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The Cats (Coltrane, Burrell et al) leads to Jazz Poet Tommy Flannagan!

The CatsSo the other night when I was looking at Kenny Burrell albums, one of his highest rated  albums   by AllMusic was a 1957 release The Cats, an album that featured not only Burrell but also John Coltrane, Tommy Flanagan and Idrees Sulieman. Here’s what AllMusic writes about the album:

In 1957, the greatest year for recorded music including modern jazz, Detroit was a hot spot, a centerpiece to many hometown heroes as well as short-term residents like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. It was here that Trane connected with pianist Tommy Flanagan, subsequently headed for the East Coast, and recorded this seminal hard bop album. In tow were fellow Detroiters — drummer Louis Hayes, bassist Doug Watkins, and guitarist Kenny Burrell, with the fine trumpeter from modern big bands Idrees Sulieman as the sixth wheel.


….The Cats is a prelude to much more music from all of these masters that would come within a very short time period thereafter, and cannot come more highly recommended. It’s a must-buy for the ages.

I really liked the album, I was sure I would with Burrell and Coltrane on it, but I was also impressed with the piano of Tommy Flanagan and the trumpet of Idrees Sulieman. I knew the name Tommy Flanagan, but not Sulieman. So this morning I went to Wikipedia to find out about each of them. Here’s what I read about Flanagan:

Thomas Lee Flanagan (March 16, 1930 – November 16, 2001) was an American jazz pianist and composer, particularly remembered for his work with Ella Fitzgerald.[1] Flanagan played on a number of critically acclaimed recordings, such as John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, and Art Pepper’s Straight Life.[1]Continue Reading

Ok so the Rollins and the Montgomery albums are in my library!  I guess I’ve heard Tommy Flanagan’s piano before, huh! Now the trumpeter!

Idrees Sulieman (August 7, 1923, in St. Petersburg, Florida – July 23, 2002 in St. Petersburg, FL) was a bop and hard bop trumpeter. He studied at Boston Conservatory, and gained early experience playing with the Carolina Cotton Pickers and the wartime Earl Hines Orchestra (1943–1944). Sulieman was closely associated with Mary Lou Williams for a time and had stints with Cab Calloway, John Coltrane, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. Sulieman recorded with Coleman Hawkins (1957) and gigged with Randy Weston (1958–1959), in addition to popping up in many other situations. He went to Europe in 1961 to tour with Oscar Dennard, and then settled in Stockholm, moving to Copenhagen in 1964. A major soloist with The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band from the mid-’60s through 1973, Sulieman frequently worked with radio orchestras. His recordings as a leader were for Swedish Columbia (1964) and SteepleChase (1976 and 1985).Continue Reading

Ah, that explains it he went to Europe and then to Scandinavia! I tell you he was a very good trumpet player!Jazz PoetSo anyway after listening to The Cats again yesterday, today listened to Tommy Flanagan’s 1990 release Jazz Poet. The album received a Four Star review at AllMusic. Here’s what Steve Loewy writes about the album:

By the time of this recording, pianist Tommy Flanagan had been performing for decades — mostly as a sideman — for a who’s who of jazz: players such as Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson, and Sonny Rollins, to name a few. His perfect, yet unassuming style made him the pianist of choice for dozens of musicians. While he has recorded as a leader from time to time, this album may be the best representation of his work available….Read More

Both The Cats and Jazz Poet come highly recommended, so check them out!! So here’s “Minor Mishap” from  The Cats.