Bar code: 8427328611022
"When I moved back to New York City from California in 1963, my agent had already booked me a 16-week tour and I had to put a quartet together. I called Herman Wright, who played double bass in my quartet with that great female piano player, Terry Pollard, from 1953-1957. Herman and Terry were from Detroit. The first thing that Herman said to me was there was another great female piano player from Detroit who was now living in NY. Her name was Alice McLeod. I don’t usually hire anybody I didn’t know her, but because of what Herman told me I set up a little jam session so I could hear how Alice played jazz, and it had to be bebop because that’s what I heard and played in jazz, and I wanted to hear Alice play bebop. I also had a drummer recommended to me by one of my good drummer friends, and so John Dentz, Herman and I went to a studio that I rented at Nola Studios.
How I usually work my songs is that, after I play the melody, the piano player solos first. After Alice played just 8 bars I knew that I was going to hire her. In 1963 Alice was an out an out be-bopper in the style of Bud Powell. Also John Dentz gave me what I was looking for: TIME. The more we played the better Alice sounded, she was a quiet shy lady and she got more aggressive as the jam session went on, you can hear her on this CD fitting in with everything that I was looking for in a piano player. Alice worked in my band for one year until I introduced her to John Coltrane and saw a love affair happen and that was why Alice left. That one year Alice was in my quartet was really fun playing because she was, as I said before, AN OUT AND OUT BE-BOPPER."
—Terry Gibbs (March, 2021)
"Yes, before she teamed up with her husband John Coltrane and created transcendental jazzitation, Alice McLeod was a bebopping pianist hired as a sideman for swinging vibes man Terry Gibbs. This album, which contains both sessions of the two together from 1963, is impressive on its own merits, but the fact that it includes the future Mrs. Coltrane has you searching for clues for things to come.
What you actually end up with is an impression of McLeod’s bop chops that holds up quite well to the fairly concise tunes on the February ’63 format with Ernie Farrow/b, Steve Little/dr and the leader Gibbs. The two get romantic together on the lithe “Ballad For Barbara” and bluesy for “Sol Right With Me” while piano and vibes snap and crack on the hip reads of “Burton Up Your Lip” and “Henny Time” with McLeod showing a firm grip all throughout. Later on in the year, Gibbs and McLeod team up with Herman Wright/b and John Dentz/b for a modal “El Nutto” that gives hint of Coltrane's famous “Impressions” while the two give kinetic interplay for “Little 'S’” and get soft and nimble for “Sleepy Head Blues”. No harps, no chanting, and no complaints."
—George W. Harris (July 22, 2021)
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