Paul Gonsalves: I Surrender Dear
I Surrender Dear
Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax)
Gettin' Together (Original Jazz Classics 203)
Composed by Harry Barris & Gordon Clifford.
Recorded: New York, December 20, 1960
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
There were good reasons why Duke Ellington put up with the drug and alcohol problems of Paul Gonsalves for so many years. "Paul Gonsalves is a wonderful musician," said Duke. "Highly skilled, with tremendous imagination, he is equipped to perform whatever comes into his mind." Of course, Paul's 27 choruses during "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, which jumpstarted Ellington's floundering career, didn't hurt either. "I was born at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956," Duke later said. Yet despite those frenzied 27 choruses, Duke and Johnny Hodges always thought that Gonsalves was at his best on ballads.
While Gonsalves said that Coleman Hawkins was his main influence, he also admired Don Byas and Ben Webster for their sounds. On "I Surrender Dear," Gonsalves's yearning, unaccompanied rubato intro precedes his heartfelt reading of the melody played with a tone seamlessly blending Byas and Webster. His graceful arpeggios and subtle embellishments contribute to a totally riveting interpretation. Kelly solos briefly and sparsely before Gonsalves suddenly returns with a swooping run and then additional filigreed phrasings. Kelly gets down to business next with a more assertive, driving solo statement. Gonsalves reenters, this time with a Hawkins-like swagger and edge to his tone, before an abrupt ending that leaves the listener craving more.
Reviewer: Scott Albin