STRETCHING OUT contains 2 LPs on 1 CD: SATIN DOLL (1959)/LIL' DARLIN' (1959).
Personnel: Red Garland (piano); Doug Watkins, Jimmy Rowser (bass); Charles "Specs" Wright (drums).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englwood Cliffs, New Jersey and live at the Prelude, New York, New York on August 12 & October 2, 1959.
Personnel: Red Garland (piano); Specs Wright (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Kirk Felton.
Liner Note Author: Orrin Keepnews.
Recording information: Prelude, New York, NY (08/12/1959/10/02/1959); Van Gelder's Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (08/12/1959/10/02/1959).
When it comes to Red Garland's history as a recording artist, there is good news and bad news. First, the bad news: Garland spent most of the '60s in semi-retirement and didn't get into the studio at all from 1963-1969. Now, the good news: Prestige and its various subsidiaries documented Garland extensively in the late '50s and early '60s. During that period, the influential pianist recorded about 25 sessions as a leader -- and that isn't counting all the Prestige releases that feature him as a sideman. Fantasy, which owns the Prestige catalog, has generally been good about reissuing Garland's work. Assembled by Fantasy in 2002, this 70-minute CD draws on two LPs that Garland recorded in 1959: Satin Doll and Lil' Darlin'. Garland's Prestige output was impressively consistent, and Stretching Out finds him in fine form on both live and studio material. The studio tracks (which include George Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll") were recorded in Rudy Van Gelder's famous New Jersey location, while the live performances are from an October 2, 1959, appearance at the Prelude in New York's Harlem section. That same Prelude gig is the focus of Fantasy's 77-minute CD At the Prelude, Vol. 1 -- Garland did more than one set that night, and none of the performances that are on that CD are on Stretching Out. When this disc is playing, listeners are reminded that Garland was as lyrical and melodic as he was hard-swinging. He is also highly charismatic; Garland brings a great deal of warmth to the studio tracks as well as to Prelude performances that include Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet," Neal Hefti's "Lil' Darlin'," and Rodgers & Hammerstein's "We Kiss in the Shadow." From the Prelude to Van Gelder's studio, Stretching Out paints a consistently attractive picture of Garland in 1959. ~ Alex Henderson