V.S.O.P. #125 CD Andex GULF COAST JAZZ: VOLUME 1
The group calling itself the American Jazz Quintet, and featuring Ellis Marsalis, Harold Battiste, Alvin Batiste, Ed Blackwell, and Richard Payne or Willam Swanson, was one of a few modern jazz groups based in New Orleans. While each had significant careers in music, they did not record often under this name, nor even together. In fact, apart from a 1956 recording, a 1962 session and a reunion recording in 1987 the recordings contained in this new CD may be the only other release of their unique and exciting music. These sessions were recorded in February, 1959 at Cosimo Recording Studio in New Orleans. The music on this CD comes from the first session of February 19, 1959. The second session will be the subject of an upcoming release entitled "GULF COAST JAZZ: WADE IN THE WATER".
At the time of the recording, the best known member of the group would have been Harold Battiste, who had worked on Sam Cooke's hit "You Send Me" in Los Angeles, a couple of years earlier. Ed Blackwell was to gain fame the following year with John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, but was relatively unknown in early 1959. Ellis Marsalis and Alvin Batiste had not yet recorded extensively. The session was carefully planned out. Two master takes were recorded for each selection. They were distinct in style, one more bebop oriented and the other more influenced by New Orleans rhythms and harmonies. Most of the compositions were by Alvin Batiste. Originally conceived as a history of jazz with musical chapters, this vision never was realized in publication. Material from the second session was released on a Famous Records LP by Bumps Blackwell many years later. However, the material from the first session is being released now for the first time. This is unique and exciting music, recorded and released in stereo. Admittedly, the recording session had some minor engineering hiccups at the start, but in general, the sound quality is excellent.
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