Saturday, 5 September 2009

Donald Byrd “Off To The Races”

Donald Byrd

Off To The Races

( LP Blue Note Records, 1959 )
Catalog # BLP 4007
** Also issued on Blue Note BST 84007
Remastered on CD in 2006
Catalog # 0946 3 62658 2 7

A1 Lover Come Back To Me
A2 When Your Love Has Gone
A3 Sudwest Funk
B1 Paul’s Pal
B2 Off To The Races
B3 Down Tempo

Personnel & Credits:
Bass – Sam Jones
Drums – Art Taylor
Piano – Wynton Kelly
Saxophone [Alto] – Jackie McLean
Saxophone [Baritone] – Pepper Adams
Trumpet – Donald Byrd

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ; December 21, 1958

From the crackling opening notes of “Lover Come Back to Me,” it’s clear that Off to the Races is one of Donald Byrd’s most invigorating sessions of the late ’50s. Working with a stellar supporting band — Jackie McLean (alto sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Pepper Adams (bari sax), Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums) — Byrd turns in one of his strongest recordings of the era. Throughout the album, Byrd switches between hard bop, ballads, laid-back blues, and soul-jazz. Two of the numbers are standards, one is a cover, and three are Byrd originals, but what matters is the playing. Over the course of the album, Byrd proves he has matured greatly as a soloist, capable of sweet, melodic solos on the slower numbers and blistering runs of notes on the faster songs. McLean is just as vigorous and lyrical, contributing some fine moments to the record, as do Adams and Kelly. There’s nothing surprising about Off to the Races; it’s simply a set of well-performed, enjoyable hard bop, but sometimes that’s enough.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine []

By Rob

1 comment:

recas fielding said...



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