November 15, 2015

Booker Ervin - Tex Book Tenor (1968)

Blue Note put out several archival releases in the 2000's that have picked up some steam and gained classic status with many fans, especially those late 60s sessions led by Andrew Hill. This Booker Ervin date, on the other hand, seems to have slipped under most everybody's radar, which is a shame since it's one of the best post 1966 Blue Note recordings out there. Most of the late 60s post-bop outings for Blue Note don't have the focus and subtlety from back when Alfred Lion was in charge, but this is quite the exception. I'm not familiar with the pianist, Kenny Barron, at all, but I see he has many credits on a handful of big name leaders in the 1970s. His McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock influence is inescapable, but his skill at feeling out the direction of the music is well received by the band and he ties the progressive playing together up into a confident punch. Booker Ervin and Woody Shaw are probably each other's greatest horn partners and deliver yet another fire album together. I'm also pleased with the fact that Tex Book Tenor avoids any production holes, which tends to be a weak spot for many of these albums from late of the decade (often employing weird spacing of the drums and bass on the stereo master). This album is no doubt a predecessor for the next era of atmospheric and slightly funky jazz, but stays rooted in a very effective early 60s attack. Again, this is one of my favorites from the era and a must for anyone searching for some chilled out post-bop.


Tex Book Tenor