Friday, January 8, 2010

Wynton KELLY - Live At Left Bank Jazz Society, Baltimore 1967

Wynton KELLY - Live At Left Bank Jazz Society, Baltimore  1967
With Special Guest Hank Mobley


A crack quartet set from 1967 -- one of the famous "lost" concerts recorded by Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society, and especially noteworthy because it features Hank Mobley sitting in with the trio of Wynton Kelly. The tracks are nearly all over 15 minutes long -- which means that Mobley and Kelly solo intensely, and with a great deal of freedom. Rhythm's by Jimmy Cobb and Cecil McBee, so things always stay right in the pocket -- and titles include "Hackensack", "On Green Dolphin Street", "Milestones", and "Speak Low". (Out of print.)
From Dusty Groove
Wynton Kelly's four years with Miles Davis from 1959 to 1963 really put him into a special jazz category and for which he is probably best known. On leaving Davis he again formed his own trio, this time using his former rhythm section colleagues from the Miles Davis quintet, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Much in demand throughout the 1950s and 60s, Kelly also worked and recorded with Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, J.J. Johnson, George Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Clark Terry, plus, as here, Hank Mobley...

All of Kelly's qualities...are in abundant evidence in this 1967 recording, (which reunites three former members of the 1961 Miles Davis quintet), for Kelly was not only a solid group pianist but a stimulating soloist whose playing really caught fire on occasions, as it does here. Here he is leading a fine quartet in which he solos prominently, sometimes starting and ending some numbers himself, as he does on "On Green Dolphin Street", "If You Could See Me Now" and "Speak Low" (perhaps it was his way of letting the listener know who's boss?). As for Hank Mobley, born in 1930 in the state of Georgia, his great misfortune was that at the time of his most mature and best playing it also happened to be the same time when the tenor sax field was almost totally dominated by the more declamatory styles of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. As a result Mobley found himself totally over-shadowed, another of jazz's under-rated figures, looking for somewhere to play where 'people aren't just comparing you to someone else'. His gifts ran counter to the prevailing climate of hard bop, for Mobley's softer sound and more subtle approach was unfashionable. Vehemence was the thing, and sublety was out. However, and fortunately for his admirers, Mobley was in good foarm on the evening of the 12th of November, 1967, when this live recording was made. Here his eloquence is unflagging, and demonstrates his unique oblique rhythmic sense and complex ideas. He produces many excellent and quickly melodic solos, full of thoughtful constructiveness, especialoy on "Hackensack", "If You Could See Me Now" and "Speak Low". Elsewhere, there are plenty of examples of his unusual rhythmic qualities and use of complex involuted phrases. Sadly, Mobley's great dependence on drug was his downfall, causing him first to lose his teeth and his health in general, then 1984 a lung was removed and he finally died in May 1986. A cruel fate for so gifted a jazz musician.
By Mike Baillie.
Wynton Kelly- (Piano)
Hank Mobley- (Tenor Sax)
Cecil McBee- (Bass)
Jimmy Cobb- (Drums)
01. On A Clear Day (15:21)
02. Hackensack (15:11)
03. On Green Dolphin Street (15:11)

01. Milestones (15:46)
02. If You Could See Me Now (11:46)
03. Speak Low (16:10)
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