GRANT GREEN — Matador (review)

GRANT GREEN — Matador album cover Album · 1979 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Shelved by Alfred Lion the producer at Blue Note records when this session was recorded in May 1965 but not actually released until 1979 in Japan and internationally in 1990. "Matador" is the name given to the album and Grant Green was in red hot form at this time in his career with his previous session being "Idle Moments" and the next "Solid". He was doing a plethora of material at Blue Note and not all could be released as not to flood the market. Alfred Lion one of the main partners at Blue Note produced nearly all the sessions for the label till 1967 and with Francis Wolff decicided what to release and one does wonder why this session was never placed on the market much earlier. One of the reasons may have been the inclusion of "My Favourite Things" in the session to which many of us would say that this is the pick of the album but repititon was not one thing that Alfred would have liked in his Jazz and one has to admit that there are points within the solo from Grant on guitar that does head that way at times. Still wonderful album with excellent picking from Grant Green but what about the band having McCoy Tyner on piano and Elvin Jones on drums who one could say are experts at "My Favourite Things" having been on the classic recording of the tune with John Coltrane and recently just recorded "Crescent" and "A Love Supreme" with him as well. You would be going to find any better musicians and also while talking about those better musicians Bob Cranshaw is on bass for just another session at Blue Note and Bob has pretty much played with Sonny Rollins for the last 50 years.

The title "Matador" is first with Grant on guitar soloing in that order also with his usual beautiful sharp presicion with McCoy Tyner following with that delightful touch he has on piano over the repeated rythmn structure in this lovely quick driver of a number. "My Favorite Things" is next and like the previous "Matador" is over ten minutes in length providing plenty of room for the musicians to stretch out with their solos and Grant Green takes the lion's share in both. Like any great McCoy Tyner does not play this tune the same as he did with John Coltrane previously and he is playing a bit more fill with his piano interruptation. Grant Green's solo is the let down. Why in two sections repeat the same chord 20 times in a row and then put as through it again a minute later? One could not be blamed for thinking the record is scratched or your cd is faulty. McCoy is great to follow but for me it spoiled what could have been something close to that other Coltrane version. As the first tune was, "Blue Jeans" as another Grant Green composition within the album with quite a nice jaunt put within the composition's structure having a great little call and response intro between Grant and McCoy and Grant takes the first solo with a much better approach but at times he still has that repitition thing happening again. McCoy is wonderful to follow with his piano input and often I have heard his tone described as joyous which is perhaps the best description for the touch that he has on the piano keys whilst playing. The rythmn section of Bob Cranshaw and Elvin Jones are simply superb throughout with neither putting a foot wrong with Elvin showing his stuff on drums in the next , "Bedouin" being techinically the last track on the album with him placing a lovely subdued one near the end of the composition. Grant plays the most interesting solo from him on the album within this track with McCoy of course doing it superbly again as well. "Wives and Lovers" is the bonus track with Grant sounding like his guitar is getting plenty of pluck on this jaunty version.

I found when I first heard the album years back now I absolutely loved it but over time that repitition from Grant Green in "My Favorite Things and Green Jeans" is a bit much for this old free flowing Jazz Head. Alfred Lion never inteferred with the music and let the musicians have their run with results that are legendary in Jazz today and this is one album if not for that point that I have previously made and still one you will want if you are a Grant fan like myself.
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