Reference: FSRCD 789
As befitting two who were to be key members of the early 1960s Horace Silver Quintet, Richard Allen (Blue) Mitchell (1930-1979) and Herman (Junior) Cook (1934-1992) were among the finer exponents of the hard bop school of the time.
Equally fittingly, when they made Cooks Junior Cookin and Mitchells The Cup Bearers together, they used Silvers rhythm section, minus the man himself, whose place was taken by Dolo Coker alternating with Ronnie Mathews on the former, and by Cedar Walton on the latter. And unsurprisingly, the results, honest, forthright and inventive, possessed a hard-swinging unity that satisfies to this day.
That unity was emphasized by contrasting characteristics of the two Florida-born leaders. While both were powerful soloists, strong and individual, Mitchell was perhaps the more lyrical of the two, his work expressed with a lovely singing tone, while Cooks personal synthesis of several postbop tenor styles produced a more direct and heated player. Buttressed by the well-schooled, superior talents of Coker and Mathews, and the marvelous Walton in a thoroughly sympathetic rhythm section completed by Gene Taylor and Roy Brooks, the mixture gelled emphatically.
01. Mzar (Roland Alexander) 7:15
02. Turbo Village (Charles Davis) 5:45
03. Easy Living (Robin-Rainger) 6:12
04. Blue Farouq (Blue Mitchell) 3:54
05. Sweet Cakes (Blue Mitchell) 5:24
06. Field Day (Dolo Coker) 3:54
07. Pleasure Bent (Roland Alexander) 6:28
08. Turquoise (Cedar Walton) 5:00
09. Dingbat Blues (Charles Davis) 5:37
10. Capers (Tom McIntosh) 6:01
11. Cup Bearers (Tom McIntosh) 6:13
12. How Deep Is the Ocean? (Irving Berlin) 6:41
13. Tiger Lily (Thad Jones) 8:30
Tracks #1-7, from the album "Juniors Cookin'" (Jazzland JLP-958)
Tracks #8-13, from the album "The Cup Bearers" (Riverside RLP 9439)
Personnel on Juniors Cookin:
Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Junior Cook, tenor sax; Dolo Coker (on #4-6) or Ronnie Mathews (on #1-3, 7), piano; Gene Taylor, bass; Roy Brooks, drums.
Recorded at Gold Star Studios, Long Beach, California, April 10 (#4-6) & Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, December 4 (#1-3, 7), 1961
Personnel on The Cup Bearers:
Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Junior Cook, tenor sax; Cedar Walton, piano; Gene Taylor, bass; Roy Brooks, drums.
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, August 28 & 30, 1962
Original recordings produced by Orrin Keepnews and Russell Jacquet (#4-6)
Sound engineers: Ray Fowler & Stan Ross (#4-6)
Original photography & designs:
Jim Marshall & Steve Shapiro (Jazzland)
Ken Deardoff (Riverside)
This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Note: Since the maximum playing time of a CD is 80 minutes, it has been necessary to leave out the track Why Do I Love You? from Blue Mitchells The Cup Bearers. It has been added as a bonus track on the CD Blue Mitchell and Orchestra (FSR-790)
"Few sounds this side of heaven are as wonderful as those delivered by what is called the Classic Hard Bop Quintet. Usually consisting of a front line of trumpet and tenor sax along with piano, bass and drums, this simple enough ensemble has been able to do amazing things in the hands of geniuses like Horace Silver and Art Blakey. Its still used today, but these two reissues from Fresh Sound uncover two bands that were around at the halcyon days of this music, but were unfortunately unappreciated until (hopefully ) now.
Blue Mitchell/tp and Junior Cook/ts were long term members of Horace Silvers band beingon classics such as Blowin The Blues Away. This single cd has two sessions from 61 &61 that they put out on their own, and its in the same wonderful vein. Dolo Coker, Ronnie Mathews or Cedar Walton handle the piano, Gene Taylor is on bass and Roy Brooks hits the drums on this set of cooking originals and standards. Like Silvers band, these gents like to throw n a couple minor key misteriosos, and Mzar along with Sweet Cakes fit that mood perfectly. Cook is warm and rich on Easy Living and Mitchells gentle spirit is felt on How Deep Is The Ocean. This music sounds as fresh and timeless as Mozarts late Symphonies."
George W. Harris (September 16, 2013)