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  • Writer's pictureJulien Fraipont

Horace Parlan - On the spur of the moment

Hello, shout chorus lover, hope you are doing fine for this last day of the week.

For today's album, I've chosen for you the 5th album (as leader) of Horace Parlan, On the spur of the moment. A great energic and tasteful hard bop album, with a little tint of blues.

This album was published by blue note label in 1961 and recorded on March 18, 1961, by... do I have to tell you? Ye, sure you have it, Rudy Van Gelder. I don't know if he had a personal life but man, what a schedule! Now, when you listen to the quality of his recording, it's like if you were in the studio with them. The guy knew undeniably what he was doing. But This is another story.

So, who was Horace Parlan? A pianist from Pittsburg, best known for his work with Charles Mingus on the albums Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots. I could stop here, I've already said enough to classify this elegant pianist but, I have the taste to tell you more. In his birth year, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. The handicap contributed to his development of a particularly "piquant" left-hand chord voicing style, while comping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right. This result in a mix between lyricism and rhythm, block chords, simplicity but, still rhythmically complex and vivid.

This underrated pianist work with a prodigious amount of jazz legend as Charles Mingus, the brother Turrentine, Archie Shepp, Booker Ervin, Lou Donaldson amongst many other.

The album features Tommy Turrentine (tr), Stanley Turrentine (ts), Horace Parlan (p), George Tucker (b) and Al Harewood (d).

What I like in this album is the connection(s). It was the second album that Parlan has recorded with this exact same band. But more than that, the rhythm section, piano, bass and drum are perfectly in sync resulting in an unmovable stone anchored in the ground. Anything may happen they keep going on. The brothers Turrentine share the front. The sound produced is a unit who perfectly complete this quintet.

Funny fact about this album:

" I originally intended to only use other composers works but I woke up with this line running through my head." Horace Parlan.

He wrote this tune the morning of the recording, on the spur of the moment.

Skoo Chee and Al's tune are two brilliant Booker Ervin originals

I don't know if the song, Ray C. is for Ray Charles but listen carefully to the bassline, does it sound familiar?

"And That I am so in love" is a piece propose by the tenor saxophonist Harold Ousley. A beautiful tune with pretty changes.

The last tune is a peculiar journey. "Pyramid" brings us somewhere else. Where you can mix exotism and swing with taste.

I hardly recommend this relaxing hard bop must-have album. Have fun listening!

Greetings and long life jazz!

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