A Story Tale: CLIFFORD JORDAN and SONNY RED
Sonny Red (as) Clifford Jordan (ts) Tommy Flanagan (p) (*) or Ronnie Matthews (p) Art Davis (b) Elvin Jones (drs) Recorded in New York City; February 14, 1961
Cumberland Court (3:48) (Clifford Jordan)
A Story Tale (4:48) (Clifford Jordan)
You’re Driving Me Crazy (5:35) (*) )Walter Donaldson)
Defiance (3:23) (*) (Sonny Red)
Prints (5:58) (*) (Sonny Red)
Hip Pockets (5:00) (*) (Red Jordan)
Falling in Love Is Wonderful (5:12) (*) (Irvin Berlin)
If I Didn’t Care (5:13) (Jack Lawrence)
Young musicians seeking to make their way upwards through the difficult and sometimes exasperating highways and byways of the jazz world often form temporary alliances (particularly for recording purposes) for no real reason except that at that time it seems like a good or an arbitrarily “different” idea. Thus, whenever a really logical, meaningful and interesting merger of talents comes along, it stands out from the crowd in sharp contrast, and discerning jazz fans should be alerted to pay special attention.
In our opinion, this recording collaboration between CLIFFOR JORDAN and SONNY RED is one of the particularly valid ones. Not only do Jordan’s full, dark tenor tones and Sonny’s probing, stabbing alto make for a most intriguing, non-conflicting blend of sound, but their frequently contrasting, sometimes melding jazz conceptions seem in turn to provide each other with a challenge and a spur.
Clifford’s unusually-titled A Story Take (it’s dedicated to his young daughter) is used here as an album title to underline the feeling that these two young horn men (both are sill in their twenties) have a great deal to say. Red is part of the apparently never-ending flow of fine jazz talent from Detroit, and his apprenticeship there and in New York has included work with Miles Davis and with Art Blakey. Jordan came East from Chicago, another of the major jazz jumping-off places, and has been part of the quintets of both Max Roach and J. J. Johnson.
We hadn’t even been aware that they necessarily knew each other until they came up with the idea of doing an album together, and fully ready to tackle it. Of the five originals here, two are by Jordan (the title tune and Cumberland Court), two by Red (Defiance and Prints – the latter and intriguing chord-development theme on the order of some of Miles Davis’ recent efforts), and Hip Pockets is a jointly created item.
They had their rhythm section picked out, too, and it turned out to be a most effective one. Detroit-born Elvin Jones, one of the most exciting drummers to come along in years, has most recently been featured with John Coltrane’s quartet. Art Davis is a big-toned, firmly swinging bassist despite (or perhaps because of) considerable symphonic experience; he has also served with both Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. Dividing the piano spot between the fluent, lyrical Tommy Flanagan (another Detroiter) and young Ronnie Matthews (who had been working with Jordan) was not due to any division of opinion, but is simply a compromise between a mutual (and widely-shared) enthusiasm for Tommy’s work and an equally mutual desire to give a promising newcomer like Matthews a chance to be heard. With his support, Cliff and Sonny proceed to make out an excellent case both for their individual talents and for the wisdom of their decision to work together here. Their joint handling of the well-constructed lines of these five originals and three standards leaves room for really only one egret – that is unfortunately designed as a temporary alliance, for this particular story-tale only.
Red’s previous JAZZLAND LP is:
Breezing – Sonny Red, with Blue Mitchell, Yusef Lateef – JLP 32 & Stereo 932S
Other outstanding releases include:
Lookin’ at Monk – Johnny Griffin-‘Lockjaw’ Davis Quintet – JLP 39 & Stereo 939S
Junior Mance Trio at the Village Vanguard – JLP 41 & Stereo 941S
Gemini – Les Spann, flute and guitar – JLP 35 & Stereo 935S
Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Back-liner photos by STEVE SCHAPIRO
Recording Engineer: BILL STODDARD (Bell Sound Studios)
JAZZLAND RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, New York