Ed Kelly ‘Ed Kelly & Friend’ 180g Vinyl (Pure Pleasure) 3/5

Still under contract at the time of this recording, Pharaoh Sanders joined pianist-composer Ed Kelly under the ‘Friend’ tag for this one-time collaboration that has, over the years, become another one of those under the radar collectable pieces. Previously reissued on CD format in Japan back in 2015, the ‘Ed Kelly & Friend’ album sees its first vinyl pressing since its original release on the Californian based Theresa label in 1979, courtesy of the Pure Pleasure imprint.

The quartet featured Pharaoh Sanders, pianist Ed Kelly, drummer Eddie Marshall and Peter Barshay on double bass. For many, the stand out track from the album will be ‘Got To Have Freedom‘, featuring Pharaoh Sanders unmistakable tone and delivery. The accommodation for Ed Kelly’s swing and nuanced sound brings a more warm and reflective swing than the ‘Journey To The One’ album version that many listeners will know.

The opening track, ‘Pippin’, is another highlight from the album and an easy-paced soul-jazz summer groove with some great work by the quartet. It featured on the amazing 2003 compilation ‘Journey To The Dawn’, which also included Ed Kelly’s ‘Samba’ and other Theresa label favourites.

With a vague resemblance to Barry White, pianist Ed Kelly adds a welcome soul-jazz dimension to the popular jazz standard ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and his percussive edge on the uptempo ‘Newborn’ Lends a perfect platform for Pharaoh Sanders improvisation and accent.

The album stands up alongside many of the renowned albums from the Theresa record label catalogue and its a welcome first-time reissue on vinyl.

Mark Jones