JJ 08/59: Jimmy Giuffre – The Train And The River / Blues

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Whatever one thinks of the playing of Giuffre, one must admit that at least he does try to be original. The first side here is very folk-music conscious. The limited instrumentation makes for bore­dom, but the musicians are skilled enough to be able to vary the tone-colours and dynamics enough to make the whole thing very entertaining.

‘…with Jim Hall aiding manfully, this odd little composition puffs along pleasantly

I can’t help feeling that Guiffre has musical limitations on all his instruments, but his whispering, pastoral tone has a pulse, and with Jim Hall aiding manfully, this odd little composition puffs along pleasantly.

The blues on the reverse just about comes off. Barker and Jones lay down a real beat, and Pee Wee’s feathery inter­pretations of the blues are full of jazz feeling. His spikey tone is always hot and much of his phrasing unusual.

Barker, after an unfortunate start, plays a good solo, but Jo Jones’ chorus seems a little unnecessary and it sounds as if parts of the session could have done with a lot more rehearsal. Messy in places, but good in others.
Sinclair Traill

Discography
(a) The Train And The River – (b) Blues
(a) Jimmy Giuffre (tnr/bari/clt), Jim Hall (bs). 4/12/57.
(b) Giuffre, Pee Wee Russell (clts), Danny Barker (g), Jo Jones (d) 4/12/57.
Fontana TFE 17081. EP. 12s. 3d.