Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Max Roach + Four
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Japanese reissue. Mercury. 2004.
Listen to Samples
Japanese reissue. Mercury. 2004.
4 * The Second Half Triumphant!
M. Allen Greenbaum | California | 02/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an unusual CD because it swings a homer after the first four tracks barely connect. The difference is like a set where the pieces come fully together, played after an initial foray where the players, though excellent individually, don't quite gel, and, at worst, seem a little uninterested in the material.Track 1 features the kind of fast ensemble playing found in the Roach/Clifford Brown band. (This was Roach's first album after the tragic demise of Brown, Ritchie Cole, and Cole's spouse). Even though alumni Morrow and Roach lead the rhythm section as before, the bass is too insistent: Some silences or varying tempos would help. But then, this IS hard bop! Still, it's not until a young Sonny Rollins tears into the opener that we really get interested. Dorham has a hard fast attack, but there is generally a lack of symbiotic interplay. "Just One of Those Things" has a Roach/Brown band sound to it (hear "Brown and Roach, Inc.," or "Study in Brown" for comparison). Rollins is simply outstanding; pouring himself into his solos. But it's not until a slow, dreamy "Body and Soul" (Track 5) that the band gets cooking. The bass shows that less is more, and effectively comps the now cooler sounds of Rollins and Dorham. On "Woody N' You," Rollins is outstanding, and overall, the band seems more together. The arrangement is interesting and textured, with swinging piano and bass, and Roach providing some incredible polyphonic drum work. This is still hard bop, but the band seems more empathic and involved with this slower pace. On the other hand, "It Don't Mean a Thing..." is taken at a blistering pace by the soloists and is excellent. Go figure. Dorham shows some of his Dizzy influence, pianist Billy Wallace is excellent, and Roach is just all over the place on drums.The penultimate song, Young and Heyman's "Love Letters" is the gem. Sounding a little like "My Foolish Heart" before the break, it's superb ensemble playing: The whole is superior to its parts. Dorham and Rollins are excellent as usual, but Wallace steals the show with his lush Ellingtonian chording, and touches of Tatum, Bill Evans, and Teddy Wilson. Speaking broadly (because there are flashes of brilliance in the opening songs), we have half of a superb album. Interestingly, "It Don't Mean a Thing..." "Love Letters" and the closing "Minor Trouble" were recorded 6 months after the other 6 songs. Did time improve the band's playing, or is it just the material, or is it both? After all, the excellent "Body and Soul" and "Woody `N' You" were recorded earlier. I recommend the CD, because most of it is good, and even the less inspired cuts have their moments (e.g., Roach, Rollins). You get both the very good and not so good of hard bop. Overall, I recommend this to fans of Sonny Rollins, Dorham, and hard bop in general."
J. Christmas | New Brunswick, NJ | 11/28/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Max Roach is one of my favorite drummers, but his albums as a leader don't always come through. Most of the songs here are skillful but uninteresting bebop. The album is salvageable because of a great drum feature in which Max Roach melodically plays what sound like tympani."