Thanks for the welcome chaps, and thanks for the heads up on Spotify. I do use Spotify but mainly to check out stuff I may want to buy rather than as a streaming service in it's own right. I'll certainly check out the Nichols' Blue Notes though.
The Nichol's box set from Blue Note represents, in my opinion, one of the most interesting of all that label's output in the 1950's. The trios are under-pinned by such drummers as art Blakey and Max Roach which was an inspired choice as Nichol's writing does make alot of use of this instrument. I think that Nichols sometimes get roped up with Monk but their styles are radically different with the former essentially being more clued up with mid-20th century classical composers like Bartok , etc. More than any other composer of that decade, I feel that Nichols was exploring form and harmony whilst, whilst definately having it's roots in earlier styles of jazz from the 30's / 40's, in a fashion that was not really taken up in more "mainstream" styles if jazz until Wayne Shorter. The more you listen to his music, the more you seem to get out of it and, if you have ever tried to learn any of his compositions, you will appreciate that he had a very idiosyncratic sense of harmony which presents serious challenges for improvisors. In short, I would consider Nichols to be a major artist from that era and not, as many people seems to lazily think, an eccentric divorced from the mainstream. in many respects, Nichols was about 40-50 ahead of his contemporaries. I would snap the box set up as it is an essential purpose.
Thanks Ian, you make a compelling argument to buy them.
On Amazon UK they are about £30 but are available as a download for £11.49 & I think I'll go down that road as I'm a poor old impoverished pensioner!!!
i think I paid about the same for the box set when I acquired my discs back around 2000. As far as I am concerned, it was worth the money at circa £10 a disc. There are a number of alternative takes too.
I went to a jazz workshop with Jason Moran about 5 years ago and the discussion came up about favourite pianists. I think many of the people there were beginners but one of the questions I asked him was about how you played solos on tunes with unorthodox chord changes. He asked me what I meant and I made some comment about the music Herbie Nichols wrote as being typical of the problem. He then sat at the piano and performed "House Party Starting" from memory with no music. It was truly staggering albeit I was not in the least surprised to see that he was a fan too.
Around the late 90's , Frank Kimbrough and Ben Allison co-led "The Herbie Nichols Project" which largley performed Nichol's compositions which had never previously been recorded. The whole thing is fascinating as Nichols never performed any of his work with horns. Worth checking out too.
Took the advice & listened to some of the tracks on Spotify and yes Herbie Nichols is all that has been claimed. So I bought the download (as I said I am a poor impoverished pensioner) the thinking being that I've saved about £20 that can be spent on more music!!
Thanks for the recommendation, I'm listeneing as I write.
Edit - I'm still waiting delivery of the Elmo Hope set.
Agree with Ian about Herbie Nichols...
Another suggestion is the trio album Max Roach made with the (VERY) Elmo influenced pianist HASSAAN ("The legendary") for Atlantic in 1964. Includes the track "Hope So, Elmo". Hassaan was maybe not that legendary as he made only one other (unreleased) group session but Max was an major supporter. It was re-released with "Drums Unlimited" a few years back.
Nasheet Waits (Also an Elmo fan) ..."Jason Moran brought "The Max Roach Trio Featuring the Legendary Hassan" to my attention, and it really speaks to me---one of my favorite records, period. The whole record is a departure from traditional piano trio playing I've heard up to late 1964, when that was recorded. It isn't the piano player solos, and then the drummer and bass player are in support mode, like the Oscar Peterson Trio, or any other trio. Everybody is soloing almost at the same time, or collectively, in the sense of New Orleans collective improvisation. That's the historical reference I draw from it. Max never just plays the swing pattern and comps for Hassan while he takes a solo. They're always back and forth, a true conversation. Everybody has individual responsibility as to what's going on."
And then there's Carl Perkins (not the Blue Shoes geezer), a off-centre bluesey pianist who always deeply impresses. Polio gave him a distinctive left hand.
"Pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali ...this trio set with drummer Max Roach and bassist Art Davis. A very advanced player whose style fell somewhere between Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor (with hints of Herbie Nichols), Hasaan actually had a rather original sound. His performances of his seven originals on this set (a straight CD reissue of a long out-of-print LP) are intense, somewhat virtuosic and rhythmic, yet often melodic in a quirky way. This is a classic of its kind and it is fortunate that it was made, but it is a tragedy that Hasaan would not record again and that he would soon sink back into obscurity." ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
here is some
"Audite et alteram partem"