Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stanely Jordan - Live in New York

This concert was originally intended to be a video release showcasing Stanley Jordan in acoustic, electric and solo settings. His tight rhythm section -- including Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Kenny Kirkland on piano and Charnett Moffett on bass -- drives his complex and moving guitar playing through the standout acoustic tracks "Impressions" and "Cousin Mary," both by John Coltrane. But concert highlights are Jordan's two solo pieces, the bluesy "Willow Weep for Me" and classic show tune "Over the Rainbow," where he performs with an exhilarating freedom and virtuosity. Jordan resists the temptation to slip into the then-ubiquitous smooth jazz sound, making this a timeless release. ~ Ryan Randall Goble

Recorded live at the Manhattan Center, New York, New York on March 21, 1989. Includes liner notes by Bruce Lundvall.

Personnel: Stanley Jordan (guitar); Kenny Kirkland (piano); Bernard Wright (keyboards); Yossi Fine (electric bass); J.T. Lewis, Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Peter Brotzmann - The Cooler Suite

The dilemma: you have uncovered an excellent concert, but it has been recorded on a cheap analogue cassette. It is already four years old, and these musicians release more albums per year than you can count on one hand (sometimes two), but this particular quartet performed only once, and the performance is truly phenomenal. Do you release it or not? The label Grob chose to release it. So hi-fi buffs and improv fans who sneer at gut-ripping blowouts, please move along, because The Cooler Suite is a mean and dirty slab of free jazz. Recorded on January 21, 1997, at The Cooler in New York City, this concert is allegedly the only time Thomas Borgmann, Peter Brötzmann, William Parker, and Rashid Bakr shared the stage (but of course they have played with each other on numerous occasions). The recording signal overloads constantly, and the tape fails on a few occasions, resulting in tiny gaps in sound; tape-hiss creeps in whenever the quartet quiets down (a rare feat, granted). The press release advocates the fact that the crude recording gives the music a certain neo-authenticity, that it answers the raw performance and nods at the early days of free jazz. You are free to believe it or not, but at some point or another while listening to the album, you will wish it were better recorded, so let's not kid ourselves. That said, the performance is as gutsy as these two saxophonists can be. They scream at each other in a delightful over-emotional contest. The rhythm section is unstoppable. Parker's bass sounds like it was plugged into a distortion pedal. The Cooler Suite redefines the definition of power, a definition Brötzmann had already altered in the past. In two words: it smokes. ~ François Couture

Thomas Borgmann (tenor sax, sopranino)
Peter Brötzmann (alto, tenor sax, A-clarinet)
William Parker (bass)
Rashied Bakr (drums)

1. Part 1
2. Part 2

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh - Two Not One

In 1975, the members of a musical appreciation society called The Danish Jazz Exchange clubbed together to bring their two favorite American improvisers, Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz, to their homeland. They then listened in rapt attention as the saxophonists played a series of concerts at Montmartre, then Copenhagen's premier jazz venue. The shadow of blind pianist/teacher Lennie Tristano, with whom Marsh and Konitz studied in the 1950s, and who was to die three years after these tracks were cut, loomed large.

After the concerts in Denmark, Marsh and Konitz stayed on in Europe to play for small but enthusiastic audiences in Norway, Holland, Belgium, France and Britain. They then returned to Copenhagen for more gigs and recordings at the Rosenberg Studio before heading back to the States.

This boxed set of four CDs is the document of their visit to Denmark. It contains more than five hours of music, arranged in chronological order. A total of 48 numbers—standards; works by Tristano and some of their own compositions. The two saxophonists play together as part of a quintet, while Marsh also fronts a trio and a quartet.

There are moments of great beauty. One such comes on disk two with a relaxed and lyrical treatment of Willard Robison's plaintive ballad "Old Folks." On Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream," which closes the same disk, Marsh and Konitz also succeed in blending sensitive interpretation with intelligent experimentation. But Jerome Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight" is, alas, impossible to recognize under all the harmonic and melodic jiggery.

Charlie Parker's "Au Privave" is an outstanding track, with Marsh at his best—his technique under tight control—and with worthy contributions from pianist Ole Kock Hansen and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, before the two principals lock horns and take it out. Tristano's "Wow," once seen as the epitome of cool jazz, is given reverential treatment by Marsh and Konitz.

British bassist Peter Ind, another former Tristano pupil, travelled to Copenhagen to play on some of the tracks. He is showcased on "Foolin' Myself," which also features some very nice, understated guitar work from Dave Cliff.

Cliff returns more assertively on Konitz's "Sound-Lee." Bach's "Two Part Intervention No 1, Allegro" is also fun, producing a roar of approval from the usually subdued audience.

Sometimes the improvisation degenerates into melodic lines that doubtless make sense in musical theory, but all too often sound like musical doodling to the untrained ear. A small price to pay for what is, in the final analysis, an extremely rewarding and deeply satisfying musical experience. ~ Chris Mosey

Warne Marsh (tenor sax)
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Ole Kock Hansen (piano)
Dave Cliff (guitar)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Peter Ind (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)
Sven-Erik Nørregard (drums)
Alan Lewitt (drums)

CD 1
1. Background Music
2. You Don't Know What Love Is
3. April
4. Kary's Trance
5. Subconscious Lee
6. Back Home
7. Blues By Lester
8. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
9. Lennie Bird

CD 2
1. Just Friends
2. Little Willie Leaps
3. Old Folks; Au Privave
4. Wow
5. Kary's Trance
6. Foolin' Myself
7. Sound-Lee
8. Chi-Chi
9. Two Part Invention No.1, Allegro
10. Two Not One
11. Darn That Dream

CD 3
1. 317 East 32nd Street
2. Two Part Invention No.13, Allegro Tranquillo
3. April
4. Everything Happens To Me
5. Blues In G Flat
6. After You've Gone
7. The Song Is You
8. Lennie Bird
9. It's You Or No One
10. God Bless The Child
11. The Way You Look Tonight
12. Without A Song
13. Be My Love

CD 4
1. You Don't Know What Love Is
2. Lennie Bird; Confirmation
3. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
4. Without A Song
5. Just One Of Those Things
6. All The Things You Are
7. I Should Care
8. The More I See You
9. When You're Smiling
10. Taking A Chance On Love
11. Little Willie Leaps
12. Everytime We Say Goodbye
13. I Want To Be Happy

Lanny Morgan Quartet

Altoist Lanny Morgan, despite being a very talented bop-based improviser and a greatly in-demand sideman, has had relatively few opportunities to record as a leader through the years -- only two. This quartet set with pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Bob Maize, and drummer Frankie Capp is his definitive recording. Morgan is in particularly creative and fiery form on such songs as "Subconscious Lee," "Bloomdido," "After You've Gone," and a song he practically owns, "Cherokee." None of the nine tunes (eight jazz standards plus Tom Garvin's "Flash") are throwaways and this is a CD highly recommended to bop fans. - Scott Yanow

Lanny Morgan (alto sax)
Tom Ranier (piano)
Bob Maize (bass)
Frank Capp (drums)

1. Flash
2. Subconscious Lee
3. Strollin'
4. Cherokee
5. Joy Spring
6. You've Changed
7. Minority
8. Bloomdido
9. After You've Gone

Recorded June 11 and 13, 1993

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Keith Jarrett Trio - Always Let Me Go

Anybody mislaid their keys lately?

'JazzTime-Mike' here thinks, he spotted them somewhere in close proximity of Keith's musical instrument... either inside or out ... he ain't quite sure... but... pulling... from thin air... hear, hear... magic, madness, talent or genius... or the sheer bloody nerve of that Jarrett fella ... Always Let Me Go... yeah, yeah... when you get to this level... ah what the heck... Mikey, tell 'em... yourself... go on, son :

What is most captivating about this virtuosic tour de force is the way this trio can, on a dime, turn outside in, pulling a melody and structure from thin air, usually at just the right moment, bringing everything back to earth with a bit of bluesy funk, a bit of wistful romanticism, a slice of bop or swing. "Hearts of Space," for example, starts just as the tiltel implies, but by the time it concludes Peacock is driving things with a walking bass, DeJohnette is purring along while still dropping those amazing bombs and Jarrett is rolling and swaying as tidily as Monk, doing that thing with melody that stretches or compresses the line like a rubber band - note values distorted while maintaining absolute form and porportion.The two discs are marvelously recorded, as always, and give ample room for all three to hold the spotlight: DeJohnette has never sounded so sophisticatedly primitive or Peacock so strong, so melodic, all while exploring that territory of intuition so well-known to Jarrett who, it seems, has managed to locate another 30 or 40 keys on his piano. Magic, madness, talent or genius' Inside or out' When you get to this level, it just doesn't matter. [Mike Quinn, JazzTimes]

Keith Jarrett | Gary Peacock | Jack DeJohnette

Always Let Me Go | Live in Tokyo [2002]

Keith Jarrett [piano]

Gary Peacock [double-bass]

Jack DeJohnette [drums]

01. Hearts in Space 32:12

02. The River 3:34

03. Tributaries 16:18

04. Paradox 9:01

01. Waves 34:25

02. Facing East 14:04

03. Tsunami 14:51

04. Relay 13:00

2CD Set | Recorded April 2001 at Orchard Hall and Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo | ECM 1800 / 01

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

John Handy - Mosaic Select

Please do not - as usual - upload this at any other site or forum.

John Handy is one of the unsung greats of modern jazz -- as saxophonist, composer/arranger and group leader -- especially for the series of four albums he recorded for Columbia between 1965 and 1968. This Mosaic Select is devoted to the three albums he made for the label that featured violin in the instrumentation -- Recorded Live At The Monterey Jazz Festival , The 2nd John Handy Album and Projections, plus a live Carnegie Hall performance.

Handy's playing, on alto sax in particular, is a wonder with a beautiful "legit" sound, perfect intonation and articulation, and an extraordinary control of the upper register which he uses quite often in building excitement and intensity in his solos. He utilizes all of these extraordinary attributes in frequent lengthy and compelling acappella solos. His unending flow of fresh ideas seemingly devoid of licks is another striking characteristic of his work.

The group heard here on all of discs 1 and 2 is unique in jazz history. The instrumentation of alto saxophone, violin, guitar, bass and drums has rarely, if ever, been used, and certainly not to this extent. Combining the nature of this instrumentation with the styles of the five players (Handy, Michael White, Jerry Hahn, Don Thompson and Terry Clarke) helps to create an open, expansive musical palette. This enables a musical range from Coltranesque long trance-like modal pieces, to tauter more direct and edgier rock-oriented pieces.

CD 1
1. If Only We Knew
2. Spanish Lady
3. Dancy Dancy
4. Blues For A Highstrung Guitar
5. Dance For Carlo B
6. Scheme #1

CD 2
1. Theme X
2. Right On The Line
3. Debonair
4. Tears Of Ole Miss
5. What's New
6. New Theme
7. A Bad Stroke Of Luck
8. Blues For A Highstrung Guitar
9. Spanish Lady - (mono)
10. If Only We Knew - (mono)

CD 3
1. The Thing
2. Señora Nancye
3. Three In One
4. Projections
5. A Song Of Uranus
6. Señora Nancye
7. Dance To The Lady
8. Sanpaku
9. Eros
10. All the Way To The West, By God, Virginia

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott - East-West Trumpet Summit

Working the two coasts of jazz theory together, but using the Northwest as representative of modern West Coast jazz rather than the L.A. area, trumpeters Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott combine their formidable powers for good in a massive set. The two trumpeters have played together over the years, and have become stalwarts of the local scenes in their respective cities (Marriott winning numerous awards and recording numerous exceptional albums in Seattle, Vega in New York). Here, they trade riffs and solos, follow paired melodic lines, and explore both energetic urban forms and more pastoral compositions. The album opens with Sammy Cahn's "It's You or No One," which makes a good first showing of the two styles and also introduces pianist Travis Shook and a hidden propensity to invoke Bud Powell as he courses through a massive solo. Horace Silver's "Juicy Lucy" uses the trumpets in tandem in a relaxed form reminiscent of some of the Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Stitt sessions. A couple of compositions from Marriott show off both urban energy (in a musical ode to New York in "Pelham Gardens") and contemplative balladry (in a musical ode to Seattle's Lake Washington in "Bishop Island"). Both provide excellent showcases of the trumpets, and Jeff Johnson's bass solo in "Bishop Island" additionally shows off some excellence. Vega's compositions take the opposite approach, building from a more pensive "Only of a Season" to the nearly hyperactive "It's a New York Thing," showing off some blazing horn techniques along the way. A medley of ballads lets both of the players show off their softer side, and the album finishes on Marriott's tribute to Vega. Musical summits rarely turn out as perfectly as one would hope, given the egos and/or deference of players to one another. This one lets both players respect one another, work together, and show off their own styles all at once. And it's all excellent. - Adam Greenberg

Ray Vega, Thomas Marriott (trumpet)
Travis Shook (piano)
Jeff Johnson (bass)
Matt Jorgensen (drums)

1. It's You or No One
2. Juicy Lucy
3. Pelham Gardens
4. Bishop Island
5. Only of a Season
6. It's a New York Thing
7. 'Round Midnight/In a Sentimental Mood
8. Big Brother

Recorded December 15, 2009

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Zoot Sims & Dick Nash Octet - Nash-Ville

Due the "hard to find" status of this jewel, this LP became an obsession for me.
Finally found it in England, will be the entry that I'll post with more satisfaction when it comes time to upload it to my current blog project: the 74 recordings mentioned by French critic Alain Tercinet in his book "West Coast Jazz".
But as it's thanks to Call It Anything that I've come to the blogosphere, I feel that should be shared here first.

I couldn't find any review of this obscure work.

You may have noticed that recently there has been much discussion and several articles have appeared concerning "East Coast" vs. "West Coast" ideas in modern music. Since these sides were recorded in Hollywood, they must, of course, be in the West Coast Idiom. We lean toward the theory that no matter where a recording is made, or which "school" it belong to, that is bound to be interesting if it is good. We think that these efforts are very good.
It is fortunate that so much of the best recording equipment and so many of the best young modern musicians are concentrated in this area. That does create a problem -just wich man to use on wich instrument! This is the type of problem we should have more of. It's like looking at a tray of diamonds and picking seven to match.
The key diamond in this case is Hall Daniels, a top studio arranger and musician. Besides writing scores for motion pictures he is also noted for his work with Les Baxter. Hall composed two originals for this session, and then dressed up two familiar standars to showcase the wonderful artistry of the rest of the musicians in the group.
Hall is heard on trumpet on these sides, while on trombone is Dick Nash, brother of the famous Ted Nash and one of the most flawless artists we have ever heard. Zoot Sims is on tenor sax, and well known as a leader and as a side man with Woody herman and Stan Kenton. The baritone sax is handled by Bob Gordon whom you have heard with Kenton, Pete Rugolo, Chet Baker and others. The piano man is Paul Atkerson, a Los Angeles Conservatory product better know for his solo work in the top night spots about Southern California. The rest of the rythm section are ex-Les Brown men . In this small group you can really hear them and what they can do. Jack Sperling in on drums, Rolly Bundock on bass and Tonny Rizzi on guitar.
This is a JUMP Record first venture into the Modern field, and it was a real pleasure for me to be entrusted with setting up the date. If you like this, there will be more, because there are losts of diamonds still on the tray out there. *Cliff Foottit* (from the original JUMP JL-9 LP's liner notes, 1955)

Side A
1 - The Way You Look Tonight
2 - Nash-Ville
3 - Nash-Ville
4 - You Don't Know What Love Is
5 - Compatability
Side B
6 - Compatability
7 - You Don't Know What Love Is
8 - The Way You Look Tonight
9 - The Way You Look Tonight
10 - Nash-Ville

Hall Daniels (tp), Dick Nash (tb), Zoot Sims (ts), Bob Gordon (bs), Tony Rizzi (g), Paul Atkerson (p), Rolly Bundock (b), Jack Sperling (dr)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vido Musso - The Swingin'st

Although issued in 1956, the recordings on Vido Musso's first LP for the Modern label were actually done around 1953-1954, with a young Maynard Ferguson on trumpet. Modern was one of the leading R&B-oriented independent labels of the early and mid-'50s, and as might be expected, these sides were a little R&B-influenced, particularly in some of Musso's tenor sax vamping and the boogie patterns of some of the tunes. But really it was for the most part straight swing jazz, albeit slightly modernized from (and more clearly recorded than) what Musso had recorded as a younger swing musician in the 1930s and 1940s, even including a remake of the classic he'd cut in the '30s with the Benny Goodman Orchestra, "Sing, Sing, Sing." This isn't the grittiest or most creative swing jazz, and even by the early to mid-'50s was sounding a bit behind the times. But it's cleanly and zippily executed, and only on the hucklebuckling grind of "Rock House Blues" do they really tread close to '50s R&B. The 2004 CD reissue of The Swingin'st on Ace, incidentally, is substantially different from the original LP, more than doubling the length by adding the entirety of Musso's second Modern album, 1957's Teenage Dance Party; a previously unissued alternate take of the single "Blue Night"; and the 1954 single "Vido's Drive"/"Frosty." Teenage Dance Party, as can be deduced from the title, was a more consciously R&B-oriented set, with the incongruous addition of a creepy organ. It makes for a somewhat incongruous pairing with the more conventional The Swingin'st, though it's handy for rounding up Musso's most significant Modern output onto one disc. ~ Richie Unterberger

Vido Musso (tenor sax)
Maynard Ferguson (trumpet)
Chico Alvarez (trumpet)
Milt Bernhart (trombone)
Willard McDaniel (piano)
John Miles (bass)
Bobby White (drums)
Jackie Mills (drums)

1. Sing Sing Sing
2. Back Street Boogie
3. Jersey Bounce
4. Movin' On
5. Emaline
6. Rockin' Time
7. Vido's Boogie
8. Sherry Pink
9. On Stage
10. Rollin'
11. Rock House Blues
12. Russian Lullaby
13. Sorrento
14. Intermission Riff
15. You Feel It
16. Rockin' Time (Later Version)
17. Sweet Sue
18. Honky Tonk
19. Speak Easy
20. Blues For Two
21. Oh Yes
22. Oh Marie
23. Blue Night
24. Vido's Drive
25. Frosty

Ella Fitzgerald - Newport Jazz Festival - Live at Carnegie Hall

This two-CD set (a reissue of an earlier two-Lp set plus six previously unreleased numbers) brings back a memorable Carnegie Hall concert that both features and pays tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. The great singer is joined on a few numbers by a Chick Webb reunion band that has a few of the original members (plus an uncredited Panama Francis on drums). Although the musicians do not get much solo space (why wasn't trumpeter Taft Jordan featured?), the music is pleasing. Ella performs three exquisite duets with pianist Ellis Larkins and then sits out while the Jazz At The Philharmonic All-Stars romp on a few jams and a ballad medley. Trumpeter Roy Eldridge's emotional flights take honors although tenorman Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and trombonist Al Grey are also in good form. Ella comes out for the second half of the show and sings 14 numbers with guitarist Joe Pass (including a pair of tender duets) and the Tommy Flanagan trio. Although her renditions of "I've Gotta Be Me" and "What's Going On" are unnecessary, Ella sounds beautiful on "Good Morning Heartache," "Don't Worry About Me" and "These Foolish Things" and swings hard on the scat-filled "Lemon Drop." An excellent retrospective of Ella Fitzgerald's first 40 years in jazz. - Scott Yanow

Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Chick Webb Orchestra directed by Eddie Barefield
Ellis Larkins (piano)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Al Grey (trombone)
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Joe Pass (guitar)
Keter Betts (bass)
Freddie Waits (drums)

CD 1
1. Opening Announcement by Eddie Barefield/Let's Get Together
2. Stompin' at the Savoy
3. A-Tisket A-Tasket
4. Indian Summer
5. Smooth Sailing
6. Eddie Barefield Original
7. Band Introductions/Let's Get Together
8. Announcement by George Wein
9. You Turned the Tables on Me
10. Nice Work If You Can Get It
11. I've Got a Crush on You
12. Introduction of Jazz at Carnegie All-Stars
13. Somebody Loves Me
14. Medley: I Can't Get Started/The Young Man With the Horn/'Round Midnight
15. Stardust
16. Avalon

CD 2
1. C Jam Blues
2. Introduction of Ella Fitzgerald by George Wein and Carmen McRae
3. I've Gotta Be Me
4. Down in the Depths
5. Good Morning Heartache
6. What's Going On
7. Miss Otis Regrets
8. Don't Worry 'Bout Me
9. These Foolish Things
10. Any Old Blues
11. Taking a Chance on Love
12. I'm in the Mood for Love
13. Lemon Drop
14. A-Tisket A-Tasket (excerpt)
15. Some of These Days
16. People
17. A-Tisket A-Tasket (excerpt)

Recorded July 5, 1973