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Milestones

Tommy Flanagan

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I'm just realizing what a great player he was. If we only had his famous work with Coltrane, Rollins, Montgomery, etc...that might be enough. Of course, he recorded with many more than that: Hawkins, Art Pepper, Grover Washington, Gerry Mulligan, and many more. I've read he recorded with Miles as well, though I don't recall that.

But most importantly, I'm hearing how great he was on his later work--usually in trio settings. Here you really get to hear Tommy Flanagan and his amazing taste and style. I was really blown away by his trio version of "Sister Cheryl" with Ron Carter and Tony Williams (the composer).

There are some really fine mainstream pianists out there who probably don't get enough credit. Others that come to mind are Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Red Garland, Mulgrew Miller. But I don't think I have any problem regarding them all as legends.

Edited by Milestones

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A million years ago I was present for a Detroit piano "summit" - Flanagan, Barry Harris, Hank Jones.

Magical evening!!

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This one is marvellous:

513MpT3hyDL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

I first noticed him on various Ella records many moons ago. Always a pleasure to listen to.

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The other Tommy Flanagan.

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Room for one more Flanagan?

tommy-flanagan-photo-wallpaper-205522015

Getting back to the OP, Tommy Flanagan is my favorite of the Detroit bop-mainstream pianists. He left an incredible legacy of trio recordings, every one of which is easily recommended to anyone who appreciates this genre. This one is especially good, imo:

Jazz-Poet.jpg

I will always remember Flanagan's shows in Boston every year in March a few weeks before his birthday. Great music, and a wonderful man.

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I saw him life only once, it was in the mid 80´s with George Mraz and Art Taylor. One of the best trio sets I ever heard.

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Certainly have to say Sunset and the Mocking Bird sounds marvelous, from the driving opening tracks to the beautiful treatment of the title track.

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This one is a beaut (with Kenny Burrell)

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Edited by Neal Pomea

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I never really warmed to Sunset & The Mockingbird; it sounds a little too serious, in an atypical way for his recordings. It doesn't swing.

I think his Enja recordings were just a beautiful run; not a bad one in the bunch. If I have one caveat, it's that he was very prone to trio recordings; I would have loved to have heard him more ('70's and beyond) with horn players. These are all beautiful, and they all swing:

51PEYqW2S3L._SY300_.jpg411ZTRnl8vL._SL500_AA280_.jpg51pqNGgzMPL._SX300_.jpg41e6Uo25ZfL.jpg

Other good ones from the seventies onward:

51HuAhyYdbL._SY300_.jpg41KMPlsRVmL._SL500_AA280_.jpg51PDp8Rh4nL._SL500_AA280_.jpg61lSFLgDyHL._SX300_.jpg61USy6-J1VL._SX300_.jpg514KvsdHSxL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

And a personal favorite... (aargh! "Too many images" sez the board. It's "Our Delights" by Flanagan and Hank Jones. I'll try to post the image later.)

Edited by mjzee

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Interesting parallels to Hank Jones--both from Detroit, both very tasteful in their playing, both accompanying a who's who of jazz greats. Wonderful stuff. I'm glad both got to work extensively as leaders in the latter parts of their careers.

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I don't know, it seems to me that Tommy is kick-ass on the uptempo numbers on Sunset.

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It doesn't swing.

Do people still say that? I must dust off 'Hit that rhythm, daddy-o' and 'Play that thing'.

One of those smilies denoting no harm intended.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Flanagan is one of reasons Booker Little's quartet date on Time is one of my desert-island discs.

And here's another good one:

The_super_jazz_trio.jpg

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Sunset and the Mockingbird: The Birthday Concert is easily one of my favorites. Flanagan, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash were something else as a group. I don't think it's been mentioned yet, but the same trio recorded Lady Be Good...For Ella, a heartfelt excellent tribute to Flanagan's former employer, Ella Fitzgerald. I haven't heard the other record they did together, Sea Changes.

I also highly recommend Alone Too Long, which I think was Flanagan's only solo album.

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I think his Enja recordings were just a beautiful run; not a bad one in the bunch. If I have one caveat, it's that he was very prone to trio recordings; I would have loved to have heard him more ('70's and beyond) with horn players.

I enjoy his work with tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace on The Free Will and Self Titled release on AudioQuest.

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I think his Enja recordings were just a beautiful run; not a bad one in the bunch. If I have one caveat, it's that he was very prone to trio recordings; I would have loved to have heard him more ('70's and beyond) with horn players.

I enjoy his work with tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace on The Free Will and Self Titled release on AudioQuest.

Thanks; I didn't know about those. Will try to check them out.

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MI0000177051.jpg

Yeah, the self-titled one is a real beauty ... opens with Flanagan's tune "Beyond the Bluebird"

Not quite sure where I really heard Flanagan first ... "Saxophone Colussus" or "The Cats" - probably the later, where he has a wonderful piano feature on "How Long Has This Been Goin' On?".

"Eclypso", "Giant Steps", "Sea Changes" and "Sunset and the Mockingbird" are among my favorites, speaking of leader albums, in terms of collaborations, there's "Our Delight", and then there's the duo album with J.R. Monterose, "A Little Pleasure".

I should really get the recently released one with Jaki Byrd!

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very nice man and great player - though one thing I find interesting, with both Hank Jones and Tommy is the way their touches changed from the mid-1950s into the '60s and really later; if you can find Flanagan from the middle-fifties he has more of a Nat-Cole like bounce; as does Hank Jones. Both of them flattened out their sounds later, into more boppish kinds of continuity. I was thinking about this because I know Larry Kart has expressed reservations about both these pianists, and I think that's a link to what bothers him.

or maybe not; Larry can correct me.

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Harry Allen's "Day Dream" has some great playing by Tommy.

One of the biggest regrets of my Jazz listening life was that I avoided Flanagan's trips through Boston because I am not a big fan of seeing piano trios live. Truth be told, it's not a piano thing, it's that I don't like all the bass solos. After many years of my old friend Rob bugging me to go and telling me I was missing a great show, I finally went. It was awesome. I went the next year as well. Then he was gone. I probably skipped 6 or 7 years of shows. Bums me out to this day and I thank Rob for finally getting me to go that first time.

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Interesting point, Allen! I can relate regarding Jones, but not with Flanagan ... mid-fifties, if you count "Saxophone Colossus", I guess what you mean would already have vanished? Not sure what's the earliest Flanagan I've heard, what would be around in terms of early sideman recordings?

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I think his Enja recordings were just a beautiful run; not a bad one in the bunch. If I have one caveat, it's that he was very prone to trio recordings; I would have loved to have heard him more ('70's and beyond) with horn players.

I enjoy his work with tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace on The Free Will and Self Titled release on AudioQuest.

Flanagan also backs Jim Hall and Art Farmer on most of Hall's "Commitment" (1976). Too bad that trio couldn't play with bass and drums as a working group; would have been fantastic. On this album, Ron Carter's the bassist, and the drums is the relatively unknown (at least to me) Allan Ganley. (For the record, there are also duets with other musicians here.)

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