Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Listening to Prestige Part 174: Earl Coleman

This is the second half of the Earl Coleman Returns session, with Art Farmer and Hank Jones returning along with Earl. Gigi Gryce is absent, and there are a new bass and drums.

The more I listen to Earl Coleman, the more I like him. I'm hearing a much more modern sound than I did before, and I expect that has to do with me more than Earl. The Mr. B. and Al Hibbler influences are still there, as is probably appropriate from a singer returning from the Forties, but I'm hearing a little Jon Hendricks as well, and maybe a little Joe Williams, Mostly, I'm hearing a distinctive singer.

Gigi Gryce hasn't left the building completely. "Social Call," probably the gem of the session, is a Gryce composition. And there's perhaps a reason for the Hendricks echo. He wrote the lyrics. "Social Call" has become a favorite of jazz instrumentalists and singers alike.

This version of "Social Call" also has beautiful solos by  Art Farmer and Hank Jones, and that, I would say, tells you something about Coleman's musicianship.

Wendell Marshall was a veteran of the Ellington band, but I hadn't known his other Ellington connection -- he was the second member of his family to play bass for the Duke. His cousin was Jimmy Blanton. He had steady work as a Broadway pit musician, and was also one of the most sought-after session bassists.

Wilbur Hogan, also known as Wilbert Hogan and G. T. Hogan. like Marshall, could play both bop and R&B, and did a lot of work in the 50s and 60s, until health issues slowed him down..

Nothing from this album on YouTube, but I found "Social Call" here. It is very much deserving of a listen. This is a singer who should not be forgotten.


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