Buddy Rich: Cardin Blue
Buddy Rich (drums)
Very Live At Buddy's Place (Groove Merchant 3301)
Composed by Buddy Rich.
Recorded: live at Buddy's Place, New York City, 1971
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Buddy Rich presided over two jazz clubs in New York City in the early '70's, Buddy's Place and then Buddy's Place II. During this temporary hiatus period for his popular Big Band, the drummer assembled an impressive small group containing several of the most promising young musicians on the scene at that time, including Sonny Fortune, Sal Nistico, Jack Wilkins, and Kenny Barron. As seen in the cover photograph of Very Live at Buddy's Place, Rich decked them all out in white suits and contrasting gold turtlenecks, a slick uniformity obviously derived from his Big Band's requirements. The album's liner copy credited the group's "wardrobe" to Pierre Cardin, and hence the title of the track in question here, "Cardin Blue," a stylish blues performance that—unlike the said suits designed by Cardin—will never go out of fashion.
A "Funky Blues" (think the 1952 Jam Session with Charlie Parker et. al.) vibe prevails, set up by Barron's bluesy piano, Jackson's throbbing electric bass, and Rich's teasing brushes. Fortune's vibrant, pungent flute solo leads off, followed by Wilkins' unassuming, lightly reverbed electric guitar improv. Nistico's brawny, testifying tenor, shades of Gene Ammons, raises the temperature a bit before an earthy Barron statement that is very deeply ensconced in a soulful, gospel-tinged groove. Jackson's electric bass has the last word, casting a spell both tonally and in the fluidity of his lines. The soothing piano trio wind-down ending caps a performance that presents the more mellow side of what could otherwise be a quite fiery and combative Rich ensemble.
Reviewer: Scott Albin