Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gil Melle Quartet|
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
A Fascinating Footnote in Jazz
James D. Spackman | Houston, Tx | 07/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Baritone saxiphonist Gil Melle didn't make very many recordings before abandoning the music business to concentrate on other artistic pursuits. This recording for the Prestige label shows him to be an intriguing composer. The performances emphasize tightly arranged ensemble playing, with fine individual playing by the quartet and the "Guests" who include trumpeters Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, and Kenny Dorham. According to Gil's web-site, the credit for Phil Woods is incorrect; rather, the saxophonist on the last three tracks is tenor Zoot Sims. Also according to the web site, Teddy Charles played vibes but doesn't show up in the credits.Melle recorded some quartet tracks for Blue Note which have been re-released as a 3-disc set. He recorded this and several other sessions for Prestige, and then retired from jazz.This disc is not an essential classic, but IS an intersting and enjoyable set of well written and arranged songs that stands up to repeat listening."
Least essential item in a slim discography
that opinionated guy | 06/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"all of gil melle's recordings from the 50s are worth hearing, but this is certainly the weakest of the three cds that represent that period of his career.
"gil's guests" basically features the baritone saxophonist in three different septets, two of which sound terrific.
the first 3 tracks (soudan, tomorrow and block island) feature a group with guitarist joe cinderella, bassist vinnie burke and drummer ed thigpen (who made up gil's regular quartet) augmented with trumpeter art farmer, reedist hal mckusick and french horn player julius watkins. melle's other recordings usually found him playing with smaller bands (quintets and quartets) so it's interesting to hear him working with a bigger line-up. the first 2 songs in this set are moody and odd, full of unsettling harmonies during their equally off-beat head statements.
the next 3 songs (sixpence, still life and ghengis) are the reason why i don't rate this cd as highly as melle's other work. on these tracks melle's quartet is joined by kenny dorham on trumpet, mckusick again and the tuba player don butterfield. these pieces are not wholly uninteresting, but the tuba is just death in a small group setting. it seems to kill any momentum and these tracks simply do not swing. admittedly, these tunes do seem to be more composed and structured, so swinging may not be what melle was going for, but this stuff slows the proceedings down to my ears.
finally, there's some debate about the last septet. first off, according to the liner notes it's a sextet with the melle quartet joined by phil woods on alto sax and donald byrd on trumpet. but there's a vibraphonist present on all three tunes and according to melle's website it's teddy charles. melle's website also suggests that the saxophonist is not phil woods but actually tenor saxophonist zoot sims! i think that must be a mistake on the part of the archivist at the website though. whoever's playing here (and it probably is woods) is playing an alto sax. plus, zoot sims wasn't doing too many offbeat sessions with offbeat musicians like gil melle at this point (or any point now that i think of it!) of his career anyway. this is definitely the loosest and most relaxed of the three groups and these tunes (funk for star people, golden age and herbie) are probably the closest melle ever came to what's called a "blowing session" during his brief performing career.
if you have already purchased the superlative "complete gil melle blue note sessions" and the other OJC issue "primitive modern/quadrama" and have decided that you need more melle, you should get this cd. even as the least essential item in his discography it's ultimately still worth hearing. there was NOBODY around in jazz doing anything like what melle did during the early 50s. his compositions and playing style are remarkably distinctive and modern sounding. this cd is only inessential compared to how ridiculously great the other 2 melle cds are."