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Album Review

Vol. 2 in the Lone Hill Jazz reissue label's Donald Byrd/Gigi Gryce Jazz Lab Project opens with three tracks that resulted from a planned college concert tour by the Jazz Lab and vocalist Jackie Paris, a native of Nutley, NJ, who also worked with Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton, and Charles Mingus. While planning their tour, the team of Byrd, Gryce, and Paris conceived a didactic overview involving what Nat Hentoff described in the original liner notes as "some of the root channels of jazz with the blues as a primary linking element" but sketched "in broad chronological and stylistic skips." This explains the origin of "Early Morning Blues/Now, Don't You Know," a remarkable medley that begins with Paris strumming a banjo while scatting an old-time blues and shifts in midstream to a snappy cool bop variation based in that same blues tradition. The other two Paris vocals, "Early Bird" and "Elgy" (named for the initials of Donald Byrd's wife, Lorraine Glover), are firmly planted in the unmistakable musical persona of Charlie Parker. Jackie Paris made scandalously few recordings. These are among his very best. Everything on this disc was recorded during the late summer of 1957, a wonderfully transitional time in the evolution of jazz. Byrd and Gryce chose their rhythm sections most discerningly; the first three tracks were propelled by pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Art Taylor, while tracks four through 12, which document the music presented as New Formulas from the Jazz Lab, brought in Paul Chambers and Hank Jones to fuel more progressive innovations. "Exhibit A" is particularly adventurous. Although the highly polished recordings presented by the Jazz Lab necessitated sometimes as many as eight aborted takes, only one complete alternate take is known to exist: it is the second version (actually take three) of "Ergo the Blues" heard here.


Born: 28 November 1927 in Pensacola, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Gigi Gryce was a fine altoist in the 1950s, but it was his writing skills (including composing the standard "Minority") that were considered most notable. After growing up in Hartford, CT, and studying at the Boston Conservatory and in Paris, Gryce worked in New York with Max Roach, Tadd Dameron, and Clifford Brown. He toured Europe in 1953 with Lionel Hampton and led several sessions in France. After freelancing in 1954 (including recording with Thelonious Monk), Gryce worked with Oscar Pettiford's...
Full bio
Complete Jazz Lab Studio Session #2, Gigi Gryce
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: 01 January 2006

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