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All star line up: Cecil Payne (bar/s) Clark Terry (t) Bennie Green (tb), Duke Jordan (p) Ron Carter (d) Charlie Persip (d) Recorded NY 1962
Music fromThe Connection
There is the best known Blue Note version of music from The Connection, featuring Jackie McLean, the Felstead version featuring Tina Brooks, who understudied Jackie for the stage performance, and later still, the Cecil Payne version – with an alternative score written by himself and Kenny Drew – which took over the off-Broadway production after its initial run.
Pocket Biography: Cecil Payne
Previously unknown to me, Cecil Payne was a jazz survivor – departed age 84 in 2007. One of Bebop’s great baritone saxophonists but who worked in relative obscurity, never led a band of his own, recorded only a few albums as a leader and played an instrument that rarely takes center stage. Which explains why you wont have heard much of him.
A saxophone voice of flowing lines and warm tone, he made his reputation with Tadd Dameron and Coleman Hawkins (’49-’52), later working with Illinois Jacquet (’52-’54). In 1957, he and fellow baritonist Pepper Adams backed John Coltrane on Dakar. After a career break to mind the family business, Payne joined the cast of The Connection,”an exposé of the urban drug culture informed by its on-stage jazz performances” (it said somewhere)
According to his wiki, Payne once said that his parents urged him to consider dentistry as a career. He countered their suggestion by pointing out that no one would ever entrust his or her teeth to a “Dr. Payne”. Like the piano teacher who I encountered on my walk as a temporary postman: Miss C. Sharp, Flat B.
Cecil in action, with (OMG! foams at mouth) Sahib Shihab
Cecil Payne and Sahib Shihab with The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band 1968
Labels, run-out and liner notes
Looks like a budget pressing for Charlie Parker Records, a short-lived British label, which released, surprisingly, Charlie Parker records and a few other Jazz titles, like this.
Touring Cast, 1961/62 Recorded 14, 15, 16 March 1962 – Charlie Parker Records PLP 806. Which suggests my pressing is simply a later budget commercial reissue.
Difficult to compete with such a strong score as the original version, though the line up are no also-ran. More of an oddity or curio than a must-have, priced accordingly in the budget range. Fans of baritone sax might want to add Cecil Payne to their watch list. I think he plays nice.
However there is yet another version of The Connection, the LA Production, which introduces Dexter Gordon as the lead saxophonist. L.A. Production: The score to accompany the L.A. production was performed by Dexter Gordon who later recorded several parts from the production on his 1961 Blue Note release Dexter Calling
Quote (from the liner notes): “Soul Sister,” the original that launches the first side is one of the themes Dexter wrote for the score of the Hollywood version of The Connection in which he had an acting, playing, and writing role; it is the equivalent of Freddie Redd’s “(Theme for) Sister Salvation”… “I Want More”, the significantly titled Gordon theme that closes the first side, is the West Coast equivalent of “O.D. (Overdose)”… “Ernie’s Theme”, is the last of the three themes on this LP from Dexter’s Connection score. It parallels “Music Forever”.