Friday, May 3, 2013

Kenny Drew - Undercurrent

Kenny Drew's seventh recording as a leader is significant for many reasons, not the least of which that it is one of the finest Blue Note hard bop statements in either of their catalogs. Teamed with rising young star, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and the wonderful tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley fresh off stints with Donald Byrd and Art Blakey, Drew is joining the ranks of the premier mainstream jazz pianists just prior to moving permanently to Europe. He's a complementary piece of the puzzle as a player, but stirs the drink as the composer of all of these very fine hard bop vehicles. Bassist Sam Jones and especially drummer Louis Hayes contribute mightily to the beats that keep Hubbard and Mobley flying on this recording, whose energy runs contrary to the more subtle, suggestive title. The band is roaring out of the gate on the title track in a Blakey-like stance, where Drew's rambling piano fortifies the under-the-surface horns. There's no messing around during the straight-ahead, fleet "Lion's Den," as the steady Hayes drives the combo, and Jones masterfully commands held tension-and-release segments. Toning it down into the blues spectrum, "Funk-Cosity" offers a beautiful melodic line where the identity might be typical, but the individualism of the performers is not. There's deft unison playing between the very compatible Hubbard and Mobley during the simplified "Groovin' the Blues," and even more pronounced on the ultra-melodic "The Pot's On," a gem of a tune that swings with a religious fervor via the adept drumming of Hayes. The lone downtempo track, "Ballade," is a real beauty as the trumpeter and tenor saxophonist wax poetic, but it is Drew whose cascading piano and deeply emotional romantic forays come across symphonically, like a young Erroll Garner. This is an extraordinary recording that reveals more upon repeat listenings. One does wish there was alternate or bonus material from this fine jazz band, but as is, it's the best of Drew as a leader aside from his quintessential work as a consummate sideman.
Michael G. Nastos

Source :

Kenny Drew


1 Undercurrent 7:20

2 Funk-Cosity 8:28
3 Lion's Den 4:56
4 The Pot's On 6:08
5 Groovin' the Blues 6:22
6 Ballade 5:32

All Compositions by Kenny Drew


Freddie Hubbard - tp
Hank Mobley - ts
Kenny Drew - p
Sam Jones - b
Louis Hayes - dr

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey ; December 11, 1960


Anonymous said...

thanks Mel

swamielmo said...

thanks again Mel,

taro nombei said...

Many thanks, a great post.
I've linked this with my post of Kenny Drew's Dark Beauty and If You Could See Me Now.

Let me know if that is not OK for you.
all the best — and keep up the great work!

Terry said...

What a marvellous record. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Please help us out with the paw for Ray Brown & Milt Jackson "Much in Common" -- it won't unpack with the usual pass.

micky said...

great post, thank you. most of the times my thankyius dont get published .so I take this opt to thank you for all your previous posts. all the best

Kovina Kris said...

Thank you very much! Great post!

Anonymous said...

can you inform me what is the password?
thank you!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post,appreciated:)

Baron said...

Thanks Mel ... Baron

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post! Merci!

Melanchthon said...

RS link

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel! Lost this one when my hard drive crashed. Happy to have it back.