Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street

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.

Find At Basin Street on Amazon, Apple Music, and Walmart.