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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Grant Green - Idle Moments

Joe Henderson (tenor sax); Bobby Hutcherson (vibes ); Grant Green (guitar); Duke Pearson (piano); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Al Harewood (drums).

The title track is aptly named - Idle Moments - it's so laid back you could almost fall asleep but, if you did, you'd miss some really sensitive playing. You've never heard Joe Henderson blowing like this - he makes Lester Young sound like John Coltrane.  Hutcherson brings the warmth to his vibes that Milt Jackson just misses, brilliant though Milt is. Grant, naturally, is outstanding.

Things waken up with Jean De Fleur kicked off by Grant who has taken Charlie Christian's innovations 20 years along the line. Henderson is in his more familiar hard-blowing mode. Hutch reminds Milt he's the number one contender and the track fades out in sweet surrender to the music.

John Lewis' Django offers an alternative to the original version by the Modern Jazz Quartet. This one's a bluesy shuffle and loses nothing by comparison - Duke Pearson, like Paul Edis, the other day, manages to insert the same descending motif referred to. Grant Green hints at it. Since I heard Paul play it, and I checked it on MJQ's Fontessa I can't get the phrase out of my head and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just imaging it or if I do I keep hearing it in every number!

Duke Pearson's Nomad is the out and out swinger. Green lays his cards on the table and, musically, ups the ante which is a dangerous thing to do when the guy taking the next solo also just happened to compose the tune. You don't get beaten on your own tunes! I should have more Duke Pearson on the shelves.

A good album, possibly not the top rated Grant Green Blue Note, but it would interesting to hear what our other guitarists who are familiar with the album think and what their favourite GG album is.
YouTube link.
Lance.

2 comments :

Roly said...

I’ve always enjoyed Grant Green’s guitar playing on album tracks I’ve heard. The two vinyl albums I have at home are a good album ‘Born to be Blue’ under his name and a really great album ‘Search for the New Land’ under Lee Morgan’s name and with stellar company. These are good examples of his unique and instantly recognisable solo style. Free flowing, bluesy, melodic but with a distinctive warm but woody and edgy, biting sound that is perhaps due in part to the instrument, a non-cutaway Gibson L7 with the unique McCarty pick up.

Those older Gibson models often had a unique, woody sound. Another great guitarist, for example, is Rene Thomas who used a non-cutaway Gibson 150 with Charlie Christian pick up. His sound had a similar edge to it.

As regards this particular album I enjoyed it although I did find that first slow track rather long. Apart from that it’s great though. True to form Green is in that flowing trademark solo style but does minimal comping. He typically lays out deferring to the piano. I don’t think he would get many pianists saying he gets in the way.

He was one of the greats of the Blue Note era and for someone to have such an instantly recognisable signature style means a lot. You know its him in the first few notes and something about his soloing compels you to sit up and listen. Of the GG I’ve heard I would pick out ‘Search for the New Land’ as one to check out if you’ve not already got it.

Maurice Summerfield said...

Your review of this CD prompted me to listen to my Blue Note 4 CD set 'Grant Green Retrospective' 7243 5 40851 3A/B. This includes the track 'Django' from Idle Moments.

I always enjoyed Green's playing but usually in short doses as his main influences were jazz saxophonists. As a result his sound did not have the full and rich guitar sound of the 1950/1960's jazz guitar greats such as Kessel, Farlow, Ellis, Johnny Smith, Hall and Burrell.

I felt he was essentially a blues guitarist and although he featured on many excellent hard bop Blue Note recordings he did return almost exclusively to playing blues guitar in his later career. Of course he died too young at the age of 44. I can recommend Sharony Andrews Green's biography of Grant Green (Backbeat Books 1999).

Maurice Summerfield


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