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  Listen Up! 7/2/02 Listen Up!

Tuesday, July 2

Clifford Brown and Max Roach, ďAlone Together: The Best of the Mercury Years,Ē Verve Records. This package came out in 1995, eons ago in the world of CD reissues. Nowadays, the big thing is accurate reissues of original LPs. This collection instead takes the tack of compiling one disc of stuff with Clifford Brown on trumpet, and one disc of stuff with Max Roach on drums. Of course, thereís some overlap there, as the duo co-led one of the hottest jazz combos of the 50s. Somehow or other, Iíve never really spent a lot of time listening to these guys, especially Brown, and Iím digging the heck out of it right now. He had such a clear tone, such an authoritative presence, such a vigor to his playing. In a wide variety of situations, including backing vocalists, he was always an individual presence. By the way, though CD reissue sound standards have generally improved tremendously since 1995, this one must have been an early triumph, because this stuff sounds like the bands are playing right here in the room with me.

--Steve Pick



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