Spin #55 : Grant Green : Idle Moments
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #55
Welcome to our 55th Spin this week and one that we have partially reviewed already over on our R'nR with Rylo Podcast (Episode 2 can be found here). I had hoped to have recorded a few more episodes but life has been a bit busy lately with our two little children and work balance. If you haven't had a chance to listen to that episode, then don't worry at all. Take a seat with Night Kat Kiz and I at the dimly lit table and relax as we spin 'Idle Moments' by Blue Note artist - Grant Green.
I find it difficult to review the Blue Note albums in my collection as they are very subjective to the mood the listener is in at the time and how absorbed you get into the music. For this album I have decided to play it on our front room set-up again near the lovely window as the breeze rolls in. For those who don't know, it is the Marshall Woburn II speaker and Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT turntable that we are using for this one. If you are old enough and have access to a nice whiskey or Gin & Tonic, I wont be offended if you pour yourself a glass as it is now time too........#dropthestylus!
Image : Grant Green
I think it was around about the same time I discovered the wonderful Art Blakey that I came across Grant Green and his absorbing guitarwork for Blue Note. 'Idle Moments' also showcases the talents of Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Duke Pearson, Bob Cranshaw and Al Harewood. I haven't been able to find the follow up album called 'The Kicker' which is fronted by vibraphonist, Bobby Hutcherson. If anyone is willing to part with their copy or can find me one at a very reasonable price, please let me know. I love it how the back cover only has his instrument as 'Vibes'. Originally thinking that this cool cat must have been at the back of the studio with sunglasses on and a cigarette in mouth giving everyone positive vibes, "Alright everyone, let's play well". No, it actually means someone who hits something very similar to a giant xylophone with padded drumsticks.
I have it recorded that when I am 84 years old and Blue Note repress the follow up album, 'The Kicker', that I am allowed to buy it (Thanks Night Kat Kiz!). I liked the back story on this album and first piece, 'IDLE MOMENTS'. Duke Pearson had in his head that everyone would have their moment to shine and he would give them the nod to move on. The problem was that Grant Green was having such an enjoyable time playing and getting into it that he missed his cue to pass the parcel, so to speak. Green didn't give up the limelight quick enough because everyone was just enjoying themselves. I think that is the key to all of this and that it's important to enjoy what you do. As this track was the last to be recorded, they only had a set amount of time available on the LP and had to stick to it. When they reviewed the runtime they were shocked that it went for almost 15 minutes! They did try and record a shorter version of 'IDLE MOMENTS', that would have fit on the LP but they weren't happy with that version. This meant major changes to the second song and had to be re-recorded for under 7 minutes. I believe that this opening piece of music transports you to another time and another frame of mind, purely by the opening keys of Pearson's piano playing.
In a magical world where I could buy Blue Note records from the United States of America and not have to think about budgets (c'mon lotto win), I'd try and buy every single Grant Green album. Sometimes they do have great sales but the conversion rate to AUD and postage makes it impossible to justify the purchase. This kind of music has a way to bring out what you might be feeling deep down and provides some self-reflection time. Another artist that you might enjoy is Wayne Shorter who sadly passed away in his 80s only this week. Anyways, I'm so glad that they managed to keep this version of the opening track as it is pretty perfect. The stylus moves along to the second piece of music now called, 'JEAN DE FLEUR'. There is a very concise approach heard on this one and Green on guitar really shines bright. Because this was re-recorded for a shorter runtime after the opening track, you can feel the energy flowing through the Marshall Woburn II speaker. Harewood on drums keeps timing with the masterful Henderson on Tenor Sax bringing excitement at the 3 minute 20 mark. The stylus slowly moves towards the dead wax of Side A and now it's time to flip the LP over for Side B.
If you read our Spin last week I talked about creepy things happening around the house lately. One of those instances was the television turned on by itself at midnight and scared the $%^ out of Night Kat Kiz and I. Well, it happened again the following night and got us thinking about settings on the television. Wouldn't you know it, our clever 4 year old son (K) had managed to set an 'On-Timer' to occur every night for ABC Kids. He has in the past also added movies to our watch list on the SBS app and the highlight would have to be the 1971 cult classic, 'Vampyros Lesbos'.
Opening piece of music on Side B that Green held in high regard is called 'DJANGO'. The original composer was John Lewis in 1954, who actually wrote it as a tribute piece for Django Reinhardt. If you want to hear a piece that showcases some fantastic bass playing then look no further than Bob Cranshaw here. A much slower tempo and softer sound compared to the previous piece of music, 'DJANGO' showcases the work of Hutcherson's angelic vibe playing too. Once again, if you sit back and let the music play loud wherever you are right now, you will feel nothing but utter relaxation. Around the 1 minute 40 second mark, you will hear the unbelievable dexterity of Green's guitar work take you on another short ride to Restville. There is just something about Jazz and Blues music that talks to me and it was a shame that the recent festival in Kiama didn't have much happening on the Friday until later in the day, sadly meaning we missed out on experiencing some live music for our little family. Our daughter though is starting to point at shoes now and saying "Shoe Shoe" really quickly, which is adorable. I think the shoes she likes the most currently are her little sandals with the bunny faces on them or the ones with the butterfly.
Final piece of music on this album is called 'NOMAD' and it was another fast paced number. Henderson, Hutcherson and Green really stand out to me on this one. Other artists worth checking out from Blue Note would be Herbie Hancock, Blue Mitchell, Hank Mobley and Kenny Burrell. There are so many but I wont name them all and that will make you go and explore your favourite jazz artists. Pearson at the end of this piece really wraps it all up and coming in at over 12 minutes in length, it almost became another jam session gone over. So let me know in the comments section below or on our social pages who is your go-to Jazz or Blues artist to put on the turntable and unwind. I love the discussions and maybe you will point me in the direction of an artists that I haven't heard yet.
It is difficult to say which piece of music on this album is my favourite because all four bring something different. I think because of the backstory and runtime of the opening track, I'd have to stay with 'IDLE MOMENTS'. If you enjoyed our 55th Spin - Grant Green - 'Idle Moments', then make sure to look into his other albums. A couple off the top of my head that are available and I'd recommend would be Feelin' The Spirit, Nigeria and Am I Blue. I hope that you found some 'you' time this week and refilled your emotional buckets for what comes next. Thanks for taking the time to read along and see you next week for some more R'nR with Rylo!
Until our next Spin, be Kind to vibraphonists and be Kind to your Wax!
BLUE NOTE (BST 84154)
SPEED PLAYED AT
33 1/3 RPM
AM I BLUE (1963)
STREET OF DREAMS (1967)
ANYTHING BLUE NOTE
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP
LP / SIDE
JEAN DE FLEUR
Grant Green and his guitar