Clifford Brown & Max Roach: Take The 'A' Train


Take The 'A' Train


Clifford Brown (trumpet) and Max Roach (drums)


Study in Brown (EmArcy 814 646)

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Clifford Brown (trumpet), Max Roach (drums), Harold Land (tenor sax), Richie Powell (piano), George Morrow (bass).

Composed by Billy Strayhorn


Recorded: New York City, February 23, 1955


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Of the four studio albums by the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet (including “Sonny Rollins Plus 4”), “Study In Brown” is doubtlessly the weakest. Most of the songs are short and the performances seem less committed than on the other albums. On “Cherokee,” Brown seems unable to match his earlier Blue Note performance, and this version of “Take The' A' Train” tries to pack in as much arrangement as possible to the detriment of the soloists. While Brown, Roach and Harold Land all acquit themselves well in their 2-chorus solos, one wishes for more, especially at the fire-breathing tempo set by Roach. When the solo time is so truncated, it’s easy to lose patience with the long intro and coda that portrays the starting, speeding, slowing and stopping of the train. I suspect this may be an arrangement by pianist Richie Powell, who wrote many fine charts for the quintet, but whose musical immaturity in soloing and writing sometimes put a drag on the entire group.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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