Booker Ervin: The Freedom Book

Album review
Booker Ervin: The Freedom Book

Booker Ervin

The Freedom Book

Label: Analogue Productions
Media: LP
Genre: Jazz

The third of ten titles recorded for Prestige between 1963 and 1966, Booker Ervin’s The Freedom Book finds the Texas-born tenor player supported by the in-sync rhythm section of Jaki Byard (piano), Richard Davis (bass), and Alan Dawson (drums). “A Lunar Tune” immediately kicks the LP into a racetrack groove, with Ervin blowing hard as his fellows breathlessly tear into this furiously paced, time-shifting track. Randy Weston’s “Cry Me Not” winds the pace down to show what this group can do with an introspective ballad; “Grant’s Stand” picks it up again. Ervin’s tone was big and full-throated, if a tad ragged around the edges, but “A Day to Mourn,” said to be inspired by the Kennedy assassination, indicates the influence of early 60s Coltrane, as Ervin delivers a richer, rounder sound to his dirge-like composition. Rudy Van Gelder captured this Prestige title in stereo, and it reflects his consistently fine work. Tonally it’s a touch on the light side, but otherwise the band’s energy is clearly and dynamically captured, with a decent sense of air and focus. Kevin Gray did the mastering of this excellent QRP platter, so the quality of this welcome reissue is as good as it gets.

More Info

  • primary artist, Booker Ervin

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