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lunes, 23 de mayo de 2016

Charles Earland • If Only For One Night

Review by Scott Yanow

Less than two months before his sudden death, Charles Earland recorded this final rewarding effort. One of the most inventive of the organists to come up after Jimmy Smith, Earland contributed five originals to the set and shows that one can play funky and still be creative and unpredictable. The main surprise of the outing is that Najee, a saxophonist best known for his R&B-ish/crossover records, fits in quite well to the hard bop and soul-jazz jams. Also in fine form as a soloist is underrated guitarist Melvin Sparks. Earland sounds inspired by his sidemen and is heard in excellent form this one last time.


By Owen Cordle

Recorded on Oct. 19, 1999, this was Earland's last studio album. The organist, known as "the Mighty Burner," died less than two months later. He was admired for his heated, climactic performances and walking-bass-pedal technique (the best in the business, it has been said). Arriving on the scene in the late '60s, he recorded for Prestige, Muse and Milestone before joining HighNote in '97.

This album includes saxophonist and flutist Najee, guitarist Melvin Sparks, drummer Buddy Williams and percussionist Gary Fritz. Before the name Najee gets your defenses up, be advised that the smooth-jazz star flexes his straightahead jazz chops convincingly throughout this session. His sound and style on the title ballad and the stepping "My Blues Is Funky," an Earland original, belong to the preaching tenor tradition. While his soprano work on "My Favorite Things" won't challenge John Coltrane's definitive jazz version of this song, it is a respectable, scale-based treatment. Najee's flute, heard on "All My Tomorrows," "Summertime" and Earland's Latin-flavored "Just for You," is also solid.

Earland's ensemble focus resembles a big-band arranger's in terms of harmonic density, instrumental colors, the structure of his accompaniment, and his rhythmic acuity. The title cut is but one good example. As a soloist, he doesn't scatter random flurries of notes and licks; instead, he builds steadily and purposefully. Rhythmically, each track has a well-defined groove.
Sparks lives up to his name with a hot touch and some stinging lines, especially on Earland's "Keep the Faith" and B.B. King-tinged "Smoke." The drums are infectious and well-recorded (e.g., "Smoke"), and the percussion is clean and valuable to the groove.

1.My Favorite Things (8:00)
2.My Love (3:56)
3.My Blues Is Funky (7:31)
4.Keep The Faith (4:28)
5.If Only For One Night (6:50)
6.Smoke (7:37)
7.All My Tomorrows (5:20)
8.Just For You (11:24)
9.Summertime (5:12)

Charles Earland - Hammond B-3 organ
Najee - soprano, tenor sax & flute
Melvin Sparks - guitar
Buddy Williams - drums
Gary Fritz - percussion
Release Date: June 18, 2002
Duration: 01:00:33
Genre: Jazz
Hard Bop

Recording Date: October 19, 1999
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
October 19, 1999. Label: High Note 7092

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