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Booker Ervin: The In Between

Booker Ervin’s The In Between is a minor classic belatedly restored to print as part of Blue Note’s Connoisseur CD Series. Recorded in ’68, it is a vivid snapshot of an established artist consolidating the strands of his recent accomplishments (such as the “Book” series for Prestige) while articulating new directions for his music. Compositionally, Ervin tapped a number of vital sources, ranging from his former employer, Charles Mingus (“Mour”), to the contemporary influence of the East (“The Muse”). Still, even though the tenor saxophonist stretched as a composer, his trademark full-throated, Texas-rooted sound remains the cornerstone of this energizing quintet date.

Of Ervin’s collaborators, only trumpeter Richard Williams had a considerable track record; his solos on cookers like the title tune hold up well next to the contemporary output of Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw.

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