While not being released with the fanfare accorded a recent release of the recent Resonance release of Wes Montgomery Echoes of Indiana Avenue, Uptown Records has released a similar live recording of another legendary guitarist Grant Green, The Holy Barbarian/ St. Louis 1959. Like the Montgomery recording, this issues a live recording of Green from before he would receive national prominence. He is heard with an organ trio of organist Sam Lazar and Chauncey Williams augmented by the white tenor saxophonist Bob Graf at a short-lived coffee house that was pioneering in bringing together black and white musicians and audiences together at a time when the authorities frowned on such mingling (to say it mildly). Bob Blumenthal’s essay that is part of the accompanying booklet discusses the club and the harassment that led to its eventual closing not long after these recordings were made. There are some press clippings in the booklet describing the harassment that led to its close.
A driving rendition of Blue Train, includes some poetry from Pete Simpson who was also the MC that night which was included to illustrate the atmosphere of the club which presented poetry as well as music. Green is really strong here before Lazar takes the tempo down as Simpson delivers his poetry that Blumenthal observes“ is not likely to be included in any anthologies of twentieth-century verse.” Simpson is riffing on lines from lyrics in classic blues and American popular songs in his poetry, although few would disagree with Blumenthal's assessment of the poetry’s quality.
I purchased this recording.