The Max Roach Trio Featuring The Legendary Hasaan (Re-release, 2019)

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The Max Roach Trio Featuring the Legendary Hasaan is an album by American jazz drummer Max Roach, featuring pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali, recorded in 1964 and released on the Atlantic label. The album represents the sole recording of Hasaan Ibn Ali that was ever released.

Pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali only made one recording in his life, this trio set with drummer Max Roach and bassist Art Davis. A very advanced player whose style fell somewhere between Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor (with hints of Herbie Nichols), Hasaan actually had a rather original sound. His performances on his seven originals here are intense, somewhat virtuosic and rhythmic, yet often melodic in a quirky way. This is a classic of its kind, and it’s a tragedy that Hasaan would not record again and would soon sink back into obscurity. (Scott Yanow/AllMusic).

Hardly any other musician has released so little as Hasaan Ibn Ali, born William Henry Langford Jr. , in 1931, who died in 1980. Just seven titles in all are his complete output, all of which he composed himself, all of them on the present Atlantic LP, and all recorded in December 1964. The saxophonist Odean Pope, who often practised with him, talks of a second recording session in 1965 for Atlantic, but the recordings were never released because Hasaan was sent to jail shortly afterwards; rumour has it that the tapes were destroyed in a fire – and it might well be that recordings with John Coltrane still exist somewhere or other. Until then, one should enjoy the Max Roach Trio with Art Davis on the bass to the full. We have here a recording that will astound and fascinate your ears with its originality. A first impression conjures up reminiscences of Cecil Taylor and Herbie Nichols, while Hasaan himself talks of the pianist Elmo Hope as the man who brought him closer to the ‘mystery of music’. When asked how the recording session with maestro Max Roach went, Hasaan said: ¯They scared me to death. According to Odean Pope, Hasaan was not an easy person to get on with, and he was convinced of his talent to the point of arrogance. But despite this – or perhaps because of this – one listens spellbound to the 40 minutes on this LP, a legacy and never-fulfilled promise of an extremely talented man. We are indebted to Max Roach, who persuaded the bosses of Atlantic Records to make these recordings. For many, many years they had vanished from the record market, but fortunately they are now available as an audiophile re-release to be listened to and admired. Recording: December 1964 in New York by Tom Dowd Production: Arif Mardin.

Tracklisting:
All compositions by Hasaan Ibn Ali

Three-Four vs. Six-Eight Four-Four Ways” – 5:40
Off My Back Jack” – 5:13
Hope So Elmo” – 3:52
Almost Like Me” – 6:39
Din-Ka Street” – 6:08
Pay Not Play Not” – 8:08
To Inscribe” – 5:00

Personnel:
Max Roach – drums
Hasaan Ibn Ali – piano
Art Davis – bass

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Released: 1965
Recorded: December 4 & 7, 1964
New York City
Length: 41:07
Label: Atlantic
LP 1435
Producer: Arif Mardin

Re-release: 2019

Label: Speakers Corner Records

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