PHILLY JOE JONES: SHOWCASE
Blue Mithcell (tp) Julian Priester (tb) Bill Barron (ts) Pepper Adams (brs) Charlie Coker (p) or Sonny Clark (p) Jimmy Garrison (b) Philly Joe Jones (drs)
Battery Blues (4:00) (Julian Priester)
Minor Mode (4:22) (Bill Barron)
Gwen (3:57) (Philly Joe Jones)
Joe’s Debut (5:31) (Philly Joe Jones)
Gone (4:42) (George Gershwin)
Joe’s Delight (3:50) (Philly Joe Jones)
Julia (3:26) (Julian Priester)
I’ll Never Be the Same (3:58) (Malneck – Signorelli – Kahn/ arr. by Jones)
Interpretation (4:02) (Bill Barron)
The artistry of PHILLY JOE JONES is, as a constantly increasing number of people are coming to realize, one of the most dynamic forces now at large in the arena of modern jazz. While jazz polls are not always to be taken as absolute standards, it is startling and gratifying to note that, while in the 1956 Downbeat Readers Poll Philly Joe raked a far-off 23rd, the 1959 results in the same magazine’s voting found him a highly competitive 4th.
In presenting Philly Joe to the jazz public, both as a frequent, invaluable sideman and in albums under his own leadership, we at Riverside have learned above all the impossibilities of limiting his scope. Even taken solely as a drummer, Joe fills a minimum of two roles; as a firmly propulsive rhythmic foundation for a band, and as a soloist of rare fire, taste and imagination. But he is rarely content to stop there. On previous LPs he has displayed his talents as an impersonator of Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” and has organized and executed a unique album idea – “Drums Around the World.” In the album at had, not only do you find Philly Joe Jones as drummer, but also a s composer and arranger well worth listening to, as a bandleader (and in more than just a recording sense, for all the men heard here, except Pepper Adams and Blue Mitchell, were at times members of the group with which Joe played successful engagements, late in 1959, in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York), and even –quite unexpectedly – as a pianist.
Actually, the ability to compose melodies like the smooth-flowing Joe’s Delight and the tender Gwen are not what most people might expect form a man best know for his tough, surging, intricate drumming and as perhaps the strongest influence leading today’s younger drummers into adventurous complexity. But the fact is that Philly Joe is in all respects a most melodic musician. Critic Ralph Gleason has noted (with pleased surprise) that, on entering San Francisco’s “Jazz Workshop” one evening during a solo by Philly, he was immediately able to identify the tune! You’ll find this to be the case more than once on this record. For example, listen to the half-chorus of melody that immediately precedes Philly’s solo towards the end of Minor Mode and then note how that melodic line continues to be readily accessible during the drum solo.
The two tracks of this “Showcase” undoubtedly closest to Joe’s heart are his piano debut on Gwen (a ‘trio’ number in which tape magic enables him to flank bassist Jimmy Garrison as both pianist and drummer); and Gone. The latter selection is best described as Gershwin twice-removed. Its genesis was on the Miles Davis “Porgy and Bess” album, as an interpretation by arranger Gil Evans of Gershwin’s spiritual-like Gone, Gone, Gone, to which were added several solo improvisations – prominently including choruses by Philly Joe. For the present album, Joe synthesized this (among other things, he has done a remarkable job of retaining, with three horns, a flavor similar to that of the sixteen-horn Evans-Davis version) and converted it into a powerful showpiece for himself.
Also in evidence here are the soulful writing talents of Bill Barron (Minor Mode, Interpretation) and Julian Priester (Battery Blues, and Julia – to which Blue Mitchell contributes and outstandingly beautiful trumpet lead). Barron, a young Philadelphia tenor who has been with Philly Joe’s group for its start, and trombonist Priester, who has worked with Joe and has for some time been with Max Roach’s quintet, both score also as soloists. And so do the other horns selected by Jones: the always-swinging baritone of Pepper Adams, and the trumpet of Blue Mitchell, who is one of the most impressive young horn stars on the Riverside roster.
A note on line-up variations: the full seven-man group is heard on Battery Blues, Julia, and I’ll Never Be the Same. All except Mitchell play on Gone. All except Adams are heard on Minor Mode and Interpretation and, on these two band numbers only, Sonny Clark replaces Charles Coker on piano. Joe’s Debut and Joe’s Delight are by a quintet: Barron, Priester and rhythm section. As previous note, Gwen is a two-man trio number.
PHILLY JOE JONES, who bears that nickname to distinguish him from ex-Basie drummer Jo Jones, first gained wide notice as a long-time mainstay of the Miles Davis group. The very high regard in which his work is held by fellow musicians is clearly indicated by the frequency with which his services are requested by other leaders on Riverside LPs.
In addition, he is featured on –
Drums Around the World: PHILLY JOE JONES’ Big Band Sounds;
with Connonball Adderley, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, Herbie Mann, Benny Golson (RLP 12-302)
Blues for Dracula: PHILLY JOE JONES Sextet; with Johnny Griffin, Nat Adderley, Julian Priester (RLP 12-282)
Mitchell and Adams lead groups of their own on –
Blue Soul: BLUE MITCHELL Sextet; with Jimmy Heath, Wynton Kelly, Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-309)
Out of the Blue: BLUE MITCHELL, with Benny Golson, Art Blakey (RLP 12-293)
10-to-4 at the Five Spot: PEPPER ADAMS Quintet; with Donald Byrd (RLP 12-265)
This Philly Joe Jones album is also available in Stereo form on RLP 1159.
Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed and produced by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – AHRRIS LEWINE
Cover photograph by CHARLES STEWART;
Back-liner photographs by LAWRENCE N.SHUSTAK
Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)
Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.