Gil Coggins | Better Late Than Never

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Jazz: Bebop Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Better Late Than Never

by Gil Coggins

The final recordings of the legendary Gil Coggins, pianist with Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Jackie McClean in the 1950s
Genre: Jazz: Bebop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I'm Old Fashioned
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10:04 album only
2. Smooch
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6:45 album only
3. Repetition
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8:24 album only
4. Veird Blues
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8:59 album only
5. The Scene Is Clean
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5:22 album only
6. Isn't It Romantic?
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8:33 album only
7. A House Is Not A Home
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2:26 album only


Album Notes
1 I'm Old Fashioned (Kern)
2 Smooch (Mingus)
3 Repetition (Hefti)
4 Vierd Blues (Davis)
5 The Scene Is Clean (Dameron)
6 Isn't It Romantic (Rodgers/Hart)
7 A House Is Not A Home (Bacharach)

Gil Coggins (piano), Mike Fitzbenjamin (bass), Louis Hayes (drums), Jimmy Wormworth(drums)

Available soon!

This album is a milestone for many reasons: Besides the obvious beauty of the music, its historical significance is unique. From getting his first real taste as a house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse , to recording with Miles Davis and going on the road with Lester Young, Gil Coggins has been a part of Jazz for over sixty years. Yet, only now are we privileged to hear Gillie on record representing himself totally, in every musical choice. While I wish there were many more records of him before this point, I understand that is what makes this one all the more special. It’s very rare (if ever) that a listener gets to hear a jazz musician for the first time at the likely pinnacle of his maturity. Well, at least without having the opportunity of finding other records of that musician, to hear how and if time has made them more mature. Though I’ve only had the honor of hearing Gillie for the last few years, I’m positive that Gillie’s playing is better than it has ever been. Though he has been around for a long time, he’s never sacrificed the integrity of his music for profit or for sounding “fresh” and going along with the times. Because so many musicians seem not to know what to latch on to, it’s an incredible relief to hear one who has a strong concept he fully accepts and deeply understands. He has told me many times that most musicians today sound the same, but back in his day everyone had his own voice or sound, and could be recognized from a few notes. Gillie has a totally unique way of playing that people who have been listening to him over the years know instantaneously. For those who should have been and haven’t, you can now share in the pleasure of hearing this hidden treasure. Gillie was born in Harlem on August 24, 1924. There in Sugar Hill, he was immersed in jazz from infancy alongside Sonny Rollins, Jackie Mclean and Horace Silver. His first musical experience came playing the tuba in his high school symphony band. Soon after, he switched to the piano, and began studying privately. However, one day after walking by an apartment where the sound of a trumpet blared, he realized that it was jazz that he really wanted to play. Though names such as Jackie McClean, and Sonny Rollins seem to have brought more fame to the musicians coming out of Sugar Hill, musicians like Gillie made their mark, if not on records, then in the ears of their peers. Jackie McClean claims that Gillie helped him form his conception, and Sonny Rollins recently acknowledged, “Gillie Coggin’s playing has always been a font of musical sensitivity and integrity. I’ve known Gillie for most of my musical life and have been a better musician for it.” Saxophonist Bob Mover, who has known and loved Gillie ever since he played with Chet Baker, some thirty years ago, adds, “He’s someone who plays with humor, romance and poetry, and in a time of so much empty virtuosity that’s very relieving. As a saxophonist I’ve always loved the way Gil comps. It’s not like he’s playing chords, it like he’s playing counter melodies. Just listen to his comp on “I Waited for You,” (Miles Davis Volume II) he never just plays notes, they all have meaning. He’s also one of the great ballad players on any instrument, he’s so patient with his ballads. I thinks of it like he has an Apollonian patience, opposed to a Dionysian fire. Every time I’ve played with Gil, I know I can trust him to make anything I play sound better.”

I hope that you can share the fulfilliment I feel from this long anticipated album.

-- Sam Kulok


to write a review

Hank Johnson

Better Late Than Never
I have known and worked besides this great jazz pianist Gilly Collins and recognize his talent which did not receive the recognition. Gilly had a special way he struck those keys with a percussive bang never breaking a string and thus accenting his musical punctuations. I often refered to it as " goriloring the piano". He had a unique style that often resembled Errol Garner being steady and forceful but precise. I believe this album should of been out here much earlier in Gilly's lifetime. Mike Fitzbenjamin or as I often refered to him as "Cool Mike", is playing bass great as usual. I believe he could be the next Ray Brown as for his wonderful support that Gilly's chords just seem to float on air. I have performed with Mike Fitzbenjamin and can attest to his greatness as a bassist, simply put one of the best! This album is great and I am sure will bring enjoyment to anybody looking for some real great music.

Hank Johnson, Jazzbone Records
Jazz pianist

Hank Johnson

CEO Jazzbone Records
The title says it all; "Better Late Than Never!". I enjoyed this rare CD because I knew Gilly Coggins personally and it is a real shame this artist never got the true recognition he deserved in the jazz community. Gilly had a certain command of the piano and was a true comper who knew how to gurilla a piano! He would come down on the keys accenting the melody lines and at times would sound like a ton of bricks falling on the keys deliberately to highlight a musical phrase. Gilly also played with love in his heart, and used his gentleness to soften the strong arm gurilla approach to playing the keyboard at times rather percussive but on the money! I would recomend this rare treasure to anyone looking for some great piano music with true bebop flavor. Mike Fitzbenjamin who was featured in my jazz trio does an excellent job holding it all together and makes some great accompianment to this genious of a pianist, Gilbert Coggins.

Will Meyerhofer

Worth seeking out
I used to go see Gilly play at the C-Note down on Ave. C in the East Village. He was stuck playing a little electric piano, which he compared to a guitar - he said you couldn't play too many notes at once on it. Due to his poor health, Gilly didn't have the opportunity to tour and have the career he deserved. But here he's playing a real piano, with an excellent trio, and it couldn't sound better. It's tragic there aren't more albums like this of Gilly's playing, but no one should miss out on this subtle, original pianist who had a sound like no other.