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Smooth Groove

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Personnel: Ray Crawford (guitar), Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone), Johnny Coles (trumpet), Junior Mance (piano), Ben Tucker (bass), Frankie Dunlop (drums). Recorded at Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York, January 6 & February 10, 1961. Includes liner notes by Alan Bates and Mark Weber. Guitarist Ray Crawford, best known for his associations with pianist Ahmad Jamal and organist Jimmy Smith, only led one session in his early years. Because the Candid label soon went bankrupt, the set went unreleased altogether until this 1988 CD. Comprised of five Crawford originals, the session finds the guitarist playing fairly advanced hard bop with trumpeter Johnny Coles, baritonist Cecil Payne (in top form), pianist Junior Mance, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Frankie Dunlop. Everyone sounds fine, making one regret that this set fell between the cracks for so many years. ~ Scott Yanow



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