Records of the Month – Jazz and Soul – September 2020
Jazz and Soul Subscription Records of the Month!
Our musical elves have sifted through thousands of archives of music and listened to hours upon hours of albums to bring you 3 incredible records this month! Not only that, but a dedicated team of historians tried their absolute best to give you a little background on each one! All part of a day’s work here at Vinyl Wings!
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Sonny Rollins / Clifford Brown / Max Roach
3 Giants!, 1956
The Roach-Brown quintet started its short run at the beginning of 1954. The tenor sax role would change hands at the end of 1955, when Harold Land returned to Los Angeles, which set the stage for the young Sonny Rollins to step in.
The group consisted of Roach, Brown, Rollins, pianist Richie Powell (Bud Powell’s brother) and George Morrow – a line up of heavyweights who were equal parts talented, ferocious and meticulous. They formed an incredible balance between playing fast, runaway tunes and delicate, sweet soft ballads.
Unfortunately, this fantastic group was destined to end in tragedy, for in the early morning hours of June 26, 1956, Clifford Brown died in a car accident (at the age of 25) along with Richie Powell and his wife.
Given the short space of time between Rollins joining the group and Brown’s tragic accident, the group were only recorded on 3 sessions, appearing on only two albums, this being one of them (recorded in 1956), originally released as Sonny Rollins Plus Four.
A true treasure and one which we believe should be part of any jazz collection!
With their first album for the Westbound label, the Ohio Players (who remain one of our absolute favourite funk groups) brought a whole new sound to the early 70s. Though neither soul, nor jazz, nor blues nor rock, Pain posesses elements of each of those genres throughout.
The band’s versatility is the first thing that listeners will notice … well, that and the kinky S&M cover, which in the 70s was a big no-no (in fact, Pain would be the fist in the series of the band’s erotic covers).
And the delivery? Oh baby, these dudes performed with attitude – hooting, scatting, screaming high notes, pleading woo, woo, woo throughout – as a listener it’s impossible not to feel the groove!
It’s hard to pick a favourite track, but the funk of Players Ballin and Climax is hard to ignore, while The Reds brings us a low-down and dirty delta blues tracked that’s packed with emotion!
A Fickle Sonance, 1962
Jackie McLean was born in New York and was exposed to the jazz scene and it’s protagonists at an early age. In high school, he played in a band with Kenny Drew and Sonny Rollins. Later on, he would get tutoring from the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell.
This album came at a time when McLean was producing a huge body of work and was the predecessor to the 1962 album Let Freedom Ring which would go on to be one of McLean’s most famous.
Though a hard-bop proponent, Jackie began to move more into modal jazz and even some abstract, which can certainly be heard on the title track here. Fickle means “liable to sudden, unpredicted change”, while Sonance is a retired word for sound.
Though an accurate description, what the tile doesn’t tell you is that this is an absolutely steamin’ record, with fantastic, sharp solos by McLean and a tight band consisting of Tommy Turrentine (trumpet), Sonny Clark (piano), Butch Warren (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums).