Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
No West Coast !
Ozzie | Brugge, Flanders | 09/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Presenting Red Mitchell", which was recorded in Los Angeles in 1957, might be mistaken for a West Coast-style album, but nothing could be further from the truth. This band's rendition of tunes like "Scrapple from the apple" "Sandu" and "Paul's pal" are in no way inferior to anything being played in New York at the time. Mitchell is a master of the bass and can make his basslines sing. James Clay is a Texas-style saxophonist and flautist, and in the true Texas-fashion, Clay blows hard throughout. Lorraine Geller on piano (who was tragically enough to die of a suspected stroke less than 2 years after this recording was made) is tasteful and inventive all the way. Drummer Billy Higgins, whom today has run up a huge number of recording credits, makes his first appearance as a recorded artist on this album. At only 21 years of age, he already proves to be in complete control of his drumkit. Good though this album may be, the group disbanded shortly afterwards due to lack of gigs and recording opportunities in a Californian environment where their brand of jazz was less in demand. Fortunately this little gem has been preserved for posterity."
1957: Red is ready!
Jazzcat | Genoa, Italy Italy | 09/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes Johan, you're right, this is a really good album, but what do you mean when you say "this is not west coast .. it's good as any New York album". Maybe you are saying that West Coast music wasn't good? Are you meaning this? Ehy man, be aware that West coast boppers produced some of the best jazz records of all time! So if you claim an album to be "West coast" be aware that you're making it a compliment and that you're saying that it's really good, swinging, relaxed, in the end stellar music! Not a bad one! This album which was recorded in Los Angeles in 1957 is a perfect prove of my statement. This IS a West Coast album and obviously it is fantastic!! Johan, c'mon! =)) Talking about this release, this album was the first album for Red Mitchell and it helped him to be introduced to the jazz community. Red was and still is a very good double bass player, fantastic timing and good note choices. Good soloist too. He is of bebop school, loyal to the rhythm. He's not like Scott La Faro (fantastic bass player but different, more impressionistic) .. he swings clearly and consistently. He does not fly all over the place melodically. He has strong time, good sound, nice lines. That's it. And it's alot!! To perfectly clear that he's a bopper guy the opener of this album is a Charlie Parker's number, "Scrapple from the apple". The program is nicely balanceded you have some Jazz standards (Scrapple, Paul's pal from Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown's blues "Sandu", Miles Davis's "Out of the blue".) Than you have an original by Red "Rainy night" and a couple of standards "I thought of you" and "Cheek to cheek". The music is fantastic West coast jazz at its best. Solar, swinging, joyful west coast jazz played by great musicians (West coast, NOT third stream which is probably what Johan meant in the previous review). James Clay was a good choice. He played flute and tenor giving the album a kind of balance in voices. Higgins is behind the drums and Lorraine Geller sits at the piano. Very nice album not only for the connossoir. It's so beautiful, clean and "open" that everyone can enjoy it."
Impressive little ensemble nicely recorded
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 09/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This swinging, straightahead session isn't going to make history, but besides Red it has two compelling reasons for purchase: Lorraine Geller and James Clay. Marian McPartland was so publicized in the '50s that it was all too easy to overlook the contributions of contemporaneous women players like Terry Pollard and Geller, who plays real "blowing" piano on the present session. Clay was a raw and ungroomed Texas tenor man (his flute work is delicate by comparison) whose placement in the middle of this ensemble should cause eyebrows to raise, yet it all works out nicely.
I doubt I would appreciate this set if it were released under today's recording standards. The bass would be dominant and boomy, its pitches muddy and hard to define. But Contemporary Records knew how to record instruments, bringing out the natural frequencies of the piano and bass more convincingly than either its East Coast competitors of the day or today's engineers with their state-of-the-art equipment (not to mention bass players' extra "hot" pick-ups). Whether the bass is that of Mitchell, LaFaro, Vinnegar, or Curtis Counce, the sound is always clear on these Contemporary sessions.
Two additional notes: 1. Nat Hentoff's generous comments are no doubt inspired and informative, but their length makes them practically undecipherable in the small insert. Nevertheless, Red is prophetic in his prediction that Billy Higgins will be recognized as one of the great drummers; less so in his prophesizing that James Clay would change the shape of jazz; 2. No mistaking the time period by the picture, which shows a kitten and a smiling Mitchell. Forget the kitten--when's the last time you saw a photographed musician under the age of 40 who, at least for the sake of the marketing, wasn't scowling or manifestly apathetic? So much for the coolness of what used to be called cool (aka West Coast) jazz."