This Is New: KENNY DREW Quintet / Quartet
Quintet (on Side 1):Donald Byrd (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Kenny Drew (p) Wilbur Ware (b) G. T. Hogan (drs)
New York; March 28, 1957
Quartet (on Side 2): omit Mobley; other personnel the same New York; April 3, 1957
1. This Is New (6:54) (I. Gershwin – Weill)
2. Carol (4:27) (Kenny Drew)
3. It's You or No One (8:04) (Cahn – Styne)
1. You're My Thrill (5:17) (Clare – Gorney)
2. Little T (6:05) (Donald Byrd)
3. Paul's Pal (6:36) (Sonny Rollins)
4. Why Do I Love You? (5:12) (Hammerstein – Kern)
This Is New happens to be more than just one of the song titles here, more even than a visually evocative phrase that suggested a photographic cover idea too good to be passed by. It also happens to be a quite apt description of what is taking place musically in this album.
This is current jazz played by musicians who are young, but who have considerable playing experience. All of them also have much the same sets of jazz roots and attitudes. They are men to whim the jazz revolution preached by Bird and Dizzy and Monk at the start of the 1940s is the important starting point. But in referring to the music that developed primarily out of the early '40s xperimentation, it must be noted that roughly a decade and a half has gone by since Minton's. And that is actually more calendar time, for example, than elapsed between the issuance of King Oliver's earliest records and Benny Goodman's!
The fact is that at least a full jazz generation has grown up in that time, and that jazz has changed considerably. But, perhaps because it takes a good deal of time to get perspective on such things, or perhaps because there has been no violent upheaval of form (certainly nothing comparable to the differences between Swing, or Dixieland, and Bop), there is a strong tendency to lump everything recent together as "modern." Well, not quite everything: there is a wide variety of experimentation, and there is the music of the West Coast jazzmen, and most of this gets called "cool," as distinguished from the sort of music you hear in this album, which is usually tagged as "post bop," or "hard bop." Sometimes of course the lines get blurred, as will happen with any over-simplification: Miles Davis an walking eggshells trumpet tone is often singled out as the starting point of cool jazz, yet by background and continuing jazz context he belongs to the boppers, and his influence is surely importantly felt in the work of younger horn men like Donald Byrd.
But the major point to be made is that by now the music of the disciples of bop has emerged as an entity, as a self contained style. Giving it names like "post bop" many obscure this point, making it seem as if this is more same, but it's not at all like that. This is jazz with basic distinctive qualities of its own, and these qualities seem to be very effectively and excitingly in evidence here.
Above all, this is "funky" jazz, taking that word in its current meaning of earthy, almost gutbucket, with a decided overall feeling of the blues. It is a far less frenetic and self conscious music than much of early bop (which often failed to conceal its dogged determination to be 'different'). Some critics complain that there is excessive attention to top speed tempos, but I find a high and effective proportion of swinging middle tempo material. Wholehearted, unembarrassed ballads are rather rare; but there are occasions, as with You're My Thrill here, when everything jells beautifully and soulfully. It is a rhythmically sound jazz (whereas early bop, busily working out new concepts of the functions of rhythm instruments, was not always so), and one reason for this may well be the emergence of a large crop of outstanding bassists, of whom Wilbur Ware is one of the most impressive. This is a music aware of newer harmonic ideas without being pretentious about it, and capable of re exploring the basic and 'old fashioned' jazz art of ensemble playing: listen particularly to the big sound of Byrd and Hank Mobley together on This Is New; and also on It's You or No One, which they had recorded, but quite differently, when both were members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. (The Blakey group, incidentally, has been something of a post bop training school: its frequently shifting personnel has also include Drew and Ware.)
KENNY DREW is rapidly maturing into one of the significant younger pianists. Born in New York City in 1929, he has worked with a wide variety of major jazz performers (for fuller biographical detail, see ht notes to his previous album for Riverside: RLP12-224). Although his approach indicates the influence of Bud Powell and, to an extent, Thelonious Monk, he is almost unique among modernists in also appreciating and making use of the heritage of such pre modern as Teddy Wilson and Fats Waller. DONALD BYRD, still in his very early twenties, is quite clearly the coming young man on trumpet; HANK MOBLEY is among the most highly regarded of current tenor men. WILBUR WARE, since coming to New York from Chicago about a year ago, has quickly established himself as among the more formidable bass player, both in solo work and as a rhythm man. G.T. HOGAN, who has worked with Illinois Jacquet and Stan Getz considers this his jazz record debut, and it is a highly promising one.
Drew is also featured on –
KENNY DREW Trio, with Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones (RLP12-224)
In addition, Kenny can be heard, along with Wilbur Ware, on –
Presenting ERNIE HENRY, with Kenny Dorham (RLP12-222)
Donald Byrd is featured on –
GIGI GRYCE and the Jazz Lab Quintet (RLP12-229)
Among other Riverside albums on which Wilbur Ware can also be heard are –
Zoot!: The ZOOT SIMS Quintet (RLP12-228)
Jazz by Gee: MATTHEW GEE All-Stars, with Kenny Dorham, Frank Foster, Cecil Payne, Ernie Henry
Monk’s Music: THELONIOUS MONK Septet, with Coleman Hawkins, Art Blakey, Gigi Gryce (RLP12-242)
Other outstanding modern music is offered on such HIGH FIDELITY 12-inch Riverside LPs as -
SONNY ROLLINS: The Sound of Sonny (RLP12-241)
KENNY DORHAM: Jazz Contrasts; with Sonny Rollins, Max Roach (RLP12-239)
The Hawk Flies High: COLEMAN HAWKINS, with J. J. Johnson, Idrees Sulieman, Hank Jones (RLP12-233)
Brilliant Corners: THELONIOUS MONK, with Sonny Rollins, Ernie Henry, Clark Terry (5-stras – Down Beat)
Thelonious Monk Himself: solo piano by THELONIOUS MONK (RLP12-235)
Jazz a la Bohemia: RANDY WESTON Trio and Cecil Payne (RLP12-232)
RANDY WESTON Trio and Solos; with Art Blakey (RLP12-227)
A Grand Night for Swinging: MUNDELL LOWE, with Billy Taylor, Gene Quill (RLP12-238)
HERBIE MANN: Sultry Serenade (RLP12-234)
Trigger Happy: TRIGGER ALPERT All-Stars, with Tony Scott, Zoot Sims, Joe Wilder, Urbie Green, Al Cohn,
Ed Shaughnessy (RLP12-225)
BILL EVANS: New Piano Jazz Conceptions (RLP12-223)
CLARK TERRY Quintet, with Johnny Griffin, Wynton Kelly (RLP12-237)
BOBBY JASPAR: tenor and flute; with George Wallington, Idrees Sulieman (RLP12-240)
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
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.