Over the years, the underrated musician has been a popular topic, depending on who you ask it could be Duke Ellington, Duke Pearson, Joe Henderson..But it's one thing to be underrated, but another to be underrated and unknown.
The musician that comes to my mind has never really been discussed when I've been around musicians (I think maybe a couple times), never mentioned on the air, briefly mentioned in a textbook, I think he's been played on the air via Mingus records. The man is Booker Ervin.
I first became aware of him through a Horace Parlan recording, "Happy Frame of Mind"http://tinyurl.com/s6mx4
no I didn't have to pay $50, bought back when it was in-print)
The reason I've been thinking of this, is that recently I bought "Tex Book Tenor" and I've listened to it about fifteen times. Now Booker isn't the trailblazer as a Wayne Shorter or John Coltrane, but I was just blown away by this. Check out Booker and Woody Shaw, and the rhythm section with
Billy Higgins, Jan Arnet and Kenny Barron. Hearing Shaw with Higgins is great, the CD has really good sound and provides a lot of inspiration. Please check it out!