George Coleman At Yoshi's (2LP)

George Coleman At Yoshi's (2LP)

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George Coleman - tenor saxophone [click here to see more vinyl featuring George Coleman]

Harold Mabern - piano

Ray Drummond - bass

Alvin Queen – drums

Written by George Coleman (B1-2, C2), Irving Berlin (A1), Ervin Drake (A2), Dan Fisher (A2), Irene Higginbotham (A2), Freddie Hubbard (C1), Mal Waldron (D1)


2 LPs, standard sleeve

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : unspecified

Label : Pure Pleasure

Original Label : Theresa Records

Recorded in August 1989 at Yoshi's in Oakland, California

Engineered by John Golden and Mark Needham

Mixed by Mark Needham

Produced by George Coleman

Remastered by Cicely Baston at Air Mastering, London

Originally released in 1989

Reissued in November 2012


Side A:

  1. They Say It's Wonderful
  2. Good Morning Heartache

Side B:

  1. Laig Gobblin' Blues
  2. Io

Side C:

  1. Up Jumped Spring
  2. Father

Side D:

  1. Soul Eyes



Pure Pleasure Records has released a 180-gram double vinyl of George Coleman At Yoshi’s. This live album (originally released on Theresa records in 1989) includes fellow Memphis player Harold Mabern (piano), Ray Drummond (bass) and Alvin Queen (drums). This is a great night of hard bop and complex jazz. Side A opens with the pop standard, “They Say It’s Wonderful”. Coleman’s vibrato tenor lead is evocative and the rhythm trio complements him perfectly. He distills the lilting melodic vibe and brings a certain ferocity to the jam. Mabern’s adroit tempo and phrasing are equally lyrical. Ray Drummond’s double bass solo is silky and the chemistry of this quartet is stellar, especially on the Latin-infused uptick at 9:40. Billie Holiday’s classic torch song, “Good Morning Heartache” kicks off with the late night melancholy, as Coleman’s deft, sultry touch captures the heartache of Lady Day. There is a strong hard bop swing uptick that amps up the overall intensity. The saxophone tonality is stretched out (especially on lower register) by Coleman’s intense style of play. Again, the delicate touch of Mabern is excellent.

Digging into a souped up 12-bar blues (with variations), “Laid Gobblin’ Blues” (Side B) has the saxophonist in freely expressive lines against the basic chord-structure of the rhythm section. Mabern shines on a rollicking solo with forceful chords. Queen’s propulsive drumming anchors the arrangement. “lo” begins with a grandiose, almost menacing vamp. It eventually transitions to fluid Latin hard bop with some impressive syncopation. Mabern contributes another highly articulate solo with notable jazz phrasing and sweeping improvisation. Queen’s drum solo is gripping. In a change of pace on Side C, “Up Jumped Spring” (previously recorded by Art Blakey and Freddie Hubbard) features Mabern in a sinewy introduction. The quartet transitions to a 3/4 time signature, as Coleman’s saxophone  swings with festive resonance. But he still invokes his jazz gravitas in the mix. Mabern’s  piano is uninhibited and moves with blinding speed and intonation. In relaxed swing mode, “Father” is a straight-ahead jazz treatment with all four band members showcasing their considerable talents. Many people have referenced Coleman’s technique and style to John Coltrane. It seems natural that the final track on the album is “Soul Eyes”. Coltrane recorded this in 1957. The quartet embraces the medium swing and Coleman wails on tenor. His tonal elasticity and emphatic play are compelling. Mabern’s extended solo is magnetic strong chording and right hand notation, with unique modulation.

Pure Pleasure Records has done an outstanding job in re-mastering George Coleman At Yoshi’s to 180-gram vinyl. The stereo separation is excellent. with pristine sonic details of all four instruments. This is a fine jazz album.” Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition

“When any recording made by George Coleman is issued, it's an instant event. Though Coleman has always been busy performing, writing, and especially teaching, scant few LPs or CDs have come listeners' way. It is especially thrilling to hear him live in concert performance at the initial site of the then newly minted Yoshi's in Oakland, CA, as his extended techniques and heightened sense of tonal ideas come fully to the fore. Coleman and pianist Harold Mabern, both originally from the fertile jazz scene in Memphis, make the perfect tandem, ably supported by super pros in expatriate drummer Alvin Queen and veteran New York bassist Ray Drummond, both of whom Coleman played with when he was in Europe. There are many solemn, laid-back, and reflective moments from Coleman, as both of the opening tracks, "They Say It's Wonderful" and "Good Morning Heartache," warm slowly and simmer at their easily swinging maximum, with the tenor man progressively squeezing out more and more notes in refined fashion. Never far from the soul of his homeland, "Laig Gobblin' Blues" is a refreshing modal original by the leader, a 5/4 beat in a 12-bar idea, with 7/4 tossed in cleverly. The dignity and class of Coleman cannot be overemphasized, as he further displays on his neat and clean composition "Father." A lovely and loping "Soul Eyes" is a perfect closer over its nearly 17 minutes, giving pause to the thought that it was in fact Coleman who influenced John Coltrane. The quick, constantly forward-moving Freddie Hubbard standard waltz "Up Jumped Spring" further shows a relationship between the tenor titans, with the band quoting Trane's "Olé." The talent of Mabern is formidable, tasteful, and exciting, as showcased during his rumbling chords during "Io," a killer modal track written by Paul Arslanian, as Coleman inserts a memorable singsong line and Queen injects some calypso. This one is as definitive a track as Coleman has in his repertoire. Frankly, the whole CD from top to bottom has Coleman and his band inspired to the hilt and playing their best, and At Yoshi's is a highly recommended effort that deserves a space on each and every jazz lover's shelf.” AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos

Ratings :

AllMusic : 4.5 / 5 , Discogs : 4.36 / 5

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