Reference: FSRCD 729
Bar code: 8427328607292
This CD features the leader recording premieres of trumpeter Richard Williams and reedman Leo Wright, whose emergence created quite a stir on the late Fifties jazz scene.
Both played on each others debuts. Williams, whose power, range and ideas had impressed hugely with the Oliver Nelson and Gigi Gryce groups, made his expected appearance as leader with New Horn in Town, while Wright, whose direct, exciting alto and flute were showcased when he joined Dizzy Gillespies quintet in 1959, debuted with Blues Shout. Both were made in 1960 and fulfilled expectations of two rising young talents.
In these quintet sessions Williams displays his capacity for explosive and inventive playing, with the scope, sweep, conception, technique and the versatility of an assured young lion. Wrights excellence is also self-evident, regardless of instrument; his style is straight-ahead, warm and emotional, uncluttered and flowing. To complete the success of these debut sessions, both rhythm sections provide vigorous, swinging support, with pianists Richard Wyands and Junior Mance adding further solo voices idiomatically on the button.
"This is classic tough bop played by two sadly short-lived figures from the period. Williams and Wright died when they were 54 and 58 respectively. Both were greater jazz musicians than they have been given credit for being.
Williams remained obscure despite satisfactory work for Mingus, Oliver Nelson and the big bands of Ellington, Clark Terry and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis. New Horn was his only album in what Richard Cook described as finally an undistinguished career. At the time I described him as having a tone like the side of a house, and his magnificent brazen sound graces all the tracks. Clifford shows what could have been. He could be thoughtful and inventive as well as explosive. I Can Dream is a number Williams heard Clifford Brown play, and he confirms himself as a disciple (his other influence appears to have been Navarro).
Wright had established himself in the Gillespie quintet at this time, and very effective he was there too during his three years with the group. He eventually followed his pal Carmell Jones to Germany and settled there, never to return to the States. He was a fine alto player, given to wailing, and he also played robust flute. Both leaders play impressively on Russ Freemans The Wind and both rhythm sections are as distinguished as they look on paper. Paired together the albums make a very attractive CD, pretty much without fault and a testimony to the recognition they should have had before now."
Steve Voce -February, 2013
More at www.jazzjournal.co.uk