Rickey Kelly - Limited Stops Only
Rickey Kelly - Limited Stops Only
Rickey Kelly - Limited Stops Only
Rickey Kelly - Limited Stops Only

Rickey Kelly - Limited Stops Only

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Rickey Kelly – vibraphone

David E. Tillman – piano

Sherman Ferguson – drums

James Leary III - bass

Dadisi Komolafe – flute


1 LP, standard sleeve

Limited edition

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : unspecified

Label : Pure Pleasure Records

Original Label : Nimbus West

Recorded in Los Angeles on October 1983

Engineered & mixed by Dennis Moody, Scott Levitin

Produced by Tom Albach

Remastered by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London

Originally released in 1983

Reissued in December 2021

Tracks :

Side A:

  1. Distant Vibes
  2. Flying Colors
  3. Yesterdays       

Side B

  1. Same Shame
  2. Dolphin Dance
  3. Lush Life


Reviews :

“San Francisco vibraphonist Rickey Kelly has managed to endure in the challenging world of jazz. Like many before him, he needed a day job to financially support himself and his family. After jamming with the legendary Bobby Hutcherson, Kelly moved to Los Angeles to study and refine his craft. He founded the avant-garde Roots Of Jazz group and moved to Amsterdam. When, he returned, his first solo recording My Kind Of Music was released. Additionally, he became an in-demand session and touring player for Sun Ra, Kenny Burrell, The Jazz Crusaders, Billy Higgins, Hubert Laws, Ahmad Jamal and Marvin Gaye. In 1983, Limited Stops Only became his most accessible recording. Released on Nimbus Records, it featured a stellar quintet with David E. Tillman (piano), Sherman Ferguson (drums), James Leary III (bass) and Dadisi Komolafe (flute).

Pure Pleasure Records has released a 180-gram vinyl limited edition of Limited Stops Only. With a collection of original compositions and covers from legendary songwriters, these six tracks  showcase the unique talents of Kelly. It is a celebration of jazz ensemble with a hard bop edge. Side One opens with an original composition, “Distant Vibes”. This explosive jam begins with a unison vamp (slightly modulated) infused with Latin motif. Kelly takes the first solo and it is incendiary, anchored by the rhythm section. Komolafe’s flute is equally tempo-based and soars with crispness, propelled by a galloping double bass.Tillman sustains the relentless instrumental statement with his piano solo. The first track sets the tone for the entire album. Next up is a cover of tenor saxophonist Rickey Ford’s medium swing “Flying Colors”. Again the arrangement features Latin breaks and punctuated tempos. Kelly leads off again with assured, fluid runs as Tillman trades off before his dynamic solo with active, graceful right-hand notation. Kelly transforms Jerome Kern’s popular standard “Yesterdays” into straight ahead jazz. Many jazz artists (Charles Mingus, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Billie Holiday and Sonny Rollins to name a few) have covered this tune with a jazzier resonance. Komolafe  offers a jaunty flute and hands it over to Leary for a spirited double bass solo against hushed piano chords. Kelly continues the high-voltage execution with his remarkable play. A compelling repeat coda (with rumbling drum) is magnetic.

Side Two is elevated by iconic jazz songwriting. It seems natural that Kelly would cover Bobby Hutcherson. “Same Shame” exudes  a slower, atmospheric resonance. There are hypnotic grooves and the vibraphonists captures the melodic nuances in an ethereal take. There is harmonic counterpoint and sonic details like echo on the vibes and flute vibrato are captivating. A certain highlight is the 8:15 version of Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance”. Returning to vibes/flute lead, the accelerated tempo provides freer instrumentation and swirling accents. Kelly offers two dazzling solos, and Tillman’s delicate phrasing complements the band leader. There are syncopated accents and a slow-fade ending. The finale (Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life”) is a definite change-of-pace. Kelly brings his discernible instrumental skills to balladry, often in duet with Leary on bowed and traditional bass. Ferguson adds some articulate brush work to frame this trio interpretation. It is a nice contrast and fitting conclusion.

Pure Pleasure Records has done its customary superior job in re-mastering Limited Stops Only to 180-gram vinyl. The mix is evenly balanced with good stereo separation. The tonality and studio effects of the vibraphone  are rendered with clarity and depth. This pressing had no hisses or pops.” Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, July 2021


"I first heard Rickey on the local Jazz station and that haunting sound on vibes was just too much to resist. He was working at Hughes Aircraft and didn't have time for gigging in the evening. He had to take care of his family which numbered about six children. I began booking his band soon after meeting him. An artist this blessed should not be working a day job I thought. Rickey soon quit his job at Hughes aircraft and began performing full time. Rickey stayed in his apartment for long periods of time just practicing. He often mentioned to me that he needed to stay in isolation to keep his music pure. During Rickey's stay in L.A. he had worked with all the great jazz and R&B bands. Musicians like altoist Bobby Watson, the legendary drummer Billy Higgins, The Jazz Crusaders, pianist Ahmad Jamal, and one of the most popular artists of his generation Marvin Gaye, often called on Rickey to perform with their bands.

"As great as these artists were, the addition of Rickey Kelly on vibes seemed to make their music better. Because of his isolation Rickey's music has developed a uniqueness and purity of sound that transcends styles. One reviewer described it as a 'childlike quality, a profound innocence.' Relax and listen closely. This is music with a purpose." Jazz producer, Dennis Sullivan.


Ratings :

Discogs : 4.07 / 5 ; Audiophile Audition : 4.5 / 5

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