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Dan Gould

Grant Green / The Holy Barbarian, St Louis, 1959 (Uptown)

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We've discussed this formerly 'upcoming' release but now its time for the reviews, and not only do they deserve a separate thread, I am sure there are some who never checked out the "upcoming Uptown records releases" thread and had no idea ...

Anywhooo .... I give this a very strong :tup even as I realize that its not quite up to the standards of some of the more "historic" Uptown releases like the Bird/Diz Townhall or the recent Mobley. Just a solid 70 minutes of music-making at a not just long-forgotten coffee house in St. Louis, but a blink-and-you-never-saw-it place which the authorities had in their sights from the moment they opened, due to the integrated bandstand and tables. Blumenthal does a nice job going over the history (less so on the music) and as usual the pictures in the booklet are great.

For me, Bob Graf is a completely new revelation and I now plan to seek out his Delmark CD. He strikes me as having a slightly more muscular tone than Mobley but otherwise rather similar, and his solos are the most engaging on the record. Grant is Grant, of course, and I've enjoyed Sam Lazar's Argo releases for a long time. So big kudos to Bob @ Uptown, rescuing a forgotten band from a forgotten night long ago when some great musicians made some great music.

And dig the crazy "poetry" at the end of "Blue Train". You probably won't listen to it more than once, but its a hoot.

What does everyone else think?

Edited by Dan Gould

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Do they mention in the liner notes the history of the tape, ie., how it came to be recorded, who had it in their possession, why it took so long to see the light of day etc?

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Only that the source tapes (five audio reels of unknown length) were recorded by Frank Sousan, who was also responsible for Wes Montgomery Recorded Live at Jorgie's Jazz Club (VGM 001). No indication how much unreleased music there is on the five reels - apparently a lot of it is poetry recitations.

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Only that the source tapes (five audio reels of unknown length) were recorded by Frank Sousan, who was also responsible for Wes Montgomery Recorded Live at Jorgie's Jazz Club (VGM 001). No indication how much unreleased music there is on the five reels - apparently a lot of it is poetry recitations.

How interesting. Live At Jorgies has Ollie Matheus listed as producer. He obviously had good taste in guitarists.

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Grant Green + sax + organ = music goodness. Look forward to this release!

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I shouldn't be reading this yet, as my copy has to swim the Atlantic :D

Glad it's open, though.

MG

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I'm listening to my copy right now, preordered from Amazon and they came through quickly. Only into the first lengthy track so far, "There Will Never Be Another You," and I am DIGGIN' this...wow - MUCH better sound quality than I anticipated, and the improvising is TOP FLIGHT on this track. Grant Green just finished his relaxed, swinging solo - which he built and executed like a master, even at this early point in this career. Bob Graf will turn out to be something of a revelation, if he's this good throughout. Excellent liner notes by Bob Blumenthal (who many probably know grew up in St. Louis - I went to med school there, so it's a lot of fun to mentally picture the area he's talking about where the club was, been there many times), with some great rare photos.

Very, VERY happy so far! Suspect there will be a lot of smiling faces around here when copies arrive.

Edited by DrJ

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Now that Bob Graf has repeatedly been hailed as a revelation this thread, would it be amiss to point interested listeners to THIS easily available reissue? ;)

http://www.freshsoun...ns-cd-3111.html

Looks like this does NOT overlap with all of the Delmark reissue.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Enjoying listening to this. Haven't had a chance to really dig in to it yet.

Graf is a 'very' fine player. Groovin High has nice lines from both Graf and Grant.

Wonder if GG is playing the Gibson he is pictured with from the Forrest session, or the Strat?

Edited by freelancer

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To continue with MG's comments about the liner notes from the 'what music did you buy today thread'.

I thought the liner notes were very interesting, but to follow up on MG's comment re-Tommy Dean, perhaps nobody involved in the production of the new cd was aware of the Tommy Dean connection. How well known would something like that be? I know very little about Sam Lazar and even less of Tommy Dean.

I suspect this is the kind of deep knowledge, that only, if any, people outside the loop of the producers/liner notes specialists would know.

This is the kind of thing I would find really interesting to learn about, as well as the social conditions surrounding the club and music scene of the time - which the notes do quite well at addressing.

I do miss having new Bob Belden notes to read though. He was kinda writing his GG biography in installments via the ever expanding Grant Green discography :D

Grant's guitar is also further back in the soundstage than I'm used to hearing. Whether this is a result of the recording - or Grant not having is amp up louder - I do not know.

Edited by freelancer

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I think the producers must have known of Grant Green's involvement with Tommy Dean. It's mentioned in Sharony Green's bio of GG. Bob Blumenthal did a modicum of work on Lazar and looked at the sleeve notes of 'Space flight', in which he was stated to have taken up organ in 1958 ater hearing Jimmy Smith. To most people, that would be conclusive. However, Lazar may have picked up lots of techincal stuff from Smith but doesn't play anything like him. So there must have been some other ingredient that caused him to have the style he has. The little I've heard of Tommy Dean, who was part of that St Louis scene in the early fifties, suggests that Dean was the main stylistic influence. Dean had a combo that was pretty well like that of Bill Doggett but, while Dogget's band had that swaying, sassy, walking rhythm, Dean's band flew! Since I got the 2 78s of Dean in the early 80s, I've thought that both Lazar and Green owed a lot to Dean, simply in their approach to rhythm. Don't forget that Lazar and Dean were contemporaries. Even though Lazar had given up playing and was studying medical technology during Dean's heyday, the idea that he wouldn't have been a regular customer of Dean's seems pretty odd to me.

The legend, that Jimmy Smith was the only original organist in the book and everyone else pinched his stuff (a legend that Smith did his best to foster, it has to be said), lives on. I believe that, in truth, the only (major) organist who really pinched Smith's stuff is Joey de Francesco. No one would deny Smith's importance and the lessons he gave to everyone, but even organists who started, like Lazar, after Smith had become well known, all brought something from somewhere else (and, of course, it's axiomatic that the ones who started before SMith's first Blue Note LPs came out, had started from somewhere else anyway, no matter what lessons they might have taken from JOS). I've been hearing this, from critics and fans, since I first started buying organ records, in the early sixties and I've always felt that it was sloppy thinking at best, but probably more usually, a brush off, coppping out from having to listen to a load of artists playing music the people concerned didn't really like.

MG

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Good LORD! I'd forgotten that years and years ago (probably about 20) I wrote to the guys at Clemson about the matrix number on Dean's first VJ issue. And they're still mentioning it, even though someone there has now acquired their own copy (because it's not mine that's illustrated). :crazy:

MG

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Ah, so I guessed right when starting to read your above exchange (I haven't followed that other thread) - you're talking about Tommy "Deanie Boy" Dean.

FWIW, the liner notes (by renowned Dave Penny) to the Official 6038 LP "Deanie Boy Plays Hot Rhythm & Blues" (released in 1989 - 23 years ago!) state: "In October 1956 and May 1958, Tommy Dean was lured back to the recording studios on behalf of Vee Jay Records to record nine tracks of promising-looking instrumentals with guitarists Grant Green and Lefty Bates, respectively, but both sessions remain entirely unissued."

So the word about a connection that's there has been out for a while. ;)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Ah, so I guessed right when starting to read your above exchange (I haven't followed that other thread) - you're talking about Tommy "Deanie Boy" Dean.

FWIW, the liner notes (by renowned Dave Penny) to the Official 6038 LP "Deanie Boy Plays Hot Rhythm & Blues" (released in 1989 - 23 years ago!) state: "In October 1956 and May 1958, Tommy Dean was lured back to the recording studios on behalf of Vee Jay Records to record nine tracks of promising-looking instrumentals with guitarists Grant Green and Lefty Bates, respectively, but both sessions remain entirely unissued."

So the word about a connection that's there has been out for a while. ;)

Oh yes, indeed. I believe it was in the sleeve notes to one of GGs early Blue Notes that it was stated that he'd previously worked with Tommy Dean and Jack Murphy. So I checked Jepsen back in the day and, as soon as I started seeing Dean's 78s coming up for auction, put in bids. It ain't a secret; not even something for afficionados only. Just something that not a lot of people take any notice of.

Well, I've just had a look at a few of GG's early sleeve notes (on CD) and, while I can find refs to Murphy, can't find one to Dean. But I know I read it. One thing I WOULD not do in the sixties is spend my weekends sitting in Brighton library READING Jepsen from cover to cover, in the hope of finding some previously unknown (to me) session featuring Grant Green. I may be an idiot, but I'm not effin' stupid!

MG

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Reading the Dean discog, I noticed a vocalist from the '50's by the name of Jewel Belle.

I wonder if this could be the same vocalist Blood Ulmer mentions in his early interviews called Jewel 'Brenner'.

Before his time with Hank Marr, Ulmer played for three years with Jewel Brenner And The Swing Kings.

According to Ulmer,

"This girl, Jewel Brenner, asked me to play in her band...She was very good and she had an act. She shaved all her hair off and had a wig on. She'd come up and sing four or five numbers and on the last song she'd take off her wig and that was her act. I think she was the first Black woman to shave all her hair off her head. And that amazed White men. So, she was more famous for that".

http://www.cmoa.org/searchcollections/imageview.aspx?image=26542&irn=19246

Jewel Brenner wearing strapless lace dress and shaved head singing with five piece band, possibly including Gordon "Slick" Jackson on piano, Billy Stewart on guitar, J. C. Gordon on tenor saxophone and electric bass

http://www.cmoa.org/searchcollections/details.aspx?item=19246

Edited by freelancer

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Interesting find in that blog that was referenced in the Clarence Sharpe thread:

http://crownpropeller.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/blue-jazz-and-yellow-blues-cawthron-and-allegro-records/

Scroll down and you can hear what is apparently Grant Green's first recording, on the Cawthron label, an early version of Space Flight which was recorded later for Argo. I think this was referenced in the Barbarian liners but I can't be sure and don't have them in front of me.

Anyway, pretty cool, and it looks to be as rare as hen's teeth.

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Just wanted to chime in and say how good it is to have a little more Bob Graf.

And, strange to say, I've actually met the guy who did the poetry recitations on this disc! He later became a much better writer.

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