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Nostalgia

Fats Navarro

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Album Review

Taken from three different, late-'40s sessions, Nostalgia features Navarro in the fine company of bebop stars like Dexter Gordon, Tadd Dameron, and Art Blakey. While looser sounding than the legendary sides the trumpeter cut for Blue Note, the tracks here still include the usual bevy of sharp Navarro solos, plus stellar contributions by all involved. The first session with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse (one of the earliest recordings of the future Monk sideman), Dameron, and Blakey, finds Navarro mixing poised and fluid solo work with more intense high-note statements, demonstrating his masterful blend of both Miles Davis' cool approach and Dizzy Gillespie's incendiary technique. The highlights continue with four more cuts from a Dexter Gordon-led session from 1947, which adheres to the brief head statement and round of solos mode used on the earlier cuts. Dameron returns on piano, nicely comping behind Gordon's already distinct solo work and more of Navarro's pearl-like horn lines (these numbers have also been released on various Gordon titles on Savoy). The disc ends with a date led by honking tenor man Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, which, while less intriguing than the other sessions, stills swings mightily with a mix of bebop and R&B flavored tunes. Nostalgia is worthy of any jazz collection and certainly is an essential title from the bebop era.

Biography

Born: 24 September 1923 in Key West, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s

One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Fats Navarro had a tragically brief career yet his influence is still being felt. His fat sound combined aspects of Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Dizzy Gillespie, became the main inspiration for Clifford Brown, and through Brownie greatly affected the tones and styles of Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, and Woody Shaw. Navarro originally played piano and tenor before switching to trumpet. He started gigging with dance bands when he was 17, was with...
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