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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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TEDDY EDWARDS

It's About Time

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 613

 

 


1. Our Love is Here to Stay
2. Frankly Speaking
3. Fools Rush In
4. Undecided
5. Beve's Comjumulations
6. Willow Weep for Me
7. Lover Come Back to Me
8. I'll Remember April
9. Time After Time
10. When You're Smiling
11. Imagination
12. I Hear a Rhapsody
13. The New Symphony Sid
14. My Kinda Blues
15. Takin' Off
16. Tempo de Blues
17. Sittin' and Sighin'
18. Bye Bye Blackbird
19. Billy

Teddy Edwards - Tenor sax, with:

Tracks 1-11
Les McCann - Piano
Leroy Vinnegar - Bass
Ron Jefferson - Drums
Gloria Smyth - Vocals (tracks 8-11)

Tracks 12-15
Amos Trice - Piano
Leroy Vinnegar - Bass
Tony Bazley - Drums

Tracks 16-19
Ronnie Ball - Piano
Ben Tucker - Bass
Al Levitt - Drums
Gloria Smyth - Vocals (tracks17-19)

 

Teddy Edwards, an early friend of Charlie Parker, never achieved the fame of such contemporary tenor-saxophonists as Dexter Gordon or Wardell Gray. This may be because he stayed on the American West Coast and refused to go to New York, where most of the jazz critics were. Edwards gained brief stardom with his 1947 collaboration alongside Dexter Gordon (appropriately called The Duel), and this album illustrates the powers of a saxist who could claim equality with the greats.

The recordings on this compilation come from various sessions in 1960, with Teddy leading three different quartets. Tracks 1 to 7 comprised the original Teddy Edwards album It's About Time; tracks 8 to 11 and 17 to 19 come from Gloria Smyth's album Like Soul!; and tracks 12, 15 and 16 are taken from the Teddy Edwards LP Sunset Eyes. Tracks 13 and 14 are bonus cuts from this last session.

Teddy Edwards had an ingratiating tone which occasionally burst out into the extrovert style of the Texas tenorists. He could be emotive in ballads and subtly groovy on faster numbers. For instance, sample his tender reading of Fools Rush In and compare it with his no-nonsense blues preaching on Tempo de Blues. The latter is one of several numbers on the album composed by Edwards himself. Takin' Off, another of his tunes, whizzes by at a hair-raising pace. The group even makes Our Love is Here to Stay sound like a blues.

Teddy is accompanied by first-rate rhythm sections, including three very different pianists. Les McCann is renowned for this funky approach (evident in his introduction to his own composition, Beve's Conjumulations), while Amos Trice is an arch-bebopper and British emigr‚ Ronnie Ball learnt much from Lennie Tristano.

The only fly in the ointment is singer Gloria Smyth, whose mannered delivery and wayward intonation don't appeal to me at all. In When You're Smiling, her pronunciation of "with you" as "withyer" drives me up the wall. It's a consolation that she only appears on seven tracks.

Tony Augarde



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