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Wynton Kelly

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Any thoughts on Wynton Kelly?  He's one of those guys who put in a nice stint with Miles, but does not get much credit.  He had, of course, just the one track on Kind of Blue, but he was integral to Someday My Prince Will Come, which I think is a highly underrated Miles Davis record. I've been listening lately to Coltrane Jazz, where he has a big role (pus there are several bonus live tracks).  Much of Kelly's best work is found in live settings, including later work with Wes Montgomgery.

He played with such other greats as Dizzy, Cannonball, Sonny Rollins, J.J., Milt Jackson, Hank Mobley, and Jimmy Heath.  He seemed to usually have a bright, sparkly style--though at ballad tempo he was nearly as sensitive as Bill Evans.  

Kelly did not seem very distinguished as a leader.  The only record of his in my collection in Kelly Blue, and to be honest I've not listened to it enough to make a real judgment.  

I had forgotten that Kelly died quite young--only 39.  That was true for so many of the players on Kind of Blue: Trane, Cannonball, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers (the youngest of all), and Wynton Kelly.

 

 

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Wynton Kelly on a record is one of many good house keeping seals of approval as far as I am concerned.

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20 minutes ago, Milestones said:

Kelly did not seem very distinguished as a leader.  The only record of his in my collection in Kelly Blue, and to be honest I've not listened to it enough to make a real judgment.  

Kelly as leader in my stock

Kelly,Wynton         Really Great          VeeJay        1653-JY

Kelly,Wynton         Kelly Blue - Sextet and Trio     1959  Riverside     12-298

Kelly,Wynton         Smokin`at the Halfnote  1965  Verve 8633

Kelly,Wynton         Interpretations by The W.Kelly Quartet      1967          VeeJay(2) jap        2067/8

More can be found here

https://www.discogs.com/artist/252308-Wynton-Kelly

 

 

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I always thought of Montgomery as the leader on Smokin' at the Half Note, though it is true that on the original release Kelly's name appears above his.  

But that one and Wes' Full House are genuine classics.

 

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1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

Wynton Kelly on a record is one of many good house keeping seals of approval as far as I am concerned.

I agree. His presence on a record is almost a guarantee of musical value. 

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I especially loved Wynton Kelly's playing when he was a sideman. He was on many recordings in that role on Blue Note , Prestige, Columbia, Vee Jay and a variety of other labels. As has been said, when you saw his name as a sideman on a recording you could count on it as being one worth getting.  His recordings as a leader were good, but not outstanding.

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Here's a great appreciation, hope it's readable:

R-14463094-1575058995-4176.jpeg.jpg

R-14463094-1575058994-7530.jpeg.jpg

As far as leader dates, his Vee-Jay albums were consistantly excellent. His Verve records more "commercial", but still.

He was a consummate musician, imo. Like others here, if he's on a record, I'm all in for at least checking it out.

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Not sure if this "commercial". I hear it as contemporary, with a nice groove. Very enjoyable.602577174964.jpg?1571992249

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I think he 'steals the show' on Miles @ the Blackhawk, and is dependably excellent elsewhere.  Bop. ballads. blues; all no problem.  Mainstream but with his own personality.

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A couple years ago I was to introduce Jimmy Cobb at an informal talk/lecture, and he told me to specifically mention that he was especially proud of his association with Kelly.  And, of course, he had stories!

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9 hours ago, danasgoodstuff said:

I think he 'steals the show' on Miles @ the Blackhawk ....

Together with Hank Mobley ....

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I think he kills on the on the 1960 European tour and keeps  up with Trane better than Miles does. 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, medjuck said:

I think he kills on the on the 1960 European tour, and keeps up with Trane better than Miles does. 

I should listen to the Miles & Stitt 1960 recordings again, specifically for Kelly. I think Miles’ playing is a lot more fiery (with Stitt), than earlier with Trane - probably because Miles didn’t need/want two fireballs going at the same time (but I often wished Miles had played more aggressively w/ Trane).

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Yeah lots of of love for Wynton Kelly. A guy with a modest and gentle swing. Great technique and always a pleasure to listen to. Have to say I appreciate him the most as a sideman with countless artists. His work as a leader is nice but nothing that blows my mind. I do like Kelly Blue. Recently bought 'Someday My Prince Will Come' on Veejay but it hasn't won my heart yet. Time to give it another spin.

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On 3/6/2020 at 10:36 AM, medjuck said:

I think he kills on the on the 1960 European tour and keeps  up with Trane better than Miles does. 

+!

Count me as a fan.  I would like to hear more of what he did for VeeJay.

In my mind I associate Wynton Kelly with Tommy Flanagan and Cedar Walton.

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He is fantastic on those classic Hank Mobley Albums like "Soul Station". Wynton Kelly Always was great, fantastic, but I think he never played better than on those Hank Mobley Albums. And sure, with Wes Montgomery, not only Half Note, but "Full House" also. Wes with Griff and the then Miles Davis Rhythm section.

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On 3/6/2020 at 6:15 AM, soulpope said:

Together with Hank Mobley ....

Naw, I think Hank is off at the Blackhawk, on at Carnegie Hall, YMMV.

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4 hours ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Naw, I think Hank is off at the Blackhawk, on at Carnegie Hall, YMMV.

Different strokes, I believe ....

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