This Fantasy 2001 two-fer reissue features saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis in session with a quintet that includes the Shirley Scott trio (Scott, organ; George Duvivier, bass; Arthur Edgehill, drums) and conga player Ray Barretto. It was released as Eddie Lockjaw Davis Meets Shirley Horn as Moodsville 30 in 1960. With the exception of a quartet recording released on Stompin' (Prestige 7456), the rest was another quintet with pianist Horace Parlan, drummer Art Taylor, Buddy Catlett on bass, and Willie Bobo on conga, issued as Goin' to the Meetin' in 1962 as Prestige 7242.
When it came to tenor saxophonists, the late organist Shirley Scott had excellent taste. One of the big-toned tenor men she worked with extensively was Stanley Turrentine, whom she married; another was Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Recorded in Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio in 1959, Bacalao is among the many solid hard bop/soul-jazz albums that resulted from Davis' association with Scott. The two of them enjoyed an incredibly strong rapport in the late '50s and early '60s, and they are very much in sync on Bacalao (which unites them with bassist George Duvivier, drummer Arthur Edgehill, and two Latin percussion men: Luis Perez and salsa giant Ray Barretto).
Arnett Cobb's debut for Prestige and his first recording as a leader in three years (due to a serious car accident in 1956) is an explosive affair. Cobb is matched up with fellow tough tenor Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and there are plenty of sparks set off by their encounter. With organist Wild Bill Davis, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Arthur Edgehill keeping the proceedings heated, Cobb and Davis tangle on a variety of basic material, alternating uptempo romps such as "Go Power" and "Go Red Go" with slightly more sober pieces highlighted by "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." This is a great matchup (reissued on CD through the OJC imprint) that lives up to its potential.
Eddie Lockjaw Davis swings way out here – working in that cool cooking mode from the 50s, with organist Shirley Scott a very important partner on the date! The group's got a larger sound than usual – thanks to the addition of trombonist Steve Pullman – a player we don't know much, but who shifts the groove nicely away from some of Davis' more staid cookbook albums. Rhythm is by George Duvivier on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums – and titles include "Bahia", "Foxy", "Bingo Domingo", and "Can't Get Out Of This Mood".
When four veterans like Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Tate, Eddie Davis, and Arnett Cobb get together, no longer young bucks that have to prove themselves, they still like to assert their musical masculinity. It is like four old friends in their shirtsleeves or T-shirts, having an old fashioned bull session over beer and pretzels or an equivalent. There is talk of old times, back-slapping, head-shaking, low humor and high hilarity. Troubles of the present are forgotten temporarily as old bonds are reweaved.
Hawkins was one of the main inspirations of his fellow tenor Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, so it was logical that they would one day meet up in the recording studio. This CD has many fine moments from these two highly competitive jazzmen, particularly the lengthy title cut and a heated tradeoff on "In a Mellow Tone," on which Davis goes higher but Hawkins wins on ideas.