2018 Japanese CD reissue.
Festival director Claude Nobs was partly right when he said by way of introduction to flautist Bobbi Humphrey's Montreux Jazz Festival appearance that there hadn't been that many female jazz artists in the history of jazz. Or at least, not that many in 1973 were given top billing at festivals or led bands. Humphrey had been spotted by Dizzy Gillespie in a school competition and with his encouragement moved to New York, where within days she had played with Duke Ellington. Such endorsements no doubt paved the way in 1971 for Humphrey to become the first woman instrumentalist since German pianist Jutta Hipp in 1954 to be signed by Blue Note.
This concert features tracks from Flute In (Blue Note, 1971) and Dig This! (Blue Note, 1972), stretched to two or three times their studio length and showcasing Humphrey's undoubted virtuosity. Humphrey and guitarist Barney Perry's unison melody introduces Alphonse Mouzon's "Virtue" with bassist Henry Franklin's mantra-like ostinato and drummer Keith Killgo's bustle providing anchor and spring-board respectively for Humphrey's four-and-a-half minute exploration -a fluid solo of continuous invention and melodic taste.
Humphrey leaves substantial room for her sidemen to stretch out on Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar" and shares protagonism with electric pianist Kevin Toney on Dick Griffin's "Sad Bag," which Humphrey steers seamlessly from seductive ballad to breezy workout, her playing lyrical and warm-toned throughout. Toney takes the baton and goes up a gear with an animated solo before Humphrey's returns to see the tune quietly home, her unaccompanied flute providing a delightful ending. A grooving, jazz-funk take on Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine," with Humphrey and Toney once again stretching out impressively, closes an engaging concert on a high note.
The crowd's enthusiastic response during the performance, between songs and at the end is testament to the impact Humphrey made at Montreux Jazz 1973 and a ringing endorsement of her talent.
|Brand||Blue Note Records Japan|
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