Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Soul Fusion Milt Jackson and the Monty Alexander Trio 1978

I had the great fortune to stroll into a little record kiosk in a swell multiple-vendor-local-artisans market called the Rust Belt Market in Detroit a few weeks ago. There is a veritable bounty of record stores in southern Michigan between Detroit and Ann Arbor, and I have found many treasures in my trips to the Motor City. And that applies double in jazz. Detroit was a hotbed for jazz in the Golden Era of the fifties and sixties, and the jazz fan base remained for a long time after the heyday. i.e. You Can Find Great Jazz Vinyl In Detroit.

So this Milt Jackson - Monty Alexander gig is just the bomb. I love vibes, and Jackson is as good as any vibes player, imaginative and technically brilliant. Alexander is an able accompanist, and also shines as a soloist himself, making this a true joint effort. The rhythm section deserves special mention. It is Jeff Hamilton on drums and John Clayton on bass. This was recorded in 1977, when this pair was 24-25 years old, and already they were hotter than summer tar. They went on to found the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and play behind Count Basie and Diana Krall and countless others. Needless to say, their contributions here are Very Important.

Not too intense, but wild and free, and mellow, too. Classic jazz from the mellow era.

Available today in mp3, budget CD, and vinyl formats. I lucked into a pristine vinyl copy. The Pablo label was making some fine records back then, and Norman Granz himself produced this one. Easy to enjoy.

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