Frank Strozier – What’s Goin On

Last Sunday night I was preparing to do my radio show featuring Harold Mabern. I wanted to choose some music that maybe lot of people hadn’t heard. I perused my collection and pulled out some great stuff for sure but I came across a find on iTunes of all places that has lit up my world for the last few days. Its a record that was issued on Steeplechase Records and despite doing some extensive research I can’t really figure out when it was recorded. It says 1997 which I suppose is possible but getting any kind of info on Strozier is tough. The last I heard he was alive and well but concentrating mostly on playing piano, not alto saxophone. It is definitely a later recording so perhaps 1997 is correct. Its on Steeplechase as I mentioned and the number is SCCD 31420 and the title is “What’s Goin’ On.” The lineup is absolutely fantastic: Louis Hayes (drums, Stafford James (bass), Harold Mabern (piano) the late Danny Moore (trumpet) and of course Frank Strozier (alto sax. I have in many ways been unable to put Mabern’s playing characteristics into words but listening to this record pretty much sums it up totally! His comping is driving, swinging, unrelenting, urgent, constant and its clear on this session that Strozier is clearly spurred on by his Memphis counterpart. Strozier is in fine form. His tone is a lot brigher and harsher than that of his earlier recordings but this isn’t a bad thing. Its also great to hear Danny Moore who is somewhat of an ‘institution’ in NYC amongst musicians and he sounds great throughout this CD.

They do a great version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Whats Going On’ that is just killing! Strozier also flexes his flute chops on the record exhibiting his gorgeous sound and technique. A great record. Check it out at www.jazzloft.com

I just dropped Harold Mabern off at his hotel and got the facts. This record he suspects was done in the early to mid 80’s as Strozier quite playing saxophone right after this recording sighting ‘bad reeds’ as his reason. Strozier is alive and well living in Westchester New York practicing piano!

I just got the exact facts from Gavin Walker that the CD was in fact recorded in 1977!

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