Saturday, October 11, 2008

Harold Vick - "Don't Look Back" (1974, Strata-East)

More previews below

swboy has given me permission to drop a few of his rips that were formerly on El Reza, so I'll try to add a few treats for those who have this already. This is one of my favourite Strata-East albums and a complete joy to listen to. There's something unique about Harold Vick's saxaphone sound that made me want to look deeper into his career.


Harold Vick emerged in the early 1960s as a saxaphonist with a distinctive, lyrical tone who retained a blues edge as the soul-jazz scene played back and forth with post-bop modernism throughout the decade, then followed the development of new forms in the 1970s.

Influenced by Gene Ammons, he played in the band of vocalist Lloyd Price from about 1958-1960 before joining Jack McDuff's band. He became a preferred tenor sax player for all the top-shelf soul-jazz organists like McDuff, John Patton and Jimmy McGriff.

In fact, he played with so many hammond organists that he has his own clickable org-hammo-gram.

'Our Miss Brooks' excerpt

His debut 1963 album "Steppin' Out" (Blue Note) sits firmly in the blues / early soul-jazz camp, with John Patton on the B3 and frequent collaborator Grant Green on guitar. The opening track "Our Miss Brooks" referred to Ellen Brooks, who had been Vick's girlfriend but was now going out with John Patton, who she married the next year. Ahh, musical tension in the studio! Listen to the above clip and imagine her sitting with a glass of wine, Yoko-like, at the back of the studio while the organ and sax face off. Nevertheless, Vick recorded another session with Patton the next year, but this was rejected by Blue Note and he moved on.

'Tiempo Medio Lento' excerpt

In 1966 he released "The Caribbean Suite" on RCA, built around an eight-part suite of the same name by British saxophonist Kenny Graham, with Vick adding some of his own tracks. Vick (on flute and soprano sax) is accompanied by Bobby Hutcherson, Albert Dailey and others, with Latin percussion by Montego Joe and Manuel Ramos. A bold change of pace and great stuff, you can almost hear Martin Denny and Bacoso drinking beers together in the jungle bushes behind, watching through binoculars. Thanks as always to Bacoso for re-upping this in relation to this post.

'A Rose for Wray' excerpt

Later in the year, he released "Straight Up", more straight-ahead than the previous album, but with the laid-back settings nonetheless giving you an opportunity to experience the subtle expressiveness of his playing against a backdrop of guitar, piano, vibes and trumpet. There's a few bossa tracks, and Vick adds soprano sax and flute to his woodwind arsenal.


Vick recorded the album "Commitment" in 1967, but it wasn't released until 1974 on Muse, just before "Don't Look Back". Listen to the killer track "hnic" above, with Victor Feldman ripping it up on piano - Walter Bishop plays piano on most other tracks. The track also features Mickey Roker - drums; Herb Bushler - bass; Malcolm Riddick - guitar; and Vick on flute.

'Ode to Trane'

1967's "The Melody Is Here" was later re-released as "Watch What Happens" with some additional tracks. Three tracks feature a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Bob Cranshaw and Grady Tate, the rest feature "The Harold Vick Orchestra" which includes Jimmy Owens, Joe Farrell, Hancock and others with a chorus of female voices. "Ode To Trane", above, comes from the Hancock quartet sessions.

'Buzzard Feathers' excerpt

In the early 1970s, drummer Jack deJohnette formed the band Compost with Harold Vick, Jumma Santos and others, seemingly as an excuse to go crazy on the wah-wah clavinet in a party funk-rock atmosphere. Vick seems to be enjoying himself immensely on sax and flute, often grabbing Jack's wah-wah pedal. Two albums were released : "Compost" (1972) and "Life Is Round" (1973), with vocalist Lou Courtney joining for the second album.

'Peace K.D.' excerpt

In 1973 Vick released an album called "Power Of Feeling" under the pseudonym "Sir Edward" on Bernard Purdie's Encounter label.

There's still conjecture on Dusty Groove, Soul Strut and other places as to whether this actually was Harold Vick, or indeed even Sonny Stitt - but a quick look at the back cover of the "Commitment" release from the following year confirms that it's Vick, via a somewhat disparaging comment from Fred Norsworthy, who's much keener on the 1966 material :

Bad Harold, naughty Harold

Players include Joe Bonner (rhodes), Wilbur Bascomb (bass), Omar Clay (drums), and Jumma Santos (percussion). Harold's clearly stolen the wah-wah pedal from the Compost sessions for this album.

Anyway I've ordered the vinyl, so will be back properly with this one in a week or two. (EDIT : Got it, go HERE )

Vick later re-recorded the track "Keep on Moving On" from this album on Shirley Scott's fantastic 1974 Strata-East release "One for Me", which features some of his best playing.

His 70s sideman discography is somewhat daunting, with appearances on many great albums by Joe Chambers, Larry Willis, Pharoah Sanders, Walter Bishop Jr, Mike Longo and others - just see the never-ending discography at the base of this post.

'Don't look Back' excerpt

So let's move on to today's album - 1974's "Don't Look Back" was recorded and released in the wake of Harold Vick's recovery from a heart attack, which may partially explain the passion with which he approaches his playing throughout. The title track "Don't Look Back" is a joyous melodic number that Vick himself attributes to new love experienced in his time of crisis. It was later covered on the Shirley Scott "One For Me" album (with Vick on sax), and also on Nat Adderley's same-titled album "Don't Look Back" in 1976.

His work on sax and flute has a harder, more intense edge to it than his other recordings - check out his tenor work on "Lucille" - while still displaying the subtlety of his best work - listen to his multi-tracked coda "Prayer", where Joe Bonner's rhodes mixes in with Vick's clarinet, flutes and saxaphone.


Trumpeter Virgil Jones is a strong presence on this album, frequently trading solos with Vick on tracks like the latinesque "Senor Zamora" - his recent work had included a high profile arranger's role on Charles Earland's "Intensity"; and performances on albums as diverse as McCoy Tyner's "Song Of The New World" and Leon Spencer's "Where I'm Coming From".

'Senor Zamora' excerpt

There's great supporting work on piano and rhodes from Joe Bonner, who'd been on the "Sir Edward" album, and was about to record his own albums "Angel Eyes" and "Lifesaver", having recently worked with Azar Lawrence , Pharoah Sanders, and the Oneness Of JuJu.

As well as appearing on the aforementioned Tyner and Shirley Scott albums, euphonium player Kiane Zawadi had recently worked on Archie Shepp's "Attica Blues" and Dollar Brand's "African Space Program". He contributes a great solo here on "Melody For Bu", which is dedicated to organist Bu Pleasant, on whose Muse album Vick played the same year, and which also includes the track. Both Zawadi and Virgil Jones had worked with Vick almost a decade before on "Oh! Pharoah Speak" by Pharoah Sanders and the Latin Jazz Quintet.

'Melody For bu' excerpt

George Davis appears on alto flute on three tracks, as well as wah-guitar on the spiritual-flavoured "Stop and Cop" - see my "sidebar" on his career near the base of the Mike Longo post. Drummer Billy Hart now wins the "Most Labelled" award for this blog.

Bass player Sam Jones has a sideman discography even longer than some of my blog posts, but had recently been with Vick on Shirley Scott's "One For Me", as well as appearing on Clifford Jordan's "Glass Bead Games", Eddie Jefferson's "Things are Getting Better" and countless others.

Here's Harold's take on the tracks :

'Things Aint Right' excerpt

Vick's final album as a leader was "After The Dance" in 1977, named after the Leon Ware - Marvin Gaye penned title track. While I'm generally partial to some mixed disco-jazz albums of the period, this one suffers from some unimaginative track choices and arrangements, although I quite like the single "Things Aint Right", an Esther Marrow cover that mixes some blaxploitation-style wah-wah and orchestral textures with the disco beat, even if Vick's sax is a little incidental to the overall plot ...

Harold Vick continued to work frequently as a sideman until his death in 1987 from a heart attack. Saxaphonist Sonny Stitt composed a tribute track on his 2000 album "This Is What I Do" called "Did you Hear Harold Vick?", which is more of a funky, playful number rather than a mournful dirge.



01. 'Don't Look Back' (5:59)
02. 'Melody For Bu' (7:21)
03. 'Senor Zamora' (5:38)
04. 'Stop And Cop' (6:34)
05. 'Lucille' (9:20)
06. 'Prayer' (0:56) 


Don't Look Back
Bass - Sam Jones
Drums - Billy Hart
Euphonium - Kiane Zawadi
Alto Flute - George Davis
Piano, Tuba - Joe Bonner
Tenor Saxophone - Harold Vick
Trumpet - Virgil Jones

Melody For Bu
Bass - Sam Jones
Drums - Billy Hart
Euphonium - Kiane Zawadi
Flugelhorn - Virgil Jones
Alto Flute - George Davis
Concert Flute - Harold Vick
Piano - Joe Bonner

Senor Zamora
Bass - Sam Jones
Drums - Billy Hart
Fender Rhodes - Joe Bonner
Euphonium - Kiane Zawadi
Alto Flute - George Davis
Tenor Saxophone
- Harold Vick
Trumpet - Virgil Jones

Stop And Cop
Bass - Sam Jones
Bass Clarinet, Flute
- Harold Vick
Drums, Percussion - Billy Hart
Guitar - George Davis
Percussion - Jimmy Hopps
Piano, Percussion - Joe Bonner

Bass - Sam Jones
Drums - Billy Hart
Piano - Joe Bonner
Tenor Saxophone
- Harold Vick

Bass Clarinet, Alto and concert Flutes, Soprano Saxophone
- Harold Vick
Fender Rhodes - Joe Bonner 


Arranged By, Composed By, Producer
- Harold Vick
All selections: (Matron Music) BMI.
Produced at Blue Rock Studio, New York City.
Mixed and mastered at Generation Sound Studio, New York City.
Engineer [Recording] - Eddie Korvin
Mastered By - David Crawford
Mixed By - Tony May
Photography - Jim Dunn
Album Design, Art Supervision - Creative Hands, Inc.

Thanks to MsManagement and Lou Courtney for their assistance. Special thanks to the musicians for their love and cooperation in this endeavour.

God of Life / God of Love
We Praise Thy Name
Prayer of acknowledgement
and thanks to the Almighty Creator
for all things
All Praise Due to Allah

I dedicate this music to
The late Charles Futrell, father
The late Walter Lucas, friend
The late Gene Ammons, friend and early influence
Wiliam Eaton, friend
Charles Woods, teacher and friend
Dr Walter Weber, friend and physician 


1963 "Steppin' Out" at
Ile Oxumaré
1964 rejected Blue Note sessions May 27th
1966 "Straight Up" at
Call It Anything
1966 "The Caribbean Suite" at
Orgy in Rhythm 1967 "Commitment" (released 1974) also at Never Enough Rhodes
1967 "Watch What Happens" also at Never Enough Rhodes
1973 "Power of Feeling" (Vicks as "Sir Edward") also at Never Enough Rhodes
1974 "Don't Look Back" in comments here
1977 "After The Dance" at My Jazz World


2014 NOTE : Most of these will be dead links. Maybe all ! 

See also "Discography
Mysteries" below this.

1958-60 - Probably some Lloyd Price albums, unconfirmed.
1961 Jack McDuff - "Sanctified"
1961 Gene Ammons - "Soul Summit" at Sergio Sonico
1961 Jack McDuff - "Goodnight, It's Time to Go"

(fully comped on "Legends of Acid Jazz" at Funkalicious)
1961 Jack McDuff - "On With It"
1961 Jack McDuff - "Steppin' Out"
1961 Ray Charles / Betty Carter - "Dedicated to You" at Rock and Blues / alternate FLAC
1962 Gene Ammons - "Soul Summit Volume 2"
1962 Jack McDuff / Gene Ammons - "Brother Jack Meets The Boss" 1963 Jack McDuff - "Plays for Beautiful People" at My Favourite Sound
1963 Jack McDuff - "Brother Jack Live! at the Jazz Workshop" in comp. at Granazi
1963 Jack McDuff - "Best of Brother Jack McDuff Live" at My Favourite Sound

1963 John Patton - "Along Came John" at My Favourite Sound / alternate
1963 Kenny Burrell, Jack McDuff - "Crash!' at musica y programas
or MFS
1963 Jack McDuff - "Somethin' Slick"
1965 Grant Green - "His Majesty King Funk" at
Oufar Khan
1965 (released 1983) Woody Shaw - "Cassandranite" at
Orgy In Rhythm 1965 Big John Patton - "Oh Baby!" at My Favourite Sound
1966 Duke Pearson - "Prairie Dog" at
Pharoah's Dance 1966 Richard "Groove" Holmes - "Soul Mist" at Buns O'Plenty --> 1966 Jack McDuff - "Live it up" 1967 Jack McDuff - "Soul Circle" 196? Pharoah Sanders & Latin Jazz Quintet - "Oh! Pharoah Speak" at Orgy In Rhythm 1966 Don Covay - "See-Saw" at Somewhere I have Never Travelled 1969 McCoy Tyner - "Cosmos" at Taringa
1971 Horace Silver - "Total Response" at Call It Anything
1971 Joe Chambers - "The Almovarid" at
Orgy In Rhythm 1971 Houston Pearson - "Houston Express" at My Jazz World 1971 Johnny Hammond - "Wild Horses Rock Steady" at Baby Grandpa 1971 Pharoah Sanders "Live At The East" at Pharoah's Dance 1972 Horace Silver - "All" at Call It Anything (in comp) or Things n Stuff n Music
1972 Walter Bishop Jr - "Coral Keys" at
Call It Anything
1972 Compost - "Compost" at
My Jazz World
1972 Horace Silver- "Total Response" at
My Jazz World
1972 Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - "Soul Is ..." at Flying Dutchman
1972 Bill Cosby - "Where You Lay Your Head" at
Call It Anything
1972 Grant Green - "The Final Comedown" at Blaxploitation Pride
1972 Labelle - "Moon Shadow"
1973 Compost - "Life Is Round" at
My Jazz World
1973 Larry Willis - "Inner Crisis" at
Oufar Khan
1974 Shirley Scott - "One For Me" at
Ile Oxumaré 
1974 Bu Pleasant - "Ms. Bu" (Muse) at Blue Beat In My Soul
1974 Peter Allen - "Continental American" at Breezin'
1974 Jack McDuff - "The Fourth Dimension" at My Favourite Sound
1974 Johnny Hammond - "Gambler's Life" at Milk Crate Breaks
1974 Jackie DeShannon - "Your Baby Is a Lady" at Billmusic
1974 Les McCann - "Another beginning" at Throwback Music 2.1
1975 Geoff Muldaur" - "Is Having a Wonderful Time" at renovcevic / FLAC alternative
1975 Kenny Vance - "Vance 32" at Cagedream 1975 Van McCoy - "The Disco Kid"
donated by nikos
1975 Vernon Garrett - "Going to my Baby's Place" donated by Nikos
1976 Carol Townes & 5th Ave - S/T at Divas Need Love Too!
1976 Mike Longo - "Talk With The Spirits" at My Favourite Sound
1976 Charles Tolliver / Music Inc - 'Impact!" at Strata-East Fan Club
1976 Ralph McDonald - "Sound of a Drum"
1976 Ralph Graham - "Wisdom"
1976 David Forman - "David Forman" at The Research Garage
1976 Randy Crawford - "Everything Must Change" at La Magie de la funk
1976 Webster Lewis - "On The Town" at Disco2Go
1977 Ashford & Simpson - "So So Satisfied" donated by nikos
1977 Jess Roden - "The Player Not The Game" at TC's Old & New Music, instructions here
1978 Jon Faddis - "Good and Plenty" at Rockstar
1978 Jimmy Owens - "Headin' Home" at My Jazz World
1978 Zulema -"Z-licious"
1978 Quincy Jones - "Sounds .. and stuff like that" at Run's Lossless library
1978 Josh White jr - "Josh White jr"
1979 Angela Bofill - "Angel Of The Night" at musicdownloadcc
1979 Ralph McDonald - "Counterpoint"
1979 Al Foster - "Mr Foster"
(just "She's the Greatest Dancer") at My Jazz World
1979 Sam Jones - "Something New"
1979 The Writers - "All in Fun"
1979 Candi Staton - "Chance"
1979 Charles Earland - "Coming to You Live" at Milk Crate Breaks
1979 Terumasa Hin0 - "City Connection" at
My Jazz World
1980 Eric Gale - "Touch Of Silk" at
My Jazz World
1980 "Fame" (OST) - just "Red Light" - at muzik2share
1980 Jimmy McGriff - "Movin' Upside the Blues' at My Jazz World
1980 Jess Roden Band - "Stonechaser" donated by Kosta (thanks!)
1980 Breeze - "Do What You Want To Me"
1981 Lena Horne - "The Lady and Her Music"
1981 T-Connection - "Everything Is Cool" at San Pasquale Entertainment
1981 Jimmy McGriff - "City Lights" at
My Jazz World
1982 Eric Gale - "Island Breeze"
1982 Steely Dan - "Gold" (just "Century's End") at JustGoodTunes
1985 Gwen Guthrie - "Just For You" at Be Mine Music World 1985 Milt Jackson - "Brother Jim"
1985 Four Tops - "Magic" - just track "Again".
1986 "She's Gotta Have it" (original soundtrack) at Okayplayer forum 1987 Abbey Lincoln - "Abbey Sings Billie" at Accidentmusic or And It Don't Stop
1988 "School Daze" OST


1958-60 Lloyd Price : Harold Vick played in vocalist Lloyd Price's band from about 1958-1960 alongside John Patton. Price released three albums over this period, but I have been unable to find musician's listings for these.
Harold Vick is said to have played with Aretha Franklin (1970-1974); the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band (1969-70) and King Curtis (1969-70) but doesn't seem to appear on any recordings by these artists. Various obituaries and articles also refer to work with Nat Adderley, Mercer Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Taylor, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Smith - but it is not clear whether this is just live work or involved recording. Any further knowledge would be appreciated.

Ray Charles :
Harold Vick is listed as a saxaphonist on two Ray Charles compilations. The only two songs appearing on both comps were "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Ruby". These songs appear on the respective albums "The Genius Hits The Road" and "Dedicated to You". The former has listings that do not include Vick, the latter had no musician listings that I could find. Therefore, by deduction I've listed him as appearing on "Dedicated to You", but this is still open to question : I'd imagine that Charles recorded "Sweet Georgia Brown" more than once.


"Don't Look Back" vinyl rip by swboy originally posted at El Reza Pics from Discogs Text and research by Simon666 Also big thanks to Bacoso for the re-up of "Caribbean Suite" .

Apart from the albums in the discographies, album links within the post go to :
Strata-East Fan Club, Orgy in Rhythm,
Ile Oxumaré, My Favourite Sound, My Jazz World, Pharoah’s Dance, Call It Anything, Sergio Sonico, Granazi, Oufar Khan, Musica Y Programas, Blog–O–Blog, headfonehaus, seventeen green buicks, Blue Beat in My Soul and Jazz Jupiter Variation.

As always, please thank and support these bloggers and those in the discographies if you click through and download.


Simon666 said...

Apologies (and thanks!) to the many of you who commented on this before -
blogger just deleted the post for no reason this morning, and this has been re-jigged from a cached copy that Ish managed to dig up. MANY thanks to Ish as I was depressed at the thought that this may be gone forever ...

Anyway, comments still welcome!

Simon666 said...

One of the many things that got wiped out in the comments of the original post was Nikos' generous upload of three albums especially for the Vick discography.

These are :

(1975) Vernon Garrett - "Going to my baby's Place"

(1975) Van McCoy - "The Disco Kid"

(1977) Ashford and Simpson - "So So Satisfied."

These have now been linked once again in the session discography, and BIG THANKS to Nikos for these.

You can find much more from Nikos' deep crates at his excellent blog Funk My Soul

Jazzaficionado said...

still a great post:) the best blog anyways!!

fathead said...

Excellent work, thanks for the info
especially the heads up about the Abbey Lincoln recording which has two instrumental tracks on it featuring Harold.I'm looking forward to hearing The Power Of Feeling


Simon666 said...

Fixed the "Straight Up" album link, I had it going to the wrong place ...

Baby Grandpa said...

Hello Simon,

Thanks for once again linking to one of my posts!



3243 said...

Thank you for this fine music!

Simon666 said...

Just making sure that you guys know I've now posted Harold Vick's "Power Of Feeling"

Simon666 said...

New link added to the Harold Vick sideman discography :

1966 Richard "Groove" Holmes - "Soul Mist" at My Favourite Sound

(album included in re-release "Blue Groove")

Baby Breeze said...

Harold Vick is one of those guys whose playing just feels so right. Not a big name, but a big sound and a big soul, and worth searching out anything he recorded. It's so heartening to know others out there are in to this caliber of musician, one forgotten by the music industry but remembered fondly by listeners.

Simon666 said...

Hi guys -
An addition to the Harold Vick sideman discography : Jess Roden's album "Stonechaser", rip donated by reader Kosta (thanks kosta!)

Simon666 said...

Just alerting you guys that I've now posted Harold Vick - "Watch What Happens" (1967)

Simon666 said...

25 minutes to go on ebay, currently $US26 :

Simon666 said...

What a difference 25 minutes makes - it went for $US127!!

Anyway ....

New addition to the Harold Vick sideman discography :

1974 Bu Pleasant - "Ms. Bu" (Muse) at My Favourite Sound :

Solomon said...

Thank you.

Simon666 said...

New addition to the Harold Vick sideman discography :

Al Foster - "Mr Foster" (1979) at My jazz World :

Simon666 said...

New addition linked in the Harold Vick sideman discography :

1974 Peter Allen - "Continental American" at Breezin'

Would imagine it's probably not a major contribution for Vick fans ;)

Simon666 said...

Hey guys, I’ve posted the final piece of the puzzle :
Harold Vick – “Commitment” (1974)
Come check it out.

Art Simon said...

I can't believe I haven't posted here yet, Simon this is so deep with good music. Don't Look Back is just great, but the discography! I can't believe there was a link to McCoy Tyners Cosmos sitting here under my nose. So much, so great, just wonderful, Thanks!

Simon666 said...

Glad that you found it Art :)

Anyway, new sideman discography entry:

1980 Jimmy McGriff - "Movin' Upside the Blues' at My Jazz World

Simon666 said...

Addition to the Hsrold Vick sideman discography - David Forman - "David Forman" (1976) BUT it's IMHO kinda hokey singer-songwriter stuff with Vick buried in a brass section somewhere :)

Simon666 said...

New sideman discography link :

1963 Jack McDuff - "Plays for Beautiful People"

Simon666 said...

Hi guys -
Mediafire audio link deleted, due to link leeching by Bentleyf#ckers, but rapidshare still available.

Visionless said...

Just ran across this album Simon and that Senor Zamora track was just insane, excellent post as always, thanks again!

Simon666 said...

No problems Visionless, glad you're enjoying :)

Anonymous said...


bluebird said...

Harold Vick - Don't Look Back

Just bought The Caribbean Suite by Vick so was searching for more.
Glad to have found this and pleased it's still here. So many bloggers are going to the wall right now.
Thanks - looking forward to hearing this.

richeliu said...

Dear Friend:
Any chance to reupload the
Harold Vick - Don't Look Back
Thank you so much.

Simon666 said...

hi richeliu, here is "Don't Look back" :

richeliu said...

Dear Simon666:
Thank you sincerely for the quick reup.
Really enjoy the music you share.
A million thanks.

Simon666 said...

Glad you're enjoying it :)

Anonymous said...

awesome simon, i thought id missed this wonderful album.

fcapeau said...

A big thank you for sharing this splendid one.

Brian said...

Hi - I recently found your blog and I'm really enjoying it. I noticed above that you had a link to Kenny Vance's Vance 32 album. I clicked the link but the blogger's link is dead. I was wondering if you had a copy you could share. I've been trying to track it down. Thanks and great blog!