Organ trios and quartets were ubiquitous by the mid-1960s. In African American neighborhood bars and clubs up and down the East Coast, throughout the Rust … Read More “Chronology: Grant Green, Larry Young, and Elvin Jones Move Organ Jazz Forward”
2. Clifford Brown and Max Roach: At Basin Street (EmArcy, 1956)
The quintet’s lineup is stellar (Sonny Rollins had just replaced Harold Land in the tenor saxophone seat), the repertoire phenomenal, the pedigree impeccable. Now sit back and watch as this band turns the graceful standard “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” into something about as dainty as a football game in a prison yard. Yes, it’s an exaggeration, but not by much. The Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet (sometimes called “Brown-Roach Incorporated”) interpreted hard bop’s swing mandate to mean they should ply all their most explosive chops. The famously sweet and clean-living trumpeter takes no prisoners, burning furiously through the ironically named “Step Lightly” and the more apt “Gertrude’s Bounce,” while co-leader Roach never wastes an opportunity to flex some muscle, even on the ballad “Time.” Rollins, bassist George Morrow, and pianist Richie Powell match them pace for pace.