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Rabshakeh

King Komp

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The forum has all kinds of threads, but I don't think that there is as yet a thread dedicated to members' favourite players in accompanist roles. 

Not just musicians who do a solid job of playing the chords in the background, but musicians who, by mere dint of being there, can tie an entire group together, and really sell the leader in his or her role, without stealing the limelight or necessarily even taking a solo.

My own choice for this category would not cause me a moment's thought: John Hicks. He is on all manner of records as a sideman during his height, from very straight ahead neo bop to Chico Freeman and Pharaoh Sanders. It's no accident that the records that those last two cut with him are (in my opinion) their best (in Chico's case) or a complete revival in quality (in Sanders').

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From where I'm sitting, three musicians come to mind immediately: Jimmy Rowles, Kenny Burrell, and George Mraz.

 

BTW, totally agree on John Hicks:tup 

Along with Freeman & Sanders, you've also got the records Hicks made with David Murray. Still more outstanding sax support.   

 

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Red Garland, and all the B-3 players who think like a big band.

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Harold Mabern should be in the photo.

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Cedar Walton, John Lewis, and Sun Ra, when they are in the accompanying role. Herbie, back when he did that in the moment.

and the king of them all, Sir Duke.

Oh, Jaki Byard as well.

Anybody, really, who understands what it means to actually support than to just be there playing the chords.

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51 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

but musicians who, by mere dint of being there, can tie an entire group together, and really sell the leader in his or her role, without stealing the limelight or necessarily even taking a solo.

 

To make this interesting I think people should concentrate on this aspect of the OP's concept for this category. Otherwise this becomes a list of favorite chordal instrumentalists. Because, if I mention Wynton Kelly or Kenny Drew, I am oftentimes thinking about their soloing with Hank Mobley or with Dex or Ben Webster.

So in this regard I'd nominate Andy Simpkins for his performances, along with Bill Dowdy, to make The Three Sounds "One Sound". 

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Wynton Kelly played those big-band type accompaniments as well, so good call there!

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5 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

To make this interesting I think people should concentrate on this aspect of the OP's concept for this category. Otherwise this becomes a list of favorite chordal instrumentalists. Because, if I mention Wynton Kelly or Kenny Drew, I am oftentimes thinking about their soloing with Hank Mobley or with Dex or Ben Webster.

That's right: I meant the kind of piano player or bass player who you almost don't know is there. You just notice what a great album it is, and how unusually self assured and creative the horn player seems.

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1 hour ago, Rabshakeh said:

My own choice for this category would not cause me a moment's thought: John Hicks. He is on all manner of records as a sideman during his height, from very straight ahead neo bop to Chico Freeman and Pharaoh Sanders…

Ha!!!!!!! Soon as I got the gist of the subject of this thread, but well *BEFORE* I got past your first paragraph even — THE first and almost only name that immediately came to mind, was none other than JOHN HICKS.

I’d like to claim great minds think alike, but it’s simply Hicks who was frickin’ great in every respect as a solid accompanist.

Mulgrew Miller comes to mind too, but Hicks may have been the g.o.a.t. in this category.

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My first thought was Jimmy Rowles. Second thought was the Duke.

Edited by jazzbo

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Tommy Flannagan, I don't know how he does it but there are no bad records with Tommy F. on them.

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Jim Herndon, to keep the original parameter but expand the (perhaps) range of instrumentation. Whole new and deeper appreciation here, lately.

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For one kind of thing (if you dig the MJQ) -- John Lewis.

For another kind of thing -- Ed Bickert.

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In tandem, Shirley Scott and Kenny Burrell on Hustlin'. Those two on that record...again, like a big band, only this time with sections!

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

For another kind of thing -- Ed Bickert.

For that matter,  Brubeck, behind Desmond.

That was no accident, that ease of role-shifying he did, from exquisite accompaniment to Gonzo soloist.

And dare I say...Gerry Mulligan, except when not, which was quite often, but far from always?

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I was going to mention Wynton Kelly, but he already came up. How about Hank Jones?

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6 hours ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Tommy Flannagan, I don't know how he does it but there are no bad records with Tommy F. on them.

That’s a really good one.

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6 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

For one kind of thing (if you dig the MJQ) -- John Lewis.

 

YES! 

But even MORE yes to Connie Kay. The MJQ couldn't (and didn't) work with a different drummer.

The MJQ was just a jazz band with Kenny Clarke. With Connie, who was the one pushing pictures into your brain, it became something there's never otherwise been.

The greatest R&B drummer ever.

 

MG

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It's not that I don't like them. I DO like those early recordings very much. But they were doing something different.

The Kenny Clarke band was four jazz musicians with four palettes to play with. Connie had about seventy-four palettes just by himself. John Lewis' concept for the MJQ could only work with someone painting with such a variety of sounds. 

MG

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The vigorous comping of Horace Silver was really something, but surely the most distinctive "comping" (or not comping) was from Monk, the latter often with visual entertainment.:)

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