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Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Connection - Cecil Payne


Mighty Fine Wine

New Original Score
From The Off-Broadway Hip Success
The Connection
Composed by Ceil Payne and Kenny Drew
Conducted by Ceil Payne
Produced and Directed by Aubrey Mayhew
Cover Design: Blaise Art Studio, Inc.
Recorded RCA Victor Studios - New York City - March 14, 15, 16, 1962
Engineer (RCA): Bob Simpson
Charlie Parker Records

Cecil Payne - Performing with A Le blanc "Noblet" Baritone Saxophone
Clary Terry - Trumpet
Bennie Gree - Trombone
Duke Jordan - Piano
Charlie Persip - Drums
Ron Carter - Bass

From the back cover: "The Connection" (or, "The Funky Junkie") is an off-Broadway avant garder belt in the senses, one of the must controversial stage works ever produced.

"A play with jazz," it opened in New York City on July 15, 1959, at the Living Theater on Sixth Avenue near 14th St., and at first its chance to become part of the repertory there seemed slim. Favorable reviews like Jerry Tallmer's in "The Village Voice" were scarce: "I dissent most vigorously from the dispraise for "The Connection." He prayed the show could be kept alive "until word-of-mouth overcomes the worst efforts of the (second-string, summertime) daily reviewers." Middle-grounders like Richard Watt, Jr., following up a subordinate's critique in "The New York Post," were also rare: "...frequently dull, generally naive, but it has a fascination." But "The New York Times'" Louis Calta spoke for the majority of opening night critics when he wrote: "...a farrago of dirt, small-time philosophy, empty talk and extended runs of 'cool' music."

The story, directed by Judith Molina, tells of a group of dope addicts expanding in semi-improvisational fashion in a loft, while awaiting the arrival of their heroin "connection," who is called "Cowboy."

The music was causing talk, too, because perhaps for the first time in any production progressive jazz was being used to advance the dramatic intent. Word-of-mouth was working and the repertory system kept it alive for a couple of month, when excellent reviews in the weeklies began to hype business.

The rest if almost legend. In June, 1960, "The Connection" received "The Village Voice's" coveted Obie as Best Production of the Year, author Jack Gelber was given one for the Best New Play and Warren Finnerty, who played Leach, was named Best Actor of the Year. The play was also turned into a movie. since then the show, with two other plays, became off-Broadway's first troupe to tour Europe – Italy, France, Germany and Greece. And immediately after recording this album of music from "The Connection," the company went overseas again.

Cecil Payne, the lead musician who composed this new score with Kenny Drew, recorded here on Charlie Parker Records for the first time, has worked with Patti Page, Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson, Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie. His music is different from that originally used in the same area of deep feeling so as not to throw the actors off track. While four musicians play in the show, six have been employed for this album to give the score a richer, fuller sound.

So here is the music from "The Connection." Like the play, it will excite mixed emotions; but it is certain to EXCITE!

The connection has been made. – Douglas McClellan - Associate Editor, "Music Vendor"

From Billboard - August 18, 1962: This is the new music from "The Connection." These tunes were used for the improvisational interludes on off-Broadway over the past year. Cecil Payne and Kenny Drew are the composers and Payne is featured as soloist along with Duke Jordan, Clark Terry, trumpet, and Bennie Green, trombone. Most of this set is in up and middle tempos, but there is an abrupt snap with the blues-touched "Born Again." Other good tracks are "Mighty Fine Wine" and "Stop And Listen."

Stop And Listen
Born Again
Dear People
Kenny's One
Sister Carol
Might Fine Wine
It's Your Life

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