Out of the Blue: BLUE MITCHELL Quintet (RLP-1131)
Blue Mitchell (tp) Benny Golson (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b- Side 1, #2; Side 2, #2, 3) or Sam Jones (b- Side 1, #1, 3; Side 2, #1) Art Blakey (drs)
NYC; December , 1958
Blues on My Mind (9:05) (Benny Golson)
It Could Happen to You (5:52) (Burke – Van Heusen)
Boomerang (5:01) (Clark Terry)
Sweet-Cakes (6:14) (Blue Mitchell)
Missing You (5:40) (Ronnell Bright)
When the Saints Go Marching In (7:00) (traditional)
Surely one of the most encouraging proofs of the unflagging vitality of jazz today is that it is constantly being enriched by an apparently endless flow of solidly impressive new talent. But since so general a term as "new talent" covers many levels of ability, let it be quite clearly noted that RICHARD “BLUE” MITCHELL is to be classed as an exceedingly impressive newcomer and that we are highly pleased to have the opportunity to present him to the jazz scene.
Blue’s first LP was recorded in the Summer of 1958, shortly after the urgings of his long-time friend Cannonball Adderley had led us to hear Mitchell in his native Miami and, thereupon, to move swiftly to add the young trumpetman to the Riverside roster. That first album had a strong and immediate impact upon jazz fans, critics and musicians. (Among other things, it led to an invitation to join Horace Silver’s Quintet.) This recording, the second to showcase the sturdy, warm and lyrical Mitchell horn, should do even more to establish Blue as an important addition to the current jazz scene – and, incidentally, justifies the fairly outrageous pun built around the striking photo on the cover. For here, most decidedly, is a musician whose sudden emergence can be described, quite literally, as “a bolt out of the Blue.” (!)
One of Mitchell’s most significant attributes is individuality. In a period in which so many young trumpets can readily be labelled as obviously followers (or even close to imitators) of Miles, or Dizzy, or the late Clifford Brown, Blue is gratifyingly his own man. Of course he has listened and learned; but he also has a sound and an approach that mark him, as Cannonball has put it, as “something different.” Among his qualities is a considerable ability as a ‘blowing’ musician. So this album has been designed to prove a properly relaxed setting for creative stretching-out. No hectic tempos, no special effects no particular limitations as to length or quantity of tunes. Instead, there was emphasis on the selection, by Blue, of tunes with which he could feel most comfortable and of fully compatible musicians to work with.
Both of these goals would seem to have been reached. The other horn on the date is the ever-increasingly impressive BENNY GOLSON. One of the finest young composers in jazz, Golson (with whom Blue had worked in Earl Bostic’s band a few years ago) had of late been really coming into his own as a strong and imaginative tenor soloist of major stature. To state it quite mildly, he is clearly in peak form here. The formidable ART BLAKEY (with whose Jazz Meesengers Golson, during 1958, really hit his ‘blowing stride), has often been noted for his encouragement of young talent. The wondrous way he boots things along here is a very concrete example of just that. Pianist WYNTON KELLY has been featured with Dizzy Gillespie and Dinah Washington and began 1959 by joining the Miles Davis Sextet. With his performance on Mitchell’s first LP still firmly in mind, Blue soundly considered Wynton the inevitable choice for this album. Bass is handled in part by SAM JONES, with PAUL CHAMBERS having stepped in when other conflicting commitments took Sam away. Both are familiar figures in Riverside lineups. Jones, who has worked with Adderley and Gillespie, has been together in Florida, in their ‘teens. Chambers, probably the most highly regarded of today’s young bassists, has long been a mainstay of the Miles Davis group.
As for repertoire: there is one of Golson’s decidedly unstereotype blues; Mitchell’s Latin-flavored Sweet-Cakes; trumpeter Clark Terry’s intriguingly-structured Boomerang (first recorded by Terry on Riverside RLP 12-237); a swinging version of the standard It Could Happen to You; a rich ballad, Missing You, by pianist Ronnell Bright. And as final tour de force, the group turns that supposedly weary old Dixieland warhorse, The Saints, into a down-home-bluesy romp, with Blakey’s beat and Blue’s muted trumpet particularly important elements in the unlikely transformation.
BLUE MITCHELL was born in Miami in March, 1930, first took up the trumpet in a high school band, played in bands locally in New York, and
on the road, then returned home until he was ready to make his move upward. His previous album for this label is –
Big Six: BLUE MITCHELL; with Johnny Griffin, Curtis Fuller, Wynton Kelly, Wilbur Ware, Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-273)
He can also be heard on –
Portrait of Cannonball: JULIAN ADDERLEY Quintet (RLP 12-269)
Golson has contributed arrangements to several Riverside LPs. His own albums for the label are –
The Modern Touch: BENNY GOLSON Sextet; with J. J. Johnson, Kenny Dorham (RLP 12-256)
The Other Side of BENNY GOLSON; with Curtis Fuller, Barry Harris (RLP 12-290)
Blakey’s previous Riverside appearances include –
Monk’s Music: THELONIOUS MONK Septet; with Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane (RLP 12-242)
Things Are Getting Better: CANNONBALL ADDERLEY with Milt Jackson (RLP 12-286)
Kelly has appeared frequently on Riverside, including the Cannonball Adderley (RLP 12-286) and Blue Mitchell (RLP 12-273) albums noted above.
He can also be heard on –
WYNTON KELLY; with Kenny Burrell (RLP 12-254)
Serenade to a Bus Seat: CLARK TERRY Quintet, with Johnny Griffin (RLP 12-237)
That’s Him!: ABBEY LINCOLN; with Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham (RLP 12-251)
A HIGH FIDELITY STEREPHONIC Recording – Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering.
Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE
Back-liner photos by LAWRENCE SHUSTAK
Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCITONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.