The Record Collection

Chico Hamilton Quintet: The Original Ellington Suite (1958) 2000

The Original Ellington Suite

Track list:

01. In a Mellow Tone
02. In a Sentimental Mood
03. I’m Just a Lucky So and So
04. Just A-Sittin’ and A-Rockin’
05. Everything But You
06. Day Dream
07. I’m Beginning to See the Light
08. Azure
09. It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)


Eric Dolphy – alto sax (#2,4,7,9), flute (#1,3,5), clarinet (#6,8);
Nate Gershman – cello
John Pisano – guitar;
Hal Gaylor – bass;
Chico Hamilton – drums

Recorded in Los Angeles; August 22, 1958.
Released: August 1, 2000
Label: Pacific Jazz

Producer: Richard Bock
Re-issue Producer: Michael Cuscuna

Transferred in 24-bit by Malcolm Addey from a vinyl test pressing
Source: John Cobley

Liner notes: Michael Cuscuna, John Cobley

Cover painting: Sueo Serisawa
Original cover design: Milt Zolotow
Cover courtesy of the Jazz Record Center, NYC

Prevously unissued, except for edited versions of #2 and #7 issued on Pacific Jazz LP PJ-10108.
An Edited version of #1 first appeared on a Pcific Jazz radio sampler (SS-540)
This release will have fans of Eric Dolphy salivating as it includes some long-lost work that jazz scholars didn’t know existed at all.

When the premiere re-issue producer Michael Cuscuna researched all known Pacific Jazz tapes attributed to Chico Hamilton, all he came across were three edited numbers from this session, two of which had appeared on a compilation and another only on a DJ sampler.

But this release is due to the luck of a Canadian resident who was digging through a used record bin in his hometown of Brighton, England, where he found a copy of The Ellington Suite with the personnel listed from a later session and a near mint blank test pressing of what turned out to be the long lost Chico Hamilton original version with Dolphy.

While producer Richard Bock may have thought Dolphy’s playing was at times too radical, history proves him wrong.

His mellow alto sax is a key ingredient of “In a Sentimental Mood,” while his unique phrasing is central to the swinging “Just A-Sittin’and A-Rockin’.”

Dolphy’s flute is not as aggressive as it would be in the next few years, but his playing on “Everything but You” provides a preview of what was to come later in his career.

Dolphy’s clarinet weaves underneath Nate Gershman’s arco cello solo in the lovely “Day Dream.”

Of course, the work of guitarist John Pisano, bassist Hal Gaylor, and the leader should not be ignored, as their musicianship is of the highest order, too.

Chico Hamilton’s pianoless chamber jazz recordings for Pacific Jazz between 1955 and 1959 are important landmarks, but the discovery of this long-lost date adds to his many achievements.

Highly recommended.
~Ken Dryden[]