Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Clifford Brown - The Beginning And The End (1973)

From the cover: "The first and last recorded performances of one of the greatest soloists in the history of jazz."  That pretty much sums it up.  Brown's gift was quickly taken from us when he died at age 25 in 1956.  With his tone, technique, and charisma, he might have been the biggest name in jazz.  Ever.  Even though this disc is only 34 minutes long, it contains 30 minutes of incredible music - a fantastic musician at the peak of his career.  Amazingly, these tracks weren't issued as a set until 1973.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: The first two tracks are R&B tracks from Chris Powell And His Blue Flames.  They're not much to listen to; at 21 years of age, Brown easily steals the show.  Much better are the last three tracks: Walkin', Night In Tunisia, and Donna Lee, recorded in June 1956 at a Philadelphia record store with a local sextet.  Brown would die in a car accident early the next morning.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I had heard of Brown for years, but had never owned any of his recordings.  Then, in 1999, I saw the play Side Man on Broadway (with a great cast that included Christian Slater and Edie Falco).  In one of the play's later scenes, a group of aging jazzers sit around listening to this recording of Night In Tunisia.  There's no dialogue, just the musicians reacting to a great performance.  For me, it was the best, most authentic scene in the play.  No words were spoken because none were needed.  I bought this CD almost immediately.

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