Grant Green – Latin Bit {Blue Note}[RVG]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Grant Green, being known mainly as a soul-jazz guitarist, eventually gravitated into the popular boogaloo sound, a derivation of Latin music. The Latin Bit is the natural bridge to that next phase, though a bit premature for most in 1961-1963, even relative to the subsequent bossa nova craze. Pianist Johnny Acea, long an underrated jazzman, is the nucleus of this session, grounding it with witty chops, chordal comping, and rhythmic meat. The Latino rhythm section of drummer Willie Bobo and conga player Carlos “Patato” Valdes personify authentic, seasoned spice, while at times the chekere sound of Garvin Masseaux makes the soup too thick. At its collective best, the group presents a steady, serene, and steamy “Besame Mucho” and the patient, slow, slinky, sultry “Tico Tico.” Just a small step below is a classy take on Charlie Parker’s “My Little Suede Shoes,” a premier jazz bebop (emphasis) tune with a Latin undertow and Green’s tiniest staccato phrases, slightly marred by the overbearing constant chekere, but still classic. “Mambo Inn” is played inaccurately, but forgivable. “Mama Inez” ranks high for its calypso-infused happy feeling and wry stop-start lines. The straight-ahead hard bopper “Brazil” and lone soul-jazz tune, “Blues for Juanita,” display the single-note acumen that made Green’s style instantly recognizable. Tacked on the end are two selections with pianist Sonny Clark and tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec. While Clark is not known for Latin or soul-jazz, he’s quite good, while Quebec, who emphasized Brazilian rhythms in the last years of his life, plays hip secondary harmonies on the bossa nova-flavored “Granada,” but is in the complete background and a non-factor on the pop tune “Hey There.” This CD always yielded mixed results for staunch fans of Green, but a revisit shows it to be a credible effort, even if slightly flawed in part.

Tracks:
01 – Mambo Inn
02 – Besame Mucho
03 – Mama Inez
04 – Brazil
05 – Tico Tico
06 – My Little Suede Shoes
07 – Blues for Juanita
08 – Grenada
09 – Hey There

Personnel:
Grant Green – guitar
Ike Quebec – tenor sax (#8 & 9)
Johnny Acea (#1-7), Sonny Clark (#8 & 9) – piano
Wendell Marshall – bass
Willie Bobo – drums
Carlos “Patato” Valdes – congas
Garvin Masseaux – chekere (#1-6)

Recorded on April 26 (#1-7) and September 7 (#8 & 9), 1961
at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

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Grant Green – Born to Be Blue {Blue Note}


Review by Alex Henderson (allmusic.com)

Although Grant Green provided his share of groove-oriented soul-jazz and modal post-bop, his roots were hard bop, and it is in a bop-oriented setting that the guitarist excels on Born to Be Blue. Most of the material on this five-star album was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s New Jersey studio on December 11, 1961, when Green was joined by tenor titan Ike Quebec, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes. Tragically, Quebec was near the end of his life — the distinctive saxman died of lung cancer at the age of 44 on January 16, 1963 — but there is no evidence of Quebec’s declining health on Born to Be Blue. He was playing as authoritatively as ever well into 1962, and the saxman is in fine form on hard-swinging interpretations of “Someday My Prince Will Come” and Al Jolson’s “Back in Your Own Back Yard.” It’s interesting to hear Quebec playing bop, for his big, breathy tone was right out of swing and was greatly influenced by Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. Although Quebec and Green (who was 14 years younger) had very different musical backgrounds, they were always quite compatible musically. They clearly enjoyed a strong rapport on the uptempo selections as well as ballads like “My One and Only Love” and Mel Torme’s “Born to Be Blue.” Originally a vinyl LP, this album was reissued on CD in 1989, when Blue Note added an alternate take of the title song and a previously unreleased version of Charlie Parker’s “Cool Blues.”

Tracks:
01 – Someday My Prince Will Come
02 – Born to Be Blue
03 – Born to Be Blue (alternate take)
04 – If I Should Lose You
05 – Back in Your Own Back Yard
06 – My One and Only Love
07 – Count Every Star
08 – Cool Blues
09 – Outer Space

Personnel:
Grant Green – guitar
Ike Quebec – tenor sax
Sonny Clark – piano
Sam Jones – bass
Louis Hayes – drums

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
on December 11, 1961 and March 1, 1962.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork