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Paul Chambers Quintet (1957)

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Clifford Jordan

Recorded at a single session on May 19, 1957, the simply titled Quintet features one of bassist Paul Chambers' rare outings as a bandleader, and it teams him with Detroiters Donald Byrd (trumpet), Tommy Flanagan (piano), and Elvin Jones (drums), and Chicagoan Clifford Jordan (tenor sax). It's a low-key affair, with the quintet running through a couple of standards ("Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," "What's New"), a pair of compositions from Chambers ("The Hand of Love," "Beauteous"), and two pieces by the prolific Benny Golson ("Minor Run-Down," "Four Strings"). The Golson tunes are the most striking, really, with "Minor Run-Down" starting things off with an easy, gliding swing, and "Four Strings" (an alternate take is also included here) gives Chambers a chance to show off his abilities bowing the bass. Jordan is impressive here as well, sounding a bit like Dexter Gordon as he rounds out these tracks nicely on the tenor. Nothing is particularly innovative with this set, but these tracks don't push or pull against themselves, either, and there's a clear joy coming off of the floor as these musicians, all in the early phases of their careers, do what they do with comforting assurance. ~ Steve Leggett