Billy Bean

The Trio: Rediscovered

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The Hal Gaylor Trio, as it came to be know, was an exciting group made up of pianist Walter Norris, bassist Hal Gaylor and a phenomenal but little-known guitarist named Billy Bean. Although they gave it their all trying to land a recording contract and book gigs, little work turned up for them, aside from a one-off record for Riverside and a few sessions of mood music with an orchestra. This previously unissued music consists of a proposed album that never saw the light of day until the English label String Jazz finally issued it, nearly four decades after it was recorded.

The music is a mix of standards, jazz classics, plus a stunning original by Bean, and the intricate bop vehicles "Motivation" and Gaylor's "Che-Low." The tapes show some signs of age in an otherwise swinging treatment of "All of You," while "Have You Met Miss Jones" showcases Norris' considerable chops. The loping rendition of "Grooveyard" is a bit more relaxed than better-known recordings. The trio is clearing have a ball as they dive full force into Horace Silver's infrequently performed "Safari." This CD is very much worth the investment for fans of early-'60s bop and hard bop.

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