Saturday, August 28, 2010

Clifford Brown, First Recording as Leader, August 28, 1953

Clifford Brown Memorial Album, Blue Note 1526
Tracks 10-18. Audio-Video Studios, NYC, August 28, 1953.

Clifford Brown (trumpet), Gigi Gryce (alto sax, flute), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Art Blakey (drums). 

Track 10. Wail Bait
Track 11. Hymn of the Orient
Track 12. Brownie Eyes
Track 13. Cherokee
Track 14. Easy Living
Track 15. Minor Mood
Track 16. Wail Bait (alt. take)
Track 17. Cherokee (alt. take)
Track 18, Hymn Of The Orient (alt. take)

From Stuart Broomer's Review on Amazon:

Clifford Brown emerged fully formed in 1953, a trumpeter gifted with an ebullient swing and technical skills that added polish and precision to fresh invention. Foregoing both the manic pyrotechnics of Dizzy Gillespie and the laconic introversion of Miles Davis, he also provided a stylistic model for jazz trumpeters that has never gone out of style. This CD combines Brown's first two recording dates as leader, placing him in quintet and sextet settings with some of the core musicians of the New York bop scene. The first nine tracks [recorded June 9, 1953] have Brown in an inspired quintet, prodded by the twisting, off-kilter solos and comping of the brilliant and underrated pianist Elmo Hope and the sparkling complexity of drummer Philly Joe Jones. While altoist Lou Donaldson is deeply in the sway of Charlie Parker, Brown sets his own course, whether it's the boppish "Cookin'" or the standard "You Go to My Head."
The final nine tracks [recorded August 28, 1953] have Art Blakey's drums driving the sextet, while altoist Gigi Gryce's understated concentration acts as an effective foil to Brown's joyous, dancing lines. Taken at a medium up-tempo, "Cherokee" is one of Brown's most effective vehicles. The alternate takes from each session highlight Brown's spontaneous creativity, while Rudy Van Gelder's remastering adds fresh focus to both his gorgeous tone and the explosive drumming.
From Bob Blumenthal's liner notes (2001):

. . . It was at this last session [trombonist J.J. Johnson's first for Blue Note] that [Blue Note founder] Alfred Lion offered the trumpeter a date of his own, which was held on August 28.  By that time, Brown had become a member of Lionel Hampton's orchestra.  he included another Hampton sideman, Gigi Gryce, on alto sax and flute,

as well as Charlie Rouse on tenor.   
Heath was again on bass, together with one of his partners in the recently-formed Modern jazz Quartet, pianist John Lewis.  The drummer was Art Blakey, who would feature Brown on the memorable A Night at Birdland recording for the label six months later. . . .

The final two years of Brown's abbreviated career were spent in partnership with Max Roach and produced his most famous recordings, yet the present performances are in no way inferior.  On the contrary, they announced the musician Blue Note justifiably failed when the sextet session was first released as a New Star on the Horizon--a star that unfortunately shone all too briefly.
Beside musical delight, this recording has personal significance to me: it took place the very day I emerged from the womb into the light. 

I sometimes romantically imagine the synchronicity of Brownie's wailing in the studio and mine in labor and delivery.

C'mon, by how many hours could I be off?