Recording Date: Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, April 12, 1957
Tenorman Gene Ammons headed a series of notable studio jam session in the 1950s and this is one of the better ones. With such fine young players as trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, altoist Jackie McLean, pianst Mal Waldron, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor, Ammons and his friends jam through four numbers all of which clock in between 11:59 and 13:01. The results are an accessible and often exciting brand of bebop.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkley, California).
JAMMIN' IN HI FI finds Gene Ammons in a context familiar to many jazz players in the 1950's - the Prestige Records jam session, where some ace musicians, most of whom were bandleaders as well, get together and get down on some familiar tunes. State the theme in unison, and wail.
"Jug" - as Ammons was affectionately known - does just that on the opener "The Twister," generating the kind of tenor-storm that blew from the Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts. Hot on his heels are the Gillespie/Brown - style trumpet of Idrees Sulieman, the tart alto of Jackie McLean, and the bluesy cool-bop of Kenny Burrell's guitar. This session is propelled mightily by the oft - paired rhythm team of Art Taylor and the sublimely steady Paul Chambers. If you want to hear the bop side of Ammons, or dig Prestige label-era hard bop, JAMMIN' IN HI-FI is where it's at.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on April 12, 1957. Originally released on Prestige (7110).
The jam session was the staple of Prestige recordings in the Fifties and Gene Ammons, with his big sound and even bigger heart, was often at the center of these informal affairs which took the tension out of studio recording.
The success of any jam depends on the chemistry among the participants and the material on which they choose to improvise. The latter must be uncomplicated so as to let them relax, and interesting enough to stimulate. Jammin' in Hi-Fi filled the bill on both counts. Ammons and his cohorts proved very compatible and the repertoire suited them perfectly. Pianist Mal Waldron supplied two lines for blowing, "The Twister" and "Cattin'"; and two standards, old ("Pennies from Heaven") and new ("Four"), rounded out the program.
Within the jamming format there was structure. The Ammons duets with guitarist Kenny Burrell, at the beginning and end of "Pennies," frame the solos well; and "chase" choruses are not present on every number, making them all the more potent, especially on "Four."
All Music Guide