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Saturday, 28 August 2010

Red Garland Trio w/ Ray Barreto - Manteca

(Prestige (USA) Monaural LP PRLP 7139, recorded 1958)

Red Garland was said to be one of Miles Davis' favourite musicians not only because of his keyboard prowess (he played piano in the first great quintet with Miles and 'Trane), but also for the fact that he was a good enough boxer to have lost to Sugar Ray Robinson, and Miles was also a very enthusiastic pugilist! Be that as it may, Red also turned out distinctive piano trio albums, and this one numbers among his very best, partly because of the presence of the propulsive conguero Ray Barreto. Also in the cast of players are the great bassist Paul Chambers, and the Prestige Records house drummer Arthur Taylor. Although only one selection, Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" fits the bill as Latin jazz, Ray's presence on all the tracks gives them another dimension, as he considers himself to be more of a jazz player than a Latin one. On standards like Gershwin's "S'Wonderful" and "Lady Be Good" and on Fields & McHugh's "Exactly Like You", He fits the jazz feel like a glove, and on Garland's tune "Mort's Report" (dedicated to New York jazz deejay Mort Fega), Barreto and Taylor play around with the time feel on an outstanding slow blues that, tho' long, ends too soon.

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