Selection 1: Cerise (320kbps MP3)
Selection 2: I Married an Angel (320kbps MP3)
Lenny McBrowne (drums) Donald Sleet (trumpet) Daniel Jackson (tenor saxophone) Terry Trotter (piano) Herbie Lewis (bass) recorded at Rex Productions Studio, Hollywood, CA, January 2, March 21, 1960
It’s safe to say that most jazz lovers won’t recognise the names Lenny McBrowne, Don Sleet, or Terry Trotter, and until now that would include me. However if you want to impress with a knowledge of obscure and overlooked musicians, listen up.
West Coast 1960, young men not long out of college, set on a music career, gigging at San Francisco clubs, critically hailed as potential leading lights of the West Coast jazz scene. It ended a little differently, with careers branching out to touring sidemen, studio session musicians, and for Sleet, narcotics rehab and early death, a vignette of the fate of many destined not to stay the course.
Drummer McBrowne, mentored by Max Roach, learned his craft playing behind great names Harold Land, Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Bill Evans and Paul Bley. After a short stint as leader with only this and one other title to his name, he was to be found on Thelonious Monk tours of Japan, the drums behind Booker Ervin 1966-7, Sonny Criss, Blue Mitchell, and Kenny Burrell, when in the ’70s his credits dried up, and his last known recording came in 1976, following which he joining that large “What Ever Happened To?…” list of jazz musicians.
This promising young trumpeter in the manner of Art Farmer, got his big break as leader shortly after this McBrowne recording, courtesy of Riverside/Jazzland’s Orin Keepnews, it is said, with Chet Baker in prison in Italy for drug smuggling and forgery, seeing an opportunity for a new trumpet voice. Loyalty was never a strength of the music industry. Keepnews recorded Sleet for his only title as leader, All Members (which I don’t have) , with the astonishing line up of Jimmy Heath, Wynton Kelly, Ron Carter and Jimmy Cobb.
Sleet’s career reverted to the West Coast, however narcotic addition led to serial disappearances, and he died in 1986 at age 47.
Trotter went on to make a large number of recordings with fusion jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, became a studio musician and wrote the theme music of the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1966-2005). I guess its a living, if not a glorious jazz legacy, and he is still going strong.
The Other Four Souls:
Jackson, a good tenor voice, who knows where fate led him.
Herbie Lewis…bass. Herbie Lewis’s recording credits read like a who’s who of jazz. He can be heard on some of the seminal recordings of the ’60s, including Jackie McLean’s masterpiece Let Freedom Ring, Bobby Hutcherson’s Stick-Up, McCoy Tyner’s Time for Tyner, and many more. Herbie passed away in 2007, age 66, leaving a more extensive legacy than his fellow souls.
Vinyl: PJ-1 Pacific Jazz. I like the “1” it’s an original early Pacific Jazz. And deep groove.
This turned up in a local record store, I had no idea what to make of it, as I had no previous knowledge of the artists, but it looked interesting enough to take a punt. That’s often how it works, you jump in, blind. It’s a really nice West Coast album, and Bock’s Pacific Jazz rarely lets you down in the sonic department, sounds great.