Booker Ervin

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Heavy! Review

by Scott Yanow

This 1998 CD reissue differs from the original LP in that the immediately distinctive tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin is featured on a previously unreleased four-minute dirge, "Ode to Charlie Parker." The set matches Ervin with a remarkable rhythm section (pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Alan Dawson), plus trumpeter Jimmy Owens and trombonist Garnett Brown (who sometimes takes co-honors). The music is quite moody, soulful, and explorative yet not forbidding. Although the originals are fine (particularly Brown's "Bächafillen"), the main highlights are an inventive reworking of "Bei Mir Bist du Schön" and Ervin's quartet feature on an emotional rendition of "You Don't Know What Love Is."

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