Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hank Williams it's not

The crew on Hank Garland's "Jazz Winds from a New Direction" is as elegantly proficient as the Modern Jazz Quartet, Garland and his guitar replacing John Lewis and the piano, and Gary Burton (all of 17 here) on vibes, bassist Joe Benjamin and Joe Morello, Dave Brubeck's drummer of choice, matching the troika of Jackson, Heath and Kay. I really get an MJQ feeling on "All the Things You Are" and the Burton-Garland song "Three-Four, the Blues."

I wish Garland had taken more solo space throughout, as he does on "Move," where his nimble fingers suggest Charlie Parker playing guitar, and the jazzy-bluesy rendering of Irving Berlin's "Always." I also wish he'd made more jazz recordings. A country music and Nashville stalwart, he was crippled in a near-fatal car accident in 1961, the same year "Jazz Winds" came out, struggled to return to form and never recorded a jazz session again.

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