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Wardell Gray: Four Classic Albums Plus (The Chase & The Steeplechase / Way Out Wardell / Memorial Album Vol 1 / Memorial Album Vol 2) (2CD)

Wardell Gray: Four Classic Albums Plus (The Chase & The Steeplechase / Way Out Wardell / Memorial Album Vol 1 / Memorial Album Vol 2) (2CD)

Ref: AMSC1403

(UK Postage Free )


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AVID Jazz continues with its Four Classic Album series with a re-mastered 2CD release from Wardell Gray, complete with original artwork, liner notes and personnel details;
“The Chase & The Steeplechase”; “Way Out Wardell”; “The Memorial Album Vol 1” and “The Memorial Album Volume 2” plus three bonus tracks.
Oklahoma born Wardell Gray is a rather unsung tenor sax hero in jazz history, perhaps because he began playing through the transition period between swing and bebop in the 1940s? Or perhaps because there are not that many recordings by the great man during his lifetime? In 1929 at age 8 he had moved to Detroit with his family where he started playing clarinet before moving to tenor sax on hearing a recording by Lester Young with the Basie band. He went on to gain invaluable experience playing for three years with the Earl Hines band initially on alto before moving to tenor. In 1946 he moved to L.A. where he found work with the likes of Billy Eckstine, Benny Carter, Ivory Joe Hunter and formed his own quartet with Dodo Marmarosa on piano. It was in L.A. at the Central Avenue clubs Wardell began his famed tenor duels with Dexter Gordon as heard on The Chase quoted as “one of the most exciting musical contests in the history of jazz”. Great success followed for Wardell after The Chase and his life both personal and professional seemed to be on an upward trajectory. However he was not so happy with all the travelling expected of the jazz musicians which not only affected his private family life but also some said his playing also suffered. By the early 1950s drugs had apparently entered his life and although he had successful spells working with Goodman and Basie, tragically and horrifically he was found with a broken neck in the desert outside of Las Vegas in 1955! The verdict after a cursory examination was accidental death but foul play was suspected as Wardell was known to associate with criminal elements? We have put together four albums by the great tenorist and present them all as they were originally released with no extra tracks or outtakes. For any Annie Ross or Joni Mitchell fans out there we feature Wardell’s most famous composition “Twisted” on side one of the first Memorial Album. You can also find Annie’s definitive version on our 2CD Annie Ross set (AMSC1015) and on our Lambert Hendricks & Ross 2CD set (AMSC1320). For Joni’s version check out Court & Spark!
Check out:- Dexter Gordon (AMSC1199 & 1138); Don Bagley (AMSC1231); Teddy Charles (AMSC1174); Roy Haynes (AMSC1092), Red Callender (AMSC1194); Art Farmer (AMSC1060); Chico Hamilton (AMSC949); Hampton Hawes (AMSC1104); Sonny Criss (AMSC1182); Sonny Clark (AMSC1250); Benny Carter (AMSC1353 & 1048); Vic Dickenson (AMSC1073); Annie Ross (AMSC1015) (for a great version of Twisted).

1-2: ‘The Chase & The Steeplechase’
1. The Chase
2. The Steeplechase
3-7: ‘Way Out Wardell’
3. Blue Lou
4. Sweet Georgia Brown
5. Tenderly
6. Just You, Just Me
7. One O’Clock Jump
8. Matter And Mind (Bonus Track)
9. The Toup (Bonus Track)
10. Stoned (Bonus Track)

1-12: ‘Memorial Album Volume 1’
1. Twisted
2. Easy Living
3. Southside
4. Sweet Lorraine
5. Blue Gray
6. Grayhound
7. So Long Broadway
8. Paul’s Cause
9. The Man I Love
10. Lavonne
11. A Sinner Kissed An Angel
12. Treadin’
13-20: ‘Memorial Album Volume 2’
13. April Skies
14. Bright Boy
15. Jackie
16. Farmers Market
17. Sweet And Lovely
18. Lover Man
19. Scrapple From The Apple
20. Move

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