Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tina Brooks - True Blue

True Blue
Blue Note 4041

Recorded June 1960

Side One

1. Good Old Soul
2. Up Tight's Creek
3. Theme for Doris

Side Two

1. True Blue
2. Miss Hazel
3. Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You


TINA BROOKS; tenor sax

I've written about Tina Brooks before and even posted the cover of 'True Blue', but what i haven't done is to say much about the music. Softer than a Hank Mobley, less harsh than Dexter Gordon (and that's saying something), the tragic Brooks had a gorgeously smooth and soulful tenor sound coupled with prodigious technical skill. He also posessed a lyrical sensibility that's apparent from the few dates he led in his lifetime. This date from 1960 comes from the same week and features much the same personnel as Freddie Hubbard's 'Open Sesame'.

Brooks is the perfect foil for Hubbard at that stage of his career - in fact their melodic approach and tone are very similar, despite them playing different instruments. The title track really sets the tone - after a conventional hard-bop theme with a distictly melodic bent, Brooks and Hubbard set to work on lyrical, complex solos that perfectly complement each other, coming back to some fine interplay and a restatement of the theme at points throughout. Pretty much the whole LP follows this pattern. This is one of those few hard-bop albums where there is no filler - just continuous hard-swinging music. Even closer 'Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You', with a title that suggests a gentle ballad, is a swinging piece with some neat latin percussion and a particularly fine Hubbard solo.

As i've mentioned before, Brooks died young and left a small but good-looking back catalogue, all on Blue Note. This, 'Minor Move', 'Back To The Tracks' and 'The Waiting Game' as leader, and several dates as a sideman - notably with Jimmy Smith on 'The Sermon' and 'Cool Blues', on the Hubbard that partners this LP, and with Kenny Burrell on ' The Five Spot Cafe'. A full discography is available, and unlike some jazz artists I could mention, I think it might be possible to own all of these.

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