Trumpeter Clifford Brown was killed in a car wreck (with pianist Richie Powell and his wife) before he reached his 26th birthday in 1956, but he left a phenomenal recorded legacy in his brief life. Yet aside from his compositions "Joy Spring" and "Daahoud," little else that he wrote while he co-led his band with Max Roach has been explored in depth by jazz musicians. Pianist Bill Carrothers corrects that oversight by exploring several of his pieces (along with four by Powell) in this trio session with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Bill Stewart. "Joy Spring" has long been a favorite of jazz musicians for its upbeat bop theme, though Carrothers surprisingly transforms it into a haunting, slow meditative ballad that proves just as effective. His approach to "Daahoud" is more conventional though no less impressive. It is odd that the playful "Tiny Capers" hasn't received more attention; the trio digs full force into this intricate bop vehicle. Richie Powell's compositions have also been overlooked, though like Brown, he would have likely grown in stature had he lived longer. His demanding "Jacqui" and furious "Powell's Prances" provide suitable fuel for the trio. Two pieces recorded by the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet also merit praise. Carrothers' ominous setting of Duke Jordan's "Jordu" proves humorous, while Victor Young's "Delilah" is enchanting. The session wraps with a particularly brooding take of "I Remember Clifford," Benny Golson's memorial tribute to the trumpeter written not long after the crash that took his life.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden