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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

Fifty Years Ago Today: “Runnin’” with Fantastic Frank

Dec 9, 2009

Memphis doesn’t get enough props for producing high quality jazz musicians, but there have been more than few. Players like Harold Mabern, Booker Little, and George Coleman 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.