Booker Ervin – The Freedom Book
Booker Ervin’s rowdy, raspy and ebullient tenor saxophone gets a little more attention with this digitally whizzed-up re-mastering of The Freedom Book. Originally released in 1963, the album grew out of his immersion in the bop world of Randy Weston and Charles Mingus. He’d here assembled a mean quartet to supplement his playing, too. Drummer Alan Dawson is a law unto himself, drumming spirited, quicksilver polyrhythms and sounding too quick to ever hit a drum square on the skin. Richard Davis’ busy bass catches a melody when it needs to, and pianist Jaki Byard can do melancholy but would still make a metronome look slack when the mood jumps, which is does and quickly.
Booker Ervin’s wild and sweet tone, here mastered and treated from analogue into 24-bit resolution by original producer Rudy Van Gelder, are nowhere more evident than in this humorous, imaginative and adroitly performed gem.