THE WORLD STAGE 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION


posted by Robert J. Carmack      @blues2jazzguy

TWS_2014_Summer_Concert_Poster

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2014 6PM

The World Stage returns to the Ford Theatres to recognize local jazz legend and L.A. native Billy Higgins. His profound contribution to the Los Angeles jazz community lives on in the work of the musicians he instructed and inspired. Performances by former students and jazz notables will honor Higgins’ prolific career.

FEATURING:

Bennie Maupin, Hubert Laws, Patrice Rushen, Carmen Lundy, Dwight Trible, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Kamau Daáood, Kamasi Washington, Jaha Zainabu, S.H.I.N.E. Mawusi Women’s African Drum Circle.

Music Director: John Beasley ,Host: LeRoy Downs, DJ: Mark Maxwell

PRICES START AT:

Adult: $30, $45, $60
Students and Children: $15

 For Ticket info 323-461-3673

 

LOS ANGELES HOSTED 19TH ANNUAL CENTRAL AVENUE JAZZ FEST


posted by Robert J. Carmack   All photos by  Robert J. CarmacK

Los Angeles Just completed hosting their 19th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival on the very historic Central Avenue between Vernon Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd  . The city was a gracious host to some of the most colorful  and diverse audiences in the country. The Music as usual was at the forefront of the two-day festival, among the many  community organizations chipping in to balance off the activities.    ALL FREE !!! There were events for the youth at a special Pavilion that featured arts & crafts, face painting and interactive musical activities.

Community  Health and Wellness booths were set up to check and prevent poor health  ie; free blood pressure and health screenings.

Large local artists exhibit were made available for purchase.

Horace Tapscott  Central ave Jazz fest 2014 027

unknown artist creation of Jazz musician Horace Tapscott

http://www.centralavejazz.org

Musically  speaking, there are no other events better than Central Ave Jazz fest. with the future of jazz clearly in great hands of young  musicians like, Kumasi Washington,Ray Goren, Mekala Session, Darynn Dean, while heavy anchors like Ernie Andrews and the great Gerald Wilson, who “collectively” has held down the LA Jazz scene over 70 years.   Gerald traditionally closing out the festival on a high note  with the young tenor saxophonist , Kumasi Washington’s solo.

Scenic views of the Festival!!

Girl Bassist & vocalist Central ave Jazz fest 2014

Jazz America Big Band with Darynn Dean

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz America   Central ave Jazz fest 2014 E

 

 

Jazz America- Tenor Sax   Central ave Jazz fest 2014 002 B

Jazz America Youth Jazz Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hipster Collectors Corner – Members with Founder & Editor Robert J. Carmack (center/rear)

 

Ernie  Noland  Rickey  and Jame Jenisse  Central ave Jazz fest 2014

l-r James Janisse(turned ) Rickey Woodard,Noland Shaheed,Ernie Andrews

 

Ernie Andrews  solo      Central ave Jazz fest 2014 009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great Billy Mitchell on Piano with Ernie Andrews

The great Billy Mitchell on Piano with Ernie Andrews

Justo Amario  sax Central ave Jazz fest 2014

The great Justo Almario on Tenor sax/flute

 

NOW  Rahsaan  Kirk  PIX   Central ave Jazz fest 2014

Rahsaan Roland Kirk woodwinds genius musician

Congo Man  Central ave Jazz fest 2014

L A conguero

 

 

 

 

 

 

youth sax section Jazz America  Youth   Central ave Jazz fest 2014 A

Jazz America Youth band

 

Mongorama Band   unknown stand out violinist

Mongorama Band unknown stand out violinist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerald Wilson  Central ave Jazz fest 2014

Gerald Wilson Orchestra standing left with bushy white hair 95 year old conductor, former arranger and trumpet player for Jimmy Lunceford Band 1930s

Crazy Dancers Central ave Jazz fest 2014

Festive Crowd enjoying 19th Annual Central Ave. Jazz Festival

Follow this writer/photojournalist on twitter   #@jazz2bluesguy

HOUSTON AFICIONADO BUILDS A HOUSE OF JAZZ


Posted by Carl Glatzel Houston-based Art Director and Jazz Blogger.

The Collector: A Houston Saxophonist’s House of Jazz
An unassuming mid-century bungalow in southwest Houston holds a jazz horde to be reckoned with. Local musician, photographer and jazz aficionado, Lindy Pollard, has turned his small but tasteful home into a living jazz museum. Some 5,000 titles grace his walls in custom-built shelving installed by the owner and his brother. Upon entering this treasure trove a visitor is oftentimes overwhelmed at the sheer volume. His collection spans decades as well as formats. Pollard will occasionally spin an LP but the bulk of his collection is of the compact disc variety. As neat and precise as the surroundings with its modern appointments, each album is arranged alphabetically by artist and is easily accessible. Pollard is quite literally ensconced in jazz whenever he sits to listen to one of his recordings or play with his cats. Seven-foot tall, vintage Klipsch speakers anchor his living room and offer a surround sound experience to be coveted by any audiophile. It’s safe to say this Houston native will never run out of things to listen to. His musical tastes run the gamut, from Brazilian jazz to vintage ECM releases to hard bop staples. Row upon row of out-of-print and rare releases sit waiting for an eager listener to happen by. Just standing amidst the volumes makes a jazzophile feel anxious.
pollard_sorting_collection
Having grown up in the 50s Pollard has held such virtuosos as Paul Desmond and Sonny Stitt in high regard. As we talked about the artists that fill his walls, he fondly remembers attending a Paul Desmond concert as a young sax student back in 1963. He recalls racing a classmate backstage to grab one of Desmond’s used reeds – one man’s treasure. His enthusiasm for jazz hasn’t wained one bit over the years. Having so many titles at his disposal helps to maintain a learning environment. “There’s always something new on a recording you haven’t heard before,” Pollard points out.
pollard_dining_room
Aside from being a long-standing Bayou City multi-reedist Pollard is also an accomplished jazz photographer and graphic artist. Boasting several hundred originals, he has attended countless venues showcasing some of the most notable icons in the history of the genre. Many images catch artists in candid and even reflective poses. Artists such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Duke Ellington are only some of the mainstays you’ll see in his portfolio. His love for the artform is apparent in his attention to detail – each shot a special moment in jazz history. His photos have been exhibited at local galleries over the years to high acclaim. As of recent, Pollard has taken up nature photography as well. With trips to state parks, and even to his own backyard, he has begun to fill new photo albums with his boyish love of nature.
Having visited this personal jazz vault several times over the years I never tire at slowly purusing the titles, wishing today’s circumstances would still allow me to do the same at local retail outlets. Those were the days.
pollard_live_blue

HIPSTER RETRO-JAZZ SERIES: GRANT GREEN IDLE MOMENTS


Grant Green  review by Justin  Scoville

(1935-1979) was an overlooked guitarist who melded blues, bebop, latin, and funk influences into a unique, linear guitar style. Largely overshadowed by the more conventional jazz guitarists of his time, Green’s harmonic approach was an outgrowth of Charlie Christian and set the stage for many modern jazz guitarists (such as John Scofield). Grant’s penchant for melodic lines in the tradition of Charlie Parker and his singular sound stand as a stark contrast to his contemporaries. While Wes Montgomery could dazzle for chorus after chorus by playing lush chords and his famous octaves, Green was more inclined to leave space or lay down muted, bluesy statements to tell his story. Though he was strongly rooted in blues and jazz, Green could also hold his own in a funk setting with the best of them.

 

Idle Moments (1964) is a landmark in Green’s discography, and was remastered in 1998 by Rudy Van Gelder with additional alternate takes of “Jean de Fleur” and “Django.” With only four tracks, the album’s feel is expansive, mellow, and intense all at once.
 The title track “Idle Moments,” penned by pianist/producer Duke Pearson, is a gorgeous, 15 minute masterpiece. Due to confusion about the chorus length, Green, Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Pearson, and Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone) double up on their improvised solos, which contributed to the lengthy cut. Despite the mix-up, the results are stunning. Henderson’s dry sound, thematic development, and inclusion of altered harmonic minor scales are a clear highlight of this track.
“Jean de Fleur” is a Green original. infused with his love of catchy riffs and unpredictable harmonic trap doors. Al Harewood (drums) and Bob Crenshaw (bass) dig in to provide a swinging backdrop for solid solos from the whole group. Green, Hutcherson, and Henderson expertly expound on the tune’s winding road map.
Django” is a breathtaking interpretation of John Lewis’s tribute to Django Reinhardt. After an introductory statement by Pearson, the group plunges into a somber, chamber-like ensemble section. Green’s guitar blends beautifully with the blueish hues of Hutcherson’s vibraphone, while Henderson provides a mournful counter melody. The arrangement transitions into a more uptempo solo section that manages to cover a lot of ground: minor moods, a blues march feel, and a grooving Crenshaw bass line in tandem with a hopeful, catchy horn riff.
Nomad” is a thoughtful contribution by Pearson that hearkens to the harmonic structure of “Milestones” with a few Hard Bop twists. Pearson’s title is appropriate to capture both the spirit of this tune, and also to the album as a whole for its scope and ambition to cover new ground.
Idle Moments serves as a monument to not only Green’s chops as a guitarist, but also to his ability to infuse his sessions with an infectious, melodious groove. As the evolution of the Jazz guitar continues, Green will undoubtedly be remembered as an important figurehead.
This post was contributed by Denver-based musician and blogger Justin Scoville. He maintains his own website www.thejazzdaddy.com, He also contributes actively to jazz blogs throughout the Denver area. 
Justin Scoville- Jazz Blogger/contributing Editor

Justin Scoville- Jazz Blogger/contributing Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIPSTER RETRO-JAZZ SERIES:HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARMELL JONES


posted by Robert J. Carmack         #@blues2jazzguy                                           Carmell Jones    July 19, 1936  – November 7, 1996

Trumpeter/Composer  and one of my favorites of Horace Silver’s Trumpet players. As a very young budding saxophonist, I had the honor of meeting Carmell Jones, who at the time ,was in Los Angeles playing with the Gerald Wilson orchestra . Gerald also sponsored a Youth Jazz band in the  mid 60s,  Older Wilson band members would mentor us as a way of passing on the legacy. The educator in Carmell always found its way to share his knowledge of music whomever he encountered. His sound was unique and full of the blues. which is probably why he was chosen by Horace Silver for some of his greatest recordings. (Tokyo Blues and the highly popular Blue Note Records,      “Song for My Father”) also, He had a really cool name, Carmell!

(reprinted from Jazz Ambassador Magazine -1990)  CARMELL JONES – the name just sounds like jazz, doesn’t it! Most of the Kansas City jazz community thinks of “trumpet player” when the name Carmell Jones is mentioned. Add to trumpeter, composer, arranger, music publisher, educator, and recording artist with over sixty albums to his credit. His fifteen year stay in Europe (1965-1980) probably cooled some of the national acclaim he had experienced in the five previous years, but Kansas Citizens didn’t forget! It has now been almost ten years since Mayor Berkley proclaimed “CARMELL JONES DAY” (October 5, 1980).

When asked how old he was when he became interested in music, Carmell said, “Two.” The similar question specifying jazz music, received the same answer. He says, “If you don’t like jazz, you probably wouldn’t appreciate a rose, or a tree, or a mountain.” Carmell was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas to parents who were both teachers. Piano lessons started at age five and gave way to the “that’s for sissy’s” attitude. The trumpet lessons started at age seven.

In 1960, after two years in the army and two years at the University of Kansas as a music education and trumpet major, Carmell left the midwest and became a studio musician in California. He recorded with artists such as Sammy Davis, Jr, Bob Hope, and Nelson Riddle. During this chapter in the Carmell Jones success story, he was being compared to Clifford Brown and Fats Navarro. Carmell developed a close association with Bud Shank as a member of his quintet. He recorded with many other notables and most importantly, he recorded his first album under his own name and contract with Pacific Jazz – “The Remarkable Carmell Jones.” Thinking back about those days, Carmell said, “I’ve probably played with all of the bands that you’ve heard of.”

songformyfathershsm.jpg - 11348 Bytesjay_halk_talk.gif - 8542 Bytes In 1964 a new chapter began. He went to New York where he joined the Horace Silver Quintet. He recorded three albums with Silver including his famous “Song For My Father” (Blue Note Records). It was during this time that Down Beat Magazine awarded Carmell Jones the designation of “New Star Trumpeter.” Under the Prestige label and his own name, Carmell recorded what he considers his most successful personal album, “Jay Hawk Talk”, with Barry Harris, piano, and Jimmy Heath, tenor, Roger Humphreys, drums, and Teddy Smith, bass. This album received the critics 5 Star Best Album Award. “Jay Hawk Talk” included one of his favorite compositions, “Stellisa,” named after his daughter, who was named after his mother – Stella, and his niece – Lisa.

As result of his success, Carmell was invited by Joachim Berendt, the German jazz critic who had heard Jones in 1960 while in Kansas City, to go to Germany to play and record. In 1965, he headed for Europe where he would stay for the next 15 years. First was a short stay in Paris where he made a record with Nathan Davis. Then, on to Berlin with “Radio Free Berlin” big band and orchestra. A rather unusual studio type of gig, he traveled the world including trips through most of the communist countries. When not traveling, the job was recording eight hours a day. In addition, his duties included composing and arranging for recordings, radio, tv, and movies. This was a job that required playing all kinds of music which he found rewarding. Carmell said, “Although I prefer jazz, jazz is a conglomeration of everybody’s music.” In his spare time, Carmell had his own big band and played with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. He left Europe as a star.

Carmell returned to Kansas City from Europe in June 1980. For the next three years, it was mostly home town and friends except for a short European tour with Ray Charles. He played with local groups and taught music privately. Carmell was playing in the band at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel in 1981 when the skywalks collapsed. He escaped uninjured.

Predominately devoting his time to building new musicians from the ground up, Carmell now teaches music at two Kansas City elementary schools. He says, “We need to start educating kids with jazz. They need to learn what it means and why it goes like it goes. If someone is going to make it in jazz today, they need not just a reservoir of tunes, they need to read music, write music, understand theory and harmony, and most importantly, they need to be personally intact – no drugs! You’re going to have to be sharp, concentrated, disciplined, and willing to put in the effort.”

Carmell feels that wherever jazz is headed, “The musicians will have to be the final judge, but they need followers.” He is excited about the International Jazz Hall of Fame being located in Kansas City and is looking forward to seeing Dr. Nathan Davis and Donald Byrd at the dedication. He feels that the Hall of Fame can be successful only if it is well organized and it is kept organized.

Carmell said, “Jazz is the art of spontaneous creation.” His favorite setting for jazz is the club atmosphere. He said, “It doesn’t really matter where I play – in the bathroom or in outer space – it’s gotta swing.” To assemble his favorite group, Carmell said, “I’d have to go to Heaven to get them, you know, like John Coltrane. To really get turned on, you must have good musicians around you. They all need to think as one.” After completing one of those real groove sessions, Carmell says he feels, “Heavenly, satisfied, fulfilled, and happy.

That’s the beauty of jazz. It’s gone forever unless you record it, and you can play one song 10,000 different ways – you never do anything the same way twice.

Carmel Jones - francis wolff 002

HIPSTER RETRO-JAZZ SERIES: POINT OF DEPARTURE * ANDREW HILL


Justin Scoville- Jazz Blogger/contributing Editor

Justin Scoville- Jazz Blogger/contributing Editor

 

POINT of DEPARTURE -Andrew Hill  posted by  Justin Scoville

 

 

Andrew Hill (1931-2007) was a masterful jazz pianist and composer whose impact on jazz is only beginning to be understood and appreciated. Largely overshadowed during his early career by both the monumental contributions of Miles Davis’s “Second Quintet” and John Coltrane’s cosmic forays into Free Jazz, Hill quietly amassed an impressive body of work during the 60’s and beyond. He fearlessly (and successfully!) combined elements of Free Jazz, Modal, Hard Bop, and Classical music into a fascinating, frothy brew of innovative jazz.

 
Point of Departure (1964) is one of Hill’s true masterpieces and a cornerstone of the Blue Note repertoire. His challenging material, ranging in emotional complexity from dirge-like hymns to crackling avant-garde anthems, is ably anchored by an on-point Tony Williams (drums) and joyously off-kilter Richard Williams (bass). Old pals Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone) and Kenny Dorham (trumpet) make up two-thirds of the horn section, with the fearless trailblazer and reed master Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone) rounding out the group.
“Refuge” is a Post Bop magnum opus in which Dolphy, Henderson, and Williams show off their transcendent virtuosity at warp speed. The tune is completely refreshing and original in terms of form, harmony, and structure. “New Monastery,” alluding to Hill’s role as a successor to Thelonious Monk, is beautifully interpreted by Kenny Dorham, who incidentally was a key player for Monk’s first recordings for Blue Note. “Spectrum” is a jaw-dropping study in contrasts. Hill’s solo ends with a complete group tacet, followed by Williams’s snare intro to an other-worldly, triad based groove, punctuated by Hill’s left hand and Dorham’s trumpet (complete with plunger mute). “Flight 19” is a controlled experiment in group improvisation, alternating an ostinato motif with unpredictable outbursts from the entire horn section. “Dedication” closes out the set, with Henderson’s oblique ballad saxophone tone sometimes clashing, sometimes melding with Hill’s subtle piano accompaniment.
The Rudy Van Gelder edition tacks on alternate takes of “New Monastery,” “Flight 19,” and “Dedication,” along with expanded liner notes.
In a sense, Hill bridged the gap between the warring factions of jazz of his time, bringing harmony to a discordant world. Point of Departure 
is a fascinating look into Hill’s musical mind, and his sympathetic supporting cast make his music come to life.
This post was contributed by Denver-based musician and blogger Justin Scoville. He maintains his own website www.thejazzdaddy.com, He also contributes actively to jazz blogs throughout the Denver area. 

 

 

HIPSTER RETRO JAZZ SERIES – FREE FOR ALL: BLAKEY’S HARDEST HARD BOP


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Free For All: Blakey’s Hardest Hard Bop – By Carl Glatzel

This isn’t just jazz, it’s war. On February 10, 1964 Art Blakey enlisted the aid of a special ops unit for this trailblazing mission. This edition of the Jazz Messengers was the quintessential hard bop lineup and the perfect team for the job. The frontline was a heavily-armed triple threat consisting of Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax and Curtis Fuller on trombone. Cedar Walton on piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Art Blakey on drums brought up the rear and had the near impossible task of grounding this tour de force.

Blakey was a well-known beast on the skins – infamously destroying drum kits on stage – and was relentless on the Shorter-penned title track, which opens the album. There’s no slow build here, it’s an all-out assault from the word go. Blakey pounds away with everything at his disposal while the frontline crashes through the gate as if charging a bunker amid heavy shelling. With Blakey’s detonations blasting all around, each horn takes an extended solo while weaving through their fearless leader’s tumult. After a glorious 11-minute show of bravado from all parties the finale ends with a classic example of Blakey’s pure adrenal rush on the kit – a thunderous roar followed by a single hit on the hi-hat and then peaceful silence. An outright classic and well worth the price of admission.
By this outing, Shorter was at the very top of his creative game and shortly after he would be on his way to joining the fabled Miles Davis Quintet as its principal composer. On this album we have two great works by Shorter – displaying his versatile style in all its glory. The second track, “Hammer Head”,  another Shorter original, is cooler than the bombastic opener and moves with a well-defined swagger. This is classic Blakey material where his famous press rolls and shouts introduce soloists who take the floor with commanding flair.
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The third track, “The Core”, is a Hubbard original and another cooker. This piece is a great example of Hubbard’s writing ability and another great showcase for the raw power behind this seamless unit. I’ve always been of mind that Hubbard played to his full creative potential as a sideman at Blue Note rather than session leader. His outings on both the Atlantic and CTI labels in the late 60s and early 70s have always been go-to listening to these ears.
The last track, a Clare Fischer composition, will throw you for a loop. Suddenly, and most dramatically, a truce is called and “Pensativa” is the white flag. This laid-back bossa tune would be right at home on a Hank Mobley album of the same period. It clocks in at just under 8 and a half minutes and is a sheer joy to listen to. We finally hear the bright, clarion call of Hubbard’s pristine trumpet and Blakey’s effortless timekeeping. “Pensativa” balances out this amazing album to create a truly unique recording – one which rewards fans with new insights upon repeated listening.
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Big John Patton’s “Understanding” Misunderstood
By Carl Glatzel
patton_understanding
I’ll usually reference Allmusic.com as a litmus test for unfamiliar recordings. I’m glad I went with my gut when I found a 1995 Blue Note re-issue of Big John Patton’s “Understanding” at a local used book store. If I had gone with the All Music critic’s opinion I would have avoided it like the plague and tossed it aside. For the uninitiated, Patton is an organist who came to prominence on the Blue Note label in the early 60s. He was known for his economical, modern approach and inspired, bluesy solos. One of the few organists of the era to dodge the Jimmy Smith comparison.
After outputting a handful of releases with label regulars, Grant Green and Lou Donaldson, he ventured off into some uncharted territory. The 1968 release “Understanding” is not truly a dramatic departure but it does house some free playing by saxophonist Harold Alexander and that is what Allmusic took issue with. It’s stated to somehow interrupt the groove and comes across as disjointed and out of place. Perhaps to the untrained ear or to a listener not familiar with or accustomed to the unorthodox sounds of Pharaoh Sanders or the other artists from the Impulse! New Thing stable. Alexander’s playing is by no means that of Peter Brotzman or a young Gato Barbieri. To these ears it comes off as more to do with exuberance, where the spirit of the session takes the helm. “Understanding” still defaults to a soul jazz category and it’s easy to dismiss free (or freer) playing in this arena, but one listen to this vibrant interplay and you’ll fall into the groove and won’t want to leave. Patton is at the top of his game and his bandmates push him to his swinging limit. The trio is rounded off by Hugh Walker on drums who gives his all – keeping a steady, turbulent backbeat under the soulful wailing laid down by Patton and Alexander. This is music to drive to, you’ll want to be moving and moving quickly at that.
Right from the opener “Ding Dong” you know exactly where you stand – this is some heavy-duty soul and these players aren’t about to let up. Each player builds on one another, throughout the album, adding more fuel to the fire and keeping things interesting. Patton proves he’s not afraid to go out on a limb with a loose cannon like Alexander, whose raw sound on sax churns an already boiling pot. The addition of Walker on drums is a great move – adding a stout backbone to help ground the saxophonist’s free-range musings. Patton is spot on, as usual, with economic solos and signature basslines. And it’s Patton’s near-hypnotic bottom end that adds the sense of forward motion to each track, undulating deep down under Walker’s rock-steady drumming, and showcasing the album’s true groove. 
 
This album certainly isn’t the soul jazz of previous years – dare I say – in some ways it’s even better. It’s now time to go out and find this holy grail of groove. And when you do, you’ll want to turn up your
hi-fi and tune out the naysayers.       
john_patton_portrait
Carl Glatzel is a Jazz Blogger, Creative Arts Director – creative direction, art direction, design and advertising, copy-writing for print and interactive media including advertising campaigns, corporate branding, identity, web sites, marketing collateral, exhibits, packaging and direct mail. 

Jazz Friends

HIPSTER RETRO-JAZZ SERIES:TRUE BLUE -TINA BROOKS


Posted by Justin  Scoville

Tina Brools  vertical Pix

Tina Brooks was no-nonsense, muscular tenor saxophone player of the Hard Bop era. He could effortlessly alternate between tenderness and raw ferocity, often within a few bars of the same solo. Admired by his peers but largely ignored by the public during his life, Brooks’s limited body of work is now starting to gain appreciation among the jazz collective.

True Blue (released in 1960) was Brooks’s only album as leader to be released during his lifetime. Backed by the veteran rhythm section of Art Taylor (drums), Duke Jordan (piano), and Sam Jones (bass), Brooks and a fiery 22 year old Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) romp  through five Brooks originals and one standard, “Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You.”

As a composer, Brooks fit perfectly into the Blue Note sound of the late 50’s and early 60’s. His tunes are a thoughtful amalgamation of the intensity of the Jazz Messengers, the catchy phraseology of Horace Silver, and the melancholy introspection of Charles Mingus.
“Good Old Soul” opens up the set with a haunting, bluesy horn line and funky bass line, doubled up by Jordan’s left hand. A Latin-tinged bridge and restatement of the main set up Brooks for a passionate, wide-ranging solo. “Up Tight’s Creek” highlights Brooks’s originality and “adventurous-ness” as a composer. The melody weaves its way through a “bop-ish” main section, taking a brief detour through a quasi-calypso beat set up by Taylor. “Theme for Doris” undoubtedly pays homage to Silver’s “Nica’s Dream.” Although Brooks’s solo is a bit meandering, the beauty of the form’s harmonic backdrop makes for enjoyable listening.
“True Blue” and “Miss Hazel” are easily the two highlights of the album. The former showcases Brooks’s deep understanding of the blues. A wailing horn line is perfectly complemented by a rumbling bass background executed by Jones and Jordan. Hubbard shines on “True Blue,” combining gut-bucket statements with brilliant double-time phrasing. “Miss Hazel” features Brooks and Hubbard blending beautifully on an uptempo theme. Brooks’s solo shows both his virtuosity and emotional sensitivity as he blazes through the tune’s complicated chord structure.
“Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You” once again demonstrates Brooks’s arranging preference to alternate Latin beats with hard swinging melodic phrasing. His solo plays off of the melody’s hopeful tone, mixing in some passionate upper register wailing for good measure.
The Rudy Van Gelder edition offers alternate takes of “True Blue” and “Good Old Soul,” giving additional insight into the group’s conceptualization of Brooks’s writing.
Tina Brooks was a short-lived but compelling Blue Note artist, and True Blue is a testament to his enduring artistry.
This post was contributed by Denver-based musician and blogger Justin Scoville. He maintains his own website www.thejazzdaddy.com, He also contributes actively to jazz blogs throughout the Denver area.