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The Fabulous Fats Navarro Volume 2 (1948)

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Howard McGhee

Primarily comprised of recordings made with pianist Tadd Dameron, The Fabulous Fats Navarro, Vol. 1 spotlights the fluid and inventive bebop trumpeter on nine master takes and several alternate versions. (The impressive bonus cuts will not only excite completists, but should please the casual fan as well.) From the two Dameron-led dates in 1947 and 1948, we have classic Navarro performances like "The Chase," "Our Delight," "The Squirrel," and "Lady Bird." Navarro's stellar solos here (both muted and not) are complimented by equally impressive statements from alto saxophonist Ernie Henry and tenor saxophonists Wardell Gray and Charlie Rouse. And while drummers Shadow Wilson and Kenny Clarke provide fine rhythmic support throughout, conga player Chino Pozo (cousin of Chano Pozo) provides some nice additional texture on a few numbers. Also included on this disc are excellent tracks from a 1948 date with trumpeter Howard McGhee. Covering McGhee and Navarro originals like "Boperation" and "Double Talk," this session features more stellar solo work from Henry as well as some fine contributions by vibraphonist Milt Jackson (who actually plays piano on most of the cuts). And rounding out things are a few alternate takes from a date with pianist Bud Powell, including worthwhile versions of "Wail" and "Bouncing With Bud." This is an essential title for jazz enthusiasts, but one that seems to go in and out of print quite often. Luckily, all the tracks on both volumes of The Fabulous Fats Navarro, plus some additional Dameron cuts, can be heard on Blue Note's Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron: The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings. ~ Stephen Cook