• THE FRANCIS WOLFF COLLECTION
• LIMITED EDITION
• DELUXE GATEFOLD SLEEVE
• 180 GRAM AUDIOPHILE VINYL
• INCLUDES 2 BONUS TRACKS
Born in Detroit on March 16, 1930 (he died in New York on November 16, 2001), pianist Tommy Flanagan had already participated on more than 25 albums by the time Overseas was taped, an impressive number considering that his fi rst studio appearance was in March 1956. This 1957 trio session recorded in Sweden marked Flanagan’s fi rst album as a leader. The pianist was touring with trombonist J.J. Johnson—along with Wilbur Little and Elvin Jones—when these recordings were made. His initial trio LP gives proof of Flanagan’s musical depth, showing that he wasn’t just a pianist but also a solid composer. Most of this date is devoted to Flanagan’s compositions, though only one, “Eclypso,” remained in his repertoire for long. This engaging piece alternates between calypso and bop, with Jones switching between sticks and brushes.
- TOMMY FLANAGAN, piano
- WILBUR LITTLE, bass
- ELVIN JONES, drums
Stockholm, Sweden, August 15, 1957.
- (*) BONUS TRACKS
- [A6]: Same personnel as above. From J. J. Johnson’s album Dial J.J. 5.
- New York, May 14, 1957.
- [B5]: Tommy Flanagan (p), Doug Watkins (b), Louis Hayes (d).
- This is the only trio track from the album The Cats.
- Hackensack, New Jersey, April 18, 1957.
- SIDE A
- 01 RELAXIN’ AT CAMARILLO
- 02 CHELSEA BRIDGE
- 03 ECLYPSO
- 04 BEAT’S UP
- 05 SKÅL BROTHERS
- 06 SO SORRY PLEASE (*)
- SIDE B
- 01 LITTLE ROCK
- 02 VERDANDI
- 03 DELARNA
- 04 WILLOW WEEP FOR ME
- 05 HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? (*)
- Label code
Tommy Flanagan is one of the essential jazz soloists of the last century who, renowned for his extraordinary fluidity and elegance, accompanied on stage many important stars such as Ella Fitzgerald.
But, in the absence of these great artists, Tommy Flanagan himself, at the piano, captivated the audience as soon as he began to play the keyboard.
Although he was a pianist par excellence, he was also a multi-instrumentalist who excelled on instruments such as the clarinet, vibraphone, saxophone and double bass. His musical career is remembered for his great work with Fitzgerald, but also for his collaborations with other musical geniuses such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis, with whom he showed the best of swing and jazz: melodic invention, sophisticated harmony and a good sense of blues with humor.
Tommy Flanagan was born in Detroit on March 16, 1930 and died in New York on November 16, 2001. He began studying clarinet at the early age of six and started on piano when he was 11. In his early musical years, he performed formally in Detroit with musicians such as Elvin Jones, Thad Jones and Milt Jackson.
Two things radically changed his musical direction: the city of New York to which he moved in 1956, and the impact on him of Charlie Parker's music. His destiny began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he worked with Oscar Pettiford, J. J. Johnson, Miles Davis, Harry Edison and Coleman Hawkins.
His career is remembered above all for the musical fruits he bore with Ella Fitzgerald, as he was her most emblematic pianist and musical director for 20 years. However, from 1978 onwards, tired of being just an accompanist, he began to develop his own personal productions with small instrumental ensembles. He created admirable tasteful works, guided by his solo vocation, where he was a master of bop and poetic interpreter of popular tunes, as well as a spokesman for the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
While Tommy Flanagan was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker and performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, from his earliest days, the music that influenced him most was that of Art Tatum, Earl Van Riper, Willie Anderson, Bud Powell, Nat King Cole and Teddy Wilson. His use of clarinet, saxophone and double bass, plus his refined and elegant musical style on the piano, made him one of the most sought-after musicians by performers and singer-songwriters of the time. Flanagan accompanied on the piano, but he also used to show his power as a solo singer, leaving audiences and even the stars he accompanied speechless.
COLLABORATORS IN PERFORMANCE
Among his most important collaborations were, above all, the work he did with Ella Fitzgerald for 20 years. But he also collaborated with other stars of the moment: Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Thad Jones, Lionel Hampton, Jo Jones, Pee Wee Russell, and the extraordinary saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. At the time he paused his work with Fitzgerald, Flanagan shared stages with Tal Farlow, Red Mitchell and Red Mitchell.
Tommy Flanagan's discography is varied. It includes the musical productions he made as a musical leader and those in which he participated as an accompanist. Here we leave you a selection of his most emblematic and important repertoire:
As a leader:
The Tokyo Recital (1975)
Plays the Music of Harold Arlen (1978)
Ballads and Blues (1978)
Our Delights - Duo with Hank Jones (1978)
Super Session (1980)
The Magnificent (1981)
Jazz Poet (1989)
Beyond the Bluebird (1990)
Flanagan's Shenanigans (1993)
Lady Be Good for Ella (1993)
Sunset and the Mockingbird (1997)
Sea Changes (1997)
Detroit-New York Junction by Thad Jones (1956)
Introducing Kenny Burrell by Kenny Burrell (1956)
Collector's Items by Miles Davis (1956)
The Magnificent Thad Jones by Thad Jones (1956)
Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins (1956)
Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane by John Coltrane (1958)
BLUES ette by Curtis Fuller (1959)
Motor City Scene by Thad Jones (1959)
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery by Wes Montgomery (1960)
Swingin' With Pee Wee by Pee Wee Russell (1960)
Giant Steps by John Coltrane (1960)
Night Hawk by Coleman Hawkins (1960)
Detuned by Coleman Hawkins (1962)
Opening Remarks by Ted Dunbar (1978)
Straight Life by Art Pepper (1979)
Chromatic Palette by Tal Farlow (1981)
A Little Pleasure duet with J.R. Monterose (1981)
MOST FAMOUS SONG
Flanagan's best musical productions, according to the critics, can be found in the album "Giants Step", a tribute to John Coltrane, and in the recording he made at the Village Vanguard in New York, with the trio composed by Lewis Nash and Peter Washington. Nor should we forget his instrumental performances and musical direction with Ella Fitzgerald, where a good part of his musical contributions are due precisely to Flanagan.
Apart from this, Tommy Flanagan also produced very outstanding songs that we mention below, and that are still in the classic lists of the best jazz and blues of all times:
Central Park West
Willow Weep for Me
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Blues For Sakra
They Say It's Spring
A Blue Time
Relaxin' at Camarillo
In a Sentimental Mood
Sunset and the Mockingbird
Willow Weep for Me
TOMMY FLANNAGAN: A MUSICIAN OF GREAT INFLUENCE
The legacy of this legendary jazz and blues pianist extended to considerable influence, both on contemporary musicians and those of later generations. For example, Detroit Barry Harris, Roland Hanna and Alan Broadbent, recognized Tommy as one of their strongest influences. Helen Sung's case was extreme: she radically changed classical music for jazz once she heard a Flanagan solo. He was nominated for 4 Grammys and, although he did not receive any of them, his career was full of praise and recognition by great stars and critics of the genre.