3 LPs on 2 CDs
Red Rodney was a brash young trumpeter who had the mark of greatness before narcotics cut short his career. His lowest point came in January 1953, when a judge in Chicago sentenced him to Leavenworth for five years. Rodney was released on parole in March 1955, having served two years of his sentence, and shortly thereafter he recorded an album for Fantasy (#1-12).
His luck ran out again in November 1955, and he was sentenced to serve the remainder of his term at the Lexington, Ky., federal narcotics hospital. His release on June 5, 1957 was something of an event among aficionados, and the results of his recording contract with Signal (tracks #13-15 on CD-1, and #1-3 on CD-2), are proof of just how much he still had to offer to jazz. He got hooked again for a while after that, until early 1959, when he made a new and brief but successful comeback to the scene, cutting a new LP, this time for Argo. Remarkably, the three stunning albums included in this set were made while Red was living on borrowed time, between one incarceration and the next. "I can only repeat what Bird said," he once explained about addiction. "'Don't do as I do, do as I say.'"