Harold Land: Take Aim (2006)
Originally recorded in 1960 for Blue Note but not released until 1980, Take Aim, like Harold Land himself, has undeservedly fallen through the cracks. Most famous for his association with the Clifford Brown/Max Roach quintet of the '50s, Land is another unheralded West Coast giant who made a name for himself out here in California, but was under the radar of the jazz elitists. Take Aim, featuring an obscure group of musicians, is a pleasant surprise, and should be a welcome refresher for anyone looking for music similar to the tenorist's earlier and more famous exploits.
Take Aim has all of the features of classic hard bop: tight ensemble work, creative and hard-driving solos, and crisp rhythm work. It makes you wonder where Leon Pettis has been all these years. At times, the drummer sounds like thunder from on high as he pushes this band. Martin Banks is articulate and has that Brownie quality in his trumpet solos. Of course, Land, with an immediately identifiable rough yet light sound, is the epitome of hard bop. His music sounds as fresh today as the moment it was recorded over forty years ago. Included on this CD reissue is a twenty-minute bonus track of the band groovin' to "Straight No Chaser." The jam holds your interest the entire time, but that's what real talent can do.
Track Listing: As You Like It; Take Aim; Land of Peace; Reflections; Blue Nellie; You're My Thrill; Straight No Chaser.
Personnel: Harold Land: tenor saxophone; Martin Banks: trumpet; Amos Trice: piano; Clarence Jones: bass; Leon Pettis: drums.