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Blues for Sarka

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Album Review

The New York Jazz Quartet, an excellent though overlooked band which was active in the 1970s and 1980s, is heard live at Jazzclub Domicile in Munich on this Inner City album. Pianist Roland Hanna, the founder of the group, is accompanied by tenor saxophonist Frank Wess, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Grady Tate, who had just replaced Richard Pratt. Aside from an extended workout of Miles Davis' "All Blues," which centers on Wess' soulful tenor sax, the remainder of this performance consists of originals each by Hanna or Mraz. The pianist's exciting "Rodney Round Robin," which he had debuted only two years earlier while recording a studio date under Red Rodney's leadership, contrasts strikingly with his dark, funky "Smelly Jelly Belly." The bassist's contributions are also laudable. The feverish "I'll Tell You Tonight" is like a roller coaster with plenty of hairpin turns, while his "Blues for Sarka" isn't actually a blues at all but a heartfelt ballad. Issued by both Inner City and Enja, this now out of print disc is easily one of the best releases by the New York Jazz Quartet.

Customer Reviews

One of the best jazz albums ever recorded

With apologies to Miles Davis, the NY Jazz Quartet recording of All Blues is one of the best Jazz recordings ever made. Up there with the Miles Davis version. In fact I prefer this one to the Miles Davis version.


Formed: 1972

Genre: Jazz

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

The original New York Jazz Quartet was founded by pianist Roland Hanna in the early '70s and consisted of flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Billy Cobham. That particular group went nowhere, but in 1974, Hanna had better luck with a lineup of flutist Frank Wess, bassist Carter (eventually replaced by George Mraz), and drummer Ben Riley; Richard Pratt and Grady Tate sometimes subbed for Riley. The straight-ahead band (which lasted...
Full Bio
Blues for Sarka, New York Jazz Quartet
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  • $10.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: May 17, 1978

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