The Chant: SAM JONES plus 10
Sam Jones (b-*, cello-**) Nat Adderley (cnt) Blue Mitchell (tp) Melba Liston (tb) Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (as) Jimmy Heath (ts) Tate Houston (brs) Wynton Kelly (p, on Side 1,#4; Side 2, #2 and 3) Victor Feldman (p, on other five selections and vib on **) Les Spann (g, on *) Keter Betts (b, on **) Louis Hayes (drs) Victor Feldman and Jimmy Heath (arr)
New York City; January 13 and 26, 1961
The Chant (3:24) * (Victor Feldman)
Four (4:23) * (Miles Davis)
Blues on Down (5:45) * (Benny Golson)
Sonny Boy (4:54) ** (Jolson – DeSylva – Brown – Henderson)
In Walked Ray (4:04) ** (Sam Jones)
Blue Bird (4:10) ** (Charlie Parker)
Over the Rainbow (6:33) ** (Harburg – Arlen)
Off-Color (4:26) * (Rudy Stevenson)
The second meeting of the “Soul Society” is hereby called to order!
In other words, the impressively talented bassist and cellist named SAM JONES, whose first recording as a leader was the Riverside album entitled “The Soul Society,” is back in the spotlight. And once again he is in the company of a group of his good friends, all of whom share such important qualities as: (1) exceptional jazz skills; (2) strong admiration and affection for the remarkable Mr. Jones, who happens to be one of the best-liked men in the business; and (3) the ability to create notably soulful music.
This time much of the emphasis is on a bigger and fuller sound than on Sam’s previous album. A good-sized ensemble, performing unusual scores by two of the very best of the younger jazz arrangers, provides a suitably rich orchestral background for the leader’s bass and cello. And the group also includes a number of first-rank blowers to share solo honors with Sam.
Rhythm-section members are not often given albums of their own-eve when they reach status such as Jones has achieved (“New Star” bassist in the 1960 Down Beat Critics’ Poll; constantly in demand for record dates; a key member of the high-flying Cannonball Adderley Quintet; and regarded with something like awe by most fellow-musicians). One possible reason for this scarcity is the problem of figuring out just how to go about featuring a drummer or bassist, other than the not-particularly-satisfying idea of giving him a long solo on each number. But in the present case the initial problem can’t really be said to have existed at all. For one thing, Sam has (if you’ll pardon the expression) an extra string to his bow: in addition to being a bassist of unsurpassed firmness and inventiveness, he is a uniquely intriguing pizzicato cellist, providing legitimate instrumental variety right from the start. Furthermore, he is a musician of considerable taste and imagination, which led him to specifically request from tenorman Jimmy Heath and from Victor Feldman, the British-born pianist and vibist who is the newest member of the Adderley group, arrangements designed to showcase the melodic properties of both cello and bass.
The result is an album in which the leader’s playing is strikingly integrated into the overall framework. Feldman scored his own deeply earthy The Chant and Benny Golson’s Blues on Down for the bass session, and arranged Charlie Parker’s Blue Bird and a Sam Jones original dedicated to Ray Brown, In Walked Ray, for the cello date. Heath built versions of Miles Davis’ Four and young composer Rudy Stevenson’s Off-Color to feature bass, and arranged two standards for the cello session: the Harold Arlen ballad, Over the Rainbow; and the old Al Jolson vehicle, Sonny Boy (Sam’s performance of which is intended as a tribute to he late Oscar Pettiford).
The formation of the literally all-star group here was simply a matter of selecting from among friends and co-workers. It’s easy enough to spot in the personnel listing the other members of the tight-knit Adderley group – Cannonball, Nat, Vic Feldman, Lou Hayes. Blue Mitchell has been a friend since they worked together as ‘teen-agers in Florida; Nat , Lou, Blue, Jimmy Heath and Keter Betts (who plays bass on Sam’s cello selections) were all present on the first Jones LP. Wynton Kelly shares the piano spot with Feldman for the simple reason that the two men share a top place in San’s opinion both as soloists and as invaluable accompanists. Les Spann, whose guitar is added for fuller rhythm support on numbers where bass is featured, worked alongside Sam in Dizzy Gillespie’s Quintet. And son on …
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, in November of 1924, our Sam Jones is not to be confused with the basketball Boston Celtics’ Sam Jones (who is the same height but jumps higher) or the San Francisco Giants pitcher of the same name (whose right arm is probably stronger but certainly no more supple). This Jones was with Cannonball’s original quintet, then with such top stars as Gillespie and Thelonious Monk before rejoining Adderley when he formed his present group in the Fall of ’59.Perhaps aided by the vast amount of attention paid to the sensational Adderley band, Sam has of late begun to receive deserved recognition as one of the most important of today’s bassists; and impeccable rhythm-section member and an increasingly forthright soloist. As noted previously, he is in demand for more record dates than one man could possibly get to, with particular emphasis on the fact that – by the specific insistence of a great many Riverside artists – he appears on as many of this label’s album as is possible.
Among the horns, the solo emphasis here is on Mitchell, Nat Adderley and Jimmy Heath (Cannonball, feeling that the spotlight belongs on his sideman, solos only on Blues on Down, otherwise functioning as leader of the sax section). In those cases where there might be room for confusion, note that Nat solos on The Chant; Blue on Four, Sonny Boy and Off-Color. Both play on blue Bird (Nat is first) and Blues on Down (Mitchell playing the opening melody and taking the first trumpet solo). The piano solo on Sonny Boy is by Kelly; on Blues on Down and Off-Color by Feldman.
Sam’s previous album is –
The soul Society: SAM JONES (RLP 12-324; Stereo RLP 1172)
Several musicians heard here are featured on Riverside albums of their own; a sampling of these would include –
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet at the Lighthouse (RLP 344; Stereo RLP 9344)
That’s Right!: NAT ADDERLEY and The Big Sam Section (RLP 330; Stereo 9330)
Blue’s Moods; BLUE MITCHELL Quartet (RLP 336; Stereo RLP 9336)
Really Big!: JIMMY HEATH Orchestra (RLP 333; Stereo RLP 1188)
Kelly Blue: WYNTON KELLY (RLP 12-298; Stereo RLP 1142)
Merry Olde Soul: VICTOR FELDMAN RLP 366; Stereo RLP 9366)
(The present recording is also available in Stereophonic form on RLP 9358.)
Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Back-liner photograph by LAWRENCE SHUSTAK
Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios.
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, New York