Recent listening, current

Monday, March 25, 2013

61. Grant Green / Grant's First Stand (1961)

Green's debut for Blue Note, his first disc as leader, frames him in a swinging organ trio with Baby Face Wilette and Ben Dixon. It's a good crew to support Green, two players who are very much in the same frame of mind. It's not a crowded sound, although everyone is busy, but when one member takes a chorus, the inherently sparse nature of the trio puts the soloist front and center for your enjoyment. Wilette's organ gives bluesy grooves like "Miss Anne's Tempo" or "Blues for Willarene" a heartier texture and emotional urgency that Green balances with velvety smooth and bop influenced melodic runs on the guitar. He's not a chord freak, so his music has a different feel than some other jazz guitarists. Dixon is very active, fleshing out the trio's overall sound and making his presence loud and clear. He's a great drummer who is no stranger to the format, and does an admirable job here, his affinity for the work of Art Blakey rumbling loud and clear. While it isn't really fair to call a guy's first record his best, especially when he made so many others after it, this album may be just that good.

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