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


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Retrospective RTR 4211



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. You Go To My Head
18. Cherokee
19. Steam Whistle Jump
20. The Very Thought Of You
21. What, No Pearls?
22. Deep Purple
23. Off Shore
24. Night And Day
25. When Your Lover Has Gone
26. Remember?
27. Harlem Nocturne

Earl Bostic - Alto sax, plus:
Track 1
Gene Redd - Trumpet, vibes
Count Hastings - Tenor sax
Cliff Smalls - Piano
Rene Hall - Guitar
Keter Betts - Bass
Jimmy Cobb - Drums
Tracks 2-3
Roger Jones, Dick Vance, Benny Harris, Claude Jones - Trumpets
Benny Morton - Trombone
Eddie Barefield - Clarinet
Don Byas, Foots Thomas - Tenor saxes
Eddie Finckel - Piano
Tiny Grimes - Guitar
AI Hall - Bass
Cozy Cole - Drums
Track 4
Lemon Boler - Trumpet
Tony Scott - Clarinet
John Hardee - Tenor sax
George Parker - Piano
Jimmy Shirley - Guitar
Jimmy Jones - Bass
Eddie Nicholson - Drums
Earl Bostic & band - Vocals
Tracks 5-7
Roger Jones - Trumpet (tracks 6, 7)
Ted Bamett - Tenor sax (track 6)
Count Hastings -Tenor sax (track 7)
George Parker - Piano (tracks 5, 6)
Jaki Byard - Piano (track 7)
Vernon King - Bass
Shep Shepherd - Drums
Tracks 8-10
Count Hastings - Tenor sax
Cliff Smalls - Piano
Gene Redd - Vibes
AI Casey - Guitar (tracks 8, 9)
Eddie Barefield - Guitar (track 10)
Keter Betts - Bass
Joe Marshall - Drums
Gene Redd - Trumpet, vibes
Count Hastings - Tenor sax
Cliff Smalls - Piano
Rene Hall - Guitar
Keter Betts - Bass
Jimmy Cobb - Drums
Tracks 13-14
Buddy Miles - Alto sax, baritone sax
Wilbur Campbell - Tenor sax
Cliff Smalls - Piano
Gene Redd - Vibes
Ike Isaacs - Bass
Jimmy Cobb - Drums
Tracks 15-17
Joe Mitchell - Trumpet
Gene Redd - Trumpet, vibes
Pinky Williams - Alto sax
John Coltrane - Tenor sax
Earl Knight - Piano
Jimmy Shirley - Guitar (tracks 15, 16)
Harold Grant - Guitar (track 17)
Ike Isaacs - Bass
Specs Wright - Drums
Tracks 18-19
Blue Mitchell - Trumpet
Ray Felder - Tenor sax
Earl Knight - Piano
Gene Redd - Vibes
Mickey Baker - Guitar
Ike Isaacs - Bass
George Brown - Drums
Tracks 20-21
Blue Mitchell, Tommy Turrentine - Trumpets
Stanley Turrentine - Tenor sax
Luis Rivera - Piano
Herman Mitchell - Guitar
Mario Delagarde - Bass
Albert Bartee - Drums
Track 22
Blue Mitchell, Tommy Turrentine - Trumpets
Stanley Turrentine - Tenor sax
Alexander Sample - Piano
Edward Richley - Vibes
Charles Grayson - Guitar
Bobby Burton - Bass
Granville T. Hogan - Drums
Track 23
Blue Mitchell, Tommy Turrentine - Trumpets
Stanley Turrentine - Tenor sax
Stash O'Laughlin - Piano
Clarence Kenner - Guitar
George Tucker - Bass
Granville T. Hogan - Drums
Tracks 24-26
Blue Mitchell, Eldridge Morris - Trumpets (track 24)
Elmon Wright, Johnny Coles - Trumpets (tracks 25, 26)
Benny Golson - Tenor sax
Stash O'Laughlin - Piano
Teddy Charles - Vibes
Jimmy Shirley - Guitar
George Tucker - Bass
Granville T. Hogan - Drums
Track 27
Roland Johnson - Vibes
Jon Thomas - Piano
Allan Seltzer - Guitar
Herb Gordy - Bass
Bill Erskine - Drums


Earl Bostic's main instrument was the alto saxophone, but he could play it with the power of a tenor sax. This enabled him to record his biggest hit, Flamingo, with a rasping tone and an unstoppable swing. The classic 1951 track opens this compilation of some of Earl's best recordings, including such rhythm-and-blues hits as Temptation, Sleep and Cherokee.

Bostic tended to be under-rated by some jazz critics, because he ventured into R & B, but he was actually a fine technician who taught one of his sidemen (John Coltrane) how to produce high harmonics on the saxophone. You may be surprised to find someone like Coltrane on this CD, but Bostic's groups included many musicians destined for fame, such as Blue Mitchell, Don Byas, Jimmy Cobb and Stanley Turrentine.

Earl's style was extrovert, with soaring glissandos and a powerful vibrato, but he always kept the melody in mind when improvising. This is one of the factors that made his recording of Flamingo so appealing. Another factor was his use of the vibraphone as part of the band, which gave it a distinctive refinement you might not expect in a piece of jazz that veered towards rhythm-and-blues. There was also the intriguingly grating sound he coaxed from his saxophone.

Yet Bostic's tone could be smoother, less gritty, as you can hear in the second track - The Man I Love. Earl delivers the tune as a plaintive ballad before doubling the tempo and then finishing with a lyrical cadenza. That's The Groovy Thing is entirely different: hustling R & B with massed vocals from the band. Bostic wrote this and several other pieces on the album. In fact he composed one of the biggest hits that Gene Krupa's band enjoyed in the early 1940s: Let Me Off Uptown.

Bostic's versatility is illustrated by the selection of music on this CD. There are plenty of jazz standards, which Earl peps up with his brilliant technique. A ballad like Deep Purple is accelerated into a swinging piece of jive. But he also adapts a Schubert Serenade as jazz, while keeping its moody quality. The album ends with Earl's 1959 recording of Harlem Nocturne, into which he pours lashings of drama.

With nearly 79 minutes of fascinating music, this album is a bargain which deserves a place in any jazz fan's collection.

Tony Augarde

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