Benny Golson: My Romance

The ever-underrated tenor saxophonist Benny Golson has written some of modern jazz's best known standards ("I Remember Clifford," Whisper Not," "Stablemates"), and also performed with the likes of Tadd Dameron, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Farmer. A member of the Jazz Messengers in 1958 during the recording of the classic Moanin', Golson recommended both Lee Morgan and Bobby Timmons for the group, assisting in assembling one of Art Blakey's more essential hard-bop lineups. This track, recorded a few years after Golson's Messenger service, features his extended ballad improvisation enhanced by Flanagan's and Carter's exemplary support.

March 06, 2008 · 0 comments


Art Blakey (featuring Keith Jarrett): My Romance

On this hard-to-find live recording from the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, Art Blakey features the two young talents who had just joined his band: 20-year-old pianist Keith Jarrett and 25-year-old trumpeter Chuck Mangione. Neither would stay for long, and both would soon be selling more records than Blakey himself. But their stint with the Jazz Messengers left behind this outstanding LP, which is definitely worth a listen. Mangione takes leadoff solo on this standard, and contributes what would be a standout improvisation . . . if Keith Jarrett weren't taking the next chorus. Jarrett dishes out a perfect solo, with tasty ideas, angelic phrases and a very sweet touch. Jarrett wouldn't go anywhere near a Richard Rodgers standard for almost another two decades, but the newcomer showed here that he could play the old songs with great passion. On the basis of this tantalizing performance, one must conclude that the shortest-lasting group of Jazz Messengers -- it never made another record -- was also one of the finest.

February 04, 2008 · 0 comments


John McLaughlin: My Romance

This could be a fun thing to do: play McLaughlin's beautiful acoustic rendition of "My Romance" to someone unfamiliar with John's playing. Its harp-like chords and deep rich melody notes will enchant the listener. Then play the McLaughlin Mahavishnu Orchestra's head-jarring electric "Birds of Fire" immediately. After you resuscitate the now-shocked listener, try your damnedest to convince him or her that it was the same guitarist playing both songs. You will not be able to do it!

January 26, 2008 · 0 comments


McCoy Tyner: My Romance

Tyner's style has mellowed with the passing years, and at time he floats over the changes rather than (as he might have done in the 1960s and 1970s) rip them apart at the seams. But he still shakes things up with characteristic piano licks, those ricocheting intervals that go up when you think they should go down, and vice versa. His crisp attack at the keyboard is always a joy to hear, especially when he is ably assisted in a trio setting with Ron Carter and Al Foster. This release is a notch below the classic Trident  session Tyner made with Carter and Elvin Jones back in the day, but it is still a welcome addition to the pianist's discography.

November 21, 2007 · 0 comments


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