Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Digitally remastered from the original tapes. Deluxe packaging with a 16-page booklet and restored artwork. Supervised by original producer and Xanadu label head Don Schlitten. First CD reissue in 20 years.
JazzTimes (4/95, p.81) - "...Dolo Coker's CALIFORNIA HARD! demonstrates that high-intensity bop could thrive in the west coast, too....although both Pepper and Blue Mitchell are in fine form, Coker's piano dominates the proceedings...his lyricism never loses its bluesy underpinnings..."
Personnel includes: Dolo Coker (piano), Art Pepper (saxophone), Blue Mitchell (trumpet).
Recorded in 1976.
Personnel: Dolo Coker (piano); Frank Butler (drums).
Audio Mixer: Paul Goodman .
Liner Note Authors: Kent Hazen; Zev Feldman; Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Spectrum Studios, Venice, California (12/27/1976).
Director: Don Schlitten.
Pianist Dolo Coker had just four opportunities to lead his own record dates during his career, all for the Xanadu label between 1976-1979. The title of this LP refers to the fact that the music is not California "cool jazz" but intense hard bop from the Golden State. In addition to bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Frank Butler (who appear on Coker's first three Xanadu albums) and trumpeter Blue Mitchell (who was on the preceding LP Dolo), the great altoist Art Pepper (doubling on tenor) makes one of his very rare appearances as a sideman. The well-rounded set has originals by Coker, Pepper ("Mr Yohe") and Mitchell (a drum feature for Butler on "Roots 4FB") along with a showcase for the trio ("Gone Again") and a vintage standard ("Gone with the Wind"). A strong effort. ~ Scott Yanow