Dave Burns (tp), Al Grey (tb), Herbie Morgan, Billy Mitchell (ts), Kenny Barron, Floyd Morris, Billy Wallace (p), Bobby Hutcherson (vib), Steve Davis, Herman Wright (b), Edgar Bateman, Eddie Williams, Otis Finch (d)
Bar code: 8427328611138
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Dave Burns (1924-2009) was a vastly underrated trumpeter who was ignored by recording executives for years. In 1956, this veteran of Dizzy Gillespie's big band, Duke Ellington's band, and James Moody's group decided to give music a rest.
It was a short respite, and he was back in the scene four years later to great acclaim from a good deal of reviewers and fellow-musicians, mainly for his recordings as a sideman and for his performance with the Al Grey-Billy Mitchell Sextet in 1962, when he subbed for Donald Byrd. That summer, Vanguard became the label to finally recorded Burn's first album as a leader. At 38, Burns had turned into one of the more mature trumpeters in modern jazz. He played with fluency and authoritativeness in either open or muted context, and his solos were built with logic, strength and taste. There was another prominent musician present on this particular date: pianist Kenny Barron. Merely 18, Barron was already a consistent soloist who displayed depth and emotional maturity, and was able to project an air of honesty. Tenor saxophonist Herbert Morgan delivered some good solos, and Steve Davis and Edgar Bateman pair well together. This album itself is an impressive effort, especially when it comes to Burns and Barron.
On the remaining tracks (#8-13), we find Burns playing in two sessions as a sideman with his fellows from the Grey-Mitchell sextet, which include the hard swinging saxophonist Billy Mitchell, as well as the talented vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, another outstanding 21-old young man who had recently arrived in NYC from the West Coast.
Hearing Dave Burns surrounded by good company and really cooking is exhilarating. The over-all unit feel of these 1962 sessions provides the listener with a rewardingand warm experience.
"At the time, Dave Burns (1924-2009), together with Bill Hardman, for example, was considered part of the second set of hard bop trumpet players. Reissue producer Jordi Pujol calls him “vastly underrated” in the booklet with this CD, but when you listen to it, it turns out to be not too bad. On Burns' own Vanguard LP from 1962 he shows himself to be a reasonably skilled craftsman, but in terms of ideas, phrasing and appearance he can hardly be in the shadow of Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham and Donald Byrd, let alone Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. For avid collectors it might be interesting that pianist Kenny Barron makes his record debut here as a nineteen-year-old. Six bonus tracks from LPs under the name of trombonist Al Gray and tenorist Billy Mitchell have a little more allure [...]"
—Bert Vuijsje (June, 2022)
Doctor Jazz Magazine
"It’s because of albums like this that every year I email my compatriot jazz critics and remind them to write in Fresh Sound Records as “Label of the Year” for the Annual Down Beat Critics Poll. No one, not even Mosaic Records, releases such important vintage material that needs to be re-heard and re-evaluated.
Case in point is this single disc by trumpeter Dave Burns (1924-2009). Never heard of him, right? Well, he had stints with Gillespie, Ellington, James Moody, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin and Milt Jackson, featured on Art Taylor’s classic AT’s Delight. Interested yet?
This album has him in three different bands, with teams of Herbie Morgan-Billy Mitchell/ts, Kenny Barron-Floyd Morris-Billy Wallace/p, Herman Wright-Steve Davis/b, Edgar Bateman-Eddie Williams-Otis Finch/dr and Bobby Hutcherson/vib being mixed and matched. Burns himself has a darkish tone, classic for the Blue Note-ish songs when open and Milesy hip when muted. Barron is Red Garland glassy with Burns on a classy “CB Blues” and confident with a robust Morgan on the crisp “Something Easy”. Morgan is a mix of Coltrane and Mobley with a muted Burns on “Secret Love”, while Bateman hits like Philly Joe Jones on a driving “Straight Ahead”.
With Hutcherson’s vibes, Billy Mitchell adds to the Horace Silver atmosphere on a rollicking “Three-Fourth Blue” and is gorgeous with Burns on “RBQ”. There’s an avalanche with Finch on “Automation” and and Burns sounding cutsie piefor “Tamra”. Brass that has aged amazingly well without any tarnish."
—George W. Harris (March 28, 2022)