The Bob Cranshaw Project pt.1

This series of blogs will be covering material related to a project I’m calling “The House That Cranshaw Built: Bob Cranshaw, the 1960s, and Blue Note Records”  which will outline the 100+ recordings Bob did for Blue Note records, as well as every recording he participated in at Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs studio.  While his 50+ year relationship with Sonny Rollins is arguably his most visible discographical entry, and the depth of collaborators goes far beyond what is included in this corner of his career, his contributions to the Blue Note catalog and the community or artists it represented are some of his most influential work and contributed significantly to the defining of jazz in that decade.

His first entry in this discography is the album “Little Johnny C” by Johnny Coles.  The full personnel and track listing is below.  The tracks “Jano” and “Heavy Legs” stand out for the driving on top and aggressive grooves created by Cranshaw with both Walter Perkins and Pete LaRoca, as well as the remarkable Joe Henderson improvisations. The evenness of his sound, bounce, and pointed linearity of his bass lines don’t sound like anyone else from this period and contribute a singular character to this record. His ensemble playing on the beautiful “So Sweet My Little Girl” is the definition of supportive, rhythmically as well as helping stabilize the intonation of the ensemble upon his entrances.

Little Johnny C

Englewood Cliffs, N.J., July 18, 1963
Johnny Coles (tp) Leo Wright (as,fl) Joe Henderson (ts) Duke Pearson (p) Bob Cranshaw (b) Walter Perkins (d)

Little Johnny C
Hobo Joe
So sweet my little girl
Heavy legs*
My secret passion*
So sweet my little girl*

*Englewood Cliffs, N.J., August 9, 1963
Pete La Roca (d)


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