Saturday, November 21, 2009

Red Mitchell & Memory

Way back in the 1980's, when I bought my first decent stereo equipment and began seriously collecting jazz, I recorded a PBS show featuring bass player Red Mitchell and piano master Monty Alexander.  I am going from memory here, but I think the show was called "Alone Together".  Listening to was a formative event in my life.  With just bass and piano, the musical expression was vivid and unmistakable.  I recorded it on a 90 nminute cassette tape (remember those?). 

I listened to that damned tape over and over until I eventually lost it.  It's just as well.  I don't have a machine to play it any more.  But I still have a fondness for Mitchell. 

I recently acquired Presenting Red Mitchell.  It is a fine piece of straight ahead jazz.  I found this bit about the lineup from CD Universe:
Bassist Red Mitchell, who had led two fairly obscure sessions for Bethlehem in 1955, came up with a gem on his lone Contemporary set as a leader (which has been reissued as this CD). Based in Los Angeles at the time, Mitchell utilized pianist Lorraine Geller and two up-and-coming players: James Clay (who splits his time between tenor and flute) and, in one of his first recording sessions, drummer Billy Higgins. The quartet performs then-recent tunes by Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown ("Sandu"), a pair of Mitchell originals, "Scrapple From the Apple" and "Cheek to Cheek."
 Well, here is a sample. 
Red Mitchell/Scrapple from the Apple/Presenting Red Mitchell

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