Rocky Boyd (ts), Kenny Dorham (tp), Walter Bishop Jr. (p), Ron Carter (b), Pete LaRoca (d)
Reference: BMCD 1606
Bar code: 8427328016063
Resourceful, blues-tinged tenor saxophonist whose best album was mistakenly credited to Kenny Dorham when it was reissued. Ease It also included pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Ron Carter and drummer Pete LaRoca and was outstanding early '60s hard bop date.
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‘Rocky who,’ I hear you ask. The Boston burn tenor saxophonist is about asobscure as they come, having released to my knowledge, just the one solo album on the Jazztime label. That was back in 1961, just three years after Boyd had been in New York, the logical place for him to further his career as an improviser following studies at the Boston Conservatory and the Berklee School of Music
Boyd made good progress on the club scene, playing with the likes of Tony Scott, Philly Joe Jones, Johnny Griffin and Pete La Roca. His first headlining gig was at the historic Five Spot club and he went on to replace Stanley Turrentine in the Max Roach quintet. J
It’s easy to see why such a hard taskmaster as Roach took him on; Boyd has the robust, hard tone of a Coltrane or Rollins and a very clean, crisp manner of phrasing. Although he was a ‘muscular’ player, Boyd wasn’t given to anything too ostentatious and the tasting impression of Ease It is perhaps heightened as a result. Boyd negotiates some beautifully fluent modern jazz in the company of an excellent rhythm section (Pete La Roca, Ron Carter and Walter Bishop—all at the top of their game) which probes and pushes themes with a real sense of purpose. The icing on the cake is Kenny Dorham, the masterfully lyrical trumpeter who proves a brilliant foil to Boyd’s surging tenor. Their harmonic complicity sizzles on themes such as Avers, West 42nd Street and a real curiosity of a tune called Why Not?,which is credited to Pete La Roca but sounds suspiciously like Coltrane’s Impressions. John, who?
Kevin Le Gendre, Hot Biscuits
(Echoes, France) Nov 2001