Donald Sleet (trumpet) Daniel Jackson (tenor saxophone) Terry Trotter (piano) Jimmy Bond (bass) Lenny McBrowne (drums) at United Recording, Hollywood, CA, October 13, 1960
Lenny McBrowne is not a name that immediately elicits nods of recognition, but that’s the joy of jazz, so many undiscovered highways and byways. This fine group recorded only two albums, Eastern Lights for Riverside, and Lenny McBrowne and the Four Souls for Pacific Jazz, in the fall of 1959. These were McBrowne’s only leadership sessions, and his last known recording came in 1976.
McBrowne gained much of his experience working with Harold Land, Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson and Curtis Fuller, and much of his finesse is owed to his mentor, Max Roach.
When Lenny McBrowne and the 4 Souls first began gigging in Sacramento and San Francisco clubs they were critically hailed as the great promise for the future of West Coast jazz: a West Coast group’s interpretation of East Coast hard bop. The group here is very cohesive, swings together, a shining example of The Beautiful Music.
Around this time was another meeting of coastal styles, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, East Coast meets West Coast, Miles Davis rhythm section meets the best west coast alto out of the Big House
The East/West Coast divide contained a lot of baggage of race and culture, which as an Englishman I will keep my nose out of ( or we send back The Redcoats to sort you out) Suffice to say, it all makes great music, which is all that matters to me.
Vinyl: Riverside RLP 346
Deep groove, and a characteristic of some US Riverside pressings, a very faint matrix etching and finely pin-drawn letters AB (Abbey Record Mfg Inc), hardly visible in the label picture, but shown in close up below.
To get at the etchings required a true 1:1 macro lens an inch or two from the vinyl surface, tilted against backlighting to grab the narrow angle of reflected light. Normally it’s too much trouble and I am out of practice, so it seemed a good idea to brush up the technique.
Source: another of those improbable encounters, Lucio’s Saturday market stall, Ventimiglia, Liguria, Italy, a few weeks back. I visited Lucio again this Saturday, but the weekly market of the Summer months had given way to only twice a month, and he had put out just the staple rock and pop. Seems Mike Oldfield is big with Italian vinyl fans …Carried away by a Moonlight Shadow… to France…and Deep Purple.
On the positive side he was able to recommend a rather good but inexpensive authentic Italian restaurant, which is pencilled in for a future visit. Man does not live by music alone. Sometimes, he needs lunch too.