Formed in 1958, Charles Bells quartet made its recording debut on Columbia with The Charles Bell Contemporary Jazz Quartet after being acclaimed at the 1960 Georgetown University Intercollegiate Jazz Festival. The groupall extremely proficient musicians who knew how exploit the potentialities of their instruments to the fullwas something new in jazz, with an approach to theme, variation and rhythmic pulse that seemed to set it apart.
Bell (1933-2012) was a classically trained pianist of undeniably lush and harmonic abilities. Smith contributed impressively to the singular contrapuntal interplay between piano and guitar, while bassist Traficante, a good soloist, provided a solid rhythmic fulcrum, with Blairman a tasteful and intelligent drummer.
On the second groups album, Another Dimensionrecorded almost two years later for Atlantic Recordsa young and promising bassist named Ron Carter joined the group. On this set Bells approach is somewhat more eclectic, with the cerebral rather than the emotional more to the fore in a music that shares certain contemporary classical concepts, without forsaking the pulse at its core.
The remaining tunes of this compilation are trio performances recorded live on two different Pittsburgh Jazz Festivals. Bell plays a mix of jazz and popular standards with an individual and relaxed style that proves he was a deep and sensitive pianist of considerable talent.
01. Latin Festival (Bell) 8:12
02. The Gospel (Bell) 7:00
03. Stage 13 (Bell) 5:08
04. The Last Sermon (Bell) 5:41
05. Counterpoint Study #2 (Bell) 8:11
06. Variation 3 (Bell) 4:08
07. Happy Funky (Bell) 3:31
08. Theme (Bell) 3:45
09. Bass Line (Bell) 6:15
10. Satan Said (Bell) 4:24
11. Portrait of Aunt Mary (Bell) 8:37
01. Oleo (Rollins) 4:13
02. Django (Lewis) 4:36
03. My Favorite Things (Rodgers-Hammerstein II) 7:08
04. On Green Dolphin Street (Washington-Karper) 5:41
05. Tommys Blues (Sewell) 5:12
06. Summertime (G. & I. Gershwin) 4:14
07. Prancing (Davis) 3:49
08. Work Song (Brown-Adderley) 4:42
09. Whisper Not (Golson) 5:35
10. Memories of Home (Bell) 5:40
11. Take Five (Desmond) 3:32
12. Whisper Not (Golson) 5:07
13. Bluesette (Thielemans) 2:56
CD 1, tracks #1-7 from the album "The Charles Bell Contemporary Jazz Quartet" (Columbia CS8382)
CD 1, tracks #8-11 & CD 2 tracks #1-3 from
"Charles Bell & the Contemporary Jazz Quartet Another Dimension" (Atlantic SD1400)
CD 2, tracks #4-11 from the album "The Charles Bell Trio in Concert" (Gateway SLP7012)
CD 2, track #12 from the album Various Artists "The Jazz Piano" (RCA-Victor LSP3499)
CD 2, track #13 not issued on LP.
Personnel on Contemporary Jazz Quartet:
Charles Bell, piano; Bill Smith, guitar; Frank Traficante, bass; Allen Blairman, drums.
Recorded in New York City, July 8, 1960
Personnel on "Another Dimension:
Same as #1-7 but Ron Carter replaces Traficante.
Recorded in New York City, March 9 & 10, 1962
Personnel on "The Charles Bell Trio in Concert":
Charles Bell, piano; Tommy Sewell, bass; William Harris, drums.
Recorded live at Carnegie Lecture Hall, Pittsburgh, November 9, 1963
Bonus Tracks on CD 2, #12 & 13:
Charles Bell, piano; Larry Gales, bass; Ben Riley, drums.
Recorded live at the Jazz Piano Workshop of the Pittsburg Jazz Festival, on June 20, 1965
Original albums produced by John Hammond (Columbia), Nesuhi Ertegun (Atlantic), and Robert W. Schachner (Gateway)
Original cover designs by Henry Parker, Loring Eutemey & Dan Quest
Compiled for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered