Cal Tjader: Four Classic Albums


When Cal Tjader left the George Shearing quintet in 1954 he formed a group that specialised in a highly successful fusion of Latin American with bop influences and his two Fantasy albums that year – Ritmo Caliente and Tjader Plays Mambo – proved to be very popular. The dates with Brew Moore and Bob Collins here are clearly not typical of his work at that time but they do represent a fascinating change of pace.

Tenor-man Moore had recently drifted into San Francisco, having caught the bus from Los Angeles and as always his laid-back take on the Lester Young tradition is a delight on “Moten Swing”, “Jeepers Creepers” and “Brew’s Blues”. The obscure Bob Collins had played trombone with the esoteric Dave Brubeck octet from 1946 to 1950 along with his better known brother Dick who was the trumpeter with the group. This was his only other recording. He gets a warm Herbie Harper-like sound especially on “I’ll Know” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” from Guys and Dolls.

The 1958 San Francisco Moods is not so successful because the material – mostly by the leader – is less than memorable. Things really pick up on “Viva Cepeda”, which finds the inventive Vince Guaraldi sitting in for a fast mambo with an extensive montuno – an essential feature of the idom.

Both Lonnie Hewitt and the leader stretch out to good effect on “Doxy” (mistitled “Doxie” on the sleeve) which of course is based on “Ja-Da” – an old warhorse from 1918. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Horn, who was still working with Chico Hamilton’s quintet at the time, makes a couple of outstanding alto contributions to “Afro Blue” and especially “Laura”, where he creates a lyrical statement worthy of Paul Desmond.

CD1: [Cal Tjader Quartet/Quintet Plays Jazz] (1) Moten Swing; (2) I’ve Never Been in Love Before; (1) There Will Never Be Another You; (2) How about You; (1) Jeepers Creepers; A Minor Goof; (2) My One and Only Love; (1) Imagination; (2) I’ll Know; (1) Brew’s Blues; [Cal Tjader Quartet-San Francisco Moods] (3) Running Out; Raccoon Straits; The Last Luff; Sigmund Stern Groove; Coit Tower; Triple T Blues; Union Square; Skyline Waltz; (4) Viva Cepeda; (3) Grant Avenue Suite (76.20)
CD2: [Cal Tjader Sextet-Concert By The Sea Vol 1] (5) Doxy; Afro Blue; Laura; Walkin’ with Wally; We’ll Be Together Again; ’Round Midnight; [Cal Tjader Sextet-Concert By The Sea Vol 2] Love Me or Leave Me; Tu Crees Que; S.S. Groove; A Night in Tunisia; Bess, You Is My Woman Now; Lover Come Back to Me; Tumbao (78.24)

Tjader (vib, d) with:
(1) Brew Moore (ts); Sonny Clark (p); Eugene Wright (b); Bobby White (d). Berkeley Little Theatre, San Francisco. 6 June 1955.
(2) Bob Collins (tb); Eddie Duran (elg); Al McKibbon (b). Marines Memorial Theatre, San Francisco, 4 December 1954.
(3) Manuel Duran (p); Eddie Duran (elg); Jimmy Mosher (b); John Markham (d). San Francisco, 1958.
(4) as (3) add Vince Guaraldi (p); Wille Bobo (d).
(5) Paul Horn (as, f); Lonnie Hewitt (p); Al McKibbon (b); Mongo Santamaria (pc); Willie Bobo (d). Carmel, California. 20 April 1959.
Avid Jazz 1318