8 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In taking a quick glance at the program of the Elmo Hope Trio, a 1959 recording originally issued on David Axelrod’s HiFi Jazz label, one might not be prepared for the extraordinary individuality at play. With the exception of the standard “Like Someone In Love,” all of the tunes here are originals by the pianist, presenting slightly less frantic bop in explorations by a cooperative unit with Los Angeles stalwarts Jimmy Bond (bass) and Frank Butler (drums). Certainly owing some to Bud Powell, Hope teeters between Monk’s architecture and Herbie Nichols’ painterliness, especially on the opening “B’s a Plenty.” “Something for Kenny” (a.k.a. “I Would if I Could”) is most notable for its spotlight on Butler’s drums, where he gets solo space to explore timbral patterns using a broad range of the kit as well as his fingers and palms — though Hope and Bond certainly get stretching room, too. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

In taking a quick glance at the program of the Elmo Hope Trio, a 1959 recording originally issued on David Axelrod’s HiFi Jazz label, one might not be prepared for the extraordinary individuality at play. With the exception of the standard “Like Someone In Love,” all of the tunes here are originals by the pianist, presenting slightly less frantic bop in explorations by a cooperative unit with Los Angeles stalwarts Jimmy Bond (bass) and Frank Butler (drums). Certainly owing some to Bud Powell, Hope teeters between Monk’s architecture and Herbie Nichols’ painterliness, especially on the opening “B’s a Plenty.” “Something for Kenny” (a.k.a. “I Would if I Could”) is most notable for its spotlight on Butler’s drums, where he gets solo space to explore timbral patterns using a broad range of the kit as well as his fingers and palms — though Hope and Bond certainly get stretching room, too. 

TITLE TIME
5:39
6:11
3:51
5:57
7:24
4:45
2:54

About Elmo Hope

Overshadowed throughout his life by his friends Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, Elmo Hope was a talented pianist and composer whose life was cut short by drugs. His first important gig was with Joe Morris' R&B band (1948-1951). He recorded in New York as a leader (starting in 1953) and with Sonny Rollins, Lou Donaldson, Clifford Brown, and Jackie McLean, but the loss of his cabaret card (due to his drug use) made it very difficult for him to make a living in New York. After touring with Chet Baker in 1957, Hope relocated to Los Angeles. He performed with Lionel Hampton in 1959, recorded with Harold Land and Curtis Counce, and returned to New York in 1961. A short prison sentence did little to help his drug problem and, although he sounds fine on his trio performances of 1966, he died a little over a year later. Elmo Hope's sessions as a leader were cut for Blue Note, Prestige, Pacific Jazz, Hi Fi Jazz, Riverside, Celebrity, Beacon, and Audio Fidelity; his last albums were initially released on Inner City. Hope was also a fine composer, although none of his songs became standards. ~ Scott Yanow

  • ORIGIN
    New York, NY
  • GENRE
    Jazz
  • BORN
    27 June 1923

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