Search - Kenny Drew :: Undercurrent

Kenny Drew
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1

A consummate pianist/composer, Kenny Drew made his first LP as a leader for Blue Note in 1953. In the ensuing years, he contributed to many great sessions including John Coltrane's Blue Train. This 1960 quintet date w...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Kenny Drew
Title: Undercurrent
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Note Records
Original Release Date: 2/6/2007
Release Date: 2/6/2007
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 094637421628


Album Description
A consummate pianist/composer, Kenny Drew made his first LP as a leader for Blue Note in 1953. In the ensuing years, he contributed to many great sessions including John Coltrane's Blue Train. This 1960 quintet date with the cream of Blue Note's stable at the time (Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Sam Jones, and Louis Hayes) represents some of his finest work as a pianist and as a writer.

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CD Reviews

Swept Away Once Again By "Undercurrent"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 02/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Kenny Drew's "Undercurrent" is one of those classic Blue Note albums that most people have never heard of. Originally released on CD domestically in 1987, it was deleted in the early 90s and has only been seen since briefly in a limited edition reprint program or as an expensive import. Thankfully with this RVG Series reissue an almost forgotten classic has returned. Pianist Kenny Drew made invaluable contributions to many Blue Note classics -- Blue Train and Dexter Calling... to name two -- in addition to this fine album as a leader. "Undercurrent" is a magnificent hard bop session from December 11, 1960 featuring the talents of Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Sam Jones and Louis Hayes. The six compositions, all by Drew, are terrific medium and up-tempo swingers, with the exception of the lovely concluding piece, "Ballade." "Undercurrent" is as good as anything Blue Note recorded in 1960, and should really be picked up now that it is available at a reasonable price."
Another can't-miss session from a golden age.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 05/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The only Blue Note recording under Kenny Drew's leadership and the last to be released under his name for a thirteen-year period, during which time the pianist would relocate to Europe, "Undercurrent" is a strong outing by the gifted pianist, composer and session leader. In the latter capacity, his job is made especially easy by a frontline of Hank Mobley and Freddie Hubbard, whose instant compatibility had been established just weeks earlier on Mobley's sterling "Roll Call" (Blue Note, 1960). Moreover, the rhythm team of bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes had become one of the more efficient power plants in jazz as regular members of Cannonball Adderley's Quintet at the peak of its popularity.

"Undercurrent" has nothing as viscerally infectious as the Adderley's "Sack O' Woe" from the same year but is an admirable program of Drew originals, ranging from the modal, streaming title piece to the self-descriptive "Funk-Cosity" to "Lion's Den," a welcome change of mood and pace, to the beboppish "The Pot's On," an elliptical melody that yields to the reassuringly warm inventiveness at which Mobley has few if any peers.

If none of the tunes is strikingly original or memorable, the same might be said of Drew's otherwise superlative post-Powell piano work. Certainly among the highlights is the opening title tune. Drums and bass walk off eight bars at a flaming tempo, Drew adds a running baroque figure for the next eight, tenor and trumpet harmonize in thirds for the next sixteen then play in unison over a pedal tone for eight more, finally re- harmonizing in thirds for the last eight before Mobley's tenor is suddenly ejected into the jet stream for the first solo. The latter player is simply masterful on this and each of his solo turns, clearly at the very top of his game during the same year that produced his masterpiece, "Soul Station." Hubbard, the comparative newcomer, isn't as fluent as Mobley but complements his frontline companion with a more aggressive, even puckish, approach, alternating between repeated percussive motifs and a soaring, passionate lyricism.

Given the size of the ensemble, the quality of the musicians, and the blowing room for each of the soloists, it's perhaps small wonder that "Undercurrent" falls just short of a personal triumph for the leader (though arguably essential to any Mobley completist). But as a democratic and exemplary Blue Note session, with strong hands vigorously played by five proven winners, this latest RVG remaster deserves a place alongside more heralded recordings during a truly golden age in the music. (Fortunately, Blue Note or Amazon appears to be doing their part where the price is concerned.)"
Another Classic Bebop Album
J. Rich | 01/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Kenny Drew - "Undercurrent" released in 1960 on Blue Note Records is yet another great release that has been recently given the RVG (Rudy Van Gelder) treatment. This is such a smoking album, from start to finish. I will also say the remaster sounds great.

The lineup is also something to talk about. Who we have here are Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone, Sam Jones on bass, Louis Hayes on drums, and of course, Kenny Drew on piano. What's also great is all the songs are originals and no standards, not that doing standards is bad, but here Drew shows some great composing ability that makes me wonder why he's not as well known or appreciated as say someone like Horace Silver or Red Garland. Kenny is also a great bebop piano player. The title track contains one of the most scorching Freddie Hubbard solos I've ever heard. Man, he's just too good!

If you're a fan of bebop jazz, then buy this album today!"