Grant Green

(Blue Note)


Grant Green, guitar; Joe Henderson, tenor sax; James Spaulding, alto sax;
McCoy Tyner, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Elvin Jones, drums.

1. Minor League (Duke Pearson) 7:05
2. Ezz-Thetic (George Russell) 10:39
3. Grant's Tune (Grant Green) 6:58
4. Solid (Sonny Rollins) 7:20
5. The Kicker (Joe Henderson) 6:19
6. Wives And Lovers (Bacharach-David) 9:02
Produced by ALFRED LION
Cover Photo by FRANCIS WOLFF
Cover Design by PATRICK ROQUES
Recording by RUDY VAN GELDER
Recorded on June 12, 1964

The tragedy of Grant Green's death in early 1979 was compounded by the fact that his recorded output for the last decade or more of his life was, for the most part, commercial and lacking in individuality. He deserved better. Fortunately, Blue Note thoroughly documented his artistry on a number of sessions under Grant's leadership in the early sixties, including this unreleased session recorded in 1964.

The album opens with "Minor League," one of Duke Pearson's finest tunes, which he later recorded with his own big band. James Spaulding solos first, and he comes out of the corner burning as usual. The rhythm section of McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw, and Elvin Jones certainly has no problem keeping up with him. Grant, Joe Henderson, and McCoy solo in that order. It is clear from the outset that everyone is improvising with thought and creativity on this date.

"Ezz-Thetic" is one of several fascinating jazz classics by the great composer George Russell, whose concepts of playing within the Lydian Mode have had a far reaching influence. "Ezz-Thetic" has an interesting history of beautiful performances that began with Lee Konitz' classic Presige date, which included Miles Davis [Miles Davis With Horns]. In 1956, Max Roach recorded a fine version for Mercury with Sonny Rollins and Kenny Dorham featured [Max Roach Plus Four]. Russell himself recorded it in 1956 on RCA and again in 1961 on Riverside, this time with Eric Dolphy in the band. The version on this album must certainly be the most extended with fine solos from Green, Spaulding, Henderson, Tyner and Jones.

"Grant's Tune," not tomb, is an interesting Green line. Although Elvin is wailing in his triplet feel, the solos from Grant, Joe and James have a certain reserve that befits the flavor of the composition. The combination of elements works well.

Sonny Rollins' "Solid" dates back to 1954 when the composer recorded it for Prestige [Moving Out]. It is a comfortable blues, given a smooth easy performance by the band.

"The Kicker" by Joe Henderson became an instant classic when in appeared on Horace Silver's Song For My Father album, recorded in October 1964. But the tune had been kicking around Blue Note for almost a year before that. In December, 1963, Bobby Hutcherson recorded it with both Joe and Grant on the date. The session was less than successful and remained in the can. Six months later, it was resurrected on this album, which of course remained unissued until now.

Too large a part of Grant Green's legacy is commercial funk. His early Blue Note efforts preserve his best playing. And an album such as this reminds one of his creativity, intelligence and sense of challenge as a jazz musician. Solid and Matador, along with such classics as Idle Moments, are the albums that truly represent Green. They are the part of his legacy that will live forever.

--MICHAEL CUSCUNA, from the liner notes.

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