Jimmy Giuffre ‘Jimmy Giuffre 3’ (Poll Winners Records) 5/5

Another superb value two LPs on 1 CD release that captures clarientist Jimmy Giuffre at his absolute peak and in a chamber jazz setting that even today sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded. The coupling brings together the ‘Jimmy Giuffre 3’ and ‘Travelling light’ sessions, both dating from December 1956. They are definitive examples of what came to be known as the west coast sound in its most intimate of surroundings. On the former the line up of Jim Hall on guitar, Ralph Peña on bass and Giuffre on clarinet produces some superlative music, none better than a seminal version of ‘The train and the river’. 
Above all it is simply the sheer joy of playing together that jumps aout at thel istener and this is no hasard encounter since the trio regluarly practiced together in bassists Peña’s Hollywood garage. The album cover says it all really with a classic photograph from none other than William Claxton. For the second album, we find a highly unusual combination of trio plus valve trombone with Giuffre alternating between clarinet and tenor saxophone with Bob Brookmeyer replacing Peña in trio duties on trombone. Despite the addition of brass, the trio still manage to maintain their individual as well as collective positions from previuosly and this is none better ilustrated than on the title track opener. Given the telepathic relationship betwene musicians contained on these albums, it is surprising that Giuffre and Hall only recorded once more and this was in 1963. One would have loved to hear the trio stretch out in a live setting. Extensive new liner notes and orginal Downbeat reviews of the albums greatly enhance our appreciation of the music within. A winner all the way and the starting point for all chamber jazz that followed including the great Oregon.

Tim Stenhouse