Monday, 03 December 2018

Jym Young: String, Keys & Thumbs

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  • Published on Thursday, 28 November 2013 10:58
  • Written by Super User
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Strings Keys And Thumbs - 9:04
As A Matter Of Fact - 6:37
South Vietnam Blues - 9:59
Backfield In Motion - 5.53

Jym Young is somewhat of an enigma, having made a brief appearance on a handful of record dates than seemingly disappearing without a trace. He was the pianist on saxophonist Dewey Redman’s Look For the Black Star , made several unissued trio recordings during the Redman date, in addition to one LP of his own, Puzzle Box, which was issued in Germany. He was likely living and working around San Francisco, possibly having changed his name not long after his last known record date. Yet Young is completely overlooked in jazz biographical encyclopedias and websites, while many experts consulted had no additional information. Did Young quit performing soon after making these previously unissued recordings or die prematurely? Perhaps the mystery will be solved.
In any case, it would seem that these four songs are all originals and that the unidentified bassist and drummer playing with Young were either from the same Redman band with which the pianist recorded, his sidemen from Puzzle Box
(bassist Harley White and drummer Jim Messinger), or locals who had worked with him. Young’s post-bop style of playing has a rough hewn quality to it, accented by his sudden shifts in direction that seem to momentarily throw his rhythm section in spots, though they quickly adjust. Young’s playful “Strings, Keys & Thumbs” suggests the joy of children with its happy theme, which briefly sounds like a mad variation on the chord changes to “You Don’t What Love Is,” though it grows rhythmically and harmonically complex as it evolves. His frenetic “As a Matter of Fact” slows only for the solo bass chorus, with its choppy theme proving to be infectious. Young’s brooding “South Vietnam Blues” initially has a dark theme with an Asian undercurrent, quickly building into an intense workout with the rhythm section playing freely behind him. The pianist’s “Backfield in Motion” seems to be a work in progress, as if he is working on a piece in the studio, hinting initially at a ballad before suddenly shifting into rapid-fire free jazz, with all three musicians engaged in a group improvisation, which ends suddenly with the musicians in conversation. We’ll never know if this session was set aside as a rehearsal for a follow up record date that never materialized, or other forces prevented its release until now. But fans of the early years of post-bop and avant garde jazz will be intrigued with these once lost performances of pianist Jym Young.

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