J.R. Monterose (ts), Ira Sullivan (tp), Jerry Lloyd (b-tp), Tommy Flanagan, Dale Oehler, Horace Silver, George Wallington (p), Jimmy Garrison, Garry Allen, Wilber Ware, Teddy Kotick (b), Pete La Roca, Philly Joe Jones, Nick Stabulas (d)
This edition presents all of the studio recordings made by JR. Monterose in a quartet & quintet format under his own name during the fifties & sixties. A small group session featuring Monterose under the direction of pianist George Wallington has also been included as a bonus.
01. Straight Ahead
02. Violets For Your Furs
03. Green Street Scene
05. You Know What
06. I Remember Clifford
07. Short Bridge
08. Waltz For Claire
09. I Should Care
10. That You Are
11. Red Devil
12. Lover Man
13. Herky Hawks
14. Wee Jay
Total time: 78:09 min.
01. Mar V
02. The Third
03. Bobbie Pin
04. Ka Link
06. Wee Jay
07. In Salah
09. The Prestidigitator
10. Promised Land
11. Rural Route
12. Composin At The Composer
Total time: 75:04 min.
CD 1, tracks #1-7 from "The Message" (Jaro JAM-5004).
CD 1, tracks #8-13 from "In Action with the Joe Abodeely Trio" (Studio 4 SS-100).
CD 1, track #14 & CD 2, tracks #1-6 from "J.R. Monterose" (Blue Note 1536).
CD 2, tracks #7-12 from George Wallington Quartet/Quintet "The Prestidigitator" (East West LP 4004).
Personnel on "The Message" album: J.R. Monterose (ts), Tommy Flanagan (p), Jimmy Garrison (b) and Pete La Roca (d). Recorded in New York City, on November 24, 1959.
Personnel on "In Action" album: J.R. Monterose (ts), Dale Oehler (p), Gary Allen (b) and Joe Abodeely (d), Recorded in Rock Island Illinois, 1964.
Personnel on "J.R. Monterose" album: J.R. Monterose (ts), Ira Sullivan (tp), Horace Silver (p), Wilbur Ware (b) and Philly Joe Jones (d). Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, on October 21, 1956.
Personnel on George Wallington's "The Prestidigitator" album: George Wallington (p), J.R. Monterose (ts), Jerry Lloyd (b-tp on #10-12 only), Teddy Kotick (b) and Nick Stabulas (d). Recorded in New York City, April 4-6, 1957.
"J.R. Monterose's first session as a leader was a thoroughly enjoyable set of swinging, straight-ahead bop that revealed him as a saxophonist with a knack for powerful, robust leads in the vein of Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins. With a stellar supporting group of pianist Horace Silver, trumpeter Ira Sullivan, bassist Wilbur Ware, and drummer "Philly" Joe Jones, Monterose has recorded a set of bop that swings at a measured pace and offers many delightful moments. Throughout the session, Monterose sounds vigorous, whether he's delivering hard-swinging solos or waxing lyrical. With his bluesy vamps and soulful solos, Silver is equally impressive, while Sullivan's spotlights are alternately punchy and skilled; similarly, the rhythm section is tight, letting the music breathe while keeping the groove. In fact, the quality of the music is so strong, J.R. Monterose qualifies as one of the underappreciated gems in Blue Note's mid-'50s catalog."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine -All Music Guide
"J.R. Monterose is fantastic tenor player who unfortunately is under-recorded and underappreciated. His biggest claim to fame was playing on Mingus' Atlantic debut "Pithecanthropus Erectus," and he also recorded a wonderful self-titled album for Blue Note. This album features 5 Monterose orginals and two standards, and they are all awesome. Tommy Flanagan, whom he recorded with again in the 70s, knows just where to lead and follow Monterose. The quartet is completed by Jimmy Garrison and Pete LaRoca, both making early recorded appearances here. Just the personnel alone intrigued me enough to buy it, but the music is what keeps it in heavy rotation on my CD player."
Michael B. Richman -Amazon.com
-In Action with the Joe Abodeely Trio
"This release of J.R. Monterose and this great group of jazz musicians was limited to 250 copies when it was sold as a "Studio 4" LP at the cloakroom of "The Tender Trap" night club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Long a coveted article among collectors who have paid astronomical sums for even a used edition this music rates as a great example of jazz in the '60s. It was recorded in 1964 and of course it represents J.R. at his very best."
Ben Friedman -Amazon.com
-George Wallington's "The Prestidigitator"
"Sicilian-born pianist "George Wallington" (his given name was Giacinto Figlia) had more than ethnicity in common with Dodo Marmarosa. Both men were active in the burgeoning bop scene of the early and mid-'40s, both made important contributions to the evolution of modern jazz, and both withdrew from public activity for protracted periods of time. Most importantly, both of these excellent pianists left enough great music in their wake to warrant a reappraisal of their legacies. Wallington named Mel Powell, Al Haig, and Bud Powell as his favorite contemporaries; primary influences were Art Tatum, Count Basie, and especially Earl Hines. He collaborated and consulted with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Pettiford, and Max Roach during bop's formative years; later he would befriend young Mose Allison and help him to get established as both recording artist and jazz essayist. Recorded in early April 1957 and released on the East West label the following year, Wallington's album The Prestidigitator is an excellent example of his creative approach to the art of jazz. His quintet/quartet on this album consisted of bassist Teddy Kotick, drummer Nick Stabulas, Detroit-born tenor saxophonist J.R. Monterose, and bass trumpeter Jerry Lloyd, who sounds for all the world like a valve trombonist. Three of the seven pieces were composed by Mose Allison, two by Monterose, one by Lloyd, and only one -- the quirkily titled "Composin' at the Composer" -- by Wallington himself. This was the first time that anyone besides Mose Allison recorded Mose Allison's original compositions. Even Allison hadn't yet recorded "Rural Route" when Wallington worked it into this pleasantly bop-based album of early modern jazz. Allison's "Promised Land" is particularly soulful and straight-ahead. Stylistically, this stuff lands somewhere amongst Art Blakey's early Jazz Messengers, Hank Mobley, Sonny Stitt, Johnny Griffin, and some of that mid-'50s Mingus with John LaPorta. That means it's really good and maybe you ought to check it out. For those who are squinting at a digitally condensed thumbnail reproduction of the album cover and trying to decipher what's going on, it depicts a magician (or prestidigitator) as seen from upstage rather than from the audience's point of view. As he prepares to pull a rabbit out of his inverted hat, the animal is clearly visible inside of a wooden box on a collapsible stand, held in readiness by a child or midget concealed within."
Arwulf Arwulf -All Music Guide