Recording Date: Aug 11, 1954, Mar 10, 1955
Trumpeter Thad Jones made his debut as a leader for Charles Mingus' Debut label during 1954-55, music that has been reissued as a single CD in the OJC series and as part of a huge 12-CD Mingus Debut box set. The 12 performances (which include two alternate takes) really put the focus on Jones' accessible yet unpredictable style. Half of the music showcases Jones in a quartet with pianist John Dennis, bassist Mingus and drummer Max Roach. while the other six numbers are more in a Count Basie groove with Frank Wess on tenor and flute, pianist Hank Jones, Mingus and drummer Kenny Clarke. The originals tend to be tricky, and even such standards as "I'll Remember April," "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Get Out of Town" have their surprising moments.
All Music Guide
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Short of citing the personnel involved with Thad Jones, little else needs be said about the recordings in this album since the high quality of musicianship of said personnel fairly well speaks for itself.
The critics wrote in terms of highest praise of these recordings by Thad with two different groups. Of the Wess-Clarke-Hank Jones-Mingus ensemble:
Nat Hentoff wrote in Downbeat: "Thad's tone, technique, and his maturely inventive imagination are consistently exciting and sometimes break into startlingly forceful phrases. Excellent solo work by Hank Jones and competent solo and ensemble contributions by Wess."
"The most commanding trumpet talent to come along since the late Fats Navarro," said Barry Ulanov. "Thad is a trumpeter with a fat, fleshy, brassy, completely trumpetistic technique, not a translator of alto line; listen to his simple performance of Love and April and you'll hear what I mean. He's a thinking musician; his line over the ensemble in Intrusion and his development of Mingus' ideas in Chazzanova are both informed by a reflective continuity. Brother Hank Jones offers a sensitive assisting voice; Kenny swings all the way, and Mingus provides constantly stimulating listening, no matter how far he relegates his brilliant lines to the background. Thad has already reached a point where one must sit back and listen attentively to everything he says and applaud, on the whole, the way he says it."
Of the Dennis-Mingus-Roach group:
Wilder Hobson wrote in the Saturday Review "Thad Jones is surely one of the most fluently incisive of modern jazz trumpeters. We have recently had many horn men screaming or crooning, but this is playing in the direct trumpet line - the instrument used for its own brilliant built-in qualities. Jones uses the mute to fine effect, and the poised performance of Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town" is a lulu."
Bill Coss in Metronome Magazine wrote "This is, as all great jazz seems to be, an exercise in Gestalt wherein the over-all result is greater than the sum of all these individual talents. And, on top of that, there is an unmistakable air of the strange ambiance characteristic of the private session. Because of that, this is an album which you must listen to many times in order to savor its particular bouquet. One More is Thad's; a biting, swinging original which is one of the happiest combinations of modernity with wailing rhythm that I've heard. Started will probably be the most popular tune with its almost savage move into conventional rhythm, first Mingus, then Max, just before the piano joins the group, and Mingus' solo, a thing of great strength and beauty. The ending is especially lovely with Thad and Mingus joining hands and horns. More of the Same is a fine swinging conversation piece with Thad holding the floor and Max and John making incidental comments. Town is close to perfection. It has ballet-like grace in entrances, exits and background, complete anticipation, rapport and fulfillment between each horn, a fantastic solo by Mingus and an over-all tightness blazing with vigor."
These comments by today's leading jazz critics will give you an inkling of the listening pleasure in store for you inside this cover.