Thursday, February 16, 2017

Horace Parlan - 1960 - Movin' & Groovin'

Horace Parlan
1960
Movin' & Groovin'


01. C Jam Blues
02. On Green Dolphin Street
03. Up In Cynthia's Room
04. Lady Bird
05. Bag's Groove
06. Stella By Starlight
07. There Is No Greater Love
08. It Could Happen To You

Recorded At – Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Bass – Sam Jones
Piano – Horace Parla

Recorded on February 29, 1960.




Horace Parlan overcame physical disability and thrived as a pianist despite it. His right hand was partially disabled by polio in his childhood, but Parlan made frenetic, highly rhythmic right hand phrases part of his characteristic style, contrasting them with striking left-hand chords. He also infused blues and R&B influences into his style, playing in a stark, sometimes somber fashion. Parlan has always cited Ahmad Jamal and Bud Powell as prime influences. He began playing in R&B bands during the '50s, joining Charles Mingus' group from 1957 to 1959 following a move from Pittsburgh to New York. Mingus aided his career enormously, both through his recordings and his influence. Parlan played with Booker Ervin in 1960 and 1961, then in the Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis-Johnny Griffin quintet in 1962. Parlan played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk from 1963 to 1966, and had a strong series of Blue Note recordings in the '60s. He left America for Copenhagen in 1973, and gained international recognition for some stunning albums on Steeplechase, including a pair of superb duet sessions with Archie Shepp. He also recorded with Dexter Gordon, Red Mitchell, and in the '80s Frank Foster and Michal Urbaniak.

Horace Parlan's debut album for Blue Note, Movin' and Groovin', is a thoroughly impressive affair, establishing Parlan as a distinctive hard bop stylist. Working with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Al Harewood, Parlan steals the show, playing hard-driving, bluesy bop and lyrical ballads. If it weren't for the inventive chord voicings and percussive right-hand attack, it would be impossible to tell that he was missing two fingers on his right hand, since his playing is remarkably agile and fluid. Parlan sounds vital on swinging blues, slow ballads, and straight-ahead bop, and Jones and Harewood provide appropriately empathetic support on this collection of standards, blues, bop, jazz, and originals. Everything swings, no matter the tempo, and the end result is a fine debut from a distinctive pianist.

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