A very distinctive tenor with a hard, passionate tone and an emotional style that was still tied to chordal improvisation, Booker Ervin was a true original. He was originally a trombonist, but taught himself tenor while in the Air Force (1950-1953). After studying music in Boston for two years, he made his recording debut with Ernie Fields' R&B band (1956). Ervin gained fame while playing with Charles Mingus (off and on during 1956-1962), holding his own with the volatile bassist and Eric Dolphy. He also led his own quartet, worked with Randy Weston on a few occasions in the '60s, and spent much of 1964-1966 in Europe before dying much too young from kidney disease. Ervin, who is on several notable Charles Mingus records, made dates of his own for Bethlehem, Savoy, and Candid during 1960-1961, along with later sets for Pacific Jazz and Blue Note. Booker Ervin, who always had a very unique sound on the tenor, is heard in prime form on this quartet set. In virtually all cases, the jazz and blues musicians who recorded for Candid in 1960-61 (during its original brief existence) were inspired and played more creatively than they did for other labels. That fact is true for Ervin, even if he never made an indifferent record. In addition to "Poinciana" and "Speak Low", Ervin's quartet (which was a regular if short-lived group) performs four of the leader's originals; best known is "Booker's Blues".
Booker Ervin: That's It!
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