Johnny Coles: Little Johnny C (Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series) LP
Blue Note, 1963
Trumpeter Johnny Coles was performing with the Gil Evans Orchestra at Birdland in 1959 when he unknowingly made a fan who would open an important door for him a few years later. That fan was pianist Duke Pearson, who was enthralled by the trumpeter’s solo spotlight that night, and after hearing him again the next year as a featured soloist in James Moody’s band, Pearson and Coles formed their own musical relationship and began performing together frequently. Alfred Lion came to hear Pearson at one such gig a couple of years later and loved what he heard, in particular a tune of Pearson’s called “Little Johnny C.” Lion gave Pearson the greenlight to assemble a Blue Note recording date with Coles as the leader, and so Pearson selected a program including five of his own original compositions that showcased Coles’ unique abilities such as the hard-charging “Heavy Legs,” the lilting waltz “My Secret Passion,” and the tender ballad “So Sweet My Little Girl.” The dynamic sextet Pearson put together for the date included himself on piano, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Leo Wright on alto saxophone and flute, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and splitting drum duties were Walter Perkins (Side 1) and Pete La Roca (Side 2). Little Johnny C, recorded in 1963, would be the only album Coles would cut for Blue Note, but it remains a little-known treasure of the catalog.
This Blue Note Classic Vinyl Edition is stereo, all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal.
A1: Little Johnny C.
A2: Hobo Joe
B1: My Secret Passion
B2: Heavy Legs
B3: So Sweet My Little Girl