Bennie Green

Mosaic Select: Bennie Green

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Trombonist Bennie Green's Blue Note albums were almost completely overlooked until this Mosaic Select compilation appeared in 2003. The first session, originally issued as Back on the Scene, features Charlie Rouse joining Green in the front line. Green's up-tempo "Bennie Plays the Blues" is the best blowing vehicle, while he and Rouse both contribute lyrical solos in Melba Liston's "Melba's Mood." Pianist Gildo Mahones wrote three of the six tracks recorded for Walkin' & Talkin', with Eddy Williams taking Rouse's place. The overall session isn't up to Green's Blue Note debut, but his snappy blues "Walkin' and Talkin'" contains some of his hottest playing within this boxed set. Williams is also on hand for the ten selections first released in Japan as The 45 Sessions with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jerry Segal. The solos are consistently hot and the quintet never wraps things in a perfunctory manner as one would expect with recordings made for jukeboxes. All of the instrumentals rate high praise, especially the loping "On the Street Where You Live" and the leader's "Ain't Nothin' But the Blues." The addition of singer Babs Gonzales on the last three cuts mar some otherwise excellent performances. Tenor saxophonists Gene Ammons and Billy Root are on hand for the session which produced Soul Stirrin'. While the material on this date is uneven, Green's interpretation of "That's All" is very satisfying. Unfortunately, Gonzales appears for two more numbers. The last five songs come from a date led by tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec (eventually issued as Congo Lament), adding Stanley Turrentine, Milt Hinton, and Art Blakey to join Green and Clark. Green's exotic "Congo Lament" and Turrentine's upbeat "Cue's Pill" are impressive. Unlike the full-sized box set from Mosaic, this collection is in a small cubed package, but with many session photographs and the original liner notes for each date.

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