Grant Green, guitar – Idle Moments – Blue Note/Analogue Productions stereo-only SACD ST-84154, 1 hour [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] [5/11/10] *****:
(Grant Green guitar; Joe Henderson, tenor sax; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Duke Pearson, piano; Bob Cranshaw, doublebass; Al Harewood, drums)
This 1963 Blue Note session (released in 1975) was one of the many great albums of jazz, hard bop, soul jazz and even funk put out by one of the under-appreciated masters of jazz guitar, who died at age 43 in 1979. Green’s style is quite distinctive – a swinging, loose, bluesy groove. He often recorded in smaller groups with B3 organ or in the typical B3 trio. The organist on some of his Blue Notes was the also unsung Larry Young.
There are no timings at all on the SACD, but it’s been best known for its long title and first track which runs 15 minutes, a slow and most-involving blues piece. Its length was reported to have been an accident, with the musicians repeating the melody twice and confused about whether a chorus would be 16 measures or 32! But when Blue Note’s Alfred Lion listened to it he decided to make it the initial take and title of the album. When completed the album of mostly ballads was way too short, even for an LP release, so Lion included alternate takes of two of the four tracks – Jean de fleur (a Green original) and John Lewis’ masterpiece Django. Django aficianados will go nuts to have not just one but two versions of the great tune by this superb guitarist and group. The alternate take of Django is also much longer: 13 minutes; so this is not an alternate take that sounds just about like the other one. Green loved the tune and had wanted for years to record it. It stresses a bluesy feeling and Cranshaw on bass and Harewood on drums aptly support the several terrific solos during its course.
The notes are by pianist on the session Duke Pearson and give a welcome in-person view of what went on in the studio during the recording session. The original Rudy van Gelder recording was mastered for SACD by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman and authored by The Super Audio Center’s Gus Skinas. The CD layer is very good but the SACD even more transparent and natural-sounding. Another Blue Note classic on SACD by Grant Green will be released at the same time: Green Street.
TrackList: Idle Moments, Jean de fleur (2 takes), Django (2 takes), Nomad
— John Henry