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Overshadowed throughout his life by his friends Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, Elmo Hope was a talented pianist and composer in his own right. He recorded in New York as a band leader (starting in 1953), and with greats Sonny Rollins, Lou Donaldson, Clifford Brown and Jackie McLean. But the loss of his cabaret card due to drug use made it difficult for him to make a living in New York. After touring with Chet Baker in 1957, Hope relocated to Los Angeles. He performed with Lionel Hampton in 1959, recorded with Harold Land and Curtis Counce, and returned to New York in 1961. A short prison sentence did little to help his drug problem; he died in May 1967.
Although the album is titled Informal Jazz, reality dictates that a good deal of thought and care went into the recording session. The dynamic drum and bass team of Philly Joe Jones and Paul Chambers is "hardly the kind of rhythm section playing heard at a jam session, except possibly in heaven," AllMusic Guide notes. And Hope's solo spots are the best part of the record — "It is a stretch to imagine an 'informal' recording session where even material as complicated as this is played."
Lastly, some of the most well-known and influential horn artists of the time make their presence known — tenor sax greats John Coltrane and Hank Mobley, as well as trumpeter Donald Byrd.
Originally released in 1956.
- 180g Vinyl
- Cut from the Analogue Masters by Kevin Gray
- Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Deluxe High-Gloss Tip-On Jacket
|Hank Mobley||tenor sax|
|John Coltrane||tenor sax|
|Philly Joe Jones||drums|
- Polka Dots and Moonbeams
- On It