Allen Houser - Trumpet
Buck Hill - Tenor Saxophone
Reuben Brown - Fender Rhodes Piano
Marshall Hawkins - Bass
Harold Chavis - Drums
Allen Houser Quintet Live...is one out of the attic, a 1974 live recording from a long-vanished Washington, D.C. nightclub, Harold's Rogue and Jar. The recording itself is rough and a bit unbalanced but the music is excellent. The one name here that most people ouside of Washington might know is Buck Hill, a long-time tenor legend out of the Lester Young lineage with an international reputation, but this entire band smokes. Hill and Houser burn on uptempo renditions of "Just Friends" and "I Love You," while Hill's slow dissection of "Here's That Rainy Day," after Houser's gorgeous theme statement, is masterful. Reuben Brown may use a Fender Rhodes piano throughtout but he exhibits no-frills hard-swinging Jazz playing on every track and uses the vibrating and sustaining properties of his electric piano to good effect.
"Soft 'n Funky" is a soul boogaloo, with Houser going high and wild, Hill snorting and Brown bouncing off the keys like Jan Hammer. "Round Midnight" follows the pattern of "Rainy Day," Houser with a showy theme statement that runs the gamut of his range from short toots to high and long notes followed by Hill taking his time working up to a big soulful climax, Brown tinkling like a celeste and weaving his own bewitching solo and Marshall Hawkins and Harold Chavis cushioning the rhythm. This is marvelous stuff out of a city with a Jazz tradition that often goes unsung even though it was Duke Ellington's birthplace.
Jerome Wilson Cadence Jul-Aug-Sep 2011
WHAT THE CATS SAID
Thanks soooooooooooooooo much for the CD! You guys are killin’ on the recording. I remember hearing about Harold Chavis but I never met him or heard him. Wow, what a tasty, swinging drummer! I used to go to Rick Henderson rehearsals with my father and sometimes Marshall Hawkins played. Again, a swinger. I played a couple of tunes with him when the drummer was late coming back from a break. You and Buck just sound wonderful together,always have…You have a “thing” together like KD/Joe and Bird/Diz. I have some tapes (from the early 90’s) of Reuben (they could be among his last recordings), Tommy Cecil on bass and myself playing drums and YES, Reuben was a genius. Everyone that I’ve met in NY immediately asks about Reuben when I would mention I was from this region. Again, thanks so much for the CD
Tom Williams: Trumpet/Drums http://tomwilliamsnet.com
Finally I have had the opportunity to listen to your CD from back in the day. It is phenomenally good. The band is the best I have ever heard you in and you rise to that level throughout. Every aspect is world class. The sax player is BLAZING. I’ve heard of Buck. He is a treasure and swings his ass off. The rest sounds like the edge of tragedy. A precious moment in time!
The drummer is like Philly Joe. They pianist like Wynton. The bassist like Paul. And you on top of everything, imaginative and full of fire. What a great record. Where are those guys and why aren’t you playing with them now? Thanks for sending that.
Mike Melvoin: Pianist-Composer-Arranger-Conductor http://mikemelvoin.com
Finally got to the quintet tracks form 1974.(I have to identify them by instrument as you didn’t list the names) Everyone’s outstanding, and I especially dug the drummer. Very swinging and spare, with accents in just the right places. My kind of drummer. The tenor player is also my favorite kind of tenor---more Dexter Gordon than Wayne Shorter. The piano player is great; I especially love his melodic ideas and enjoyed the weird chords in the intro and head to “I Love You.” You know what I think about your playing.
Cotton Kent: Pianist and Composer http://cdbaby.com Search Cotton Kent
“Wow! One of life’s little mysteries is why the AHQ of September 1974 didn’t stay together forever! It gets better as the night goes on, and produces such splendid ensemble work and individual artistry. You guys should have gigged everywhere. The work is so solid, so much fun, and beautiful. I wish I were sitting there with a nice martini buzz and waiting to be invited up to sing “Day In-Day Out.” So I consider the CD a rare bottle, a Cuban cigar, an evening in the best Parisian brothel imaginable, and don’t think I’m no realist…”
Steve Geller: Novelist, Filmmaker, Teacher, Mentor
I love this CD! …soul and genuine swing you don’t hear that often these days.
Avi Rothbard: Guitarist and Teacher http://rothbardmusic.com
Many thanks for the CD from the gig at Harold’s Rogue & Jar. I enjoyed it very much, everybody sounds good and it was a special treat to hear Reuben again after all these years. He was the house pianist in Gary Bartz’ group at the North End Lounge in Baltimore for most of the time I was a medical student at Johns Hopkins, 1960-64. He was always extremely gracious in letting me sit in any time I dropped by, which was usually around 1 AM after studying the whole night. He had clearly absorbed a lot of Wynton Kelly, but had his own stuff.
Denny Zeitlin: Pianist/Psychiatrist http://www.dennyzeitlin.com