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."
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:
Well, here is a sample.