Wardell Gray, one of the hardest swinging tenor men in modern jazz, was (like many others of the time) making a personal synthesis of Lester Young and Charlie Parker. Even when his sound was cool, his beat was hot and his lines always lissome.
These two record dates span little more than three years. "Twisted," Wardell's blues line and solo, became the basis for Annie Ross's famed lyrics and vocal performance; "The Man I Love" features Gray in solo at three different tempos from the L.A. date of 1953. Vibist Teddy Charles did the arrangement and produced the session which also featured Frank Morgan on alto and Sonny Clark on piano. (Fantasy, Inc)
1949-53 compilation of various early bop groups, encapsulating the best of Gray's fluent, open-toned and mobile tenor saxophone. Vol. 1 has quartet work, including "Twisted" (famously vocalised by singer Annie Ross) and beautiful ballads, with pianist Al Haig. Vol. 2 features Gray with trumpets Clark Terry and Art Farmer, and tenor sax Dexter Gordon. Direct, swinging and unaffected playing from a principal hornman and major early modernist. Covers the Gray canon and style range. Entirely representative. (Andrew Clark, Editor, Riffs & Choruses: A New Jazz Anthology. Continuum Publishing.)