Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tina Brooks - Back to the Tracks (1998) [Blue Note (Connoisseur)]

Tina Brooks - Back to the Tracks (1998) [Blue Note (Connoisseur)]
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Genre ~ Hard-Bop | Label ~ Blue Note (Connoisseur)

The music that comprises Back to the Tracks was recorded in September 1960, months after the sessions for True Blue, but it sat on the shelves until Mosaic reissued it as part of their Complete Blue Note Recordings box, even though it was penciled in for release. Like Minor Move, Tina Brooks first session that stayed unreleased for over 20 years, Back to the Tracks is an excellent hard bop set, and it's hard to understand why it wasn't released at the time. Brooks leads a fantastic band featuring alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor through three originals and two standards. Each musician has opportunity to shine, but Brooks remains the center of attention. His style is remarkably fluid, capable of graceful, elegant turns on the ballads and clean, speedy improvisations on the up-tempo bop. Each of the five songs have breathtaking moments, confirming Brooks talents as a saxophonist, composer and leader. Listening to Back to the Tracks, it's impossible to figure out why the record wasn't released at the time, but it's a hard bop gem from the early '60s to cherish. ~Allmusic

01. Back to the Tracks (8:03)
02. Street Singer (10:21)
03. The Blues and I (8:55)
04. For Heaven's Sake (6:05)
05. The Ruby and the Pearl (5:06)

Tina Brooks - tenor saxophone
Blue Mitchell - trumpet
Jackie McLean - alto saxophone (#2)
Kenny Drew - piano
Paul Chambers - bass
Art Taylor - drums

Produced by Alfred Lion
Reissue produced by Michael Cuscuna
Recording Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on September-1 (#2) and October-20 (all others); 1960
Mastered with 20bit Super Bit Mapping by Ron McMaster
Cover design by Reid Miles
Cover photographs by Francis Wolff
Liner photographs by Francis Wolff; 1997-Mosaic Images
Design by Patrick Roques
Liner notes by Michael Cuscuna
Originally scheduled to be issued as Blue Note BST-84052, but first issued on Mosaic 106.