## 1 - 8 - December 14, 15 1961
## 9-13 - August 6, 1964
Vibraphonist Milt Jackson has been so consistent throughout his lenghty career that his excellence can be taken for granted. This Impulse recording features Bags with a quartet (including pianist Hank Jones) from 1961 and leading a quintet (with tenor-saxophonist Jimmy Heath and pianist Tommy Flanagan) in 1964; the latter was originally half of the album Jazz 'N' Samba. In addition there is a feature for Flanagan in a trio without the vibraphonist that was originally on an Impulse sampler. The blues, ballads, standards and originals are typical of Jackson's recordings as is the high-quality of the swinging music. Nothing too unusual occurs but the results are pleasing.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
You cant get along, in music or in life," said Milt Jackson, "without a certain amount of flexibility and variety. That's one of the reasons I made this album."
This was the voice of experience. Almost 20 years have eased by since Dizzy Gillespie brought Bags East from Detroit. Though the second decade was spent basically as a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, there nave been so many side ventures along the way that it has never Been necessary to think of Milt in terms of the Milt, or of the requirements imposed on him by the style of the group.
In the early years of his New York career Milt was known primarily as one of the first and most fluent musicians playing in the new idiom called bebop. Certainly he succeeded in transferring to the vibraphone the challenging linearity, and the harmonic innovations, associated with the newly established kings of the bop movement, Gillespie and Parker. During the late 1940s Milt displayed this facility in small combos led by Howard McGhee, Tadd Dameron and Thelonious Monk, and also in 1949 with Woody Herman's band, in which he replaced Terry Gibbs.
The early 1950s saw him back with Dizzy for a couple of years, sometimes doubling on piano; but by 1953 the partnership with John Lewis, whom he had known as a colleague in the early Gillespie band, had begun to plant firm roots.
The Lewis association has placed Milt in a variety of contexts beyond that of the MJQ itself, playing everything from modern jazz to third stream music.
The personnel here includes three of Bags' frequent associates. Jimmy Heath, the 38-year-old Philadelphian and younger brother of the MJQ's Percy Heath, has lent his big extroverted modern tenor sound to the groups of McGhee, Gillespie, Gil Evans, Miles Davis and many others. Tommy Flanagan, a 34-year-old Detroiter, gained some of his early experience with Bags and has been heard in recent years with Ella Fitzgerald, J.J. Johnson and Harry Edison.
Richard Davis, 34, born and raised in Chicago, began to gain recognition on the road with Sarah Vaughan in the late 1950s. Like many modern bassists, he is equipped to handle just about any job in the classical or jazz fields. Connie Kay, 37, from Tuckahoe, N.Y. has been Milt's MJQ teammate since 1955, and is the drummer on Statements.
Blues for Juanita, says Bags, was "named for my niece; it happened to be her birthday on the day of the session." In this performance the quintet immediately gets down to the basics, using a vibes-tenor unison riff in F as a point of departure. I Got It Bad, the 1941 Ellington standard from "Jump for Joy," demonstrates Bags' ability to lend his personal touch to a ballad without moving far from the composer's original concept. Interesting to observe, too, that he ends with that old-fashioned touch we sometimes tend to forget, an unabashed tonic chord.
Big George, named for Milt's father-in-law, is a simple piece built around G and F triads, with Jimmy Heath displaying great force and fluency. Gingerbread Boy, an attractive Heath original, turns out to be an up-tempo B flat blues with root-conscious solos by Jimmy, Tommy and Milt.
1964 (original edited liner notes from Jazz 'N' Samba, AS-70)