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Album Review

These four sides should not be hard to locate, as the primary participants in this November 30, 1956, session have all issued them within their individual catalogs. However Tenor Conclave was first released as credited to the "leaderless" Prestige All-Stars — consisting of tenor saxophonists John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims. Providing support are pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Taylor. The Mobley-penned title track commences the effort with the quartet of tenors showing off their stuff in high-flying style. It takes a couple of passes and somewhat of a trained ear to be able to link the players with their contributions, but as is often the case, the whole tends to be greater than the sum of the parts. After a brief introduction with all four rapidly reeling off short riffs, Mobley charges ahead into truly inspired territory. The midtempo take of "Just You, Just Me" keeps things lively with a light swinging pace that is custom-made for bringing the combo's jocular side to the surface, particularly toward the end as they "trade fours," with each tenor blowing four bars before passing the melody on. The other Mobley composition is "Bob's Boys," and by all accounts it is the most compelling piece on the outing. The blues-based tune rollicks as Coltrane, Mobley, Cohn, and Sims find themselves configured in a seeming myriad of sonic face-offs. Wrapping up Tenor Conclave is an ultra-cool and sophisticated "How Deep Is the Ocean?" Cohn commences the long and luscious reading with a subtle strength, suggesting the powerful undercurrent flowing throughout the number. Also, listeners are treated to what is possibly Garland's finest interaction, leading right into Sims, Chambers, and finally a sublime Coltrane caboose.

Biography

Born: 24 November 1925 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

An excellent tenor saxophonist and a superior arranger/composer, Al Cohn was greatly admired by his fellow musicians. Early gigs included associations with Joe Marsala (1943), Georgie Auld, Boyd Raeburn (1946), Alvino Rey, and Buddy Rich (1947). But it was when he replaced Herbie Steward as one of the "Four Brothers" with Woody Herman's Second Herd (1948-1949) that Cohn began to make a strong impression. He was actually overshadowed by Stan Getz and Zoot Sims during this period but, unlike the other...
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Tenor Conclave, Al Cohn
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