Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Booker Ervin - Structurally Sound (1966)

The double meaning of the word "sound" in this title references both the phenomenon of sound and, particularly, Booker Ervin's durability. When Ervin convened this quintet in December 1966, he'd had a string of critically acclaimed (and extraordinarily creative) albums on Prestige (case in point: The Space Book). But real success, even by jazz standards, didn't propel Ervin to the heights where he belonged. His tenor saxophone, deeply entwined with the Texas tradition, had breadth that hit with the force of Coltrane and a tonal control that allowed him to aerate his playing beautifully. Here he does just this on both quick-paced tunes, such as trumpeter Charles Tolliver's "Franess," and on the band's evocative take on Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments." A young John Hicks lays down the piano in colorfully bright hues, and Tolliver and Ervin are off. They play riveting hard bop that should be part of any jazz collection. After all, Ervin was one of Mingus's faves, and we know what discerning tastes Charles had.


1 comment:

Bruce the Moose said...

Thank you for your many various efforts. Alas, the only times I usually end up commenting is things like...

...the "Take the A Train" track is broken.