It has been over a decade now since the death of tenor saxophonist Bill Barron and very little has changed in terms of any recognition coming to this talented musician who is most commonly known as the older brother of pianist Kenny Barron. Aside from the few excellent Muse dates he would lead prior to his passing, Barron’s Savoy sides serve as the main testament to his legacy.
MODERN WINDOWS SUITE is the first effort to put some of Barron’s Savoy work on compact disc, and while the choice to rediscover Barron was an astute one, I can’t help but be troubled by the fact that this disc includes only one and half full albums, the remainder of the MODERN WINDOWS LP left in the can. Still, we do get the complete THE TENOR STYLINGS OF BILL BARRON which features trumpeter Ted Curson, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Frankie Dunlop and brother Kenny on piano.
A very hard-edged player clearly influenced by Coltrane, Barron could have been better known had he not left the country for a spell and then upon his return to the States emerged himself in jazz pedagogy as a college professor. Still, our present day jazz reissue windfall gives us a new opportunity to rediscover those artists who have been ignored in the past