Dive into the Power & Passion of ‘Tenor Madness
In the vast panorama of jazz, Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor…
“Into Somethin'” is an album that captures the essence of jazz organist Larry Young‘s creative prowess, exhibiting his unique touch on the organ. With a line-up featuring tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers, guitarist Grant Green, and drummer Elvin Jones, the album offers a fascinating blend of talent and innovation.
Recorded in November 1964 for the iconic Blue Note label, the sessions took place in the culturally vibrant state of New Jersey. The result of these sessions is an album brimming with fresh ideas, rhythmic vigor, and melodic inventiveness, which only improves with each listening.
Larry Young, born in 1940, emerged as a forerunner among jazz organists. His father, also an organist, provided him with early musical guidance. He studied classical and jazz music, absorbing influences from Bud Powell and others. Larry’s playing is marked by clarity and nimbleness, which sets him apart from his contemporaries.
Sam Rivers, hailing from Boston, is a versatile tenor saxophonist with a dark, passionate tone. Known for his emotional directness and rhythmic drive, Rivers had already earned respect from fellow musicians before joining Young on this album. His contributions are vital to the album’s spirit.
Guitarist Grant Green, renowned for his distinct sound and improvisational skills, displays his deep connection to the blues idiom throughout the record. His consistency and ability to stay in the groove make him an invaluable asset on this session, as he effortlessly complements his fellow musicians.
Lastly, Elvin Jones, a true force in the world of drumming, provides an unmistakable rhythmic energy. Jones’ exceptional skill in lifting the beat and driving the music forward is a testament to his outstanding ability as a drummer.
The first track, “Tyrone,” named after Young’s five-year-old son, is a composition that exudes a sense of floating freedom. Young’s organ playing demonstrates his keen sense of melody, while Green’s uncluttered lines and penetrating sound contribute to the track’s relaxed groove. Rivers’ passionate tenor adds a layer of emotional depth, showcasing his unique sound and unyielding energy.
“Plaza De Toros,” written by Green, explores Spanish musical influences. The track combines jazz with Spanish idiomatic devices, creating a refreshing and unforced fusion. Green’s solo swings effortlessly, maintaining melodic interest throughout. Rivers’ improvisation, while rooted in jazz, evokes the passion of a flamenco “cantador.” Young’s organ accompaniment is spring-like and never overpowering, proving the instrument’s potential for light-footed grace.
My personal favorite, “Paris Eyes,” was written by Young in anticipation of a trip to the City of Light. The gentle theme conveys expectation, while Young’s mellowness and Rivers’ soft yet virile lyricism paint a vivid picture of Parisian life. Young’s provocative accompaniment patterns and Green’s joyful playing enhance the overall mood, making this track an unforgettable standout.
The musical style of “Into Somethin'” is characterized by its clarity, rhythmic vitality, and melodic inventiveness. The album explores themes of anticipation, freedom, and the blending of different musical cultures. These elements come together seamlessly, creating a cohesive and engaging listening experience.
Upon its release, the album was well-received by critics and listeners alike. It left a lasting impact on the jazz scene, with many praising Young’s fresh approach to organ playing and the undeniable chemistry between the musicians. The album served as an inspiration to other jazz musicians, who admired Young’s ability to transcend the instrument’s typical limitations.
Today, “Into Somethin'” is still viewed as a significant and influential work in the jazz organ canon. Its continued relevance can be attributed to Young’s innovative playing style, the exceptional contributions of the other musicians, and the album’s ability to stand the test of time. The record remains a testament to the power of creativity, collaboration, and boundary-pushing in the world of jazz.
The album’s significance is further cemented by its place within Blue Note’s prestigious catalog. As a label known for releasing groundbreaking jazz recordings, “Into Somethin'” has found its rightful place among the greats. With its enduring appeal, the album continues to captivate listeners and inspire future generations of musicians to explore new avenues within the jazz landscape.
In conclusion, Larry Young’s “Into Somethin'” is a remarkable album that showcases the talents of four exceptional musicians. With its blend of inventive compositions, stellar playing, and engaging themes, the record remains a shining example of jazz at its finest. As a reflection of Gary Giddins’ writing style, this blog post aims to convey the excitement and invigoration that this album continues to offer. Whether a seasoned jazz aficionado or a newcomer to the genre, “Into Somethin'” is an album that will not disappoint, leaving the listener with an eagerness to explore more of the rich and diverse world of jazz music.