Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Chicago II: Lin Halliday
Tenor saxophonist Lin Halliday is another player like Jodie Christian, who I posted upon just before this, who did not make his debut album as a leader until very late, in this case at age 55. He went on to make several more excellent and well-regarded discs thereafter in a classic hard bop style, covering both uptempo tunes and ballads with his smooth tone and relaxed, smooth play. His untimely death at age 63 was not all that surprising, as he had been plagued by a variety of health problems, and it was no secret that years of hard living and self-abuse had inevitably taken their toll on his body.
Halliday was not a native to Chicago, but rather was born in born a small town in Arkansas and raised in Little Rock. He took up clarinet and saxophone in school, and began playing professional when he moved out to Los Angeles first and then in 1958 to New York City. His first major breakthrough was replacing Wayne Shorter in the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra at Birdland, and he later played with bands led by drummers Louis Bellson and Philly Joe Jones. But in the early 60s, he was using drugs and ran afoul of the city's cabaret laws and had his card taken, which meant no club work. He moved on to Arkansas, California, and finally Nashville in 1966 with his family, working in clubs and as a session player.
Finally in 1980 he arrived in Chicago, by now a highly regarded and versatile player who became a regular at the city's best jazz clubs, including the Green Mill, the Bop Shop, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase and the Get Me High Lounge. In 1988 he cut a recording with leader Brad Goode which furthered his reputation and got him recognized by Bob Koester, the founder of Delmark Records. By 1991 he cut his first recording as a leader for Delmark, "Delayed Exposure", a fully realized piece of music by a tenor with a big smooth tone, a nice touch and stylish melodic sensibility.
"Delayed Exposure" contained wonderfully passionate recordings of "Woody'N You" and "Serpent's Tooth" as well as the soulful ballads "The Man I Love" and "Darn That Dream." The strong supporting cast was Ira Sullivan on horns, Jodie Christian on piano, Dennis Carrol on bass, and George Fludas on drums, all well-known Chicago players.