For a time in the early 1990s, some of the CDs from the Japanese DIW label were made available domestically through Columbia. This trio date by pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jack DeJohnette has Mabern originals dedicated to Sonny Stitt and Wayne Shorter, plus some offbeat standards and a pair of rarely performed John Coltrane tunes ("Straight Street" and "Crescent"). The interplay between the musicians is impressive and Mabern is heard throughout in excellent form. He closes the set with a piano solo that he titled "Apab and Others," after Art Tatum, Phineas Newborn, Ahmad Jamal and Bud Powell. This will be a difficult CD to find.
Harold Mabern, a superior hard bop pianist, had a rare opportunity to perform a set of unaccompanied solos for this Sackville release. Recorded live from Toronto's Café des Copains and originally broadcast on the radio, Mabern performs six jazz standards (including "Joy Spring," "Pent Up House" and Wayne Shorter's "House of Jade") and a pair of bluesy originals. Although Mabern sounds most comfortable in a trio, he has always been enough of a two-handed player to play solo; he readily acknowledges the influences of Phineas Newborn and Ahmad Jamal.
After satisfying all of their classical music kinks with keyboard player Jon Lord's overblown Concerto for Group and Orchestra, Deep Purple's soon to be classic Mark II version made its proper debut and established the sonic blueprint that would immortalize this lineup of the band on 1970's awesome In Rock…
One of several excellent hard bop pianists from the Memphis area, Harold Mabern has led relatively few dates through the years, but he has always been respected by his contemporaries. He played in Chicago with MJT + 3 in the late '50s and then moved to New York in 1959. Mabern worked with Jimmy Forrest, Lionel Hampton, the Jazztet (1961-1962), Donald Byrd, Miles Davis (1963), J.J. Johnson (1963-1965), Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, Joe Williams (1966-1967), and Sarah Vaughan. During 1968-1970, Mabern led four albums for Prestige, he was with Lee Morgan in the early '70s, and in 1972, he recorded with Stanley Cowell's Piano Choir.
This CD reissue combines together two sessions ('Workin' & Wailin' and Greasy Kid Stuff) led by pianist Harold Mabern during 1969-70. The first date utilizes trumpeter Virgil Jones, tenor-saxophonist George Coleman, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Idris Muhammad on four challenging Mabern originals and Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love." However it is the second session that is most memorable for, in addition to Mabern, Williams and Muhammad, it features trumpeter Lee Morgan and flutist Hubert Laws; the latter mostly plays some surprisingly passionate tenor that makes one wish he had performed on tenor more through the years. Excellent advanced hard bop music that hints at fusion.
On A Few Miles from Memphis, recorded by pianist Harold Mabern in 1968, he's joined by tenors George Coleman and Buddy Terry, bassist Bill Lee, and drummer Walter Perkins for a bluesy, rhythm-filled set featuring familiar fare like "A Treat for Bea" and fun originals like "Walkin' Back." There's also the odd inclusion of "There's a Kind of Hush," a pop song that comes out sounding like an old standard here.