gil coggins /
better late than never

 
   
             

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)

 
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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