The Soulful Piano of JUNIOR MANCE
Junior Mance (p) Ben Tucker (b) Bobby Thomas (drs)
Recorded in New York City; October 25, 1960
The Uptown (4:02) (Julian Mance)
Ralph’s New Blues (4:20) (Milt Jackson)
Main Stem (4:21) (Duke Ellington)
Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup (3:38) (Anna Socenco)
Playhouse (4:14) (Julian Mance)
Sweet and Lovely (3:55) (Arnheim – Tobias – Lemare)
Oo-Bla-Dee (4:36) (Mary Lou Williams)
I Don’t Care (4:27) (Ray Bryant)
Swingmatism (5:12) (Scott – Mcshann)
About this NEW Jazzland Recording –
This album marks the first appearance of a new trio led by a most warm-sounding and firmly swinging young pianist. It is our strong feeling that you’ll be hearing a great deal from this JUNIOR MANCE group in clubs and on records from now on.
Advance enthusiasm has been particularly stirred up by the unusual and catchy rhythms of the album’s opening track, The Uptown. It’s a tune that came about more or less by accident, Mance notes. “The trio was rehearsing one day, and it just happened.” But if this specific number was an impromptu creation, Junior’s deeply soulful piano style is decidedly not something that just happened. Although barely into his thirties, Mance has a solid and impressive background.
Born Julian Clifford Mance, Jr., in Chicago on October, 1928, he studied music first with private teachers and then at Roosevelt College. “I was a boogie woogie pianist then, and I never really got it all out of my system … Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons were my favorites then.” In 1947 Junior went on the road with Gene Ammons, Albert’s noted tenor-playing son. He spent the next year with Lester Young, then returned to Ammons, after which Uncle Sam beckoned. Mance played in the Army band at Fort Knox. Kentucky, and in ’53, once again a civilian, became a member of the house rhythm section at the Beehive Lounge in Chicago. There he worked with Young, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Stitt. From 1954 until he formed his present trio in 1960, Mance accompanied Dinah Washington and played with such groups as Cannonball Adderley’s and Dizzy Gillespie’s.
“I’ve wanted to have my own group for a long time,” Junior notes, “and I prefer a trio because it allows for more freedom with less headaches. Now I think I may be ready.” That Mance, Ben Tucker and Bobby Thomas are a good, close-knit – and ready – team is very evident, for this entire album was recorded in only two and a half hours of actual working time!
Junior Mance’s broad jazz tastes are clearly reflected in the selections he chose to play here. “Some musicians are overdoing this ‘gospel’ thing nowadays, so I was a little hesitant about recording The Uptown. It’s a blues with that kind of feeling and with a rhythm that has a pause in it that makes it a little bit different.” But Mance’s treatment of this and other tunes here only goes to prove that, in the right hands, the “gospel thing” has tremendous validity and appeal.
Of the other numbers, Playhouse is another Mance original. Ralph’s New Blues is Milt Jackson’s bow to jazz critic Ralph Gleason, first recorded a few years back by the Modern Jazz Quartet. Oo-Bla-Dee is a Mary Lou Williams tune of the late ‘40s. I Don’t Care is Ray Bryant (who had forgotten he had written it); Junior first played this a few years ago with Cannonball and a big studio band. Main Stem was learned from Duke Ellington’s 1942 band recording; Swingmatism similarly was added t Mance’s repertoire after he came across the 1941 Jay McShann record of it. Sweet and Lovely is a standard he ahs always been partial to; and Darling “was so pretty on Nat Cole’s recording that I decided to see what I could do with it.”
Recent JAZZLAND releases include:
The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon – JLP 29 & Stereo 929S
Guitar Groove – Rene Thomas, with JR Monterose – JLP 27 & Stereo 927S
Out of This World – Walter Benton, with Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Freddie Hubbard – JLP 28 & Stereo 928S
West Coast Blues – Harold Land, with Wes Montgomery – JLP 20 & Stereo 920S
Produced by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Note by CHRIS ALBERTSON
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Back-liner photos by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios
JAZZLAND RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, New York