The Lad Rolls Again
Jack Baker | LeRoy,IL | 02/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rollin' with Leo was baritone sax player Leo (The Lad) Parker's second session for Blue Note, recorded in October 1961. Returning from his first session, the amazing Let Me Tell You 'Bout It, are tenor saxophonist Bill Swindell, bassist Stan Conover (Tracks 3 & 4), and drummer Purnell Rice (Also appearing only on Tracks 3 & 4). Also appearing here are Dave Burns on trumpet, Johnny Acea on piano, Al Lucas on bass, and Wilbert Hogan on drums. Aside from "Bad Girl", written by Conover, "Music Hall Beat" by Illinois Jacquet (whose band Parker was part of for a time), and "Stuffy", a Coleman Hawkins tune (co-written with Livingston and Evans), all the pieces here are written by Parker.
The album itself is straight ahead bop. Parker's soulful baritone growl is well suited to all the material here, be it the rollicking "The Lion's Roar", the sultry "Bad Girl", the burning "Mad Lad", or late night embers of "Talkin' The Blues". Swindell is just as good here as he was on Let Me Tell You 'Bout It, if a tad more reserved. Dave Burns turns in some nice trumpet work as well and the various backing groups swing it with gusto or provide tasteful comping on the slower numbers. As good as all the musicians are, this is The Lad's show. Full of confidence, his steady groove and big sound is what makes this session special.
Four months after this session was cut, Leo Parker would die of a heart attack and this album would sit in the vaults until 1980. I think what I find the most heart-wrenching was learning from the liner notes that a third Blue Note session was planned for Parker, one that would have reunited him with friend and former Billy Eckstine Band compatriot, Dexter Gordon. We'll never know if this lost opportunity would have cemented Parker's comeback, but I do know that I mourn the potential of what might have been if only The Lad had lived just a little longer."
Leo Parker...has the chops...
F. Jauregui | Thousand Oaks, CA | 06/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Speaking as a person who did not know who Leo Parker was about a year ago...this album is great! If you like the Baritone Sax and you are a fan of Pepper Adams...then you will like the cutting style of Mr. Parker...
Sit back and enjoy!"