Elvin Jones - Midnight Walk
Elvin Jones (drums)
Thad Jones (trumpet) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Thad Jones]
Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Hank Mobley]
Dollar Brand (piano), Donald Moore (bass), Steve James (electric piano), George Abend (percussion)
Written by Arif Madin (A1), Stephen James (A2), Dollar Brand (A3), Hank Mobley (A4), Thad Jones (B1, B2), Elvin Jones (B3)
1 LP, standard sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Atlantic
Recording: March 1966 in New York City by Tom Dowd
Production: Arif Mardin
Originally released in 1967
Reissued in 2019
Side A :
- Midnight Walk
- Lycra Too?
- H.M. On F.M.
Side B :
- Cross Purpose
- All Of Us
- The Juggler
« Speakers Corner has released a 180-gram vinyl re-mastering of Jones’ seminal 1966 Atlantic recording, Midnight Walk. With an all-star ensemble (Thad Jones/trumpet; Hank Mobley/tenor; Dollar Brand/piano; Donald Moore/double bass; Steve James/electric piano and George Abend/percussion), the drummer leads a hard-driving post-bop celebration. Side One opens with a stirring title cut. The track kicks off with a group vamp, then Brother Thad takes the first solo. His crystalline, no-vibrato trumpet sparkles with blues intonation. Mobley adds some muscle on tenor before handing it off to Brand. His unique style appears to balance symmetrical lines with quasi-atonal shading. Drummer Jones executes nimble drum fills before the ensemble reengages on the verse. Adding electric piano (Stephen James) brings a new element to the arrangement on “Lycra Too?”. Composer James’ intro is like pre-1970’s funk. As trumpet and sax deliver a large ensemble resonance. Jones keeps everything connected with his propulsive integrity. Thad Jones and Mobley respectively deliver saucy and textured solos. James’ groove-infused licks complement the traditional instrumental spotlight. Pianist Dollar Brand shines on his own song, “Tintiyana”. His genre-bending piano “overture” has shades of modal structure, with gospel and even classical overtones. Trumpet and sax runs are framed by a Sunday-rousing piano and ensuing solo. Jones’ inimitable polyrhythmic drumming sustains the jam with subtle tension. On Hank Mobley’s lone writing contribution, “H.M. On F.M.”, a freewheeling almost bebop feel accelerates when the trumpeter swings with passion. Mobley slides in without any break in contextual momentum. Brand’s right hand notation is stellar and bassist Donald Moore percolates as a well-timed drum solo/break puts a definitive up tempo focus on the dynamics.
Side Two is notable for a pair of Thad Jones compositions. On “Cross Purpose” a bop swing framework unleashes the initial trumpet solo. Jones embraces a piercing elegance in an extended run. He manages to push the instrumental tonality without any shrillness. Mobley follows suit as the piano, bass and drum encompass old school jazz manipulation. Elvin never lets up, joining the group in lockstep tempo or guiding them into new rhythmic territory. In a brilliant sequence, the drummer exchanges with his brother and Mobley with his uncanny deft timing. When everyone circles back, it is a glorious, harmonic glow. “All Of Us” is very different. There is a breezy flow as trumpet and sax gently wrap around the melody, creating a finger-snapping cool vibe. Brand’s bluesy riffs are a perfect complement. Thad is exquisite on his trumpet, masterful and exacting. Mobley is equally dexterous. They offer a certain elegance to the overall musicality. Elvin’s songwriting contribution (“The Juggler”) is like his drumming, tempo challenging and edgy. Thad distills a slow-burning intensity with soaring tonality. It is amazing how he and Mobley are able to exhibit commonality in horn and reed sounds. Brand’a unconventional piano technique (both right, hand and chords) is emotive with a bluesy swagger.
Speakers Corner Records has done a stellar job in re-mastering Midnight Walk to 180-gram vinyl. The overall mix is crisp and balanced. Thad Jones’ trumpet and Hank Mobley’s tenor saxophone are vibrant, front and center. The stereo separation is flawless. The glossy album reproduction and protective inner sleeve are top-notch. » Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, Nov 25, 2019
It was certainly a motley crew that came together with Elvin Jones, the legendary ex-Coltrane drummer, in the New York Atlantic Studio in March 1966. His trumpeter brother Thad was first class, but Dollar Brand on the piano, Don Moore on the bass and sax player Hank Mobley, who always came up as second choice behind John Coltrane? However that might be, the impulsive, forceful beat of the grand, versatile Elvin drove his musicians onwards to unknown heights. When he invited a musician into the studio, it was power more than anything that was demanded of his soloists.
The numbers stemmed mostly from the participating musicians, with two additions by contemporary composers in the genre.
Two titles in particular will ignite your enthusiasm, for the Thad Jones pieces are so good that they really should belong among the repertoire of the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis big band, years later. Thad is often highly praised for his skill as a composer and arranger, and this is the reason that he is acknowledged and honoured to this day for his part in the history of jazz. Later known as Abdullah Ibrahim, Dollar Brand’s composition is a splendidly catchy melody; quite rightly Dollar Brand often performed this number at later performances.
It was always a pleasure to hold an Atlantic LP in one’s hands, for they had a sturdy cover and professional, informative liner notes. The few rare original recordings, which come on the market, are a luxury one can hardly afford! That’s why you should purchase this re-release without fail when you see it. Who knows when it will be available again?
AllMusic : 4 / 5, Discogs : 4,05 / 5, Rate Your Music :