An overlooked late 60s treasure on Blue Note
– 2 rare albums by Kenny Cox & The Contemporary Jazz Quintet – one of the few new groups to work on the label at the time, and an up-and-coming modern combo from Detroit! The first album's quite unique for a number of reasons – not just because the group was a little-known new signing to the label, but also because the work is quite far-reaching at times – some of the most free-thinking jazz recorded for Blue Note
during the time, with a sense of boldness that almost stretches back to Jackie McLean's first few records of the new thing years, or a sense of lyrical invention that's a bit like Wayne Shorter when he made a shift towards the outside. Some numbers are awash in fast colors and changes, while others are a bit more in the pocket, with echoes of soul jazz – but the whole thing's incredibly fresh and free, a wonderful little record that only gets better and better over the years! The group features pianist Kenny Cox as the leader, plus Charles Moore on trumpet, Leon Henderson on tenor, Ron Brooks on bass, and Danny Spencer on drums. Titles include "Mystique", "You", "Trance Dance", "Eclipse", and "Number Four". The CD also features the group's second Blue Note
album, Multidirection – a session of work that builds strongly on the colors and changes explored by Miles Davis earlier in the 60s, but which takes things off into a whole new direction! (A Multidirection?) The horns on the record have incredible interplay – trumpet by Charles Moore and tenor from Leon Henderson, playing together with a sense of dexterity that may even beat the team of Davis and Wayne Shorter – angular one moment, softly lyrical the next, and always in pursuit of fresh tones and righteous sounds. Kenny Cox's piano is great too – an exercise in understatement at times – getting as much done with one note
as other players would with five – as he slowly guides the group along, and grounds their freer expressions with a good sense of humanity. Titles include "What Other One", "Gravity Point", "Spellbound", "Snuck In", and "Sojourn".
(Tray card has a cutout notch.)