Sly Stone and Muhammad Ali on his show. He would invite Yoko Ono and John Lennon. People would come down to Philadelphia for a week, and he would let them dominate the show. Anyway, Herbie and Chick went on the show and accompanied him on “I’m Beginning To See The Light” and then each took an incredible solo. He just let them play and the music went so many places. That’s what happens on this song—at first they’re playing very impressionistically, in a free rubato style, where there’s not really a lot of time; then they start swinging, and accompany each other in a more straight-ahead feel; and then they start trading, and the trades get more and more outrageous in how far they’re taking it out. Herbie would play something that almost recalled a stride thing, Chick would answer with something stride and then play some really out stuff, then Herbie would answer with out stuff. To see how two people with different styles, both virtuosos, were able to accompany and complement and push each other, and also how hard they were listening to each other, made a strong impression on me as a pianist, game me a real feeling of joy and uplift. One of the attractive things about Herbie is the lack of what I guess you could call ego—showing off virtuosity for its own sake. He’s really in the music all the time. I think it’s great playing by him as well as by Chick. Both Chick and Herbie have distinctive solo styles, and they’re both pushing each other. They both have enormous range, not just as ensemble players, but also as soloists. It’s an obscure record in Herbie’s total discography. But it’s stuck with me, and I’ve listened to it a lot.
"A-Tisket, A-Tasket" -- but how many have checked out this version of "Liza" on the flip side of the 78? Yet you would need to look far and wide to find a better exhibition of Swing Era drumming. Webb drives the band with a double dose of what Alan Greenspan might call "irrational exuberance." But you can't resist this beat -- no wonder the dancers stomped so hard at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, where Webb & Co. presided over the spirited proceedings. Listen and enjoy the band that defeated the Benny Goodman ensemble, the most famous jazz group of the age, at a heated Harlem battle a few months before this session. Webb would be dead, at age 30, before the close of the decade, but this track serves notice that he was one of the finest talents the jazz world has produced.
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