The Jimmy Giuffre 3 : 7 Pieces Fame can be fickle, meaning that someone like Jimmy Giuffre can fade into relative obscurity, remembered and appreciated by fellow musicians and a few hardcore jazz fans, while never having reached into the broader public consciousness in any measurable way.
As a multi-reed artist, Giuffre was certainly one of the most original and creative visionary forces in jazz. Perhaps Giuffre's best known ensemble was his first: a combo that was unorthodox in its day, featuring Giuffre, Jim Hall on guitar, and one of several bass players. A highlight of this combo, 7 Pieces (Verve, 1959), has been reissued with the addition of some never-before-heard live material. It all adds up to a devilishly good reminder of why Giuffre was such a great musician.
This trio must have seemed a little far out in the late fifties. The tunes — with no drums and therefore no steady beat — are softly lyrical, meandering creations with discernible melodies that have to be followed for awhile before they fully resolve. Even on something as simple as a blues, like the opening "Happy Man," the trio breaks down the form with instrumental solo interludes and some light call-and-response. "The Little Melody" is representative, beginning with a repeated statement for a few bars, then pausing,and finally restarting with improvisation, but at a greatly reduced tempo. It wanders for awhile, drifting and flowing about, seemingly aimlessly, barely pinned to the melody before recapitulating for its close. It's a sparse track, with a light, free flowing set of ideas that are hard to resist.
The reissue contains four additional tracks, recorded live in Rome in 1959. For a live session from that era, these monaural tracks are exceptionally well-recorded, rivaling — if not exceeding — the sound quality of the studio tracks. These tunes swing a little harder, perhaps because of the face-to-face interaction with the audience, and include the up-tempo "Four Brothers," which Giuffre wrote for Woody Herman's orchestra earlier in his career. Buddy Clark slams out a pulsing bass line that fulfills both his own role and the portion that would ordinarily be handled by the drums.The addition of what is essentially a bebop line breaks the mold of the record, but within the trio context it simply adds another dimension to Giuffre's work, showing a glint of where he began his musical adventure.
7 pieces exemplifies the power of an artist who was willing to experiment with an unconventional lineup to create truly original, and enduringly good music.Greg Simmons
Source : http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=39498
The Jimmy Giuffre 3
1 Happy Man (Giuffre) 7:23
2 Princess (Giuffre) 9:23
3 Song of the Wind (Giuffre) 5:55
4 Lovely Willow (Giuffre) 4:21
5 The Little Melody (Giuffre) 7:07
6 The Story (Giuffre) 7:29
7 Time Machine (Giuffre) 4:41
8 Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West (Lewis) 8:05
9 Four Brothers (Giuffre) 8:22
10 Princess (Giuffre) 4:52
11 Careful (Hall) 11:19
Jimmy Giuffre - cl, ts & bs
Jim Hall - g
Red Mitchell - b
Recorded in Los Angeles ; February 23, 25 & March 2, 1959
Same as above, except
Buddy Clark - b, replaces Red Mitchell
Recorded live at the Adriano Theater, Rome ; June 19, 1959