The Soul Society: SAM JONES
Septet * (Side 1. #1 and 4; Side 2, #2 and 3) Nat Adderley (cnt) Jimmy Heath (ts) Charles Davis (brs) Bobby Timmons (p) Sam Jones (cello) Keter Betts (b) Louis Hayes (drs) NYC; March 8, 1960
Sextet (other four selections): Blue Mitchell (tp) Jimmy Heath (ts) Charles Davis (brs) Bobby Timmons (p) Sam Jones (b) Louis Hayes (drs) NYC; March 10, 1960
1. Some Kinga Mean (*) (5:55) (Keter Betts)
2. All Members (4:11) (Jimmy Heath)
3. The Old Country (*) (6:05) (Nat Adderley)
4. Just Friends (4:10) (Lewis – Kleener arr. by Jimmy Heath)
1. “Home” (4:50) (Julian Adderley)
2. Deep Blue Cello (*) (4:54) (Sam Jones)
3. There Is No Greater Love (*) (3:39) (Sumes – Jones)
4. So Tired (6:30) (Bobby Timmons)
Notes by JULIAN “CANNONBALL” ADDERLEY
It is a special pleasure for me to write the notes to this SAM JONES album. As everyone should know, Sam is my bass player (by which I mean a lot more than just that he is the bassist in my band), and I am happy to have a connection with his first album. As I realized when I showed up at the recording studio for one of the sessions, everyone on the date was obviously also very happy to be a member of this particular “Soul Society.” This pleasure and affection for Sam can very easily be heard (and, I’m sure, will be shared) by everyone listening to the album.
During the past two years, Sam has become the most sought-after bass player for recording in New York. This situation is simply a testament to the general awareness of the universal feel in his playing and to the fact that a great many of the best modern drummers choose Sam as the most relaxed section-mate they can find.
“Home,” as he is affectionately known to his friends, was tagged with that name in much the same way as Lester Young became known as “Pres” – for Sam refers to everyone else as “Home”! Although born in Jacksonville, Florida (in 1927), he considers Tampa as his home town, for his family moved there when he was three years old. “Home” played bass drums in the Middleton High School band; however, he was always fascinated by the string bass, and began his professional career on that instrument in Ralph Duty’s local band while still a Tampa high school student.
Sam’s reputation preceded him to New York by quite a few years, via musicians who traveled through Florida, while “Home” himself was gathering experience I the Southern states. (Some of that experience was nonmusical, including most of the fabled circumstances encountered by itinerant musicians. Certainly his having been stranded in Texas and arrested in Florida are among the factors that contribute to his earthy soul.) He was leader of a swinging quintet in Miami, that included Blue Mitchell on trumpet; and he played in numerous rhythm-and-blues and commercial bands, including those of Tiny Bradshaw and Paul Williams. His introduction to big time jazz, however, was in Illinois Jacquet’s band. “Home” then became a member of my precious band in 1956, replacing Keter Betts (who is also effectively displayed in this album). He later worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk before reentering my present quintet when it was formed in the Fall of 1959.
Sam lists as his favorite bassists the veterans Ray Brown and Israel Crosby. Among the younger players he is particularly fond of Betts and Paul Chambers. “Home” also notes that “I never heard Jimmy Blanton in person, but his record of Jack the Bear with Duke Ellington influenced my direction more than any other bass performance.”
Everyone’s initial reaction to Sam Jones’ playing is respect for his big sound and “choice” notes. Orrin Keepnews, Riverside’s A & R chief, says: “Probably the best favor ever done for me by Miles Davis is that I was first introduced to Sam by him.” Sam is now Riverside’s first-call bassist and although I haven’t actually counted, it is my distinct impression that he has appeared on nearly half the label’s releases since mid-1958, when he made his debut with Riverside on a Clark Terry date on which the rest of the rhythm section was only Thelonious and Philly Joe!
But this album is no mere gift to reward a faithful performer. Says Keepnews: “This LP was planned as a showcase for Sam’s neglected solo abilities on both bass and cello – ‘neglected' even though he has of course had lots of solo spots on both instruments, because neither one gets too much attention from listeners unless you really make a point of shining the spotlight on it. And Sam has so much to say on both.” Neither instrument dominates here, with Sam playing each on four of the eight tracks. Incidentally, "Home's” cello-playing talent was first revealed on one number in a Riverside album by my brother Nat Adderley (Much Brass: RLP 12-301) and has since been featured throughout another of Nat’s albums (Work Song: RLP 12-318).
The opening track here, Some Kinda Mean, is a minor piece written for cello by Keter Betts. It is highlighted by a Betts bass solo that will be talked about for some time. All Members is a blues-formatted composition by Jimmy Heath. The Old Country is an adaptation of an Israeli folk tune, written by Nat. Outstanding here is a walking bass solo by Sam and Blue Mitchell’s open-horn sound. (Nat and Blue divide the trumpet spot on this album, by the way, in recognition of both being just about equally close and long-standing friends of Sam’s.) The side closed with Jimmy Heath’s big-band-styled arrangement of Just Friends, on which Sam plays remarkable cello throughout.
The second side opens with a tune of mine, entitled “Home.” The melody is played by arco bass and is accompanied by a repeated rhythmic figure based on two chords. Deep Blue Cello, written by Sam himself, is a swinging medium blues. No Greater Love open most effectively with unaccompanied cello playing a rubato melody; later the rhythm section joins in, swinging lightly. Finally, So Tired is a funky Bobby Timmons work featuring a melody played by pizzicato bass.
Since most of the performers here are well-known as among the most able around, it should be pointed out in particular that his album marks the Riverside debut of Charlie Davis, who demonstrates that he is a man to be reckoned with on baritone sax.
As noted above by Cannonball, Sam ahs appeared on a multitude of Riverside LPs. Among them are most of the following recent albums featuring others heard here, including two by Cannonball’s own band, with Nat Adderley and the Jones-Timmons-Hayes rhythm section –
The CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet in San Francisco (RLP 12-311; also Stereo RLP 1157)
Them Dirty Blues: CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet (RLP 12-322; also Stereo RLP 1170)
Work Song: NAT ADDERLEY (RLP 12-318; also Stereo RLP 1167)
This Here Is BOBBY TIMMONS (RLP 12-317; also Stereo RLP 1164)
The Thumper: JIMMY HEATH (RLP 12-314; also Stereo RLP 1160)
Blues Soul: BLUE MITCHELL (RLP 12-309; also Stereo RLP 1155)
(This recording is also available in Stereophonic form on RLP 1172)
Produced by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by PAUL BACON-KEN BRAREN-HARRIS LEWINE
Cover and back-liner photographs by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Recording Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)
Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS components Corp. on a HYDRPFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y.