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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Living Era CD AJA 5635



1. Flamingo
2. The Man I Love
3. The Major And The Minor
4. That's the Groovy Thing
5. Eight Forty-Five Stomp
6. Temptation
7. Earl Blows a Fuse
8. Serenade
9. Seven Steps
10. Don't You Do It
11. Sleep
12. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
13. The Moon Is Low
14. Lover Come Back To Me
15. Moonglow
16. Ain't Misbehavin'
17. Cherokee
18. The Very Thought Of You
19. What, No Pearls?
20. Smoke Rings
21. Deep Purple
22. Off Shore
23. The Waves of the Danube
24. Night and Day
25. Cocktails for Two
26. When Your Lover Has Gone
27. Remember?
Earl Bostic – Alto sax

Many jazz fans may think of Earl Bostic as a one-hit wonder, since his recording of Flamingo is so well-known as to cast the rest of his career into shadow. In fact he was a highly-regarded musician, arranger and composer who played for the likes of Benny Moten, Don Redman and Lionel Hampton before finding success with his own small groups playing such hits as Temptation, Sleep and Flamingo.

Certainly the hard-driving alto sax blowing on Flamingo is typical of many tracks on this selection of recordings from 1945 to 1955, with Bostic taking centre-stage with his forceful, buzzing sax style, which often resorted to single-note honking and oft-repeated riffs. Yet he could also create subtler music, as in Cherokee where his important sideman Gene Redd states the tune on the vibraphone while Bostic weaves interesting counter-melodies around the theme. At other times (as in Off Shore), Earl’s alto is so rhapsodic that it may remind you of Freddy Gardner. And Bostic’s band was a hotbed of talent, with such names as John Coltrane, Blue Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine and Jimmy Cobb appearing among the personnels.

Earl Bostic was one of the pioneers of jazz-based rhythm-and-blues, with a style that is often reminiscent of Louis Jordan and sometimes of such unbridled sax soloists as King Curtis and Arnett Cobb. Some tracks here suffer from the prominence of Bostic, so that many of his sidemen hardly get a look-in. On the other hand, it is a joy to hear a musician who played with such unbridled power and skill.

Tony Augarde


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