Thursday, May 2, 2013

Red Callender - Speak Low

The tuba in jazz is a rare avis with few practitioners. Ray Draper, Bernard McKinney, Howard Johnson, Joe Daly, Bob Stewart, and Marcus Rojas are among the most prominent, but bassist Red Callender was prominently using it in modern mainstream jazz before them all. This precious reissue from Fresh Sound brings back in print his Crown label LP from 1956 Speak Low, and The Lowest, originally on the Metrojazz label from 1958. To have them both on one CD is wondrous, though the total time of 44 minutes is a bit skimpy for full price. These are sextet and septet recordings with tuba, French horn, guitar, flute, clarinet, and rhythm section featuring the peerless bassist Red Mitchell, a great choice. They comprise a witty, ear turning, neat instrumentation and a true sonic treat. How the high woodwinds and low-end brass complement each other is nothing less than remarkable. The best evidence of this unseemly union is heard on "A Foggy Day," with bowed overcast bass, a bell chime like Callender, and beautiful counterpoint between the mysterious instruments perfectly evoking a steamy lighthouse scene on Hermosa Beach. Very much like Yusef Lateef of this time period, the exotic tone of "Speak Low" meshes Buddy Collette's flute with the tuba and understated percussion. Both are definitive pieces of conceptual jazz brilliance, and highlight the 1956 sessions. There's also the exquisitely melancholic "In a Sentimental Mood," and Callender's original "Cris," epitomizing California cool. The four tracks from 1958 sport the septet, featuring muted trumpeter Gerald Wilson and pianist Gerald Wiggins, also with Collette and Mitchell. They do a pensive, long distance, West Coast viewpoint on "Autumn in New York," a fun "Dedicated to the Blues" fronted by flute and tuba with trumpet chiming in after the fact of the melody, and an irresistible bopper "The Lowest," exhibiting the most energy of the disc. There are those who don't much care for the tuba in any context, and others who've had difficulty swinging with it. Callender had few problems, either wielding it or making it sound assured and cohesive on this recommended recording.
Michael G. Nastos

Source :

Red Callender
Speak Low


1 Speak Low (Weill, Nash) 7:31
2 Nice Day (Collette) 4:15
3 In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 3:30
4 Foggy Day (Gershwin, Gershwin) 5:17
5 Cris (Callender) 4:00
6 Darn That Dream (Van Heusen, DeLange) 2:46
7 Gone With The Wind (Wrubel, Magidson) 4:03
8 Autumn In New York (Duke) 3:03
9 The Lowest (Callender) 3:12
10 I’ll Be Around (Wilder)  2:45
11 Dedicated To The Blues (Callender)  3:26

[# 1-7]
Red Callender - tb
Buddy Collette - fl & cl
Vince DeRosa & Irving Rosenthal - fr hrn [# 2 & 7]
Bob Bain - g
Red Mitchell - b
Bill Douglass - dr
Recorded in Hollywood ; October 28, 1956.
[# 8-11]
Gerald Wilson - tp
Red Callender - tb
Buddy Collette - fl
Billy Bean - g
Gerald Wiggins - p
Red Mitchell - b
Bill Douglass - dr
Recorded in Hollywood ; April 30, 1958

Tracks [ # 8-11] previously issued on
"The Lowest The Music of Red Callender",
Metrojazz (MGM) E1007.

NB : "Five-Four Blues" is missing here
but you can found it here [# 19]


Winneba said...

Thank you - I love tubas ounds

LaroSwing said...


Melanchthon said...

Bhowani said...

Thank you !

fcapeau said...

Hurry up ! there are so few sessions with Red as a leader from that time !!
Many thanks, Mel.

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel!