1950-1955

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
The sum of Wardell Gray's output from late in the summer of 1950 through mid-January 1955 amounts to 23 tracks, nine of them drawn from a live blowing session and the rest from three different studio dates. While Classics 1463 is not a painstakingly complete overview of Gray's performing history during the last five years of his short life, it does contain his primary work from a period which is notably lacking in recorded evidence. Captured live at the Hula Hut Club in Los Angeles on August 27 1950, "Jazz on Sunset" (recognizable as Denzil Best's "Move") and "Kiddo" (also known as Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple") were each recorded in four segments ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
The sum of Wardell Gray's output from late in the summer of 1950 through mid-January 1955 amounts to 23 tracks, nine of them drawn from a live blowing session and the rest from three different studio dates. While Classics 1463 is not a painstakingly complete overview of Gray's performing history during the last five years of his short life, it does contain his primary work from a period which is notably lacking in recorded evidence. Captured live at the Hula Hut Club in Los Angeles on August 27 1950, "Jazz on Sunset" (recognizable as Denzil Best's "Move") and "Kiddo" (also known as Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple") were each recorded in four segments representing flip sides of 78 rpm platters cut on a portable recording apparatus. The ensemble, which had a front line that included Clark Terry, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Criss, was billed as the Wardell Gray Jazz Concept. "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" makes for a wild capper as the words to the old tune are sung by Damita Jo Du Blanc, a Texas-born R&B vocalist whose Discovery records release, "Until the Real Thing Comes Along," would achieve the status of a hit single a few months later. Surrounded by wildly improvising beboppers, she rides the lyrics to a more or less logical conclusion under conditions which must have been pleasantly challenging for her. The next ten titles are examples of early modern West Coast jazz at its most intriguing. In January 1952 the Wardell Gray Sextet worked up six sides for Prestige, including "Jackie" and "Farmer's Market," attractive compositions which achieved national recognition after vocalist Annie Ross set quirky words to the melodies and intricately woven improvisations. Also recorded for Prestige in February 1953, "The Man I Love," "Lavonne," "So Long Broadway," and "Paul's Cause" are less well known as they were issued under the name of vibraphonist Teddy Charles & His West Coasters. The combination of minds is intriguing as Gray's session mates included alto saxophonist Frank Morgan and pianist Sonny Clark. Wardell's final studio recording session took place in Chicago in January 1955 with a group anchored by baritone saxophonist Tate Houston and a playlist that included Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet." Theories abound as to the circumstances surrounding Gray's sudden death, which shocked the jazz community four months later. When it occurred, he was scheduled to appear with Benny Carter's band at the African American-owned and operated Moulin Rouge, a short-lived venture remembered as the first racially integrated casino ever to open in Las Vegas. Hours after he failed to appear for the gig, Gray's corpse was found by the side of a road in the desert. Although his neck had been broken and foul play was clearly indicated, no autopsy was performed. The idea that he suffered a bad tumble during or after a heroin overdose seems unlikely given his well-documented stand against narcotics abuse. More plausible explanations include unresolved gambling debts or a simple straightforward hate crime.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/18/2008
  • Label: Classics France
  • UPC: 826596016375
  • Catalog Number: 1463

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Jazz on Sunset (Move), Pt. 1 - Wardell Gray Jazz Concept (2:43)
  2. 2 Jazz on Sunset (Move), Pt. 2 - Wardell Gray Jazz Concept (1:44)
  3. 3 Jazz on Sunset (Move), Pt. 3 - Wardell Gray Jazz Concept (2:42)
  4. 4 Jazz on Sunset (Move), Pt. 4 - Wardell Gray Jazz Concept (2:43)
  5. 5 Kiddo (Scrapple from the Apple), Pt. 1 (2:38)
  6. 6 Kiddo (Scrapple from the Apple), Pt. 2 (2:23)
  7. 7 Kiddo (Scrapple from the Apple), Pt. 3 (2:26)
  8. 8 Kiddo (Scrapple from the Apple), Pt. 4 (1:46)
  9. 9 I Can't Give You Anything But Love (3:17)
  10. 10 April Skies - Wardell Gray Sextet (3:02)
  11. 11 Bright Boy - Wardell Gray Sextet (2:46)
  12. 12 Jackie - Wardell Gray Sextet (2:31)
  13. 13 Farmer's Market - Wardell Gray Sextet (2:47)
  14. 14 Sweet and Lovely - Wardell Gray Sextet (3:15)
  15. 15 Lover Man - Wardell Gray Sextet (2:20)
  16. 16 The Man I Love - Teddy Charles (3:11)
  17. 17 Lavonne - Teddy Charles (2:58)
  18. 18 So Long Broadway - Teddy Charles (3:12)
  19. 19 Paul's Cause - Teddy Charles (2:58)
  20. 20 Sweet Mouth (2:36)
  21. 21 Oscar's Blues (Blues in the Closet) (2:46)
  22. 22 Dat's It (2:41)
  23. 23 Hey There (2:53)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Wardell Gray Primary Artist, Tenor Saxophone
Teddy Charles Vibes
Sonny Clark Piano
Sonny Criss Alto Saxophone
Art Farmer Trumpet
Dexter Gordon Tenor Saxophone
Norman Simmons Piano
Jimmy Bunn Piano
Clark Terry Trumpet
Harper Cosby Bass
Vernel Fournier Drums
William K. "Billy" Hadnott Bass
Hampton Hawes Piano
Tate Houston Baritone Saxophone
Larance Marable Drums
Victor Sproles Bass
Chuck Thompson Drums
Dick Nivison Bass
Frank Morgan All-Stars Alto Saxophone
Robert Collier Conga
Technical Credits
Jerry Ross Composer
Richard Adler Composer
Gus Arnheim Composer
Denzil Best Composer
Charlie Parker Composer
Anatol Schenker Liner Notes
Jules LeMare (Chas. N. Daniels) Composer
Harry Tobias Composer
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