The Paris Reunion Band, an eight-piece ensemble made up of American jazz musicians who now live in Europe, primarily in Paris, or who once lived in Paris for an extended period, began a brief existence as a group on Tuesday evening at the Blue Note, 131 West Third Street. It is playing there through Sunday with the Roy Haynes Quartet in a salute to the late drummer Kenny Clark, a longtime resident of Paris.
After the Blue Note, the band will play a week of one-nighters, ending on June 30 at the Montreal Jazz Festival, where it will disband. This is unfortunate because the group, even on its first night together at the Blue Note, had the polish, the accomplished ease and a depth in repertory that usually come after much more experience working as a unit.
Organized and directed by Prof. Nathan Davis, a close friend of Mr. Clark and a saxophonist who teaches music at the University of Pittsburgh, the band is made up of top-flight soloists who are also superb ensemble players. The two trumpeters, Benny Bailey and Woody Shaw, developed an unusual trumpet duet on ”Body and Soul” on which Mr. Bailey’s dark, mellow tone became a striking contrast to Mr. Shaw’s crisp, crackling phrases.
The bassist Jimmy Woode, who was with Duke Ellington 30 years ago, contributed a composition that built out of his own gently rocking solo and gave the saxophonist Joe Henderson an opportunity to simmer over the bass figures. Mr. Shaw’s ”Sweet Love of Mine” was full of bright, rolling rhythms through which Slide Hampton’s trombone poked solemn, sober lines.
The band’s material is unusually fresh and colorful, played thoughtfully and with obvious pleasure over the strong rhythm foundation supplied by Kenny Drew on piano, Mr. Woode and Idris Muhammed on drums. A band that can be so good so fast should not be allowed to drift away.
Mr. Haynes’s quartet opened for the Reunion Band with a brisk set that allowed the alto saxophonist Donald Harrison to show a talent for ballads that he was rarely able to exhibit while he was with Art Blakey’s hard-driving Jazz Messengers, and Mr. Haynes featured himself in a percussion tour de force that had everything in it except a climax. (By John S. Wilson, New York Times, 1986)
And this is one of their rarest albums: recorded live at the Jazz Bühne, East-Berlin in 1988 and published on the famous Amiga-Label from the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
Listen ! And you´ll know and understand why I love the Jazz … it was a night, the legends came out to play !
Nat Adderley (trumpet)
Walter Bishop jr. (piano)
Nathan Davis (saxophone)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Joe Henderson (saxophone)
Idris Muhammad (drums)
Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Jimmy Woode (bass)