Charles Bell (p), Bill Smith (g), Frank Traficante, Ron Carter, Tommy Sewell, Larry Gales (b), Allen Blairman, William Harris, Ben Riley (d)
Reference: FSRCD 775
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 Dimension recorded 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.