Tyrone Washington

Natural Essence

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This release is a bit of a mystery, because this sole date as a leader by Tyrone Washington seems to mark his final appearance on record (following two sessions as a sideman, including Stanley Cowell's Brillant Circles and Horace Silver's The Jody Grind); his name doesn't show up in jazz encyclopedias, so one wonders if he died prematurely or quit music for some other reason. Only 23 at the time of the recording, the tenor saxophonist composed six originals and is joined by other promising young lions who went onto great careers (pianist Kenny Barron and trumpeter Woody Shaw), along with alto saxophonist James Spaulding, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Joe Chambers. Washington shows the influence of John Coltrane during his rapid-fire runs, while his playing during his more straight-ahead works proves to be more memorable. The opener, "Natural Essence," is an interesting alchemy of blues, funk, and hard bop. "Yearning for Love" is an emotional piece with spirited interaction between the three horns in places. The remaining tracks don't make as strong an impression, so it is possible that the inclusion of some standards or pieces by either Shaw or Barron might have added to the appeal of the date. Long out of print since its appearance on LP, it has been reissued on CD by Toshiba-EMI of Japan; fans of hard bop who are willing to spend a little extra for this import reissue may want to investigate the only CD by this mysterious tenor saxophonist.

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