Selection: So In Love
. . .
Kenny Dorham (trumpet) Harold Land (tenor sax) Amos Trice (piano) Clarence Jones (bass) Joe Peters (drums) recorded Plaza Sound Studios, NYC, July 5 & 8, 1960 engineer Ray Fowler
Artist of Note: Amos Trice: who he? Pianist, born 1928 in New Orleans, the young Trice recorded once briefly with Charlie Parker in 1952, a chance appearance on one of Parker’s Dial sessions. This didn’t amount to anything as the pianist changed seemingly every recording, most often Walter Bishop, Duke Jordan, John Lewis, and just about anyone one else who was available. A Wardell Gray album found eight tracks featuring Hampton Hawes, Trice on just one track. Perhaps Hawes needed to “take a break”
Finding a second wind in his early thirties, Trice had a good short run: Sonny Stitt (The Hard Swing, Blows The Blues), Contemporary Records artists Harold Land (The Fox, Eastward Ho!, Take Aim) Jimmy Woods (Awakening!) and Teddy Edwards (Sunset Eyes, It’s about Time), then around 1962, just fell of the map, earning himself the soubriquet “obscure“. However, obscure information may just enable you to win a tie-breaker in a Quiz Night on Modern Jazz, so store it carefully.
To be honest, I’m taken with the name Amos Trice. It’s like Jutta Hipp, another pianist, some names just come off the wall, unique and musical-sounding. What happened to Trice remains a mystery, a jobbing pianist, even his Wiki entry is only in German. Truly obskur. Some play forever, some disappear into education, and some just.. disappear.
Pictured: Harold Land, left, Amos Trice, right
Harold Land and Kenny Dorham, (and Amos Trice) Who was leader, Land or Dorham, and does it matter? Two giants of their instrument.
Harold Land is the most East Coast of the West Coast tenors, a distinctive fiery voice lodged somewhere between the malted caramel tones of Hank Mobley and the urgent Coltrane-esque drive of the Booker Ervin. Days when I find Coltrane/Rollins too intense and exhausting, and that is quite lot of days, I turn to Mobley and Land. ..of course, after some Tina Brooks.
Kenny Dorham , dubbed by Art Blakey as the “uncrowned trumpet king” was described by Jazz writer Samuel Chell thus, summing up Dorham’s place in the trumpet pantheon:
Kenny Dorham…eschewed the passionate romanticism of Clifford Brown, the dramatic flare of Lee Morgan, and the brassy virtuosity of Freddie Hubbard in favour of unfailing melodic logic and economical lyricism, lightened by a frequently playful, puckish approach.
I couldn’t write that better, so I let it stand in place. Anything with any of those trumpet players is good with me, plus the omitted Donald Byrd, not to mention Miles.
Vinyl: Jazzland JLP 933
Second issue by Orpheum Productions, some of whose output is fairly acceptable, though by no means all. The assets of Riverside, which included the Jazzland label, were managed briefly through Orpheum Productions after the financial collapse of Riverside in mid 1964, shortly after the death in late 1963 of Bill Grauer, joint founder of the label. Eventually, ABC Records took over and re-launched Riverside in the mid-late ’60s, so these Orpheum reissues are solidly mid ’60s vintage pressings, and everything that goes with that.
Orpheum had access to all the original recordings, and I would expect them to be sourced from original masters, though how this one compares with original release is not known to me. Both US Riverside and Jazzland label originals can be variable in quality, some fine, others can be a bit shrill, stodgy, noisy, or all three at once. Whether this is down to the original recording engineer, mastering or pressing is unclear, but Orpheum merely worked with what they had. They are relatively inexpensive, not especially rare, and often a good alternative for titles that are both rare and expensive.
Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes – Jazzland original mono and stereo, Orpheum mono as well as this Orpheum stereo.Early to mid ’60s were still dominated by format wars, and the migration of home record players from “old” Mono players to “new” Stereo equipment.
Trade newspaper Billboard March 1961 award Land three stars moderate sales potential: “a hard blowing session which sometimes rises to exciting heights“, but a notch below the four stars awarded to Blakey’s Blue Note, A Night In Tunisia, and a Pacific Jazz title for the Montgomery Brothers, Wes Buddy and Monk.
Ah, those were the days, 1961, Jazz was in the air, and on the nation’s turntables.