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Charlie Rouse/Paul Quinichette – The Chase Is On – Pure Pleasure Records (2013) 180 Gram Vinyl LP ( Mono) Originally Released on Bethlehem Records (1957) BCP-6021 38:22****:

( Charlie Rouse & Paul Quinichette – tenor sax; Wynton Kelly – piano; Wendell Marshall – bass; Ed Thigpen – drums; Hank Jones – piano; Freddie Green – guitar –  Side A track #2 & Side B track #1)

During the heyday of his career ( 40s & 50s), Paul Quinichette could never shake the soubriquet “the Vice-Pres” because his style and tone sounded so much like Lester Young. Nevertheless as demonstrated on this outing, he was a swinging and inventive voice within the Young framework. Charlie Rouse on the other hand, had a very singular pronounced tone, coupled with rough cadenced style, that became all the more accentuated once he joined the Thelonious Monk Quartet ( 1959-70).

This one time only outing of these two stylists called The Chase Is On has been reissued on 180 Gram vinyl by Pure Pleasure Records (UK) with brilliant clean sound. It was not as if this two tenor format was unusual. There were many examples of this configuration such as Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt and Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. Nevertheless when two tenor sax personalities, with different styles and tones get together, there is bound to be musical conversations of documented importance.

Side A  begins with the title track “The Chase Is On” and quite a chase it is. After the twelve bar intro, Rouse begins his solo exploration which is both mellow, and filled with his straight forward articulation. Quinichette then jumps in covering his statement with sweeping compelling temperament. The rhythm section of Kelly, Thigpen, and Marshall keeps the pot boiling with a compelling groove.

Track two “When The Blues Come On” is a change of pace driven by pianist Hank Jones replacing Kelly, and the addition of the unmistakable guitarist Freddie Green. In this bluesy low down number, both Rouse and Quinichette are suavely probing for harmonic shapes that drive their exchange of conversations. Pianist Jones shows his tasteful chops through his command and curiosity on the keyboard.

The side closes with a Carmen McRae original called “Last Time For Love”. Done as a medium tempo ballad, both tenors show their capabilities as breezy partners. Although the mood is subdued, Rouse and Quinichette are animated and their soloing is inventive. Pianist Kelly offers a brief interlude that has an easy resonant flow.

The opener for Side B is an infectious swinger “ You’re Cheatin’ Yourself” with the Jones/Green combination in the rhythm section. The number begins with Rouse taking the first sixteen bars filled with exuberant energy,  followed by Quinichette for eight bars, and then Rouse takes over with eight. Thereafter they each exchange choruses which are high on ingenuity. Subsequently there are several three-way conversations among Thigpen, Rouse and Quinichette that fill the sonic space with delectable showiness before the full band plays through the last chorus.

Charlie Rouse penned “Knittin” a 12-bar swinging blues which opens with a walking bass line from Marshall followed by some sly piano by Kelly. Rouse and Quinichette then come in for series of interjections.These are perfect examples of two talented individuals who demonstrate a smooth and groove drenched attitude to the blues form, filled with notable improvisational versatility.

“The Things I Love” closes out Side B in a sedate fashion. A mid-tempo number that is a wonderful encapsulation of the capabilities of Rouse and Quinichette. They play off each other with tight short solos which personify their mastery of an uncluttered attitude to modern jazz creativity.

TrackList: 
Side A: 
The Chase Is On
When The Blues Come On
This Can’t Be Love
Last Time For Love

Side B:
You’re Cheatin’ Yourself
Knittin’
Tender Trap
The Things I Love

—Pierre Giroux

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