|Forgotten Esquire recordings - 2..........Kenny Graham...|
|The Kenny Graham Afro-Cubists were a unique group of eight musicians who adopted an entirely original concept of modern jazz in that they grafted a trumpet/tenor bebop front line onto an Afro - Cuban rhythm section. No group had done this before although several US bands recorded a few titles in a similar genre.
The group was masterminded by tenor man, composer, arranger Kenny Graham and made it's debut in April, 1950. For nearly two years the band struggled to survive and with mounting debts and with unpaid muusicians quitting, the band collapsed and disbanded in March, 1952.
Kenny had a contract with Esquire and continued to reform the band for one-off recording dates until September, 1955 with a varying personnel that often included star names.
|The Afro-Cubists recorded close to fifty titles for the Esquire label from February, 1951 to September, 1955 but, apart from a couple of tracks on compilations under other names,only the first six have have ever been issued on a long out of print 4 CD set (Bebop in Britain).
A CD issued by another label, recorded in 1957, bears no relation to the original band and includes four trombones, an instrument that Kenny never used. The original records included top musicians such as Jo Hunter, Terry Brown, Derek Humble, Joe Temperley, Dizzy Reece, Joe Harriott, Dave Goldberg and Victor Feldman.
It is often said that Dizzy Reece and Joe Harriott never recorded together - well they did in 1954 with Kenny Graham! A superb set with Victor Feldman recorded in 1955, issued on a 10" LP is also in limbo.
So rare is the original vinyl that Kenny's son had never been able to hear the music his father had created so many years ago...|
Kenny Graham discography...
So there are about 50 recorded titles issued mostly on 78s, with a couple of LP compilations of some of them from the 1970/80s that have never seen the light of day in the CD era. These recordings are mostly over sixty years old now and are surely due a re-issue. It would be marvellous, if a double CD set of just some of these tracks could be released...
Some of us have transferred our own, worn LPs to CD, although none of us has all the non-vinyl 78s and while these are OK it would be marvellous to have them professionally restored to CD...