180g Vinyl LP Reissue Remastered By Ray Staff At Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London and Manufactured At Pallas In Germany
After graduating from Berklee in 1962, pianist John Hicks served a blues apprenticeship with Little Milton and Albert King, then toured with jazz greats Al Grey, Pharaoh Sanders and Johnny Griffin. Fellow St. Louis natives Clark Terry, Miles Davis and Oliver Nelson convinced Hicks to move to New York in 1963, where he worked with Kenny Dorham, Lou Donaldson and Joe Henderson. In 1964, on Cedar Walton's recommendation, John became pianist for the all-time great version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the one that included Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller.
After two years with Blakey, Hicks became accompanist to Betty Carter ('66 to '68 and '75 to '80). Other singers, including Anita O'Day, Carmen McRae and Jon Hendricks, soon sought John's remarkable accompanying talents. Spending almost two years with the Woody Herman Band also helped build his big band skills while performing and recording with Pharaoh Sanders and Sonny Rollins deepened his interest in the freer side of jazz. By the mid-70s, he was a favorite pianist of free jazz masters David Murray, Oliver Lake, Chico Freeman and Arthur Blythe. At the same time, his standing as an icon of straight ahead jazz kept on growing through his work with giants like Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, James Moody, Ron Carter, and Roy Haynes.
As a leader, Hicks formed successful groups ranging from trios to sextets and big bands. After recording Hells Bells, his highly regarded Strata-East debut as a leader in 1975 (although not officially released until 1980) he recorded prolifically for High Note, Theresa, Candid, DIW, Red Baron, Concord and RCA Novus. The moving 4-track set finds him performing in a trio setting with drummer Cliff Barbaro and bassist Clint Houston.
John Hicks, piano
Clint Houston, bass
Cliff Barbaro, drums