Friday, August 31, 2007

George Shearing with Don Thompson - Live At The Cafe Carlyle

Uploaded this a while ago and forgot about it, since we had another more recent Shearing release (this one is from 1984) I thought it be apt to post it. Teach Me Tonight is very pleasant and worth the entire album of casual duo tunes.

Don Thompson spent several years as George Shearing's bassist and this album is his best recording with the veteran pianist. Thompson, who plays second piano on Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story," jams with strong intuition and consistent swing, easily picking up on Shearing's musical directions during such songs as "Pent up House," "The Shadow of Your Smile," "Cheryl" and a couple of originals. Shearing, who takes "I Cover the Waterfront" as a piano solo, had his career rejuvenated during his years on Concord through stimulating musical encounters such as this one. Fine music. -Scott Yanow

Lonnie Plaxico - Mélange (2000)

Although he became associated for a time with the M-Base musicians, Lonnie Plaxico has been a very flexible bassist throughout his career. Early on he played with Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, and Junior Cook. After spending time in Wynton Marsalis' band (1982), Plaxico worked with Dexter Gordon and Hank Jones before joining Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the mid-'80s. He recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and David Murray, and led his own sessions for Muse in the late '80s and early '90s. Lonnie Plaxico has also performed with everyone from Steve Coleman and Greg Osby to Bud Shank, Cassandra Wilson, and Don Byron.

With such a diverse background under his belt, and at the successful buttonholing of Blue Note executives by Cassandra Wilson, Plaxico not only has released his first CD with the legendary label, but more importantly, he is playing his own music. Having worked with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Wynton Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette, Von Freeman and Dexter Gordon, one would expect Plaxico to come from a more traditional background--until one remembers his early work in funk, the true basis for M-Base, and his adoption of the electric bass as his first instrument.

Mélange thus consists more of an funk beat than a hard bop one, George Colligan's organ deepening the groove unmistakably. Plaxico refers back to his early interest in the funk bands involving horns, such as Tower of Power, Blood Sweat and Tears, Kool & The Gang and Earth Wind & Fire. Indeed, Mélange includes one of the original Blood Sweat and Tears members, Lew Soloff, who definitely makes the rest of the opportunity to blow through five of the tracks and reclaim some of the attention that is his due, especially on the title track. According to Plaxico, Soloff was impressed by the difficulty of the charts that Plaxico wrote and showed them to other trumpeters in wonder and in determination to meet the challenge.

Plaxico's debt to those groups of the late 1960's and early 1970's is obvious in the fact that he makes one exception when he developed the repertoire for Mélange: the inclusion of Tower of Power's "Squib Cakes." Plaxico wrote all of the other tunes. "T.O.P.," with its lurching soufulness, is named, of course, after that sixties/seventies band-deserving-more-recognition, according to Plaxico.

Ever the generous leader, Plaxico creates a total-group sound and lets the horns, for the most part, lead the development of the tunes, while Plaxico's ever-present pulse, the basis for the tunes' energies, underlies it all. While all of Plaxico's earlier CD's were recorded in a single session, Mélange involved two recording dates and two bands, the Pelt/Strickland group substituting for the Soloff/Ries configuration on the last six tracks.

A little funk, a little M-Base, a little gospel, a little Latin, a little balladeering, a little Miles, a little bop, Mélange, in spite of its complexity, reveals just a hint of the talent and experiences that Lonnie Plaxico has gained through music in the twenty-five years of his professional life. At the age of forty, Lonnie Plaxico has paid his dues, and now it's time for him to mold what he has learned into an infectious and unique whole. - Don Williamson

Lew Soloff, Jeremy Pelt (trumpet)
Tim Ries, Marcus Strickland (tenor sax)
George Colligan (keyboards)
Helen Sung (piano)
Lonnie Plaxico (bass)
Lionel Cordew (drums)
Jeffrey Haynes (percussion)

1. Squib Cakes
2. Mélange
3. Darkness
4. Short Take
5. Miles II
6. Paella
7. Sunday Morning
8. Beloved
9. T.O.P.
10. Patois
11. Windy City

Recorded on May 4 & 5, 2000

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This Day In Jazz

I thought Webbcity's site was so interesting that I toyed with the idea of trying this regularly. But a few things slowed me down. Today, for example, I could have posted five of the albums he mentioned - you can see where that would lead. So, I thought; where I've posted them already elsewhere, or if I'm in the mood to hear it, I'll put something here. If you haven't already, check out his great site.

The Poll Winners Exploring the Scene

For one of their better outings, the Poll Winners (guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne) perform nine fairly recent jazz standards. It is ironic that this is their only release not yet reissued on CD, since it may very well be their strongest program. The trio performs creative versions of such songs as "Little Susie," "So What," "Doodlin'," "This Here" and Ornette Coleman's "The Blessing." Worth searching for. Scott Yanow

Ray Brown (bass)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Little Susie
2. The Duke
3. So What
4. Misty
5. Doodlin'
6. The Golden Striker
7. Li'l Darlin'
8. The Blessing
9. This Here

Recorded in August 30, 31 and Sept 01, 1960 at Contemporary Records, Los Angeles, California

bow down

allen toussaint -- southern nights from a whisper to a scream

jean lafite says: two perfect albums. i don't want to hear any different.

The Beatles - Acoustic Masterpieces: The Esher Demos

When the Beatles Anthology was released, I thought the best things on it were some of the earlier versions - demo versions. Much of what the Beatles released was a bit overproduced for my taste. In fact, as the years pass I increasingly consider their 2-minute-flat pop tunes to be better in many ways than much of the self-indulgent things that came later; particularly solo work. George Harrison being the exception.

So, because of the surprising popularity of the Dr. Ebbetts series, I thought I'd augment a couple of albums with related material. This one is meant as a complement to the White Album, which I find harder to listen to as time passes. I am far more likely to listen to this, the Esher Demos.

I will post Let It Be with the non-, or pre-, Spector version. It'll knock you out, I'll bet.

"In late May 1968 (the exact date not known) The Beatles came together at 'Kinfauns'. George Harrison's home in Esher. One by one, first John, then George, then Paul, they recorded 23 of their newest compositions by double-tracking themselves on George's Reel to Reel tape machine.

These songs, most of whom were written during the Beatles' two month stay on a meditation course in Rishikesh, India, Feb. - April 1968 were subsequently recorded for the 'White Album'. But not all of them made it onto vinyl and thus remain unreleased (at least as Beatles versions).

Judging by the outcome of this session, it must have been a very sunny and relaxing day. Spring certainly was in the air (and a bit of pot maybe too). Just accompanied by their acoustic guitars John, Paul and George recorded very charming and joyful early versions of their newest tunes. Sometimes slightly out-of-sync with their own double tracking but who cares? Spontanaity counts!

Had this session been recorded 25 years later it would have been a bonafide MTV Unplugged performance. But as it is, this 1968 session remained in the vaults until now!!

We proudly present this tape to you in the correct running order and in the best possible sound (two generations away from the master tape)." - from the liner notes

1. Cry Baby Cry
2. Child Of Nature
3. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
4. I'm So Tired
5. Yer Blues
6. Everybody's Got Something To Hide...
7. What's The New Mary Jane
8. Revolution
9. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
10. Circles
11. Sour Milk Sea
12. Not Guilty
13. Piggies "edited out"
14. Julia
15. Blackbird
16. Rocky Raccoon
17. Back In The USSR
18. Honey Pie "edited out"
19. Mother Natures Son
20. Obla-Di Obla-Da
21. Junk "edited out"
22. Dear Prudence
23. Sexy Sadie

Recorded at 'Kinfauns' - Esher, England
May 1968 (exact date unknown)

Blakey and Rich, Moody and Sweets

Art Blakey and James Moody - New Sounds

This historically significant CD collects together two sessions led by tenor saxophonist James Moody in 1948 (when he was a member of Dizzy Gillespie's big band) along with drummer Art Blakey's first recording date as a leader. Moody's music features boppish arrangements by Gil Fuller and solos by trumpeter Dave Burns, altoist Ernie Henry and baritonist Cecil Payne while the Blakey set (originally released under the title of Art Blakey's Messengers) features an octet that includes trumpeter Kenny Dorham, altoist Sahib Shihab and pianist Walter Bishop. Classic and formerly rare music.- Scott Yanow

Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Sahib Shihab (alto sax)
Walter Bishop Jr. (piano)
Art Blakey (drums)
Ernie Henry (alto sax)
James Moody (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Nelson Boyd (bass)
Chino Pozo (bongo, vocal)
Gil Fuller (arr)

1. The Fuller Bop Man
2. The Fuller Bop Man (alt)
3. Workshop
4. Oh, Henry
5. Moodamorphosis
6. Moody's All Frantic
7. Tropicana
8. Cu-Ba
9. Tin Tin Deo
10. The Thin Man
11. The Bop Alley
12. The Bop Alley (alt)
13. Groove Street

Buddy Rich and Harry ''Sweets'' Edison - Buddy And Sweets

"...In 1955, Buddy and Harry came together for one truly memorable session. Buddy Rich and Harry “Sweets” Edison was originally recorded on Norgran Records but the label was later acquired by Verve. The two had recorded earlier when they were with the JATP but this was their first project where together they are the headliners. It’s swing at its best and is a venue for two of the master craftsman to showcase their talents.

The other members of the band are Jimmy Rowles on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar, and John Simmons on bass. With this impressive roster of background musicians the talent just doesn’t seem to stop. Jimmy Rowles started playing professionally at the age of 17 and over the years played with Lester Young and Billie Holiday. He’s received numerous Grammy nominations and is recognized as a master jazz pianist. John Simmons on bass picked up valuable experience when he played with Nat King Cole and also played briefly with Duke Ellington. He performed with many great jazz artists during the fifties but had to stop playing in the early sixties because of deteriorating health. A bit of trivia for my New York friends, Sue Simmons co-anchor of WNBC News at Five is his daughter. Barney Kessel, known as “The Innovator,” legitimized the use of the guitar within the jazz spectrum."

1. Yellow Rose Of Brooklyn
2. Easy Does It
3. All Sweets
4. Nice Work If You Can Get It
5. Barney's Bugle
6. Now's The Time
7. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me

Buddy Rich (drums)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
John Simmons (bass)

Recorded September 1, 1955 at Radio Recorders, Hollywood

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kenny Werner Trio - A Delicate Balance (1997)

Kenny Werner recorded his first album in 1977 and has since performed with Charles Mingus, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, John Abercrombie, Joe Henderson, Tom Harrell, Chico Freeman, and Joe Lovano. He is a talented composer as well, writing a number of compositions and arrangements for the Mel Lewis band and others. All of the songs on this CD are composed by Werner with the exception of "Work Song".

"Working with his trio, which features bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, pianist Kenny Werner made his debut for RCA Victor with (a delicate balance). Although the album doesn't cover any new ground, it's an elegant, graceful collection of intimate small-group jazz that illustrates what a tasteful and inventive musician Werner is." - Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Kenny Werner (piano)
Dave Holland (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
  1. Amonkst
  2. Work Song
  3. Ivoronics
  4. Footsteps
  5. Trio Imitation
  6. The Look
  7. Lorraine
  8. Melodies of 1997
Recorded June 15, 16, 17, 1997

Tony Bennett - When Lights Are Low

An incredible travesty of the digital music era is the total non-availability of this masterpiece. Tony Bennett has often remarked that his personal favorite among his own recordings is a wonderful disc called 'The Movie Song Album." That album IS one of his best, featuring songs from films with the composers themselves (Johnny Mandel, Quincy Jones, Luiz Bonfa, David Rose, etc) handling arranging duties on many of the songs they wrote. However, I would have to agree with Mr. Frank Sinatra (Tony Bennett was Sinatra's favorite singer) who had mentioned that "When Lights Are Low" was the Bennett LP he enjoyed the most.

On this recording, Bennett is backed by the Ralph Sharon Trio, which provides the singer with the intimate support that Bennett enjoys on only a few other discs such as the Bill Evans collaborations and his "duet" recording with the pianist Ralph Sharon entitled "Tony Bennett Sings For Two." Ralph Sharon was Tony Bennett's accompanist for nearly 40 years and acheived a rare affinity with the singer (such as the one shared by Frank Sinatra and his pianist, Bill Miller). Despite Bennett's partnerships with other fine pianists such as John Bunch and Lee Musiker, Ralph Sharon's many years with Bennett enabled the pair to develop a synergy not easily duplicated.

There are many things which I love about this disc... from Bennett's use of the verses to When Lights Are Low, On Green Dolphin Street, and It Had To Be You to his spoken intro on the first few lines of The Rules Of The Road. Ralph Sharon's piano solos are swinging and tasty and his interplay with Bennett really shines through (Bennett speaks directly to Sharon a couple of times on the recording). The vocalist is in good humor throughout, actually chuckling on a number of tracks. This recording is absolutely dripping with Bennett's good will!

There are a number of Bennett titles never reissued on CD but this one stands out as a particularly sorry omission. Great songs, wonderful trio backing, and spectacular singing. This album deserves some attention. Scoredaddy

Tony Bennett, Vocals
Ralph Sharon, Piano
Hal Gaylord, Bass
Billy Exiner, Drums

1. Nobody Else But Me
2. When Lights Are Low
3. On Green Dolphin Street
4. Ain't Misbehavin'
5. It's A Sin To Tell A Lie
6. I've Got Just About Everything
7. Judy
8. Oh! You Crazy Moon
9. Speak Low
10. It Had To Be You
11. It Could Happen To You
12. The Rules Of The Road

Recorded at United Recording Studios, Las Vegas, NV USA on March 26, 1964

Monday, August 27, 2007

Martin Denny - The Exciting Sounds of Martin Denny: Exotica, Vol. I & II

These early Denny creations cover his more wildly "exotic" career phase. The first album, presented in its original "Spectra-Sonic" mono, includes the hit title track in its entire eerie swamp-varmint splendor. Other standouts are the dreamy xylophone on "Lotus Land" and the absolutely wacky "Love Dance," which sounds more like an ornithologist's orgy. The second album, in stereo, gets more intricate and oddly romantic. The best is the opener, "Shoshu Night Serenade," with its ghostly textures and the persistent ringing of bells that suggest the carriage of a typewriter. The Denny arrangement of "Ebb Tide" is also a stunner. This double volume gives listeners a clear picture of how Denny was interested less in an "authentic" Hawaii and more intrigued by an imaginary and often surreal geography. - Joseph Lanza

1. Quiet Village
2. Return To Paradise
3. Hong Kong Blues
4. Busy Port
5. Lotus Land
6. Similau
7. Stone God
8. Jungle Flower
9. China Nights
10. Ah Me Furi
11. Waipo
12. Love Dance
13. Soshu Night Serenade
14. Island Of Dreams
15. Japanese Farewell Song
16. Singing Bamboos
17. The Queen Chant (E Lili U E)
18. Wedding Song (Ke Kali Ne Au)
19. Escales
20. When First I Love
21. August Bells
22. Bacoa
23. Ebb Tide
24. Rush Hour In Hong Kong

Systems Two Studios....Brooklyn!!

I found this still intact from the old site - Ogg format. Good as a sampler, I guess.

An earlier post mentioned Geri Allen's connection with the M-Base Collective. Here's something by them. I have, by the way, something by Cassandra Wilson and Jacky Terrason - Rendezvous; any takers?

M-Base (short for "macro-basic array of structured extemporization") is a concept of how to create modern music which reached its peak in the mid-to-late-80s and early 90s. It was also a word used to reference a collective of musicians, poets and dancers in this same time period who were associated with the movement. M-Base is often seen as a kind of jazz, but, strictly speaking, this is not entirely accurate, and the participants do not view M-Base in this manner.

M-Base is built on the innovations of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and especially the free funk of Ornette Coleman's electric bands, along with many other spontaneous composers. It is also influenced by the rhythmic innovations of many of the groups led by singer James Brown, as well as having direct roots in West African Music and West African cultural and philosophical ideas. One of its most noticeable musical traits is the innovative use of overlapping rhythmic cycles of various lengths inside of which the participants improvise, giving the music an unpredictable form. Other characteristics are curvilinear melodic elements, non-standard harmonic structures coupled with a mastery of improvisation based on these forms, resulting in a decidedly non-western cultural and philosophical bent.

Some of the main exponents of this concept in the 1980s – 1990s were saxophonist Steve Coleman (whose present style is an extension of these ideas), saxophonist Greg Osby, trombonist Robin Eubanks, saxophonist Gary Thomas, pianist Tim Murphy, and singer Cassandra Wilson, who are all still active in music performing and recording. Their more recent performances, especially Coleman’s, still demonstrate a debt to M-Base. Additionally, many newer musicians in the spontaneous composition arena – along with various artists in other areas utilizing spontaneous creation in poetry, dance, and popular forms like Hip-Hop – are also heavily influenced by the M-Base conception.

M-Base Collective - Anatomy of a Groove

This CD features many of the top players of the so-called "M-Base" idiom, a loose style of music related to the free funk of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time but making a greater use of space and uncrowded ensembles. The funky rhythms are unpredictable and creative while the highly original horn solos of altoists Steve Coleman and Greg Osby have developed beyond bebop and have their own inscrutable logic. The weak points to this often-abrasive music are the lack of memorable melodies and the difficulty in finding a role for Cassandra Wilson's voice. But in general this stimulating and fresh style offers jazz improvisers another choice besides revival hard bop and instrumental pop and is recommended to open-eared listeners. ~ Scott Yanow

Steve Coleman (Sax (Alto))
Greg Osby (Sax (Alto))
Marvin "Smitty" Smith (Drums, Vocals)
Cassandra Wilson (Vocals)
Graham Haynes (Trumpet)
Jimmy Cozier (Sax (Baritone))
Jimmy Cozier, David Gilmour (Guitar)
Kevin Bruce Harris (Bass)
Kevin Bruce Harris, Mark Ledford (Trumpet)
Mark Ledford (Vocals)
Andy Milne (Keyboards)
Reggie Washington (Bass),
Reggie Washington, James Weidman (Keyboards)
James Weidman(Guitar)

Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble - The Organizer

Trumpeter Lester Bowie grew up in St. Louis with a musical backdrop provided by the popular organ combos of the era. In 1991, while on hiatus from the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, the trumpeter revisited his organ roots. He wisely matched the soulful, gospel influences of organist Amina Claudine Myers and the exhilarating tenor powerhouse James Carter with trombonist Steve Turre and drummers (fellow AEC members past and present) Famoudou Don Moye and Phillip Wilson, making for invigorating yet reverent sessions. The six cuts on The Organizer include three by Bowie, one apiece from Turre and Myers, and a nod to Gene Ammons with the inclusion of "Angel Eyes." Carter and Myers receive the majority of solo space throughout the disc; however, by the session's concluding "Brooklyn Works Suite," Bowie unabashedly takes the solo spotlight. Bowie released a companion disc the same year with the same personal (also on DIW) called Funky T Cool T.

Lester Bowie Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Amina Claudine Myers Organ, Organ (Hammond), Vocals
Famoudou Don Moye Drums
Steve Turre Trombone
James Carter Sax (Tenor)

1 Sonala Nobala
2 Angel Eyes
3 Burglar
4 Guten Morgen, Pt. 2
5 Ready Joe
6 Brooklyn Works Suite

George Shearing - 'That Shearing Sound' (1994)

Im a newcomer to the ultra cool sound of George Shearing having recently
purchased (yes purchased!) this last week after hearing his version
of 'Girl Talk' on a UK Jazz DAB radio station and thinking I just
had to track it down - and preferably the album its on

Its a wonderful cool version - and 'I hear music' is also excellent

Now you'll excuse my ignorance but as a Jazz novice I knew
nothing about him and was suprised to discover he was firstly
blind (obviously not deducible from just listening!!), is British,
and AMG confirms his age as a ripe old 87 now !!!

Still going strong....

"Blind from birth, the 84-old Shearing made his mark in the American jazz scene after putting together his unique quintet comprised of piano, vibes, electric guitar, bass and drums. What became known as the "Shearing Sound" was a result of Shearing playing in the block chordal style known as "locked hands," which he developed from Milt Bruckner's style during his association with the Lionel Hampton band, and the chordal playing of Glenn Miller's sax section. Not many others experienced the widely popular success Shearing achieved after his 1947 album "So Rare" hit the shelves. Best known for his 1952 composition "Lullaby of Birdland," Shearing performed solo after breaking up his quintet and leaving Capitol records in 1976.

Incredibly, since his first recording in England in 1937, Shearing has enjoyed a lifetime of success in variety of settings where his genius lended compliment to a variety of musical talents - Stephanie Grapelli, Cal Tjader, Toots Thielsmans, Buddy DeFranco, Nancy Wilson, Nat Cole, Peggy lee, Jim Hall, Marian McPartland, Hank Jones, Mel Torme, Carmen McRae, Barry Tuckwell, Warren Vache, Ernestine Anderson, John Pizzarelli...the list goes on."

This is a real nice CD from the 'New George Shearing Quintet' sounding fantastic
Now to buy some more !!!



1 - East of the Sun
2 - I Like to Recognise the Tune
3 - I'll never smile again
4 - I Hear Music
5 - Girl Talk
6 - Autumn Serenade
7 - Consternation
8 - Stars in My Eyes
9 - Strollin'
10 - Very Early
11 - Conception
12 - Peace
13 - Lullaby of Birdland

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pullen Cowell

Don Pullen - New Beginnings

If you downloaded the Pullen Mosaic Select the couple of times it was here, then you already have this.

In the music of Don Pullen - the 47-year-old pianist who co-led the George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet, worked in the later bands of Charles Mingus, played duets with the drummer Milford Graves, and shared leadership, along with Beaver Harris, of the 360 Degree Experience - the two are no longer antithetical.

On ''New Beginnings'' (Blue Note CDP 7 917852; all three formats), his brilliant new trio album, the furor of the avant-garde language hasn't let up, and the techniques that are the most specific to the 60's - Mr. Pullen's crashing clusters, turning the piano into a whirlwind of percussion - haven't lost their power, nor do they seem dated.

His success is partly due to several careful decisions about how his art draws from the American black music tradition. With his rhythm section - Gary Peacock on bass and Tony Williams on drums - he abstracts dance rhythms, translating the joy of dance and the power of physical movement (and its implications of community) and adds both musical and social meaning by draping them with the techniques used by the avant-garde of the 1960's.

A sensibility immediately emerges, built on careful curiosity: where much of the music of the 1960's seems dictated by its time and willing to dispense with many of the musical standards that were hard won by generations of black musicians, Mr. Pullen reintroduces the pleasures of the body. Where the avant-garde often seemed one-dimensional, limited by its antipathy toward the past, Mr. Pullen allows different strains of emotion - particularly humor and pleasure -to percolate through his compositions. The reintroduction is understanding of human experience played out in music.

''New Beginnings'' is also something rare in contemporary jazz: a good record. It draws a listener back to keep discovering new contours, niches and seams. It works as a collection of pieces because Mr. Pullen has arranged it to be a continuing series of rhythmic and subtle stylistic progressions.

The album opens with ''Jana's Delight,'' a near-pop tune - Mr. Pullen spent time working with Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown and other rhythm-and-blues and pop musicians - which begins with a deceptively happy melody and builds into a climax fueled by Mr. Pullen's punching out broad sweeps of tone clusters that move the piece into deeper emotional ground. The next song, a banging waltz, moves into a rhythmic, densely patterned piece, ''Warriors.'' That's followed by ''New Beginnings,'' which is deep in the snakelike, oblique tradition of Herbie Nichols and Andrew Hill. Then ''At the Cafe Centrale,'' dedicated to friends in Madrid, moves with the minor harmonies of a flamenco piece.

All this variety is almost obscured by Mr. Pullen's power. He is a virtuoso, and in all the tunes he loads the slamming smears and bedspringlike spiraling lines - achieved by banging the back of his hand on the keys, among other techniques - with an unforced passion.

Where lesser pianists, borrowing these sounds and techniques from the pianist Cecil Taylor, have sketched indeterminacy and randomness, Mr. Pullen keeps rhythm, melody and key firmly in his grasp. His flurries, much like saxophone yelps and cries, are always grounded in the foundation of swing, and they always follow the harmonic progress of the tune.

But there is also something less tangible to these improvisations. While Mr. Pullen is grounded in the jazz tradition, he's made music that no one has before him - though the pianists Cecil Taylor, Jaki Byard and Dave Burrell, among others, have been, at times, on parallel courses.

With roots in the ethos of early modernism, where the idea was not to create with references, but to create something that had the weight of the natural, Mr. Pullen's pieces are without precedent, utterly distinct; they are events. In their bone-crunching thunder, he insists that they be heard, and denies them any other use.

This is unabashedly art music. And in their pleasure, and their joy in movement, his pieces also exemplify one of America's most enduring contributions to notions about art: that the squabbling between art and entertainment can produce work of immense esthetic power. - Peter Watrous, NY Times

Don Pullen (piano)
Gary Peacock (bass)
Tony Williams (drums)

1. Jana's Delight
2. Once Upon A Time
3. Warriors
4. New Beginnings
5. At The Cafe Centrale
6. Reap The Whirlwind
7. Silence=Death

A&R Recording Studios, New York, December 16, 1988

Stanley Cowell - Such Great Friends

Recorded just after a tour of Japan, this was a project designed to document some of what they performed. With Charles Tolliver, Cowell is the founder of Strata East.

An excellent modern, mainstream pianist who is adaptable to many acoustic jazz settings, Stanley Cowell has long been underrated except among knowing musicians. He studied the piano from the time he was four, and Art Tatum made an early impact. After attending Oberlin College Conservatory and the University of Michigan, Cowell (who had played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk while at Oberlin) moved to New York in 1966. He played regularly with Marion Brown (1966-1967), Max Roach (1967-1970), and the Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land quintet (1968-1971). In the early '70s, Cowell worked in Music Inc. with Charles Tolliver, and they co-founded the label Strata East. He played regularly with the Heath Brothers during 1974-1983, and since 1981 has been a busy jazz educator. Cowell has recorded as a leader for Arista-Freedom (1969), ECM (1972), Strata East, Galaxy, Unisson, DIW, Concord, and SteepleChase. ~ Scott Yanow

Stanley Cowell (piano)
Billy Harper (tenor sax)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Billy Hart (drums)

1. Sweet Song
2. Destiny Is Yours
3. Layla Joy
4. East Harlem Nostalgia

A-1 Sound Studios, New York: July 7, 1983

Jimmy Rowles

Don't miss the contributions from 'the jazzman' in the Jimmy Rowles - Our Delight post, and share your love if you can spare the time.

Illinois Jacquet - Desert Winds

Illinois Jacquet's searing sax solo in 1942's "Flying Home" (recorded while Jacquet was a member of Lionel Hampton's band) is often credited as the first R&B-styled saxophone solo, and there is no denying the power in that performance, shards of which are still being copied and assimilated. But many critics of the day hated the "dirty tenor" sound, and over the years Jacquet softened his approach considerably, knocking off the wilder corners and playing a smoother, more standard line. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, since Jacquet was an accomplished melodic player in any style, but listeners should be aware that his rougher sound was all but gone by the time Desert Winds was recorded in 1964. Working with guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Tommy Flanagan, and a rhythm section of Wendell Marshall on bass and Ray Lucas on drums, with Willie Rodriguez adding bongos and congas on most tracks, Jacquet's playing here is hushed, easy, and pleasant, with no discernible hard edges, and with no other horn player on the session, he has plenty of room to let his solos build and unwind. He does break out a little bit on the group's version of the Lester Young classic "Lester Leaps In," but most cuts, like the title track, have an unhurried, relaxing midtempo shuffle pace, making Desert Winds feel like the aural equivalent of a gentle twilight breeze. The added percussion gets a little distracting on occasion, but overall Jacquet is in fine lyrical form, particularly on the standout track here, a beautiful version of "You're My Thrill" that carries all the breathy romanticism of a classic Ben Webster solo, and is one of Jacquet's finest pieces. An underappreciated and unassuming album, Desert Winds has plenty of easy charm, and while there are no barn-burning solos here, there are plenty of moments of quiet and lyrical joy. Steve Leggett

Illinois Jacquet (tenor sax, alto on 4)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Wendall Marshall[ (bass)
Ray Lucas (drums)
Willie Rodriguez (bongos, congas)

1. When My Dreamboat Comes Home
2. Desert Winds
3. Star Eyes
4. Blues For The Early Bird
5. Lester Leaps In
6. You're My Thrill
7. Canadian Sunset

Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band - Road Time (1976)

This two-LP set, which, like most of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra's recordings, is currently out of print, gives one a definitive look at her 1970s orchestra. Akiyoshi's arrangements are colorful and swinging; the best charts on this two-fer are "Tuning Up," the nearly 23-minute "Henpecked Old Man," "Kogun" (which pays tribute to her Japanese heritage) and "Road Time Shuffle." This edition of the orchestra includes such major players as trumpeter Steve Huffstetter and Bobby Shew, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, altoists Dick Spencer and Gary Foster and Lew Tabackin on tenor and flute. It's highly recommended, if it can be found. - Scott Yanow

Most of Toshiko's recordings have been reissued on CD, but so far they are only available as Japanese imports, which can be very expensive. This is a rip of the 2-LP '76 vinyl release.

Bobby Shew, Steven Huffstetter, Richard Cooper, Mike Price (trumpet) Bill Reichenbach, Jim Sawyer, Jimmy Knepper, Phil Teele (trombone) Dick Spencer, Gary Foster (alto sax) Lew Tabackin (tenor sax, flute) Tom Peterson (tenor sax) Bill Byrne (bari sax) Toshiko Akiyoshi (piano) Don Baldwin (bass) Peter Donald (drums) Kisaku Katada (kotsuzumi) Yutaka Yazaki (Ohtsuzumi)

All songs composed and arranged by Toshiko Akiyoshi except "Yet Another Tear" composed by Lew Tabackin.
  1. Tuning Up
  2. Warning: Success May Be Hazardous to Your Health
  3. Henpecked Old Man
  4. Soliloquy
  5. Kogun
  6. Since Perry/Yet Another Tear
  7. Road Time Shuffle
6, 7 Recorded January 30, 1976 at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall, Tokyo
2, 3, 4 Recorded February 7, 1976 at Kosei Nenkin Kaikan, Osaka
1, 5 Recorded February 8, 1976 at Sankei Hall, Osaka

Oliver Nelson - Main Stem

It's ironic that Oliver's awesome skills as a soloist were overlooked during his lifetime because of his more prominent role as a composer-arranger and that now he's largely passed over altogether. Make no mistake about it--Oliver possessed total command of the instrument, alto or tenor, along with a "composer's" approach to improvisation. Pick up any of these small group sessions, including the "battle" with King Curtis and Jimmy Forrest, and simply marvel at the way Oliver structures his solos, using tension and release in a deliberate, climactic way. On this album, Joe Newman's trumpet provides pleasant, needed "relief" to Oliver's adventurous, bold and effective excursions. Given the fullness of his sound, the definitiveness of his melodic/harmonic ideas, and the structured wholeness of his solos, I'm tempted to call Oliver the Wagner-R. Strauss of the instrument. At the very least, he's one of the truly inimitable, exciting solo voices in jazz of the past 50 years. Samuel Chell

Oliver Nelson (tenor and alto sax)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Hank Jones (piano)
George Duvivier (bass)
Charlie Persip (drums)
Ray Barretto (congas)

1. Main Stem
2. J & B
3. Ho!
4. Latino
5. Tipsy
6. Tangerine

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: August 25, 1961

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Black Keys - Chulahoma EP

Chulahoma is a stopgap EP from the Black Keys, a collection of six covers of songs by cult bluesman Junior Kimbrough, whose "Do the Rump" they covered on their 2002 debut, Big Come Up. Considering that this is the first time the blues-rock guitar-n-drums duo has devoted an album to nothing but straight-ahead blues songs, it wound seem logical that Chulahoma would be the bluesiest recording in their catalog, but the Black Keys aren't that simple. The six songs on this 28-minute EP are hardly replications of Kimbrough's gritty originals, nor do they have the dirty, punch-to-the-gut feel of any of the duo's three proper albums. Instead, this is the weirdest set of music the band has done to date, a trippy, murky excursion into territory that floats somewhere between the primal urgency of the duo's best work and the dark, moody psychedelia of late-'60s blues-rock. Take "Have Mercy on Me" -- its winding, narcotic blues groove settles into a bed of droning organ and bongos, but the interplay between guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney prevents it from sounding as affected as psychedelia, while infusing it with a real sense of danger. That unsettling undercurrent flows throughout this brief EP, and it makes Chulahoma an album that's ideal for pitch-black nights, where the music can worm its way into your imagination and then run wild. That alone would make it a unique, noteworthy detour for the Black Keys, but when this is compared to Kimbrough's original recordings, it becomes an instructive listen since a side-by-side listen reveals how Auerbach drew inspiration from Kimbrough's stripped-down, idiosyncratic grooves and took it into some place entirely different. And while that might mean that Chulahoma doesn't necessarily sound like a kissing cousin to Kimbrough's originals, it does make it a greater, richer tribute than most cover albums, and it certainly proves that Auerbach's testimonial in the liner notes about how Junior Kimbrough changed his life is no lie. Stephen Thomas

1. Keep Your Hands Off Her
2. Have Mercy On Me
3. Work Me
4. Meet Me In The City
5. Nobody But You
6. My Mind Is Ramblin'
7. Junior's Wife

Friday, August 24, 2007

Jimmy Rowles - Our Delight (Flac)

Another Rowles recording to check out, if you've enjoyed my previous posts of Jimmy and the recent one by sotise you should enjoy this. I wonder, does anyone have any of his 70s recordings?

Recorded in 1968 but not released for the initial time until this 1997 CD, this set of live but private recordings feature pianist Jimmy Rowles with either Max Bennett or Chuck Berghofer on bass and Nick Martinis or Larry Bunker on drums. The very spontaneous and relaxed music finds Rowles often quoting other songs and playing a wide repertoire. The music ranges from "You're Driving Me Crazy" and "Our Delight" to "America the Beautiful," "Moon of Manakoora" and "Lulu's Back In Town," plus songs by Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. Although not essential, the set does feature Rowles during an era (1961-69) when he did not lead a single studio session. ~Scott Yanow

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chucho Valdés - Live At The Village Vanguard

A longtime favorite around here. A stunning - stunning! - performance by a master, and support from some of the most sympathetic musicians I've ever heard. They were there to back the man up, and they were consummately professional in doing so. Don't second guess yourself: check this one out.

"If Blue Note's alert microphones were present at Chucho Valdés's historic 1998 debut at the hallowed Village Vanguard, the results haven't officially landed in our CD machines yet. But the mikes were there, alright, the following year -- and they caught some virulent Cuban tempests (as the announcer warns, accurately, "There's a hurricane approaching from the Caribbean"). Yet the heat was turned up so much on Valdés's previous studio albums that the presence of a live audience only increases the temperature slightly here. Once again, Valdés's command of the keyboard is so technically staggering as to be stupefying, and he liberally throws in quotes from just about everything he ever absorbed -- from Chopin and Debussy to the Gershwins, Cecil Taylor and avant-garde strumming of the piano strings. He has so powerful an individual identity that "To Bud Powell" is more about Chucho than the late bop pianist. Yet the best, most fun track on the CD, "Punto Cubano," gives credence to the old saw about less being more. Built mostly around a simple tonic-dominant vamp; it has a Jarrett-like directness of melody and irresistible swing, though Chucho still isn't loath to turn on the big guns when desired. The long-running rhythm section of Francisco Rubio Pampin (bass), Raúl Pineda Roque (drums), and Roberto Vizcaino Guillót (congas), keeps Chucho all stoked up and steaming throughout the set. Also Valdés's sister, Mayra Caridad, lends a husky Miriam Makeba-sized voice to the not-so-peaceful lullaby "Drume Negrita." This is yet another excellent addition to the distinguished line of eventful Village Vanguard live sessions, brought to you through the politically neutral resources of EMI Music Canada." Richard S. Ginell

Chucho Valdés (piano)
Francisco Rubio Pampin (bass)
Raúl Pineda Roque (drums)
Roberto Vizcaino Cuillót (conga and batá drums)
Mayra Caridad Valdés (vocal)

1. Anabis
2. Son XXI (Para Pia)
3. Punto Cubano
4. My Funny Valentine
5. To Bud Powell
6. Drume Negrita
7. Como Traigo La Yuca
8. Ponle La Clave
9. Encore - Lorraine's Habanera

Recorded April 9-10, 1999 at The Village Vanguard, NYC

Sy Oliver - Oliver's Twist & Easy Walker (MSFL Gold)

Sy Oliver's melodic yet sophisticated arrangements helped define the Jimmy Lunceford sound in the 1930s and modernized Tommy Dorsey's band in the '40s. A fine trumpeter (excellent with a mute) and a likable vocalist, Oliver made his recording debut with Zack Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels in the late '20s and also worked with Alphonse Trent. Joining Lunceford in 1933, Oliver was responsible for such memorable charts as "My Blue Heaven," "Ain't She Sweet," "Organ Grinder's Swing," and "'Tain't What You Do," among many others. It was a major blow to Lunceford when Oliver jumped at the chance to make a lot more money arranging and occasionally singing for Tommy Dorsey. The hiring of Sy Oliver was a major help for T.D. in getting Buddy Rich to join his band. Oliver's arrangement of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" was his biggest hit for Dorsey. After a brief attempt at leading his own orchestra in 1946, Oliver became a freelance arranger and producer for the remainder of his long career. As late as 1975-1980, he was regularly leading a band but Sy Oliver will always be best known for his classic Lunceford charts.

During the 1950s and '60s, arranger Sy Oliver's groups reflected their leader's loyalty to the swing era and lack of interest in newer jazz styles. This audiophile CD from Mobile Fidelity reissues two rare Oliver albums that were originally recorded as radio transcriptions. The 24 concise performances range from folk melodies -- such as "Oh, Them Golden Slippers," "l'm a Little Teapot," and "Arkansas Traveler" -- to swing compositions. Trumpeter Charlie Shavers is the star of the earlier set, while the tenor of Budd Johnson takes honors on the second session. - Scott Yanow

Oliver's Twist (1960)
Sy Oliver (arranger); Charlie Shavers, Ernie Royal, Dic Perry, Mel Davis (trumpet); Rodney Levitt, Vince Forchetti, Morty Bullman, Frank Saracco (trombone); Sam Taylor, Seldon Powell, Dave McRae, George Dorsey, Joe Soldo, Phil Bodner (reeds); Dave Martin (piano); George Barnes (guitar); George Duvivier (bass); Jimmie Crawford (drums)
  1. Chiu Chiu
  2. Oh, Them Golden Slippers
  3. This Is Love
  4. The Blue Tail Fly
  5. Annie Laurie
  6. I'll Fly Away
  7. Lazy Mississippi Moon
  8. Intermezzo
  9. I Found the One I Love
  10. I'm a Little Teapot
  11. Arkansas Traveler
  12. Mansion Over the Hilltop
Easy Walker (1962)
Sy Oliver (arranger); Dick Perry, Jimmy Nottingham, Joe Newman (trumpet); Frank Saracco, Morty Bullman, Rodney Levitt (trombone); Dave McCrea, George Dorsey, Seldon Powell, Phil Bodner, Budd Johnson (reeds); Dave Martin (piano); George Barnes (guitar); Joe Banjamin (bass); Jimmie Crawford (drums); Warren Smith (percussion)
  1. Easy Walker
  2. I've Been Working on the Railroad
  3. Lazy
  4. Old Time Religion
  5. I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
  6. Mixed Doubles
  7. Back Home
  8. I Like You
  9. Last Night in Town
  10. Five Flats Furnished
  11. You Tell Me Your Dream
  12. I'm the Guy That Loves Ya

David S. Ware - Surrendered

David S. Ware's second Columbia release is characteristically aggressive and anguished, but it is not atonal. The album features four Ware originals, all of which possess clear compositional form and harmonic structure. Ware's solos may be filled with squawks and wails -- hallmarks of free jazz -- but he is making the chord changes. "Peace Celestial," "Theme of Ages," and "Surrendered" are based on rubato statements of fairly simple chordal and/or melodic motifs. Ware and pianist Matthew Shipp play solos while bassist William Parker and drummer Guillermo E. Brown react in sturdy and empathic fashion. As these tracks play, one envisions landscapes dramatic and vast yet rocky and imposing. "Glorified Calypso," in contrast, bounces along with a buoyancy different in mood from the other cuts.

Two of the tracks are non-originals. Beaver Harris's "African Drums" begins with a 6/8 figure that resembles the vamp of Coltrane's "My Favorite Things"; an off-kilter and rather ugly harmonic shift occurs in the middle four bars of the form. "Sweet Georgia Bright" by Charles Lloyd begins with a medium swing feel and goes in and out of double-time for the solos. It's as straight-ahead an arrangement as Ware will ever play, but as the entire album reveals, Ware's music contains more conventional harmony, melody, and rhythm than is often supposed. David R. Adler

David S. Ware (tenor sax)
Matthew Shipp (piano)
William Parker (bass)
Guillermo E. Brown (drums)

1. Peace Celestial
2. Sweet Georgia Brown
3. Theme Of Ages
4. Surrendered
5. Glorified Calypso
6. African Drums

Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, NY on October 20-21, 1999

Dave Pell Octet - Plays Rodgers & Hart

The Spanish Fresh Sound label has reissued the earliest recordings by the Dave Pell Octet, one of the top cool jazz bands of the 1950s. The Rodgers & Hart set was one of the group's most famous recordings, with classic renditions of "Mountain Greenery," "The Blue Room," "Spring Is Here," and "Ten Cents a Dance" being among the highpoints. The arrangements (by Marty Paich, Wes Hensel, Shorty Rogers, and Johnny Mandel) practically define the idiom, as do the cool-toned solos. A gem. Scott Yanow

Roland Bundock, Bass
Don Fagerquist, Trumpet
Wes Hensel, Arranger on 3,10-11
Ronnie Lang, Flute, Baritone Sax
Johnny Mandel, Arranger on 8
Marty Paich, Arranger on 1,2,4,9
Dave Pell, Tenor Sax
Bill Richmond, Drums
Tony Rizzi, Guitar
Shorty Rogers, Arranger on 5-7, 12
Ray Sims, Trombone
Donn Trenner, Piano & Celeste

1 Why Do You Suppose? 2:58
2 Have You Met Miss Jones? 2:55
3 You Are Too Beautiful 3:52
4 Mountain Greenery 2:51
5 A Ship Without a Sail 3:09
6 The Blue Room 2:41
7 I've Got Five Dollars 2:51
8 Sing for Your Supper 2:36
9 It Never Entered My Mind 3:54
10 The Lady Is a Tramp 4:04
11 Spring Is Here 3:06
12 Ten Cents a Dance 2:28

Recorded at Capitol Sutdios, Hollywood, CA USA on June 11, 21, & 24, 1954

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Supersax - The Joy of Sax

In 1972, Med Flory and Buddy Clark formed a five-sax nonet (usually including a trumpeter) dedicated to playing the harmonized solos of Charlie Parker. Their recordings for Capitol, MPS, and Columbia (unlike their live performances) did not contain any individual saxophone solos and found the sax section playing note-for-note Bird improvisations (including the roller-coaster "Ko Ko") with impressive precision. Clark left the band in 1975, but Flory continued the group on a part-time basis for several decades, sometimes using the L.A. Voices. Among the top sidemen through the years have been Bill Perkins, Warne Marsh, Jay Migliori, Jack Nimitz, Lanny Morgan, trumpeter Conte Candoli, and trombonist Carl Fontana. - Scott Yanow

The Joy of Sax is a compilation of tracks taken from the group's first three albums, all for Capitol - Supersax Plays Bird, Salt Peanuts and Supersax Plays Bird With Strings. As far as I know, none of these have been reissued on CD.

Med Flory, Joe Lopes (alto sax)
Warne Marsh, Jay Migliore (tenor sax)
Jack Nimitz (baritone sax)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Carl Fontana (trombone)
Ronnell Bright, Lou Levy (piano)
Buddy Clark (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)
  1. Star Eyes
  2. KoKo
  3. Parker's Mood
  4. Just Friends
  5. Ornithology
  6. April in Paris
  7. A Night in Tunisia
  8. Embraceable You
  9. The Bird
  10. Lover Man
  11. Be-Bop
  12. Oh, Lady Be Good
  13. Salt Peanuts
  14. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
  15. Yardbird Suite
  16. Lover
Recorded between 1972-1974

Art Taylor

Kitten? Nap? Spring Sun? Thom van der Jurek he ain't.

"Although Art Taylor was one of the busiest modern second-generation jazz drummers, working in the studio with Coleman Hawkins, Donald Byrd, John Coltrane and many others, he only released five albums under his own name, of which A.T.'s Delight was the third. And a delight it is indeed, bright and percussive, and when conga player Carlos "Patato" Valdes joins Taylor and pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers on three cuts (Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy," "Move" and a Taylor calypso-inflected original called "Cookoo and Fungi"), the rhythm pocket opens into a deep blue sea for the horn men (Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax and Dave Burns on trumpet). "Move" does exactly that, it moves, and at a blistering pace. Monk's "Epistrophy," thanks in part to Valdes, reveals its rumba roots, and has never sounded brighter. The seldom-covered Coltrane composition "Syeeda's Song Flute" seems likewise refreshed and revived. The lone Taylor original, the driving "Cookoo and Fungi," is as sharp and alert is a kitten waking from a nap in the spring sun, and Taylor's drum solo is crisp, efficient and slides seamlessly into the calypso-informed main theme. A.T.'s Delight is a solid outing, with a wonderfully nervous but completely focused energy. "Steve Leggett

Art Taylor (drums)
Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone)
Dave Burns (trumpet)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Carlos 'Patato' Valdes (congas)

1. Syeeda's Song Flute
2. Epistrophy
3. Move
4. High Seas
5. Cookoo And Fungi
6. Blue Interlude

Art Taylor - Taylor's Wailers

Five of the six selections on this CD reissue feature drummer Art Taylor in an all-star sextet of mostly young players comprised of trumpeter Donald Byrd, altoist Jackie McLean, Charlie Rouse on tenor, pianist Ray Bryant, and bassist Wendell Marshall. Among the highpoints of the 1957 hard bop date are the original version of Bryant's popular "Cubano Chant" and strong renditions of two Thelonious Monk tunes ("Off Minor" and "Well, You Needn't") cut just prior to the pianist/composer's discovery by the jazz public. Bryant is the most mature of the soloists, but the three horn players were already starting to develop their own highly individual sounds. The remaining track (a version of Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A.") is played by the quartet of Taylor, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, and bassist Paul Chambers and is a leftover (although a good one) from another session. Scott Yanow

Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Ray Bryant (piano)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

Art Taylor (drums)
John Coltrane (tenor sax)
Red Garland (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)

1 - Batland
2 - C.T.A.
3 - Exhibit A
4 - Cubano Chant
5 - Off Minor
6 - Well, You Needn't

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, February 25, 1957

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

jimmy rowles- lilac time 1994

uncredited review from music releases .com
Jimmy Rowles was accomplished in jazz settings from solo to small ensembles, and a highly sought-after accompanist by top female vocalists. He was so proficient at the latter that some dubbed him the Gerald Moore of jazz. No matter what the setting, Rowles was always at the top of his game. This album was cut in 1994 at a time when the pianist was suffering from on-and-off health problems. But this did not detract one iota from his peerless pianism and unmatched sensitive lyricism. Joined by bass player Eric Von Essen , Rowles waltzes through a program of standards, originals, and obscure material like the source of the album title, "Jeannine, I Dream of Lilac Time," composed in the 1920s for the film Lilac Time. One trait that made Rowles so special was his capacity to bring forgotten material to the public's attention and make them wonder why it was forgotten. He also liked to tinker with classics, and when he put his mind to it, he could do more than tinker. Here he only dabbles in his playing of "Maury" and "Maurice" from Maurice Ravel 's Daphnis and Chloé Suite -- but what else could he do in the 22 and 40 seconds each devoted to these tracks! Whimsical, introspective, and relaxed playing has him resuscitating such established standards as "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "I'm Old Fashioned." Von Essen provides admirable support and is rewarded from time to time with solo opportunities, such as on "Theme From Arrest and Trial." Rowles sings on a few of the tracks (e.g., "Accent on Youth") and one wishes that the same praise could be applied to his vocalizing as to his piano playing. While his voice is even more whispery and breathy than Chet Baker 's, it is not nearly as engaging, perhaps due to his wandering from the keys only from time to time. But whatever his vocal shortcomings, they are more than overcome by his talent at the keyboard on Lilac Time . Recommended.
this is jimmys last ever record ,i believe.
it features bassist eric von essen

Scott Hamilton - Tenorshoes

Here is another disc by the wonderful Scott Hamilton. Some may call this music old fashioned, retro, etc but I have always enjoyed Hamilton's playing. He emulates a style of sax in the tradition of Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, etc but he does it well and has a beautiful tone. he also posseses an inate ability to swing and puts over ballads with tenderness and feeling. I hope some of you give this a try.

Tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton (who can be overly relaxed and comfortable at times) often sounds at his most heated when playing with pianist Dave McKenna, and all of their collaborations are easily recommended. This Hamilton-McKenna effort with bassist Phil Flanigan and drummer Jeff Hamilton mostly emphasizes ballads (although sometimes at medium tempos), plus a cooking version of "How High the Moon" and Hamilton's original "O.K." A typically swinging and consistent Scott Hamilton record which has been reissued on CD. Scott Yanow

Phil Flanigan, Bass
Jeff Hamilton, Drums
Scott Hamilton, Tenor Sax
Dave McKenna, Piano

1 I Should Care (Cahn, Stordahl, Weston) 4:46
2 Falling in Love With Love (Hart, Rodgers) 4:34
3 The Shadow of Your Smile (Mandel, Webster) 6:35
4 The Nearness of You (Carmichael, Washington) 5:23
5 How High the Moon (Hamilton, Lewis) 4:46
6 Our Delight (Dameron) 5:34
7 My Foolish Heart (Washington, Young) 6:06
8 O.K. (Hamilton) 4:11

Recorded December 1979 at Coast Recorders, San Francisco, CA USA

Monday, August 20, 2007


heres some later skip (his first comeback recordings) these though being similar to the vanguard sessions are pretty much the warm ups apparently skip hadnt touched a guitar for 20 years when this was recorded, that falsetto's going to ripple through your brain till your dying day dying day!

by Sean Westergaard
Hard Time Killing Floor Blues was the first session Skip James recorded following his rediscovery by John Fahey and Henry Vestine in the mid-'60s. Though he had not played the blues for more than 20 years, his skills were largely undiminished, and he turns in a fantastic set here. James was the pinnacle of the Bentonia (Mississippi) sound, which combines complex fingerpicking with falsetto vocals, resulting in somewhat spooky-sounding strain of blues. James reprises several of his 1931 Paramount sides on this session, as well as a couple new tunes that chronicle the illnesses of James' latter days. Anyone with a passing interest in acoustic blues should own some James. This set would make a great starting point, especially for those who don't take well to the surface noise that can accompany his '30s sessions. The new mastering here sounds rich and warm. Highly recommended. [This set was previously released as Biograph 122, with a different running order.]

Chick Corea - Music, Forever & Beyond

This very attractive five-CD set does an excellent job of summing up the rather productive career of pianist-keyboardist Chick Corea. The first two discs have highlights from the 1964-82 period including a few sideman appearances, a previously unissued version of "Windows" played with Stan Getz, the original version of "Spain," four pieces from the Return to Forever days and numbers from his freelance projects of the late '70s (highlighted by the exciting "Central Park"). The third disc concentrates on Corea's GRP projects (1986-94), particularly his Elektric and Akoustic Bands (two selections were previously unissued) while the fourth CD is quite a grab-bag that includes collaborations with Herbie Hancock (a version of "Liza" that progresses from stride to free), Gayle Moran, John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia, Gary Burton, Bobby McFerrin and Miles Davis (a new duet version of "I Fall in Love So Easily" from 1969). In addition Corea is heard as an eight-year old in 1949 on a privately recorded 78 playing a short piano solo and on a version of "'Round Midnight" with strings that was recorded for this 1996 box. In fact the fifth disc consists exclusively of new recordings of standards (plus one original) by Corea in an acoustic quartet with tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (who has rarely sounded more exciting). This well-conceived set is highly recommended even to Chick Corea fans who might have some of his earlier records. A gem. Scott Yanow

Subtitled "The Selected Works of Chick Corea," this enlightening collection offers four discs that survey the keyboardist's remarkably diverse output between 1964 and 1996, plus a fifth disc of Corea performing assorted jazz standards with an animated acoustic quartet of bassist John Patitucci, saxophonist Bob Berg, and drummer Gary Novak. The first three discs progress chronologically. Disc one touches on early solo work leading up to the debut of Return to Forever. Disc two follows Corea into more elaborately arranged pieces (the two-part "Duel of the Jester and Tyrant" and "Hymn of the 7th Galaxy" are delicious memoirs from the experimental early 1970s). And disc three offers 11 tracks that showcase the froth, funk, and finesse displayed in his assorted Elektric and Akoustic bands through 1986. Disc four opens with an 8-year-old Corea (captured on 78 rpm vinyl) announcing and briefly performing "I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore." A career cross-section follows: a spunky duet with Herbie Hancock on "Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)"; a 1982 concert performance of "Beautiful Love" with John McLaughlin; plus selections with artists ranging from Gary Burton ("Crystal Silence," recorded in concert in 1994) to Bobby McFerrin. The handsome package includes a 36-page booklet featuring insightful commentary on nearly every track by author Tony Cohan. A fine overview of a prolific, influential artist. Terry Wood

Marcus Printup - UNveiled (1996)

Marcus Printup gained his initial recognition for his playing with pianist Marcus Roberts' group. His second Blue Note recording as a leader features his attractive trumpet in a quintet with Roberts, the Paul Gonsalves-inspired tenor of Stephen Riley, bassist Reuben Rogers and the young drummer Jason Marsalis. Printup at this point already had a fairly orignal sound of his own which was slightly influenced by Wynton Marsalis. His technique is impressive on the date as is his warmth and consistently creative ideas. Printup contributed seven mostly straightahead originals to the well-rounded and continually interesting modern mainstream set (including the brooding ballad "When Forever Is Over," the catchy "Leave Your Name And Number" and the funky title cut). "M & M," a major/minor blues duet with pianist Roberts which looks back to the 1920's, is a definite highlight. Printup also performs jazz standards by Miles Davis (a swinging "Dig"), Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter along with an emotional version of the traditional "Amazing Grace." This CD gives one an excellent sampling of Marcus Printup's hard bop-oriented playing. - Scott Yanow

Marcus Printup (trumpet)
Stephen Riley (tenor sax)
Marcus Roberts (piano)
Reuben Rogers (bass)
Jason Marsalis (drums)

1. Eclipse
2. When Forever Is Over
3. Dig
4. Say It Again
5. Leave Your Name and Number
6. Unveiled
7. Stablemates
8. Soulful J
9. M & M
10. Yes or No
11. Amazing Grace
Recorded February 18, 19, 1996

clifford thornton- panther and the lash 1970

heres a great one, certainly one of my favourite so called "free jazz" albums of the late 60's, one of the best from the semi bootleg catalogue of french based america records.

by Dan Warburton
The album title, referencing the first truly great anthology of poetry written by an African-American, Langston Hughes's 1926 book of the same name, nails Clifford Thornton's political colors firmly to the mast, and they're black. Described, with some justification, by Philippe Carles, the co-author of the seminal Free Jazz Black Power, as the quintessential free jazz performer, Thornton is in absolutely breathtaking form throughout this live set recorded in Paris on November 7, 1970, on which he plays not only the cornet but also trombone, piano, percussion, and shenai, accompanied by the cream of the crop of the local free music warriors, pianist François Tusques and bassist Beb Guérin, as well as the woefully under-recorded American expat drummer Noel McGhie. It's one of the highlights of the America back catalog and its reissue is cause for celebration. Thornton was able, in an all too brief career (he died in Geneva in relative obscurity in 1989), to sign three truly great free jazz albums under his own name. The Panther and the Lash fills the gap between Freedom & Unity (recorded on the day after Coltrane's funeral in 1967, reissued by Atavistic in 2001) and 1975's Jazz Composers Orchestra outing The Gardens of Harlem (JCOA), and is just as indispensable.
for once the hype is pretty much justified, thornton was an original musical thinker who bares investigation and also quite a brass stylist who has never recieved his due(especially on cornet) he seems largely forgotten today.
one point to make is that like lucky thompson he refused to be pigeonholed, boxed in or ripped off, i think he stopped recording for the same reasons lucky did too much compromise expected by industry hacks.
this was reissued in a limited edition of 5000, as part of verves so called free america series.
from what i have read most artists who cut lp's for america in paris between 1968-73 never saw a red cent.
those included archie shepp, dave burrell, steve lacy ,the art ensemble of chicago, mal waldron, frank wright and so on.
america also ripped off entire slabs from savoy's back catalog which they
then sold throughout europe under their own imprint, as well as unauthorised live material by, sidney bechet, charlie parker, lester young, sister rossetta tharpe, mary lou williams and so on.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

lucky thompson - live in switzerland 1968/9

hi,folks here's another one in (one hopes) a continuing series of lucky thompson posts, this ones been out of circulation for ten years or so.
i cant source a review for this.
what can one say any lucky 's good luck(Y), lucky's my all time favourite saxophonist of his generation, and its great to hear him stretch out in this live club setting at some length.
the only real pity here is that some of lucky's subtler ,and more off mike moves are somewhat swamped by milt buckner's organ, im not to much of a fan of organists of buckner's generation, larry young he aint thats for sure.
the good news is that buckner's only on half of the tracks here, and on the 1968 tracks with buckner we also get a taste of buddy tate another player whos reputation has perhaps in our own day been unjustly eclipsed.
this is a long disc , the second half of which sees lucky less in jam mode , and perhaps more focused in the setting that seemed to suite him best (backed by a standard trio).
a humble appeal i would love to have more lucky at my disposal, help me out people please eh.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

joe maneri quartet- tenderly 1993 , hat monday

heres a joe maneri bio from wikipedia, for those unfamiliar with the mans oeuvre.

An Italian-American raised in Brooklyn, Maneri played clarinet and saxophone in various dance bands and on the Catskill circuit as a teenager, often performing traditional Greek, Turkish, and Syrian music or Klezmer at weddings and other gatherings. He would later incorporate some elements of such music in his own compositions. He studied with Joseph Schmid (not the tenor but a conductor and student of Alban Berg) for a decade before being commissioned by conductor Eric Leinsdorf to write a piano concerto for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which was rehearsed but never performed in concert.
Maneri was impressed by the music of Arnold Schoenberg and organized a jazz ensemble that performed some twelve tone music. (His later music is, however, atonal but not in the twelve-tone technique.) In 1963, this quartet recorded a demo for Atlantic Records, due in part to Gunther Schuller's interest in Maneri. The recording was not released until 1998, when American Splendor writer Harvey Pekar — who had obtained a copy of the demo — played the music for composer John Zorn, who released the music on his Avant Records as Paniots Nine. The recording shows a synthesis of Maneri's experience with vernacular musics of American immigrants and his understanding of twelve-tone composition along with a developed style of "free" improvisation, analogous to the contemporaneous innovations by Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman. In 1965, he performed, as soloist, a piece composed by David Reck. dedicated to Coleman and conducted by Schuller at Carnegie Hall. Little else was heard from him until he was hired, at the behest of Schuller, to teach at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1970. Since then, he has lead one of the only microtonal composition courses in the United States. (Jamie Saft, Cuong Vu, Bhob Rainey and Matthew Shipp have been among his students.) He was also part of the 80s klezmer revival in New England.
Maneri continued his teaching, but performed and recorded rarely until the early 1990s, when his son Mat Maneri coaxed him into more public appearances. Joe said, "I had an experimental microtonal sextet about 15 years ago, which would practice in my house. One night, when he was 14, Mat came down from his bedroom with his violin and joined us. He was already the best player in the group. He set a pace for the rest of us." As Mat says, "Even, then, I thought of my role as being a bridge between this and that — Joe being 'that'."
Maneri gained significant attention, and released a number of recordings, often on ECM Records. His recorded music is informed by his microtonal theories and compositions which use 72 equal temperament, the equal division of the octave in 72 parts, although he doesn't confine himself to that temperament in performance: "We don't use theories when we play. We can't. We are those things. If they took X-rays of us, you would see all of the music inside" (Blumenthal, 1999).
In 1999, Tales of Rohnlief marked the recording debut of Maneri's own constructed language.
Writer Harvey Pekar — a longtime fan of Maneri — insisted Maneri's music be featured in the film version of his comic book American Splendor.
In 2003, 24 of Maneri's poems, written in his own language, were included in the anthology Asemia.

I cant find a review of this, stunning album.
All I can say is it has a drifting dream like quality, slow vivid lots of long legato passages.
They seem to elongate time itself (in lieu of jurek)
Plays well, after a few hash cones.
probably the highlights for me being the 2 standards whats new , and tenderly itself.

this recording is a document of a live concert performed at peace lutheran church wayland massachussetts , the precise date isn't stated

The Paris All-Stars - Homage to Charlie Parker (1989)

Sort of a follow-up to Max + Dizzy, this concert was recorded almost three months later at a festival called Halle That Jazz.

The city of Paris celebrated bop and the spirit of Charlie Parker with several days of all-star concerts in 1989, highlighted by this performance featuring eight giants who either played with the late alto saxophonist or built upon the foundation of his contributions, though the repertoire doesn't draw exclusively from Parker's recordings. The concert was led by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, with alto saxophonists Phil Woods and Jackie McLean, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist Hank Jones, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Max Roach. Egos are never apparent as the men joyfully support one another and no one goes out of his way to showboat during a solo. Getz is featured in "Warm Valley," Roach is all alone during his three-part "Drummers' Sweet," it's Jackson with the rhythm section in the sentimental "Old Folks," while Heath opens a trio rendition of "Yardbird Suite" with a formidable unaccompanied solo. Dizzy's muted horn is complemented by Jones' spacious piano in a marvelous duet of "Con Alma." Woods and McLean team up for a fun romp through "Cherokee," while everyone returns to the stage for an inspired, smoking interpretation of "A Night in Tunisia," followed by Gillespie's delightful scatting in a burning take of "Oop-Pop-A-Da," which ignites his fellow players. Classical composer Mort Goode's liner notes talk more about the musicians than the performances themselves, so that explains why he didn't catch the bizarre mislabeling of "Steeplechase" as "Birks Works," or the crediting of Gillespie's "Oop-Pop-A-Da" to Babs Gonzales. Sadly, this A&M CD has been out of print for quite some time, though it is well worth searching for a copy. - Ken Dryden

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocal)
Phil Woods, Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
Hank Jones (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
  1. Birks Works (Steeplechase)
  2. Warm Valley
  3. Drummer's Sweet
  4. Old Folks
  5. Yardbird Suite
  6. Con Alma
  7. Cherokee
  8. A Night in Tunisia
  9. Oo-Pop-A-Da
Recorded June 15, 1989 at La Grande Halle - La Villette, Paris

Anthony Ortega – New Dance!

A talented and advanced improviser, Anthony Ortega never received that much recognition and has been in obscurity for far too long. Ortega had his first major job with Earle Spencer's Orchestra in 1947. After serving in the Army, he was with Lionel Hampton's big band (1951-53) including for Hamp's ill-fated European tour. He played with Milt Buckner, led his own group in Los Angeles, visited Scandinavia in 1954 (which resulted in an Lp for Vantage) and then in 1955 relocated to New York. Ortega had stints with Nat Pierce (1956-58), Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Paul Bley and the Quincy Jones Big Band (1960). From then on he often led his own group, moving back to Los Angeles by the mid-1960's and working with the big bands of Don Ellis and Gerald Wilson. As a leader, in addition to the Vantage album, Ortega has recorded sets for Bethlehem, Herald, Revelation (including a 1967 session that was reissued on CD by Hat Art) and Discovery (1978); the latter featured his wife Mona Orbeek Ortega on piano and vibes.

Originally recorded for Revelation, the music on this CD reissue features the underrated but talented altoist Anthony Ortega stretching out on four duets with bassist Chuck Domanico and four trios with bassist Bobby West and drummer Bill Goodwin. Ortega plays adventurous but perfectly coherent solos on four originals and a quartet of standards (including "The Shadow Of Your Smile" and a haunting rendition of "My Buddy"). Although one can hear abstract ties to the music of Lennie Tristano, in general Ortega is surprisingly original, making this set an overlooked gem. Scott Yanow

Anthony Ortega – New Dance!
[Hat Hut Records, 1990]

Tracks 1,5,6, & 8 recorded January 14, 1967 with:
Anthony Ortega: alto
Bobby West: bass
Bill Goodwin: drums

Tracks 2, 3, 4, & 7 recorded October 15, 1966 with:
Anthony Ortega: alto
Chuck Domanico: bass

1. New Dance
2. The Shadow Of Your Smile
3. Sentimentalize
4. Conversation Piece
5. My Buddy
6. ‘Tis Autumn
7. I Love You
8. G. The Key

Friday, August 17, 2007

don sugarcane harris -- sugarcane harris

jean lafite says: this album has a lot going on. produced by johnny otis, arranged by johnny and shuggie otis (who i believe plays on it also) and roger sprotts. engineered by bob groovus breault. that is all i know for sure. i thought i was pretty savvy detecting a zappa feel to some of it, then i come to find out harris played in zappa's band on some of his best albums (including hot rats which is probably my favorite zappa lp). there is, as i said before, a lot of stuff going on here not the least of which is some far out FUNKY DOO DOO.

Max + Dizzy - Paris 1989

To listen to Max Roach & Dizzy Gillespie--Paris 1989 (A&M) is to take a mostly improvisational journey with two of the century's jazz giants. When they came together in Paris in March 1989 for a one-night performance, there had not been a single rehearsal, though the two virtuosos had not worked together in years. Their 44 years of mutual admiration and even more of individual accomplishments came into focus as the two performed and entertained in what was to become a stunning recording. The two-album set includes personal recollections of both Gillespie and Roach, who recall events, personalities and creative high notes in their respective careers.

This duo concert was recorded on March 23, 1989 at the Maison de la Culture de la Seine Saint Denis, Bobigny, Paris as part of the Banlieues Bleues Festival. The interview was conducted on June 15, 1989 and later that evening Max and Dizzy performed with an all-star group at Halle That Jazz '89 in a tribute to Charlie Parker.

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Max Roach (drums)

Tracks in comments.

michel doneda- anatomie des clefs 1998

heres a prime bit of solo saxophony, this ones for you fslmy
review by stephen loewry
At first blush, more than an hour of solo soprano saxophone might appear daunting, if not tedious. In Michel Doneda's hands, the soprano saxophone is not so much a musical instrument as a vessel of prayer. There is no discernable melody and few sounds that resemble those of the saxophone. Instead, there are incredible, even astounding sounds that melt into nothingness and then erupt in fury. The three tracks are entirely different, with utterly fascinating shadings. Under Doneda's tutelage, breath and space are just as important as instrumental sound. This is not, though, some New Age mush: Far from it. It is a masterful blend of noise, air, and technically sophisticated saxophone that unites to form a coherent whole. To the uninitiated, this might make for disturbing listening; but, but for those willing to take the time, the rewards are substantial.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

David Axelrod “Songs of Innocence” (1968, Capitol ST2982)

An additional Friday fare, I bring you one of my closet favourites, jazz producer, arranger, engineer (... and painter, engraver, writer) David Axelrod. At the time of this album, he was known for his hits with Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley and The Electric Prunes. The albums “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” (sorry, I don’t have it . . .) were inspired by the same titled books by William Blake. The instrumental concerto album was judged harshly upon its release, perhaps because it may have been ahead of its time and therefore achieved only a token amount of success at its release; however, due the rap and hip-hop music producers digging the breaks and beats, they are now receiving a second chance. Can you imagine how shockingly loud these disturbed guitars, funky bass lines and drums must have been at the time?

“Songs of Innocence” is rather good example of the Axelrod's genius. Axelrod was still rather young and beginning to approach his creative peak. The album is neither rock, jazz, classical, nor easy listening, yet the album combines elements of pop, rock, jazz, theater music, and R&B into a richly layered whole. He sought to fuse orchestral arrangements that stretched the traditional big band concept. With the addition of electric guitars, he comes up with a psychedelic flight without indulging in trippiness. According to several reviews I read, the feeling of this album, compared to its darker, gloomy successor, is rather optimistic or bright – perhaps as if some sage wished to impart on you not to despair because he had seen all the promise that lay ahead.

As you listen to it, do not fight it, let yourself be swept away by this music and do not be surprised if you find familiar sounds from other artists who 'got' there years later ~ enjoy!

Set Highlights:
- ‘Holy Thursday’ – think bluesy piano bop with a jazz boogaloo and classical music (got it?)
- ‘The Smile’ – this ought to be issued at purchase in every iPod!
- ‘The Mental Traveler’ – THE closing song

David Axelrod (vcl, com/arr/prod), Carol Kaye (b), Gary Coleman (vib), Freddie Hill, Ollie Mitchell (tp), Vincent DeRosa (tp/flh), Henry Sigismonti (woodwinds), Peter Wiant (g), Earl Palmer (d), Gary Coleman (vcl), and others

01. Urizen
02. Holy Thursday
03. The Smile
04. A Dream
05. Song of Innocence
06. Merlin's Prophecy
07. The Mental Traveller

Shorty Rogers “Martians Come Back” (1955, Atlantic 1232)

Funky Friday is here on my side of the world, but only the title of this set is funky . . .this is the second of five albums that Shorty Rogers made for Atlantic. As is known, Shorty Rogers was one of the brighter lights of the West Coast jazz scene, and this ’55 album is yet another example of his many talents. What I like about this album is that he shows his skills as an arranger. These tracks have that swing feeling that I like but he has added some small-group cool. It is hard to go wrong with this cleverly arranged swing - cool jazz ~ enjoy!

tracks 1-3, 5-7: Shorty Rogers (tp), Jimmy Giuffre (cl/ts/baSx), Lou Levy (p), Ralph Pena (b), Shelly Manne (d); tracks 1,7 were recorded on 16 October, 1955 in Los Angeles; tracks 3,5 were recorded on 3 November, 1955 in Los Angeles; tracks 2,6 were recorded on 6 December, 1955 in Los Angeles

track 4: Shorty Rogers (flh), Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison (tp), Bud Shank (as), Pete Jolly (p), Barney Kessel (g), Leroy Vinnegar (b), Shelly Manne (d); was recorded on 16 December, 1955 in Los Angeles

track 8: Shorty Rogers (tp/flh), Bob Enevoldson (va-Tb), John Graas (frhrn), Paul Sarmento (tub), Bud Shank (as), Jimmy Giuffre (cl/ts/baSx), Lou Levy (p), Ralph Pena (b), Shelly Manne (d); was recorded on 9 December, 1955 in Los Angeles

*addded 18.08 - new links contain both albums

“Martians Stay Home” (1955, Atlantic (E) K 50714)

tracks 1,3,5,8: Shorty Rogers (tp), Jimmy Giuffre, Jimmy Giuffre (cl/ts/ba-Sx), Pete Jolly (p), Curtis Counce (b), Shelly Manne (d); recorded on 1 March, 1955 in Los Angeles

tracks 2,4,6,7,9: Shorty Rogers (tp), Jimmy Giuffre (cl/ts/ba-Sx), Lou Levy (p), Ralph Pena (b), Shelly Manne (d); track 6 recorded on 26 October, 1955 in Los Angeles; tracks 2,4,7,9 recorded on 3 November, 1955 in Los Angeles

01. Loaded
02. Martians Stay Home
03. The Lady in Red
04. Amber Leaves
05. Bill
06. Barbaro
07. Peals
08. 12th Street Rag
09. Easy

Charles McPherson - First Flight Out (1994)

Born in Joplin, MO on July 24, 1939, Charles McPherson was raised in Detroit, beginning his musical endeavors at a young age. In the flourishing mid-'50s Motor City scene, McPherson studied with Barry Harris and played his first professional gigs with him at age 19. McPherson moved to New York in 1959, caught attention for his singing tone and lyrical interpretation of the Charlie Parker tradition, and within a year started working with Charles Mingus, with whom he collaborated frequently until 1972. Having relocated to San Diego, McPherson has remained in the vanguard of bebop stylists, contributing live solos for Clint Eastwood´s film Bird, performing often for the repertory-oriented Jazz at Lincoln Center series, and recording for Zanadu, Prestige, and Arabesque.

"Inspiring and inspired by some of New York's most respected jazz musicians - Tom Harrell, Victor Lewis, Michael Weiss and Peter Washington - McPherson fumes the hot house of his gifts throughout this recording. In his playing of originals, a few Mingus pieces, something of Monk's, even the reinvention of "My Funny Valentine", McPherson never lets us forget the actual greatness of the art he represents." - Stanley Crouch

Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Michael Weiss (piano)
Peter Washington (bass)
Victor Lewis (drums)
  1. Lynns Grins
  2. Lizabeth
  3. Blues for Chuck
  4. Nostalgia in Times Square
  5. Well You Needn't
  6. 7th Dimension
  7. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
  8. Deep Night
  9. Portrait
  10. Karen
  11. My Funny Valentine
  12. First Flight Out
Recorded January 25, 26, 1994

Max Roach: 1924 - 2007

" Roach's body of work has an invincible look to it: there's little or nothing that looks like a studio chore or a producer's folly. His playing, particularly as a soloist, has a composer's refinement and particularity, as well as a master drummer's accomplishment; and he should be remembered as a principal among the many small-group leaders of the past 50 years."

Max Roach - Jazz In 3/4 Time (Flac)

Max Roach (drums)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)
George Morrow (bass)
Billy Wallace (piano, 1-5)
Ray Bryant (piano, 6)

1. Blues Waltz
2. Valse Hot
3. I'll Take Romance
4. Little Folks
5. Lover
6. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World

Charles Mingus - Complete 1945-1949 West Coast Recordings

We know that Mingus played with Dolphy, but did he ever play with Art Pepper?
In fact, he did. The three of them can be found playing together on this release.

Mingus was a chidhood friend of Britt Woodman, from the Ellington band. I wonder if that's a brother playing on the first tracks? Lucky Thompson, Cal Tjader, Richard Wyands, Buddy Collette. Central Avenue in the house!!!!

This CD compiles 13 ultra-rare 78 RPMs which feature Charles Mingus' earliest sessions as a leader. The music in this collection portrays Mingus in his mid-twenties as a bassist, composer, arranger and bandleader on recordings ranging in style from Swing and Bop to R&B and Jump. It is fascinating to hear first versions of such Mingus classics as "Weird Nightmare" and "Mingus Fingers", and on the final session of this collection we find Mingus leading Stan Kenton's band along with a few players who would play an important role in later Mingus bands... Eric Dolphy and Jimmy Knepper...and Mingus even scats on a track.

Charles Mingus Sextet
N.R. "Nat" Bates (tp)
Maxwell Davis, William Woodman (ts)
Robert Mosley (p)
Charles Mingus (b)
Roy Porter (d)
Oradell Mitchell (vcl on 1 & 3)
Everett Pettis (vcl on 2)
Los Angeles, Fall of 1945 - originally on Excelsior Records

1. The Texas Hop
2. Baby, Take A Chance With Me
3. Lonesome Woman Blues
4. Swingin' An Echo

Charles Mingus Sextette
Karl George, John Plonsky (tp)
Henry Coker (tb)
Willie Smith (as)
Lucky Thompson (ts)
Gene Porter (bs, cl)
Wilbert Baranco (p)
Charles Mingus (b)
Buddy Harper (g)
Lee Young (d)
Claude Trenier (vcl on 5, 6 & 8)
Los Angeles, end of January, 1946 - originally on Excelsior Records

5. Ain't Jivin' Blues
6. Baby, Take A Chance With Me
7. Shuffle Bass Boogie
8. Weird Nightmare

Baron Mingus And His Octet
Karl George, John Anderson (tp)
William Woodman (ts, bs)
Buddy Collette (as, cl)
Britt Woodman (tb)
Lady Will Carr (p)
Charles Mingus (b)
Louis Speigner (g)
Lee Young (d)
Claude Trenier (vcl on 9 & 10)
Los Angeles, April 20, 1946 - originally on Four Star Records

9. Make Believe
10. Honey, Take A Chance With Me
11. Bedspread
12. This Subdues My Passion

Lady Will Carr With Baron Mingus And His Octet
same personnel and date as above - originally on Four Star Records

13. Pipe Dream (a.k.a. Weird Nightmare)

Baron Mingus and His Rhythm
Buddy Collette (as, cl)
Jimmy Bunn (p)
Charles Mingus (b)
Chuck Thompson (d)
Los Angeles, early November, 1948 - originally on Dolphins of Hollywood Records

14. Mingus Fingers
15. These Foolish Things

Charles "Barron" Mingus Presents His Symphonic Airs
John Coppola, Vernon Carison, Allen Smith, Andy Peele (tp)
Dante Perfumo (fl)
Bob Olney (as, cl, fl)
Bud Hooven (as)
Morrie Stewart, Alex Megyesy, Don Smith (ts)
Herb Caro (bs)
Haig Eshow, Bob Lowry (pos.), Hawes Coleman (tb)
Richard Wyands (p)
Charles Mingus (b)
Cal Tjader (d)
Johnny Berger (perc)
Jean McGuire (cello)
Herb Gayle (vcl on 17)
San Francisco, mid-February, 1949 - originally on Fentone Records

16. Story Of Love
17. He's Gone

Barron Mingus and His Rhythm
Herb Caro (bs)
Buzz Wheeler (p)
Warren Thompson (d)
Herb Gayle (vcl on 18)
same date - originally on Fentone Records

18. Pennies From Heaven
19. Lyon's Roar

Baron Mingus and His Rhythm
Tommy Alexander (tp)
Herb Caro (ts)
Bob Lowry (tb)
Donn Trenner (p)
Charles Mingus (b; scat vcl on 21)
Johnny Berger (d)
Helen Carr (vcl on 20)
Los Angeles, late February-early March, 1949 - originally on Dolphins of Hollywood Records

20. Say It Isn't So
21. Boppin' in Boston

Charlie Mingus and His 22 Piece Bebop Band (Stan Kenton's Sidemen)
Buddy Childers, John Anderson, Hobart Dotson, Eddie Preston (tp)
Britt Woodman, Jimmy Knepper, Marty Smith (tb)
Eric Dolphy (as, fl, cl)
Art Pepper, Jewel Grant (as, cl)
Herb Caro (ts, cl)
prob. William Green (ts, cl, fl)
Gene Proter (bs, cl)
Russ Freeman (p)
Charles Mingus, Red Callender (b)
Roy Porter (d)
poss. Johnny Berger (perc)
unknown (g)
Hollywood, CA, Spring 1949 - originally on Rex Hollywood Records

22. The Story Of Love
23. Inspiration

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


In 1971 cowboyfilm producer link wyler and the texas blues lable put together enough money, to put together a blues roadshow of “epic proportions” according to the lable hype, they toured the us university circuit as well as several state prisons, these recordings were taken at shows, from the the university of Oregon, Washington state university and Monroe state prison in Washington.
For me its especially good to hear jb hutto, big mama thornton, and the little known bee Houston
The main headliners here are muddy waters, big mama thornton, big joe turner, george harmonica smith, jb hutto, and bee Houston.
The supporting personel are not named in the notes to this 2001 reissue which I think is now out of print.

I cant find a review
Tracklist is
Hootchie cootchie man, blow wind blow (Interview with muddy, big mama thornton, joe turner)
Ball and chain, houndog, Leavin Chicago , juke , too much alchohol, high heel sneakers, I am the blues, oh happy day
Last track is an ad lib untitled jam by the whole bunch.

it's a great discs worth of concert material, big mama thorntons 4 tracks are inspired performances, and jb hutto's too much alchohol is stunning.

Oscar Peterson/Joe Pass/Ray Brown - The Giants (1974)

Happy Birthday Oscar!

Oscar Peterson (piano)
Joe Pass (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
  1. Riff Blues
  2. Who Cares
  3. Jobim
  4. Blues for Dennis
  5. Sunny
  6. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
  7. Caravan
  8. Eyes of Love
Recorded December 7, 1974

Olu Dara - In the World: From Natchez to New York

"New Orleans jazz runs headlong into Mississippi Delta blues as Olu relates any number of autobiographical tales over a gumbo of Caribbean and African rhythms."—From the press release for Olu Dara's In the World

Statements like that make me want to run. The problem with most multicultural musical experiments is that, no matter how fruitful such collisions may sound on paper, you eventually have to put the CD in the drawer, press Play, and then listen as your expectations run headlong into reality: the kind of dream described in that press release rarely comes true. Because musicians are, like the rest of us, rooted in one or (at most) two cultures, most of these intriguing, ambitious projects end up as disasters that disgrace not only the artist(s) involved, but the traditions they've borrowed from. Except for Ry Cooder and a very few others, I reached my multicultural red line a long time ago.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I listened to New York avant-garde cornetist Olu Dara's first solo disc. But given his proven credentials, I had hopes that Dara wouldn't fall flat. After a stint in the Navy that took him to Africa, where he was exposed to highlife and other forms of African popular music, this native of Natchez, Mississippi arrived in New York City in 1963 to spend his musically formative years in a late-'60s edition of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, after which, in the '70s, he moved into New York's loft-jazz scene. A quick perusal of my collection shows that Dara has played on a number of favorite jazz records, including David Murray's Ming (1980, Black Saint 120045), Cassandra Wilson's Blue Light 'Til Dawn (1993, Blue Note CDP 7 81357 2), and Henry Threadgill's Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket (1983, About Time, no catalog number).

In the '90s, Dara has focused much of his energy on writing music for the stage, including many productions dealing with the life and/or work of black novelist Zora Lee Hurston. In 1996 he appeared in Kansas City, Robert Altman's bloated and confused "jazz film." Among credits too numerous to list here, Dara has also written an original musical melodrama, From Natchez to New York, which was aired on NPR and performed live at the Smithsonian.

Dara has used all of these experiences to create this surprising disc. Stylistically, most of what's here is his own brand of voice-and-cornet folk music, enlivened in places by an African rhythmic flourish ("Okra") or slowed to a smoky delta blues ("Father Blues"). But always there is a coherent feel and texture that has to be called Dara's own style.

Vocally, Dara is more a talker than a singer; but his lyrics have obviously been written to work with this conversational style, and rarely require him to cut loose and warble. In those lyrics (not to mention a photo of a sumptuous feast in the booklet), Dara is sincerely obsessed with food. The opener, ("Okra") uses a vendor's cry to list "blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes, green peanuts," and "pee-cans, pek-cans"—not to mention the southern vegetable of the title. In another African-influenced number three tracks later, "Your Lips," Dara calls his loved one his "Louisiana Plum," then proceeds to chant in the chorus, "Your lips / your lips / your lips...are juice-saaayyyy."

Dara's skill with the (sadly) increasingly obscure cornet comes out in the slow pop of "Harlem Country Girl" and the sinuous, funky "Young Mama." My personal fave here is "Bubber (If Only)," his tribute to cornetist Bubber Miley, the originator of Duke Ellington's growling "jungle" sound, and on which Dara replicates Miley's unmistakable use of mutes. Dara also plays guitar on several cuts, and his son, rapper Nas, guests on "Jungle Jay," on which a B-3 organ is added for atmosphere.

Not a big record of loud or ostentatious charms, In the World: From Natchez to New York is a rich roux of Dara's experiences and sensibilities that happily and convincingly lives up to its multicultural billing. Robert Baird

Olu Dara - In the World: From Natchez to New York
[Atlantic, 1998]

Olu Dara (vocals, trumpet, cornet, guitar, bass drum, percussion)
Mayanna Lee (vocals)
Nas (rap vocals)
John Abrams (tenor saxophone)
Rudy "Obadeli" Herbert (Hammond B-3 organ)
Kwatei Jones-Quartey (acoustic & electric guitars, percussion, background vocals)
Ivan Ramirez (electric guitar, guitar, background vocals)
Alonzo Gardner (bass, background vocals)
Greg Bandy (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Richard James (congas)
Melba Joyce, Joyce Malone, Cantrese Alloway, Darada David (background vocals)

1. Okra
2. Rain Shower
3. Natchez Shopping Blues
4. Your Lips
5. Harlem Country Girl
6. Zora
7. Young Mama
8. Bubber (If Only)
9. Father Blues
10. Jungle Jay
11. Kiane

HENRY THREADGILL- 'WHEN WAS THAT' 1982 ,flac and lame (vinyl rip)

one of the very best so called post free records from that period. musical postmodernism before it became moribund, nothing theory bound here. and this pretty much achieves what marsalis crouch and crew have been trying to do for years without very much success whatsoever( and achieves it without even trying) stylistically this covers an eclectic spectrum of ground , cutting up and collaging the whole history of jazz into sensuous vibrant free funky whole that moves beyond cliche and mere imitation. threadgill as with most of the aacm does not call his music jazz at all.
line Up is, henry threadgill-saxes and flute olu dara- cornet, craig harris- trb, fred hopkins- db, brian smith piccolo bass, pheeroan aklaff and john betch- drums.

here is a review by thom jurek ,of the cd
Finally! After almost two decades of CDs we get reissues of saxophonist/composer Henry Threadgill's legendary sextet from the early 1980s. And while it's true that this band put out some hellishly great records for RCA during the middle of that decade, the trio of albums from About Time is arguably its greatest period. This is the band that included cornet wiz Olu Dara, trombonist Craig Harris, longtime cohort Fred Hopkins on bass, piccolo bassist Bryan Smith, and drummers Pheeroan Aklaff and John Betsch! Threadgill's compositions at the time were wonderfully strident exercises in both restraint and open-door improvisation. His melodies were as rooted in R&B traditions — as evidenced here by the free for all "10 to 1" — as they were in the new forms put form by Ornette Coleman (check "Melin" and the title track). Threadgill's main thrust was to create a series of modal environments whereby all instrumentalists would engage with one another in the framework of a particular tune, yet play different roles as the ensemble went on its way through the record. Therefore, his own flute playing, say on "Just B," would be organized differently than it was in "10 to 1," as would the particular weight of its solo. Nowhere does this play itself out more than in the rhythmic roles between Betsch and Aklaff, and in the bowed bass atmospherics of Hopkins and Smith. Ultimately, however, this band swung together, no matter how far out the proceedings got. They always returned to Threadgill's magically inherent lyricism and humor in the end, and each and every track here bears that out. This is a nearly mystical album in the life of this band, and, at last, folks who own CD players get a chance to find it out for themselves.

read a great article on henry threadgill by greg sandow here

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thad Jones & Mel Lewis - New Life (1975-76)

This LP has extensive packaging (thanks to producer John Snyder) and decent but not overly memorable music. The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra's best recordings were for Solid State and Blue Note, although they still boasted an impressive all-star personnel during the mid-1970s. The seven selections (five arranged and composed by Jones and one apiece by Jerry Dodgion and Cecil Bridgewater) do not include any future standards. There are fine solos from the likes of flugelhornist Jones, Greg Herbert and Frank Foster on tenor, Roland Hanna and Walter Norris on piano, trumpeters Cecil Bridgewater and Waymon Reed, baritonist Pepper Adams, and others, so the music is not without its interesting moments. But in general, the solos and arrangements are more memorable than the melodies. This LP has not yet been reissued on CD. - Scott Yanow

A pretty tepid review from Yanow, but my interest in big bands almost always focuses on the arrangements and solos along with the feel of the ensemble & rhythm section, not the melodies. This is classic Thad Jones - dense arrangements, superb soloists, beautiful ballads and when it swings, it swings like mad!

Thad Jones (flugelhorn)
Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff, Steve Furtado, Jim Bossy, Cecil Bridgewater, Al Porcino, Waymon Reed, Sinclair Acey (trumpets)
Billy Campbell, Janice Robinson, Earl McIntyre, Dave Taylor, John Mosca (trombones)
Peter Gordon, Earl Chapin, Jim Buffington, Ray Alonge, Julius Watkins (french horns)
Don Butterfield (tuba)
Jerry Dodgion, Eddie Xiques, Greg Herbert, Lou Marini, Frank Foster, Pepper Adams (reeds)
Roland Hanna, Walter Norris (piano)
David Spinozza, Barry Finnerty (guitar
Steve Gilmore, George Mraz, Rasan Mfalme (bass)
Mel Lewis, Herb Lovelle (drums)
Leonard Gibbs (congas)
  1. Greetings and Salutations
  2. Love and Harmony
  3. Little Rascal on a Rock
  4. Forever Lasting
  5. Love to One Is One to Love
  6. Thank You
  7. Cherry Juice
Recorded between July, 1975 and January, 1976

Anthony Braxton - Willisau (Quartet) 1991

Anthony Braxton - Willisau (Quartet) 1991
[Hat Hut Records, hatART 4-61001/4; recorded 1991, released 1992]

Anthony Braxton: alto, clarinet, contrabass clarinet, flute, and sopranino
Marilyn Crispell: piano
Mark Dresser: bass
Gerry Hemingway: drums

Disc: 1
1. No. 160(+5) +40j
2. No. 23 M (+10)
3. No. 158 (+96) +40l
4. No. 40a
5. No. 40b

Disc: 2
1. No. 161
2. No. 159
3. No. 23c +32 +105b (+30)
4. No. 23 M (+10)
5. No. 40m

Disc: 3
1. No. 67 (+147+96)
2. No. 140 (+147 +139 + 135)
3. No. 34a
4. No. 20+86
5. No. 23g (+147+30)

Disc: 4
1. No. 69 (0) + 135
2. No. 69b
3. No. 107b (+96)
4. No. 101
5. No. 23n (+112+108a+33)

Oh, great: a big pile of Jurek...

This mammoth document of the final year of the famous Anthony Braxton Quartet shows exactly why that group finally split: They had reached a creative apex as a group that -- arguably -- could not be furthered. The music on this collection features two live CDs and two studio CDs, and gives a completely different picture of the same band who recorded for Black Saint on the Six Compositions (Quartet) 1984 record.

The concert reveals the quartet able to execute any notion from Braxton's theoretical yet soulful music, almost instinctually. As the compositions get stacked up, such as "No. 67+147+96," it means that some element of each of those compositions enters into the playing of this piece, whether it be in Marilyn Crispell's piano solo or line, Mark Dresser's bassline or changes, or a particular shift in rhythm from drummer Gerry Hemingway. The empathy of the players saturates Braxton's music, and he appears, giant that he is, not so much as a soloist on his many saxophones and clarinets, but as another player in a band that spoke with multi-lingual possibilities, but with one voice. The interplay between Braxton and Crispell has reached a point in their relationship where, technically speaking, he is well aware that she is his equal as a technician of the sacred that is sound. His solos on "No. 34A," "No. 23G (+147+30)," and "107B (+96)" are evidence. Crispell's momentum to strike at the space inside the group improvisation is also to turn it ever inward to focus on how these micro and polytonal shifts, when combined with the overdriven yet ultimately sympathetic washes of percussion from Hemingway and Dresser's constant pulse as it sifts through changes, are, in effect, realizing the chameleon-like place of harmony better than Braxton himself could ever articulate. This group is all lightning and fire; there is no hesitation, nor is there any room for it. They challenge each other and their leader to the breaking point, and somehow ride the wave into yet another new territory, where the process begins again. The studio discs in this collection show another side of the band. Here, dynamic and harmonic possibility are the concern of Braxton -- each note is played, at least in the opening lines, and is carefully nuanced as if it were finding its own place in space. There is a freedom for the composer to seek out color and dexterity, texture and surface, as the band is all about making it anyway. They know what's needed in a composition such as "No. 160 (+5) 40J," where Crispell adds a piano solo that quotes the harmonic structure of "No. 5," and, along with Dresser, flows through his gorgeous bowed cello solo from "No. 40J" through the middle section, where Braxton and Crispell bring the proceedings back. In each new Braxton composition, the players are welcome to quote from earlier material in the catalog, find the interval it best fits, and explore it in this new context, thereby making a rich intertextuality whereby the current composition is extended dynamically and musically. Also on this studio session, which was recorded over two days, Braxton himself is looser, picking compositions that seldom are touched live in order to be finessed in the studio -- usually it's the other way around, but his exploration of shape, polytonality, and rhythmic architecture is relentless. Listen to "No. 67" (dedicated to the actress Bette Davis) to hear one of Braxton's "sound environment spirals." Here, material -- created by all four members of the quartet and variants thereof -- explore repetition as a "physical" material and a vibrational factor in the creation of further sonorous material. First they play repeated phrases until near exhaustion sets in (Philip Glass has nothing on this band), and then are offered numerous options for changing tempo and shape (Hemingway has a real party with this, trying to dodge his bandmates, but never quite succeeding). The result? What does it mean? Simple: No person can play the same phrase over and over and the same way without that eventual variation. Eventually, variation becomes the sole M.O., and each player drifts further apart from the rest until they become unstuck completely. Once in free space, the swirling flutes, cascading piano lines, and dense thick intervallic chords humming bass harmonics, as well as flutes, call the entire thing further out on a star until Braxton re-enters with the alto to call the exploration to order. He locks horns with Crispell, and then launches into "No. 140 (+147+139+135)." And so it goes. Braxton's quartet was easily the most creative band he played with, and his longest running. Since that time, in duet and solo performance, he has found the fire he needs to continue exploring the musical ground his mind conjures up on composition paper. But he has been lost in band settings. Since 1994 he has not found a group that has, member for member, this much musical talent or empathetic dexterity. With this band, he never had to assert himself as a leader because they could instinctively follow his cues. Since that time, he has had to assert himself more and more. And while the music he's writing has every bit of the wonder, awe, and irritation of his earlier work, it has never been played with this virtuosity. This set is a worthy companion to the Leo Records "Coventry Concerts" series. What a swan song.


the above title roughly translates as "the doves bejewelled collar'some thing like that.
Andre jaume, is probably best known these days as a collaborator of joe mcphee ,having been a member of mcphees po music ensembles for a dozen or so years.
For me he’s well up there with such ,European luminairies as brotzman, Bergen, ab baars, and evan parker.
it’s a pity his work is not more widely known and disseminated.
A couple of good lp’s for hat art have not been reissued for over 25 years.
Jaume has recorded most extensively for the label celp since the late 80’s a pity that they are so poorly distributed, very tough to get hold of even over the net.

This is a masterful set of solo compositions and improv's performed on tenor sax and bass clarinet.
Those interested in further research should have a peep, for more in the contributions section.
I cant find a review of this anywhere on amg ,dusty grove nothing, all I can say is do yourselves a favour and give this your time.
Ive posted this in ogg figuring there might not be much interest, its medium ogg great sound at under 80 meg a short album of under 40 minutes this was originally released on the now very collectable palm label by run by underground jazz and rock musician who’d been associated with bands like magma and lard free

Very fine stuff,f enjoy!!

Fred Van Hove - Flux

boundless energy -a great label with albums in print

Monday, August 13, 2007

Art Farmer - Central Avenue Reunion

Worth checking out for Eric von Essen alone, but his "backup" ain't bad.

Three of the five musicians on this quintet date (flügelhornist Art Farmer, altoist Frank Morgan, and pianist Lou Levy) had played on Central Avenue in Los Angeles of the late '40s. Not all of the eight songs that they perform with bassist Eric Von Essen and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath are from the era ("Blue Minor" and "Cool Struttin'" were written by Sonny Clark several years later), but the outing is very much in the bop style of the period. Their live set is highlighted by spirited versions of "Star Eyes," "Farmer's Market," "I Remember You," and "Donna Lee." This CD is filled with high-quality bebop that is easily recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans. ~Scott Yanow

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Frank Morgan (alto sax)
Lou Levy (piano)
Eric Von Essen (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. Star Eyes
2. Farmer's Market
3. Embraceable You
4. Blue Minor
5. I Remember You
6. Don't Blame Me
7. Cool Struttin'
8. Donna Lee

Recorded live at Kimball's East, Emeryville, California, May 26-27, 1989

Bird and Diz (1950)

If you are a serious Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie fan then you probably already have this. If not, you should!

This collection of 78 rpm singles, all recorded on June 6, 1950, was originally issued in album format in 1956. Several things distinguish this from numerous other quintet recordings featuring these two bebop pioneers. It was recorded during the period that Charlie Parker was working under the aegis of producer Norman Granz, whose preference for large and unusual ensembles was notorious. The end result in this case is a date that sounds very much like those that Parker and Dizzy Gillespie recorded for Savoy and Dial, except with top-of-the-line production quality. Even more interesting, though, is Parker's choice of Thelonious Monk as pianist. Unfortunately, Monk is buried in the mix and gets very little solo space, so his highly idiosyncratic genius doesn't get much exposure here. Still, this is an outstanding album -- there are fine versions of Parker standards like "Leap Frog," "Mohawk," and "Relaxin' with Lee," as well as a burning performance of "Bloomdido" and an interesting (if not entirely thrilling) rendition of the chestnut "My Melancholy Baby." [This 1986 CD reissue of Bird & Diz adds alternate takes to make what was originally a very skimpy program slightly more generous.] - Rick Anderson

Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Curly Russell (bass)
Buddy Rich (drums)
  1. Bloomdido
  2. An Oscar for Treadwell (alt.)
  3. An Oscar for Treadwell (master)
  4. Mohawk (alt.)
  5. Mohawk (master)
  6. My Melancholy Baby (alt.)
  7. My Melancholy Baby (master)
  8. Leap Frog (alt. 1)
  9. Leap Frog (alt. 2)
  10. Leap Frog (alt. 3)
  11. Leap Frog (master)
  12. Relaxin' With Lee (alt.)
  13. Relaxin' With Lee (master)
Recorded June 6, 1950

World Saxophone Quartet - Plays Duke Ellington

On their first six recordings, the World Saxophone Quartet (comprised of altoists Oliver Lake and Julius Hemphill, tenor saxophonist David Murray, and baritonist Hamiet Bluiett) stuck exclusively to group originals. This 1986 release was a major departure, for the innovative group performed fresh and generally unpredictable versions of five songs by Duke Ellington and two (including two renditions of "Take the 'A' Train") by Billy Strayhorn. Although the tunes (which include "Lush Life," "Sophisticated Lady," and "In a Sentimental Mood") are familiar, the interpretations are certainly unusual, showing respect for the original melodies and then coming up with new directions. This is thought-provoking music that serves as the perfect introduction to the unique World Saxophone Quartet. ~ Scott Yanow

Julius Hemphill (alto sax)
Oliver Lake (alto sax)
David Murray (tenor sax)
Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax)

1. Take The 'A' Train
2. Lush Life
3. Prelude To A Kiss
4. Sophisticated Lady
5. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
6. Come Sunday
7. In A Sentimental Mood
8. Take The 'A' Train

Gladys Knight & the Pips - The Motown Years

A recent review of the latest Motown Singles Box Set (vol 7)
in a UK Music magazine states that :

"..Of greater threat to (Diana) Ross's hegemony
at Motown was the arrival late in '68 of the best woman singer
the label ever signed, the unsurpassed Gladys Knight.."

I'd fully agree...Gladys had more power, range infact everything than
Diana's quite samey singing voice (though good)....but the best Motown ever had?
I could not say for sure without abit more listening.

Brenda Holloway was damn good too....


1 Every Beat of My Heart
2 Just Walk in My Shoes
3 Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me
4 I Heard It Through the Grapevine
5 Don't Let Her Take Your Love from Me
6 I Wish It Would Rain
7 I Want Him to Say It Again
8 Every Little Bit Hurts
9 If I Were Your Woman
10 For Once in My Life
11 Make Me the Woman You Go Home To
12 Help Me Make It Through the Night
13 Neither One of Us
14 It Should've Been Me
15 Everybody Needs Love
16 End of the Road
17 Nitty Gritty
18 I Don't Want to Do Wrong


People, here is one of the most astonishing debuts in the history of the so called newthing, free jazz, whatever you want to call it, these are mere terms of convenience, marion brown is along with lee konitz my favourite alto saxophonist,, a long neglected master who made some of the best albums of the sixties.
marion brown has a highly original nasally slightly thin vibrato that distinguishes him from anyone I've ever heard, and he phrases like no one else .

I cant recommend this highly enough, here is a cursory review that says very little

Scott yanow sounds about as enthusiastic as an overworked spouse in a passionless long term marriage(with an aversion to genitalia) being asked for cunnilingus or fellatio, after a prolonged abstinence from ..the conjugal bed.

by Scott Yanow
Altoist Marion Brown's debut as a leader is a typical ESP free form blowout. He performs three numbers (two are quite lengthy) with either trumpeter Alan Shorter or tenor-saxophonist Bennie Maupin (who was at the beginning of his career), both Ronnie Boykins and Reggie Johnson on basses and drummer Rashied Ali. The fiery performances feature the musicians stretching themselves and playing with great intensity; at this early point Marion Brown was already recognizable.

A few willful misrepresentations, this ain't a free form blowout, the tunes are well in evidence and executed with the utmost care, very worthwhile they are too, the reason I bought this cd of dubious provenance was for the extra tune , Mephistopheles by alan shorter, which some will remember in its interpretation on his brother wayne’s mid sixties bluenote album “the all seeing eye” this is presumably an outtake which was left of the album originally for reasons of space.
alan shorter's tunes had the same brooding power, i love about some of his brother's plus just that little bit of extra turbulence.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gerry Hemingway Quartet – Down To The Wire

And Thom said unto them....
Gerry Hemingway's 1993 quartet formed during the disbanding of the Anthony Braxton Quartet (of which he was the drummer) featured that band's bassist, Mark Dresser, as well as Michael Moore on reeds and Wolter Wierbos on trombone. This is the same group who recorded the blistering Special Detail a year earlier. This date shows a different side of Hemingway as a drummer in particular, and his band. The emphasis on Down to the Wire is on texture and nuance; the creation of a space that opens the door to ambiguity and tension in a jazz context, then resolves it within that same space, all the while allowing for liberal individual expression. "If You Like" is an airy passageway through contrapuntal improvising inside a melody that echoes familiar themes of Thelonious Monk. Wierbos' trombone is the backbone of the improvisation here, with Hemingway accenting each phrase with Dresser. Moore seems to be the rhythm section holding down the tune's signature phrase throughout each chorus. On "Space 2," Wierbos states a softly dissonant line, directing his voice to Dresser, who answers with a pizzicato phraseology that clues in Moore and finally Hemingway, who acts as colorist on the tune. Elsewhere, such as on "Waltz 3," the tonal interiority of harmony and interval are whispered by the band, at first through Moore's gorgeous Debussy-infused clarinet playing. Hemingway is playing tin cans and rustling his tom toms while Dresser walks an easy country waltz through this beautifully spacious sonic architecture. This is music that defies musical source. It is improvised yet is full of commanding if delicate structures; it swings gently with a rainbow body of dissonance and near atonality and yet the music created by these four men is controlled in dynamic with a near absence of drama, though tensions abound. Hemingway is a leader with an absolute ear for detail and strength. This was already established. That he had an ear for the detail of space and silence, given his ferocity as a drummer, is a genuine and welcome surprise. Down to the Wire is a stunning effort.

Gerry Hemingway Quartet – Down To The Wire
[Hat Hut Records, 1991; released 1993]

Michael Moore: alto, clarinet, & bass clarinet
Wolter Wierbos: trombone
Mark Dresser: bass
Gerry Hemingway: drums & steel drums

1. If You Like
2. Space 2
3. Back Again Some Time
4. Waltz Anywhere
5. N.T.
6. Debby Warden 3

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Complete Blind Willie Johnson

If you've never heard Blind Willie Johnson, you are in for one of the great, bone-chilling treats in music. Johnson played slide guitar and sang in a rasping, false bass that could freeze the blood. But no bluesman was he; this was gospel music of the highest order, full of emotion and heartfelt commitment. Of all the guitar-playing evangelists, Blind Willie Johnson may have been the very best. Though not related by bloodlines to Robert Johnson, comparisons in the emotional commitment of both men cannot be helped. This two-CD anthology collects everything known to exist, and that's a lot of stark, harrowing, emotional commitment no matter how you slice it. Not for the faint of heart, but hey, the good stuff never is. ~ Cub Koda

A bottleneck guitarist of consummate skill, Blind Willie Johnson was a traveling evangelist who preached the gospel by playing and singing such message-heavy tunes as "I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole," and "If It Had Not Been for Jesus." But there is not a whit of squeaky-clean, Sunday-morning sweetness to Johnson's music. Overwhelmingly intense, Johnson's performances are all open wounds and raw nerves. The Complete Blind Willie Johnson collects everything the artist ever recorded, and makes a case for Johnson as one of the most passionate, affecting bluesmen of all time.

It is Johnson's singing that truly startles. A gruff yet finely nuanced bass, Johnson sings with a voice that could grind glass, wrenching out spiritually committed messages in a manner both primal and sublime. Johnson also displays great variety, be it the stark, understated intensity of "Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground" (where he wordlessly vocalizes in a hush over ghostly riffs) or the full-tilt prophetic perfection of "John the Revelator" (a duet with Willie Harris). The Complete Blind Willie Johnson is an utterly essential set of the most hair-raising gospel blues ever put to tape. Be prepared.

Full booklet scanned and in PDF form.

Look out, Saskia!

'When the Squad kicks at your front door
how 're you gonna come
with your hands on your head
or on the trigger of your gun?'

She's Dutch. She's young. She's good-looking. She blows a horn.

Now, just before the Squad breaks in, I swear t'you all: SHE'S NOT SASKIA LAROO!

Tineke Postma - For The Rhythm (2005, Munich Records)

"For The Rhythm" is the second album of the young Dutch altoist & composer Tineke Postma. Don't make any correlations to Saskia, and give this one a try. I'd read some very enthusiastic reviews about her (especially in the UK jazz press), and though I find some of those a bit exaggerate, it's true that Postma gives a very solid performance and, moreover, has some very interesting compositions, in a 'post-bop' vein.

Here's a lengthy review at AAJ by Jim Santella:

'Driving with plenty of contemporary excitement all around her, Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma provides the kind of tension and release that makes modern jazz swing. Not quite thirty, but experienced through rigorous educational programs in both the United States and Holland, she has combined a strong foundation with her natural inclination for jazz’s mainstream. Eight of the eleven pieces on this, her second album as leader, come from her composing pen.

Saxophone influences such as Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane show up in each of the selections, as well as evidence of Postma's mentorships with Chris Potter, Dick Oatts, and Dave Liebman. Look at the common denominator: it all comes from the heart.

A dreamy piece written for her mother, “Song for Sea-Tea” features alto and guitar in a comfortable unison that floats melody upon melody, while Terri Lyne Carrington’s drum set swirls surround them with a rhythmic stutter. ”Pump it Up!” features a similar formula, but with Fender Rhodes in a contemporary adventure that sizzles with dramatic fire. The blues is built in, giving Postma a free-flowing dialog that speaks to a broad audience.

”Dialog,” on the other hand, eschews the blues and goes for the jugular. Here, Postma and guitarist Edoardo Righini bring their fire to a boil gradually, giving it plenty of time to age. Her soprano saxophone “dialog” reaches far and wide. Additionally, pianist Rob van Bavel turns in a superb solo section on this one that builds from the ground up, unleashing the passion through finely articulated phrases. Carrington ties it all together with her swarming rain of percussive torrents. ”Goodbye” comes at us on slow feet—rubato, legato, and reeling like the bartender at 3 am. This tender alto saxophone intimacy works its magic on this standard theme, which is interpreted alone with piano. If the album weren’t so darn good to begin with, this piece could be called her best shot. Another intimate arrangement brings us the “Love Theme from Spartacus” through the voices of bass, drums, and alto. Pared down for a lyrical affair, Postma’s ensemble stretches out with pride. The song itself brings majesty, while the trio adds a warm overcoat to its soul.

Closing out with the title track, the full ensemble swings hard in a fresh adventure that smokes behind the leader’s blazing alto. The new year has only just begun, and already we’re faced with a candidate for our 2006 top ten lists. For the Rhythm comes highly recommended; it reveals a powerful new voice on the mainstream jazz scene that makes the new year look pretty bright.'

Still, we're left wondering how a collaboration with Saskia would be like.. Till then, I'm off for two weeks. See you later, you lovely people!

(Personnel & tracklist in comments)

Thad Jones & Mel Lewis - Suite for Pops (1972)

From the liner notes by Arnold Jay Smith:

Suite for Pops was commissioned by trumpeter Joe Newman, who, wearing the hat of president of Jazz Interactions, asked Thad to compose something appropriate to commemorate the passing of this giant. You will not hear any impersonations, or recreations, nor, for that matter, any (mis) representations of any phase of Louis' life. These are products of impressions left by a lifetime of joy, both given and received, from out of the head of Thad Jones.

"The entire production is reflective of what I remember about Louis. But they are not merely mirror images. They are representative impressions of the man's entire being, and what I thought might take place during certain periods of his life, either with his participation or merely the culture that surrounded him and his contemporaries," Thad explained.

"The whole idea of the 'Suite' was to have something tangible, a retrospective of a man who Joe (Newman) and I loved and revered. A good deal of effort, thought and love went into this."

Thad Jones owes the very fact that he is a trumpet player to Pops. "He made me happy, made my foot tap, my head nod, my fingers snap and my lips smile. And you know what? He was pure and honest. Just simply Louis."

"Toledo by Candlelight" was composed and arranged by Gary McFarland and was intended to be part of a suite that Gary was writing for the Jazz Orchestra. He died before completing it. Thad explains the inclusion of it on this LP: "There's a lot of pain involved here. There are some parts in here that really cry. There's a universality to it that depicts what I felt about Louis. Like some of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: I was moved to the shuddering that accompanies tears."

Personnel in comments
  1. Meetin' Place
  2. The Summary
  3. The Farewell
  4. Toledo by Candlelight
  5. The Great One
  6. Only for Now
  7. A Good Time Was Had by All


This one is somewhat uncharacteristic for bley, firstly because of the front line of trumpet and alto which he hasn’t used since, secondly because bley never revisited this extremely 'out' territory again, this is one of esp disk's most riotous recordings and it has to be said it occasionally teeters toward if not quite over into incoherence.i love it because it has that edge of pioneering liberation newly discovered.a highlight for me is the trumpet playing of dewey johnson who also played with sun ra, dewey redman, and appeared on coltranes Ascension, dewey johnson has a bright clear brassy tone, very different to don cherry's staccato smearing, and at times sounds more like say a hubbard or lee morgan had they been free players, sadly he died far too young after languishing in relative obscurity for some years having been one of the most original trumpet voices in the so called 'new thing' along with earl cross another great but star crossed ill fated trumpet player of said vintage.the rythm section is gripping from first to last, as youd expect from imaginative virtuosi like gomez and the great milford graves.heres an
AMG SPIEL by al campbellPianist Paul Bley's early ESP free jazz session combines the influence of the Jazz Composer's Guild with Ornette Coleman. On Barrage, Bley is joined by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen (in one of his few appearances outside of Sun Ra's Arkestra), trumpeter Dewey Johnson (who would go on to play on Coltrane's Ascension the following year), Eddie Gomez on bass, and Milford Graves taking care of percussion. All compositions are by Bley's former wife, Carla Bley, with a definite nod to Coleman's hyperactive stop-start punctuation (Paul Bley had fronted one of the earliest incarnations of the original Coleman quartet). Graves and Allen are especially irrepressible here, making Barrage a lost free jazz classic.

Giacinto Scelsi – Suites Ka & Ttai For Piano

Scelsi wrote these piano suites, number nine "Ttai" in 1953 and number ten "Ka" in 1954. They are played in reverse order here for reasons of drama. These are highly significant works in that they represent Scelsi's first attempts to respond to the limitations of serialism, and his attempt to expand Western music from the inside out. Taking as his point of departure the structure of a single note, he deliberately set out to proffer the note as not one tone, but as the culmination of numerous others. By adding notes together, one tone created from multiple tones to another set of the same thing and into time signatures, systems of harmony, and so forth, would be altered. A new kind of time would be created -- "micro-time" -- from these microtones. There was, and remains, only one problem: Scelsi also conceded that there needed to be developed a new way of listening to such music, hence only allowing himself the public of musicians as well as musical and cultural theorists. Most listeners bring their inner responses to music with them to the orchestra hall or the corner bar. Scelsi's music is therefore "outside" no matter how in tune it is with the inner workings of music itself. For most, it would be impossible to forget the notion of "ostinato." That said, these scores are, despite their academic nature, illuminating to listen to as a new view of harmony and microtonality emerges from the skin of the serial aesthetic. Marianne Schroeder, a foremost interpreter of new music, plays these scores with the intensity and hungry spirit of discovery in which they were conceived. Her interpretative spin is on timbre and the manner in which it informs the creation of tone from the time the fingers are placed upon the keys, not when they are pushed. Make no mistake there is no hesitancy in her approach, and therefore no lack of drama. "Ka"'s painterly approach reveals no desire for itself other than that of exploration and sonances over seven brief movements, most of these played in the middle and upper registers. "Ttai," by contrast, is ghostly and nearly funereal, as mysterious as Erik Satie's "Rosicrucian" pieces but more angular and open, with more space and texture. Here, Scelsi's tones assert themselves as having been recognized as polytones, and cluster together in chords of open-ended harmony in the middle and lower registers. Trills are played in the upper register for long minutes at a time as the architecture of the lower half of the piano reorganizes itself tonally into something resembling a fugue, though it never develops over eight movements. The piano suites are interesting recordings by an ambitious composer. The music is gorgeously played by Schroeder, and, as always, Hat's sound is pristine. Thom Jurek

Giacinto Scelsi – Suites Ka & Ttai For Piano
[Hat Hut Records, Hat ART 6006: recorded 1987; released 1990]

Marianne Schroeder: piano (Bösendorfer Imperial)

1-7: Suite No.10 (1954) Ka
8-16: Suite No.9 (1953) Ttai

Friday, August 10, 2007

george shearing and the montgomery brothers

jean lafite says: these guys are good. if you don't like it, take it up with monk montgomery.

he will kick your ass.

For Sotisier

Coe, Oxley & Co. - Nutty (Hatart)

Tony Coe's 1983 Willisau Jazz Festival appearance with bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Tony Oxley is nothing less than a shattering performance — every expectation or impression of the versatile Coe is laid to waste in this set of focused, innovative, time- and genre-blurring jazz tunes. Whether self-composed, such as "Some Other Autumn" or "Bub and Run," or classics such as Bill Evans' "Re: Person I Knew," John Green's "Body & Soul," or Thelonious Monk's "Nutty," Coe applies the same concentration to getting all he can from the trio format. And, as Art Lange suggests that Coe's band owes a bit to the Sonny Rollins-led trios of the late '50s, there is also a debt to the Steve Lacy trios of the late '70s and 1980, as well as Albert Ayler's earliest trio in 1959. Coe's phraseology as a saxophonist is original: He clearly loves Coleman Hawkins, Rollins, and Coltrane, but his sense of tone and embouchure is his own. Choosing Oxley as a drummer in this setting was wise: in stark contrast to the usual place of the drummer in a piano-less trio, Oxley is a bit of a minimalist, acting as a dancer on the stage, playing just enough, often enough to gather from his rhythms the place of silence within them. Laurence, on the other hand, given his background in classical music as well as jazz, is a maximalist: He and Coe go toe to toe on any number of compositions here, warring for dominant chromatics in "Nutty" and "Some Other Autumn." They slip over one another, playing asymmetrical lines at acute intervals in "Body and Soul," and weave a Moebius strip of gorgeous single line dynamics in "Re: Person I Knew." The final result, when Oxley comes at last crashing through the duo, sounding as if the wood and metal of his kit were splintering apart, is one of profound musicality and sonic empathy. These performances are offered with emotion to spare and a technical excellence only a music professor could critique with any acuity. Nutty is a joyous ride through the musical heart of Tony Coe.~Thom "Oh hit me Rab, oh please hiiiit me!!!" Jurek

1 Some Other Autumn
2 Nutty
3 A Time There Was
4 Bub or Run
5 Body and Soul
6 Re: Person I Knew
Tony Coe Cl, Ss, Ts
Chris Laurence Bass
Tony Oxley Drums
Tony Coe - Mainly Mancini (Nato)
Tony Coe ts, ss, cl, p on 7
Tony Hymas, p
Chris Laurence, b
1.The pink panther
2.Crazy world (from Victor Victoria)
3. Hank neuf
4.Mister Lucky
6.Days of wine & roses

Enrico Pieranunzi - The Night Gone By

This is one of my fave Pieranunzi cds, a mixed set of originals (pay special attention to the beautifully haunting closer L'Heure Oblique) and standards (his version of Kern's Yesterdays is another highlight). Force, drive, delicacy, all at once. Certainly one of the best European jazz pianists, IMHO. He never shied away from the Evans-esque influence (both in form and in content) ; that's certainly why Johnson and Motian sound so much more than just circumstancial side-kicks here.
Enrico Pieranunzi piano
Marc Johnson bass
Paul Motian drums
1. Yesterdays
2. The Night Gone By
3. Body & Soul
4. Someday My Prince Will come
5. Canzone Di Nausicaa
6. A Nameless Gate
7. It Speaks For Itself
8. If I Should Lose You
9. Over The Rainbow
10. L'Heure Oblique
Recorded at Clinton Recording Studio B in New York, on Feb. 1 & 2, 1996

Καλημέρα, Yiannis -

ask - and you shall recieve, μαλάκας - hope you enjoy it!
sorry for the delay . . .

martial solal- suite for trio (1978 mps)

heres a an album thats both challenging ,and a great deal of fun to listen to.
those already familiar with solals work wont need any convincing, and rythym sections in this post bop setting dont get much better than this.
line up
martial solal-pno , n.h.o.p- db, daniel humair- drums
by the mid seventies, these guys had collectively played with everyone from sidney bechet to eric dolphy and steve lacy.
i cant find a review of this freewheeling session.
side one is solals suite for trio, which is kaleidoscopic, the degree of rythmic complexity is particularly staggering, the harmonies are unusual,each instrument playing pretty much an equal part.
all three, are ducking and weaving with atheletic intricacy.
solal's prodigious lines other than merely providing a cozy harmonic counterpoint whip the others into ferocious bi-tonal frenzy.
only shittin' ya
attempted jurek parody aside this is a fine ,hard swinging record, the standards on side 2 are thoroughly reinvented and those tend to be the highlight for me.
theres a slight generic quality to solal's own compositions, which say unlike monks arent quite memorable,i think its the actual melodies.
still the playing is so imaginative nothing else matters, a palpable sense of j.... ....yawn.......yawn

Jimmy Lyons & Sunny Murray Trio - Jump Up

If Charlie Parker had a true heir - in the sense of someone interested in getting interest on the inheritance, rather than merely preserving the principal - it was Jimmy Lyons. Compared to his light-fingered onrush, most of the bop epigoni sound deeply conservative. He didn't have the greatest tone in the world, though it seems rather odd to describe a saxophonist's tone as 'reedy' as if that were an insult. Lyons's delivery was always light and remarkably without ego. Years of playing beside Cecil Taylor, in addition to accelerating his hand-speed, probably encouraged a certain self-effacement as well.

The live session on Jump Up, recorded at the 1980 Willisau Festival, is a vintage performance, and one is grateful for a bonus track, Tortuga', for which there was no room on the original LP. Murray and Lyons understood each other well, and a lot of the action consists of duets between them, while Lindberg patiently colours in the spaces. The title-track is a little masterpiece. Penguin 3

Jimmy Lyons & Sunny Murray Trio - Jump Up
[Hat Hut Records, Hat ART CD 6139: recorded 1980, released 1994]

Jimmy Lyons: alto
John Lindberg: bass
Sunny Murray: drums

1. Jump Up
2. Riffs #1
3. Sea Treas
4. Riffs #5
5. Tortuga

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Charles Earland - Black Talk! (RVG)

The Philadelphia jazz organist Charles Earland, who scored a hit in 1970 with "Black Talk," his soul-jazz adaptation of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," heads this collection of funky, straight-ahead instrumentals that includes his version of "Aquarius" and the hard-bopping "Mighty Burner."

Charles Earland (organ)
Houston Person (tenor saxophone)
Virgil Jones (trumpet)
Melvin Sparks (guitar)
Idris Muhammad (drums)
Buddy Caldwell (congas).

1. Black Talk
2. The Mighty Burner
3. Here Comes Charlie
4. Aquarius
5. More Today Than Yesterday

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on December 15, 1969

Lee Wiley

Lee Wiley - West Of The Moon

Lee Wiley was still in prime form during the 1950s, although she was disappointed that she did not become a major commercial success. On this LP, Wiley is joined by two different orchestras arranged by Ralph Burns. Her renditions of "You're a Sweetheart," "Who Can I Turn to Now," "Can't Get Out of This Mood," "East of the Sun," and "Moonstruck" are particularly memorable. Despite the passing of time, Wiley's voice was still sensuous and haunting, lightly swinging and full of subtlety. With trumpeter Nick Travis, trombonist Urbie Green, trumpeter Billy Butterfield, trombonist Lou McGarity, and clarinetist Peanuts Hucko helping out with a few short solos, Wiley sounds inspired throughout this memorable set. Scott Yanow

Lee Wiley (Vocals)
Ralph Burns (Arranger)
Billy Butterfield (Trumpet)
Lou McGarity (Trombone)
Peanuts Hucko (Clarinet)
Al Klink (Tenor Sax)
Romeo Penque (Reeds)
Raymond Beckenstein (Reeds)
Moe Wechsler (Piano)
Barry Galbraith (Guitar)
Milt Hinton (Bass)
Don Lamond (Drums)
Recorded September 27, 1956 in New York City, NY USA

2,6,9,10 delete Butterfield, McGarity, Hucko, Klink and add:
Bernie Glow (Trumpet)
Nick Travis (Trumpet)
Bob Alexander (Trombone)
Urbie Green (Trombone)
Danny Bank (Baritone Sax)
Al Epstein (Tenor Sax)
Recorded September 28, 1956 in New York City, NY USA

1 You're a Sweetheart (Adamson, McHugh)
2 This Is New (Gershwin, Weill)
3 You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby (Mercer, Warren)
4 Who Can I Turn to Now (Engvick, Wilder)
5 My Ideal Chase, (Robin, Whiting)
6 Can't Get Out of This Mood (Loesser, McHugh)
7 East of the Sun (Bowman)
8 I Left My Sugar Standing in the Rain (Fain, Kahal)
9 Moonstruck (Coslow, Johnston)
10 Limehouse Blues (Braham, Furber)
11 As Time Goes By (Hupfield)
12 Keepin' Out of Mischief Now (Razaf, Waller)

Lee Wiley - A Touch Of The Blues

This is the second of two LP’s that Lee Wiley recorded for RCA Victor, this time accompanied by an orchestra lead by trumpeter Billy Butterfield with arranging duty split between Al Cohn and Bill Finegan. Wiley is in typically fine voice and sings with her trademark phrasing mannerisms. Unfortunately, this album was one of her final recordings, her highly stylistic vocals being quite uncommercial and appealing only to the cognoscenti of cabaret and café society. Amazing stuff. Mr. Scoredaddy

Lee Wiley (Vocals)
Gene Allen (Saxophone)
Billy Butterfield (Trumpet)
Nick Caiazza (Saxophone)
Al Cohn (Arranger, Saxophone)
Cutty Cutshall (Trombone)
Hank D'Amico (Saxophone)
Tony Faso (Trumpet)
Joe Ferrante (Trumpet)
Bill Finegan (Arranger)
Barry Galbraith (Guitar) except 4,8-10
Milt Hinton (Bass)
Don Lamond (Drums)
Mundell Lowe (Guitar) 4,8-10
Toots Mondello (Saxophone)
Rex Peer (Trombone)
Nick Travis (Trumpet)
Moe Wechsler (Piano)

1 The Memphis Blues (Handy, Norton)
2 From the Land of the Sky Blue Water (Cadman, Eberhart)
3 The Ace in the Hole (Dempsey, Mitchell)
4 Someday You'll Be Sorry (Armstrong)
5 My Melancholy Baby (Burnett, Norton)
6 A Hundred Years from Today (Washington, Young)
7 Blues in My Heart (Carter, Mills)
8 Maybe You'll Be There (Bloom, Gallop)
9 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Arlen, Koehler)
10 I Don't Want to Walk Without You (Loesser, Styne)
11 Make Believe (Hammerstein, Kern)
12 A Touch of the Blues (George, Wilcox)

Recorded 1957 in New York City, NY USA

Bill Holman - Brilliant Corners: The Music of Thelonious Monk

Bill Holman is perhaps the most prolific arranger in jazz over the last 50 years, composing and arranging for a variety of small groups and big bands. Other than bands led by composer/arrangers, can you think of any major big bands that he hasn't written for? Holman has led his own big band in the Los Angeles area since 1975 and has released four CD's with that group. They are all great, but this one might be the best.

"Bill Holman's exploration of ten Thelonious Monk tunes is purposely a lot more Holman than Monk. Rather than trying to re-create the great pianist/composer's piano solos or small-group renditions of his songs, Holman picked out numbers that interested him and then avoided listening to Thelonious' versions. The one trait of Thelonious Monk's that is present throughout these dynamic big-band reinterpretations is the dominance of the themes, which are never far away; otherwise, the music is pure Bill Holman. The charts are sometimes (like Bob Brookmeyer's) influenced by modern classical music; the ensembles are often quite dense, with numerous different activities going on at once -- a well-planned traffic jam. Many soloists are heard from, including all five saxophonists (with Perkins on alto and soprano and tenor great Christlieb making the strongest impressions), trumpeters Bob Summers and Ron Stout, and trombonists Andy Martin and Bob Enevoldsen. The individual improvisations are generally backed by complex ensembles and end up very much a part of the arrangements. The overall results (which include such highlights as "Straight No Chaser," "Thelonious," "Friday the 13th," and "Brilliant Corners") end up giving listeners a very different look at the music of Thelonious Monk, and are on the whole a major milestone in the career of Bill Holman." - Scott Yanow

Lanny Morgan, Bill Perkins, Pete Christlieb, Ray Hermann, Bob Efford (reeds)
Carl Saunders, Frank Szabo, Ron Stout, Bob Summers (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Jack Redmond, Bob Enevoldsen, Andy Martin, Kenny Shroyer (trombone)
Rich Eames (piano)
Dave Carpenter (bass)
Bob Leatherbarrow (drums)
Bill Holman (leader, arranger)
  1. Straight, No Chaser
  2. Bemsha Swing
  3. Thelonious
  4. 'Round Midnight
  5. Bye Ya
  6. Misterioso
  7. Friday the 13th
  8. Rhythm-a-Ning
  9. Ruby, My Dear
  10. Brilliant Corners
Recorded February 11, 12, 1997

Kenny Burrell - 'Midnight Blue' (1963)

Well a recent birthday has made me finally take up the guitar again, something
I'd been meaning to do for literally years since I last played in earnest as a
student. Since that time obviously I've discovered the wonders of Jazz Music
itself which makes it all the more exciting to pick up again..

So I treated myself to a nice new expensive guitar as a birthday present
and now attempt to steal those licks from Wes, Grant, Barney, in
this case..Kenny Burrell

I love this album's pace with the guitar nice and slow but still tricky !!

I'd dug this out recently to begin the 'lickage pilfering' and so thought
I'd up it aswell..

(..for those who don't already there anyone? LOL!)

1. Chitlins Con Carne
2. Mule
3. Soul Lament
4. Midnight Blue
5. Wavy Gravy
6. Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You
7. Saturday Night Blues
8. Kenny's Sound
9. K Twist
. Personnel on cover (obviously)

"..Hynotic, subtle and the same time wonderfully soulful..",
quotes a review and that's just about bang on right!

Now where's my plectrum...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Jaki Byard and the Apollo Stompers - Phantasies

The Apollo Stompers is a young big band full of unknowns led by pianist Jaki Byard. Byard played in several big bands early in his career, notably Maynard Ferguson, Herb Pomeroy, some Mingus big band dates, and even occasionally sat in for Duke Ellington when the maestro was ailing. Byard formed his own big band in the late '70's and it evolved over several years from a rehearsal band to a working band in the New York area.

The band on this CD is young, the arrangements just okay, and the tunes, including several medleys are fairly short. But Jaki Byard's piano playing transcends it all. He is truly a master of all styles.

Jaki Byard (piano, conductor)
Roger Parrot, Al Bryant, John Eckhert, Jim White (trumpet)
Steve Wienberg, Steve Swell, Carl Reinlib, Bob Norden, Stephen Calla (trombone)
Bob Torrente, Manny Boyd (alto sax)
Jed Levy, Al Givens (tenor sax)
Preston Trombly (bari sax)
Dan Licht (guitar)
Ralph Hamperian (bass)
Richard Allen (drums)
Denyce Byard, Diane Byard (vocals)

1. I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)
2. Medley:
Black & Tan Fantasy
Prelude No. 29
Prelude to a Kiss
Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me
3. One Note to My Wife
4. 5/4 Medley:
Take 5
Cinco Quatro Boogie Woogie
Take 5
5. Medley:
Lonely Woman
So What
Olean Visit
6. Medley:
Some Other Spring
It's Too Late
7. Tricotism
8. Lover Man
Recorded September 25, 26, 1984

Ed Bickert Trio - Third Floor Richard

Ed Bickert, a cool-toned guitarist with a bop-ish style, has been a fixture in Toronto since the 1950s. While he played steadily in the studios from 1956 on, and had associations with Moe Koffman and (more importantly) Rob McConnell, it was not until he performed and recorded with Paul Desmond during 1974-1975 that Ed Bickert received much recognition in the U.S. He went on to be featured on records with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass and small groups, Oscar Peterson (1980), Rosemary Clooney, Benny Carter, and on his own Concord and Sackville dates.

The appearance of pianist Dave McKenna on an Ed Bickert record is a guarantee that the quiet guitarist will be playing at his most passionate. Actually, McKenna is on just around half of this Concord set, but Bickert (heard in the company of fellow Canadians Neil Swainson on bass and drummer Terry Clarke) sounds generally inspired on such numbers as Duke Ellington's "Band Call," "Louisiana," "Tonight I Shall Sleep" and "This Can't Be Love." Fine straight-ahead jazz. Scott Yanow

Ed Bickert (guitar)
Neil Swainson (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums)
Dave KcKenna (piano) 2,5,8,11

1 Band Call (Ellington) 4:27
2 I Got a Right to Sing the Blues (Arlen, Koehler) 5:30
3 Together (Senensky) 3:15
4 Circus (Alter, Russell) 5:19
5 Louisiana (Johnson, Razaf, Schafer) 5:57
6 Tonight I Shall Sleep (With a Smile on My Face) (Ellington) 3:49
7. Third Floor Richard (Lloyd) 3:24
8 I Know Why (And So Do You) (Gordon, Warren) 4:35
9 I Surrender, Dear (Barris, Clifford) 6:11
10 One Moment Worth Years (Brubeck) 6:06
11 This Can't Be Love (Hart, Rodgers) 4:05

Recorded January, 1989 at Penny Lane Studios, New York City, NY USA

Ernie Wilkins - The Big New Band of the 60's & Here Comes The Swingin' Mr. Wilkins!

I couldn't disagree more with Yanow's short shrift review below. The arrangements are tight , swinging, and excellently crafted. These weren't designed by Wilkins to be long pieces with extensive solos. The review only refers to the "Big New Band of the 60's." The CD here is a two-fer and includes another title, "Here Comes The Swingin' Mr. Wilkins," both released on the Everest label in the early 1960's.

Despite its title, the Ernie Wilkins Orchestra did not become "the big new band of the '60s" and this LP was its only recording. With such an all-star cast (including trumpeters Clark Terry and Charlie Shavers, tenors Zoot Sims and Yusef Lateef, vibraphonist Eddie Costa and guitarist Kenny Burrell) the big band would not have had much of a chance anyway in the 1960s. Wilkins' progressive but swinging arrangements for three of his originals and nine standards are enjoyable but the brevity of the tracks (the longest one is 3½-minutes) and the rather short solos is unfortunate. This LP falls a bit short of its great potential. Scott Yanow

#8,9,11,12: Thad Jones (tp), Joe Newman (tp), Ernie Royal (tp), Snooky Young (tp), Paul Felice (tb), Al Grey (tb), Mickey Graume (tb), Jack Rains (tb), Marshall Royal (cl, as), Frank Wess (fl, as, ts), Benny Golson (ts), Zoot Sims (ts), Charlie Fowlkes (bs), Jimmy Jones (p), Eddie Costa (vb), Freddie Greene (g), Eddie Jones (b), Charlie Persip (d).
Recorded in New York City, NY USA on December 9, 1959.

#1-7,10: Richard Williams (tp) and Paul Gonsalves (ts) replace T.Jones and B.Golson.
Recorded in New York City, NY USA on January 11, 1960

#13-24: Clark Terry (tp), Richard Williams (tp), Charlie Shavers (tp), Henderson Chambers (tb), Earl Warren (as), Zoot Sims (ts), Seldon Powell (ts), Yusef Lateef (fl,as,ts), Eddie Costa (vb), Walter Bishop (p), Kenny Burrell (g), Ron Carter (b), Charlie Persip (d).
Recorded in New York City, NY USA on April 8 & 28, 1960.

1. Broadway 2:30
2. Surrey With The Fringe On Top 2:44
3. Falling In Love With Love 3:08
4. The Continental 2:22
5. Makin' Whoopee! 2:31
6. Stompin' At The Savoy 3:05
7. You're Driving Me Crazy 3:09
8. Baubles, Bangles and Beads 2:14
9. Somebody Loves Me 2:30
10. All Of You 2:20
11. Gone With The Wind 2:35
12. It Don't Mean A Thing 1:52
13. Ernie's Blues 3:31
14. Satin Doll 3:24
15. Fascinating Rhythm 1:57
16. Canadian Sunset 2:25
17. Very Much In Love 2:25
18. Undecided 2:40
19. Fresh Flute 2:33
20. I'll Get By 3:03
21. A Swinging Serenade 3:03
22. Lover Man 3:30
23. Everything's Comming Up Roses 1:57
24. Speak Low 2:32

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lester Bowie - The 5th Power

You'll probably recognize "Sardegna Amore" as "New York Is Full Of Lonely People" from Urban Bushmen, which was recorded a couple of years later.

From the 1970s until his death in 1999, Lester Bowie was the preeminent trumpeter of the jazz avant-garde -- one of the few trumpet players of his generation to successfully and completely adopt the techniques of free jazz. Indeed, Bowie was the most successful in translating the expressive demands of the music -- so well-suited to the tonally pliant saxophone -- to the more difficult-to-manipulate brass instrument. Like a saxophonist such as David Murray or Eric Dolphy, Bowie invested his sound with a variety of timbral effects; his work has a more vocal quality, compared with that of most contemporary trumpeters. In a sense, he was a throwback to the pre-modern jazz of Cootie Williams or Bubber Miley, though Bowie was by no means a revivalist. Though he was certainly not afraid to appropriate the growls, whinnies, slurs, and slides of the early jazzers, it was always in the service of a thoroughly modern sensibility. And Bowie had chops; his style was quirky, to be sure, but grounded in fundamental jazz concepts of melody, harmony, and rhythm.

Bowie grew up in St. Louis, playing in local jazz and rhythm & blues bands, including those led by Little Milton and Albert King. Bowie moved to Chicago in 1965, where he became musical director for singer Fontella Bass. There Bowie met most of the musicians with whom he would go on to make his name -- saxophonists Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell and drummer Jack DeJohnette among them. He was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and (in 1969) the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Lester Bowie - trumpet
Arthur Blythe - alto sax
Amina Claudine Myers - piano, vocals
Malachi Favors - bass
Phillip Wilson - drums

1. Sardegna Amore
2. 3 In 1
3. BBB
4. God Has Smiled On Me
5. The 5th Power

Recorded April 1978 at GRS Studios, Milano, Italy

Hank Mobley - No Room For Squares (RVG)

No Room For Squares is one of the more inventive titles in the Blue Note catalog. This is certainly an apt description for a session that includes the very hip Mobley and accompaniment from the swinging Lee Morgan, creative piano master Andrew Hill, sturdy bassist John Ore, and the powerful Philly Joe Jones on drums. Mobley's confident tenor wail is in full force here, as he and Morgan blow through the all-original program with strong support from the daring rhythm section. SQUARES is among Mobley's most raucous sessions. This is evident on energized tracks like the opening title track and the Latin-tinged "Three Way Split." Also featured is Morgan's lush ballad "Carolyn." In all, this is another stunning hard bop classic.

Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Andrew Hill, Herbie Hancock (piano)
John Ore, Butch Warren (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Three Way Split
2. Carolyn
3. Up A Step
4. No Room For Squares
5. Me 'N You
6. Old World, New Imports
7. Carolyn (Alternate Take)
8. No Room For Squares (alt)

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on March 7 and October 2, 1963

Benny Carter & Phil Woods - My Man Benny, My Man Phil (1989)

From the liner notes by Ed Berger: Those preoccupied with categories or labels may question the compatibility of a Benny Carter and a Phil Woods. Carter, after all, was one of the prime architects of the swing era, as an arranger, soloist and leader. Woods, on the other hand, is often viewed as the quintessential bebopper - the heir to Charlie Parker's crown.

At one point, frustrated by relentless efforts to place him in the Parker mold, Woods began to respond to interviewers by stating: "My three influences are Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges and Charlie Parker, in that order." He admits today that that was a slight distortion, but adds: "It doesn't matter what order - those three gentlemen are the alto saxophone. That's who anyone who wants to play this instrument should listen to."

It is extremely difficult to believe that Benny Carter was 82 years old at the time of this recording, for his strong sound (nothing feeble about his playing) and fertile ideas on alto make him sound as if he were a contemporary of Phil Woods, who was born 24 years later. Together Carter and Woods form a mutual-admiration society which can be heard on "My Man Phil." The repertoire on this CD is particularly inspired (highlighted by "Sultry Serenade," "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and two versions of the atmospheric "Just a Mood"). Carter takes two trumpet solos while, on "We Were in Love," Woods contributes some tasteful clarinet. A special and relaxed but occasionally hard-swinging date, this Music Masters CD is quite enjoyable. - Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (alto sax, trumpet, vocal)
Phil Woods (alto sax, clarinet)
Chris Neville (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Kenny Washington (drums)
  1. Reet's Neet
  2. Just a Mood (II)
  3. Sultry Serenade
  4. We Were in Love
  5. My Man Benny
  6. My Man Phil
  7. Just a Mood (I)
  8. M.A. Blues
  9. People Time
  10. I'm Just Wild About Harry
Recorded November 21, 22, 1989

Mount Everest Trio - Waves From Albert Ayler

Chicago's John Corbett and the Atavistic label have done a great service to free jazz fans in reissuing this sole album by Sweden's influential Mount Everest Trio as part of the Unheard Music Series. Waves From Albert Ayler gives good indication by its title of this absolutely invigorating outing by alto and tenor player Gilbert Holmström, bassist Kjell Jansson, and drummer Conny Sjökvist. Without a doubt, this album wails from the first seconds of Ayler's "Spirits," which opens the album. But this is not wholly an energy record; there are beautiful down times as well, including the deep ballad "Bananas Oas" and their swinging rendition of Ornette Coleman's "Ramblin'," which features some great highlights of Jansson. After starting the album by covering Ayler and Coleman (two American musicians who certainly had a great influence upon them), the Mount Everest Trio kicks into the first original of the session, "Orinoco." This piece has a driving urgency that pushes the musicians, who work it into a sweat, and eventually an earthquake whose full-blown force continues to peak right up to the unfortunate fade-out that will leave the listener yearning to hear what was cut so long ago. The trio also whips the energy up into a frenzy during "No Hip Shit," a decidedly un-prettified tough take. Yet following this is another nice wind-down, the more sparse and careful "Elf." The original issue of Waves From Albert Ayler closed two tracks later with a cover of Gary Bartz's "People's Dance," but this CD reissue also includes three bonus tracks that were recorded in 1977 right before the group dissolved. A big "thank you" goes out to the adventurous and experimental Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson for bringing to light one of the albums — and saxophonists — that had a strong influence on him. Joslyn Layne

Gilbert Holmstrom (alto, tenor sax)
Kjell Jansson (bass)
Ken Sfakall (jönälla)
Awayan Bugeraff (acoustic snårgl)
Conny Sjokvist (drums)
Luke Atmebum (faährtblästr)

1 Spirits
2 Ramblin'
3 Orinoco
4 Bananas Oas
5 No Hip Shit
6 Elf
7 Eritrea Libre
8 People's Dance
9 101 W. 80th Street
10 Consolation
11 Ode to Albert Ayler

Stan Getz - Bossas & Ballads: The Lost Sessions

Here is the next installment in my survey of Stan Getz's collaboration with Kenny Barron. More to come...

First off, these "Lost Sessions" were never actually lost. The music here was supposed to be released as the Stan Getz Quartet's first issue on A&M, and for the usual record company reasons, it was shelved instead. The tapes were in the vault and catalogs, so it's not like they were found in someone's closet. The bottom line is that Getz, already ill at this point, still had the goods. Produced by Herb Alpert (a genius in his own right even if his records don't always hold up), the bossas here are tough, innovative jazz tunes mainly written by Getz's pianist, Kenny Barron. Don't look for the gentle side of Getz that was so beautifully displayed on his early bossa records with Charlie Byrd and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Instead, this is the man who had reinvented his playing technique. With a strong foil in Barron, Getz was free to explore his form of melodic improvisation to a fuller and wider extent, which is evident if you simply check out his solos on Barron's "Sunshower" and "El Sueno," and Mal Waldron's classic ballad "Soul Eyes." Interestingly, this was Barron's date as much as it was Getz's. His compositions and musical direction are key here, and he was trying to get deeper into and stretch the samba groove in his writing. Finding Getz in such an adventurous space in his playing allowed for this. With a rhythm section that includes bassist George Mraz and drummer Victor Lewis, this disc is essential not only for fans of Getz and Barron, but for real jazzheads. Thom Jurek

Stan Getz, Tenor Sax
Kenny Barron, piano
George Mraz, bass
Victor Lewis, drums

1 Sunshower (Barron) 7:20
2 Yours and Mine (Jones) 8:00
3 Joanne Julia (Barron) 7:51
4 Soul Eyes (Waldron) 7:23
5 Spiral (Barron) 7:54
6 Beatrice (Rivers) 8:15
7 The Wind (Freeman, Gladstone) 8:56
8 El Sueno (Barron) 6:36
9 Feijoada (Barron) 6:24

Recorded at A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA USA March 26-29, 1989

Andrew Hill - Compulsion (RVG)

"Compulsion continues Andrew Hill's progression, finding the pianist writing more complex compositions and delving even further into the avant-garde. Working with a large, percussion-heavy band featuring Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn), John Gilmore (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), Cecil McBee (bass), Joe Chambers (drums), Renaud Simmons (conga), Nadi Qamar (percussion), and, for one track, Richard Davis (bass), Hill has created one of his most challenging dates. The extra percussion is largely used for texture, as is the dueling bass on "Premonition," and that's one of the reasons why the record is so interesting -- it's a shifting, provocative, occasionally unsettling set of shifting tonal colors. Hill's compositions often seem more like sketches and blueprints instead of full-fledged songs. This, of course, is not a bad thing, since this approach allows the musicians room to improvise and discover evocative new sounds. Overall, Compulsion doesn't hold together as well as Black Fire or Point of Departure, but the session has enough fiery, challenging highlights to make it necessary for Hill fans." Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Andrew Hill (piano)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
John Gilmore (tenor sax, bass clarinet)
Cecil McBee, Richard Davis (bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)
Nedi Qamar (African drum, African thumb piano)
Renaud Simmons (conga)

1. Compulsion
2. Legacy
3. Premonition
4. Limbo

Recorded on October 8, 1965 at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Helen Merrill

Partly to add to the little Kellaway thing going on, but there's something here for everyone.

Helen Merrill - The Nearness Of You

Alternately breathy and atmospheric or bright and dynamic, Helen Merrill often reaches a bit too far on The Nearness of You, though her distinct style and strong personality may be refreshing to vocal fans tired of the standard versions of standards. Leading two separate sextets -- the rather more famous one, with Bill Evans, Bobby Jaspar, Oscar Pettiford, and Jo Jones, appears on only four tracks -- Merrill breezes over a raft of mid-tempo standards, with several detours through high-drama territory. Her powerful voice occasionally gets her into trouble, breaking from breathy to brash and often occupying a rather awkward middle ground. Still, her ebullient tone and playful way with "Bye, Bye Blackbird," "Let Me Love You," and "All of You" is a treat to hear, and flutist Mike Simpson cuts it up behind her as well. Merrill really shines on the darker material, with just a plucked bass to accompany her on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," and a similarly spare accompaniment on a long, drawn-out tribute to "Summertime" and "I See Your Face Before Me." John Bush

Helen Merrill (vocal)
Mike Simpson (fl),
Dick Marx (piano)
Fred Rundquist (g)
John Frigo (bass)
Jerry Slosberg (drums)
Recorded at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago, IL on December 18 and 19, 1957

Helen Merrill (vocal)
Bobby Jaspar (flute)
Bill Evans (piano)
George Russell (g)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)
Recorded in New York City on February 21, 1958

1. Bye, Bye Blackbird
2. When The Sun Comes Out
3. I Remember You
4. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
5. Dearly Beloved
6. Summertime
7. All Of You
8. I See Your Face Before Me
9. Let Me Love You
10. Nearness Of You
11. This Time The Dream's On Me
12. Just Imagine

Helen Merrill - Clear Out Of This World

Although Helen Merrill is often thought of as a singer from the 1950s (when she made her initial reputation), she has stayed aware of more recent developments in jazz. On this superior CD, Merrill is accompanied by pianist Roger Kellaway, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Terry Clarke; three songs add trumpeter Tom Harrell, while two others have Wayne Shorter on tenor or soprano. Whether performing veteran standards (such as "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" and "Some of These Days") or more modern pieces, Merrill's haunting voice and her all-star sidemen uplift and revitalize the material. A consistently memorable set full of subtle surprises. ~ Scott Yanow

Helen Merrill (vocal)
Wayne Shorter (soprano, tenor sax)
Roger Kellaway (piano, arr)
Tom Harrell (flugelhorn, trumpet)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums)

1. Out Of This World
2. Not Like This
3. I'm All Smiles
4. When I Grow Too Old To Dream
5. Some Of These Days
6. Maybe
7. A Tender Thing Is Love
8. Soon It's Gonna Rain
9. Willow Weep For Me

Monday, August 6, 2007


Click to engorge

Frankie Newton was born frank William newman on jan 4 1906 in emery Virginia, and died march 11 1954 in new york city .

Heres a brief tidbit by yanow
Trumpeter Frankie Newton, whose mellow and thoughtful style sometimes seemed somewhat out of place in the swing era, had a relatively brief but artistically rewarding career. He had stints with Lloyd Scott (1927-1929), Cecil Scott (1929-1930), Chick Webb, Elmer Snowden, Charlie Johnson, and Sam Wooding, and appeared on Bessie Smith's final recording session in 1933. Newton worked with Charlie Barnet's short-lived integrated band in 1936 and with Teddy Hill, before briefly becoming closely associated with bassist John Kirby and his associates. The eventual John Kirby Sextet would have been the logical place for the trumpeter, but a falling out in 1937 ended up with the younger Charlie Shavers getting the spot in the commercially successful group. Newton instead played for Mezz Mezzrow and Lucky Millinder, led a few record dates (including participating in a set for Hugues Panassie), and worked at Cafe Society, accompanying Billie Holiday on several of her records (most notably "Strange Fruit"). As the 1940s progressed, Newton became less interested in music and gradually faded from the scene, painting more than playing, dying a forgotten and under-utilized talent. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Frankie Newton swinging on 52nd street
This is all material taken from his 1937, to 39by all accounts his best stuff. mostly small group sessions.
featured players include Edmond hall, cozy cole, Johnny smith, Charlie barnet,
Buster bailey, Russell procope, billy kyle, and pete brown.

One or two novelty tunes here, but mostly solid swinging stuff.

Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch (RVG Flac)

Fuck the twilight! Step out into the light of day!!

Well, we have received the threats from Bruno Leicht, and read his declaration of war, and saw how he reported only my links to Blogger. He has gone to great lengths and efforts to let us know he's here to cause trouble. Now, it does seem like he has been a victim of some sick fuck, but that is NOT an excuse to become one yourself. Because then you have been made a victim, and then have made yourself a victim.

Anecdote 1: How did Dolphy come across Hutcherson? He was dating his sister.

Anecdote 2: Dolphy was given the keys to his church by the minister, so that he could use the church piano for practice when the church was empty. Dolphy was mostly playing "classical" music at this point in his life. The same minister would put a lock on his piano at home to prevent his son from practicing jazz, which he disapproved of. His son would pick the lock as soon as his father left for church on Sunday, and play for hours. His name: Hampton Hawes.

"Out to Lunch is one of the finest records of its kind. This record is easily at the caliber of A Love Supreme and The Shape of Jazz to Come. That may seem a mighty bold statement. Well, dear readers, I mean every word. Out to Lunch flows soft and serene, then edgy and forthright. The magic is the way Dolphy leads his band. A touch of ease drops over the soundscape of the tracks before the trademark blast of jagged rips and chops run to the edge off a cliff and dangle with sounds that shake jazz's boundaries. Dolphy shows himself as solid bandleader and arranger who opens up plenty of room of for his players. Much in the ideology of his fellow avant garde players, the solos exude experiment. Yet Dolphy's control is masterful and no matter how far out he gets, you can feel his passion and know his path has been well articulated.

A great example of the record's contrast in sound is “Something Sweet, Something Tender,” which lays out a smooth layer of vibes by Bobby Hutcherson before Dolphy launches into his atonal attack. His work is not altogether estranged from the music that came before. If nothing else his style builds on the work of bebop masters. But for this time around Dolphy walks away from those conventions and gives the experimental a huge to canvas for his textures. This record is where Dolphy starts blazing into the territory of Cecil Taylor. Unlike Taylor, Eric tried for natural or possibly "nature" sounds which included imitating bird and others gathered from nature.

Though not for the faint of heart, this is a certain bible for the avant garde players to come such as Anthony Braxton, Albert Aylers and John Zorn. Although the Prestige recordings spark a point that critics often argue, Dolphy was a freer player than Coltrane but held more to tradition than Coleman. Is this true? Out to Lunch shows Dolphy more apt for sonic annihilation than keeping in tradition, but the playing is in many ways a freer flight than what Coltrane was doing at the same period. None the less Dolphy shows his passion and unique style that would influence future players still to this day."

Freddie Hubbard - trumpet
Eric Dolphy - alto sax, flute & bass clarinet
Bobby Hutcherson - vibes
Richard Davis - bass
Anthony Williams - drums

1 . Hat And Beard
2 . Something Sweet, Something Tender
3 . Gazzelloni
4 . Out To Lunch
5 . Straight Up And Down

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 25, 1964

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Maynard Ferguson - Dues (1964)

Originally issued on LP as Color Him Wild, this is one of Ferguson's better big band jazz records. Featuring great solos by Lanny Morgan on alto sax, Ronnie Cuber on bari sax, Don Rader and Harry Hall on trumpet, Mike Abene on piano, and of course the leader. Every tune is a keeper with some outstanding arrangements by Willie Maiden, Don Sebesky, Mike Abene, Dusko Goykovich, Don Rader and Rob McConnell. In my opinion, this was one of Maynard's masterpieces.

Maynard Ferguson, Nat Pavone, Don Rader, Harry Hall, Dick Hurwitz (trumpet)
Kenny Rupp, Rob McConnell (trombone)
Lanny Morgan (alto sax)
Willie Maiden, Frank Vicari (tenor sax)
Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)
Mike Abene (piano)
Ron McClure (bass)
Tony Inzalaco (drums)
  1. Airegin
  2. Macarena
  3. Green Dolphin Street
  4. People
  5. This Nite
  6. The Lady's in Love
  7. Tinsel
  8. Three More Foxes
  9. Come Rain or Come Shine

Sergio Mendes - The Swinger From Rio

A rare early session from Sergio Mendes -- one that was recorded in New York, during a pre-66 visit by his core trio -- and augmented with guest horn work from Art Farmer, Phil Woods, and Hubert Laws! Antonio Carlos Jobim plays a bit of guitar on the album, and the set's a straighter set of jazz than you might expect -- with Sergio grooving hard on piano, and throwing in some light bossa touches to tracks that include "Maria Moita", "Sambinha Bossa Nova", "The Dreamer", "Primavera", "Favela", and "Pau Brazil"

Sergio Mendes (piano)
Antonio Carlos Jobim (guitar)
Hubert Laws (flute)
Phil Woods (alto saxophone)
Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Tiao Netto (bass)
Chico DeSouza (drums)

1. Maria Moita
2. Sambinha Bossa Nova
3. Batida Diferente
4. So Danco Samba
5. Pau Brazil
6. The Girl From Ipanema
7. Useless Panorama
8. The Dreamer
9. Primavera
10. Consolacao
11. Favela

Booker Ervin

A few representative titles from Booker Ervin, these were chosen mostly because of the sidemen. The Book Series is better known, and can be found easily on the 'net. Maybe they will feature in a future Ervin set. He has a decent body of work.

"A very distinctive tenor with a hard, passionate tone and an emotional style that was still tied to chordal improvisation, Booker Ervin was a true original. He was originally a trombonist, but taught himself tenor while in the Air Force (1950-1953). After studying music in Boston for two years, he made his recording debut with Ernie Fields' R&B band (1956). Ervin gained fame while playing with Charles Mingus (off and on during 1956-1962), holding his own with the volatile bassist and Eric Dolphy. He also led his own quartet, worked with Randy Weston on a few occasions in the '60s, and spent much of 1964-1966 in Europe before dying much too young from kidney disease. Ervin, who is on several notable Charles Mingus records, made dates of his own for Bethlehem, Savoy, and Candid during 1960-1961, along with later sets for Pacific Jazz and Blue Note. His nine Prestige sessions of 1963-1966 (including The Freedom Book, The Song Book, The Blues Book, and The Space Book) are among the high points of his career." ~ Scott Yanow

Booker Ervin - That’s It

Booker Ervin, who always had a very unique sound on the tenor, is heard in prime form on his quartet set with pianist Horace Parlan, bassist George Tucker and drummer Al Harewood. In virtually all cases, the jazz and blues musicians who recorded for Candid in 1960-61 (during its original brief existence) were inspired and played more creatively than they did for other labels. That fact is true for Ervin, even if he never made an indifferent record. In addition to "Poinciana" and "Speak Low," Ervin's quartet (which was a regular if short-lived group) performs four of the leader's originals; best known is "Booker's Blues."

Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
Horace Parlan (piano)
George Tucker (bass)
Al Harewood (drums)

1. Mojo
2. Uranus
3. Poinciana
4. Speak Low
5. Booker’s Blues
6. Boo

Recorded at Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York on January 6, 1961

Booker Ervin - Setting the Pace

This CD reissue has the complete contents of two former LPs, both recorded at the same session. With very stimulating playing by pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Alan Dawson, tenors Booker Ervin and Dexter Gordon battle it out on marathon (19 and 22 1/2 minute) versions of "Setting the Pace" and "Dexter's Deck." Although Gordon is in good form, Ervin (who sometimes takes the music outside) wins honors. The other two selections ("The Trance" and "Speak Low") are by the same group without Dexter, and these long (19 1/2- and 15-minute) showcases also find Booker in top form, sounding quite distinctive and completely original playing inside/outside music. An exciting set. ~ Scott Yanow

Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone)
Jaki Byard (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Setting The Pace
2. Dexter's Deck
3. The Trance
4. Speak Low

NYC, January 29, 1965

Booker Ervin - Structurally Sound

Mixing the dusky romanticism of Dexter Gordon and the progressive tonal ideology of John Coltrane, Booker Ervin is often filed under "A" for amalgam alongside other overlooked tenor masters such as Tina Brooks and Hank Mobley. Structurally Sound is perhaps not Ervin's most provocative album, but a solid and tasty endeavor featuring the "suspended" chord sounds popularized by McCoy Tyner during the late '60s. Here, the chords come via the brilliant pianist John Hicks, who opens the album with funky high-end triplet figures on Randy Weston's "Berkshire Blues." Joining in is a well-selected roster of musicians, many of whom were also overshadowed by their more well-known contemporaries, including Charles Tolliver on trumpet, Red Mitchell on bass, and Lenny McBrowne on drums. Tolliver contributes the original composition "Franess," a Wayne Shorter-influenced affair that features his fat and burnished tone. They also cover Oliver Nelson's blissful standard "Stolen Moments" to good effect. Originally ending with an athletic up-tempo version of "Take the 'A' Train," the Blue Note Connoisseur Series reissue includes a sparkling "Shiny Stockings," featuring an especially inspired chorus by Ervin. An oddball version of "White Christmas" also makes it onto the disc, as do alternate takes of "Franess" and "Deep Night." ~ Matt Collar

Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
Charles Tolliver (trumpet)
John Hicks (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Lenny McBrowne (drums)

1 - Berkshire Blues
2 - Dancing In The Dark
3 - Stolen Moments
4 - Franess
5 - Boo's Blues
6 - You're My Everything
7 - Deep Night
8 - Take The A Train
9 - Shiny Stockings
10 - White Christmas
11 - Franess (alt)
12 - Deep Night

Booker Ervin - Tex Book Tenor

Tex Book Tenor was recorded in 1968 as a follow-up to Booker Ervin's debut date for Blue Note, The In Between, which was released in January of the same year. (Ervin had made two records for Pacific Jazz, which is now owned, like Blue Note, by EMI.) The album remained unreleased until 1976, when it was issued with an also unreleased Horace Parlan date on a double LP called Back from the Gig. This is its first appearance on CD. The lineup is stellar and includes Billy Higgins, Woody Shaw, Kenny Barron, and bassist Jan Arnet from Czechoslovakia. Barron and Ervin had worked together before, and Arnet had worked with Ervin three years earlier as a touring partner in Germany. The music here includes three Ervin originals, Barron's wonderful "Gichi," and Shaw's "In a Capricornian Way." The Afro-Latin-influenced grooves of "Gichi" display Ervin playing his solo in prime snake-charmer mode. His own "Den Tex" is classic hard bop with Barron and Ervin going head to head throughout. "Lynn's Tune" is a beautiful midtempo ballad with wonderful work by Arnet and a loping solo by Shaw. The closer is "204," a steaming hard bop tune with a killer head featuring the two horns just pushing the tempo before Ervin goes off the map into his solo. Barron's playing is totally inspired, pushing huge chords at both players as they dig into the changes and come out breathing fire. This is a wonderful addition not only to the Blue Note catalog on CD, but to Ervin's own shelf as well, and should be picked up by anyone interested in him as a bandleader and composer. ~ Thom Jurek

Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Jan Arnet (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1 - Gichi
2 - Den Tex
3 - In A Capricornian Way
4 - Lynn’s Tune
5 - 204

June 24, 1968: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Enrico Pieranunzi - Racconti Mediterranei

This is an absolutely gorgeous disc by an Italian pianist who has received considerable notice in recent years. He has a lovely, classical touch to his playing and is often compared to Bill Evans.

Shortly after its initial release, this trio outing received numerous accolades from the European press. To that end, we can add this reviewer's praise to the existing heap. Here, two major proponents of Europe's modern jazz scene align with the great American bassist, Marc Johnson. Now just imagine sitting on a sandy beach, somewhere along Italy's Amalfi Coast, preparing for a sunset that perhaps consummates a relaxing seaside day. Essentially, the band captures this sort of Mediterranean mood, amid jazzy motifs featuring clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi's enduringly lyrical clarinet work. While pianist Enrico Pieranunzi harmonizes with the clarinetist's hybrid Italian folk/jazz melodies via fluent single note runs and daintily executed progressions. Johnson is the bond here, yet this is a cooperative effort. At times, you could hear a pin drop, thanks to the artists' softly stated themes. Moreover, you could almost feel the warm, Mediterranean wind ruffling through the air, as the trio offers us a film score for the mind's eye.

They jazz it up on works such as O Toi Desir, however their near flawless execution and uncanny synergy provides yet another source of amazement. Softly rendered melodies, indigenous folksiness, and emotive soloing endeavors are just a few of the attributes evidenced throughout. Ultimately, the musicians proclaim an audible simile of what beauty really is! (Overenthusiastically recommended). Glenn Astarita

Enrico Pieranunzi, piano
Marc Johnson, bass
Gabriele Mirabassi, clarinet

1.The Kingdom (where nobody dies)
2.Les Amants
3.Canto nascosto
4.Il canto delle differenze
5.Una piccola chiave dorata
6.O toi desir
9.Un 'alba dipinta sui muri
10.Stefi's song
11.Canzone di Nausicaa
All compositions by E.Pieranunzi

Recorded February 21, 2000 at Teatro Comunale di Gubbio, Perugia, Regione Umbria Italy

Chico Hamilton Quintet - The Original Ellington Suite

This release will have fans of Eric Dolphy salivating as it includes some long-lost work that jazz scholars didn't know existed at all. When the premiere reissue producer Michael Cuscuna researched all known Pacific Jazz tapes attributed to Chico Hamilton, all he came across were three edited numbers from this session, two of which had appeared on a compilation and another only on a DJ sampler. But this release is due to the luck of a Canadian resident who was digging through a used record bin in his hometown of Brighton, England, where he found a copy of The Ellington Suite with the personnel listed from a later session and a near mint blank test pressing of what turned out to be the long lost Chico Hamilton original version with Dolphy. While producer Richard Bock may have thought Dolphy's playing was at times too radical, history proves him wrong. His mellow alto sax is a key ingredient of "In a Sentimental Mood," while his unique phrasing is central to the swinging "Just A-Sittin'and A-Rockin'." Dolphy's flute is not as aggressive as it would be in the next few years, but his playing on "Everything but You" provides a preview of what was to come later in his career. Dolphy's clarinet weaves underneath Nate Gershman's arco cello solo in the lovely "Day Dream." Of course, the work of guitarist John Pisano, bassist Hal Gaylor, and the leader should not be ignored, as their musicianship is of the highest order, too. Chico Hamilton's pianoless chamber jazz recordings for Pacific Jazz between 1955 and 1959 are important landmarks, but the discovery of this long-lost date adds to his many achievements. Highly recommended. Ken Dryden

Eric Dolphy (alto sax (2,4,7,9) flute (1,3,5) clarinet (6,8))
Nate Gershman (cello)
John Pisano (guitar)
Hal Gaylor (bass)
Chico Hamilton (drums)

1 In a Mellow Tone
2 In a Sentimental Mood
3 I'm Just a Lucky So and So
4 Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'
5 Everything But You
6 Day Dream
7 I'm Beginning to See the Light
8 Azure
9 It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Recorded In Los Angeles On August 22, 1958

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer - The Power of Positive Swinging (1965)

In the mid-1960s, flugelhornist Clark Terry and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer led a quintet whose rhythm section changed now and then. As expected, there was always plenty of interplay between the fluent horns and some sly examples of their humor. This CD reissue matches C.T. and Brookmeyer with pianist Roger Kellaway (a bit of a wild card who throws in a few adventurous flights here and there), bassist Bill Crow and drummer Dave Bailey. Except for Kellaway, all of the musicians had previously played with Gerry Mulligan, and there is some of the feel of his quartet during these performances. Highlights include "Battle Hymn of the Republic," Illinois Jacquet's "The King" and the old Count Basie-associated riff tune "Just an Old Manuscript." - Scott Yanow

Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Roger Kellaway (piano)
Bill Crow (bass)
Dave Bailey (drums)
  1. Dancing on the Grave
  2. Battle Hymn of the Republic
  3. The King
  4. Ode to a Flugelhorn
  5. Gal in Calico
  6. Green Stamps
  7. Hawg Jawz
  8. Simple Waltz
  9. Just an Old Manuscript

Allison Wonderland [Rhino]

Another Fine Rhino Comp!

Only Dave Frishberg and possibly Mark Murphy can rival Mose Allison when it comes to creative use of irony in lyric writing, and neither compares as an instrumentalist. He's a fine bop pianist able to play challenging instrumentals and eclectic enough to integrate country blues and gospel elements into his style. Allison's unique mix of down-home and uptown styles has made him a standout since the '50s. He's one of the few jazz musicians on Atlantic's roster ideally suited for Rhino's two-disc anthology format. Allison recorded many different kinds of songs and was always as much, if not more, a singles than an album artist. In addition, Rhino thankfully sequenced the selected songs -- which span over 40 years, from 1957 to 1989, and include all of his best-known songs -- chronologically. Allison does reflective duo and trio pieces, moves into up-tempo combo numbers with a jump beat, then returns to the intimate small-group sound. His ability to highlight key lyrics, delivery, timing, and pacing is superb. The set includes such classics as "Back Country Blues," "Parchman Farm," "Western Man," and "Ever Since the World Ended," plus definitive covers of Willie Dixon's "The Seventh Son" and Sonny Boy Williamson II's "Eyesight to the Blind." It's an essential introduction to Allison's catalog. --- Ron Wynn

BLP 1561 | Sabu | Palo Congo


and now following on the heels of scoredaddy and jazz nekko, here's a great disc of 2 of the most original under appreciated masters in the music.

this is non idiomatic as far as conventional notions of jazz and swing, go and as y'all know
these guys are masters of the jazz idiom.

no easy "refreshing, simple, dexterous pianist ("a la Ray Bryant") "here , this is complex highly chromatic music, that's to my ears very reminiscent of the music of the 2nd vienese school, (webern, schoenberg) beautifully varied and not at all austere.

we need more tony coe and roger kellaways on this planet, and more posts of their music..pretty please..
heres an amg review
by Richard S. Ginell
"While scoring a horror film in England in 1978, Roger Kellaway took time out to record a way-out, free-form duo session with the British clarinetist Tony Coe; the album was not released until 2000 on a small German label. This is Kellaway unchained, letting fly with no preconceptions or restrictions whatsoever (except in the final blues track "The Burgundy Bruise"), creating music closer to style and spirit to that of avant-garde 20th century classical territory than his usual jazz stomping grounds. All you need to know about Coe's work is that his two main influences at the time were Paul Gonsalves and Alban Berg, and he leans decidedly towards Berg here, complementing Kellaway with flights into outer atonal space on his rare 1840-vintage C clarinet. Experimenting wildly, Kellaway uses the entire sonorous resources of the grand piano in the suitably cavernous intro to "The Caverns of Volere," indulges in prepared-piano plunks and strummings in "Dance of the 3-Legged Elves" (a weirdly fitting title), and leads Coe on a mad chase in "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder." Yet these two voyageurs can be pensive, too ("Monday's Child"), and Kellaway's famous sense of humor also pokes through in spots."


Friday, August 3, 2007

pupi legarreta -- salsa nova

jean lafite says: pupi is the man. i guess he liked it in the states because he stayed on. i have some later pupi issues where he is into wider lapels and more of a 70's nyc salsa sound. i have never heard the man play a bad note. dust off your salsa dance moves and give pupi a spin.

Al Cohn - Overtones

Continuing the Al Cohn series I started with "Standards of Excellence", here is a very nice session with the fabulous Hank Jones. More to come in the following weeks.

As can be heard on this quintet set, tenor saxophonist Al Cohn's former "cool school" tone deepend during his later years and had become much more distinctive than it had been earlier. This set is special in that Cohn's backup group includes his son, the cool-toned guitarist Joe Cohn. Also providing fine support are pianist Hank Jones, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Akiri Tana. The quintet performs four of Al Cohn's originals (including "High on You" and the catchy "P-Town") plus Hank Jones' "Vignette," a couple of obscurities and Cole Porter's "I Love You." A typically excellent Al Cohn set. Scott Yanow

Al Cohn, Tenor Sax
Joe Cohn, Guitar
George Duvivier, Bass
Hank Jones, Piano
Akira Tana, Drums

1 P-Town (Cohn) 4:19
2 Woody's Lament (Cohn) 5:18
3 High on You (Cohn) 4:42
4 I Love You (Porter) 3:59
5 Vignette (Jones) 4:21
6 Pensive (Cohn) 5:58
7 I Don't Want Anybody at All (Magidson, Styne) 6:21
8 Let's Be Buddies (Porter) 4:39

Recorded at Soundmixers, New York, NY USA in April, 1982

Martial Solal - Live 1959/85: The Best

Martial Solal - Live 1959/85: The Best
[Flat & Sharp, 1986]

Martial Solal: piano
Roger Guérin: trumpet
Lee Konitz: alto sax
Stéphane Grappelli: violin
Niels-Henning Orsted-Pederson: bass
Paul Rovere: bass
Gilbert Rovere: bass
Charles Bellonzi: drums
Danirl Humair: drums

1. Suite en Ré Bémol pour Quartette de Jazz
2. Mystère Solal
3. Le beau Danube Blue
4. Night In Tunesia
5. Sophisticated Lady
6. The Continental
7. Fascinating Rhythm
8. Just Friends
9. Impromptulm

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cannonball Adderley - And Strings/Jump For Joy

Cannonball Adderley - And Strings/Jump For Joy pairs two 1955 albums by alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. It's one of the best and most representative examples of his early hard-bop years, fully exploring two of Adderley's more prominent musical styles and giving the listener a more in-depth feel for Adderley's skills than some of the scattershot compilations can provide.

And Strings is more interesting than most versions of this somewhat-overused staple of '50s jazz, both because Richard Hayman's strings avoid the Mantovanni-style glop of some strings albums and because Adderley's tone--as hard-edged and soulful as ever--provides an interesting tension. Jump For Joy finds occasional Miles Davis sideman Adderley leading his own small, hard-bop group. The results are spectacular, recalling the best aspects of Davis' hard-bop recordings for Prestige during this time and showcasing the saxophonist's remarkable soloing.

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
With Richard Hayman's orchestra

1 - I Cover The Waterfront
2 - A Foggy Day
3 - The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
4 - Two Sleepy People
5 - I'll Never Stop Loving You
6 - (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over
7 - I've Never Been In Love Before
8 - Lonely Dreams
9 - Falling In Love With Love
10 - Street Of Dreams
11 - Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Around A Pug-Nosed Dream)
12 - You Are Too Beautiful

Recorded at Fine Sound, New York, on October 27-28, 1955

Something of a companion album to the earlier Julian Cannonball Adderley and Strings, Jump for Joy sounds like it could be outtakes from the same sessions in terms of its orchestral-quality arrangements, but this is very much its own album. Jump for Joy is Adderley's reinterpretation, circa 1958, of a Duke Ellington stage musical from 1941. A minor artifact in the Duke's long career, Jump for Joy is nonetheless a marvel, a response to Porgy and Bess that Ellington thought was a more accurate portrayal of African-American life. Adderley and arranger Bill Russo update the tunes into the then-current post-bop jazz vernacular but otherwise leave them alone for the simple reason that they don't need any embellishment. Hearing Adderley's often thrilling, always well-constructed alto sax improvisations over tunes like the standard "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" is reason enough for the album to exist, and although Russo's orchestral flourishes occasionally threaten to overwhelm the soloist (especially on the closing "The Tune of the Hickory Stick"), they're always at the very least charming examples of '50s jazz-pop arrangements. Stewart Mason

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Emmett Berry (trumpet)
Leo Kruczek (violin)
Gene Orloff (violin)
Dave Schwartz (viola)
George Ricci (cello)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
Bill Russo (arr)

13 - Two Left Feet
14 - Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)
15 - I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
16 - Nothin'
17 - Jump for Joy
18 - Bli-blip
19 - Chocolate Shake
20 - If Life Were All Peaches And Cream
21 - Brown-Skin Gal (In The Calico Gown)
22 - The Tune Of The Hickory Stick

Lester Bowie - I Only Have Eyes For You

This is Lester Bowie's first album credited to his ensemble Brass Fantasy. The nine-piece group opens with its reinterpretation of the title song, a pop classic, which serves as a wonderful introduction to the five originals that follow. Bowie's music and playing has always matched impassioned soulfulness with knee-slapping humor, and this set is no exception.

The bottom end is provided by tuba player Bob Stewart, his parts often combining subtly and beautifully with the trombones and French horn (in fact, Stewart's own composition, "Nonet," specifically explores these low register possibilities). Bowie himself wrote the syncopated "Come Back, Jamaica" and the reverential "When the Spirit Returns." I Only Have Eyes For You is a wonderful introduction to this outfit, which went on to make a name for itself based primarily on its bright and inventive covers.

Lester Bowie (trumpet)
Stanton Davis (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Malachi Thompson, Bruce Purse (trumpet)
Craig Harris, Steve Turre (trombone)
Vincent Chancey (French horn)
Bob Stewart (tuba)
Phillip Wilson (drums)

1. I Only Have Eyes For You
2. Think
3. Lament
4. Coming Back, Jamaica
5. Nonet
6. When The Spirit Returns

Recorded at Rawlston Recording Studios, The People's Republic Of Brooklyn, New York in February 1985

Roger Kellaway - A Jazz Portrait of Roger Kellaway (1963, Regina RS-298)

This is brought to you by. . . Scoredaddy's post! Thanks for the blast from the past -

This is the debut album by this excellent pianist, Roger Kellaway. After seeing your post, Scoredaddy, I thought I had imagined seeing this name. This LP has not seen a needle on it for more than twenty-five years! I cannot even vaguely recall when my father or someone in the house had played this. I have, however, thoroughly enjoyed listening to this refreshing, simple, dexterous pianist ("a la Ray Bryant") whilst ripping it for you ~ enjoy!

Set Highlights:
- Kellaway's solos on 'Blackwell Tunnel Blues' & 'Broken Windmill'
- Swallow's bass, Hall's guitar on 'Same Old, Same Old'
- charming, spirited, 'Cinderella'

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 9: Roger Kellaway (p), Ben Tucker (b), Dave Bailey (d); recorded in 1963 in New York City

Tracks 2, 7, 8: Roger Kellaway (p), Jim Hall (g), Steve Swallow (b), Tony Inzalaco (d); recorded in 1963 in New York City

Tracks 4 & 6: Roger Kellaway (piano solo); recorded in 1963 in New York City

01. Double Fault
02. Step Right Up
03. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
04. Blackwell Tunnel Blues
05. Crazy, She Calls Me
06. Broken Windmill
07. Same Old, Same Old
08. And Elsewhere
09. Cinderella

Roger Kellaway - Cello Quartet

Roger Kellaway launched his reputation as a consummate iconoclastic musician with this album, which was considered an elegant breakthrough in its time. He assembled a novel quartet featuring his piano, the late Edgar Lustgarten's classical cello (Kellaway's favorite instrument), Chuck Domanico on bass, and Emil Richards on marimba and percussion, writing pieces using chord symbols and notes without stems to allow for improvisation. The resulting album falls ever so neatly between the cracks of classical music and jazz, sometimes leaning in the latter direction (e.g., the Latinized groove of "Jorjana #2"), but mostly occupying a never-never land of Kellaway's own invention. Lustgarten's lush, dark tone establishes a haunting classical ambience, which creates weird stylistic juxtapositions in pieces like the boogie-based "Esque"; on a few tracks, there is some truly quirky writing for a full studio symphony orchestra conducted by Kellaway. The most memorable composition of the lot is the instantly winning, deceptively simple "Morning Song" (later published in a version for tuba and piano!), where Kellaway throws in more than a hint of barrelhouse piano. This album became a cult favorite, in and out of print on LP and CD, but never too difficult to locate. Richard S. Ginell

Chuck Domanico, Bass
Roger Kellaway, Piano
Edgar Lustgarten , Cello
Erno Neufeld, Violin (2)
Joe Pass, Guitar (2 & 8)
Emil Richards, Percussion
+ The A&M Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roger Kellaway

1. Saturnia (Kellaway) 3:01
2. Sunrise (Kellaway) 7:49
3. Morning Song (Gullickson, Kellaway) 5:39
4. Jorjana #2 (Kellaway) 8:24
5. Esque (Kellaway) 2:45
6. On Your Mark Get Set; Blues (Kellaway) 5:07
7. Invasion of the Forest (Kellaway) 2:57
8. Jorjana #8 (Kellaway) 6:18

Recorded 1970 in Hollywood, CA USA

Dave Pell Octet Plays Irving Berlin

The Dave Pell Octet was one of the definitive cool jazz groups of the 1950s. Tenor saxophonist Pell played with Les Brown's big band during 1948-56 and started to record with an octet drawn from the orchestra in 1953. His first project was a set of a dozen Irving Berlin tunes, and the results are quite memorable. The swinging and subtle ensembles, concise and emotionally restrained solos, and excellent musicianship would be trademarks of the band. Consisting of Pell; trumpeter Don Fagerquist; trombonist Ray Sims; Ronny Lang on baritone, alto, and flute; pianist Jeff Clarkson; guitarist Tony Rizzi; bassist Rolly Bundock; and drummer Jack Sperling, the octet plays arrangements by Shorty Rogers, Jerry Fielding, and Wes Hensel. Among the highlights are "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket," "Russian Lullaby," "They Say It's Wonderful," and "This Year's Kisses." Recommended. Scott Yanow

Roland Bundock, Bass
Jeff Clarkson, Piano
Don Fagerquist, Trumpet
Jerry Fielding, Arranger #2
Wes Hensel, Arranger #4, 5, 10, 11
Ronnie Lang, Flute, Alto & Baritone Sax
Dave Pell, Tenor Sax
Tony Rizzi, Guitar
Shorty Rogers, Arranger #1, 3, 6-9 & 12
Ray Sims, Trombone, Vocal on #10
Jack Sperling, Drums

1. I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket 3:36
2. Change Partners 2:39
3. Love and the Weather 3:19
4. Russian Lullaby 2:54
5. Kate 3:07
6. Say It with Music 2:15
7. I Used to Be Color Blind 3:09
8. Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee 3:10
9. Better Luck Next Time 3:23
10. They Say It's Wonderful 3:19
11. This Year's Kisses 3:13
12. He Ain't Got Rhythm 3:18

Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA USA on April 22 & May 28, 1953

BLP 1528 | Jimmy Smith at Club 'Baby Grand', Volume 1

The covers show the original release and the liberty re-issue artwork.

A while back in the 'Requests' Section, I was looking for BN 1528 and 1529 - Jimmy Smith at Club 'Baby Grand' - available on vinyl for too much $ and even the TOCJ version is difficult to get.
I've managed to get them and thought I'd share.
Volume 1, is a direct rip from a liberty re-issue vinyl. It descibes itself as "Electronically Re-recorded to Simulate Stereo", hence the 81528 catalogue number.
I haven't heard the mono version of Volume 1, but this pseudo-stereo version is pretty damn swinging.
Recorded in 1956.
Liner Notes: (Leonard Feather)
Intro (I have separated this into it's own track)
Sweet Georgia Brown
After Mitch Thomas
Where or When
...reduces the tempo
The Preacher

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sahib Shihab “Jazz Shihab” (1957, Savoy MG12124)

This self-taught multi-reedist was an influential figure in the jazz scene. This ’57 set features a stellar line-up (see below) under the command of another one of those “overshadowed /under-appreciated figures”. Shihab displays his baritone prowess with cleverly laid down modal jumps and tempts the listener with his artistry with rhythmic trills. Sahib spends a good amount of time adapting to Evans’ subtle but dominant key work. As imagined, Chambers holds court and the group line with his masterful bass. The horns act like a Persian carpet weaver, and hide their tremendous value inside intricate and delicate modal changes that compliment Shihab and Evans’ intriguing and bold improvs ~ enjoy!

Set Highlights:
- everything from the cover to the last track – pure class!

Sahib Shihab (baSx), Bill Evans, Hank Jones (p), Oscar Pettiford, Paul Chambers (b), Phil Woods (as), Bennie Golson (ts), Art Taylor (d)

01. SMTWTFSS Blues
02. Jamila
03. The Moors
04. Blu-A-Round
05. Le Sneak
06. Ballad to the East

Sonny Rollins Quintet “Rollins Plays for Bird” (1956, Prestige/OJC 7095)

Scott “I Ate One too Many Lemons as a Child” Yanow, wrote, “Sonny Rollins, heard in his early prime, performs ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face,’ ‘Kids Know,’ and a seven-song ‘Bird Medley’ on this CD reissue of a 1956 Prestige LP. Actually, Rollins is only on four of the tunes in the medley and not all of the songs have a close connection with Charlie Parker. Featured in a quintet with trumpeter Kenny Dorham, pianist Wade Legge, bassist George Morrow and drummer Max Roach, Rollins is in fine form although the hard bop music falls slightly short of being essential.”

Jazz-Nekko simply adds, “This is nothing but plain old vintage Rollins – a combination of medium tempo hard bop and ballads. In fact, you can have them both in just on track, ‘The Bird Medley’, which features seven different Parker songs. It may not be “essential”, but what I would not disqualify this interesting session so quickly ~ enjoy!

Set Highlights:
- ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face’ & ‘Kids Know’ – eloquent ballads with inspiring horn work by Rollins and Dorham

Sonny Rollins (ts), Kenny Dorham (tp), Wade Legge (p), George Morrow (b), Max Roach (d)

01. Medley [I Remember You; My Melancholy Baby; Old Folks; They Can't Take That Away from Me; Just Friends; My Little Suede Shoes; Star Eyes]
02. Kids Know
03. I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face

Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt, Bud Powell, & J.J. Johnson (1949, Prestige/OJC 7024)

Consider this: Sonny Stitt only began playing tenor saxophone in ’49 in order to distance himself from claims that he sounded too much like Charlie Parker.

It is not unreasonable to argue that this album contains some of Stitt’s best playing. This classic bop set, recorded over two sessions in ’49, contains some of the output of three sessions with Stitt (ts) who plays in a quintet with J.J. Johnson (tb) and either John Lewis or Bud Powell (p), Nelson Boyd or Curly Russell (b) and Max Roach (d).

The outstanding point of this offer is the Powell-Stitt tracks; they contain some of the most inventive jazz piano playing (ever?). The set kicks of with a high energy performance of Powell’s ‘All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm’ (the flow of ideas at such a tempo is unbelievable) and the Bird-influenced ‘Sonny Side’, on which both Stitt and Powell smoke. The way in which Powell backs Stitt really brings out the best in Sonny.

In comparing many reviews, one thing that is not mentioned enough is the subtle nature of Powell’s playing. He has such an elegant touch, almost classical. I have to believe that this music will compel you to concentrate on the music and on the ways Powell manipulates notes. Every time I listen to these tracks, I pick up on something new and cannot get enough of this timeless music ~ enjoy!

Set Highlights:
- lightning speed tempo, ‘All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm’, ‘Strike up the Band’ & ‘Fine and Dandy’
- interplay between Powell and Johnson on ‘Teapot’ – pure genius
- Charged-emotional ballad, ‘Sunset’ – in a word – great. . .

Sonny Stitt (ts), J.J. Johnson (tb), Bud Powell (p), Curly Russell (b) Max Roach (d)
01. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
02. Sonny Side
03. Bud's Blues
04. Sunset
05. Fine and Dandy (take 1)
06. Fine and Dandy (take 2)
07. Strike Up The Band
08. I Want To Be Happy
09. Taking a Chance on Love

Sonny Stitt (ts), J.J. Johnson (tb), John Lewis (p), Nelson Boyd (b), Max Roach (d)
10. Afternoon in Paris (take 1)
11. Afternoon in Paris (take 2)
12. Elora (take 1)
13. Elora (take 2)
14. Teapot (take 1)
15. Teapot (take s)
16. Blue Mode (take 1)
17. Blue Mode (take 2)

*Note: tracks 1-4 recorded on December 11, 1949; tracks 5-9 recorded on January 26, 1950; tracks 10-17 recorded on October 17, 1949

Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes “New Groove” (1974, Groove Merchant GM 527)

On 'n on a funky, funky mood (sorry, no babes this time) as another monster typhoon heads my way and feeling the need for more groove –

This has been reviewed as an “enjoyable if minor early-'70s soul-jazz outing”; I would say that statement is a generalisation. This album is certainly a mix of originals, standards, and pop tunes, but I think that this has got to be one of ‘Groove’ Holmes better albums. If you are a jazz organ fanatic or that ‘70s-feel, this one should be bookmarked for DL-ing. These tracks are rhythmic-oriented with a solid brass line and guitar interlacing throughout. Groove’s wailing and hammering Hammond roves all around that rhythm in some awesome flights ~ enjoy!

Set highlights:
- Holmes’ funky, grooving organ skills
- Purdie’s wicked drums work
- Levy’s guitar rips – (wish I had more of his work. . .)
- Psycho bass-line, gospel-grooving “Red Onion”
- Fat and heavy groover, “You’ve Got it Bad”
- Hip rendition of Jobim’s “How Insensitive” – borderline kitsch, but what the hell!

Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes (org), Leon Cook, O’Donel Levy (g), Eddie Daniels (fl/pic/ts), Burt Collins, Jon Faddis, Ernie Royal, Marvin Stamm (tp), Kwasi Jayourba (per), Bernard "Pretty" Purdie

01. Red Onion
02. No Trouble on the Mountain
03. Meditation
04. Good Vibrations
05. You've Got It Bad
06. Chu-Chu
07. How Insensitive

The Hanna-Fontana Band - Live at Concord (1975)

The stellar line-up on this live set from the Concord Jazz Festival was co-led by trombonist Carl Fontana and drummer Jake Hanna. The first two selections are features for Fontana with the rhythm section and then Bill Berry and Plas Johnson are brought out for the remainder of the session. As usual, Carl Fontana is masterful everytime he picks up his horn. All of the soloists shine on this set of mostly standards, especially Fontana on "A Beautiful Friendship", Plas Johnson on his ballad feature, "Old Folks", Herb Ellis' blues-laden guitar work, and pianist Dave McKenna on his stride interludes.

Carl Fontana (trombone)
Bill Berry (cornet)
Plas Johnson (tenor sax)
Dave McKenna (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Herb Mickman (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)

Side One
1. A Beautiful Friendship
2. Sweet and Lovely
3. Jumpin' the Blues

Side Two
1. Old Folks
2. Take the 'A' Train
3. I've Found a New Baby
4. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart

Oscar Alemán - Swing Guitar Masterpieces (1938 - 1957)

This is my salute to our argentinian friends. And to monsieur Jean Lafite.

Not much left to say about Alemán. The title of this compilation says it all: 52 masterpieces included in this two-fer from what probably was the most fertile period in Aleman's career.

I am sure that those who are already familiar with Aleman will grab this if they don't have it. For those who don't know him, it's a very good introduction. Do you like Django? Then, dig this too. After all, Aleman bears the Duke's seal of approval..So, who 'd be I to judge?

This music can become very addictive, indeed.

Details can be found in the scanned liner notes. Enjoy it.