In the vast panorama of jazz, Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor…
Recorded in 1960 at Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary studio in Hackensack, NJ, Horace Parlan‘s “Speakin’ My Piece” is a timeless classic. The album features Parlan on piano, Tommy and Stanley Turrentine on trumpet and tenor sax, George Tucker on bass, and Al Harewood on drums. It’s a must-listen for jazz enthusiasts with its soulful melodies, infectious grooves, and virtuosic solos. This Blue Note Records masterpiece continues to inspire and delight listeners today.
Parlan’s “Speakin’ My Piece” opens with “Wadin’,” showcasing the band’s virtuosity. Parlan’s piano playing is a blend of passion and restraint, with bluesy licks and delicate melodies. The Turrentine brothers contribute their own unique styles to the mix, with Tommy‘s bright, cutting trumpet attack and Stanley’s warm, full-bodied tone on the tenor sax. Tucker and Harewood provide a solid, propulsive rhythm section that serves as the foundation for the soloists to soar.
With its catchy melody and playful energy, “Up in Cynthia’s Room” stands out as a gem on the album. The tune’s joyful spirit is perfectly captured by the band’s dynamic interplay, with each musician contributing to the lively and upbeat atmosphere. Stanley Turrentine’s soulful solo on the tenor saxophone is a highlight of the track, showcasing his ability to infuse his playing with emotion and feeling. Tommy Turrentine’s trumpet playing is equally impressive, adding a sharpness and precision to the mix. Parlan’s piano solo is typically robust, filled with his signature bluesy feel.
The funky and down-home tune, “Rastus,” is another standout track on the album. Stanley Turrentine’s playing is invigorating, cutting through style and age considerations to get to the heart of jazz. Tommy’s supple time and sharp patterning complement his brother’s playing. Parlan sets off a rocking solo that leads to a restatement of the buoyant theme. The light-heartedness and grace of the performance are refreshing after so many “soul” messages.
Horace Parlan’s approach to the piano and his compositional style are truly unique in the jazz world. His percussive attack and soulful melodies create a classic jazz sound that is both timeless and contemporary. In “Borderline” and “Speakin’ My Piece,” Parlan’s quirky and unexpected changes and sequences keep the listener engaged and guessing. Meanwhile, the Turrentine brothers add a unique flavor to the mix with their soulful playing and passionate solos, which provide a perfect complement to Parlan’s style. Together, the musicians create an infectious energy that is both playful and powerful, leaving a lasting impression on the listener.
With its energetic, swinging sound and virtuosity of the musicians, “Speakin’ My Piece” was highly regarded upon its release, and continues to be a beloved classic of the jazz genre today. The album’s infectious grooves and soulful melodies have inspired countless musicians and listeners, from the time of its recording in 1960 to the present day. The enduring power of jazz music is evident in the album’s lasting legacy, as it remains a touchstone for musicians and fans alike, a shining example of the boundless creativity and unmatched talent that defines this genre.
Despite the critical acclaim and commercial success, what makes “Speakin’ My Piece” truly special is the enduring impact it has had on the jazz genre. The album’s timeless sound and infectious grooves continue to inspire musicians and listeners alike, cementing its place as a classic of the jazz canon. Its influence can be heard in the work of countless jazz artists who have followed in Parlan’s footsteps, incorporating elements of blues and hard bop into their own unique styles. It’s a testament to the enduring power of jazz music and to the incredible talent and creativity of the musicians involved, making “Speakin’ My Piece” an essential listen for any fan of classic jazz.
“Speakin’ My Piece” has left an indelible mark on jazz history, inspiring generations of musicians and listeners. The album’s timeless sound and virtuosic performances have ensured its place as a classic of the genre. Parlan’s skillful playing and composition, combined with the impressive talents of the Turrentine brothers, Tucker, and Harewood, have created a record that continues to be celebrated and enjoyed to this day. It’s a reminder of the power of jazz music to connect people across time and space, and to inspire joy, passion, and creativity in all who experience it.
Parlan’s “Speakin’ My Piece” is a must-have for any jazz lover’s collection. With its lively sound and infectious grooves, this album showcases Parlan’s exceptional piano playing and his bandmates’ stellar performances. The focus on blues and hard bop sets it apart from other jazz recordings of its time, highlighting Parlan’s unique artistic vision. Even today, the album’s influence can be heard in the work of contemporary jazz musicians. Whether you’re a lifelong jazz enthusiast or just discovering the genre, “Speakin’ My Piece” is an essential listening experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.