Track Selection: Ralph J Gleason’s Blues (Garland)
Red Garland (p) George Joyner (b) Charlie Persip (d) Ray Barretto (cga) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 22, 1958
Garland’s mastery of the swinging post-bop keyboard made him a mainstay of the idiom for a decade. In the Fifties he joined John Coltrane’s “backing band”, the Miles Davis Quintet, but was uncomfortable with their later modal direction and was replaced by Bill Evans. Garland remained wedded to his own eloquent middle-of-the-road style.
AllMusic notes his piano style:
“ A fertile, often moving improvisor, he developed a characteristic block chord sound by combining octaves with a fifth in the middle in the right hand over left-hand comp (accompanying) chords. The style has been much imitated. In a block chord style, both hands sound on every note of the melody. There is no separation between right melody and left hand comping (accompanying). It is a device which produces a lot of sound out of the piano, so is ideally suited as the climax of a solo. His impeccable rhythm fueled perfect single-note melodic lines”
The track selection was dedicated to Ralph Gleason, one of the founders of Rolling Stone magazine and the Monterey Jazz Festival, San Francisco’s most authoritative music critic, syndicated worldwide, and probably someone to whom a dedication would not do any lasting career harm.
Vinyl: Esquire 32-146 UK release of PRLP 7193
Esquire wisely chose to stick with the original Prestige cover.
The usual Prestige RVG hallmarks
One of a package of Esquires that turned up in a suburban record store. Not hugely expensive - it maxes on Popsike at only around $100 for the original pressing – and a pleasant change of mood and tempo after hours of listening to testosterone-fuelled saxophone.