James Clay (ts), Bobby Timmons (p), Jimmy Bond (b), Peter Littman (d), Lorraine Geller (p), Red Mitchell (b), Sonny Clark (p), Lawrence Marable (d)
Reference: FSRCD 437
Bar code: 8427328604376
[This release has been deleted and subsequently reissued as FSRCD 853]
In the summer of 1956 James Clay was a 20-year-old tenor saxophonist from Dallas, who had been living and playing in Los Angeles since mid-1955. At that time his colleagues were all young and independent experimentalists, completely outside of the flourishing West Coast jazz movement players like trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Billy Higgins, and altoist Ornette Coleman and though he said he was not an outside player, he worked easily within the unconventional settings of Colemans compositions.
Paradoxically, however, his only recordings were straight ahead, not at all in line with Ornettes controversial music. On them his ideas flow melodically, especially in ballads and mid-tempos. On faster tunes, his blowing statements come from the strong swinging style and hot tone that characterized other Texas tenors such as Illinois Jacquet and Arnett Cobb, with a hard-bop approach clearly influenced by his idol Sonny Rollins. This CD contains all James Clay studio performances on tenor sax while the young kid from Dallas was living in Los Angeles in the mid Fifties.
"An exceptional album from this drummer/leader, with James Clay on tenor sax."
Michael G. Nastos -All Music Guide