Booker Little, “Booker’s Blues”

Booker Little, like Clifford Brown and Fats Navarro, was a young trumpeter who left us before he realized his full potential. but in the time he was here, he left us with several awesome examples of his compositional genuis and deeply moving improvisations. by the time he passed at the age of 23, he had performed with, among others, Max Roach, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, Abbey Lincoln and Coleman Hawkins. when i listen to his music i can’t help but wonder where his tremendous gifts would have taken him had he been given more time. some of his standout recordings include Max Roach’s Percussion Bittersweet, Abbey Lincoln’s Straight Ahead and his own date, Out Front. “Booker’s Blues” is a song from Booker Little And Friend and as the title suggests, it’s a blues. but like many of his compositions, he inserts some device that opens up more possibilities for expression. in this case, the combination of Booker’s soaring lyricism set against the tight harmonies of the other horns and the rhythm section’s pedal points creates an ever mounting tension that builds until melody gives way to the solos. the solo section has an AAB form made up of 2 choruses of blues followed by an 8 measure vamp. the vamp acts as a reservoir in which energy is quickly accumulated before it is released into the following chorus. below is a clip of the melody and a transcription of the score… i’ll be posting more music by Booker Little in the coming weeks because he is trumpeter/ composer that all musicians should be more aware of.

Solo starts at :35.

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