Acrobat Music

The Good Book - The Early Years 1960-62

Booker Ervin
Styles: Jazz
Catalogue Number: ACQCD7121
“He's more of my school,” bassist Charles Mingus said of his then sideman, tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin in 1961, “I mean he goes for himself.” The assessment was spot-on; arriving on the US jazz scene at the time when the twin tenor peaks of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins were at the very apex of their powers, Ervin had the remarkable distinction of belonging to neither man's stylistic school, instead proffering a highly individual and distinctive blend of the blues-driven “Texas tenor” tradition - which, born in the Lone Star state city of Denison, was his birthright - and a diamond-hard, spearing tone that enabled him able to hold his own with such cutting-edge talents as Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Jaki Byard. “Heat, energy, raw emotion and relentless sense of swing are [his] characteristics,” wrote one contemporary observer, “plus his straight-from-the-soul sincerity.” Nevertheless, despite these ear-grabbing qualities and his almost evangelistic faith in his art, Ervin's career played out much like a tragedy – socio-political anxiety and lack of work forced him to relocate to Europe in 1964, the beginning of an eventually thwarted attempt to broaden his art, while his return to the core of the New York jazz scene was cut short by ill-health, resulting in his early death, aged only 39, in 1970. The terms “unsung hero” and “musicians' musician” were all too frequently appended to Ervin's name during his short lifetime, yet in spite of these inhibiting labels he recorded no fewer than fifteen albums as a leader, as well as appearing as a sideman on over a dozen others. This new Acrobat anthology celebrates the early years of his recorded career at the dawn of the 1960s, a juncture in which Hard Bop, Soul Jazz and the Avant-Garde all jostled for primacy, and which found Ervin a player perfectly equipped for the times. Featuring all three of his initial albums as a leader – The Book Cooks, Cookin' and That's it! - together with selected appearances with bands led by vibraphonist Teddy Charles, pianists Horace Parlan and Mal Waldron and fellow-tenor Bill Barron (the rare Hot Line album), this 4-CD retrospective is accompanied by an extensive booklet note by award-winning saxophonist and author Simon Spillett, carefully re-examining Ervin's work, and uncovering much hitherto unknown information about his early life, alongside period photographs. Featured players include saxophonist Zoot Sims, trumpeters Tommy Turrentine and Richard Williams, guitarist Grant Green, pianists Kenny Barron and Tommy Flanagan, and drummers Andrew Cyrille, Charli Persip and Dannie Richmond.

Disk 1:
Track Title Artist
1 The Blue Book Booker Ervin
2 Git It Booker Ervin
3 Little Jane Booker Ervin
4 The Book Cooks Booker Ervin
5 Largo Booker Ervin
6 Poor Butterfly Booker Ervin
7 Scoochie The Teddy Charles New Directions Quartet
8 Cycles The Teddy Charles New Directions Quartet
9 The Confined Few The Teddy Charles New Directions Quartet
Disk 2:
Track Title Artist
1 Dee Da Doo Booker Ervin Quintet
2 Mr. Wiggles Booker Ervin Quintet
3 You Don't Know What Love Is Booker Ervin Quintet
4 Down In The Dumps Booker Ervin Quintet
5 Well Well Booker Ervin Quintet
6 Autumn Leaves Booker Ervin Quintet
7 Mojo Booker Ervin
8 Uranus Booker Ervin
9 Poinciana Booker Ervin
10 Speak Low Booker Ervin
Disk 3:
Track Title Artist
1 Booker's Blues Booker Ervin
2 Boo Booker Ervin
3 The Book's Beat Horace Parlan
4 Up and Down Horace Parlan
5 Fugee Horace Parlan
6 The Other Part of Town Horace Parlan
7 Lonely One Horace Parlan
8 Light Blue Horace Parlan
Disk 4:
Track Title Artist
1 Status Seeking Mal Waldron
2 We Diddit Mal Waldron
3 Fire Waltz Mal Waldron
4 Bill's Boogie Bill Barron
5 Groovin' Bill Barron
6 Now's The Time Bill Barron
7 A Cool One Bill Barron
8 Jelly Roll Bill Barron
9 Playhouse March Bill Barron
10 Work Song Bill Barron
11 Billie's Bounce Bill Barron
©2008 Acrobat Music