Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Red Garland Quintet

Redgarlandhighpressure Building a jazz library is a challenge because so many different kinds of music are published under that genre title. A lot of stuff gets in that doesn't belong there, and rare is the jazz fan whose tastes are wide enough to encompass everything that does. I make a lot of use of jazz guides, such as the "building a jazz library" articles at All About Jazz. I have recently discovered an invaluable resource: the Jazz Discography Project. This is a very thorough catalog of recordings by major jazz artists listing songs, albums, session dates and recording locations. It is the single most useful on line jazz page that I have found.

I blogged earlier about the four great recordings made by the Miles Davis Quintet in 1956. Using the Jazz Discography, I discovered a similar session recorded in November and December of 1957 by The Red Garland Quintet. Garland played piano for Davis's Quintet, and he brought John Coltrane along with him. Donald Bird replaced Davis on trumpet, with George Joyner on bass, and Art Taylor on drums. It is not really a "quintet" in so far as the group did not travel and do live shows like the Miles Davis Quintet. But the session recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, New Jersey, spawned three albums: All Morning Long, Soul Junction, and High Pressure.

I have listened to the first two and they are marvelous. They sit quite comfortably next to the Davis Quintet's Cookin' and Workin' on my CD shelf, with the same bluesy energy and deep heart. High pressure was a little harder to reel in. Barnes and Noble ran out, but I await a copy from some outfit in the Smoky Mountains, by way of Amazon. This was a delicious find for a certified jazz nerd. I at least had never heard of this session, and I am guess that a lot of folks with the Miles Davis Quintet on their iPods haven't heard it either. If nothing else, this is a bit of undiscovered Coltrane, whose genius is on full display as a sideman. Check it out.

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