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Sahib Shihab And The Danish Radio Jazz Group

Sam Records

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$70.00 SGD
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- The Analog Vault // Essential Listening -

In 1940-50s America, Sahib Shihab was probably best known as a sideman for legends like Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk. But in 1960s Europe (after his emigration to Copenhagen), the brilliant baritone saxophonist and flautist is acclaimed as a bandleader with stunning releases on Vogue, Storyville and Futura. Among his most vaunted highlights is his 1965 collaboration with the Danish Radio Jazz Group.

Originally released on Oktav and now reissued by Sam Records, this tremendous record features nine of Shihab’s swinging originals that deftly blends his post-bop playfulness with spirited forays into modal jazz. Instrumentally, Shirab does contribute a fair share of attention-grabbing flourishes - but he wisely lets his massive, all-star ensemble (which includes future greats like trumpeter and flugelhornist Palle Mikkelborg, alongside bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen) do the heavy lifting on his captivatingly arranged compositions. - The Analog Vault

Sahib Shihab (born Edmond Gregory 23 June 1925 in Savannah, Georgia – died 24 October 1989 in Tennessee) was a jazz saxophonist (baritone, alto, and soprano) and flautist. He first played alto saxophone professionally for Luther Henderson at age 13 and went on to study at the Boston Conservatory and to play with trumpetist Roy Eldridge. He played lead alto with Fletcher Henderson in the mid forties. He was one of the first jazz musicians to convert to Islam and changed his name in 1947. During the late 1940s Shihab played with Thelonious Monk. During this period he also found time to appear on many recordings by artists including Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham and Benny Golson.

Made in the mid-'60s, over a decade before Thad Jones led the Danish Radio Big Band, this gem of an album offers more evidence of the centrality of Denmark to the modern, post-World War II jazz scene. It's also a forceful reminder of the limitations of the "great names" approach to jazz history, where such worthy talents as the late Sahib Shihab (1925-89) are ignored or marginalized. Shihab, a pioneering bebop baritone saxophonist and flutist, continued to develop and innovate in the post-bop years, as these compositions/arrangements with a slightly smaller version of today's Radio Big Band, ably attest.

Shihab's approach to orchestral jazz is decidedly post-Swing era modern (Charles Tolliver's current big band comes to mind), employing novel voicings, contrapuntal and fugal strategies and a highly developed architectonic structure that makes each of the eight instrumental pieces here utterly engrossing: complete and detailed jazz creations that seem much longer than their three-plus to six-plus minute running times. "Dance of the Fakowees" manages to develop three distinct melodic strains and shifting rhythms through four turns by soloists plus a coda featuring dueling wah-wah trumpet and trombone over handclaps—all in just four-and-a- quarter minutes. "Tenth Lament" is a three-part (slow-fast-slow) impressionistic concerto-like piece featuring Shihab's muscular baritone over chimed orchestral voicings in the middle section—clocking in as the longest track at 6'20.

Shihab's compositions and solos are the stars here, but the band is terrific too, with fine solo contributions from the likes of bassist Niels Henning Orsted-Pedersen, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, tenor saxophonist Bent Jaedig and numerous others. — (via All About Jazz)

Label: Sam Records, Oktav
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Reissue, Remastered, Stereo, 180g
Reissued: 2023 (Original: 1965)
Genre: Jazz
Style: Hard Bop, Modal, Big Band

File under: Jazz - Saxophone