eMusic Review 0
Memphis during the late ’40s to early ’50s was an incredible incubator for a small group of young jazz musicians. Saxophonists George Coleman and Frank Strozier, pianist Phineas Newborn Junior, and trumpeters Booker Little and Louis Smith all went to the same high school. Each had both great technical ability and reading skills, and each followed and understood the path from Bird onward. Most significantly, each had an ingrained sense of the southern blues that marked them as Memphians. This quality separated them from most of their contemporaries.
Although Young Men from Memphis – Down Home Reunion is listed as being under the leadership of Booker Little, it is really a joint venture. If anything, it’s alto saxophonist Strozier who emerges as the session’s star. Historically neglected, Strozier was the equal Cannonball Adderley (with whom he shares some churchy characteristics), Art Pepper, Jackie McLean and Phil Woods. He had the bad luck to have played in one of the only Miles Davis groups to have not recorded, and wound up in Don Ellis’s big band on the West Coast, which probably contributed to his anonymity.
Young Men from Memphis works from a simple jazz formula: There are four… read more »