Recent listening, current

Friday, March 29, 2013

65. Clark Terry Quintet / Serenade to a Bus Seat (1957)

Whew! Nice rekkid. If you're wondering, the title is an homage to Terry's tenure in the Duke Ellington band. With Johnny Griffin on loan from Blue Note, a pre-flugelhorn Terry teamed up with Philly Joe, Paul Chambers, and Wynton Kelly to record this loosely swinging romp through the blues, bop, and ballads. It's quintessential hard bop, the kind of album your shelf should feel empty without -- for a comparison, this album feels very similar to Adderley's Somethin' Else, Davis' Steamin', or Sonny Clark's Cool Struttin'. Listen to Griffin and Terry trade fours on "Digits" and "Boardwalk," or the blizzard of unison playing in Charlie Parker's "Donna." There is a lot of familiarity between these musicians, especially the rhythm section which crystallized together under Miles Davis the previous year, and it comes through in the music. "Cruising" is a bluesy gem late on the second side, followed by a short but spicy "That Old Black Magic," which was given a shake of Latin rhythm for good measure. Terry also displays his prowess as composer on cuts like the beautiful the title track, "Boomerang," or "Boardwalk."

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