Claude Hopkins / Buddy Tate

Buddy and Claude

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Buddy and Claude combines two 1960 sessions on a single 74-minute CD. The first is Yes Indeed!, a Claude Hopkins date that features Buddy Tate prominently and also employs trumpeter Emmett Berry, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Osie Johnson. The other is Tate's Tate-A-Tate, which doesn't employ pianist Hopkins at all, but boasts Clark Terry on trumpet and fl├╝gelhorn, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Larry Gales on bass, and Art Taylor on drums. When these swing-to-bop sessions were recorded, Tate was in his late 40s, and his breathy tenor playing continued to reflect his years in the Count Basie Orchestra. Indeed, Basie's influence is prominent on both sessions, and it comes through whether Tate is swinging passionately on Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing" and Billy Strayhorn's "Take the A Train," blowing the blues on "Empty Bed Blues," or favoring smoky, sentimental ballad playing on "What Is This Thing Called Love," "All Too Soon," and "Willow Weep for Me." It's interesting to note that Hopkins and Flanagan interact with Tate equally well -- even though they were two very different pianists. Hopkins started out as a stride pianist, whereas Flanagan (who was 27 years younger) became well known in the 1950s and was primarily a hard bopper. Both pianists enjoy a strong rapport with Tate, and both of them do their part to make Buddy and Claude the rewarding reissue that it is.

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