It's A Short Trip
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 03/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Because I started collecting jazz fifteen years ago as a college freshman, I have had the opportunity to buy almost every classic Blue Note album on CD. I was there in 1990 when dozens of titles were relegated to the cutout bins. I was around for the first Connoisseur series titles and the Collector's Choice reissue program. I even knew about and purchased Mosaic sets early on. So every time the latest batch of Blue Note RVG titles is announced, I usually reflect back on what a good album is being reissued. I also enviously think about all the people who will be experiencing a classic jazz disc for the first time, and try to participate in that excitement by writing a review here on Amazon. But every once in a while, a Blue Note CD gets issued that even I haven't heard. Such is the case with Grant Green's "Goin' West," so needless to say I'm as happy as a kid at a birthday party. And now let's pause while I pop it in the player and take it all in....Well, that was a quick, and ultimately, somewhat disappointing trip. Logging in only a hair over 34 minutes, this November 30, 1962 session features Herbie Hancock on piano, Reggie Workman on bass, Billy Higgins on drums and of course Grant Green on guitar. As the title suggests, the album has a country-western theme, and its five tracks range from traditionals "On Top of Old Smokey" and "Red River Valley" (great bossa-nova beat and the album's best song) to "Wagon Wheels," which Sonny Rollins also used on his cowboy-flavored "Way Out West." Though it is Hancock's first encounter with Green, the two are natural partners, and you can see why the pianist included the guitarist on his ensuing album, "My Point of View." In fact, the entire quartet plays remarkably well together and it's a shame the four only made one other recording together, my favorite Lee Morgan album "Search for the New Land. " Because of the quality of "Search," I was hoping "Goin' West" would be more than just a novelty album. Alfred Lion frequently recorded Green in marketable sessions like "The Latin Bit" and "Feelin' the Spirit," unfortunately to often mixed results in my opinion. Even though, Grant Green always seemed to want the crossover success that George Benson and Wes Montgomery later enjoyed, in fairness to him he did make some incredible, searching jazz sessions, like "Street of Dreams" (see my review) and "Solid." However, Grant's trip "West," while enjoyable, just doesn't reach those ultimate destinations.A final note to Blue Note/EMI about this latest batch of RVG reissues. One of the greatest things about Blue Note albums other than the music itself, is their stylish, classic look. While not as majestic as the original LPs, the CDs have retained this quality as well. One of the CD's trademark, for me anyway, is the bold, black and white lettered spine, instantly recognizable on CD shelves, whether at home or in a store. However, this latest batch of releases disgracefully adds "Music from EMI" to the spine. I know marketplace saturation is the latest corporate rage, but come on folks let's keep the company brand on the back cover (because you never know who it will be next week, just ask Liberty Records) and keep it classic on the spine."
Finally on CD
Anders Jonasson | Bankeryd Sweden | 03/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first Grant Green album I ever bought and I still have the original on vinyl and since this is my very last review on amazon it is quite appropriate to review "Goin West"
This album was in fact recorded one month before the more wellknown "gospelalbum" called Feelin the Spirit and it was the very first time that Hancock and Green recorded together. Hancock shines on this recording like he did on"Feelin the Spirit"..he could only have been around 20 years old here..and still his playing is very mature.Green is playing all songs
with that fantastic blues feeling of his and at times he is very funky.The rythm section here is Billy Higgins on drums
and Reggie Workman on bass and they give a wonderful support to Green and Hancock...I always liked Workmans bassplaying.
"Smokey" and " I can t stop loving you" are played very groovy..but my very favourite is "Red River Valley" which is taken in an effortless latin groove.Anders Jonasson"