Blue Jubilee: JOE ALEXANDER
John Hunt (flh) Joe Alexander (ts) bobby Timmons (p) Sam Jones (b) Albert Heath (drs)
Recorded in New York; June 20, 1960
Blue Jubilee (6:06) (Tom McIntosh)
Brown’s Town (7:23) (Norris Austin)
I’ll Close My Eyes (7:14) (Kaye-Reid)
Terri’s Blues (10:02) (Hunt-Alexander)
Weird Beard (9:15) (Benny Crawford)
On problem about the role of New York as a hub of so many activities – including jazz activity, and in particular the business of recording jazz – is that it tends to make New Yorker’s a frequently near-sighted group. If a musician is willing or able to come to the Big City and scuffle, he stands a pretty good chance of, sooner or later, being “discovered.” But if choice or necessity keeps him working out there in the “West” (an area that, as I’m, sure you all realize, begins in about New Jersey), then he is most likely to remain unfound and unfussed over for a very long time, or possibly forever.
As a notable exam-le, take JOE ALEXANDER, a most hard driving young tenor man with a lot to say. Out of Birmingham, Alabama, he has for quite sometime been a resident of Cleveland. He worked for a while with “The Three Sounds” (who did get to New York and did get found), and has been known to and appreciated by quite a few musicians – who manage to get around more than such as record companies and critics. But for most of the jazz-listening world – which must take its cues from New York, or on occasion Los Angeles or Chicago – Joe Alexander has until now been, if anything, strictly hearsay.
Another standard problem of jazz status is the late of the man who takes a good steady gig in a regularly-working band and remains pretty much buried there. There are many, many examples of this; and as a very good case in point take a talented young trumpet and fluegelhorn player named JOE HUNT, who earns his living as an unsung member of the Ray Charles band.
This LP seeks to remedy matters and cast a bit of well deserved spotlight on these two men by bringing them into a N. Y. recording studio and turning them loose in the company of a first-rate, really cooking rhythm section: BOBBY TIMMONS, the young pianist who has gained considerable attention with both Cannonball Adderley and Art Blakey; SAM JONES, Adderley’s bassist and a 1960 New Star choice of the Down Beat Critics Poll; and J. J. Johnson’s fine drummer, ALBERT HEATH.
With such support, and with Timmons sharing solo honors, Alexander and hunt emerge as brisk, long-limbed swingers on Brown’s Town, Weird Beard (both arranged by Hunt). Terry’s Blues and Tom McIntosh’s earthy Blue Jubilee, and Alexander in particular digs much emotion out of a ballad treatment of the standard I’ll Close My Eyes.
The moral of course is that good jazz is where you find it – and also that there’s not nearly enough locking going on.
Notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Photos by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Recording Engineer: BILL STODDARD (Bell Sound Studios)