HAMPTON HAWES — Hampton Hawes, Freddie Redd ‎: Move! (review)

HAMPTON HAWES — Hampton Hawes, Freddie Redd ‎: Move! album cover Boxset / Compilation · 1965 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
"Move" is a mid-60s re-issue of “Piano East Piano West”, an album from the mid-50s that presented two new pianists at the time, with one side given to Freddie Redd, and the other side to Hampton Hawes. Although the original release gave top billing to Redd, “Move!” gives top billing to Hawes. This is an excellent LP that captures the sound of piano jazz in the mid-50s, still rooted in the bop innovations of Bud Powell, but also leaning towards the new hard bop sound that these guys, along with others like Horace Silver, will create. Between Redd and Hawes, Freddie is more apt to wear his Bud influences on his sleeve, sounding very much like Powell at times, although a little more lyrical and less given to flash. Hawes, on the other hand, has more of a unique sound with a lot of dissonant quirky edges that may remind some of Monk or possibly other odd stylists like Ahmad Jamal or Herbie Nichols. Along with their bop background, the other uniting factor for Redd and Hawes is that they are both very under-rated and overlooked performers, with neither getting near the acclaim as many of their contemporaries.

The Freddie Redd cuts feature the pianist with just bass and drums, while Hawes adds Larry Bunker on vibes to fill out his otherwise similar quartet. Redd tends to stretch out on his solos, taking many choruses, while Hawes and his group have that be-bop styled short and sassy approach to solos that leads to eight tunes on his side, to the four on Redd’s side. The addition of vibes to Hawes’ group makes for a unique sound, definitely leaning towards a more exotic west coast feel, but these guys are not ‘cool’, as they definitely work up a sweat on several tunes.

Both sides of this split LP are excellent, but Hawes’ sometimes off-the-wall approach to the piano, plus his colorful quartet sound and their short punchy tunes gives him the edge in a comparison. I doubt this was ever re-issued on CD, but this sort of older acoustic jazz sounds so much better on vinyl anyway. Modern digital production tends to smooth out all the rough edges and natural dissonances that make this music enjoyable in the first place.
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