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Good Pickin's

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Album Review

Issued in 1959, Howard Roberts' Good Pickin's was his second album for Verve as a leader. It is as straight-up a blowing date as you're likely to find, though it has wonderful harmonic invention thanks to the two arrangers on the date — Bill Holman, who also plays tenor, and Marty Paich. The rest of the date is rounded out by pianist Pete Jolly, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Stan Levey. The tunes range from standards like "All the Things You Are" and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" to straight-up bebop in Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo" and George Wallington's "Godchild." The lone original on the set, which closes the album, is Roberts' "Terpsichore." It is also the longest on the platter. It's a slow blues that's unimaginative but allows everyone in the band to blow. The tenor/guitar heads on these tunes work well thanks to tight, colorful arrangements that accent the sharpness in the chosen songs. The straight-up soloing works because it is reined in tightly, keeping the melodic invention at the forefront. This is a solid date and should be checked out by anyone interested in jazz guitar.

Customer Reviews

Great Guitar

Terpsichore has got to be his smoothest work.

Biography

Born: October 2, 1929 in Phoenix, AZ

Genre: Jazz

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

Howard Roberts was a talented guitarist on the level of a Barney Kessel or Herb Ellis, who spent most of his career playing commercial music in the studios. Shortly after he moved to Los Angeles in 1950, Roberts was firmly established in the studios, although on occasion he recorded jazz (most notably twice for Verve during 1956-1959, a Concord session from 1977, and one for Discovery in 1979); however, most of his other output (particularly for Capitol in the 1960s) is of lesser interest. The co-founder...
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Good Pickin's, Howard Roberts
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