[132] Clifford Brown and Max Roach – Clifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet

16 Oct

Call it a Quintet if you want to make the other four feel good about themselves, but all I hear when I listen to this amazing album is that hot horn.


Sure, you can give credit to bandleader and drummer Max Roach for setting the pace and keeping the whole thing ticking over. And I have no doubt that I am overlooking huge contributions from the rhythm section, from the pianist, from my usually beloved sax.

But the truth is for the first several plays you would have been hard pressed to getting me to admit hearing anything but Clifford Brown’s wonderful trumpet.

Taking Roach’s rhythm and dancing all around and through it, the trumpet stars here both on sedate explorations and hectic chases. The melodies are catchy and clever and the smooth fun never ends, and when I finally acknowledge that this is indeed a group effort the other players and their instruments do not disappoint or distract.

It is a genuine surprise when I realize that ever member of the Quintet has multiple solos throughout the recording.

The question strikes me, “Where does this fall in the hierarchy of my Jazz enjoyment to date?” And the answer is not a simple one. That I love this sound, that it is played in home and office for weeks at a time (to approval from all who hear it) is a given, as is the fact that I will listen to Clifford Brown again in the future. (I’ll be breaching Max Roach again in another decade or two . . .)

What is not as obvious is whether I enjoy exploring this inventive but ultimately traditional sound as much as I do the truly experimental Free Jazz experiences which have been such a highlight of the 1,000 to date.

Time will tell, but in the meantime you or I could do far worse than spending an hour or two with these warm and welcoming tunes.

Next Week: James Brown – Live At The Apollo

Owned before blogging? No. (11 of 132 = 8%)
Heard before blogging? No. (19 of 132 = 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (108 of 132 = 82%)

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