Recent listening, current

Monday, February 25, 2013

44. Harold Land / West Coast Blues! (1960)

Half the group is from New York and the other half from California, but the session doesn't sound like a novel meeting of East and West, and they actually sound like they know each other pretty well. Land is a good leader. He developed his own approach to hard bop on the tenor and was a prolific composer. This record features three of his compositions. He plays with a strong sense for the rhythm, and the influence of the blues haunts each lick. The opener is the sexy but hard swinging "Ursula," as good an introduction to Land's tone and style as any. He gets down to bop and rhythmic counterpoint by next covering Charlie Parker's complicated "Klactoveedsedstene." It's nice to hear Montgomery do a Charlie Parker composition because Bird was such a big influence on him, and of course, he's right at home. Joe Gordon takes some flashy solos and also plays nicely in unison with Land. In Land's provocative tone is the quality of a high harmonic that sounds like a signal just on the verge of breaking up, giving the music an urgency that isn't lost in the fullness of the whole sound. His style is bop-oriented and fluid, but very accessible, a clear intermediary between the music and the audience. 

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