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Complete Live At The Café Bohemia

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Album Review

The people behind the Lone Hill Jazz label deserve some kind of humanitarian award for reissuing two of George Wallington's very best albums: Live! At Cafe Bohemia (recorded on September 9, 1955, and subsequently issued on both the Progressive and Prestige labels) and George Wallington Showcase (recorded in a studio for Blue Note on May 12, 1954). The band heard at the Bohemia — trumpeter Donald Byrd and alto saxophonist Jackie McLean in front of Wallington, Paul Chambers, and Art Taylor — had the power and depth of ensembles led by Charles Mingus and Art Blakey during the mid- to late '50s. The Showcase session, using Quincy Jones arrangements, resulted in music that was equally inspired and exhilarating, if at times a bit more reined in. A magnificent front line of trumpeter Dave Burns, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, and saxophonists Frank Foster and Danny Banks was securely backed by Wallington, Oscar Pettiford, and Kenny Clarke. Banks, a capable baritone saxophonist, doubled at times on the flute, intensifying the James Moody-like aspect already suggested by the presence of Burns and Pettiford. This marvelous session acts as an organic counterweight to the sizzling live date. The inclusion of alternate takes from both albums adds ballast and excitement to a superb and satisfying stash of vintage hard bop.


Born: 27 October 1924 in Palermo, Italy

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '80s

George Wallington was one of the first and best bop pianists, ranking up there with Al Haig, just below Bud Powell. He was also the composer of two bop standards that caught on for a time: "Lemon Drop" and "Godchild." Born in Sicily, Wallington and his family moved to the U.S. in 1925. He arrived in New York in the early '40s and was a member of the first bop group to play on 52nd Street, Dizzy Gillespie's combo of 1943-1944. After spending a year with Joe Marsala's band, Wallington played with the...
Full Bio
Complete Live At The Café Bohemia, George Wallington
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  • $35.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop
  • Released: 02 April 1997

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