Don Redman: Chant of the Weed
Chant of the Weed
Don Redman & His Orchestra
Black Legends of Jazz (GRP/Decca 641)
Leonard Davis (trumpet), Claude Jones (trombone), Edward Inge, Rupert Cole (clarinet, alto sax); Robert Carroll (tenor sax), Talcott Reeves (banjo), Bob Ysaguirre (bass), Manzie Johnson (drums, vibes).
Recorded: New York, September 24, 1931
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Venture past this track's K-tel campiness—As-Seen-On-TV: All-time Smokin' Reefer Songs! Act Now! Supplies Are Limited—and you find the adventurous orchestration of pioneering big band conceptualist Don Redman, among the first to separate brass and reeds into sections and exploit their contrasting timbres. One of a handful to grasp the jazz band's orchestral possibilities only recently expanded by Ellington, Redman cultivates in "Chant of the Weed" a bumper patch of cleverly camouflaged, strangely evocative tonal and atonal colorations. In particular, devotees of the late-1930s Raymond Scott Quintette will detect an ancestral pungency. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz