September 15, 2008
Jazz, Cool, Progressive Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz

Album Review

Jimmy Giuffre may not have gotten his due with American audiences outside very specific kinds of jazz circles, but he was loved and respected by other musicians and the audiences of Europe and Asia. His reputation among those groups of listeners and players is well deserved for the radical, if quiet and unassuming path he walked throughout his seven-decade career. These sides, recorded between 1956 and 1959 with guitarist Jim Hall, his most symbiotic collaborator and foil, are at the heart of his reputation as a pioneer -- even more so than his killer early-'60s sides (à la Free Fall) with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow. This whopping four-disc, 74-rack set on Gambit collects all the trio sides that Hall and Giuffre shared during those years for Atlantic and Capitol. Their collaborators were a stellar lot as well, whether it was Bob Brookmeyer, Ralph Pena, Ray Brown, Red Mitchell, Jim Atlas or Wilfred Middlebrooks on bass, trombone, or trumpet, and piano in some instances (Brookmeyer). Space, harmony, and an inside-out approach to melody were the focuses of these groups at all times. In addition to the studio trio sides there are seven live selections which have never been issued on CD, including a stellar and now legendary performance of "Song of the Wind." The remastering job is wonderful, spacious, warm, and very present. There are also two unaccompanied performances by Giuffre, where he electronically overdubs four sax lines on each tune as a way of looking forward to his own career in the '70s. This is a stellar collection for the hardcore Giuffre fan: to have all this material in one place, beautifully assembled and annotated, is a real treat.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Gotta Dance
  2. The Train and the River
  3. The Song Is You
  4. That's the Way It Is
  5. Two Kinds of Blues
  6. Crazy She Calls Me
  7. My All
  8. Crawdad Suite
  9. Voodoo
  10. Trav'lin Light
  11. The Lonely Time
  12. Pickin' 'Em Up and Layin' 'Em Down
  13. The Green Country
  14. The Swamp People
  15. Show Me the Way to Go Home
  16. Forty-Second Street
  17. California, Here I Come
  18. The Train and the River
  19. Pickin' 'Em Up and Layin' 'Em Down
  20. The Green Country
  21. The Lonely Time
  22. Trav'lin' Light
  23. Forty-Second Street
  24. Show Me the Way to Go Home
  25. The Swamp People
  26. California, Here I Come
  27. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues
  28. Space
  29. Cabin in the Sky
  30. Memphis in June
  31. Four Brothers
  32. Old Folks
  33. Blues in the Barn
  34. Topsy
  35. Blue Monk
  36. Western Suite: Pony Express/Apaches/Saturday Night Dance
  37. Happy Man
  38. Princess
  39. Song of the Wind
  40. Lovely Willow
  41. The Little Melody
  42. The Story
  43. Time Machine
  44. Pony Express [Live][*]
  45. Ray's Time
  46. The Easy Way
  47. Time Enough
  48. Come Rain or Come Shine
  49. Montage
  50. Mack the Knife
  51. A Dream
  52. Off Center
  53. Careful
  54. Come Rain or Come Shine [*]
  55. Ode to Switzerland [*]
  56. The Train and the River [*]
  57. Gotta Dance [*]
  58. Four Brothers [*]
  59. Two Kinds of Blues [*]
  60. Song of the Wind [*]
  61. Down Home [*]