Trumpeter Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams worked together on several recordings between 1958 and 1961, and The Cat Walk (released on LP in 1962) is among the best.
A quintet setting, with pianist Duke Pearson (another longtime Byrd collaborator), bassist Laymon Jackson, and a lively Philly Joe Jones on drums joining the front line of Byrd and Adams, the sessions for The Cat Walk benefited from the writing and arrangement skills of Pearson, who contributes three compositions here, the impressive opener "Say You're Mine," "Duke's Mixture," and "Hello Bright Sunflower," which borrows its melodic structure from the opening bars of "Lullaby of Broadway" and features Byrd using a muted trumpet. Byrd contributed the title track, which attempts to capture the coiled, taut, but somehow still relaxed and assured gait of a tomcat, thanks in no small part to Jones' inspired drumming which hits the mark with stops and turns and smooth run-outs that are indeed very feline in nature. Byrd's playing throughout is typically sleek and lyrical, and Adams' sturdy, husky baritone sound is the perfect counterbalance, making The Cat Walk an essential Byrd purchase.
1 Say You're Mine
2 Duke's Mixture
3 Each Time I Think of You
4 The Cat Walk
6 Hello Bright Sunflower
Donald Byrd - Trumpet
Pepper Adams - Brass, Sax (Baritone)
Laymon Jackson - Bass
Philly Joe Jones - Drums
Duke Pearson - Piano
Rudy Van Gelder - Engineer
Nat Hentoff - Original Liner Notes
Recorded 1961 on the Blue Note Label, this is catalog number 4075. This is a reissue of limited release, not many pressed.
After many years of being unavailable, Blue Note has finally reissued "The Cat Walk" by Donald Byrd (what took them so long?)
I first heard this album about 20 years ago when I found an LP in a second-hand record store. I remember liking it, but discarded it soon after I discovered that the "scuff" on side two was actually a scratch that was quite audible. Ever since then, my search for a replacement copy has proven fruitless, except for a number of expensive Japanese imports. For years now I've scoured the record stores and the like figuring it was bound to turn up, but to no avail.
Well, I am happy to say that this classic album is once again available. To my ears, this is one of the best Blue Note albums of all time. Strong words I know, considering the wealth of great Blue Note titles out there. But check this out: The combination of Pepper Adams' gritty baritone, Donald Byrd's lyrical trumpet, Philly Joe Jones' crisp, exciting drumming, Laymon Jackson's soulful bass and Duke Pearson's tasteful piano create a funky, Soul/Jazz groove that hits you right from the very first note! Add to that a mix of catchy original tunes (not always the case on a Blue Note album) plus Rudy Van Gelder's classic sound and you've got an album that can stand alongside any of Blue Note's best.
Highlights include the instantly likeable opener "Say You're Mine"; the funky title tune with its clever use of stop time; the incredibly fast and furious drum solo on Neal Hefti's "Cute"; and the upbeat closing tune "Hello Bright Sunflower". Don't wait another twenty years; get this while you can, before it dissappears in vinyl once again.
This is a new sealed issue of this landmark album. Jacket is in new condition, no edge wear, no split seams, no bar code.
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