Sunday, August 31, 2008

Horace Tapscott - In New York

Horace Tapscott (piano)
Art Davis (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. Akirfa
2. Lino's Pad
3. Sketches of Drunken Mary
4. If You Could See Me Now

Rune Gustafsson - Move (1977)

This one's for melanchthon, who has recently blessed us with a number of great jazz guitar recordings that you can find in the contributions section. It also ties in with Rab's "Sonet Sunday" series since this album was originally released by the Swedish record company. Never issued on CD, this LP rip is from the GNP Crescendo release.

Rune Gustafsson is a self-taught guitarist who at the age of 14 heard Bill DeArango in 1947 with Dizzy Gillespie's quintet and soon after was inspired by the work of Tal Farlow and Jimmy Raney. Starting in the fifties he worked and recorded with a number of visiting American jazzmen such as George Russell and Thad Jones. In the sixties he began a long association with alto saxophonist Arne Domnerus.

For this album Gustafsson put together a guitar group in the manner of Woody Herman's Four Brothers - three guitars (tenors) and electric bass (baritone) backed by a rhythm section of bass and drums. You can toss "She's a Woman" and "Feelings", but the rest of the tunes are gems.

Rune Gustafsson, Janne Schaffer, Jojje (George) Wadenius (guitar)
Pekka Pohjola (electric bass)
Mads Vinding, Roman Dylag (bass)
Ed Thigpen, Egil Johansen (drums)
  1. Four Brothers
  2. Killer Joe
  3. Nuages
  4. She's a Woman
  5. A Child Is Born
  6. Move
  7. Feelings
  8. Early Autumn
  9. Father Bach

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Art Pepper - The Hollywood All-Star Sessions CDs 3 - 5

The Hollywood All-Star Sessions chronicle an important part of Art Pepper's comeback in the late '70s, when the altoist was surmounting years of heroin addiction and imprisonment to play with renewed energy and an impassioned creativity. His Complete Galaxy Recordings from the period have already been collected in a 16-CD set, but Pepper was also recording for the small Japanese label Atlas, appearing as "sideman" on a series of sessions that he usually led in all but name. This five-CD set gathers music from seven LPs recorded between 1979 and 1982, sessions that haven't been issued in the U.S. on CD, and adds two unissued alternate takes and an insightful essay by Laurie Pepper, Art's widow.

The Atlas intention was to recapture the flavor of West Coast jazz of the '50s, and the label matched Peeper with associates and material that would suggest the earlier era. Nominal leaders of the Hollywood All-Stars included West Coast veterans such as trumpeter Jack Sheldon, drummer Shelly Manne, and pianist Pete Jolly, as well as the younger trombonist Bill Watrous, with Pepper himself as the only constant. The material emphasizes standards and jazz tunes from the earlier era, and the group style is suavely relaxed, often with touches of counterpoint. If Pepper's intensity had always marked him as something of an outsider in the cool school, it was also an inspiration: this is small-group modern jazz that's often as lively as it is polished, with Pepper prodding Sheldon, Watrous, and tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper to outdo themselves.

Pepper's ballad playing had a uniquely visceral quality and it often stands out here, especially in a quartet session under pianist Pete Jolly's name, with Pepper unfettered by other horns. There are also meetings with two other giants of modern jazz alto, Sonny Stitt and Lee Konitz. The sessions with Stitt produced two LPs, with the focus strongly on blues and bop. It's spirited music, with Stitt's Parker-like lines contrasting with Pepper's alternately jagged and convoluted phrasing. If Stitt challenged Pepper's competitiveness, then Konitz ignited his imagination. Recorded just five months before Pepper's death, it's an encounter between two of the genuine improvisers, each shaping music anew with every gesture, phrase, and inflection, whether the material at hand is as novel as Konitz's "A Minor Blues in F" or as hackneyed as "Anniversary Song." --Stuart Broomer

JAZZ SOUNDIE: Lionel Hampton Orchestra

I'm sure you guessed that aint Lionel, but Milt Buckner who at the time this clip was made played for Lionel's band. You only get the briefest of solos from Milt here, so my post is in part a way to renew my request for some more Milt. mpeg-2 file, DVD-quality. See the comments for more on this jazz pioneer.

Yusef Lateef - The Centaur And The Phoenix

From his first explosion of recordings in the mid-'50s, Yusef Lateef was a player who was always gently stretching the boundaries of his music to absorb techniques, new rhythms, and new influences from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The Centaur and the Phoenix, however, takes the risks and the innovations that Lateef was known for, and expands them in a number of different directions all at once, leading to an album that bursts with new ideas and textures, while remaining accessible, and above all, beautiful. Lateef seems eager here to take the next step musically by breaking the mold of his previous albums. While he is a gifted composer, only a third of the songs featured here are his work: the rhythm-driven flute showcase "Apathy," the gentle, nocturnal tribute to his daughter "Iqbal" and the tone poem "The Philanthropist." The best of the rest come from Kenny Barron, who was only 17 at the time, and Charles Mills, a contemporary classical composer who drew the album's self-titled highlight from two of his symphonies, the first paying tribute to Crazy Horse and the other to Charlie Parker. Providing the structure and textures needed for these intricate compositions was Lateef's largest ensemble to date. Accustomed to working in a small-group format, he makes managing a band of nine sidemen seem easy. Several Lateef regulars are here, including Barry Harris, Richard Williams, and Ernie Farrow, but the inclusion of forward-thinking musicians like Joe Zawinul also help take this album to a higher level. The greatest miracle of this recording, however, is the balance that Lateef achieves with this large group -- they are always an asset, never a distraction, and even as they come on strong and powerful on songs like "Apathy," or Barron's arrangement of "Ev'ry Day (I Fall in Love)" he remains in charge, somehow making his delicate flute (or oboe, tenor sax or argol) rise above it all, spilling out brightness, grace and joy. ~Stacia Proefrock

Milt Jackson Meets the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra - Explosive! (1999)

Milt Jackson was no stranger to playing with a big band. He had his roots in the late forties band of Dizzy Gillespie and also recorded big band albums with Ray Brown and Count Basie.

This is such a logical combination. When vibraphonist Milt Jackson and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra appeared together at the Jazz Bakery near Los Angeles during the same period as when this CD was recorded, Jackson (who usually frowns when he plays) could not stop smiling. He loved both John Clayton's arrangements and the sound of the 19-piece orchestra. Jackson, a major voice on his instrument since at least 1946, seemed as happy listening to the band as he did playing with it. And, although he has the most solos, he does not overshadow the mighty ensemble on this CD. Longtime fans of the big band are used to hearing the orchestra feature drummer Jeff Hamilton's brushes on a slow rendition of "Indiana" and both the bowed bass of John Clayton and the lyrical alto of Jeff Clayton on Johnny Mandel's classic "Emily." Both of those selections are given definitive treatment on the CD and some of the other better numbers are Jackson's trademark "Bags' Groove," Thelonious Monk's "Evidence," "Along Came Betty" and a few originals. Throughout, the swinging by the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra is worthy of Count Basie, Milt Jackson often sounds exuberant, and together they have collaborated in creating an instant classic. - Scott Yanow

Milt Jackson (vibes)
John Clayton, Jr. (arrangements, arco bass)
Byron Stripling, Snooky Young, Oscar Brashear, Clay Jenkins, Bobby Rodriguez (trumpet)
Ira Nepus, George Bohanon, Isaac Smith, Maurice Spears (trombone)
Jeff Clayton, Keith Fiddmont (alto sax, clarinet, flute)
Ricky Woodard, Charles Owens (tenor sax, clarinet)
Lee Callet (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Bill Cunliffe (piano)
Jim Hershman (guitar)
Christopher Luty (bass)
Jeff Hamilton (drums)
  1. Bag's Groove
  2. Since I Fell for You
  3. Evidence
  4. Back Home Again In Indiana
  5. Deed I Do
  6. The Nearness of You
  7. Major Deagan (Blues for Dan)
  8. Emily
  9. Along Came Betty
  10. Revibal Meeting
  11. Recovery

JAZZ SOUNDIE: Yuri Buenaventura - Salsa, Salsa

This of course is a modern 'music video' but since the forerunner of that was of course the jazz soundie,... and some would say that salsa is something else than jazz. This clip, and salsero Yuri - I say - really are sumthin' else! If you occasionally listen to a bit of salsa and don't know Yuri, he's got a couple of great albums out there for quite cheap on I'll assume this clip will inspire you to support this great talent. The clip is an mpeg-2 DVD-quality file.

From w3.voymusic:
Yuri Buenaventura was born in Buenaventura, Colombia, in a small cabin in the jungle. At age seventeen, he had to set aside his musical studies at the Buenaventura Conservatory and begin military service in Bogota. When he completed his military service he moved to France to study economics at the Sorbonne University. To pay for his studies he played in the subways, and from there began to gain popularity in the music scene of Paris. He met singer Camilo Azuquita and played in several bands such as Mambo Manía and Paris Latíno Salsa. From his base in Paris, Buenaventura founded Buenaventura Producciones, with the intention of supporting emerging Colombian talent. He also created an educational fund for towns on the west coast of Colombia to encourage children to study music. In France, he continued to achieve success; Buenaventura was the first Latin American artist to receive that country?s gold record. His last album, ?Yuri Buenaventura Vagabundo,? was released simultaneously in thirty countries, confirming his international fame and artistic importance.

Friday, August 29, 2008

John Coltrane - Ascension

If you are a jazz fan to any degree, this is a work you ought to come to terms with - or at least have heard - at some point. The price is right; all you need to bring to the table is time and an open mind.

There are a number of pivotal recordings that fostered the early development of free jazz but Coltrane's Ascension remains at the apex. Building on precepts first posited through Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz Coltrane constructed an edifice of unfettered collective expression that still manages to confound as many listeners as it convinces. My first experience with this music was accompanied by emotions of skepticism and even dislike. I'd read and heard plenty of its importance and influence, but after the opening minutes I found myself lost in a sea of cacophonous and seemingly adversarial voices. How could a single piece of uninterrupted, largely improvised music sustain such levels of intensity and focus for over forty minutes? Where were the conventional chordal jazz structures? These questions and many more assaulted my thoughts as the swirling tides of sound invaded my ears for the first time. To be honest my first half a dozen attempts to work my way through to the conclusion were met with defeat. But like anything worth investigating the logic and effulgence of this work eventually started reveal itself with repeated listenings. In the intervening years the elements I first mistook for anger and discord have exposed themselves as those of spirituality and unification. This is music that emancipates both players and listeners- it challenges at the same time it educates.

“Ascension” starts out with an almost Mingusian ensemble statement of polyphonous horns and swaying rhythmic undercurrents. Brass and reeds leap majestically off a melodic edge and soar into collective shout before Coltrane pushes to the forefront for the first solo. Johnson, Sanders, Hubbard, Tchicai, Shepp and Brown follow in succession unstoppering a sustained flow of ideas that crash against the ears in white-capped, frothy waves. Each man steps to the pulpit, speaks his peace and is answered by an ensemble retort. Sanders is the most transcendentally ecstatic and at the same time his solo is the most difficult to swallow, overflowing with molten overtones and chortling upper register squeaks. In sharp contrast Hubbard's exposition is the linear and restrained though it still feeds from and builds on the locomotive energy of his associates. After the litany of horns it's Tyner's turn and his solo, as in so many other instances during his tenure in Trane's core quartet, works effectively to pilot the battered and buffeted ship to more lyrical, but no less propulsive straits. The bass duet that ensues after another ensemble interlude is simply astounding. Arco and pizzicato meet in a twining pillar of lines that finds Garrison working through the Flamenco patterns that were a trademark of his technique and Davis cleaving off dark resonating streaks through his bow. An ecstatic ensemble reprise of the initial theme closes the piece out. A well placed extended pause prefaces the entrance of “Edition II” before the players start up again and follow a slightly different succession of statements.

Previous to this reissue, both versions of “Ascension” were available on separate discs of an earlier compilation, The Major Works of John Coltrane. The programming of this new offering places them side by side maxing out the disc's running time of just under 80 minutes. Compared to the earlier release the sound clarity, which was already sufficient thanks to engineer Rudy Van Gelder, is also markedly improved and the separation between instruments is better than ever before. Whether this bit of audiophile interest necessitates its purchase is up to the individual listener, but anyone who hasn't heard this music certainly owes it to him or herself to do so. ~ Derek Taylor

John Coltrane (tenor sax)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Dewey Johnson (trumpet)
Marion Brown (alto sax)
John Tchicai (alto sax)
Pharoah Sanders (tenor sax)
Archie Shepp (tenor sax)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Art Davis (bass)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Ascension – Edition II
2. Ascension – Edition I

Klaus Doldinger/Passport - Doldinger Jubilee '75

For awhile there was a "Fusion Friday" thing going on here but it seems to have abated. To get it going again, I'm offering this. The review doesn't match my opinion of the album, but WTF.

"It's a curious fact that the presence of virtuoso guests on a live album can sometimes subtract from the actual quality of the performance. So it is on this release, which features splendid players like Les McCann, Buddy Guy, Pete York, and Philip Catherine on a mixed set of Passport favorites and standards. Unfortunately, the word that best describes most of the performances is overheated. The thing that makes Passport's work special is the uncommon delicacy with which arranger Klaus Doldinger straddles the line between jazz and rock. Alas, on Doldinger Jubilee '75, everything is played at full throttle, with a busy percussion background that doesn't leave space for pauses and soft passages. At times the result is embarrassing, with the band showing great enthusiasm but a complete loss of subtlety. Listeners are left with Passport the high-energy rock band, which is good as far as energetic rock bands go, but not up to the level expected from this band or these soloists." - Richard Foss

Klaus Doldinger (soprano & tenor saxophones, Moog synthesizer)
Kristian Schultze (Fender Rhodes piano, organ)
Wolfganag Schmid (bass)
York (drums, percussion)
Curt Cress (drums)

Additional personnel:
Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone)
Les McCann (Fender Rhodes piano)
Buddy Guy, Philip Catherine (guitar)

1. Compared To What
2. Albatross Song
3. Abracadabra
4. Jadoo
5. I Just Want To Make Love To You
6. Ready For Takeoff
7. Angel Wings

Gerry Mulligan - California Concerts

Gerry Mulligan - California Concerts Volume 1

This LP, which is taken from two separate concerts (both held at high schools), has since been succeeded and greatly expanded upon by two CDs. The great baritonist is heard with his quartet (featuring trumpeter Jon Eardley) and with a sextet (which adds the tenor of Zoot Sims and valve-trombonist Bob Brookmeyer). The music is quite enjoyable and consistently swinging. ~ Scott Yanow

Gerry Mulligan (piano, baritone sax)
Jon Eardley (trumpet)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Chico Hamilton (drums)

1. Blues Going Up
2. Little Girl Blue
3. Piano Blues
4. Yardbird Suite
5. Blues For Tiny
6. Soft Shoe
7. Makin' Whoopee
8. Darn That Dream
9. Ontet
10. A Bark For Barksdale

Gerry Mulligan - California Concerts Volume 2

The second of two CDs in this series mostly consists of previously unissued material taken from a high school concert featuring the Gerry Mulligan Quartet (which at the time featured trumpeter Jon Eardley) plus two guests (valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims). This swinging and often-witty cool bop music is quite enjoyable and highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Gerry Mulligan (piano, baritone sax)
Jon Eardley (trumpet)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone, piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Chico Hamilton (drums)
Larry Bunker (drums)

1. Makin' Whoopee
2. Nights At The Turntable
3. Blues For Tiny
4. Frenesi
5. Limelight
6. People Will Say We're In Love
7. Western Reunion
8. I Know, Don't Know How
9. The Red Door
10. Polka Dots And Moon Beams
11. I'll Remember April
12. There Will Never Be Another You
13. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
14. In A Sentimental Mood / Flamingo / Moon Mist (Live)

"DEGENERATE MUSIC"Pavel Haas ,Hans Krasa-string quartets

The music of the lost generation which died in Auschwitz is at last coming to wider public attention. Haas and Krása, both born in 1899, produced music of vision, humour and poignancy, much of which is touched by genius. The latest addition to Decca’s ‘Entartete Musik’ series of music suppressed by the Third Reich, which features string quartets by the two composers, is a revelation. Both men in their early 20s had an imagination and technical facility matching that of their compatriot Martinu; that they did not live to fulful this promise and further enrich the Czech and European tradition is but one of the many crimes of Nazism. Haas’s Second Quartet (1925) often leans heavily on his teacher Janácek, but it is unfailingly ear-catching and shot through with true originality. Krása, four years earlier, is in his First Quartet even more challenging, though his musical language never turns the listener away. Haas’s Third Quartet (1938) is both stirring and more integrated in style – a moving testament to Slavonic courage in the face of approaching tyranny. The Hawthorne Quartet plays this music with a passion and feeling for idiom which radiates from every bar. Excellently recorded and presented, this is an issue which no one who cares about 20th-century music can afford to ignore. Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)
Jan Smaczny
"In 1941, Haas was deported to the concentration camp of Theresienstadt(Terezín). He was one of several Czech-Jewish composers there, including Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein and Hans Krása. Prior to his arrest, he had officially divorced his wife Soňa in order that she and their young daughter would not suffer a similar fate. On his arrival, he became very depressed and had to be coaxed into composition by Gideon Klein. However, Haas wrote at least eight compositions in the camp, unfortunately only a few of which have survived. They include a set of Four Songs on Chinese Poetry for baritone and piano and the Study for String Orchestra which was premiered in Theresienstadt under the Czech conductor Karel Ančerl and is probably Haas' best-known work today. The orchestral parts was found by Ančerl after the liberation of Theresienstadt and the score reconstructed.
In 1944 the Nazis remodeled Theresienstadt just before a visit from the Red Cross and a propaganda film was made. In the film Theresienstadt, children are seen singing Krása's opera Brundibar and Haas can be seen taking a bow after the performance of his Study for Strings. When the propaganda project was over, the Nazis transferred 18,000 prisoners, including Haas and the children who had sung in Brundibar, to Auschwitz-Birkenauwhere they were murdered in the gas chambers. According to the testimony of Karel Ančerl, Haas stood next to him after the arrival at Auschwitz. Dr. Mengele was about to send Ančerl to the gas chamber first, but weakened Haas began to cough and the death sentence was therefore chosen for him. After the war Ančerl met with Haas' brother Hugo and told him the story."

George Russell-Jazz in the space age 1960

I know this has appeared in mp3's elsewhere in the last few months, here it is though in flac with scans.

this is ripped from the chessmates cd issued 10 or so years ago or so.

George Russell's third release as a leader combines two adventurous sessions. The first features two pianists, Bill Evans and Paul Bley, and a large ensemble including Ernie Royal, Dave Baker, Walt Levinsky, Barry Galbraith, Milt Hinton, and Don Lamond, among others. The three-part suite "Chromatic Universe" is an ambitious work which mixes free improvisation with written passages that have not only stood the test of time but still sound very fresh. "The Lydiot" focuses on the soloists, while incorporating elements from "Chromatic Universe" and other Russell compositions. The second session adds trumpeter Marky Markowitz, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, alto saxophonist Hal Mckusick, and drummer Charlie Persip to the earlier group, in the slow, somewhat mysterious "Waltz From Outer Space," which incorporates an Oriental-sounding theme, and "Dimensions," described by its composer as "a sequence of freely associated moods indigenous to jazz." Previously available as an LP and as a two-LP set combined with New York, NY, this CD represents some of George Russell's greatest achievements.~ Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

"“We drove to Lennox. Got there at 10 or 11 o'clock at night. Got to the jam session of the final night. This was the last jam session of the last night of the final year of Lennox. Everything was the last. The last set and the last tune. The car was still sweating from the trip. We left everything in the car, came in and I tapped Ran Blake on the shoulder, introduced myself to him and said "May I sit in?" Ran is an extremely social, wonderful person, and said yes. I had a chance to play with whoever it was. Sort of an all-star line-up. Everybody was there. Jimmy Giuffre was there, Ornette, everybody was there. I had a chance once again to see if I could relate what I'd learned. Because I was playing a tempered instrument, you see, so that if anybody was to ask what was going on in free music I was in a perfect position to tell them something that they could relate to, because they could not relate to any information regarding microtonal music. But they could relate to everything involving the well tempered scale. I had one tune to play and I played like my life depended on it. I've only done that about four times in my life, where you play one song where your life depended on it And in fact it did. That last tune on the last set led to my next four years' employment in New York. I got the job with Jimmy Giuffre based on that set. I got the job with George Russell based on that set; the two piano album. There was a phone call directly from his being in the audience that night. For Jazz in the Space Agewith Bill Evans and myself and the orchestra. I got reinvited to play with Charles Mingus as a direct result of that set. Everything but the Sonny Rollins job was all out of that set. If a traffic light had been red instead of green at one intersection across the country it would have been too late. We slept under John Lewis' piano that night and headed for New York the next morning.”
From a paul bley interview with bill smith

Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey - Moment Précieux

I listened to this during a train ride recently - through typical train scenery ranging from the verge of the woods to the backend of town. It fit the time and places. I'm not a big fan of soprano sax, but Braxton is one of the exceptions; I like the way he plays the lower registers of the higher horns.

"This one is a real treat: two giants of improvisation in pursuit of that enigmatic 'something' on a Canadian stage in 1986. Braxton, clearly derived from the jazz tradition; Bailey, restless occupant of a self-constructed world of non-idiomatic guitar. "Moment Precieux" was an instant improv classic upon its release twelve years ago and is a welcome reissue to CD format. Two long improvisations provide an illuminating view of these mercurial musicians. Bailey's spiky tones, chordal shards and strange harmonics are a source of constant wonder as Braxton's acidulous horn careers forth, spinning wildly into liquid motion and timbral extremes. "Spontaneity, attention, urgency", to quote Art Lange's accompanying notes, are the treasures available to us. Emotion and tranquility are also here. Emptying one's mind of preconceived notions of what true creativity should sound like is the key to experiencing the many delights of this great concert in full" ~ Matt Krieg

Anthony Braxton (soprano and alto sax)
Derek Bailey (guitar)

1. Victoria and Albertville Suite, Pt. 1
2. Victoria and Albertville Suite, Pt. 2

Diz 'n Bird at Carnegie Hall (1947)

Nine years after Benny Goodman's groundbreaking concert, bebop finally came to Carnegie Hall. Most notable on this 1997 CD (which contains music that has been reissued many times, often incoherently) is the meeting between altoist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Joined by the underrecorded piano of John Lewis, bassist Al McKibbon and the slightly overrecorded drums of Joe Harris, Bird and Diz generate some real fireworks on five songs, and Parker's rendition of "Confirmation," and the CD's high point, is definitive and memorable. The remainder of the set (ten selections including "Cool Breeze," "One Bass Hit," "Cubano-Be, Cubano-Bop" and "Things to Come") features the Gillespie big band in typically spirited form. Of particular interest are a few numbers ("Relaxin' at Camarillo," which was arranged by George Russell, "Hot House," and "Toccata for Trumpet") that were never recorded in the studio by the big band. Classic bebop. - Scott Yanow

Although the Charlie Parker sides have been issued many times over, the Gillespie big band tracks had not been on CD before and have never, even on LP, been released together with the quintet performances. The only missing parts of the concert on this CD are the Ella Fitzgerald set and a couple of poorly recorded tunes by the big band as explained below. However, the Fitzgerald set, along with the quintet tracks, was issued awhile back on CD as It Happened One Night.

Note by producer Michael Cuscuna: Between the quintet and big band sets, Dizzy and his orchestra accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, who was mostly off-mike, for 6 selections. During the big band set, after "Relaxin' at Camarillo," the band performed "Yesterdays" as a feature for Milt Jackson's vibes, which were virtually unmiked. After "Toccata for Trumpet," Kenny Hagood sang, again often off-mike, a medley of "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" and "Time after Time." These performances are not included.

Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
John Lewis (piano)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)

Dizzy Gillespie, Elmon Wright, Matthew McKay, Dave Burns, Ray Orr (trumpet)
Taswell Baird, William Shepherd (trombone)
John Brown, Howard Johnson (alto sax)
James Moody, Joe Gayles (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
John Lewis (piano)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)
Chano Pozo (congas)
Lorenzo Salan (bongos)
Kenny "Pancho" Hagood (vocals)
  1. A Night in Tunisia
  2. Dizzy Atmosphere
  3. Groovin' High
  4. Confirmation
  5. Koko
  6. Cool Breeze
  7. Relaxin' at Camarillo
  8. One Bass Hit
  9. Nearness
  10. Salt Peanuts
  11. Cubano-Be, Cubano-Bop
  12. Hot House
  13. Toccata for Trumpet
  14. Oop-Pop-a-Da
  15. Things to Come
Recorded September 29, 1947

George Russell - New York, New York

'r' mentioned this in the comments to the post below - I posted it elsewhere in April '07 and surprisingly the links are still active. In the number of times I have listened to this I am always charmed by what can only be called lush pastel swaths with a myriad of ever-changing textures.

" George Russell's New York, New York is a remarkable celebration of the city that is the capital of jazz. The music is drenched in the energy and spirit of the city and is a reflection of the great artists that created the post-bop era. Recorded at nearly the same time as Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue and John Coltrane's Giant Steps, Russell's compositions and arrangements paint an impressionistic picture that captures the essence of the new modal style that reached its peak in the late '50s. With an orchestra comprised of Coltrane, Bill Evans, Max Roach, Art Farmer, Milt Hinton and Benny Golson, among others, the music issues forth in lush pastel swaths with a myriad of ever-changing textures. Jon Hendricks' narration for each section is the perfect extra touch that brings it all together into a cohesive whole. This is truly a masterpiece of jazz as arranged for the large band format, and a testament to the power of the music as well as the city that nurtured it into maturity." Unattributed

George Russell (leader, arranger, chromatic drums)
Bill Evans (piano)
John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Al Cohn (tenor saxophone)
Art Farmer, Doc Severinsen, Ernie Royal, Joe Wilder, Joe Ferrante (trumpet)
Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Rehak, Tom Mitchell, Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Jon Hendricks (spoken vocals)
Hal McKusick, Phil Woods (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet)
Gene Allen, Sol Schlinger (baritone saxophone)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Milt Hinton, George Duvivier (bass)
Charlie Persip, Max Roach, Don Lamond (drums)
Al Epstein (bongos)

1. Manhattan
2. Big City Blues
3. Manhattan-Rico
4. East Side Medley
5. Helluva Town

Recorded between September 12, 1958 and March 25, 1959

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Art Pepper - The Hollywood All-Star Sessions CDs 1 and 2

This five-CD box of studio material was originally released in Japan on the tiny Atlas label. Until now it has never been available in the United States. Impeccably recorded between 1979 and 1982, the year Art Pepper's horn was silenced -- at least as a mortal -- these sides were the brainchild of Yasuyuki Ishihara. His vision was for Pepper to lead a number of bands comprised of his old cohorts on the West Coast jazz scene for a West Coast "super session" series that would sell in Japan like hotcakes. There were only two problems: First, Pepper was under exclusive contract to Galaxy worldwide and could not appear as a leader on any other label. The second problem related to Pepper himself; he wanted to give Ishihara what he wanted but wasn't necessarily interested in returning to old ground, so he wanted a say in who was in these bands -- since a new one had to be selected for every session. The solutions were fairly simple: Pepper would always appear as a sideman even though he was really the session leader, and he, his wife and manager Laurie Pepper (who should win a Grammy Award for her liner notes here), and Ishihara would come to consensus on the bands. Laurie Pepper points out that when Art was playing as a sideman, he could relax, just play, and have fun; technically, since he wasn't the leader here, he did just that. Her point is borne out in the recordings: Pepper is blowing his ass off in his usual lilting and lyrical style, full of knotty runs up the registers of the horn, light and easy but no less driven. His playing here is free of tension, yet contains without question the very passion that made him such a melodic improviser and individual stylist -- the only member of his generation that didn't cop the style of Charlie Parker.

And what bands they are. "All-Star" doesn't even begin to get at it when the lineup on one date is Art Pepper on alto, Bill Watrous on trombone, Russ Freeman on piano, Bob Magnuson on bass, and Carl Burnett on drums, and then on another the group consists of Jack Sheldon on trumpet, Milcho Leviev on piano, Tony Dumas on bass, and Burnett again. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. As these sessions stretched on over time, other giants such as drummer Shelly Manne (who had played with Pepper in the early days of the West Coast scene -- as had Sheldon and Freeman), Sonny Stitt, Lee Konitz, and Pete Jolly hopped on board. Noted sidemen such as Monte Budwig, Bob Cooper, John Heard, Lou Levy, Roy McCurdy, Bob Magnuson, John Dentz, Mike Lang, and Chuck Domanico also joined the various sessions.

The first disc has all of session one -- with Watrous, Freeman, Burnett, and Magnuson -- and a third of the session with Sheldon. The gig starts easily enough with "Just Friends," which is an easy communication builder, especially between Pepper and Freeman; there's the gentleness set by Burnett's drummed intro and the line played by Pepper, with Watrous playing a gorgeous trombone harmony, filling in the counterpoint. Freeman's comping is full of small surprises, like the ninths tossed in at the end of a chord sequence just to make the rhythm section feel more angular, while keeping the melodic framework of tune intact. Pepper's solo is brilliant; his stop-and-start stuttered blues lines dig deep into his considerable world of feeling. It's a tease, though: after three choruses Freeman takes over. He sounds as if he was surprised at his own solo, as if he didn't know he could pack that much into only two choruses. In a sense the session starts in earnest with "Begin the Beguine." Freeman's contrapuntal harmony against the melody is striking and quick; Pepper and Watrous move in to trade fours and harmonies as the intervals change like lightning. However, Watrous' trombone solo really makes the tune happen. It's so open and full -- as if the entire world of music was in that slide of his, with his scattershot melodies and arpeggios. This blows the early solos of Curtis Fuller and J.J. Johnson out of the water when it comes to intensity, and engages more inside the tune. There are two more sprightly numbers: Written by Watrous and with its quick tempo and gnarly melody, "For Art's Sake" is a tune to blow on; the gently swinging "Funny Blues" feels like it came straight from the '50s. But "Angel Eyes" shows Pepper doing what he does best: play ballads. His blues soloing is flawless, and the way he packs notes into the phrase never sounds rushed or extraneous. His solo opens the tune with its long melody, and is then followed wonderfully in the middle and lower registers by Freeman; the two are so perfectly matched you can't believe that haven't always played together.

Session two features the incomparable ballad stylings of trumpeter Jack Sheldon, designated as the leader for this outing. Its highlights are "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, moved up-tempo for this session with Pepper in full blues mode, and Sheldon's mournful opening of "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," with Leviev opening the gently swinging melody for Pepper to zoom in on. But the true prize in the session, and rightfully Laurie's favorite piece, is "Historia de un Amor." Pepper states a minor-key Spanish line, and plays one of his blues stutters -- starting, starting again, and finally filling up the space before giving way to Sheldon's sadder-than-sad trumpet. His melody captures within it all of the bleeding, broken hearts that still burn with the fire of love in their fragile brokenness. His lyrical statement and Pepper's response in the form of a wrenching solo are almost unbearably beautiful. Leviev knows how to accent the deep feeling in the tune with clustered minors and graceful trills. Sheldon's solo moves to the middle register of the horn and literally cries with the same intensity of feeling that a classical tenor does in his aria. There is also a fine performance of Monk's "I Surrender, Dear" that would be stellar if it weren't for an overindulgent piano solo by Leviev; but there is also a moving, shimmering read of Pepper's "theme song," "Everything Happens to Me."

Session three -- a quartet date with Roy McCurdy, Pete Jolly, and Bob Magnusson -- consists of only two tracks, notable for Pepper's ability, along with Jolly, to indulge the full range of his particular kind of melodic invention. For Pepper, harmony was never an extension of melody; it was the very foundation principle that all intricate melodic forms were built upon (and rightfully so, but many jazz musicians forget this). His solos look for the angular way to approach melodic improvisation -- his hearing of chords was very sophisticated and he could trace their root in the blink of an eye and be off and running based on them. Both selections in this session -- "Out of Nowhere" and an alternate take of "Y.I. Blues" -- showcase the close connection of Jolly and Pepper. But session four is where things begin to jump, when Sonny Stitt joins the band as "leader." Right away, things steam with the bebop classic "Scrapple From the Apple," and it feels like East Coast versus West Coast in a battle of ego, dexterity, intervallic fire and flair, and -- ultimately -- harmonic invention. The cut is played at a furious tempo, at least as fast as the original by Bird and Diz. The melody slips by in a blink and both players trade fours in between. You can definitely tell who is who: Pepper's warmer tone is readily apparent and Stitt still has that Bird-like sound. Stitt takes an all-fire, all-the-time kind of solo as Pepper plays, moves in another direction, plays some more, and then ties all the lines together with thought and emotion, not just power. The versions of "How High the Moon" and the two takes of "Groovin' High" are also mind-benders in how tough these guys are on each other, both having a gladiator's ball. The big surprise, however, is Lou Levy, who smokes these tunes like he was eating them for breakfast. He provides a wall of harmony so fluid and dense that both saxophonists have to come out shooting, tearing the blues apart from inside in order to get to the end of the line.

The latter part of this session features Freeman on piano and John Heard on bass. Its most notable and interesting moments are "Lester Leaps In," with Pepper playing tenor. It's over 11 minutes long, and both players get to stretch the boundaries of the tune as Freeman maintains the changes and moves its harmonics around to take into consideration the outrageous chances these guys are taking with a classic. Stitt figures it's his move because Pepper's playing tenor, but the fact of the matter is that Pepper's comfort with the horn is astonishing. He plays it as if it were an alto -- fluid, quick as a pickpocket, and slippery as grease. This one must have been exhausting to play, because it's an ass-kicker to listen to. The versions of "My Funny Valentine" and "Imagination," both West Coast signature tunes, are handled with elegance and grace, although Stitt's playing sounds stilted a bit on "Imagination."

The next two sessions feature the stellar talents of Shelly Manne (session five), and Lee Konitz (session six). There are no highlights from either of these dates, done in 1981 and 1982, respectively. The selections of tunes should speak for themselves. On the session with Manne as leader, "Just Friends," "These Foolish Things," "Limehouse Blues," and "Lover Come Back to Me" reignite the fire that existed between Pepper and Manne in the Stan Kenton band, later in Pepper's first quartets, and on Manne's early dates as a leader. With Watrous, Jolly, and tenor sax man Bob Cooper on board, this feels like West Coast classicism, although done in the modern vernacular. Pepper's tone seems to change here, becoming silkier and more muted and reserved -- but no less inventive. Cooper is a fine tenor player, but lyrically he is no match for Pepper -- although Watrous is. The three trade out harmonies on augmented chords through most of the tunes, but the Pepper and Watrous exchanges and fills are the most interesting.

On the meeting between Konitz and Pepper, much could be written. There is a mutual respect here that is so high -- Art Pepper handed the session over to Konitz. Konitz picked the tunes and Pepper picked the rhythm section, featuring Mike Lang on piano (who is a studio musician par excellence), drummer John Dentz, and bassist Bob Magnuson (who is as solid a bass player as there is). Magnuson is inventive and flawless in his sense of time (often more accurate than the best drummers). And he knows how to solo; every time he does he changes elements in the music's framework. Pepper is the edgier of the two saxophonists; freed of the responsibility for the session, he concentrates on relaxing, playing his level best, and cornering each solo as if it were his last (he died five months later so they almost were). On tunes such as "High Jingo," "The Shadow of Your Smile," "S' Wonderful," "Cherokee," "Minor Blues in F," and "Whims of Chambers," Konitz is full of warm and sweet earth tones. He and Pepper play "together"; there is no ego, no nervousness -- just two horn players finding each other on the fly harmonically and melodically. When they stutter and overlap each other's phrases on "Whims of Chambers" near the end, you would swear telepathy is something that happens every day in the jazz world.

In all, these five CDs occupy a very special place in Art Pepper's discography, let alone his life. They offer a portrait of him as he never was on the dates he led: relaxed, easy, and full of a kind of fluid motion that fills you when you aren't responsible for everything. Somehow he tricked himself into believing that he wasn't the leader on these dates and thus played as he hadn't ever before -- even on the old songs, where he didn't even quote himself. Everything was new for these sessions in Pepper's mind, no matter what the producer wanted. Finally, listeners in the States get to hear these sessions in a package that is well-documented almost to a fault, with wonderfully remastered sound in a gorgeous package. Bravo to Laurie Pepper and to Fantasy for making this material available. ~ Thom Jurek

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Sonny Stitt (alto sax)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Bob Cooper (tenor sax)
Milcho Leviev (piano)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Lou Levy (piano)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Bill Watrous (trombone)
Bob Magnusson (bass)
Monty Budwig (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

George Russell

George Russell - The Outer View

Composer George Russell's early-'60s Riverside recordings are among his most accessible. For this set (the CD reissue adds an alternate take of the title cut to the original program), Russell and his very impressive sextet (which is comprised of trumpeter Don Ellis, trombonist Garnett Brown, Paul Plummer on tenor, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete La Roca) are challenged by the complex material; even Charlie Parker's blues "Au Privave" is transformed into something new. It is particularly interesting to hear Don Ellis this early in his career. The most famous selection, a very haunting version of "You Are My Sunshine," was singer Sheila Jordan's debut on records. ~ Scott Yanow

George Russell (piano)
Don Ellis (trumpet)
Sheila Jordan (vocals)
Paul Plummer (tenor sax)
Garnett Brown (trombone)
Steve Swallow (bass)
Pete La Roca (drums)

1. Au Privave
2. Zig-Zag
3. The Outer View
4. The Outer View (Take 2)
5. You Are My Sunshine
6. D.C. Divertimento

George Russell - New York Big Band

"New York Big Band includes a vital (in every sense) performance of the epochal 'Cubana Be, Cubana Bop', written in collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie and first performed in 1947. With its structural and not just decorative use of African and Caribbean metres, the piece opened out a whole new direction for jazz writing, paving the way for The African Game 25 years later. Big Band also includes two sections from Listen To The Silence and a wonderful and unexpected 'God Bless The Child' that derives something from Dolphy's long engagement with the piece." ~ Penguin Guide

George Russell (piano)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Stanton Davis (trumpet)
Lew Soloff (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ricky Ford (tenor sax)
Cameron Brown (bass)
Warren Smith (drums)

1. Living Time, Event V
2. Big City Blues
3. Listen To The Silence, Part I
4. Cubano Be , Cubano Bop
5. Mystic Voices
6. God Bless The Child
7. Listen To The Silence, Part II

Joe Pass - Virtuoso #2 (1976)

Virtuoso No. 2, the second of Joe Pass' solo guitar albums for Pablo, finds the remarkable Pass exploring more recent standards than one might expect. In addition to a few warhorses, there is also "Feelings" (which he somehow manages to make tolerable), "If," two Chick Corea songs ("Five Hundred Miles High" and "Windows") and even "Giant Steps." Pass' mastery of the guitar is obvious throughout this enjoyable set. - Scott Yanow

Joe Pass (solo guitar)

  1. Giant Steps
  2. Five Hundred Miles High
  3. Grooveyard
  4. Misty
  5. Joy Spring
  6. Blues for O.P.
  7. On Green Dolphin Street
  8. Windows
  9. Blues for Basie
  10. Feelings
  11. If
  12. Limehouse Blues
Recorded September 14 and October 26, 1976

Gary Burton & Friends - Six Pack

& Friends... Some Friends! (great cover too)

Review by Daniel Gioffre
Gary Burton's peculiar connection and affinity for great guitarists is a proven historical fact, as he has been responsible for bringing such fantastic musicians to the world stage as Larry Coryell and Pat Metheny. On Six Pack, he joins with six different six-stringers for some decidedly varied modern jazz. Kurt Rosenwinkel makes like Metheny on the first track, the up-tempo Mitch Forman composition "Anthem." Any predictability to the song disappears in the presence of the rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette, Steve Swallow, and Mulgrew Miller. One doesn't generally think of the vibes as a blues instrument, and to be fair, it's really not, but Burton gives it the old college try on the title track, where his vibes intersect surprisingly well with Bob Berg's tenor sax and B.B. King's guitar. There is absolutely nothing weighty about this song at all, but it is fun and swinging nevertheless (who says jazz has to be serious all the time?). John Scofield also shows up on the track, and his distinctive tone and phrasing work perfectly in this setting. Other selections include such notables as Jim Hall, Ralph Towner, and Kevin Eubanks, and all of their contributions are solid in their own way. One sometimes wishes that this record was a little less GRP, with Larry Goldings' keyboards and Berg's sax being the most frequent offenders, but there are plenty of hot moments on Six Pack that make this record worth searching out, especially for fans of jazz guitar. Where else will listeners find all of these great players on a single record?

George Russell - The African Game

The African Game

George Russell's The African Game is a major statement, a highly eclectic, nine-part, 45-minute suite for augmented big band that attempts to depict no less than the evolution of the species from the beginning of time to the present from an African perspective. Well, yes, this theme has been taken on by many an ambitious artist in every field, but Russell's work is remarkably successful because it tries to embrace a massive world of sound in open, colorful, young-thinking terms, with degrees of timbral unity and emotion to keep the idioms from flying out of control. There are traditional big band sounds here, but one is more likely to encounter electronics, African drumming by the five-piece group Olu Bata, atonality, rock, funk, even the sound of electric pencil sharpeners. Ironically, the section with the strongest injections of funk is entitled "The Survival Game (Survival of the Fittest)" -- possibly a barbed comment on the mercenary realities of the music business -- and "The Mega-Minimalist Age (Style Over Substance: The Decline of the Spirit)" leaves no doubt as to Russell's jaundiced view of commercial pop culture. The recording was made with help of grants from the state of Massachusetts and the NEA at the work's American premiere in a Boston church, and the performance sounds crisp and well-rehearsed. Indeed, this release Russell's first on a U.S. label in 13 years, and was an early sign from the newly revived (as of 1985) Blue Note label that they intended to be a major force in the jazz business again after sporadic patches of activity and neglect. So they have been ever since, despite deleting this CD. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Mark Harvey, Roy Okutani, Chris Passin, Mike Peipman (tp) Peter Cirelli, Chip Kaner (tb) Jeff Marsanska (btb) Marshall Sealy (frh) Dave Mann, Janus Steprans (as, ss, fl) George Garzone (ts, ss) Gary Joynes (ts, ss, fl) Brad Jones (bars, bcl, fl) Bruce Barth, Mark Rossi (key) Mark White (g) Bob Nieske (b) Bill Urmson (el-b) Keith Copeland (d) Joe Galeota (cga -10,11) Dave Hagedorn (per) African percussion ensemble (per -1/9) George Russell (arr, cond, comp)

1. Event I: Organic Life on Earth Begins
2. Event II: The Paleolithic Game
3. Event III: Consciousness
4. Event IV: The Survival Game
5. Event V: The Human Sensing of Unity
6. Event VI: African Empires
7. Event VII: Cartesisan Man
8. Event VIII: The Mega-Minimalist Age
9. Event IX: The Future?

Emanuel Church, Boston, MA, June 18, 1983

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chet Baker - Chet

This was the session that provided the extra tracks which was finally released on New Blue Horns, which was posted here not too long ago.

Chet Baker was to record only one more album after this one for the Riverside label before starting down the road to those many other labels he was to visit during the rest of his career. It is somewhat ironic that one of the major figures in West Coast jazz would record for a label that played a leading role in the propagation of East Coast jazz. This penultimate session for Riverside -- which was strictly instrumental -- produced an all-star lineup to support Baker. Jazz heavyweights included Pepper Adams, Bill Evans, and Kenny Burrell. Each of them makes important contributions to the session. Adams' baritone sax solo on "Alone Together" is one of the album's high points, while Herbie Mann and Bill Evans make their presence known on several cuts. Baker possessed one of the most melodious trumpets in jazz, compelling in its simplicity. Rarely extending his range above a single octave, he nonetheless had few peers when it came to slow, romantic ballads, which make up the playlist here. His characteristically soft approach is heard to good effect on "It Never Entered My Mind," where he works with the guitar of Kenny Burrell. Burrell and Baker also collaborate on a moving rendition of "September Song." Chet is a good album to hear Baker's special way with the horn, and is made even more attractive with the presence and contributions of top jazz artists. ~ Dave Nathan

Chet Baker (trumpet)
Bill Evans (piano)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Herbie Mann (flute)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. Alone Together
2. How High The Moon
3. It Never Entered My Mind
4. Tis Autumn
5. If You Could See Me Now
6. September Song
7. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
8. Time On My Hands (You In My Arms)
9. You And The Night And The Music
10. Early Morning Mood

New York: December 30, 1958 and January 19, 1959

Roscoe Mitchell- quartet 1975

Here's a favourite by one of the unique voices of our time.
This isn't jazz.. nor is it non idiomatic free music or contemporary composition.
I find it beautiful whatever it is..
most people will remember the piece tnoona from the many solo and group versions... this one is both austere and powerfully resonant.
this record was briefly reissued in a very limited, edition of 1000 some years ago.
not much trace of it on line save for a few remaindered and second hand copies on eBay.
heres an exerpt from the liner notes
"The music heard here is genuinely radical, with much that might appeal to the listener deliberately stripped away.
Mitchell’s sound is abrasive, his notes distorted and twisting away from any conventional sense of pitch.
Save for the introductory “tnoonathere's a lack of the referential- whether to harmony, rhythm, melody as part of an elaborated sense of continuity.
Some of the pieces might infer an absolute formalism, and yet such architecture is largely absent,relocated to chance procedures.
The musics emotional expression may be intense, but the emotions are also private and discontinuous.
They don’t assume anything like a linear narrative continuity of mood.
If the cry of the blues lives on in Mitchell’s alto, its been radically de-contextualised."

Walter Norris -sunburst 1991(featuring Joe Henderson)

Heres a good record by walter Norris whom I first heard on Ornette's first album.
The rhythm section doesn’t thrill me.. but Henderson’s in great late form.

“there’s energy to burn here.
Fast tunes seem even faster when two technical wizards like Norris and Henderson run rings around each other.
Slower tunes always mean surprises to come”.
Liner notes

“After struggling for years to get some exposure, when pianist Walter Norris made a critically acclaimed solo release for Concord, he was suddenly in demand. This date has the added bonus of superb tenor solos from the great Joe Henderson. He and Norris threaten but don't totally overwhelm bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Mike Heyman.”
~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide

Roy Eldridge - Nuts: The Complete Vogue Recordings, Vol. 1 (1950)

In 1950, trumpeter Roy Eldridge was having a bit of an identity crisis. Once considered one of the pacesetters, the emergence of Dizzy Gillespie and the bop stylists left Eldridge unsure what to do. But that year, when he travelled to France with Benny Goodman, the future seemed clearer. The Parisian audiences demanded that Eldridge play himself rather than try to copy the modernists, and he took their advice. This CD reissue features the complete output (including seven alternate takes) from two exciting recording sessions. Eldridge heads a quintet with tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims; two songs have vocals from Anita Love, and Roy does a good job of singing on the good-humored "Ain't No Flies on Me." While "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" (heard in two versions) is the classic of that session, the later date features Roy with a quartet, and he is top form on "If I Had You" and "Someone to Watch Over Me." - Scott Yanow

It is June 1950. Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge is in Paris, making records with a small band of younger musicians. Easily adapting to rapidly evolving styles in music, the trumpeter eases himself into a steadily developing tide of modernity. The music forms a wonderful and comparatively elegant sequel to his rip-snorting big-band recordings of the 1940s. It is a pleasure to hear young tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims relaxing with Eldridge, and the pianist is 23-year-old Dick Hyman, already a strikingly facile and inventive performer. Pierre Michelot and Eddie Shaughnessy form the rest of the rhythm section in this tight little group. Continuing his personal tradition of great ballad interpretations, Eldridge delivers "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" with an open horn. "King David," "Undecided," and "The Man I Love" are each cooked at brisk velocities. Anita Love joins with Eldridge in energetic scat singing throughout Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing." Yet the very funny, effortlessly hip, and decidedly cool "Ain't No Flies On Me" allows the two singers to relax and interact more deliciously than ever. The next session in the Eldridge chronology scales the band down to a quartet, with Gerald Wiggins, Pierre Michelot, and the great Kenny "Klook" Clarke. Eldridge ambles through Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade" -- which sounds a bit like "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet" -- and renders up two more gorgeous ballads. "Goliath Bounce" is a smooth walk and "Wild Driver" a rolling boil, but the hottest number from this date, simply titled "Nuts," opens with a sort of Caribbean brushfire percussion maneuver by Clarke. As the tune unfolds its many intricate bop ideas, Clarke rides his cymbals most excitingly. - arwulf arwulf

Roy Eldridge (trumpet, vocals)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Dick Hyman (piano)
Pierre Michelot (bass)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)
Anita Love (vocals on 1, 6)
Recorded in Paris on June 9, 1950

Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Gerald Wiggins (piano)
Pierre Michelot (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Recorded in Paris on June 14, 1950
  1. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
  2. The Man I Love
  3. The Man I Love (alt. take)
  4. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
  5. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (alt. take)
  6. Ain't No Flies on Me
  7. Undecided
  8. Undecided (take 2)
  9. Undecided (take 3-false start)
  10. Undecided (take 4)
  11. King David
  12. Wild Driver
  13. Wild Driver (take 2)
  14. If I Had You
  15. Nuts
  16. Easter Parade
  17. Easter Parade (alt. take)
  18. Goliath Bounce
  19. Someone to Watch Over Me

Billy Harper - Somalia

The passionate tenor-saxophonist Billy Harper had not been heard on record as a leader in quite a few years when this superlative Evidence CD was released in 1995. Harper (who is joined by trumpeter Eddie Henderson, pianist Francesca Tanksley, bassist Louie Spears and both Newman Taylor Baker and Horacee Arnold on drums) brings back the spirit of John Coltrane, performing a very spiritual and generally intense set of music. The five originals are highlighted by the title cut, "Quest" and the nearly 22-minute "Thy Will Be Done." This CD contains some of Billy Harper's finest playing in years. ~ Scott Yanow

Billy Harper (tenor sax, cowbell, vocal)
Eddie Henderson (trumpet)
Francesca Tanksley (piano)
Louie "Mbiki" Spears (bass)
Newman Taylor Baker (drums)
Horacee Arnold (drums)
Madeleine Yayodele Nelson (shekere)

1. Somalia
2. Thy Will Be Done
3. Quest
4. Light Within
5. Quest In 3

Recorded at the Power Station, New York on October 18 and 21, 1993

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Valdo Williams - New Advanced Jazz

On what was one of Savoy's later jazz releases (by the 1960s it had become largely a gospel label), the obscure pianist Valdo Williams (in a trio with bassist Reggie Johnson and drummer Stewart Martin) performs four of his originals. Williams' only other recordings were in 1953 with Charlie Parker (on a Canadian television show) and a 1963 date with Hal Singer. He plays quite differently on this Savoy CD reissue, performing free jazz that has a strong forward movement and generally swings. Collectors of adventurous jazz should pick up this CD quickly before it disappears. ~ Scott Yanow

"Q: How did you meet up with Albert Ayler?

Alan Silva: I first met Albert in a club one night when I was working in a trio with a pianist called Valdo Williams and a drummer by the name of Splivvy. Valdo was a cocktail pianist, but he was the most advanced piano player I'd heard outside of Cecil Taylor. We did a lot of work together between 1962 and 1965. Ever hear his "Desert Fox"? One of the most interesting compositions I've ever seen - changing all the time, like "Giant Steps". Man, that was a great piece."

1. Desert Fox
2. Bad Manners
3. Move Faster
4. The Conqueror

George Adams and Don Pullen - Live At The Village Vanguard Vol. 2

Pullen and Adams' long and fruitful association is on display in this fine '80s release. Adams, commenting on what it's like to play in a place filled with as much musical history as the Vanguard, said in the liner notes that he felt the spirits while he was playing. Sadly, he and Pullen are now among those departed spirits. The music on this disc, though, remains vividly alive.

One of Pullen's best-known and most successful compositions was "Big Alice," which he performed in many times, places and styles. The version here is filled with unforced energy. Its hand-slapping, funky rhythms lead to a scorching solo by Adams, but Pullen actually takes the tune up another notch with a solo that goes inside and outside and shows his ability to truly reveal the piano as a percussive instrument. Sometimes a record can't capture the power of a live performance, but this one seems to capture most of the excitement that must have been in the room that night. It's also a great pleasure in listening to the record to hear the sympathy between the four players. Pullen, Adams, drummer Dannie Richmond and bassist Cameron Brown played together for many years, and their ability to move through different styles, tempos, and musical ideas effortlessly comes through. This is a good pickup for listeners not familiar with the joys of listening to these great musicians. May their spirit live on. ~Tyler Smith

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

1. Saturday Night In The Cosmos
2. City Gates
3. The Great Escape
4. Big Alice

Charles Mingus - Lionel's Sessions

It's touching that Charles Mingus, on what would be his last appearance on record as a bassist, should have hooked up once more with Lionel Hampton, with whom he first recorded almost 30 years to the day earlier in 1947. It's upbeat, bright, and chirpy, like Hamp's vibes, and Mingus' inimitable sense of line comes through the somewhat horn-heavy band lineup without difficulty (Mingus' last working band, featuring Jack Walrath on trumpet, Ricky Ford on tenor, and pianist Bob Neloms, is augmented not only by Hampton but also by Paul Jeffrey's tenor and Gerry Mulligan's distinctively gruff baritone), but it all somehow lacks the depth -- acoustically as well as musically -- of other great late Mingus albums such as Changes One, Changes Two, and Cumbia & Jazz Fusion. One of the bassist's greatest contributions to jazz was the extended composition, and to hear great and harmonically rich ballads such as "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" dispensed with in a mere six minutes (the presentation of its theme alone takes up a quarter of the track's total running time) is somewhat unfortunate. The inclusion of Mingus classics such as "Fables of Faubus" and "So Long Eric" cannot help trigger nostalgia on the part of Mingus aficionados for those pieces' legendary readings in the early '60s, and even "Sound of Love" and "Just for Laughs" received their definitive treatment at the hands of George Adams and Don Pullen on Changes One and Two (the latter is known as "Remember Rockefeller at Attica" on 1975's Changes One). ~ Dan Warburton

Charles Mingus (bass)
Lionel Hampton (vibraphone)
Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Jack Walrath (trumpet)
Gerry Mulligan (baritone and soprano sax)
Ricky Ford (tenor sax)
Bob Neloms (piano)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Just For Laughs, Pt. 1
2. Peggy's Blue Skylight
3. Caroline Keikki Mingus
4. Slop
5. Just For Laughs, Pt. 2
6. Fables Of Faubus
7. Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love
8. Farewell, Farewell
9. So Long Eric
10. It Might As Well Be Spring

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dudek, Niebergall and Vesala - Open

Until 2002, reedist Gerd Dudek had never released a recording under his own name. That recording, 'Smatter, presented Dudek in an unexpectedly relaxed 1998 London studio setting. On the UMS reissue of Open, Dudek collaborates with bassist Buschi Niebergall and drummer Edvard Vesala for a six-song program presented at Berlin's 1977 Free Music Workshop. Each of the six pieces allows Dudek to display his facility on his chosen reeds—tenor and soprano saxophones and flute.

Touching off is his fluid soprano work on the record's opening track, "H.S.", as the loose atmosphere essentially takes shape thanks to Niebergall's spidery basswork and Vesala's open-ended pulse. Likewise, the closing piece, "Chain", presents feisty soprano flights alongside a roiling rhythmic reinforcement. Dudek displays his spiritual aims on "Mira", where his wiry flute tones lead to the session's highest highs, especially after he picks up his soprano for some concluding words. The almost twelve-minute title track, though, is the focal point for the display of Dudek's flute technique, especially when he vocalizes through the mouthpiece. Finally, Dudek's most biting lines emerge during the tenor sax excursions of "Kugel" and "Manchmal". His harmonically rich and edgy style fits in particularly well as the rhythm section stokes the fires. Overall, a strong summit meeting that provides further evidence of Dudek's improvisational strengths and why his name appears on so many important European Free Music releases.

Gerd Dudek (soprano and tenor sax, flute and shenai)
Buschi Niebergall (bass)
Edward Vesala (drums)

1. H.S.
2. Kugel
3. Mira
4. Manchmal
5. Open
6. Chain

Berlin: April 7-9, 1977

Lee Konitz and Harold Danko- wild as the spring time, 1984

Heres , a real favourite of my first ever uploads.
18 months ago .. i ripped this at 220kbs ..
and made a first modest contribution to C&D.
i vaguely remember having promised someone to rip it so ...
a couple of chick corea tunes.. beautiful version of Chopin's prelude #20.. and two stunning performances of George russell's ezz-thetic.

Stan Getz-"the gold collection" bootleg live compilation 1952-70

Some fine things on this euro boot compilation of live getz disguised as a greatest hits.
the early tracks with Chet baker from the haig , and the cut from birdland with raney ..have been popping up on getz boots for years.
not all the material is in entirely listenable sound, oddly enough its the later part of disc 2 once we hit the late 60's..that reqires some tolerance.
here are the details

disc 1)jimmy raney guitar, duke Jordan-pbill crow-db, Kenny Clarke-drnov 13 1952 –birdland nyc2)raney-g, Jordan-p, crow-db, mousie alexander –drdec 2 1952 –birdland nyc
3to 5) chet baker-tpt, Carson smith-db, larry bunker-drjune 16 1953 the haig club los angeles6) martial solal-pno, Pierre michelot-db, Kenny Clarke-drlate 1958- paris fr7) jimmy gourley-g, rene urteger-p, Pierre michelot-db, Kenny Clarke-drlate 1959- paris fr8 to 10) jan Johansson-p, sture nordin-db, joe harris-drmay 1 1960 stockholm11 TO 13) bengt hallberg-p, gunnar Johnson-db, William schiopffe-droct 1 1960 fredericksberg -germany
personnel-disc 2 to 4) andrzej trazakowski-p, roman dylag-db, andrej dabrowski-droct 31 1960, warsaw5) gary burton-vibes, steve swallow-db larry bunker-drjuly 18 1965- tokyo6 to 7) jan Johansson-p, george reidel-db , egil johansen-drnov 11 1967 bangkok8 & 9) bobo stenson- p, gunnar johnson-db, Kenneth fagerlung-dapril 7 1970- goteborg

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Bright Moments

Rahsaan Roland Kirk's live club gigs were usually engaging, freewheeling affairs, full of good humor and a fantastically wide range of music. The double album Bright Moments is a near-definitive document of the Kirk live experience, and his greatest album of the '70s. The extroverted Kirk was in his element in front of an audience, always chatting, explaining his concepts, and recounting bits of jazz history. Even if some of his long, jive-talking intros can sound a little dated today, it's clear in the outcome of the music that Kirk fed voraciously off the energy of the room. Most of the tracks are long (seven minutes or more), demonstrating Kirk's wealth of soloing ideas in a variety of styles (and, naturally, on a variety of instruments). "Pedal Up" is a jaw-dropping demonstration of Kirk's never-duplicated three-horns-at-once technique, including plenty of unaccompanied passages that simply sound impossible. There's more quintessential Kirk weirdness on "Fly Town Nose Blues," which heavily features an instrument called the nose flute, and the title track has a healthy dose of Kirk singing through his (traditional) flute. His repertoire is typically eclectic: Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss"; a groovy Bacharach pop tune in "You'll Never Get to Heaven"; a lovely version of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz"; and a stomping, exultant New Orleans-style original, "Dem Red Beans and Rice." Perhaps the best, however, is an impassioned rendition of the ballad standard "If I Loved You," where Kirk's viscerally raw, honking tone hints in a roundabout way at the avant-garde without ever losing its melodic foundation. Bright Moments empties all the major items out of Kirk's bag of tricks, providing a neat microcosm of his talents and displaying a consummate and knowledgeable showman. In short, it's nothing less than a tour de force.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk (flute, tenor sax, manzello, stritch, nose flute)
Ron Burton (piano)
Henry Pearson (bass)
Robert Shy (drums)
Joe Habao (percussion)
Todd Barkan (synthesizer, tambourine)

CD 1
1. Introduction
2. Pedal Up
3. You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)
4. Clickety Clack
5. Prelude To A Kiss

CD 2
6. Talk (Electric Nose)
1. Fly Town Nose Blues
2. Talk (Bright Moments)
3. Bright Moments
4. Dem Red Beans and Rice
5. If I Loved You
6. Talk (Fats Waller)
7. Jitterbug Waltz
8. Second Line Jump

Recorded on June 8-9, 1973 at the Keystone Korner, San Francisco

Sonny Stitt Meets Brother Jack McDuff

Review by Scott Yanow
Sonny Stitt (who sticks on this CD reissue to tenor) meets up with organist Brother Jack McDuff (along with guitarist Eddie Diehl, drummer Art Taylor and Ray Barretto on congas) for a spirited outing. Two standards ("All of Me" and "Time After Time") are performed with a variety of blues-based originals and the music always swings in a soulful boppish way.

"who sticks on this CD reissue to tenor"... what? Does he mean that on the original LP he played other horns? Careful there to say what you mean, Scott. A more enthusiastic review with the files, which are as usual LAME 3.98 vbr0 + scans.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Duke Ellington - Fargo, North Dakota: November 7, 1940

In 1940, some young fans with a recorder captured one of Duke's best bands on a typical road engagement in North Dakota, and the two-and-a-half hour souvenir they took home is justly prized. Even allowing for some cropped intros or endings, and occasional off-mike vocals by Ivie Anderson and Herb Jeffries, this is great Ellington and one of the great live jazz records. The Duke at Fargo, 1940 ... really captures the rough-and-tumble of a swing-era dance date: current pop hits mingle with Ducal classics; on one segment you hear a radio announcer introducing tunes for a local broadcast; by the last set, the band sounds happily smashed. In 1940, Ellington was at his peak as composer, his charts rich with intersecting section parts, vectoring instrumental voices, and brashly intricate harmonies. His great soloists include tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, bassist Jimmy Blanton, and new arrival Ray Nance on trumpet, violin, and vocals. ~ Kevin Whitehead

Unique live session recorded by Jack Towers at the Crystal Ballroom in Fargo, North Dakota. Towers is today known as one of the world's most renowned audio restoration engineers, and is also probably one of the world's biggest fans of Ellingtonia. Many of the classics are here, but so are some lesser known gems that Ellington probably never recorded commercially including "Honeysuckle Rose" and "St. Louis Blues" (at least not with this band!!). Many of the soloists mentioned above are here too--Webster, Hodges, and Stewart are in very good form--it should also be known that this was Ray Nance's first night with the band. Highly recommended.

Too few documents like ''Fargo, North Dakota, Nov. 7, 1940'' (Vintage Jazz Classics VJC-1019/20-2) exist: it's not a buttoned-up ''concert'' recording, like the Carnegie Hall recordings from the later 40's, but a snapshot of the Ellington band playing a few sets at a dance. The numbers are kept short, the tempos brisk. ~ Ben Ratliff

This is the "Blanton-Webster" configuration of the band.

CD 1
1. It's Glory
2. The Mooche
3. The Sheik Of Araby
4. Sepia Panorama
5. Ko Ko
6. There Shall Be No Night
7. Pussy Willow
8. Chatterbox
9. Mood Indigo
10. Harlem Airshaft
11. Ferryboat Serenade
12. Warm Valley
13. Stompy Jones
14. Chloe
15. Bojangles
16. On The Air
17. Rumpus In Richmond
18. Chaser
19. The Sidewalks Of New York
20. The Flaming Sword
21. Never No Lament
22. Caravan
23. Clarinet Lament

CD 2
1. Slap Happy
2. Sepia Panorama
3. Boy Meets Horn
4. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
5. Oh Babe, Maybe Someday
6. Five O'Clock Whistle
7. Fanfare
8. Call Of The Canyon
9. Rockin' In Rhythm
10. Sophisticated Lady
11. Cotton Tail
12. Whispering Grass
13. Conga Brava
14. I Never Felt This Way Before
15. Across The Track Blues
16. Honeysuckle Rose
17. Wham
18. Star Dust
19. Rose Of The Rio Grande
20. St. Louis Blues
21. Warm Valley
22. God Bless America

Hound Dog Taylor- live in boston, beware of the dog!

A couple of great Hound Dog Taylor albums keeping with the underlying occasional blues thread through out these pages.

The first favourite is obviously a semi bootleg… no provenence, dates, personnel ,,nothing.

Great primitive guitarist the old dog… embellishing his 3 chords with walloping slide glissandi that seem in danger of floating off the edge of the fretboard..
if blind willie Johnson had played electric jump blues it might have sounded something like this.

Heres a review of beware of the dog from rolling stone mag.
Ive included a 320 link for the’s you can check whether the sound is up to y’r standards.

It is no small mark of Hound Dog Taylor's talent that the South Side of Chicago supported him through a long career devoid of hits. His music was intended for audiences who came to get rid of their blues and have a good time.
This album was recorded live and shows Taylor to best advantage. Mixing originals with standards, he rocks and rolls with command, displaying an exciting slide-guitar style. Drawing from contemporaries, he adapts a John Lee Hooker riff on "Let's Get Funky" and injects the Detroit boogie with Chicago funk; the result is pure smoke. He breathes life back into Elmore James's "Dust My Broom," which has been overrecorded by people who never played in clubs with ten-foot ceilings and two-foot stages.
"Give Me Back My Wig" is Taylor's most widely known song, driven by a backbeat which suffers not at all from the lack of a bass player (he and Brewer Phillips share bass as well as lead chores, and with Ted Harvey on drums, they carve out a new definition of "power trio"). And the lyrics convey Taylor's warmth and droll sense of humor.
The slow blues here are very moving. "Freddie's Blues," written for his wife, is accented by the sparse, direct flavor of his slide work. The mood is dark and poignant—quiet but not silent.
Hound Dog died in December, but this isn't a "memorial" album; it is "state of the art" Saturday night club music—a natural for partying, drinking and talking loud. Taylor's legacy of good times and deep blues will stand long after disco is in the ground.

Katia & Marielle Labèque Plays Brahms - The Hungarian Dances

Yes, I know that the most of people over here is interested in jazz. But this is "Call It Anything", isn't it? So it's expected now and then a change from subject. And I thought this record by the Labèque sisters would be of interest of a few of our fellows. Brahms, which is one of my preferred composers, is sometimes viewed as hard , for his music is not as easy as, let's say, Mozart's. But these 21 little pieces are happy and lighter than most of Brahms music, without losing its quality, and the Katia and Marielle Labèque surely play pretty well.
Brahms completed these 21 dances for piano, four hands, in 1869. They are divided into four books, the first two of which were completed by 1868, at which time Brahms and Clara Schumann premiered them at a private gathering, on November 1. Each contained five dances, while Books III and IV were comprised of five and six dances, respectively. These were first performed in 1880, also by the composer and Clara Schumann.
Brahms used Hungarian Gypsy folk material in these pieces, having been introduced to it around 1850 by Hungarian violinist Ede Remenyi. However, some of the themes were Brahms' own, but retained Hungarian Gypsy flavors. Joachim claimed that Nos. 11, 14, and 16 were strictly of the composer's own devising. In 1872, Brahms arranged the first ten dances for solo piano, calling them simply Ten Hungarian Dances. A year later he adapted three of the dances for orchestra, Nos. 1, 3, and 10. Other arrangers later transcribed the dances for orchestra and various ensembles, as the music grew more popular.
The First Dance, in G minor, certainly has a Gypsy flavor in its lively exoticism. But, like many, it is also Brahmsian: the composer took so well to this idiom because it was not alien to his nature, as evidenced by his G minor Piano Quartet and Violin Concerto, both of which seem to incorporate these folkish elements naturally into their fabric.
The playful No. 3, in F major, is another gem, both for its subtlety and vibrant colors. No. 5, in F sharp minor, is one of the most famous in the set, containing one of those themes that virtually every man and woman on the street has heard in one guise or other. The humor and lively style of No. 7, in A major, make it attractive, but it sounds less the product of folk influence. The ensuing dance, in A minor, sounds somewhat the product of a Lisztian treatment. Book II's closing item, No. 10 in E major, is vibrant and joyous, full of color and rhythmic appeal. No wonder Brahms was moved to orchestrate it.
Brahms felt that the latter two books were superior to the first pair. Most musicologists would probably agree. The very first item, No. 11, in A minor, has a more subtle expressive manner than most in the previous books. It is less overtly folkish, as are Nos. 12 and 14, both in D minor. On average the 11 pieces in the final two books are also shorter and less colorful, though they possess greater depth.
That said, the B flat major No. 15 returns to the style of the earlier books, showing more color and brighter moods. The rollicking F minor dance that follows is quite attractive and also sounds less Gypsy-influenced. No. 17, in F sharp minor, shows an array of colors and moods. The remaining four are fairly short, but all quite worthwhile. Robert Cummings

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sonet Sunday

Sonny Stitt and Art Blakey - In Walked Sonny

Oddly, this doesn't appear in the jazzdisco discography of Blakey; in fact, according to them he recorded nothing between March 1973 and March 1976. This was a date recorded in New York, and 'Birdlike' and 'Blues March' were tunes that Blakey, Hardman, and Schnitter had recorded together several times prior to this date. Stitt and Blakey , of course, first recorded together 30 years before, when they were members of the legendary Billy Eckstine band.

Stitt joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers for this hard-swinging LP, and he fits quite comfortably with the quintet (which includes the leader/drummer, trumpeter Bill Hardman, Dave Schnitter on tenor, pianist Walter Davis, Jr, and bassist Chin Suzuki). In addition to the title cut (a Sonny Stitt original), Stitt is in top form on "Blues March," "It Might as Well Be Spring," Freddie Hubbard's "Birdlike," and "I Can't Get Started"; he sits out on Davis' "Ronnie's a Dynamite Lady." The members of the Messengers sound inspired by Stitt's presence, and everyone is in fine form on this excellent hard bop session. ~ Scott Yanow

Sonny Stitt (tenor and alto sax)
Bill Hardman (trumpet)
David Schnitter (tenor sax)
Walter Davis, Jr (piano)
Chin Suzuki (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)

1. Blues March
2. It Might As Well Be Spring
3. Birdlike
4. I Can't Get Started
5. Ronnie's A Dynamite Lady
6. In Walked Sonny
7. Birdlike (alt)
8. Ronnie's A Dynamite Lady (alt)

New York: May 16, 1975

Lee Konitz Quintet - Peacemeal

This Lee Konitz recording is of even greater interest than usual. Altoist Konitz, in a quintet with valve trombonist Marshall Brown, pianist Dick Katz, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette, performs jazz adaptations of three Bela Bartok piano compositions, a trio of Dick Katz originals, two of his own pieces (including "Subconscious-Lee") and versions of "Lester Leaps In" and "Body and Soul" that include transcriptions of recorded solos by, respectively, Lester Young and Roy Eldridge. A thought-provoking and consistently enjoyable set of music. ~ Scott Yanow

Lee Konitz (alto, tenor, and electric sax)
Dick Katz (piano)
Marshall Brown (baritone horn, valve trombone)
Eddie Gómez (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)

1. Thumb Under
2. Lester Leaps In
3. Village Joke
4. Something To Sing
5. Peacemeal
6. Body And Soul
7. Peasant Dance
8. Fourth Dimension
9. Second Thoughts
10. Subconscious-Lee
11. Lester Leaps In
12. Body And Soul
13. Subconscious-Lee

New York: March 20-21, 1969

Bud Shank - Live At The Haig (1956)

The Haig was a small club in Los Angeles which housed some of the most significant musicians on the west coast during 51-56. This particular recording is of historical importance as it is one of the first ever stereo recordings.

The band here is tight and remained together for a number of years. I'm sure I read that Bud played his best when he didn't know the microphone was recording. Although the band swears they were never recorded at the Haig, I'm sure they must've known at the time.

The odd tune out here is 'Out of This World' which reminds me of a Chico Hamilton experiment, I like that kind of stuff.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chick Corea - Expressions (1994)

Having put the Akoustic/Elektric band to bed, Chick Corea didn't delve into another group project right away, opting instead to get in touch with himself on the solo Expressions. This is just Corea on a Yamaha grand piano thumbing through a songbook that includes standards as well as one new track, "Blues for Art." (The disc is dedicated to Art Tatum.) Sometimes subverting the original melodies ("I Want to Be Happy") and other times giving them fairly straight interpretations (his own "Armando's Rhumba"), Corea seems comfortable, if not always inspired. However, unless you're well acquainted with the original versions, it's nearly impossible to glean what the pianist is adding to (or saying about) the music. Because of the similar circumstances for each recording, individual tracks rarely stand out from the whole. There are discernible moods as the pianist waxes sentimental ("This Was Nearly Mine"), indulges in the intellectual ("Oblivion"), or grows restless ("It Could Happen to You"), but the tricks and timbres become familiar before long. Corea has released relatively few works of solo piano, and they tend to be hit-or-miss affairs. By revisiting the standards, Expressions at least gives listeners a point of reference to enjoy this music from, but those looking for dazzling technique or brilliant revisionism will find better examples of these peppered throughout Corea's catalog. It's not a lightweight record, but reputations are made from stronger stuff. - Dave Connolly

Chick Corea (solo piano)
  1. Lush Life
  2. This Nearly Was Mine
  3. It Could Happen to You
  4. My Ship
  5. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
  6. Monk's Mood
  7. Oblivion
  8. Pannonica
  9. Someone to Watch Over Me
  10. Armando's Rhumba
  11. Blues for Art
  12. Stella by Starlight
  13. I Want to Be Happy
  14. Smile

Sonny Simmons - The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings

Which is to say, the two legendary works which established his reputation back in 1966. Here are two albums and an extensive interview. The text is in the liner notes, but can also be found online at allaboutjazz: the URL is in comments.

Clifford Allen's informative and revealing interview with Sonny Simmons, included with ESP’s two-disc reissue of Simmons’ first efforts as a leader (Staying on the Watch and Music From the Spheres) clears up much of what happened to the master alto saxophonist between the time these sessions were cut in 1966 and his re-emergence in the ‘90s. Simmons’ inability to conform to the demands of the marketplace, along with family pressures and a pressing need to put food on the table, drove him away from jazz music, stunting what otherwise might have been a glorious career.

Always a volatile personality, Simmons’ cut his music in the late ‘60s with a finely honed edge. On “Distant Voice” he pushes his alto into English horn territory (which Simmons would later regularly employ). Then-wife Barbara Donald on trumpet is key to the band’s forceful sound, and disc one marks the debut of pianist John Hicks, who brings “City of David” to a rousing finish. Disc two is slightly less focused than the first, but the addition of Bert Wilson’s tenor adds richness to “Resolutions,” and “Zarak’s Symphony” is built around a charming melody, which, once stated, Simmons rubs away with a furious solo.

The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings is a definitive snapshot of Sonny Simmons's art. The two-disc set comprises two albums from 1966 (Staying on the Watch and Music From the Spheres), both of which represent his wildly exploratory style to fine effect. Also included are extensive interviews with Simmons, featuring conversations on everything from Eric (Simmons worked with him in the early '60s), his wife (the trumpeter Barbara Donald), and the state of the avant garde. This is a sure bet for any fan of '60s free jazz.

Sonny Simmons (alto sax)
Bert Wilson (tenor sax)
Barbara Donald (trumpet)
John Hicks (piano)
Michael Cohen (piano)
Juney Booth (bass)
Teddy Smith (bass)
James Zitro (drums)
Marvin Pattillo (percussion)

CD 1
1. Metamorphosis
2. A Distant Voice
3. City Of David
4. Interplanetary Travelers

5. Change From The 50's To The 60's (Interview)
6. The Avant Garde (Interview)
7. Fear Of Exposing The Music (Interview)
8. Sonny On Barbara Donald I (Interview)
9. Barbara's Influences (Interview)
10. Staying On The Watch (Interview)
11. Sonny On Barbara Donald II (Interview)
12. The City Of David (Interview)
13. Metamorphosis (Interview)
14. Barbara On Her And Sonny's Children (Interview)
15. The College Circuit (Interview)

CD 2
1. Resolutions
2. Zarak's Symphony
3. Balladia
4. Dolphy's Days

5. On Eric Dolphy I (Interview)
6. On Eric Dolphy II (Interview)
7. How They Treat Us (Interview)
8. The West Coast (Interview)
9. Musicians Need Work (Interview)
10. The Music Industry (Interview)
11. Learn Your Appliance (Interview)
12. The "New Music" (Interview)
13. Dennis Charles (Interview)
14. Barbara On Slug's Saloon (Interview)
15. Sonny's Contribution (Interview)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Andre Jolivet- music for string orchestra

Heres a great disc of the collected works for strings of Andre Jolivet ,a french mid 20th c composer whos work is all but forgotten.
Olivier messiaen was a contemporary and friend.
though the language is rather different.. somewhat harsher perhaps.
cant find a review of this online ..i can no longer even load amg's pages.. so heres a biographical extract.
André Jolivet (August 8, 1905 – December 20, 1974) was a French composer. Known for his devotion to French culture and musical thought, Jolivet's music draws on his interest in acoustics and atonality as well as both ancient and modern influences in music, particularly on instruments used in ancient times. He composed in a wide variety of forms for many different types of ensembles.
Plate of André Jolivet, situated at 59 Rue de Varenne, 75007 ParisBorn in Paris to artistic parents (one a painter, one a pianist), Jolivet was encouraged by them to become a teacher, going to teachers' college and teaching primary school in Paris (taking three years in between to serve in the military). However, he eventually chose to instead follow his own artistic ambitions and take up first cello and then composition. He first studied with Paul Le Flem, who gave him a firm grounding in classical forms of harmony and counterpoint. After hearing his first concert of Arnold Schoenberg he became interested in atonal music, and then on Le Flem's recommendation became the only European student of Edgard Varèse, who passed on his knowledge of musical acoustics, atonal music, sound masses, and orchestration. In 1936 Jolivet founded the group La jeune France along with composers Olivier Messiaen, Daniel-Lesur and Yves Baudrier, who were attempting to re-establish a more human and less abstract form of composition. La jeune France developed from the avant-garde chamber music society La spirale, formed by Jolivet, Messiaen, and Lesur the previous year.
Jolivet's aesthetic ideals underwent many changes throughout his career. His initial desire as an adolescent was to write music for the theatre, which inspired his first compositions, including music for a ballet. Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas and Maurice Ravel were to be his next influences after hearing a concert of their work in 1919; he composed several piano pieces while training to become a teacher before going to study with Le Flem. Schoenberg and Varèse were strongly evident in his first period of maturity as a composer, during which his style drew heavily upon atonality and modernistic ideas. Mana (1933), the beginning of his "magic period", was a work in six parts for piano, with each part named after one of the six objects Varèse left with him before moving to the United States. Jolivet's intent as a composer throughout his career was to "give back to music its original, ancient meaning, when it was the magical, incantatory expression of the religious beliefs of human groups." Mana, even as one of his first mature works, is a reflection of this; Jolivet considered the sculptures as fetish objects. His further writing continues to seek the original meanings of music and its capacity for emotional, ritual, and celebratory expression.

In 1945 he published a paper declaring that "true French music owes nothing to Stravinsky", though both composers drew heavily upon themes of ancient music in their work; Jolivet and La jeune France rejected neoclassicism in favor of a less academic and more spiritual style of composition. Later, during World War II, Jolivet shifted away from atonality and toward a more tonal and lyrical style of composition. After a few years of working in this more simplistic style, during which time he wrote the comic opera Dolorès, ou Le miracle de la femme laide (1942) and the ballet Guignol et Pandore (1943), he arrived at a compromise between this and his earlier more experimental work. The First Piano Sonata, written in 1945, shows elements of both these styles.

1) symphony for strings
2) yin-yang
3) adagio
4) the arrow of time
5) andante
orchestre des pays savoie
conducted by Mark Foster

Peter Lang - The Thing At The Nursery Room Window

Comparable to John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and Leo Kottke, Peter Lang was among the acoustic guitarists who came out of the "picker" genre in the '60s and '70s. The pickers, as they were called, played unaccompanied solo guitar and made instrumental folk their specialty. Lang isn't as well known as either Fahey or Kottke, although he is a talented and expressive musician in his own right. A lot of pickers recorded for Fahey's Takoma label, and it was for Takoma that Lang, in 1972, recorded The Thing at the Nursery Room Window. This is essentially a folk recording, although Lang's brand of folk easily incorporates elements of southern country blues, bluegrass, and Appalachian music. Lang is an impressive improviser, but he doesn't beat his listeners over the head with technique. Although the Minneapolis native has impressive chops, he never lets them get in the way of his down-home charm, and he never has a problem coming across as warm, unpretentious, and earthy. The Thing at the Nursery Room Window originally came out on vinyl in 1973 and was reissued on CD in 2000, when Fantasy added three bonus from either the 1974 Flying Fish date Lycurgus or the 1978 Waterhouse session Back to the Wall. ~ Alex Henderson

Although Peter Lang never achieved the public recognition of Takoma Records labelmates Leo Kottke and John Fahey, his fingerstyle guitar playing has long been an inspiration to other guitarists. On The Thing at the Nursery Room Window, Lang's 1973 solo debut, some of his original compositions such as "Turnpike Terror" and "Bituminous Nightmare" show a bit of the Fahey influence, particularly in the use of dissonance and unusual chord progressions. But overall his playing has an elegant simplicity that is wholly his own. Although Lang is a master at composing short pieces--five of the selections clock in at less than two minutes--the most successful track is the nine-minute "Future Shot at the Rainbow." On this track Lang runs through a set of variations on a theme that skillfully blends elements of ragtime and classical music with folk and blues. The Thing at the Nursery Room Window, which includes three bonus tracks not on the original LP, is a long overdue reissue from an unjustly neglected guitarist. ~ Michael Simmons

Peter Lang (guitar)

1. Snow Toad
2. Muggy Friday
3. Last Days at the Lodge
4. Turnpike Terror
5. R.C. Rag
6. Adair's Song
7. Bituminous Nightmare
8. Wide Oval Rip-Off
9. Young Man, Young Man, Look at Your Shoes
10. Quetico Reel
11. Red Meat on the Road
12. Future Shot at the Rainbow
13. Flames Along the Monongahela
14. Medley: V/The Connecticut Promissory Rag
15. Going Down the China Road

Recorded at Audiosonic, Santa Monica, California and Sound 80, Minneapolis and Tracks On 5th, St. Paul, Minnesota between 1972-1978

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bud Freeman - 1928-1938 (Chronological 781)

Bud Freeman was virtually the only key tenor saxophonist of the 1928-35 period who did not sound heavily influenced by Coleman Hawkins. Freeman, whose style fell between Dixieland and swing and who has long had a distinctive sound, is heard on this Classics CD at the head of several classic groups. There are two titles from 1928 with an octet also including obscure trumpeter Johnny Mendel, pianist Dave North, drummer Gene Krupa and (on "Can't Help Lovin' That Man") singer Red McKenzie. While those performances have early examples of Freeman's style, the tenor's sound was very much formed by the time of the 1935 sextet date with the brilliant trumpeter Bunny Berigan; Bud and Bunny made for an exciting team. The bulk of this CD features Freeman in prime form jamming in a trio with pianist Jess Stacy and drummer George Wettling; these versions of "You Took Advantage of Me," "I Got Rhythm," "Keep Smiling at Trouble" and "My Honey's Loving Arms" are definitely classics. Also on this CD are five numbers on which Freeman leads an all-star octet also including cornetist Bobby Hackett, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, Stacy and Eddie Condon. Although this music has been reissued in many different settings through the years, it is certainly essential (in one form or another) to all historical jazz collections. ~ Scott Yanow

Bud Freeman (clarinet, tenor sax)
Bunny Berigan (trumpet)
Eddie Condon (guitar)
Bobby Hackett (cornet)
Claude Thornhill (piano)
Jess Stacy (piano)
Grachan Moncur (bass)
Dave Tough (drums)
Cozy Cole (drums)
Gene Krupa (drums)

1. Craze-O-Logy
2. Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
3. What Is There To Say?
4. The Buzzard
5. Tillie's Downtown Now
6. Keep Smilin' At Trouble
7. You Took Advantage Of Me
8. Three's No Crowd
9. I Got Rhythm
10. Keep Smilin' At Trouble
11. At Sundown
12. My Honey's Lovin Arms
13. I Don't Believe It
14. Tappin' The Commodore Till
15. Memories Of You
16. 'Life' Spears A Jitterbug
17. What's The Use
18. Three Little Words
19. Swingin' Without Mezz
20. The Blue Room
21. Exactly Like You
22. Private Jives

VIDEO: Chet Baker Live in 1964 and 1979

Another program in the 'Jazz Icons - Reelin' in the Years' series now being broadcast on the European satellite channel MEZZO. Released in 2006, I hadnt seen these excellent sessions previously. A DivX file with 320k/s 48kHz audio and double-pass video compression @1600k/s. Program details in the film credits.

Joe Henderson Big Band (1992/1996)

On this 1996 recording, improbably the first to ever feature him leading a big band, the inimitable Joe Henderson assembled nine compositions (seven of which were self-penned) and a topnotch band for a very interesting record. Volumes have been written about Henderson as a soloist but, on Big Band, even the longest-term Henderson fan gets to hear his prodigious skills as a big band arranger for the first time. Influenced by Bill Holman and Bill Russo as much as by classical composers Igor Stravinsky and Bela Bartok, his charts are cool and sophisticated. Of course, Henderson's cause is helped by the absolutely unquestioned majesty of the core material, as well as a fine batch of co-soloists, including Chick Corea, Christian McBride, and Freddie Hubbard. The Slide Hampton-arranged "Isotope" is one of the finest moments on the record, with an almost amusingly dramatic introduction that evokes a film noir score before it accelerates into the famous theme. Corea's solo is absolutely masterful, a headlong rush into nothingness that somehow manages to land on its feet. When laid side by side, his solos often outstrip the leader's in their inventiveness and capability to draw the listener into the song. This is not, however, to downplay the contributions of the leader as a soloist; Henderson's tenor is as lovely as ever. Fantastic solos notwithstanding, it is the wonderful arrangements of these deservedly classic songs that make this album so valuable. Listen to the Robin Eubanks-led trombone section in "A Shade of Jade" for a quick taste of what it sounds like when everything about a big band comes together just so. There is not a lot to dislike about Joe Henderson's first recorded foray into big-band arranging. Recommended. - Daniel Gioffre

Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Freddie Hubbard, Nicholas Payton (trumpet)
Chick Corea, Helio Alves (piano)
Christian McBride (bass)
Complete personnel in comments
  1. Without a Song
  2. Isotope
  3. Inner Urge
  4. Black Narcissus
  5. A Shade of Jade
  6. Step Lightly
  7. Serenity
  8. Chelsea Bridge
  9. Recordame

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ray Bryant - Trio Today

For Cinq

I had been looking for this cd for a long time - trying to buy the actual cd, I mean. Until I found out it had gone out of print. Then I began trying to find it on the net. It took me almost 4 years to find it. And I was lucky enough to find it in *ogg.

The other day, I mentioned it to Cinq in an e-mail conversation and our friend showed me a great knowledge and interest in Bryant. So I proposed to up this little gem for him, and then thought it could also be of interest to other fellow co-bloggers.

This cd is one in a little string of recordings with bassist Rufus Reid and the late great Freddie Waits on drums that EmArcy published in the late 1980's. Every number on it is as tight as it can get - check out his version of Monk's Rhythm-A-Ning or Bryant's own Tonk - and everybody, first and foremost the pianist himself, is at his best. If you like Bryant, get it. If you're not familiar with him, take a small 72 MB chance.

Jazz Soundie: Louis Jordan - Down, Down, Down

If you got a kick out of the Louis Jordan Chrono or 'The Tympani Five' that was posted here awhile back, check out this amusing jazz soundie. It's an mpeg-2 DVD-quality file compressed from a satellite broadcast.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Muhal Richard Abrams - Colors In Thirty-Third

Muhal Richard Abrams constantly varied the lineups on the seven numbers that comprised this 1986 session, alternating between trio, quartet, quintet and sextet pieces. The title track and "Introspection" featured the entire group, and were the most striking works, though the trio tunes offered the most musically challenging material. John Purcell on soprano and tenor sax and bass clarinet provided several stirring solos, while violinist John Blake was a solid contributor on several selections and the rhythm tandem of bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Andrew Cyrille were also consistent and engaging, particularly Cyrille. Abrams as usual was an inspiring force as an instrumentalist and conceptualist. ~ All Music Guide

Muhal Richard Abrams (piano)
John Purcell (bass clarinet, soprano and tenor sax)
John Blake (violin)
Dave Holland (bass, cello)
Fred Hopkins (bass)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. Drumman Cyrille
2. Miss Richarda (Trio Performance by M R Abrams, J Purcell, F Hopkins)
3. Munktmunk
4. Soprano Song
5. Piano-Cello Song
6. Colors in Thirty-Third
7. Introspection

Wayne Shorter - Etcetera

The artwork above is from a well known site - the rip and notes and scans are from the Connoisseur CD edition; so, please, don't take this to be a LP rip or whatever. There's always confusion when this artwork is used. But I like it, so ....

This mid 60's Blue Note date, after Shorter had already joined Miles Davis' great quintet of the time, reflects the saxophonist's expansion into wider realms of composition. ... Full DescriptionAfter leaving Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Shorter's compositions slowly moved in the direction of the free-flowing, eclectic modal style that would be developed to its greatest degree in Davis' group. Here, however, Shorter's artistic vision is completely his own and his performance displays his unique creativity to the fullest. With Davis bandmate Herbie Hancock (piano), Cecil McBee (bass) and Joe Chambers (drums), ETCETERA is an often-overlooked jewel in the saxophonist's collection.

The restrained title track opens the session with a brilliant yet cautious melody line that Shorter develops into an expressive solo spot, soon to be followed by an explosive statement by Chambers. The dusky ballad "Penelope" follows, gently flowing with burnished tones. The swinging "Toy Tune" is the most traditional sounding piece, but still displays Shorter's unique approach to chord structures and effortless melody lines. Gil Evans' "Barracudas (General Assembly)" creates the most tension in the set with repeated accent figures, obtuse chord progressions and Chambers' dynamic propulsion. Finally, the epic "Indian Song" is a commanding ending to this deeply moving set.

Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)

1. Etcetera
2. Penelope
3. Toy Tune
4. Barracudas (General Assembly)
5. Indian Song

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 14, 1965

VIDEO: Keith Jarrett at Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival - 1986

Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette at the Antibes Juan-les-Pins festival in July 1986. A half-hour program produced by Jean-Christophe Averty, one of an extensive series of such programs that was broadcast on French TV during the 1980s. This is a DivX file, 1700k/s video and 320/48KHz audio.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ray Brown & Milt Jackson - Much in Common (1962-1965)

A compilation of three albums on two CD's: Ray Brown with the All-Star Big Band (1962), Ray Brown-Milt Jackson (1965) and Much in Common (1964). Tracks and personnel are in comments.

Though not partners as had been planned in the initial Modern Jazz Quartet, Ray Brown and Milt Jackson did work together in the early to mid-'60s, this double-CD set includes some fine collaborations and interesting combinations. There are 12 big-band cuts from 1962 led by Brown, primarily featuring Cannonball Adderley with Jackson on the side. From 1965 another eight tracks concentrate on small group efforts with Brown, Jackson, pianist Hank Jones, and different horn soloists, while the final 14 selections from 1964, still as small ensembles with set lineups of guitarist Kenny Burrell, drummer Al Heath, keyboardists Jones, or Wild Bill Davis, also highlight the singing of the gospel vocalist Marion Williams. This can easily be considered a valuable reissue, showcasing two jazz giants in the prime of their careers, playing music not readily identifiable aside from their work with Oscar Peterson (Brown) or MJQ (Jackson) around this time. - Michael G. Nastos

Art Pepper - The Return of Art Pepper: The Complete Art Pepper Aladdin Recordings: Volume 1

'Return' because these are the sessions he led after being released from prison; note the tenor sax - he was trying to come to terms with the impact of Coltrane. I post this because it has been the elusive CD of the series; 2 and 3 have been posted previously, and the three make up the Mosaic Select set, the links to which are still active and which has - if memory serves - additional material.

The information regarding 2 and 3 can be found here:

When you send for links let me know if you want all three; or if you prefer the Mosaic Select just specify.

"Ten tracks include trumpeter Jack Sheldon with Pepper, Russ Freeman, Leroy Vinnegar and Shelly Manne. This quintet captures the essence of West Coast Jazz. On “Straight Life,” the alto saxophonist drives with a hearty bebop character, as Red Norvo, Gerald Wiggins, Ben Tucker and Joe Morello help to push the session's animated character into high gear. Released in Morello's name, this one and four more tracks feature Pepper's clear instrumental voice with added emphasis from the drummer, including extended solos and trading fours. Pepper plays tenor on “Tenor Blooz,” a rip-roaring adventure that features Norvo in animated, bebop-driven action."

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Capitol Studios, Los Angeles: August 6, 1956

Art Pepper (alto and tenor sax)
Red Norvo (vibes)
Gerald Wiggins (piano)
Ben Tucker (bass)
Joe Morello (drums)
Western Recorders, Los Angeles: January 3, 1957

1. Pepper Returns
2. Broadway
3. You Go To My Head
4. Angel Wings
5. Funny Blues
6. Five More
7. Minority
8. Patricia
9. Mambo De La Pinta
10. Walkin' Out Blues
11. Pepper Steak
12. You're Driving Me Crazy
13. Tenor Blooz
14. Yardbird Suite
15. Straight Life

Dizzy Gillespie - The Cool World

In the store I saw this - sealed - and with a mention of a Mal Waldron score but no other personnel information. I couldn't recall if it was on the Verve Mosaic which somebody - Crispi? - posted here at CIA. Didn't know if Waldron played...but figured it couldn't be bad. It was, in fact, on the Mosaic, about which the allaboutjazz reviewer said: " The final sides find Gillespie playing parts of Mal Waldron’s score, which he performed in the prize-winning film The Cool World, sounding dramatic and different from anything heard earlier. The music is abundant, varied, infectiously listenable, blazing and still astonishing."

This is a very fine effort from Diz and crew.

Although Dizzy Gillespie is usually associated with the bebop revolution of the 1930s and `40s, he continued to innovate, recording prolifically, well into the 1990s. Dizzy hit a particularly productive stretch in the 1960s, and his soundtrack for Shirley Clarke's 1964 film, The Cool World, is one of the gems of this period.

All the tunes on the album were composed by the pianist Mal Waldron, and Dizzy interprets their moody, minor-key atmospheres with nuance and style. The music draws mostly on straight bop, with the occasional passage demonstrating a rich Ellingtonian sweep. The playing is top-notch throughout, especially from Diz, who was still in full command of his considerable powers.

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
James Moody (flute, tenor sax)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Chris White (bass)
Rudy Collins (drums)

1. Theme From The Cool World
2. The Pushers
3. Enter, Priest
4. Duke's Awakening
5. Duke On The Run
6. Street Music
7. Bonnie's Blues
8. Coney Island
9. Duke's Fantasy
10. Coolie
11. Duke's Last Soliloquy

New York: April 21-23, 1964

Benny Carter - 1954 (Chronological 1438)

Volume eleven in the complete Classics Benny Carter chronology presents 14 outstanding tracks recorded during the summer and autumn of 1954 and subsequently released on producer Norman Granz's Norgran label. Recorded in Los Angeles on June 23, 1954, tracks one through eight are strikingly beautiful studies for alto saxophone with backing by pianist Don Abney, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Louie Bellson. These are some of the loveliest selections in the entire Benny Carter discography. Back in New York on September 14, 1954, Carter waxed four more standards in the company of trombonist Bill Harris and Granz's preferred rhythm section: Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich. On Carter's own "Marriage Blues" and Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" Dizzy Gillespie joined the group, blew his horn and stirred things up a bit. ~ arwulf arwulf

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Bill Harris (trombone)
George Duvivier (bass)
Ray Brown (bass)
Louie Bellson (drums)
Buddy Rich (drums)

1. Moonglow
2. My One And Only Love
3. Our Love Is Here To Stay
4. This Can't Be Love
5. Tenderly
6. Unforgettable
7. Ruby
8. Moon Song
9. Laura
10. That Old Black Magic
11. Angel Eyes
12. The Song Is You
13. Marriage Blues
14. Just One Of Those Things

Sonet Sunday

The Bop Session (1975)

Continuing with our little Swedish label review, this features the artist they specifically note was at the top of their wish list - Dizzy Gillespie, and the session took place in New York.

This 1975 session belongs to Diz, and it's the best he's sounded to me on record since the mid-fifties Duets with Stitt, Rollins, Getz on Verve. In fact, listening to him closely is enough to convince me he was still the very best (the times I caught him live during the '60s and '70s he rarely played more than a single chorus and spent excessive time clowning around and joking (in a way, appropriate, because he was always, above all else, a "player"). Stitt's sound is glorious, especially on a memorable version of "Confirmation" and a stirring resurrection of the only ballad that most of the original beboppers knew: "Lover Man." ~ Samuel Nekko Chell

This LP matches together trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt (on alto and tenor) with an all-star rhythm section (John Lewis or Hank Jones on piano, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Max Roach) for six classic bop standards. Gillespie was near the end of his prime but is in generally good form while Stitt typically eats the material (songs such as "Confirmation," "Groovin' High" and "All the Things You Are") with no difficulty. Bop fans should enjoy this date despite the lack of surprises. ~ Scott Yanow

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Sonny Stitt (alto and tenor sax)
John Lewis (piano)
Hank Jones (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

1. Blues 'N Boogie
2. Confirmation
3. Groovin' High
4. Lover Man
5. All The Things You Are
6. Lady Bird

New York: May 19-20, 1975

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Max Roach - Max

1958's Max shows Max Roach at the top of his game. A decade earlier, Roach had absorbed Kenny Clarke's drumming style and, with trumpet virtuoso Clifford Brown, forged his own brand of bebop. By 1958, on his way to becoming a true jazz elder, Roach began pushing the boundaries of jazz even further. The quintet heard here served as Roach's musical springboard after Brown's untimely death in 1956. Max is a "comeback" album of sorts. Kenny Dorham steps in to fill Brown's shoes and does so with great panache. Hank Mobley's fine tenor playing is also spotlighted. Highlights include the fast and furious Dorham original "Speculate" and the lush ballad "That Ole Devil Love." On the former, Roach takes an absolutely blazing drum solo-which ends curiously with the sound of a tape splice. The performances on this track alone prove that Roach's band was the equal of any hard-bop group in the world.

Max Roach (drums)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Ramsey Lewis (piano)
George Morrow (bass)

1. Crackle Hut
2. Speculate
3. That Old Devil Called Love
4. Audio Blues
5. C.M.
6. Four-X

Chicago: January 4, 1958

Paul Dunmall Moksha Big Band - I Wish You Peace

When Paul Dunmall turned fifty in 2003, the BBC stepped in with the gift of a recording with his big band. Dunmall takes his bandmates from Mujician, Keith Tippett, Tony Levin, and Paul Rogers, and he expands the rhythm section and the front line. The result is an exhilarating album that gets its adrenaline from the three distinct parts that Dunmall spins into one compelling tale.

A drone rises to greet the tenor saxophone of Dunmall on “Part I.” The horn explores. What direction will it take? The twists and turns offer no indication, but attention is nailed. The assembly of horns come in and provides a lush backdrop. Dunmall only gets more acerbic and intense, setting up the play for a hail of sound that cartwheels and tumbles. And as the notes fall in their magnifying fervency, the freedom in expression that bloods jazz is strikingly manifested.

Gentle squeaks and squalls may open “Part II,” but they sound only to deceive. The music is melodic, and it swings! Limbering in are the horns that converse engagingly with each other and with the piano. And then there are those brief but luminescent solos, including one between Gethin Liddington on trumpet and Tippett on piano that lends the final lustre, plus the bite that snips and soars from the horn of plenty that characterizes Dunmall.

Comes the final part and Paul Rogers lets the arco do the talking through shifts in time and emphasis, the guitars jingle and chime, and Dunmall comes in on the soprano for some squiggles that are tempered by the piano of Tippett. But one can hear the swell coming as Dunmall picks up the tenor, his voicing sturdy, a firm bolt against the waft of the others who come in and have a brief say. But all the while they add to the essence, and the mass becomes more pronounced before the eruption, a resplendent hallelujah and the final testimony to all that has been so magnificently created. Jerry D'Souza

Paul Dunmall (soprano, tenor sax)
Gethin Liddington, David Priseman (trumpet)
Simon Picard, Howard Cottle (tenor sax)
Chris Bridges, Paul Rutherford, Hilary Jeffery (trombone)
Keith Tippett (piano)
Philip Gibbs (guitar, autoharp)
John Adams (guitar)
Paul Rogers (bass)
Mark Sanders, Tony Levin (drums)

1 - Part One
2 - Part Two
3 - Part Three

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Max Roach Trio - Featuring The Legendary Hasaan

This had been released previously on the Collectibles label - the company that often puts two albums together. Problem is, they often leave off a track or two for time considerations - this includes the dropped track, Hope So Elmo, Hasaan's dedication to Elmo Hope. All compositions are by Hasaan.

Pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali only made one recording in his life, this trio set with drummer Max Roach and bassist Art Davis. A very advanced player whose style fell somewhere between Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor (with hints of Herbie Nichols), Hasaan actually had a rather original sound. His performances of his seven originals on this set (a straight CD reissue of a long out-of-print LP) are intense, somewhat virtuosic and rhythmic, yet often melodic in a quirky way. This is a classic of its kind and it is fortunate that it was made, but it is a tragedy that Hasaan would not record again and that he would soon sink back into obscurity. Scott Yanow

Max Roach (drums)
Hasaan (piano)
Art Davis (bass)

1. Three-Four Vs. Six-Eight Four-Four Ways
2. Off My Back Jack
3. Hope So Elmo
4. Almost Like Me
5. Din-Ka Street
6. Pay Not Play Not
7. To Inscribe

Recorded In N.Y., December 4 and 7, 1964

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis & Manuel De Sica (1973)

On this Pausa LP, not yet reissued on CD, the Jazz Orchestra performs a five-part suite written by Manuel De Sica (son of film maker Vittorio De Sica). De Sica is not the writer that Thad Jones is and although there are some interesting parts, the main focus is on the world-class soloists.

The high energy opener features a blistering solo by Pepper Adams followed by some sweet Thad on flugelhorn in the second movement. "Sing" has a typical Roland Hanna solo and some muscular Billy Harper. The most interesting movement is "Ballade" which once again shows the lyrical playing of Thad Jones before moving into a quasi-latin feel with Dee Dee Bridgewater adding some scat vocals and a jazz waltz featuring Jimmy Knepper on trombone. The final movement is a laid-back bossa featuring mostly Thad on flugelhorn with some flute work by Jerry Dodgion.

As expected, the highlight of the album is the 12-minute romp on "The Little Pixie", recorded live in Perugia. With this definitive version of the Thad Jones flagwaver, the kick-ass ensemble grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until Roland Hanna takes over for the first solo. The entire saxophone and trumpet sections have some solo space along with Thad and a few more choruses by Hanna before Jon Faddis takes the ensemble on out. This is big band jazz at its finest.

Yanow's take:

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah..."worthwhile, but not essential."

Thad Jones (flugelhorn)
Jon Faddis, Jim Bossy, Steve Furtado, Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet)
Jimmy Knepper, Billy Campbell, Quentin Jackson, Cliff Heather (trombone)
Jerry Dodgion (alto sax, soprano sax, flute)
Ed Xiques (alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet)
Billy Harper (tenor sax, flute)
Ron Bridgewater (tenor sax, clarinet)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Roland Hanna (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Manuel De Sica (vocals)

First Jazz Suite
  1. Brasserie
  2. Father
  3. Sing
  4. Ballade
  5. For Life
  6. The Little Pixie
First Jazz Suite recorded in London, September 13-14, 1973
The Little Pixie recorded live in Perugia, July 29, 1974

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ornette Coleman- Live in Paris 1965-66

Heres a slice of history …so the label hype proclaims, in this case they are merely parasites profiteering from remarkable broadcast recordings that have been traded freely for years.
These boots don’t come cheap $25-30 AU ,out here in the sticks!

Supposedly one of the last live appearances by this great trio of Coleman with Moffett and Izenion.

This is fabulous music, essential stuff by one of the great groups in modern jazz. the sound though is less than pristine , the first track(sadness) must have been recorded with the levels on full ,and its almost unlistenable.
The rest is decent, and oddly enough david izenzon is heard clearly throughout, something one cant always say about the official recordings of the trio.

Tracks 1 to 4 salle de la mutualite, paris ,November 1965
5-7 radio broadcast of a show in paris taped or broadcast?? on febuary 12 1966
Ornette C- alto sax, trpt
David Izenzon-db
Charles Moffett-dr

Hank Jones with the Meridian String Quartet (1990)

Hank Jones has recorded in many different settings over the years, but this bop-third stream session blending a piano trio with a classical string quartet is one of his more unusual sessions. Jones, accompanied by bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Dennis Mackrel, is the primary soloist, though there is space for Reid as well, while the string quartet primarily provides color and contrast for the trio. The ten standards are arranged with flair by Manny Albam (though his name is missing entirely from the credits to the Laserlight reissue). While this sort of date is an acquired taste for some jazz fans, it is by no means a typical "with strings" session, due to Jones' considerable chops and Albam's imaginative charts. Highlights include the brisk bossa nova setting of "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" and the dramatic, upbeat scoring of "Caravan." - Ken Dryden

Hank Jones (piano)
Rufus Reid (bass)
Dennis Mackrel (drums)
Sebu Sirnian, Lisa Tipton (violin)
Rachel Evans (viola)
Deborah Assael (cello)
Manny Albam (arrangements)
  1. What Is This Thing Called Love
  2. A Sleeping Bee
  3. Ill Wind
  4. Caravan
  5. My Funny Valentine
  6. There's a Small Hotel
  7. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
  8. They Can't Take That Away from Me
  9. Love Walked In
  10. Russian Lullabye
Recorded November 15-16, 1990

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Clark Terry - Top and Bottom Brass

This lesser-known Clark Terry session (reissued on CD in the OJC series) has an unusual lineup with the flugelhornist joined by Don Butterfield on tuba, pianist Jimmy Jones, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor. Butterfield has nearly as much solo space as C.T. (and is given a prominent role in the ensembles) while Jimmy Jones's chordal solos are somewhat eccentric. Terry is in fine form on a variety of blues, originals and obscurities along with the interesting versions of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "A Sunday Kind of Love" but the results overall are not all that significant. ~ Scott Yanow

"An album called Top ‘n’ Bottom Brass featured Clark’s trumpet and flugelhorn and Don Butterfield’s tuba. (Hence the title.) On it Clark played a tune called “Blues for Etta.” “Etta was the mother of a sax player I knew some time ago,” he remembered. “I played it on only the mouthpiece, no horn. It was a way you used to practice to strengthen your chops. It was also something different like playing two horns at once, or playing upside down.”

Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Don Butterfield (tuba)
Jimmy Jones (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Arthur Taylor (drums)

1. Mili Terry
2. Swinging Chemise
3. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
4. Blues For Etta
5. Top 'n' Bottom
6. 127
7. Sunday Kind Of Love
8. Mardi Gras Waltz

Mel Lewis - The Definitive Thad Jones, Vol. 2 (1988)

By request, the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra pays tribute to Thad Jones with the second volume of his music recorded live at the Village Vanguard. Great charts, great band, great soloists. Definitive, indeed.

Earl Gardner, Joe Mosello, Glenn Drewes, Jim Powell (trumpet)
John Mosca, Ed Neumeister, Douglas Purviance, Earl McIntyre (trombone)
Stephanie Fauber (french horn)
Dick Oatts, Ted Nash, Joe Lovano, Ralph Lalama, Gary Smulyan (reeds)
Kenny Werner (piano)
Dennis Irwin (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

  1. Second Race
  2. Tip Toe
  3. Don't Get Sassy
  4. Rhoda Map
  5. Cherry Juice
Recorded February 11-15, 1988

Video: Dexter Gordon in Europe 1963-1964

Dexter Gordon in Holland, Switzerland, and Belgium, in 1963 and 1964. This is a b&w video in the 'Jazz Icons' series and was recently released in 2007 by Reelin' in the Years Productions. Captured from a satellite broadcast. Full details of the dates are in the credits of the film.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sonny Rollins - With The Modern Jazz Quartet

Included here are some of Sonny Rollins' earliest sessions as a bandleader. These are among the fresh and vibrant baker's dozen of selections on Sonny Rollins With the Modern Jazz Quartet (1953). The title is a bit misleading though, since the MJQ -- with John Lewis (piano), Milt Jackson (vibes), Percy Heath (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums) -- is only accounted for during the first four sides. There is a playful and energetic tone that ricochets from Jackson's fluid vibes, landing firmly in Rollins' musical court. One prime example of this interaction is heard throughout the solos on the opening track, "Stopper." Similarly, "Almost Like Falling in Love" bops, weaves, and swings throughout, with some expressive contributions via Lewis, effectively linking Rollins' and Jackson's solos. "No Moe," which stands as one of the best originals on the disc, also bears their undeniable connection. Another not-to-be-missed reading is the sultry "In a Sentimental Mood." Here, Rollins spirals mature and ethereal lines against Jackson's resonant intonation and shimmer. If just for these tunes, Sonny Rollins With the Modern Jazz Quartet is a vital component in any jazz enthusiasts' collection. The rest of the disc is performed by Rollins and a quartet that also includes the talents of Kenny Drew (piano), the MJQ's Percy Heath (bass), and the main Jazz Messenger, Art Blakey (drums). On the original tune "Scoops," Blakey's hardball antics provide well-placed sonic interjections, punctuating Rollins' highly infectious melodic sense. While on the subject of catchy tunes, all ears should be directed to the biblically derived title "Shadrack," which had been a signature piece for Louis Armstrong. This early incarnation of the Sonny Rollins Quartet has rarely sounded as cohesive, as they collectively percolate with their definitive execution. Of particular note is the inclusion of Miles Davis' "I Know." This extension of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" features Davis on piano accompanying Rollins with solid chord progressions, allowing the burgeoning player to lead his first-ever quartet with Heath and Roy Haynes (drums). ~ Lindsay Planer

Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)
Miles Davis (piano)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
John Lewis (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. The Stopper
2. Almost Like Being In Love
3. No Moe
4. In A Sentimental Mood
5. Scoops
6. With A Song In My Heart
7. Newk's Fadeaway
8. Time On My Hands
9. This Love Of Mine
10. Shadrack
11. On A Slow Boat To China
12. Mambo Bounce
13. I Know

Kenny Dorham - Live at the Half Note (1966)

For the Kenny Dorham collector who must have it all, the recording quality of this live broadcast is decidedly sub-par but very listenable, and certainly better than a lot of the Charlie Parker broadcast releases. This session was also released later by Westwind as The Shadow of Your Smile.

Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Sonny Red (alto sax)
Cedar Walton (piano)
John Ore (bass)
Hugh Walker (drums)

  1. Jung-Fu
  2. Spring Is Here
  3. Somewhere in the Night
  4. The Shadow of Your Smile
  5. Straight Ahead
Recorded February 25, 1966

Erase Errata- Other Animals ,2001

Some good post punk by san Francisco all girl band erase errata, in the tradition of the slits, the fall and so on. Comparable to their less famous contemporary’s chicks on speed.
Heres some label hype.

“Clipped dance grooves, razor wire melodies and inspired splatter/clatter announce Erase Errata's arrival, but this story goes deeper, much deeper.
It's about a surging arts community operating way beneath the radar of a dull auto-pilot mainstream; about an ethic and aesthetic of improvised creativity snatching genius from the ether; about diverse art forms intertwining in a much greater whole; about the unconscious politics incurred by doing your own thing.

It's about a band drawing on a history of alternate music’s - post-punk, no-wave, riot girl, free-jazz - to cast a sound all their own; accruing acclaim in both the underground and mainstream media for their debut album, Other Animals, winking toward disco culture with a remix project (not that the originals weren't forged for dancing anyway), and winning the respect of the likes of Sonic Youth (one of the many Erase Errata offshoot bands, Anxious Rats, features one Kim Gordon amongst its ranks).

Mostly, it's about fun, pure and simple. That was the sole reason Erase Errata formed, after all. It was 1999, and bassist Ellie Erickson and guitarist Sara Jaffe moved to the Bay Area (Oakland and San Francisco) in California following their graduation from college in Connecticut to stay with buddies of Ellie's. Introduced by these mutual friends to drummer Bianca Sparta and vocalist/trumpeter Jenny Hoyston, then playing as a duo called California Lightning, they swiftly acclimatised to the free artistic temperament of the Bay Area and came along to a rehearsal to jam some. The session had come about after the new friends played each other records late into the night, swiftly realising that they'd found in each other the rarest of things: people who care as passionately about music as themselves.

No pressures or expectations were placed upon the rehearsal, it was played as Erase Errata rehearsals still are - simply for fun and as an extension of the girls burgeoning friendship. But half an hour into this first session, as legend has it, the band mates had written 10 new songs.

"All of the music comes from goofing around. It's a very liberal situation. We have left-wing rehearsals! We fuck around, make the most ridiculous music we can make and laugh about it." says Jenny.

Moving quickly, the band planned shows and their first recording session, resulting in 1999's self-titled 7" EP on Sara's own Inconvenient Press and Recordings label, which has to date sold out two pressings. Erase Errata continued to rehearse as the desire took them, brilliance falling casually into their laps in the form of the songs that would eventually make up their debut album, Other Animals. Released on the Troubleman Unlimited label in 2001 and later remastered by nu-no-wave figurehead and Flying Luttenbacher Weasel Walter, the album is an instant classic, and will be re-issued on Blast First on 15th September. Other Animals is a set of loose and tense punk rock, flinch-and-you'll-miss-em spats of shattered-glass funk and punk-impacted pop experimental, in the sense that you just don't hear records that sound like this too often, but with a winning sense of confidence.

Listen close and maybe you can hear shades of The Slits, The Raincoats, LiLiPut, even The Minutemen, Essential Logic and Captain Beefheart among these shards of skewed art-rock. Certainly, those were influences, but crucially Erase Errata sound exactly like no one but themselves; they share the spirit of those restless forebears, more than any specific sound. "It's like an aesthetic tradition of freedom in music," explains Sara, "An approach beyond just following a rule book. Maybe a song only has three chords but there's something crazy going on in the lyrics; maybe it follows a really traditional path but with a crucial twist. Creativity is the essence of what we're after."

She speaks the truth. These jagged dance masterpieces and full-throttle bolts of freak-art groove that make up At Crystal Palace, the band's second album and their first for Blast First (released on 15th September 2003), compose an album of left-handed and right-hearted alt_pop panicking with ideas, leaping for greatness without a safety-net. Erase Errata haven't changed their working processes for this album, songs still bubble up sculpted from the chaos of a jam session, retaining that breathless lust for endless new directions, Jenny still piecing lyrics together into a layer-cake of half-meanings and multiple-entendres. You can hear it in the swirls of guitar, bursts of trumpet and waves of bass-noise that compose 'CA Viewing', or the subterranean paranoia of 'Retreat! The Most Familiar', the ear-whispering jerk-pop of 'Surprise, It's Easter'. A riot of ideas, restless and begging your full attention, cerebral and visceral, ambitious but endlessly accessible. Always, that sense of fun, of boundless creativity, is paramount.

Crucially, Erase Errata are not just about music. There's their intermittent use of onstage costumes, for example, devised for them by a friend of Ellie's who Jenny describes as "an absolute fucking genius", and tapping into what Bianca describes as "the drag aesthetic of San Francisco, that idea of making-yourself-up and becoming someone else". They say it also ties in to the idea of a creative community they feel part of, where friends who are artists in other media design posters or take photographs or make costumes and contribute to their artistic statement (Bianca's boyfriend is the artist responsible for the amazing psychedelic collages that make up At Crystal Palace's sleeve). A self-supporting collective operating apart from a mainstream they find, mostly, creatively wanting.

"Aesthetically it's getting harder," offers Jenny, "When things get more and more homogenised all around you, you have to retreat even further into your own world and your own tight-knit community that would not want to participate in the complete homogenisation of culture and art. Maybe that's just my own selfishness, of not wanting to be compromised."

James Moody

This Lonehill release pairs two Argo albums by James Moody. The first album, from 1963, is quite forward-looking for Moody's standards, with guitar and Barron switching to organ on two tunes - this might be the best Moody album besides the great "Return from Overbrook" (at least the best I've heard so far). The second features a Chicago band with a pair of little-known brass players doing a fine job. The main point of interest though is Moody himself. The second, Chicagoan, album is dedicated almost exclusively to compositions of Tom McIntosh. Read some more about it from AMG:

Fly Me to the Moon compiles a pair of tenor saxophonist James Moody's mid-'60s sessions for the Argo label. The 1962 date Another Bag vaults Moody far past his bop roots. Another in a series of collaborations with arranger and composer Tom McIntosh, its rich, deep sound is both fiercely cerebral and nakedly emotional. Paired with a superb group including pianist Kenny Barron, trumpeter Paul Serrano, trombonist John Avant, bassist Ernest Outlaw and drummer Marshall Thompson, Moody creates a thoughtful interpretation of the emerging soul-jazz idiom that is both consciously hip yet surprisingly introspective; the music is both angular and accessible, bolstered by a clutch of clever, dynamic McIntosh melodies. Issued two years later, Comin' on Strong ranks among Moody's most challenging and rewarding sessions. With its complex rhythms and mercurial tempos, the material is more like a series of obstacle courses than a collection of melodies, but Moody and his collaborators navigate the twists and turns with dexterity and grace. Paired with Barron on piano as well as George Eskridge on guitar, Chris White on bass and Rudy Collins on drums, Moody reinvents standards like "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face" and "Autumn Leaves," infusing their familiar strains with ideas drawn from post-bop and avant-garde sensibilities. The transformation between these styles is seamless, however, and even the most radical ideas seem perfectly logical.
(AMG review by Jason Ankeny)

James Moody (as,ts,fl), Kenny Barron (p; org on 4,6), on all tracks, with:

George Eskridge (g), Chris White (b), Rudy Collins (d)
Comin' on Strong (New York, September 16, 1963)

#9-15: Paul Serrano (t), John Avant (tb), Ernest Outlaw (b), Marshall Thompson (d)
Another Bag (Chicago, Januar 30, 1962)

1. Fly Me To The Moon 4:43
2. Dizzy 3:41
3. Autumn Leaves 6:03
4. Ole 4:43
5. Sonnymoon For Two 4:51
6. I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face 3:09
7. Zanzibar 4:00
8. Please Send Me Someone To Love 5:41
9. Sassy Lady 4:47
10. Ally (Parts 1, 2, 3) 7:47
11. Spastic 3:09
12. Minuet In G 3:13
13. Cup Bearers 6:53
14. The Day After 5:29
15. Pleyel D'Jaime 2:52

Monday, August 11, 2008

Charles Tolliver Big Band - With Love

Trumpeter/composer/bandleader Charles Tolliver co-founded the Strata-East label with pianist Stanley Cowell, in 1971, but it's been a long time since we heard his underappreciated genius. This CD falls into the "where have you been?" category. It features a big band that includes Cowell, pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Billy Harper, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Victor Lewis. Save for a Gil Fuller-like rendition of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," the remaining six tracks are penned by the leader. Picking up from his big band charts from the 70s, this ensemble, driven by Tolliver's bravura Hub-toned trumpet lines, swings and sings with a propulsive, pan-generational sound. "Rejoicin'" is a spirited waltz, contrasted by the evocatively voiced, Trane-style "Mournin' Variations" and the Latin-tinged bopper "Suspicion," with Tolliver's son Ched on guitar. Tolliver may have been out of sight, but he certainly wasn't out of swing. ~ Eugene Holley, Jr.

Trumpeter Charles Tolliver avoids the usual trap of retro-centric nostalgia inherent to big band settings on this lively 2007 outing. Tolliver's ensemble, which includes members of his fine 1970s outfit Music Inc. Orchestra, unleashes a somewhat raw and ragged energy, and With Love is all the better for it.

The 16-piece ensemble roars through six Tolliver originals and a Thelonious Monk cover ("'Round Midnight") with a bright, audacious confidence. Tolliver's arrangements make the most of the group's potential for tension, color, and dynamics, and there are plenty of outstanding solos from the musicians on both the modal numbers and the more traditionally melodic pieces.

Charles Tolliver (trumpet)
Robert Glasper (piano)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Craig Handy (flute, clarinet, soprano and alto sax)
Howard Johnson (bass clarinet, baritone sax)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Victor Lewis (drums)

1. Rejoicin'
2. With Love
3. 'Round Midnight
4. Mournin' Variations
5. Right Now
6. Suspicion
7. Hit The Spot

Cannonball Adderley - And The Poll Winners

The "Poll-Winners" at the time of this recording were Adderley, guitarist Wes Montgomery and bassist Ray Brown; together with Victor Feldman doubling on piano and vibes and drummer Louis Hayes they cut this excellent quintet date. This was the only meeting on records by Adderley and Montgomery and, although not quite a classic encounter, the music (highlighted by "The Chant," "Never Will I Marry" and two takes of "Au Privave") swings hard and is quite enjoyable. ~ Scott Yanow

When surveying the vast catalog of work left for us by alto star and entertainer Cannonball Adderley, for sheer diversity of personnel, approaches, and excellence in writing, the Riverside period of the late '50s and early '60s remains a watermark in the distinguished career of this jazz legend. For just two examples, contrast the understated beauty of Know What I Mean recorded with Bill Evans to the brassy large ensemble blow-out of African Waltz.

Times do change however, and with the demise of Riverside in 1963, Adderley jumped ship to Capitol Records. He brought with him the tapes from seven Riverside sessions (for the record they are Cannonball Takes Charge, Them Dirty Blues, The Poll-Winners, Live at the Lighthouse, Jazz Workshop Revisited, Cannonball's Bossa Nova, and Cannonball in Europe ) that he retained ownership of and which were quickly dumped into the vaults never to be heard from again until producer Orrin Keepnews got a hold of them and engaged in a limited release of the sides via his Landmark imprimatur. With the Landmark reissues gone since the late '80s, Capitol has decided to again revisit these classics and has kicked off the series with the consequential album at hand.

Alluding to recent magazine poll victories for Ray Brown, Wes Montgomery, and Adderley, The Poll-Winners was cut in 1960 on the west coast and sports a group that is rounded out by pianist/vibist Victor Feldman and drummer Louis Hayes. With a telepathic sense of linkage, these five men wax poetic on an excellent selection of cuts, with Feldman's “The Chant” and “Azule Serape” proving to be two meaty originals that would find their way into the band book of the Adderley Brothers and remain there for some time. While not quite as memorable as a subsequent turn by the Brothers and Nancy Wilson, “Never Will I Marry” is the longest performance here and its a real winner.

Other highpoints include a couple of workouts for Feldman's vibes and Montgomery's signature octaves used tastefully and sparingly. Noted sound engineer Wally Heider is also to be lauded for the great ambiance he gets from the large hall used for the first three numbers and from his own studio for the concluding pieces.

Cannonball fans everywhere will surely be pleased by the appearance of this hard to find item. Now we wait for the subsequent arrival of the other six “lost” Riverside sessions. Capitol, bring 'em on! ~ C. Andrew Hovan

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Victor Feldman (piano, vibraphone)
Wes Montgomery (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. The Chant
2. Lolita
3. Azule Serape
4. Au Privave
5. Yours Is My Heart Alone
6. Never Will I Marry
7. Au Privave (alt)

Recorded in San Francisco; May 21, 1960

Recorded in Los Angeles; June 5, 1960

Pony Poindexter - Pony's Express

Not quite what Jazz Nekko inquired about, but the result of a pleasant coincidence nonetheless.

Pony Poindexter was a sporadically recorded bop saxophonist who played on sessions by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross as well as Wes Montgomery; his long unavailable 1962 debut as a leader, originally on Epic, finally was reissued as a Koch CD in 2001. With arrangements by Gene Kee, Poindexter leads several all-star ensembles, which include Phil Woods, Gene Quill, Sonny Red, Eric Dolphy, Dexter Gordon, Clifford Jordan, Jimmy Heath, Sal Nistico, Billy Mitchell, and Pepper Adams. The rhythm sections are also first rate: either Gildo Mahones or Tommy Flanagan play piano, with Ron Carter or Bill Yancey on bass, and Charli Persip or Elvin Jones on drums. Poindexter is a convincing ballad player with the rich reed section backing him on "Skylark," while he trades choruses with Gordon's big-toned tenor on a snappy and decidedly nontraditional take of "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." His originals include the smoking opener "Catin' Latin," with the leader on soprano sax (and almost getting buried by the backing saxophone section at times), the brisk blues "Pony's Express," and the loping blues "Lanyop," which also features a typically daredevil alto solo by Dolphy. Sadly an alternate take of "Lanyop," which appeared on the LP anthology Almost Forgotten, was not licensed for this Koch CD reissue and omitted. It's a shame that Pony Poindexter didn't get many more opportunities to record as a leader, as this release demonstrates his considerable promise. ~ Ken Dryden

Pony Poindexter (alto, soprano sax)
Eric Dolphy (alto sax)
Sonny Red (alto sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Sal Nistico (tenor sax)
Gene Quill (alto sax)
Clifford Jordan (tenor sax)
Billy Mitchell (tenor sax)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Elvin Jones (bass)
Ron Carter (bass)
Charli Persip (drums)

1. Catin' Latin
2. Salt Peanuts
3. Skylark
4. Struttin' With Some Barbecue
5. Blue
6. 'B' Frequency
7. Mickey Mouse March
8. Basin Street Blues
9. Pony's Express
10. Lanyop
11. Artistry In Rhythm

Recorded on April 18 and May 10, 1962

Giorgio Gaslini Ensemble Mobile-“jelly’s back in town”1996

Heres a delightful big band album by one of the masters of European jazz.
The entire record is a homage to jelly roll morton.
In keeping with discussions lately dealing with ‘free” jazz, the 20thc -avant guard and big band jazz.
if you like Eric Dolphy playing jitterbug waltz. .. you may just appreciate this.
Gaslini is probably sadly known only to most for the few film scores he composed , particularly Antonioni’s la notte.
On this great tribute , he goes back to some of Morton’s European sources, so for example sandwiched between “freakish”(originally ,a piano tune) and wolverine blues get a beautiful miniature rendition of verdi’s miserere.
Great stuff.. and very accessible .
Can’t find a review so here's a biographical excerpt from one final note.

"Since the early 1960s, the history of hardcore improvised music in Italy has revolved around two godfathers, if you’ll pardon the joking cliché. One, saxophonist Mario Chicano, originally from Naples, is a grassroots player and organizer, host to many visiting improvisers, nurturer of younger players, and someone who eventually helped to form and the massive Italian Instable Orchestra (IIO). Another member of the IIO at its beginnings, but who parted company with it shortly afterwards, is the other pardoned, pianist Giorgio Gaslini, whose accomplishments are as academically oriented as Schiano’s are streetwise. Milan-born, he’s prodigiously musically educated and has written symphonies, operas, ballets, film and theater scores, taught the country’s first jazz conservatory courses, written jazz textbooks, and lead a variety of ensembles. He’s also never been shackled by tradition. He may have composed the first jazz opera for a Verona theatre, but he also recorded solo piano transcriptions of Albert Ayler charts".

Bob Dorough - Devil May Care

As a follow-up to my Sam Most post, here's Bob Dorough's first album - and what an album! Must be one of the weirdest vocal jazz albums ever released (except for others by Dorough, I guess...)

Dorough is one of the lesser-known singer/songwriters in jazz. His voice to some might be like fingernails on chalkboard, so be warned! (But then the file is small and it's just one, so take the plunge!)

French listeners may be familiar with his opening theme for the long-running (and now no more, alas) show "Jazz Club" on France Musique. Dorough also made a recent appearance there, but it wasn't all that great, I'm afraid.

For once, no AMG review - Yanow gets it all wrong and it's just two sentences anyway. He says something about "near-classic renditions" and other bla bla - but nothing about this album is classic, on the contrary, it's like a piece that's been put the wrong way 'round into the puzzle, a whimsical, funny, quick-minded little bit of music. The sidemen here are all rather obscure, Bill Takas played with Dorough for decades (and his last name is spelled "Takus" in the scans, I've always known him as Takas), and Jerry Segal was part of the Prestige Jazz Quartet (an attempt from Prestige records to cash in on the success of the MJQ, I assume, with Teddy Charles, Mal Waldron and Addison Farmer completing the group).

If there's interest, I could dig up some more Dorough, I think...

1. Old Devil Moon
2. It Could Happen to You
3. I Had the Craziest Dream
4. You're the Dangerous Type
5. Ow
6. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
7. Yardbird Suite
8. Baltimore Oriole
9. I Don't Mind
10. Devil May Care
11. Midnight Sun
12. Johnny One Note
13. Yardbird Suite (alternate take)

Bob Dorough (p,voc), Warren Fitzgerald (t), Jack Hitchcock (vib),
Bill Takas (b), Jerry Segal (d)

Recorded October 1956 in New York City

Bethlehem BCP 11 "Devil May Care" / BCP 6023 "Yardbird Suite"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eric Dolphy - Conversations

I really don't like "best of..." lists or "world's greatest..." titles. As soon as I could agree to one, my mood will change and the list is useless. But, having said that, I will say that Eric Dolphy consistently figures high in my estimation, and that I always am in the mood to listen to him. Conversations is a lesser seen release; "Jitterbug Waltz" was a piece he frequently played in live performance. And who wrote this tune so favored by the arch-modernist Dolphy? Fats Waller. Told ya he was hip.

In mid-1963 (probably July, though some sources place the dates in May or June), Eric Dolphy recorded some sessions in New York with producer Alan Douglas, the fruits of which were issued on small labels as the LPs Conversations and Iron Man. They've been reissued a number of times on various labels, occasionally compiled together, but never with quite the treatment they deserve (which is perhaps why they're not as celebrated as they should be). In whatever form, though, it's classic, essential Dolphy that stands as some of his finest work past Out to Lunch. Conversations is the more eclectic of the two, featuring radical re-imaginings of three standards, plus the jubilant, Caribbean-flavored "Music Matador" (by ensemble members Prince Lasha [flute] and Sonny Simmons [alto]). That cut and a classic inside/outside reworking of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" feature Dolphy leading ensembles of up-and-coming "new thing" players, which prominently feature vibist Bobby Hutcherson and trumpeter Woody Shaw. The second half of the album takes a far more minimalist approach, with Dolphy performing unaccompanied (extremely rare prior to Anthony Braxton's For Alto) on "Love Me." "Alone Together" is an over-13-minute duet between Dolphy and bassist Richard Davis, featuring some astoundingly telepathic exchanges that more than justify its length. Even if the selections don't completely hang together as an LP statement, they're united by Dolphy's generally brilliant playing and a sense that -- after several years without entering the studio much as a leader -- Dolphy was really striving to push his (and others') music forward. The results are richly rewarding, making Conversations one of the landmarks in his catalog. Steve Huey

1 - Jitterbug Waltz
2 - Music Matador
3 - Love Me
4 - Alone Together

Eric Dolphy - Flute
Woody Shaw - Trumpet
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibes
Eddie Khan - Bass
J.C. Moses - Drums

Eric Dolphy - Bass Clarinet
Prince Lasha - Flute
Sonny Simmons - Alto Sax
Clifford Jordan - Soprano Sax
Richard Davis - Bass
Charles Moffett - Drums

Eric Dolphy - Alto Sax

Eric Dolphy - Bass Clarinet
Richard Davis - Bass

Art Blakey - Theory Of Art

The latter tracks are from Blakey's Lerner and Loewe project. For a treat, check out the Coltrane Bethlehem Years CD (posted and still active, I believe), it's essentially a Blakey Big Band session.

This CD contains two unique sessions in the history of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Five numbers feature a sextet that includes both altoist Jackie McLean, who had recently left the band, and his replacement, tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin along with trumpeter Bill Hardman; "A Night in Tunisia" best shows off this short-lived group. The remaining two numbers were unissued until this CD came out and feature Blakey heading a nonet that included future Messenger Lee Morgan, trombonist Melba Liston and Griffin. The music is consistently excellent and also succeeds as a historical curiosity that should greatly interest Blakey collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Blakey (drums)
Bill Hardman (trumpet)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Sam Dockery (piano)
Spanky DeBrest (bass)

New York: April 8, 1957

Art Blakey (drums)
Bill Hardman (trumpet)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Sahib Shihab (alto sax)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Melba Liston (trombone)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Spanky DeBrest (bass)

RCA Studio 3, New York: April 2, 1957

1. A Night In Tunisia
2. Off The Wall
3. Could'nt It Be You
4. Theory Of Art
5. Evans
6. A Night At Tony's
7. Social Call

Sonet Sunday

Al Cohn and Zoot Sims - Motoring Along

Friends since meeting in a Salt Lake City parking lot in 1948 - the night Cohn joined the Herman band - Cohn and Sims had parallel careers thereafter, notably with their quintet that became a regular gig at the Half Note in 1957.

With the advent of Rock many jazz players traveled and recorded when ever the opportunity arose, and Scandinavia remained a port of call for many peripatetic players. Parlan had been resident in Denmark for some time when this date came about, and the results are a pleasure to hear. included in the notes to this release are some thoughts by that incredibly over-rated hack, Jack Kerouac, whom Zoot and Al had backed for one of his recordings. Safe bet it won't appear here. Apropos of the Scandinavian scene of the time, if you get a chance to check out Randi Hultin's Born Under The Sign Of Jazz do so. And I'll eventually make good on my promise to up the CD of home recordings that comes with it.

Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Zoot Sims (soprano and tenor sax)
Horace Parlan (piano)
Ragnar Sniezgaard (sälædbuffr)
Hugo Rasmussen (bass)
Svend-Erik Norregaard (drums)

1. Stockholm - L.A.
2. My Funny Valentine
3. Yardbird Suite
4. Motoring Along
5. Fallin’
6. What The World Needs Now
7. Stokholm - L.A. (alt)
8. Fallin’ (alt)
9. What The World Needs Now (alt)

Stockholm, Sweden: November 25, 1974

Red Rodney & Ira Sullivan - Spirit Within (1981)

"Spirit Within is the culmination of what we've been working toward since we've been together. Since I'm so much more conservative, I've kept resisting a lot of the newer music. Eventually, though, Ira showed me the way to embrace these more modern forms and still remain melodic and lyrical." - Red Rodney

"Slowly we started getting into some more modern arrangements, and Red responded to them. He sounds better now than he did twenty-five years ago. His sound and tone are much stronger than they ever were in the be-bop days. He's applied all his life experiences to his playing, and he sounds like a totally different, much improved artist." - Ira Sullivan

By the time of their fifth record, the Red Rodney-Ira Sullivan Quintet also included pianist Garry Dial, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Steve Bagby, and it was a perfect vehicle for the co-leaders. Rodney (heard here mostly on flugelhorn) was challenged by the advanced material (four of the six numbers on this out-of-print LP are Dial originals), and underground legend Sullivan received more exposure than he had ever had in his career. On this LP, Sullivan (heard on soprano, alto flute and flugelhorn) inspired Rodney to some of his finest playing. Superior post-bop music that deserves to be reissued on CD. - Scott Yanow

Red Rodney (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ira Sullivan (flugelhorn, soprano sax, alto flute)
Garry Dial (piano)
Jay Anderson (bass)
Steve Bagby (drums)
  1. Sophisticated Yenta
  2. King of France
  3. Spirit Within
  4. Island Song
  5. Monday's Dance
  6. Crescent City
Recorded September 21-24, 1981

Branford Marsalis - Royal Garden Blues

I see this album at Amazon sellers for anywhere between $1.60 and $134 (!) and since I just sold my copy I thought I'd share the music.

Review by Scott Yanow
Branford Marsalis' second album as a leader followed his first by three years, and he had grown a lot in the interim. He had switched permanently to tenor (doubling on soprano), left his brother Wynton's group, toured with Sting, and begun heading his own group. Although using quartets on each of the seven selections, Marsalis varies the personnel quite a bit, utilizing pianists Ellis Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Larry Willis, and Herbie Hancock; bassists Ron Carter, Charnett Moffett, and Ira Coleman; and drummers Ralph Peterson, Al Foster, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and Jeff Watts. One of Branford's more playful albums, the repertoire includes a tribute of sorts to his native New Orleans on "Royal Garden Blues" plus "Strike Up the Band" and then-recent originals. An excellent outing.

Rudy Van Gelder - Blue Note Perfect Takes (CD + DVD)

I saw this and wouldn't have paid much attention - it is a compilation of tracks engineered by RVG for Blue Note; nice stuff, some unusual, none rare. But the interest for me lay in the DVD that has an interview with Van Gelder by Michael Cuscuna. I ripped the DVD with DVD Decrypter and converted it to an AVI file. It's pretty sizeable, so the CD and film clip were upped separately.

Get this if it interests you; with the film coming in at 14 files, it may be one of the first things I delete when I need space in the Rapidshare account. Any of you tech wizards can monkey around and re-up it in an easier form if you're so inclined.

"This is basically a curiosity piece for harder than hardcore jazz fans. These ten tracks were chosen by Rudy Van Gelder, Blue Note's celebrated and indeed legendary engineer, from the label's collection of RVG editions. Some of these cuts, such as Thelonious Monk's "Four in One" and Miles Davis' "Budo" from the Birth of the Cool sessions, were not originally engineered by Van Gelder -- however, he did reengineer them for CD reissue. On these selections he worked from the original lacquer discs, giving him the ability to reproduce sound far more faithfully than any previous CD or LP issue. This means that these versions are supposedly better mastered than even the RVG series. Other cuts he chose were Hank Mobley's "Remember," Freddie Hubbard's "Arietis," Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," Kenny Burrell's "Midnight Blue," Jimmy Smith's "See See Rider," Donald Byrd's "Christo Redentor," Art Blakey's killer read of "Moon River" from 1961, and Joe Henderson's mighty "Mode for Joe." Given the highly idiosyncratic picks of Van Gelder, this collection will have many jazzheads debating and musing over the contents. But it is likely only to be of interest to those who either need everything or have simply got to have the best in audio reproduction. In addition to the music, Blue Note has also included a bonus DVD that contains an interview with Van Gelder by Michael Cuscuna about the many artists he has worked with, personal reminiscences, and his own view of his legacy." ~ Thom Jurek

CD 1
1. FOUR IN ONE - Thelonious Monk
2. BUDO - Miles Davis
3. REMEMBER - Hank Mobley
4. ARIETIS - Freddie Hubbard
5. MIDNIGHT BLUE - Kenny Burrell
6. MODE FOR JOE - Joe Henderson
8. FOOTPRINTS - Wayne Shorter
9. MOON RIVER - Art Blakey
10. SEE SEE RIDER - Jimmy Smith

CD 2
1. Interview with Rudy Van Gelder

Pub Crawling with Jimmy Deuchar

An LP rip to medium-quality mp3, from an album I sold awhile back. Recorded in 1955-56 from two separate dates and groups, with Tubby Hayes, Victor Feldman, Stan Tracey and others. Cover & label scan, track & lineup details and liner text included.

Joe Newman - The Count's Men

This is among the finest Basie-ites albums I know. Joe Newman, Benny Powell (he went places later on, including appearances with Randy Weston!), Franks Wess and Foster, Sir Charles Thompson on the Count's chair, and Eddie Jones and the great Shadow Wilson completing the rhythm section. What a band! And they keep that promise!

Joe Newman (t), Benny Powell (tb), Frank Wess (fl,ts), Frank Foster (ts), Sir Charles Thompson (p), Ed Jones (b), Shadow Wilson (d)

Arrangements by Ernie Wilkins

New York City, September 1955

1. Sidewalks of New York (Dawlor-Blake)
2. Carless Love (Carr)
3. Jumpin' At The Woodside (Basie)
4. Casey Jones (Wilkins)
5. The Midgets (Newman)
6. Alone In The Night (Spencer)
7. A.M. Romp (Newman-Wilkins)
8. Annie Lane (Traditional)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Booker Ervin


Cookin' reissues tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin's second session as a leader (with a quintet also including trumpeter Richard Williams, pianist Horace Parlan, bassist George Tucker and drummer Dannie Richmond). The session has four Ervin originals plus two standards. The intense tenor, whose sound had roots in early R&B but was open to the influence of the avant-garde, was instantly recognizable by 1960 and this music, although not essential, has many strong solos by Ervin, Williams and Parlan. ~ Scott Yanow

The reissued Savoy is just about as "straight-ahead" as it comes. There's not much subtlety to the arrangements, which are played with a jumpy regularity, but Ervin and Williams both solo strongly, and the saxophonist's long meditation with rhythm only on "You Don't Know What Love Is" is perhaps the most affecting extended performance on the record. ~ Penguin Guide

Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Richard Williams (trumpet)
Horace Parlan (piano)
George Tucker (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Dee Da Do
2. Mr. Wiggles
3. You Don't Know What Love Is
4. Down In Dumps
5. Well, Well
6. Autumn Leaves

The In Between

Booker Ervin headed to Blue Note in 1968 for The In Between, a record that found him continuing in the vein of his later Prestige sessions. Supported by trumpeter Richard Williams, pianist Bobby Few, bassist Cevera Jeffries and drummer Lennie McBrowne, Ervin created an album that pushed the boundaries of hard bop. Every song on The In Between is an Ervin original designed to challenge the musicians. The music rarely reaches avant-garde territory -- instead, it's edgy, volatile hard bop that comes from the mind as much as the soul. Appropriately, Ervin balances his full-bodied tone with a forceful, aggressive attack that even sounds restless on the slower numbers. The result is a satisfying, cerebral set of adventurous hard bop that finds Booker Ervin at a creative peak. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Booker Ervin (flute, tenor sax)
Richard Williams (trumpet)
Bobby Few (piano)
Cevera Jefries (bass)
Lenny McBrowne (drums)

1. In Between
2. Muse
3. Mour
4. Sweet Pea
5. Largo
6. Tyra

Englewood Cliffs: January 12, 1968

Ernie Watts - Reaching Up (1993)

For this quartet set with pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Charles Fambrough, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, Ernie Watts definitely came to play. Virtually all of his solos are high powered and even his ballad statements are filled with clusters of passionate notes. Trumpeter Arturo Sandval has two appearances and makes the music even more hyper. In addition, the rhythm section keeps the proceedings consistently stimulating. The main focus on these standards and originals is generally on Watts' tenor, and even though there isn't all that much variety, this CD is a strong example of his jazz talents. - Scott Yanow

Ernie Watts (tenor sax)
Mulgrew Miller (piano)
Charles Fambrough (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Arturo Sandoval (trumpet 1, 5)

  1. Reaching Up
  2. Mr. Syms
  3. I Hear a Rhapsody
  4. Transparent Sea
  5. The High Road
  6. Inward Glance
  7. You Leave Me Breathless
  8. Sweet Lucy
  9. Angel's Flight
  10. Sweet Solitude
Recorded October 7, 8, 1993

Sam Most with Bob Dorough

Here's another Spanish release, this time by multi-instrumentalist Sam Most (heard on flute and clarinet here), accompanied on piano by Bob Dorough (no singing here - I guess quite to the relief of some...)

Here's a short Dusty review of the Bethlehem album included on this twofer:

A surprisingly nice album of tracks from reed player Sam Most. The group's a nicely stripped-down one, and features Bob Dorough on piano, Bill Crow on bass, and Joe Morello on drums. Most plays flute, as usual, but also offers up some incredible clarinet playing -- with archly-crafted solos that really swing, but with kind of an arch modernist tone -- in the manner of some of Jimmy Guiffre's best rhythm-bound work of the 50s. Titles include "Obvious Conclusion", "Stella By Starlight", "Two For Three", and "House Of Bread Blues".

1. Stella by Starlight
2. Hush-a-bye
3. Obvious conclusion
4. Autumn Leaves
5. If I had You
6. Body and Soul
7. House of Bread Blues
8. Two for Three
9. The Night We Called It a Day
10. Notes to You
11. I Hear a Rhapsody
12. Scroobydoo
13. Eullalia
14. A Cuss Called Coss
15. There Will Never Be Another You

#1-8: Sam Most (fl,cl), Bob Dorough (p), Bill Crow (b), Joe Morello (d)
New York, July 1956
("Musically Yours", Bethlehem BCP 6008)

#9-11: Sam Most (fl,cl), Bob Dorough (p), Percy Heath (b), Louis Bellson (d)
#12-15: same, add Doug Mettome (t), Urbie Green (tb)
New York, December 29, 1953
("Sam Most Quartet Plus Two", Debut DLP 11, Xanadu 172)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Irene Schweitzer and Andrew Cyrille

OK, let's try again.

It's been a while since we've heard from that daft laddie, Lord Thom. Let's see what he's been up to, shall we? Whatever it is, he's certainly not likely to be looking around for a language.

Here is another of pianist Irene Schweizer's duets with a powerhouse drummer, in this case, vanguard legend and jazz dreamboat Andrew Cyrille, in a concert recorded live at the Willisau Festival, held at Willisau, in 1988. What is most remarkable about this session that was held in Willisau is how immediately the rapport between the pair is established. Schweizer goes after a rhythmic angular line, chopping it up into small staccato pastelate phrases, and Cyrille, using the entire - not partial, but entire, I say - wealth of his drum kit and TransDanubian goatherd gongs, feeds back her giggling pulses as either coyly specific accented answers or contrapuntal inversions that she takes enough girlish delight in to lengthen her - dare I say it? - statements. There is no stalling between these two, yea and verily there is no looking around for a language, it's all one syllable: "GO!" Schweizer moves alkalinely through batteries of classical and jazz - clazz motifs, one might venture to say - motifs, undulating her sizzling left-hand harmonics in sharp bursts of ostinato as her right explodes off the end of that periodic architecture: the effect is purely vaporous if not downright gassy. Cyrille doesn't dance around her, nor to any creature that walks this earth— he plays to her ideas, moving his own into the center of the mix to create tension and continuum, not release. The hard boppish motif, layered in scalar runs and rim shots, that lies at the heart of "From Stafa to Willisau Via Music" echoes both Monk and Stravinsky in alternating lines before giving way to Herbie Nichols, Tristano, Mantovani, Cantinflas and Schoenberg or Messiaen. It's Cyrille that cuts it loose from the traditions and brings it into the present day as a dialogue between them — not on jazz history, but on improvisational movement and the demi-physicality of spontaneous composition. There are few expressions of spontaneous communication in improvisational music that could equal, let alone surpass, this one. So take that.~ Thom Jurek

Irene Schweizer (piano)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. Smashing Napf
2. Soft Inside
3. From Stafa to Willisau Via Music
4. As Time Goes On
5. Fiction of the 13th Kind
6. Monkish Encore

Recorded live at the Jazz Festival Willisau; September 3, 1988

Oliver Nelson - Screamin' the Blues (with Eric Dolphy)

A few classics from Oliver Nelson appeared here in the past few months, so here's a followup, actually a 'prequel' since it was an earlier release.

Review by Scott Yanow
Oliver Nelson (on tenor and alto sax) meets Eric Dolphy (alto, bass clarinet and flute) on this frequently exciting sextet session with trumpeter Richard Williams, pianist Richard Wyands, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Roy Haynes. Although Dolphy is too unique and skilled to be overshadowed in a setting such as this, Nelson holds his own. He contributed five of the six compositions (including "Screamin' the Blues," "The Meetin'," and "Alto-Itis") and effectively matches wits and creative ideas with Dolphy...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alexander von Schlippenbach - Live In Japan '96

Live in Japan '96 captures an excellent performance by the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra at the Shin-Kobe Oriental Theater (except for "The Morlocks," which was recorded in Tokyo). This assembly of renowned international musicians -- including saxophonist Evan Parker and ICP Orchestra members trombonist Wolter Wierbos and trumpeter Thomas Heberer -- is led by pianist-arrangers Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase. The recording opens with a 17-minute long "Eric Dolphy Medley" arranged by Aki Takase that features the two pianists in a playful and rhythmic unaccompanied duo section. This number is followed by "The Morlocks," a piece recorded a month prior and tellingly not part of the same program, with a pounding abrasiveness lightened only briefly by a circular-breathing hyper-speed flurry of a solo from Evan Parker. Next comes an original from Takase called "Shijo No Ai" that begins with a momentarily Rova-reminiscent groove laid down by baritone saxophonist Hiroaki Katayama. A light orchestral uprising grows out of this opening, and this, in turn, gives way to simultaneous solos that sound like bounced echoes of earlier sections. Out of the semi-chaos returns the baritone groove, bringing the piece to a close. Another highlight of this album is von Schlippenbach's arrangement of W.C. Handy's "Way Down South Where the Blues Began," which opens with a swaying piano blues solo. The orchestra starts out with a convincing bluesy spirit that quickly gives way to a theatrical, near striptease interpretation and a rather silly brand of soloing that calls to mind the Willem Breuker Kollektief. And, appropriately, the closing track, "Good Bye," is a Breuker arrangement. Altogether, Live In Japan '96 is an excellent show from a premiere cast of musicians, including those previously mentioned; altoist Eiichi Hayashi; bass clarinetist Rudy Mahall; multi-reedist and flutist Gerd Dudek; tenor saxophonist Walter Gauchel; trombonists Marc Boukouya, Paul Rutherford, and Haruki Sato; trumpeters Henry Lowther, Axel Dorner, and Issei Igarashi; bassist Nobuyoshi Ino; and drummer Paul Lovens. ~ Joslyn Layne

Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano)
Evan Parker (tenor and soprano sax)
Willem Breuker (arranger)
Gerd Dudek (tenor and soprano sax, clarinet, flute)
Henry Lowther (trumpet)
Aki Takase (piano)
Walter Gauchel (tenor sax)
Paul Rutherford (trombone)
Axel Dörner (trumpet)
Paul Lovens (drums)

1. Eric Dolphy Medley: The Prophet/Serene/Hat and Beard
2. The Morlocks
3. Shijo No Ai
4. Way Down South Where The Blues Began
5. Jackhammer
6. Good Bye

Marc Johnson - Two by Four (1989)

This series of duets featuring bassist Marc Johnson with different guests could be considered a tribute to Bill Evans, because it includes such a number of songs associated with the late pianist (though only one is an Evans composition); Johnson served with distinction as the bassist in Evans' last trio. Harmonica player extraordinaire Toots Thielemans joins Johnson for a beautifully strutting take of "Killer Joe," followed by an amazingly soft and subtle take of Alex North's "Spartacus Love Theme," a favorite of Evans that Johnson never got the opportunity to play with him. Also very effective is the very slow arrangement of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat." Vibraphonist Gary Burton also appears on three tracks, with a dreamy take of the melancholy "Gary's Theme" and gorgeous version of Evans' "Time Remembered" meriting special attention. Pianist Makoto Ozone also appears on three duets, proving to be an inspired choice as well. Johnson was extremely satisfied with the pianist's playing of the leader's rather challenging "Miss Teri," Ozone is also up to the rapid-fire, uptempo post-bop of Herbie Hancock's "One Finger Snap." Singer Lucy Crane is probably unfamiliar to jazz fans, as this was her major label debut (she's the widow of Fred Crane, an early teacher and mentor of Johnson's); she provides spirited vocals on both "Beautiful Love" and "Ain't Misbehavin'." One of the better releases to come out in 1989, this now unfortunately deleted CD is well worth an intense search. - Ken Dryden

Marc Johnson (bass)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica 1, 2, 11)
Makoto Ozone (piano 3, 4, 5)
Gary Burton (vibes 6, 7, 10)
Lucy Crane (vocals 8, 9)
  1. Killer Joe
  2. Spartacus Love Theme
  3. Dinner for One Please, James
  4. One Finger Snap
  5. Miss Teri
  6. Monk's Dream
  7. Gary's Theme
  8. Beautiful Love
  9. Ain't Misbehavin'
  10. Time Remembered
  11. Goodbye Porkpie Hat
Recorded April 17, 18, 1989

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I agree with - Hoffman, was it? - in his lack of interest in "that most over-rated of instruments, the human neck." Vocals don't do it for me; and normally I wouldn't have looked twice at the Tormé, but it was an unopened Bethlehem title for $4. After ripping it I decided to listen a little, and it turned out to be very little: the boy's a tad too fey for my tastes. But I'm sure there are those among us who'll dig him.

Mel Tormé - The Bethlehem Years

Like Frank Sinatra's classic LPs for Capitol and Ella Fitzgerald's songbook series on Verve, Mel Tormé's recordings for the Bethlehem label hit such dramatic heights in artistry -- and maintained them -- that the artist would never quite escape their excellence despite remaining a respected and rewarded performer for decades afterward. Bethlehem was the home of Tormé's first mature full-length statement, It's a Blue World, which proceeded from his undergraduate studies of the 1940s with the Mel-Tones and his advanced postgrad work on the first version of Mel Tormé's California Suite (which he recorded again while at Bethlehem). That Tormé on Bethlehem isn't known well by the wider music-buying public is down to the label's tortuous history (it folded in the middle of his contract) and Tormé's short stint there (six billed records within three years). It certainly can't be the quality of the material that causes the low profile, for if Lulu's Back in Town or Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire had remained in print like any of Sinatra's LPs, they would have acquired the same high profile. Leave it to those entrepreneurial wizards at Shout! Factory to introduce the first major-label compilation devoted to that excellent period. Better still, beyond the gripe of including only 16 tracks, The Bethlehem Years makes all the right choices for material. The two records mentioned immediately above are each given four slots, with Tormé's buoyant vocals backed in great fashion by Marty Paich's Dek-tette, which makes a statement that a well-chosen ten-piece band can pack a punch while also leaving the vocalist plenty of space. Tormé's gift for entertaining at live appearances is also given quality time, including several songs from his appearances at the Crescendo in Los Angeles. ~ John Bush

Mel Tormé (neck)
Howard McGhéé (trumpet)
Davé Péll (tenor sax)
André Prévin (arranger)
Bud Shanké (alto sax)
Pete Candolié (trumpet)
Bob Enévoldsén (valve trombone, tenor sax)
Bob Coopér (tenor sax)
Herb Géller (alto sax)
Barney Kessél (guitar)
Marty Paich (piano, arranger)
Ralph Sharon (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Stan Levéy (drums)

1. I Got It Bad, And That Ain't Good
2. How Long Has This Been Going On?
3. Lulu's Back In Town
4. The Lady Is A Tramp
5. Lullaby Of Birdland
6. Fascinating Rhythm
7. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'
8. The Way You Look Tonight
9. Nice Work If You Can Get It
10. Something's Gotta Give
11. Can't Take That Away From Me
12. Just One Of Those Things
13. I'm Beginning To See The Light
14. It's Delovely
15. It's All Right With Me
16. Poor Little Extra Girl

Helen Merrill - With Clifford Brown

This is more like it.

Every recording by the short-lived trumpeter Clifford Brown is worth exploring, including his three dates with singers Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and this CD reissue with Helen Merrill. Reissued as part of box sets headed by Brown and Merrill, the highly enjoyable Brown/Merrill sessions are also available as this single CD. Trumpeter Brown is joined by Danny Bank on baritone and flute, and a four-piece rhythm section including pianist Jimmy Jones and guitarist Barry Galbraith. Quincy Jones provided the arrangements. The music is essentially straight-ahead bop, yet the seven standards (which include "Don't Explain," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and "Falling in Love With Love") are uplifted by the presence of Merrill (in top form) and Brown. ~ Scott Yanowé

Helen Merrill (vocals)
Clifford Brown (trumpet)
Danny Bank (flute, baritone sax)
Jimmy Jones (piano)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Osie Johnson (ddrums)
Quincy Jones (arr, cond)

as above substituting
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Bobby Donaldson (drums)

1. Don't Explain
2. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
3. What's New?
4. Falling In Love With Love
5. Yesterdays
6. Born To Be Blue
7. 'S Wonderful

Fine Sound Studios, New York: December 22 and 24, 1954

Eliane Elias - Ilusions (1986)

Eliane Elias' debut as a leader (she had been a member of Steps Ahead) finds her abandoning the electric keyboards in favor of acoustic piano. On seven songs she is joined by bassist Eddie Gomez and either Al Foster or Steve Gadd on drums; the remaining two selections feature her accompanied by bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White. With harmonica great Toots Thielemans making guest appearances on two numbers, Elias was at the time easily the least-known of the players on her own CD. However the pianist was already far along toward developing her own sound as she shows on four originals, two obscurities, Herbie Hancock's "Chan's Song," Blossom Dearie's "Sweet Georgia Fame" and the standard "Falling in Love with Love." A fine start to a significant solo career. Scott Yanow

1- Choro (Amilton Godoy)
2- Through the fire (David Joster-Tom Keane)
3- Illusions (Eliane Elias)
4- Moments (Eliane Elias)
5- Falling in love with love (Rodgers-Hart)
6- Iberia (Eliane Elias)
7- Loco Motif (Eliane Elias)
8- Sweet Georgia Fame (Blossom Dearie)
9- Chan's Song (Herbie Hancock)

Personnel -
Eliane Elias (Piano)
Stanley Clarke (Acoustic & electric bass - 1,2)
Al Foster (Drums 4-6,8,9)
Steve Gadd (Drums 3,7)
Eddie Gomez (Bass 3-9)
Toots Thielemans (Harmonica 4,9)
Lenny White (Drums 1,2)

Ray Barretto - Ancestral Messages

Of all of the work Barretto has done since the end of the '70s, this one reveals a stunning and moving new direction in sound in general, and in Latin jazz in particular.
— Thom Jurek

LAME 3.98 vbr0 + scans

Rob McConnell - Present Perfect (1979)

This 1979 album has what is for me anyway, the most important elements of good big band jazz - great arrangements, great soloists, tight ensembles and it swings like mad!

The Boss Brass has always featured some of the finest jazz-oriented session players from Toronto, Canada. Valve trombonist Rob McConnell's swinging arrangements give the orchestra its own personality, as can be heard on this obscure Pausa LP, which was originally put out by the European MPS label. The band performs fresh versions of three swing-era standards (including "You Took Advantage of Me"), a lesser-known tune, and a couple of McConnell originals, including "The Waltz I Blew for You." The key soloists include trumpeters Guido Basso and Sam Noto, altoists Jerry Toth and Moe Koffman, Rick Wilkins and Eugene Amaro on tenors, guitarist Ed Bickert, and McConnell (who is featured on "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"). Worth searching for, as are virtually all of the recordings by this very consistent big band. - Scott Yanow

Rob McConnell (valve trombone, leader, arranger)
Arnie Chycoski, Erich Traugott, Guido Basso, Sam Noto, Dave Woods (trumpet)
Ian McDougall, Bob Livingston, Dave McMurdo, Ron Hughes (trombone)
Brad Warnaar, George Stimpson (french horn)
Moe Koffman (alto, soprano sax, flute, piccolo)
Jerry Toth (alto sax, clarinet, flute)
Eugene Amaro (tenor sax, clarinet, flute)
Rick Wilkins (tenor sax, clarinet)
Dave Caldwell (baritone sax, bass clarinet, flute)
Jimmy Dale (piano)
Ed Bickert (guitar)
Don Thompson (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums)
Marty Morell (percussion)
  1. You Took Advantage of Me
  2. Everything Happens to Me
  3. Twist of the Wrist
  4. The Waltz I Blew for You
  5. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
  6. Start With Mrs. Beanhart
Recorded in Toronto, October 29-31, 1979

Trio Beyond at the Vienne Jazz Festival 2006

A video of John Scofield, Larry Goldings on Hammond organ, and Jack DeJohnette at the 2006 Jazz Festival in Vienne, France. There are 12 parts, which expand into one mpeg-2 file, format 16-9 in PAL. The file can be authored to produce a .vob set for DVD burning, or converted to other formats with appropriate software. This took an age to upload, hope it will find a few takers. If so, I've quite a few more such videos I can share from time to time. Original satellite broadcast capture in .avi was compressed to mpeg-2 and AC-3 with TMPGEncoder.

George Russell Smalltet - The Jazz Workshop

A great classic, I was surprised not to find it here already. The original LP has a different cover illustration, but this CD reissue - now getting scarce - has two bonus tracks, alternate takes. Scott Yanow's review should convince you to DL this without delay. LAME3.98vbr0 + booklet scans@400.

This set, originally cut for RCA, was composer/arranger George Russell's debut as a leader. The original program (which includes such numbers as "Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub," "Livingstone I Presume," "Ezz-thetic" and "Knights of the Steamtable") has been joined by alternate second versions of "Ballad of Hix Blewitt" and "Concerto for Billy the Kid." Listening to the music, it is hard to believe that Russell only utilized a sextet (comprised of trumpeter Art Farmer, altoist Hal McKusick, guitarist Barry Galbraith, pianist Bill Evans, one of two bassists and one of three drummers). The ensembles are frequently dense, the harmonies quite original and there are often several events occurring at the same time; one would swear there were at least four or five horns being heard in spots. "Fellow Delegates" is particularly intriguing for it finds Russell playing chromatic drums while joined by Osie Johnson on wood drums; the otherwordly effect is worthy of Sun Ra. Even the more conventional pieces such as "Ezz-thetic" (based on the chords of "Love for Sale" but here almost resembling a Lennie Tristano line played backwards) sound quite advanced. Russell was able to utilize some of the more versatile and technically skilled players of the era, several of whom worked regularly in the studios. Recommended.
— Scott Yanow

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Art Blakey - Mosaic

This is the one that started it: Mosaic, recorded in 1961, was the first recording of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as a quintet, a setting he kept from 1961-1964. The band's front line was trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller, and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter; Cedar Walton played piano and Jymie Merritt (a criminally underappreciated talent) was the bassist. Everything on this set was written by the musicians in the band. Walton wrote the burning title track; its blazing tempo and Eastern modes were uncharacteristic of the Jazz Messengers sound, but it swings like mad. Hubbard contributed two pieces to the album, the first of which is the groover "Down Under," with its blues gospel feel. The bandmembers dig their teeth into this one, carrying the blues theme to the breaking point as Hubbard fills in between. But the horn charts are so sharp, so utterly devoid of excess, that they won't let the listener go. Shorter's "Children of the Night" is a fine example of the tunes he would compose for the Miles Davis Quintet a bit later. While it's a hard bop swinger to be sure, his use of modality and counterpoint between the soloist and the front line is exemplary and his solo bites hard and fast as he tears up and down the registers of the horn. Fuller's "Arabia" is a basic blues groover, and the playing is inspired throughout. The disc closes with Hubbard's "Crisis," which opens with Merritt and Blakey ushering in the rest of the band. Walton first plays a repetitive minor-key riff. When the horns enter, Walton keeps the theme, Merritt moves over a bit to dig in between the lines, and Blakey keeps it all anchored because in this tune rhythm is everything. Hubbard was in many ways a soul-jazz composer before there was such a thing, and the motifs in this tune prove it -- as does his beautiful blowing in his solo. This is a fine recording and should be owned by any Blakey fan. The Rudy Van Gelder reissue came out in 2006 and, amazingly, features no bonus material. Recorded in one day in October of 1960, the band recorded nothing extra -- and there were no alternate takes! The sound, as on all the Van Gelder reissues, is painstakingly wonderful. ~ Thom Jurek

Art Blakey (drums)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Jymie Merritt (bass)

1. Mosaic
2. Down Under
3. Children Of The Night
4. Arabia
5. Crisis

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: October 2, 1961

Adam Makowicz - Naughty Baby (1987)

Adam Makowicz made a strong impression when he first came to the U.S. and at the time, he was often compared to Art Tatum. Although his technique is nearly on Tatum's level, Makowicz has long had his own style, mixing together different aspects of jazz, ranging from swing to hard bop. He started playing jazz in the late '50s and with Tomasz Stanko formed one of the first European free jazz groups, the Jazz Darings. He led his own groups in Warsaw from 1965 on and in 1970 played electric piano in Michal Urbaniak's band. Makowicz also worked with Urszula Dudziak and recorded several albums in Poland before coming to the United States in 1977. Although the initial publicity (when he was championed by John Hammond) has long since died down, Makowicz has, if anything, continued to improve as a pianist. He has recorded many records as a leader for such labels as Columbia, Stash, Choice, Sheffield Lab, Novus, and Concord.

The most unusual aspect of this typically exciting recital by Adam Makowicz is that on six of the 11 songs, the pianist is joined by two bassists, Dave Holland and Charlie Haden. Drummer Al Foster completes the group, and Haden is the only bassist on the remaining selections. Makowicz explores 11 George Gershwin songs, including "They All Laughed," "Prelude #2," "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Rhapsody In Blue." Although he shows great respect for the melodies, the pianist does come up with some fresh variations, even on the warhorses. - Scott Yanow

Adam Makowicz (piano)
Charlie Haden, Dave Holland (bass)
Al Foster (drums)
  1. Somebody Loves Me
  2. They All Laughed
  3. Prelude 2
  4. Maybe
  5. Fascinating Rhythm
  6. Naughty Baby
  7. Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess
  8. Embraceable You
  9. Rhapsody in Blue
  10. My Man's Gone Now
  11. Summertime
Recorded June 25-27, 1987

Monday, August 4, 2008


A couple of guys you've seen listed together many times - here, recently, in the Lee Morgan post for one example. Here they are in the leaders seat - and dig their sidemen!

Reggie Workman - Cerebral Caverns

Incorporating his straight-ahead and free jazz influences with both his classical and his Eastern music sensitivities, maestro Reggie Workman has taken the next exciting step beyond Summit Conference fast forward into the musical future. To a heady mix of traditional jazz instrumentation, he has added the texture and flavors of harp, tablas, and electronics. By varying the combination of players from piece to piece, Workman has produced a kaleidoscope of differing textures on Cerebral Caverns, using this broad and changing palette to create a compelling disc which never fails to rivet the listener's attention.

Down Beat (1/96, p.40) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...Workman...explores a world apart from any genre's idioms....this entire team of spelunkers digs where we've seldom gone before, flooding dark chambers with their flashes of brilliance. What Workman brings to light on Cerebral Caverns is fantastically rare and rewards repeated listening."

Reggie Workman (bass)
Sam Rivers (tenor, soprano sax, flute)
Geri Allen (piano)
Julian Priester (trombone)
Elizabeth Panzer (harp)
Al Foster (drums)
Gerry Hemingway (drums)
Tapan Modak (tablas)

1. Cerebral Caverns
2. What's In Your Hand
3. Fast Forward
4. Ballad Explorations I
5. Half of My Soul (Tristan's Love Theme)
6. Eastern Persuasion
7. Evolution
8. Seasonal Elements (Spring-Summer-Fall-Winter)

Billy Higgins - Billy Higgins Quintet

Although Billy Higgins appeared on literally hundreds of sessions as a sideman, the famous drummer didn't record nearly as many albums under his own name. One of the albums he provided in the 1990s was Billy Higgins Quintet, which was recorded in 1993 but didn't come out in the U.S. until 1997. This time, Higgins is in the driver's seat, leading a cohesive post-bop/hard bop quintet that boasts Harold Land on tenor sax, Oscar Brashear on trumpet, Cedar Walton on piano, and David Williams on bass. Land, Brashear, and Walton all have their share of inspired solos, and the swinging Higgins brings out the best in his colleagues on well-known jazz standards like Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" and Thelonious Monk's "Jackie-ing," as well as original pieces by Brashear ("Seeker," "Churn"), Walton (&"The Vision"), and Land ("Step Right Up to the Bottom"). A very busy L.A. session player, Brashear has appeared on countless R&B and jazz-funk dates. But the passionate trumpeter is also quite capable of playing straight-ahead acoustic jazz, which is exactly what he does on this release. Brashear has a big, fat, highly appealing tone -- one that owes a lot to Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan -- and it is nice to hear him in an acoustic hard bop/post-bop setting. In fact, Brashear's solos on this album explode the silly myth that a jazz musician is destined to lose his ability to play straight-ahead bop and post-bop if he accepts too many commercial R&B gigs. Higgins made a very wise move when he hired Brashear to play on this fine album, which is without a dull moment. ~ Alex Henderson

Billy Higgins (drums)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
David Williams (bass)

1. Step Right Up To The Bottom
2. Seeker
3. The Vision
4. Hot House
5. You Must Believe In Spring
6. Jackie-Ing
7. Churn

Recorded at The Power Station, New York, New York on April 18, 1993

George Adams and Dannie Richmond - Hand To Hand

Adams and Richmond bring together another collection of Mingus alumni with "Hand in Hand," a satisfying, straight-ahead effort keyed by solid compositions, arrangements and imaginative playing .... Mingus's influence shows most clearly on Adams's "Tamani's Passion," which includes plenty of shifting rhythms and breathing spaces that recall the great composer and musician's style. Pianist Hugh Lawson contributes a fine lyrical solo on this tune.

Lawson the composer contributes the driving "Joobubie," which ends the set. The tune begins with a haunting bass drone from (Mike Richmond), who then sketches a musical figure that Lawson picks up. (Mike Richmond's) bass is a powerful presence on this tune.

Lawson's "The Cloocker" and Richmond's Latin-flavored "For Dee J." are both high-spirited tunes that allow plenty of room for Adams to unleash his energy. On "The Cloocker" he characteristically takes his alto for a flight into the upper registers; on "For Dee J." we get a nice sampling of his tasteful flute. (Mike Richmond) contributes some nice rapid fire bass notes in the upper register of "For Dee J."

It's also a treat to hear the superb trombone work of Jimmy Knepper, a Mingus favorite and another musician not heard from nearly enough. His solos are immaculately constructed, his tone is rich and full and he never seems to run out of ideas.

George Adams (tenor sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Hugh Lawson (piano)
Mike Richmond (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. The Cloocker
2. Yamani's Passion
3. For Dee J.
4. Joobubie

Ran Blake and Anthony Braxton - A Memory Of Vienna

It seems as though we have used up 97% of the space Blogger allows for images. Looks like the writing is on the wall for this blog: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin y'all.

Might not be a bad name for a new blog.

There has been an ongoing discussion here about, for lack of a universally accepted term, free music; free jazz. And one of the points touched on was how versed are some of avant's proponents. Anybody who has seen the nude male figure that Picasso drew for admission to the Llotja will not only admire his academicism, but it gives weight to his later work: he was supremely able to portray things in traditional terms, so his later work with spatial relationships seem like a next step, not merely a whim or dilettantish experiment.

So it is, for me, with "outside" players when they do standard works. It reassures me that they are familiar and respectful of the tradition they come out of, but it also gives me a handle, a tool, to find out what they're otherwise trying to do. Braxton has done a number of things along these lines, and I find it endearing that when they had a little time to knock something together, they did just these tunes. Thom Jurek, take it away!!!! (P.S. Thom, Haven Gillespie wrote You Go To My Head, not Dizzy)

"This program of jazz standards and classics was the product of a two-and-a-half-hour completely unplanned session that happened as a result of Franz Koglmann's Pipetet finishing an album project a few hours early. Blake and Braxton had not played together for ten years -- since Blake's Rapport album in 1978. Art Lange, the session's producer, got the pair to find a number of tunes they wanted to play in common, noted the keys each tune was to be played in, and let them go. The result: eight gloriously recorded, wonderfully executed, and soulfully played duets that cover all kinds of territory, from a gorgeously reverential and understated version of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" to a stunning agile "Yardbird Suite," to Dizzy Gillespie's "You Got to My Head," played with just enough smoke to keep from igniting a full-fledged emotional fire. The themes are stated so seductively on the alto and Blake's large, whispering, chorded harmony, you could forget Braxton is the horn player and feel if you were in a movie theater in the 1930s. But if this isn't enough, you also get Mal Waldron's sultry "Soul Eyes" and Miles Davis' "Four," played by Braxton with all the dexterity Sonny Rollins did originally. This pair, despite the quirky nature of Blake's off-kilter harmonizing (which is very lyrical), know how to swing together, taking great care not to get in the way of the tunes they're playing. This is as understated and "mellow" as you will ever hear these two players. However, it also may be the first time you hear what sensitive listeners and interpretive masters they can be with the jazz canon." ~ Thom "Dizzy" Jurek

Ran Blake (piano)
Anthony Braxton (alto sax)

1. 'Round Midnight
2. Yardbird Suite
3. You Go To My Head
4. Just Friends
5. Alone Together
6. Four
7. Soul Eyes
8. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

Art Tatum - 20th Century Piano Genius (1950-1955)

Imagine you were in the habit of having friends over occasionally, and that another friend was always willing to entertain on the piano. Then imagine if that friend were Art Tatum.

" For Art Tatum, the piano was a veritable playground, a forum for endless invention. His supreme command of the instrument and his unparalleled sense of timing and touch allowed him to seemingly accomplish whatever he wished. Songs were puzzles to be dismantled and reassembled; melody, harmony, and rhythm were merely variables in the never-ending creation process. This two-CD set collects all of the recordings Tatum made at two private parties hosted by Warner Bros. musical director Ray Heindorf; the bulk of the material comes from July 1955, the remainder is from April 1950. All of the trademark Tatum elements are here: the grand melodic flourishes, the harmonic magic tricks, the flirtations with various tempos and musical styles. But what also emerges is Tatum's effervescence, his joy, and his humor. He seems to celebrate and mock these timeless melodies all at once. Is that "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" hiding in "Body and Soul"? The results are always compelling and almost always thrilling to hear. You can hear his friends gasp and chuckle along with music, and you will too." - Marc Greilsamer

"Ladies and gentlemen, I just play piano. Now God is in the house." - Fats Waller (said upon Tatum's entering the room.)

"I am floored by the piano playing of the late Art Tatum. I just can't get enough of his records." - Misha Dichter

"I couldn't carry Art Tatum's shit bucket" - Ray Charles

Count Basie - The Complete Atomic Basie

The Complete Atomic Basie
Roulette Jazz
+ bonus tracks

Sunday, August 3, 2008

a few from somebody else's collection

not my regular, but the benson cookbook is solid as hell, the claudine soundtrack is written and handled by curtis mayfield, and some of the earlier gladys is pretty hard. check into it.

a few gathering dust

need to get these out to my peeps. bave bailey sextet "gettin' into something", taj mahal "natch'l blues", george freeman "new and improved funk", bayate todd cochran "worlds aroud the sun", miles davis with gil evans, "quiet nights".

good material.

a few from the archives

so here we have a few that've been laying around. ray barretto "eye of the beholder", big black "if you're digging what you're doing...", bernard purdie "shaft", the brothers johnson " right on time", and the meters "struttin'". some good stuff in here so dig into it.

Otis Spann - Walking The Blues

Walking the Blues is arguably the finest record Otis Spann ever cut, boasting 11 cuts of astounding blues piano. On several numbers, Spann is supported by guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood and their interaction is sympathetic, warm, and utterly inviting. Spann relies on originals here, from "Half Ain't Been Told" to "Walking the Blues," but he also throws in a few standards ("Goin' Down Slow," "My Home Is in the Delta") that help draw a fuller portrait of his musicianship. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Walking the Blues simply sounds great -- it's some of the finest blues piano you'll ever hear. ~ Thom Owen

Otis Spann (piano)
Robert Lockwood, Jr. (guitar)
James Oden (vocal)

1. It Must Have Been The Devil
2. Otis Blues
3. Going Down Slow
4. Half Ain't Been Told
5. Monkey Face Woman
6. This Is The Blues
7. Evil Ways
8. Come Day, Go Day (Take 2)
9. Walking The Blues
10. Bad Condition
11. My Home Is In The Delta

Recorded at Fine Studios, New York, New York on August 23, 1960

Herbie Mann - Just Wailin'

One of the better things I've heard from Mann as a leader. He participates as one of an ensemble; I don't know if he was shirtless, however.

"Just Wailin' is Mann at his best. The rhythm section and the choice of front-line partners gave him exactly the balance between rhythmic toughness and melodic delicacy that he needed, enough instrumental chiaroscuro and a bag of blowin stave off any risk of pale whimsy. Arthur taylor is the key man on this session, throwing out ringing accents and dark bass figures, pattering away at the melody and conjuring up a whole chain of islands on the lovely "Trinidad". The CD sound is very good indeed, with plenty of definition in the rhythm section and with no hint of distortion on Mann's horn." ~ Penguin Guide

This CD reissue of an earlier Prestige LP emphasizes (but does not stick exclusively to) the blues. The sextet has impressive players in flutist Herbie Mann, Charlie Rouse on tenor, guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist George Joyner and drummer Art Taylor. The material (originals by Waldron, Burrell and Calvin Massey, in addition to a brief "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid") is reasonably challenging...The straight-ahead jam session has its strong moments, and as long as one doesn't let their expectations get out of hand, the music will be enjoyable despite the lack of wild sparks. ~ Scott Yanow

Herbie Mann (flute)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
George Joyner (bass
Art Taylor (drums)

1. Minor Groove
2. Blue Echo
3. Blue Dip
4. Gospel Truth
5. Jumpin' With Symphony Sid
6. Trinidad

Hackensack: February 14, 1958

Horace Tapscott and Sonny Simmons - Among Friends

Pianist Horace Tapscott did not record enough during his lifetime, so the release of this live CD from a French label is a welcome event. Tapscott is teamed in 1995 with altoist Sonny Simmons, bassist James Lewis, and drummer John Betsch. The quartet performs a brief "Milestones" and lengthy versions of "Body and Soul," "So What," and "Caravan" (which is over 20 minutes long). Tapscott is typically original and in excellent form while Simmons is a little more erratic, taking a little time to get going. Due to the historic nature of the Tapscott-Simmons collaboration and the high level that the pianist plays, this obscure CD is a must. ~ Scott Yanow

Horace Tapscott (piano)
Sonny Simmons (alto sax)
James Lewis (bass)
John Betsch (drums)

1. Milestones
2. Body And Soul
3. So What
4. Caravan

Sonet Sunday

Barney Kessel and Red Mitchell - Two Way Conversation

A few titles from the Swedish Sonet label will be featured on several upcoming Sundays.

Sonet is one of those small labels that are worth a second look. The graphics (the covers, anyway) are terrible, but the musicians and the recordings are quite good. A history of the company by Samuel Charters is part of the notes, and is included in the Comments section.

Kessel and Mitchell were long associates, and when Kessel was in Scandinavia as part of a European tour, it was proposed he record with Mitchell, who had moved to Sweden some years before. These were studio recordings that came between several appearances made at Mitchell's home club in Stockholm.

Some of the artists that Sonet managed to record are pretty big league; they'll be coming up.

Here's Dusty Groove losin' their minds again: "A warm reunion of two legendary west coast players from the 50s -- recorded in Sweden in the 70s, in a style that seems to bring out new talents from both of them! The setting is extremely spare, with only Barney's guitar and Red's bass in the studio -- blending electric and acoustic strings together wonderfully, in a sweetly swinging style awash in chromatic hues and mellow tones. The sound is incredibly gentle -- as much about sound in space as it is about jazz -- with a feel that almost recalls the best work of the time by Jim Hall."

Barney Kessel (guitar)
Red Mitchell (bass)

1. Two Way Conversation
2. Walkin 'And Talkin'
3. Summertime
4. Wave
5. I'm On My Way
6. Alone Again, Naturally
7. Killing Me Softly With His Song
8. Wave (alt)
9. I'm On My Way (alt)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Billy Harper - Soul Of An Angel

There was a time when record producers were happy with stereo sound, or 20 bit mapping, but the Producer of this CD tells us that "The music at this recording session transcended the dimensions of time and space, attaining true synchronicity." I'll have whatever he's having.

That Billy Harper's tenor saxophone is one of the most distinctive voices in modern jazz is a given. His rich, sonorous post-Coltrane sound is only rivaled by David Murray, and his depth of passionate discourse is matched by no other current day peer. He is also one of the few musician/composer/bandleaders to sport a longtime working ensemble, comprising trumpeter Dr. Eddie Henderson, pianist Francesca Tanksley, bassist Clarence Seay, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. The music on this recording has religious or spiritual subtexts but not at the expense at the power and glory of what is essentially a style that only Harper possesses: literate, majestic, swelling, heavy, expansive and extensive, slightly on the edge, swinging, and always thoroughly visceral. A slow, serene trumpet solo and powerhouse free tenor starts the 13 1/2 minute "Thine Is the Glory," a prelude for 4/4, modal, soulful swing, the leader establishing his vaunted heat and might from the beginning, free coda and slight return to the melody. Tanksley's pianistics are as lyrical as any à la McCoy Tyner. A 6/8 rhythm buoys short, clipped phrases in "Credence" informing lustrous harmonic lines, while the similarly 6/8-paced "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is more lilting and all Billy Harper. Clarion, bluesy 2/4 shouting stacatto horns joined by John Clark's singing French horn identifies "Let All the Voices Sing" while a steady, patient waltz pattern similar to "Priestess" on the title cut places Harper in a position where he's tempted to double the time on his solo, but he doesn't. Tanksley's bright, stunningly beautiful modernity and original ideas are quite prevalent prior to a Seay solo with Harper supporting in supple mode then surging ahead with Baker. "Was It Here... Is It There?" is simply an out-and-out hard bopper reminiscent of the Hank Mobley-Lee Morgan combine with Harper and Henderson in perfect union. This is a Rock of Gibraltar solid CD, ranking amongst Harper's very best efforts, leaving nothing on the table, and cementing his status as an admirable figure and one of the very best performers, improvisers, and pure players in the idiom. Highly recommended without reservation, and a strong candidate for Jazz CD of Y2K. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Billy Harper (tenor sax)
Eddie Henderson (trumpet)
Francesca Tanksley (piano)
John Clark (French horn)
Clarence Seay (bass)
Newman Taylor Baker (drums)

1. Thine Is the Glory
2. Credence
3. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
4. Let All the Voices Sing
5. Soul of an Angel
6. Was It Here...Is It There?

Recorded at RPM Studio, New York, New York on December 1-2, 1999

Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer - Previously Unreleased Recordings (1962)

Recorded live at the Half Note, NYC in 1962, two years before their first studio sessions, this LP still hasn't been reissued on CD. Cover scans and liner notes courtesy of Costa Productions and thanks to Ubu for the link to their website!

This obscure LP released in 1973 reveals previously unknown performances from the Clark Terry-Bob Brookmeyer quintet, a very likable unit of the period. Terry's flugelhorn and Brookmeyer's valve trombone blended together very well, they both had hard-swinging but witty styles, and their ensemble work was frequently exciting. With the fine support of pianist Eddie Costa (in one of his last sessions), bassist Joe Benjamin, and drummer Osie Johnson, Terry and Brookmeyer perform two originals, "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" and "Stolen Moments"; the four renditions clock in between eight-and-a-half and 12 minutes. Excellent music, but this album will be difficult to find. - Scott Yanow

Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Eddie Costa (piano)
Joe Benjamin (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)
  1. Simple Waltz
  2. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
  3. Manuscript
  4. Stolen Moments

Art Farmer - Something To Live For

Or, more accurately, Something To Live For: The Music Of Billy Strayhorn.

It's not hard to tell that I'm an Art Farmer fan. I've never heard a bad album from him yet. He's not the guy you go to to hear pyrotechnics and things that will make you gasp - although he'll sometimes let it rip - , but there will be many times he'll stop you in your tracks with some remarkable, intelligent, and restrainedly passionate passages. And the music of Billy Strayhorn demands nothing less.

This very logical set is a real gem. The lyrical flügelhornist Art Farmer and his quintet (which consists of tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, pianist James Williams, bassist Rufus Reid, and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith) interpret seven of Billy Strayhorn's compositions. Highlights include "Isfahan," "Johnny Come Lately," "Raincheck," and the title cut. Farmer brings the right combination of sensitivity, swing, respect for the melody, and creativity to these renditions and the results are quite memorable. Scott Yanow

SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR focuses on the music of Billy Strayhorn, a jazz composer who was principally known for his collaborations with Duke Ellington. Flugelhorn player Art Farmer and company leave off Strayhorn's most famous piece, "Take the 'A' Train," but perform memorable renditions of other fine Strayhorn compositions, including "Johnny Come Lately" and "Isfahan," the latter of which was co-written by Ellington. The title track contains a haunting melody characteristic of Strayhorn's darker side, but Farmer's group gradually shifts from the melancholic to the upbeat as drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith jumps into a double-time rhythm during the solos.

The CD reissue of this 1987 release includes a bonus track of Strayhorn's wistful ballad "Daydream." Overall, Farmer and his ensemble are in fine form on this album, and their playing straddles the line between bebop and "cool" jazz. This is no surprise since, charmingly, Farmer never really did subscribe to any particular school of playing.

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Clifford Jordan (tenor sax)
James Williams (piano)
Rufus Reid (bass)
Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums)

1. Isfahan
2. Blood Count
3. Johnny Come Lately
4. Something To Live For
5. Upper Manhattan Medical Group
6. Rain Check
7. Day Dream

Recorded at Secret Sound Studios, New York, New York on January 14-15, 1987

The Complete Argo/Mercury Art Farmer/Benny Golson/Jazztet Sessions

"The three years of music in this collection represent one peak in two exceptional jazz careers. Art Farmer enjoyed, and Benny Golson still enjoys, varied and lengthy lives as musicians, with several triumphs as soloists and, in Golson’s case, composer/arranger. As a team, they left a recorded trail of their collaborations that spans four decades, yet the pinnacle of that association was clearly the sextet they co-led under the name the Jazztet." - Bob Blumenthal, liner notes

The seven CDs in Mosaic’s set include not only all the Jazztet recordings from 1960 to 1962, but concurrent sessions led by Golson or Farmer that rank among their greatest recordings– quartets, a Golson tentet and an Art Farmer Orchestra date. Key sidemen include Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Tommy Flanagan, Ron Carter, Arthur Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Albert “Tootie” Heath, and many, many others.

Our exclusive booklet includes an essay and track-by-track analysis by Bob Blumenthal, a complete discography of this set, and rare photographs by from the actual sessions by Chuck Stewart.

" This set encompasses the Argo and Mercury sessions by Art Farmer and Benny Golson separately and as co-leaders of The Jazztet. In terms of repertoire and sidemen, they are all one inter-related body of work. For musical compatibility, we have programmed the set by group. The first four discs cover the original Jazztet’s entire output. Disc five contains both of Art Farmer’s quartet sessions for Argo. Disc six contains Benny Golson’s quartet sessions, made within eight weeks of each other, but for different labels. The final disc is given over to two very different ensemble albums. "

Art Farmer - To Sweden With Love

Art Farmer was up to a lot of interesting stuff. I was reading recently in the TLS that he worked with Edgard Varese, and I am fascinated by what that might have been all about. Now that Varese's papers have been bought by a famous Swiss library it will no doubt come out in the fullness of time. But here Farmer has a session from 1964 that uses Swedish folk melodies as starting points for jazz improvisation, and it is well worth checking out.

His stablemates here are solid American jazz players, as opposed to his A Sleeping Bee album, which utilised Swedish players.

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Jim Hall (guitar)
Steve Swallow (bass)
Pete La Roca (drums)

1. Va Da Du? (Was It You?)
2. De Salde Sina Hemman (They Sold Their Homestead)
3. Den Motstravige Brudgummen (The Reluctant Groom)
4. Och Hor Du Unga Dora (And Listen Young Dora)
5. Kristallen Den Fina (The Fine Crystal)
6. Visa Vid Midsommartid ( Midsummer Song)

Roland Kirk - Kirk In Copenhagen

In addition to being Roland Kirk's first live long-player, the breakthrough Kirk in Copenhagen was his fifth in a little over two years during his particularly prolific relationship with Mercury Records. On this 1964 release, Kirk heads up a truly integrated quintet featuring the multi-reedsmith (tenor sax, flute, manzello, strich, nose flute, and siren) as well as Tete Montoliu (piano) from Spain, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass) from Denmark, and a pair of Yanks in Don Moore (bass) and J.C. Moses (drums). The dementedly humorous blues workout on "The Monkey Thing" features a character by the name of Big Skol (mouth harp) -- whose true identity is none other than Sonny Boy Williamson. It is presumed that contractual or other potentially litigious circumstances prevented the blues legend from being properly credited at the time of this LP's initial release. Although somewhat ragtag in derivation, the combo quickly finds its sonic niche. The opener, "Narrow Bolero," audibly suffers from a rhythmically disoriented Moses, whose sloppy skins and decidedly uneven timing are brutally evident on occasion. Thankfully, he quickly smartens up and his contributions -- especially to "Cabin in the Sky" -- are both engaging and active in their solidification of the rhythm section. Nowhere is Moses more in control than the set's brilliant conclusion, "On the Corner of King and Scott Streets." The band commences and concludes with an open throttle as it blazes through the high-velocity and densely intricate jam, the bottom of which falls out, providing Kirk plenty of space to improvise wildly, utilizing his clever wit and immensely expressive musicality. The ten-CD Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings of Roland Kirk box set from 1990 embellishes the half-dozen performances included on this album with an additional ten sides. Ultimately, this yields over an hour and 45 minutes of primal live Kirk, and is considered by many enthusiasts as worthy of the nominal investment needed to acquire the otherwise essential and definitively comprehensive compilation. Kirk in Copenhagen was reissued on CD as part of Verve's classic reissue program in a limited edition with beautifully remastered sound in a digipack replica of the original LP sleeve. There is no bonus material on this reissue. ~ Lindsay Planer and Thom Jurek

Roland Kirk (tenor sax, flute, manzelloo, stritch, other)
Sonny Boy Williamson (harmonica)
Tete Montoliu (piano)
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass)
Don Moore (bass)
J.C. Moses (drums)

1. Narrow Bolero
2. Mingus-Griff Song
3. The Monkey Thing
4. Mood Indigo
5. Cabin In The Sky
6. On The Corner Of King And Scott Streets

"Club Monmartre", Copenhagen, Denmark, October, 1963

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rob McConnell - Boss Brass & Woods (1985)

This CD was first released in 1987 and has been out of print for quite awhile. Whether you like big bands or not, this is just great music period.

Rob McConnell's 22-piece Boss Brass welcomes alto great Phil Woods to four of the eight selections on this release, including a remake of Woods' famous feature with Quincy Jones, "Quintessence"; the altoist also tears into "Out of Nowhere." McConnell's swinging arrangements are full of subtle creativity, as shown during fresh versions of "If Dreams Come True" and "Jive At Five," and there are some excellent solos by trumpeter Guido Basso, Rick Wilkins on tenor, and guitarist Ed Bickert, providing two additional reasons to search for this memorable set. - Scott Yanow

Rob McConnell (valve trombone, arranger)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Moe Koffman, Jerry Toth, Eugene Amaro, Rick Wilkins, Bob Leonard (reeds)
Arnie Chycoski, Erich Traugott, Guido Basso, Dave Woods, John MacLeod (trumpet)
Ian McDougall, Bob Livingston, Dave McMurdo, Ron Hughes (trombone)
George Stimpson, James MacDonald (french horn)
Jimmy Dale (piano)
Ed Bickert (guitar)
Steve Wallace (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums)
Brian Leonard (percussion)
  1. Out of Nowhere
  2. Greenhouse
  3. Quintessence
  4. If Dreams Come True
  5. Stereo Blue
  6. Just One of Those Things
  7. Traditional Piece
  8. Jive at Five
Recorded March 11-12, 1985

Dave Bailey Quintet/Sextet - The Complete 1 & 2 Feet in the Gutter Sessions

This compilation from Lonehill includes three complete albums by Dave Bailey. Bailey who played drums with many, many a famous jazz musician, and recorded a few albums as a leader, has had a bit of bad luck in the CD age: several of his albums came out as by Grant Green ("Reaching Out", from which the bonus tracks on disc 2 are taken) or Kenny Dorham ("Osmosis") and Tommy Flanagan ("Trio & Sextet" - the same album as "Osmosis").

This package features two sextet albums with Curtis Fuller, Clark Terry, Horace Parlan and Charlie Rouse or Junior Cook, and a quintet album with Bill Hardman and the great Frank Haynes.
Three mighty fine bands in lose settings, studio jams (with invited audience), as well as good and groovy tunes like Clifford Brown's "Brownie SPeaks" and "Sandu", Ben Tucker's "Comin' Home Baby", plus a few originals by Rudy Stevenson.

Here's the complete info:

Lee Morgan - Infinity

Art from the LP configuration, but the rip is from the Connoisseur CD release.

Although recorded in 1965, this excellent Lee Morgan Quintet session (which features the trumpeter with altoist Jackie McLean, pianist Larry Willis, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Billy Higgins) was not released until 1980 and quickly went out of print until this 1998 CD reissue. It has deserved much better fate. The music (four Morgan and one McLean originals), even while being tied to the hard bop tradition, is challenging and (with the exception of the closing uptempo blues "Zip Code") quite tricky; really inspiring the talented players. An underrated gem. ~ Scott Yanow

Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Larry Willis (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. Infinity
2. Miss Nettie B.
3. Growing Pains
4. Portrait Of Doll
5. Zip Code

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: November 16, 1965

Robert Pete Williams- 'when a man takes the blues' 1970

“Other blues musicians created wonderful bodies of work; Robert Pete Williams created a whole musical world. The more one listens to his music, the more deeply one is drawn into his unique vision. The dark, fluid voice and directly powerful lyrical imagery build with studied intensity. The guitar accompaniments, which often stay within one chord through a whole song, are like nothing else in blues, though they share characteristics with the playing of John Lee Hooker and the Malian Ali Farka Toure. Williams was `discovered' in the Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana in 1959. He played music derived from the field holler tradition and, by extension, is closely tied to African roots. His songs were usually improvised, unrhymed and in no particular metric pattern, and his guitar tended to function as a rough second voice. Thus, he was hailed as the embodiment of a mythic proto-blues that died before the age of recording. In fact, far from being a primitive, Williams had learned much of his craft from mainstream records. However, in his late 20s he abandoned the standard forms for his own idiosyncratic flights. He hewed closely to the old holler tradition, but not because he was unschooled in contemporary blues styles. His most personal musical excursions often include riffs and lines borrowed from the mainstream and when he wants to play a straight, rhymed blues, as on `Louise,' he can do it brilliantly. These two CDs include Williams's greatest work.`Pardon Denied Again' is one of the early prison recordings, a painfully direct meditation. At the other extreme, `Wife and Farm Blues' finds him singing about the troubles of farming while a woman partner humorously ribs and contradicts him, his straight lines feeding her humor. A final monologue includes his own story of the circumstances that led to his incarceration. Half the tracks are previously unreleased, and they are full of unexpected pleasures. Many are religious numbers, a previously undocumented side of William's work. Other singers turned to hymns and gospel numbers when they sang Christian material, but Williams' religious and secular songs are musically indistinguishable from one another, using the same modal structure and free lyrical improvisation. If you have never heard this music, there is no way to describe it. Williams was a one-of-a-kind genius who bred no imitators. These CDs are his legacy, and they are among the masterpieces of American music.”
"pure magic isnt it ..i couldnt believe my luck when i first heard him.. this music saves my life on a daily basis... id have slashed my wrists long ago if i hadnt heard williams voice call me back from the brink of self extinction"
"Unvarnished, unfiltered honesty like this seems to operate gut-to-gut, no mental intermediation needed and no self-conscious posturing to wade through. It doesn't matter so much what the verbal message is. It's the connection with the wellspring of life that's so powerful. "

Tal Farlow - Complete 1956 Private Recordings

Here's a beautiful set from the Spaniards, complementing the still available Tal Farlow Mosaic collection, which holds several fine studio albums pairing the great guitarist with pianist/vibist Eddie Costa. A pairing made in heaven!

"I like Tal's playing because it contains both facility and ideas, whereas many good players possessed either one or the other but not both in equal measure." - Jimmy Raney (from the liner notes)

Here's Thom Jurek's review from AMG:

Definitive Records from Spain has been issuing very exciting re-releases and unusual items for years now, but in 2002 they picked up the pace with a series of recordings that had not been seen on U.S. shores on compact disc before. This double CD was issued as two separate albums on the Xanadu label under the titles Fuerst Set and Second Set -- the man who recorded them was jazz enthusiast Ed Fuerst. While the sound here is in mono, and a tad distorted because it wasn't recorded in a studio but in a New York City apartment, the performance of this trio of Farlow with pianist Eddie Costa and bassist Vinnie Burke is among the finest items ever released in his catalog and reveals more than his recordings with Hank Jones and Oscar Pettiford the following year. The program is a varied one -- Duke Jordan's skippy yet funky "Jordu," Rodgers & Hart's "Have You Met Miss Jones," Horace Silver's "Opus de Funk," the Johnny Mercer nugget "I'll Remember You," a nine-minute turnaround romp on "I'll Remember April," and a nearly 11-minute version of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It." Of course, Farlow and Costa were not so interested in moving these tunes in a direction that mirrored themselves as songs, but rather as vehicles for stretching, and in many of the cases here completely reinventing harmonic structures. The middle section of Jordan's "Jordu" gets choppy and swirly and goes from minor to major to minor ninth and back again, turning on a dime with Farlow's driven arpeggio scales splitting both harmony and melody apart and exchanging them. Burke's drumming is amazing for its alacrity and verve in keeping a session this adventurous on track. There are many Tal Farlow Trio recordings with a host of musicians, many of them great, but these sessions tie the seam that marries both the hard swinging plectrum style of Charlie Christian to the harmonic and rhythmic mind of Charlie Parker. These recordings are simply amazing and belong in every guitar jazz library.

While I don't agree at all with his assessment of the exciting-ness and even less unusual-ness of Definitive's reissues, I fully agree with his final judgement of the music contained in this release. It falls in the middle of Farlow's finest period and is indeed amazing!

Tal Farlow (g), Eddie Costa (p), Vinnie Burke (b), Gene Williams (voc on CD1 #3)

New York City, December 18, 1956

1. Jordu (Duke Jordan)
2. Have You Met Miss Jones (Rodgers-Hart)
3. Out of Nowhere (Green-Heyman)
4. Opus de Funk (Horace Silver)

1. All the Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein)
2. I Remember You (Mercer-Schertzinger)
3. Yesterdays (Kern-Harbach)
4. Let's Do It (Cole Porter)

"Every note has an origin and a destination." - Tal Farlow (from the liner notes)