Joe Roland

Easy Living

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Joe Roland was a talented but now long-forgotten vibraphonist whose boppish style sometimes sounds similar to Milt Jackson. He recorded as a leader for Rainbow (two numbers in 1949), Savoy (in 1950 and 1954), and six selections for Sesco from 1953-1954, but was best-known for his period as a member of the George Shearing Quintet. This album (reissued through Evidence on CD in 1994) was the vibist's final set as a leader. Surprisingly, considering Evidence's general high quality, the packaging is subpar. The chatty liner notes give the wrong recording date, do not mention Roland's activities after this session, and do not bother to list the full personnel: pianist Freddie Redd, guitarist Dick Garcia, bassist Danny Martucci, and drummer Ron Jefferson. The music, however, is quite worthwhile, mainstream bop of the period. Roland alternates standards with a few originals, including "Stairway to the Steinway" and "Goodbye Bird" (for Charlie Parker, who had died five days earlier). A worthwhile reissue.

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