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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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CARMELL JONES QUARTET

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 867

 

 

1. Willow Weep For Me

2. If I Love Again

3. Ruby

4. For Every Man There’s A Woman

5. Baubles, Bangles And Beads

6. Airegin

Alternate Takes

7. Willow Weep For Me

8. If I Love Again

9. Ruby

10. For Every Man There’s A Woman


Carmell Jones - Trumpet (except track 6)

Forrest Westbrook - Piano

Gary Peacock - Bass

Bill Schwemmer - Drums


In these previously unreleased sessions from August 1960, we are introduced to trumpeter Carmell Jones, who had recently moved from his home in Kansas City to Los Angeles, intent on making his mark on the West Coast jazz scene. As luck would have it, he quickly became part of a quartet that had Forrest Westbrook on piano, Gary Peacock on bass, and Bill Schwemmer on drums. The band used to rehearse in Westbrook’s apartment where he had a small studio with audio recording equipment. These sides were professionally recorded on reel-to-reel tape by Westbrook with the intention of introducing the group to Dick Bock, President of Pacific Jazz Records. However that never happened and the tapes remained unplayed for almost 55 years. Kudos to Jordi Pujol of Fresh Sound Records for ferreting out these tapes, which are the earliest introduction to this up-and-coming hard-bop trumpeter.

Stylistically Jones comes from the Clifford Brown school, but he does not have the ferocity or technical facility exhibited by Brown. Nevertheless, he displays a solid tone and excellent range that allows him to build the appropriate dynamics as evidenced by the opening cut Willow Weep For Me. The rhythm section understands how to construct the harmonic tension in the number, with pianist Westbrook showing quiet polish. The Ray Charles number Ruby is a swinger filled with Jones’ flashing ideas, and a clear sense of phrase. Schwemmer keeps solid time, with pianist Westbrook ever resourceful, and bassist Peacock demonstrating technique over attack. As the original purpose of this session was to act as a demo for Dick Bock, it is short in length, yet indicated the musical flexibility of the group. Hence Baubles, Bangles And Beads offered in 3/4 time. While Jones is his usual versatile and proficient self, the tune gave plenty of solo space to bassist Gary Peacock who flexed his muscles as a savvy player.

The final original number is the Sonny Rollins composition Airegin (an anagram for Nigeria), a rhythm section excursion showcasing pianist Forrest Westbrook. At the time of the recording, he was little known outside some tight musical circles in LA, and he never really gained any national attention. That is unfortunate as he had a muscular single-note style that was prevalent on the West Coast, and exemplified by such players as Russ Freeman, Hampton Hawes and Lou Levy.

Carmell Jones did record a number of albums in his own name for Pacific Jazz as well as becoming an integral part of the trumpet section of Gerald Wilson’s Big Band. He also played a prominent role in Horace Silver’s release Song For My Father. Regrettably he never really caught on in the US. He left the country in 1966 and moved to Berlin, Germany to find his voice. He remained in that country until 1980 and, when he returned, he was all but forgotten. No one said life was fair.

Pierre Giroux



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