin' at Bells," which features great interaction among the horns.