Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ray Draper Quintet featuring John Coltrane - New Jazz 8228

Ray Draper was only 17 when he led this date (all four of his sessions as a leader were made before he turned 20) and was brave (or foolhardy) enough to team up with tenor saxophonist John Coltrane (who was 14 years older and already a major name) in a quintet also including pianist Gil Coggins, bassist Spanky DeBrest, and drummer Larry Ritchie. Draper had ambitious dreams of making the tuba a major jazz solo instrument; the tuba/tenor front line is an unusual and generally successful sound, although Draper's solos on this reissue -- on three of his originals: Sonny Rollins' "Paul's Pal," the show tune "Under Paris Skies," and a tuba feature without Coltrane, "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" -- are clearly not on the same level as those of Coltrane or Coggin. One does admire Draper's courage, and it is a pity that he hardly recorded at all after 1960 because he had strong potential.

Ray Draper: tuba;
John Coltrane: tenor sax;
Gil Coggins: piano;
Spanky De Brest: bass;
Larry Ritchie: drums

1. Clifford's Kappa
2. Filidia
3. Two Sons
4. Paul's Pal
5. Under Paris Skies
6. I Hadn't Anyone Till You



Matt said...

sounds interesting! I'll check it out.

neil said...

Under-rated and undersung. Many thanks...