Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Howard Roberts - 1959 - Good Pickins

Howard Roberts
Good Pickins

01. Will You Still Be Mine 4:23
02. When The Sun Comes Out 4:15
03. All The Things You Are 2:42
04. Lover Man 4:25
05. Relaxin' At Camarillo 5:47
06. Godchild 4:45
07. Easy Living 4:05
08. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea 2:40
09. The More I See You 4:12
10. Terpsichore 4:50

Bass – Red Mitchell
Drums – Stan Levey
Guitar – Howard Roberts
Piano – Pete Jolly
Tenor Saxophone – Bill Holman

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.

I much prefer Mr. Roberts' Verve work to his Capitol releases. On Capitol he was limited to about three minutes per song. Here, he's allowed to stretch out to five minutes, giving his sidemen time to solo. I don't know why the Amazon listing contains a bunch of question marks where the names of his band should be. They're clearly listed on the packaging. They include Pete Jolly on piano and Bill Holman on sax

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