Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Curtis Fuller-Benny Golson Jazztet - Imagination

One Year Earlier

This is in most ways light lounge jazz but very listenable for this - easy on the ear and gentle in the background. It's an album I bought in my late teens and so was often played and paved whatever foundations still exist today for my occasional jazz listening, especially sax based, though here the focus is spread evenly across Curtis Fuller on trombone, Thad Jones on trumpet, Benny Golson on tenor and McCoy Tyner on piano.

However, a long-standing favourite track is the opener on side two, the Curtis Fuller penned Blues de Funk. It's a straightforward slow blues with Jones taking the first soft solo. But the second with Golson's sax is wonderfully sensuous in its breathy mellowness rising to a whirling stab before the trombone of Fuller intervenes to calm the mood somewhat bathetically: as if it might have urged a pause to watch and listen and stopped the diners from eating. Golson seems intent on keeping everyone awake as on the following track Lido Road, again by Fuller, where his solo seems to push at the pace and prepare for launch, only to have his fuel cut by the rigours of the equal solo shares - in numerical terms - of the four key players.

This jazztet was a studio only entity with the album recorded in 1959 and released in 1963, and my vinyl is in remarkably good condition considering the amount it was played so many years ago, in between the Hendrix and other explorations. Note on the cover [not a photo of mine, but exactly the same] how 'Mcoy' is misspelt where on the reverse it is correctly written as 'McCoy'. If only it was a stamp or banknote....

According to Wikipedia [so usual caveats] McCoy got his first exposure with the Benny Golson/Art Farmer Jazztet in 1960, so had this album been released when recorded it would have brought him to attention a year earlier. I know that's just arithmetic.

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