(2017/BE!Records) Im Hippie-Sommer 1967 trafen sich mehr als 12 000 Jazzfans bei ´Jazz am Rhein´, dem ersten deutschen Jazzfestival im Freien, direkt am Rhein, sozusagen im Schatten des Doms. An zwei Septembertagen erlebten die Besucher drei Bigbands – mit Spitzenmusikern wie Jiggs Whigham, Dusko Gojkovich, Manfred Schoof und Volker Kriegel – und das Kenny Clarke - Francy Boland Sextett. Im Jahr darauf konnte man sich auf die spannende Musik der Maynard Ferguson Big Band freuen, sowie Auftritte von (unter anderem) Joachim Kühn, Peter Trunk, Hank Mobley und George Gruntz mit ihren Ensembles erleben. CD 1 (73 min.): Klaus Doldinger Quartet, Kurt Edelhagen All Star Band CD 2 (68 min.): Dusko Gojkovich International Quintet, Manfred Schoof Quintet CD 3 (75 min.): Ingfried Hoffmann Big Band, Jimmy Deuchar Studio All Stars, Horst Gmeinwieser Quartet, Ted Curson Quartet, Kenny Clarke - Francy Boland Sextet, aufgenommen live in Cologne, West Germany, August 30/Sept. 1, 1968 CD 4 (69 min.): Peter Trunk Sextet, Kenny Clarke - Francy Boland Sextet, Hank Mobley - Johnny Griffin Quintet CD 5 (78 min.): Jon Hendricks – Johnny Griffin Group, Slide Hampton - Ake Persson Quintet, George Gruntz Trio CD 6 (72 min.): Maynord Ferguson Big Band, Joachim Kühn Trio
The remainder of the first CD consists of the album Hard Drive by the 1957 line-up of the Jazz Messengers. This takes us into an airier sound world, where the individual musicians are free to relax without the bombast of a large ensemble. The star soloist is Johnny Griffin, whose solos swing easily while showing off his prodigious technique. DEO-X typifies the Jazz Messengers style: set in motion by Blakey´s explosive drums leading into the trumpet/tenor sax blend which was the group´s hallmark for so long. Junior Mance´s sure touch is an integral feature of the rhythm section. The first seven tracks of the second CD feature the 1956 version of the Jazz Messengers, when Horace Silver was still in the band. His solo on Nica´s Dream is outstanding, but then he wrote this attractive tune which has understandably become a jazz standard. Silver also wrote the interestingly-chorded Ecaroh. Hank Mobley wrote three of the seven tracks on this LP, including Hank´s Symphony which actually highlights Art Blakey´s varied drumming skills. You can´t say that Art was backward in coming forward! The compilation closes with three tracks recorded at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival. M & M is another Mobley composition, in exactly the kind of bebop mode that suited the Messengers. Close Your Eyes has a simple but effective arranged introduction of the type which made a neat contrast with the group´s solos. Lee Morgan goes to town on this one. Pianist Bobby Timmons´ tune Moanin´ gets a groovy performance with a righteous gospel feel. These three final numbers each last for at least nine minutes, letting the musicians stretch out.
(1994/Delmark) This set by Chicago pianist Jodie Christian has both strong and weak moments. Easily the low point is the Art Ensemble of Chicago´s Roscoe Mitchell´s playing on oboe during ´Song for Atala´ (way out-of-tune) although his work on soprano (´Coltrane´s View´) and alto (´Mr. Freddie´) is better. Christian has a couple trio numbers (´Yardbird Suite´ and ´Come Rain or Come Shine´) with Francine Griffin´s so-so vocals. Several tunes feature altoist Art Porter, who would make a name for himself as a crossover saxophonist before his untimely death, Porter shows how strong a jazz player he could be. Christian´s versatility is displayed during this wide-ranging set and most of the selections work quite well. (AllMusic)