Joe Gordon

West Coast Days

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This compilation might indicate that Joe Gordon and Scott LaFaro appear together on these live recordings made at the Lighthouse, but they are individually featured with two separate groups. Gordon, a fine trumpeter who died far too young, is heard with pianist Russ Freeman, tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca, bassist Monty Budwig, and drummer Shelly Manne. "Our Delight" is joined in progress at the end of Gordon's opening solo, but the band is clearly energized. Gordon opts for a mute and interacts well with Freeman in a loping, extended treatment of "Summertime." Kamuca kicks off the long take of "Poinciana" with a blistering solo; Gordon's solo is equally full of energy, even if he isn't picked up as well by the microphone. Scott LaFaro is joined by Kamuca, pianist Victor Feldman, and drummer Stan Levey for a 1958 set. The first track is identified as "It Could Happen to You" (by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke) and is introduced as such by Kamuca at the end of the performance, but it sounds nothing like the well-known standard. This midtempo ballad has a snappy rhythm and good solos, though LaFaro's intricate work is backed only by Levey. Since this set was likely a jam session, there are no phenomenal solos like those that featured LaFaro in his recordings with the Bill Evans Trio. Feldman's solo is the highlight of John Coltrane's "Bass Blues." Both recordings were purportedly made by Lighthouse jam session organizer (and sometime bassist) Howard Rumsey; they add to the recorded legacy of two potentially great musicians who died far too young.

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