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Flying Home: The Best of the Verve Years

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Album Review

Illinois Jacquet's reputation as a premier improvising swing-to-bop tenor saxophonist is firmly cemented via these 20 selections, actually the best of the Clef label recordings in the '50s produced by Norman Granz. This is a well-chosen collection, with groups ranging from small ensembles and spirited organ combos (check out the very hip "Port of Rico") to a select few big bands. Many tracks such as "Speedliner," "Heads," "The Kid and the Brute," and "Achtung" were perfect jam vehicles, and are great inclusions here, but Jacquet was not only known in that format. His extraordinary ballad work, rivaled only by Lester Young and Ben Webster, is well represented on a smattering of standards as well as "Pastel," "Bluesitis," and "Where Are You?" On top of that, you get all-time hits "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Cotton Tail," and his signature solo during "Flying Home." The urgent, forward-thinking, or tender sound of Illinois Jacquet is well documented on this fine compilation, which is easily recommended for both Jacquet mavens and newcomers to this mighty musician. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: October 31, 1922 in Boussard, LA

Genre: Jazz

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

One of the great tenors, Illinois Jacquet's 1942 "Flying Home" solo is considered the first R&B sax solo, and spawned a full generation of younger tenors (including Joe Houston and Big Jay McNeely) who built their careers from his style, and practically from that one song. Jacquet, whose older brother Russell (1917-1990) was a trumpeter who sometimes played in his bands, grew up in Houston, and his tough tone and emotional sound defined the Texas tenor school. After playing locally, he moved to...
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