Carmell Jones - The Remarkable Carmell Jones (1961), 6/10

Remarkable indeed! You may recognize Carmell Jones from his later appearances on Song for My Father (Cantiga para meu pai) or Booker Ervin’s The Blues Book, which are both also outstanding of course. From the first moments of The Remarkable Carmell Jones, Jones and his band, including the legendary Gary Peacock and Harold Land on tenor, explore very well honed and smoothly executed ideas with outstanding precision, sounding matured beyond their time and respective age. Every track is accented by truly inspired soloing and exceptionally driving momentum, both in its rapid-fire upbeat passages and its slow ballads. This is a rare case of mostly straightforward bebop that will maintain your interest for its entire runtime, even during its outstanding eleven-minute opener “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’”. It accomplishes this feat through a combination of impressively intricate improvisation, immersive modal musings, and a very intentional dichotomous energy and drive buried within its forceful momentum. This is a forty-minute record that blasts by with substantial velocity, yet simultaneously with grace and ease, rather than brute force, in its tempos and song structures. It truly gives new meaning to effortless execution in jazz. I am surprised to see such a lack of recognition for an accessible yet supremely moving jazz album, stacked with all-time greats. Regardless, a remarkable instance of traditionally aestheticized jazz that stands up to greats of the era despite being mixed among some truly outstanding jazz records in the early sixties. Essential listening for any jazz fan.