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Clark Terry/Paul Gonsalves: Daylight Express

In September, 1957 Duke Ellington sidemen trumpeter Clark Terry and tenor saxman Paul Gonsalves on which Ellington mates bassists Jimmy Woode and drummer Sam Woodyard appeared. Both are contained on Daylight Express.

All four appear on the Gonsalves date with Chicago pianist Willie Jones. It’s a fine date, with Gonsalves, who combined the big, soft tone of Ben Webster with the advanced harmonic ideas and smooth phrasing of Don Byas, in top form; he’s superb throughout. Terry, a great but inconsistent soloist, swings with more looseness than any trumpeter I’ve ever heard and has an uniquely soft, full gorgeous tone, but has a tendency to clown and show off, wrecking the continuty of his solos. Here, though, he’s relatively tasteful, playing with intensity, imagination and some control. Jones, hampered by a screwed up piano, is so amateurish that he unintentionally sounds like an avant gardist. Better him than someone who’s too slick, though. On Terry’s date Gonsalves is replaced by studio man Mike Simpson; consequently there’s a huge drop off in the quality of the tenor playing. The Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie-influenced Terry makes beautiful theme statements on “Candy” and “Takin’ a Chance on Love,” and takes one of his greatest blues solos on “Blues for Daddy-O’s Jazz Pataio Blues.” A weird but always interesting and often rewarding one.

In September 1957 Woode also cut an Argo LP with Gonsalves, Terry and Woodyard (not reissued here). His pianist was Ramsey Lewis, then a straight-ahead player, who later went commercial, blending influences ranging from funk to cocktail piano, and made a lot of money doing it. This 2 CD album contains some of Lewis’ best selling pop work. Aesthetically, it’s not much, but a lot of people bought it, and they should know it’s available on CD.

Originally Published