The Complete Grant Green & Sonny Clark
(Set is out-of-print)
Grant Green, we hardly knew you.
Guitarist Grant Green could play the whole spectrum, from blues with a backbeat to the modern experiments of Larry Young. Blue Note recorded Green in a variety of funky settings. But for pure hard bop, nothing matched Green’s four sessions with Sonny Clark in ’61 and ’62.
Unfortunately for the world of jazz, these magnificent sessions weren’t in keeping with the soulful image that Blue Note had in mind for Grant Green. So, for nearly 20 years, they remained unissued in Blue Note’s vaults.
Then, in the late ‘70s, news of these sessions — and a reaffirmation of Grant Green’s brilliance — came out. Two Grant Green/Sonny Clark albums were released in Japan, followed a few years later by two others in the U.S.
One of Blue Note’s house pianists, Clark had played with the likes of Buddy DeFranco, John Coltrane and Dinah Washington. For the Grant Green sessions, Clark was joined by Sam Jones on bass and Louis Hayes (or, in one case, Art Blakey) on drums. On one occasion, Ike Quebec was added to the group.
Now, for the first time, these rare performances of Grant Green at his purest and best, featuring Sonny Clark shortly before his death of a heart attack at age 32, are being made available in their entirety. In addition to everything significant recorded at the four sessions, including several worthwhile alternate takes, there are two later performances featuring Sonny Clark, Ike Quebec, and a Latin rhythm section.
The booklet includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal and many unpublished session photographs by Frances Wolff.
“Green was a master at hinting at ideas, slipping into a blues phrase for a second, only to tail away with a run. Throughout the pieces there’s a feeling that Green saw music making as an art in which each note had to make sense.”
Peter Watrous, The New York Times
The Connection should have launched a long recording career for Freddie Redd. Inexplicably, it didn’t.
The Connection was an early example of jazz reaching beyond its accepted platform in clubs and concert halls. As the playwright, Jack Gelber, conceived it, jazz would be used, live onstage, as an integral part of the dramatic show. New York pianist/composer Freddie Redd was hired to write and perform the play’s inventive, contemporary score, and when the play became an immediate cult hit, Blue Note signed him. Freddie Redd and his stage quartet (which also included Jackie McLean on saxophone) made their recording debut with The Connection score.
One strike, you’re out.
For a time, it seemed that Freddie Redd would have a long recording career ahead of him. But the superb follow-up album, Shades of Redd, which featured Jackie McLean together with Paul Chambers, Louis Hayes and Tina Brooks, did not sell very well, apparently due to the vagaries of popular taste at the time. And Redd’s next session which included Benny Bailey on trumpet, wasn’t even released. Freddie Redd wasnever to record again for Blue Note.
A dazzling triple play.
Today, Freddie Redd is still performing… still known primarily as the man behind The Connection. But as his complete Blue Note sessions demonstrate, he is a superb composer/arranger and an impeccably tasteful pianist whose entire body of work deserves much wider recognition.
Mosaic’s set, transferred directly from the original stereo master tapes, contains everything that Freddie Redd recorded for Blue Note, released and unreleased. Fans of the Shades of Redd album should note that it appears here in stereo for the first time, along with two previously unissued alternate takes.
Of particular interest to Mosaic “regulars” is the fact that in addition to expanding the world’s view of Freddie Redd, this release also adds significantly to the preciously sparse recorded legacy of Tina Brooks.
The booklet contains an up-to-date biography of Freddie Redd, as told to Will Thornbury. Also included are the original liner notes to The Connection and Shades of Redd, a musical analysis provided by Ben Sidran, a complete Freddie Redd discography, and rare Francis Wolff photographs from the original Blue Note sessions.
“As the incandescent performances on this handsome anthology remind us, Redd was a relentlessly swinging piano player…”
Jim Miller, Newsweek
“The collection reveals something nobody seems to have noticed before: Redd is one of the very best hard bop composers, the equal of Horace Silver, for example, as well as a most ingenious pianist.”
John Litweiler, Chicago Tribune
Grant Green (g), McCoy Tyner (p), Bob Cranshaw (b), Elvin Jones (d)
(A) Grant Green (g), Sonny Clark (p), Sam Jones (b), Louis Hayes (d)
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December 23, 1961
tk 3 Moon River Blue Note (J) GXF-3058, Liberty (J) K22P-6094/95
tk 8 On Green Dolphin Street. Blue Note (J) GXf-3058
tk 17 What Is This Thing Called
tk 24 Count Every Star -1 Blue Note BST 84098, BST/B2(CD) 84432
tk 25 Shadrack Blue Note (J) GXF-3058
tk 26 Gooden’s –
tk 27 Two For One –
(B) Green (g), Clark (p), Jones (b), Art Blakey (d)
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 13, 1962
tk 4 Airegin (alt) previously unissued
tk 5 Airegin Blue Note LT-1032
tk 7 Nancy previously unissued
tk 8 I Concentrate On You Blue Note LT-1032
tk 12 The Things We Did Last Summer –
tk 21 The Song Is You –
tk 24 It Ain’t Necessarily So –
(C) Green (g), Clark (p), Jones (b), Hayes (d)
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 31, 1962
tk 4 My Favorite Things Blue Note (J) GXF-3065
tk 5 HipFunk –
tk 6 Oleo –
tk 8 Oleo (alt) previously unissued
tk 11 Little Girl Blue Blue Note (J) CXF-3065
tk 15 Tune Up –
(D) Green (g), Quebec (ts), Clark (p), Jones (b), Louis Hayes (d).
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, March 1, 1962
tk 4 Someday My Prince Will Come Blue Note BST 84432, B2(CD)—84432
tk 11 If I Should Lose You –
tk 18 My One And Only Love –
tk 20 Back In Your Own Backyard –
tk 23 Born To Be Blue –
tk 24 Born To Be Blue (alt) –
tk 29 Cool Blues –
tk 31 Outer Space –
(E) Green (g), Quebec (ts), Clark (p), Wendell Marshall (b), Willie Bobo (d), Carlos “Patato” Valdez (cga).
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 7, 1962
tk 5 Grenada previously unissued
tk 12 Hey There previously unissued
Blue Note (J) GXF-3058 GOODEN’S CORNER —Grant Green
Blue Note (J) GXK-8168 reissue of above
Liberty (J) K22P-6094/95 THE WORLD OF JAZZ GUITAR (2 LPs)
Blue Note (US) BST 84058 BLUE AND SENTIMENTAL —Ike Quebec
Blue Note (US) LT-1032 NIGERIA —Grant Green
Blue Note (J) GXF-3065 0LE0 —Grant Green
Blue Note (J) GXK-8169 reissue of above
Blue Note (US) BST 84432 BORN TO BE BLUE
Blue Note (US) B2-84432 BORN TO BE BLUE (CD)
Original sessions produced by Alfred Lion
Produced for release by Michael Cuscuna
Executive producer: Charlie Lourie
Recording engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Digital transfers and mastering: Ron McMaster
All selections appear through the courtesy of EMI Capitol Records
Design direction: Richard Mantel
All photographs by Francis Wolff from the Alfred W. Lion collection.
© 1990 Mosaic Records, Inc., Stamford, CT
On the two January 1962 sessions, the drums are recorded very brightly and just below the threshold of distortion. We have normalized the sound as much as possible without sacrificing the sound of the entire ensemble. What you hear on these portions of this set are not defective pressings. Despite this sonic defect, we feel these neglected sessions deserve wider exposure.
— Michael Cuscuna