My early 1970’s introduction to Jackie McLean’s New Soil (recorded 1959) was through a brand new cut-out LP from a store in Davenport, Iowa. It’s a great album by great musicians: Jackie McLean (alto sax), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Pete LaRoca (drums).
The tune Minor Apprehension features Pete LaRoca in what is often called the first free drum solo on record. Minor Apprehension is a fierce hard bop tune. I expected the drum solo to reflect the tune: fast, high energy. Instead, LaRoca’s is more an impressionistic solo — totally unexpected and ear-opening. Not only for me, but for many others who’ve heard this cut.
If you’ve not heard Pete LaRoca on Jackie McLean’s Minor Apprehension — you’re in for a treat.