Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Booker Little Four & Max Roach
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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A fine debut
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 04/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was Booker Little's first album as a leader. It was recorded the month after Max Roach's _Deeds Not Words_, & in fact the personnel between the two discs is the same except for the replacement of tubaist Ray Draper with pianist Tommy Flanagan, which gives this disc a more straightforward jazz-quintet sound, though Roach's extremely prominent, bouncing drumming does indeed suggest that this is as much his disc as Little's (as does his separate billing on the cover). It's a very good album, though Little is still maturing; there are some interesting if rather self-consciously "advanced" compositions with highly elaborate chord-changes in the 1950s hardbop manner. The tracks I really like most are the two standards, "Sweet and Lovely" (midtempo) & "Moonlight Becomes You" (ballad). These are the tracks where Flanagan's presence is very useful; on the uptempo tracks Roach's hyperkinetic drumming tends to push the piano out of the way. "Milestones" (the 1st of the two Miles Davis compositions of that name) is also rather good, & serve as an interesting stylistic point of comparison, though Little's playing owes much more to his predecessor Clifford Brown than to Davis.The album is expanded here by two long studio jams on standards featuring a very large band (Little & Horace Silver's trumpeter Louis Smith; Coleman & Frank Strozier; Phineas Newborn on piano; Calvin Newborn on guitar; Jamil Nasser on bass & Charles Crosby on drums). They are pleasant enough, though Little only has brief solos on each of them.A good album, but hardly one to compare with Little's work of 1960-61. There are a few hints of Little's later, more experimental work here, in some unusual note choices & his idiosyncratic tone, but mostly this is good, on-the-ball hard bop.[PS: one amusing feature of this album are the rather gaseous liner notes by Jon Hendricks. Though printed as prose, they are in fact doggerel rhymed couplets.]"
Little's first as a leader.
jazzfanmn | St Cloud, MN United States | 03/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The music presented here features trumpeter Booker Little at the beginning of his tragically short carreer. The first 6 tracks have Booker backed by George Coleman on tenor, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Art Davis on bass, and as the title would suggest, Max Roach on drums. A hard bopper with an avant garde imagination, Booker shines on every track on this disc. Only twenty when this album was cut, Booker's tone is bright, brassy, and confident. Coleman, Flanagan, Davis, and Roach all turn in fine performances, but it is Little who is the star. The last two tracks are from a jam session from a different date featuring a tender Ellington composition and a bop standard . The personnel adds Louis Smith on trumpet, Frank Stozier on alto, Calvin Newborn on guitar, With Coleman remaining in the tenor chair. Rounding out the rhythm section are the uncomprable Phineas Newborn on piano, Jamil Nasser on bass, and Charles Crosby on drums. This is a fine set of forward looking hard bop filled with outstanding performances, and since Little's recording career spanned all of three years, he passed away in 1961 at 23, everything he cut is vital and recommended."
Promising Post-Bop Trumpet Statement
Richard M. Gunderson | North Bay, California USA | 01/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The recorded output of Booker Little was painfully small. This album was his first real statement as a session leader. This CD actually consists of 2 separate sessions; the October '58 session which includes most of the album, and 2 tracks from a group session in '58 fronted by altoist Frank Strozier. While these two tracks give us some additional Booker to appreciate, the added bonus is seldom-heard trumpeter Louis Smith. The real core of this CD is the 6 beautiful tracks by Booker, George Coleman, Tommy Flanagan, Art Taylor, and Max Roach. While Booker undoubtedly heard Clifford Brown and Miles Davis, he forged something new and different from those two influences. He really was one of the pioneers of the post Clifford Brown style. His playing on the ballad "Moonlight Becomes You" takes that rather tired tune into another dimension of emotion. Booker at his best had a very vulnerable and melancholy core to his playing that could make you cry. You can hear it on this session, and wonder where it might have ultimately taken him. Highly Recommended!"