Dance of the Night Creatures
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Throughout his life, Thurman Green was thought of as a bebop-oriented trombonist. He did spend time playing in Los Angeles with swinging big bands (including the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) but he was also an occasional member of the Horace Tapscott Quintet (one of many groups headed by the late pianist that no one bothered to record) and was open-eared enough to play quite credibly in free settings now and then. In 1962, Green and baritonist Hamiet Bluiett were jamming buddies at the Navy School of Music in Washington D.C. They soon went their separate ways but hoped to team up again some day. Thirty-two years later, in December 1994, Bluiett (who had been producing quite a few worthy records for the Mapleshade label) was able to give his old friend his first opportunity to lead his own record date. It is a shame that it took over four years for the music to finally come out because, in 1997, Green suddenly passed away at age 57. Bluiett (who doubles here on contrabass clarinet) plays a supportive role behind the trombonist, who is also joined by pianist John Hicks, either Walter Booker or Steve Novosel on bass, and drummer Steve Williams. Some of the music (including a version of "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," which does not include Bluiett) is typically straight-ahead. But listeners will also be surprised to hear that a few of Green's originals (particularly "Cross Currents") include a lot of adventurous interplay between the two horns. Green was always flexible, and when Bluiett goes outside, so does the trombonist. In addition, Green and Bluiett perform a brief free improvisation ("Searching for Peace") and a pair of Tapscott compositions that deserve to catch on. Stimulating music that serves as a strong tribute to the talented and versatile trombonist Thurman Green.
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