July-12th-2003, 02:01 PM
Grachan Moncur III - Mosaic Select Box
Of all the Mosaic sets I've acquired in the last decade or so, this one is easily
one of the 'most favorites'.
Essential, it's a 3 CD compilation of the two albums Moncur cut for Blue Note as leader, plus four Jackie McLean albums in which Moncur was a sideman. At
$39.95 (plus s/h) from Mosaic, it's good value -and a 'must-have' item for devotees of post-bop stuff. Moncur's pieces are featured prominently.
The 'Select' series sets are CD-size box sets, which breaks Mosaic's previous pattern of larger LP-sized boxed sets for all their packaging. The enclosed booklet, for the most part, mostly reprints the liner notes from the original LPs and adds detailed discography. There's also a few four-color repros of a few of the original Blue Note covers. The sound is fine; Van Gelder's original mixes are, for this kind of music, as about as good as we'll ever hear.
Although I enjoyed everything I heard, I was most struck by three of the sessions in particular-specifically, the cuts from McLean's "One Step Beyond" and Moncur's "Evolution" and "Some Other Stuff". Moncur's pieces on those
sessions alone would be enough to qualify him as one of the all-time great Jazz trombonist-composers, along with J.J. Johnson and Bob Brookmeyer.
Among the highlights - for me, anyway- were Moncur's pieces "Ghost Town"
and "Monk In Wonderland" (from the sessions with McLean) and all of his pieces from the "Some Other Stuff" sessions; the group on the latter was Moncur, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Cecil McBee and Tony Williams. The musical interaction is absolutely mind-blowing at times, easily rivalling any anything else in the same genre from the 60's-including (dare I say it?) the Miles "Plugged Nickel" stuff.
I found myself playing many of Williams drum solos over and over; it's hard to believe he wasn't even out of his teens when this stuff was cut. If ever Jazz drumming had a Mozart, it was Tony Williams; to my ears, his mid-60's recordings were the apex of his creativity, and nothing I've ever heard from his later career had quite the same spark. But dig it for yourself...
I suspect this set will sell out sooner than most Mosaic sets once the word gets around. Easily one of the best reissue sets of 2003-and highly recommended!
July-12th-2003, 05:16 PM
Another with McClean with a co-star quality performance by Moncur III as a player & writer is "Destination Out" on Blue Note!
July-12th-2003, 05:52 PM
Destination Out is a classic session. It is on the Mosaic set mentioned here.
July-14th-2003, 07:38 AM
When this Mosaic came out I was floored that you could actually get "Some Other Stuff" (an album I could play every week for the rest of my life and not get tired of), plus the two great Jackie Mac quintets "Destination Out" and "One Step Beyond", plus a lot of other classic stuff, for $39.00. Since I live not far from Mosaic's HQ in Stamford, CT. I drove down and bought it there.
This is the only Mosaic Select I own but it's Michael Cuscuna's greatest idea, and brings them back to what I always thought they did best, keeping the great Blue Note music of the Lion/Wolff heyday available.