Full performer name: Hank Mobley/Al Cohn/John Coltrane/Zoot Sims.
Personnel: Hank Mobley, Al Cohn, John Coltrane, Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone); Red Garland (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Art Taylor (drums).
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on September 7, 1956. Originally released on Prestige (7074). Includes liner notes by Ira Gitler.
Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley).
This September 7, 1956 session is a loose blowing date that reprises the notion of a four saxophone concord as it was originally presented by the Four Brothers in Woody Herman's boppish late '40s big band, the Thundering Herd. Tenor brothers Al Cohn and Zoot Sims--spiritual progeny of Lester Young--join forces with Hank Mobley and John Coltrane--descendants of Charlie Parker--to depict the kind of good-natured, after hours cutting sessions that helped young improvisers determine how far they had come, and how much more work remained to be done.
The superb rhythm section of Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor helps make TENOR CONCLAVE more than just another exercise in technical bluster. As he did with Miles Davis, pianist Garland custom tailors his accompaniment to fit the style of each soloist, while bassist Chambers offers the kind of matchless harmonic and rhythmic virtuosity that made his name synonymous with modern jazz bass playing in the late '50s. Dig how they team with drummer Taylor to urge on each soloist on Mobley's title tune, and when they go to Chambers for two choruses of expressively bowed bass, the groove never lags or falters.
"Just You, Just Me" offers up a modern set of chord changes to navigate (Monk's tricky melody "Evidence.") The ensemble work suggests the warm interplay of the original Four Brothers, and Mobley's simmering rhythmic ideas and burnished sound function as a prelude for Zoot Sims' garrulous Lesterisms, and floating rhythmic ideas. Coltrane enters with a hard, keening cry, the ideas rapidly unfurling in the harmonic wind tunnel of his imagination. He holds things in check enough to accommodate Cohn's contrasting timbre and rhythm style, and all four players display enormous empathy during their concluding round-robin exchanges.