Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Your Last Hope
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elmo Hope was a fabulous piano player, but is sadly unknown in most jazz circles today. His lack of recorded material was primarily the result of problems with drug addiction, which led to multiple, prolonged incarcerations (one of his albums was titled "Sounds from Rikers Island"), and ultimately his premature death at the age of 44 in 1967. I first heard Elmo more than 15 years ago when I purchased Harold Land's The Fox (see my review), and I later picked up Trio and Quintet in Blue Note's Connoisseur Series when it came out in 2005. However, within the past three months I have stumbled upon two inexpensive, remarkable discs by the pianist. The first was Complete Studio Recordings: The Master Tapes, a 4CD set on the Spanish jazz label Gambit, which I found on the Berkshire Record Outlet website -- see my review of Al Grey and Dave Burns Sessions for more info. The second was "Homecoming" at a local Newbury Comics, which by the way seems to have hundreds of remaindered Fantasy/OJC titles at ridiculously low prices -- check them out if you live in the New England area, or online here in the Amazon Marketplace! Well considering the price I paid for both, the duplication of this title's four trio tracks was worth it. And as good as that June 29, 1961 session is (Percy Heath on bass, Philly Joe Jones on drums), the real gem on "Homecoming" is the date from one week earlier featuring a sextet of Blue Mitchell, Jimmy Heath and Frank Foster joining the same rhythm trio. Of course there are only three original compositions performed by this stellar group, with two of the songs -- "Moe Jr." and "A Kiss For My Love" -- having alternate versions included as well. Despite the scant selection of songs, this is a priceless opportunity to hear a truly unique jazz voice. And with so many of Elmo's discs now going out-of-print, this may be your last chance to hear Hope."