Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grant GREEN - Ballads 2002

Grant GREEN - Ballads 2002
Recorded on April 1961 and January 1962


Ballads captures Grant Green in a mellow mood, offering something like a portrait of an artist as a young guitarist. All seven selections are from 1960 and 1961, mostly, as the liner notes state, because Green performed ballads less often as time went on (especially as a leader). It's instructive and gratifying, then, to have pieces like "My One and Only Love" and "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" in one place. The personnel varies quite a bit since each cut originates from a different album, though pianist Sonny Clark plays on four cuts, including the lovely "Little Girl Blue." Flutist Yusef Lateef, organist Jack McDuff, and drummer Al Harewood join in for a delicate, impressionistic rendering of "My Funny Valentine," while bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Dave Bailey add minimalist support to a moody version of "'Round Midnight." On each tune, four of which exceed seven minutes, Green takes his time developing his ideas. He can dazzle, but he'd rather hold a note or allow a phrase to linger in the air for a moment. He'd rather wring a few more blue notes out of "God Bless the Child" than impress the listener with his speed and agility. For those unfamiliar with Green's softer side, Ballads offers a fine introduction. For those in the know, Ballads conveniently collects these pieces in the same place, creating an exquisite late-night disc.
By Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Green's playing is immediately recognizable, perhaps more than any other guitarist. Green has been almost systematically ignored by jazz buffs with a bent to the cool side, and he has only recently begun to be appreciated for his incredible musicality. Perhaps no guitarist has ever handled standards and ballads with the brilliance of Grant Green. Mosaic, the nation's premier jazz reissue label, issued a wonderful collection The Complete Blue Note Recordings with Sonny Clark, featuring prime early '60s Green albums plus unissued tracks. Some of the finest examples of Green's work can be found there.
By Michael Erlewine and Ron Wynn, All Music Guide.
Grant Green- (Guitar),
Ike Quebec- (Tenor Sax);
Yusef Lateef- (Flute);
Sonny Clark- (Piano);
Jack McDuff- (Hammond B-3 Organ).
01. My One And Only Love 5:50
02. God Bless The Child 7:25
03. My Funny Valentine 9:09
04. Little Girl Blue 7:14
05. Born To Be Blue 4:54
06. Nancy (With The Laughing Face) 6:25
07. 'Round About Midnight 7:03

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