George Russell: Kentucky Oysters
Stratusphunk (Riverside OJCCD-232-2)
Composed by David Baker.
Recorded: New York, October 18, 1960
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Claiming their bluegrass neighbors couldn't differentiate between seafood and hog guts, Indianans made "Kentucky Oysters" slang for the soul food delicacy chitlins. The slander, as celebrated in this dual-tempo blues waltz by Hoosier David Baker, seems good-natured. (No truth to the rumor that Baker's dislocated jaw, forcing him to abandon the trombone, was applied by an irate Kentuckian.) The ensemble reverb is overdone, and there's an awkward splice between trumpet and piano solos—the latter an especially interesting contribution from leader Russell, best known as theorist/composer. But this is nonetheless an outstanding example of early-'60s jazz, simultaneously searching and funky.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz