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Give It Up For Booker!


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Add me to the list of Booker Ervin fans.

I was lucky to introduced to Booker early on in my jazz initiation. I discovered him through his work with Charles Mingus. It's still some of my favorite jazz. I agree with the recommendation of "That's It" - It is a great album. I also have and enjoy some of the albums he recorded for Prestige. The whole "Book" series is highly recommended.

I'm amazed he isn't more well known.

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Add me to the list of Booker Ervin fans.

Ditto, although I don't have much Booker (just STRUCTURALLY SOUND and Mingus' AH UM), what i do have I enjoy immensely. His sound is just so BIG and his playing so exubrant, it's hard not to like him.

BTW, I seem to have unconsciously first heard Booker when I heard his solo, or at least the opening bars, from "Better Git In Your Soul" (the AH UM version) on a commercial of some kind (maybe) where they just cut out those first few licks. Hearing it on AH UM for the first time, I definitely knew I had heard it somewhere before. Any ideas?

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When I started listening to jazz, Mingus Ah Um was the third jazz album I bought. It's weird that we don't talk about Mingus more. If I was a newbie, I might might miss out on this powerful music. To me, he is a giant. The music on Mingus Ah Um is so alive. That's one thing I love about Mingus, you feel the music in your bones. One of my favorite Mingus albums is Oh Yeah on Atlantic with our friend Booker and Roland Kirk. I used to listen to that all the time.


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I love Booker Ervin! The guy had an amazing, fat tone and amazing chops. I much prefer his later work over his work with Mingus, but that's good too. This reminds me - I still need to get "The Song Book" to complete the "Book" series (Tower didn't come through after 30 days - weird!). Anyway, "The Space Book" and "The In Between" are probably my favorites. Mingus recordings, Prestige and Blue Note dates are pretty much all I have. Where should I look next?

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Already commented on Booker Ervin favorite albums elsewhere. I get Chuck Nessa's point

that it's basically the same solo over and over again, that's no problem with me.

Ervin's solos to me are just like a good bottle of a specific vintage Chateau bottle of

Bordeaux wine.

When I find the right one, I get a case or two of it (when I can afford it) and drink it.

It's the same wine over and over again but the pleasure is always new.

Ervin might not be as subtle as a great vintage however the joy is as intense.

To everyone's good health. More Ervin.

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Another Book-addict. I think I too get your point, Chuck, but don't care about that either.

I love his Book-series on Prestige as well as his other stuff, like the recordings he made with Horace Parlan for Blue Note and his Savoy session with the great Richard Williams and Parlan in attendance.

But yes, one has to be careful not to get an overdose for the intensity of Booker can really get too much!

Otherwise, for me, the moment when his playing takes off and gets into this overdrive flying thing - that's what is the greatest with Booker.

I was introduced to Booker also first via the Mingus sessions, Ah Um and also the great Antibes Atlantic, which I think is one of Mingus' underrated greatest LPs. Booker gives a good contrast to Curson's Cherry and the abstract and out Dolphy, love his preaching on "Prayer for Passive Resistance".

Then anybody who likes Booker should try to hunt down the OOP "Booker'n'Brass" with arrangements by Teddy Edwards and featuring other soloist Freddie Hubbard and Bennie Green, OOP (?) "The In Between" (Richard Williams again) and not yet but probably soon to be OOP "Structurally Sound" (with Charles Tolliver).

The above mentioned Enja release by Horace Parlan includes the complete (around 27 minutes long - Yanow says they were supposed to only play 15 minutes) 1-track set by Booker's band (with Alan Dawson the other main ingredient) from the 65 edition of the Berliner Jazztage and as an added bonus, there is "Lament for Booker", a very nice tribute done solo by Horace Parlan after he does some talking about Booker. The liner notes by the way include a blindfold-test conducted with Booker around the time of the recording, which is quite interesting, too.


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He has a great personal tone and 2 solos. One is fast and one is slow. The musicians around him camoflage this.

I was going to start this with a wiseass remark - If that's so, then I guess I like both of them.

However, I do have to agree with Chuck to a great degree. I find that I don't listen to a lot of Booker Ervin, mainly because his solos can sound samey and his tone, although it cuts deep, can become nagging to my ears after a while.

That said, when Booker is at his best, for example, on That's It! (Candid), or Mingus Ah Um, or Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, he's magnificent. Of course, on the Mingus sessions Booker is forced to take shorter solos which to my ears, is for the best.

In the end, though, I love the best of Booker Ervin's playing (my favorites are listed above) and for me those recordings stand with anything else in my collection.

Edited by paul secor
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  • 17 years later...
On 24.3.2003 at 9:43 AM, king ubu said:

Then anybody who likes Booker should try to hunt down the OOP "Booker'n'Brass" with arrangements by Teddy Edwards and featuring other soloist Freddie Hubbard and Bennie Green


Pacific Jazz ST-20127 [Liberty reissue] -  Booker Ervin " Booker 'n' Brass - rec. September 1967 - leader & dir.: Teddy Edwards


Trumpet: Charles Tolliver / Freddie Hubbard / Richard Williams / Ray Copeland (alsdo flh)

Trombones: Benny Green / Garnet Brown / Benny Powell (also b-tb)

Tenor sax: Booker Ervin

Piano:  Kenny Barron

Bass: Reggie Johnson

Drums: Lennie McBrown





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