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Happy Frame of Mind

Happy Frame of Mind

The Music Matters series of 45-RPM releases keeps coming up with gems, such as this fifth addition to the Horace Parlan discography. By 1963, Parlan’s group had added the unique talents of Johnny Coles on trumpet, Booker Ervin on tenor, Grant Green on guitar, Butch Warren on bass and Billy Higgins on drums.  

With this lineup, Parlan stretches out beyond his comfort zone and produced a superior record that sat in the can for years. It finally saw the light of day as part of a ‘two-fer’ LP set under Booker Ervin’s name in 1976 and then as a CD under Parlan’s name in 1995. It returned to vinyl with a European Blue Note release in 2013. Finally, Music Matters gives this great LP its due. 

Listen to Ervin’s edgy solos on the title piece and you know Parlan’s talents went far beyond soul infused jazz. In a similar vein is Coles’ trumpet work on his composition Dexi, tied all together with Parlan’s dexterous touch. Kevin Grey and Ron Rambach have worked their magic on these sides, marred only by a touch of the left/right separation Van Gelder’s recordings of this period display. An essential record, along with Parlan’s great sides with Archie Shepp on Steeplechase.

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