The Quintet: Wee
Jazz at Massey Hall (Debut DCD-124-2)
Composed by Denzil Best.
Recorded: live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada, May 15, 1953
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Yes, Mingus's discontent with the audio quality of this legendary concert and his subsequent overdubbing of the bass parts remove the critical interactive nature of these fine jazz musicians at collective work. Yet I'd say it's actually still quite absorbing. Plus, even though you must strain to hear the bass and drums clearly, there are remastered versions of the original mixes to explore. Nonetheless, the musical minds at work here make this an elemental rhythm section, especially since Powell and Roach stand alongside Bird and Diz as principal bebop architects. The ferocity (and ease of ferocity) that ensued when Mingus joined forces with Powell and Roach set a new high-water mark in the bop world. During the decade or so when speed and agility were the ultimate aims of the jazz rhythm section, no combination came close to Powell, Mingus and Roach.
Reviewer: Eric Novod
Tags: 1950s jazz