Junior Cook, tenor sax; Woody Shaw, trumpet; Ronnie Mathews, piano;
Stafford James, bass; Guilherme Franco, percussion; Louis Hayes, drums.
|1. Ichi-Ban (Mathews) 5:52
2. Pannonica (Monk) 4:45
3. Brothers and Sisters (Allen) 7:20
4. The Moontrane (Shaw) 7:03
5. Book's Bossa (Booker) 12:26
|Produced by WIM WIGT
Cover Design by JOOST LEIJEN
Recording by TONY MAY
Recorded on May 5, 1976
In spite of the group's relatively short life during the first part of 1976, the Louis Hayes--Junior Cook unit was an important catalyst that helped rejuvenate the wellsprings of bop. Along with the bands of Ted Curson and Billy Harper, the Hayes-Cook group derived much of its inspiration and substance from the tradition established by Parker, Gillespie, Silver and Blakey.
Cook, for instance, after a two month stint with Diz in 1957, refined his funky, post-bop stylings during a six-year tenure with Horace Silver, 1958-64. Hayes, a Silver alum from the class of 1956-59, propelled bop-based groups led by Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson and Freddie Hubbard.
Woody Shaw, the young man with a horn who recently has captured critics and public alike, is firmly grounded in the canons of bop. Among his credits are Horace Silver (1965) and Art Blakey (1973).
Ronnie Mathews, in addition to tours with Blakey in the late 60s and early 70s, was an important contributor to the bands of Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Kenny Dorham and Hubbard. As for Stafford James, his resume lists Blakey, 1973-74, Chico Hamilton, Barry Harris and Bobby Timmons.
Though bop was the center of gravity for the Cook-Hayes band, the structural outlines provided by well-defined melodic, harmonic and rhythmic markers were considerably loosened by the "free" vocabulary developed by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Cecil Taylor during the 1960s. This was especially true for Shaw, Mathews and James.
The session opens with Mathew's title track, "Ichi Ban," a bright burner with oriental accents inspired by Ronnie's tours of Japan with Art Blakey. Junior's Trane-tinged flurries, Woody's boprish bursts, Ronnie's ever-intensifying forays and Louis's thunder and lightning create an energy and esprit very much in the Blakey tradition.
"Pannonica," a not-heard-often-enough ballad by Thelonious Monk, is a showcase for Junior's lyric persuasiveness. Against constantly shifting harmonic tides, Junior launches shimmering garlands of melodic invention that are tender without being sentimental.
"Brothers and Sisters" is an exuberant frame constructed by another fine trumpeter-composer, Tex Allen. Its snappy Latin pulse springs exciting solos from Woody, Junior, Ronnie and Louis. Stafford's steady ostinatos and Guilherme Franco's percussive colorings add the perfect finishing touch.
The second side opens with a galvanizing romp through Shaw's now classic "The Moontrane." Junior jumps in after the head and is followed by explosive charges detonated by Woody, Ronnie and Louis.
Walter Booker, the Cook-Hayes unit's original bassist, left shortly after the group's debut to join Sarah Vaughan's rhythm section. Before departing, though, he penned the evocative "Book's Bossa" whose graceful lyric arcs cradle melodic outings by all hands. The flow is enriched by Franco's popping percussionistics and "talking" drums.
Ichi-Ban, though recorded in 1976, has a sense of contemporaneity that derives from the players' superb musicality and commitment to the highest standards. This is real music played by real musicians who take their muse seriously.
Boomers and the Junior Cook-Louis Hayes quintet are now a part of history. The ripples they set in motion, however, continue to push outward.
--CHUCK BERG, from the liner notes.
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