Whenever Blue Note records is mentioned, most people think of names like Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley and Jimmy Smith. However, the man that recorded the most dates on Blue Note was guitarist extraordinaire, Grant Green. Green recorded over 20 session dates for Blue Note as a leader, and even more as a sideman. Many of these sessions were released posthumously. Green died of a heart attack in 1979, at the age of 43.
Amazingly enough, a lot of these unreleased sessions were some of his finest work. In 1964, he recorded with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, two-thirds of the Coltrane rhythm section. Completing the rhythm section was Bob Cranshaw. Cranshaw is best known for his work on Idle Moments an earlier Grant Green record, The Bridge by Sonny Rollins and The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan. This session produced Matador.
A month after recording Matador, Green went back to the studio with the same rhythm section to record one of his finest sessions to date. The album was titled ‘Solid’. Green added Joe Henderson and James Spaulding to the lineup, making it one of the most stacked and formidable lineups to date. Shockingly, Solid sat on the shelf for 15 years. Everything about the lp hits hard. It is arguably one of Green’s hardest session ever recorded. There is not a weak song on this album at all. No filler whatsoever. Minor League, the opening track is a scorcher, but Green really shows his dexterity as a guitar player on the track ‘Grant’s Tune’. His tune indeed.
There have been a few remastered versions of Solid on CD, but they all pale in comparison to the Music Matters 45rpm vinyl version, both tangibly and in terms of fidelity. Music Matters really ups the ante with their releases. From the thick, glossy cardboard sleeves, to the gatefolds that feature session photos from Francis Wolff, everything about it screams quality. This is the definitive version to get.
Don’t rest on your laurels, the Music Matters version of Matador is already out of print. Solid will most definitely become out of print too. Solid comes highly recommended.