James Clay

I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart

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James Clay, a thick-toned tenor saxophonist who knew Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry in the 1950s, recorded a bit near the end of the decade, spent ten years touring with Ray Charles, and then in the late '60s moved back to his native Texas. He was not heard from for quite some time, until he worked a bit with Don Cherry in 1988. In 1989 he led his first record date in 29 years and it is excellent, a fine straight-ahead quartet outing with pianist Cedar Walton, bassist David Williams, and drummer Billy Higgins. Although not flawless (there are occasional reed squeaks and a few brief wandering moments), this is one of James Clay's finest recordings. He is well featured on ten jazz standards including "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Raincheck," "I Mean You," and "Trane's Blues." Recommended.

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