If you want some authentic idea of the true tenor saxophone glory of George Adams you could turn to YouTube and trace his sublime duet performance of What a Wonderful World with his long-time piano partner Don Pullen, recorded live at a Japanese jazz festival.
Then you could go directly to this combined box set of his complete Black Saint and Soul Note albums, recorded between 1980 and 1983 with several of his ex-confreres of the Charles Mingus groups that he played with.
Adams was born in Covington, Georgia, in 1940, started on piano as a boy but by 1961 he was playing tenor in soul and funk bands, including the one which accompanied Sam Cooke.
He moved to Ohio, playing in organ combos before switching to New York in 1968, where he joined bands led by drummers Art Blakey and Roy Haynes and the Gil Evans Orchestra before becoming a part of Mingus's Jazz Workshop from 1973-6.
By 1979, the year Mingus died, Adams and Pullen had assembled a hot quartet - all four of them Mingus alumni - to record the album Don't Lose Control. Mingus's ex-drummer and close musical comrade Dannie Richmond became a fixture with Adams, as did the Canadian bassist Cameron Brown, who had been brought into Jazz Workshop to replace the ailing Mingus while he was convalescing in Mexico shortly before his death.
Adams begins with a filigreeing flute at the start of the opener Autumn Song before his big tenor sound takes over, warbling hugely over Pullen's chimes.
The album's title song gives Adams a gruff blues vocal with Pullen stomping beside him before his adenoidal tenor growls and hoots its way through the chorus.
The pianist's tune Remember is slow and reflective at its outset and as bass, drums and finally tenor enter, Pullen's keys crash and echo like memories that never leave while Adams' horn talks of four lives in amalgam.
The 15 minutes of Double Arc Jake include some Cameron bass that would have excited Mingus and Pullen playing piano like a many-keyed drum with Richmond's splashing cymbals beside him. Adams's flute sings over the percussion like a wounded bird and it is his roaring tenor which brings the foursome home.
Nineteen-eighty brought a quintet album, Hand to Hand, with Adams and Richmond again, but this time with another Mingus man, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, and pianist Hugh Lawson with Mike Richmond on bass.
The Cloocker begins the session with some splurging Adams tenor chased by a romping Lawson and Knepper's slides in eloquent fettle. Yamani's Passion follows, with Adams marking out its melodic centre, Lawson's muscular notes and the marvellously deft Knepper winding all round the theme.
The closer is Joobulie, begun by Mike Richmond's throbbing bassline. Knepper's solo is racked with thought and invention and Adams's tenor almost bursts with emotive sound before Richmond's resonant bass brings forward the close. A sublime track, this.
The same stellar quintet recorded another album, Gentleman's Agreement, in 1983.
Adams's growling beauty dominates More Sightings, he turns pleading balladeer in Don't Take Your Love From Me, all members flourish on the enigmatic Symphony for Five, Adams blows with astonishing speed and invention and Knepper's short solo catches the stars on Prayer For a Jitterbug. The closer, Ripp-Off exudes the funk and blowout of Adams's early horn days.
The two volumes of Live at the Village Vanguard were recorded on the night of August 19 1983 at New York's prime jazz venue. It was the Adams-Pullen-Richmond-Brown quartet again, and how they groove through the almost two hours of boiling music. Pullen's stomping tune The Necessary Blues (Thank You Very Much, Mr Monk) moves with tremendous life with the pianist in rampaging spirit and Adams's unaccompanied introduction to Ellington's Solitude is sheer sonic excitation and beauty.
The second volume opens with Pullen's Saturday Night in the Cosmos with Adams's flute a-fluttering.
He said of his tune City Gates, which follows, "Every city has gates to it, and many things come out and go into many city gates."
These four musicians come in, throbbing and pulsating with astonishing sounds, making the city theirs, and Adams's mighty horn blows all its walls down - just hear him blast through Pullen's Big Alice.
Pullen wrote his moving lament for Adams - Ah George, We Hardly Knew Ya - shortly after the horn-man's death in 1992, and the wonderful Pullen was to permanently leave the bandstand himself in 1995. They both surge on with their comrades in this apex of boxed sets.
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