Sonny Red – Red, Blue & Green {Milestone}

Sonny Red – Red, Blue & Green {Milestone}

Hard Bop, Alto Saxophone

CD, EAC rip, AccurateRip, FLAC tracks, Full Artwork

495 MB.

AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

Sonny Stitt and Sonny Criss weren’t the only Sonnys who had a Charlie Parker-influenced tone on the alto sax. There was also Sonny Red, whose sound is best described as a combination of Bird and Jackie McLean. But unlike Parker and McLean, Red was a follower instead of a leader.

The Detroit native wasn’t as daring or imaginative as McLean became in the late 1950s; nor was he as forceful or aggressive. And unlike Stitt — who was also a follower instead of a leader — he never became a huge name in the jazz world. Nonetheless, Red was a likable, pleasing soloist who made some worthwhile recordings for Blue Note and Jazzland.

Released in late 2000, this CD draws on two albums that Orrin Keepnews produced for Jazzland in 1961: The Mode and Images. Some of the material is straight bebop (including “Dodge City,” the Bird-like “Blues for Donna,” and an interpretation of “Moon River,” which movie buffs will forever associate with Audrey Hepburn’s performance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and some of it is modal post-bop.

At times, Red’s modal compositions sound like variations of well known standards — “Images” brings to mind “Speak Low,” while “The Mode” is obviously based on “Out of This World.” The title Red, Blue & Green refers to the fact that two of Red’s sidemen on this CD are trumpeter Blue Mitchell and guitarist Grant Green, both of whom deliver some inspired solos.

Unlike those heavyweights, Red didn’t fully live up to his potential. But he had his moments, and this album is an enjoyable disc that should please fans of hard-swinging acoustic jazz.

01. Moon River (6:17)
02. I Like the Likes of You (4:24)
03. Super-20 (5:39)
04. Bye, Bye Blues (4:36)
05. The Mode (8:55)
06. Never, Never Land (6:35)
07. Ko-Kee (4:19)
08. Images (6:34)
09. Blues for Donna (4:51)
10. Dodge City (5:22)
11. Blue Sonny (8:33)
12. The Rhythm Thing (5:15)
13. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (5:46)

Sonny Red – alto saxophone

on tracks #1, #3, #5;
Grant Green – guitar
Barry Harris – piano
George Tucker – bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums

on tracks #2, #4, #6, #7;
Cedar Walton – piano
George Tucker – bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums

on tracks #8-13;
Blue Mitchell – trumpet (#8-10 only)
Grant Green – guitar (#11-12 only)
Barry Harris – piano
George Tucker – bass
Lex Humpries, Jimmy Cobb (#11-13 only) – drums

Original recordings produced by Orrin Keepnews
Recorded May 29, 1961 (#2, #4, #6, #7); June 25, 1961 (#8-10); and December 14, 1961 (#1, #3, #5, #11-13)

Recorded by Ray Fowler at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City
Remastering, 2000 – Kirk Felton (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley)
Art Direction: Jamie Putnam
Design: Gilles Margerin
Liner notes by Ira Gitler

Milestone Records, Tenth and Parker, Berkeley, CA 94710
2000, Fantasy, Inc.

—–Test the Quality: Track 06. Never, Never Land

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