Track Selection: El Matador
Kenny Dorham (tp) Jackie McLean (as) Bobby Timmons (p) Teddy Smith (b) J.C. Moses (d) recorded at Sound Makers, NYC, April 15, 1962
Vinyl: UAS 5631
Second issue by United Artists from 1972, originally released on the “bendy Tenor” UA label, this is a fine stereo release. I was initially put off by the cover. Not very cool and the addition of crayon strokes does little to make up for Dorham’s cabaret-jazz tuxedo. The original cover (right) is better in my view, and reflects the style of music.
The Allmusic review awarded the album 4½ starsout of five, and stated “Kenny Dorham’s Matador can safely claim the all too common distinction of being a classic among jazz connoisseurs while virtually unknown to the casual listener… A fantastic session by any standard”
El Matador has a superb modal jazz quality, Mclean’s astringent tone pairs perfectly with Dorham silvery trumpet. Bobby Timmons urgent comping with “J.C.Moses” on drums – a player favouring the more edgy side of jazz, later playing with Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers. It is as much McLean’s album as Dorham’s.
Produced by Alan Douglas, Head of United Artists Jazz in the early Sixties. “Douglas was able to round up an impressive list of talent for one-time-only appearances for United Artists. Putting Bill Evans together with Jim Hall, Duke Ellington with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, Douglas tried to get a mix of personalities that would create something different from what these musicians were already doing and thereby stand out from the rest of their catalogs. “That’s how you become a record producer,” Douglas says. “You’re a fan first”” This record was the result of pairing Dorham and McLean together with more adventurous sidesmen, with great results.
Douglas enjoyed a long career as a producer, and went on to be custodian for many years of the effects of Jimmy Hendrix, with some controversy.
Labels: beige and brown United Artists
Hand-written matrix, press not known, but it is bright and fresh, with excellent engineering and stereo presentation. As it should be.
Seller only Saturdays in a Portobello Road arcade . A fund of stories and an interesting chat with someone who has spent most of his life selling records. He tells the same story as everyone who sells records: relentless strangulation by increasing rents, which kills all businesses with small turnover and low margins.