When you get up in the morning, you must have a song - Ray Charles

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Leonard Feather Presents: 52nd Street with Phil Woods

Don't know much about this record. There  is no recording dates listed on the sleeve, although it is apparent it is from two separate sessions. I'm not sure what was supposed to happen here but this record does a fine job of highlighting the early bop movement, coupling several veterans with some of the young up and comers at the time.

 The liner notes kinda imply that this record is sorta wrapping up the bop movement, a silly idea at any time.

What is there to say about these tunes that hasn't been said a thousand times before. Pure bop standards  performed for the joy of it it seems to me.

Many's a time when I wish I could have recorded and released a bunch of my friends jamming some tunes. Feather did it as well as anyone. Back when it mattered.

Leonard Feather Presents
52nd Street

1. Little Benny
2. Be Bop
3. Lemon Drop
4. Ornithology
5. Anthropology
6. Salt Peanuts
7. Groovin' High
8. Shaw "Nuff
9. Billie's Bounce
10. Hot House and 52nd Street Theme

George Wallington - piano
Phil Woods - alto 
Curley Russell -bass
Idrees Sulieman - trumpet...
Denzel Best - drums (1-5)
Thad Jones - trumpet...
Art Taylor - drums (6-10)

VSOP 12


5 comments:

Granny Hines said...

Excellent - thank you.

armando said...

Thank you! It seems to have been recorded on August 1957, in New York

Hookfinger said...

Hey Rab - always a pleasure to see you my friend.

Armando - thanks for the info - nice to see you around as well.

mr phil said...

From J. A. Stewart (NH, USA) on Amazon:

This album was originally issued under the title of "52nd Street," and was supposed to be a tribute to the bop era, but since all but one of the tunes are associated with Charlie Parker (and that one tune, "Lemon Drop," was one that he did play at least once), this disc ends up being more of a tribute to Bird than to that era. Feather, who produced the sessions, was obviously trying to recreate the sound of the original sessions, right down to the short track times.

There are a couple of gimicks here. Phil Woods is heard playing a sax originally owned by Bird (Bird went through countless horns during his life) and Bird's son, Baird (who was only about 9 at the time) does the "Salt Peanuts" vocal in the beginning of that tune.

Phil Woods plays well throughout and takes several memorable solos. The trumpet chair is split between Thad Jones on tracks 1-5 (not 6-10 as printed on the CD insert) and Idrees Sulieman on 6-10. Sulieman plays in a Dizzy-influenced style, but is not particularly memorable. I think Thad's style was somewhere between Miles and Clifford since you can hear elements of both in his playing. It is shame that the tracks are so short (most of the time, everyone only gets 1 chorus), because he is generally the most interesting.

The pianist is George Wallington, who was in the thick of things in the early days of bebop. On bass, is Curley Russell. Russell was Bird's favored bassist and he appeared on several landmark recordings in the beginning of the bop era. On drums, is Art Taylor on tracks 1-5 (not 6-10 as it says on the CD insert) and Denzil Best on tracks 6-10.
Only one track, "Now's the Time," (incorrectly labeled as "Billie's Bounce") is longer and allows the soloists a chance to stretch out.

Considering that this was recorded in 1957, the solos could have been a little longer. As it is, I gave it three stars for Phil Woods and Thad Jones. This is nice swinging jazz, but nothing special.

Hookfinger said...

Now there's some info...thanks Phil.