Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Baby Face" Willette & Grant Green - Trio/Quartet (Complete Recordings)

This release presents all of Grant Green and Baby Face Willette's collaborative albums as leaders. Recorded in 1961-62, they consist of the LP Grant's First Stand (Blue Note BST-84064), issued under the guitarist's name, and “Baby Face” Willette's albums Face to Face (Blue Note BST-84068) and Stop and Listen (Blue Note BST-84084). Other than their three LPs as leaders, Green and Willette only recorded together on Lou Donaldson's album Here ‘Tis, from which it has been added the title song, a long blues, as a bonus.

Source : http://www.jazzmessengers.com/en/65652/grant-green/complete-recordings-with-baby-face-willete-trio

Grant Green's debut album, Grant's First Stand, still ranks as one of his greatest pure soul-jazz outings, a set of killer grooves laid down by a hard-swinging organ trio. For having such a small lineup — just organist Baby Face Willette and drummer Ben Dixon — the group cooks up quite a bit of power, really sinking its teeth into the storming up-tempo numbers, and swinging loose and easy on the ballads. The influence of the blues on both Green and Willette is strong and, while that's far and away the dominant flavor of the session, Green also displays his unique bop phrasing (learned by studying horn players' lines, rather than other guitarists) to fine effect on his high-octane opener, "Miss Ann's Tempo," and Willette's "Baby's Minor Lope." Green's original blues "A Wee Bit O'Green" and "Blues for Willarene" are both memorable, particularly the former, and the two standards — "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do" — are given smoky treatments soaked in bluesy, late-night atmosphere. Willette and Dixon both supply a tremendous rhythmic drive, and Willette's solos burn with gospel fervor. This same trio performed together on Willette's Stop and Listen album, with equally heated results. None of Green's contemporaries used the single-note style (Green rarely played chords, leaving that to the organ or piano) to quite the same degree, making him a unique voice on his instrument. And his terrific debut pegged him as an up-and-comer to watch closely.
Steve Huey

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/grants-first-stand-mw0000259013

"Baby Face" Willette
Grant Green
Complete Recordings


Cd. 1

1 Miss Ann's Tempo (Green)  5:42
2 Lullaby Of The Leaves (Petkere, Young)  7:44
3 Blues For Willarene (Green)  7:10
4 Baby's Minor Lope (Willette)  7:20
5 ‘Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do (Grainger, Prince, Williams)  4:28
6 A Wee Bit O'green (Green)  7:50
7 Willow Weep For Me (Ronell)  8:16
8 Chances Are Few (Willette)  7:43
9 Jumpin' Jupiter (Willette)  5:13
10 Stop And Listen (Willette)  4:40
11 At Last (Gordon, Warren)  7:21
12 Soul Walk (Willette)  5:23


Cd. 2

1 Work Song (Adderley, Brown)  4:55
2 They Can't Take That Away From Me (Gershwin, Gershwin)  6:26
3 Swingin' At Sugar Ray's (Green)  6:37
4 Goin' Down (Willette)  7:26
5 Whatever Lola Wants (Adler, Ross)  7:23
6 Face To Face (Willette)  6:19
7 Something Strange (Willette)  6:44
8 High ‘N Low (Willette)  7:09
9 Face To Face [alt. take] (Willette)  6:54
10 Something Strange [alt. take] (Willette)  6:43
11 Here ‘Tis (Donaldson)  9:25


[Cd. 1, # 1-6] from "Grant's First Stand"
Grant Green - g
"Baby Face" Willette - org
Ben Dixon - dr
Recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey ; January 28, 1961
[Cd. 1, # 7-12 & Cd. 2, # 1-2] from "Stop and Listen"
Same as above
Recorded same place as above ; May 22, 1961.
[Cd. 2, # 3-10] from "Face to Face"
Same as above, except
Fred Jackson - ts, is added
Recorded same place as above ; January 30, 1961.
[Cd. 2, # 11] bonus track
Same as above, except
Lou Donaldson - as, replaces Jackson
Dave Bailey - dr, replaces Dixon
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey ; January 23, 1961
While it's true that Baby Face Willette's Stop and Listen is widely regarded as his finest recording, this, his Blue Note debut from January of 1961, should not by any means be overlooked. After all, before this session he had the same lot as most Blue Note artists at the time; they played as sidemen on other's recordings before being allowed to headline their own dates. Willette performed on dates by Grant Green (Grant's First Stand) and Lou Donaldson (Here 'Tis). Face to Face boasts a mighty meat and potatoes soul-jazz lineup: Green on guitar, Fred Jackson on tenor, and drummer Ben Dixon. Comprised of six cuts, five of them are Willette originals. The evidence of the rough and rowdy side of Willette's playing is evident from the opener, "Swinging at Sugar Ray's." His approach to the B-3 is far more percussive than Jimmy Smith's, each note is a distinct punch ; not only in his solos, but in his chord and head approaches. His solo is a nasty, knotty blues sprint that encompasses gospel licks and R&B fills, too. The other notable thing about the cut is Green's guitar break that shows a side of him we seldom got to hear early on, where he's bending strings, playing in the high register, and using intense single-note runs. It's nearly a breathless way to open a record. Things slow down on the blues "Goin' Down" that features a nice emotive solo by Jackson. The mambo-infused "Whatever Lola Wants" by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross comes next and includes some beautiful stop-and-and start moves in the melody, as well as beautiful call and response between Jackson and Willette, while Dixon's drums shift around the outside before the whole thing breaks down into a groover. The poppin' funky title track has one of those beautiful hard bop heads that's instantly memorable. Sure, it's not terribly sophisticated but it's full of soul and a relaxed yet quick group of changes before Jackson begins to blow. "Somethin' Strange" is pure blues, Chicago style, before moving into tough funky soul. The set closes with "High 'N' Low," a relaxed show-closing groove joint ; it's all blues with fine contributions from Green, Jackson, and Willette. The two alternates are not necessarily revelatory, but they do keep the solid vibes happening for another 13 minutes or so. Certainly it's true that these compositions don't show a ton of imagination conceptually, but that doesn't mean anything. The group interplay here is the thing, it works seamlessly. The other notable is the looseness with which Green was playing on the date, and the true introduction of Willette's trademark approach to the B-3. That's all here. These tunes have their own little trademark knots and notches all over them. Highly recommended.
Thom Jurek

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/face-to-face-mw0000595874

Probably the greatest set in Baby Face Willette's all-too-slim discography, Stop and Listen matches the organist with the hugely sympathetic team of guitarist Grant Green and drummer Ben Dixon (the same trio lineup who recorded Green's debut LP, Grant's First Stand). With no saxophonist this second time around, it's just Willette and Green in the solo spotlight, and they play marvelously off of one another. As a soloist, Willette has a nimble, airy touch, and though he owes no debt to the modal style of Larry Young, he has a greater melodic imagination than many of his instrument's straight blues players. What's more, his playing is far less in-the-pocket than his inspiration, Jimmy Smith's ; Willette can really make a groove percolate, whether he's soloing or adding keen rhythmic interest with his left hand (witness the throbbing slow blues of "Chances Are Few" or the marching beat of "Soul Walk"). Green is in prime form as well, in particular contributing some unbearably lovely solos to the standard "At Last." Nearly every selection is memorable, with other highlights coming from Willette's manic original "Jumpin' Jupiter," a breezy treatment of "Willow Weep for Me," and Nat Adderley's jauntily swinging "Worksong." There's nary a bit of sleepy meandering on this set of grooves ; each musician is plugged in and ready to wail. With Blue Note's extraordinary stable of talent, it's a shame that Willette never led another session for the label, which makes Stop and Listen that much more essential for soul-jazz fans.
Steve Huey

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/stop-and-listen-mw0000118136


deGallo said...

Thank you for this great collection!

Otis Foster said...

Thnx melanchthon

JH said...

Great collection!

Jonathan F. King said...

"Face to Face" was one of the first jazz LPs I bought when making the transition from rock to jazz, back around 1972. Loved the cooking organ and the bluesy guitar ... organ trios are still just about my favorite kind of combo. Thanks for this post ...

Fernando said...

Thanks Mel.

lucky5 said...

Much appreciated, Mel!

AmyBRAINS said...

Many thanks.

som4ew said...

Thanks, such a great collections!!!

jaybird said...

wonderful blog, I just stumbled on. Nice taste.

I am having difficulty w/ a password can you help the clue challenged

Melanchthon said...


Cd. 1

Cd. 2

Kovina Kris said...

1 album I have, 1 album is an upgrade, and 1 I didn't have. In any case, very nice to get a new release of all of this stuff in one place. Great post. Thank you!

hcb said...

Thanks and thanks again

Sandflyer said...

Many thanks, for more jazz guitar... without Davis and Coltrane ;-)

Starchild said...

Many thanks Mel!

Slidewell said...

Grant Green, baby! I'll be immersing myself in these cool sounds repeatedly!


Slidewell said...

Hmmm, I've got the pw, but my unarchiver doesn't ask for pw, just says 'corrupt'

Starchild said...


My download unzipped without a hitch. Did you select all of the files to extract as a group?

neil said...

Only had 'Grant's First Stand' as mp3s; so many thanks for the opportunity to upgrade, mel...

Slidewell said...

@Starchild: Never had this issue before. I'm on a Mac, btw. All the files are sitting on my desktop, but when I try to unarchive, I don't get a prompt for a pw, it just says the files are corrupt. I tried re-downloading the 3 files for cd1, and still, the same issue.

Jazz Padd said...

Thank you very much.

Fred Archtop said...

What a post ! Thanks a lot Mel.

Guelda said...

Same as Kovina Kris, I didn't know the 3rd album and it is very pleasing.

Thank you for this great post Mel !