Some records are good, some bad and some indifferent. A few, a very rare few, are terrific and this CD sits firmly in the latter category. From the opening bars of Aristotle Blues to the final cymbal ring of U.M.M.G. this is a positive feast of fine jazz. I have lived with the six tracks that made up the original 77 Records LP for 20 years now and it is great to find that the rest of the material is up to the same standard. Surprisingly it all sounds fresh and contemporary today.
Two nights at Ronnie Scott’s in 1971 with Coe sitting in with Brian Lemon’s trio should have represented just another gig but somehow the chemistry between the musicians just bubbled and fizzed and an extraordinary session was born. Tony’s very personal, unique clarinet tone can be heard on Some Other Autumn and Perdido. His tenor playing is also very personal with a warm, resonant tone; his speech inflections cry out in turn, joyously, angrily or expressing surprise.
Line Up Blues has exuberant, swinging solos from a jaunty Tony Coe followed by lyrical Brian Lemon and Dave Green, with two exciting, crackling choruses from Phil Seamen. The drummer is excellent all through this disc, driving everybody with a light, flexible beat, shading, accenting and playing bristling, power-packed solos. It all emphasises the loss of jazz of a great drummer who died just over a year after this recording.
Tony Coe is breathy and reminiscent of a modern Ben Webster on Body And Soul and he swings relentlessly on Reza and Perdido, driven furiously by Lemon, Green and Seamen.
Peter Bould’s location recording is crisp, clear and beautifully balanced, the music, nearly 78 minutes of it, is superb, so what are you waiting for?
Aristotle Blues; Some Other Autumn; Line Up Blues; Body And Soul; Reza; Together-Regrets Perdido; When Your Lover Has Gone; In A Mellow Tone; U.M.M.G. (77.48)
Tony Coe (ts/cl); Brian Lemon (p); Dave Green (b); Phil Seamen (d). Ronnie Scott’s Club, London, January 25 & 26, 1971.
(Hep CD 2037)