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Solid (1964)

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Grant Green

Solid is a companion piece to the Grant Green classic Matador, recorded about a month later with the same rhythm section, and also not issued until 1979. Green is once again accompanied by the Coltrane supporting team of pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones, plus bassist Bob Cranshaw; this time, however, Green is also joined on the front line by James Spaulding on alto sax and Joe Henderson on tenor. Both saxophonists really seem to light a fire under the proceedings, for in comparison with the relatively subdued Matador, Solid is a bright, hard-charging affair. There's a little modal jazz, but Solid's repertoire is chiefly complex hard bop, full of challenging twists and turns that the players burn through with enthusiasm. Green didn't tackle this kind of material -- or play with this kind of group -- very often, and it's a treat to hear him do so on both counts. The compositions -- highlighted by Duke Pearson's "Minor League," Henderson's "The Kicker," and a storming, ten-minute exploration of George Russell's "Ezz-Thetic" -- provoke some intricate improvisations from Green, and his perfectly controlled soloing is an interesting contrast with the passionate Spaulding and Henderson. Tyner and Jones are once again telepathic in their support, elevating the whole package to one of Green's strongest jazz outings and a unique standout in his catalog. "Wives and Lovers" seems to be the same one included on Matador, where it was a better fit.] ~ Steve Huey