Dec 9, 2009
Memphis doesn’t get enough props for producing high quality jazz musicians, but there have been more than few. Players like, , and all hailed from one of the greatest of all R&B and Rock & Roll cities. Another player who seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle is saxophonist Frank Strozier. Check recordings by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis, Roy Haynes, and Chet Baker and you’ll see his credits.
Fifty years ago, fresh from the MJQ dates, he recorded for the Vee-Jay label, setting up two sessions, one in New York City, the other in Chicago. The first of those took place on December 9, and included Miles Davis’ rhythm section of Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) backing Strozier (alto sax) and Booker Little (trumpet). Click here to listen to a Strozier original composition, “Runnin’”
This is one of those recordings that make me ask how it is I’ve never come across it before. Strozier released 5 albums between 1960 and 1962, and then fundamentally disappeared until the early Seventies. He reappeared in New York with the New York Jazz Repertory Company and on sessions with Horace Parlan, but never received the acclaim that was his due.