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Sunflower (CTI Records 40th Anniversary Edition)

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Vibraphone master Milt Jackson flitted freely through subgenres over the course of his career, emerging in the bop era and gaining fame with post-bop pioneers The Modern Jazz Quartet. He'd recently come off a funky soul-jazz stint with the Ray Brown Big Band when he made the first of his string of albums for CTI. Sunflower marked another stylistic shift for Jackson, dovetailing with producer/label head Creed Taylor's vision of gracing contemporary jazz with elegant orchestrations. These tunes are framed with artful string and woodwind arrangements courtesy of Don Sebesky, but it's the interaction of the all-star core group that really makes Sunflower shine. Bass icon Ron Carter and premier fusion drummer Billy Cobham stir up a simmering funk on a smoky version of The Stylistics' R&B hit "People Make the World Go 'Round," while Herbie Hancock's piano and Freddie Hubbard's trumpet play tag with Jackson's vibes on the title track. And when Jackson's gentle tones cast a mellow glow on "For Someone I Love," it's clear why he's considered a poet of the vibes, no matter what style he's exploring.

Customer Reviews

Oh my goodness...

This is one of the extraordinary classics you might have missed, or forgot about. The Sunflower rendition is absolutely beautiful (Who was that song? That's a Freddie Hubbard song). The Stylistics cover will get inside of your head. The Swing fuse of SKJ will haunt you when you sleep. Old school, well worth it.

One of the best

If I can't sleep at night, this is what I get up and listen to. Freddie Hubbard is his usual self...great! But Milit jackson is sublime!! A true gift to the senses.

Marvelous Arrangements

Don Sebesky deserves a real kudo for his excellent string arrangements, as well as the big band inthis set. Especially the work done on "Little Sunflower." Having Hubbard, himself, on board was not shabby either.

SKJ is the one tight small group work that sets up some brilliant solos and makes for a slight hange in the setting from the balance of the album. SKJ swings and Cobham is "driving the bus!"

"For Someone I Love" is just gorgeous in its beautiful use of Hubbard's emotional horn playing, and Jackson's smooth sustained percussion.


Born: January 1, 1923 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Before Milt Jackson, there were only two major vibraphonists: Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo. Jackson soon surpassed both of them in significance and, despite the rise of other players (including Bobby Hutcherson and Gary Burton), still won the popularity polls throughout the decades. Jackson (or "Bags" as he was long called) was at the top of his field for 50 years, playing bop, blues, and ballads with equal skill and sensitivity. Milt Jackson started on guitar when he was seven, and piano at 11;...
Full Bio
Sunflower (CTI Records 40th Anniversary Edition), Milt Jackson
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