Monday, August 31, 2009

Oscar Pettiford - Deep Passion

Two former LPs by big bands led by bassist Oscar Pettiford (who doubles on cello) are reissued in full on this single CD. The arrangements by Gigi Gryce, Lucky Thompson, and Benny Golson feature a lot of concise solos, an inventive use of the harp (either by Janet Putnam or Betty Glamann), and colorful ensembles. Among the many soloists are trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonists Jimmy Cleveland and Al Grey, the French horn of Julius Watkins, the tenors of Thompson or Golson, and the bassist-leader. This formerly rare music is highly recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans, for it is full of fresh material and subtle surprises. ~ Scott Yanow

Well, I can only say this about one CD, and this is it. The Oscar Pettiford Orchestra has it happening on so many levels - improvising, composing, ensemble playing, orchestration + arranging, recording quality, etc. It's the best music I've ever heard in my life. And I've heard a lot of music.

It's rare combination of a mid-size big band with added colors of two french horns, a harp and an overdubbed pizzicato cello. The arrangers (Lucky Thompson, Gigi Gryce, Benny Golson) have fun with incorporating these unusual addition into the mix, and pull it off beautifully. French horn solos by Julius Watkins are absolutely unconscious. If you can't bring yourself to buy this, at least preview's something every human being should hear at least once.

The Oscar Pettiford Band was also known as "The Birdland Band," playing live frequently in 1956 and 1957. Their theme song was the rather mellow "The Gentle Art of Love." It's a rare treat to hear Lucky Thompson and Gigi Gryce play together, as well as the lead trumpet clinic by Ernie Royal. The rhythm sections cooks. It's just great. Please enjoy. ~ Chris Byars

Oscar Pettiford (cello, bass)
Lucky Thompson (tenor sax)
Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Gigi Gryce (alto sax)
Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Whitey Mitchell (bass)
Gus Johnson (drums)

1. Nica's Tempo
2. Deep Passion
3. Smoke Signal
4. Sunrise-Sunset
5. Not So Sleepy
6. Perdido
7. Speculation
8. Two French Fries
9. Pendulum At Falcon's Lair
10. Gentle Art Of Love
11. Now See How You Are
12. I Remember Clifford
13. Aw! Come On
14. Somewhere
15. Laura
16. Little Niles
17. Seabreeze

Zoot Sims - Hawthorne Nights (1976)

Unlike most of his Pablo sessions, this Zoot Sims CD is not a quartet outing but an opportunity for his tenor to be showcased while joined by a nine-piece group that includes six horns (three reeds among them). Bill Holman's inventive arrangements are a large part as to why the date is successful but Sims's playing on the five standards, two Holman pieces and his own "Dark Cloud" should not be overlooked.

Fortunately there is also some solo space saved for the talented sidemen (which include Oscar Brashear and Snooky Young on trumpets, trombonist Frank Rosolino and the woodwinds and reeds of Jerome Richardson, Richie Kamuca and Bill Hood). A well-rounded set of swinging jazz. Scott Yanow

Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone, vocals on #8 )
Jerome Richardson (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, flute, clarinet)
Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone, clarinet)
Snooky Young (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
Frank Rosolino (trombone)
Bill Hood (flute, baritone & bass clarinets)
Ross Tompkins (piano)
Monty Budwig (bass)
Nick Ceroli (drums)
Bill Holman (arranger, conductor)

1. Hawthorne Nights
2. Main Stem
3. More Than You Know
4. Only a Rose
5. Girl From Ipanema, The
6. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
7. Fillings
8. Dark Cloud

Recorded at RCA Studios, Los Angeles, California on September 20 & 21, 1976

The Clare Fischer Big Band - Thesaurus

Clare Fischer's big-band release was only briefly available as an Atlantic LP but it has finally reappeared in the CD era after a brief appearance under another title on LP some ten years after its first release. Fischer's potent originals and first-rate arrangements bring out the best in his musicians, which include Warne Marsh and Conte Candoli (featured on "Miles Behind"), Bill Perkins on a work trumpeter Stewart Fischer specially composed for the baritone saxophonist ("Calamus"), and alto saxophonist Gary Foster featured with Marsh on Lennie Tristano's "Lennie's Pennies." A well-conceived chart of Billy Strayhorn's "Upper Manhattan Medical Group" swings mightily. The leader even makes a rare appearance on alto sax in the brief "In Memoriam" dedicated to the assassinated Kennedy brothers. ~ Ken Dryden

Clare Fischer (piano, electric piano)
Gary Foster, Kim Richmond (alto sax)
Warne Marsh (tenor sax)
Bill Perkins (baritone sax)
John Lowe (bass sax)
Stewart Fischer, Conte Candoli (trumpet)
David Sanchez (trombone
Morris Repass (bass trombone)
Chuck Domanico (bass)
Larry Bunker (drums)

1. The Duke
2. Miles Behind
3. Calamus
4. Lennie's Pennies
5. 'Twas Only Yesterday
6. Bitter Leaf
7. Upper Manhattan Medical Group
8. In Memoriam (John F. & Robert F. Kennedy)

Recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Los Angeles, California in 1968

Alone Together - Clare Fischer

Thanks to porco rosso for providing the scans from the original MPS release. Please scroll down in the comment section for the RS file with scans and a corrected track four.

Another vinyl rip--I've learned that it is available in digital. Odd perhaps, that he doesn't include the song "Alone Together"

It's always difficult to understand why certain artists are overlooked or forgotten or both. In the case of Clare Fischer, it is perplexing on many counts. This is an exhibition of pianism that rivals Evans, Peterson, Hancock, etc. Herbie has cited Fischer as one of his prime influences in his harmonic conceptions. I think the Steinway is brassy sounding--didn't care for it in the Peterson LP's either, however, this is an immensely rewarding experience.

rec. 1975, this is the Discovery Label reissue from the MPS catalogue.

Yesterdays/ Du, Du, Liegst Mir Im Herzen/ Tahlia/ The Touch Of Your Lips/ Excerpt from Canonic Passacaglia/ Everything Happnes To Me/ Brunner-Schwerpunkt

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BN LP 5018 | Horace Silver - New Faces/New Sounds

From Richard Cook's excellent book on Blue Note;
"Lion listened and realised that, while Powell and Monk were the master innovators, Silver was showing how smart, contemporary jazz could be more immediately attractive."

Prelude to a Kiss
Thou Swell

Horoscope (Horacescope)

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Mick Goodrick - BioRhythms

One of many significant guitarists to be featured at one time or another with vibraphonist Gary Burton's groups (including Larry Coryell, John Scofield, and Pat Metheny), Mick Goodrick has not achieved the fame of the others due to his focusing on a career as a jazz educator. However, Goodrick has long had his own distinctive sound. He started on guitar when he was 12, was inspired to play jazz during Stan Kenton's summer camps, and in 1967, he graduated from Berklee College. He was soon teaching at Berklee before spending a period with Burton (1973-1976) recording extensively with the vibist. Since then, Goodrick has mostly been a teacher in the Boston area, most notably at the New England Conservatory, although he did tour with Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra in 1985 and worked for a period with Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition in the late '80s. Mick Goodrick has recorded as a leader much too infrequently: an ECM date in 1978 and sessions in the 1990s for CMP, Novus, and Ram. ~ Scott Yanow

This is a difficult CD to get a handle on. The music ranges from loose funk and nearly free-form interplay to selections that emphasize space and silence as much as music. The sparse sound of the trio does not mask Mick Goodrick's mastery of the guitar, but excitement and fire are kept to a bare minimum on many of the tracks. Bassist Harvie Swartz and drummer Gary Chaffee give Goodrick fine support, and "Groove Test" is a nice cooker, but the 10½-minute "Something like That Kind of Thing" wanders aimlessly. A so-so effort. ~ Scott Yanow

Mick Goodrick (guitar)
Harvie Swartz (bass)
Gary Chaffee (drums)

1. In Praise Of Bass Desires
2. H. D. & L.
3. Falling Grace
4. Something Like That Kind Of Thing
5. Biorhythms
6. Groove Test
7. Bl'ize Medley: Not Soon Forgotten/Her Manic-Manner Moods/Double Helix
8. What's The Point
9. I'll Never Forget

Ray Brown - Some Of My Best Friends Are...The Trumpet Players (2000)

Ray Brown did it again with the fourth installment in his Some of My Best Friends Are... series, spotlighting some of the hottest trumpet players around and producing one of the finest trumpet-fronted small group recordings to come down the jazz pike in a while. Featuring a six-pack of hornmen ranging from octogenarian Clark Terry to youngsters Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton, this CD alternately cooks and simmers, with the ballads especially standing out in their spaciousness and beauty. The blend of Brown's bass and Jon Faddis' trumpet on a slowed-down "Bag's Groove" is particularly appealing in its sparseness. The intro and outro duets between Brown's bass and James Morrison's dry trumpet tone on "I Thought About You" are also entrancing in their openness. Terrence Blanchard lays out a smoky lead line over Geoff Keezer's bluesy late-night piano on Benny Goodman's old sign-off theme, "Goodbye," bringing a new poignancy to the tune. On the most noteworthy upbeat number, Payton really smokes on Joe Henderson's composition, "The Kicker," though the track mysteriously fades out too early. Brown himself is fantastic throughout this disc, and he and his trio mates Keezer and drummer Karriem Riggins anchor the proceedings masterfully. ~ Jim Newsom

Terence Blanchard, Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, James Morrison, Nicholas Payton, Clark Terry (trumpet)

Ray Brown (bass)
Geoff Keezer (piano)
Karriem Riggins (drums)

1. Our Delight
2. Bags' Groove
3. I Thought About You
4. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
5. Violets for Your Furs 5:49
6. Itty Bitty Blues 2:59
7. Stairway to the Stars
8. Original Jones
9. When You Go
10. The Kicker
11. Clark's Tune (Legacy)

Lu Watter's Yerba Buena Jazz Band - Complete Good Time Jazz Recordings

This terrific 4-CD boxed set offers all the Good Time Jazz recordings made by the Yerba Buena Band and adds some radio broadcasts and other material for a total of 96 tracks. The extensive booklet, with a wealth of photographs, can serve as a primer on the whole revivalist movement.

Lu Watters was the central figure in the dixieland jazz revival that occurred primarily in San Francisco from right before WWII to the end of the '50s. He gave a start to almost all the the musicians who carried that tradition forward: the power trumpet player Bob Scobey, the growling trombonist Turk Murphy, the tough-toned, Johnny Dodds style clarinetist Bob Helm, Wally Rose, a versatile pianist who could play in the Jelly Roll Morton mode, and Clancy Hayes, banjo picker and singer.

Watters' model was the great King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, whose 1923 recordings featured the dual trumpets of Oliver and Louis Armstrong along with Johnny Dodds, Lil Hardin on piano, Honore Dutrey, trombone, and Baby Dodds on drums. The Yerba Buena Jazz Band was able to recreate both the sound and excitment of that band, but with expanded space for solos to let the musicians stretch out.
The name of the label really says it all. This is music for all time and Good Time Jazz for all. Mr. Yanow, blessinbg these recordings with his highest praise -- "essential," -- says: "Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band was one of the most influential Dixieland groups of all time. With Watters and Bob Scobey on trumpets, trombonist Turk Murphy, clarinetist Bob Helm, and Wally Rose on piano, banjo, tuba (or bass), and drums, this band had a lot of power and enthusiasm. At a time when swing dominated jazz and bebop was ready to take over, Watters' successful extension of 1920s jazz was a major force in fueling the Dixieland revival movement. This four-CD set has all of the group's studio recordings plus live broadcasts from 1946-1947 and six rare performances by the wartime version of the YBJB featuring the talented but ill-fated trumpeter Benny Strickler. This reissue is absolutely essential for all traditional jazz fans and historians. The heated ensembles and joyous solos are great fun to hear."

Gerry Mulligan - And The Concert Jazz Band At The Village Vanguard

The first thing I should mention is that Coach has just shared the Mosaic set of this classic in Contributions, for which we all thank him. It is particularly timely because Seegs and I were just discussing the Mosaic. I saw the contribution while this was uploading, and being a lazy bastard, I'm posting this anyway.

It is puzzling to understand why so many of the Verve recordings by Gerry Mulligan & the Concert Jazz Band languish out of print, but this historic 1960 engagement at the Village Vanguard was finally reissued (though on a limited basis for only three years) in the spring of 2002. With a powerful band full of strong soloists (Mulligan, Bob Brookmeyer, Clark Terry, and Willie Dennis, to name just a few), a solid rhythm section, and imaginative arrangements by either Mulligan, Brookmeyer, Al Cohn, or Johnny Mandel, this release has stood the test of time very well. Cohn's treatment of Art Farmer's "Blueport" kicks the band into high gear, with potent solos by Mulligan and the now overlooked tenor saxophonist Jim Reider. Brookmeyer's richly textured scoring of "Body and Soul" is very refreshing, while the lush ballad "Come Rain or Come Shine" is a Mulligan chart featuring the leader's mellow baritone sax. Terry's almost vocal muted trumpet solo steals the show in Mulligan's closing blues, "Let My People Be," which features the leader on piano. Don't put off buying this limited-edition reissue or you'll find yourself scouring auction lists to pay a hefty price for this highly recommended CD. ~ Ken Dryden

Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax, piano)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Willie Dennis (trombone)
Gene Quill (clarinet, alto sax)
Nick Travis (trumpet)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Bill Crow (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. Blueport
2. Body And Soul
3. Black Nightgown
4. Come Rain Or Come Shine
5. Lady Chatterley's Mother
6. Let My People Be

The Wheels Of The World Vol. 1 - Early Irish-American Music: Classic Recordings from the 1920s and 30s

"Chronicles some of the seminal performers of the first generation of Irish-Americans to record.
Among the fiddlers, two stand out in particular - Michael Coleman for the depth and subtlety of his interpretations and James Morrison for his brilliant technique. And Patrick J. Touhey's Uillean pipes are a revelation."- Newark Star Ledger

"A preservationist's dream...yields an intimacy not found today." - Time Out New York

A collection of all-time great performances of Irish traditional music, including selections by such legendary artists as Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Patrick Touhey, Mullaney and Stack, Flannagan Brothers, Packie Dolan, and many, many more. These recordings were made primarily in the 1920s when the pure power of this wonderful tradition was at its peak, and were all made in America, to which a great many of the master Irish musicians had immigrated. Many of these very recordings played a huge role in establishing the basic repertoire of tunes played by Irish musicians for the rest of the 20th century.

1. Back in the Garden/The Flowers of the Red Mill - John McKenna
2. Rakish Paddy/The Wheels of the World
3. Rambling Pitchfork - Edward Mullaney, Patrick Stack
4. Lord McDonald/Ballinasloe Fair - Michael Coleman
5. Tap Room/The Moving Bogs - Peter James Conlon, James Morrison
6. Donovan's Reel (Morning Star/Lawson's Favorite) - Joe Maguire, Frank Quinn
7. Steampacket/The Morning Star/Miss McCleod - Patrick J. Touchey
8. Irish Girl/The Blue Breeches - Packie Dolan
9. Arrah, Come in Out of the Rain, Barney McShane - James J Mullan
10. Ah Surely/The Steeplechase - Paddy Killoran, Paddy Sweeney
11. Maid in a Cherry Tree - Edward Mullaney, Patrick Stack
12. Maggie Pickens/Cameron's Wife - Four Provinces Orchestra
13. Jolly Tinker - Michael Carney
14. Gardiner's Favorite/Streams in the Valley - John McKenna
15. Sailing Home - Joe Maguire, Frank Quinn
16. Miss Langford's/The Milestone at the Garden Reels
17. Tarbolton/The Longford Collector/The Sailor's Bonnet - Michael Coleman
18. I'm Leaving Tipperary - Pat White, Pat White
19. On the Road to the Fair - Flanagan Brothers
20. Lady of the House/Ballinasloe Fair - Packie Dolan
21. Money Musk/Johnny Will You Marry Me/Keel Row
22. Moving Bogs/Miss Thornton - Flanagan Brothers
23. Kilkenny for Me/Boys of Ireland

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Charlie Parker - Volume 6 Young Bird 1947 (Masters Of Jazz)

These pivotal bop sessions feature Bird with two versions of Barry Ulanov-organized all-star bands and the classic Parker/Gillespie quintet. All of the tracks express the advancement of the harmonic jazz evolution, and therefore are essential listening, even if the production values are a bit thin. But most precious are contributions from the unsung heroes of the movement -- clarinetist John LaPorta, pianist Lennie Tristano, and especially the wonderful tenor saxophonist Allen Eager. Recommended, especially to novices. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Allen Eager (tenor sax)
John Lewis (piano)
Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Lennie Tristano (piano)
John LaPorta (clarinet)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Max Roach (drums)

1. Koko
2. Hot House
3. Fine And Dandy
4. Koko
5. On The Sunny Side Of The Street/52nd Street Theme
6. Tiger Rag/Dizzy Atmosphere
7. How Deep Is The Ocean?
8. 52nd Street Theme
9. A Night in Tunisia
10. Dizzy Atmosphere
11. Groovin' High
12. Confirmation
13. Koko
14. 52nd Street Theme
15. Donna Lee
16. Koko/Anthropology

Michael Carvin - Between Me And You

A marvelously gifted drummer, Michael Carvin has been a prolific contributor to the contemporary jazz scene. Whether driving a group, doing a solo, or interacting with the rhythm section, Carvin has demonstrated outstanding technique and sensitive accompanying skills. His father was a drummer who taught him the basics prior to Carvin joining Earl Grant's big band in the mid-'60s. After a tour of duty in Vietnam, Carvin played with B.B. King. Later came stints with Freddie Hubbard, Pharoah Sanders, Lonnie Liston Smith, McCoy Tyner, Jackie McLean, and Clive Stevens' Atmospheres during the '70s, plus recordings with Mickey Bass and Charles Davis in the '80s. Carvin has done his own recordings for Muse and Steeplechase in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. ~ Ron Wynn

Incredible playing on mostly originals. A solid album. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Michael Carvin (drums)
Claudio Roditi (trumpet)
Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ron Bridgewater (alto and tenor sax)
Cyrus Chestnut (piano)
Calvin Hill (bass)

1. Demon Upstairs
2. Never Too Young To Dream
3. Through the Eyes Of The Artist (David Gahr)
4. All Or Nothing At All
5. It's You Or No One
6. Between Me And You
7. Being Born

Earl Anderza - Outa Sight

This is a great example of what record companies should be doing with re-issues rather than putting out the 37th "remastered" version of Lou Donaldson's 'Alligator Boog-A-Loo Freedom Suite' or whatever. This is a work by a relatively - no, absolutely - unknown player who was a fellow student and coeval of Eric Dolphy and who was recently featured on that newly discovered/released session Fireball with another ghost, Dupree Bolton. Add to that the presence of perennially under-represented Jack Wilson, who plays harpsichord, or electric harpsichord, on several tracks. Sounds dated, but they work pretty well alongside the unusual register (for alto) that Anderza exploits. The remastering is by Ron McMaster, and there are a couple of alternate tracks not found on the LP. Altogether, this is a great example of what can be done with a major label's jewels in the vault. As you might have guessed, however, it's out of print.

"It is a pity that this 1998 CD reissue (which includes the original liner notes) says nothing about what ever happened to Earl Anderza. The date (which has its original eight selections augmented by "I'll Be Around" and two previously unheard alternate takes) was the altoist's only one as a leader, and he has been little heard from since. Anderza's style, while influenced to an extent by Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean, was also touched a little by Eric Dolphy. Standards mix with originals; the oddest aspect of the set is that pianist Jack Wilson switches to harpsichord (not a good move!) on a couple of the numbers. The support by either George Morrow or Jimmy Bond on bass, plus drummer Donald Dean, is subtle and swinging. Earl Anderza clearly deserved better than the total obscurity he found." ~ Scott Yanow

Earl Anderza (alto sax)
Jack Wilson (piano, harpsichord)
George Morrow (bass)
Jimmy Bond (bass)
Donald Dean (drums)

1. All The Things You Are
2. Blues Baroque
3. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
4. Freeway
5. Outa Sight
6. What's New?
7. Benign
8. Lonesome Road
9. I'll Be Around
10. Freeway (alt)
11. Benign (alt)

Charles Mingus - Mingus Revisited (1960)

This is an LP reissue of a set that was originally titled Pre Bird because it features some of the advanced originals that Charles Mingus wrote prior to hearing Charlie Parker. The bassist leads an undisciplined but colorful 25-piece orchestra on three titles including an Eric Dolphy feature on "Bemonable Lady" while the other five tracks are by a ten-piece (including two pianos) band; Lorraine Cousins sings "Eclipse" and "Weird Nightmare." It's an interesting set of typically unconventional music by Mingus. ~ Scott Yanow

Marcus Belgrave, Hobart Dotson, Clark Terry, Ted Curson, Richard Williams (trumpets)
Slide Hampton, Charles Greenlee, Eddie Bert, Jimmy Knepper (trombones)
Eric Dolphy, John La Porta, Bill Barron, Jr., Joe Farrell, Yusef Lateef, Danny Bank (saxophones)
Robert Di Domenica, Eric Dolphy, Yusef Lateef (flutes)
Roland Hanna or Paul Bley (piano)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Danny Richmond, George Scott, Stick Evans (drums)

1. Take the "A" Train
2. Prayer for Passive Resistance
3. Eclipse
4. Mingus Fingus No. 2
5. Weird Nightmare
6. Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me
7. Bemoanable Lady
8. Half-Mast Inhibition

Dave Liebman - John Coltrane's Meditations

When it comes seeing how adventurous a person is, John Coltrane's late period is one of the things that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. From 1965 until his death in 1967, Trane offered the most atonal of free jazz-and his music became so blistering that even some of his most ardent admirers shy away from his late period. But what frightens others is a challenge that Dave Liebman accepts with this CD, which finds the underexposed soprano saxman interpreting the music from Trane's 1965 experiment Meditations.

Very much a risk-taker, Liebman is someone who has often been willing to jump into a variety of challenging situations. By refusing to play it safe and crawl into a comfort zone, he's fallen flat on his face on occasion. But this time, he came out on top. The pieces fall into place nicely for Liebman, who remains faithful to the spirit of this "outside" music but lets his own charm work its magic. Dense, amelodic and abrasive, this isn't easy music to get into. But for those brave enough to make the journey, this spiritual effort reveals more and more of its power and richness with each listen. ~ Alex Henderson, All About Jazz

On Nov. 23, 1965, John Coltrane recorded the finest album of his two-year collaboration with fellow tenor Pharoah Sanders, the intense and sometimes violent but spiritual Meditations. 'Trane utilized an expanded sextet that also included pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and both Elvin Jones and Rashied Ali. Tyner and Jones would soon depart, so this was the last meeting on records of those two masters with Coltrane. Thirty years later on Dec. 9, 1995, Dave Liebman revisited the five-part suite. Although all of the themes are utilized in the same order, Lieb's version is not a re-creation and even utilizes a different instrumentation: Liebman (who for a long time had specialized on soprano and flute) back on tenor, trumpeter Tiger Okoshi, Caris Viscentin on oboe, guitarist Vic Juris, Phil Markowitz on keyboards, both Tony Marino and Cecil McBee on bass, and Jamey Haddad and Billy Hart on drums. Some of the intensity of the original version is present, particularly on "Love" and "Consequences," but obviously the sound is quite a bit different, particularly with the use of guitar and electric keyboards, which take the place of Sanders' tenor. Although the heights of the earlier recording are not quite reached, Dave Liebman and his ensemble come awfully close at times, and their playing throughout the lengthy performance (which is both a little reverent and quite exploratory) is quite memorable. Recommended. ~Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Recorded December 9, 1995

Dave Liebman saxophones
Tiger Okoshi trumpet
Caris Visentin oboe
Phil Markowitz piano, keyboards
Vic Juris guitar
Tony Marino & Cecil McBee bass
Jamey Haddad & Billy Hart drums

1 Introduction :52
2 The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost 13:45
3 Compassion 10:56
4 Love Coltrane 12:25
5 Consequences 7:35
6 Serenity 9:25

Friday, August 28, 2009

Louis Hayes - The Real Thing

Hard bop drummer Louis Hayes has often been heard in memorable encounters with Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson and McCoy Tyner (among many others). But he has an exceptional knack for assembling some of the tightest, most cohesive straight-ahead units under his own name.

Among Hayes's best group was this hard-bop unit he co-led with trumpeter Woody Shaw in 1976-77. For this edition, Jackie McLean's son, Rene, replaced the departed Junior Cook (another co-leader) with a rhythm section featuring pianist Ronnie Matthews, bassist Stafford James and, on two tracks, special guest trombonist Slide Hampton.

The program duplicates the original 1977 Muse album with two of trumpeter Tex Allen's fiery works ("St. Peter's Walk," "Marilyn's House), a long, lovely ballad by Hayes ("Nisha"), Matthews's "Loose Suite," James's "My Gift To You" and Jackie McLean's "Jack's Tune."

It is perhaps Shaw who makes the greatest impression throughout, offering many examples of his fine playing and sterling creativity. Hayes's superlative drumming never interferes but is always out front. However, the program may have benefited by more memorable tunes (the kind Shaw was always able to contribute). But what's invested here by all involved makes this appropriately titled (but at 37 minutes, too brief) hard bop album quite worthwhile. New cover art is nice too. ~ Douglas Payne

For a time in 1977, drummer Louis Hayes co-led a quintet with the great trumpeter Woody Shaw. The band's only studio album (last available as a Muse LP) also features René McLean (tripling on soprano, alto, and tenor), pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Stafford James, and (on three of the six tunes) guest trombonist Slide Hampton. On three little-known tunes and a trio of group originals, the modern hard bop unit plays concise but meaningful solos; a different combination of musicians gets the solo spotlight on each song. A well-conceived and continually interesting session. ~ Scott Yanow

Louis Hayes (drums)
Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Rene McLean (soprano, alto, and tenor sax)
Slide Hampton (trombone)
Ronnie Mathews (piano)
Stafford James (bass)

1. St. Peter's Walk
2. Nisha
3. Loose Suite
4. My Gift To You
5. Jack's Tune
6. Marilyn's House

John Stetch - Exponentially Monk (2003)

When they interpret Thelonious Monk's songs, most pianists try to play close to his style. John Stetch took a different approach on his Monk tribute. On some pieces he plays inside the piano, while on others he injects the music with his own whimsical humor. "Green Chimneys" is his impression of bluegrass, while some other numbers are reharmonized, given a very free improvisation, or in a couple cases played straight. One aspect to Monk's music that Stetch retains is Thelonious' insistence on keeping the melody close by and improvising as much off the theme as off the chord changes. This set is full of surprises, and one suspects that Thelonious Monk would have enjoyed hearing it. - Scott Yanow

John Stetch (solo piano)

  1. Bright Mississippi
  2. Well You Needn't
  3. Think of One
  4. Green Chimneys
  5. Monk's Mood
  6. Gallop's Gallop
  7. Evidence
  8. Ugly Beauty
  9. Criss Cross
  10. Blue Monk
  11. Little Rootie Tootie
  12. 'Round Midnight
  13. Ask Me Now
Recorded October 15-16, 2003

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions On Verve

Not a hard set to find, I think, but a bitch to rip, etc. The booklet isn't included - you gotta do some digging for that one.

With his airy, vibratoless tone and sophisticated harmonic imagination, Lester Young (1909-59) was arguably the most influential tenor saxophonist after Coleman Hawkins. As the star in Count Basie's big band and Billie Holiday's favorite soloist, Young's breezy solos, along with his patented porkpie hat and unique hipster jargon, affected legions of musicians. This 8-CD compilation marks the 90th anniversary of Young's birth and contains all of the recordings he made for producer Norman Granz from 1946 to 1959, the last 13 years of Young's life. This collection aurally illustrates his supernatural ability to enliven the most familiar pop tunes and rise above his own pharmaceutically challenged physical state to create magic. The keys to Young's music making is his emphasis on knowing the lyrics to songs and on telling a story, delivering a melodic solo that communicates as it innovates.

Composed primarily of small combos, these tracks' themes are set by the piano players. Nat King Cole's walking bass lines and drummer Buddy Rich's pepperings cushion Young's Icarusian flights on "I Cover the Waterfront," "The Man I Love," and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." On "I Found a New Baby" Young's delivery previews the bebop of Charlie Parker and on "Too Marvelous for Words" Young's subtones echo the long, tall sounds of Dexter Gordon. A quartet with pianist John Lewis, drummer and Basie bandmate Jo Jones, and bassist Gene Ramey offers similar results with Young's poetic versions of the riff tune "Neenah" and "Three Little Words," with Lewis's telepathic comping. Oscar Peterson's supersonic style, Barney Kessel's guitar, bassist Ray Brown, and percussionist J.C. Heard light a fire under Young on the down-home "Ad Lib Blues" and "It Takes Two to Tango"--with Young's hilarious vocal. With another quintet featuring Gildo Mahones at the keys and Connie Kay at the traps, Young revisits his days with Count Basie on the festive "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Another Basie bandmate, Harry "Sweets" Edison, lends his territory-toned chops to the hit "One O'Clock Jump." On "You Can Depend on Me" and "Gigantic Blues" Roy Eldridge's hot trumpet and Vic Dickenson's muscular trombone provide the perfect counterpoint to Young's ethereal excursions. The two takes of "St. Tropez" are the only recordings with Young on clarinet, and the leader delves into Latin jazz on "Frenesi," "In a Little Spanish Town," and "Another Mambo."

By the time he made his last sessions in Paris in 1959 with drummer Kenny Clarke and pianist Rene Urtreger, Young had lost his technical luster, but he gained a deep spiritual presence, as evidenced by the haunting takes on "I Cover the Waterfront" and "Oh, Lady, Be Good." The noted jazz author John Chilton's biographical essay, along with Harry "Sweets" Edison's loving memoir, Dave Gelly's musicological analysis, and two recorded interviews with Young are detailed, profane, and informative. But Bryan Koniarz's "Hipster's Dictionary" of Young's slang steals the show. From the Lestorian lexicon we get words like "Far Out" for guitarist Slim Gaillard, "little claps" for applause, and "Lady Day" for Billie Holiday, who in turn named the great saxophonist "Prez," for he was the commander in chief of jazz. ~ Eugene Holley Jr.

Lester Young - Volume 1 1937-1939 (Masters Of Jazz)

I was trying to find a Lester release that hadn't appeared here before when I remembered that this volume had been promised but not delivered. This pleased me: when I went to scan it I found that some weasel had torn out the first number of pages - the ones with the French text. This unpleased me. What makes people so perverse?

While on the subject, I may as well mention that I have a good Teddy Wilson CD that I didn't post because there was water damage to the notes, and I found the Keynote Roy Eldridge set, but the booklet is missing. That is a bummer, but better to have the music with no booklet than the booklet with no music. Both will be forthcoming.

Here is the young Lester in his ascendence, and not in the more familiar Basie and Holiday settings: " Young was back with Basie in 1936, just in time to star with the band as they headed East. Young made history during his years with Basie, not only participating on Count's record dates but starring with Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson on a series of classic small-group sessions. In addition, on his rare recordings on clarinet with Basie and the Kansas City Six, Young displayed a very original cool sound that almost sounded like altoist Paul Desmond in the 1950s."

Lester Young (tenor sax, clarinet)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Harry James (trumpet)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Eddie Durham (electric guitar)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Walter Page (bass)
Lionel Hampton (drums)
Jo Jones (drums)

Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra
1. I've Found A New Baby
2. I've Found A New Baby

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra
3. Ti-Pi-Tin

Kansas City Six
4. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
5. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
6. Countless Blues
7. Countless Blues
8. Them There Eyes
9. Them There Eyes
10. Want A Little Girl
11. I Want A Little Girl
12. Pagin' The Devil
13. Pagin' The Devil
14. After You've Gone
15. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Make Believe Ballroom Jam Session
16. I Know That You Know [Incomplete Take]

Glenn Hardman and his Hammond Five
17. China Boy
18. Exactly Like You
19. Exactly Like You
20. On the Sunny Side Of The Street
21. Upright Organ Blues
22. Who?
23. Jazz Me Blues

Roy Hargrove - With the Tenors of Our Time (1994)

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove has the opportunity of a lifetime on this recording, sharing separate songs with five great tenors: Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, and Stanley Turrentine. Everyone fares well, including Hargrove's group (Ron Blake on tenor and soprano, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson). The young trumpeter (who is vying for Lee Morgan's unoccupied chair) keeps up with the saxophonists on this generally relaxed affair; recommended for hard bop fans. - Scott Yanow

Roy Hargrove (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ron Blake (tenor, soprano sax)
Cyrus Chestnut (piano)
Rodney Whitaker (bass)
Gregory Hutchinson (drums)
Guest Tenors: Stanley Turrentine (1,10) Johnny Griffin (2,6) Branford Marsalis (3) Joe Henderson (5,8) Joshua Redman (9,11)
  1. Soppin' the Biscuit
  2. When We Were One
  3. Valse Hot
  4. Once Forgotten
  5. Shade of Jade
  6. Greens at the Chicken Shack
  7. Never Let Me Go
  8. Serenity
  9. Across the Pond
  10. Wild Is Love
  11. Mental Phrasing
  12. April's Fool

Pepper Adams - The Cool Sound Of Pepper Adams

The Cool Sound of Pepper Adams is the kind of record one buys for its remarkable cover art (depicting a flame-haired beauty cupping a seashell to her ear) only to discover the music contained therein is just as spellbinding. A wonderfully soulful session featuring striking contributions from pianist Hank Jones and drummer Elvin Jones, its four lengthy cuts pulsate with energy and invention. Despite complementing Adams' baritone leads with Bernard McKinney's euphonium, the music never sounds bloated. Instead, it's supple and slinky, with a dexterity that's utterly winning. Still, there's no mistaking the physicality of Adams' tone. Songs like "Bloos, Blooze, Blues" and "Like…What Is This?" are as rich and smooth as crushed velvet. ~ Jason Ankeny

Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Bernard McKinney (euphonium)
Hank Jones (piano)
George Duvivier (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Bloos, Blooze, Blues
2. Settin' Red
3. Like, What Is This?
4. Skippy

November 19, 1957

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lester Young - In Washington D.C. 1956 Vol. 1

Thanks to zero for reminding us of this.

One of the great myths of jazz history is that by the final decade of his life, Lester Young was a burnout case, too drunk to stand up and play his horn, much less attain the creative flights of fancy that marked his groundbreaking work with Count Basie in the late '30s. But when these live recordings of Young playing with the Bill Potts Trio in Washington, D.C., were first released on LP in 1980, the jazz world had to re-evaluate its thinking. These privately recorded tapes revealed that not only was Prez far from being a broken shadow of his former self, he was blowing his heart out, obviously inspired by the playing of the trio behind him and the relaxed setting of the date itself. Kicking off with an uptempo take on "A Foggy Day," Young shows he's in full command of his chops, and the trio backs him buoyantly. Of the seven selections on this disc, Young contributes two blues of his own derivation, along with great readings of "When You're Smiling" and "Tea for Two," as well as a version of "I Can't Get Started with You" that rivals the live version cut as a member of the Jazz at the Philharmonic troupe in 1946. Those who dismiss his later work as uninspired will find this disc a revelation and a wonderful addition to his legacy. ~ Cub Koda

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Bill Potts (piano
Norman Williams (bass)
Jim Lucht (drums)

1. A Foggy Day
2. When You're Smiling
3. I Can't Get Started
4. Fast B-Flat Blues
5. D. B. Blues
6. Tea For Two
7. Jeepers Creepers

Lester Young - In Washington, D.C., 1956, Vol. 2

The second installment of four projected volumes, this once again captures latter-day Lester Young in top form, relaxed and playing with impeccable phrasing and swing. Ably backed by the Bill Potts Trio during his week-long stand at Olivia's Patio Lounge in Washington, these live tapes put the lie to the longstanding jazz myth that Young was well past his prime in the final decade of his life.

If anything, this second volume captures even more adventurous playing by Prez, with fast paced takes on his "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid" and "Lester Leaps In." But, as always, Young positively shines on midtempo and ballad material like "Three Little Words," "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)," "These Foolish Things" and "Almost Like Being In Love." Lester shares much of the soloing space with all three members of the trio, and his swapping of four-bar phrases with drummer Jim Lucht can get a little wearing on repeated listens, but the group provides such a comfortable cushion for him to relax and stretch out that it's a minor niggle at best. This also includes Young's only known full-length treatment of "Lullaby of Birdland," almost worth the price of admission alone. Nobody could swing like Lester Young, and given the right setting and circumstances like he was on these dates, he was evidently swinging right to the end. ~ Cub Koda

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Bill Potts (piano)
Norman Williams (bass)
Jim Lucht (drums)

1. Lester Leaps In
2. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
3. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
4. Three Little Words
5. Jumpin' With Symphony Sid
6. Almost Like Being In Love
7. Lullaby Of Birdland

Lester Young - In Washington, D.C., 1956, Vol. 3

This third volume furthers explores the marvelous cache of tapes that have surfaced from Lester Young's 1956 engagement at Olivia's Patio Lounge in Washington, D.C. With the swinging but unobtrusive Bill Potts Trio, he provides the same empathetic support heard on the other volumes in this set, always playing the right changes without overt bop embellishments just for the sake of embroidery. Potts soloing is always in the pocket and his comping behind drummer Jim Lucht and bassist Norman Williams is equally fine and telling in what it leaves out. By laying down a simple beat with simple chord changes, you can actually hear Prez loosen up with each chorus, digging in and finding fresh ideas even in tunes that he had played hundreds of times over. This volume features swinging, finger-snapping versions of "Just You, Just Me," "Sometimes I'm Happy," and the bluesy "G's, If You Please," which sports the same intro as "Up 'n' Adam" until Lester comes in and starts taking it into new territory. A blazingly fast take of "Indiana" rounds out this excellent package. ~ Cub Koda

"The rhythm section...was just the kind Pres liked and too seldom had in his latter years...(they) were content to provide Young a supply of correct chords and a firm delineation of the time. They thrust upon him none of the rhythmic complications with which other young musicians of the bop era sometimes frustrated Young, causing him to retreat into rote playing."

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Bill Potts (piano)
Norman Williams (bass)
Jim Lucht (drums)

1. Just You, Just Me
2. Sometimes I'm Happy
3. Indiana (Back Home Again In)
4. Up'n Adam
5. There Will Never Be Another You
6. G's, If You Please

Recorded in Washington, D.C. in 1956

Lester Young - In Washington, D.C., 1956, Vol. 4

A Volume 5 was released after this, mostly the same tunes (which is not a problem at all) and with the addition of Earl Swope, who played trombone with Woody herman, on half the tracks.

The final volume of this four-volume chronicling of Prez' stand at Olivia's Patio Lounge in 1956 is no less fine than its preceding three volumes. Everything here is stretched out to a comfortable length, everybody is taking their time, giving the music plenty of room to breathe and most importantly, giving Young all the time he needs to get deep inside the music itself. Nice readings of the ballad "I Cover the Waterfront," "Talk of the Town" and a swinging "Pennies from Heaven" are the big tickets here, imbued with an economy from Bill Potts' Trio that perfectly frames Young's flights of fancy. Fine alternate performances of "I'm Confessin' That I Love You," "Almost Like Being In Love," "G's, If You Please" and "D.B. Blues" (Lester's blues with a bridge that King Pleasure put words to) complete the set, a series that every jazz fan should have in their collection and one that no Lester Young fan can afford to be without. ~ Cub Koda

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Bill Potts (piano)
Norman Williams (bass)
Jim Lucht (drums)

1. It's The Talk Of The Town
2. I Cover The Waterfront
3. Pennies From Heaven
4. G's, If You Please
5. Almost Like Being In Love
6. I'm Confessin (That I Love You)
7. D. B. Blues

Lester Young - The Complete Keynote Lester Young

The works done for Harry Lim's Keynote label remain as some of the greatest swing sides ever recorded. The 21 LP set is also one of the great gloriesof any jazz collection lucky enough to have it. Unluckily, the entire set has never been released on CD, so these several that have are to be treasured. We've previously posted the Lennie Tristano, the Red Norvo, the Benny Carter, and the excellent Coleman Hawkins volumes, but this - the first of the series - takes pride of place for being that of Lester Young. Probably all of these tracks have appeared here before in some form or other; the recent Pres alternate CD has a few of these, for example. But these are the seven Keynote sides and their 9 alternate versions.

The first date with Lester as a leader, it also features an alternate version of "Sometimes I'm Happy" that was unknown - or unreleased, anyway - until Kiyoshi Kiyama did the groundbreaking work that resulted in the previously mentioned Keynote Collection. Excellent notes by Dan Morgenstern also accompany this essential (take that, Scott Yanow) release.

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Dicky Wells (trombone)
Count Basie (piano)
Slam Stewart (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)
Sid Catlett (drums)

1. Just You, Just Me
2. Just You, Just Me
3. I Never Knew
4. I Never Knew
5. Afternoon Of A Basie-Ite
6. Afternoon Of A Basie-Ite
7. Sometimes I'm Happy
8. Sometimes I'm Happy
9. After Theatre Jump
10. After Theatre Jump
11. Six Cats And A Prince
12. Six Cats And A Prince
13. Six Cats And A Prince
14. Lester Leaps Again
15. Destination K.C.
16. Destination K.C.

Lester Young - Volume 5 1944 (Masters Of Jazz)

Volume 6 is next, I now have Volume 1 and it will eventually get here, and Volume 7, I recall, was posted recently, but I can't place it.

This edition continues with a couple of tracks from the session that ended the previous volume; there wasn't room enough on that disc. Two takes of "Four O'Clock Drag" by the Kansas City Six - both versions come in at exactly the same duration. That tells us something, even if I don't know what it is.

The following 12 tracks (although 4 tunes) is a session led by Johnny Guarnieri for a tribute to Fats Waller who had died shortly before. Guarnieri and Pres had an excellent relationship, having recorded together around five months earlier. Included in this excellent group was Billy Butterfield who was a bandmate of Guarnieri's in Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five. The 4 tunes from the next session (8 tracks) is the Basie band with the exception of Bill Basie himself; the excellent Clyde Hart replaces him on piano. 'Empty Hearted' is " extremely rare cut, and would have remained so were it not for the "Masters of Jazz' policy of producing genuinely complete editions. Prez manages to squeeze in no more than a mere two bars, but, for those who have never heard them before, this still represents a worthwhile bonus."

The two sessions were from the same long day in the studio, and are notable as being some of the few recordings made with Pres during his brief second stint with the band: the recording ban was in effect and these Savoy recordings were made as part of a special deal between the label and the union.

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Joe Bushkin (piano)
Jo Jones (drums)
Cozy Cole (drums)

Kansas City Six
1. Four O'Clock Drag
2. Four O'Clock Drag

Johnny Guarnieri Swing Men
3. These Foolish Things
4. Exercise In Swing
5. Exercise In Swing
6. Exercise In Swing
7. Exercise In Swing
8. Salute To Fats
9. Salute To Fats
10. Salute To Fats
11. Salute To Fats
12. Salute To Fats

Earle Warren And His Orchestra
13. Basie English
14. Basie English
15. Empty Hearted
16. Circus In Rhythm
17. Circus In Rhythm
18. Circus In Rhythm
19. Poor Little Plaything
20. Poor Little Plaything
21. Tush
22. Tush

Bud Powell - A Portrait of Thelonious (1961)

This CD reissue is one of the most rewarding Bud Powell recordings to come from his period in France. Powell (along with bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke) explores four of Thelonious Monk's tunes, Earl Bostic's "No Name Blues" and the standard "There Will Never Be Another You" but it is the final two numbers ("I Ain't Foolin'" and "Squatty") which really find the bop master at his most spirited and swinging. This very rewarding CD releases for the first time the alternate take (a faster rendition without a clear melody) of "Squatty," a song that (based on its original version) deserves to be revived. One oddity: the applause heard throughout this release was added on later because this was actually a studio album.

Review by Scott Yanow.
Tracks -
1- Off Minor
2- There will never be another you
3- Ruby, my dear
4- No name blues
5- Thelonious
6- I ain't foolin'
7- Squatty
8- Squatty (Unissued alternate version)

Bud Powell - Piano
Pierre Michelot - Bass
Kenny Clarke - Drums

Recorded in Paris, December 17. 1961.

Susie Ibarra and Denis Charles - Drum Talk

This is a wonderful release capturing a live duo performance of percussionist Susie Ibarra and her mentor Denis Charles, who was active in free jazz from the time of recording on Cecil Taylor's earliest albums until his death just two months after this concert. Warm, intuitive, and often lovely, the music created by the two percussionists this day is worth sitting down and getting hypnotized by for awhile; a touching document of Charles and his legacy. ~ Joslyn Layne

Drum Talk is a series of spellbinding percussive conversations and dialogues between two rhythmic magicians. Charles, who made his name backing Cecil Taylor in the late ’50s and Ibarra, best known for work with William Parker and David S. Ware, used to engage in duets at Ibarra’s home whenever the two weren’t on the road. Charles, who died last year and to whom this album is dedicated, was an old hand at these percussive duets, having exchanging beats with formidable collaborators like Sunny Murray and Ed Blackwell. Just as comfortable stretching the rhythmic capacity of the drum kit, Ibarra also possesses a graceful facility on djembe, Kulintang (Philippine gong) and other small percussion. Both drummers obviously enjoyed playing with each other and it shows ? at times, the telepathy between them is frightening. By the end of record, which was recorded live at the Context Studios in January 1998, the two are down to triangle and djembe. Even the crowd, who begin clapping to the insistent rhythms, know that they have just listened to a delicious percussive feast that easily measures up to the solo ’60s drum projects of Milford Greaves and Max Roach. ~WobblyRail

Denis Charles (drums, percussion)
Susie Ibarra (drums, percussion)

1. Welcome
2. Drum Talk
3. For Arcah
4. Kulintang Medley: Variations On Tidtu and Duyog
5. Sunshowers
6. Stand Back
7. Good Night!

Billy Strayhorn - The Peaceful Side

Granny says: "Aye, that's awfy nice, but I dinnae like they ghostie lassies hoo-hooin' in the back."

During his twenty-five year tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra as composer, lyricist, arranger, and Duke's closest musical confidante, Billy Strayhorn rarely performed in front of a live audience and even less frequently entered a recording studio. Although his piano playing can be heard on a handful of records with the Ellington Orchestra as well as on some of its members' side projects, most notably several dates with Johnny Hodges, Strayhorn made just one album as a featured solo artist. That album, the Peaceful Side of Billy Strayhorn recorded during two overnight sessions in Paris in January 1961, has recently been reissued in the original mono version on Capitol Jazz. It offers a unique opportunity to hear this brilliant composer's own takes on some of his best-known songs, including "Lush Life," "Take the A Train," and "Chelsea Bridge."

It was certainly not a lack of technique that kept Strayhorn from recording more often. A classically trained pianist, his playing here is exquisite, evoking the impressionism of Debussy almost as much as the driving jazz of Ellington. This is a quiet, spare recording featuring just Strayhorn's piano with occasional accompaniment by bass, string quartet, or vocal chorus. Strayhorn brings out all the passion and melancholy of his own compostions, which are performed in much more relaxed tempos than we are used to hearing. Even "'A' Train" is treated as a moody ballad. Other highlights include a gently swinging "Just A Sittin' and A Rockin'," and an exquisite version of the haunting "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing." It is a shame that Strayhorn did not record more, since he brought the same extraordinary musical intelligence and sophistication to his piano playing that he did to his composing. ~ Joel Roberts

This is a little-known and rather melancholy set, virtually Billy Strayhorn's only recording away from the world of Duke Ellington. The focus is totally on Strayhorn's piano throughout his interpretations of ten of his compositions (including "Lush Life," "Take the 'A' Train," and "Something to Live For"). Three selections have the Paris Blue Notes adding sparse wordless vocals, two other numbers add some quiet playing by the Paris String Quartet, and bassist Michel Goudret is on five of the ten selections (including one apiece with the strings and the voices). "Strange Feeling" and "Chelsea Bridge" are taken as unaccompanied piano solos. Of the ten songs, only "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'" hints at happiness; otherwise, Strayhorn's melodic and concise playing is quite somber, peaceful in volume but filled with inner tension. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Lush Life
2. Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'
3. Passion Flower
4. Take The "A" Train
5. Strange Feeling
6. Day Dream
7. Chelsea Bridge
8. Multi-Colored Blue
9. Something To Live For
10. A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing

Archie Shepp - Mariamar

This is the HORO HZ 01 LP, never released on CD (as far as I know).

Not listed in allmusic, it can be found at:

A beautiful record. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Archie Shepp (ss, ts, p)
Irio De Paula (g)
Charles Greenlee (tb)
Cicci Santucci (tp)
Alessio Urso (b)
Afonso Vieira (d)

1.1 Mariamar
1.2 Tres Idêias
2.1 The Magic
2.2 Shepp’s Mood

Recorded October 16, 1975 - Roma

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bob Brookmeyer and Bill Evans - The Ivory Hunters

Recorded just a week after Evans' laid down the "So What" and "Blue In Green" tracks for the Kind Of Blue sessions, and a week before he would appear (alongside Brookmeyer) on George Russell's New York, N.Y. date, this shows Evan's having some fun while he was one of the new hired guns on the New York scene.

When Bill Evans agreed to do a two piano date with Bob Brookmeyer, eyebrows surely must have raised. Pairing a rising superstar of modern jazz with a gentleman known for playing valve trombone and arranging charts might have been deemed by some as a daunting task. Fortunately for the keyboardists, this was a good idea and a marvelous concept, where the two could use the concept of counterpoint and improvisation to an enjoyable means, much like a great chess match. For the listener, you are easily able to hear the difference between ostensible leader Evans in the right channel of the stereo separation, and the accompanist Brookmeyer in the left. The opener "Honeysuckle Rose" gives a basic idea of what to expect, as Evans leads out, Brookmeyer counters his moves, and they trade riffs in an inventive bridge. "The Way You Look Tonight" is similar as Brookmeyer is more playful in his chiming chords and second melody line. The energy level is very good here, as well as on the democratic, funky contemporary intro to the easy swing of "It Could Happen to You" and "I Got Rhythm," jam-packed with fun plus risk-taking. There's a different give and take during "The Man I Love," and they turn the lamp down low on a delicate version of "As Time Goes By" as the pianists trade leads, and bassist Percy Heath adopts a more pronounced role. It is Heath and drummer Connie Kay, on loan from the Modern Jazz Quartet, who precisely and firmly cement rhythmic elements, allowing the pianists to use space, harmony, wit and wisdom to full effect. Some have called this an effort based more on gimmick and showmanship, but if you agree to listen closely, the depth and substance of Evans and Brookmeyer reveals a lot of soul, invention, and musicians simply having a real good time. It would be nice to hear any alternate takes from this marvelous date. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Bob Brookmeyer (piano)
Bill Evans (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. Honeysuckle Rose
2. As Time Goes By
3. Way You Look Tonight
4. It Could Happen To You
5. The Man I Love
6. I Got Rhythm

David Murray And Friends - MX: Dedicated To The Memory Of Malcolm X

David Murray (tenor sax)
Ravi Coltrane (tenor sax)
Bobby Bradford (cornet)
John Hicks (piano)
Fred Hopkins (bass)
Victor Lewis (drums)

1. MX
2. Icarus
3. El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
4. A Dream Deferred
5. Blues For X
6. Hicks Time
7. Harlemite

New York: September 25, 1992

Don Sebesky - I Remember Bill: A Tribute to Bill Evans (1997)

Instead of replicating the familiar, small-combo arrangements that Bill Evans made his stock in trade, Don Sebesky decided to rearrange such Evans-associated songs as "Waltz for Debby," "So What," "Peace Piece," and "Blue in Green" for jazz orchestra, featuring such all-star musicians as Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Toots Thielemans, Larry Coryell, and the New York Voices. Consequently, I Remember Bill: Tribute to Bill Evans might not be exactly what longtime Evans fans are expecting, and, truth be told, these arrangements don't always work. Nevertheless, Sebesky's ambitions are admirable, and the tracks that do work -- whether it's "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" or the original numbers "I Remember Bill" and "Bill Not Gil" -- are quite enchanting. Furthermore, Evans fanatics will be interested in the unreleased interview excerpt with Evans that's added as a bonus track. - Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Joe Lovano (tenor sax)
Eddie Daniels (clarinet)
Hubert Laws (flute)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica)
Larry Coryell, Ken Sebesky (guitar)
John Pizzarelli (guitar, vocal)
Dave Samuels (vibes)
Marc Johnson, Eddie Gomez (bass)
Joe LaBarbera, Marty Morell, Dennis Mackrel (drums)
Sue Evans, Joe Passaro (percussion)
Jeanie Bryson, New York Voices (vocals)
Brass, Woodwinds, Strings
Don Sebesky (arranger)
  1. Waltz for Debby
  2. I Remember Bill
  3. So What
  4. Quiet Now
  5. All the Things You Are
  6. Peace Piece
  7. Bill, Not Gil
  8. Very Early
  9. T.T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune Two)
  10. Autumn Leaves
  11. Blue in Green
  12. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
  13. Epilogue
  14. Bill Evans Interview
Recorded June-July, 1997

Monday, August 24, 2009

David Murray - Children

The Penguin Guide calls this one of his poorer '80s albums. Listen for yourself.

This intriguing set combines several strong personalities (David Murray on tenor and bass clarinet, guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, pianist Don Pullen, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith) in performances that are avant-garde, close to free bop and sometimes hinting at Charles Mingus, M-Base and harmolodics. The quintet performs a nearly 15-minute version of "All the Things You Are" and three Murray originals, including "David -- Mingus." The somewhat noisy performances are pretty spontaneous and, thanks to Pullen's rhythmic style, a little more accessible than one might expect, despite being quite adventurous. ~ Scott Yanow

David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor sax)
Don Pullen (piano)
James Blood Ulmer (guitar)
Lonnie Plaxico (bass)
Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums)

1. David - Mingus
2. Death
3. All The Things You Are
4. Tension

Johnny Smith - Walk, Don't Run

Woefully obscure and unlauded today, Johnny Smith's early '50s recordings make him as important to the development of jazz guitar as his contemporaries Stan Getz and Al Haig are to the history of the tenor saxophone and the piano. Johnny who?

For a very short while, Smith was a star. His '52 single "Moonlight In Vermont," featuring Getz, came out of nowhere—Smith was then an anonymous staff musician at NBC, New York—to become a massive coast-to-coast US radio and vinyl hit. Downbeat voted it record of the year. After that, despite recording half a dozen of the most transcendentally beautiful guitar albums you'll ever hear, Smith rapidly faded from view. Partly this was his choice: he preferred working as a staff musician for NBC to carving a living on the New York club scene. By the early '60s, he'd had it with big cities altogether and—his bank account high on composer royalties from the Ventures' twang rock cover of "Walk, Don't Run!"—relocated to Colorado. The fifteen minutes were up.

At last, after decades of unavailability, Smith's A-list recordings are becoming obtainable again. Last year, Roulette reissued the defining '52/'53 singles and 10" collection Moonlight In Vermont, and now the every bit as timeless and magical '54 set Walk, Don't Run! is back in the racks.

Smith's technical and harmonic mastery are both awesome, and his instantly recognisable style is characterised by lush, complex, legato chordal voicings, interspersed with lightning-fast runs, all executed with a rich, lustrous sound and precise articulation. Yet he doesn't use technique as an end in itself, only to extract the last filigreed nuance of beauty out of a melody or a chord progression. Apply all this to some of the most shimmering tunes in the Great American Songbook and you are definitely knocking on heaven's door.

Most of these tracks last little more than two and a half minutes—the length of an average theme statement today. Yet such is Smith's eloquence and focus, that he can make time stand still and give a forty-five second solo something of the substance of a Shakespearean sonnet. Arnold Fishkin and Don Lamond, held over from the Moonlight In Vermont sessions, provide unobtrusive but intelligent accompaniment, as does second guitarist Perry Lopez. It would be ridiculous to single out individual tracks for special mention—though did "Lover Man" ever sound more smitten or "Autumn In New York" more romantic?—for every one is a miniature masterpiece.

First degree genius bliss from a neglected master of American jazz. ~ Chris May

Johnny Smith (guitar)
Perry Lopez (rhythm guitar)
Arnold Fishkind (bass)
Don Lamond (drums)

1. Walk, Don't Run!
2. Sophisticated Lady
3. I'll Remember April
4. What's New
5. How About You?
6. In A Sentimental Mood
7. Stranger In Paradise
8. Someone To Watch Over Me
9. Easy To Love
10. Lover Man
11. Autumn In New York
12. 'S Wonderful
13. Our Love Is Here To Stay
14. Lullaby Of Birdland

Larry Coryell - Equipoise

I've always ignored the 1980s work of Larry Coryell. I wasnt keen about that period. Jazz and Rock were too slick those days. Equipoise is a(n) exception. Larry returned to honest and pure jazz here. No crazy breaks or hard fast guitar licks here. The album is full of lovely jazz with a good band. Unemployed Floyd, Joy Spring and First Things First are the real gems on this album. The band and the music are the important aspects and not Larrys fast playing. Thats a good thing here. Dont get me wrong. Larry plays very good. But he gives the music and the musicians plenty of room to do their thing.

Equipoise is a pure jazz album without any big showoffs. Its an easy album to listen to. It reminds me lot of Wes Montgomery and other great jazz legends. If you see this album in the record store, go get it. Its hard to find this one. ~ DiamondDog

Larry Coryell (guitar)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Buster Williams (bass)
Billy Hart (drums)
Pamela Sklar (flute)

1. Unemployed Floyd
2. Tender Tears
3. Equipoise
4. Christina
5. Joy Spring
6. First Things First

Sunday, August 23, 2009

BN LP 5017 | Dizzy Gillespie - Horn of Plenty

I'm not sure about the release title "Horn of Plenty", but I guess it's connected to Cornucopia, abundance and the supernatural powers which would be given to the person in possession of the horn whatever he or she wished for - quite a good trumpet connection.

This is another Vogue release licensed by Blue Note for distribution in the US. You get two sessions from Paris and if you like Dizzy you won't be disappointed.

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Ella Fitzgerald - 1939 (Chronological 525)

Reviewed by Seegs

There is an ineffable sadness to the story of Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Webb. Chronological Classic 525, Ella Fitzgerald 1939, contains the last recordings they made together. The powerful rhythm master, trapped in a body stunted and deformed by spinal tuberculosis, succumbed to his life-long affliction just 2 months after the April 21st sessions presented on this CD.

In 1935 Webb had introduced the 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald to the world, guiding her career from that point on. But by 1939 she had already recorded her number 1 hit, the million-seller, “Tisket-a-Tasket.” And as Chick’s health declined precipitously, her star was rapidly rising. Nonetheless, these final recordings, primarily novelty tunes with a few standards mixed in, continue to showcase what was so special about each. Take “My Heart Belongs to Daddy:” Ella imbues Cole Porter’s wry and breezy lyrics not only with a true jazz sensibility, but also with as much genuine feeling as anyone could wring out of song in which “daddy” is rhymed with “finan haddie” (a dish of baked haddock). For sweetness, Chick switches to a Latin rhythm for several bars before the wrap.

This Chronological Classic also contains the first recordings Ella made under her own name. Ella Fitzgerald’s Savoy Eight consisted of members of the Chick Webb orchestra, including Taft Jordan and Chick himself. And Ella Fitzgerald’s Famous Orchestra was the Chick Webb Orchestra minus the its late founder. All the tracks are fun listening, even if none attains the stature of jazz classic.

However, the CD does provide a snapshot of an important juncture in jazz history. Chick Webb’s death brought down the curtain on one of the greatest and most swinging bands in the land, a band that was an immensely popular and enduring attraction. It then reveals the door opening wide for Ella, giving us a fascinating, even intimate picture of Ella stepping out and on her way to becoming ELLA.

Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Chick Webb (drums)
Garvin Bushell (clarinet, alto sax)
Taft Jordan (trumpet)
Hilton Jefferson (clarinet, alto sax)

1. 'Tain'T What You Do (It's The Way That Cha Do It)
2. One Side Of Me
3. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
4. Once Is Enough For Me
5. I Had To Live And Learn
6. Sugar Pie
7. It's Slumbertime Along The Swanee
8. I'm Up A Tree
9. Chew-Chew-Chew (Your Bubble Gum)
10. Don't Worry About Me
11. If Anything Happened To You
12. If That's What You're Thinking, You're Wrong
13. If You Ever Change Your Mind
14. Have Mercy
15. Little White Lies
16. Coochi-Coochi-Coo
17. That Was My Heart
18. Betcha Nickel
19. Stairway To The Stars
20. I Want The Waiter (With The Water)
21. That's All, Brother
22. Out Of Nowhere

Ella Fitzgerald - 1939-1940 (Chronological 566)

Reviewed by Prosago Swing

This album is obviously a tribute to Chick Webb, it’s kind of telling the story of the cherished relationship between Ella and Chick Webb.

Once upon a time in Harlem, New York, there were ballrooms with big bands playing for dancers on almost every corner. Musicians came from all over the US to Harlem because there they did get work. If their music also could get people out on the floor, their reputation would grow. Back then the jazz bands were dance bands and it was often arranged battles or competitions between bands (as there were between dancers). By the end of the night's battles the dancers would vote and decide which band won the battle. Chick Webb’s orchestra with Ella Fitzgerald became the resident band of the Savoy Ballroom.

It was in January 1935 that young Ella Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House. Chick Webb was there, he was impressed by Ella but did not at first offer her to be his vocalist. She did though get the opportunity to sing when the band played at Yale University; if the audience admired her at the dance floor then she could stay with his band (she was only 17). Ella was from then on kind of adopted by Chick Webb and stayed with the band untill 1941. It is said that Chick Webb and his wife actually were given legal guardianship of the underaged Ella so that she could travel with the band and sign contracts. The relationship between them must have been very strong: she became the “vehicle” for the band as a whole to break into popularity and Chick Webb served as a father for her legally, musically and professionally. Ella repaid him by steadily refusing offers from other bands.

Chick Webb himself was born in 1905. As a child, he contracted tuberculosis which resulted in a twisted spine. He was hunchbacked for the rest of his life. In November 1938, the same year that they produced their number one record hit “A-Tisket A-Tasket”, Webb's health began to decline. From then until his death he alternated time on the bandstand with time in hospitals. He died the following year on June 16th 1939 in Baltimore. After his death, Ella Fitzgerald (aged 22) continued to lead the band another two years.

With the above in mind one can understand how Chick Webb’s dead influenced the musician’s mood, especially Ella’s. The first four tracks are recorded on the18th of August 1939, only two months after Chick Webb died. The very first track is “My Last Goodbye”, a ballad. The album contains some ballads well worth listening to, first of all “Moonray” and Ella’s wonderful version of “Sugar Blues”. In the spring of 1940 there appear some happier and more swinging tunes, we have the amusing “Sing Song Swing” and the very last track recorded the 9th of May 1940 “Deedle-De-Dum”. They both give us a taste of what Ella later on is capable to do as a scat-singer. Last, but not least I’d like to mention three nice swinging instrumental numbers: "Lindy Hopper's Delight", "Jubilee Swing" and “ Take It from the Top”.

1. My Last Goodbye
2. Billy (I Always Dream of Billy)
3. Please Tell Me the Truth
4. I'm Not Complaining
5. You're Gonna Lose Your Gal
6. After I Say I'm Sorry
7. Baby, What Else Can I Do?
8. My Wubba Dolly (Rubber Dolly)
9. Lindy Hopper's Delight
10. Moonray
11. Is There Somebody Else?
12. Sugar Blues
13. Starlit Hour
14. What's the Matter With Me?
15. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home
16. If It Weren't for You
17. Sing Song Swing
18. Imagination
19. Take It from The Top
20. Tea Dance
21. Jubilee Swing
22. Deedle-De-Dum

Art Blakey - Midnight Session

In the fall of 1956, Blakey introduced a new edition of the Jazz Messengers with Jackie McLean (alto), Bill Hardman (trumpet), Sam Dockery (piano) and Spanky DeBrest (bass). Over the next 25 years Blakey's bands would go through many personnel changes (sometimes it seems as if everyone in jazz has worked with Art) but the hard bop sound of this prototypical unit became the model for all of Art's aggregations. Originally released on the Savoy label, Midnight Session is another in a series of Savoy reissues by Denon Records. Through the use of a unique 20-bit mastering process Denon has managed to capture and enhance the sound of one of jazz's most vibrant eras. Blakey and his "boys" swing through a six song set of bop that, while containing no jazz "classics," gives the listener a nice taste of the genre. Art's forceful drumming often brought out the best in his sidemen and in this case Hardman and McLean respond with youthful vigor. He may have lead "stronger" lineups in the future but this is still high art from Blakey! ~ John Sharpe

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

1. Casino
2. Biddie Griddies
3. Potpourri
4. Ugh!
5. Mirage
6. Reflections Of Buhainia

Track Of The Day

Jimmy Heath - The Time And The Place

Although this 1994 CD looks like a reissue, the music was actually released for the first time 20 years after it was recorded. Jimmy Heath, who is heard here on tenor, alto, soprano and flute, played at his prime throughout the 1970's although he tended to be somewhat overlooked in popularity polls. Heath was stretching himself during the era as can be heard on these obscure pieces; five of his originals plus Kenny Dorham's "No End." Although essentially bop-based, Heath was open to the influences of the avant-garde and fusion and, with a flexible group also including trombonist Curtis Fuller, guitarist Pat Martino, pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Sam Jones, drummer Billy Higgins and percussionist Mtume, Jimmy Heath consistently takes adventurous yet logical solos. Worth checking out. ~ Scott Yanow

Jimmy Heath (soprano, alto and tenor sax, flute)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Pat Martino (guitar)
Mtume (percussion, conga)
Sam Jones (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. The Time and the Place
2. The Voice of the Saxophone
3. No End
4. The 13th House
5. Fau-Lu
6. Studio Style

RCA Studios, New York: June 24, 1974

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Art Farmer - Warm Valley

The second of flugelhornist Art Farmer's two Concord albums is the equal of his first. For this Concord outing, the mellow-toned brassman performs four standards (including "Moose the Mooche," "Three Little Words" and the title cut) along with selections from Fred Hersch (who plays piano on this quartet outing), Tommy Flanagan and Benny Golson. With fine support from bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Akira Tana, Art Farmer is heard in prime form, playing in his appealing lyrical bop style. ~ Scott Yanow

The playing is top-notch, especially all of Farmer's flugelhorn work. He melds perfectly with the sensitive thoughtful playing of Hersch. The listener need listen no further than "Warm Valley" to perhaps hear a ballad that was made for the flugelhorn. The horns speaks perfectly to the melody and the feminine inspiration for that great Ellington piece. Both Farmer and Hersch are well supported by the individual rhythm sections. This is mellow, well…er…perfectly performed jazz of the highest order. Perfectly executed and a treat to listen to. ~ C. Michael Bailey

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Fred Hersch (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Akira Tana (drums)

1. Moose The Mooche
2. And Now There's You
3. Three Little Words
4. Eclypso
5. Sad to Say
6. Upper Manhattan Medical Group
7. Warm Valley

Friday, August 21, 2009

Charles Tolliver - Impact

This is a live version of Impact - not to be confused with the earlier studio version.

Born in Jacksonville, FL in 1942, Charles Tolliver started his career in the sixties after studying at Howard University, Washington D.C. Tolliver's bright, rounded timbre on trumpet and flugelhorn could be heard with partners such as Jackie McLean, Horace Silver, Roy Ayers, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey and Max Roach. In 1969 he founded the quartet "Music, Inc." that worked successfully until the end of the seventies. "Impact" was the most impressive document of this band presenting advanced hardbop statements with grooving vamps and high-energy blowing. Young Alvin Queen even quit his job with George Benson in order to work with Tolliver whom he knew since their days in the Horace Silver band. A charismatic live recording from Munich's legendary Domicile club, this edition offers two thrilling bonus tracks that sound as fresh as they did 35 years ago. Down Beat: Five stars.

Charles Tolliver (flugelhorn)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Ron Mathewson (bass)
Alvin Queen (drums)

1. Impact
2. Brilliant Circles
3. Truth
4. Prayer For Peace
5. Abscretions
6. Our Second Father

Domicile, Munich: March 23, 1972

Scott Hamilton - Apples & Oranges (1981)

Scott Hamilton was born in 1954, in Providence, Rhode Island. During his early childhood he heard a lot of jazz through his father’s extensive record collection, and became acquainted with the jazz greats. He tried out several instruments, including drums at about the age of five, piano at six and mouth-organ. He had some clarinet lessons when he was about eight years of age, but that was the only formal music tuition he has ever had. Even at that age he was attracted to the sound of Johnny Hodges, but it was not until he was about sixteen that he started playing the saxophone seriously. From his playing mainly blues on mouth organ, his little band gradually became more of a jazz band.

He moved to New York in 1976 at the age of twenty-two, and through Roy Eldridge, with whom he had played a year previously in Boston, got a six-week gig at Michael’s Pub. Roy also paved the way for him to work with Anita O’Day and Hank Jones. Although it was the tail-end of the of old New York scene, a lot of the greats were still playing and he got to work and learn from people like Eldridge, Illinois Jacquet, Vic Dickenson and Jo Jones. Eldridge was Scott’s champion, but pulled no punches, and could be extremely critical, something for which Scott has always been grateful. In December of the same year John Bunch got Scott his first recording date, for Famous Door, and was also responsible for him joining Benny Goodman. He continued to work with Goodman at different times until the early 1980s.

In 1977 he formed his own quartet, which later became a quintet, with Bunch added to the group. The same year Carl Jefferson heard him, and began recording him for his Concord record label. More than forty albums later he is still recording for them, having made many under his own leadership, several with his regular British quartet of John Pearce, Dave Green and Steve Brown, including his latest, Nocturnes & Serenades. The Quartet plus two guests, Dave Cliff and Mark Nightingale recorded Our Delight! for Alan Barnes’ Woodville label. A new release, Across the Tracks on Concorde is due this May. Along the way he has made albums with Dave McKenna, Jake Hanna, Woody Herman, Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, Flip Phillips, Maxine Sullivan, Buddy Tate, Warren Vache, many with Rosemary Clooney and a number with another of his mentors, Ruby Braff, with whom he played residencies at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London in the mid-1980s. Over the years Scott has also performed and recorded with such touring bands as the Concord Jazz All Stars, the Concord Super Band and George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival All Stars.

For some years he was based in London, where he first played in 1978, but now travels the world from Italy. Each year, in addition to two or three residencies with the quartet at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, British jazz club dates and festival work including Brecon, where he is one of the patrons, he regularly tours Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Japan, Spain and Italy. He returns to America three or four times a year to play at festivals, including in 2007, the New York JVC festival in June and Irvine, California in September, and in February 2008 for three nights at the Lincoln Centre New York.

His playing has best been described by fellow tenor saxophonist and writer, Dave Gelly: “Following a Scott Hamilton solo is like listening to a great conversationalist in full flow. First comes the voice, the inimitable, assured sound of his tenor saxophone, then the informal style and finally the amazing fluency and eloquent command of the jazz language.” Scott was awarded the ‘Ronnie’ for International Jazz Saxophonist of the Year in the 2007 inaugural Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Awards. It is no wonder that Scott Hamilton is in demand the world over. Brian Peerless)

Scott Hamilton (tenor sax)

Rhythm Section on #2, 4 & 7
Dave McKenna (piano)
Bob Maize (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)

Rhythm Section on #1, 3, 5, 6 & 8
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Joe La Barbara (drums)

1. So Little Time (5:58)
2. Royal Orchid Blues (5:15)
3. With Every Breath I Take (4:25)
4. Silk Stockings (3:52)
5. Do I Love You (Because You’re Beautiful) (4:34)
6. My Silent Love (3:54)
7. Ham Fat (4:21)
8. Tenderly (5:31)

Recorded at Soundmixers, NYC in January, 1981 and Hill Recording, San Francisco, CA in August, 1981

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hal McKusick - Cross Section-Saxes

Hal McKusick's final recording as a leader mixes three separate sessions with contributions by four great arrangers. The cast of musicians varies from one date to the next, although McKusick and pianist Bill Evans are present on every track, while Art Farmer, Milt Hinton, and Barry Galbraith also make strong impressions. This music has held up extremely well over the decades, especially George Russell's forward-thinking treatment of "You're My Thrill" and his sauntering, somewhat atonal, blues "Stratusphunk." Also valuable are the charts by Jimmy Giuffre, George Handy, and Ernie Wilkins. The blend of the saxophones in Handy's upbeat "The Last Day of Fall" almost sound like an accordion. Most of this music was reissued on the CD Now's the Time (1957-1958), although two brilliant arrangements by Jimmy Giuffre ("Yesterdays" and his own "Sing Song") were, unfortunately, omitted from that compilation, making it worth the effort to search for this elusive Decca LP. ~ Ken Dryden

" It was meeting George Russell in the mid-'50s that set McKusick on a course which might have seemed deliberately perverse to other players, exploring the outer edges of harmony, a complex approach to counterpoint, unusual and sometimes awkward time-signatures, and instrumentations that are not normally associated with jazz.

McKusick always took a thoughtful, melodic approach to soloing, keeping the tune in view at all times, rarely straying far into vertical fantasies. He's still perhaps best known for his clarinet work with Charlie Parker, and for the fine Cross Section Saxes, where he mixes ballad standards, 'Now's The Time', and 'Stratusphunk' by George Russell, a composer with whom he had a close relationship." ~ Penguin Guide

Hal McKusick (alto sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Frank Socolow (tenor sax)
Dick Hafer (tenor sax)
Jay Cameron (baritone sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)
Charlie Persip (drums)

1. Whisper Not
2. You're My Thrill
3. It Never Entered My Mind
4. Stratusphunk
5. Last Day of Fall
6. Now's the Time
7. Yesterdays
8. End of a Love Affair
9. Sing Song
10. Rue

Arthur Rhames

I wanted to make you all familiar with a relatively new site which seeks to perpetuate the name of a great musician, Arthur Rhames. Arthur is a legend among those who worked with, heard, or knew him. It's a beautiful thing to see that he has good friends who will not let his name be forgotten.

In fact, the reason I got into blogging was because I came across a reference to Arthur on a site called Jazz Pour Tous, of beloved memory, and dropped a line saying I knew him and asked for more information about his known recordings. One thing led to another and it's direct result of asking about Arthur that this site is here now. That's how it was with Arthur: everyone who heard him told ten friends, "Yo, you have GOT to hear this guy." His admirers included Vernon Reid, Reggie Workman, and Rashied Ali (who was part of a duo with Arthur).

So, a really nice guy and fellow musician, Cleve Alleyne, took on the daunting task of getting the word out about this Brooklyn comet, Arthur Rhames. It's a work of love, obviously, and is a site that can be used as a model of its type. So, if you have ever wanted to express appreciation for this site (CIA), if you've ever found an album you'd been looking for for years, if you've ever found an obscure album that became a favorite, please do me a favor, check out and support this great site. And thanks to Cleve and his colleagues for this tremendous effort.

Dave Burrell - Recital

Pianist Dave Burrell is one of those rare birds who can do it all. For years, he built a strong reputation as a powerful accompanist to saxophonists Archie Shepp and David Murray, as well as a fine soloist on his own. Burrell is also known for some of his explorations of the American song, particularly the tunes of Jelly Roll Morton. Whether plucking the strings of the avant-garde or immersed in the jazz tradition, Burrell brings a delicacy and finery that define melody on his terms. For this simple, yet stately, set in duo with bassist Tyrone Brown, he displays his considerable talents in a diverse range of pieces, from Louis Armstrong's "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" through "Blue Moon" to John Coltrane's epochal "Giant Steps." In each instance, the pianist performs with such immaculate precision infused with emotional depth that each piece is a joy to hear. When was the last time you heard "Shortnin' Bread" played in stride, or a totally new interpretation of "Giant Steps"? On "Samba Rondo," Burrell steps out to show he has not lost his taste for free form, but he does it his way, with a catchy lyrical slant. ~ Steven Loewy, All Music Guide

Dave Burrell piano
Tyrone Brown bass

1. Never Let Me Go Evans, Livingston 8:50
2. Struttin' With Some Barbeque Armstrong, Hardin 5:15
3. Samba Rondo (Imagine the Dancers) Burrell 5:32
4. You Go to My Head Coots, Gillespie 8:10
5. Dear Mr. Roach Brown 5:47
6. Shortin' Bread 6:48
7. With a Little Time Burrell 5:31
8. Caravan Ellington, Mills, Tizol 5:25
9. Blue Moon Hart, Rodgers 3:23
10. The Crave Morton 3:46
11. Lost Waltz Brown, Burrell 3:41
12. Giant Steps Coltrane 5:20

Recorded August 9, 2000
2001 CIMP 230

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Art Blakey - Hard Drive

The final recording by the second version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers features trumpeter Bill Hardman, tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, either Junior Mance or Sam Dockery on piano and bassist Spanky DeBrest along with leader/drummer Blakey performing four group originals, two Jimmy Heath compositions and the obscure "Late Spring." Although this was not the most famous edition of The Messengers, it set a standard that its successors would uphold to, training its members to be bandleaders in their own right. The music on this album is typical hard bop of the period, well played and full of enthusiasm and fire. ~ Scott Yanow

Any recording featuring Bill Hardman's trumpet with Blakey's Messengers is a worthy find. And on this one, he's joined on the front-line by the "Little Giant," Johnny Griffin. The tunes are somewhat dated blues and bebop heads, but the inventiveness of the soloists surpasses that of many more heralded musicians from this or any later period. ~ Samuel Chell

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers' 1956 album Hard Drive features the swinging, energetic hard bop that Blakey and the revolving lineup of Messengers made their reputations with. The 1999 reissue of this release marks its debut on CD, and comes from recently discovered stereo master tapes. Hard Drive features four original compositions, including "Krafty" and "For Minors Only," two Jimmy Heath pieces and an obscure work, "Late Spring." The enthusiasm and fire Blakey and his group display on the album make it a welcome addition to any jazz fan's collection. ~ Heather Phares

Art Blakey (drums)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Bill Hardman (trumpet)
Sam Dockery (piano)
Junior Mance (piano)
Spanky DeBrest (bass)

1. For Minors Only
2. Right Down Front
3. Deo-X
4. Sweet Sakeena
5. For Miles And Miles
6. Krafty
7. Late Spring

Phil Woods - Rights Of Swing

This Candid recording is such a major success that it is surprising that altoist Phil Woods has rarely recorded in this context. The all-star octet not only features the altoist/leader but trumpeter Benny Bailey, trombonist Curtis Fuller, baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, the innovative French horn player Julius Watkins (a major factor in this music), pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Buddy Catlett, and drummer Osie Johnson. This set (reissued by Black Lion on CD) consists entirely of Woods' five-part "Rights of Swing" suite, which clocks in around 38 minutes. The colorful arrangements use the distinctive horns in inventive fashion and the music (which leaves room for many concise solos) holds one's interest throughout. One of Phil Woods' finest recordings, it's a true gem. ~ Scott Yanow

Phil Woods (alto sax)
Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
Benny Bailey (trumpet)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Willie Dennis (trombone)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Buddy Catlett (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)
Granville Roker (drums)

1. Prelude and Part 1
2. Pt. 2 [Ballad]
3. Pt. 3 [Waltz]
4. Pt. 4 [Scherzo]
5. Pt. 5 [Presto]

Phil Woods - Musique Du Bois

On Musique Du Bois, things start with a chorded bass-alto workout in the intro of "Samba du Bois," actually more a hard bop than Brazilian excursion, with Phil Woods' alto frying on the edges. The most inventive juxtaposition of "All Blues" welded to "Willow Weep for Me" works perfectly over ten-plus minutes, in a steady but quick waltz tempo. This is a tour-de-force reading, Woods wafting over Jaki Byard's blue-green chords. During his solo, the pianist goes light blue in cascading, flowing phrases that tumble out of the 88 keys. "Nefertiti" is vastly different than the Miles Davis-Wayne Shorter original; where that one was haunting, sparse, swelling and free, Woods interprets this as an easy swinger, anchored on terra firma with Byard's scurrying solo and funky R&B coda a listener's delight. The band goes through definite time shifts, from easy bluesy groove to funk and hard bop during "The Last Page"; they swing "Airegin" pretty well; and during "The Summer Knows," the altoist confirms what many have long since known -- that he is an unsurpassed master when interpreting a standard in ballad form. A lilting alternate take of "Samba du Bois" is the more Latin-oriented one, same tempo but with drums and the trio introing and playing all the way through. This CD is a widely acknowledged modern jazz masterpiece, a classic in the discography of Woods, easily amongst the best five recordings of his long and storied career -- and a must-buy. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Musique du Bois has been critically well received, and it is regarded as among the best of Woods' releases. In Profiles in Jazz, Raymond Horricks says of the album and Woods that "from first to last it provides it provides a continuous example of the fertility of his imagination. "The book Jazz Matters, naming Woods as "one of the most impressive" of Charlie Parker's "disciples", says "[n]owhere is he more impressive" than on this album, where he "soars over the perfect rhythm section...with a freedom that makes one wonder if this is what Parker would sound like today."

Phil Woods (alto sax)
Jaki Byard (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Samba du Bois
2. Willow Weep For Me
3. Nefertiti
4. The Last Page
5. The Summer Knows
6. Airegin
7. Samba du Bois

New York: January 14, 1974

Howard Frye - Gypsy Mandolin!

1. Czardas
2. Khaitarma
3. Romance De Amor / Tico-Tico
4. Midnight In Moscow (Moscow Nights)
5. Russian Polka
6. Stelutza / Ciocarlia (medley)
7. Doina
8. Kalitka / Tsiganka (medley)
9. Magyar Medley
10. Hassipico
11. Tsuika
12. Hora Staccato

Teddy Charles - Coolin'

A great date from a great jazz year, 1957. We've discussed the various occupations that some musicians have had: psychologist, lawyer, tailor, psychiatrist, air conditioning. Charles left the business and ran a successful sailing and nautical salvage business.

" Although this sextet session was officially a co-op, vibraphonist Teddy Charles and pianist Mal Waldron were really the main organizers. The group plays five originals by bandmembers that often have complex melodies but familiar chord changes. Trumpeter Idrees Sulieman excels on the one standard ("Everything Happens to Me"), altoist John Jenkins (making his recording debut) has some worthy solos and both bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Jerry Segal are fine in support. This obscure session (reissued on CD in the OJC series) is an excellent outing."

Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)
John Jenkins (alto sax)
Teddy Charles (vibes)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Addison Farmer (bass)
Jerry Segal (drums)

1 - Staggers
2 - Song of a Star
3 - The Eagle Flies
4 - Bunni
5 - Reiteration
6 - Everything Happens to Me

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, April 14, 1957

Lee Konitz Warne Marsh - London Concert

Some More D'Vinyl...

Lee Konitz/ Warne Marsh: London Concert
(Wave Records)

The recent UK concert of the 75-year-old Lee Konitz was one of the quiet highlights of the London Jazz Festival. This is also a London concert featuring Konitz, but from 1974 and in partnership with the late Warne Marsh, the extraordinary Californian saxophonist, whose brittle, woody, soprano-sax-like tone on a tenor (drawn from Lester Young, but one of the most individual of all spin-offs from him) and astonishingly sustained linear inventiveness were unique contributions to jazz that have mostly been overlooked. (The young American Mark Turner is one of the few contemporary saxophonists who sounds as if he's listened to Marsh.)
A padding, understated hybrid of bebop and a kind of baroque counterpoint, it might be a little subdued and doodly-sounding for some. But on a repertoire that mostly concentrates on Broadway standards rather than the genre's high priest Lennie Tristano, there's some exquisite playing. Marsh's own Background Music is a fast cat-and-mouse two-sax scramble, Konitz wraps silvery tracery around Marsh's theme statement on It's You Or No-One, Konitz is meditatively inventive on You Go To My Head, and they eventually both play the piece of genuine Bach counterpoint much of the ensemble work has sounded like all along. Very understated music, but tough and restlessly curious inside. John Fordham

Background Music/ It's You Or No One/ Body and Soul/ All The Things You Are/ You Go To My Head/ Invention In A Minor/ Easy Living/ Star Eyes

1977 Wave Records

Rashied Ali and Frank Lowe - Duo Exchange

There's nothing tentative about Duo Exchange, one of several re-issues of sessions originally produced by drummer Rashied Ali for his Survival label during the loft jazz, DYI heyday of the 1970's. Duo Exchange dates from 1972 and reveals Frank Lowe still in the process of purging the overt Coltrane-isms from his improvising. The two collectively extemporized compositions here are not mere sequels to the cosmological visions of Ali's 'other' saxophone-drums duet record, Coltrane's own Interstellar Space. If anything, "Exchange Part 1" and "Exchange Part 2" are less orchestral, less unrelenting, and less flowing than the performances from that earlier record. The scale of Duo Exchange is more human; though there are moments of anguish and triumph commensurate with those on Interstellar Space , the context here is very, very different. Of particular interest in these performances is just how Lowe responds to Ali's virtuosity, his split-second ability to free-associate shards of metric patterns and his kaleidoscopic sense of percussive coloration. Lowe often lets go of his phrases such that his notes somehow fall in those small open cells of silence in Ali's otherwise overpowering detail. The more closely one listens, the more it becomes obvious that Lowe is assembling a steady beat from the wailing pull of his tenor sax against the coruscating push of Ali's kit. In this setting, Lowe is the chorus—the rueful and wise narrative agent—and Ali the flamboyant actor personifying the tragically incongruous circumstances that befall the individual as they follow the trajectory of hubris. It is clear even from this brief recording (barely over half an hour in length) that Frank Lowe is one of the most unique of "free" players, as his playing demonstrates how deeply he comprehends the serious risks involved in his aesthetic. Frank Lowe's art is a super-realistic one, because it is an art open to life and life's endlessly proliferating decisions, each of which is possessed of an integrity and gravity that is to be honored.

Thankfully, Knitting Factory Records has reissued much of Rashied Ali's long-defunct and much-sought-after Survival Records catalog. Duo Exchange is the original first release from that label, and the recording lends much credibility to Ali's choice to start his own label. The interaction between Ali and Frank Lowe is exciting and of a consistently high level, making this recording a worthy and historical addition to the collections of all fans of avant-garde duos. ~ Wilson McCloy

Rashied Ali (drums, percussion)
Frank Lowe (tenor sax, Japanese flute, percussion)

1. Exchange Part 1
2. Exchange Part 2

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Michael Carvin - Revelation

If we can get guest reviewers for Michael Carvin's Between Me And You and The Camel, they will appear next.

As far as drummers go, Michael Carvin isn't a huge name in hard bop and post-bop -- he isn't as well known as Elvin Jones, Al Foster, Jack DeJohnette, or Max Roach. But many of the musicians Carvin has worked with really swear by the drummer, who is hard-swinging without being flashy and knows how to be sensitive to the needs of a soloist. That sensitivity is impossible to miss on Revelation, a solid post-bop date that Carvin recorded for Muse in 1989. Like so much of Art Blakey's work, Revelation favors a real, honest to God band sound -- "cohesive" is definitely the word that describes the acoustic sextet that Carvin leads on this CD, which employs Claudio Roditi and Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet, Sonny Fortune on alto sax and flute, Cyrus Chestnut on piano, and David Williams on upright bass. In terms of arrangements, you can't miss the strong Jazz Messengers influence on tunes that range from Clare Fischer's Latin-influenced "Morning" and Stanley Cowell's "Effi" to the overdone standard "Body and Soul." But Carvin isn't as consistently aggressive a drummer as Blakey; although Blakey is among Carvin's influences, the Houston native has also been influenced by Max Roach, Billy Higgins, and Elvin Jones. Unfortunately, Revelation went out of print when the Muse catalog was acquired by 32 Jazz, but this CD is well worth searching for if you're a lover of Jazz Messengers-influenced post-bop and hard bop. ~ Alex Henderson

Michael Carvin (drums)
Sonny Fortune (flute, alto sax)
John Hicks (piano)
Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet)
Cyrus Chestnut (piano)
Claudio Roditi (trumpet, flugelhorn)
David Williams (bass)

1. Revelation
2. It Might As Well Be Spring
3. Morning
4. Effi
5. Thabo
6. Body And Soul
7. Avotcja
8. We Three Kings

Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs: December 12, 1989

Ruby Braff - The Best Of Braff

This is not the Rhino re-issue of a Bethlehem title mentioned in the review, it is the Bethlehem - in it's Avenue Jazz incarnation. There is still the Black Lion Braff/Buddy Tate at Newport available for a guest reviewer. Becoming a guest reviewer is better than entering the witness protection plan, I think.

Rhino's The Best of Braff is a reissue of a Bethlehem collection that featured highlights from two ten-inch albums, A Ruby Braff Omnibus and Holiday in Braff, which is also released as Adoration of the Melody. Braff was at the beginning of his career as a leader here, yet he was already playing with ease, as these 12 songs illustrate. He may have gained greater popularity in the years following these recordings, but these remain among his finest waxings -- and this is a nice way to acquire them. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Ruby Braff (trumpet)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Bob Wilber (tenor sax)
Al Klink (alto sax)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Ellis Larkins (piano)
Walter Page (bass)
Bobby Donaldson (drums)

1. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)
2. Easy Living
3. Pullin' Thru
4. You're a Lucky Guy
5. You're a Sweetheart
6. Struttin' With Some Barbecue
7. Flowers for a Lady
8. Foolin' Myself
9. I'll Be Around
10. It's Easy to Blame the Weather
11. Mean to Me
12. Ellie

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jackie McLean - Tippin' The Scales

Recorded in between his modernist masterpieces Let Freedom Ring and One Step Beyond, Tippin' the Scales finds Jackie McLean returning to a safer, more straightforward hard bop scenario for a short spell. Since the album wasn't really in keeping with the direction McLean was heading (and since that direction proved to be successful), it stayed in the vaults for 22 years before finally seeing the light of day in 1984. As one might expect, given the nearly universal quality of McLean's Blue Note output, Tippin' the Scales is solid from top to bottom, even if it's not nearly as forward-looking as its predecessor. There's a lot of bluesy hard bop with a few unpredictable twists and turns, and the presence of pianist Sonny Clark lends a cool tone to the session overall, making for a nice contrast with McLean's frequently surging passion. Clark contributes three of the six pieces, which are in keeping with his laid-back, swinging style, highlighted by the amiable, appropriately titled "Nicely." There are also two McLean originals -- the fairly challenging title track and the more basic "Rainy Blues" -- and a rendition of the standard "Cabin in the Sky," where McLean's on-the-edge timbre and intonation are put to surprisingly warm use. Though it's one of the more conventional items in McLean's discography, Tippin' the Scales offers an opportunity to hear the altoist in an uncommonly relaxed quartet setting, playing (along with anchor Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Art Taylor) at a typically high level of musicianship. ~ Steve Huey

Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Sonny Clark (piano)
Butch Warren (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

1. Tippin' The Scales
2. Tippin' The Scales (alt)
3. Rainy Blues
4. Nursery Blues
5. Nicely
6. Two For One
7. Two For One (alt)
8. Two For One (alt 2)
9. Cabin in the Sky

Trio Transition - With Oliver Lake

This session with guest saxophonist Oliver Lake joining the collective Trio Transition -- bassist Reggie Workman, pianist Mulgrew Miller, and drummer Frederick Waits -- represents a free bop supergroup. Those names promise much, and the recording delivers that and more. This conjoining of talents results in an adventurous, free-swinging session informed by a keen sense of structure. The group's ability to match expansive free blowing with intriguing song forms is most pronounced on the ensemble's version of Stanley Cowell's joyful waltz, "Effie." The special rapport among the members of the core trio lifts the music, and at the heart of the trio is bassist Reggie Workman. The aptly named Workman moves up any session he's on a couple notches, and he's at his best here laying down a foundation of expansive, elastic lines and contributing powerful solos. On the opener he instigates pianist Mulgrew Miller's journey from bebop into the free beyond. The much-underrated Frederick Waits is at once colorful and earthbound. He also contributes two pieces, including a tribute to fellow drummer Ed Blackwell that features metric trickery and interlocking piano and saxophone lines. Guest Oliver Lake feasts on the support he receives, delivering a number of hearty orations. ~ David Dupont

Reggie Workman (bass)
Frederick Waits (drums)
Mulgrew Miller (piano)
Oliver Lake (alto sax)

1. Planetside Trip
2. Moon Storm
3. Mr. Blackwell
4. Effie
5. Variation Of III
6. November '80

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Booker Little and Teddy Charles - The Complete Concert

This is a re-issue of what was originally "Teddy Charles - Jazz In The Garden", issued on the Warwick label (Warwick W 2033), and subsequently issued as "Sounds Of Inner City" (TCB 1003) on the TCB label. But let me be precise: tracks 1, 3-6 were on the Warwick title, and 1, 4, 6 and 7 were on the TCB issue. This then, is entitled as The Complete Concert because it combines both LPs and the additional unreleased track 2.

Previously posted were a Milt Jackson at the museum, if I recall correctly, and an Art Farmer date from the same venue (Art Farmer - The Time And The Place: The Lost Concert) six years later. I'll dig through the archives and re-post it if the links still work. On this date we have Art's brother Addison who would be gone less than three years after. Booker Little himself passed away less than a year later. Trivia note; both Ed Shaughnessy and Addison's brother Art later worked with Edgard Varèse. La-di-da.

" ... Most of the material is straight-ahead bop under the leadership of vibraphonist Teddy Charles with Mal Waldron on piano, Addison Farmer on bass, and Ed Shaunesssy (sic) on drums. This is a noteworthy reissue considering that there are so few instances of Little's lyrical trumpet style and Ervin's passionate tenor recorded together. Original compositions include Ervin's "Scoochie," Little's "The Confined Few" and "Witch Fire," Shaunessy's "Blues de Tambour," pianist Ahmad Jamal's "Cycles," plus the standard "Stardust" (receiving an especially melancholy treatment.) The only complaint is the lack of liner notes, which excludes information on personnel and session history." ~ Al Campbell

Booker Little (trumpet)
Teddy Charles (vibes)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Addison Farmer (bass)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)

1. Scoochie
2. Cycles
3. Embraceable You
4. Blues De Tambour
5. Take Three Part Jazz Suite: Route 4 / Byriste / Father George
6. The Confined Few
7. Stardust

Museum Of Modern Art, New York: August 25, 1960

BN LP 5016 | Erroll Garner - Overture To Dawn, Volume 5

This release concludes the 5 volumes of Erroll Garner. I was reading an argument that between Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson, they really opened up the market and audience for piano based trios in a way that Alfred Lion had hoped that the swingtets might. They got jukebox play and that meant sales exposure.

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Ralph Bowen Quintet - Soul Proprietor

Tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen doesn't lead his own sessions often, so it's nice to hear him step out again on Criss Cross with this straight-ahead quintet disc. Organist Sam Yahel and his trio mates, Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Brian Blade (drums), serve as the backbone of the group, with trumpeter John Swana joining Bowen up front on some of the tracks. Of the four covers, "Invitation" and "My Ideal" are fairly straightforward; Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" sounds novel in an organ/guitar context and Horace Silver's ballad "Peace" closes the album as an unaccompanied tenor solo. Five tracks are Bowen originals, the strongest being "Meltdown" (a charged reworking of John Coltrane's "Countdown") and "Spikes" (with rhythm changes twisted beyond recognition). It's the incredible blowing, more than Bowen's writing, that makes Soul Proprietor worth hanging onto. ~ David R. Adler

As revolutionary as the compact disc has been to the music industry, sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing. More specifically, I can’t help but echo what producer Michael Cuscuna once told me about new releases. He bemoaned the fact that many of today’s discs are just too long, wearing out their welcome way before concluding their run, and I can’t help but admit that after about 50 minutes or so my attention starts to wander. So what does all this have to do with saxophonist Ralph Bowen’s most recent Criss Cross session as a leader? Well, at just about 70 minutes in duration, Soul Proprietor is definitely on the long side, but it holds up extremely well thanks to a great program of standards and originals and a cohesive ensemble that locks in tight for the duration.

Bowen first came to the fore as a member of the hard bop unit Out Of the Blue in the ‘80s. Since then the saxophonist has kept a low profile, active mainly as a college educator, yet his stature as a mature soloist has not diminished. Although he had previously recorded a set for Criss Cross many years ago, Soul Proprietor is a return to form and it features an outstanding rhythm section with organist Sam Yahel, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and drummer Brian Blade. As an added bonus, trumpeter John Swana fills out the front line on several tracks giving things an updated groove in the lineage of Larry Young’s Unity.

Bowen’s husky tone brings on “Invitation” with confidence, Swana quickly falling into the mix with his own distinctive voice. Things unfold in a relaxed manner, Bowen preferring to use space rather than cramming every beat with rapid flurries of notes. Peter Bernstein opens the title track and sings the melody in uncluttered fashion before stepping aside for Bowen to launch his initial gambit. “My Ideal” and “Peace” are spots where Bowen really gets to shine, the former a ballad feature and the latter a solo tour-de-force chock full of harmonics and over blowing. “Spikes” emerges as a cleverly disguised line built on Rhythm changes and at one point Swana and Bowen go at it without any accompaniment, their intertwined lines uniting in stimulating counterpoint. With a section in the odd meter of 7/2, Bowen’s “Meltdown” tackles Coltrane’s changes from “Countdown” but in a sage new way that offers a real challenge to all.

Of course, Yahel and Blade have worked together regularly, most recently as members of Josh Redman’s current trio, while the two joined forces with Bernstein on Yahel’s Criss Cross debut. Thankfully, Bowen and Swana have harnessed the power of this trio and the whole proves to be even greater than the sum of the individually gifted parts.
~ C. Andrew Hovan

Ralph Bowen (Ts)
John Swana (Tp)
Peter Bernstein (G)
Sam Yahel (Org)
Brian Blade (D)

1. Invitation (Bronislaw Kaper)
2. Soul Proprietor (Ralph Bowen)
3. My Ideal (Richard Whiting / Neville Chase / Leo Robin)
4. Spikes (Ralph Bowen)
5. Under A Cloud (Ralph Bowen)
6. The First Stone (Ralph Bowen)
7. Inner Urge (Joe Henderson)
8. Meltdown (Ralph Bowen)
9. Peace (Horace Silver)

Recorded May 24, 2001 in Brooklyn, NY, USA by Max Bolleman

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dorothy Ashby - Afro-Harping

There have been very few jazz harpists in history and Dorothy Ashby was one of the greats. Somehow she was able to play credible bebop on her instrument. As a pianist she studied at Wayne State University, and in 1952 she switched to harp. Within two years, Ashby was gigging in jazz, and in 1956 she made her first recording as a leader. Between 1956-1970, she led ten albums for such labels as Savoy, Prestige, New Jazz, Argo, Jazzland, Atlantic, and Cadet, guested on many records, and was firmly established as a top studio and session player. She moved to the West Coast in the 1970s and was active up until her death. ~ Scott Yanow

The best and most complete album done by jazz harpist (a rare style) Dorothy Ashby. She didn't approach her instrument as if it were a gimmick, and she wasn't content to be a background/mood specialist. She turned the harp into a lead instrument, and offered solos that were as tough and memorable as those done by any reed, brass, or percussion player. ~ Ron Wynn

Dorothy Ashby (harp)

1. Soul Vibrations
2. Games
3. Action Line
4. Lonely Girl
5. Life Has Its Trials
6. Afro- Harping
7. Little Sunflower
8. Valley Of The Dolls (Theme)
9. Come Live With Me
10. The Look Of Love

Dorothy Ashby - In A Minor Groove

Aside from the unusual presence of a harp on every track, you could easily mistake this for a Frank Wess date - which would be fine also. Too bad Ashby is perpetually relegated to the oddball category (although by critics, certainly not by her fellow musicians); she really does hold her own.

While not the first male or female jazz harp player (Casper Reardon of Jack Teagarden's bands, Adele Girard performing with her husband Joe Marsala, or Corky Hale set precedents), Dorothy Ashby was the very best and most swinging performer on the multi-stringed instrument associated with the gates of heaven. Here on Earth, Ashby adeptly plucked and strummed the harp like nobody else, as evidenced on this single CD reissue containing her two best LPs for the Prestige and Prestige/New Jazz labels from 1958 -- Hip Harp and In a Minor Groove. Alongside her prior efforts for the Savoy label, they collectively represent a small but substantive discography for the Detroit native in small group settings. With the exceptional flute sounds produced by Frank Wess, the combo plays music that is oriented via a unique sonic palate, further enhanced by the principals in the standards and originals they have chosen. Fellow Detroiter Herman Wright is here on bass, with duties split between legendary drummers Art Taylor and Roy Haynes, who place particular emphasis on subtle brushwork. Of course, the watchword of Ashby's sound is elegance, as she and Wess weave magical threads of gold and silver through standards like the circular and pristine "Moonlight in Vermont," the dramatic, slow "Yesterdays," or the sad "Alone Together." In a more Baroque or chamber setting, "Charmain" and "It's a Minor Thing" have Wess and Ashby thinking on a regal or Grecian platform. The variety on this collection is impressive, as you hear cinematic bluesy proclamations on "Autumn in Rome," striking mystery in "Taboo," mischievous and sly winks during "Rascallity," and a sexy calypso-to-swing beat as "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" unfolds. Two originals of Ashby's stand out -- the well swung, blues based yet exotic "Pawky" with the singularly unique flute of Wess, and the delicate but decisive "Jollity" that moves along nicely. Of course these are straight-ahead mainstream jazz musicians, and you also get a soaring, clean version of the tricky "Bohemia After Dark" and "Dancing in the Dark," where Ashby's harp acts like a rhythm guitar. In fact, it is this aspect of Ashby's performing style that sets her apart from being a singular or simplistic crystalline melodic implement. Then add to this element that Wess is so acutely fine tuned to pure tonal discourse simply by the nature of his instrument, and can carry the load by himself. This is a delightful package that deserves further recognition as a project unique to jazz and modern music, perfectly showcasing Dorothy Ashby as an individualist for the ages. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Dorothy Ashby (harp)
Frank Wess (flute)
Herman Wright (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. Pawky
2. Moonlight In Vermont
3. Back Talk
4. Dancing In The Dark
5. Charmaine
6. Jollity
7. There's A Small Hotel
8. Rascallity
9. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
10. It's A Minor Thing
11. Yesterdays
12. Bohemia After Dark
13. Taboo
14. Autumn In Rome
15. Alone Together

Frank Wright-Church#9 1973

Frank Wright has always seemed to me a perennial outsider .
except for a brief brush with the limelight in the late 60's, his work has never been widely heard by jazz fans..other than a small coterie of die hard free jazz heads.
and that seems a pity , but unsurprising given the paucity of availability of his recordings , very few are in circulation at any given time.. and a great deal of his oeuvre has never seen reissue .

A lot of this has to do both with the uncompromising stance that is implicit in the music , and the drugged insouciance that plagued Wright as a heroin addict throughout his adult life.
I remember reading a Chet Baker biography some years ago ..that mentioned the fact that both Wright and Baker were at one time staying at the house of a celebrated Belgian jazz man , and wondering what those two could possibly have talked about other than how to score the next hit.
In actual fact though both had quite a deal in common other than that, for one thing both were pretty much self taught and unable at least until much later in life to read music.

Wright ,and especially this particular group ,has i believe had a huge influence on this type of high energy 'free jazz' since the 80's , one glaring example are the early records of David S Ware , on those the influence is pervasive.. the methodology of and over all feel of the group (on those first few albums only) seems nearly identical to that on this and other early recordings by this group.. who were known as the centre of the world quartet.

I've always been a little afraid of giving myself wholly over to this music, and it took many years of exposure before i was able to overcome my reservations and prejudice.
Wrights personal style takes some getting used to , full of primitive hollers and shrieks in what at first seem inappropriate places.
One word about the others they are not accompanists ,rather equal creative partners .. one would be hard pressed to find a more masterfully inventive rhythm section in this context!

Not too sure about the Provenance of this reissue which does crop up from time to time ,it has some of the hall marks of a bootleg...
Hopefully those that Download this and enjoy it will buy other F.Wright albums ,should they ever be reissued.

i posted this over a year ago at inconstant sol at 256kbs , where you can also find more and un-reissued FW.
This is one of the great albums in this vein ever recorded ... ENJOY!!

post script
a minor error correction....
i was tired when i posted this ....
this album doesnt in fact feature the great Centre of the world quartet...
which is to say
Frank with, Bobby Few, Alan silva &
Mohammed Ali

Alan Silva, doesn't play on this..
there is no bass , Noah Howard joins the 'Centre of the World'trio on alto sax.

Ray Anderson - Big Band Record (1994)

Ray Anderson has nine of his originals performed by the 17-piece George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band on this Gramavision CD and the results are quite spirited and very satisfying. The often riotous trombonist is fortunate to have his complex but always lively music interpreted by quite an all-star group and Gruntz's arrangements give each musician at least one opportunity to solo. When one considers that the orchestra contains such individualists as trumpeters Lew Soloff, Ryan Kisor, John D'Earth, and Herb Robertson; altoist Tim Berne; Marty Ehrlich on several reeds; Ellery Eskelin on tenor; and violinist Mark Feldman, it is little surprise that this was one of the top jazz albums released in 1994. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Lips Apart
2. Anabel at One
3. My Wish
4. Raven-A-Ning
5. Leo's Place
6. Seven Monsters
7. Waltz for Phoebe
8. The Literary Lizard
9. Don't Mow Your Lawn

Cecil Taylor - The Great Paris Concert

This is, contrary to the statement below, the first CD release and does not have the notes of Scott Yanow, but of Alun Morgan: note that there is a seeming caesura in the notes. Flip 'em around and it'll all work out. Maybe.

Released on LP in 1966, Cecil Taylor's Student Studies is an anomaly from his other recordings of the era. Not purely improvised, Taylor uses arranged sections and built-in segments for thematic and improvisational space. His meditations on short tonal studies and propulsive bursts of energy became signifiers of his later music. The band here, including Jimmy Lyons, bassist Alan Silva, and drummer Andrew Cyrille, registered with Taylor's fluid disciplinary approach to atonalism and dissonance, and found room to actually swing in. In fact, the influences Taylor spoke of most often during the era -- Ellington, Bud Powell, and Mingus, can be traced here, if not heard outright. And the reliance on intervallic assertions by the various players presented a new opening in Taylor's work that he would take to an extreme later on. This is the sound of an artist at a creative peak of his improvisational and authoritative power to lead a band through the maze of sonic architecture and come out with something that was truly new and different. This is the first American appearance of Student Studies on CD, the sound is wonderful, and critic Scott Yanow's notes are empathetic and enlightening. ~ Thommaso DiGiurechio

Cecil Taylor (piano)
Jimmy Lyons (alto sax)
Alan Silva (bass)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. Student Studies, Pt. 1
2. Student Studies, Pt. 2
3. Amplitude
4. Niggle Feuigle

Paris: November 30, 1966

Milcho Leviev Quartet with Art Pepper - Blues For The Fisherman

Some more minty fresh vinyl. A great live recording from Ronnie Scott's, June of 1980--this is some beautiful stuff. If y'all loved Pepper at the Vanguard at about this time, you'll really flip for this one. Rab, I think Jurek (in his own hack way)got it right in this review:

by Thom Jurek
This date between Bulgarian piano genius and three fourths of Art Pepper's quartet (obviously, Pepper, bassist Tony Dumas, and drummer Carl Burnett had to leave pianist George Cables out of this one) is one of the hottest dates in either leader's career. Solidly based in post-bop blues, Latin rhythms, and modal figures, Blues for the Fisherman is perhaps one of the most underappreciated quartet dates of the 1980s. Recorded at Ronnie Scott's club in London in 1980, a year and a half before Pepper's death, the set is comprised of four long tunes, one by Leviev and three — including the title track — by Pepper, and is more a Pepper than Leviev date. No matter, however, since the musical dialogue this band cooks up is positively telepathic. Leviev, who is influenced equally by early Ramsey Lewis, Oscar Peterson, and Horace Silver, pulls out all the funky stops in his solos. He accents Pepper's melodies with punchy, choppy chords that allow the altoist's lines to drop right inside and add the necessary accent to make them soar. From the opener, with "Make a List, Make a Wish," which is equal parts bossa nova and "Wade in the Water" spiritual, Leviev is in the pocket, drawing Burnett and Dumas into the fire not as timekeepers but as funked-out fire breathers. Leviev's solo is pure 16th and 32nd notes cascading down around the rhythm section like bullets and wrapping around Pepper's own lines tightly and inseparably, harmonically altering space and time. Leviev's own lilting "Sad, A Little Bit" is graced with a slower, bluesy ballad feel, but its melody is taken from the ancient sounds of Bulgarian folk music. The way Pepper spins it out, weighing the traditional melody against the modern melodics of his brand of jazz, is remarkable, and Leviev's own harmonic invention is structurally astonishing. By the time the band members reach the final cut, the title track, they are literally dissembling the bandstand and in full flight, soaring with improvisational heights they probably hadn't thought possible. Pepper and Leviev are allowed the luxury of soloing together by a solid, rollicking rhythm section that pushes the time edges of each chorus just a bit more, until the entire structure opens up tonally and Pepper moves into his melody and through it as Leviev investigates its hidden notes in almost impossible triple times. There isn't a weak album on Mole Jazz, and this first one tells the story as to why that's true. This slab has great sound and an unmatchable performance, and is a magical listening experience.
Milcho Leviev - Piano
Art Pepper - Alto Sax
Tony Dumas - Bass
Carl Burnett - Drums
rec. at Ronnie Scotts Club - London on Friday Saturday and Sunday 27/28/29 June 1980
for the Mole Jazz Label
Make A List, Make A Wish/ Sad, A Little Bit/ Ophelia/ Blues For The Fisherman

Friday, August 14, 2009

Marty Paich - The Picasso Of Big Band Jazz

One of the best-known arrangers of the post-World War II era, Marty Paich had much stronger jazz credentials than many of his peers, thanks to his active presence on the West Coast scene during the '50s. Paich was born in Oakland, CA, on January 23, 1925; he started out as a pianist, and was performing professionally at age 16. Along with the up-and-coming Pete Rugolo, he wrote arrangements for local bandleader Gary Nottingham. Tapped for military service in 1943, he continued to arrange while serving as the leader of the Army Air Corps band through 1946. Following his discharge, he used the G.I. Bill to further his musical education, enrolling at UCLA to study arranging under Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (who also helped train Nelson Riddle). He earned a master's degree from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music in 1951, and quickly found work in the industry as both an arranger and pianist, working with Jerry Gray and Dan Terry early on.

Paich soon graduated to higher-profile gigs, playing and arranging for Shelly Manne and Shorty Rogers (the latter on the big-band album Cool and Crazy) over 1953-1954, and also serving a stint as Peggy Lee's accompanist and musical director. He led his own groups as well, and in 1955 he began recording for a succession of labels that included Mode, Tampa, Candid (The Picasso of Big Band Jazz), Warner (I Get a Boot Out of You), and RCA Victor. He also toured with Dorothy Dandridge, and arranged (and performed on) the soundtrack to the Disney film Lady and the Tramp (1955). During the mid- to late '50s, Paich wrote arrangements for a who's who of West Coast jazz, including Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Ray Brown, Dave Pell, and Stan Kenton, among others. Perhaps his most notable work came with Mel Tormé, whom he often backed with a ten-piece group dubbed the Dek-tette; the pairing resulted in the classic album Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette (aka Lulu's Back in Town), plus numerous other high-quality sessions through 1960. Additionally, Paich contributed the arrangements to altoist Art Pepper's 1959 masterpiece Art Pepper + Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics. Paich's work for both Tormé and Pepper reflected one of his greatest strengths as an arranger: making relatively small groups sound like full-size orchestras.

By the close of the '50s, Paich had already begun to branch out from his West Coast roots, arranging material for Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, and big-band leader Terry Gibbs. Around 1960, he elected to move away from his own recording career to focus on arranging for pop (and sometimes jazz) vocalists. Over the course of the decade, he worked with the likes of Ray Charles, Lena Horne, Helen Humes, Al Hirt, Andy Williams, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Astrud Gilberto, and Mahalia Jackson, among many others. He also composed music for films (including some animated Hanna-Barbera projects) and television shows, winning an Emmy for his work on Ironside. In the late '60s, he served as musical director on a succession of variety shows, including The Glen Campbell Good-Time Hour, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (as Nelson Riddle's successor), and The Sonny and Cher Show.

After the early '70s, Paich's activity began to tail off, though he still worked sporadically as an orchestra conductor and string arranger, both on movie soundtracks and for artists like George Benson, Carly Simon, Elton John, and Kenny Loggins (a Grammy-nominated arrangement for "Only a Miracle"), not to mention his son David Paich's album rock supergroup Toto. He also helmed Sarah Vaughan's Songs of the Beatles project in 1980. In the late '80s, Paich reunited with a resurgent Tormé, reorganizing the Dek-tette for a series of highly acclaimed recordings and tours. He also continued to work on soundtracks into the '90s, frequently as a conductor and musical supervisor. Colon cancer claimed Paich's life on August 12, 1995. ~ Steve Huey

Marty Paich (piano)
Bob Cooper (tenor sax)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Buddy Childers (trumpet)
Pete Candoli (trumpet)
Herb Geller (alto sax)
Herbie Harper (trombone)
Bob Enevoldsen (clarinet, valve trombone)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. From Now On
2. Walkin' On Home
3. Black Rose
4. Tommy's Toon
5. New Soft Shoe
6. What's New?
7. Easy Listnin'
8. Martyni Time
9. Nice And Easy

Eric Watson - Your Tonight Is My Tomorrow

Born in 1955, the American pianist Eric Watson moved to Paris in 1978, having studied classical piano, composition and jazz improvisation at the Oberlin Conservatory. Since then he has built up a very considerable reputation as both soloist and accompanist; he has worked with many major figures in jazz – they include Steve Lacy and Albert Mangelsdorff, Paul Motian and Ray Anderson. His work has won him many awards and much critical praise in France, but his reputation barely seems to have reached the UK. It is our loss that we haven’t heard so much of his music.

Albums under his own name have included Silent Hearts (1999) a trio recording with Mark Dresser and Ed Thigpen, a solo ballad anthology, Sketches of Solitude (2002) and, in a quartet co-led with German saxophonist Christoph Lauer, Road Movies (2004). Watson has also written a good deal of chamber music and music for dance companies. ...

Some of Watson’s lines inevitably remind one of Bill Evans; at other times Paul Bley – and even a kind of less intense Cecil Taylor – comes to mind. I mention these names not to suggest that Watson’s work is merely derivative, which it most definitely isn’t, but just to indicate something of the kind of musical territory it occupies. There are plenty of attractive melodies, often with unexpected twists and turns and there are some subtle rhythmic and harmonic inventions.

Anyone who enjoys the post-Evans piano trio is urged to investigate this consistently interesting album, which impresses both by the sheer craftsmanship of those involved, but also in terms of the feel of honesty which it exudes and the high level of imaginative commitment. ~ Glyn Pursglove

Eric Watson (piano)
Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Jean-Paul Celea (bass)
Aaron Scott (drums)

1. Punching Paich Patch
2. Walking Duet
3. Tag Zone
4. The Girl Who Never Sang
5. Last Request
6. Situation Tragedy
7. Your Tonight Is My Tomorrow

Marty Paich - A Jazz Band Ball: First Set

On this reissue CD, pianist/arranger Marty Paich heads a septet that consists of trumpeters Jack Sheldon and Don Fagerquist, valve trombonists Stu Williamson and Bob Enevoldsen, and a quiet rhythm section with bassist Buddy Clark and drummer Mel Lewis. While some swing standards are taken as stomps (including "Blue Lou" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside"), a pair of Dixieland warhorses ("Dinah" and "Ida") are surprisingly recast as dreamy and introspective ballads. In addition, there are a couple other familiar pieces, plus an original apiece by Paich ("Iris of the IRA") and Bill Holman. The cool-toned music holds one's interest and is one of many fine Marty Paich recordings from the 1950s. ~ Scott Yanow

Marty Paich (piano)
Don Fagerquist (trumpet)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Bob Enevoldsen (valve trombone)
Stu Williamson (valve trombone)
Buddy Clark (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. Blue Lou
2. Soft Winds
3. Dinah
4. Iris Of The Ira
5. Jumpin' At The Woodside
6. Look Around
7. Ida
8. Yardbird Suite
9. Logrolling

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Johnny Dodds - 1926 (Chronological 589)

The first of four Dodds Chronos that I have (which - ahem - means three available for guest reviewers) this features Dodds on alto sax, and the presence of Freddie Keppard. This period found Doods working with Joe Oliver, Louis, and Jelly Roll Morton among others. He was at the top of his game and helping to define the form.

Born in New Orleans in 1892, Johnny Dodds became one of the founding fathers of traditional jazz. The self-taught musician, whose younger brother was drummer Warren "Baby" Dodds, principally played clarinet but also played alto saxophone. Dodds played with such pioneering jazz groups as Kid Ory and King Oliver and frequently played with early jazz masters Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Dodds, a thorough professional and expert bandleader, can be heard on these sides performing early jazz at its best in the company of such accomplished musicians as Freddie Keppard and George Mitchell on cornets, Ory and Eddie Vincent on trombone, and Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano. ~ John Swenson

Dodds was one of the very finest New Orleans clarinetists, and the only non-Creole among them. The peak experiences here, and some of the finest small-group recordings ever made, are the New Orleans Wanderers sessions -- Armstrong's Hot Five with George Mitchell instead of Armstrong. Also present are Freddie Keppard's only two recordings and a bunch of marginally lesser cuts that Dodds transmutes into gold. ~ John Storm Roberts

Johnny Dodds (clarinet, alto sax)
Freddie Keppard (cornet)
Kid Ory (trombone)
Lil Hardin Armstrong (piano)
Tiny Parham (piano)
Jimmy Blythe (piano)

1. Bohunkus Blues
2. Buddy Burton's Jazz
3. Perdido Street Blues
4. Gatemouth
5. Too Tight
6. Papa Dip
7. Mixed Salad
8. I Can't Say
9. Flat Foot
10. Mad Dog
11. Messin' Around
12. Adam's Apple
13. East Coast Trot
14. Chicago Buzz
15. Idle Hour Special
16. 47th Street Stomp
17. Stock Yards Strut
18. Salty Dog
19. Ape Man
20. Your Folks
21. House Rent Rag
22. Memphis Shake
23. Carpet Alley-Breakdown
24. Hen Party Blues

Les Paul - The Complete Decca Master Takes

25 early recordings by guitar great Les Paul, originally recorded for the Decca label in the late '40s with his trio (Bob Armstrong, Cal Gooden Jr. and Clint Nordquist. Many of these recordings made up his first album, Hawaiian Paradise, released in 1949. Earlier tracks date from Paul's time on Bing Crosby's radio show and feature Crosby and Helen Forrest.

Regarding Hawaiian Paradise: " Les Paul's first album - originally issued as a four-disc 78 RPM package - was recorded under some duress in the form of an order by Decca label chief Jack Kapp, who wanted a Hawaiian album for the sake of Decca's financial coffers. But Paul's innate musical taste resulted in a pleasant album of melodic Hawaiian standards where he states and elaborates gently upon the tunes with nary a cliched Hawaiian guitar within earshot. Backed by his trio at the time -- Bob Armstrong (piano), Cal Gooden, Jr. (guitar), Clint Nordquist (bass) -- Paul displays his uncanny instinct for hitting the right notes at the right time, with a few patented glissandos but rarely using more notes than necessary. A relatively minor period piece in the context of Paul's career, this issue was one of Decca's first LPs, and its contents finally made it into the CD era in 1997 as part of The Complete Trio-Plus." ~ Richard S. Ginell

1. Begin the Beguine
2. Blue Skies
3. Dream Dust
4. Dark Eyes
5. It's Been a Long, Long Time
6. Whoes Dream Are You?
7. Hawaiian Paradise
8. My Isle of Golden Dreams
9. Baby, What You Do for Me
10. Everybody Knew But Me
11. Song of the Islands
12. Sweet Leilani
13. King's Serenade
14. To You Sweetheart, Aloha
15. Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight
16. Aloha Oe
17. Pretending
18. Gotta Get Me Somebody to Love
19. One Sided Affair
20. What Would It Take?
21. Steel Guitar Rag
22. Guitar Boogie
23. Gotta Get Someone to Love
24. What Am I Gonna Do About You?
25. Drifting and Dreaming
26. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
27. My Future Just Passed

Eddie Daniels - Brief Encounter

Definitely a work of it's time and place, but Daniels has some fine moments, on tenor sax especially.

Eddie Daniels splits his time almost equally on this underrated LP between tenor, flute and clarinet. Joined by keyboardist Andy Laverne, bassist Rick Laird and drummer Billy Mintz, Daniels is in consistently creative form on the six selections with highlights include his clarinet on the uptempo "There Is No Greater Love" and his work on four overdubbed flutes (one of which is a bass flute) for a haunting rendition of "A Child Is Born." It seems strange that it would still be another eight years before Eddie Daniels gained recognition as a masterful improviser and technician for in 1977 he was already pretty much there. Recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Eddie Daniels (clarinet, flutes, tenor sax)
Andy LaVerne (Fender Rhodes)
Rick Laird (bass)
Billy Mintz (drums)

1. Brief Encounter
2. A Child Is Born
3. The Path
4. Sway
5. There Is No Greater Love
6. Ligia

Eddie Daniels - First Prize!

When one hears this early Eddie Daniels CD (a straight reissue of the original LP), it is surprising to realize that he would remain in relative obscurity for almost another 20 years. As shown on the three of the eight selections on which he plays clarinet, Daniels (even at this early stage) ranked near the top, while his tenor playing on the remaining numbers was already personal and virtuosic. With the assistance of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis rhythm section of the time (pianist Roland Hanna, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Mel Lewis), Daniels is in top form on three standards, four originals and the pop tune "Spanish Flea." ~ Scott Yanow

One of the truly great jazz clarinetists (ranking at the top with Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Buddy DeFranco), Eddie Daniels makes the impossible look effortless. On his first GRP release, Breakthrough, in 1984, Daniels switched back and forth on a second's notice between jazz and classical and he has since explored Charlie Parker, Roger Kellaway tunes, crossover, and even swing with consistent brilliance. He is also a dazzling (if underrated) tenor player. Daniels appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival in Marshall Brown's Youth Band (playing alto) and after graduating from Juilliard in 1966, he played tenor with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra for six years. Daniels recorded First Prize as a leader (1966) and made albums with Freddie Hubbard (1969), Richard Davis, Don Patterson, and duets with Bucky Pizzarelli (1973). Although he recorded as a leader for Muse and Columbia during 1977-1978, Eddie Daniels did not make it big until he started specializing on clarinet and recording regularly for GRP in 1984. In 1992, he started doubling on tenor again when his reputation on clarinet was secure. ~ Scott Yanow

Eddie Daniels (clarinet, tenor sax)
Sir Roland Hanna (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. Felicidade
2. That Waltz
3. Falling In Love With Love
4. Love's Long Journey
5. Time Marches On
6. Spanish Flea
7. The Rocker
8. How Deep Is The Ocean?

Englewood Cliffs: September 8 and 12, 1966

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Allan Botschinsky - The Bench

What a pleasant surprise; I was shopping today for CDs and found this Botschinsky, who we have been discussing the last day or so. Ain't life grand? This gentleman is still with us and has a nice website; if you enjoy this, why not drop him a line telling him so. Nice to hear that stuff while you're still alive, I'd imagine.

A fine mellow-toned brass player who sticks to flugelhorn on this set, Allan Botschinsky teams up with fellow Danes (Stan Sulzmann on tenor and soprano, guitarist Jacob Fischer, bassist Jesper Lundgaard, and drummer Alex Riel) to perform five of his originals, Sulzmann's "New-Ness," and the standard "We'll Be Together Again." Actually a few of the leader's tunes use common chord changes, most notably "The Bench" (which is a thinly disguised "All the Things You Are"). The music overall (recorded live in concert and recorded for the radio) falls between hard bop and post-bop with Sulzmann's solos being the most adventurous. The blend between the two horns and the well-rounded program (which has several memorable cuts) makes this a CD well worth picking up. ~ Scott Yanow

Allan Botschinsky (flugelhorn)
Stan Sulzmann (soprano and tenor sax)
Jacob Fischer (guitar)
Jesper Lundgaard (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)

1. The Bench
2. Lady from 300 Central Park West
3. New - Ness
4. Song for Anna Sophia
5. Twenty - Seven 91
6. We'll Be Together Again
7. Ray's Delight

Elmo Hope - The Final Sessions

Released in 1966 shortly before his death. It was thought that he had made his last recordings as far back as 1963, but these tapes see him back in the company of Philly Joe, with whom he had worked in Joe Morris' R&B band, and with Ore. Jarvis was also a sensitive collaborator, and he is the drummer on two-thirds of these cuts.

At the end, Hope sounds thoughtful and technically sound, recording long takes (which are now issued unedited) that are jam-packed with ideas. His ability to reshape a standard like 'I Love You' and the bebop classic, 'A Night In Tunisia' is undiminished by time; but the real meat of the two discs comes in originals: a long version of 'Elmo's Blues', with altered changes and a curious long-form structure, the terse 'Vi-Ann', and the excellent 'Toothsome Threesome' and 'Punch'. The recordings are somewhat rough and ready. Though a certain degree of electronic sweetening has taken place, an appropriate texture of the original has been preserved. ~ Penguin Guide

Originally released posthumously on two Inner City LP's and later reissued by Fantasy on a pair of CD's, pianist Elmo Hope's last sessions are best acquired on this double-CD for it includes three alternate takes plus five selections that have been released for the first time unedited (making them slightly longer than previous versions). Hope, who is joined by bassist John Ore and either Clifford Jarvis or Philly Joe Jones on drums, was still in top playing form in 1966 although he would pass away the following year before he turned 44. Somewhat neglected, Hope was a contemporary and friend of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk who, in addition to his playing, was a talented composer. In fact, out of the 14 selections that he performs, all but three were his originals and several are well worth reviving. Elmo Hope is in surprisingly joyous form throughout the set, sounding both original and accessible to bebop fans. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Elmo Hope (piano)
John Ore (bass)
Clifford Jarvis (drums)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

CD 1
1. I Love You
2. Night In Tunisia
3. Stellations
4. Pam
5. Elmo's Blues
6. Somebody Loves Me
7. Low Tide (alt)
8. Low Tide (complete, unedited)

CD 2
1. Roll On (alt)
2. Roll On
3. VI-Ann (complete, unedited)
4. VI-Ann (alt)
5. Toothsome Threesome
6. Grammy (complete, unedited)
7. Kiss For My Love
8. Something For Kenny (aka If I Could, I Would) (complete, unedited)
9. Punch That (complete, unedited)

Bethlehem 6

Bass By Pettiford/Burke

Burke and Cinderella worked with Gil Melle after these were recorded.

Although the great bassist Oscar Pettiford gets first billing, this CD actually has six selections from his quintet (with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, Julius Watkins on French horn, pianist Duke Jordan, and drummer Ron Jefferson) and eight from bassist Vinnie Burke's quartet (clarinetist Ronnie Oldrich, Don Burns on accordion, and guitarist Joe Cinderella). The Pettiford half is notable for including three of his compositions ("Tricrotism" is best known), utilizing the Rouse-Watkins front line (which would become the Jazz Modes during 1956-1958) and for Pettiford doubling on cello. The Burke group has the usual instrumentation exploring melodic versions of seven standards, plus the bassist's "Time Out." These two unrelated sessions are complementary, displaying the cooler side of 1950s bebop. ~ Scott Yanow

Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Ron Jefferson (drums)

Vinnie Burke (bass)
Ron Odrich (clarinet)
Don Burns (accordion)
Joe Cinderella (guitar)

1. Sextette
2. Golden Touch
3. Cable Car
4. Trictrotism
5. Edge Of Love
6. Oscar Rides Again
7. The Continental
8. For All We Know
9. Yesterdays
10. Imagination
11. Time Out
12. Softly As In The Morning Sunrise
13. On The Alamo
14. Honeysuckle Rose

Hans Koller plays Kovac (1957)

Heres a little gem of European jazz from the late 50's , at the time this was recorded he enjoyed a reputation as one of the great sax men in Europe.

Germany and Austria seemed to be particularly fond of west coast style popularly bowlderized as so called 'cool jazz' , Lee Konitz , Gerry Mulligan, and so forth were the dominant Idols.

Koller later in life became interested in Guiffre ,Rollins and Coltrane , and explored everything from hard bop and free jazz, to fusion , a similar trajectory to say Albert Mangelsdorff, if not as radical and innovative....

this though is very remeniscent of the more adventurous small group recordings on the contemporary label in the early & mid 50's.
All of the arrangements here are by pianist Roland Kovac , who 1n 1953 had replaced Jutta Hipp in Kollers quintet.

From the liners.... 'Kovac's unmistakable signature ,with its introduction executed in canon form,and its polyphonic collective passages , marks the arrangements or compositions'.

A little later the notes referencing Kollers solo on 'some winds' say... 'the solo represents the high point of Koller's cool phase with its obligatory high degree of abstraction, a masterpiece to be ranked among the great Tenor solos in Jazz'

Hype??, check it out and Find out!

Hans Koller -tenor sax
Roland Kovac-pno ,arranger, composer of some of the tunes
Willi Sanner- Bari sax
John E Fischer-db
Rudi Sehring-dr

recorded live at the Brahmssaal, Vienna december 6th 1955
originally released on Amadeo
this is ripped from the now out of print Emarcy Universal edition from 2002

Charlie Shoemake Tommy Flanagan - Cross Roads

This will be the first of hopefully many vinyl rips of some very nice and rare recordings I have recently obtained.
Seven years George Shearing's vibes man, went on to become a family man and master educator. People in the business knows who he is if not the general public. The first track here is a tip of the hat to the Shearing sound, the rest are originals by Shoemake and Joe Emley. Some difficult charts handled beautifully by Shoemake, Flanagan and Harrel.
Charlie Shoemake - Vibes
Tom Harrell - Trumpet and Flugel
Tommy Flanagan - Piano
Peter Sprague - Guitar
Paul Motian - Drums
Ed Schuller - Bass
Say it isn't so/ The child in me / Fleeting resemblance/ Cross roads/ Recondite / Dunbar's pace/ Christmas bells
1982 Discovery Records

by Ken Dryden
Charlie Shoemake may not have the name recognition of Gary Burton, Lionel Hampton, or Milt Jackson, but the vibraphonist recorded a number of memorable sessions during the 1980s, such as this LP for Discovery. It doesn't hurt that he has pianist Tommy Flanagan, drummer Paul Motian, bassist Ed Schuller, and guitarist Peter Sprague in his rhythm section, along with trumpeter and flügelhornist Tom Harrell. But what makes this date valuable is Shoemake's subtle but always swinging playing, not to mention his stimulating arrangements and originals. Following a delightful rendition of Irving Berlin's "Say It Isn't So," Shoemake offers a tantalizing original ballad, "The Child in Me," which began life as "All My Children" but was retitled when veteran lyricist Arthur Hamilton contributed lyrics, which unfortunately aren't heard here. His roller coaster post-bop vehicle "Fleeting Resemblance" has a hot, occasionally humorous trumpet solo in which Harrell briefly detours into "Mexican Hat Dance," while Flanagan whimsically acknowledges Harrell's prank. The leader's complex, twisting "Recondite" features his finest playing of the date. Like many of Charlie Shoemake's albums recorded during this period, the label that issued it has ceased operations, though it should still be obtainable with a diligent search.

Elmo Hope - Hope-Full

One of the most haunting things I recall from Francois Paudras' book was a brief story where Hope was helping Bud with something at the end, and I can't forget the image of two boyhood friends, both remarkable musicians, ending up as two broken men still able to get solace from each other. As a side note, I picked up today the home recordings of Bud done by Paudras - the Black Lion release. It'll be here shortly.

Elmo Hope and Bud Powell studied and practiced music together when they were growing up in New York. During a significant period of their development, they were all but inseparable. Each developed into a remarkable pianist. Later, the friendship became a trio when Hope and Powell spent days at a time with Thelonious Monk, the three sharing techniques and approaches to chords. Powell and Monk are honored as giantsof jazz piano. By comparison, Hope is barely discussed, but he is considered by many serious students of the music to have been as great a musician as his friends. In this unusual solo album, Hope demonstrates his mastery of the instrument. the jazz tradition, and the rich possibilities in chords. On three pieces, he is joined by his wife Bertha at a second piano.

Elmo Hope (piano)
Bertha Hope (piano)

1. Underneath
2. Yesterdays
3. When Johnny Comes Marching Home
4. Most Beautiful
5. Blues Left And Right
6. Liza
7. My Heart Stood Still
8. Moonbeams

Bell Sound Studios, New York: November 9 and 14, 1961

Bertha Hope - Between Two Kings

Bertha Hope may still be overshadowed by her more famous husband, Elmo Hope, but it is not because of the recordings that the pianist has put out since his death in 1967, such as this first-rate 1992 release. Joined by bassist Walter Booker Jr. and drummer Jimmy Cobb, this hard bop studio date has a lot to offer. The whimsically titled opener "Da la Senidras" (try reversing the spelling) is full of twists and turns, while her richly textured ballad "A Wise and Wonderful Book" doesn't refer to the Holy Bible but to the nickname of her bassist. Her relaxed approach to the standard "A Sleepin' Bee" is very refreshing. The only song written by her late husband on this session is "Something for Kenny," a somewhat exotic feature for Cobb. Her beautifully voiced solo interpretation of Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" especially makes one wish she was recorded on a more frequent basis. This CD may be somewhat difficult to find, but it is very much worth the effort. ~ Ken Dryden

Bertha Hope (piano)
Walter Booker, Jr. (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

1. Da la Senidras
2. Between Two Kings
3. Wise and Wonderful Book
4. Something for Kenny
5. Sleepin' Bee
6. If You Could See Me Now
7. Hokkaido Spring
8. What Willis Meant
9. Dotti- Dotti
10. This Could Be the Blues

Track Of The Day

Oscar Pettiford - Montmartre Blues

Pettiford is a really major artist who is not well represented by in-print releases; at least as a leader. Of the many bass players - well, of the several - that double on cello, he is generally accounted the master. The title "My Little Cello", in fact, is not dedicated to the instrument (which he doesn't play on this CD), but to his son, whom he named Cello. I looked up Cello Pettiford (c'mon, how many can there be?) and was again saddened to see where life can take people. Having Pettiford, or Timmons, or (insert name here) for a father is no guarantee of a comfortable life, even after jazz has become the dowager of American art. Here also, is Allan Botschinsky, whom we last saw on the Kenny Dorham Scandia Story, and the Sahib Shihab And The Danish Radio Jazz Group. Maybe a little Pettiford fest is due.

The great bassist Oscar Pettiford spent his last year playing in Europe before his unexpected death on September 8, 1960. Except for four songs cut in August, this CD contains Pettiford's final recordings. Teamed with a young group of Europeans (most impressive is pianist Jan Johansson and trumpeter Allan Botschinsky) who were clearly pleased to be playing with him, Pettiford has a fair amount of solo space on ten numbers with "Willow Weep for Me" being his feature. Five of the tunes are Pettiford originals including the title cut, "Laverne Walk" and his answer to Miles Davis' "So What" which he titled "Why Not? That's What!" This is a fine set of boppish music that makes one wonder what Oscar Pettiford might have accomplished in the 1960s had he lived. ~ Scott Yanow

Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Erik Nordstrom (tenor sax)
Allan Botschinsky (trumpet)
Jan Johansson (piano)
Louis Hjulmand (vibraphone)
Jorn Elniff (drums)

1. Montmarte Blues
2. Back in Paradise
3. Why Not? That's What!
4. Willow Weep For Me
5. My Little Cello
6. Straight Ahead
7. Two Little Pearls
8. Blue Brothers
9. There Will Never Be Another You
10. LaVerne Walk

Recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark on August 22, 1959 and July 5-6, 1960

Oscar Pettiford - Vienna Blues: The Complete Session

Pettiford's wonderfully propulsive bass-playing marks a middle point between Mingus and Jimmy Blanton. Had he lived longer, he might now be acknowledged the more influential player, but he didn't live to see 40 and spent his last years as a European exile ~ Penguin Guide

After moving to Europe in Sept. 1958, bassist Oscar Pettiford recorded extensively during the last two years of his life. On this CD reissue, Pettiford doubles on cello and is joined by tenor saxophonist Hans Koller, up-and-coming guitarist Attila Zoller and drummer Jimmy Pratt. With the exception of "All the Things You Are," "Stardust" and "There Will Never Be Another You," all of the songs were written either by the leader or Koller. Good mainstream bop with hints (particularly in Zoller's playing) of more advanced styles. ~ Scott Yanow

Oscar Pettiford (bass, cello)
Hans Koller (tenor sax)
Attila Zoller (guitar)
Jimmy Pratt (drums)

1. Cohn's Limit
2. The Gentle Art Of Love
3. All The Things Are You
4. Stalag 414
5. Vienna Blues
6. Oscar's Blues
7. Stardust
8. There Will Never Be Another You
9. Blues In The Closet

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie - Paris 1989

Here is an amusing contrast - and I will believe Gary Giddins, who is a fucking brilliant critic, over little Scotty: this time, every time. Just imagine if you were invited up to a hotel room with these two to listen to them shoot the breeze. What could they possibly talk about that wouldn't have some interest?

Still another formidable new release, the most imposing of all in its historic implications, is Max and Dizzy — Paris 1989. Dizzy Gillespie, who with Charlie Parker virtually created the modern jazz movement, was nearly 72 when he and Max Roach performed as a duo for the first time at a concert in Paris last spring. I wasn't optimistic, but repeated listening suspends disbelief. Roach, the premier postwar drummer, is at the peak of his powers and carries the brunt of the action; Gillespie, measuring his every note, astonishes with a wealth of ideas. Surprises abound: Roach articulating every note of the bop anthem ''Allen's Alley,'' before Gillespie abstracts it; Roach manipulating the toms for sliding pitches that suggest a bass on ''Nairobi''; Gillespie singing ''Oo Pa Pa Da'' and reaffirming his stature as one of bop's preeminent vocalists. This is classic music, head music, an unlikely gift from two sainted figures. A fascinating interview occupies the last quarter of the recording. A+ ~ Gary Giddins

This double-CD set is a big mistake. Teaming drummer Max Roach and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie together as a duo might have worked had it taken place 20 years earlier when Dizzy was still in his musical prime. However the immortal players did not even discuss what they were going to play beforehand and the result is a series of rambling sketches, essentially a long drum solo with occasional trumpet interludes that are full of clams. The closing 32 ½ minute "Interview" also wanders and could have been cut in half. ~ Scott Yanow

CD 1
1. In the Beginning, Pt. 1
2. In the Beginning, Pt. 2
3. Arrival
4. Versailles
5. Place de la Concorde
6. Georges Cinq
7. Struttin' on the Champs
8. Brother K/South Africa Goddamn
9. Salt Peanuts
10. Word
11. Fountain Blues
12. Bastille Day
13. Underground
14. Antilles
15. 'Round Midnight
16. Messin' Around
17. Metamorphosis

CD 2
1. Just Dreaming
2. Nairobi
3. Allen's Alley
4. Theme
5. Smoke That Thunders
6. Oo Pa Pa Da
7. Interview

Oscar Brown Jr. - Sin & Soul ...and then some (1960)

Oscar Brown, Jr.'s debut recording is a true classic. A brilliant lyricist, a dramatic singer, and a highly individual genius in his own way, Brown performed a dozen memorable selections for this album. His lyrics to "Work Song," "Watermelon Man," "Afro-Blue," and particularly "Dat Dere" are famous; "But I Was Cool" and "Signifyin' Money" are humorous; "Bid 'Em In" is a chilling depiction of a slave auction; and "Rags and Old Iron" is quite touching. Essential music from an underrated great. [In addition to the original program, a 1996 CD reissue added five previously unreleased selections from the same sessions (most of which were later remade), including four from the Brown musical Kicks and Company.] - Scott Yanow

Oscar Brown, Jr. (vocals)
Billy Butterfield, Joe Wilder (trumpet)
Phil Bodner, Walt Levinsky, Joe Solde (reeds)
Bernie Leighton, Floyd Morris, Alonzo Levister (piano)
Everett Barksdale, Don Arone, A. Chernet (guitar)
George Duvivier, Frank Carroll, Joe Benjamin (bass)
Osie Johnson, Panama Francis, George Devens, Bobby Rosengarden (drums)
  1. Work Song
  2. But I Was Cool
  3. Bid 'Em In
  4. Signifyin' Monkey
  5. Watermelon Man
  6. Somebody Buy Me a Drink
  7. Rags and Old Iron
  8. Dat Dere
  9. Brown Baby
  10. Humdrum Blues
  11. Sleepy
  12. Afro- Blue
  13. Mr. Kicks
  14. Hazel's Hips
  15. World of Grey
  16. Forbidden Fruit
  17. Straighten Up and Fly Right
Recorded June-October, 1960

Monday, August 10, 2009

Una Mae Carlisle - 1938-1941 (Chronological 1209)

A talent discovery of the great Fats Waller, Una Mae Carlisle achieved much success as both a performer and songwriter. She developed a long-term relationship with publisher, producer, and frequent record-label manager Joe Davis, who sold upwards of 20,000 copies of some of her releases. Carlisle's original songs, such as "I See a Million People" and "Walkin' by the River," were smashes, covered by many popular artists such as Cab Calloway and Peggy Lee. By the late '40s she had both her own radio and television shows, but an unfortunate illness cut her career short, forcing her to retire in 1954. This was about 22 years after Waller first heard her entertaining in Cincinnati, where she was established as a live radio performer. She was already playing in a piano style modeled after his, and displayed a real flair for the range of material he did, including boogie-woogie and comedy. He took her under his wing (and there was plenty of room there, since they didn't call him Fats Waller for nothing). By 1937 she was off as a solo act, touring Europe and hanging around for long residencies in countries such as France. In England she performed and recorded with a combo once again styled after Waller. At home she continued her collaborations with the master himself, providing the vocal on the 1939 Waller recording of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love." In the early '40s she began recording sessions under her own name for Bluebird, featuring top swing sidemen and soloists including tenor saxophonist Lester Young, alto saxophonist and clarinetist Benny Carter, and pianist John Kirby. She also began working as a solo act in clubs such as New York City's Village Vanguard. Her relationship with Davis, another early associate of Waller's, began after her Bluebird contract lapsed. Davis took a similar approach to recording her, making use of her talents as a prolific songwriter and surrounding her once again with excellent players, including the Duke Ellington star Ray Nance, who doubled on trumpet and violin; Budd Johnson on tenor saxophone; and drummer Shadow Wilson. The tunes included "Tain't Yours," written by Carlisle and her manager, Barney Young, a title that certainly didn't apply to record buyers who snapped up this release in a manner that must have put a grin on Davis' face. Davis put her tunes into play at many sessions he produced by other artists, and he also issued sheet music of her compositions, including a charming photograph of Carlisle wearing a truly weird hat. Some of the later recording collaborations between Carlisle and Davis didn't go off as well, including an unfortunate session at which one tune was tried some 16 times without ever being played properly. Carlisle's final recordings were done for Columbia in the early '50s and featured Don Redman. Her discography languished between her death and the mid-'80s, when the first Carlisle reissue came out on the Harlequin label. Subsequently there have been reissues by RCA, which owns the Bluebird catalog, and the French Melodie Jazz label. She can be seen onscreen in the 1948 Boarding House Blues, an all-black production directed by Josh Binney which is made up mostly of performances by various jazz and vaudeville acts. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

Una Mae Carlisle (piano, vocal)
Fats Waller (piano, vocal)
Benny Carter (trumpet)
Lester Young (tenor sax)
Clyde Hart (piano)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Russell Procope (alto sax)
John Kirby (bass)
Hymie Schneider (drums)

1. Don't Try Your Jive On Me
2. I Would Do Anything For You
3. Hangover Blues
4. Love Walked In
5. Mean To Me
6. I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby
7. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
8. Now I Lay Me Down To Dream
9. Papa's In Bed With His Britches On
10. If I Had You
11. You Made Me Love You
12. Walkin' By The River
13. I Met You Then, I Know You Now
14. Blitzkrieg Baby (You Can't Bomb Me)
15. Beautiful Eyes
16. There'll Be Some Changes Made
17. It's Sad But True
18. I See A Million People
19. Oh I'm Evil
20. You Mean So Much To Me
21. The Booglie Wooglie Piggy

Tom Harrell - Open Air

Recorded only five months after Moon Alley, Tom Harrell's Open Air is a good, if not particularly inspiring album made by what was essentially Phil Woods' band with Rockwell substituting for the leader on tenor. The material on Open Air is a strong program of Harrell originals and standards. The writing, as is generally the case with Harrell's albums, is first-rate throughout. The title track, a wonderfully lyrical waltz with an unusual form, is one of the strongest compositions in the trumpeter's impressive songbook. With the exception of Harrell, who sounds strong and focused throughout, the performances on Open Air are slightly disappointing. Tenor saxophonist Bob Rockwell's rather technical, calculated delivery contrasts somewhat akwardly with Harrell's highly melodic approach. And although the rhythm section is fine throughout, they don't achieve the cohesive intensity they would often find on many of Phil Woods' records. Although not a bad record by any means, this isn't the place to start in Harrell's discography. ~ Dan Cross

Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bob Rockwell (tenor sax)
Hal Galper (piano)
Steve Gilmore (bass)
Bill Goodwin (drums)

1. Terrestris
2. The Touch Of Your Lips
3. Tricotism
4. Lover
5. Open Air
6. Bouquet
7. Before You

Una Mae Carlisle - 1944-1950 (Chronological 1265)

Una Mae Carlisle, who gained a bit of recognition in the 1930s for being a protégée of Fats Waller, was a talented pianist and a personable vocalist. Unfortunately, ill health resulted in her having to take several periods off of the music scene, retiring prematurely in 1954, and passing away in 1956 at the age of 50. All of her recordings as a leader are now available on three Classics CDs, of which this is the final one. These 25 selections were all formerly quite rare. Carlisle is featured with a Fats Waller-type combo on a four-song session, backed by one group that includes both organ and accordion, purely as a singer in units organized by Bob Chester and Don Redman, and on six three-song medleys from 1950 that put more of an emphasis on her piano playing. Despite the diversity, this program holds one's interest throughout and has its share of high points, displaying the musical talents of the nearly forgotten Una Mae Carlisle. ~ Scott Yanow

Una Mae Carlisle (piano, vocals)
Doc Cheatham (trumpet)
Trummy Young (trombone)
Jo Jones (drums)
Linton Garner (piano)
Gene Sedric (tenor sax)
Billy Taylor, Sr. (bass)

1. The Rest Of My Life
2. That Glory Day
3. That's My Man
4. If It Ain't Mine
5. I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby
6. Throw It Out Of Your Mind
7. Stop Goin' Through The Motions
8. Tonight Be Tender To Me
9. Ohi-Ohio Boogie
10. Frenzy
11. I Bought Myself A Book
12. The Best Idea You Had
13. Mad About Love
14. We've All Got A Lesson To Learn
15. Three Little Bugs
16. Tired Hands
17. Strange
18. Long
19. Gone
20. There's Something About The Boogie / A One Minute Journey To Boogieland / Una's Boogie 21. A Rhythm Mood / Escape To Nowhere / Jumpin' With The Stars
22. Troubled Waters / War / Democracy Triumphant
23. The Great Mesmer / Hypnotized /Piano Magic
24. Forgive Me For Getting Forgetful / Good Better Best / Baby Please Be Good To Me Listen Listen
25. Do / Doodle Doo / Perfectly

Bill Barron - Modern Windows Suite

It is well-known that tenor saxophonist Bill Barron was highly regarded by fellow musicians and his many students, and underappreciated by the general public. This recording displays all the why's and wherefore's as to his unsung greatness, showcasing his clever compositions and his clear, distinct, definite tenor tone that holds allegiance to no peer or predecessor. Trumpet partner Ted Curson and younger brother Kenny, a pianist, both play on the dates that were originally issued as Modern Windows and The Tenor Stylings of Bill Barron.

The first four cuts comprise "The Modern Windows Suite" with baritone saxophonist Jay Cameron, bassist Eddie Khan, and drummer Pete LaRoca Sims helping. They seg into one another; "Men at Work" is a sweet and sour hard bopper a la Sun Ra with a slowed tempo and Eastern flavor, and merging into "Tone Colors," a swirling, bluesy, swinging line promoing many solos with a young Kenny Barron's chiming chords as the highlight. "Dedication to Wanda" is a slow, pensive ballad with the leader's solo comprising the bulk of the piece, and the straight, no-chaser-needed bopper "Keystone" is portrayed accurately as being Charles Mingus-like in its original unison, with galloping phrases and inventive writing. Bassist Jimmy Garrison really lights the fuse on the seven quintet recordings, where drummer Frankie Dunlop stokes the rhythmic fire. A ballad head and waltz bridge for "Ode to an Earth Girl" utilizes a suspended animation feel from Kenny Barron's piano and the rhythm section for tenor and trumpet solos. You really hear the empathy between the leader and Curson on this, and on "Fox Hunt," as Curson's muted trumpet calls participants to the chase at the outset, outro, and in the middle of a good swinging romp. "Oriental Impressions" uses an attractive modal, two-chord motif to easy swing and back device. "Backlash" is a straight up-and-down easy bopper with the tenor's tone and approach more agitated. "Nebulae," again in a Mingus mode, is a good unison-lined swinger with a march waltz insert, and the tenor that signifies Barron's originality as Curson's trumpet pulls the band along on a "Tea for Two" quote near the coda. This is a rich, fulfilling modern jazz window into the soul of one of the most underappreciated masters of the idiom, and is clearly Bill Barron's best work in his criminally miniscule discography. Michael G. Nastos

Bill Barron (tenor sax)
Jay Cameron (baritone sax)
Ted Curson (trumpet)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Eddie Khan (bass)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Pete LaRoca Sims (drums)
Frankie Dunlop (drums)

1. Modern Windows Suite: Men At Work
2. Modern Windows Suite: Tone Colors
3. Modern Windows Suite: Dedication To Wanda
4. Modern Windows Suite: Keystone
5. Blast Off
6. Ode To An Earth Girl
7. Fox Hunt
8. Oriental Impressions
9. Back Lash
10. Nebulae
11. Desolation

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ella Fitzgerald - 1937-1938 (Chronological 506)

This is the fourth of six Ella Chronos I have: three are in archives and are still working. There are still two for anybody who'd like to do a guest review....

The second of six CDs in the Classics label's complete reissue of Ella Fitzgerald's early recordings features the singer as a teenager with the Chick Webb Orchestra, in addition to leading two sessions that use Webb's sidemen and performing a pair of songs ("Big Boy Blue" and "Dedicated to You") with the Mills Brothers. Highlights include "I Want to Be Happy," "If Dreams Come True" and her big hit, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." Although not yet the brilliant jazz singer she would become, Fitzgerald already had a highly appealing voice and the ability to swing on any song she was given. ~ Scott Yanow

" The 1937-8 CD includes the session which produced Webb's only 12-inch 78, 'I Want To Be Happy' and 'Halleleujah' (sic) arranged by Turk Van Lake, and 'Rock It For Me' and 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schön' look forward to the authority which Fitzgerald would bestow on her later records." ~ Penguin Guide

Ella Fitzgerald (vocal)
Taft Jordan (trumpet)
Louis Jordan (alto sax)
Mario Bauza (trumpet)
Chick Webb (drums)

1. Big Boy Blue
2. Dedicated To You
3. You Showed Me the Way
4. Cryin' Mood
5. Love Is The Thing So They Say
6. All or Nothing at All
7. If You Ever Should Leave
8. Everyone's Wrong But Me
9. Deep In The Heart Of The South
10. Just A Simple Melody
11. I Got A Guy
12. Holiday In Harlem
13. Rock It For Me
14. I Want To Be Happy
15. Dipsy Doodle
16. If Dreams Come True
17. Hallelujah
18. Bei Mir Bist Du Schön
19. It's My Turn Now
20. It's Wonderful
21. I Was Doing All Right
22. A-Tisket, A-Tasket

BN LP 5015 | Erroll Garner - Overture To Dawn, Volume 4

This was proving to be a popular series of releases for Blue Note. Installment no.4.

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Bobby Hutcherson - Happenings

This is a Japanese "Limited Edition" - and I have no idea what that means. It's a Toshiba release from 1986and is part of what is named the Blue Note Super 50 series - anybody have more info?

Happenings was vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's fourth Blue Note release as a leader. Where its predecessors Dialogue and Components were packed with challenging avant-bop, Happenings instead brings things down a notch. With pianist Herbie Hancock, drummer Joe Chambers, and bassist Bob Cranshaw on board, Hutcherson keeps the tone fairly light, performing his original compositions (the exception is Hancock's "Maiden Voyage") with a mellow, swinging style that emphasizes modal exploration. The performances are all top-notch, and the album still weighs in as one of the best in Hutcherson's fine catalogue.

Bobby Hutcherson's first quartet outing, Happenings, casts the brightest spotlight on the vibraphonist's soloing abilities, matching him once again with pianist Herbie Hancock (who is also heavily featured) and drummer Joe Chambers, plus bassist Bob Cranshaw. For that matter, the album also leans heavily on Hutcherson's compositional skills; save for Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," six of the seven numbers are Hutcherson originals. Given his reputation as a modernist, most of the pieces here are structured pretty simply -- there's a lot of straightforward modal hard bop, giving Hutcherson and Hancock plenty of room to solo. They handle much of the material with a light, mellow touch, trading off meditative licks even on the more up-tempo pieces and poignant, lyrical lines on the ballads "Bouquet" and "When You Are Near." The two exceptions are the opening and closing numbers: "Aquarian Moon" is challenging post-bop, while the sinister "The Omen" finds Hutcherson opening up the bag of tricks he learned from the freely structured group dialogues Chambers wrote for albums past. Sharp stabs from the piano signal transition to a new, sometimes unaccompanied lead instrument, and Hutcherson's darting marimba lines build up a claustrophobic tension. That doesn't change the overall feel of the album, though, which ends up a charmingly relaxed, low-key outing and a nice addition to Hutcherson's Blue Note catalog. ~ Steve Huey

Bobby Hutcherson (vibes, marimba)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)

1. Aquarian Moon
2. Bouquet
3. Rojo
4. Maiden Voyage
5. Head Start
6. When You Are Near
7. The Omen

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs: February 8, 1966

Drum Duets

I was listening to Roy Brooks' great The Free Slave today, and remembered that this had been here previously. And listening to the peerless Woody Shaw reminded me of a conversation I had a couple of months ago with Steve Turre. When I asked him if he received any further payment for a recent Shaw re-release, he said that he didn't even get sent a copy of the new CD. I never knew that musicians were treated so shabbily; it still hurts to think about.

Roy Brooks - Duet In Detroit

This CD features drummer Roy Brooks (who also plays musical saw on one piece) on two duets apiece (recorded live over a period of six years) with trumpeter Woody Shaw and pianists Randy Weston, Don Pullen and Geri Allen. The music is full of surprises and generally holds one's interest with the trumpet-drums duets being the most unusual. ~ Scott Yanow

Roy Brooks (drums, percussion, saw)
Don Pullen (piano, 7-8)
Woody Shaw (trumpet, 3-4)
Randy Weston (piano, 2-3)
Geri Allen (piano, 9-10)

1. Introduction (Randy Weston)
2. Zulu
3. Waltz For Sweetcakes
4. Elegy For Eddie Jefferson
5. Jeffuso
6. Introduction (Don Pullen)
7. Forever Mingus
8. Healing Force
9. Samba Del Sol
10. Duet In Detroit

Russ Freeman and Shelly Manne - One On One

Freeman and Manne had cut a duo session 28 years earlier, but this is otherwise a rare glimpse of Freeman in the latter-day spotlight, when he rarely made jazz sessions. The pianist's strong left hand makes up for the absence of a bassist, and the session has a nice freewheeling sound to it without straying too far from thecool kind of bop which both men made their own. it's a treat to be reminded of manne's complete mastery of the kit, the sticks and the brushes, and if freeman was in any way rusty it seldom shows.Four alternates and an unissued originalpad out to CD length, and Russ contributed an affectionate sleev-note to a re-issue which, sadly, emerged only months after his death. Penguin Guide

1. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
2. How About That
3. I'm Old Fashioned
4. On Green Dolphin Street
5. Take the "A" Train
6. Prime Time
7. Loose As A Goose
8. Lullaby Of The Leaves
9. Blue Monk
10. One On One
11. Name That Tune
12. Blue Monk (alternate)
13. Loose As A Goose (alternate)
14. On Green Dolphin Street (alternate)
15. Lullaby Of The Leaves (alternate)

Hollywood: June 14, 1982

Track Of The Day

Ben Webster - The Complete Ben Webster On EmArcy

An excellent set from the very excellent Kiyoshi Koyama, whose name is guarantee enough for you to buy whatever it may appear on. Great presentation, great notes, and a wonderful document of that jazz/R&B world that is often undervalued. It's an example I've cited several times, but that scene in Bird where Parker looks aghast at the goings on of the character played by Keith David only hints at the interaction of the styles. I doubt Bird would have as greatly disapproved; never liked that film much anyway.

A nice mix of famed and obscure bandmates here; The Dinah crew has her, Frog, Wardell Gray, Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb: Benny Carter, John Kirby, Gerald Wilson, Gerald Wiggins and others appear here and there.

The early '50s briefly found tenor-saxophonist Ben Webster moving to Kansas City for awhile before settling in Los Angeles. He recorded in several different settings for EmArcy during this time (prior to signing with Norman Granz's Verve label) and all of the music (19 songs plus 14 alternate takes) were released on this valuable two-LP set, in addition to a set with an all-star sextet that includes altoist Benny Carter and trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and four numbers backed by Johnny Richard's septet, Webster is heard as a featured sideman with Jay McShann, Johnny Otis, Dinah Washington, Marshall Royal and even The Ravens. The tenorman, whose sound had continued to grow in emotional depth since leaving Duke Ellington, excels in all of these contexts although the large number of alternate takes makes this two-fer of primary interest to collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

This excellent 2-CD set focuses on a period of Ben's career that hasn't gotten much attention: the early 1950s. It was not the best of times for him. The grand Ellington days were over (a second stint with the Duke ended late in 1949), the big bands were on the skids, bebop was in the air (but not in the hearts of most music fans), r&b jump bands were coming on strong. What was a mainstream saxophonist known for his big-toned tenor sound going to do?

This CD set offers a clue. He did take work with r&b bands, as the sides here with Johnny Otis show. Otis had a typical large r&b contingent, better than most musically, and Ben appeared on some dates in December 1951. Ben is featured on many of them, some with numerous alternate takes, and his playing is excellent. There are 3 takes of One O'Clock Jump, all featuring Ben, and both sides of his well-known tone (mellow and gruff) are present. One Nighter Blues is a slow, down-home blues, grounded in the Tiny Bradshaw T-99 riff, and Ben is brilliant on it, emotional but direct. The real highlight, though, of this Otis date are the 3 takes of Stardust, all three of them masterpieces (and reminiscent of the supreme version Ben made with Duke in Fargo in 1940). All 3 takes are all Ben, and it's hard to pick a favorite: Ben knows this song inside-out and his warm lyricism permeates each performance. (Even the squeak in the cadenza of the master take takes little away from the performance.)

Ben's own Dec. 27, 1951, session is also here, again with many alternates. A young Maynard Ferguson is on this date, and he plays tastefully and well. So is Benny Carter (as), but you'd hardly know it; unfortunately he solos infrequently. On one number (King's Riff), a Mop-Mop derivative, he steals the record. Randle's Island, a medium-up blues, comes in 3 takes, and so does the ballad Old Folks, which is another spotlight for Ben's lyricism. This session was a noteworthy one in Webster's discography.

Other sessions in this set include a Jay McShann date, which has a couple of spots where Ben is featured: The Duke And The Brute, a Webster original (the Brute was his nickname) and Reach. There is also a date Ben made with Johnny Richards, with the up-tempo The Iron Hat, with its complex development and good solo spots, a delight. There is also a Dinah Washington side, one with Marshall Royal, and, believe it or not, 2 sides with The Ravens (Webster has a gorgeous solo on the slow Don't Mention My Name).

Shortly after these sides were made, Ben began a long and productive association with Norman Granz and the Verve family of labels. They have been well documented on CD reissues; it's great to have these less-known sides on CD now as well. ~ Bomojaz

CD 1
1-6 Jay McShann and his Orchestra
8-15 Johnny Otis and his Orchestra

CD 2
11 Dinah Washington with Jimmy Cobb's Orchestra
12-13 The Ravens
14-17 Ben Webster with Johnny Richards' Orchestra

Chuck Wayne - String Fever

Reviewed by justjack

Chuck Wayne is a guitarist I’ve never heard of. For that matter, of the many sidemen who appear on this album with him, the only names I recognize are Eddie Costa and Sonny Igoe. But these guys can play, all right, and Wayne’s distinctive guitar style is for sure worth hearing. As for pedigree, Wikipedia says that Chuck Wayne has played with Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, and George Shearing, as well as backing up Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughn, and Frank Sinatra, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

The title of this 1957 album is one of those wince-inducing punning phrases that shows up all too often in classic jazz, and it obviously led to the bright idea of having Wayne pose for the cover photo sitting under a tree, surrounded by daffodils. The uncomfortable grimace on the face of this nightclub rat, being forced to make like Nature Boy, will make you snicker.

Chuck Wayne plays with a deceptively smooth style, very linear, without a hard attack on the strings. You can see from the album artwork how far up the neck he plays, which contributes to the soft sounding attack he gets; Wikipedia adds some technical mumbo jumbo to the effect that Wayne also pioneered a very different style of picking, only picked up by others years later, which was greatly responsible for his smooth, clear sound. He also goes for very linear, straight line runs in his solos. The liner notes say that he was influenced by the playing of bop saxophonists, especially Charlie Parker, and I can believe it.

The recordings fall into two groups, one a sextet session, and the other with an 11-man band, and Wayne is credited with the charts. The fast tunes mostly swing at a neat, snick-snick-snick controlled mid tempo, and the ballads maintain a gentle groove with soft horn washes backing up the soloist. Chuck Wayne is the leader, but everybody gets their share of solo time. The lead track of the album opens with a brassy fanfare, but that’s actually rather uncharacteristic of the rest of the record; overall, there’s a real cool, almost West Coast feel, even though this was recorded in NYC with NYC-based musicians. Personally, I dig the small-group tracks more than the almost-big band, but all of the music always swings, and never gets out of control. The more I listen to this cd, the more I can hear the interplay of these musicians; they really listened to each other. Rather than an all-star super date, what you have here is an album by guys who knew and respected each other before they ever walked into the studio, and it leads to some very enjoyable, tight playing.

Chuck Wayne (guitar)
Gene Quill (alto sax)
Eddie Costa (vibraphone, piano)
Clyde Lombardi (bass)
Sonny Igoe (drums)

1. Lullaby In Rhythm
2. Embraceable You
3. Love For Sale
4. Along With Me
5. Carmel
6. Body And Soul
7. Snuggled On Your Shoulder
8. How About You
9. Lover Man
10. What A Diff'rence A Day Made
11. Rockabye Bay
12. Lullaby In Rhythm
13. Love For Sale
14. Carmel
15. Snuggled On Your Shoulder
16. How About You

Stephane Grappelli - Parisian Thoroughfare

When an artist with a long career and a signature tune gets produced enough, it's almost inevitable there will be releases with duplicate names - this, then, is not the Parisian Thoroughfare with Barney Kessel and others. Interestingly, some sites list these players with an entirely different tracklist.

So, the story behind this Black Lion release goes thusly: The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis outfit were appearing at Ronnie Scott's in the Fall of '73 and the ubiquitous Alan Bates was on hand to arrange for this studio date. The location was his favored Chappell Studios on September 5th and 7th of that year.

As the liner notes ... er, note; "...Stephane is a man with a wide knowledge of tunes dating back many years; he loves to include as many as possible in his repertoire and for this reason it is becoming difficult for record producers to find works he has not already included in previous albums." This is not the case here, as you may have guessed. The one to watch here?: Roland Hanna.

Stephane Grappelli (violin)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Jiri Mraz (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. Love For Sale
2. Perugia
3. Two Cute
4. Fascinating Rhythm
5. Shangri-La
6. Nice Work If You Can Get It
7. Star Eyes
8. Parisian Thoroughfare
9. Improvisation on Prelude in E Minor
10. Wave
11. Hallelujah

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith - Violins No End

Insouciance and stratocirrus, y'all.

How different they sound, these two masters of an instrument that is still problematic in jazz, still not quite echt. Grappelli is all stratocirrus and clear skies; Smith always carries within his line a hint of storms to come. They don't break out on this occasion, but the hint of friendly threat and the insouciance that greets it from the other side of the stage is what makes this such an appealing record. Peterson gets less than his usual due of the limelight and seems happy to do accompanying duties, firing off fewer notes than usual and digging into his memories of stride and blues playing here and there with a procession of mischievous quotes that piano fans can have fun identifying. ~ Penguin Guide

Since Joe Venuti was in the middle of a long off-period, this CD reissue features arguably the two top jazz violinists of the 1950s: Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith. Joined by pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jo Jones, the two masterful violinists share four songs ("Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Chapeau Blues," "No Points Today" and "The Lady Is a Tramp") in a fine studio session that contrasts the styles of the fairly complementary fiddlers. In addition, although this set has been reissued under Grappelli's name, there are three songs from a Paris concert that took place the same day without Stephane. Stuff sounds in peak form on his "Desert Sands," "How High the Moon" and "Moonlight In Vermont." This fun set is easily recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Stephane Grappelli (violin)
Stuff Smith (violin)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Ray Brown (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)

1. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
2. Chapeau Blues
3. No Points Today
4. The Lady Is A Tramp
5. Desert Sands
6. How High The Moon
7. Moonlight In Vermont

Paris: May, 1957

Benny Carter - Harlem Renaissance

Everybody ought to listen to Benny. He's a whole musical education. - Miles Davis, Down Beat, May 1961

I had the chance to play with Benny "The King" Carter here in Copenhagen for three days in the Montmartre, and two days in Paris. "What a Thrill." He knows so much music, and he is the only person that I get the shakes trying to play my horn behind or with him - Ben Webster in a letter to Mary Lou Williams

Any 85th birthday is something to celebrate, but nobody else has ever celebrated it like this: he writes two brand new suites for big band and strings, organizes a star-studded big band (names like Frank Wess and Loren Schoenberg jump out of the roster), and stages a mammoth concert producing two discs of exquisitely arranged neoclassical swing.

Benny Carter is a true marvel. At the time of this recording (a double CD), the classic altoist was already age 84, yet showed no signs of slowing down either his playing or his writing schedule. For his specially assembled big band and The Rutgers University Orchestra (which includes a full string section), Carter wrote entirely new arrangements that demonstrate that his talents have not diminished with age. While the first disc mostly sticks to older material, the second disc is comprised of two new suites "Tales of the Rising Sun" and "Harlem Renaissance." In addition, Carter's alto is often the solo star although he does not hog the spotlight; it just naturally drifts back to him. ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Frank Wess (flute, alto sax)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Benny Powell (trombone)
Remo Palmier (guitar)
Loren Schoenberg (tenor sax)
Danny Bank (baritone sax)
Michael Mossman (trumpet)
Kenny Washington (drums)

CD 1 - The Benny Carter Big Band
1. Vine Street Rumble
2. Sao Paolo
3. I Can't Get Started
4. Stockholm Sweetnin'
5. Evening Star
6. How The High The Moon

CD 2 - The Benny Carter Big Band And Orchestra
1. Tales Of The Rising Sun Suite: August Moon
2. Tales Of The Rising Sun Suite: Teatime
3. Tales Of The Rising Sun Suite: Song Of Long Ago
4. Tales Of The Rising Sun Suite: Samurai Song
5. Tales Of The Rising Sun Suite: Chow Chow
6. Harlem Renaissance Suite: Lament For Langston
7. Harlem Renaissance Suite: Sugar Hill Slow Drag
8. Harlem Renaissance Suite: Happy Feet
9. Harlem Renaissance Suite: Sunday Morrning
10. Harlem Renaissance Suite: Happy Feet (Reprise)

Mal Waldron - Maturity 1: Klassics

Last volume of the essential set.

You'll find deep, dark, wonderful music inside. Wisdom after life. Wisdom before death.

Mal Waldron (piano)
Yoshihiko Katori (vibraphone)
Kengo Nakamura (bass)

1. Symphony N° 3
2. Intermezzo
3. Prelude N° 4
4. Intermezzo
5. Ases Tod
6. Modern Figured Bass
7. Sorrow
8. Intermezzo
9. Waltz
10. Intermezzo
11. Prelude N° 20

July 21, 1998 at studio ICC/Tokyo

Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz In Los Angeles (1921-1956)

Featuring hits and signature sides by everyone from Jelly Roll Morton, T-Bone Walker, and Nat King Cole to Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Charles Mingus, approximately one-third of the selections make their CD debut. Also includes a 92-page booklet containing essays, detailed track info, and rare photos.

Throughout the history of jazz, mythical places like New Orleans's Storyville, Chicago's South Side, Kansas City's Tenderloin district, and New York's Harlem and 52nd Street were celebrated as the legendary hotspots. Thankfully, this impressive four-CD, 91-track collection featuring Nat "King" Cole, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Carter to name a few, puts Los Angeles's famous African-American enclave, Central Avenue, on the historical map and offers the listener a zoot-suited, jitterbugged jaunt through Club Alabam, The Downbeat, and other jumpin' joints where Hollywood stars rubbed shoulders with hep cats under a pulsating Pacific sky. The set covers an important period in the development of African-American music, from the conclusion of World War I to the birth of rock & roll: from the early New Orleans bouncy brass-band sounds of "Get Out of Here" by Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band and the Spanish-tinged, habanera syncopation on "Mamanita," courtesy of the pioneering pianist/composer Jelly Roll Morton to Lionel Hampton's boogie-woogie anthem "Flying Home" and the killer keyboard calisthenics on Art Tatum's "Tiger Rag." The Charlie Parker Septet's "Ornithology" blew into town on the wings of bebop innovation and hypnotized local up-and-comers like bassist Charles Mingus--under the moniker of Baron Mingus & His Octet on a rare side called "Bedspread"--and tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon's raw-boned tone on "Chromatic Aberration," which previewed John Coltrane's sheets of sound. Miles Davis's cool indigo-impressionism radiance on "Up in Dodo's Room," performed by the Howard McGhee Sextet, contrasts with the harmonic heights reached by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra's reading of "Groovin' High." There is a remarkable fluidity of transition from blues to R&B, as heard in the western wails on "Blues on Central Avenue" by Joe Turner with the Freddie Slack Trio, Nellie Lutcher's hip-bopping, tasty, and teasing "Fine Brown Frame" and the Texas-bred, guitar twang of T-Bone Walker's "Call It Stormy Monday," all of which highlight the sepia-toned, soulful syncretism that formed the bedrock of modern music and the marvelous black neighborhood that provided the foundation for it. --Eugene Holley Jr.

Tracklist in Comments.

Joe Farrell with Art Pepper - Darn That Dream (1982) [FLAC]

Tenor-saxophonist Joe Farrell recorded two albums' worth of material for RealTime in March 1982. This CD reissue by Drive Archive has most of the best material including three selections featuring altoist Art Pepper in one of his final recordings; Pepper is best on his showcase "Darn That Dream." Farrell (who is joined by pianist George Cables, bassist Tony Dumas and drummer John Dentz) is in consistently fine form throughout the other selections, sounding particularly adventurous on "Mode for Joe" and coming up with some fresh statements on such standards as "Blue & Boogie," "You Stepped out of a Dream" and "Someday My Prince Will Come." ~ Scott Yanow

Joe Farrell (tenor sax)
Art Pepper (alto sax)
George Cables (piano)
Tony Dumas (bass)
John Dentz (drums)

1. Section 8 Blues
2. Darn That Dream
3. Mode For Joe
4. Blue & Boogie
5. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
6. Someday My Prince Will Come
7. On Green Dolphin Street
8. Fun For One And All

Los Angeles: March 23, 1982

Teddy Edwards - Sunset Eyes

Teddy Edwards was, with Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, the top young tenor of the late '40s. Unlike the other two, he chose to remain in Los Angeles and has been underrated through the years but remained in prime form well into his 70s. Early on, he toured with Ernie Fields' Orchestra, moving to L.A. in 1945 to work with Roy Milton as an altoist. Edwards switched to tenor when he joined Howard McGhee's band and was featured in many jam sessions during the era, recording "The Duel" with Dexter Gordon in 1947. A natural-born leader, Edwards did work briefly with Max Roach & Clifford Brown (1954), Benny Carter (1955), and Benny Goodman (1964), and he recorded in the 1960s with Milt Jackson and Jimmy Smith. But it was his own records -- for Onyx (1947-1948), Pacific Jazz, Contemporary (1960-1962), Prestige, Xanadu, Muse, SteepleChase, Timeless, and Antilles -- that best displayed his playing and writing; "Sunset Eyes" is Edwards' best-known original. ~ Scott Yanow

Teddy Edwards, who took part in classic tenor battles with Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray in Los Angeles during the mid-to-late 1940's, has been a major tenorman ever since. However, his decision to live in L.A. has resulted in him being greatly underrated through the years. Fortunately the superior hard bop tenor (who showed that there was more than just cool jazz being played on the West Coast in the 1950) has recorded on a fairly frequent basis throughout his career. This CD reissue brings back music from 1959-60 with Edwards joined by either Amos Trice, Joe Castro or Ronnie Ball on piano, Leroy Vinnegar or Ben Tucker on bass and Billy Higgins or Al Levitt on drums. Edwards, an underrated composer, performs six of his originals (including his most famous composition "Sunset Eyes" and two versions of "Takin' Off"), Vinnegar's "Vintage '57" and a pair of standards. Although there are short solos for Castro and Vinnegar, the focus throughout is on the leader's distinctive and likable tenor. Since the great Teddy Edwards never recorded an uninspiring record (even the three previously unreleased numbers included here are excellent), this CD is easily recommended to fans of straightahead jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Teddy Edwards (tenor sax)
Ronnie Ball (piano)
Joe Castro (piano)
Amos Trice (piano)
Ben Tucker (bass)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. Tempo De Blues
2. Vintage '57
3. I Hear A Rhapsody
4. Up In Teddy's New Flat
5. Sunset Eyes
6. Teddy's Tune
7. Takin' Off
8. The New Symphony Sid
9. My Kinda Blues
10. Takin' Off

Ray Anderson - It Just So Happens (1987)

Although trombonist Ray Anderson sounded fine on his earlier trio and quartet dates, he really comes into his own when joined by other horns. This spirited (and sometimes jubilant) CD matches Anderson with trumpeter Stanton Davis, clarinetist Perry Robinson, Bob Stewart on tuba, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Ronnie Burrage. "Fishin' With Gramps" (which was also recorded by Anderson with George Gruntz's Concert Jazz Band) is a crackup; the two versions of "Once In a While" are full of spirit; this interpretation of "La Vie En Rose" is unique; and the trombonist's many originals cover plenty of ground (including "Raven's Jolly Jump-Up" and "Ross the Boss"). An excellent example of the innovative Ray Anderson's work. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Once in a While
2. It Just So Happens
3. Ross the Boss
4. Elegy for Joe Scott
5. La Vie en Rose
6. Once in a While [alternate take]
7. Raven's Jolly Jump Up
8. Fatelet
9. Fishin' With Gramps

Pete LaRoca Sims - Swingtime

Drummer Pete La Roca (who has gone back to his original name of Pete Sims) had an opportunity in 1997 to lead his first record date in 30 years. Sims, who had become active in jazz again after a long period outside of music, put together a particularly strong band for this CD, utilizing both Dave Liebman and Lance Bryant on sopranos, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford, pianist George Cables, and bassist Santi Debriano. Owens and Liebman, especially, sound inspired, while Ford displays a more original tone than he had had previously, although Dexter Gordon's influence can still be felt in some of his phrases. The music is essentially advanced hard bop with plenty of variety. Highlights include a version of "Body and Soul" based on the famous John Coltrane recording, "Susan's Waltz," "Nhon Bashi," and Chick Corea's "Amandas Song." Even a perky, if slightly out-of-place rendition of "The Candyman" works well. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Pete (Laroca) Sims (drums)
George Cables (piano)
Jimmy Owens (trumpet)
Ricky Ford (tenor sax)
Dave Liebman (soprano sax)
Lance Bryant (soprano sax)
Santi DeBriano (bass)

1. Drumtown
2. Body And Soul
3. Susan's Waltz
4. Tomorrow's Expectations
5. The Candy Man
6. Nihon Bashi
7. Candu
8. Amanda's Song

Friday, August 7, 2009

Henry Threadgill - You Know The Number

Reviewed by Hookfinger

I have to admit that even though I was familiar with the name Henry Threadgill, I had no idea what sort of music he played. I even, for some reason, incorrectly assumed he played the guitar. Not being a huge fan of jazz guitar, this may have been part of the reason for my ignorance of such a great musician.

Having said that I approached reviewing this record with some trepidation. I quickly realized my fears were completely unfounded.

The lp starts off with Bermuda Blues, a loping bass/percussion rhythm that quickly turns funky with the addition of a dual horn onslaught that has the group trading choruses in a matter of seconds. From there the track just turns funkier. The horn solos are full of fire, while the bottom line never veers from its stunning rolling accompaniment. This is the way to reel someone in on a new recording. The rest of the lp ranges from the sublime and beautiful (Silver and Gold, Paille Street), to decent boppish fare (Good Times) to selections that seem to be on the verge of crashing into cacophony before being herded back in line (To Be Announced, Theme from Thomas Cole ).

Perhaps it is the unusual line up, trumpet, trombone, cello and multiple percussionists, plus Threadgill's multi-instrumental additions that keeps this thing so interesting. Perhaps it is the quality of songwriting and arranging, also credited to Threadgill. Whatever it is, this has quickly become a favorite at Chez Hook.

Post review research has shown that Threadgill comes from the AACM collective, which I don't find surprising in retrospect. It is also an outstanding example of why I have been exploring this pathway so much more so in recent years.

Henry Threadgill (bass flute, alto and tenor sax)
Rasul Siddik (trumpet)
Frank Lacy (trombone)
Diedre Murray (cello)
Fred Hopkins (bass)
Pheeroan akLaff (percussion)
Reggie Nicholson (percussion)

1. Bermuda Blues
2. Silver And Gold Baby, Silver And Gold
3. Theme From Thomas Cole
4. Good Times
5. To Be Announced
6. Those Who Eat Cookies

Some post review thoughts -
a.) Obviously Rab was more familiar with my taste than even I was, as this record quickly became a favorite and took several weeks to review for fear of overly gushing on about it.
b.) While research has shown this is often cited as Threadgill's most accessible lp, I intend to delve further into the man's career.

The Leaders - Out Here Like This...

The all-star band accurately called the Leaders (trumpeter Lester Bowie, altoist Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman on tenor, soprano and bass clarinet, pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Don Moye, although he was always a sideman) developed its own group sound. Performing inside/outside music, the band's Black Saint release features originals by Freeman, Lightsey, McBee, and Bowie, plus an obscurity. The trumpeter's straight-ahead "Zero" is a high point, and all of the musicians play up to their potential. It is particularly interesting to hear Bowie and Blythe excel in this fairly conservative (for them) setting. ~ Scott Yanow

Lester Bowie (trumpet)
Arthur Blythe (alto sax)
Chico Freeman (tenor sax)
Kirk Lightsey (piano)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Don Moye (drums)

1. Zero
2. Luna
3. Cool T.
4. Donkey Dust
5. Portraits
6. Felicité
7. Loves I Once Knew

Joe Pass - Meditation

Joe Pass achieved extraordinary balance in his career. Because he remained grounded in bop and swing, his guitar work was more conservative than many fusion and post-bop players, but his solo guitar work also ventured into unexplored territory, combining the single-note dexterity of Charlie Christian with the block chords of Carl Kress. Meditation: Solo Guitar offers a fresh release from Pass, recorded live at Yoshi's in 1992, two years before his death. As Ken Dryden points out in the liner notes, the release isn't just "a case of posthumously cleaning out the vaults." Like the critically acclaimed Virtuoso series, Meditation exhibits a number of intricate interpretations of classic pieces by one man and his guitar. The title also captures the intimacy of Pass' work on "Everything Happens to Me" and "Mood Indigo." He seems so absorbed in his work, so alone, that it comes as a shock when the audience applauds at the end of each piece. Pass also covers Cole Porter's "It's All Right With Me," Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean?," and the Gershwin brothers' "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Pass' technique manages to follow his own muse, changing tempos at will without ever losing the rhythm of the tune. Meditation is a fine album and a superior addition to the guitarist's catalog. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Joe Pass (electric guitar)

1. Meditation
2. Shadow Waltz
3. Mood Indigo
4. More Than You Know
5. When Your Lover Has Gone
6. Everything Happens To Me
7. It's Alright With Me
8. I'll Never Be The Same
9. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
10. All The Things You Are
11. How Deep Is The Ocean
12. They Can't Take That Away From Me

Brad Mehldau - Elegaic Cycle (1999)

I've been away from CIA for several months and when I finally checked back in last week, it appeared that I'd dropped in on a wake. Things are much better this week. I put up some stuff in Contributions wanting to make a final offering to this great community. Now that the main page lives once more, a few of them are coming up front. Here's the first:

Brad Mehldau's first solo piano album is not only his best record to date, it is one of the most searching, most inventive solo piano albums since Keith Jarrett's best solo concerts of the 1970s, and it throws virtually the whole Maybeck series into a cocked hat, too. For one thing, it is a truly unified cycle of mostly improvised reminiscences, starting from a Chopin prelude-like base on "Bard," peaking dynamically with "Trailer Park Ghost," and cycling right back to the "Bard" theme seamlessly, inevitably, at the close. It is also radically different from so many jazz solo piano records because Mehldau's primary thrust is contrapuntal, with both hands playing independent single lines, not the usual bop runs with harmonies or stacked chords. Perhaps Mehldau's playing doesn't swing here as much as one would like, but it is always intelligent, often endearingly melodic, always technically resourceful ("Memory's Tricks," for example, turns into a two-part invention), and even when he breaks off some startling change, you always sense the shape and direction of each piece. Here, he throws off the shackles of the Bill Evans model once and, hopefully, for all, employing classical models other than impressionists (Bach, Brahms, Chopin, and Schumann come to mind), and in doing so, he makes a big mark on the future of jazz solo piano. And Mehldau is not only an unusually gifted pianist, he is also an intriguing thinker; his long, rambling, wide-ranging essay in the booklet is one of the most interesting artist-penned liner notes in memory. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Brad Mehldau (piano)

1. Bard
2. Resignation
3. Memory's Tricks
4. Elegy for William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg
5. Lament for Linus
6. Trailer Park Ghost
7. Goodbye Storyteller
8. Ruchblick
9. The Bard Returns

George Shearing & Ernestine Anderson - A Perfect Match (1988)

Pianist George Shearing and singer Ernestine Anderson (who had teamed up briefly at the 1987 Fujitsu-Concord Jazz Festival) collaborated on this full-length Concord release. With strong assistance from bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Jeff Hamilton, Shearing and Anderson mostly stick to standards and their versions uplift the veteran songs. "Body and Soul" is taken as a vocal-piano duet, while "The Best Thing for You" is given an instrumental treatment. Other highlights include Anderson's vocals on "I'll Take Romance," a heartfelt "I Remember Clifford," "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "Some Other Time." Perfect Match is an excellent outing for all concerned. - Scott Yanow

Ernestine Anderson (vocals)
George Shearing (piano)
Neil Swainson (bass)
Jeff Hamilton (drums)

  1. Trust in Me
  2. I'll Take Romance
  3. Body and Soul
  4. The Best Thing for You
  5. I Remember Clifford
  6. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  7. Lullaby of Birdland
  8. The Second Time Around
  9. Falling in Love With Love
  10. That's for Me
  11. I Won't Dance
  12. Some Other Time
  13. The Touch of Your Lips
  14. The Things We Did Last Summer
Recorded May 1988

Thursday, August 6, 2009

George Shearing - Dexterity (1987)

For his first tour of Japan in 24 years, pianist George Shearing worked for the initial time with bassist Neil Swainson who soon afterward became a regular member of his duo. This Concord CD features Shearing and Swainson performing a variety of material including Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," "You Must Believe in Spring," a traditional Japanese melody and a couple of ballads. In addition, singer Ernestine Anderson sits in with the group on "As Long As I Live" and a typically soulful "Please Send Me Someone to Love" before the duo concludes the show (recorded at the second annual Fujitsu-Concord Jazz Festival) with a five-song Duke Ellington medley. A well-rounded and consistently enjoyable program. - Scott Yanow

Sorry about the lo-res cover. The original is in pretty bad shape, however the rest of the scans are fine.

George Shearing (piano)
Neil Swainson (bass)
Ernestine Anderson (vocals on 8 & 9)

  1. Dexterity
  2. You Must Believe in Spring
  3. Sakura Sakura (Cherry Blossom Nova)
  4. Kojo No Tsuki
  5. I Won't Dance
  6. Long Ago and Far Away
  7. Can't We Be Friends
  8. As Long As I Live
  9. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  10. Duke Ellington Medley: Take the 'A' Train/In a Sentimental Mood/Just Squeeze Me/Satin Doll/Cotton Tail
  11. Lullaby of Birdland
Recorded November 1987

The Ian Carr/Don Rendell Quintet - Shades Of Blue and Dusk Fire

Here's something I've picked up several times lately while shopping, but I always just leave it. Early sixties British jazz always puts me in mind of that Trad Lyttelton/Acker Bilk crowd. But then again, there's Joe Harriott and Under Milkwood by Stan Tracey, so....Carr was born in Scotland and that decided it.

And once again I wonder why I didn't know this much sooner. I've only listened to it 2 or 3 times, but it is very fine in parts. Maybe someone here that knows it/them can fill us in. I know that Harriott was in Garrick's group at one time.

"Some of the finest modern jazz to come out of Britain in the 60s was created by tenor saxophonist Don Rendell and trumpeter Ian Carr - jazz that is still vibrant today.

If ever there was a golden period in British jazz it was the 1960s, with Don Rendell and Ian Carr, 2 of the most innovative musicians around, with the albums their quintet produced now legendary, and still fresh and stunning in their simplicity and power. This comes not only from the exquisite playing of Ian Carr on flugelhorn and trumpet, and Don Rendell's tough tenor and soprano excursions, but equally from the thought that had gone into the writing and arranging.

The dynamics of the quintet members are beautifully balanced, with the lyrical playing of pianist Michael Garrick an often wistful counter to the searching bass of Dave Green, and the ever changing, explosive patterns from drummer Trevor Tomkins. There had never been such concise small ensemble playing since Miles Davis and John Coltrane came together in the 1950s."

Ian Carr (trumpet)
Don Rendell (sax)
Colin Purbrook (piano)
Michael Garrick (piano)
Dave Green (bass)
Trevor Tompkins (drums)

Shades Of Blue
1. Blue Mosque
2. Latin Blue
3. Just Blue
4. Sailin'
5. Garrison '64
6. Blue Doom
7. Shades Of Blue
8. Big City Strut

Recorded on October 1-2, 1964

Dusk Fire
9. Ruth
10. Tan Samfu
11. Jubal
12. Spooks
13. Prayer
14. Hot Rod
15. Dusk Fire

Recorded on March 16-17 1966

Erroll Garner - Soliloque & At The Piano

From the Columbia Records vaults comes a straight reissue of two LPs by Erroll Garner, Soliloquy being a solo piano date from 1957, and Erroll Garner with a trio circa 1953. Unbelievably, the solo piano sides are muddier in their digital reproduction, while the older trio date sounds crisp and clean. The solo piano session yields four standards and two Garner originals, in many instances saturated with stride, with the trio session being all standards, including the boppish "Caravan" and "Lullaby of Birdland." Either one of these recordings can easily stand alone as some of the better Garner from this time period, but together, with a total running time of about 75 minutes, it's a hard compilation to pass up. Recommended with only slight reservation. ~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide


1. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
2. No More Time
3. I Surrender Dear
4. If I Had You
5. Don't Take Your Love From Me
6. Soliloquy
7. Caravan
8. (There Is) No Greater Love
9. Avalon
10. Lullaby of Birdland
11. Memories of You
12. Will You Still Be Mine

Tracks 1-6 originally released as "Soliloquy"
Erroll Garner (Piano), New York, February 1957

Tracks 7-12 origially released as "At The Piano"
Erroll (Piano), Wyatt Ruther (Bass), Eugene "Fats" Heard (Drums), New York, February 1953

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Miles Davis - In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete

This is by request - get them quick; I will eventually remove the links to make room in my @*#%*#@ Rapidshare account.

In terms of remote recording, jazz more than any other type of music is most naturally found in its creative element. Musicians are most apt to improvise freely without thought to time limits when on the bandstand, and the nonverbal communication with the audience can certainly boost adrenaline levels, which in turn increases the intensity of the performance. Of the many jazz legends who have recorded in the modern era, Miles Davis was documented in more live settings than probably any other of his peers, thanks in part to the healthy coffers of Columbia Records. As a result, we have a much better picture of Davis’ many classic ensembles over the years as heard “on the job.”

Back in the spring of 1961, Davis was in a period of transition. Tenor saxophone master John Coltrane had left the trumpeter’s employ to lead his own band and Hank Mobley had come on board to take his place. While the new tenor man had his own style, it was less radical than Coltrane’s histrionics and Davis was not always pleased with the end results. Still, the trio of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb had been together for some time and the chemistry they shared was undeniably strong. It is this band that appeared at San Francisco’s Blackhawk, where all of the music performed on the weekend of April 21st and 22nd was recorded for prosperity.

Initially released in truncated form and with edited performances in some cases, the concerts have been expanded: for the first time we get to hear every recorded note, amounting to nearly four hours of music on four discs and with the best possible sound quality. Seven sets were recorded, with a total of 29 tracks being the net result. Thirteen of these have never before been heard, adding considerably to this cache of Davis memorabilia. There are several takes on familiar tunes such as “If I Were a Bell,” “I Thought About You,” and “Green Dolphin Street,” however each one speaks with an individual sense of creativity, a testament to the resourcefulness of each one of these talented musicians. Miles himself is in solid form, often playing with a mute and stretching out at length. Mobley spins some wonderful yarns despite some reed problems, although his melodic style is similar to Davis’ and as such there’s much less of a contrast between the two lead voices.

Packaging for this boxed set consists of two slim double jewel boxes housed in a hard cover outer box. Notes inside the booklet are nothing all that revelatory, with a reprint of the original liners and a brief remembrance by Eddie Henderson. While more exciting changes were to come for Davis and his ensembles, these two nights in San Francisco solidified his mainstream manifesto and are a valuable addition to the trumpeter’s legacy. ~ C. Andrew Hovan

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

CD 1
1. Oleo
2. No Blues
3. Bye Bye
4. If I Were A Bell
5. Fran Dance
6. On Green Dolphin Street
7. The Theme

CD 2
1. All Of You
2. Neo
3. I Thought About You
4. Bye Bye Blackbird
5. Walkin'
6. Love, I've Found You

CD 3
1. If I Were A Bell
2. So What
3. No Blues
4. On Green Dolphin Street
5. Walkin'
6. 'Round Midnight
7. Well You Needn't
8. The Theme

CD 4
1. Autumn Leaves
2. Neo
3. Two Bass Hit
4. Bye Bye
5. Love, I've Found You
6. I Thought About You
7. Someday My Prince Will Come
8. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Sextet - Calypso Blues

A year or two ago I came across a similar looking Sahib Shihab release named All Those Cats, in just the digipack container. The clever regulars around here figured out the release and discographical information. This came complete and I grabbed it without thinking: this really was one of the great groups of it's time and place. " ... widely cited as the finest all-star ensemble of its kind ever assembled outside the U.S." No argument here.

Co-chaired by legendary bop drummer Kenny Clarke and Belgian-born pianist/composer Francy Boland, the Clarke-Boland Big Band ranked among the top European orchestras of the '60s and early '70s. The group formed in 1960 following Clarke's relocation to Paris; originally, he and Boland -- fresh off a stint as an arranger for Kurt Edelhagen's German-based orchestra -- teamed in a sextet setting, quickly followed by an octet; the roster continued to grow, however, and soon a big band comprised of other American expatriates and top European players was in place. After earning a reputation as a major live force, the Clarke-Boland Big Band finally made their recorded debut with the 1962 LP Jazz Is Universal; over a dozen more albums followed prior to the group's 1973 dissolution. ~ Jason Ankeny

This 20-track compilation is largely a composite of two sessions: one recorded in the Alten Bahnhof von Rolandseck in Germany on September 25,1965 and the other recorded in Berlin on June 16, 1965

Kenny Clarke (drums)
Francy Boland (piano)
Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
Fats Sadi (vibraphone, bongos)
Jimmy Woode Jr. (bass)
Joe Harris (percussion)

1. Ebony Samba
2. Tin Tin Deo
3. Please Don't Leave
4. Lush Life
5. The Man From Potter's Crossing
6. Wives and Lovers
7. Ensadinado
8. Lorraine
9. Love Hungry
10. Balafon
11. Day by Day
12. Calypso Blues
13. Invitation
14. Insensatez
15. Sereneta
16. Con Alma
17. Just Give Me Time
18. Born to Be Blue
19. Lilemor
20. Sconsolato

Gerry Mulligan In Paris, Volumes 1 & 2 (1954)

During a 1954 trip to Europe Gerry Mulligan played several concerts in Paris at the Salle Pleyel to enthusiastic crowds, excerpts from which are heard on this CD and a second volume, issued separately. The baritone saxophonist is joined by one of his most stimulating musical partners, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer; the quartet's rhythm section includes bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Frank Isola (who sticks to brushes). Mulligan does his best to introduce most of the tunes in halting French to the appreciation of the audience. Mulligan and Brookmeyer work magic together as they alternate between taking the lead and providing backgrounds for one another, while also engaging in some terrific counterpoint. The set includes standards, classic jazz tunes and Mulligan's originals, all of which delight the audience. It is almost impossible to name all of the highlights within this disc, though "Bernie's Tune" (with a playful detour into a circus theme), Mulligan's loping "Walkin' Shoes" and cool "Soft Shoe" as well as "My Funny Valentine," which rivals his famous recording with trumpeter Chet Baker. This CD and its companion volume should be considered among Gerry Mulligan's most essential recordings.
Among the many highlights of volume 2 are the lush "The Nearness of You," the playful "Makin' Whoopee," both takes of "Laura" and the baritone saxophonist's intricate tribute to disc jockey Jimmy Lyons, "Line for Lyons." - Ken Dryden

Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Frank Isola (drums)

Volume One
  1. Bernie's Tune
  2. Presentation of the Musicians
  3. Walkin' Shoes
  4. The Nearness of You
  5. Motel/Utter Chaos
  6. Love Me or Leave Me
  7. Soft Shoe
  8. Bark for Barksdale
  9. My Funny Valentine
  10. Turnstile/Utter Chaos
  11. I May Be Wrong
  12. Five Brothers
  13. Gold Rush
  14. Makin' Whoopee
Volume Two
  1. The Lady Is a Tramp
  2. Laura
  3. Soft Shoe/Utter Chaos
  4. Five Brothers
  5. Lullaby of the Leaves
  6. The Nearness of You
  7. Limelight
  8. Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
  9. Makin' Whoopee
  10. Love Me or Leave Me
  11. Laura
  12. Line for Lyons
  13. Moonlight in Vermont
  14. Motel/Utter Chaos
Recorded at the Salle Pleyel, Paris June 1-7, 1954

Sammy Price - Rib Joint

Did somebody mention Mickey Baker? Here is is in all his '50s R&B splendor. And when he ain't there's Al Casey and Kenny Burrell. And King Curtis. No slacking here; I know that Surfrider will be on this one quickfast.

But let us not forget Sammy Price himself, subject of no less than two Chronological Classics, and longtime partner of Red Allen. He was the house pianist for Decca from 1938 on, and worked with many notables, including Mr. Lester Young.

In his latter years he did some R&B riff sessions, trying to cash in on the profitable honker market, and he did have some minor success, but this was still the age of race records, and Bill Doggett is probably better known. The story ends well, with Price being house pianist at New York's Roosevelt Hotel, and later in Boston's Copley Square Hotel, which is where, I believe, George Wein had his Storyville club.

As good as this CD is, can anybody explain why Amazon wants over 100 bucks for this - or even better, why they want $111.11?

"This CD reissue contains two sessions by Sammy Price, one of which is from 1956 and includes some of the greatest, rawest, gutbucket Blues playing ever from King Curtis at a fairly early stage in his career." ~ Sax Gordon's Top 20 recommended recordings for R&B saxophone.

Sam Price (piano)
King Curtis (tenor sax)
Mickey Baker (guitar)
Al Casey (guitar)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Heywood Henry (baritone sax)
Leonard Gaskin (bass)
Bobby Donaldson (drums)

1. Blue Drag
2. Tishomingo
3. Wee Hours
4. Rock My Soul
5. After Hour Swing
6. Back Room Rock
7. Juke Joint
8. Chicken Out
9. Ain't No Strain
10. Barb-B-Q-Sauce
11. Roll 'em Sam
12. Kansas City Boogie Woogie Stomp
13. Levee
14. Boogie Woogie Slop
15. Chicken Strut
16. Boogie Cha Cha
17. New Orleans Blues
18. Honk Tonk Caboose
19. Rib Joint #2
20. Gulley Stomp
21. Jive Joint
22. Pack Up & Boogie
23. Rib Joint
24. Saint's Boogie
25. Sammy Sings The Blues


Here's a special post from all of us at CIA, dedicated you, Bruno, and any other enmerdeurs, lurkers, link killers, blog-disrupters or what-have you, low-life who feel compelled to express their personal problems by causing grief to others. See the comments for a link to - heaven forbid - free music!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Roscoe Mitchell and the Note Factory - This Dance Is For Steve McCall

This Dance Is for Steve McCall refers to the late drummer who contributed not only to Roscoe Mitchell's music, but was a member of the AACM. The disc is not only a tribute to McCall, but also to other musicians Mitchell had collaborated with over the years who have passed on, including Phillip Wilson, Gerald Oshita, and Tom Buckner. Mitchell pays the highest tribute to these fallen comrades of the avant-garde by assembling a band that signifies the embodiment of creative music: Matthew Shipp on piano, the twin-bass attack of Jaribu Shahid and William Parker, and Tani Tabbal and Vincent Davis on drums. The music ranges from dense contemporary classical to violence incarnate on "The Rodney King Affair," in which Mitchell's circular-breathing technique pushes the tempo to a dizzy, frightening place. All compositions are Mitchell originals except "Ericka," written by Art Ensemble of Chicago member Joseph Jarman. ~ Al Campbell

On its potent 1992 debut, Mitchell's Note Factory group is almost all rhythm section, with drummers Tani Tabbal and Vincent Davis, bassists William Parker and Jaribu Shahid, and pianist Matthew Shipp often creating thick, pulsing backdrops for the leader's reeds. The CD opens with a lovingly rendered version of Joseph Jarman's poignant "Erica," with Mitchell's sweet alto floating through piano and bowed bass before the piece accumulates ever greater momentum. The disc moves into more somber terrain for "The Rodney King Affair," a concentrated coil of circular-breathing soprano with Mitchell and Shipp achieving a tremendous synchronization of complex parts. The concluding homage to Mitchell's late friend, the drummer Steve McCall, is etched in an acidic lyricism. ~ Stuart Broomer

Roscoe Mitchell (alto, soprano, and tenor sax)
Matthew Shipp (piano)
William Parker (bass)
Jaribu Shahid (bass)
Tani Tabbal (drums)
Vincent Davis (drums)

1. Ericka
2. Uptown Strut
3. Rodney King Affair
4. Ah
5. Song For Gerald Oshita
6. Paintings For Phillip
7. Far East Blues
8. Variations For String Bass And Piano
9. This Dance Is For Steve McCall

Ricky Ford - Saxotic Stomp

The discussion recently was on how Ricky Ford is good on everyone, seemingly, but his own records. I was planning to up Manhattan Blues when I came across this while shopping - and I take back what I said; this is real good.

This is one of tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford's finer Muse recordings, although all nine are recommended. The talented tenor's six originals (including tributes to Mary Lou Williams, Art Blakey and Ben Webster) and Thelonious Monk's "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are" inspire the impressive sextet, which also includes altoist James Spaulding, baritonist Charles Davis, pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Ford's arrangements, while giving everyone adequate solo space, keep the proceedings moving. Well worth several listens. ~ Scott Yanow

Ricky Ford (tenor sax)
Kirk Lightsey (piano)
James Spaulding (flute, alto sax)
Charles Davis (baritone sax)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

1. Saxotic Stomp
2. For Mary Lou
3. Musradres
4. Major Love
5. Art Steps
6. Ben's Den
7. Long Shadows
8. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are

Muddy Waters - Fathers And Sons

Another old vinyl favorite available on CD.

The resurgence of Chicago-based blues in the mid- to late 1960s came with an entirely new breed of icons to bear the torch. Among them were the decidedly electric Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Joining Muddy Waters (guitar/vocals) and Otis Spann (piano) on the aptly titled Fathers and Sons are three Butterfield Blues Band alumni: Michael Bloomfield (guitar), Sam Lay (drums), and leader Paul Butterfield (guitar). Further augmenting the personnel is Booker T. and the MG's Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass) and Buddy Miles (drums) -- who cameos during the live "Got My Mojo Workin'" finale. This all-star cast helps reclaim some of Waters' fire, which had been summarily doused on his previous outing Electric Mud -- a tasteless pseudo-psychedelic disaster. The poorly executed scheme had been designed to introduce Waters' music to a younger and mostly white audience. In essence, Fathers and Sons is able to accomplish with musical integrity what Electric Mud couldn't through gimmickry. Additionally, the incorporation of the younger generation blues men solidified Waters stature as one of the pre-eminent forces in Chicago Blues to a decidedly fresh and underdeveloped audience. The disc is split between studio sides cut on April 21-23 and a half-hour live set. This performance, during the Super Cosmic Joy-Scout Jamboree, was documented on the evening following the final day of studio recording. The event was held at Auditorium Theater in (where else?) Chicago. Simplifying the process is Fathers and Sons set list, which consists of exclusively vintage Waters material. "Mean Disposition" and "Standin' Round Cryin'" drip with Bloomfield and Butterfield's nasty languid electric funk and feature Waters' determined and energized vocals. On the up-tempo blues/rockers "Walking Thru the Park" and "Sugar Sweet" the nimble and lyrical guitar passages meld the distance between Waters and the electric blues of Cream and Led Zeppelin. The 2001 remastered CD edition includes four additional studio sides issued here for the first time: "Country Boy," "I Love The Life I Live (I Live The Life I Love)," "Oh Yeah," and "I Feel So Good." Without question, the highlight of Fathers and Sons is the live performances which are incessantly fuelled by the explosive nature of the musicians on stage as well as the audience. "Long Distance Call" and the two-part "Got My Mojo Working" are the finest pieces on the album. They likewise rate among the most complimentary marriages of Chicago R&B with rock & roll. Of Muddy Waters' later recordings, it certainly got no better than the summit meeting heard on Fathers and Sons. Fans of Waters' true and natural showmanship, as well as enthusiasts of blues-based rock & roll will find plenty to revisit. ~ Lindsay Planer

Muddy Waters (guitar, vocals)
Otis Spann (piano)
Michael Bloomfield (guitar)
Paul Butterfield (harmonica)
Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass)
Buddy Miles (drums)
Sam Lay (drums)

1. All Aboard
2. Mean Disposition
3. Blow Wind Blow
4. Can't Lose What You Never Had
5. Walkin' Thru The Park
6. Forty Days And Forty Nights
7. Standin' Round Cryin'
8. I'm Ready
9. Twenty Four Hours
10. Sugar Sweet
11. Country Boy
12. I Love The Life I Live (I Live The Life I Love)
13. Oh Yeah
14. I Feel So Good
15. Long Distance Call
16. Baby Please Don't Go
17. Honey Bee
18. The Same Thing
19. Got My Mojo Working, Part 1
20. Got My Mojo Working, Part 2

Mal Waldron - Maturity 3: Dual

Another volume of this beautiful set.

You'll find deep, dark, wonderful music inside. Wisdom after life. Wisdom before death.

Mal Waldron (piano)
Takeo Moriyama (drums)

Dual-1. Bou
Dual-2. Kyou-Kyou
Dual-3. San
Dual-4. Bou-Bou
Dual-5. Ten
Dual-6. Yawa
Dual-7. Rai-Rai

Aug. 20, 1995 at studio F/Gifu

Ruby Braff - Hustlin' And Bustlin'

I also picked up a Bethlehem "The Best Of Braff" if anybody would like to do a guest review.

"His powerful, melodic cornet is one of the most distinctive sounds in mainstream jazz, backed by a seemingly limitless flow of ideas." ~ Penguin Guide

Trumpeter Ruby Braff puts so much passion into each note he plays that, even when performing familiar Dixieland and swing tunes, he is able to immediately uplift the material. On this CD reissue of a Black Lion LP, Braff is heard with three different groups. The bulk of the date features him in a quintet with tenor saxophonist Sam Margolis, pianist Ken Kersey, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Bobby Donaldson; highlights include "Hustlin' and Bustlin' for Baby," "There's a Small Hotel," and "Shoe Shine Boy." In addition there are three numbers recorded live at Storyville with an all-star sextet that includes trombonist Vic Dickenson and clarinetist Edmond Hall and one number ("When It's Sleepy Time Down South") with an octet. This set offers listeners a good example of Ruby Braff's playing in his early days. ~ Scott Yanow

Ruby Braff (trumpet)
Edmond Hall (clarinet)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
Ken Kersey (piano)
George Wein (piano)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)

1. Hustlin' And Bustlin' For Baby
2. There's A Small Hotel
3. What's The Reason (I'm Not Pleasing You?)
4. 'S Wonderful
5. I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
6. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
7. Flaky
8. Shoe Shine Boy
9. Fine And Mellow
10. Ad Lib Blues

Ben Webster - Stormy Weather

Recorded around a month after the veteran tenor Ben Webster moved to Europe, this high-quality set with pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Neils Pederson and drummer Alex Riel features Webster stretching out on the traditional "Londonderry Air," two originals and seven familiar but fresh standards. Webster, although neglected in the U.S., was still in peak form in the mid-'60s as witness this and his other Black Lion CDs covering the period. ~ Scott Yanow

Stormy Weather is a live date that Ben Webster, the veteran tenor saxophonist, performed just one month after he moved to Europe, disenchanted with his popularity in the United States. This set of music features pianist Kenny Drew (the only other American in the group) with European drummer and bass player Alex Riel and Nils Henning Orsted Pederson, respectively. The ten tracks on this CD stay pretty well within the genre of "mainstream jazz." However, Drew's bop solos and Riel's slightly more modern drumming add variety to Webster's straight-up swing approach a la Coleman Hawkins. The repertoire is standard, with songs like "Our Love Is Here to Stay," "Mack the Knife," and "Teach Me Tonight." Webster's forte has always been his ballad playing. The subtle nuances he brings to the melodies of "My Romance" and the title track best show the depth of Webster's musical acomeen. In short, Stormy Weather reveals that Webster was still at his peak in the mid '60s.

Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)

1. Love Is Here To Stay
2. My Romance
3. Blues For Herluf
4. Londonderry Air
5. Mack The Knife
6. I Can't Get Started
7. Theme
8. Friskin' The Frog
9. Stormy Weather
10. Teach Me Tonight

orquesta aragon -- ja-ja pacha`

hard to beat orquesta aragon.

i don't have much to add. check into it.

Harold Mabern - Wailin'

Always a name you'd come across, it was when I heard his Straight Street (still in the archives) that I realized how good this guy is.

This CD reissue combines together two sessions ('Workin' & Wailin' and Greasy Kid Stuff) led by pianist Harold Mabern during 1969-70. The first date utilizes trumpeter Virgil Jones, tenor-saxophonist George Coleman, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Idris Muhammad on four challenging Mabern originals and Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love." However it is the second session that is most memorable for, in addition to Mabern, Williams and Muhammad, it features trumpeter Lee Morgan and flutist Hubert Laws; the latter mostly plays some surprisingly passionate tenor that makes one wish he had performed on tenor more through the years. Excellent advanced hard bop music that hints at fusion. ~ Scott Yanow

Harold Mabern (piano)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Virgil Jones (trumpet, flugelhorn)
George Coleman (tenor sax)
Hubert Laws (tenor sax, flute)
Boogaloo Joe Jones (guitar)
Buster Williams (bass)
Idris Muhammad (drums)

1. Strozier's Mode
2. Blues For Phineas
3. I Can't Understand What I See In You
4. Waltzing Westward
5. A Time For Love
6. Greasy Kid Stuff
7. I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do
8. XKE
9. Alex The Great
10. I Want You Back
11. John Neely - Beautiful People

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nat 'King' Cole - 1947-1949 (Chronological 1155)

Nat King Cole could charm most listeners by simply singing a few lines from the phone book. His delivery is so intoxicating that even less-than-stellar material doesn't cause so much as a blink of the eye. This is true with Classics' collection of some of his 1947-1949 cuts, where hardly a classic standard or hit is in sight. What one does get, though, is a generous dose of Nat Cole and the trio's slow-riffin' best . While ranging from the ballad perfection of "How Lonely Can You Get" and "Lost April" to svelte blues sides like "My Mother Told Me," Cole, guitarist Irving Ashby, and bassist Johnny Miller show how they perfected the piano trio template forged by the singer's first group with guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince. The disc also includes two boppish instrumentals: "Leap Here" and "Metronome Riff," featuring Cole with large combos stuffed with likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy DeFranco, Bob Cooper, Art Pepper, Bill Harris, and Shelly Manne. Also included are two takes of "Portrait of Jennie," an early strings affair that nicely foreshadows Cole's symphonic run of hits in the '50s. This disc might not work too well as a prime introduction to the the Nat Cole Trio's '40s material -- check out Capitol's Vocal Classics titles for that -- but it certainly will please fans wanting to delve beyond the more popular tracks. And for those keen on getting a good share of Cole's instrumental and jazz-centric sides, check out Capitol's Instrumental Classics and Jazz Encounters collections. ~ Stephen Cook

Nat King Cole (piano, vocals)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Art Pepper (alto sax)
Flip Phillips (tenor sax)
Bob Cooper (tenor sax)
Billy Bauer (guitar)
Irving Ashby (guitar)
Buddy DeFranco (clarinet)
Bill Harris (trombone)
Eddie Safranski (bass)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Put 'Em In A Box, Tie 'Em With A Ribbon
2. Blue And Sentimental
3. I've Got A Way With Women
4. My Fair Lady
5. I Wish I Had The Blues Again
6. Didn't I Tell You So?
7. Lost April
8. Lost April
9. Lillette
10. Monday Again
11. Lulubelle
12. It's So Hard To Laugh
13. Leap Here
14. Metronome Riff
15. Portrait Of Jennie
16. It Only Happens Once
17. My Mother Told Me
18. Bang Bang Boogie
19. Portrait Of Jennie
20. Don't Cry, Cry Baby
21. An Old Piano Plays The Blues
22. How Lonely Can You Get

Jimmie Lunceford - 1939 (Chronological 532)

Still enjoying a break - I thank everyone for their support, and especially that vile troll who proved beyond any doubt what a sick sad person he is:

I'll have a brief statement after a while, but meanwhile Im going to restore some stuff that has already been posted. Thank you all very sincerely once again.

"...during the apex of swing in the 1930s, the Orchestra was considered the equal of Duke Ellington's, Earl Hines' or Count Basie's."

For this Classics CD, most of the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra's earlier Vocalion recordings (owned by Columbia) are reissued. The loss of Sy Oliver in August 1939 (he was lured away by Tommy Dorsey) would soon hurt the band but they were still using Oliver's arrangemetns in the last session. "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home," "What Is This Thing Called Swing," a classic rendition of "Ain't She Sweet," "Well, All Right Then" and "Belgium Stomp" are among the more memorable selections on this CD which also has a few typically inferior Dan Grissom ballad vocals. Swing fans will want all of these CDs even if they do not include Lunceford's alternate takes. ~ Scott Yanow

Jimmie Lunceford (director)
Gerald Wilson (trumpet)
Willie Smith (alto and baritone sax, clarinet, vocal)
Sy Oliver (trumpet)
James "Trummy" Young (trombone)
Moses Allen (bass)

1. Baby Won't You Please Come Home?
2. You're Just A Dream
3. The Lonesome Road
4. You Set Me On Fire
5. I've Only Myself To Blame
6. What Is This Thing Called Swing?
7. Mixup
8. Shoemaker's Holiday
9. Blue Blazes
10. Mandy
11. Easter Parade
12. Ain't She Sweet?
13. White Heat
14. Oh Why, Oh Why
15. Well, All Right Then
16. You Let Me Down
17. I Love You
18. Who Did You Meet Last Night?
19. You Let Me Down
20. Sassin' The Boss
21. I Want The Waiter (With The Water)
22. I Used To Love You (But It's All Over Now)
23. Belgium Stomp
24. You Can Fool Some Of The People (Some Of The Time)
25. Think Of Me, Little Daddy
26. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

BN LP 5014 | Erroll Garner - Overture To Dawn, Volume 3

At this point, Lion & Wolff realised they had a real seller with Garner - even with the production values and the fact that the recording was older - the Jazz public were interested.

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project