Reference: FSRCD 863
Bar code: 8427328608633
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Trumpeter Jon Eardley (1928-1991) made his recording debut with Phil Woods in 1954, when he also hit the jazz big time by replacing Chet Baker in Gerry Mulligans celebrated quartet. For the next few years he played and recorded with Mulligan, including Mulligans outstanding sextet, but also led three excellent record dates for Prestige.
His debut quartet album J.E. in Holllywood, (originally called First Sessions) featured a fine Pete Jolly-Red Mitchell-Larry Bunker rhythm section, and is notable for pianist Jollys inventive contributions and the fire, joyful exuberance, taste and imagination of the leader on a thoroughly swinging session. The second album, Hey There, Jon Eardley!, was a NYC quintet date featuring J.R. Monteroseone of the heartening tenors of his generationand another quality rhythm section in which pianist George Syran is a considerable asset. Eardleys work here is singularly powerful. The third LP, The J.E. Seven, with the same rhythm section, was a particularly worthwhile blowing date with four horns, further enhanced by the work of the great Zoot Sims and Phil Woods, along with the leader.
Eardley, who moved to Europe in 1969, deserved to be better known in his homeland. His tone was rich and vigorous, his conception always personal and comfortably within his limits, with a compact, logical and swinging style, a melodic approach and an acute ear.
"Eardley came on the US scene just as we were losing two of the most gifted trumpet stars of the bebop era, Clifford Brown and Fats Navarro. Actually Eardley (who died in 1991) once recalled hearing the Billy Eckstine Orchestra with Fats, Dizzy, Miles and Freddie Webster in the trumpet section, so he had a certain greatness to measure himself against. Accomplished and consistent as he was, Jon never rose to the level of blazing talent that marked out the truly great. But on the plus side he lived a longer and probably happier life, moving to Europe to marry in 1963, ending up in Cologne as a long-term member of a radio orchestra and playing occasional jazz gigs, often in London (he had English roots).
In Hollywood was recorded in the year Jon replaced Chet Baker in the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, an association that lasted several years. This reissue shows two sides of his trumpet personality at that time at faster tempos a slightly irritating staccato style, but in slows a warm tone with an emerging lyrical voice (Indian Spring). Few things expose a horn player more than a quartet format and the trumpeter drops several clinkers. West Coast pianist Pete Jolly is the dynamo here.
But one and two years on, when (2) and (3) were taped at the Van Gelder studio, Eardley was sharing front-line duties with some outstanding sax players of the time and a rather clever, basically unknown trombonist. The rhythm section has more of a contemporary edge too and as a result the trumpet players confidence and expressiveness rise by a couple of notches. The ballad If You Could See Me Now is an absolute honey. The right boppish Leap Year is a fine exemplar of there and then."
-Anthony Troon (Jazz Journal, July 2015)
"So much great music came out of the mid 50s that its forgivable to overlook various artists. Fresh Sound Records brings back into sharp focus two trumpet players that will make you wonder where theyve been your whole life.
Jon Eardley is best known as the guy who replaced Chet Baker on the famed Gerry Mulligan pianoless quartet. This collection of 3 albums from 1954-56 show that hes much more than the answer to a trivia question. Hes got fire in his bones In a quartet format with Angelenos Pete Jolly/p, Red Mitchell/b and Larry Bunker/dr as he blows fire on the sizzling Late Leader. Next year in New Jersey, hes with JR Montrose/ts, Geroge Syran/p, Teddy Kotick/b and Nick Stabulas/dr and they bop like theres no tomorrow on Sids Delight and Demanton while Eardley is pristine and clean on If You Could See Me Now. In 1956 he brings together allstars Phil Woods/as, Zoot Sims/ts and Milt Gold/ts with the same rhythm team and sizzles on Leap Year, while Sims and Woods are as hip as Bass Weejuns on On the Minute and Eards Word. Youre gonna love this one!"
-George W. Harris (June 8, 2015)