If I'd been asked a year ago who my favourite Texas tenor sax player was I would likely have replied Buddy Tate or Arnett Cobb. But that's changed now. After spending the past several months listening to Booker Ervin he's moved to the top of my list. I always felt he was a primo blues player but I've come to appreciate his sensitive side as well. He's a fine interpreter of ballads and you'll get a wonderful opportunity to hear that here.
We'll hear music recorded between 1960 and 1965 - two renditions of one of my favourite ballads ("You Don't Know What Love Is") and long, live performance at a European jazz festival. As the story goes, Booker was to be part of a jazz festival show paying tribute to the great tenor sax players, of which he was one. The catch was each player could only perform a piece of five minutes in duration. As an act of personal dissent toward the limitations of performance duration he willfully performed longer. Much longer. He played for over twenty-seven minutes...
Booker is also heard on selections culled from records by organist Don Patterson, drummer Roy Haynes and alto sax player Sonny Stitt.
Booker Ervin was born October 31, 1930 in Denison Texas. He died July 31, 1970 in New York City.
Here's the playlist:
1. Oleo - 3:52 (Don Patterson, 1964)
2. Git It - 6:55 (The Book Cooks, 1960)
3. Sonny's Blues - 8:57 (Sonny Stitt, 1964)
4. Honeydew - 3:45 (Roy Haynes, 1963)
5. You Don't Know What Love Is - 8:43 (Heavy!, 1966)
6. Just In Time - 2:29 (Exultation!, 1963)
7. You Don't Know What Love Is - 7:27 (Cookin', 1960)
8. Stella By Starlight - 2:49 (Groovin' High, 1964)
9. True Blue - 5:07 (The Blues Book, 1964)
10. Blues For You - 27:35 (Lament For Booker Ervin, 1965)