Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wardell Gray - Memorial, vol. 1 & 2

Wardell Gray was one of the top tenors to emerge during the bop era (along with Dexter Gordon and Teddy Edwards). His Lester Young-influenced tone made his playing attractive to swing musicians as well as younger modernists. He grew up in Detroit, playing in local bands as a teenager. Gray was with Earl Hines during 1943-1945, recording with him (1945). That same year, he moved to Los Angeles and he became a major part of the Central Avenue scene, having nightly tenor battles with Dexter Gordon ; their recording of "The Chase" was popular. Gray recorded with Charlie Parker in 1947 and yet his style appealed to Benny Goodman, with whom he played the following year. Among his own sessions, his solos on "Twisted" (1949) and "Farmer's Market" (1952) were turned into memorable vocalese by Annie Ross a few years later. Back in New York, Gray played and recorded with Tadd Dameron and the Count Basie septet and big band (1950-1951); "Little Pony," his showcase with the Basie orchestra, is a classic. Gray was featured on some Norman Granz jam sessions ("Apple Jam" has a particularly heated solo) and recorded with Louie Bellson (1952-1953). Ironically, Wardell Gray, who in the late '40s was an inspiration to some younger musicians due to his opposition to drug use, himself became involved in drugs and died mysteriously in Las Vegas on May 25, 1955, when he was just 34.
Scott Yanow

Source :

Wardell Gray
vol. 1 & 2


Cd. 1

1 Twisted (Gray) 3:02
2 Twisted [alt. take C] (Gray) 2:42
3 Twisted [alt. take A] (Gray) 3:26
4 Twisted [alt. take D] (Gray) 3:12
5 Easy Living (Robin, Rainger) 4:21
6 Easy Living [alt. take] (Robin, Rainger) 4:35
7 Southside (Gray) 3:18
8 Southside [alt. take D] (Gray) 2:50
9 Southside [alt. take A] (Gray) 2:39
10 Southside [alt. take B] (Gray) 3:08
11 Southside [alt. take C] (Gray) 3:13
12 Southside [alt. take F] (Gray) 2:45
13 Southside [alt. take G] (Gray) 2:10
14 Sweet Lorraine (Parish, Burwell) 4:02
15 So Long Broadway (Charles) 3:10
16 Paul's Cause (Charles) 2:55
17 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin) 3:07
18 Lavonne (Clark) 2:55

[# 1-14]
Wardell Gray - ts
Al Haig - p
Tommy Potter - b
Roy Haynes - dr
Recorded in New York ; November 11, 1949
Wardell Gray - ts
Frank Morgan - as
Sonny Clark - p
Teddy Charles - vb
Dick Nivison - b
Lawrence Marable - dr
Recorded in Los Angeles ; February 20, 1953


Cd. 2

1 Blue Gray (Gray) 2:40
2 Blue Gray [previously unissued alt.] (Gray) 2:46
3 Blue Gray [previously unissued alt.] (Gray) 2:39
4 Grayhound (Gray) 3:00
5 Grayhound [previously unissued alt.] (Gray) 2:34
6 Grayhound [previously unissued alt.] (Gray) 1:07
7 A Sinner Kissed an Angel (David, Joseph) 3:05
8 Treadin' (Gray) 3:42
9 Treadin' [previously unissued alt.] (Gray) 3:27
10 Treadin' [previously unissued alt.] (Gray) 3:13
11 April Skies (Collette) 3:01
12 Bright Boy (Bright) 2:47
13 Jackie (Hawes) 2:32
14 Farmer's Market (Farmer) 2:45
15 Sweet and Lovely (Arnheim, Tobias, Lemare) 3:14
16 Lover Man (Davis, Ramirez, Sherman) 2:22
17 Scrapple from the Apple (Parker) 9:43
18 Move (Best) 8:59

[# 1-10]
Wardell Gray - ts
Phil Hill - p
John Richardson - b
Art Mardigan - dr
Recorded in Detroit ; April 25, 1950
[# 11-16]
Wardell Gray - ts
Art Farmer - tp
Hampton Hawes - p
Harper Crosby - b
Lawrence Marable - dr
Robert Collier - cng [except # 15-16]
Recorded in Los Angeles ; January 21, 1952
[# 17-18]
Wardell Gray - ts
Clark Terry - tp
Dexter Gordon - ts [# 18 only]
Sonny Criss - as
Jimmy Bunn - p
Billy Hadnott - b
Chuck Thompson - dr
Recorded in performance at the Hula Hut Club, Los Angeles ; August 27, 1950


LaroSwing said...

Thank you again melanchthon!

emejota said...

Thanks!!!! Nice post!!!! Greetings from Canary islands... :)

deGallo said...

Thank you Mel. This upgrade is wonderful as my mp3 was less than desirable.

L.O.L. said...

Thanks Mel=)

Kovina Kris said...

Yet another fantastic post Mel. Thank you!

Philo said...

Very very nice! Joe Tarantino's digital restoration & remastering gives the listener a clean & warm mono sound that lets these fine performances shine. I am really enjoying this music.

duck said...

Wardell was such a sweet player and his music beautiful, what a waste of life thinking how much more he would have contributed to the music we love

David P said...

Hi! I'd love to hear some of these Wendell Grey recordings but I am asked for a password or a keyword when I try to convert them. Can you advise? Thanks! DPS

David P said...

Postscript: Pardon me for getting Wardell Gray's name all wrong. That's what happens when I write before my first cup of coffee! DPS

lavoisier said...

Thank you Mel for this post. I did not know W. Gray, it will enrich strongly my knowledge of the music we love. One remark: the file is too large for today's speeds!

Baruch said...

Kneigh said...

Many thanx for the re-up, sir!! I obviously missed it the first time around, but I'm very glad you took the time to re-up!!

Pernath said...

I only had volume 2. Thanks a lot Baruch.

Toad said...

A precious re-up, thanks

TEO said...

Thanks very very much Mel!!!
Wardel Gray is a super master!!!!

rowland said...

Thanks a lot..

Dr. Clysmok said...

Would love a re-upload of this, s'il vous plais