Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fletcher Henderson - 1924 (Chronological 673)

Originally appearing on the Pathe Actuelle, Brunswick, Ajax, Vocalion, Emerson, Columbia, and Banner phonograph labels, Fletcher Henderson's recordings from early 1924 make for peculiarly pleasant listening. It is possible to face up to these heavily arranged dance band records from the early '20s and actually enjoy the rickety arrangements. All you need to do is shed any preconceptions of what jazz is or ever was supposed to sound like. Anatol Schenker's liner notes point out that this music was intended to accompany theatrical performances. Even without that kind of historical perspective, this stuff sounds good with no context whatsoever, provided the listener surrenders to the weirdly wonderful world of thoroughly outmoded popular music. At the very least, these are funny old records. From the standpoint of early jazz, Coleman Hawkins and Don Redman are in here slogging away on their clarinets and saxophones, treading where few had ever set foot before them. Teddy Nixon periodically asserts himself with the slide trombone, and Kaiser Marshall proves to have been a spicy, resourceful percussionist. "Ghost of the Blues" appears to have been co-composed by Sidney Bechet, and sounds a lot like a product of that fine musician's mind. Redman's "Teapot Dome Blues" contains a rare example of Howard Scott soloing on the cornet. "Mobile Blues" allows room for a muffled solo by an unidentified kazoo player. Redman contributes a fine and sassy scat vocal on "My Papa Doesn't Two-Time No Time," which also exists elsewhere as a Rosa Henderson vocal backed only by Fletcher Henderson (no blood relation) at the piano. "Somebody Stole My Gal" bumps along marvelously and has a bass sax solo by Coleman Hawkins with Don Redman playing a weepy clarinet, even removing the mouthpiece from the instrument to achieve maximum cornball effects. "After the Storm" actually has segments of Rossini's William Tell Overture grafted into the chart, with someone blowing a siren whistle and Redman taking a solo on oboe. Nixon opens "Feeling the Way I Do" with growling trombone and Charlie Dixon demonstrates how a banjo could be used to propel nine other instruments by executing a series of well-timed blows across the strings. Together with piano and drums, the banjo was an agitator in these early ensembles. "Red Hot Mama" is an exciting illustration of how, during the first half of 1924, Henderson's band began to settle down and play something like real jazz. ~ arwulf arwulf

Fletcher Henderson (piano)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax, clarinet)
Don Redman (clarinet, alto sax)

1. Chicago Blues
2. Why Put the Blame On You?
3. Sud Bustin' Blues
4. War Horse Mama
5. Wish I Had You (And I'm Gonna Get You Blues)
6. Just Blues
7. I'm Crazy Over You
8. I Wish I Could Make You Cry
9. Say Say Sadie
10. Chicago Blues
11. Feelin' The Way I Do
12. Chattanooga (Down in Tennessee)
13. Ghost of the Blues
14. Tea Pot Dome Blues
15. Mobile Blues
16. My Papa Doesn't Two-Time No Time
17. Somebody Stole My Gal
18. After The Storm
19. Driftwood
20. Feeling The Way I Do
21. Red Hot Mama

Art Ensemble Of Chicago - The Third Decade

For the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Third Decade marked both the end of their relationship with the ECM label and the beginning of a more streamlined stretch of music making. The band would cut back on their once predominant, free-form explorations to make room for more bebop and crossover material, like "Funky AECO" and the Caribbean-tinged bop tune "Zero," straightforward genre pieces the band still undermine with playful "found sounds" (bike horns, sirens, chimes, etc.). Along these more traditional lines, the lovely, '20s-style jazz ballad "Walking in the Moonlight" is also included. The group stretches out on more open-ended pieces like Joseph Jarmen's dirge-like opener "Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi" and Mitchell's magisterial number "The Bell Piece," but even here the group's traditionally frenetic playing is kept in check. This is not necessarily bad, considering the Art Ensemble's consistently top-notch and provocative solo work, straight-ahead or otherwise. The band does end the album, though, with the decidedly frenetic and free "Third Decade," as if to say they are equally adept at a variety of styles and so should not be restricted to only one. The point is well taken with this varied yet cogent set. ~ Stephen Cook

Different visions of the band's roots and possibilities emerge in this 1984 recording. The piece "Funky AECO" is a populist delight, a funk riff driven along by Malachi Favors's electric bass and Don Moye's precisely idiomatic backbeat, then given a surreal push by the unlikely and elephantine sound of Roscoe Mitchell's bass saxophone, with sly inflections contributed by Lester Bowie's trumpet. Joseph Jarman's "Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi" is an utterly different pleasure, a haunting African-flavored tune that weds its open harmonies and repeating melody to subtle use of flutes and synthesizers. Another moment of great subtlety arises in Bowie's refined invocation of Miles Davis in "The Bell Thing." ~ Stuart Broomer

Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Joseph Jarman (saxes, clarinets, every other damn thing)
Roscoe Mitchell (saxes, clarinets, beaucoup d'autres choses)
Malachi Favors (drums, percussion, bass)
Famoudou Don Moye (drums, percussion)

1. Prayer For Jimbo Kwesi
2. Funky Aeco
3. Walking In The Moonlight
4. The Bell Piece
5. Zero
6. Third Decade

John Lee Hooker - Graveyard Blues

As promised, here is Graveyard Blues by John Lee Hooker, recorded by Bernard Besman. These sides were made exclusively for the black audience and were later sold to Specialty Records.

Originally recorded in Detroit for Sensation Records between November 1948 and April 1950.

Here is an interesting review from Amazon:

It is a testament to the post Vietnam liberal movement that has saturated the United States since the late 1960s that a virtual nontalent like John Lee Hooker is hailed as a "legend." As a guitarist trained in classics, jazz, and pop standards, I find it incredible that anyone with any depth of musical knowledge can take John Lee Hooker seriously. Over and over again on this CD, "Graveyard Blues," the listener is subjected to screeching, brash one chord idiocy totally devoid of melody, harmony and syncopation. Chord changes are rare and , when they occur, are not remotely clean and often without regard to any semblance of tempo. Hooker's songs don't even have a discernible beat. The liberal rock stars who play three chords at eardrum piercing volume have somehow managed to make "legends" out of guitarists like Mr. Hooker who, at best, sounds like an unmusical juvenile who just began strumming the instrument for the first time. In truth, John Lee Hooker's new CD is a waste of time and money, as well as being pretty hard on the ears of any true musician who realizes that Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, and Andre Segovia are examples of genuinely talented guitarists. Rock and blues are the simplest, most repetitive, mind-numbing styles of guitar playing (C, F, G chords over and over and nauseum), which is the reason for their huge following among contemporary America's youth and unsophisticated listeners. Somehow, liberals have tied together a well-intentioned desire to make up for past social and political injustices perpetrated against African Americans by positing an aesthetic and technical equivalency among all forms of art and creativity. Suddenly, every blues guitarist who ever lived is "brilliant." The truth is, nowadays, anyone who can play coarse three chord progressions on a guitar and sound constipated while vocalizing is hailed by the leftover junkies and their misguided offspring as "a great talent" or "a blues legend." This democratization of the arts has lowered the bar to abominable depths----including the ludicrous claims that just about anyone who ever recorded redundant, mindless Mississippi Delta blues is a "legend." Furthermore, I don't buy the claim that "blues guitar playing is all in the feeling." That's just another hippie-era, drug culture rationalization for musician wannabes who have little or no talent but appeal to the lesser mentalities in modern society. Don't waste your money on John Lee Hooker's one chord playing and moaning off-key. Buy a ukelele and sing in the shower----you can't do any worse than the songs on this CD. If this CD is an example of contemporary America's idea of musical talent, perhaps we are regressing to the Stone Age.

Well, you decide !!!

Raymond Scott - Reckless Nights And Turkish Twilights

Many of us will know this music from hours of watching cartoons as children and college students. But I got some interesting insights into the guy from Arthur Rollini's memoirs. Scott wasn't some eccentric playing around with the latest in technology - although he was a masterful sound engineer - but the man who led the CBS house band: some of those Rollini mentions are Cozy Cole, Tony Mottola, Perry Como and such. The man knew very well what he wanted from his musicians. I was watching a British film a few weeks ago that was from 1944-45 and was pleasantly surprised to hear "Powerhouse" being played in the background. Try to hear this in it's original context - you'll find it worthwhile, I'm sure. It would be an interesting contrast to the recent Coon-Sanders. This release is also a presentation of the estimable Irwin Chusid, P.B.U.H.

The name may not be immediately familiar, but the music itself certainly is; to anyone weaned on the legendary Warner Bros. cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s, Raymond Scott's deliriously inventive freak jazz is the soundtrack of childhood, with each and every note capable of conjuring up indelible images of such immortal characters as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. The WB connection is both Scott's greatest legacy and his greatest curse, however; he never composed a note specifically for cartoons, and his most memorable and distinctive melodies were actually co-opted for animated use by Warner's brilliant music director, Carl Stalling. Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights, then, restores Scott's work to its original, stand-alone setting, confirming his cult reputation as one of the most innovative and original musical thinkers of his era. Even free of cartoon mayhem, his music is remarkably visual and colorful, perfectly evocative of such surreal titles as "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals" and "War Dance for Wooden Indians"; probably the best-known cut here is the opening "Powerhouse," a uniquely mechanized piece used in any number of cartoons and television commercials and a perfect summation of Scott's intricate arrangments, complex shifting rhythms, and formal lunacy. Recommended for listeners ages eight to 80. ~ Jason Ankeny

Prewar gems from a long-neglected master. Scott's career as composer, bandleader, and electronic-music pioneer is just beginning to be rediscovered. Here he mixes swing jazz with classical forms, exotica (long before there even was such a thing), and his own hyperactive melodies to create a timeless sound. Many of the bouncy tunes are recognizable from their constant use in cartoon soundtracks over the years: the classic "Powerhouse," a jittery mix of an edgy scherzo and a relentless march (as well as a favorite of Looney Toons composer Carl Stalling); the jaunty "The Toy Trumpet"; and the dizzying "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals." Scott's original recordings with his Quintette (which, strangely enough, consisted of six musicians) are a delight, and the invention and energy never let up. ~ Heidi MacDonald

1. Powerhouse
2. Toy Trumpet
3. Tobacco Auctioneer
4. New Year's Eve In A Haunted House
5. Manhattan Minuet
6. Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals
7. Reckless Night On Board An Ocean Liner
8. Moment Musical
9. Twilight In Turkey
10. Penguin
11. Oil Gusher
12. In An 18th Century Drawing Room
13. Girl At The Typewriter
14. Siberian Sleighride
15. At An Arabian House Party
16. Boy Scout In Switzerland
17. Bumpy Weather Over Newark
18. Minuet In Jazz
19. War Dance For Wooden Indians
20. Quintet Plays Carmen
21. Huckleberry Duck
22. Peter Tambourine

Al Cohn Quintet with Bob Brookmeyer

Some more AC....

by Ken Dryden
Al Cohn and Bob Brookmeyer appeared on a number of record dates together, each appearing as a sideman with the other, in addition to joint appearances on a number of Manny Albam-led sessions, among others. But this disc, initially issued by Coral on LP in 1957, was one of the hardest to acquire until its 2005 reissue as a limited-edition CD. With the assistance of pianist Mose Allison, bassist Teddy Kotick, and drummer Nick Stabulas in the rhythm section, Cohn and Brookmeyer inspire one another throughout the sessions. Brookmeyer contributed the upbeat "Good Spirits" and breezy "Lazy Man Stomp." Cohn's strong originals include the cool ballad "Winter" and the swinging "Back to Back." They also update a number of standards from earlier decades, including Brookmeyer's exotic setting of "Ill Wind" (a terrific feature for Cohn) and Cohn's surprisingly uptempo setting of the usually hackneyed "Chloe." Since this CD reissue will no longer be available after March 2008, cool jazz fans are advised not to miss this edition.

Charlie Parker - The Complete Charlie Parker on Savoy Years

This Japanese limited-edition eight-CD box set contains all of the recordings Charlie Parker made for and issued by the Savoy label. The first four CDs cover the studio sessions, including a lot of the alternate takes. The last four CDs are from broadcasts made from the Royal Roost during the period he was recording for Savoy. Unfortunately, the booklet is in Japanese. I am sure it is very insightful, though, and if anyone would like to translate for the rest of us, it would sure be appreciated. I couldn't find a review for this box, but this review should suffice:

Bird was one of the most important jazzmen of all time and nearly every note he recorded (in the studios if not live) is well worth hearing. This box starts off with his sideman date with Tiny Grimes in 1944, contains Parker's famous "Ko Ko" session of 1945 (with a young Miles Davis on trumpet and highlighted by "Now's the Time" and "Billie's Bounce"), and continues through his 1947-1948 quintet sessions with a more mature Miles Davis; either Bud Powell, John Lewis, or Duke Jordan on piano; bassists Tommy Potter, Curly Russell or Nelson Boyd; and drummer Max Roach. Together they recorded such classics as "Donna Lee," "Chasin' the Bird," "Milestones," and "Parker's Mood." Every scrap that the great altoist cut for Savoy is in this box. - Scott Yanow

Jimmy Smith - 1990 Fourmost Return

An informal, occasionally rambling conversation between longtime colleagues, Fourmost Return consists of seven previously unreleased tracks from a 1990 live performance at Fat Tuesday’s in New York City. With an emphasis on blues material, the record is a no frills blowing session, a format ideally suited to the individual talents of organist and leader Jimmy Smith, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and the drums and cymbals of Grady Tate.
The quartet’s performance of Sonny Rollins’ “Sonnymoon For Two” sets the tone for the entire disc. Smith and Turrentine play the head in unison and Burrell takes the first solo. Riding Smith’s bass line and chords as well as interacting with Tate’s crisp snare drum accents, the guitarist begins with brief, almost casual lines, and gradually becomes both more fluid and dense, displaying an uncharacteristic sharpness of tone. Tate is even more assertive during Turrentine’s turn, anticipating his every move, and raising the rhythmic stakes with nicely timed cymbal crashes. Turrentine responds to all this stimulation with his best work of the set, efficiently melding a bebop-oriented approach and blues licks into a seamless whole. Smith dashes through his first chorus then pauses, letting a phrase or two sink in before impatiently moving on, constantly recasting similar elements while maintaining a kinetic groove.
Smith’s raspy, half-spoken vocal on “Ain’t She Sweet” leaves a lot to be desired in terms of technique, but the moment his solo begins none of this matters. His penchant for trafficking in extremes in the midst of building a coherent statement is gloriously in evidence. Abrupt shifts in dynamics; a sustained rush of notes followed by deck-clearing, keening chords; the hurly-burly of his lines temporarily converted into more relaxed interludes—all of these things frequently give one the feeling that Smith’s about to run aground; however, despite the implication of disorder he always lands on his feet.
Tate’s meticulous shuffle animates one of Smith’s signature compositions, “Back At The Chicken Shack.” The drummer’s trenchant fills enhance Burrell’s cogent blues playing, and also play a role in another agreeable solo by Turrentine. At first Smith responds to a strong backbeat by playing sixteenth note runs that both fly over and allude to it; then, his simpler phrasing incorporates Tate’s bedrock rhythm before again shifting to fleet passages and funky, chordal-framed interludes.
David A. Orthmann

01 Sonnymoon for Two (Rollins) - 5:36
02 Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington/Mills) - 6:15
03 Ain't She Sweet (Ager/Yellin) - 3:31
04 Back at the Chicken Shack (Smith) - 6:36
05 Organ Grinder's Swing (Hudson/Mills/Parish) - 5:06
06 Laura [#] (Mercer/Raksin/Raskin) - 10:48
07 Blues for Stanley (Smith) - 10:25

Recorded live at Fat Tuesday's, New York, on November 16 & 17, 1990

Jimmy Smith (vocals, organ)
Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Grady Tate (drums)

Mundell Lowe - Satan in High Heels

4When he wasn't discovering Bill Evans (the Debby of 'Waltz For Debby" was Lowe's daughter), Lowe was trying to become a composer - any way he could. The notes are funny because Lowe takes pride in the work (and rightly so), while the filmmakers seem proud of the low production values. " It is pridefully tagged a low budget film, with a controversial story line and a 42-inch busty actress....the film deals with sexual relations, lesbianism, narcotics, and a smattering of crime."

Chuchuni and I watched the film 5 times in a row. When I asked what he thought of the soundtrack, he responded; "There was a soundtrack?"

"Mundell Lowe's score for the exploitation flick Satan in High Heels is an immensely enjoyable collection of exaggeratedly cinematic jazz. Lowe runs through all sorts of styles, from swinging big band to cool jazz, from laid-back hard-bop to driving bop. He pulls it off because his big band is comprised of musicians as skilled as Oliver Nelson, Al Cohn, Phil Woods, Urbie Green, Joe Newman and Clark Terry. They help give the music the extra kick it needs, and Satan in High Heels winds up as a terrific set of humorous and sleazy, but well- played, mainstream jazz." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Oliver Nelson (tenor sax)
Eddie Costa (piano, vibes)
Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Urbie Green
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Doc Severinsen (trumpet)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)

1. Satan In High Heels
2. Montage
3. The Lost And The Lonely
4. East Side Drive
5. Coffee, Coffee
6. Lake In The Woods
7. From Mundy On
8. The Long Knife
9. Blues For A Stripper
10. Pattern Of Evil

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Arthur Blythe - Hipmotism

Altoist Arthur Blythe is heard in various settings on this CD, ranging from a full septet with baritonist Hamiet Bluiett, guitarist Kelvin Bell, vibraphonist Gust William Tsilis, Bob Stewart on tuba, drummer Don Moye and percussionist Arto Tuncboyaci to different trios and quartets with the same musicians and an unacompanied display on "My Son Ra." All nine compositions are Blythe's and he shows that, not only did he survive his unexpectedly long stay on the roster of Columbia Records, but he had continued to grow in power and creativity. This set gives a strong example of his talents. ~ Scott Yanow

Arthur Blythe (alto sax)
Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax)
Famoudou Don Moye (drums)
Arto Tuncboyaciyan (percussion)
Kelvin Bell (guitar)
Bob Stewart (tuba)
Gust William Tsilis (marimba, vibraphone)

1. Dear Dessa
2. Dance Benita Dance
3. Cousin Sidney
4. Shadows
5. Hipmotism
6. Miss Eugie
7. Matter Of Fact
8. Bush Baby
9. My Son Ra

Phil Woods & The Festival Orchestra - Celebration! (1997)

This CD is as much a showcase for Phil Woods' writing talents as it is for his playing. He composed seven of the songs and arranged every piece but one, "All Bird's Children", which was arranged by Fred Sturm. There are also tributes to Wayne Shorter ("Nefertiti"), Bill Evans and Benny Carter.

Altoist Phil Woods has recorded a countless number of records through the years, but few with a big band, and none previous to this release with an orchestra that he actually put together. Woods' quintet, which includes trumpeter Brian Lynch and pianist Bill Charlap, is expanded to 16 pieces for this release with such familiar associates as altoist Nelson Hill and trombonist Hal Crook (who is showcased on "Willow Weep for Me"). The altoist wrote most of the arrangements and contributed six of the nine compositions, including "Reet's Neet," "Goodbye Mr. Evans," and "All Bird's Children." The music is boppish but not overly predictable, and the charts are consistently colorful, making this an easily recommended set for straight-ahead jazz fans. - Scott Yanow

Phil Woods (alto sax, arranger)
Ken Brader, Brian Lynch, Jan Betz, Pat Dorian (trumpet)
Rick Chamberlain, Hal Crook, Keith O'Quinn, Jim Daniels (trombone)
Nelson Hill, George Young, Tom Hamilton, Lew Delgado, Jim Buckley (reeds)
Bill Charlap (piano)
Steve Gilmore (bass)
Bill Goodwin (drums)
  1. Reet's Neet
  2. Nefertiti
  3. Banja Luka
  4. Goodbye Mr. Evans
  5. Willow Weep for Me
  6. All Bird's Children
  7. My Man Benny (For Mr. Carter)
  8. Perils of Poda
  9. How's Your Mama?
Recorded January 21-22, 1997

Jimmy Smith - The Sermon

Throughout his years with Blue Note, Jimmy Smith recorded with his working trio, with guest trios and quartets (usually with Lou Donaldson or Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell and Art Blakey), live club dates often with guest hornmen and even two sessions with singers (for 45 single releases). There were also three very special dates that were marathon jam sessions in the studio built around all-star sextets.
The first of these took place on August 25, 1957 with Lee Morgan on trumpet, George Coleman on alto sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Eddie McFadden and Kenny Burrell alternating on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums. The second was on February 25, 1958 with Morgan, Lou Donaldson on alto, Tina Brooks on tenor, Burell and McFadden and alternating on drums Bailey and Art Blakey.
Tracks from these two sessions were intermingled to produce Smith's classic albums The Sermon and Houseparty. For compact disc, these sessions have been unravelled and put into their approximate recording order.
This compact disc completes the August 1957 session with two standards. "S'Wonderful" is a beautiful Lee Morgan feature with the support of Smith, McFadden and Bailey. " Blue Room" is Curtis Fuller's showcase with only Smith and Bailey behind him.
The February 25, 1958 session is here in its entirety. It kicks off with another feature, this one for Lou Donaldson with a gorgeous reading of "Lover Man" with Smith, McFadden and Bailey.
The remainder of this date finds Kenny Burrell on guitar and Art Blakey on drums. Lee Morgan returns on trumpet. And he remains on both of these sessions the most exquisite and inventive soloist throughout.
On alto is Donaldson. He was a frequent guest artist on Jimmy Smith dates during the organist's entire tenure with the label (1956 to 1963).
Tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks was one of the unsung geniuses of the horn. A brilliant soloist with a pure, smooth tone and a mind that created patterns of great intricacy, logic and beauty. Almost his entire output as a sidman and leader was for Blue Note. His obscurity was a tragedy for the music as well as for him.
The sextet jams start with two Charlie Parker classics "Confirmation" and "Au Privave." Each offer excellent examples of Tina Brooks' brilliance as well as strong solos from all concerned.
The saxophones lay out for a lovely Lee Morgan reading of "Flamingo " which is a tender spot for him and Burrell.
The session closes with the magic, rarified track that has become one of the most famous pieces of recorded jazz: "The Sermon," a relaxed twelve-bar blues line inspired by and dedicated to Horace Silver. Time is suspended as all three hornmen, Smith and Burrell weave magnificently soulful and intelligent solos that mesmerize the listener. ~ Michael Cuscuna, from the liner notes.

As with Houseparty, this is the Ron McMaster transfer (1987), not the RVG Edition. And just for the record, The Sermon is not the last tracks on the album!

1. S'Wonderful (Gershwin) 4:59
2. Blue Room (Rodgers--Hart) 5:31
3. Lover Man (Ramirez) 6:59
4. Confirmation (Charlie Parker) 10:31
5. Au Privave (Charlie Parker) 15:08
6. The Sermon (Jimmy Smith) 20:11
7. Flamingo (Anderson--Grouya) 8:00

Don Byron - Music For Six Musicians

Like its 2001 sequel, this 1995 outing delves heavily into Latin rhythms and boasts ambitious, well-wrought compositions, not to mention extraordinary playing -- particularly from the unsung pianist Edsel Gomez and Byron himself, on both bass and B flat clarinets. The sextet also features Graham Haynes on cornet, Kenny Davis on electric bass, Jerry Gonzalez on congas, and Ben Wittman on drums. Four special guests appear (guitarist Bill Frisell, bassists Lonnie Plaxico and Andy Gonzalez, drummer Ralph Peterson), although the where-and-when particulars aren't spelled out on the disc packaging. Byron is clearly preoccupied with race politics here; most of his titles mention headline grabbers of the 1990s, from Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas, and Ross Perot to Rodney King and Al Sharpton. The poet Sadiq begins the album with a reading of his tendentious "White History Month," which Byron sets against a winding clarinet chorale, "'Uh-Oh, Chango!'" Ultimately, however, the politics are more of an undercurrent than a central theme. Hip grooves and raucous interplay prevail, although Byron sets a more contemplative tone with "SEX/WORK (Clarence/Anita)," which has the flavor of a classical theme. Byron furthers the classical allusion with a virtuosic, unaccompanied reading of Manuel Ponce's "La Estrellita" and a fabulous duet with Edsel Gomez, "The Allure of Entanglement." ~ David R. Adler

As with Don Byron's journeys into klezmer (on Plays the Music of Mickey Katz) and swing (on Bug Music, there's nothing predictable about this 1995 take on Latin jazz. Byron combines relaxed, sometimes even languid, rhythmic backdrops with complex compositional structures and then forges surreal links with a collection of names from the news. There's nothing overtly programmatic about his multifaceted take on the Los Angeles riots--or the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill affair or Al Sharpton; perhaps the connection exists between Byron's own quixotic sense of form and the impossibility of making sense of the people and events he invokes. Overall, this album is one of Byron's most arresting outings as a composer, with the largely unheralded sidemen, including cornetist Graham Haynes and pianist Edsel Gomez, fleshing out an original musical conception. Byron's mercurial clarinet is a brilliant presence throughout, while frequent associate Bill Frisell adds an electrified touch with his guest spot on "I'll Chill on the Marley Tapes." ~ Stuart Broomer

Don Byron (clarinet, bass clarinet)
Edsel Gomez (piano)
Graham Haynes (cornet)
Kenny Davis (bass)
Jerry Gonzalez (congas)
Ben Wittman (drums)
Bill Frisell (guitar)
Lonnie Plaxico (bass)
Ralph Peterson (drums)
Andy Gonzalez (bass)

1. "Uh-Oh, Chango!"/White History Month
2. Shelby Steele would be mowing your lawn
3. (The press made) Rodney King (responsible for the LA riots)
4. "I'll chill on the Marley tapes..."
5. Sex/Work
6. La Estrellita
7. "...that sucking sound..."
8. Crown Heights
9. The Allure of Entanglement
10. The Importance Of Being Sharpton

VIDEO: Christian Escoudé & le Nouveau Trio Gitan

Christian Escoudé & le Nouveau Trio Gitan
Jazz in Marciac 2008
Christian Escoudé, Jean-Baptiste Laya, David Reinhardt, Stochelo Rosenberg - guitares
Daryl Hall - contrabasse

That Old Black Magic - Harold Arlen
The Visit - Pat Martino
and of course several of Django's including Nuages

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Steve Lacy - Straws

Straws, according to Lacy somewhere, someplace, was what Cecil Taylor always called Stravinsky. This is a relatively early work from Lacy - 1977 - and has some of the "deep" pronouncements common to the period: "I can't explain my work in words. For me, the music explains itself in sounds." Lucky for him he didn't have to declare it essential or not.

The title track uses a "...melody superimposed on a tape I made of three clarinet players and two saxophonists ... trying out reeds at the Vandoren Reed factory in Paris." Mamie apparently was up to more than we thought. Other works are dedicated to Janis Joplin, to Irene Aebi, "whose voice I prefer to all others", to Marilyn Monroe and yet another - five layers of soprano sax on a tape of construction sounds - to Brion Gysin. Getting to sound a tad pretentious? Such, such, were the days.

1. Pinochle
2. Straws
3. Hemline
4. Bound
5. Feline
6. The Rise

Jimmy Cleveland - Introducing Jimmy Cleveland And His All Stars

Tying together a few themes that have been around: John Williams as a performer, Cecil Payne (see contributions) and yet another trombone player. I've been thinking about them lately.

The first of five albums headed by trombonist Jimmy Cleveland during 1955-1959 (he has not led any since), this out of print LP (which was reissued by Trip in the 1970s) features Cleveland in medium-size groups with trumpeter Ernie Royal; either Lucky Thompson or Jerome Richardson on tenor; baritonist Cecil Payne; Hank Jones, John Williams, or Wade Legge on piano; Barry Galbraith, Paul Chambers, or Oscar Pettiford on bass; and either Max Roach, Osie Johnson, or Joe Harris on drums. The all-star cast interprets a variety of Quincy Jones arrangements, alternating standards with lesser-known originals, and although many of his sidemen get fine spots, Cleveland generally wins solo honors. ~ Scott Yanow

This LP is sought after by many collectors just because Oscar Pettiford participates. But the other soloists are of similar caliber: Ernie Royal, Lucky Thompson and Max Roach - a real all-star band from the Fifties. And let's not forget the man on the trombone! With this EmArcy LP, Jimmy Cleveland emerged from the masses in the Lionel Hampton Orchestra out into the spotlight, giving his debut with these 10 numbers, which are so rich in ideas. The arrangements are all by Quincy Jones. This LP was followed by countless engagements with big bands ranging from that of Dizzy Gillespie to Gil Evans, but the man from Tennessee had already recorded his masterpiece with this 1955 debut.

Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Lucky Thompson (tenor sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Wade Legge (piano)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
John Williams (piano)
Jerome Richardson (tenor sax)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)
Osie Johnson (drums)
Max Roach (drums)

1. Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
2. You Don't Know What Love Is
3. Vixen
4. My One And Only Love
5. Little Beaver
6. Our Love Is Here To Stay
7. Count 'Em
8. Bone Brother
9. I Hadn't Anyone Till You
10. See Minor
11. Love Is Here To Stay (alt)

Jimmy Smith - Houseparty

This album introduced me to Jimmy Smith. The very next day I bought The Sermon!. Both albums are still of my favourites.
Please notice that this is the 1987 Ron McMaster issue, not the RVG Edition. Tracklist (see comments) are not the same in these two editions. Stay tuned for The Sermon!.

In the late 1950s, Jimmy Smith recorded a seemingly endless number of sessions for Blue Note. Arguably, one of the most successful of these conglomerations is the exceptional House Party .

Smith was at the height of his popularity, defining a style that would be monstrously influential to all who would come after him. Here he leads the rather large ensemble through a set of mostly standards. For hard bop fans, this is a Jimmy Smith collection that demands attention. House Party comes from the same sessions that produced Smith's better-known The Sermon!.

Jimmy Smith : organ
Lee Morgan : trumpet
Curtis Fuller : trombone
George Coleman : Alto sax
Eddie McFadden : guitar (on 1,2,3)
Kenny Burrell : guitar (on 4,5)
Donald Bailey : drums

Recorded at Manhattan Towers on 25 August 1957
Produced by Alfred Lion
Recording by Rudy Van Gelder
Digital transfer by Ron Mc Master, 1987
Engineer, Producer: Rudy Van Gelder

Keith Jarrett - Book Of Ways

Thanks in no small part to ECM founder Manfred Eicher's patience and indulgence, here we have another of Keith Jarrett's myriad "special projects" -- two CDs of music recorded on a clavichord. This carries Jarrett's anti-electric crusade to a real extreme, the clavichord being a keyboard from J.S. Bach's day, obsolete for over 200 years. The instrument produces a gentle pinging sound like a harpsichord crossed with a zither (the amplified Hohner Clavinet is the closest sound in our time), and Jarrett occasionally tries to stretch the instrument's limited possibilities, hammering percussively on the close-miked strings. Yet for the most part, Jarrett reins in his world-class technique in order to make unpretentiously minimal music on this ancient keyboard. Some of it sounds like folk music, some like new age contemplation, there are convincing neo-baroque musings, and a few of these untitled though numbered selections kick into a higher gear. Sometimes this music is charming...But hey, they also laughed when Keith started putting out massive sets of solo piano... ~ Richard S. Ginell

"The recording is super-clean, and makes no "earlier than thou" concessions to the clavichord as historical instrument, i.e. no low level mastering (a clavichord is quiet, they say, so it should be barely audible), no emphasis on the clunking of the keybed (clavichords are "early", they claim, so let's make them sound primitive). Here every string can be heard, loud and clear, and the microphones are not straddling the keys. There appear to be two tracks of improvised playing, so well done that it blends into one "super clav". The instrument(s) used appear to be single-strung, every string rings out true, there is none of the fuzziness of the museum specimens. It's a new take on the species, and what a marvelous and expressive instrument this is! With its guitar-like sonorities and expressiveness, it's a keyboard player's nirvana."

"The claivichord album. Enough said." ~ Penguin Guide

CD 1

CD 2

Mel Lewis & Friends (1977)

Over 14 months for me. How easily I forget--namely, the time and effort it takes to get one of these things up here! I can't remember who put up the vinyl rip of this, but I hope it's found--it's a great album.
A rare small group date led by drummer Mel Lewis, this CD reissues some excellent straight-ahead music originally put out by A&M's Horizon subsidiary, which was run by producer John Snyder. The liner notes (exact duplications of the LP's) are a bit microscopic, but the music still communicates quite well. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard is in top form during five selections (including "Moose the Mooche" and a quartet feature on "A Child Is Born"); tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and Gregory Herbert (mostly on alto) get in their licks; pianist Hank Jones and bassist Ron Carter are typically flawless, and trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater makes a guest appearance on "Sho' Nuff Did." Excellent music. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Gregory Herbert
Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)
Michael Brecker
Sax (Tenor)
Ron Carter
Hank Jones
Mel Lewis
Drums, Main Performer
Cecil Bridgewater

Monday, April 27, 2009

Al Cohn - The Progressive Al Cohn

In Terry Gibbs autobiography he mentions Al Cohn as one of the local guys who was part of his circle long before any of them ever became famous: they'd practice in each others basements and such. Tiny Kahn, of course, was a boyhood friend of Gibbs when he was still Julie Gubenko. Later Gibbs and Cohn worked together in the Herman outfit. Gibbs says;

" Stan (Getz) once said that the perfect tenor saxophone player would have Al Cohn's notes, Zoot Sims' time, and his own sound and technique. He wasn't far off. Al was the most lyrical tenor player i ever heard. He was the George Gershwin of the tenor saxophone. Everything he ever played was a melody. Even though he KNEW chord changes, he never sounded like he was THINKING chord changes when he played."

Actually, Gibbs is the one who wasn't far off: Getz actually said "... "my technique, Al Cohn's ideas, and Zoot's time." Gubenko grew up just a few blocks away from where the Gershwin boys did. Brooklyn rules!

"This CD (reissued by Savoy in 1994) has tenor saxophonist Al Cohn's first two sessions as a leader. Cohn, who was very influenced during the era by Lester Young, is in fine early form with a 1950 quartet that also includes pianist George Wallington, bassist Tommy Potter and drummer Tiny Kahn, and with a 1953 quintet that has trumpeter Nick Travis, pianist Horace Silver, bassist Curley Russell and drummer Max Roach. All but two numbers ("How Long Has This Been Going On" and an excellent version of "Let's Get Away Ffrom It All") are Cohn's inventive originals; best are "Infinity," "That's What You Think" (heard in two versions) and "Ah-Moore."" ~ Scott Yanow

Al Cohn (tenor sax)
George Wallington (piano)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Tiny Kahn (drums)

Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Horace Silver (piano)
Nick Travis (trumpet)
Curly Russell (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

1. Infinity
2. Groovin' With Gus
3. How Long Has This Been Going On?
4. Let's Get Away from It All
5. That's What You Think (take 1)
6. I'm Tellin' Ya
7. Jane Street
8. Ah Moore
9. That's What You Think (master take)

Blind Lemon Jefferson - The Complete 94 Classic Sides

Texas blues man "Blind" Lemon Jefferson was one of the most significant recording artists of this (should read: previous) century. He was the first commercially successful blues man. Before Lemon, blues was "ladies" music. Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and other lady blues singers first popularized the form, but it was with other people's songs and backed by a small band or orchestra. Lemon came along playing a guitar, accompanying himself, and often singing his own original compositions. Mr. Jefferson was popular in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas long before it became the hip and trendy place it has become today. Sam Price recommended him to a talent scout and Lemon was "discovered" by Paramount Records in Dallas, Texas. He went on to record numerous sides for Paramount between 1925 and 1929 in Chicago, Atlanta, and Richmond, Indiana. It was largely due to the popularity of artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and contemporaries such as Blind Blake and Ma Rainey that Paramount became the leading recording company for the blues in the 1920s. Jefferson's earnings reputedly enabled him to buy a car and employ chauffeurs (although there is debate over the reliability of this as well).
Lemon is at the very root of American blues and therefore rock and roll. Nearly every blues artist that has come since has been influenced directly or indirectly by his recordings. His death in 1929 was mysterious and remains unexplained. Some stories say he froze to death, others say he died of a heart attack, others that he was robbed and murdered. No death certificate has ever been found. Regardless, his body came home by train from Chicago in December 1929 and he was laid to rest in Wortham, Texas near his boyhood home.

John Lee Hooker - Original Folk Blues ... plus

More early John Lee Hooker !!
This is the original Modern album of Hooker's '48-'54 recordings (first issued in 1964) for the label, with 6 extra sides. Here you will find the first Boogie Chillun and Crawlin' King Snake covered by The Doors in their album L.A. Woman.

It may boast the sleeve art work of the old Kent LP Original Folk Blues (KLP 525/5025) but the bonus you get with this CD release is a previously unissued cut of Let Your Daddy Ride and 6 additional tracks (recorded between 1953 and '54) among them a previously unissued Cold Chills. 1948 to '54 was a prime period for John Lee Hooker and this sampler of the recordings he made for Modern Records has some of his greatest material including Boogie Chillen, Sally Mae, Drifting From Door To Door and Crawling King Snake. Alive with raw boogie dance rhythms, the music also sports growling vocal asides, moaning slow blues and chilling guitar licks. One of the blues greatest performers. Original Folk Blues catches him in his prime, starting out on an illustrious career that, as more recent albums The Healer and Mr Lucky have shown, is still brimming with inspiration and vitality. A true original.

01 - Boogie Chillen
02 - Queen Bee
03 - Crawlin' King Snake
04 - Weeping Willow Boogie
05 - Whistlin' And Moanin' Blues
06 - Sally Mae
07 - I Need Love So Bad
08 - Let's Talk It Over
09 - The Syndicator
10 - Let Your Daddy Ride
11 - Drifting From Door To Door
12 - Baby I'm Gonna Miss You
13 - Cold Chills
14 - Cool Little Car
15 - I Wonder Little Darling
16 - Jump Me One More Time
17 - Lookin' For A Woman
18 - Ride 'Til I Die

Benny Carter - In the Mood for Swing (1987)

Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie first recorded together on a 1939 Lionel Hampton session and continued to enjoy a mutual musical respect for each other over the next five decades. They appeared together on recordings from the '50s, '60s, '70s and this final one from 1987.

All 11 of the songs are somewhat obscure and therefore fresh Carter compositions ("Summer Serenade" is perhaps the best-known) and Dizzy Gillespie sits in with the group for three songs. But even with Gillespie, guitarist Howard Alden and pianist Roland Hanna, the solo star throughout is the ageless Benny Carter, who at the age of 80 still seemed to be improving. - Scott Yanow
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet on 2, 8 & 11)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Howard Alden (guitar)
George Mraz (bass)
Louie Bellson (drums)
  1. I'm in the Mood for Swing
  2. Another Time, Another Place
  3. The Courtship
  4. Rock Me to Sleep
  5. Janel
  6. The Romp
  7. Summer Serenade
  8. Not So Blue
  9. You, Only You
  10. Blue Moonlight
  11. South Side Samba
Recorded November 9, 12, 1987

John Lee Hooker - Everybody's Blues

EDIT: I apologise, I omitted a file in the comments. Please recheck.

'Graveyard Blues' (see below) to follow, if there is interest.

Original sessions made for Bernie Besman's Sensation Records in Detroit between 1950 and '54, Everybody's Blues is the follow-up volume to the earlier John Lee Hooker Specialty album Graveyard Blues . Featuring one of the greatest blues singers ever, either in the company of a small band or alone with his guitar, the songs include I'm Mad plus 19 other early but crucial blues cuts.

John Lee Hooker vocals; guitar
Unknown piano on 09-13
Eddie Kirkland guitar on 06
Johnny Hooks tenor sax on 09-13
Tom Whitehead drums on tracks 09-16

01 - Do My Baby Think Of Me
02 - Three Long Years Today
03 - Strike Blues
04 - Grinder Blues
05 - Walkin' This Highway
06 - Four Women In My Life
07 - I Need Lovin'
08 - Find Me A Woman
09 - I'm Mad
10 - I Been Done So Wrong
11 - Boogie Rambler
12 - I Keep The Blues
13 - No More Doggin'(aka No More Foolin')
14 - Everbody's Bues
15 - Anybody's Blues (I Love You Baby)
16 - Locked Up In Jail (aka Prison Blues)
17 - Nothing' But Trouble (Don't Take Your Wife's Family In)
18 - I Need Love So Bad
19 - Don't Trust Noboby
20 - Odds Against Me (aka Backbiter And Syndicators)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

World Saxophone Quartet with Fontella Bass - Breath Of Life

This is the second World Saxophone Quartet disc to feature alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe (who replaced Julius Hemphill) and the first to feature a full rhythm section including bass, piano, and organ. Going a step further from the previous year's experiment with African drums on Metamorphosis, Breath of Life continues to find the sax quartet stretching the boundaries associated with its a cappella approach of the past. Included on its final release for the Elektra Nonesuch label are rhythm & blues-influenced originals by David Murray, Oliver Lake, and Hamiet Bluiett. The Quartet also pays tribute to Ray Charles, Little Willie John, and James Brown on "You Don't Know Me" and "Suffering With the Blues," featuring gospel-inspired performances by Fontella Bass (vocals), Donald Smith (organ), and Amina Claudine Myers (piano and organ). ~ Al Campbell

David Murray (tenor sax, bass clarinet)
Arthur Blythe (alto sax)
Oliver Lake (alto sax)
Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax, contra-alto clarinet)
Fontella Bass (vocals)
Donald Smith (organ)
Amina Claudine Myers (piano, organ)
Tarik Shah (bass)
Fred Hopkins (bass)
Nonnie Burrage (drums)
Gene Lake (drums)

1. Jest A Little
2. Cairo Blues
3. Suffering With The Blues
4. You Don't Know Me
5. Picasso
6. Song For Camille
7. Breath Of Life
8. Deb

Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk (1957)

Review by Lindsay Planer
The best format to get this essential title is the 1999 Rhino Records CD reissue from their Atlantic Jazz Gallery series. Not only have the half-dozen sides from the original 1958 release been thoroughly remastered, but the amended and enhanced running order also contains a trio of otherwise unavailable alternate takes of Monk standards "Evidence," "Blue Monk," and "I Mean You." Otherwise, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk (1958) is a timeless meeting of the masters. Art Blakey (drums) and his Jazz Messengers — which concurrently include Johnny Griffin(tenor sax), Bill Hardman (trumpet), and Spanky Debrest (bass) — face off with Monk during one of the pianist's most creative and fruitful eras. With such a voluminous back catalog of seminal bop compositions, it is fitting that a majority of the album's material stems from Monk. Each of the performances is given extra emphasis, with both co-leaders unleashing their own respective instrumental articulations behind the equally impressive and expressive Jazz Messengers. Right out of the gate,Hardman's solos during "Evidence" provide a powerful introduction into Monk's slightly off-center piano gymnastics. While they never go directly head to head, each musician is clearly inspired by the other's intensity, as they likewise fuel the freewheelin' and hypnotic rhythm of "In Walked Bud." Blakey's firm hold on the combo can be felt as he unleashes a percussive torrent to commence a woozy "Blue Monk." The lackadaisical melody saunters through some adeptly executed changes from Monk with the Jazz Messengers following an effortless and unyielding swing that slices through the heart of the score. One unquestionable highlight is the frisky "Rhythm-A-Ning," sporting the inimitable brass augmentations and co-leads of Griffin and Hardman. The quirky yet catchy chorus bounces from the dual-lead horn section with the entire arrangement tautly bound by the understated Debrest and Blakey. Griffin's "Purple Shades" is a smartly syncopated blues that is more of a musical platform for the Jazz Messengers than for Monk. That said, the pianist provides an opening solo that alternately shimmers and shudders. Again, Debrets as well as Griffin and Hardman demonstrate their own pronounced capabilities over Monk's otherwise occasional counterpoint.

1- Evidence
2- In Walked Bud
3- Blue Monk
4- I Mean You
5- Rhythm-A-Ning
6- Purple Shades

Art Blakey - Drums
Thelonious Monk - Piano
Johnny Griffin - Tenor Sax
Bill Hardman - Trumpet
Spanky DeBrest - Bass
Produced by Nesuhi Ertegun

Art Farmer and Slide Hampton - In Concert

In the evening of his career Farmer often had Slide Hampton as his trombonist of choice. Both were alumni of Lionel Hampton (Slide does not have a lot of good to say about him and kind of confirms the impression I, at least, always had of him) and this is one of the less frequent live dates from later in Farmer's career. I think that he - as Saskia Laroo has noted - might have solved all the problems in his life, so all that remained was fun! Not, perhaps, total booty-shaking fun, but fun nonetheless. It is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

This informal and swinging set has the feel of a jam session. Flugelhornist Art Farmer teams up with trombonist Slide Hampton, pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Adam Nussbaum on four bop standards. Farmer takes "Darn That Dream" as a feature and the quintet sounds quite at home stretching out on long versions of "Half Nelson," Charlie Parker's "Barbados" and "I'll Remember April." Nothing all that unusual occurs but each of the veterans plays up-to-par and the results are pleasing. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Slide Hampton (trombone)
Jim McNeely (piano)
Ron McClure (bass)
Adam Nussbaum (drums)

1. Half Nelson
2. Darn That Dream
3. Barbados
4. I'll Remember April

Recorded on August 15, 1984

Blind Willie McTell - The Classic Years 1927-1940

Here is another reasonably priced JSP box set, released in 2003.
Not really every track recorded between 1927 and 1940 is included here, but as a bonus we get the Library of Congress Recordings (disc 4).

Robert Allen Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) paid homage to McTell in his song 'Blind Willie McTell' :
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

"Blind Willie" McTell was one of the great blues musicians of the 1920s and 1930s. Displaying an extraordinary range on the twelve-string guitar, this Atlanta-based musician recorded more than 120 titles during fourteen recording sessions. His voice was soft and expressive, and his musical tastes were influenced by southern blues, ragtime, gospel, hillbilly, and popular music.
At a time when most blues musicians were poorly educated and rarely traveled, McTell was an exception. He could read and write music in Braille. He traveled often from Atlanta to New York City, frequently alone. As a person faced with a physical disability and social inequities, he expressed in his music a strong confidence in dealing with the everyday world.
In the 1920s and 1930s, McTell traveled a circuit between Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, and Macon. This region encompasses two major blues styles: Eastern Seaboard/Piedmont, with lighter, bouncier rhythms and a ragtime influence; and Deep South, with its greater emphasis on intense rhythms and short, repeated music phrases.
By the mid-1920s McTell was already an accomplished musician in Atlanta, playing at house parties and fish fries. He had also traded in the standard six-string acoustic guitar for a twelve-string guitar, which was popular among Atlanta musicians because of the extra volume it provided for playing on city streets.
Beginning with his first recording in 1927 for Victor Records and his 1928 recording session for Columbia, McTell produced such blues classics as "Statesboro Blues" (later made famous by the Allman Brothers Band and Taj Mahal), "Mama 'Tain't Long 'for' Day," and "Georgia Rag." In 1929 he recorded "Broke Down Engine Blues."
Like other musicians at the time, he recorded on different labels under various nicknames to skirt contractual agreements. Thus he was Blind Willie for Vocalion, Georgia Bill for OKeh, Red Hot Willie Glaze for Bluebird, Blind Sammie for Columbia, Barrel House Sammy for Atlantic, and Pig 'n' Whistle Red for Regal Records. The latter name came from a popular drive-in barbecue restaurant in Atlanta where he played for tips.
In the early 1930s McTell frequently played with Blind Lemon Jefferson throughout the South. He married Ruth Kate Williams, with whom he recorded some duets, in 1934.
In 1940 folk-song collector John Lomax recorded the versatile musician for the Archive of Folk Culture of the Library of Congress.
McTell was the only bluesman to remain active in Atlanta until well after World War II (1941-45). With his longtime associate Curley Weaver, he played for tips on Atlanta's Decatur Street, a popular hangout for local blues musicians. His last recording was made in 1956 for an Atlanta record-store owner and released on the Prestige/Bluesville label. Afterward he played exclusively religious music. From 1957 to his death he was active as a preacher at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Atlanta. He died from a cerebral hemorrhage on August 19, 1959, at the Milledgeville State Hospital (later Central State Hospital). ~ Hal Jacobs

Lou Donaldson - Pretty Things

I am usually very disappointed with Lou Donaldson. When I saw this in the store, my first impulse was to pass on it, but I had been listening to his work while scanning the Complete Blue Note Clifford Brown - coming soon - and was reminded that he was legit once upon a time. And I was thinking about him because of the shing-a-ling/boogaloo connection with Willie Colón (he actually had, as you will know, albums titled "Mr. Shing-a-ling" and "Alligator Boogaloo"). I prefer Bugalú to boogaloo, don't you? And this is one of the less common Donaldson titles available in this scene, so here we are.

Lou Donaldson has recorded many strong sessions throughout his career but this CD reissue brings back one of the less-significant ones. Organist Leon Spencer dominates the ensembles, the material is a bit trivial and the altoist/leader uses a baritone sax on some of the selections which makes him sound much less individual than usual. Trumpeter Blue Mitchell's solos and a fine closing jam on "Love" help upgrade the music a bit but there are many better Donaldson recordings to acquire first. ~ Scott Yanow

Lou Donaldson (alto sax)
Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Lonnie Smith (organ)
Melvin Sparks (guitar)
Leon Spencer Jr. (organ)
Ted Dunbar (guitar)
Jimmy Lewis (bass)
Idris Muhammad (drums)

1. Tennessee Waltz
2. Curtis' Song
3. Sassie Lassie
4. Just for a Thrill
5. Pot Belly
6. Love

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: January 9 and June 12, 1970

Willie Colón - El Malo

El Malo was Colon and Hector Lavoe's first-ever recording, made in 1967 when Colon was a mere 17 years old. Colón was instrumental (get it, huh? get it?) in synthesizing traditional New York/PR forms with some of the popular jazz forms of the period - notably shing-a-ling and boogaloo. We may properly ask; what the hell were shing-a-ling and boogaloo? Perhaps somebody out there can elucidate this for us, but I think we can agree that it was the current trend in jazz (which was still a market force in the sixties. Apart from Sidewinder being used for TV commercials, Blue Note, for example, was making 45s for jukebox play and customer consumption). The trend seemed to have had a longer impact through it's adoption by such as Colón. Lou Donaldson was probably most associated with the "form": he wanted popularity so bad he made albums that sound like Pepsi commercials around this time.

Still, Colón and his ilk created a form - salsa - which is vital even today. Let's see what all the hubbub was about, shall we? Colón's (and Lavoe's) The Hustler was posted here about a month ago if you want to hear more.

Willie Colón (trombone)
Hector Lavoe (vocals)
Eddie Guagua (bajo sexto)
Joe Santiago (trombone)
Dwight Brewster (piano)
Mario Galagarza (congas)
Pablo Rosario (bongos)
Nicky Marrero (timbales)
James Taylor (bas)

1. Jazzy
2. Willie Baby
3. Borinquen
4. Willie Whopper
5. El Malo
6. Skinny Papa
7. Chonqui
8. Quimbombo

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hook's Hidden Gems

One of our friends has started a new blog, and we can very easily recommend it. There's a solid variety there of classic and quirky. And you can't get much better than that can you?

Take a gander at Hook's Hidden Gems, and be sure to leave a comment - if you can't find something to say about the things he has there (Barre Phillips, Shirley Scott, Terry Gibbs,...) maybe you ain't the jazz fan you think you are.

A winner.

Art Tatum - The V-Discs

"V-Discs were 12" 78 r.p.m. records issued to the American forces during World War II between 1942 and through to 1948.They were sent to PX Centres and Radio Stations for the recreation of all G.I's. ... Many titles were unique to V-Disc, like the Art Tatum selections included here."

Many artists made these discs (with the notable exception of Duke Ellington, which makes his Treasury Shows series so valuable) and many of the performances are, indeed, unique recordings - the version of the Ellington classic "I'm Beginning To See The Light", for example is the only recording Tatum ever made of it.

This Black Lion CD mostly features the phenomenal Tatum playing solo during 1945-46, really digging into a variety of standards. A rare version of "Sweet Lorraine" (with bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Sid Catlett in 1944) and two numbers with his 1945 trio (featuring guitarist Tiny Grimes and bassist Slam Stewart) round out this excellent CD. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Tatum (piano)
Tiny Grimes (guitar)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Slam Stewart (bass)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)

1. Sweet Lorraine
2. Cocktails For Two
3. Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)
4. She's Funny That Way
5. Gershwin Medley: The Man I Love/Summertime/I've Got Plenty of Nothin'
6. Body and Soul
7. Lover
8. Begin The Beguine
9. (Back Home Again In) Indiana
10. Poor Butterfly
11. Where Or When
12. Song Of The Vagabonds
13. I'm Beginning To See The Light
14. 9:20 Special

Vido Musso - Loaded

Last week I was reading Art Rollini's autobiography (meh) and he mentions Vido Musso a fair bit. Musso had a pretty good way of mangling the English language.

Three different four-song sessions are reissued on this fine CD. The rambunctious and thick-toned tenor-saxophonist Vido Musso leads the first session, heading a septet that also includes both Kai Winding and Gene Roland on trombones, altoist Boots Mussuli, pianist Marty Napoleon, bassist Eddie Safranski and drummer Denzil Best. "Moose in a Caboose" and the heated "Moose on the Loose" are most memorable. The second date is under bassist Safranski's leadership and he uses a similar group with Musso, altoist Lem Davis, Roland, pianist Sanford Gold, Best and on one song trumpeter Leonard Hawkins. Safranski is well-featured (Musso is a strong co-star) and often recalls Jimmy Blanton in his short solos. The last session on this CD is unrelated to the others, an outing by trombonist Kai Winding that also features the young tenor Stan Getz (who in 1945 already sounds recognizable) and trumpeter Shorty Rogers. This final date is more common than the other two (it was formerly included on a Getz LP) but on a whole the CD gives listeners some fine rarities from the 1945-46 period that straddle the boundaries between swing, bop and even cool jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Vido Musso (tenor sax)
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Marty Napoleon (piano)
Boots Mussulli (alto sax)
Lem Davis (alto sax)
Gene Roland (trombone)
Eddie Safranski (bass)
Denzil Best (drums)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Moose In A Caboose
2. Moose On The Loose
3. My Jo-Ann
4. Vido In A Jam
5. Bassology
6. Spellbound
7. Let Me Go
8. Jam Session At Savoy
9. Sweet Miss
10. Loaded
11. Grab Your Axe Max
12. Always

Andrew Hill - But Not Farewell

Yes, Scotty; recommended. But is it essential?

This is a recommended set of stimulating post-bop jazz. Andrew Hill's highly distinctive piano playing and unusual compositions hint at the past while following their own rules. The feeling of polyrhythms is present in several of Hill's seven compositions on this CD. The tightness of the bass-drum team (Lonnie Plaxico and Cecil Brooks) is quite impressive, as is the blend of Robin Eubanks' warm trombone and Greg Osby's alto. Osby's angular improvisations, which seem out of place in standard bebop, sound perfectly at home in Andrew Hill's music. "Friends" features the altoist's lyricism in a duet with the pianist. Although the final two numbers (including the 13-and-a-half-minute freely improvised "Gone") are solo piano performances, it is the quintet tracks with Osby and Eubanks that are the main reason to acquire this disc. ~ Scott Yanow

Andrew Hill (piano)
Robin Eubanks (trombone)
Greg Osby (alto and soprano sax)
Lonnie Plaxico (bass)
Cecil Brooks III (drums)

1. Westbury
2. But Not Farewell
3. Nicodemus
4. Georgia Ham
5. Friends
6. Sunnyside
7. Gone

Clinton Recording Studios, New York: July 12-13 and September 16, 1990

Washboard Sam - Rockin' My Blues Away

Scotty Y tells us that a " ... certain sameness creeps in by the fifth song": in the blues? Isn't that one of it's beauties? As with tango and certain other genres a rigid and simple form can lead to amazing variety. Y'know who wrote with a certain sameness? Vivaldi. That bugger wrote the same work 500 times. Y'know what else has a certain sameness? Birds. And yet...and yet...their variety within that form is dazzling.

But the main reason where Scotty misses the point is that these were not created for continuous play - they were released for the most part as individual works that came out at intervals of months or years, and if a certain sound was popular then why the hell wouldn't an artist keep working it? It is only in hindsight and with the advent of other technologies (LPs, CDs et al) that present the material in ways it never conceived that we would think it repetitive.

Big Bill Broonzy, as one of the pre-eminent national blues figures of his time, was recruited as a talent scout and his half-brother Washboard Sam was one of those he helped to get signed. It was no simple case of nepotism, however, they worked together frequently at rent and house parties and in the studio.

"Washboard Sam recorded many selections as both a leader and as a sideman for Bluebird from 1936-49. His citified country blues were a transition music between the Delta blues and early R&B while being quite likable in their own right. On this fine CD sampler, Sam's strong voice is greatly assisted by his half-brother Big Bill Broonzy's guitar. A certain sameness creeps in by the fifth song, but the party music (all from 1941-42 except for one session from 1947) is quite accessible and enjoyable." ~ Scott Yanow

Washboard Sam (guess)
Big Bill Broonzy (guitar)
Memphis Slim (piano)
Roosevelt Sykes (piano)
J.T. Brown (sax)
Willie Dixon (bass)

1. My Feet Jumped Salty
2. Flying Crow Blues
3. Levee Camp Blues
4. I'm Feeling Low Down
5. She Belongs To The Devil
6. I've Been Treated Wrong
7. Evil Blues
8. Get Down Brother
9. Lover's Lane Blues
10. Rockin' My Blues Away
11. Good Old Cabbage Greens
12. River Hip Mama
13. Do That Shake Dance
14. How Can You Love Me
15. Red River Dam Blues
16. Down South Woman Blues
17. Ain't That A Shame
18. I Get the Blues At Bedtime
19. You Can't Make The Grade
20. You Can't Have None Of That
21. I Just Can't Help It
22. Soap and Water Blues

Friday, April 24, 2009

Steve Lacy - The Rent

"A crackling trio record that retreads some of lacy's most distinctive themes. 'Door', 'Flakes', 'Shuffle Boil (Monk)', and re-energizes them considerably. His playing has of late taken on a warm and more expressive cast, a more vocalised tone than in the past, and it suits this context extremely well. Avenel and Betsch are entirely in tune with the approach and the recording is very plain and faiyhful." ~ Penguin Guide

Recorded in its entirety and without interruption (set 1 fills the first disc, while the second set is contained on disc 2), The Rent precisely captures the brilliant, in-the-moment creative lightning of live jazz music. With Lacy's reputation as an angular, minimalist player, the overflow of emotive blowing and chatty interplay between artist and audience may come as something of a surprise, but there is Lacy answering questions, announcing tunes, and even reciting poetry. The crowd responds enthusiastically, and after the first tune (Monk's "Shuffle Boil"), the connection between performer and audience is cemented. From there things just get better. Lacy and longtime bandmates Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass) and John Betsch (drums) manage to increase the stratospheric level of their playing and still engage the audience as the evening rockets forward. While Lacy isn't gifted with a set of iron lungs, his music has never been about power. Lacy's strengths come from his ability to direct and articulate his speed-of-light idea flow. On The Rent he is remarkably precise and nimble as he darts from idea to idea only to return just in the nick of time to nail the chorus. Lacy's tone is unfailingly accurate and, even in the midst of the most demanding passage, remarkably consistent. No note is wasted. There is no filler. This is the Steve Lacy Trio at its absolute finest. Straight, no chaser. ~ S. Duda

Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass)
John Betsch (drums)

CD 1
1. Shuffle Boil (Monk)
2. The Bath
3. The Rent
4. Prayer
5. Blinks

CD 2
1. The Door
2. Retreat
3. Gospel
4. Flakes
5. Bone
6. Bookioni (Encore)

Bill Holman Band (1987)

When Scoredaddy recently posted A View from the Side I was reminded of another Holman album that I presented a couple of years ago in contributions. Here it is again, repackaged with a better rip and higher res scans.

This CD was Bill Holman's first release as a leader in 28 years and it would be another 7 before the next one. Holman certainly wasn't sitting around with his thumb up his ass all those years and I consider him to be the most prolific arranger of the last half-century. During those 28 "off" years he was writing for both large and small ensembles led by such notables as Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Louie Bellson, Terry Gibbs and Buddy Rich. And if you add his work from the fifties, the total output is staggering. The only thing that matches the quantity of his writing is the quality.

Bill Holman has long been one of the top arrangers in jazz but, because he has not recorded all that many albums and because he is based in L.A., he tends to get overlooked in popularity polls. An innovative writer who features crowded yet swinging ensembles and charts that are both complex and colorful, Holman generally emphasizes originals these days. However on this record, which was his first full set on record as a leader since 1960 (!), six of the nine selections are standards and it is interesting to hear what Holman does to such songs as Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely," Monk's "I Mean You" (which at one point has four soprano saxophonists trading off) and the theme from the 1930s movie Hurricane, "The Moon of Manakoora." With such soloists as altoist Lanny Morgan, the late great tenor Bob Cooper, trumpeters Bob Summers and Don Rader, and trombonists Rick Culver and Bob Enevoldsen, along with the high note trumpet of Frank Szabo, it is not surprising that the enjoyable disc has plenty of highlights, but actually it is the ensembles that are most notable. The many arranged choruses on "Just Friends" are particularly memorable. - Scott Yanow

Bill Holman (leader, tenor sax)
Carl Saunders, Frank Szabo, Don Rader, Bob Summers (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Jack Redmond, Bob Enevoldsen, Rick Culver, Pete Beltran (trombone)
Lanny Morgan, Bob Militello, Bob Cooper, Dick Mitchell, Bob Efford (reeds)
Rich Eames (piano)
Barry Zweig (guitar)
Bruce Lett (bass)
Jeff Hamilton (drums)
  1. Front Runner
  2. Isn't She Lovely
  3. St. Thomas
  4. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
  5. I Mean You
  6. Just Friends
  7. Primrose Path
  8. The Moon of Manakoora
  9. The Real You
Recorded November 30, December 1, 1987

Patrick Williams - 10th Avenue (1986)

Pat Williams' electrified New York Band, comprised of many of Gotham's top studio pros, turns in some live-wire performances here in this solid, energetic album with nary a hint of routine. With the help of producer Phil Ramone, Williams manages to procure an airy, transparent yet full sound from his band despite the presence of five French horns and a tuba that one would normally associate with bottom-loaded, urbane darkness.

The electronic keyboards on the session are arranged and recorded with unusual skill and taste, underpinning the acoustic instruments without bogging them down. A decade ahead of the new standards trend, Williams turns to contemporaneous popular hit songs — Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years," Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre" — and does well by all of them, effectively translating them into a big band context. Also superb are Williams' imaginative treatments of Nat Adderley's "Jive Samba," Quincy Jones' "The Witching Hour" and his own title track. Michael and Randy Brecker are given flattering solo showcases, as are keyboardist Richard Tee and trombonist Bill Watrous.

As a prime example of first-rate contemporary big band music that doesn't pander to the accountants, doesn't get too far out for the general public and doesn't sound like all the other ensembles, it's hard to beat this album — and it's too bad that there aren't more of them around. Richard S. Ginell

Patrick Williams Arranger, Conductor
Wayne Andre Trombone (Tenor)
Kenny Ascher Synthesizer
Michael Brecker Sax (Tenor)
Randy Brecker Trumpet
Dave Carey Percussion
Bob Carlisle French Horn
Nathan East Bass
Paul Faulise Trombone (Bass)
John Frosk Trumpet
Steve Gadd Drums
Peter Gordon French Horn
Danny Gottlieb Percussion
Gordon Gottlieb Percussion
Jay Gruska Synthesizer
Paul Ingraham French Horn
Chuck Loeb Guitar
Ralph MacDonald Percussion, Conga
Rob Mounsey Synthesizer, Lyricon
Jerry Peel French Horn
Harvey Phillips Tuba
Alan Rubin Trumpet
Marvin Stamm Trumpet
David Taylor Trombone (Bass)
Richard Tee Piano
Bill Watrous Trombone, Trombone (Tenor)
Larry Wechsler French Horn

1 10th Avenue (Williams) 5:20
2 Still Crazy After All These Years (Simon) 5:04
3 Her Song (Williams) 5:32
4 New York State of Mind (Joel) 5:17
5 Jive Samba (Adderley) 5:34
6 The Witching Hour (Jones) 4:49
7 The Chant (Feldman) 5:46
8 Mull of Kintyre (Laine, McCartney) 2:41

Recorded at Clinton Recording Studios, December, 1986

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hampton Hawes All-Stars - Memory Lane Live

One of only two recordings by Hamp in 1970, he is certainly in allstar company. Feeling that jazz was under-represented on television, a Californian record store owner/producer named Jack Lewercke decided to rectify the situation, and was able to produce four shows: Shelly Manne at his eponymous club, Les McCann at the same, Zoot Sims (with Roger Kellaway) at Donte's, and this show featuring some of the best LA musicians available in 1970. The session was by and for jazz lovers, and the audience had a large cohort of the musicians friends.

Hampton Hawes (piano)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Sonny Criss (alto sax)
Teddy Edwards (tenor sax)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Bobby Thomson (drums)
Joe Turner (vocal)

1. Memory Lane Blues
2. Blues For J.L.
3. Feeling Happy
4. Shake, Rattle And Roll
5. Teddy's Blues

"Memory Lane Club", Los Angeles: January, 1970

David Lahm - Real Jazz for the Folks Who Feel Jazz (1982) [LP > FLAC]

I originally bought this album for the two vocal tracks - "Shazam", a vocalese take on "Captain Marvel" with Janet Lawson singing the Stan Getz solo, and "Harold's House of Jazz", Richie Cole's head on "Cherokee" with words by David Lahm. But I discovered some excellent playing on the other tunes as well and enjoy the rather eclectic approach by Lahm and producer Barry Rogers. "Half Moon Bay" and "Theme & Deviations/A Day in the Life" are duets with vibist David Friedman while the other instrumentals are performed with a quintet and sextet.

I've never seen this album on CD and since it was released by defunct Palo Alto Jazz Records, you probably never will.

The son of Dorothy Fields, pianist David Lahm inherited his mother's talent as a lyricist but is also a gifted composer. Turned on to jazz after hearing Thelonious Monk recordings as a teenager, Lahm would spend hours at the Jazz Record Center on W. 47th getting deeper into the music. While pursuing an English degree at Amherst College he studied composition with George Russell and later moved to Indiana to work on his M.A. He spent time jamming with David Baker, Jamey Aebersold and Ted Dunbar at Indiana University where he would develop his style. Deciding on the music biz as a career, Lahm would then join the Buddy Rich big band for a year and leave in 1970 to live and work in his hometown of New York.

David Lahm (piano)
John D'earth (trumpet)
Barry Rogers, Gary Valente (trombone)
Rich Perry (tenor sax)
Roger Rosenberg (flute, soprano sax, baritone sax)
David Friedman (vibes)
Bill O'Connell (piano)
Mike Formanek, Lincoln Goines, Cameron Brown (bass)
Bob Moses, Joe LaBarbera (drums)
  1. I'm Taking the Day Off
  2. Half Moon Bay
  3. You're a Blossom
  4. Shazam (Captain Marvel)
  5. Harold's House of Jazz
  6. Theme & Deviations/A Day in the Life
  7. Indianapolis Blues

J.J. Johnson - J.J.5

A Japanoriphic re-issue of a Johnson Columbia title from 1957. From what I can tell, some of these were not on the Mosaic set. Nope - they're all on the Mosaic. Such is life.

J.J. Johnson’s great 1956-1957 quintet played modern jazz with authority, imagination, taste and feeling. Its leader was the trombonist of the era, much emulated and admired by his peers. The Belgian-born Jaspar, who had recently won the International Jazz Critics’ New Star Award on tenor, proved an ideal foil and a capable modern-mainstream tenor sax and flutist, contributing impressively on both instruments. Flanagan, a superbly swinging pianist, also made an indelible mark on the group, which was graced initially with another bop piano great, Hank Jones, while Little and Elvin Jones’ support throughout is admirable. It was an exhilarating band that fully displayed Johnson’s well-rounded musicianship.

J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Bobby Jaspar (tenor sax, flute)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Wilbur Little (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Tea Pot
2. Barbados
3. In A Little Provencial Town
4. Cette Chose
5. Blue Haze
6. Love Is Here To Stay
7. So Sorry Please
8. It Could Happen To You
9. Bird Song
10. Old Devil Moon

Fats Waller - London Sessions 1938-1939

I bought this CD used.
It presents another side of Fats, maybe because he was taken more seriously as an artist in London, than in New York.

... (The London Suite) prove more reminiscent of Debussy than of Harlem Swing ... (from the liner notes)

Unfortunately, "London Suite" has not survived in pristine form.

Three tracks are with "His Continental Rhythm", some are organ solos, some piano solos and he shares vocals with Adelaide Hall in 2 tracks.

01 - Don't Try Your Jive on Me
02 - Ain't Misbehavin'
03 - Ain't Misbehavin'
04 - The Flat Foot Floogie
05 - Pent Up in a Penthouse
06 - Music, Maestro, Please
07 - A-Tisket, A- Tisket
08 - Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
09 - All God's Chillun Got Wings
10 - Go Down Moses
11 - Deep River
12 - Water Boy
13 - Lonesome Road
14 - That Old Feeling
15 - I Can't Give You Anything But Love
16 - You Can't Have Your Cake And Eat It
17 - Not There -Right There
18 - Cottage in the Rain
19 - London Suite - Piccadilly
20 - London Suite - Chelsea
21 - London Suite - Soho
22 - London Suite - Bond Street
23 - London Suite - Limehouse
24 - London Suite - Whitechapel
25 - Smoke Dreams of You
26 - You Can't Have Your Cake And Eat It

Lightnin' Hopkins - The Gold Star Sessions (vols 1 & 2)

“These two volumes round up all of Hopkins' seminal recordings, all recorded for the Houston-based Gold Star label between 1947 and 1950 the majority are either definitive postwar Texas blues performances (even shades of Zydeco appear on `Zolo Go') or vividly reveal what Hopkins learned from Texas Alexander and other early influences.”
~ Mike Joyce (The Washington Post)

I bought these two CDs on a trip to London, in the early 90’s. There weren’t cheap at all, as far as I remember. However, I never regret it. Since then, I’ve never seen them sold anywhere.

Hopkins love for the blues was sparked at the age of 8 when he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas. That day, Hopkins felt the blues was "in him" and went on to learn from his older (somewhat distant) cousin, country blues singer Alger "Texas" Alexander.In the mid 1930s, Hopkins was sent to Houston County Prison Farm for an unknown offence.In the late 1930s Hopkins moved to Houston with Alexander in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the music scene there. By the early 1940s he was back in Centerville working as a farm hand.
Hopkins took at second shot at Houston in 1946. He was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los Angeles based record label, Aladdin Records.She convinced Hopkins to travel to L.A. where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names and dubbed Hopkins "Lightnin'" and Wilson "Thunder".
Hopkins recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947 but soon grew homesick. He returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label. During the late 40s and 1950s Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas. However, he recorded prolifically. Occasionally traveling to the Mid-West and Eastern United States for recording sessions and concert appearances. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career. He performed regularly at clubs in and around Houston, particularly in Dowling St. where he had first been discovered.
In 1959 Hopkins was contacted by folklorist Mack McCormick.McCormack presented Hopkins to integrated audiences first in Houston and then in California. Hopkins debuted at Carnegie Hall on October 14, 1960 appearing alongside Joan Baez and Pete Seeger performing the spiritual "Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep". In 1960, he signed to Tradition Records. Solid recordings followed including his masterpiece song "Mojo Hand" in 1960.
By the early 1960s Lightnin' Hopkins reputation as one of the most compelling blues performers was cemented. He had finally earned the success and recognition which were overdue. In 1968, Hopkins recorded the album Free Form Patterns backed by the rhythm section of psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s Hopkins released one or sometimes two albums a year and toured, playing at major folk festivals and at folk clubs and on college campuses in the U.S. and internationally. He travelled widely in the United States, and overcame his fear of flying to join the 1964 American Folk Blues Festival; visit Germany and the Netherlands 13 years later; and play a six-city tour of Japan in 1978.
Houston's poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman.
Hopkins died of cancer in Houston in 1982 (from Wikipedia)

John Williams - World On a String, Music of Harold Arlen (1957)

At left is the cover image from the original Bethlehem LP. The rip, however, comes from a CD reissue by Discovery Records from 1986. The digital edition was retitled "Here's What I'm Here For" and they slapped a drawing of two owls on the cover for some reason, which is why I substituted the original cover. Scoredaddy

Early modern jazz based on swing and adapted blues elements. 12 tracks recorded in October 1957 at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California. All tracks written by Harold Arlen (a few co-written). Featuring "Stormy weather", "Get happy", "That old black magic", "Sleepin' bee", "I've got the world on a string", "Come rain or come shine". Superb selections, layout, interpretations, piano and saxes play throughout.

Early awesome jazz music from the future composer of several renown soundtracks (among them Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and so forth). Album recorded by John Williams when he was 25-year of age. High class jazz rendered with originality, refinement, expression, good taste and high musicality. Rare jazz album, the only copy I've ever seen. Highly recommended. Some website selling vintage LP's

John Williams (piano, arranger)
Jerry Williams (drums)
Curtis Counce (bass)
Milt Bernhart, Bob Enevoldsen, Joe Howard, Dick Noel (trombones)
Herb Geller, Buddy Collette, Richie Kamuca, Gene Cipriano (saxes)

1. Let's Fall In Love (2:29)
2. Stormy Weather (2:45)
3. My Shining Hour (2:05)
4. Get Happy (2:31)
5. Here's What I'm Here For (3:14)
6. That Old Black Magic (3:11)
7. Hit The Road To Dreamland (2:41)
8. Over The Rainbow (2:28)
9. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (3:16)
10. A Sleepin' Bee (3:06)
11. I've Got The World On A String (2:56)
12. Come Rain Or Come Shine (3:22)

Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA October, 1957

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Walter Bishop Jr. - Milestones

Although he had been playing and recording since 1947 with the likes of Bird, Miles, Dolphy and the like, this 1961 date was Bishop's first leader date.

Teamed with bassist Jimmy Garrison in his pre-Coltrane period (Garrison's bowed solos sound a bit like Paul Chambers) and drummer G.T. Hogan, Bishop performs six jazz standards which are augmented by three previously unreleased alternate takes; both of these version of "Speak Low" were released for the first time on this 1989 CD. Nothing all that remarkable occurs but fans of bebop-oriented piano trios will enjoy this music. Highlights include "Blues in the Closet," "Speak Low" and one of the first "cover" versions of "Milestones." ~ Scott Yanow

Walter Bishop, Jr. (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Wilbert G.T. Hogan (drums)

1. Sometimes I'm Happy [Take 1]
2. Sometimes I'm Happy [Take 2]
3. Blues in the Closet [Take 3]
4. Blues in the Closet [Take 5]
5. Green Dolphin Street
6. Alone Together
7. Milestones
8. Speak Low [Take 5]
9. Speak Low [Take 6]

Lester Young - The Complete Aladdin Recordings

This set includes the magnificent 1942 trio session with Nat Cole, the Helen Humes session (with a newly discovered instrumental), and all seven small-group sessions led by Young between 1945 and `47. These sessions, which spawned such classics as "D.B. Blues" and "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid", include Vic Dickenson, Willie Smith, Joe Albany and Roy Haynes among the sidemen.

Lester Young recorded for the Aladdin label between December 1945 and December 1947, leading a series of small groups that would range in size from quintets to a septet. While Young's solos were a marvelous paradox of the languid and the taut, his approach to putting a group together could be simply casual. His sidemen here come from both the ranks of the justly celebrated and the journeymen, whose names have all but disappeared from jazz history. The bands can include collisions of swing era stalwarts and dedicated boppers. Something of that's apparent in the first Aladdin session, where trombonist Vic Dickenson and pianist Dodo Marmarosa seem to have the blues in different languages on Young's eloquent "D.B. Blues." It seems to have mattered little to Young, who was in many ways a school of one. His playing here is usually at a level that others only dream about, creating a linear flow that has its own superior internal logic, whether the subject at hand is a standard, a blues, or an uptempo variant on "I Got Rhythm." His sound is one of the marvels of jazz, not just for its airy transparency but for its flexibility, the way a line is constantly shaded with gently honking punctuations and a hint of gravel. In addition to the Aladdin sessions, this two-CD set includes a 1942 trio date that's focused on standards and has Nat "King" Cole on piano and Red Callendar on bass. Young's solo on "Indiana" is one of his marvels of multidimensional swing. There's also a 1945 session with singer Helen Humes that has terrific input from trumpeter Snooky Young and altoist Willie Smith as well as Young. ~ Stuart Broomer

1. Indiana
2. I Can't Get Started
3. Tea For Two
4. Body and Soul
5. D.B. Blues
6. Lester Blows Again
7. These Foolish Things
8. Jumpin' at Mesner's
9. It's Only a Paper Moon
10. After You've Gone
11. Lover Come Back to Me
12. Jammin' With Lester
13. You're Driving Me Crazy
14. New Lester Leaps In
15. Lester's Be Bop Boogie
16. She's Funny That Way
17. Sunday
18. S.M. Blues

1. Jumpin' With Symphony Sid
2. No Eyes Blues
3. Sax-O-Be-Bop
4. On the Sunny Side of the Street
5. Easy Does It
6. Easy Does It - (alternate take)
7. Movin' With Lester
8. One O'Clock Jump
9. Jumpin' at the Woodside
10. I'm Confessin'
11. Lester Smooths It Out
12. Just Cooling
13. Tea For Two
14. East of the Sun
15. Sheik of Araby, The
16. Something to Remember You By
17. Riffin' Without Helen - (previously unreleased)
18. Please Let Me Forget
19. He Don't Love Me Anymore
20. Pleasing Man Blues
21. See See Rider
22. It's Better to Give Than Receive

Daan Junior - J'ai Soif De Toi (2005)

This post does not include any scans beyond the actual CD, which I own. But there is a story behind this: a few years ago, I found myself taking a taxi after landing at Miami International Airport. The Haitian driver was playing some music which captivated me and when I asked him about it and told him how much I liked it, he offered to give me the disc. He said he could easily get another copy. He looked around the cab for the jewel case but he couldn't find it. So all I have is the CD. Give this a try... it's really good. Scoredaddy

Hailed as "the next great Creole singer," Daan Junior has generated too much buzz to maintain a low profile. He is the hottest Haitian artist to come out of Paris since the late legendary pianist/composer Guy Durossier.

Born in Miragoane, the land of bauxite (before exhaustively exploited in the 70's & 80's by Reynolds) and sugar cane, Aaron Wayne "Daan Junior" Compere is one of eight children in the Compere family. Growing up, Daan was exposed to rich traditional Haitian folklore, Konpa, and Roots. Today, it is not surprising that Daan Junior has emerged as one of the most talented artists in the World of Creole Music.

With a distinct voice that bears echoes of the great veteran singer, Alan Cave, sultry and irresistible music, and superb production by Paanasha and D5, Daan Junior made a name for himself with his smash hit debut album, " Dis-Moi Ce Que Tu Veux." In 2003, the song Ave‘w dominated the music charts in Haiti and abroad. His magical lyrics, and hot fusion of Konpa/Zouk has transformed him into a French-Caribbean superstar.

When Daan Junior is not busy touring the U.S., Canada, and French Antilles, he is in the studio collaborating with top Zouk and Haitian artists. Not keen to embrace the dreaded sophomore slump, Daan Junior has successfully produced a riveting and quality second album that is sure to please his growing fan base. "J'ai soif de toi," the title of Daan Junior‘s latest album, features ten neatly interlaced songs mostly about romance, passion, sexual innuendo, and the long struggle of our beloved land, Haiti.

On "Leve Kanpe‘, the Creole _expression for "Stand Up," Daan Junior pours his heart out expressing frustration with corrupted Haitian leaders and politicians who have rendered Haiti into a state of chaos, poverty and hunger. "...Haiti I love. Nothing seems to work anymore in Haiti. Haitians, strong men of Guinea and of African decent, where are we? Haitian lets not forget our past and history. If all of us stand up and fight, we can change Haiti. Our nation motto is unity, we must work together to change Haiti."

"Mete’m aleze" is one of many very contagious Konpa love songs. In fact, almost every song on this record is built on great vocals, seductive time-stopping melody and harmony. Simply put, this album is poetry put to music. Daan Junior is reintroducing Konpa music as the art that it is and is putting some serious distance between himself and the other doleful singer- songwriters who have saturated the market in the past decade.

1. Cherie'm Kole
2. Moin Santi'm Beni
3. J'ai soif de Toi
4. Ti bouton male
5. Mete'm Aleze
6. Kite'm Alle
7. Ne pouvant Dormit
8. Yon Ti Momment
9. Leve Campe
10. Style D'5
11. Moin Santi'm Beni (Versions Accoustique)
12. J'ai soif de Toi (Versions Accoustique)
13. Mete'm Aleze (Versions Accoustique)
14. Ne Pouvant dormir

Sahib Shihab - And All Those Cats

Reposting this from June '08: I just saw this CD on e-Bay for $250 and think that's nuts.

I found this with no accompanying info, just the CD and the digipack it came in - no personnel, no tracklists. But, it's Sahib Shihab, and it was only $3.
Would you have said no?

"This is a terrific sounding Italian compilation of sounds by Sahib Shihab, the great saxophonist and flutist who is criminally under-recognized for this contribution not only to the language of hard bop, but for his multi-dimensional look at world music and his influence on soul jazz. A complete iconoclast, Shihab followed the beat of his own drummer and that is clearly on display here in recordings compiled between 1964 and 1970. While "Set Up," the first cut here flows in the last gasp of hard and post bop, beginning with the self-penned "Peter's Waltz," a seemingly innocent mid tempo waltz, is quickly transformed in Shihab's language into an early entry in the soul jazz canon with its blues groove and loping lines based on the accenting the rhythm section. "The End Of A Love Affair," with its light Brazilian samba groove, hand percussion, and sprightly melody (Shihab blowing flute here), the exotic core of his music comes right to the fore and stays there on tracks like "Om Mani Padme Hum," and the gorgeous colors in "Campi's Idea," (named for studio engineer Gigi Campi) with the contrasting tone of Ake Persson's trombone," that never stray far from the blues. The big fat honking funk (as in Horace Silver's use of the word, not George Clinton's) in "Stoned Ghosts" with killer trumpet fills from Benny Bailey is a clear standout here, but of the album's 15 cuts, there isn't a weak moment in the bunch. Seek this one out." ~ Thom Jurek

Kenny Clarke (drums)
Joe Harris (percussion, bongos)
Benny Bailey (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Francy Boland (piano, arranger)
Ake Persson (trombone)
Fats Sadi (bongos, vibraphone)
Jimmy Woode (bass, vocals)

1. Set Up
2. Peter's Waltz
3. Yah, Yah Blues
4. End Of A Love Affair
5. Om Mani Padme Hum
6. Bohemia After Dark
7. Campi's Idea
8. Jay-Jay
9. Waltz For Seth
10. Herr Fixit
11. Stoned Ghosts
12. Companionship (I+II)
13. Ct+Cb
14. Dijdar
15. Talk Some Yak-Ee-Dak

Brownie McGhee - The Complete Brownie McGhee

Born in Tennessee in 1915 and raised in a musical family, a crippling childhood bout with polio kept McGhee housebound, and thus able to hone his musical skills. He was already in his twenties when he graduated from high school, a short time after which an operation provided the young artist with near total mobility.

McGhee began his musical career as a traveling bluesman, playing towns across Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia. He made his way to North Carolina, where he was discovered by J.B. Long, manager of popular blues artist "Blind Boy" Fuller, who got McGhee a deal with the Okeh label. In fact, when Fuller died in 1941, Okeh reissued several of McGhee's early sides under the name "Blind Boy Fuller No. 2."

Collecting the initial sides recorded by McGhee for Okeh/Columbia during 1940 and 1941, The Complete Brownie McGhee showcases a talented artist developing his style from record to record. McGhee seems to have enjoyed a fair degree of commercial success with several songs, including his tribute song, "Death Of Blind Boy Fuller," "Me And My Dog Blues" and "Picking My Tomatoes."

A number of the 47 recordings presented on The Complete Brownie McGhee were previously unreleased sides. Across these songs, McGhee's fluid vocals are accompanied by his own individual guitar style, which was heavily influenced by Fuller. The harmonica playing of old friend Jordan Webb accompanies several songs, along with a washboard player.

Disc 1:
1. Picking My Tomatoes - Brownie McGhee
2. Me and My Dog Blues - Brownie McGhee
3. Born for Bad Luck - Brownie McGhee
4. I'm Callin' Daisy - Brownie McGhee
5. Step It up and Go - Brownie McGhee
6. My Barkin' Bulldog Blues - Brownie McGhee
7. Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Baby - Brownie McGhee
8. Prison Woman Blues - Brownie McGhee
9. Back Door Stranger - Brownie McGhee
10. Be Good to Me - Brownie McGhee
11. Not Guilty Blues - Brownie McGhee
12. Coal Miner Blues - Brownie McGhee
13. Step It up and Go No. 2 - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
14. Money Spending Woman - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
15. Death of Blind Boy Fuller [#1] - Brownie McGhee
16. Death of Blind Boy Fuller [#2] - Brownie McGhee
17. Got to Find My Little Woman - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
18. I'm a Black Woman's Man [#1] - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
19. I'm a Black Woman's Man [#2] - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
20. Dealing With the Devil - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
21. Double Trouble [#1] - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
22. Double Trouble [#2] - Brownie McGhee
23. Woman, I'm Done - Blind Boy Fuller No.2

Disc 2:
1. Key to My Door - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
2. Million Lonesome Women - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
3. Ain't No Tellin' - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
4. Try Me One More Time - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
5. I Want to See Jesus - Brother George & His Sanctified Singers
6. Done What My Lord Said - Brother George & His Sanctified Singers
7. I Want King Jesus - Brother George & His Sanctified Singers
8. What Will I Do (Without the Lord) - Brother George & His Sanctified Singers
9. Key to the Highway 70 [#1]- Blind Boy Fuller No.2
10. Key to the Highway 70 [#2] - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
11. I Don't Believe in Love - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
12. So Much Trouble - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
13. Goodbye Now - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
14. Jealous of My Woman [- Blind Boy Fuller No.2
15. Unfair Blues - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
16. Barbecue Any Old Time - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
17. Workingman's Blues - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
18. Sinful Disposition Woman - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
19. Back Home Blues - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
20. Deep Sea Diver - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
21. It Must Be Love - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
22. Studio Chatter - J.B. Long, Brownie McGhee, Buddy Moss, Art Satherly
23. Swing, Soldier, Swing #1 [Alternate Version] - Blind Boy Fuller No.2
24. Swing, Soldier, Swing #2 - Blind Boy Fuller No.2

Bill Ramsey & Toots Thielemans - When I See You (1980)

Though born in the United States, vocalist/pianist William "Big Bill" Ramsey became one of the most popular jazz and pop vocalists in Germany during the '50s and '60s. Born in Cincinnati, OH, on April 17, 1931, Ramsey first became interested in music via his amateur pianist father, who introduced him to such artists as Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons. Consequently, inspired by those artists, as well as his hometown's eclectic music scene -- centered around the R&B, soul, and jazz coming out of Cincinnati-based King Records -- the young Ramsey taught himself how to play boogie-woogie piano by ear and began absorbing the sounds of such legendary blues and jazz artists as Big Bill Broonzy, Louis Jordan, Fats Waller, and Joe Williams.

He is joined on this 1980 CD by Toots Thielemans who plays harmonica on nine tracks and guitar on the other two. "There Is No Greater Love" and "Dirty Ole Man" are instrumentals.

The liner notes are all in German. Anybody care to translate?

Bill Ramsey (vocals)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica, guitar)
Rob Franken (piano, organ)
Isla Eckinger (bass)
Billy Brooks (drums)
  1. Isn't She Lovely
  2. Here's That Rainy Day
  3. My Lean Baby
  4. There Is No Greater Love
  5. I Got It Bad
  6. When I See You
  7. Dirty Ole Man
  8. Fat Man
  9. I'd Rather Be a Gambler
  10. Sophisticated Lady
  11. Stormy Monday
Recorded in Ludwigsburg, Germany, July 1980

Zoot Sims - 1956 The Brother. Americans Swinging in Paris FLAC

One of the Four Brothers (see previous post of Woody Herman) playing in Paris with the group of Henri Renaud.
It was in this year (1956) that Frank Tènot, on the recommendation of pianist Henri Renaud, arranged for Zoot to record for Ducretet-Thomson a number of titres which were to become an important part of his recorded legacy. He was backed by Henri Renaud, whose piano playing and talent as a composer were widely recognised, and by Jon Eardley on trumpet, who was also a member of the Gerry Mulligan Sextet. Completing the group were the young drummer Charles Saudrais — who had just turned 18 — and bassist Benoit Quersin. Accompanied by these four fine musicians, Zoot played with superb fluency, producing some of his most memorable solos, and he recorded a number of titles over a two-day period. There were originals by Renaud and Eardley, plus standards such as Cole Porter's "Everything I Love" and a Quincy Jones original, "Evening In Paris".
From liner notes

1. Captain Jetter (Renaud) 5:00
2. Nuzzolese Blues (Eardley, Renaud, Sims) 7:20
3. Everything I Love (Porter) 4:16
4. On the Alamo (Jones, Kahn) 5:32
5. Evening in Paris (Jones) 3:18
6. My Old Flame (Colsow, Johnson) 3:21
7. Little Jon Special (Eardley) 4:55

Zoot Sims sax tenor
Henri Renaud piano
Jon Eardley trumpet
Benoit Quersin bass
Charles Saudrais drums

Recorded at Thorens Studios, Paris, on March 16, 1956

Woody Herman - The Thundering Herds 1945-47. Four Brothers FLAC

This single-disc compilation on Definitive — an offshoot of the great folks who produce and distribute the Disconforme and Lonehill Jazz imprints — is a very solid collection of Woody Herman's greatest bands. Though the lineups in the Thundering Herd were always shifting, they did remain relatively steady during the period between 1945-1947. This is the band that brought to the jazz scene great young talents such as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Flip Phillips, John LaPorta, pianist Jimmy Rowles, trumpeters such as Shorty Rogers and Pete Condoli, drummer Buddy Rich, and composer/arrangers Neal Hefti and Al Cohn (who would become a later member of the band on saxophone). The music here walks an interesting line: while the sounds found on nuggets such as "Woodchooper's Ball," "Northwest Passage," Jimmy Giuffre's classic title track, and Johnny Mercer's eternal "Laura" all bear the signature of dance band swing — in steep decline in the postwar years — the collection also offers the view that this music was far from dead creatively. What we really hear in these 25 glorious tunes are the roots of something that would take another half-decade to begin to gel in the music of Stan Kenton: in other words, the definable roots of progressive jazz. There are no arguments that Duke Ellington and Count Basie were leading killer outfits that were perhaps far more advanced harmonically, but both those orchestras had already abandoned any vestiges of swing and were entities unto themselves. This is a very fine single-disc introduction to Herman's terrific bands and the music they played during this period, with decent sound and rudimentary but serviceable notes — and sold for a great price point.
Thom Jurek

01 Woodchopper's Ball Bishop, Herman 3:11
02 Apple Honey Herman 3:18
03 Goosey Gander Herman 3:24
04 Northwest Passage Burns, Herman, Jackson 3:12
05 The Good Earth Hefti 2:34
06 A Jug of Wine Lerner, Loewe 2:54
07 Your Father's Moustache Harris, Herman 3:22
08 Bijou Burns 3:23
09 Wild Root Hefti, Herman 2:57
10 Panacea Burns, Feather 3:20
11 Back Talk Norvo, Rogers 3:01
12 Non-Alcoholic LaPorta 3:05
13 The Blues Are Brewing Alter, DeLange 3:14
14 The Goof and I Cohn 2:52
15 Four Brothers Giuffre 3:17
16 Blue Flame Noble 3:21
17 Laura Mercer, Raksin 3:22
18 I Wonder Gant, Leveen 3:20
19 Yeah Man (Amen) Hardy, Segure, Shoen 2:16
20 I've Got The World On A String Arlen, Koehler 3:25
21 Put That Ring on My Finger Ryan, Skylar 3:14
22 Gee, It's Good to Hold You Fisher, Roberts 3:10
23 Lazy Lullaby George, Herman 3:14
24 I've Got News for You Alfred 3:29
25 Keen and Peachy Burns, Rogers 2:53

Woody Herman Clarinet, Leader, Sax (Alto), Vocals
Tony Aless Piano
Billy Bauer Guitar
Sonny Berman Trumpet
Ralph Burns Piano, Arranger
Conte Candoli Trumpet
Pete Candoli Trumpet
Serge Chaloff Sax (Baritone)
Al Cohn Arranger
Skippy de Sair Sax (Baritone)
Stan Fishelson Trumpet
Mickey Folus Sax (Tenor)
Charles Frankhauser Trumpet
Jimmy Giuffre Arranger
Bernie Glow Trumpet
Conrad Gozzo Trumpet
Bill Harris Quintet Trombone, Arranger
Neal Hefti Trumpet, Arranger
Zot Sims Sax (Tenor)
Marjorie Hyams Vibraphone
Chubby Jackson Bass
Ed Kiefer Trombone
Don Lamond Drums
John LaPorta Clarinet, Sax (Alto)
Cappy Lewis Trumpet
Irv Lewis Trumpet
Ray Linn Trumpet
Sam Marowitz Clarinet, Sax (Alto)
Pete Mondello Sax (Tenor)
Joe Mondragon Bass
Arthur Morton Liner Notes
Red Norvo Vibraphone
Fred Otis Piano
Bob Peck Trumpet
Chuck Peterson Trumpet
Ralph Pfeffner Trombone
Flip Phillips Arranger, Sax (Tenor)
Nat Pierce Author
Al Porcino Trumpet
Neal Reid Trombone
Buddy Rich Drums
Shorty Rogers Trumpet, Arranger
Jimmy Rowles Piano
Ernie Royal Trumpet
Sam Rubinwich Flute, Sax (Baritone)
Gene Sargent Guitar
Roger Segure Arranger
Herbie Steward Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)
Bob Swift Trombone (Bass)
Earl Swope Trombone
Carl Warwick Trumpet
Chuck Wayne Guitar
Frances Wayne Vocals
Ray Wetzel Trumpet
Ollie Wilson Trombone (Bass)
Walter Yoder Bass

Lucky Thompson - Complete 1944-47 Recordings

Eli "Lucky" Thompson (June 16, 1924, Columbia, South Carolina — July 30, 2005, Seattle, Washington) was a United States jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist. While John Coltrane usually receives the most credit for bringing the soprano saxophone out of obsolescence in the early 60s, Lucky Thompson, along with Steve Lacy, played it in a more advanced bebop format.

After playing with the swing orchestras of Lionel Hampton, Don Redman, Billy Eckstine, Lucky Millinder, and Count Basie, he worked in rhythm and blues and then established a career in bop and hard bop, working with Kenny Clarke, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson. Thompson was an inspired soloist capable of a very personal style in which the tradition of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Don Byas was intelligently mixed with a modern grasp of harmony. He showed these capabilities as sideman on many albums recorded during the mid-1950s, such as Stan Kenton's Cuban Fire, and those under his own name. He appeared on Charlie Parker's Los Angeles Dial Records sessions and on Miles Davis’s hard bop Walkin' session. Thompson recorded albums as leader for ABC Paramount and Prestige and as a sideman on records for Savoy Records with Milt Jackson as leader.

He lived in Lausanne, Switzerland in the late 1960s and recorded several albums there including A Lucky Songbook in Europe. He taught at Dartmouth College in 1973 and 1974, then left the music business completely, because of the racist treatment he received from record companies and clubs. In his last years he lived in the Pacific Northwest and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease (from wikipedia)

1. Test Pilot, Pt.1
2. Test Pilot, Pt. 2
3. Why Not
4. No-Good Man Blues
5. Irresistible You
6. Phase
7. Oodie Coo Bop
8. Bopin' Bop, Pt.1
9. Bopin' Bop, Pt. 2
10. Big Noise
11. Body and Soul
12. Dodo's Bounce
13. Dodo's Lament
14. Slam's Mishap
15. Schuffle That Ruff
16. Smooth Sailing
17. Commercial Eyes
18. Just One More Chance
19. From Dixieland to Bop
20. Boulevard Bounce
21. Boppin' the Blues

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks - Volume Two

The guy that I get a lot of my stuff from walked over and put this in my hand, telling me to try it, and if I didn't like it he'd refund the money. Knowing that he is a big avant/free fan I was a bit surprised. But I shouldn't have been: most of the "free jazz" fans I know from this site are often enthusiasts for some of this arcane old stuff. I attribute it to their generally not having many preconceptions about a work or artist. Try getting a Saskia Laroo fan to listen to this. As a side note, I won't be returning this for a refund; it's excellent. Go know.

Customer reviews:

The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks are one of those bands whose relative obscurity just doesn't make sense. Why they haven't remained an important chapter in early jazz is a mystery - and an unfair one at that. These arrangements are relentless, cutting edge stuff. The liner notes compare them to Ellington, which I figured, not having popped the disc in yet, was hyperbol(e), but no - these little tunes are brimming with novelty, subtlety, surprise and pure beauty, showcasing a band at the peak of their creative powers. The cream of the crop is Hallucinations, evidently so named because of its incredibly progressive, yet catchy structure.

... Volume 2 hits the ground running and only accelerates as the disc moves foreward. Buy this CD if you like early jazz OR dance orchestras from the late 20s and early 30s. It'll blow your head off. And you'll wonder why no one else told you about it!

This band played jazz, and played it with gusto and humor. Highlights include "Roodles," with a scat vocal by the two leaders, "Slue Foot," low-down and hot, and the remarkable "Louder and Funnier." The Nighthawks played pop standards such as "I Ain't Got Nobody" and "Wabash Blues" with the same verve that they gave to Sanders's original compositions.

If the Nighthawks weren't quite as hot as the great black orchestras of the era, they do not suffer by comparison either. Compare their version of "Deep Henderson" with King Oliver's, and their version of "Blazin'" (a Sanders original) with Fletcher Henderson's. The Coon-Sanders band holds its own against the competition.

1. Sittin' Around
2. Everything's Gonna Be All Right
3. Deep Henderson
4. High Fever
5. My Baby Knows How
6. Brainstorm
7. I Need Lovin'
8. I Ain't Go Nobody
9. Roodles
10. Louder and Funnier
11. Slue Foot
12. Wabash Blues
13. Mine All Mine
14. Wail
15. Hallucinations
16. Stay Out of the South
17. Is She My Girl Friend? (How- De-Ow-Dow)
18. Indian Cradle Song
19. Ready for the River
20. Oh! You Have No Idea!
21. Too Busy!
22. Blazin'
23. Down Where the Sun Goes Down

John Lee Hooker - The Complete Chess Folk Blues Sessions

By 1966, Hooker’s grand tour of the record labels brought him back to Chess for whom he has recorded in 1951 and 1952. The producer was Ralph Bass. Bass cut two albums’ worth of John Lee Hooker; the first, The Real Folk Blues, was issued in October 1966; a second album was sequenced, mastered and titled – but never issued.
The first thing to become obvious, of course, is that this isn’t really folk blues. It’s John Lee Hooker – rambling, introspective, alternately menacing and tender … and mercifully plugged in.
~ Colin Escott (from the liner notes)

John Lee Hooker: vocal, guitar
prob. Eddie Burns: guitar
unknown group.
Chess Studios, Chicago, IL, prob May 1966

1. I'm In The Mood
2. Let's Go Out Tonight
3. Peace Loving Man
4. Stella Mae
5. I Put My Trust In You
6. You Know I Know
7. I'll Never Trust Your Love Again
8. One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer
9. Waterfront
10. Lead Me (You Can Lead Me Baby
11. Nobody Knows
12. Deep Blue Sea
13. I Can't Quit You Baby
14. Mustang And GTO
15. House Rent Blues
16. Catfish Blues
17. Want Ad Blues
18. This Land Is Nobody's Land

Lee Wiley and Ellis Larkins - Duologue

I know nothing about Lee Wiley, except that she has a solid following, and that zero - no slavish admirer of vocalists - has said good things about her in the past. So, it was a Black Lion and the price was alright, so I figured I'd take a chance. (Although the same impulse with Bethlehem and Torme still leaves a bad taste in my ... ears). On a superficial listening, I can't say that I have become a ravenous fan - after all, one will hardly come to love an entire genre just because of one practitioner - but I can see that she would reward closer listening. Of course, if you already have memories of times and places where you heard this stuff, you're already in neck deep, I suppose.

This album never features Wiley and Larkins together: it is a combo disc of two 10" records from 1954: the actual piano player, Jimmy Jones, who backs Wiley also appeared later that year supporting both Helen Merrill and Sarah Vaughan on their Clifford Brown sessions. So ... the mystery unfolds.

Lee Wiley (chirps)
Ruby Braff (trumpet)
Jimmy Jones (piano)
Bill Pemberton (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)
Ellis Larkins (piano)

1. My Heart Stood Still
2. Looking At You
3. You Took Advantage Of Me
4. By Myself
5. My Romance
6. Give It Back To The Indians
7. Mountain Greenery
8. It Never Entered My Mind
9. Perfume & Rain
10. My Funny Valentine
11. Then I'll Be Tired Of You
12. Glad to Be Unhappy

Bill Holman - A View From The Side (1995)

Although he never seems to win any popularity polls, Bill Holman is among the most respected and unique arrangers of the last 40 years of the 20th century. This CD features his band of the mid-'90s, an outfit that includes many of the top Los Angeles-based musicians.

Holman's writing is often colorfully overcrowded (rewarding repeated listenings) yet logical, with the charts progressing and developing from beginning to end rather than repeating the same basic ideas continuously.

Whether it be the many complex themes of "No Joy in Mudville," the showcases for tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb ("But Beautiful") and Bob Efford's bass clarinet ("The Peacocks"), the very advanced "Make My Day," or the rebuilding of "Tennessee Waltz," this JVC release is a consistently memorable set from a masterful arranger who deserves much greater recognition in the jazz world. Scott Yanow

Bill Holman, leader, arranger
Lanny Morgan, alto sax, flute, woodwinds
Bill Perkins, alto, soprano saxes, flute, woodwinds
Pete Christlieb, tenor sax, flute, woodwinds
Ray Herrmann, tenor, soprano saxes, woodwinds
Bob Efford, baritone sax, bass clarinet, woodwinds
Carl Saunders, trumpet, flugelhorn
Frank Szabo, trumpet, flugelhorn
Ron Stout, trumpet, flugelhorn
Bob Summers, trumpet, flugelhorn
Jack Redmond, trombone
Bob Enevoldsen, valve trombone
Andy Martin, trombone
Kenny Shroyer, bass trombone
Rich Eames, piano
Dave Carpenter, acoustic bass
Bob Leatherbarrow, drums
Doug MacDonald, electric guitar (on 4 & 5)

1. No Joy In Mudville 7:17
2. Any Dude'll Do 6:06
3. But Beautiful 6:30
4. Petaluma Lu 5:48
5. I Didn't Ask 8:17
6. Make My Day 6:14
7. The Peacocks 5:30
8. A View From the Side 7:17
9. Tennessee Waltz 7:55

Recorded at Oceanway Recorders, Hollywood, CA on April 24th and 25th, 1995

Howard Shelley Plays Rachmaninov - The Etudes-Tableaux

I have several versions of the Etudes-Tableaux, this one is my preferred collection. Although Rachmaninov writes a beautiful melody on a par even with Chopin, his compositions for solo piano perhaps even more importantly bring out the immense possibilites of the instrument as a generator of pure and unique sound above and beyond melody and harmony. Look for that especially in these pieces.

"As pianist Howard Shelley has performed, broadcast and recorded around the world with leading orchestras and conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Pierre Boulez, Sir Adrian Boult, Colin Davis, Mariss Jansons, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and Kurt Sanderling. During the fortieth anniversary of Rachmaninov's death he became the first pianist ever to perform the composer's complete solo piano works in concert. The five London recitals, in London's Wigmore Hall, were broadcast in their entirety by the BBC"../...

Monday, April 20, 2009


Don Pullen with the George Adams Quartet - Song Everlasting

If you have the Pullen Mosaic Select - and shame on you if you don't - then you already have this.

After the Mingus experience and working with other groups and doing their own gigs, Adams and Pullen were asked to do a European tour with Richmond in 1979, after Mingus' death......they were requested to call themselves a "Mingus Group"......they refused and called themselves "The Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet" and made the tour anyway. Their bassist of choice was the only surviving member of the band, bassist Cameron Brown who was born in Detroit on December 21,1945.

Don Pullen (piano)
George Adams (tenor sax, flute)
Cameron Brown (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Sun Watchers
2. Serenade For Sariah
3. 1529 Gunn Street
4. Warm Up
5. Sing Me a Song Everlasting
6. Another Reason to Celebrate

New York: April 21, 1987

Jimmy Knepper - I Dream Too Much

Knepper had an astonishingly agile technique (based on altered slide positions) which allowed him to play extremely fast lines ... more like a saxophonist that a brass player. Doing so allowed him to avoid the dominant J.J. Johnson style and to develop the swing idiom in a direction that was thoruoghly modern and contemporary, with a bright, punchy tone.

The beautifully arranged brass tonalities of I Dream Too Much make it Knepper's most ambitious and fulfilling album. Hanna's comping is first-rate throughout ~ Penguin Guide

Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
John Eckert (trumpet, flugelhorn)
John Clark (French horn)
Roland Hanna (piano)
George Mraz (acoustic bass)
Billy Hart (drums)

1. I Dream Too Much
2. Sixpence
3. If I Say I'm Sorry
4. Under The Sun
5. Beholden
6. Bojangles Of Harlem

New York: February 10-11 and March 2, 1984

J.J. Johnson - Pinnacles (1979)

After seven years off recording (1970-76), during which he worked full-time writing in the studios, trombonist J.J. Johnson began a successful "comeback" showing that he had lost none of his power or creativity through the years. For this album, Johnson teams up on some selections with trumpeter Oscar Brashear and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Tommy Flanagan (who surprisingly plays electric keyboards on half of the selections), bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Higgins. Although not quite an essential set, J.J. Johnson is in excellent form on this date, and he contributes four originals; ironically "See See Rider" and "Mr. Clean" are actually the most memorable selections. - Scott Yanow

I would agree with Mr. Yanow this time that this CD by J.J. is not quite "essential" but it's fun to hear him and Tommy Flanagan mess around with some of the electronic gadgets of the time. Flanagan plays electric keyboards on three selections while J.J. adds some gear to his trombone on two tunes - a Barcus-Berry pickup, Gentle Electric pitch follower, Roland Space Echo, an ARP 2600 and Oberheim Expander Module. Good Grief!!

J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (keyboards)
Ron Carter (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Kenneth Nash (percussion)
  1. Night Flight
  2. Deak
  3. Cannonball Junction
  4. Pinnacles
  5. See See Rider
  6. Mr. Clean
Recorded September 17-19, 1979

Bobby Hutcherson - Un Poco Loco

By 1980, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson had evolved from a member of the avant-garde into a top exponent of the modern mainstream. This excellent album (mostly originals and obscurities but highlighted by an inventive version of Bud Powell's classic title cut) features Hutcherson with a top notch all-star group also including guitarist John Abercrombie, keyboardist George Cables, electric bassist Chuck Domanico and drummer Peter Erskine. Pity that this fine set has been long out-of-print. ~ Scott Yanow

Uncomfortably time-locked and awkwardly registered relative to Bobby's earlier records. The rock rhythms, bass guitar, and electric piano shimmers are only superficially distracting, though, and B's take on the Bud Powell title-piece is a revelation. ~ Penguin Guide

Bobby Hutcherson (vibes, marimba)
John Abercrombie (guitar)
George Cables (piano)
Chuck Domanico (bass)
Peter Erskine (drums)

1. Sailor's Song
2. Silver Hollow
3. Un Poco Loco
4. Love Song
5. Ivory Coast
6. Ebony Moonbeams
7. I Wanna Stand Over There

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wilbur Harden - The King And I

"a mystery man in jazz history, for he appeared on some important recording sessions ... and then, after 1960, pretty well disappeared."

Not very long ago we had a little Wilbur Hardenfest. Most notable was the misleadingly titled Complete Savoy - it is complete only if you look at the proper title; it is the complete Harden Savoy with Coltrane, and an excellent, excellent set it is. But missing from that post was this other Savoy date with Harden as leader - I couldn't put my hands on it at the time. Note the presence of Tommy Flanagan who was present at the Coltrane sessions - which, come to think of it, were actually Curtis Fuller-led dates.

The brief career of trumpeter and flügelhornist Wilbur Harden, who retired from jazz at the age of just 35 and dropped from sight after recording a handful of sessions between 1950 and 1960, is best known because of his several sessions that feature John Coltrane; this quartet date exploring works from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King and I represents his only other date as a leader. Joined by pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Granville T. Hogan, Harden's arrangements are a bit disappointing, as they don't take enough risks with the melody or the rhythm. The leader sounds like he's not quite in top form on either of his instruments, as if he just wasn't sure which direction he was taking. Although Flanagan and Duvivier were among the best musicians that Harden could have recruited, they seem overly shackled and never properly featured. Even though works from other Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals attracted the attention of jazz musicians (especially "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music), most of the material from The King and I hasn't been very widely explored (though Jaki Byard could dazzle an audience with his brilliant interpretation of "Hello, Young Lovers"), though the potential is surely there for a good arranger. ~ Ken Dryden

Wilbur Harden (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
George Duvivier (bass)
Granville T. Hogan (drums)

1. Getting To Know You
2. My Lord And Master
3. Shall We Dance?
4. We Kiss In A Shadow
5. I Have Dreamed
6. I Whistle A Happy Tune
7. Hello, Young Lovers
8. Something Wonderful

Toots Hibbert - Toots In Memphis

Anybody who has heard this little gem before is, no doubt, jumpin' a little bit right now. This is an album that is sure to become a perennial favorite. I wore out my vinyl copy long ago, and I've played the CD almost every day since I got it a week or two ago.

Of all the great singers of reggae's golden era, Toots Hibbert of Toots & the Maytals was always the one most profoundly influenced by American soul music, so when Jim Dickinson brought Toots to Ardent Studio in Memphis to cut a set of '60s soul classics with a band anchored by reggae's greatest rhythm section, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, and fleshed out with the cream of Memphis' session talent (including Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns and guitarist Eddie Hinton), it seemed like a foolproof no-brainer. And, for a change, the no-brainer idea really worked; Toots in Memphis finds Hibbert in typically strong voice, jumping into these songs with full-throated passion (his take on "I've Got Dreams to Remember" makes him sound like the greatest Otis Redding fan the island of Jamaica ever produced, and is alone worth the price of admission), and the band finds a middle ground between reggae, funk, and soul that's sensual and entirely satisfying. Though Toots never quite takes these tunes away from Otis Redding, Al Green, James Carr, or any of the other masters who first recorded them, he never fails to put his own stamp on the material, and the result is one of the great cross-cultural party albums of all times. In 1976, Toots Hibbert cut an album called Reggae Got Soul, and on Toots in Memphis he proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. ~ Mark Deming

Hibbert is widely revered as a reggae pioneer, but he's also a Caribbean cousin of Otis Redding and Al Green, which he proves on this collection of '60s and '70s soul covers. Sly and Robbie anchor the rhythm section of a crack band that also includes guitarist Teenie Hodges and Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns. Together with Hibbert, they reinvent Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember," Green's "Love and Happiness," and eight other classics (among them "Hard to Handle," "It's a Shame," and "Freedom Train.") The result isn't pure reggae or unadulterated soul, but a hybrid as appealing as both at their best. ~ Keith Moerer

1. I've Got Dreams To Remember
2. Knock On Wood
3. Love And Happiness
4. Love Attack
5. Hard To Handle
6. Love The Rain
7. It's A Shame
8. Precious, Precious
9. Freedom Train
10. See It My Way

Tommy McClennan - The Bluebird Recordings 1939-1942

A gravel-throated back-country blues growler from the Mississippi Delta, McClennan was part of the last wave of down-home blues guitarists to record for the major labels in Chicago. His rawboned 1939-1942 Bluebird recordings were no-frills excursions into the blues bottoms. He left a powerful legacy that included "Bottle It up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw Blues," "Deep Blue Sea Blues" (aka "Catfish Blues"), and others whose lasting power has been evidenced through the repertoires and re-recordings of other artists. Admirers of McClennan's blues would do well to check out the 1941-1942 Bluebird sessions of Robert Petway, a McClennan associate who performed in a similar but somewhat more lyrical vein. McClennan never recorded again and reportedly died destitute in Chicago; blues researchers have yet to even trace the date or circumstances of his death. ~ Jim O'Neal

McClennan's hoarse, shouted vocals, spoken vaudeville asides and scrappy guitar work make for a pretty irresistible combination, especially in light of the simple fact that most blues fans have never been exposed to his music in large doses. This double disc rounds up every known extant side recorded for Bluebird between 1939 to 1942, when the label dropped him for problems with alcohol. The music on here comes from five sessions and is uniformly excellent, if a bit samey. But it is blues at its most intense and unfettered, and tracks like "Bottle It Up And Go," "You Can Mistreat Me Here," "Baby Please Don't Tell On Me," "New Shake 'Em On Down," and "Baby Don't You Want To Go?" (the latter his adaption of "Sweet Home Chicago") are full of energy and verses worth requoting. This set is one of the true hidden treasures of the "Bluebird" period in blues history and, as such, deserves a much, much wider hearing. ~ Cub Koda

Among the country bluesmen performing in the fields and roadhouses during the halcyon days of American music before World War II, there were singers, such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Leroy Carr, and there were shouters, such as Charley Patton, Willie Brown and small, rough-voiced Tommy McClennan. Bluebird, the last of the prewar recording companies to seek Mississippi artists, signed Yazoo City's McClennan on a tip from their popular songster, Big Bill Broonzy. Although he often played with fellow shouter Robert Petway in live performance, when put inside a studio, McClennan roared, slammed his guitar, and shouted his songs out with utter fury or, just as often, with hilarity, until his records became the last bestsellers of the unforgettable Delta blues epoch. In this rich trove of raw soulfulness, highly recommended are "You Can Mistreat Me Here," "Brown Skin Girl," "New Highway," and "It's Hard to Be Lonesome." ~ Alan Greenberg

Ornette Coleman - Twins

I was recently reading about this title in an essay by Martin Williams. It was a review of the album upon it's release in 1971 (looking at my vinyl copy, I see he wrote the liner notes also) and he sees it as a major contribution to Coleman's canon, not as a collection of odd pieces left over from several sessions. And perhaps this is what Nastos is referring to when he says "...Connoisseurs consider this one of his better recordings ...". Hubbard and Dolphy would be together two months later on the classic The Blues And The Abstract Truth.

Ornette Coleman's Twins (first issued on LP in 1971) has been looked at as an afterthought in many respects. A collection of sessions from 1959, 1960, and 1961 with different bands, they are allegedly takes from vinyl LP sessions commercially limited at that time to 40 minutes on vinyl, and not initially released until many years later. Connoisseurs consider this one of his better recordings in that it offers an overview of what Coleman was thinking in those pivotal years of the free bop movement rather than the concentrated efforts of The Art of the Improvisers, Change of the Century, The Shape of Jazz to Come, This Is Our Music, and of course the pivotal Free Jazz . There are three most definitive selections that define Coleman's sound and concept. "Monk & the Nun" is angular like Thelonious Monk, soulful as spiritualism, and golden with the rhythm team of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins driving the sweet and sour alto sax of Coleman and piquant trumpeting of Don Cherry. "Check Up" is a wild roller coaster ride, mixing meters, tempos, and dynamics in a blender in an unforgettable display of sheer virtuosity, and featuring bassist Scott LaFaro. "Joy of a Toy" displays the playful Ornette Coleman in interval leaps, complicated bungee jumps, in many ways whimsical but not undecipherable. It is one of the most intriguing of all of Coleman's compositions. Less essential, "First Take" showcases his double quartet in a churning composition left off the original release This Is Our Music, loaded with interplay as a showcase for a precocious young trumpeter named Freddie Hubbard, the ribald bass clarinet of Eric Dolphy, and the first appearance with Coleman's groups for New Orleans drummer Ed Blackwell. "Little Symphony" has a great written line with room for solos in a joyful hard bop center with the quartet of Coleman, Cherry, Haden, and Blackwell. All in all an excellent outing for Coleman from a hodgepodge of recordings that gives a broader view of his vision and the music that would come later in the '60s. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Ornette Coleman (alto sax)
Don Cherry (trumpet)
Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Scott LaFaro (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Ed Blackwell (drums)

1. First Take
2. Little Symphony
3. Monk And The Nun
4. Check Up
5. Joy Of A Toy

Erik Satie - The Early Piano Works

"A music that always reminds me of Dante's Inferno and strikes me as a kind of pre-electronic music" ~ Edgard Varese

In a discussion about Salif Keita not long ago, I mentioned how sometimes you come across something you have never heard before - never heard anything like it before - and yet itseems intensely familiar. La Mystere De La Voix Bulgare was an example I gave, as is this work of Satie.

Particularly the Gnossiennes, and particularly by this performer; Reinbert De Leeuw. His performance is different from any other you'll hear, but it was the first I ever heard of Satie, and to me has become the standard by which I hear others. And there are many fine "versions" of Satie's works.

Try these out. Try them out a number of times, and in a number of situations. Maybe the years of hearing composers strongly or less strongly influenced by Satie has made hearing the source familiar. Don't know, don't care. But this music has become part of my lifetime internal soundtrack.

Regarding this performance I found a great quote: "... it is almost the perfect way to create silence by playing music."

Check it out.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Clifford Brown - Brownie: The Complete EmArcy Recordings Of Clifford Brown CDs 8-11

I cannot tell you how much I loathe lurkers.

This is the mother lode, 10 full discs of the great hard-bop trumpeter Clifford Brown recorded at the peak of his powers for Emarcy Records in 1954-56 leading up to his tragic death in a car crash at the age of 25. Start with his first quintet recordings with drummer Max Roach, pianist Richie Powell (Bud's younger brother), bassist George Morrow, and underrated tenor saxophonist Harold Land, including the great readings of "I Get a Kick Out of You" and the Brown originals "Daahoud" and "Joy Spring." Then it's on to the Clifford Brown All-Stars including Roach and saxophonists Herb Geller and Joe Main, then the huge All Star Live Jam Session with Geller, Land, trumpeters Clark Terry and Maynard Ferguson, and vocalist Dinah Washington. The vocal work continues with Brown's seminal albums with Sarah Vaughan and Helen Merrill, and the sensitivity Brown shows there comes full flower with his Clifford Brown with Strings, a rare example of a jazz-with-strings album that actually works, thanks to his beautiful phrasing on "Stardust" and others. Then it's back to the classic Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, with Sonny Rollins eventually replacing Land in what's considered one of the all-time-great jazz ensembles. Brownie isn't a perfect package: It includes a ton of bonus tracks--that's a good thing, but the integrity of the original albums is lost. For example, disc 3 consists of three takes of "Coronado," 43 minutes in all. And of course while this 10-disc set is a great collection, any Brown lover still needs to pick up Sonny Rollins Plus Four and at least some of his Blue Note work--A Night at Birdland or, for gourmands, the perfect bookend to this set, the four-disc Complete Blue Note & Pacific Jazz Recordings. ~ David Horiuchi

Although undoubtedly an expensive acquisition, this ten-CD set is perfectly done and contains dozens of gems. The remarkable but short-lived trumpeter Clifford Brown has the second half of his career fully documented (other than his final performance) and he is showcased in a wide variety of settings. The bulk of the numbers are of Brownie's quintet with co-leader and drummer Max Roach, either Harold Land or Sonny Rollins on tenor, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow (including some previously unheard alternate takes), but there is also much more. Brown stars at several jam sessions (including a meeting with fellow trumpeters Clark Terry and Maynard Ferguson), accompanies such singers as Dinah Washington, Helen Merrill, and Sarah Vaughan, and is backed by strings on one date. Everything is here, including classic versions of "Parisian Thoroughfare," "Joy Spring," "Daahoud," "Coronado," a ridiculously fast "Move," "Portrait of Jenny," "Cherokee," "Sandu," "I'll Remember April," and "What Is This Thing Called Love?" Get this set while it stays in print. ~ Scott Yanow

Clifford Brown (trumpet)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Paul Quinichette (tenor sax)
Walter Benton (tenor sax)
Dinah Washington (vocals)
Helen Merrill (vocals)
Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Oscar Peterson (cello, bass instrument)
Herb Geller, Joe Maini (alto sax)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Maynard Ferguson (trumpet)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Richie Powell (piano)
Curtis Counce (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
Osie Johnson (drums)
Roy Haynes (drums)

Sahib Shihab and Herbie Mann - The Jazz We Heard Last Summer

Savoy has been presenting CDs (LPs originally) that feature a couple of sessions cobbled together. On the whole, it works pretty well; Blue Note was doing the same with their 10" series but Savoy has more obscure dates, I think.

Apropos of nothing, this is another Rudy Van Gelder recording. When people talk about a Blue Note sound, they don't seem to take in to consideration that the same artists, using the same microphones and taped on the same machines in the same studio by the same engineer are otherwise labeled Prestige or Verve or Savoy only because that was the name put on the tape box at the end of the day. Maybe your favorite Blue Note is a Savoy. Mine is.

This split LP pairs a sextet led by multi-instrumentalist Sahib Shihab with another under the direction of Herbie Mann. Big names all the way around on this one. On the Shihab session, John Jenkins and Clifford Jordan round out the front line, while Hank Jones, Addison Farmer, and Dannie Richmond hold down the rhythm. Mann, on the other hand, is joined by Phil Woods, Eddie Costa, Joe Puma, Wilbur Ware, and Jerry Segal. Nothing overly surprising here, but one can expect quality performances by all. The album's opener, "S.M.T.W.T.F.S.S. Blues," and Jenkins' own "Rockaway" are especially pleasing themes, as is the Phil Woods contribution, "World Wide Boots." Generally speaking, the Shihab tracks are a bit meatier, causing the momentum to taper off toward the end of the disc. This should not, however, sway fans of late-'50s bop, as a number of the scene's top players are featured on this admittedly short set. ~ Brandon Burke

Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
John Jenkins (alto sax)
Clifford Jordan (tenor sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Addison Farmer (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

Herbie Mann (flute, tenor sax)
Eddie Costa (piano, vibes)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Joe Puma (guitar)
Wilbur Ware (bass)
Jerry Segal (drums)

1. S.M.T.W.T.F.S.S. Blues
2. Rockaway
3. Things We Did Last Summer
4. Green Stamp Monsta
5. World Wide Boots

Donald Byrd and Doug Watkins - The Transition Sessions

The Transition story has been told here a few times: briefly, it was the indie company started by a Harvard student named Tom Wilson - yeah, that Tom Wilson. He went on to produce Dylan, Zappa and others - who recorded early efforts by Byrd, Sun Ra, and Cecil Taylor. He sold some of the stuff to Blue Note (Taylor's Jazz Advance , for example). This release is truly deserving of the Connoisseur title.

This CD compilation collects three separate sessions recorded by Donald Byrd and Doug Watkins for Transition with various small groups. The 1955 recordings (first issued under the title Byrd's Eye View) were made shortly after Byrd replaced Kenny Dorham in the Jazz Messengers, all of whom (Horace Silver, Art Blakey, and Hank Mobley, along with Byrd and Watkins) are present, with the addition of local trumpeter Joe Gordon as a guest on two tracks. The half-dozen songs mix an improvised blues ("Doug's Blues"), a favorite from the swing era ("Crazy Rhythm"), a ballad feature for Byrd and Mobley ("Everything Happens to Me"), plus a pair of potent hard bop pieces contributed by the tenor saxophonist. The second session, recorded at engineer Stephen Fassett's Beacon Hill home, features two local musicians (pianist Ray Santisis and drummer Jimmy Zitano) joining Byrd and Watkins; it was first released as Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill. This set is heavily ballad-oriented, with the exception of the surprising choice of Joe Sullivan's "Little Rock Getaway." Byrd sits out both "People Will Say We're in Love" and "What's New." The final of the three sessions in this two-CD set marks the bassist's debut release (Watkins at Large), and it proves to be the most interesting. Hank Mobley, Kenny Burrell, Duke Jordan, and Art Taylor are on hand, with the music including a piece written for a 1953 movie soundtrack (Dmitri Tomkin's "Return to Paradise"), Thad Jones' pulsating "More of the Same," as well as originals contributed by both Burrell and Jordan. These three enjoyable but often overlooked studio dates from the early days of hard bop make this reissue well worth purchasing. ~ Ken Dryden

Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Horace Silver (piano)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Ray Santisi (piano)
Jimmy Zitano (drums)
Art Taylor (drums)
Art Blakey (drums)

CD 1
1. Doug's Blues
2. El Sino
3. Crazy Rhythm
4. Everything Happens To Me
5. Hank's Other Tune (aka the Late Show)
6. Hank's Tune
7. Little Rock Getaway
8. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
9. If I Love Again
10. Stella By Starlight

CD 2
1. Return To Paradise
2. Phinupi
3. Phil T. McNasty's Blues
4. More Of The Same
5. Panonica
6. People Will Say We're In Love
7. What's New

Fats Waller - The Joint Is Jumpin'

Nigel - who knows the site as well as anybody, I suppose - mentions that we "... posted one of the late volumes, I believe". It's frustrating; there are 4 or 5 of the Bluebird Waller sets here: all of them, I think. It constantly amazes me how often people think a post is new here when it has been here at the site for at least a year already. Maybe I should spend a month just re-posting things already here.

" He was an excellent pianist—now usually considered one of the very best who ever played in the stride style. Many believe that his songwriting and his lovable, roguish stage personality often overshadowed his playing. Before his solo career, he played with many performers, from Erskine Tate to Bessie Smith, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm". Fats Waller was such an impressive and talented pianist that he came to the attention of the rich and famous—sometimes whether he wanted to or not. Fats Waller was in Chicago in 1926 and, upon leaving the building where he was performing, Waller was kidnapped by four men, who bundled him into a car and drove off. The car later pulled up outside the Hawthorne Inn, owned by infamous gangster Al Capone. Fats was ordered inside the building, to find a party in full swing. With a gun against his back, Waller was pushed towards a piano, whereupon the gangsters demanded he start playing. A terrified Waller suddenly realised he was the "surprise guest" at Al Capone's birthday party. Soon comforted by the fact that he wouldn't die, Waller played, according to rumor, for three days. When he left the Hawthorne Inn, he was very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash given to him by Capone himself and by party-goers as tips."

Fats Waller's The Joint Is Jumpin' (RCA-Bluebird digital re-recording, CD 6288-2-RB) is perhaps the most definitive collection of that ebullient piano player's work; it includes early and now-classic solo sides such as the rollickingly typical Waller "Your Feet's Too Big" and Waller's own "Ain't Misbehavin'." Waller's was Harlem stride at its stridiest-fantastic technique, power, mood, and humor. These new RCA-Bluebirds will be welcome not only to new collectors filling in gaps but also to those whose analogues are by now pretty beat up.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Helen Humes - 1927-1945 (Chronological 892)

When she was just 13 and 14 years old, Helen Humes made her recording debut, cutting ten risque, double-entendre-filled blues, naughty tunes that she later claimed to understand at the time. Until the release of this Classics CD in 1996, those numbers (which have backup in various settings by either De Loise Searcy or J.C. Johnson on piano and Lonnie Johnson or the guitar duo team of Sylvester Weaver and Walter Beasley) had never been reissued on the same set before. Humes sounds fairly mature on the enjoyable blues sides. Her next session as a leader would not take place until 15 years later, when she was 28 and a veteran of Count Basie's Orchestra. The singer is heard here with groups in 1942 and 1944-45, performing three numbers with altoist Pete Brown's sextet (a band including trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, who unfortunately does not solo), Leonard Feather's Hiptet (which has some rare solos from trumpeter Bobby Stark) and Bill Doggett's spirited octet. The latter date is highlighted by classic renditions of "He May Be Your Man" and "Be-Baba-Leba." Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Helen Humes (vocals)
Lonnie Johnson (guitar)
Bill Doggett (piano)
Leonard Feather (piano)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Chuck Wayne (guitar)
Denzil Best (drums)

1. Black Cat Blues
2. Worried Woman's Blues
3. If Papa Has Outside Lovin'
4. Do What You Did Last Night
5. Everybody Does It Now
6. Cross-Eyed Blues
7. Garlic Blues
8. Alligator Blues
9. Nappy Headed Blues
10. Race Horse Blues
11. Mound Bayou
12. Unlucky Woman
13. Gonna Buy Me A Telephone
14. I Would If I Could
15. Keep Your Mind On Me
16. Fortune Tellin' Man
17. Suspicious Blues
18. Unlucky Woman
19. Every Now And Then
20. He May Be Your Man
21. Blue Prelude
22. Be-Baba-Leba

The Trumpet Summit Meets the Oscar Peterson Big 4 (1980)

To call this CD (a reissue of a Pablo date) an all-star session would be an understatement. Joining pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Bobby Durham are three classic trumpeters: Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and Freddie Hubbard. They clearly inspire each other (Gillespie flew in from the East Coast specifically for this date) and the music ("Daahoud," "Just Friends," the new blues "Chicken Wings," and a torrid version of "The Champ") has plenty of exciting moments. - Scott Yanow

Kudos to Norman Granz for putting together this meeting of giants. I just wished that this session would have taken place when Diz was in his prime.

Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry (trumpet)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Joe Pass (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Bobby Durham (drums)
  1. Daahoud
  2. Chicken Wings
  3. Just Friends
  4. The Champ
Recorded in Hollywood, March 10, 1980

David Murray - Shakill's Warrior

Robert Christgau ranked this album #2 (of 59) in his Dean's list for 1992. Christgau is a cranky old bastard and this is praise indeed.

In a review of this and the Butch Morris collaboration (posted last week) the great Gary Giddins said:

Each of these impressive albums by tenor saxophonist David Murray, among the first releases on the adventurous Japanese DIW label to be distributed in this country, begins with a blues number. The Big Bandblues, ''Paul Gonsalves,'' opens with improvised whistling (by Joel A. Brandon) and builds to an orchestrated transcription of the celebrated marathon saxophone solo created by Paul Gonsalves at a Duke Ellington concert in 1956. Whereas Murray's big band is ripe, rhapsodic, intense, exhortatory, his quartet is ambrosial, greatly benefiting from the after-hours shimmer of Don Pullen's Hammond B-3 organ. Where the big band goes for ecstasy, the quartet mines a groove. That distinction defines the two sides of David Murray, perhaps the most widely admired jazz musician of his generation. David Murray Big Band conducted by Lawrence ‘’Butch’’ Morris: A- Shakill’s Warrior: A ~ Gary Giddins

David Murray (tenor sax)
Don Pullen (organ)
Stanley Franks (guitar)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. Blues For Savannah
2. Song From The Old Country
3. High Priest
4. In The Spirit
5. Shakill's Warrior
6. At The Cafe Central
7. Black February
8. Milano Strut

Mark Turner - Mark Turner

Another album discontinued by the manufacturer which I feel should remain available. And a great one. With Joshua Redman, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Christopher Thompson and drummer Brian Blade.
"The young tenor saxophonist's second effort as a leader is impressive, particularly because he had the guts to invite earlier tenor sax wunderkind Joshua Redman to join him on three tracks. Mark Turner's "Mr. Brown" is a pulsating blues vehicle for the two inspired reedsmen. Lennie Tristano's slippery bop anthem "327 East 22nd Street" is also an excellent showcase for their talent. The only dud is Ornette Coleman's ponderous, dissonant and overlong "Kathelin Gray," which bogs down in a hurry and almost grinds the session to a halt in spite of the best efforts of Turner and Redman. Fortunately, the magic reappears in the quartet selections, starting with the fast-paced bop of "Hey It's Me You're Talking To." Turner proves himself as a ballad master with his slow caressing of the classic "Autumn in New York." - Ken Dryden

Thursday, April 16, 2009

George Wallington - Jazz At Hotchkiss

This LP-length CD reissue features pianist George Wallington and his 1957 quintet (which consists of trumpeter Donald Byrd, altoist Phil Woods, bassist Knobby Totah and drummer Nick Stabulas) stretching out on five numbers. The repertoire is highlighted by Bud Powell's "Dance of the Infidels" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Ow." Both Woods and Byrd (two up-and-coming players) are in excellent form, making this an enjoyable outing for bop fans. ~ Scott Yanow

So, really, what has Scotty taken a paragraph to tell us? Nothing. This was the last recording Giacinto (or Mr. Figlia to you) released before his retirement from music and return to the family air conditioning business. (Insert pun using the word cool here) Phil Woods had taken Jackie McLean's place and was a good foil to Byrd.

"Two group originals, the obscure "Strange Music", Dizzy Gillespie's "Ow!", and Bud Powell's "Dance Of The Infidels" are all given hard-swinging tratment. This was an underrated group!" Sheesh; again with the underrated.

This was no Brubeck-like Oberlin deal: the concert was held at an "exclusive" prep school with an audience comprised of 12 to 17 year old boys, but this recording is actually a Van Gelder studio session reproduced a few days later.

George Wallington (piano)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Knobby Totah (bass)
Nick Stabulas (drums)

1. Dance Of The Infidels
2. Strange Music
3. Before Dawn
4. Ow!
5. 'S Make 't

Playing Thomas "Fats" Waller

Two different approaches to the music of the great "Fats" Waller. Personally, I prefer Satchmo's recording.

Louis Armstrong - 1955 Satch Plays Fats. A Tribute To The Immortal Fats Waller FLAC

Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller only worked together twice, briefly in 1925 in Erskine Tate's band and four years later in the New York revue Connie's Hot Chocolates. But Waller made an indelible enough impression for Satchmo to record the tribute album Satch Plays Fats: The Music of Fats Waller in 1955 when such ideas were new. The original nine-track lineup forms the centerpiece of the reissue, with Armstrong ably supported by his All-Stars on such classics as "Honeysuckle Rose," "Squeeze Me," and "Ain't Misbehavin'." But this reissue delivers over twice the tracks of the original LP issue, with four edited alternate takes from the same session, plus seven more tracks of Waller material recorded by Armstrong in the 1920s and '30s. The mid-'50s was a fertile time for Armstrong and coupled with the '20s and '30s bonus tracks, this makes for a stellar overall package. [In 2000 Columbia/Legacy remastered and reissued Satch Plays Fats: The Music of Fats Waller with 11 bonus tracks, four of which are alternate takes.]
Cub Koda

01 Honeysuckle Rose Razaf, Waller 2:53
02 Blue Turning Grey over You Razaf, Waller 4:53
03 I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me) Hill, Waller 4:26
04 Squeeze Me Waller, Williams 5:04
05 Keepin' Out of Mischief Now Razaf, Waller 3:20
06 All That Meat and No Potatoes Kirkeby, Waller 5:14
07 I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling Link, Rose, Waller 3:10
08 (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue Brooks, Razaf, Waller 4:37
09 Ain't Misbehavin' Brooks, Razaf, Waller 3:59
10 (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue [#/*] Brooks, Razaf, Waller 4:51
11 I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me) [#] Hill, Waller 4:39
12 Blue Turning Grey over You [#/*] Razaf, Waller 4:57
13 I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling [#/*] Link, Rose, Waller 3:13
14 Squeeze Me [*] Waller, Williams 3:18
15 (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue [*] Brooks, Razaf, Waller 3:01
16 Ain't Misbehavin' [*] Brooks, Razaf, Waller 3:14
17 Blue Turning Grey over You [*] Razaf, Waller 3:27
18 Keepin' Out of Mischief Now [*] Razaf, Waller 3:30
19 Sweet Savannah Sue [*] Brooks, Razaf, Waller 3:12
20 That Rhythm Man [*] Brooks, Razaf, Waller 3:08

Jimmy Smith - 1962 Plays Fats Waller FLAC

It makes sense that Jimmy Smith recorded an album's worth of Fats Waller tunes, since Waller himself was a pioneer on the organ in a jazz context. But it makes even more sense when you consider that Smith applied the single note runs of a pianist to his instrument, and Waller, no slouch on the piano himself, must have been an irresistible target for Smith's treatment.
Despite the lineup, any of Jimmy Smith's Blue Note records are pretty much the same and delivered at a consistently high level of musicianship. This one, originally released in 1962, is notable as an exclusive outing for Smith, who is joined only by Donald Bailey, his long time drummer, and Quentin Warren, who never solos and only comps in the background. Thus Smith is allowed to attack the organ in gusts and swoops without interruption—and what a treat it is. He rolls through Waller classics like "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Ain't Misbehavin'" at a simmer, turning these and other numbers into a slow soulful groove. Smith delighted in the dynamics possible with the B-3 and uses them judiciously on "Everybody Loves My Baby" which starts out gently but then builds to a crescendo.
This CD, while not his best, is just as good as a lot of other Smith releases out there. It's a good place to start for the uninitiated, and a glorious sounding remaster for everyone else.
David Rickert

1 Everybody Loves My Baby (Palmer, Williams) 3:47
2 Squeeze Me (Waller, Williams) 5:31
3 Ain't She Sweet (Ager, Yellin) 3:37
4 Ain't Misbehavin' (Brooks, Razaf, Waller) 3:44
5 Lulu's Back in Town (Dublin, Warren) 5:16
6 Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf, Waller) 6:57
7 I've Found a New Baby (Palmer, Williams) 6:03

VIDEO: John McLaughlin at Vienne 2008

John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension at the Vienne Jazz Festival, Vienne France 2008. Quite a good concert by John with Gary Husband on keyboards, Dominique Di Piazza on bass, and Mark Mondesir on drums. In DivX extreme quality.

VIDEO: Michael Brecker - Antibes 1990

The Michael Brecker Quartet at the Antibes Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival, July 1990. Yet another Jean-Christophe Averty film from this famous festival - these used to be broadcast on FR2 French TV not long after the event, and they are now being re-broadcast sporadically on the Mezzo satellite channel. This one's quite good, both parts here (originally we only got a half-hour program each week). DivX video at extreme quality settings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Freddie Hubbard - Without A Song: Live In Europe 1969

One of the nice things about spending a gazillion dollars a year on CDs is that the store owners sometimes look to make you happy. Here's a preview of the new Freddie Hubbard CD scheduled for release in June.

" As part of its continuing series of unearthing previously unissued archival music by jazz legends, on June 2nd Blue Note Records is planning a June 2 release of Without A Song—Live In Europe 1969 by the late trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who passed away last December at the age of 70. Recorded at shows in England and Germany, the album features seven tracks performed with pianist Roland Hanna, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Louis Hayes. After years of being in the Blue Note vaults, last year producer Michael Cuscuna sent the tapes to Hubbard, who embraced the idea of letting the music finally being released.

“Freddie said that this was some of his best playing ever captured on tape,” Cuscuna said. “Freddie was like a schoolboy when he heard these tapes. He was jumping up and down. He was thrilled. He was full-steam ahead with the release and wanted to do publicity surrounding it. He wanted to show who the real Freddie Hubbard was.”

Trumpeter David Weiss, who worked closely with Hubbard from 2000 to his death, listened with him to the tapes Cuscuna delivered. In the liner notes to Without A Song , Weiss writes, “Freddie and I listened to the three concerts the music on this CD is culled from while we were working on what turned out to be his final album, On the Real Side. Every day while driving back and forth from the studio, we would pop this music into the CD player and soak it all in. Freddie really enjoyed this music.”

Recorded in Bristol and London, England, and at a date in Germany, Without A Song features the title track, “The Things We Did Last Summer,” “A Night in Tunisia” and one of the leader’s hit tunes, “Hub-Tones,” in a truncated version that served as the end song of his sets during the tour. The album also includes Red Garland’s “Blues By Five” and the tempo-shifting original, “Space Track.” In regards the latter, Cuscuna says that it wasn’t originally slated to be on the album, but Hubbard requested it.

“These performances show the range of these guys and the way they approached hard bop,” Cuscuna said. "

Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Without A Song
2. The Things We Did Last Summer
3. A Night In Tunisia
4. Blues By Five
5. Body And Soul
6. Space Track
7. Hub-Tones

Art Pepper and Shorty Rogers - Popo

The recording quality is not the greatest on this 1980 Lp but the very early session by the Lighthouse All-Stars is both historic and quite listenable. Trumpeter Shorty Rogers teams up with altoist Art Pepper, pianist Frank Patchen, bassist Howard Rumsey and drummer Shelly Manne for his own "Popo" (a blues that was Shorty's theme song) plus nine jazz standards including "Lullaby In Rhythm," "Robbins Nest," "Scrapple From The Apple" and "Cherokee." This is one of Pepper's best early showcases and it is for his playing that the album is most highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

This 1951 club recording isn't going to excite audiophiles--the quality is iffy, having been accomplished with a hobbyist's portable recorder--but for serious fans of saxophonist Art Pepper and the West Coast jazz school, it's a rare treat. Both Pepper and trumpeter Shorty Rogers had only recently departed Stan Kenton's Orchestra when they found themselves gigging with the group that would eventually develop, sans Pepper, into the Lighthouse All Stars featuring drummer Shelly Manne, pianist Frank Patchen, and bassist Howard Rumsey. Although many of the tunes are standards such as "Robbins Nest," "Scrapple from the Apple," "Body and Soul," and "Cherokee," the light, airy sound that would come to typify the West Coast school is already in clear evidence. Pepper, whose prior recording history had been limited to big band sides, proves himself a confident master in the small group setting, and this performance is among his finest. Trumpeter Rogers, who would later earn a reputation as a superb arranger and composer, gives an indication of what's to come with his bluesy "Popo." ~ Fred Goodman

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Frank Patchen (piano)
Howard Rumsey (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Popo
2. What's New?
3. Lullaby In Rhythm
4. All the Things You Are
5. Robbins Nest
6. Scrapple From The Apple
7. Body and Soul
8. Jive At Five
9. Tin Tin Deo
10. Cherokee

Los Angeles: December 27, 1951

Andrew Cyrille - My Friend Louis

The friend Louis being Louis Moholo. This is seriously excellent.

Andrew Cyrille is perhaps the preeminent free-jazz percussionist of the 1980s and '90s. Few free-jazz drummers play with a tenth of Cyrille's grace and authority. His energy is unflagging, his power absolute, tempered only by an ever-present sense of propriety. Cyrille is at his best in an utterly free context ...

Though best known for his razor-sharp acuity within the free jazz idiom, drummer Andrew Cyrille has proven himself adaptable to nearly all contexts within the post-bop continuum, from trad- and out-jazz, to ethnic and African influences--all of which provide grist for Cyrille's panoramic conception of modern jazz music. My Friend Louis , a document of a 1991 session date, is anchored by the muscular rhythm section of Cyrille and bassist Reggie Workman. Rounding out the quintet are trumpeter Hannibal, saxophonist Oliver Lake, and pianist Adegoke Steve Colson, on impeccably tight material containing just the right blend of inside-the-pocket grooving and outward-bound soloing.

Fiery, rampaging session with drummer Andrew Cyrille anchoring a stirring set featuring the dynamic Oliver Lake on alto and soprano saxophone. This is uncompromising, exciting material, far from sedate standards or derivative hard bop recitations. ~ Ron Wynn

Andrew Cyrille (drums)
Oliver Lake (soprano and alto sax)
Hannibal (trumpet)
Adegoke Steve Colson (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)

1. Soul Brother (Dedicated to Malcolm X)
2. South Of The Border Serenade
3. Prophet
4. Shell
5. Kiss On The Bridge
6. Tap Dancer
7. Where's Nine
8. My Friend Louis (Dedicated to Louis Moholo)

The Power Station, New York: November 18-19, 1991

Art Ensemble Of Chicago - With Fontella Bass

The Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fontella Bass was recorded in a Paris studio in 1970. The band had been gigging regularly in the city and this session offered an intimate view of the live material including "How Strange" which appeared later on Live in Paris. "How Strange" is part of a suite with "Ole Jed," comprising nearly 22 minutes. Bass, an R&B and gospel singer by trade and Lester Bowie's wife at the time, adds a wonderful theatrical and sonic dimension to the Art Ensemble's creative juggernaut. "How Strange" begins with an African chant by Joseph Jarman and Bass. As the instruments enter in earnest, one can hear traces of "Round Midnight" waft through the background and then the musical reality play is off an running. Bass sings, roars, growls, chants and spits poetry, becoming another fiery instrument in the band's arsenal. On "Horn, Webb," Don Moye kicks it with a trap drum solo. For nearly four minutes before the tack comes to a standstill and the horns of Jarman, Bowie and Roscoe Mitchell come in, blaring in unison before the work becomes a long, spacious textural study with many dynamic and colorful shifts along the way. Thirty-six years later, this piece still sounds fresh, new, full of inquiry and excitement. This set stands the test of time beautifully. ~ Thom Jurek

Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn, every other damn thing)
Roscoe Mitchell (clarinet, alto and soprano sax, every other damn thing)
Joseph Jarman (clarinet, alto and soprano sax, every other damn thing)
Malachi Favors (bass, every other damn thing)
Fontella Bass (vocals)
Don Moye (drums, every other damn thing)

1. Pt. 1: How Strange/Pt. 2: Ole Jed
2. Horn Web

Paris: 1970

Woody Shaw - Night Music

From the same label that brought us the recent Geoff Muldaur, and who released the companion disc to this; The Master Of The Art. Looks like we might have a nice re-issue label coming up. The original liner notes to this are revealing: Shaw had no doubt whatsoever that he was either in, or entering, the top rank of jazz musicians.

Scotty Yanow phones it in once again.

This Elektra LP features the great trumpeter Woody Shaw with one of his final regular groups, a quintet with trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Stafford James, drummer Tony Reedus and guest vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Recorded at the same session that resulted in Shaw's prior Elektra release Master of the Art, the set features three uptempo pieces and a slightly slower "All the Things You Are." There are plenty of fine solos from the principles on this enjoyable if not quite essential outing. ~ Scott Yanow

Scott Yanow reviews his family's Thanksgiving dinner:

Unquestionably one of the major family repasts of the year, this latest foray into group gustation offered the standard fare; main course (Turkey) ably backed with condiment (gravy), vegetable, (corn and peas), starch (rice and potoatos), and various supporting players for dessert. While the main course offered its share of enjoyable moments, the holiday itself is more traditional than essential. ~ Scott Yanow

Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone)
Mulgrew Miller (piano)
Steve Turre (trombone)
Stafford James (bass)
Tony Reedus (drums)

1. Orange Crescent
2. To Kill A Brick
3. Apex
4. All The Things You Are

New York: February 25, 1982

Fontella Bass - Free (The Paula Recordings)

Her mom was in the Clara Ward singers, her first hit had bass and drums by Maurice White (later of Earth, Wind, and Fire) and was a phenomenal hit which is without doubt being played on the radio somewhere even as you are reading this. She married Lester Bowie and spent time in Paris with a band who are still considered avant-garde today. She came back, went into the studio with a great New Orleans producer and turned these sides out. If you've never heard these before, then I'm jealous of you: hearing these for the first time is a treat.

"If Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me" is the best soul single that Aretha Franklin never made, then Free is the lost classic that deserves space in any record collection housing worn-out copies of the Queen of Soul's I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You and Spirit in the Dark. Reuniting Bass with producer Oliver Sain, who helmed her classic mid-'60s sides for Chess, Free draws on the singer's gospel roots to forge a deeply spiritual and moving examination of post-civil rights America. Cuts like "To Be Free," "Talking About Freedom," and "My God, My Freedom, My Home" showcase the remarkable power and poignancy of Bass' vocals, couched beautifully by Sain's nuanced, blues-inspired arrangements. This excellent, well-annotated reissue includes the original 1972 Free LP in its entirety along with four bonus tracks -- excellent stuff from a singer unjustly dismissed as a one-hit wonder." ~ Jason Ankeny

1. To Be Free
2. Hold On This Time
3. I Want Everyone to Know
4. I Need To Be Loved
5. Talking About Freedom
6. I Need Love
7. Wiping Tears
8. Now That I've Found A Good Thing
9. Who You Gonna Blame
10. It Sure Is Good
11. I'm Leaving the Choice To You
12. Home Wrecker
13. It's Hard to Get Back In
14. My God, My Freedom, My Home
15. Rescue Me (New Version)

Tommy Flanagan & Hank Jones - Our Delights (1978)

After having the honor of posting on this blog for the last two years (thanks Rab), it's time for a little house cleaning. Our Delights was first put up in April of 2007 but in ogg format. Here's a re-posting, upgraded to flac.

Piano duets have the potential danger of getting overcrowded and a bit incoherent, but neither happens on this rather delightful set. Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan, two of the four great jazz pianists (along with Barry Harris and Roland Hanna) to emerge from Detroit in the '40s and '50s, have similar styles and their mutual respect is obvious. Their renditions of seven superior bop standards (including "Jordu," "Confirmation" and Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born") are tasteful, consistently swinging and inventive within the tradition. - Scott Yanow

Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones (piano duets)

  1. Our Delight
  2. Autumn Leaves
  3. Robbins Nest
  4. Jordu
  5. Confirmation
  6. A Child Is Born
  7. Lady Bird
Recorded January 28, 1978

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Muggsy Spanier - Vol. 1 1939-1944 The Alternative Tracks

An alternative to what? To the Chronological series; two of Spanier's Chronos have been here in the past. The links to them are also in comments. I am convinced that the title of Bird's Relaxin' At Camarillo was a nod to Muggsy's Touro.

The limited-edition Neatwork Alternative Takes series was designed to complement the Classics Chronological Series, a phenomenally ambitious and exhaustively well-researched project focusing exclusively upon master takes. Vol. 1 in the portion of the Neatwork catalog devoted to cornetist Muggsy Spanier delves into the recorded evidence dating from the second half of 1939 (the classic sides by Muggsy Spanier's Ragtime Band), a pair of pleasant vocals by Lee Wiley recorded in July 1940, and eight titles (half of which are amended with third alternate takes) waxed by Muggsy Spanier's Ragtimers during April of 1944. The listener does not encounter a double take until track 12; by then Muggsy's magic will hopefully have rendered the victim helpless with joy and additional renderings of "Angry," "Snag It," "Alice Blue Gown," and "Oh, Lady Be Good" will feel like a jigger of Cointreau dumped over the top of a bowl of orange sherbet garnished with a sprig of mint. ~ arwulf arwulf

Muggsy Spanier (cornet)
Eddie Condon (guitar)
Pee Wee Russell (clarinet)
Lee Wiley (vocals)
Joe Bushkin (piano)
Miff Mole (trombone)
George Brunies (trombone)
Ernie Caceres (baritone sax)

1. Big Butter And Egg Man
2. Someday, Sweetheart
3. That Da Da Strain
4. Livery Stable Blues (Barnyard Blues)
5. Riverboat Shuffle
Relaxin' At The Touro
6. Lonesome Road
7. Mandy, Make Up Your Mind
8. Down To Steamboat, Tennessee
9. Sugar
10. Angry [No. 2]
11. Angry [No. 3]
12. Weary Blues [No. 2]
13. Snag It [No. 2]
14. Snag It [No. 3]
15. Alice Blue Gown [No. 2]
16. Alice Blue Gown [No. 3]
17. Sweet Lorraine [No. 2]
18. Oh, Lady Be Good [No. 2]
19. Oh, Lady Be Good [No. 3]
20. Sugar [No. 2]
21. September In The Rain [No. 2]

Charlie Ventura Quintet (1956) [LP > FLAC]

This was also released on LP as Plays Hi-Fi Jazz and Plays for the People.

By 1956 tenor-saxophonist Charlie Ventura no longer had a regular band and was drifting into semi-retirement. In fact, other than an album for King the following year and a set for Famous Door in 1977, this Lp was his final recording (as a leader). Teamed with the then-unknown pianist Dave McKenna, guitarist Billy Bean, bassist Richard Davis (at the beginning of his career) and drummer Mousey Alexander, Ventura switches between tenor, alto, baritone and bass saxophones. The repertoire is filled with swing and dixieland standards including such unlikely songs as "When The Saints Go Marching In," "Bill Bailey" and "Sweet Sue" (in addition to a remake of Ventura's old hit with Gene Krupa "Dark Eyes") but the interpretations are full of spirit and swing. Although it may not look too promising, this budget Lp (which is long out of print but may be found at a cheap price) is actually well worth picking up. - Scott Yanow

Ventura does not play alto on this session, nor does he play baritone - it's a bass sax. (Mr. Yanow, did you actually listen to the album?) Dave McKenna and Richard Davis were only 26 on this date but the real youngster in the band was Billy Bean at 23.

And speaking of Billy Bean...

If you hang around guitar players enough the name Billy Bean eventually comes up. He is talked about in the same context as the great guitar players who came up in the 1950's like Johnny Smith, Jimmy Raney and Jim Hall. But, when you try to find examples of his recorded work you quickly learn there are few examples and they are difficult to find. At that point you might start to wonder how much of what you hear about this guitarist is myth and how much is real. Then you find and hear a Billy Bean guitar solo and you immediately realize why this guitar player is held in such high esteem by other guitarists. - Classic Jazz Guitar

Charlie Ventura (tenor sax, bass sax)
Dave McKenna (piano)
Billy Bean (guitar)
Richard Davis (bass)
Mousey Alexander (drums)
  1. Runnin' Wild
  2. Honeysuckle Rose
  3. The Saints Go Marching In
  4. Sweet Sue
  5. Dark Eyes
  6. Paper Moon
  7. Bill Bailey
  8. Stardust
  9. Sweet Lorraine
  10. Exactly Like You
  11. I've Got You Under My Skin
  12. Shine on Harvest Moon
Recorded in New York, July 18-19, 1956

Two from Joe Williams & Count Basie Orchestra

Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings (1955-56)

Joe Williams' debut as the featured vocalist in Count Basie's band was one of those landmark moments that even savvy observers don't fully appreciate when it occurs, then realize years later how momentous an event they witnessed. Williams brought a different presence to the great Basie orchestra than the one Jimmy Rushing provided; he couldn't shout like Rushing, but he was more effective on romantic and sentimental material, while he was almost as spectacular on surging blues, up-tempo wailers, and stomping standards. Basie's band maintained an incredible groove behind Williams, who moved from authoritative statements on "Every Day I Have the Blues" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love" to brisk workouts on "Roll 'Em Pete" and his definitive hit, "All Right, OK, You Win." Ron Wynn
The album that brought Count Basie back from the low point in his musical career, Count Basie Swings Joe Williams Sings brought both Basie and Williams some needed attention. Basie went in a different direction with this release. This album is more Blues than Jazz. The sound was heavier and emphasized Williams voice. Frank Foster arranged most of the album with Basie on piano, and a group of about a dozen players including: Frank Wess, Marshall Royal, Bill Hughes and others.

This album will mostly rest on your enjoyment of Williams's vocals and large number of players playing what is described in the liner notes as "bop era sonic discoveries to swing." The arrangements were at the time quite new and fresh (it did not sound like the Blues from previous decades). I have a bit of difficulty with the vocals of Williams and the overall sound of the album sounds dated. But it is still a well rounded great example of how Basie rediscovered himself in the '50s. FS Staff

Joe Williams (vocals)
Count Basie Orchestra
Frank Foster (arr #2-5, 7-9, 10-12)
Ernie Wilkins (arr#1, 6)

1 Every Day I Have the Blues (Chatman) 5:29
2 The Come Back (Frazier) 5:28
3 Alright, Okay, You Win (Watts, Wyche) 3:05
4 In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down) (Carr, Raye) 3:38
5 Roll 'Em Pete (Johnson, Turner) 3:12
6 Teach Me Tonight (Cahn, DePaul) 3:04
7 My Baby Upsets Me (Williams) 2:58
8 Please Send Me Someone to Love (Mayfield) 3:33
9 Ev'ry Day (Fain, Kahal) 3:48
10 As Long as I Love You (Moten, Woode) 3:06
11 Stop! Don't! (Brown) 2:36
12 Too Close for Comfort (Bock, Holofcener, Weiss) 2:53

Recorded July 26 & 27, 1955 in New York City except #10 & 11, January 23, 1956 in Chicago and #12, June 27, 1956 in New York City

The Greatest!! Count Basie Plays, Joe Williams Sings Standards (1956)

This is an album that I have always greatly enjoyed, despite the sledge-hammer orchestrations by the infamous Buddy Bregman, an arranger who is responsible for singlehandedly destroying a number of potentially-great albums, most irritatingly Ella Fitzgerald's Porter and Rodgers & Hart songbooks.

Joe Williams just cannot be taken down and overcomes the overbearing charts with his usual terrific delivery of these standards, also proving that although Williams excelled with the blues, he was versatile enough to handle almost any kind of music.

He is a singer that I greatly miss and since I have not seen too much of his work posted around the blogosphere, I thought that I would lay a sample of his stuff on the group here at CIA. Scoredaddy

Joe Williams (vocals)
Count Basie Orchestra
Buddy Bregman (arr)

1 Thou Swell (Hart, Rodgers) 2:19
2 There Will Never Be Another You (Gordon, Warren) 2:48
3 Love Is Here to Stay (Gershwin, Gershwin) 3:38
4 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:35
5 My Baby Just Cares for Me (Donaldson, Kahn) 2:24
6 Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You) (Kalmar, Ruby) 3:54
7 Singin' in the Rain (Brown, Freed) 2:25
8 I'm Beginning to See the Light (Ellington, George, Hodges) 3:04
9 A Fine Romance (Fields, Kern) 2:28
10 Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen, Mercer) 3:58
11 I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me (Gaskill, McHugh) 2:38
12 This Can't Be Love (Hart, Rodgers) 2:32

Recorded April 28 & May 1, 1956 in Los Angeles, CA

Charlie Haden - Liberation Music Orchestra

Thanks again to Chuchuni for bringing this to our attention. I've mentioned in the past the one time I saw Haden and a similar outfit. He (or they, properly) headlined a show in Carnegie Hall - opener was a Philly Joe Jones combo - and were so into playing that they wouldn't leave. The crew turned of the lights and sound, and this crazy bastard kept playing. Haden is the man. La lucha continua!

Ten years after making The Shape Of Jazz To Come, his best performance with Coleman, Haden recorded under the collectivist banner of the Liberation Music Orchestra a suite of revolutionary songs from the Spanish Civil War (arranged by Carla Bley). Ornette's 'War Orphans' and Haden's own 'Song For Che'. Everything else on the record is transitional, gateposts and entryways. Like the almost contemporary Jazz Composers' Orchestra (of which most of these players were members), the LMO was a blend of collectivism and radical individualism. Ensemble was everything - but solos were everything, too. On the long suite of anarchist songs begun by 'El Quinto Regimiento', Broown, Cherry and Haden himself are featured, followed by Rudd in the middle section and the almost caustically toned Barbieri in the conclusion, 'Viva La Quince Brigada'. The bassist dominates the brooding 'Song For Che', with Redman and Cherry in support.

Recording quality has been improved immeasurably, and the ensembles now sound open-grained and present, not lost in a backwash of overtones ... this has the ring of truth. ~ Penguin Guide

A fascinating reissue that comfortably straddles the lines of jazz, folk, and world music, working up a storm by way of a jazz protest album that points toward the Spanish Civil War in particular and the Vietnam War in passing. Haden leads the charge and contributes material, but the real star here may in fact be Carla Bley, who arranged numbers, wrote several, and contributed typically brilliant piano work. Also of particular note in a particularly talented crew is guitarist Sam Brown, the standout of "El Quinto Regimiento/Los Cuatro Generales/Viva la Quince Brigada," a 21-minute marathon. Reissue producer Michael Cuscuna has done his best with the mastering here, but listeners will note a roughness to the sound -- one that is in keeping with the album's tone and attitude. ~ Steven McDonald

Charlie Haden (bass)
Don Cherry (cornet)
Carla Bley (piano)
Dewey Redman (alto and tenor sax)
Perry Robinson (clarinet)
Roswell Rudd (trombone)
Howard Johnson (tuba)
Sam Brown (guitar)
Gato Barbieri (clarinet, tenor sax)
Michael Mantler (trumpet)
Paul Motian (drums)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. The Introduction
2. Song Of The United Front
3. Medley: El Quinto Regimiento
4. The Ending To The First Side
5. Song For Che
6. War Orphans
7. The Interlude (Drinking Music)
8. Circus '68 '69
9. We Shall Overcome

Art Farmer - Foolish Memories

Flugelhornist Art Farmer has lived in Europe (mostly Austria) since 1968 but not many of his European sessions have been available domestically. This Optimism CD contains music originally released by the Bellaphon label. Farmer heads a European quintet that features the tenor of Harry Sokal and his longtime pianist Fritz Pauer. Pauer contributed two of the six selections which include Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," "Ah-Leu-Cha" (which is mistakenly attributed to Charlie Parker) and the umpteenth remake of "Farmer's Market." The swinging bop-oriented music on this fairly obscure release is enjoyable enough although not particularly unique. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Harry Sokol (tenor sax)
Fritz Pauer (piano)
Heiri Kanzig (bass)
Joris Dudli (drums)

1. Larry's Delight
2. In A Sentimental Mood
3. Al-leu-cha
4. Foolish Memories
5. D's Dilemma
6. Farmer's Market

Homage to Bud Shank

Allow me to double post this one, which I just put up over on my own blog (see links on top right). The scans are not up to CIA standards, I'm sorry for that, but maybe someone else can jump in and do proper scans of those? Would be appreciated!

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

Bud Shank was one of the greatest alto players in the mainstream scene. Check out his website ( to read some obituaries that certainly will be more eloquent than what I could write here. Or read Doug Ramsey here:

Allow me a short run-down, though: Shank started out in the big band era, with Charlie Barnett and Stan Kenton, then became one of the mainstays of so-called West Coast Jazz, woring regularly with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, and then recording a run of great albums for Pacific Jazz, with his own quartet (Claude Williamson was the pianist). He also did a fine album for Nocturne and appeared on the Brazilliance albums of guitar player Laurindo Almeida, some of the earliest attempts at fusing jazz with music from Brazil. Later on, he did some more commercial stuff (Michelle...) but continued to play and record great jazz, including being a member of the supergroup "L.A. Four", with Almeida, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne. By coincidence, just a few days before he died, I found the Concord twofer "Two By Four" (Jeff Hamilton had replaced Manne by the time those albums were made). Another highlight is his Muse album, reissued on CD by 32 Jazz as "This Bud's for You", ripe, strong playing by Shank, and a first rate rhythm section backing him: Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and Al Foster.

This post features a huge load of music. There are two later boots, but the main part of it is what Lonehill released on three volumes (4CDs) called "The Bud Shank/Bob Cooper Project". I re-grouped the music so you can get it in portions if you prefer, but I left in enough info so you can re-construct those discs if you get all the portions. I can't offer good scans at the time, but crappy photos of the covers are included.

Part one features the March and April 1957 recordings Bud Shank/Bob Cooper did with Albert Mangelsdorff and a rhythm section led by Attila Zoller on guitar. One of the three dates also featues another recently departed great, Joe Zawinul. Gary Peacock is on bass - he would show up a bit later on some of Shank's Pacific sides.
(Taken from Vols. 1 & 3)
(Use the search-function to look for several other Mangelsdorff shows here!)

Part two features the March 1958 recordings by Bud Shank/Bob Cooper with Shank's regular rhythm section headed by Claude Williamson.
(Taken from Vol. 2)

Part three compiles the fillers that we so often get with Lonehill's "complete" editions. These include: a 1956 Shank quartet recording from NYC with Russ Freeman, the 1956 appearance in Bobby Troup's "Stars of Jazz" TV show by the Bud Shank quartet, one title with Shank/Cooper and the Lighthouse All Stars from 1958, and most important, a recording Shank did in May 1957 with Hans Koller, Mangelsdorff, Attila Zoller, Roland Kovac, Gary Peacock and Karl Sanner.
(Taken from Vols. 1 & 2)
(Use the search- function for more Hans Koller postings!)

Here's more info, hope it's all readable...

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And finally, the two great boots - the first has Shank with Pete Christlieb on tenor and a rhythm section headed by Rein de Graaff, the second is just in quartet, with a first-rate British rhythm section.

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Bud Shank Quintet
Rastede (Germany)
February 10, 1988

Bud Shank - alto sax
Pete Christlieb - tenor sax
Rein de Graaff - piano
Marius Beets - bass
Eric Ineke - drums

1. Stage Intro RdG (1:44)
2. (13:27)
3. (14:55)
4. For Heaven's Sake (9:42) [omit BS]
5. Star Eyes (11:15)

TT: 51:05

Sound: A
Source: Soundboard
Lineage: sbd > ? > dime > EAC (secure, log included) > FLAC (8,asb,verify)

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

Bud Shank
Eastleigh, Hampshire (UK), Concorde Club
June 1994

Bud Shank - alto sax
David Newton - piano
Dave Green - bass
Martin Drew - drums

1. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (12:38)
2. Embraceable You (13:51)
3. A Time for Love (11:22)
4. Limehouse Blues (10:08)

TT: 47:59

Sound: A-

Recorded on open-reel tape at 7.5ips. split into tracks with Adobe Audition.
FM>Analogue open-reel>WAVE>FLAC

This is a tape of a BBC broadcast from the Concorde Club, Eastleigh, with
Bud in fine form, accompanied by a British trio including David Newton,
better known outside the UK as Stacey Kent's accompanist, Dave Green on
bass and Martin Drew, drums, nowadays Oscar Peterson's touring drummer of

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sonny Stitt - Endgame Brilliance: Constellation & Tune Up!

Although the "endgame" part of this CD's title is not quite accurate (the sets from 1971 and 1972 were made a decade before Sonny Stitt's passing), the "brilliance" definitely fits. Two of the prolific saxophonist's most exciting sessions ever were his Muse albums, Constellation and Tune-Up. This essential single CD reissues the complete contents of both dates. On both dates, Stitt (doubling on tenor and alto) is joined by the superb bop pianist Barry Harris and bassist Sam Jones with either Roy Brooks or Alan Dawson on drums. Stitt, who recorded many quartet sets through the years, was very inspired on both of these occasions. His renditions of "Constellation," "Webb City," "Just Friends," and "Groovin' High" in particular are quite memorable. The high point is a nine-and-a-half-minute version of "I Got Rhythm" that features the classic saxophonist first taking a long solo on tenor and then following it up with an equally stunning flight on alto. A master of the bebop vocabulary, the competitive Sonny Stitt would have deserved fame if he had only recorded these two sessions and not bothered with the other 150 albums he led. This CD is essential for all bebop collections. - Scott Yanow

Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax)
Barry Harris (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Roy Brooks (drums 1-8)
Alan Dawson (drums 9-15)
  1. Constellation
  2. (I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance With You
  3. Webb City
  4. By Accident
  5. Ray's Idea
  6. Casbah
  7. It's Magic
  8. Topsy
  9. Tune Up
  10. I Can't Get Started
  11. Idaho
  12. Just Friends
  13. Blues for Prez and Bird
  14. Groovin' High
  15. I Got Rhythm

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lee Morgan - The Procrastinator

The fact that The Procrastinator is a shade more atmospheric than other Morgan recordings from this period can be attributed to several factors. For one, the presence of Bobby Hutcherson on vibes gives Morgan new colors to work with as a composer, which he does to great effect on the title cut. The title cut features an elegiac opening statement reminiscent of the Modern Jazz Quartet; the tune ultimately yields to a sort of long-form variation on the blues. Another factor is the continued involvement of Wayne Shorter as a composer on Morgan's dates. Shorter's two contributions, the ballad "Dear Sir" and the bossa "Rio" share a questioning, ambiguous quality that draws the trumpeter into a more introspective zone.

Elsewhere, however, Morgan is still his confident and exuberant self. "Party Time," while less self-consciously "funky" than other tunes of the era, is nevertheless the kind of simmering, get-down minor blues that epitomized the "Blue Note Sound." The elegant, swinging "Soft Touch" is also in a minor key--the pensive head gives way to a series of searching solos over the uncluttered changes. "Stopstart," in this context, comes across as almost a throwback, more bebop than hardbop.

Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. The Procrastinator
2. Party Time
3. Dear Sir
4. Stop-Start
5. Rio
6. Soft Touch

Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: July 14, 1967

Dos Músicos Argentinos

Mariano Otero - CU4TRO (2007)

"Otero is the author of the most ambitious projects and is currently talk of the local jazz community: he created and directs a big band with which he recorded three discs and now Cu4tro, of his own compositions."
Sandra de La Fuente. Clarín January 28, 2008.

"The music that today is part of the bedrock of a more worthy tradition - Mingus, Ellington and Gil Evans - to work on that as an amalgam of personnel, without giving concessions to the neoclassical and not waste a wonderful legacy."
Sergio Pujol. Revista Cuadernos de Jazz January-February 2008

"Brilliant and inspiring, the new creation of bassist Mariano Otero, with virtuosity, beyond honesty. A large orchestra accompanying seven long pieces which, by the waters of jazz, all reflected the influence of its creator."
The Nation Magazine December 2007

"The bassist Mariano Otero presented his fourth solo album and the second leading an orchestra of fourteen musicians. This is a selected jazz ... a road built by the talented musicians who perform with feeling and precision complex arrangements that refer to various periods in the history of jazz, from swing to modernity. "
**** Humphrey Inzillo. Rolling Stone Magazine November 2007

Mariano Otero / Biography
Jazz bassist and composer, 31 years old and has four records released. Through (2003, Bau Records) with octet, D-Form (2004, S-Jazz, EMI MUSIC) with quintet, and trio (2006, S-Music) and CU4TRO (2007, S-Music), both with orchestra.

In recent years, he appeared in a series of concerts in Buenos Aires and various programs in Santa Fe, Rosario, Cordoba, La Pampa, Mendoza, New York, Miami, Chile and Uruguay. Performed as the opening act for Dave Holland at the Teatro Coliseo with his band, the opening concert at the Jazz Festival and other music of Buenos Aires and his quintet opened the concert by Dave Douglas at the Opera Theater in October 2007. In 2007 he was elected resident composer for the music school of Rosario.

Mariano Otero’s CD was elected disc of the year by The Nation and Rolling Stones, best jazz musician of the year and best big band in the nation. Clarín Award nominee as a jazz artist revelation Gardel and the best jazz album of the year. Clarín Prize Winner for Best Picture of 2006 Jazz Argentino, Clarín Award nominee for Best Picture and Jazz Argentino 2007 chosen as Best Composer 2007 by The Nation. He was commissioned by the Festival de Jazz de Buenos Aires to write the music for the tribute to Walter Malosetti. In February 2008, was nominated for the Gardel Awards for best jazz album of the year.

Rodrigo Domínguez (soprano sax)
Ramiro Flores (alto sax)
Carlos Michelini (Sax, tenor and clarinet)
Gustavo Musso (tenor sax)
Martin Pantyrer (baritone sax and bass clarinet)
Juan Cruz De Urquiza (trumpet and fluegelhorn)
Mariano Loiácono (Trumpet and fluegelhorn)
Sergio Wagner (Trumpet)
Juan Canosa (Trombone)
Hernán Jacinto (Fender Rhodes)
Patricio Carpossi (Guitar)
Sergio Verdinelli (Drums)
Mariano Otero (bass, electric bass)

1. Brown 12:09
2. Hasta el cielo 9:29
3. Lomos 10:46
4. Rebel 11:23
5. Buzzy 11:49
6. Espiritu 9:31
7. Zep 7:32

Recorded July 21-24, 2007 in Sound-Rec Studios, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ernesto Jodos - El Jardín Seco (2008)

The launch of this new album by the pianist and composer Ernesto Jodos is one of the most noteworthy releases of the last quarter of 2008. Winner of every prize that a jazz musician in our country and Latin America can win, this new Sony/BMG disc EL JARDIN SECO finds Jodos in quintet format accompanied by Carlos Lastra on tenor and soprano saxophones, Diego Urban vibraphone, Hernan Merlo on bass and Sergio Verdinelli on drums. EL JARDÍN SECO takes its name from one of its tracks, all of which on the CD composed by Ernesto Jodos. Jodos said: "The album brings together original compositions written between 2005 and 2007.

After concentrating on the trio format of playing music written by others, this recording was made by an internal need to return to playing my own music together with three musicians who've been working with me for over 10 years. Musicians with whom I was discovering, little by little, and very painfully, my musical personality. They are Hernán Merlo, Sergio and Carlos Lastra Verdinelli. To keep the music fresh, and add some surprises, I called the young Chilean vibraphonist Diego Urbano.

Ernesto will appear in early January 2009 at the Winter Festival Umbria, Italy.

The previous trio record was released in several countries in Europe, achieving major critical success from Jazzman and Jazz Magazine, the two great French jazz magazines, and Cuadernos de Jazz Spain, Italy and Germany Amadeus . Regarding this record, the daily Buenos Aires newspaper Clarin said: "This audacious exploration should be considered not only among the best that jazz has ever produced in Argentina, but also among the best we have to offer today, anywhere in the jazz world." Radio Montaje

Ernesto Jodos (piano)
Carlos Lastra (tenor and soprano saxophones)
Diego Urban (vibraphone)
Hernan Merlo (bass)
Sergio Verdinelli (drums)

1 Tridim 07:47
2 Rebote 13:03
3 Prioridad 08:35
4 Extrañolandia 04:38
5 ll#5 05:22
6 Tres algarrobos 08:17
7 ¿Y entonces? 08:24
8 No era un rio 08:25
9 ll#4 03:29
10 El jardín seco 05:51

Recorded May-August, 2008 in Maderina, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lucky Thompson - I Offer You

After he stopped teaching in 1974, Lucky Thompson permanently dropped out of music. On what would be his final album, Thompson (along with keyboardist Cedar Walton, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes) performs five mostly straight-ahead originals, "The Moment of Truth," and the standard "Cherokee." Thompson, switching between tenor and soprano, was still very much in his musical prime at the time of this LP but apparently soon became sick of the whole music business, a major loss to jazz. He plays quite well throughout the set. ~ Scott Yanow

Lucky Thompson (soprano and tenor sax)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Munsoon
2. Sun Out
3. Yesterday's Child
4. Aliyah
5. Moment Of Truth
6. Back Home From Yesterday
7. Cherokee

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Abdullah Ibrahim - Banyana

Abdullah Ibrahim sings and plays soprano on "Ishmael" but otherwise sticks to piano on this trio set with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Brooks. As usual Ibrahim's folkish melodies (this CD has six of his originals plus a previously alternate take of "Ishmael") pay tribute to his South African heritage and Islam religion without becoming esoteric or inaccessible. Some of the unpredictable music gets a bit intense (Ibrahim is in consistently adventurous form) but his flights always return back to earth and have an air of optimism. An above average effort from a true individualist. ~ Scott Yanow

Abdullah Ibrahim (vocals, soprano sax, piano)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Roy Brooks (drums)

1. Banyana-The Children Of Africa
2. Ishmael
3. ASR
4. The Honey Bird
5. Dream
6. Yukio-Khalifa
7. Ishmael - (alternate take)

Recorded at Downtown Sound Studio, New York on January 27, 1976

Geoff Muldaur - Is Having A Wonderful Time

Boy, I jumped when I saw this in the store. A manly, thoughtful jump, of course, not like a little girl who just got a Barbie Dream House or anything. I mentioned a week or two ago that I first became aware of Amos Garrett from this Geoff Muldaur album. This is one of my favorites from way back when, but I haven't heard it in many, many years because it was never released on CD, and I rarely thought to pull it out to listen to. I am a thoroughly modern cat, don't y'know.

So when I saw this, I gave the manly jump previously mentioned and bought it forthwith. Fifthwith even. So imagine my amazement and delight (manly delight, I need not add) when I discovered that aside from Amos Garrett we had Benny Carter. And Ron Carter. And Harold Vick. And Frank Wess. And .... an astounding array of musicians. " His blues-folk stylings are born of respect for music's history, from the perspective of a contemporary artist very much of his own era." And how. Geoff Muldaur stands even higher in my estimation.

Dig Benny Carter's arrangement (done in 1975) of the first tune. He must have loved doing it.

Geoff Muldaur (guitar, mandolin, piano, celeste, vocal)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Lew Soloff (trumpet)
Bill Keith (pedal steel)
John Cale (viola)
Richard Thompson (guitar)
Ron Carter (bass)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Taft Jordan (trumpet)
Bob Wilbur (clarinet)
Gus Bivona (bass clarinet)
Maria Muldaur (fiddle, vocal)
James Booker (organ)
Amos Garrett (guitar)
Russell Procope (alto sax)
Doc Cheatham (trumpet)
Eddie Daniels (flute)
Cornell Dupree (guitar)
Joe Farrell (oboe)
Gerry Jemmott (bass)
Harold Vick (tenor sax)
Frank Wess (alto sax)
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums)

1. Livin' in the Sunlight (Lovin' in the Moonlight)
2. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You
3. 99½
4. I Want to Be a Sailor/Why Should I Love You
5. Higher & Higher
6. Wondering Why
7. Jailbird Love Song
8. High Blood Pressure
9. Tennessee Blues

Jake Hanna - Kansas City Express (1976) [LP > FLAC]

Conventional by Yanow's standards, joyous by mine. The musicians on this LP all have a common thread - all were Woody Herman alumni. Indeed, Jake Hanna dedicates the last tune to "the old chopper, wherever he may be, who got all of us in this mess in the first place". Jake swings his ass off, Richie and Nat are as good as usual, and Bill Berry has some of his best playing on record. Like I said, joyous music.

Drummer Jake Hanna has only led a handful of recording sessions through the years, although he has been a sideman on a countless number. This well-played, if conventional, mainstream date with trumpeter Bill Berry, tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca, pianist Nat Pierce and bassist Monty Budwig is most notable for having four rare late-period vocals by the still viable Mary Ann McCall. Among the high points of the instrumentals are "Robbin's Nest," "It's Sand Man" and "Castle Rock." - Scott Yanow

Bill Berry (trumpet)
Richie Kamuca (tenor sax)
Nat Pierce (piano)
Monty Budwig (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)
Mary Ann McCall (vocals)
  1. Doggin' Around
  2. Robbins Nest
  3. Stompin' at the Savoy
  4. A Handful of Stars
  5. It's Sand Man
  6. That Old Feeling
  7. Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'
  8. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
  9. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
  10. Castle Rock
Recorded April, 1976

Bill Harris - And Friends

Some good mentions of Harris in Terry Gibbs' bio convinced me to pick this up. The other players and too bad either.

Bill Harris was one of the few modern trombonists of the 1945-1960 era who was not influenced by J.J. Johnson. A very distinctive player almost from the start with a strong and highly original wit, Harris became a professional musician in 1938, and toured with the big bands of Gene Krupa, Ray McKinley, and Bob Chester. After playing with Benny Goodman (1943-1944) and Charlie Barnet, and guesting on a couple of Eddie Condon's Town Hall concerts, Harris became famous for his work with Woody Herman's First Herd (1944-1946); "Bijou" was a showcase, and the trombonist is heard at his best on Herman's many up-tempo (and often riotous) performances. One of the few First Herd members to also be in the Four Brothers Second Herd (1948-1950), Harris also re-joined Herman a few times during 1956-1959. He co-led a band with Charlie Ventura (1947), teamed up with Chubby Jackson (1953), and was a star with Jazz at the Philharmonic during 1950-1954. During the second half of the 1950s, Harris often collaborated with Flip Phillips, and their band formed the nucleus of Benny Goodman's group in 1959. He mostly retired to Florida, in the 1960s after a spell in Las Vegas, occasionally leading his own groups and playing with Red Norvo. Bill Harris led dates during 1945-1957 for Mercury, EmArcy, Dial, Capitol, Verve, Fantasy, and Mode, usually featuring alumni from the Woody Herman Orchestra. ~ Scott Yanow

Trombonist Bill Harris led relatively few recording sessions throughout his career, and this is the definitive one. On the quintet set with the great tenor Ben Webster, pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Stan Levey, Harris' unique tone is showcased throughout "It Might As Well Be Spring"; he jams enthusiastically with Webster on a variety of standards and verbally jokes around with Ben on a unique version of "Just One More Chance." ~ Scott Yanow

Bill Harris (trombone)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)

1. It Might As Well Be Spring
2. Crazy Rhythm
3. Where Are You?
4. Just One More Chance
5. I Surrender Dear
6. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
7. In A Mellow Tone

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bud Powell - Strictly Confidential

"With Powell we are always listening beneath the surface for premonitions, disclosures, revelations, the deepest and most profane secrets. His disposition and technique obviously derive from different parts of his brain. Sometimes the technique fails him, but the ideas and emotions are vividly specific; at other times, the fingers do his bidding precisely, but the bidding is mechanical and remote."

So observes the finest music writer of our time, Gary Giddins, in a discussion of date attribution of Bud's works around the time of his hospitalizations. And more particularly - in regard to the private tapes released by Francis Paudras - he notes that the " ... sound is rough and so is much of the playing, but many passages are indispensable, increasing our understanding of Powell."

True enough, and these are some of the recordings made by Bud when he was at home, in every sense, playing in the Paudras living room. The story will be familiar to anyone who has read Paudras' memoir Dance Of The Infidels: a necessary book for any fan of Bud Powell. I grew up down the street from where he lived and passed the building where he spent his last days almost every day, so I can evoke the actual time and place. When I think of the subject's life, and that of many of his friends and contemporaries - Paudras himself died a suicide some years ago - it can be overwhelmingly sad, and I find that one thing which unfailingly restores me is listening to ANY recording of Bud.

To quote Giddins again: " For me, he remains the central figure in the holy hexagram of jazz piano - Hines, Wilson, Tatum, Powell, Monk, Taylor - but I can also imagine a day when a great interpreter will program transcriptions of Powell's masterpieces alongside those of the nineteenth-century icons, at which time Powell will be recognized as one of the most formidable creators of piano music in any time or idiom."

1. Cherokee
2. My Devotion
3. Idaho
4. Ruby, My Dear
5. Conception
6. All God's Children Got Rhythm
7. Strictly Confidential
8. Deep Night
9. Thou Swell
10. It Could Happen to You
11. Wahoo

The Music of Eric von Essen Vol. 3

Recent mention of Eric von Essen and a subsequent observation by someone that he wasn't familiar prompts this re-post. In the past year or two I've upped this series a couple of timesand it always brings him new admirers, which is as predictable as it is gratifying; he was an exceptional musician, and and exceptional person also, from all accounts. His actual playing can be heard on some previously posted and still available Art Farmer works. Several years before he passed Von Essen became the bassist of the Lighthouse All-Stars alongside Shorty Rogers and Bud Shank; he replaced Monty Budwig as the group's bassist. This volume 3 was chosen just because it was closest to hand. All 3 volumes are worth exploring.

This series of tributes to Eric von Essen has hipped people outside the Los Angeles music scene to the work of this gifted composer and bassist. But at the same time, the series is excellent and gives a nice overview of L.A. jazz, which, according to the work here, is flourishing. As with the other volumes, this third and final installment features various groups taking on a von Essen song or two (this time it's eight groups and 10 songs), with notables Nels Cline, Jeff Gauthier, Alex Cline, and Peter Erskine back again. With the exception of the upbeat post-bop of Stacy Rowles's two tracks, the music on this volume tends towards the meditative, with even the most adventurous playing folded into an almost elegiac and beautifully melodic vibe. It's hinted in the liner notes that von Essen was something of a romantic, and that certainly comes through on this CD. --Tad Hendrickson

"As Cryptogramophone's three-volume tribute to the late Eric von Essen draws to a close, we find ourselves amazed at the diversity of players, styles, and moods coming together in his honor. Von Essen was not exactly a well-known player, but the large number of musicians assembled here testifies to the depth and impact of his music. The overall tone remains light and airy, rarely losing detail or interest." - Nils Jacobson, AllAboutJazz

1. Blues For Me
2. Unresolved
3. Valse Agite
4. It's Just One Big Party
5. The Good Doctor
6. Norton's Last Words
7. Finska Flues
8. Another Moon
9. One Eye Laughs, One Eye Weeps
10. Flicker And Burn

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dizzy Gillespie - Volume 4 1943-1944 (1995) {MJCD 86}



Besides the earliest known recorded jam session between Bird & Diz (which is also found on "Young Bird Volumes 1 & 2" ) we have an incredibly rare (and incredibly damaged!) recording of the Gillespie-Pettiford group at the Onyx in January of 1944, the only recorded trace of "what must be considered the first bop unit ever (...) The sound quality may be lamentable, but this document is of such capital importance in jazz annals - the only aural evidence of bop in the process of assuming power - that it screams for inclusion here."

And then there's "The Dizzy Crawl", also recorded by Jerry Newman, live at Minton's Playhouse. Nearly seven minutes of extended jamming - MUCH superior to "Stardust" & "Karouac", both of which are relatively common.

I believe these two rarities have not been issued anywhere else.

Contains 32-pages Illustrated Booklet


Dizzy Gillespie (tp); Charlie Parker (ts); Oscar Pettiford (b).
Private recording Savoy Hotel, room 305, Chicago, 15 Feb. 1943
1. Sweet Georgia Brown

Dizzy Gillespie (tp); Budd Johnson (ts); George Wallington (p); Oscar Pettiford (b); Max Roach (d).
Broadcast Onyx Club, New York City, Jan. 1944
*2. A Night In Tunisia

Dizzy Gillespie, Vic Coulson, Ed Vanderveer (tp); Leonard Lowry, Leo Parker (as); Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Ray Abrams (ts); Budd Johnson (ts, bar); Clyde Hart (p); Oscar Pettiford (b); Max Roach (d).
New York City, February 16, 1944.
3. R 1000 Woody 'n You
4. R 1001 Bu-Dee-Daht

Same personel.
Apollo New York City, 22 Feb. 1944
5. R1003 Disorder At The Border

Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Webster; Shorty McConnell, Al Killian (tp); Trummy Young, Claude Jones, Howard Scott (tb); Budd Johnson, Jimmy Powell (as); Wardell Gray, Thomas Crump (ts); Rudy Rutherford (bar); Clyde Hart (p); Connie Wainright (g); Oscar Pettiford (b); Shadow Wilson (d); Billy Eckstine (voc, dir).
DeLuxe New York City, 13 April 1944
6. 108 I Stay In The Mood For You
7. 109 Good Jelly Blues

Dizzy Gillespie (tp); Buster Bailey (cl); George Johnson (as); unknown (ts); Ram Ramirez (p); John Kirby (b); Bill Beason (d).
Broadcast Aquarium Restaurant, New York City, 19 May 1944
8. Close Shave
9. Taking A Chance On Love

Dizzy Gillespie (tp); Buster Bailey (cl); George Johnson (as); Ben Webster (ts); Ram Ramirez (p); John Kirby (b); Bil Beason (d).
Broadcast Aquarium Restaurant, New York City, 24 May 1944
*10. Rose Room (incomplete)
*11. Irresistible You
*12. Perdido

Ray Linn, Claude Bowen, Bob Alexy, Tony Picciotto, Shorty Solomon (tp); Sonny Lee, Si Zentner, Nick DiMaio, Andy Russo (tb); Jimmy Dorsey (as, dir); Jack Aiken, Frank Langone (as); Bobby Dukoff, Charles Frazier (ts); Bob Lawson (bar); Marvin Wright (p); Tommy Kaye (g); Jimmy Middleton (b); Buddy Schutz (d).
V-Disc NBC Studios, Hollywood, 12 July 1944
13. VP 920 Grand Central Getaway

Dizzy Gillespie, Shorty McConnell, Gail Brockman, Marion Hazel (tp); Jerry Valentine (tb, arr); Taswell Baird, Howard Scott, Chips Outcalt (tb); John Jackson, Bill Frazier (as); Gene Ammons, Dexter Gordon (ts); Leo Parker (bar); John Malachi (p, arr); Connie Wainwright (g); Tommy Potter (b); Art Blakey (d); Billy Eckstine (voc, dir).
DeLuxe New York City, 5 Dec. 1944
14. 120-1 Blowing The Blues Away
15. 120-3 Blowing The Blues Away
16. 121 Opus X

Dizzy Gillespie (tp); Aaron Sachs (cl); Georgie Auld (ts); Leonard Feather (p); Chuck Wayne (g); Jack Lesberg (b); Morey Feld (d); Sarah Vaughan (voc).
Continental New York City, December 31, 1944.
17. 3005 Signing Off

Same except Dizzy Gillespie (tp, p).
Continental Same place and date
18. 3006 Interlude (A Night In Tunisia)

Dizzy Gillespie (tp); Aaron Sachs (cl); Georgie Auld (ts); Chuck Wayne (g), Leonard Feather (p); Chuck Wayne (g); Jack Lesberg (b); Morey Feld (d); Sarah Vaughan (voc).
Continental Same place and date
19. 3007-? No Smokes Blues (master take)
20. 3007-? No Smokes Blues
21. 3008 East Of The Sun

Dizzy Gillespie, plus 2 or 3 others (tp); unknown (p, b, d).
Private Recording Clarke Monroe's Uptown Hose, New York City, Oct. 1941
*22. The Dizzy Crawl (incomplete)

Roy Eldridge - Arcadia Shuffle (1939) [LP > FLAC]

After Roy Eldridge's lengthy stay at the Three Deuces Club in Chicago, he next set up shop at the Arcadia Ballroom in New York. Louis Armstrong had been the undisputed King of jazz trumpet over the past decade, but by now nobody could touch Little Jazz. He pays homage to his idol but is also doing things that no other trumpet player had ever attempted. These broadcast transcriptions, taken from four nights between August 5th and September 9th, were recorded on acetate discs so there are some rather abrupt beginnings and endings along with the usual surface noise.

On this LP the great swing trumpeter Roy Eldridge is heard leading his ten-piece group at New York's Arcadia Ballroom. These radio broadcasts were somewhat primitively recorded but the excitement of Eldridge's playing shines through. Although this particular band did record eight titles later in the year, most of the music on this set (including "Little Jazz," "Mahogany Hall Stomp," "Shine," "Woodchopper's Ball" and "Lady Be Good") was not recorded by the trumpeter during the era. This album is worth searching for by swing collectors. - Scott Yanow

Roy Eldridge (trumpet, vocals on 5 & 16)
Robert Williams (trumpet)
Eli Robinson (trombone)
Joe Eldridge (alto sax)
Prince Robinson (tenor sax, clarinet)
Franz Jackson (tenor sax)
Clyde Hart (piano)
John Collins (guitar)
Ted Sturgis (bass)
Panama Francis (drums)
Laurel Watson (vocal on 13)
  1. Little Jazz
  2. Mahogany Hall Stomp
  3. Body and Soul
  4. Arcadia Shuffle
  5. St. Louis Blues
  6. Swinging at the Deuces
  7. The Gasser (Sweet Georgia Brown)
  8. Yellow Fire
  9. Shine
  10. Minor Jive
  11. Woodchopper's Ball
  12. Heckler's Hop
  13. Sam, Sam the Vegetable Man
  14. Oh, Lady Be Good
  15. Roy's Riffin' Now
  16. King of Bongo Bong
  17. Pluckin' the Bass/Little Jazz

Ella Fitzgerald - On The Air Volume 3 1944-1947 (2000) {MJCD 169}

Rab has posted Volumes 1 & 2 - as far as I am aware this is the remaining volume.



Ella Fitzgerald (voc); Cootie Williams (dir); Ermit V. Perry, George Treadwell, Lammar Wright; Tommy Stevenson (tp); Ed Burke, Bob Horton, Ed Glover (tb); Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (as); Rupert Cole, Frank Powell (as); Sam "The Man" Taylor, Lee Pope (ts); Ed de Verteuil (bar); Bud Powell (p); Leroy Kirkland (g); Carl Pruitt (b); Sylvester "Vess" Payne (d).
AFRS Jubilee 78, V-Disc 661-B NBC Studios, Hollywood, 1 May 1944
1. A-Tisket A-Tasket
2. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

Ella Fizgerald (voc); unknown personnel (large band).
AFRS Jubilee 100 Café Zanzibar, New York City, Oct. 1944
*3. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby
*4. St. Louis Blues

Same personnel "Let's Go Night Clubbing", WNEW-AM Broadcast
from Café Zanzibar, New York City, Feb. 28, 1945
*5. A-Tisket A-Tasket

Ella Fizgerald (voc); Charlie Shavers (tp); Lou McGarity (tb); Peanuts Hucko (cl); Al Seards (ts); Buddy Weed (p); Remo Palmieri (g); Trigger Alpert (b); Buddy Rich (d).
V-Disc 569 Columbia Studios, New York City, 12 Oct. 1945
6. That's Rich
7. I'll Always Be In Love With You

V-Disc 730
8. I'll See You In My Dreams

Ella Fitzgerald (voc); Cootie Williams (dir); Ermit V. Perry, George Treadwell, Bob Merril, Clarence "Gene" Red (tp); Ed Burke, Bob Horton, Edward Johnson (tb); Rupert Cole, John Jackson (as); Everett Gaines, Sam Taylor (ts); Bob Ashton (bar); Arnold Jarvis (p); Napoleon "Snags" Allen (g); Norman Keenan (b); Butch Ballard (d).
"Let's Go Night Clubbing", WNEW-AM Broadcast
from Cafe Zanzibar, New York City, 21 Jan. 1946
*9. The Honeydripper

Ella Fitzgerald (voc); poss. Andy Peretti, Irving Goodman, Johnny Martel, Charlie Shavers (tp); Tommy DOrsey (tb, Dir); Sol Train, Larry Hall, Alex Mastren (tb); Abe Most (cl, as); Sid Cooper (as); Gail Curtis, Boomie Richman (ts); Marty Berman (bar); Johnny Potaker (p); Carmen Mastren (g); Sid Bloch (b); Alvin Stoller (d).
WOR Radio 25th Anniversary, New York City, 22 Feb. 1947
*10. Guilty

Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich (voc); Joe Mooney (acc); Nick Stagg (b); Sidney Catlett (d).
V-Disc 775 New York City, March 1, 1947
11. Blue Skies (Budella)

Ella Fitzgerald (voc); Cootie Williams (dir); Ermit V. Perry, Otis Gamble, Bob Merril, Clarence "Gene" Red (tp); Ed Burke, Julius Watson, Edward Johnson (tb); Rupert Cole, Daniel Williams (as); Chuck Clark, Eddie Johnson (ts); Bob Ashton (bar); Ray Tunia (p); Pee Wee Tinney (g); Norman Keenan (b); Butch Ballard (d).
Broadcast Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C., 6 Aug. 1947
*12. Unknown Title
*13. Oh, Lady Be Good

Ella Fitzgerald (voc); Dizzy Gillespie (tp, dir); Elmon Wright, Matthew McKay, Dave Burns, Ray Orr (tp); Taswell Baird, William Sheperd (tb); John Brown, Howard Johnson (as); James Moody, Joe Gayles (ts); Cecil Payne (bar); John Lewis (p); Al McKibbon (b); Joe Harris (d).
Broadcast Carnegie Hall, New York City, 29 Sep. 1947
14. Almost Like Being In Love
15. Stairway To The Stars
16. Lover Man
17. Flying Home
18. Oh, Lady be Good
19. How High The Moon

Christopher Hogwood & The Academy of Ancient Music - Mozart Concertos (Clarinet, Oboe, Flute & Harp, Bassoon)

W.A. Mozart - Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622 & Oboe Concerto in C, K.314

The time must be near when only basset versions of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto are acceptable at public concerts. For record collectors, I think that moment has arrived. Dr Fiske was praising Thea King's Hyperion recording of the Concerto (and the Quintet) on an instrument recently made for her by Selmer of Paris which I understand is now commercially available. Jeffrey Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra were her excellent accompanists, whereas the new recording I've been listening to is with 'period' band and the Concerto is paired with the Oboe Concerto. Antony Pay's version attempts to recover the character of K622 as completely as possible through a reconstruction of the kind of Viennese instrument Mozart's original soloist (Anton Stadler) must have played on. The disc comes with an informative leaflet which includes photographs not only of the instrument Antony Pay plays but of the German oboe of 1783 Michel Piguet uses. So, if you're still thinking of the basset as a clarinet with a rather doleful expression, long floppy ears and a lower ground clearance than the normal model, you can now see what it actually looks like. No pictures of the Selmer instrument from Hyperion, but there is an article by Alec Hyatt King—a short survey of Mozart and the clarinet family as Mozart knew it and wrote for it, plus a history of the text of his Concerto, and for clarity and readability this couldn't be bettered. Dr Hyatt King, in telling a fascinating story, makes it clear why it has been so important in our own day for someone to reinvent the basset.

What is the fuss about? Well, the basset-clarinet was and is a distinctive instrument, with a range down to a (written) low C, sounding A in the lowest space of the bass clef, and it is the instrument for which Mozart wrote his Concerto. Four extra semitone steps were available to him at the bottom of the compass, therefore, as compared to the range of the modern A clarinet. All versions on the clarinet are corrupt to the extent that they are obliged to adopt alterations of his text in order to avoid the lowest four notes of his original; he made no such alterations himself. As Dr Hyatt King puts it: the Concerto exploits the diversity of the basset-clarinet's full range and timbre, and "the lower extension of the notes in the basset register enriches and darkens much of the tonal spectrum". If you haven't already experienced a performance of the Concerto with a 'restored' form of the solo part, you have a delight in store.

Thea King has been a distinguished exponent of the work for many years, but the new L'OiseauLyre, as a production, seems to me of a quite special excellence. The sound is beautiful, on LP particularly—I found the CD a touch edgier and was more conscious there of what recording engineers call extraneous noises—and even if the 'period' ethic is not to your taste, I think you are bound to agree that the Academy of Ancient Music have never sounded better. Christopher Hogwood has added a fortepiano in a discreet continuo role, and similarly a harpsichord in the Oboe Concerto, and the balance and quality of the orchestral sound make a lovely setting for the soloists. I wondered at first whether the acoustic in K622 was very slightly over-resonant----and then forgot about it. The performances are all of a piece. I have enjoyed them more and more. The soloists are strong musical personalities, as they need to be, not just expert players, and Antony Pay's performance strikes me as outstanding: spontaneous in character, rich in detailed inflexion, and at the same time projected with a long-range musical thinking that makes for a satisfying reading one is glad to return to. Pay is a soloist who picks you up at the beginning of the Concerto and puts you down only at the very end; and you feel that the orchestra have responded to him in that way too. Having played the Adagio as slowly as he dares, he brings a touch of urgency to the finale which I particularly like, giving that movement a sharper character than we often hear and making it a livelier foil to what has gone before. His ritenuto at the end of the Adagio is the only feature of his performance I don't care for.

Nicholas Shackleton writes interestingly in the Oiseau-Lyre leaflet about the characteristics of the late eighteenth-century Viennese instruments of the clarinet family. Peculiar to them, he says, is a better tone in the chalumeau register than contemporary instruments elsewhere possess, and he surmises that Stadler's basset-clarinet would almost certainly have had several of the extra keys that are such an aid to fluency and intonation in the basset register. The basset heard on this record was constructed according to these principles. It seems to me a triumphant success, and in respect of the intonation and firmness of its lowest notes demonstrably superior to what we hear on the other recordings.

Michel Piguet's account of the Oboe Concerto is the work of a remarkable scholar-performer. It draws strength from a through going reconsideration of the text and of various aspects of the classical style—articulation, tempo, cadenzas, the performance of decorative appoggiaturas—and it deserves more comment than I can now give it. But it is not, I think, quite so successful a performance as that of the Clarinet Concerto. Though beautifully played, on a powerful instrument made five years after Mozart composed the piece, there is an air of deliberation about some of the detailing which suggests to me a seeker still going about his quest—or perhaps a scholar trying to prove something. Uncommonly interesting listening none the less, and by no means a disappointment. S.P

Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622
[1] I. Allegro 12:23
[2] II. Adagio 7:55
[3] III. Rondo (Allegro) 8:30

Oboe Concerto in C, K.314 (reconstruction from Concerto K.314/285d)
[4] I. Allegro aperto 6:44
[5] II. Adagio non troppo 5:25
[6] III. Rondo (Allegretto) 5:51

Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Christopher Hogwood
Antony Pay (basset cl); Michel Piguet (ob)
Recorded at Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London UK in September, 1984
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---

W.A. Mozart - Flute and Harp Concerto, K299; Bassoon Concerto, K191; Flute Concerto No.1, K313

A little over six months ago, Hans-Martin Linde's Mozart, the first recording of the flute concertos on period instruments, appeared on EMI, and with it a cautious recommendation from SS. Hogwood's Academy have followed with the second in a more seductive compilation more beguilingly played; though, so far as the flute concerto is concerned, I cannot applaud very much more loudly.

The Concerto, K313 does have a much sharper profile and cleaner contours, largely because of the firm and very audible harpsichord direction of Hogwood himself, as compared with Linde's own soft-focus direction. But, although the orchestral playing is more incisive, even acerbic at times, Lisa Beznosiuk's flute playing is hardly less retiring than Linde's. The orchestra have to make rapid decrescendos to allow it to surface and, although her slow movement, with its quicker appoggiaturas, has a spritely grace which Linde's lacks, it still points to the need for soloists to soak themselves in Mozart's vocal arias before they attempt his instrumental ones.
Beznosiuk's cadenzas are neater, more spry and to the point than Linde's; and her Andante in C is an unmitigated delight. Whereas Linde was all but submerged by the string textures, Hogwood finds proper balance and Beznosiuk herself a fragile, most affecting poise in highly sensitive phrasing.

Hogwood's acute ear for balance of texture has much to offer the Flute and Harp Concerto, too. Its lively, transparent chamber music-making arrests the attention long before the soloists enter; and when they do, it is a joy to hear such weightless, fluently articulated harp playing as Francis Kelly's, which delights in every possible opportunity for the play of chiaroscuro with the flute.

There are uneven moments in this recording, and it is at times dogged by that relentlessly over-emphatic sense of rhythm which is a Hogwood trademark. It is, without doubt, its overall compilation which commends it, and Danny Bond's witty Bassoon Concerto completes a programme as balanced in repertoire as it is in ensemble and in quality of recording. Hilary Finch

Flute and Harp Concerto, K299
[1] I Allegro 10.45
[2] II Andantino 8.28
[3] III Rondeau: Allegro 9.40
[4] Andante in C, K315 5.34

Bassoon Concerto, K191
[5] I Allegro 6:02
[6] II Andante ma adagio 5:36
[7] III Rondo: Tempo di menuetto 4:04

Flute Concerto No.1, K313
[8] I Allegro maestoso 8:24
[9] II Adagio ma non troppo 8:24
[10] III Rondo: Tempo di menuetto 7:37

The Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Christopher Hogwood
Lisa Beznosiuk (flute), Frances Kelly (harp), Danny Bond (bassoon)
Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, London UK in September, 1986 & January, 1987

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Butch Morris - Conduction 11

Comprovisation and Conduction are terms developed by Morris to classify his system of conducting improvised music. I thought this would make an interesting contrast to the Gil Evans. Check older posts also for a Morris/David Murray collaboration. He puts me in mind of Varese, at least on this recording.

Morris first became known as a lyrical, round-toned (if roughly hewn) free jazz cornetist. As his career progressed, his cornet playing took a back seat to his bandleading; Morris invented a style of organized group improvisation that's been dubbed "Comprovisation," an elision of composition and improvisation. Morris' organization relied on a conducting technique that he calls "Conduction." Conduction is basically a manner of shaping an improvised performance by using hand signals (an idea that was expanded upon by the lesser-known New York saxophonist/composer Walter Thompson).

Morris was originally a free jazz player. In California in the early '70s, Morris played with such notables as his brother, the bassist Wilber Morris, pianist/composer Horace Tapscott, trumpeter Bobby Bradford, and tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe. In the mid-'70s, Morris worked around New York City with the likes of baritone saxophonists Charles Tyler and Hamiet Bluiett and tenor saxophonist David Murray. ... The relationship with Murray would bear further fruit; Morris continued to play and record with the saxophonist for several years. Morris began directing Murray's large ensembles, which led to the development of his Conduction technique. Murray's big band music in the '80s was marked by Morris' presence as conductor.

In the '80s, Morris continued to perform and record on cornet, sometimes under his own leadership, but mostly with Murray, Lowe, and the violinist Billy Bang. Gradually, however, his manner of spontaneous composition became his primary creative outlet.

In the '90s, Morris became quite well-known in certain circles for his Conductions; his work began receiving attention outside the realm of jazz. He worked with artists from other disciplines -- theatre, dance, and film -- and began receiving monetary support from arts organizations like the national Endowment for the Arts and the Mary Flagler Cary Trust. By the end of the '90s, Morris had established himself as a major figure in New Music, performing his Conductions and lecturing all over the world. ~ Chris Kelsey

1. Conduction #11, Pt. 1
2. Conduction #11, Pt. 2

Buona Pasqua a Carlo e Paola

Gil Evans - Live At The Public Theater Vol. II

The second of two Gil Evans LPs originally recorded for the Japanese Trio label and put out in the United States on the now-defunct Black-Hawk company features the veteran arranger leading a 14-piece group at a pair of 1980 concerts. The five selections (which include Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free," Charles Mingus' "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress" and Evans's "Zee Zee") are given colorful treatment by the unique band, which consists of three keyboardists, a rhythm section propelled by drummer Billy Cobham, three trumpets (Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis and Hannibal Marvin Peterson), two trombones (including George Lewis), John Clark on French horn, baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and altoist Arthur Blythe. Although the end results do not quite live up to the potential of this unique ensemble, there are plenty of colorful moments. ~ Scott Yanow

Gil Evans (piano)
Hamiet Bluiett (alto flute, baritone sax)
Arthur Blythe (alto, soprano sax)
Jon Faddis (trumpet)
Lew Soloff (trumpet)
George Lewis (trombone)
Dave Bargeron (trombone, tuba)
Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson (trumpet)
Billy Cobham (drums)

1. Copenhagen Sight
2. Zee Zee
3. Sirhan's Blues
4. Stone Free
5. Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk

The Public Theater, New York: February 8 & 9, 1980

Terry Gibbs - The Latin Connection

Vibraphonist Terry Gibbs sounds fine on this Latin jazz date, which also includes altoist Frank Morgan, pianist Sonny Bravo, bassist Bobby Rodriguez and three percussionists, including Tito Puente playing timbales on three of the nine numbers. Most of the tunes are bop and swing standards (such as"Scrapple From the Apple," "Groovin' High," "Good Bait" and "Sing, Sing, Sing") and have excellent spots for Gibbs, Morgan and the percussion section. A fine date. ~ Scott Yanow

Terry Gibbs (vibes)
Frank Morgan (alto sax)
Tito Puente (timbales)
Sonny Bravo (piano)
Bobby Rodriguez (bass)
Jose Madera (conga, perc)
Johnny Rodriguez (bongo, perc)
Orestes Vilato (timbales)

1. Scrapple From The Apple
2. For Keeps
3. Groovin' High
4. Chelsea Bridge
5. Sing Sing Sing
6. Kick Those Feet
7. Good Bait
8. Flamingo
9. Sweet Young Song Of Love

Berkeley, California: May 9-10, 1986

Roy Eldridge - Live at the Three Deuces Club (1937)

Trumpeter Roy Eldridge's octet, which recorded six songs in Jan. 1937, is heard on this LP stretching out during a couple of radio broadcasts from later that year. Actually, despite the fine playing of altoists Joe Eldridge and Scoops Carey, tenor Dave Young and the four-piece rhythm section, the focus is generally on the exciting trumpeter/leader. The recording quality is erratic but the performances are often quite heated with Eldridge showing what he learned from listening to Louis Armstrong, most notably how to build a solo gradually up to a high note. Highlights include "Little Jazz," "Basin Street Blues," "Heckler's Hop" and "Chinatown, My Chinatown." - Scott Yanow

Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Joe Eldridge (alto sax)
Scoops Carey (alto sax, clarinet)
Dave Young (tenor sax)
Teddy Cole (piano)
John Collins (guitar)
Truck Parham (bass)
Zutty Singleton (drums)
  1. Minor Jive
  2. Little Jazz
  3. After You've Gone
  4. Mr. Ghost Goes to Town
  5. Swing Is Here
  6. Basin Street Blues
  7. I Never Knew
  8. Heckler's Hop
  9. Exactly Like You
  10. Deuces Medley: I Surrender Dear/Marie/Peckin'/I Got Rhythm
  11. Chinatown, My Chinatown

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Anita O'Day - Vol.2: 1941-1942 (Masters Of Jazz)

Volume 1 is yet to come, and Dudearonymous has already brought us Volume 4. Sam Musiker appeared previously in the Tanz! post.

" This is Volume Two in the Masters Of Jazz Anita O'Day chronological order series. Featuring all of Anita's performances with Gene Krupa and of course Roy Eldridge. Good sound quality, alternate takes, and rare radio transcriptions are just a few of the highlights, get volume one 1941 also. This is the most complete set of Anita's recordings with Krupa's band, when she even then was a marvelous jazz vocalists, scatting and swinging, and even improvising.

You've heard one version of some these songs before --"Stop! The Red Light's On," "Let Me Off Uptown," etc. This CD gives you some alternate versions that are well worth hearing, too. If you're an O'Day fan, you can begin collecting the entire set with this one, then move on. The sound quality is excellent."

Anita O'Day (vocals)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Gene Krupa (drums)
Sam Musiker (clarinet, alto sax)
Milt Raskin (piano)
Ray Biondi (guitar)
Joe Springer (piano)

1. Two In Love
2. Stop! The Red Light's On
3. How Do?
4. Coppin' A Plea
5. Bolero At The Savoy
6. Let Me Off Uptown
7. Thanks For The Boogie Ride
8. Skylark
9. Bolero At The Savoy
10. Thanks For The Boogie Ride
11. Thanks For The Boogie Ride
12. Pass The Bounce
13. Thanks For The Boogie Ride
14. Side By Side
15. Side By Side
16. Harlem On Parade
17. Harlem On Parade
18. Fightin' Doug MacArthur
19. Thats What You Think
20. Barrelhouse Bessie From Basin Street
21. Deliver Me To Tennessee
22. Thats What You Think

Art Farmer Quintet - Manhattan

I don't think I've ever heard an Art Farmer performance that I didn't like. Like so many technically and creatively talented musicians, Farmer had to leave the U.S. to get steady work. Farmer moved to Vienna to work in a Radio band: I know that he did stuff with Varese and such, and he teamed up with expatriate Americans as well. And these were no scrubs - Shihab, Drew and Thigpen were well established; the bass player is unfamiliar to me, but considering that Farmer later took on Eric von Essen, we know that his standards were high.

"Art Farmer's singularly beautiful tone on flugelhorn and trumpet, combined with his highly lyrical approach to improvisation, led to a luminous jazz career from the 1950s until his death in 1999. Though the work of his formative years as a second generation be-bopper was somewhat overshadowed at the time, he consistently brought forth inspired and refined jazz with a succession of small ensembles over the decades, and is particularly well known for the music he recorded while touring in Europe in the late 1950s."

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Sahib Shihab (soprano, baritone sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Mads Vinding (bass)
Ed Thigpen (drums)

1. Context
2. Blue Wail
3. Manhattan
4. Passport
5. Arrival
6. Back Door Beauty

Milan, Italy, November 29-30, 1981

Langston Hughes - Weary Blues

In discussion with Chuchuni earlier today, I learned that Langston Hughes was, among other things, actively involved in the Spanish Republican war against Fascism; Chuchuni often makes me aware of interesting stuff. So here is a small tribute to both men. The topic is not, however, the Spanish Civil War but was as close as I could get. Side note: Benny Goodman was also vocally anti-Fascist enough that pro-Franco protesters were picketing outside of his now famous Carnegie Hall concert in '38.

This was originally a program piece that was divided by the two sides of the LP; the Leonard Feather/Red Allen side, and the Hughes/Parlan side. As is mentioned in the notes, the poetry was still seen as valid at the time of the recording by the likes of Jayne Cortez (known to some as Mrs. Ornette Coleman) who used it in independent jazz-and-poetry performances.

One thing to note - although there is a tracklist, EAC ripped this as one large file.

"Bitter-sweet poems of protest and joy by that fine African American poet Langston Hughes read to a surging cadence Of jazz composed in part by Leonard Feather and in part by (Charles Mingus and played by the Horace Parlan Trio and an All-Star Sextet. A remarkable performance, now available in its entirety after a long abscence from the catologue."

Tracks 1-7 are arranged and conducted by Leonard Feather
Red Allen (trumpet)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
Sam "The Man" Taylor (tenor sax, clarinet)
Al Williams (piano)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)

Tracks 8-15 led by Horace Parlan and are all Mingus compositions.
Langston Hughes (voice)
Shafi Hadi (tenor sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Horace Parlan (piano)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Kenny Dennis (drums)

1. Blues Montage
2. Opening Blues
3. Blues Montage
4. Commercial Theater
5. Morning After
6. Could Be
7. Testament

8. Consider Me
9. The Stranger
10. Midnight Stroll
11. Backstage
12. Dream Montage
13. Weird Nightmare
14. Double G Train
15. Jump Monk

New York: March 18, 1958

John Lewis - Kansas City Breaks

Violinist Joe Kennedy Jr. is family to American royalty; he's Benny Carter's cousin.

The music on this LP has been reissued several times since its initial release. This was the last record by John Lewis' sextet before it broke up; at the time the Modern Jazz Quartet was beginning to appear again on a fulltime basis. Lewis picked an interesting variety of sidemen (flutist Frank Wess, violinist Joe Kennedy, guitarist Howard Collins, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Shelly Manne) for his group and together they perform a set of his originals that (tonal variations aside) are not all that different from what one might have heard by the MJQ at the time. "Django," the blues "D&E" and the title cut are among the more memorable selections. The interplay and blend between flute and violin are the main reasons to search for this set. ~ Scott Yanow

John Lewis (piano)
Frank Wess (flute)
Joe Kennedy, Jr. (violin)
Howard Collins (guitar)
Marc Johnson (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Django
2. Sacha's March
3. Lyonhead
4. Winter Tale
5. Valeria
6. D & E
7. Kansas City Breaks
8. Milano

Laurindo Almeida & Bud Shank - 1958 Brazilliance, Vol. 2

Originally published in Pacific World as Holiday In Brazil (1-10) and Latin Contrasts (11-20)

Five years after guitarist Laurindo Almeida and altoist Bud Shank had a regular quartet, documented what could be considered the first bossa nova recordings (Brazilliance, Vol. 1), and then disbanded, they had a reunion. This CD reissue features Almeida, Shank (now doubling on flute), bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Chuck Flores once again combining Brazilian rhythms and folk melodies with cool bop improvising. This time around, the arrangements are not as restrictive, Shank's solos are longer, and the jazz content sometimes overrides the Brazilian elements. The music is still quite enjoyable (the very complementary Almeida and Shank would join together again in the 1970s as the L.A. Four) if not as historical; both volumes are highly recommended.
Scott Yanow

01. Simpatico (S. Wilson) 2:55
02. Rio Rhapsody (Laurindo Almeida - Radamés Gnattali) 3:38
03. Nocturno (Laurindo Almeida) 3:31
04. Little Girl Blue (Richard Rodgers - Lorenz Hart) 2:39
05. Choro In A (Laurindo Almeida) 2:31
06. Mood Antigua (Bud Shank) 4:04
07. The Color Of Her Hair (Laurindo Almeida) 1:57
08. Loneyly (Laurindo Almeida - Bud Shank) 3:53
09. I Didn't Know What Time It Was (Richard Rodgers - Lorenz Hart) 2:46
10.Carioca Hills (Laurindo Almeida) 3:05
11. Harlem Samba (Laurindo Almeida) 2:23
12. North Of The Border (Laurindo Almeida) 2:38
13. Sunset Baion (Laurindo Almeida) 2:02
14. 'Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk - Bernie Hanighen - Cootie Williams) 3:52
15. Toro Dance (Bud Shank) 2:51
16. Serenade For Alto (Laurindo Almeida) 3:34
17. Xana-Lyn (Bud Shank) 3:28
18. Blowing Wild (Webster - Dimitri Tiomkin) 3:27
19. Gershwin Prelude (George Gershwin) 3:56
20. Waltz Frio Y Calor (Bud Shank) 3:20

Bud Shank (alto saxophone, flute)
Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Gary Peacock (bass)
Chuck Flores (drums)

Laurindo Almeida & Bud Shank - 1953 Brazilliance, Vol. 1

More than seven years before Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd introduced the bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim to American audiences; guitarist Laurindo Almeida and altoist Bud Shank (in a quartet with bassist Harry Babasin and drummer Roy Harte) recorded the intriguing music heard on this CD reissue. The performances are very close to bossa nova in their combination of cool-toned jazz and Brazilian rhythms; in fact, these are arguably the first bossa nova recordings, long before even Jobim and Joao Gilberto initially recorded. Only four of the 14 tunes ("Speak Low" is heard in two versions) are not based on Brazilian folk songs, and many of the songs (particularly "Carinoso") are quite memorable. This historically significant, very accessible, and highly recommended release is a gem.
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

01 Atabaque (Radamés Gnattali)
02 Amor flamenco (Laurindo Almeida)
03 Stairway to heaven (Matt Malneck/Mitchell Parish, Frank Signorelli)
04 Acertate mas (Osvaldo Farres)
05 Terra seca (Ary Barroso)
06 Speak low (Kurt Weill, Ogden Nash)
07 Speak low (Alternate take) (Kurt Weill, Ogden Nash)
08 Inquietação (Ary Barroso)
09 Baa-Too-Kee (Laurindo Almeida, Dante Varela)
10 Carinhoso (Pixinguinha, João de Barro)
11 Tocata (Radamés Gnattali)
12 Hazardous (Richard Hazard)
13 Nonô (Romualdo Peixoto)
14 Noctambulism (Harry Babasin)
15 Blue baião (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

Laurindo Almeida Guitar
Chuck Flores Drums
Gary Peacock Bass
Bud Shank Sax (Alto)
Harry Babasin Bass

Recorded in Los Angeles, California from April 15-22, 1953. Originally released on Pacific Jazz (1204) except #7 which was released on Pacific Jazz (JWC-500)

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Many Faces of Bird (1987)

For its Charlie Parker program, the Jazzvisions folk assembled a team of three alto saxophonists from one generation -- James Moody, Bud Shank, Lee Konitz -- and another from the next generation, Richie Cole, in order to wail on a string of Bird's tunes, plus "April In Paris." Then, in a moment of semi-inspired lunacy, they invited Bobby McFerrin, practically an instrumentalist himself, to produce some off-the-wall scatting solos that are clearly the biggest hit with the Wiltern Theatre crowd. This is not Supersax -- all four altos play themes in unison -- and they do not deviate much from Parker's basic bebop style in their individual solos. It is difficult to tell exactly who is playing what in the audio versions; presumably there is no such problem with the video versions, and of course, you can't mistake McFerrin for anything else! Pianist Lou Levy, bassist Monty Budwig, and drummer John Guerin provide super-reliable bop underpinning for this five-format (CD, LP, cassette, laserdisc, VHS video) release. - Richard S. Ginell

Richie Cole, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Bud Shank (alto sax)
Bobby McFerrin (voice)
Lou Levy (piano)
Monty Budwig (bass)
John Guerin (drums)
  1. Intro by Rich Hall
  2. April in Paris
  3. Scrapple from the Apple
  4. Billie's Bounce
  5. Yardbird Suite
  6. Moose the Mooche

Bud Shank and Bill Perkins - Bud Shank and Bill Perkins

Two of the stars of cool jazz (both of whom had long careers), Bud Shank and Bill Perkins, are featured to various degrees throughout this 1998 CD reissue. Shank, who during the 1980's and 90's stuck exclusively to his increasingly passionate alto, in the 1950's was practically the epitome of West Coast jazz. His cool tones on alto and his fluid flute were utilized on many dates; the main set on this CD also finds him switching in spots to tenor and baritone. Perkins, always a versatile reed soloist, is best-known for his tenor playing but during that date he also plays alto and (on two versions of "Fluted Columns) there are some rare examples of his flute. Shank and Perkins team up quite effectively with pianist Hampton Hawes, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Mel Lewis for the May 2, 1955 session which includes a trio feature for Hawes ("I Hear Music"). Four numbers from Feb. 19, 1956 (with Shank on flute and alto, pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Carson Smith, drummer Shelly Manne and, on "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime," Perkins on tenor) are actually from a session led by Freeman but never completed and were only put out previously on samplers. "Angel Eyes" (by a quartet with Perkins and pianist Jimmy Rowles) is a leftover track from a later date as is "Sonny Speaks" which showcases Rowles in a trio without Perkins. This CD concludes with the one surviving number ("Ain't Got A Dime To My Name") surviving from a truncated Perkins quartet set from 1958. Taken as a whole, there are many rewarding solos to be heard by Shank, Perkins and the piano players on these formerly rare selections even if the CD falls short of being classic. ~ Scott Yanow

Bud Shank (flute, alto, tenor, baritone sax)
Bill Perkins (flute, alto, and tenor sax)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Carson Smith (bass)
Ben Tucker (bass)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Paradise
2. Fluted Columns
3. I Hear Music
4. Royal Garden Blues
5. A Sinner Kissed An Angel
6. It Had To Be You
7. Fluted Columns (alt)
8. I Hear Music (Trio Version)
9. Brother, Can You Spare A Dime
10. Blues In The Night
11. Bojangles Of Harlem
12. It's A New World
13. Angel Eyes
14. Sonny Speaks
15. Ain't Got A Dime To My Name

Bud Shank & Shorty Rogers - Yesterday, Today, and Forever (1983)

Bud Shank, the alto saxophonist who was a key figure in the West Coast jazz scene of the 1950s, has died. He was 82. Shank died Thursday night at his home in Tucson of pulmonary failure, friends said.

A versatile musician with an adventurous nature, Shank also played flute and -- during a productive period of studio work -- had pivotal solos on the popular 1960s pop tunes "California Dreamin' " by the Mamas and the Papas and "Windy" by the Association. He had an early interest in music without borders, playing and recording with Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida several years before the Bossa Nova craze. In 1962, he recorded an album with Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar.

For many, however, he is best known for his work in Los Angeles with Stan Kenton starting in the late 1940s, followed by his association with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars at the fabled Lighthouse Cafe jazz club in Hermosa Beach.Born Clifford Everett Shank Jr. in Dayton, Ohio, on May 27, 1926, Shank was raised on a farm. He started playing clarinet at 10 and tenor saxophone at 12. He was a music major at the University of North Carolina but quit school to go on the road with a band that broke up after just a few weeks.

He decided to try his luck in Los Angeles instead of returning to the classroom. While rooming with a couple of other young musicians, he added flute to his repertoire, picking up lessons from a roommate who was learning from a professional instructor.

Shank was in bands led by Charlie Barnet and Alvino Rey before joining Kenton's new Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra in the early 1950s. Kenton's group featured a who's who of West Coast jazz talent, including Art Pepper, Shelly Manne, Bob Cooper, Shorty Rogers and Almeida.

Despite the talent, however, the end result was far less than it could have been. Author Ted Gioia wrote in "West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California, 1945-1960" that the band "often sagged under the weight of Kenton's Wagnerian ambitions." Shank also expressed mixed feelings about the group. "That band was too clumsy to swing -- because of the instrumentation and voicings. On the other hand the sounds that came out of it were really big noises, really impressive. That's what that band was all about, making these really big noises. As far as swinging, it never did swing," Shank told jazz writer Gene Lees. Shank joined the Lighthouse All-Stars in August 1953 and stayed with them until early January 1956.

According to jazz writer Doug Ramsey, who wrote an essay that became the booklet for the Mosaic label boxed set "The Pacific Jazz Bud Shank Studio Sessions," Shank's major contribution to the All-Stars was as a "first-rank alto player." "But he also played flute to Bob Cooper's oboe," Ramsey said. "He and Cooper did an album playing flute and oboe, and from that point on the flute became a substantial part of his arsenal."

Shank led his own quartet from 1956 until 1963 and recorded a number of albums for the World Pacific and Pacific Jazz labels from the mid-1950s to the late '60s. He spent much of the '60s working as a studio musician for a diverse array of recordings and film scores, including the original version of "The Thomas Crown Affair," "The Sandpiper" and "The Summer of '42." He also scored the Bruce Brown surfing movies "Slippery When Wet" and "Barefoot Adventure."

In the 1970s, he, bassist Ray Brown, Almeida and a revolving cast of drummers played in the L.A. Four, which fused "cool-toned bop, Brazilian-oriented music and ballads," jazz writer Scott Yanow wrote in the "All Music Guide to Jazz." Some critics didn't know what to think of the sound and dismissed it as bland. The group recorded eight albums for Concord Records before disbanding in the early 1980s.

For much of his career, Shank believed that the musical accomplishments of the West Coast jazz era -- his own and his colleagues' -- were underappreciated. His playing over the last 30 years took on a harder-edged, more powerful sound more reminiscent of Phil Woods than Lee Konitz. He also dropped the flute and concentrated primarily on the alto sax.

His last gig in the Los Angeles area was at the Jazz Bakery in January. Survivors include his wife, Linda. Information on services was not immediately available. Los Angeles Times

Other than an album cut for the Japanese Atlas album the previous month, this was trumpeter Shorty Rogers' first jazz record in 20 years; he had worked in the interim as a fulltime studio arranger. Rogers is in pretty good form on the quintet date although occasionally overshadowed by altoist Bud Shank (who doubles on flute). The rhythm section (pianist George Cables, bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Roy McCurdy) is excellent, the repertoire (highlighted by "Budo," Tiny Kahn's "TNT," "Wagon Wheels" and Shorty's "Have You Hugged A Martian Today") is full of vehicles for swinging improvisations and the musicians sound fairly inspired. Recommended.
Scott Yanow

Bud Shank (alto sax, flute
Shorty Rogers (flugelhorn, trumpet)
George Cables (piano)
Bob Magnusson (bass
Roy McCurdy (drums)

1 Budo (Davis, Powell) 5:09
2 Blood Count (Strayhorn) 6:27
3 Yesturday, Today and Forever (Rogers) 7:29
4 TNT (Kahn) 4:14
5 Wagon Wheels (DeRose, Hill) 8:08
6 Lotus Bud (Rogers) 5:21
7 Have You Hugged Your Martian Today (Rogers) 6:47

Recorded at Sage & Sound Recording, Hollywood, CA in June, 1983

Randy Weston - Uhuru Afrika and Highlife

Sahib Shihab, Olatunji, Max Roach ... it's funny when they refer to his 12 piece group as "stripped down". If you have the Weston Mosaic Select, you'll have these already.

After signing with Riverside in 1954, Weston led his own trios and quartets and attained a prominent reputation as a composer, contributing jazz standards like "Hi-Fly" and "Little Niles" to the repertoire. He also met arranger Melba Liston, who has collaborated with Weston off and on into the 1990s. Weston's interest in his roots was stimulated by extended stays in Africa; he visited Nigeria in 1961 and 1963, lived in Morocco from 1968 to 1973 following a tour, and has remained fascinated with the music and spiritual values of the continent ever since.

Randy Weston (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Sahib Shihab (alto sax, baritone sax)
Gigi Gryce (alto sax, flute)
Yusef Lateef (tenor sax, flute, oboe)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Benny Bailey (trumpet)
Richard Williams (trumpet)
Slide Hampton (trombone)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Julius Watkins (French-horn)
Budd Johnson (tenor sax, clarinet)
Jerome Richardson (baritone sax, piccolo)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Les Spann (guitar, flute)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
George Duvivier (bass)
Ron Carter (bass)
Max Roach (drums, percussion)
Charlie Persip (drums, percussion)
G. T. Hogan (drums, percussion)
Candido (congas)
Michael Babatunde Olatunji (percussion)
Armando Peraza (bongos)
Martha Flowers (vocal)
Brock Peters (vocal)
Melba Liston (arrangements)

Randy Weston (piano)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Budd Johnson (soprano sax, tenor sax)
Ray Copeland (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Aaron Bell (tuba)
Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Julius Watkins (French-horn)
Peck Morrison (bass)
Charlie Persip (drums)
Frankie Dunlop (percussion)
Archie Lee (congas)
George Young (percussion)
Melba Liston (arrangements)

1. Uhuru Kwansa
2. African Lady
3. Bantu
4. Kucheza Blues
6. Caban Bamboo Highlife
7. Niger Mambo
8. Zulu
9. In Memory Of
10. Congolese Children
11. Blues To Africa
12. Mystery Of Love

Duke Ellington - Piano In The Foreground

Piano In The Foreground, recorded in the late 1950s and early '60s, features the legendary Duke Ellington in a rare trio setting. Oddly enough, it wasn't often that Ellington blatantly promoted his skills as a pianist; his instrument was the orchestra itself. But in addition to his achievements as a composer, arranger, and bandleader, Ellington was also an undeniably gifted piano player whose approach to the instrument was both technically remarkable and unique.

Ellington's pianistic style may seem anachronistic by today's standards; he never embraced the advanced harmonies of bebop and always maintained his stride roots. Yet somehow he still sounds thoroughly modern on Piano In The Foreground. Perhaps it is his highly rhythmic lines that poke out of the groove. Or it may be his bold use of the blues, his thoughtful use of dynamics, or his ability to play spaciously. Whatever it is, Ellington's musical voice is strong, and each tune on Piano In The Foreground sparkles with innovation and creative energy. Highlights include an angular, almost avant-garde version of "Summertime" and a stately "Body and Soul." The seven bonus tracks heard on this reissue are an extra treat.

This rare trio session by Duke Ellington (on which he is joined by bassist Aaron Bell and drummer Sam Woodyard was the first of several in the early '60s that featured his piano in a variety of settings. It is particularly interesting hearing Ellington performing some of his rarer compositions such as "Cong-Go," "Fontainebleau Forest," {"It's Bad to Be Forgotten," and "A Hundred Dreams Ago." There are also beautiful renditions of three standards "I Can't Get Started," "Body and Soul," and "Summertime," and a blues ("Blues for Jerry" is performed as well. One wishes that, when playing the Duke Ellington songbook, today's revivalists would bring back some of his true obscurities such as the ones on this somewhat forgotten session. [The 2004 remaster by Sony s Legacy imprint features crisp sound, and also includes an intimate read of Billy Strayhorn s "Lotus Blossom," two takes of "All the Things You Are," and four revealing piano improvisations ] ~ Scott Yanow and Thom Jurek

Duke Ellington (piano)
Aaron Bell (bass)
Sam Woodyard (drums)

1. I Can't Get Started
2. Cong-Go
3. Body And Soul
4. Blues For Jerry
5. Fontainebleau Forest
6. Summertime
7. It's Bad To Be Forgotten
8. A Hundred Dreams Ago
9. So
10. Searching (Pleading For Love)
11. Springtime In Africa
12. Lotus Blossom
13. All The Things You Are (take 1)
14. All The Things You Are (take 2)
15. Piano Improvisation No. 2
16. Piano Improvisation No. 3
17. Piano Improvisation No. 4
18. Piano Improvisation No. 1

Randy Weston - With These Hands

This CD reissues one of pianist Randy Weston's lesser-known sets. Weston, who already had a fairly distinctive style, mostly sticks to standards (which is quite unusual for him), including "The Man I Love," "This Can't Be Love" and "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me." A quartet is featured that also includes baritonist Cecil Payne (who would be a longtime associate), bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummer Wilbert Hogan. However, the date does include two of Weston's originals and is actually highlighted by the debut of his famous "Little Niles." ~ Scott Yanow

Randy Weston (piano)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass)
Wilbert G.T. Hogan (drums)

1 - The Man I Love
2 - Serenade in Blue
3 - I Can't Get Started
4 - This Can't Be Love
5 - These Foolish Things
6 - Lifetime
7 - This Can't Be Love
8 - Little Niles

Emmanuelle Bertrand Plays Bloch

Here's a followup to my offering last week, another excellent and beautiful performance by the young superstar cellist, Emmanuelle Bertrand. Here she is joined by pianist Pascal Amoyel playing some very meditative and lyrical 20th Century music by Ernest Bloch.

Biography by Joseph Stevenson
A highly individual composer, Ernest Bloch did not pioneer any new style in music but spoke with a distinctive voice into which he could assimilate folk influences, 12-tone technique, and even coloristic quarter tones. In a stylistically atomized century his interests were universal, and his music was both beloved by the public and inspirational for a younger and more academically oriented generation. ./..

Randy Weston - Monterey '66

The 1966 farewell concert of pianist Randy Weston's sextet was recorded at the Monterey Jazz Festival, but for some reason languished unreleased until 1993. Weston has cited this group -- featuring trumpeter Ray Copeland, baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne, bassist Bill Wood, drummer Lenny McBrowne, and conga player Big Black -- as his best, but it only remained together for three years. Tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin, a crucial element in the original band, was listed as special guest, only because he had already formed his own new group. All compositions are Weston originals and feature a strong African thematic influence. The 25-minute heated finale is the percussion laden "African Cookbook," in which everyone contributes strong and inspired soloing. ~ Al Campbell

Randy Weston (piano)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Ray Copeland (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Big Black (conga)
Bill Wood (bass)
Lenny McBrowne (drums)

1. Introduction By Jimmy Lyons
2. The Call
3. Afro Black
4. Little Niles
5. Portrait Of Vivian
6. Berkshire Blues
7. Blues For Strayhorn
8. African Cookbook

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ike Turner - Rocks The Blues

"the greatest guitar record of all time" ~ Lester Bangs

Seen strictly as a musician, Ike Turner was a monster: how many people can you name who played guitar on early B.B. King and was the piano player on King's first #1 hit? who is credited with producing the first rock n' roll tune? mentoring Elvis, Janis, Jimi, Prince? Was the other band at Altamont?

This 2 CD Japanese compilation features Ike in a variety of settings, both fronting his own band and playing as a bandmember for a number of performers he discovered in his secondary role as talent scout.

There is no denying Ike Turners place in musical history. While the general public may know about his heyday with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue during the 60s (a meteroic rise to fame that peaked with their early 70 hits Proud Mary and Nutbush City Limits), only hardcore Ike fans and jump blues enthusiasts are aware of him spearheading the formative years of rock n roll with the 1951 hit Rocket 88 (cut in Memphis by his Kings of Rhythm but issued on Chicagos Chess Records label under the name Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats). Few know of Turners role as a kind of super talent scout of the South during the 1950s for both the Chess brothers of Chicagos Chess Records or the Bihari brothers of Los Angeles Modern/RPM Records. Fewer still know of Ikes participation on several early 50s RPM recordings by B.B. King (including his piano accompaniment on Kings 1951 hit Three OClock Blues and his 1952 followup You Know I Love You), his playing second guitar on classic 1958 Cobra sessions for Buddy Guy and Otis Rush (including Rushs signature pieces Double Trouble and All Your Love (I Miss Loving)), or hammering the 88s behind the likes of Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Little Walter, and Willie Dixon during the 1950s.

While playing as a house pianist in West Memphis "blacks only" blues clubs, Ike often snuck In a young white truck driver to sit next to the piano to study Ike's boogie style and dance moves: thsat kid was Elvis Presley.

In the 1960's, Ike's influence on several of the most recognized names in Rock continued: Janis Joplin sought Turner for vocal coaching, and a young Jimi Hendrix played in Ike's Kings of Rhythm for a time. As a teenager, Bonnie Bramlett was briefly a member of the Ikettes, prior to starting her own rise to stardom a few years later.

Bud Powell - Budism

In April of '62 the Gyllende Cirklen, elsewhere known as the Golden Circle, opened up in Stockholm and one of the first performers was Bud Powell. Bud was an expatriate at this point in his life, and was dealing daily with the mental problems that had beset him in varying degrees for much of his adult life. He was, naturally, lionized by the knowing European jazz community and was booked for later in the year as well; a September date that was, like the April residence, extended beyonfd the original contract.

A young fan named Jan Forsby brought, on both occasions, a tape recorder which was placed under the piano, and initially much of that material was released on a series of 5 CDs. Some years ago the fan - who was by now Dr. Forsby - mentioned that he had an additional number of tapes, and those comprise the present 3 CD set; material that has been selected from the new cache and that has not appeared on the earlier series.

So, what do we have? Given that anything we have of Bud from this period is of radio or club performance - with the unusual exception of a studio session done for the Sonet label - we have a solid few hours of Bud Powell performing in a supportive setting and performing his repertoire in several versions and in lengths of up to 14 minutes: there's a lot to get lost in. Bud was in the occasional habit of finishing a tune and then calling it again right away. Why? We can only guess and maybe even he didn't know, but the point is that we get to see Bud holding up an object and looking at it various ways. Considering the fact that every newly discovered tape of, say, Coltrane farting in the shower is heralded as a major discovery, we can be grateful for these unsophisticated tapes of a man that slipped in and out of conventional lucidity. But what matter for lucidity? The man was Bud Powell.

Bud Powell (piano)
Torbjörn Hultcrantz (bass)
Sune Spångberg (drums)

"Gyllende Cirklen", Stockholm, Sweden: 1962

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wingy Manone - 1939-1940 (Chronological 1023)

Wingy Manone was an excellent Dixieland trumpeter whose jivey vocals were popular and somewhat reminiscent of his contemporary, Louis Prima. He had lost his right arm in a streetcar accident when he was ten, but Manone (who Joe Venuti once gave one cuff link for a Christmas present) never appeared to be handicapped in public (effectively using an artificial arm). He played trumpet in riverboats starting when he was 17, was with the Crescent City Jazzers (which later became the Arcadian Serenaders) in Alabama, and made his recording debut with the group in the mid-'20s. He worked in many territory bands throughout the era before recording as a leader in 1927 in New Orleans. By the following year, Manone was in Chicago and soon relocated to New York, touring with theater companies. His "Tar Paper Stomp" in 1930 used a riff that later became the basis for "In the Mood." In 1934, Manone began recording on a regular basis and after he had a hit with "The Isle of Capri" in 1935, he became a very popular attraction. Among his sidemen on his 1935-1941 recordings were Matty Matlock, Eddie Miller, Bud Freeman, Jack Teagarden, Joe Marsala, George Brunies, Brad Gowans, and Chu Berry. In 1940, Manone appeared in the Bing Crosby movie Rhythm on the River, he soon wrote his humorous memoirs -Trumpet on the Wing (1948), and he would later appear on many of Crosby's radio shows. Wingy Manone lived in Las Vegas from 1954 up until his death and he stayed active until near the end, although he only recorded one full album (for Storyville in 1966) after 1960. ~ Scott Yanow

Wingy Manone's popular series of Dixieland-flavored combo records continued in 1939-40. This CD, the sixth in Classics' complete reissuance of Manone's recordings of the era, is most notable for having tenor saxophonist Chu Berry as a key sideman on three of the four sessions. Also heard in the supporting cast on some of the dates are clarinetist Buster Bailey, drummer Cozy Cole and guitarist Danny Barker, although the final four selections are done mostly with obscure players. Manone has his typical jivey vocals on 15 of the 22 selections including "Corrine Corrini," "Beale Street Blues," "The Saints," "My Honey's Lovin' Arms," "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" and "The Mosquito Song." Not too surprisingly, it is the seven instrumentals that are of greatest interest, particularly "Jumpy Nerves" (which uses Manone's riff which would soon become the basis for "In the Mood"), "Royal Garden Blues," "Blue Lou" and "She's Crying for Me." In general, this was a strong period for Manone's recordings and there are plenty of fine solos from Wingy, Chu and Bailey. ~ Scott Yanow

Wingy Manone (trumpet)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Danny Barker (guitar)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. Downright Disgusted Blues
2. Corrine, Corrini
3. I'm A Real Kinda Papa (Lookin' For A Real Kinda Girl)
4. Jumpy Nerves
5. Casey Jones (The Brave Engineer)
6. Boogie Woogie
7. Royal Garden Blues
8. Beale Street Blues
9. In The Barrel
10. Farewell Blues
11. Fare Thee, My Baby, Fare-Thee-Well
12. Limehouse Blues
13. Blue Lou
14. Sudan
15. How Long Blues
16. When The Saints Go Marching In
17. My Honey's Lovin' Arms
18. When My Sugar Walks Down the Street
19. She's Crying For Me
20. South With The Boarder
21. Mosquito Song (Where Do the Mosquitoes Go in the Winter Time?)
22. Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet

Richie Cole - Some Things Speak for Themselves (1981) [LP > FLAC]

There is less joking around than usual on this live quintet session by altoist Richie Cole. Recorded at a Japanese concert, Cole (along with guitarist Bruce Forman, pianist Smith Dobson, bassist Marshall Hawkins and drummer Scott Morris) performs versions of his "Tokyo Rose Sings the Hollywood Blues" along with three bop standards ("Lady Bird," "I Can't Get Started" and "Cherokee") and the lengthy "Irish Folk Song" (which is a disguised original based on "I Got Rhythm" that finds him switching to tenor). This out-of-print LP is an excellent example of Richie Cole's talents at playing colorful bebop. - Scott Yanow

"Irish Folk Song" begins with "Kerry Dancers" before it jumps into rhythm changes and on "Cherokee", Cole uses his own head (also known as "Harold's House of Jazz"). Three burners, a blues and a ballad - some prime Richie Cole never issued on CD.

Richie Cole (alto, tenor sax)
Bruce Forman (guitar)
Smith Dobson (piano)
Marshall Hawkins (bass)
Scott Morris (drums)
  1. Lady Bird
  2. I Can't Get Started
  3. Tokyo Rose Sings the Hollywood Blues
  4. Irish Folk Song
  5. Cherokee
Recorded on February 1, 1981 at Yomiuri Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Gil Evans

Gil Evans - Farewell

The Gil Evans Monday Night orchestra ripped through the four cuts on this '86 session, often at a torrid pace. Even when they slowed things down, the solos were often done at fever-pitch levels, especially those from alto saxophonist Chris Hunter. Hamiett Bluiett's low-down baritone helped compensate for the absence of Howard Johnson, while John Clark provided an alternative voice on French horn. The songs were all lengthy selections with none less than 12 minutes. Only one song was written by Evans, the exhaustive opus "Waltz." Otherwise, he is conducting, pacing, and steering the orchestra through the winding movement of Hendrix's "Little Wing" or John Clark's "Your Number." ~ Ron Wynn

Gil Evans (piano)
Chris Hunter (soprano and alto sax, flute)
Bill Evans (soprano and tenor sax, flute)
Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet)
Lew Soloff (trumpet)
Shunzo O'no (trumpet)
Miles Evans (trumpet)
John Clark (French horn, hornette)
Dave Bargeron, Dave Tucker (trombone)
Peter Levin, Gil Goldstein (synthesizer)
Hiram Bullock (guitar)
Mark Egan (bass)
Danny Gottlieb (drums)

1. Let the Juice Loose
2. Your Number
3. Waltz
4. Little Wing

New York: December 1-2, 1986

Gil Evans - Blues In Orbit

Arranger Gil Evans's first recording as a leader in five years found him leading an orchestra that could be considered a transition between his 1950s groups and his somewhat electric band of the 1970s. Several of these charts, particularly his reworking of George Russell's "Blues in Orbit," are quite memorable, and Evans utilizes his many interesting sidemen, including the distinctive voices of trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, Howard Johnson on tuba and baritone, tenor-saxophonist Billy Harper and guitarist Joe Beck, in unexpected and unpredictable ways. A near-classic release which has been made available on CD by Enja. ~ Scott Yanow

Gil Evans (piano)
Snooky Young (trumpet)
Billy Harper (tenor sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Joe Beck (guitar)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Johnny Coles (trumpet)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Howard Johnson (tuba)
Alphonse Mouzon (drums)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Thoroughbred
2. Spaced
3. Love In The Open
4. Variation On The Misery
5. Blues In The Orbit
6. Proclamation
7. General Assembly
8. So Long

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jackie McLean - 'Bout Soul

If dogs run free, why not ... JackieMac? (snapsnapsnapsnap). This 1967 album is definitely going to be a surprise if you expect a Lou Donaldson-like souljazz effort. Aside from the (or perhaps because of the) Barbara Simmons recitation, this a pretty free date; more so than some other more highly touted JackieMac experiments.

'Bout Soul does not mean the same thing as soul-jazz, as the opening track "Soul" makes abundantly clear. Written by Grachan Moncur III and poet Barbara Simmons, "Soul" is a tonally free tone-poem that features Simmons' spoken recital. It's about what the concept of soul is, not what soul music is, and that should not come as a surprise to anyone acquainted with Jackie McLean's work. Even as his Blue Note contemporaries were working commercial soul-jazz grooves, McLean pushed the borders of jazz, embracing the avant-garde and free jazz. 'Bout Soul is one of his most explicit free albums, finding the alto saxophonist pushing a quintet -- trumpeter Woody Shaw (who sits out "Dear Nick, Dear John"), pianist Lamont Johnson, bassist Scotty Holt, drummer Rashied Ali -- into uncompromising, tonally free territory. This is intensely cerebral music that is nevertheless played with a fiery passion. Although the music was all composed, it is played as if it was invented on the spot. Fans of McLean's straight-ahead hard bop, or even of his adventurous mid-'60s sessions, might find this a little off-putting at first, but 'Bout Soul rewards close listening. It is one of McLean's finest modern contemporary sessions. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Grachan Moncur III (trombone)
LaMont Johnson (piano)
Barbara Simmons (voice)
Scott Holt (bass)
Rashied Ali (drums)

1. Soul
2. Conversion Point
3. Big Ben's Voice
4. Dear Nick, Dear John
5. Erdu
6. Big Ben's Voice (alt)

The Kinks - Everybody's In Showbiz (K2 HD)

One of the HD things I picked up not too long ago.

Everybody's in Show-Biz is a double album with one record devoted to stories from the road and another devoted to songs from the road. It could be labeled "the drunkest album ever made," without a trace of hyperbole, since this is a charmingly loose, rowdy, silly record. It comes through strongest on the live record, of course, as it's filled with Ray Davies' notoriously campy vaudevellian routine (dig the impromptu "Banana Boat Song" that leads into "Skin & Bone," or the rollicking "Baby Face"). Still, the live record is just a bonus, no matter how fun it is, since the travelogue of the first record is where the heart of Everybody's in Show-Biz lies. Davies views the road as monotony -- an endless stream of identical hotels, drunken sleep, anonymous towns, and really, really bad meals (at least three songs are about food, or have food metaphors). There's no sex on the album, at all, not even on Dave Davies' contribution, "You Don't Know My Name." Some of this is quite funny -- not just Ray's trademark wit, but musical jokes like the woozy beginning of "Unreal Reality" or the unbearably tongue-in-cheek "Look a Little on the Sunnyside" -- but there's a real sense of melancholy running throughout the record, most notably on the album's one unqualified masterpiece, "Celluloid Heroes." By the time it gets there, anyone that's not a hardcore fan may have turned it off. Why? Because this album is where Ray begins indulging his eccentricities, a move that only solidified the Kinks' status as a cult act. There are enough quirks to alienate even fans of their late-'60s masterpieces, but those very things make Everybody's in Show-Biz an easy album for those cultists to hold dear to their hearts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1. Here Comes Yet Another Day
2. Maximum Consumption
3. Unreal Reality
4. Hot Potatoes
5. Sitting in My Hotel
6. Motorway
7. You Don't Know My Name
8. Supersonic Rocket Ship
9. Look A Little On The Sunny Side
10. Celluloid Heroes
11. Top Of The Pops
12. Brainwashed
13. Mr. Wonderful
14. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues
15. Holiday
16. Muswell Hillbilly
17. Alcohol
18. Banana Boat Song (Day-O)
19. Skin And Bone
20. Baby Face
21. Lola

Joe Maini - The Small Group Recordings

(I hope ubu doesn't mind me updating this post he made last July. It's really worth looking at again.)

Right in time for the weekend, here's a big one, and proof that sometimes the Spanish crooks do the right thing: a collection of all of Joe Maini's small group recordings.

Lots of photos and the intriguing story of Joe Maini can be read up on the Maini site (address in comments). He must have been quite a character, to say the least. The booklet of the set on hand likely also took most of the clues from that website - do pay a visit there, it's worth checking out!

I'm much too lazy to type up all the info, so below are two resized scans instead. This set includes all the small group sessions in which Maini took part, including dates under the leadership of Shelly Manne, Duane Tatro, Jack Sheldon (a fine session with Kenny Drew), Shorty Rogers, Jack Montrose, Jimmy Knepper, Med Flory's Sax Maniacs (a hilarious bit of rock'n'roll!), as well as a few entire albums: the Red Mitchell album for Bethlehem (with Conte Candoli and Hampton Hawes, the tracks without horns are included!), Kenny Drew's "Talkin' & Walkin'" (one of the highlights!), Jane Fielding's "Embers Glow" (with Teddy Edwards on tenor sax and again Kenny Drew), a fine live show with Zoot Sims, Jack Sheldon and Drew, and finally a 1962 studio session with Richie Kamuca, Lou Levy, Victor Feldman and others.
Not included is the long jam session with Clifford Brown, as well as some jam sessions with Bird. Those can be found on a variety of other releases.

But check yourself:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Donald Byrd - A New Perspective (1963)

This unusual set (reissued on CD by Blue Note) was one of the most successful uses of a gospel choir in a jazz context. Trumpeter Donald Byrd and a septet that also includes tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and pianist Herbie Hancock are joined by an eight-voice choir directed by Coleridge Perkinson. The arrangements by Duke Pearson are masterful and one song, "Cristo Redentor," became a bit of a hit. This is a memorable effort that is innovative in its own way, a milestone in Donald Byrd's career. Scott Yanow

Blue Note seldom ventured far from the spontaneity of small-group jazz, but they put special resources into this 1963 project, letting trumpeter Donald Byrd and arranger Duke Pearson achieve some stunning results with a septet and the voices of the Coleridge Perkinson Choir. Gospel and blues influences had become more prominent in jazz through the work of Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley, but Byrd explored the connection further here, combining the rich and wordless voices with a potent rhythm section, fluent soloists, and his own brassily declarative trumpet in an authentic and compelling way. Donald Best's bell-like vibraphone and Kenny Burrell's soulful guitar further emphasize the music's wealth of associations. The moods vary from the declamatory power of "Elijah" to the deep blues of "Beast of Burden" and the luminous hymn of Pearson's celebrated "Cristo Redentor" (a little-recognized master of jazz composition, Pearson also wrote "Idle Moments" for a Grant Green session), but the tunes are all realized with energy and feeling. The band seems to take special inspiration from the choir's carpet of sound, and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and pianist Herbie Hancock also make substantial contributions. The session has always sounded fantastic, but Rudy Van Gelder's remastering has added even greater luster. Stuart Broomer

With his flair for innovation, Donald Byrd, in late 1963, put together a septet that was recorded with the Coleridge Perkinson Choir providing a capella Gospel support. Duke Pearson provided arrangements which carefully weave eight wordless voices in and out of the septet's blues-derived compositions. Byrd's father was a Methodist minister, so the trumpeter worked with Pearson at, as Byrd states in the liner notes, "approaching this tradition with respect and great pleasure." The recording, which was reissued on CD in 1988, is one of the first to be acknowledged in this manner.Besides Byrd and a 23-year-old Herbie Hancock, this session includes saxophonist Hank Mobley, vibraphonist Donald Best, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Butch Warren and drummer Lex Humphries. Frequently making use of a trumpet, tenor sax and vibes unison doubling, "Elijah" is an up-tempo number that features, among other things, some interesting and exciting piano work from Hancock. The slow, bluesy "Beast Of Burden" uses an interesting piano fill for the deliberate and soulful wordless vocals; alternately, the voices and vibes fill behind Byrd's trumpet solo in like manner. "The Black Disciple" features both Burrell and Hancock stretching out with stellar performances, and Mobley's tenor solo offers a fine example of his full tone and fluid technique. Pearson's compositions "Chant" and "Cristo Redentor" are perhaps the best remembered of the session, featuring Byrd's bold, clear, and deliberate trumpet melodies with the voices and piano adding a touch that showed the jazz world one more possibility among the many in improvised music. Jim Santella

Donald Best (Vibraphone)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Donald Byrd (Trumpet)
Herbie Hancock (Piano)
Lex Humphries (Drums)
Hank Mobley (Tenor Sax)
Duke Pearson (Arranger)
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (Vocal Director)
Butch Warren (Bass)

1 Elijah (Byrd) 9:20
2 Beast of Burden (Byrd) 10:06
3 Cristo Redentor (Pearson) 5:43
4 The Black Disciple (Byrd) 8:12
5 Chant (Pearson) 7:31

Recorded on January 12, 1963 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey USA

Emmanuelle Bertrand Plays 20th Century Cello Solos

The French title seems more mellifluous: Musique du XXe Siècle pour Violincelle Seul. Compositions by Henri Dutilleux, Hans Werner Henze, George Crumb, György Ligeti, and Nicolas Bacri. And what a cellist!

A pupil of Jean Deplace and Philippe Muller, Emmanuelle Bertrand graduated from the Lyon Conservatoire in 1992 with a special mention by the jury for her interpretation of Henri Dutilleux's Trois Strophes sur le nom de SACHER. She then entered the postgraduate cycle of advanced studies at the Paris Conservatoire and earned several distinctions in international competitions: the Prize of the Academie Internationale Maurice Ravel, a prize in the Rostropovitch International Competition, Paris in 1994, and in 1996 the first prize in the Tokyo Chamber Music Competition. Since 1995 she has held the Fondation d'Entreprise Natexis Prize./...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Charles McPherson - Bebop Revisited!

Bebop is the thing on this excellent outing as altoist Charles McPherson and pianist Barry Harris do their interpretations of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. With trumpeter Carmell Jones, bassist Nelson Boyd and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath completing the quintet, the band romps through such bop classics as "Hot House," "Nostalgia," "Wail" and "Si Si" along with an original blues and "Embraceable You." A previously unissued "If I Love You" is added to the CD reissue. McPherson and Jones make for a potent frontline on these spirited performances, easily recommended to fans of straightahead jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Carmell Jones (trumpet)
Barry Harris (piano)
Nelson Boyd (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. Hot House
2. Nostalgia
3. Variations On A Blues By Bird
4. Wail
5. Embraceable You
6. Si Si
7. If I Loved You

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: November 20, 1964

Americans In Europe

This recording captures one of the very few times we have Don Byas and Bud Powell caught on tape together. This was the record of a festival comprised of American expatriate jazz musicians. Joachim Berendt, in the liner notes, refers to this phenomenon as being " the third great migration in the history of jazz", the first two being the New Orleans to Chicago, and the Chicago to New York occurences. Simplistic to be sure, but the post-war exile of many American jazzmen is now a part of romanticized history, evoking atmospheric black-and-white photos as much as the music itself.

And it was by no means the second string players that went there; so the concept certainly was worthwhile, and the players were young (or younger) and at the height of their powers. The original idea was conceived by Oscar Pettiford and at the time it was the " ... costliest jazz concert ever staged in Europe." And tell me; do you ever miss a chance to hear Bud Powell play "'Round Midnight"?

Bud Powell (piano)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)

Kenny Clarke (drums)
Lou Bennett (organ)
Jimmy Gourley (guitar)

Bill Smith (clarinet)
Herb Geller (alto sax)
Jimmy Gourley (guitar)
Bob Carter (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)

1. All The Things You Are
2. I Remember Clifford
3. I Can't Get Started
4. 'Round About Midnight
5. No Smokin'
6. Low Life
7. Freeway
8. Pyramid

Koblenz, Germany: January 3, 1963

Curtis Counce - Landslide

During 1956-1957, bassist Curtis Counce led an excellent Los Angeles-based hard bop quintet comprised of trumpeter Jack Sheldon, tenor saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Carl Perkins, bassist Curtis Counce, and drummer Frank Butler. They recorded four albums' worth of material for Contemporary, all of which have been reissued on CD (three as part of the Original Jazz Classics series). For their debut album, the group performs selections by Land ("Landslide"), Perkins, Sheldon, and two by Gerald Wiggins (including "Sonar"), plus the lone standard "Time After Time." All of Counce's recordings (which include a slightly later album for Dootone) are well-worth getting by collectors interested in 1950s straight-ahead jazz. This disc is an excellent place to start. ~ Scott Yanow

Curtis Counce (bass)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Carl Perkins (piano)
Frank Butler (drums)

1. Landslide
2. Time After Time
3. Sonar
4. Mia
5. Sarah
6. A Fifth For Frank

Contemporary Records Studio, Los Angeles: October 8 and 15, 1956

Joe Henderson - 1971 In Japan

Certain things happen on stage in front of an audience that can’t be captured in a studio. This maxim is particularly true in the case of jazz music and this disc makes the fact abundantly clear. “Joe Henderson in Japan,” a straight forward, no-frills title that gives an indication of the artist and the place, but little more. The cover and liners are equally esoteric- the former picturing a shirtless Joe, afro in full bloom, scratching his jowl in cross-legged contemplation, the latter a brief pair of paragraphs recounting the particulars of the date. But as is the case with so much music the non-musical trappings that accompany the album really have no bearing on the sounds unleashed when the laser hits the platter. Slip this disc into your player, strap yourself in and prepare to be blown away.
Henderson’s opening improvisation on the all too familiar “Round Midnight” is alone worth the cash outlay to get your hands on this piece of history. A fountain of raspingly rendered lines gurgle from his tenor’s bell before the rhythm section chimes in and a brisker pace is clocked. Henderson’s Japanese sidemen are largely unexceptional, but they remain unobtrusive and supportive enough to push him toward heights he rarely reached before or has since. Hino’s hyperbolic drums are particularly effective in this capacity and he attacks his skins with dithyrambic vigor. Ichikawa’s electric keys, though a dubious sign of the times, offer a strangely atmospheric underpinning to the ensemble sound. Inaba’s bass is the weakest link, his playing often resorting to blunt rhythmic slabs rather than intricately crafted patterns. Henderson remains the catalyst and his hard-charging tenor plows past his partners aiming for ionospheric altitudes. He was and is a player who always seemed able to reconcile ‘outside’ leanings with a complete command of ‘inside’ techniques and traditions and this talent is on abundant display throughout the four performances.
Two Blue Note era compositions, “Blue Bossa” and the humorously retitled and reworked “Out n’ In” are sandwiched between an improvised blues (named after the venue) and the aforementioned standard and Henderson raises the roof on all of them. All of the pieces are impressive workouts but “Junk Blues” is perhaps the most thrilling in terms of execution. During the unruly improvisation Henderson churns out an amazing fusillade of melodic variations as the rhythm section nips ardently at his heels. That night in Tokyo the saxophonist tapped into something transcendental and all the fire and passion transmits directly to this recording.
Derek Taylor

1. 'Round Midnight (Monk, Williams, Hanighen) 12:35
2. Out 'n' In (Henderson) 9:05
3. Blue Bossa (Dorham) 8:27
4. Junk Blues (Henderson) 14:46

Joe Henderson - tenor saxophone
Motohiko Hino - drums
Hideo Ichikawa - electric piano
Kunimitsu Inaba - bass

Recorded at The Junk Club, Tokyo on August 4, 1971

Bud Powell and Don Byas - A Tribute To Cannonball (Flac)

I used to see this cover at Gokudo and wonder what Ho Chi Minh was doing with Bud Powell. Really.

When these sides were produced in Paris in late 1961 by Cannonball Adderley--and they are a treasure now exposed to light for the first time--Don Byas found himself the unofficial patriarch of an expatriate jazz community boasting some of the major figures in the new music. Kenny "Klook"Clarke, virtually the father of modern drumming and co-founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet, arrived in 1956. Three years later, pianist Bud Powell, the unpredictable genius who could count even Art Tatum among his admirers, arrived and with Clarke and the much-admired French bassist Pierre Michelot formed The Three Bosses. Idrees Sulieman, one of the most astute disciples of Dizzy Gillespie, made the leap shortly after, settled in Stockholm, became an expert saxophonist, and eventually a member of the extraordinary big band Kenny Clarke co-leads with Francy Boland.

Byas and Powell, although they played together on numberless occasions going back to the mid-'40s, represent two approaches to the music reflecting two eras: Before Charlie Parker and after Parker. Byas was a masterful swing player with his own style. Powell and Clarke are the quintessential beboppers. Listen--and consider all the revolutionary chaos bebop was supposed to have inflicted on jazz--to how lovingly they communicate with Byas. Listen to how the saxophone and piano solos complement and enhance each other though the syntax is different. And listen to the way Clarke of Pittsburgh and Michelot, once of the Paris Opera, cook together.

The three standards represented are given exceptional performances. "Cherokee" features particularly vigorous work from Byas, including a stunning coda. Bud is in rare form ripping through the changes, creating his own cosmos. "All The Things You Are" is introduced by Michelot playing the familiar bop riff, but the theme isn't stated until the out chords. Sulieman has a solid spot and Byas follows with an explosive chorus that is a tale unto itself. The rhythm section is boiling on "Just One Of Those Things." Byas authoritatively takes charge, his passion nicely contrasted by Powell's exquisite and deliberate exploration.

"Good Bait" is one of the best known compositions by Tadd Dameron, whose largely unheralded work in a too-brief and tortured career has since provided nice incomes for dozens of TV composers and Hollywood hacks. This is a special performance: Byas, obviously in a good mood, toys with strict bop phraseology, showing that he could do pretty much whatever he chose. Sulieman is in excellent form. Benny Golson's haunting "I Remember Clifford" was a favorite with both Byas and Powell. it is a beautiful but mournful tune that each was to record again at later times. For Bud, there must have been a special meaning: his younger brother, Richie, was killed in the same accident that took Clifford Brown's life. Byas is featured movingly and Powell has a brief but impeccably lush passage.

"Jeannine" is a 16-bar line with an eight bar release. Clarke opens and closes it with everyone getting one relaxed chorus. "Myth" is a 16-bar blues. On the ballad "Jackie My Little Cat," Byas is featured for two choruses except for an eight bar piano interlude. He sticks close to the melody, demonstrating how much a great player can say with sonority and graceful embellishment.

Bud Powell preceded Byas in returning to his homeland. He came back in 1964 and spent two years in a state of despondency and frustration, playing hardly at all. He died on July 1966, the most brilliant pianist of his time, at the age of 41. Byas' playing was also to suffer in his last few years; he seemed tired, he was losing a battle with alcohol. The music they fashioned continues, however, outside of time and the inequities of life. It sings with a vitality of love and sorrow, transforms the moment with grand sunsets and pathetic drizzles, defies indifference with the preachment of hope. - Gary Giddins, from the liner notes

Don Byas (tenor sax)
Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)
Bud Powell (piano)
Pierre Michelot (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Just One Of Those Things
2. Jackie My Little Cat
3. Cherokee
4. I Remember Clifford
5. Good Bait
6. Jeannine
7. All The Things You Are
8. Myth