Look Out for EVANS BRADSHAW!
Evans Bradshaw (p) George Joyner (b) Philly Joe Jones (drs) (Angel Eyes by unaccompanied piano.) New York; June, 1958
1. Georgia on My Mind (3:47) (Gorrell – Carmichael)
2. Hallelujah! (5:39) (Robin – Gray- Youmans)
3. The Prophet (7:23) (Evans Bradshaw)
4. Love for Sale (4:27) (Cole Porter)
1. Coolin' the Blues (6:53) (Hampton Hawes)
2. Blueinet (7:32) (Zoot Sims)
3. Angel Eyes (4:56) (Brent – Dennis)
4. Old Devil Moon (3:12) (Harburg – Lane)
Look out for EVANS BRADSHAW, because he’s on his way. This album serves to introduce a pianist whose playing is overflowing with rare and infectious quarlites of enthusiasm, youth – and talent. We strongly feel that a great many listeners will find young Bradshaw a musician to get excited about, a noteworthy addition to the long and growing roster of outstanding Riverside jazz artists.
Bradshaw, who was born in Memphis, Tennessee, not too long ago (April, 1933), has since 1953 made his home in Flint, Michigan. There, in the inevitable pattern of the scuffling and dedicated young musician, he has for the most part had to make his way by combining a daytime auto factory job with nighttime trio jobs. It was there, also, that he was brought to our attention. The talent scout in this case deserves mention, Marvin Jacobs being a sharp-eared jazz enthusiast who has the added advantage of several years’ practical experience in the record business (with ARC Distributors, in Detroit). To Jacobs, “Brad” sounded like a young man with a lot to say and also one that a lot of people ought to enjoy hearing. So he insisted that we come on out and hear him, finally breaking down that notorious provincialism that normally keeps record companies from being so bold as to leave their home base merely to hear new talent. We made the trip to Detroit and thence to Flint (in our New Yorker’s ignorance, we had thought Flint was a Detroit suburb; future travelers may note that it’s sixty miles away), to hear Bradshaw in the local spot where he was working weekends. It took just two sets for us to agree that the trip had been not only necessary, but valuable.
The next step was to prepare the proper record debut for “Brad,” and the decision there was simply to give him the firmest kind of support and let him wait as he saw fit. It was Bradshaw’s suggestion that he make use of GOERGE JOYNER, who in addition to being one of the notably promising younger bassists currently working in New York, was also an old home-town friend from Memphis. The choice of a drummer was easy enough: Riverside’s opinion of PHILLY JOE JONES is best expressed by noting that he undoubtedly turns up on more of this label’s albums than any other drummer. He has worked with the best, gaining most prominence through his long stint with Miles Davis; although usually regarded as a ‘heavy’ drummer, his extremely wide dynamic range and his ability to adapt himself to the particular requirements of trio recordings have been displayed on several previous albums and are surely in evidence here.
With this backing, Bradshaw takes on a program ranging a from his own arrangements of sound standards (including a sensitive unaccompanied probing of Matt Dennis truly beautiful Angel Eyes) through tunes by jazzmen Zoot Sims and Hamp Hawes, plus a deep-down Bradshaw original, The Prophet.
As his playing may suggest, “Brad” belongs rather close to the Art Tatum piano tradition, which means among other things a sure technique and an ability to handle a whole mess of notes without faltering. It also means, in this case, a tempering of the Tatum influence with more current ideas – the result of the inevitable early listening to, and absorbing from, the records of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. It should also be clear that Bradshaw has paid attention to two pianists of today (whom he lists as among his personal favorites): Oscar Peterson and Hawes. But this tossing about of the names of “influences” can be dangerous – although it is hard to about a newcomer, and even though it would be improbable (and probably not a very good thing) for a younger talent to develop without being to some degree shaped by important predecessors and contemporaries. The danger, though, is that the identity and individuality of the performer himself can easily be obscured and the degree of influence overstressed by all this name-dropping. So let it be firmly stated that Evans Bradshaw sounds like Evans Bradshaw.
Another example of the perils of name-dropping lies in the fact that at least one reviewer is bound to note a similarity between Bradshaw and Phineas Newborn. Since Phineas was the first to arrive on the scene and to record, the implication will be that this is “influence” again. However, the facts of this case are that Bradshaw and Newborn grew up together in Memphis; they were close friends (and their fathers were rival local bandleaders). Bradshaw, who began playing piano at nine, notes that by the age of twelve he was playing in his father’s band; shortly thereafter, when he began also taking jobs on his own, either he or Phineas had first crack at just about all local dates. With such close association in their formative years, at least some stylistic elements must be considered the joint property of both men; Bradshaw himself finds it impossible to figure out who originated what or who followed whom. But this comparison, too, should not be overdone; despite the common starting point, these two pianists are far from identical. If distinctions must be made, I’d say that Phineas many have an edge in technical flourish and in poise, but that Evans seems to offer more warmth and swing.
Bradshaw is the latest addition to a substantial list of outstanding young pianists to be heard on Riverside.
Other are featured on such albums as -
WYNTON KELLY; with Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-254)
BILL EVANS (Down Beat’s “New Star” Pianist of 1958) (RLP 12-223)
KENNY DREW: jazz impressions of “Pal Joey”; with Wilbur Ware, Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-249)
FREDDIE REDD: San Francisco Suite (RLP 12-250)
RANDY WESTON: Jazz a la Bohemia; with Cecil Payne (RLP 12-232)
Other notable jazz on HIGH FIDELITY Riverside LPs includes –
THELONIOUS MON K Septet: Monk’s Music; with Coleman Hawkins, Art Blakey (RLP 12-242)
GERRY MULLIGAN and THELONIOUS MONK: Mulligan Meets Monk (RLP 12-247)
SONNY ROLLINS: The Sound of Sonny (RLP 12-241)
SONNY ROLLINS: Freedom Suite (RLP 12-258)
ABBEY LINCOLN: That’s Him; accompanied by Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham, Max roach (RLP 12-251)
JULIAN “CANNONBALL” ADDERLEY: Portrait of Cannonball (RLP 12-269)
JOHNNY GRIFFIN sextet; with Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams (RLP 12-264)
KENNY DORHAM: 2 horns/ 2 Rhythms; with Ernie Henry (RLP 12-255)
BENNY GOLSON: The Modern Touch; with J. J. Johnson, Kenny Dorham, Max Roach (RLP 12-256)
CLARK TERRY: In Orbit; featuring Thelonious Monk (RLP 12-271)
CLARK TERRY: Duke with Difference; with Johnny Hodges (RLP 12-246)
WIBUR WARE: The Chicago Sound; featuring Johnny Griffin (RLP 12-252)
JEAN THIELEMANS: Man Bites Harmonica!; with Pepper Adams, Kenny Drew (RLP 12-257)
PEPPER ADAMS Quintet: 10 to 4 at the 5-Spot recorded at New York’s Five Spot Café (RLP 12-265)
BLUE MITCHELL: Big Six; with Johnny Griffin, Curtis Fuller, Wynton Kelly, Wilbur Ware, Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-273)
A HIGH FIDELITY Recording – Riverside – Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
(Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).
Produced, and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS.
Cover by PAUL WELLER (photography) and PAUL BACON (design).
Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.