I'm usually hesitant to purchase records by musicians I've never heard of before, and this record is that. However, the owner of my neighborhood record store personally suggested it to me, promising that I could return it if I did not like it, so I purchased it.
I do not believe I own any Tone Poet series records to date, but was quite impressed with the package and condition of the vinyl. The band sounds amazing; I am dumbfounded I never heard of any of these players. The trumpet player is strong and fiery. This is hard-bop with tight arrangements and skilled improvisation. The recording and mixing is energetic and super clean. Tenor tone is big and full, as is the trumpet. My only slight complaints would be the very thin sounding guitar and somewhat strident soprano sax. Drums are tracked and mixed beautifully, and the bass punches through nicely on the bottom. My favorite track is "A Shade of Brown". I also love the guitar solos on "Native Land" and "Amyable".
Kevin Gray's mastering work is well known in the industry, and he obviously polished a gem to a high lustre.
If you just like hearing great recordings through your sound system, this record is perfect for that. If you'd like to study the music, you could do very well with this record. Recommended.
This is one of those records you don't know you need until you hear it on vinyl. I first listened to parts of it online and it was ok but not a "must have right this second". However it was enough to motivate me to pick it up. Then I finally got a copy and put in on the turntable and it just comes alive. Such a great performance you wish Side A would just go on for an hour. It will blow your doors off. These Blue Note reissue series are the best thing going on in vinyl right now.
LOVING the light jazz guitar on "Native Land"!! Really glad that Blue Note has done the crate-digging into the Pacific Jazz catalogue (and Kevin Gray has done the remastering) for this one here. Even if you tend to steer clear of the more obscure audiophile releases, Katanga is worth picking up as it will add value to your collection and a jazz record with an addictive quality you'll want to flip again and again.
Holy! What a record, makes me want to dig way deeper into the Pacific Jazz catalogue. And hell, guitar and post-bop was never really my thing, but this record may turn me into a convert as Ray Crawford's playing is so tasteful. Maybe I just don't like it when guitar is the lead instrument on hard bop/post bop recordings? I don't know. I like guitar on fusion records. Regardless, this album is phenomenal and the mastering by Kevin Gray, pressing by RTI and cover by Stoughton are vinyl perfection.
This is a brilliant record, and is another reminder of how the criminal justice in the USA discriminated so brutally. Dupree Bolton should have been known as a trumpeter great, but instead he went to jail for dealing and hardly ever recorded again, dying in obscurity. His composition Katanga! is full of fire and his trumpet soloing and style is phenomenal, reminding me of Clifford Brown at times, yet still his own.
The musical program is superb and shows great continuity. Seriously, this is a 5 star record worth having in every decent jazz collection. The TonePoet release easily bests my 1963 US mono pressing and the quality of my copy is very decent too. The cover is done superbly and my record is nice and flat, playing perfectly.
As noted by others, Jack Wilson's piano is inventive and a treat, but don't forget the great Curtis Amy as well. His playing and style is at times more subtle but it grows on you once you listen to this record a few times. Curtis can be so haunting at times - especially on "You Don't Know What Love Is", where his playing is bound to give you goose bumps. Also, the fine guitar work of Ray Crawford is really worth mentioning, as well as the fine bass work of Vic Gaskin.
The original recording was mixed very well, but as noted elsewhere, there were likely some edits on the first two tracks originally to fit them onto the Lp format. Maybe extended versions will turn up some day.
This is a record to be listened to more than once, as there is so much to enjoy and discover in it. In my opinion, this is one of the best sessions produced by Richard Bock for Pacific Jazz.