Leo Parker was the proud owner of a big, beefy baritone sax tone and a fluent technique that struck a great match between the gritty, down-home feeling of R&B and the advanced harmonies of bebop. At first, he studied alto in high school, even recording with Coleman Hawkins' early bebop band at age 18 on that instrument in 1944. But upon joining the legendary Billy Eckstine bop band in 1944-1945 and 1946, Parker switched to baritone and began to garner notice. He worked with Dizzy Gillespie's band on 52nd Street in 1946 and Illinois Jacquet's group in 1947-1948, and recorded with Fats Navarro, J.J. Johnson, Dexter Gordon, and Sir Charles Thompson; he scored a hit with Thompson, "Mad Lad," on the Apollo label. Parker seemed to be on his way, but drug problems -- an epidemic in the bop community -- kept interfering with his career, and he recorded only sporadically in the 1950s. In September and October 1961, Parker began a comeback on the Blue Note label with two lively albums that successfully combined his blues, gospel, and bop backgrounds. But only a few months later, a heart attack felled him at the age of 36. ~ Richard S. Ginell, AMG.
Drugs and addictions defined most of Leo Parker's adult life, finally claiming it entirely in February of 1962 when he was only 36 years old. Only months earlier in 1961, in two sessions held on October 12 and October 20, Parker had played his heart out in what would have been his second album for Blue Note Records that year, and it had appeared that the baritone saxophonist was well on his way to a much deserved career comeback. The sessions, however, weren't released until almost 20 years later. Rollin' with Leo, presented here in remastered form, is a wonderful portrait of this unsung but brilliant player, whose huge, sad, but almost impossibly strong tone always felt like it carried the world on its shoulders. The centerpiece of Rollin' with Leo is the fascinating "Talkin' the Blues," which unfolds, nearly themeless, like a late-night conversation, ebbing and flowing exactly the way a conversation does, with Parker's baritone swinging back to gather notes, but always moving and stretching forward, expanding the conversation until it seems like everything that could be said HAS been said. Parker's death was tragic because he had so much more to say, and that makes this fine set all that more of a treasure. ~ AllMusic
01 The Lion's Roar
02 Bad Girl
03 Rollin' With Leo
04 Music Hall Beat
05 Jumpin' Leo
06 Talkin' The Blues
08 Mad Lad Returns
Leo Parker, Baritone Sax;
Bill Swindell Tenor Sax;
Blue Mitchell, Dave Burns, Trumpet;
Bill Swindell, Tenor Sax;
Shirley Scott, Organ;
"Johnny" Adriano Acea, Piano;
Al Lucas, Stan Conover, Bass;
Wilbert Hogan, Purnell Rice, Drums.
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder / Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
Recorded on October 12 [A3, A4] and October 20, 1961
Label Blue Note Records [50999 2 65140 2 4] CD (RM) RVG Edition 2009
Genre: Soul Jazz, Hard Bop, Jazz Saxophone
This file is intended only for preview!
I ask you to delete the file from your hard drive after reading it.