Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A quintessential blowing session
G B | Connecticut | 07/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, the correct tracklist: 1. The Happy Blues
2. The Great Lie
3. Can't We Be Friends?
4. Madhouse Reading the liner notes, it seems like this album was thrown together on the spot. A bunch of musicians showed up at the Prestige Records office that Friday for a recording session. The original pianist went MIA so they had to wake up Duke Jordan as a substitute. Finally they all trekked over to Rudy Van Gelder's studio in order to make the recording. All the wonderful cliches of a jam session are here: simple arrangements of blues and standards, cooking solos, riffing behind the soloist, trading fours and eights. Despite being under Gene Ammons's nominal leadership, it's fair to say that no single musician really dominates this session. It's nice to hear Gene's huge tenor sound in this context (he's often typecast as a groove or ballad player), and young Jackie Mac really smokes even if he hasn't completely matured as a player yet. Candido's congas provide that extra bit of rhythmic spice. Art Taylor's drumming is as crisp as usual. "Can't We Be Friends" and the title track are taking at a relaxed, moderate pace, allowing the musicians to settle into the groove. "The Great Lie" is absolutely electric here. "Madhouse" is appropriately titled (despite being a thinly veiled "What Is This Thing Called Love") -- a fun, insane romp that builds from trading fours into a final, tri-horn collective improv. There's a sense of friendly competition; you can sense it during some of the trading-fours sequences, when some of the musicians (particularly Jackie) can't wait until it's their turn! I definitely recommend this to any hard bop fan. Sometimes blowing sessions fall flat, but that is certainly not a problem on the Happy Blues."
Say it isn't so.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 03/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No way this album, one of the 4-5 best by a one-of-a-kind American treasure (America's answer to Pavarotti in the world of tenors) should be out of print. I'll confess that with the passing years, I've wearied somewhat of Jackie McLean's sound, but Jug easily compensates. Moreover, all of these players are at the top of their game while burning an indelible groove in the listener's consciousness. At the very least, Amazon could go iTunes one better by making available for download tracks that go for longer that 6-7 minutes in length. That's practically an inexcusable reason for punishing the artist as well as the listener."