Saturday, March 11, 2006

clifford brown=the man

Clifford Brown and Max Roach

1. Delilah (Victor Young)
2. Parisian Thoroughfare (Bud Powell)
3. The Blues Walk (Clifford Brown)
4. Daahoud (Clifford Brown)
5. Joy Spring (Clifford Brown)
6. Jordu (Duke Jordan)
7. What Am I Here For? (Duke Ellington)

Clifford Brown – Trumpet
Max Roach – Drums
Harold Land – Tenor Sax
George Morrow – Bass
Richie Powell – Piano

Once again Clifford Brown has managed to leave me in a stunned state of mind, however not for the usual reasons: his flawless articulation, his speed, his technicality, and his solos although none of them were lacking by any means in this record. No, this time I am stunned by his overall communication with the rest of the band.
From beginning to end, it seemed as though the group was just driven by one mind with many different voices. There are many instances where Clifford would be soloing and Harold Land would begin a background riff to his solo and instantly, Roach picked out the rhythm and played it with him on the drums. The same is true for when Land would play his well thought out solos: Clifford would start a line and Roach and the band would catch on and play with him in an effort to build Land’s solo and to take the song to a whole new level.
An injustice would be done if the solo trading in “The Blues Walk” was not mentioned. After Roach’s solo, Brown and Land decide to trade solos first starting with four bars a piece. Upon each following chorus, the length of the trade was cut in half, so they each played two bars
in the second chorus, one in the third chorus, and half a bar in their fourth chorus of trading. At the tempo the song was going, roughly 260 beats per minute, there is no room for mistake or stuttering when trading just two beats. Their synchrony is immaculate. They complement each other’s lines and harmonic ideas as if just one person was playing. This is, in my book, a landmark in jazz history.
To be noted as well should be the introduction on Powell’s “Parisian Thoroughfare.” It is amazing the relaxation that Clifford and Roach show at 400 beats per minute. The intro has a very avant-garde feeling, almost like something heard in a Broadway musical. The group’s ability to change from one style to another is amazing, later they go into halftime and they solo from there, once again flawless in their transition.
Though every album was thoroughly enjoyable, my favorite tune on this album would most definitely be Clifford’s original, “Joy Spring.” Clifford makes it sound far simpler than it actually is. His solo is the most amazing part of the whole album. He is nearly flawless. He shows great use of delaying his target note; he dances around the note that the listener wants to hear, creating a sort of tension very unique to his playing. During his solo, it was interesting to hear how he would rarely play within the chord he was in, he seemed to shoot for the following change, again creating a new sense of tension. His sense of tounging, accents, technicality, and speed are very prevalent in this solo, becoming an example and hero to many of his followers: Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Blue Mitchell, and hundreds more.
This album is definitely a great one for anyone wishing to pursue true musicianship or just simple pleasure by great musicians. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

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