Rescued from relative obscurity by DJ Amir’s 180 Proof Records, BBE is delighted to present a gem from the tiny yet highly influential catalogue of Strata Records. Preceding New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s original Strata label issued only a handful of underground titles in the early 70’s, making it a ‘holy grail’ imprint among jazz lovers and record collectors the world over.
Released by Strata in 1974, Bert Myrick’s ‘Live ‘n Well’ was originally recorded by Strata founder and former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox at a concert which took place almost a decade previously, at the student union of the University Of Michigan back in 1965. Led by drummer Bert Myrick, the album highlights a quintet of highly talented players at the height of their powers. Featuring Will Austin on bass, Kenny Cox on piano and Ronnie Fields on tenor sax, the performance also stars George Bohanon, a now-legendary player who spent 7 years with Motown Records as lead trombonist before being named “Most Valuable Player”. by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Probably best known for the iconic 14 minute epic “Scorpio’s Child” (composed by Strata owner Kenny Cox), ‘Live ‘n Well’ captures tour de force performances from a collection of Detroit’s finest musicians, destined to go their separate ways soon after the recording was completed. Legend has it that Bert Myrick was inspired to pursue his passion for the drums by friend and mentor Elvin Jones (the drummer on John Coltrane’s classic ‘A Love Supreme’), who would open windows at his shows so that Bert and his friends could enter without paying. This kind of heavyweight tutelage would certainly explain Myrick’s impeccable, highly expressive playing on ‘Live ‘n Well’. Remembered fondly for his powerful hands and gentle demeanor, Bert Myrick passed away in 2010 at the age of 80.