Larry Kart

Milt Jackson's "Explosive!"

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Today ran across this 1998 album on the Qwest label with the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Bags (it was his last date) and was pleasantly surprised at how good it is. Bags not only is in fine form but also is recorded better (by engineer Joel Moss) than I’ve ever heard him before — there’s a lovely sense of space and depth around his sound, and the balance between him and the band, also well-recorded, is ideal. Further, in a warm, albeit relatively conservative neo-Basie vein (with it seems to me some welcome touches of Benny Carter and perhaps of Quincy Jones when Quincy was still writing his own stuff, c. 1956), John Clayton’s charts are very good, as is the band itself. The trumpet section, for example, includes Snooky Young, Byron Stripling,  Oscar Brashear, Clay Jenkins, and Robert Rodriguez, and George Bohanon is among the trombones. Bags plays on most but not all tracks, but one where he lays is the tastiest version of “Emily” I’ve ever heard, with Clayton handsomely stating the theme arco followed by a essentially thematic Carter-like solo from brother Jeff.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vedF6B-6otc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06QLg9ya3u8

 

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Yes, a very good album which Spotify brought to my ears some time ago. Time for another listen!

Edited by BillF

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There are no bad Milt Jackson records, correct?

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

There are no bad Milt Jackson records, correct?

Well I'd bet that's true since in the 70s he was recording for Pablo, not Columbia or Arista or wherever those goddawful Cedar Walton and Jackie Mac records came from.

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5 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

Well I'd bet that's true since in the 70s he was recording for Pablo, not Columbia or Arista or wherever those goddawful Cedar Walton and Jackie Mac records came from.

RCA

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Yeah, Cedar's Columbia sides were ok, the first more than the second.

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There could be an interesting Mosaic box made from Bags' last records on MusicMasters, Qwest, East-West, Warner Bros., and wherever else.  The compositions might be playing it a bit safe, but like Jim says...

 

16 hours ago, JSngry said:

There are no bad Milt Jackson records, correct?

 

Edited by mjzee

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I might prefer an Atlantic box. Collectors Choice has issued some of that material. Has all of it been available on cd?

 

 

gregmo

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12 hours ago, gmonahan said:

I might prefer an Atlantic box. Collectors Choice has issued some of that material. Has all of it been available on cd?

AFAIK, yes - Japan, Collectables, Rhino ...

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Actually do have a weak spot for "Sunflower" (CTI) ....

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Sunflower is a great record, period. One of the very best realizations of the full potential of the CTI concept, one of the best records of its time, some of Bags' best playing.

Any time that that record does not stand the test of is a time in which I would prefer to not be.

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"Explosive" is fantastic -- a highlight of Milt's discography from any era. Worth pointing out that both John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton worked together with MIlt when they were part of Monty Alexander's trio c. 1977. There's a Pablo record "Soul Fusion" which I haven't heard yet. In the next couple months I'll be digging into all of Milt's discography to try and separate the good from the great. Bags was so consistent that pretty much everything rises to a certain level of quality, but I am looking particularly for the most inspired stuff. Anybody got any well-considered nominations? (And let me co-sign upfront on "Sunflower.")

Edited by Mark Stryker

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1 hour ago, Mark Stryker said:

"Explosive" is fantastic -- a highlight of Milt's discography from any era. Worth pointing out that both John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton worked together with MIlt when they were part of Monty Alexander's trio c. 1977. There's a Pablo record "Soul Fusion" which I haven't heard yet. In the next couple months I'll be digging into all of Milt's discography to try and separate the good from the great. Bags was so consistent that pretty much everything rises to a certain level of quality, but I am looking particularly for the most inspired stuff. Anybody got any well-considered nominations? (And let me co-sign upfront on "Sunflower.")

I'm partial to the 1982 Ronnie Scott's date that resulted in 3 Pablo albums: A London Bridge, Memories of Thelonious Sphere Monk, and Mostly Duke.  And while there are no bad Milt Jackson records, I'd nonetheless...sidestep those where he sings, such as 1978's Soul Believer (also Pablo).

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I agree that finding a bad Milt Jackson recording is almost impossible.

Here are a few among my many many favorites by Bags as leader, all on Pablo.

Night Mist 

Soul Route

It Don't Mean A thing If You Can't Tap Your foot To It

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On 11/29/2016 at 3:04 AM, mjzee said:

I'm partial to the 1982 Ronnie Scott's date that resulted in 3 Pablo albums: A London Bridge, Memories of Thelonious Sphere Monk, and Mostly Duke.  And while there are no bad Milt Jackson records, I'd nonetheless...sidestep those where he sings, such as 1978's Soul Believer (also Pablo).

I was actually at Ronnie Scott's on the first day (a Friday) for that session and it was truly fantastic.   I am a Vibes player and when I booked in advance I asked Ronnie for a seat as close to Milt's Vibes as possible so was knocked out when I sat down in the front row and he was right in front of me!   It was also my birthday so the best present I could have had plus the audience was so appreciative it just enhanced everything.

For me, one of Milt's greatest records is Oscar Peterson's "Very Tall" and I can't help wondering why Verve have never released this with the 5 unissued tracks; crazy!!!

Ken

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