Disc of the day: 24-11-09

The Red Garland Quintet with John Coltrane: Dig It! (Prestige PR7229)
Of course it is that crucial “with…” that makes the ears prick up, and pricked ears are just the thing for listening to Coltrane’s dazzling opening solo on Billie’s Bounce, filled as it is with the remnants of bop and the beginnings of the sheets of sound explorations that the saxophonist would increasingly engage in.

This was 1957 and along with Trane, the Miles Davis Quintet pianist had Donald Byrd on trumpet, Paul Chambers or George Joyner on bass and Arthur Taylor on drums. This was an influential band for record collectors but not a live playing unit. Nevertheless it has that late ’50s jazz essence, and Garland remained a favourite for many piano fans.

The tracks are unusually long for the era – Garland’s original composition, Lazy Mae, which concludes this Rudy Van Gelder remastered edition CD, runs to over 16 minutes. It’s a stately blues with the leader laying out the basics in a left hand riff before he adds some treble, and the rhythm team enter for a strong, swinging work through. In fact, it’s not until near the halfway mark that Coltrane enters with another masterful solo, followed by Joyner and finally Byrd, high and lyrical.

The single trio track is Crazy Rhythm, with Garland in exemplary form.

Apparently this disc was originally compiled from the left-overs from sessions which had produced three previous records. Well, what delicious leftovers!

Categories: CD review

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