Lou Donaldson – Lou Takes Off (1958/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 38:14 minutes | 1.29 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: acousticsounds.com | © Blue Note Records
Recorded: Van Gelder Studio, New Jersey on December 15, 1957.
This 1958 release marks a period in Lou Donaldson’s development prior to a stylistic shift away from bop and toward a stronger rhythm and blues emphasis. Three uptempo tunes here are pure bebop; the remaining number is a medium blues piece, quite characteristic of the hard bop period. The front line on this set includes Donald Byrd and Curtis Fuller with the rhythm section of Sonny Clark, George Joyner and Art Taylor.
The influence of Charlie Parker can be heard in virtually every modern jazz musician, particularly players of the alto saxophone. Although considered to be one of “Bird’s children,” Lou Donaldson absorbed and synthesized other pre-Parker influences, such as Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter. This recording marks a period in his development prior to a stylistic shift away from bop and toward a stronger rhythm and blues emphasis. Three up-tempo tunes are pure bebop; the remaining number is a medium blues in B flat, quite characteristic of the hard bop period. The front line on this set includes Donald Byrd and Curtis Fuller; the rhythm section is Sonny Clark, George Joyner, and Art Taylor. Overall, Lou Takes Off breaks no new musical ground, but it is a solid, swinging session of high-caliber playing. -Lee Bloom, AllMusic
A cadre of young musicians, each who would, in time, evolve into a master, is caught as they begin to shine early on for this fireball 1957 set. A thinly disguised take on Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” is the opening tune, altoist Lou Donaldson’s “Sputnik.” It launches matters at full throttle, with Donaldson unmistakably reflecting Charlie Parker’s then still very fresh and vibrant influence. Joining the pulsating rhythms is a young Donald Byrd, whose ebullient trumpet intonation makes for a perfect complement to Donaldson’s sweet bop heat. Adding more flavor is a strong rhythm section driven by the breathtaking marathon-paced drumming of Art Taylor.
A bop classic, Charlie Parker’s own “Dewey Square,” includes a showcasing solo from the too-soon-gone Sonny Clark, who was already displaying his rhythmically sophisticated and seriously playful piano. Easing in and out smoothly on the tune is Curtis Fuller, who was already demonstrating the JJ Johnson-influenced technique that, as composer and trombonist, has led to his playing with a galaxy ranging from Miles Davis and John Coltrane to Count Basie and many more. On another Donaldson piece, “Strollin’ In,” Fuller’s sound is so varied and sweet it’s as if he’s just invented a new instrument. And Clark’s piano is so mesmerizing one can only regret, again, that his life was so short.
If Lou Takes Off is not an essential set, it is a fascinating one, if only historically. It’s a welcome opportunity to savor a steaming, vivid and fascinating session when a band of young lions were clearly on the verge of greatness. -Andrew Velez, All About Jazz
1 Sputnik 10:02
2 Dewey Square 7:16
3 Strollin’ In 14:31
4 Groovin’ High 6:23
Lou Donaldson – alto saxophone
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Curtis Fuller – trombone
Sonny Clark – piano
Jamil Nasser – bass
Art Taylor – drums