Hal Mckusik

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Hal Mckusik
LABELS: GRP
WORKS: Now’s the Time
PERFORMER: McKusick (as), Art Farmer (t), Bill Evans or Eddie Costa (p); Paul Chambers or Milt Hinton (b); Connie Kay or Gus Johnson or Charlie Persip (d); plus on some tracks Frank Socolow (as); Dick Hafer (ts); Jay Camcron (bs), Barry Galbraith(g)
CATALOGUE NO: GRP 165112 (distr. New Note)
In the late Fifties, McKusick made several important albums involving composer-arranger-theorist George Russell including two ‘Workshop’ albums for RCA, Jazz in the Space Age and New York, NY for Decca. Of the two albums almost fully represented here, Cross Section –Saxes and Hal McKusick, Quintet featuring Art Farmer, Russell contributes three arrangements.Taken together, these albums represent an impressive body of work that has tended to be overlooked by jazz historians, but is nevertheless distinguished by the exemplary playing of such major jazz instrumentalists as Art Farmer,Bill Evans, PaulChambers and Barry Galbraith. McCusick is the enabler, a highly competent alto saxophonist responsible for selecting the musicians and commissioning the challenging arrangements that in their own way move the small jazz ensemble out of the shadows of hard-bop into imaginative and highly creative modernism that comfortably stands the test of time.Stuart Nicholson

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