Known as "the home of the blues," as well as a cradle of rock 'n' roll, Memphis has also produced more than its share of top-flight, blues-powered jazz players, such as Harold Mabern. The powerful pianist-composer (b. 1936), a much in-demand sideman, did not get to record as a leader until 1968, and he made the most of his opportunity with A Few Miles from Memphis (which has never been reissued in any form) and Rakin’ and Scrapin’, previously released as an Original Jazz Classics LP. The former features Mabern's old friend and fellow Memphian George Coleman, a giant of post-bop tenor saxophone, and the lesser-known boss tenor Buddy Terry. A Few Miles percolates with Memphis blues, from boogaloos to gospel-flavored funk to straight-ahead, and the group's swinging take on Herman's Hermits' 1967 hit "There's a Kind of Hush" is one of the most unlikely--and delightful--jazz covers of a pop-rock tune. Rakin’ and Scrapin’ brings back Coleman, but this time his front-line partner is ace trumpeter Blue Mitchell, whose long tenure with pianist Horace Silver's definitively tuneful hard-bop quintet makes him ideal for these proceedings.
with George Coleman, Buddy Terry, Bill Lee, Walter Perkins, Blue Mitchell, and Hugh Walker