Thursday, 26 August 2010

postheadericon Woody Shaw – In The Beginning (Muse Records, 1965)

Now here’s obscurity for you…

I love it when i find an album that’s so clouded in the grinding wheels of time that it makes you wonder if it existed. Well this one apparently does. I admit freely and without hesitation that these days having an actual copy of a record rather than a digital copy is somewhat on the backburner, so what i write about this recording is based upon listening to it, and bits and pieces that the great Interweb throws up, added to the fact that I am no authority on Mr. Shaw by any stretch of the imagination.
In The Beginning‘In The Beginning’, as the name suggests, is Woody Shaw’s first recordings as a leader, towards the end of 1965, before that he spent time in Paris, and also recorded with Horace Silver. Apparently it was done as a record contract demo session, with Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock and Larry Young on piano (you don’t hear Young on piano very often, nor Hancock on organ, but it did occur), Joe Chambers on battery and our man Paul and Ron Carter on Double Bass. This to me suggests that the session is split in two parts rather than one. The tracks ‘Baloo Baloo ’, ‘Tetragon’ and ‘Three Muses’ being one, with Hancock and Chambers present. ‘Cassandranite’ and ‘Obsequious’ (meaning servility or bootlicking) including Young and Carter the second.
The Chambers involvement is fairly straight forward hard bop as you would expect but he certainly holds his own here. It’s the first and only time with Shaw and Joe Chambers. Hearing Chambers outside of the Wynton Kelly setting is a treat, if you look at his other engagements around this time it’s predominantly with Kelly. I know very little about what live engagements Chambers had, if any, but the recording sessions had been on a downwards spiral throughout the 60’s. To illustrate this, to my knowledge the next recording Chambers did was Lee Morgan’s ‘Charisma’ nine-ten months later. Cassandranite
The two tracks with Ron Carter is more free flowing, with Henderson getting into his Coltraneish groove. On the whole though there’s ample space for all involved to be creative.
What with this album being a demo session it’s obscure almost by definition. Its only release as an LP came in 1983 (Muse 5298). It was put out as a cd called ‘Cassandranite’ (Muse MCD 6007) including the completely unrelated Joe Chambers track ‘Medina’. Since then the music from the original session has been released on a number of other Shaw records including ‘Last Of The Line’ from 1997.

  1. Cassandranite (Shaw) - 6:49
  2. Obsequious (Young) - 7:40
  3. Baloo Baloo (Johnson) - 6:05
  4. Three Muses (Shaw) - 6:26
  5. Tetragon (Henderson) - 6:40

Recorded in New York City late 1965

Woody Shaw, Trumpet
Joe Henderson, Tenor Sax
Larry Young, Piano (tr 1 and 2)
Herbie Hancock, Piano (tr 3-5)
Ron Carter, Bass (tr 1 and 2)
Paul Chambers, Bass (tr 3-5)
Joe Chambers, Drums

Be my guest and have a listen to Baloo Baloo in the player to the left.

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KR said...

Anyone know who wrote Baloo Baloo? I think it was Hank Johnson but I don't know anything about him.


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This is an attempt to shed some light on Mr. Chambers' endeavours as one of the top jazz bassmen. He was extremely sought after, and his sessions is a list of who is who in the hardbop era. I'm gonna put out on this blog some of the recordings i know of (210 and counting:), together with some doodle about them.

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