Herb Ellis

In the Pocket: After You've Gone/Hot Tracks

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This two-CD set compiles two of the earliest recordings made by Herb Ellis and Ray Brown for Concord in the mid-'70s. The first disc, originally issued as After You've Gone, featuring keyboardist George Duke, tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson, trumpeter Sweets Edison, and drummer Jake Hanna, was recorded at the 1974 Concord Jazz Festival. Duke is the wild card on this performance, because during this time frame he was typically recording and touring with rocker Frank Zappa or leading his own heavily funk recording dates; though he switches back and forth between electric and acoustic piano, he fits in rather well. Edison's poignant muted solo in "Mood Indigo," Brown's blistering blues "Fatty McSlatty," and a raucous treatment of the famous "Meet the Flintstones" television theme are all memorable, but the intricate duet by Ellis and Brown of "Detour Ahead" seems to hush the crowd with its brilliance. Disc two was first released as Hot Tracks and dates from a 1975 studio session. Mike Melvoin takes over on keyboards; otherwise, the personnel is identical. The music relies more on original compositions by the participants, with the music being enjoyable but not quite as strong as the first CD in this set. The best tracks include the understated treatment of the timeless standard "But Beautiful" and a sassy take of Johnny Hodges' "Squatty Roo."

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