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Long Night by Frank Strozier Quartets & Sextet

It’s SUCH a crappy world sometimes, y’ know? "Optimist" types might have a problem w/ that statement, but dig: quality TV shows get cancelled (The Job, The Chronicle, Brimstone, The Tick - coincidentally my favorites) while those whitebread clowns on Friends get a million bucks per episode, Kenny G is a "famous sax player" while George Coleman has to settle for a cameo appearance in the movie Freejack (missed that one, didn’t you?) and the great alto sax guy Frank Strozier hasn’t made an album in about 25 years. This man from Memphis (b.1937) has a fiery, animated style that’s superficially similar to Jackie McLean (hot ‘n’ tart, but without the urbanity) and Cannonball Adderley (hard shiny tone, blues-drenched, mercurial) but he is, as the expression goes, his own man. Aside from being a leader, he played and recorded with Miles Davis, Woody Shaw and Don Ellis. In the early 1960s he recorded two albums for the Jazzland label, long since out-of-print: Long Night and March of the Siamese Children, and now both are on one dandy Milestone CD. The former consists of quartet and sextet sessions, the latter just a quartet - though both albums are fine, Long Night is the real prize. It features a slightly unusual three-sax front line - FS, G. Coleman and Sun Ra perennial Pat Patrick(!) - playing a somewhat reflective program that features well-thought, almost Ellingtonian arrangements on songs that haven’t been done-to-death. Strozier is Mr. Alto Excitement throughout: joyful, twisty and hearty, muy caliente hard bop infused with Southern tang. Seeing as FS is not exactly an over-recorded player, this disc indeed makes the world an ever-so-slightly better place. [PS- Bassist Bill Lee is the father of film director Spike Lee.]

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Frank Strozier Quartets & Sextet
  • CD Title: Long Night
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Reissue Original Release: 1962
  • Record Label: Milestone
  • Musicians: F. Strozier: alto sax, flute; George Coleman: tenor sax; Pat Patrick: baritone sax, flute; Bill Lee: bass; Walter Perkins, Al Dreares: drums; Chris Anderson, Harold Mabern: piano. Liner notes: Joe Goldberg.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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