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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: The Fabulous Fats Navarro Vol. 2

One of the earlier Blue Notes, it has a lot of fond memories for me not least because of the presence of Wardell Gray - my first saxophone hero! Back in the day when Wardell and Dexter were tearing it up on Central Avenue blowing The Chase, going by the recorded evidence, my preference was for Wardell's lighter, more subtle, approach. 

Of course this was before Dexter  Gordon's resurgence when most tenor sax players were swept aside by his overpowering hands-on attack. However, by this time, Wardell had gone to a finer place but not without leaving behind a significant legacy, of which this LP forms a small part.


Also on the date was Allan Eager, one of the most underrated of the white tenor players (Brew Moore was another). Eager had a very light tone - a fore runner of Warne Marsh? If he'd dedicated his life to music who knows but that Eager could have been The Man! However, apart from his heroin addiction which was par for the course in those days, Eager drifted off into other pursuits. Ski/riding instructor, racing car driver and, it was said, gigolo.

I saw Eager at a North Sea Festival where he played fine and at a club near Covent Garden where he didn't. It was empty and, to quote Ronnie Scott, "The bouncers weren't chucking them out they were chucking them in". On this album he offers the same contrast to Wardell as Wardell did to Dexter.

On trumpet is Fats Navarro who never made a bad record and, alongside  him, another trumpet man, Howard McGhee. The record brings together two of the greatest bebop trumpet players of the late 1940s. Dizzy may have won the polls but, trust me, he was in a photo finish with these two whilst Miles,  must have thought about taking up astronomy. Listen to them blowing Double Talk - has there ever been two trumpet players trading choruses like this?
Lance
Tadd Dameron Septet: Fats Navarro (trumpet); Wardell Gray, Allan Eager (tenor saxes); Tadd Dameron (piano); Curley Russell (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums); Chano Pozo (bongo).
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McGee-Navarro Boptet: Fats Navarro, Howard McGhee (trumpets); Ernie Henry (alto sax); Milt Jackson (piano/vibes); Curley Russell (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums).

4 comments :

Steve Andrews said...

Fats Navarro - my absolute favourite modern jazz trumpet player! I "got" Fats years before I "got" Dizzy; I think it's because he is, on the one hand, so "hot" - he never flags or coasts in his choruses, but at the same time he's so melodic. By the way, I do get Diz…...it just took me a while, and, of course, when I was a kid I was deeply fascinated by Bird, not some trumpet player who happened to be on the record, too!

Steve T said...

Dizzy claimed Fats was the best of the bebop trumpeters, though I think it was a bit like SinAtra saying Tony Bennett was the best of the crooners.
In what way is this better than vol 1 Lance? A significantly more expensive item.

Lance said...

A) Because I don't have Volume 1, and B) Wardell Gray isn't on Volume 1. Admitedly Sonny Rollins is on Volume 1 but it was a very young Sonny.

David Brownlow said...

'Fabulous' Fats Navarro - aptly named ! What a player - great tone,imaginative ideas, great long lines,seemingly effortlessly soaring up into the trumpet stratosphere, too good for Bird's Quintet.
Lance, you have him playing on BSH - "Things we did last summer" with a JATP group - well worth another listen.......

from Dave B.

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