Since the 1950s, there have consistently been players who found in Hard Bop a comfortable place to return to even as the focus of the music ebbed and flowed. Perhaps this is because so many heroes of modern jazz created the music that defined the term – players like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and Lee Morgan. Or perhaps the infectious groove is fun to play and brings great pleasure to audiences. For whatever reason Hard Bop cannot really have a revival, because it has never gone away. In this hour of Jazz at 100 Today!, we will listen to recent examples of the lasting power of Hard Bop in the jazz world.
Influenced by Art Blakey
In 2015, Terell Stafford put his spin on the work of iconic Hard Bop trumpet player and composer Lee Morgan, and released the well-received disc Brotherlee Love. In paying homage, he teams up with tough tenor Tim Warfield who plays the Joe Henderson or Hank Mobley role to Stafford’s Lee Morgan.
Twenty-something Jack Kilby and the Front Line takes a Jazz Messenger approach to Hank Mobley’s Hipsippy Blues with a three-horn front line of John D’earth on trumpet, Elad Cohen on trombone and Charles Owens on tenor from their 2017 disc, Love is a Song Anyone Can Sing.
In their 2010 release Warriors, The Cookers, takes it up another notch with a four-horn front line of Eddie Henderson and David Weiss on trumpet, Craig Handy on alto, and one of my favorite tenor players, Billy Harper. George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart round out the all-star ensemble on piano, bass and drums. Pushing the Freddie Hubbard tune, The Core, to the limit, they bring to mind the original version on Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’s Free for All from 1964.
Mr. Kenyatta. Terell Stafford Quintet
(Terell Stafford-tp, Tim Warfield-sax, Bruce Barth-p, Peter Washington-b, Dana Hall-d). From Brotherlee Love. Capri Records. 2015.
Hipsippy Blues. Jack Kilby and the Front Line
(John D’earth-tp, Elad Cohen-tb, Charles Owens-ts, Allyn Johnson-p, Kris Monson-b, Jack Kilby-d). From Love is a Song Anyone Can Sing. Self-produced. 2017.
The Core. The Cookers
(Eddie Henderson-tp, David Weiss-tp, Craig Handy-as, Billy Harper-ts, George Cables-p, Cecil McBee-b, Billy Hart-d). From Warriors. Jazz Legacy Productions. 2010.
In Spanish pianist Chano Dominguez’s 2012 release Flamenco Sketches, we hear all the tunes from the original Miles Davis masterpiece Kind of Blue rendered with an actual flamenco sensibility. On the site Latin Jazz Network, Raul Da Gama writes, “And then there are the flamenco handclaps of Blas Córdoba and Tomasito and Zapateo dancing of Tomasito, which raises the temperature of all the songs on which his foot tapping is heard to something of a raging fever, especially on All Blues”.
Pianist Aaron Diehl, only thirty when he recorded his disc, Space Time Continuum, strips Walter Davis Jr.’s great line, Uranus, down to a trio presentation with David Wong on bass and Quincy Davis on drums. On AllAboutJazz, Mauricio Zerbo says, “Thanks to musicians like Aaron Diehl , there is hope for the future of jazz.”
All Blues. Chano Domínguez Quintet
(Chano Dominguez-p, Mario Rossy-b, Israel “Pirana” Suarez-per, Blas “Kejio” Cordoba-voc/claps, Tomas “Tomasito” Moreno-foot tapping). From Flamenco Sketches. Blue Note. 2012.
Uranus. Aaron Diehl Trio
(Aaron Diehl-p, David Wong-b, Quincy Davis-d). From Space Time Continuum. Mack Avenue. 2015.
Latin Hard Bop
Classic Hard Bop tunes have provided inspiration for several latin bands recently. When the great conguero, Poncho Sanchez decided to record a tribute to one of his musical heroes, John Coltrane, he produced a masterwork, Trane’s Delight, including an unhurried version of the rich composition Blue Train.
Bobby Sanabria’s 2011 big band release Multiverse, puts a Nuyorican spin on Wayne Shorter’s 1964 tune Speak No Evil, featuring Jeff Lederer on tenor.
On his 2018 disc Encontros – Orquestra Atlantica, Antonio Adolpho puts down a stirring version of Miles Davis’s 1958 classic Hard Bop anthem Milestones. On AllAboutJazz, Jack Bowers writes, “After forty years of gigging around the world with a who’s who of jazz instrumentalists and singers, the celebrated Brazilian pianist/composer Antonio Adolfo has realized his life-long dream of writing for and recording with a world-class big band—and what a band it is: the remarkable Orquestra Atlantica from Adolfo’s home country, formed in 2012 and molded since then into a superior ensemble fully capable of carrying out his every wish and desire.”
Blue Train. Poncho Sanchez Septet
(Ron Blake-tp, Francisco Torres-tpflh, Robert Hardt-as/ts/fl, Andy Langham-p, Rene Camacho-b, Joey DeLeon-tim/per, Poncho Sanchez-cga/voc/per). From Trane’s Delight. Concord Picante. 2019
Speak No Evil. Bobby Sanabria Big Band
(Kevin Bryan-tp, Shareef Clayton-tp, Jonathan Barnes-tp, Andrew Neesley-tp, Dave Miller-tb, Tim Sessions-tb, Joe Beaty-tb, Chris Washburne-btb/tu/dijeridoo, David DeJesus-as/ss, John Beaty-afl, Peter Brainin-ts/cl, Norbert Stachel-ts/cl/fl, Jeff Lederer-ts, Danny Rivera-bs/bcl, Enrique Haneine-p, Leo Traversa-b/voc, Bobby Sanabria-d/per/voc, Cristian Rivera-cga/voc, Obanilu Allende-per/voc, Matthew Gonzalez-per/voc, Hiram “El Pavo” Remon-voc). From Multiverse. Jazzheads. 2012.
Milestones. Antonio Adolfo & Orquestra Atlantica
(Jesse Sadoc-tp, Gesiel Nascimento-tp, Aldivas Ayres-tb, Marcelo Martins-ts/ss/fl, Danilo Sinna-as/fl, Levi Chaves-bs, Antonio Adolpho-p, Marcos Nimrichter-acc, Jorge Helder-b, Raphael Barata-d, Dadá Costa-per). From Encontros – Orquestra Atlantica. AAM Music. 2018.
Yes, the Hard Bop classics of the fifties and sixties continue to provide stimulating lines for jazz musicians to explore in standard quintet and sextet settings as well as piano trios, latin big bands and numerous other configurations. That fertile period provided more than its share of great tunes for musicians to mine.
Hovan, C. Andrew. (2015, July 21). AllAboutJazz. Terell Stafford: Brotherlee Love: Celebrating Lee Morgan. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/brotherlee-love-celebrating-lee-morgan-terell-stafford-capri-records-review-by-c-andrew-hovan.php
Reid, Geannine. (2018, December 23). AllAboutJazz. Jack Kilby: Love Is A Song Anyone Can Sing. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/love-is-a-song-anyone-can-sing-jack-kilby-crab-shack-music-review-by-geannine-reid.php
Niland, Tim. (2010, September 9). Music and More. The Cookers – Warriors (Jazz Legacy Productions, 2010). https://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/2010/09/cookers-warriors-jazz-legacy.html.
Da Gama, Raul. (2013, January 6). Latin Jazz Network. Chano Domínguez: Flamenco Sketches. https://latinjazznet.com/reviews/cds/chano-dominguez-flamenco-sketches/
Zerbo, Mauricio. (2015, November 12). AllAboutJazz. Aaron Diehl: Space Time Continuum. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/space-time-continuum-aaaron-diehl-mack-avenue-records-review-by-maurizio-zerbo.php
Da Gama, Raul. (2020, February 21). Latin Jazz Network. Poncho Sánchez: Trane’s Delight. https://latinjazznet.com/reviews/cds/featured-albums/poncho-sanchez-tranes-delight/
Bilawsky, Dan. (2012, August 9). AllAboutJazz. Bobby Sanabria Big Band: Multiverse. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/multiverse-bobby-sanabria-big-band-jazzheads-review-by-dan-bilawsky.php
Bowers, Jack. (2018, August 1). Antonio Adolfo: Encontros – Orquestra Atlantica. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/encontros-orquestra-atlantica-antonio-adolfo-aam-music-review-by-jack-bowers.php
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