James Clay – Tenorman – The Kid From Dallas
In the summer of 1956 James Clay was a 20-year-old tenor saxophonist from Dallas, who had been living and playing in Los Angeles since mid-1955. At that time his colleagues were all young and independent experimentalists, completely outside of the flourishing West Coast jazz movement – players like trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Billy Higgins, and altoist Ornette Coleman – and though he said he was not an outside player, he worked easily within the unconventional settings of Coleman’s compositions.
Paradoxically, however, his only recordings were straight ahead, not at all in line with Ornette’s controversial music. On them his ideas flow melodically, especially in ballads and mid-tempos. On faster tunes, his blowing statements come from the strong swinging style and hot tone that characterized other Texas tenors such as Illinois Jacquet and Arnett Cobb, with a hard-bop approach clearly influenced by his idol Sonny Rollins. This CD contains all James Clay studio performances on tenor sax while the young kid from Dallas was living in Los Angeles in the mid Fifties.
1. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington-Mills) - 3:31 2. The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (Arlen-Koeheler) - 4:36 3. Easy Living (Rainger-Robin) - 4:30 4. Minor Meeting (Sonny Clark) - 4:33 5. Airtight (Herb Geller) - 3:40 6. Willow Weep From Me (Ann Ronell) - 4:47 7. Three Fingers North (Sonny Clark) - 4:28 8. Lover Man (Davis-Sherman-Ramírez) - 4:13 9. Marbles (Sonny Clark) - 4:17 10. It’s Alright With Me (Cole Porter) - 2:42 11. Scrapple From The Apple (Charlie Parker) - 5:30 12. Out Of The Blue (Miles Davis) - 6:16 13. Sandu (Clifford Brown) - 5:32 14. Cheek To Cheek (Irving Berlin) - 8:08
Track #1: James Clay (ts), Bobby Timmons (p), Jimmy Bond (b) and Peter Littman (d).
Forum Theatre, Los Angeles, July 25, 1956
Tracks #2-9: James Clay (ts & fl), Sonny Clark (p), Jimmy Bond (b) and Lawrence Marable (d).
Capitol Recording Studios, Hollywood, August 4, 1956
Track #10: James Clay (ts), Lorraine Geller (p), Red Mitchell (b) and Frank Capp (d).
Recorded for the Stars of Jazz TV Show, Hollywood, February 18, 1957
Tracks #11-14: Same quartet, except Billy Higgins, replaces Capp on drums.
Contemporary Studios, Los Angeles, March 26, 1957
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol