Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Curtis Fuller

Curtis Fuller - Blues-ette

Sessions in any genre of music are all too often described as "sublime," but seldom has that description been better deserved than with this relaxed hard bop classic. One looks to other catchalls such as "effortless" and "loose," but even those slight this amazing date by implying a lack of intensity -- and intensity comes in all forms. For all intents and purposes, this is the first recorded meeting of what would become the famous Benny Golson/Art Farmer Jazztet (albeit without Farmer), a group most commonly associated with its 1960 Chess session, Meet the Jazztet. Curtis Fuller's next date, The Curtis Fuller Jazztet, and his appearance on the Chess date, only compound this point. Like perhaps Jimmy Smith's flagship, The Sermon, Blues-ette's brilliance manifests itself not only within the individual solos but also in the way the group functions as a collective. One gets the impression that these tunes could have continued for hours in the studio without the slightest lack of interest on anyone's part. This might be because many of the themes presented here are so basic and seemingly obvious that they don't seem like anything to write home about upon first listen. A day or so later, when you're walking down the street to the tempo of the title track, you may begin to think otherwise. These are some exceptionally catchy heads and many have since become standards. As far as individual performances are concerned, you're not likely to find better solos by any of the members of this quintet than you will here, though they all have extensive and very high-quality catalogs themselves. Picking highlights is a moot point. Blues-ette is best experienced as an entire LP. It would have surely made a greater impact upon its initial release had it been on a more high-profile label, such as Columbia or Blue Note, but there's no sense worrying about that now. Any serious jazz collection is incomplete without this record. Period. ~ Brandon Burke

Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Al Harewood (drums)

1. Five Spot After Dark
2. Undecided
3. Blues-Ette
4. Minor Vamp
5. Love Your Spell Is Everywhere
6. Twelve-Inch

Curtis Fuller - Blues-ette Part II

The original Blues-ette album was a quintet session from 1959 featuring trombonist Curtis Fuller, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Al Harewood. Thirty-four years later, the same musicians (with bassist Ray Drummond filling in for the deceased Garrison) had a reunion for this Savoy CD. Three of the songs from the original session are given new versions and there are also performances of several recent compositions by both Golson and Fuller in addition to four standards. Although Golson's sound on tenor has evolved since the earlier date, the appealing blend of the two horns remain unchanged as do the styles of Fuller and Flanagan, making Blues-ette, Pt. 2 an excellent example of swinging hard bop. ~ Scott Yanow

Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Al Harewood (drums)

1. Love, Your Spell Is Everywhere
2. Sis
3. Blues-Ette '93
4. Is It All A Game?
5. Capt' Kid
6. Five Spot After Dark '93
7. How Am I To Know?
8. Along Came Betty
9. Autumn In New York
10. Manhattan Serenade

Recorded at Sound On Sound Studio, New York: January 4-6, 1993

Blossom Dearie - Winchester in Apple Blossom Time (1977)

The highly favorable response to my last Blossom Dearie post has encouraged another. Here is her 1977 WINCHESTER IN APPLE BLOSSOM TIME, a mixture of Dearie originals, standards, and otherwise unknown songs written by friends of the singer/pianist.

The disc, originally issued as a 2 LP set on Dearie’s own Daffodil Records, is just Blossom Dearie accompanying her vocals with her own sensitive piano. It’s a quiet and beautiful recording and I treasure it: I am lucky to own this very rare edition, reissued by Daffodil a few years ago and now, again, out of print. It was also reissued in Japan in 2006, but also fell out of print quite quickly.

Some of the Dearie-composed songs I like the most are the title song, and Sweet Surprise. The song selection also features a few personal favorites (for me) such as Lucky To Be Me (a great Leonard Bernstein tune), The Riviera and It Amazes Me (both composed by Cy Coleman). Coincidentally, all three songs were also sung frequently by Tony Bennett.

It is a sad shame that more of Dearie’s Daffodil records are not currently available. This was an artistically successfully period for Dearie (mid 1970’s-1980’s) and produced at least 12 albums (the number is uncertain due to a few missing volume numbers between volumes 10 and 15. A couple of them have NEVER been released on CD. In 2005, the record company began reissuing some of the titles but only put out three or four before ceasing operations. I can’t even find their website anymore so I am VERY glad I got these before it was too late. Scoredaddy

Blossom Dearie (vocals & piano)
Ron Carter (bass on #1 only)

1. Winchester In Apple Blossom Time
2. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
3. Wonderful Guy
4. Touch The Hand Of Love
5. Sweet Surprise
6. You Are There
7. Wheelers And Dealers
8. Jazz Musician
9. Surrey With The Fringe On Top
10. Love Is An Elusive Celebration
11. Lucky To Be Me
12. Riviera
13. You're For Loving
14. Ballad Of The Shape Of Things
15. Summer Is Gone
16. Sammy
17. It Amazes Me
18. If I Were A Bell

Harry Reser - Banjo Crackerjax, 1922-30 {Yazoo 1048}

"Not just a master banjoist, but the banjomaster." - Picker's Digest

"Harry Reser was the greatest banjoist in the world. His technique was overwhelming,
often creating the impression of playing on two banjos at the same time. This compilation features Reser's own novelty rags involving an extremely complex rhythmic and harmonic
series of progressions that demanded the greatest skill to perform."

1. Lollypops (1926)
2. Frosted Chocolate (1928)
3. Heebe Jeebes (1925)
4. The Cat And The Dog (1928)
5. Crackerjack (1930)
6. Flaperette (1930)
7. Kitten On The Keys (1922)
8. Easy Goin' (1923)
9. The Old Town Pump (1927)
10. Fair And Warmer (1928)
11. Pickin's (1922)
12. Crazy Jo' (1922)
13. Sugar Blues (1923)
14. Send Back My Honeyman (1922)

allmusic review by Eugene Chadbourne:

The music on this highly entertaining CD is much more of a group effort than the title would suggest. Make no mistake, Harry Reser was one of the great banjo virtuosos, although his style was totally of the strummed, plectrum variety without a trace of the mystic quality of Appalachian banjo or the fingerpicking stunts of bluegrass players. With the banjo's rapid sound decay and complete lack of fortitude in certain registers, a combo with plenty of harmonic punch, like a good piano player, is required to pull off the kind of ragtime, early swing, and novelty numbers that make up the repertoire here. Keys and chords are going by quickly here, and whereas the ideal choice of accompaniment for a bluegrass player might be a guitarist strumming an endless G chord, Reser needs his pianist to be all over the map to put an address behind his plinks and plunks. Some of the finest banjo playing here involves the beautiful tone he gets in the lower register, almost like the banjo equivalent of Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax if such a thing can be believed from a banjo, and intentionally out-of-tune slides on that make it sound like he is playing a rubber band. The entire CD might have a kind of cartoony effect on the listener between the manic banjo playing and eccentric, sometimes silly arrangements and tunes. There is no information provided about the other musicians, and only a morsel of credit provided for a few of the composers.

allmusic biography by Scott Yanow:

When one thinks of pre-bop banjoists, it is of purely rhythmic players whose chordal solos differ little from what they play during ensembles. Harry Reser however was quite a bit different, an outstanding virtuoso who was arguably the finest banjoist of the 1920's. Less an improviser than a brilliant technician who could play novelty ragtime with the speed of a pianist, Reser was also one of the most recorded musicians of the era. Reser actually started on the guitar when he was five and soon he was playing violin, cello and piano; later on he would add marimba, trumpet and saxophone. It was not until he was 16 (inspired by Vess Ossman and Fred Van Eps), that Reser switched to banjo. After playing locally in dance bands, in 1921 Reser moved to New York where he was quickly in great demand. Over time he would play with Ben Selvin, Sam Lanin, Bennie Kruger and Paul Whiteman (even subbing once with Whiteman on trumpet!).

Reser started making records with many obscure groups almost immediately and in 1922 he recorded his first solo records including a remarkable version of Zez Confrey's "Kitten On The Keys." In addition to his series of virtuoso banjo workouts (writing more than twenty novelty rags) that still sound very impressive today, Reser recorded at the head of a huge number of overlapping dance bands (also writing many of the arrangements) that used a bewildering series of pseudonyms. Among the names he used were the Blue Kittens, the Bostonians, the Campus Boys, the Four Minstrels, the High Hatters, Phil Hughes' Orchestra, the Jazz Pilots, Jimmy Johnston's Rebels, the Night Club Orchestra, the Okeh Syncopators, Earl Oliver's Jazz Babies, the Parlophone Syncopators, the Plantation Players, the Rounders, the Seven Rag Pickers, the Seven Wild Men, the Six Hayseeds, the Six Jumping Jacks, Tom Stacks and his Minute Men, the Victorian Syncopators, Bill Wirges' Orchestra and the Seven Little Polar Bears! The best-known name was the Cliquot Club Eskimos, a radio band that for ten years (1925-35) helped sell soft drinks; the musicians appeared on radio dressed in eskimo suits! Their many recordings, with novelty vocals by Tom Stacks, were peppy, swinging in their own way and featured short solos.

After that band ran its course, Reser freelanced, playing in many settings throughout the world and writing ten instruction books for the banjo, guitar and ukulele. His last job was playing guitar in the orchestra for the 1965 Broadway musical, Fiddler On The Roof, dying of a heart attack in the pit as he was warming up for the night's performance.

Ahmad Jamal Trio - Cross Country Tour 1958-1961

Ive been extremely guilty of non posting this year but wanted to at least post something before the year is out!

One of the nicest introductions this year that CIA and its sister sites has afforded me is one Ahmad Jamal - with and without Trios!

There's a fantastic clip on youtube of Ahmad doing Darn that Dream in 1959 surrounded by other Jazz lumineries. I think I must watch this clip daily as the sound has been restored and its excellent. Shows what he was capable of and really swings....

Anyway spurred on by this intro, I purchased the following. Hope its liked and Happy New Year to one and all - especially the big yin Rab !!

This two-CD set has highlights from pianist Ahmad Jamal's famous trio dates for Argo, with selections drawn from At the Pershing, At the Pershing Vol. 2, Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal, Alhambra, and At the Blackhawk, plus one selection only out before in a sampler. It is a pity that the five valuable albums were not reissued in full on a three-CD set, for these were among the most important recordings of Jamal's career. His trio (with bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier) had a unique sound, utilizing close communication and dynamics to an extraordinary degree. "Poinciana" was a huge hit, and other highlights included on this twofer include "But Not for Me," "Cherokee," "Billy Boy," "This Can't Be Love" and "Falling In Love With Love." Although easily recommended as an introduction to this classic group, the preferred complete sessions will hopefully appear on CD someday too.

Ahmad Jamal (piano)
Israel Crosby (Bass)
Vernell Fournier (Drums)

1.But Not for Me
2.The Surrey With the Fringe on Top
3.Moonlight in Vermont
4.(Put Another Nickel In) Music! Music! Music!
5.Woody 'N You
7.Too Late Now
8.All the Things You Are
10.It Might as Well Be Spring
11.I'll Remember April
12.Gone With the Wind
13.Billy Boy
14.It's You or No One
15.You Don't Know What Love Is
16.Tater Pie
17.This Can't Be Love
18.Old Devil Moon
19.Sweet and Lovely
20.The Party's Over
23.Time on My Hands
24.Angel Eyes
25.What Is This Thing Called Love?
26.I'll Take Romance/My Funny Valentine
27.Like Someone in Love
28.Falling in Love With Love
29.The Best Thing for You
30.April in Paris
31.The Second Time Around
32.Darn That Dream

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Modern Jazz Quartet - Milt Jackson Quintet

Before I bought this, I figured it would duplicate some of the Savoy material, but it apparently doesn't. Several tunes appear on both, as does their congealing of tricky timing; however, further Polynesian flavoring must be discovered by you, dear listener.

On this long player, Milt Jackson (vibraphone) teams up with two different ensembles from a pair of early- to mid-'50s dates. First up is the familiar setting of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) with John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums) joining Jackson during a December 1952 session. The Jerome Kern ballad "All the Things You Are" is given additional radiance with a slightly Polynesian-flavored introduction leading directly into a bopping up-tempo reading. Jackson's leads soar over the MJQ's rock-solid backing. The Lewis original "La Ronde" is based on, or perhaps more accurately derived from, Dizzy Gillespie's "Two Bass Hit." They congeal the tricky timing, providing clever interjections throughout for added emphasis. "Vendome" is another Lewis composition with a brisk and slinky syncopation that possesses a classical charm, around which the band built its impressive interaction. Duke Ellington's "Rose of the Rio Grande" joyously frolics as it likewise supplies a framework for the band to assert its respective musical personas. The concluding four sides hail from a June 1954 date with Jackson, Heath, Clarke, Horace Silver (piano), and Henry Boozier (trumpet). The adaptation of the latter also reveals a palpable noir quality to the cuts they contribute to. Silver's "Opus de Funk" glides about Jackson's resounding solos, which the pianist supports with some nicely placed alternate lines. "Buhaina" is another Silver tune and spotlights Boozier's highly affable accompaniment, contrasting his work as a soloist. The elegant "I've Lost Your Love" shines with a dusky glint. Finally, "Soma" wraps up the LP with another round of profound interplay from Jackson and Boozier. MJQ is a recommended platter for all manner of jazz listeners. ~ Lindsay Planer

Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
John Lewis (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
New York: December 22, 1952

Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
Henry Boozier (trumpet)
Horace Silver (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Hackensack, New Jersey: June 16, 1954

1. All The Things You Are
2. La Ronde
3. Vendome
4. Rose Of The Rio Grande
5. Opus De Funk
6. I've Lost Your Love
7. Buhaina
8. Soma

Modern Jazz Quartet - Echoes (1984)

If proof were needed that The Modern Jazz Quartet was back together permanently after a seven-year hiatus (1974-81), it is this CD for the six selections were all fairly new (as opposed to more runthroughs of their earlier hits). Pianist John Lewis contributed three compositions (including the appealing "That Slavic Smile" and "Sacha's March"), vibraphonist Milt Jackson wrote two and bassist Percy Heath brought in his lighthearted "Watergate Blues." With drummer Connie Kay as usual rounding out the group, The MJQ's return was one of the happiest events in jazz of the 1980s. Scott Yanow

The Modern Jazz Quartet disbanded in 1974 as one of the most successful and longest running groups in jazz history, without a personnel change in nearly two decades. They reformed in 1981, and this 1984 session was their first trip to a studio to record new material. Their personnel was intact, and more importantly, so too was their musical charm, an uncanny mix of formality and intimacy, a quiet sophistication that allowed them to blend divergent forms and feelings. The new tunes include the puckish "Watergate Blues" by bassist Percy Heath and pianist John Lewis's further takes on European musical folklore, "That Slavic Smile" and "The Hornpipe." His "Sasha's March" is particularly intriguing, a simple piano piece that assumes other dimensions as it's passed around the group, while "Echoes" and "Connie's Blues" are two more of Milt Jackson's relaxed, elegant tunes that float with an ease all their own. Clearly the group chemistry was still vital, and there's a renewed pleasure in the way they dig into the music. Stuart Broomer

John Lewis (piano)
Connie Kay (drums)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
Percy Heath (bass)

1 That Slavic Smile (Lewis) 8:00
2 Echoes (Jackson) 7:08
3 The Watergate Blues (Heath) 6:04
4 The Hornpipe (Lewis) 8:16
5 Connie's Blues (Jackson) 7:29
6 Sacha's March (Lewis) 7:54

Recorded at RCA Recording Studios, New York City on March 6, 1984

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Secret Museum Of Mankind Vol. 4

This is without question one of the best series we've ever featured here; this is the seventh and there is, I believe, one remaining.

The originals of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "La Bamba" can be found in this volume.

"Some of the most intense musical experiences available come from outside the Western musical sphere, and from a time of our ancestors ... one of the most fascinating world music series ... something akin to a revelation." - Jazz Times

Of all the recent excavation projects inspired by our voracious musical culture, none is more fascinating than Pat Conte's Secret Museum series for Yazoo. Till now, a Western listener's familiarity with ethnic music from the distant past has ... Full Descriptiondepended on unsexy field recordings of relatively recent vintage, produced in a spirit of near-scientific inquiry by anthropologically minded musicologists. When the commercial record business really began to expand in the late '20s however, just about every national style of music was sought out and captured for a growing marketplace. This was true "world music," dressed in its Sunday best perhaps as performed by ambitious locals, but still more vital than the academic, folklorist approach that followed.

Just as Harry Smith compiled early commercial blues and country records for his monumentally influential Anthology Of American Folk Music, so Conte has gathered even rarer 78s from all over the globe. Thanks to excellent remastering, we can hear vividly how an ensemble sounded in India or Japan more than a half-century ago or a klezmer orchestra right before the Nazis destroyed that bit of local culture. It's like owning your own time machine.

1. Elin Lisslass - Locklatar (Sweden)
2. Alberta Ruiz - Tonada de Tarka con Callaguas (Bolivia)
3. Black Jim - Syrtas Kizzamitika (Crete)
4. Il Bel Mazzolino - Squadra Dl Bel Canto (Italy)
5. Mme. Ravao & Rajoro - Anio No MBA Hisoka (Madagascar)
6. R. Singh Bikhul - Been (Pakistan)
7. Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds - Mbube (Natal)
8. Regionale Orquestra - Caboclo Do Matto (Brazil)
9. Djamris Batagah - Randai Parjdain (Western Sumatra)
10. Hardingfeletrioen - Fjell-Ljom (Norway)
11. Haffouz Burhan - Mahur Gazel (Turkey)
12. S.I. Band - Beautiful Body (Simbo Island)
13. William Mullaley - Tory Island Reel (Eire)
14. Abdul El Fadallah - Fouad Burban el Amaria (Kuwait)
15. Potchvershuy - Dariko (Georgia)
16. El Jarocho - La Bamba (Vera Cruz)
17. Ahmed Abdul Kader - Oudet el Bahara Illa Watanhom (Egypt)
18. Guyok - Sidi Ma Sidi Batai (Nepal)
19. Villeneuve & Bouchard - Talencourt (Quebec)
20. Archibald Grant - Eilean Macaridh (Scotland)
21. Luajne Sazet Populare - Valle E Gajdes (Albania)
22. Vojin Lutic - Siroko Lisce Borovo (Serbia)
23. Cigan Group - Untitled Dance (Hungary)
24. Ni Lemon/Dari Djangger - Lagoe Taboehgari (Bali)

Benny Carter - Swingin' The '20s

Combining altoist Benny Carter with pianist Earl Hines in a quartet is an idea with plenty of potential, but the results of this 1958 session are relaxed rather than explosive. Carter and Hines explore a dozen tunes (standards as well as forgotten songs like "All Alone" and "Mary Lou") with respect and light swing, but one wishes that there were a bit more competitiveness to replace some of the mutual respect. ~ Scott Yanow

Carter's trumpet was still sounding remarkably adept at this stage; it tailed off a bit in later years, though he was still able to maintain what is always thought of as the most difficult instrumental 'double' right into the '90s. The material on Swingin' is generally pretty bland, though 'A Monday Date' and 'Laugh, Clown, Laugh' uncover some interesting harmonic wrinkles. The rhythm section was one of the best money could buy at the time, nicely balancing old and new. ~ Penguin Guide

Benny Carter (trumpet, alto sax)
Earl Hines (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Thou Swell
2. My Blue Heaven
3. Just Imagine
4. If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)
5. Sweet Lorraine
6. Who's Sorry Now
7. Who's Sorry Now
8. Laugh! Clown! Laugh!
9. Laugh! Clown! Laugh!
10. All Alone
11. All Alone
12. Mary Lou
13. In A Little Spanish Town
14. Someone To Watch Over Me
15. A Monday Date

Stephen Sondheim - Sunday in the Park With George (1984)

Stephen Sondheim's musical, inspired by the life and work of the French pointillist (or, as he preferred to be known, chromo-luminarist) painter Georges Seurat (1859-1991), is one of his most beguiling and challenging works, but one that won't necessarily appeal to every taste. The music is, on one level, an homage to Seurat's most celebrated painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," and could easily be the finest dramatization of a work of art and the life of an artist this side of Alexander Korda's film Rembrandt. But this is also a sweet, sad, profound, and ultimately elevating meditation on life and the creative process. Sunday in the Park with George moves with lightning swiftness between brittle passages, many centered on frustration, and soaring, achingly beautiful sections. It engages in a fair amount of wry comedy in the process, mostly at the expense of its characters, and, more importantly, the worlds of modern art, multimedia art, and new age music, among other '80s cultural fixtures.

Clearly we're not talking about Gypsy or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum here, in terms of entertainment (though there are a few broad moments for the ensemble, which include Charles Kimbrough and Brent Spiner), but Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters turn in brilliant performances together on "Color and Light," "We Do Not Belong Together," "Move On," "Children and Art"; the entire ensemble excels in "Sunday," and "Finishing the Hat" is worth the price of the CD by itself.

The sound is clean, although the quiet passages could have been mastered at a slightly higher volume level. (Note: Along with Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George is one of a pair of Sondheim musicals that exist in complete form as commercial video releases featuring their original casts). Bruce Eder

After Merrily We Roll Along's devastating flop in 1981, Stephen Sondheim thought about abandoning the theater. He wrote one of his most beloved shows instead, Sunday in the Park with George. Sondheim and his new collaborator, librettist/director James Lapine, used George Seurat's painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" as a way to tackle the issue of artistic creation itself. Both Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters play two different parts with brio, jumping across decades with ease, and they get to deliver some of Sondheim's most heartwrenching songs--"Color and Light," "Finishing the Hat," "Putting It Together," and "Children and Art." Sunday in the Park with George is one of the most intellectually ambitious musicals to ever hit Broadway--and one of the most emotionally rewarding. Elisabeth Vincentelli

1. Sunday in the Park with George
2. No Life
3. Color and Light
4. Gossip
5. The Day Off
6. Everybody Loves Louis
7. Finishing the Hat
8. We Do Not Belong Together
9. Beautiful
10. Sunday
11. It's Hot Up Here
12. Chromolume #7 / Putting It Together
13. Children and Art
14. Lesson #8
15. Move On
16. Sunday

Recorded at RCA’s Studio “A”, New York City on May 27 & 29, 1984

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Buck Clayton - Goin' To Kansas City

Any trumpet players out there? What's a peck horn?

Although trumpeter Buck Clayton gets top billing, this CD reissue actually features Tommy Gwaltney's Kansas City Nine, an unusual group sporting arrangements by Gwaltney and tenor-saxophonist Tommy Newsom (who decades later became famous for his work on The Tonight Show). The group has an unusual combination of major names (Clayton, trombonist Dickie Wells, guitarist Charlie Byrd, pianist John Bunch, bassist Whitey Mitchell and drummer Buddy Schutz) along with Gwaltney (who doubles on reeds and vibes), Newsom and Bobby Zottola (playing second trumpet and peck horn). Although the nonet performs a variety of songs associated with Kansas City Jazz of the swing era, the arrangements are modern and unpredictable. ~ Scott Yanow

Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Tommy Newsom (clarinet, tenor sax)
Dicky Wells (trombone)
Bob Zottola (trumpet, peck horn)
John Bunch (piano)
Tommy Gwaltney (clarinet, alto sax, vibes, xylophone)
Charlie Byrd (guitar)
Whitey Mitchell (bass)
Buddy Schutz (drums)

1. Hello, Babe
2. An Old Manuscript
3. Kansas City Ballad
4. The Jumping Blues
5. Walter Page
6. Midnight Mama
7. John's Idea
8. Steppin' Pretty
9. Dedicated To You
10. The New Tulsa Blues

Buck Clayton - Buck Clayton In Paris

There are lots of rare and swinging performances on this valuable reissue CD from Vogue. The great swing trumpeter Buck Clayton (for whom critic Stanley Dance coined the phrase "mainstream") is heard in a sextet that co-stars tenor saxophonist Don Byas. Clayton heads a nonet that also features fellow trumpeter Bill Coleman (who gets almost as much solo space as Clayton), and tenor saxophonist Alix Combelle, and guesting with Combelle's 14-piece orchestra in 1953, the latter group performs eight of its leader's originals, all arranged in swinging fashion by Clayton. This disc is easily recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans. ~ Scott Yanow

Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Bill Coleman (trumpet)
George Kennedy (alto, baritone sax)
Alix Combelle (tenor sax)
Roger Chaput (guitar)
Alex Renard (trumpet)

1. High Tide
2. Swingin' at Sundown
3. Who's Sorry Now?
4. Sugar Blues
5. Blues in First
6. Blues in Second
7. Don't Blues
8. Uncle Buck
9. Buck Special
10. Night Life
11. Perdido
12. B.C. & B.C.
13. Sweet Georgia Brown
14. Sahiva Boogie
15. Pulsation du Rythme
16. Promenade Blues
17. Bonds & Rebonds
18. Qui?
19. Chocs Sonores
20. Blues en Cuivres
21. Relax Alix

Peter Kowald - Duos Europa . America . Japan

Prepared by Peter Kowald prior to his death, this CD reissues 18 duets taken from the three Duos LPs released by FMP in the late '80s. Kowald was a man of relationships and the duo will remain the most important playing situation in his oeuvre. The level of exchange he was able to achieve in this context remains extremely inspiring. The tracks on Duos2 were recorded between 1986 and 1990 in various studios, usually on the home ground of the other improviser (be it New York, Tokyo, or Copenhagen). Kowald's bass and signature throat singing are paired with saxophone, trombones, guitars, percusion, and voices, each new track unveiling a little more of the man's distinctive musical personality, as well as his adaptability to any kind of improviser. The set begins with a high-octane duet with Evan Parker, immediately offset by a slow, yearning piece with singer Jeanne Lee. The piece with Toshinori Kondo is the only one introducing electronics and Fred Frith's guitar is the only electrical instrument heard. Each piece is a gem of an improvisation, concise (most tracks remain under the five-minute mark), focused, and highly musical despite the difficult nature of the music. Highlights are numerous and include a stunning duet with Diamanda Galás, a jazzy tune with Lawrence "Butch" Morris, tracks with Parker and Derek Bailey, and the closing number with cellist Tom Cora. This is not yet the career-encompassing collection the late bassist deserves, but factoring in the variety of musicians and the easy-flowing track list (Kowald obviously put a lot of care in his selection), Duos2 makes an excellent entry-level disc for the newcomer and a highly pleasurable addition to the free improvisation enthusiast's collection. François Couture

Peter Kowald (bass)
Jeanne Lee (vocals)
Han Bennink (drums)
Peter Brötzmann (tenor sax)
Andrew Cyrille (drums, vocals)
Evan Parker (soprano sax)
Derek Bailey (guitar)
Conrad Bauer (trombone)
Tom Cora (cello)
Floros Floridis (clarinet)
Diamanda Galás (vocals)
Junko Handa Biwa (vocals)
Masahiko Kono (trombone)
Joëlle Léandre (bass, vocals)
Akira Sakata (alto sax)
Tadao Sawaï (koto)
Irène Schweizer - Piano

1. Soeurbet Frereboise
2. Wind Arms
3. Straight Angles Suite
4. Throat 1
5. Bein Auf Stein
6. Growing Crazy
7. Serious Fun 1
8. Wundenkonigin Und Fuhlebar
9. Birth Of Signs
10. Genmai
11. Trollymog
12. Further Float, The
13. Lost Lots
14. Giorgios' Red
15. Diepe Spoeren
16. In These Last Days
17. Gruner Mori
18. Power Without Power II
19. Riff Raff Go On

Charlie Parker - Boston 1952

Another in the surprisingly and consistently good Uptown Label series of heretofore obscure performances. (Check out the previously posted Dodo Marmarosa and the Sonny Clark). The sound is solid and the critical apparatus is excellent; the book is 35 pages of solid background. I'm keeping my eyes open for their Bird Montreal volume - it has Valdo Williams backing up Bird.

Alert Charlie Parker fans were delighted when this 1996 CD came out for it includes two previously unreleased (and well-recorded) radio broadcasts featuring the masterful altoist. Parker is in fine form during his two appearances at Boston's Hi Hat. With Symphony Sid as the disc jockey (he gets Bird to say a few words here and there), Parker romps through his usual repertoire, finding something fresh to say on songs that he had already been playing at least five years. Seven selections feature him in 1952 with trumpeter Joe Gordon, pianist Dick Twardzik, bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Roy Haynes, while four others (three are repeated titles from the earlier date) are from 1954 with trumpeter Herbie Williams, pianist Rollins Griffith, bassist Jimmy Woode and drummer Marquis Foster completing the group. Although both trumpeters (particularly Gordon) sound fine, Charlie Parker easily steals the show. The extensive liner notes, which fully discuss all of the engagements that Bird had in Boston throughout his career, are an added plus. ~ Scott Yanow

While many of Charlie Parker's surviving live recordings consist of only the altoist's solos, this CD presents complete performances of Parker playing his core repertoire. The music comes from two Boston performances, the first from 1952, the second from 1954, and it provides a chance to hear Parker's different, and brilliant, takes on "Ornithology," "Cool Blues," and "Scrapple from the Apple." While the 1952 session includes the stellar support of Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes, the less-celebrated Boston musicians of the 1954 recordings sound just as inspired by Parker's presence. ~ Stuart Broomer

Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Dick Twardzik (piano)
Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)
December 14, 1952

Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Herbie Williams (trumpet)
Rollins Griffith (piano)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Marquis Foster (drums)
January 18, 1954

1. Introduction
2. Ornithology
3. Cool Blues
4. Groovin' High
5. Don't Blame Me
6. Scrapple From The Apple
7. Cheryl
8. Jumpin' With Symphony Sid
9. Ornithology
10. Out Of Nowhere
11. Cool Blues
12. Scrapple From The Apple

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Charles Mingus - A Modern Jazz Symposium Of Music And Poetry

The Symposium was an opportunity for Mingus to experiment with texts and with pure sound. 'Scenes In The City' reworks some of the ideas he had sketched in 'Foggy Day' on Pithecanthropus Erectus, but with a much greater degree of finish. The 'New York Sketchbook' is a parallel piece, finely drawn and performed, with Shaw rising above himself and playing some of the best trumpet heard on a Mingus album for some time before or since. ~ Penguin Guide

Despite its title, this CD reissue (made available through Evidence) does not have poetry and is not a "symposium." What it does have is a memorable narration by Lonnie Elder on "Scenes in the City" (one of the best collaborations between the spoken word and jazz), four obscure Charles Mingus compositions for his sextet (which consists of the bassist/leader, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, Shafi Hadi on tenor and alto, either Bill Hardman or Clarence Shaw on trumpet, pianist Horace Parlan, and drummer Dannie Richmond), and three previously unreleased performances including a run-through of Dizzy Gillespie's "Wouldn't You." An excellent set of challenging yet often accessible music. ~ Scott Yanow

Charles Mingus (bass)
Bill Hardman (trumpet)
Shafi Hadi (tenor and alto sax)
Horace Parlan (piano)
Bob Hammer (piano)
Clarence Shaw (trumpet)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Scenes in the City
2. Nouroog
3. New York Sketchbook
4. Duke's Choice
5. Slippers
6. Wouldn't You
7. Bounce
8. Slippers (alt)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Phil Woods - Pairing Off

The title of this excellent CD reissue comes from the fact that the featured septet consists of two altos (Phil Woods and Gene Quill) and two trumpets (Donald Byrd and Kenny Dorham) in addition to a rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Philly Joe Jones). Of the pairings, Woods and Dorham were more distinctive in 1956, but both Quill and Byrd get in some good licks. The full group stretches out on four lengthy numbers: three Woods originals and the ballad "Suddenly It's Spring." ~ Scott Yanow

Pairing Off ... milk(s) the jam-session format which was beloved by Prestige at the time, and ... come(s) off better than most. Pairing Off features a couple of crackerjack blues in the title-tune and 'Stanley The Steamer', and only Byrd's relative greenness lets the side down; Philly Joe is superbly inventive at the kit. ~ Penguin Guide

Phil Woods (alto sax)
Gene Quill (alto sax)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. The Stanley Stomper
2. Cool Aid
3. Pairing Off
4. Suddenly It's Spring

Hackensack, New Jersey: June 15, 1956


Santana - Caravanserai

Fusion Friday? I have to confess that I have no use, generally, for what is pigeonholed as Fusion. With the exceptions of individual things that I would hear or had bought back when, trying to see what was going on, I've always thought that so-called fusion was neither fish nor fowl. Although some of it I consider more foul than fish. We all have guilty pleasures - albums that we like and enjoy, although if we were exposed to them for the first time today, we'd have no use for them. Dizzy Gillespie's Free Ride, anybody?

I think that as a general - very general - rule, most jazz musicians that got into fusion were just looking for larger audiences and more money. Miles, to his credit, said very bluntly that it was a factor for him. And on the rock side stretching into jazz, it was an attempt in many cases to gain musicianly credibility. Yeah, there are many exceptions and qualifications, but I still think as a general premise what I've said is true. And further, I think the attempts from the rock-into-jazz side are more genuine and less motivated by material reasons. At least I can listen to much of it without getting mad.

Which is why this CD is appearing. It is one of the few genuine and engaging fusions of rock and jazz (and, as with much of Santana, other influences) that I can think of. It's an album I've enjoyed since it came out, and unlike many others, one that I still enjoy and can get something new from up until today. Unselfconsciously fusion-ish, it was a natural, uncontrived effort of a musician who synthesized his roots and influences. It no surprise that he was a partner with John McLaughlin in several projects at this time; McLaughlin is another genuine musician that legitimately straddled these genres. But I suspect the reason they could both successfully do so was because they just didn't see the artificial divisions in the first place. Anyway, if you know this, you'll enjoy it. And if you've never heard - or listened - to this, you'll enjoy it.

1. Eternal Caravan Of Reincarnation
2. Waves Within
3. Look Up (To See What's Coming Down)
4. Just In Time To See The Sun
5. Song Of The Wind
6. All The Love Of The Universe
7. Future Primitive
8. Stone Flower
9. La Fuente Del Ritmo
10. Every Step Of The Way

Elvin Jones-live at the lighthouse 1972,vinyl rip

For Arse Fledgling...and those who don't have the Mosaic box.
This is actually my friend C.M's rip from the original double album..received in a postal trade a year or two ago.

Elvin Jones Quartet
Steve Grossman (ts, ss) Dave Liebman (ts, ss, fl) Gene Perla (b) Elvin Jones (d)
"Lighthouse Club", Hermosa Beach, CA, 1st set, September 9, 1972
introduction By Bill Chappell And Rick Holmes
Brite Piece
New Breed
My Ship
Taurus People

Elvin Jones Live At The Lighthouse
Vol 2
same personnel
"Lighthouse Club", Hermosa Beach, CA, 2nd set,
Fancy Free
I'm A Fool To Want You
Sweet Mama
The Children, Save The Children -
* Elvin Jones Live At The Lighthouse (Blue Note BN-LA 015-G2)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Don Friedman - Flashback (20bit K2)

" Flashback also courted the inevitable comparison with Evans but was sufficiently original to survive and thrive. Friedman's bebop skills were evident from the opening 'Alone Together' and the brisk 'News Blues', but the real substance of the sessions, which featured a little-known rhythm section, was on 'Ochre' (subdivided theme-solo-duet-theme), the original 'Ballade In C Sharp Minor' and the elegant title-track which ends the set. perhaps too many stylistic influences jockeying for position, but a fine record all the same." ~ Penguin Guide

Pianist Don Friedman's debt to Bill Evans was obvious in the early '60s, particularly on standards, but he also had his own creative spirit to offer. This 1997 CD reissue brings out Friedman's third of four Riverside dates, teaming him with the obscure bassist Dick Kniss and drummer Dick Berk. The pianist shows that he was developing an original voice and was familiar with the avant-garde of the period on such originals as "Ochre" and "Flashback." In contrast, he swings conventionally but with subtle creativity on "Alone Together," "News Blues" and "How Deep Is the Ocean." A fine, well-rounded set from the underrated pianist. ~ Scott Yanow

Don Friedman (piano)
Dick Kniss (bass)
Dick Berk (drums)

1. Alone Together
2. Ballade in C-Sharp Minor
3. Wait 'til You See Her
4. News Blues
5. Ochre (Theme-Solo-Duet-Theme)
6. How Deep Is the Ocean
7. Flashback

" ... (Ramón) Sender's Tropical Fish aquarium had five lines painted on it and the musicians seated around it played the notes made by the fish as they swam by. At one performance some of the fish refused to move, and the violinist Nathan Rubin dutifully played one unvarying tone, while the clarinettist Larry London, bored, began improvising, "at which Rubin swung around and barked 'What's the matter, London? Can't you read fish?' ".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Jones Brothers - Keepin' Up With The Joneses

In spite of their very long careers in jazz, brothers Hank, Thad and Elvin Jones made relatively few recordings together; this Leonard Feather-produced date got the three of them into the studio and added to the gimmick by including Eddie Jones (no relation) on bass, and performing exclusively works by Thad or Isham Jones (also no relation). The music that's stood the test of time includes Thad's often-recorded "Three and One," which was evidently written for this session, and Isham Jones' best-known works "It Had to Be You," and the perennial favorite "There Is No Greater Love." Thad's rich flugelhorn is as strong as on any date he ever recorded, while Hank's playing is a little more reserved than usual, and Elvin, known for his fierce attack, sticks mainly to brushes. The only song which fails to come off is the mediocre title track, where Hank switches off between piano and organ. Like many other long out-of-print LPs that have reappeared as Verve CD's, this 1999 reissue is, unfortunately, in the Verve Elite limited-edition series, so don't wait long to acquire it. ~ Ken Dryden

Thad Jones (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Hank Jones (organ, piano)
Eddie Jones (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Nice And Nasty
2. Keepin' Up With The Joneses
3. Three And One
4. Sput 'N' Jeff
5. It Had To Be You
6. On The Alamo
7. There Is No Greater Love

New York: March 24, 1958

Lucky Thompson

After the great reception my Getz/Barron post got here, allow me to do another double post (the original one is over on my blog):

Here's this year's x-mas special - a post dedicated to the great Eli "Lucky" Thompson. His story is one of the saddest in the annals of jazz - re-reading his story brings tears to my eyes.

Billy Eckstine's band, Pittsburgh 1944
l. to r.: Thompson, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Eckstine
Photo from the Frank Driggs Collection

Born in Columbia, SC, on June 16, 1924 and active from the forties to the sixties, Thompson was one of the tenors bridging the gap between swing and bop.

Mr. Thompson connected the swing era to the more cerebral and complex bebop style. His sophisticated, harmonically abstract approach to the tenor saxophone built off that of Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins; he played with beboppers, but resisted Charlie Parker's pervasive influence.
(from Ben Ratliff's obituary in the NYTimes)

Eli Thompson's lifelong nickname -- the byproduct of a jersey, given him by his father, with the word "lucky" stitched across the chest -- would prove bitterly inappropriate: when he was five, his mother died, and the remainder of his childhood, spent largely in Detroit, was devoted to helping raise his younger siblings. Thompson loved music, but without hope of acquiring an instrument of his own, he ran errands to earn enough money to purchase an instructional book on the saxophone, complete with fingering chart. He then carved imitation lines and keys into a broom handle, teaching himself to read music years before he ever played an actual sax. According to legend, Thompson finally received his own saxophone by accident -- a delivery company mistakenly dropped one off at his home along with some furniture, and after graduating high school and working briefly as a barber, he signed on with Erskine Hawkins' 'Bama State Collegians, touring with the group until 1943, when he joined Lionel Hampton and settled in New York City.
(from Jason Ankeny's biography on

Upon his arrival in New York City, Thompson quickly was respected by fellow musicians, playing the street, joining Billy Eckstine's short-lived big band (with Dizzy, Bird and Art Blakey). In late 1944 he became a member of Count Basie's big band, remaining up to 1945 or 1946. In that year he joined Dizzy as a temporary replacement for Charlie Parker and he recorded on one of Bird's west coast dates for Dial. By 1947, Thompson was back in New York, leading his own band at the Savoy Ballroom. In 1948 he made his European debut in Nice. In the years to come, he played with bands as different as Charlie Parker's, Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, again with Count Basie, and in 1952 he participated in one of Thelonious Monk's great Blue Note recording sessions.

"Lucky had that same thing that Paul Gonsalves had, that melodic smoothness. He wasn't rough like Ben Webster, and he didn't play in the Lester Young style. He was a beautiful balladeer. But he played with all the modernists."
(Johnny Griffin, quoted by Ratliff)

In 1953, Thompson made his recording debut as a leader (for Decca), and in April 1954 he took part in the great session with J.J. Johnson, Horace Silver, Percy Heath, Kenny Clarke and Miles Davis', ending up on the later's "Walkin'" (Prestige). Thompson made few recordings as a leader, but he continued recording with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Jimmy Cleveland, Jo Jones, John Lewis and others, and beginning in early 1956, he made a series of fine sessions with Milt Jackson (mostly on Savoy, some on Atlantic). Also in January 1956, his own "Tricotism" was committed to disc - parts of the album featuring a highly unusual instrumentation of tenor sax, guitar (Skeeter Best) and bass (Oscar Pettiford). (Read a review on
By February 1956, Thompson was in Paris, where he recorded a string of great sessions with Henri Renaud, Martial Solal, Kenny Clarke and others. For one date, he teamed up with French sax great, Guy Lafitte.

"I fought against being a stereotype"
(Lucky Thompson)

Then he joined Stan Kenton while the later was on tour in Europe and short of a baritone saxophonist... Thompson had never played the baritone before. He remained with Kenton long enough to take part in the recording of "Cuban Fire" (Capitol). Upon returning to the US with Kenton, Thompson was blacklisted by Joe Glaser, Louis Armstrong's manager, after a pointless row. Out of work, he still continued to appear on records - among them some marvellous dates with Oscar Pettiford, a marathon session led by Lionel Hampton and also featuring Ray Copeland, Cleveland, Pettiford, Gus Johnson, and pianist Oscar Dennard (Jazztone, now complete on a 2CD set by Freshsound Records), Quincy Jones' "This Is How I Feel About Jazz" (possibly Q's masterpiece), and in December 1956 and early 1957 he took part in some sessions by the Louis Armstrong All Stars.

By mid 1957, Thompson was back in Europe recording dance sessions with Eddie Barclay and jazz with Martial Solal and Kenny Clarke, as well as an album with singer/pianist Sammy Price. Then in 1958 Thompson bought a farm in Michigan where he lived with his wife and two children. Leaving them behind, he went to France again, staying until 1962, where work was never short. Around that time, Thompson took up the soprano and it quickly became clear that he was one of the first modern jazz musicians to fully master the bitchy straight horn. He continued appearing with Martial Solal and others, taking part in several NDR Jazz Workshops and concerts with expats (including his old collaborator Oscar Pettiford) and European musicians such as Hans Koller, Dusko Goykovich, Michael Naura, Barney Wilen, and the late Swedish singer, Monica Zetterlund.

In spring 1961, Thompson recorded a date with Solal, Peter Trunk (bass) and Kenny Clarke that eventually was released as "Lord, Lord, Am I Ever Gonna Know" (Candid). The album is another highlight of his recorded output. It included a spoken introduction recorded in 1968 from which the following quote is taken:

"I feel I have only scratched the surface of what I know I am capable of doing."
(Lucky Thompson)

Then Thompson went back to the US. He recorded a few albums for Prestige and other labels, with sidemen such as Hank Jones, Richard Davis, and Tommy Flanagan, including another one of his finest outings, "Lucky Strikes" (1964). Then in 1965 Thompson seems to have disappeared again, after the death of his wife.
In 1968 he turns up again, living in Lausanne, Switzerland until 1970, and touring Europe. That's the period the recordings offered here are from. In March 1969 he made another album as a leader, featuring René Thomas, the great Belgian guitar player, as well as Fats Sadi, Ingfried Hoffmann, Eberhard Weber and Stu Martin. Thompson appeared with Johnny Griffin, the Danish Radio Big Band, and in 1970 he played on Tete Montoliu's "Soul's Nite Out" (Ensayo).

By 1971, Thompson was back in in the US again, teaching music at Dartmouth University for a short time. In 1972 and 1973, he made his final recordings for Groove Merchant, then Thompson vanished from the scene. It seems he spent several years living on Ontario's Manitoulin Island before relocating to Savannah, GA, trading his saxophones in exchange for dental work. By the early 90's he was in Seattle, mostly living in the woods or in shelter offered by friends. He did not own a saxophone.

After a long period of homelessness Thompson checked into Seattle's Columbia City Assisted Living Center in 1994. He was hospitalized a number of times in 1994, and finally entered the Washington Center for Comprehensive Rehabilitation. Thompson remained in assisted care until his death in Seattle, on July 30, 2005.

Discography (by Noal Cohen):

Ben Ratliff: Lucky Thompson, Jazz Saxophonist, Is Dead at 81,, August 5, 2005 (
Steve Voce: Lucky Thompson,, August 5, 2005 (
Jason Ankeny: Lucky Thompson, Biography, (|THOMP&sql=11:3ifixqy5ldse~T1)

Photo: Herman Leonard

Lucky Thompson - 1968/1969 Radio Broadcasts

CD1 / Rotterdam '68 & Rome '69 / 68:02

[A] November 22, 1968 - Rotterdam (NL), B14 Club

Lucky Thompson, soprano sax (#1-4) & tenor sax (#3); Rob Madna, piano; Ruud Jacobs, bass; Eric Ineke, drums
1. On Green Dolphin Street (Bronislau Kaper, Ned Washington) 6:35
2. Street Of Dreams (Victor Young, Sam M. Lewis) 7:02
3. Cherokee (Ray Noble) 8:56
4. unknown (7:20)
TT: 29:54 / Sound: A- / Source: radio broadcast

[B] February 28, 1969 - Rome (Italy)

Lucky Thompson, soprano sax (#1-4) & tenor sax (#4); George Arvanitas, piano; Jacky Samson, bass; Charles Saudrais, drums
1. The World Awakes (Lucky Thompson) 9:14
2. Street of Dreams (Young-Lewis) 8:22
3. Have You Met Miss Jones (Rodgers-Hart) 11:20
4. Cherokee (Ray Noble) 9:09
TT: 38:07 / Sound: B+ / Source: radio broadcast (RAI)

CD2 / Warsaw '69 / 37:17

[C] ca. October 1969 - Warsaw (Poland)

Lucky Thompson, soprano sax (#1,2) & tenor sax (#3,4); Adam Makowicz, piano; Janusz Kozlowski, bass; Anrzej Dabrowski, drums
1. The World Awakes (Lucky Thompson) 9:11
2. Body and Soul (Heyman-Sour-Eyton-Green) 8:44
3. Now's the Time (Charlie Parker) 9:20
4. Cherokee (Ray Noble) 9:57
TT: 37:13 / Sound: A-/B+ / Source: radio broadcast

TT: 105:17

Note on the Rome session (from

"This a private recording of a radio broadcast on RAI. It appears that recordings of tracks a-d have circulated among collectors with another track, "The Song Is You" included. However, aural evidence clearly indicates that the tenor saxophonist on this additional track is Stan Getz and NOT Lucky Thompson. When and where this live Getz quartet performance was recorded and how it became attached to the 1969 Rome Thompson concert are unanswered questions."

Two items from the Rome broadcast are missing: "Why Weep?" (Thompson) 13:26 and unknown 9:29

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Clarence Williams - 1937-1941 (Chronological 953)

The 14th and final Clarence Williams Classics CD completes the complete reissuance of all of his recordings. By 1937, Williams' career was winding down and his music was far overshadowed by the big swing orchestras. Although the first 15 selections on this CD are listed as being by "Clarence Williams' Swing Band," all but three numbers are spirituals that showcase the forgettable singing of William Cooley. The impressive group (which includes cornetist Ed Allen, clarinetist Buster Bailey, altoist Russell Procope and Cecil Scott on tenor and clarinet) has little to do, except on the instrumentals, and the overall results are a bit disappointing. Also on the CD are three selections from 1938 by an organ-piano-drums trio (two of the songs have vocals by Babe Matthews) that do not actually include Williams. Concluding the lesser release are a pair of performances from 1941 in which Eva Taylor and Clarence Williams are heard on vocals while joined by pianist James P. Johnson (Williams plays second piano), two guitars and bassist Wellman Braud. These final numbers (pity there were not more) hint at the earlier classic recordings and served as Clarence Williams' last hurrah. Completists will want this set. ~ Scott Yanow

Clarence Williams (piano)
Buster Bailey (clarinet, alto sax)
James P. Johnson (piano)
Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax)
Wellman Braud (bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. Feel De Spirit
2. Old Time Religion
3. Lord Deliver Daniel
4. Sweet Kisses
5. Go Down, Moses
6. Do You Call Dat Religion?
7. Jericho
8. Lazy Swing
9. Roll, Jordan, Roll
10. Heaven, Heaven
11. There Is Love
12. It's Me, O Lord
13. Get On Board, Li'l Chillun
14. Step On It
15. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
16. Bluer Than Blue
17. I'm Falling For You
18. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)
19. Uncle Sammy, Here I Am
20. Thriller Blues

The Complete Verve Roy Eldridge Studio Sessions (7-CD Set)


Roy Eldridge was a happy ex-patriate, living in France, playing his music. Until Norman Granz found him and played him a tape from the JATP concert two years earlier. Suddenly, Roy was no longer worried about bebop stealing his thunder. Because what he heard reminded him where all his thunder resided.

These recordings for the Verve label, most under the direction of Roy’s great champion Norman Granz, began in 1951 soon after Roy’s return. The final session in the set is from June, 1960.

Throughout sixteen different sessions, Roy’s tone hums with energy, whether he’s vaulting into an upper register with no apparent ceiling, or caressing a mournful ballad. Rasping alone over a rhythm section, bouncing playfully over a roomful of strings, or trading challenges with a reed player, he loved confronting his own limits, the instrument’s, and the teases of any musician who dared try to cut him. Even his tone spoke the language of jazz: it buzzed distinctively with an aggressive taunt that said, “This is what I’ve got. Now, you try and top it.”

The sessions present Roy in a variety of settings, including small groups that comprised of Buddy Tate, Oscar Peterson, Jo Jones, Barney Kessel, Buddy Rich and Ray Brown; Roy with string orchestras led by the brilliant arranger-conductors George Williams and Russ Garcia; three jam session excursions, one with Benny Carter, another with Harry Edison, and a memorable battle with Dizzy Gillespie; two rare sideman titles with Ralph Burns, and two movie soundtrack titles from Paris; the famous trio session with Art Tatum that became a duet between Roy and drummer Alvin Stoller when Tatum couldn't make the gig (Roy overdubbed flugelhorn and piano); and a selection of trad numbers swung nicely in an album for Verve's Down Home series called "Swing Goes Dixie".

Session by session notes and an appreciation of Eldridge are by Dan Morgenstern, and the lavish Mosaic booklet includes many rare photographs. The set includes 8 previously unissued alternate takes. But for many listeners? This entire set will be a revelation. Mosaic website

Derek Bailey - guitar, drums 'n' bass

A figure of immeasurable importance in contemporary music. ~ Penguin Guide

Derek Bailey, who was in his mid-60s when this disc was released in 1996, is generally recognized as the elder statesman of avant-garde guitar; his former students include the hugely influential Fred Frith, and he has made particularly notable records with Evan Parker, Steve Lacy and John Zorn. He mostly records on his own Incus label, but for this album on Avant he teamed up with DJ Ninj, a well-regarded drum'n'bass artist, to create what may be the first program of guitar/breakbeat duets. It's a brilliant idea, and one that should have worked much better. As it turns out, the problems are as much technical as musical: Ninj's beats are thin-sounding and mixed too far back, giving the percussion sound a certain off-hand flavor. Bailey plays with his usual ferocity, skirling out ideas at such a rate that it's hard to keep up -- at times, he even plays in tempo with DJ Ninj's double-speed breakbeats, a feat that is impressive physically, not to say musically. But in other places he sounds hesitant, as if baffled by the clattering torrent of rhythm. The programming itself is a little perverse: "DNJBB" is a long, episodic piece with frequent silences that make it sound as if four or five consecutive tracks had all been written on the same breakbeat. There are many valuable and exhilarating moments here, but it's frustrating to think how much better this disc could have been if more care had been taken with it. ~ Rick Anderson

Guitarist Derek Bailey's career path is as perverse as his music is influential. Between the late '40s and mid '60s, he was a journeyman who played in dance bands and polite jazz combos all around England. Then he broke with his past to become a key exponent of free improvisation, developing a complex, harmonically rich vocabulary that is as important to modern guitar playing as Jimi Hendrix's work. Ever restless for new challenges, in the early '90s he began practicing along with jungle broadcasts on pirate radio, but Guitar, Drums 'n' Bass is his first recorded take on the style. The unlikely confrontation between Bailey's spiky abstractions and DJ Ninj's unstoppable beats might confound fans of both improvisational and electronic dance music, but it's a blast to hear. The guitarist splashes dense torrents of bent notes, delicate skeins of harmonics, and absolutely alien chord progressions over Ninj's stuttering beats and sparse bass figures. ~ Bill Meyer

Derek Bailey (guitar)

1. N/JZ/BM
2. Re-Re-Re
4. Concrete
5. Ninja
6. Pie

Count Basie Corner

A little while ago I started a new blog dedicated entirely to Count Basie:

This blog will serve the purpose of sharing live recordings by the great Count Basie, from various stages of his career.

I was involved in an earlier project on Bill Basie, namely a website planned for release in 2004, the year which marked both his hundreth anniversary as well as the twentieth year of his death. The few of us dedicated to that project in the end got overwhelmed by the amount of work it meant (it was to included the best available discography of the Count's recorded music, articles, short biographies on the musicians, a timeline drafted by yours truly, etc etc). I am *not* planning to release all of that here, but I'll post my notes from the timeline.

Check the "Guide" and "News" posts on the lefthand side for info and easy naviation!

I hope you'll enjoy this blog and the opportunity to check out some of Bill Basie's music from various points in time!

The blog will only grow slowly as it needs a lot of time to work on it, but there will be plenty of music there, eventually!

Eric Dolphy and Latin Jazz Quintet - Caribe (Flac)

How this session got set up we may never know. The mainstream, Latin-oriented, mellow bebop of the Latin Jazz Quintet meets the iconoclastic Eric Dolphy, one of the first wave of 1960s avant-jazz players--and things work out very nicely for all concerned.

Dolphy's saxophone, usually one of the most vocalized horn sounds of the '60s, is slightly restrained here. But his flute playing is always extremely lyrical even at its most abstract, and he fits in well with the Quintet's soul-jazz groove on "Sunday Go Meetin'." "Blues in 6/8" is another soul-jazz mid-tempo cooker, and Dolphy, indulging in some straight-ahead blues playing, sounds as if he's having a swell time. Gene Casey plays a direct, lyrical, sparkling piano in the vein of Horace Silver, and the percussionists keep everything percolating steadily throughout.

Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet)
Juan Amalbert (conga)
Gene Casey (piano)
Bill Ellington (bass)
Charlie Simons (vibes)
Manny Ramos (drums, timbales)

1. Caribe
2. Blues In 6/8
3. First Bass Line
4. Mambo Ricci
5. Spring Is Here
6. Sunday Go Meetin'

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: August 19, 1960

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stan Getz & Kenny Barron - Live in Copenhagen 1991

This a departure from usual CIA-fare, and a double post as well, but I want to give this as much exposure as possible, as it's truly marvellous music - part 1 of my x-mas special, part 2 will be posted over on my own blog (see links on the right side or check my profile) on Dec. 24th).

This is a companion set to the great official released called "People Time".

I've received these tracks from dime as part of a huge package that contained various duplicates as well as some officially released tracks. I'm positive that the music on the two full CDs I'm offering here is all unreleased. This is some of Getz' most intimate playing, Barron proofs a very good foil and musical partner. Getz was dead soon after, so this is kind of a swan song. Touching music, as was virtually all of Getz' music - at least his saxophone playing always has a haunting quality, sometimes it get's incredibly beautiful, all through his career, from early recordings up to these Copenhagen sessions.

There are two tunes I don't know. CD2#1 was unidentified by the time I tagged these files (that was done before the dime upload), so the file is wrongly tagged. CD2#8 has been shared originally as "Stablemates" by Benny Golson, but to me it doesn't sound like that... if anyone can help identifying it or CD2#5, for which none of those who commented my seed on dime had any propositions, please post a comment below!

Take this as an early x-mas special, there's going to be a second one coming in time, both here and on dime... more tenor sax, which is my favourite axe. Bad rhyhes, I admit, but they weren't writ to be rhymes.

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

Stan Getz & Kenny Barron
Copenhagen (DK), Café Montmartre
March 3-6, 1991

Stan Getz - tenor sax
Kenny Barron - piano

1. Whisper Not (Benny Golson) 7:22
2. You Stepped Out Of a Dream (Brown-Kahn) 8:20
3. I Wish You Love [Que reste-t-il de nos amours] (Chauliac-Trenet-Beach) 7:22
4. Bouncing With Bud (Bud Powell) 8:57
5. Soul Eyes (Mal Waldron) 6:48
6. I'm Okay (Eddie Del Barrio) 5:31
7. You Don't Know What Love Is (Raye-De Paul) 8:59
8. You Stepped Out of a Dream (Brown-Kahn) 8:43
9. Gone With the Wind (Magidson-Wrubel) 6:03

1. First Song (for Ruth) (Charlie Haden) 11:05
2. Night and Day (Cole Porter) 8:46
3. Autumn Leaves (Kosma-Prevert-Mercer) 9:42
4. The End of a Love Affair (Edward Redding) 8:45
5. unknown (8:06)
6. I Wish You Love [Que reste-t-il de nos amours] (Chauliac-Trenet-Beach) 8:11 [cuts in]
7. People Time (Benny Carter) 6:05
8. unknown (7:52) (Benny Golson's "Stablemates"?)
9. Soul Eyes (Mal Waldron) 7:09

TT: 141:55

Sound: A- (some parts better, some worse)
Source: radio broadcasts (Danish Radio)
Lineage: RB > ? > dime > FLAC > WAV > Cool Edit Pro > FLAC (8,asb,verify)

The Special Magic of Tony Bennett (1975)

On the last of his independent albums before he gave up recording for seven years, Tony Bennett puts together a 12-song medley of Cole Porter songs (it's okay, but why not just devote the whole album to complete versions?) and adds songs drawn from his Life Is Beautiful album, plus a couple of new numbers. William Ruhlmann

I wouldn’t have thought to post this one except for the request by Paulo S. This is really just a pick-up album (a collection culled from various sessions with no intended theme or mood). But, this is one IS pretty good, mostly because it features a massive and awesome Cole Porter Medley that is the highlight of this disc. Spanning 12 songs and almost 16 minutes, the medley includes many familiar Porter standards and one not so familiar gem entitled “Experiment,” which is a personal favorite of mine.

It is not an easy to thing to assemble such a medley and REALLY make it work. Mel Torme’s Gershwin medley on his LIVE AT THE MAISONETTE album comes to mind as another highly successful medley. This Porter medley REALLY works and is a highlight in Bennett’s career.

The balance of this CD contains two rare singles (“One” from A Chorus Line, and “Mr. Magic”) and some tracks from a Bennett LP called LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, among them “This Funny World” by Rogers and Hart and Irving Berlin’s masterful “I Used To Be Color Blind,” both, in my opinion, the definitive all-time readings of each song. Scoredaddy

Tony Bennett (vocals)
Torrie Zito (arrangements)

1 What Is This Thing Called Love? (Porter)
2 Love for Sale (Porter)
3 I'm in Love Again (Porter)
4 You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (Porter)
5 Easy to Love (Porter)
6 It's All Right With Me (Porter)
7 Night and Day (Porter)
8 Dream Dancing (Porter)
9 I've Got You Under My Skin (Porter)
10 Get Out of Town (Porter)
11 What Is This Thing Called Love? (Reprise) (Porter)
12 Experiment (Porter)
13 One (Hamlisch, Kleban)
14 This Funny World (Hart, Rodgers)
15 Lost in the Stars (Anderson, Weill)
16 As Time Goes By (Hupfield)
17 I Used to Be Color Blind (Berlin)
18 Mister Magic (MacDonald, Salter)

Recorded in 1975

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dexter Gordon - True Blue

Known primarily as being the Godfather of Metallica's drummer, Dexter Gordon also made a modest name for himself in the field of jazz.

1976 was a milestone year for Dex. This was recorded on a visit to New York; the album preceding it was Lullaby For A Monster, the one after was Biting The Apple (get it?), and the one following was his New York return, Homecoming. Gordon had not appeared in New York since '72, and the players did not know who else would be playing alongside them. Despite the name of Gordon on top, this was a co-leader date.

The first of two LPs taken from an all-star jam session, this album features Al Cohn and Dexter Gordon on tenors, trumpeters Blue Mitchell and Sam Noto, pianist Barry Harris, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. Together they perform "Lady Bird" (the two trumpets play Miles Davis' "Half Nelson," which has the same chord changes, at the same time), the ballad "How Deep Is Tthe Ocean" and a 17½-minute blues "True Blue." All of the musicians play up to their usual standard. This album was soon joined by Silver Blue from the same date. ~ Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Sam Noto (trumpet)
Barry Harris (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Lady Bird
2. How Deep Is The Ocean?
3. True Blue

New York: October 22, 1976

Keith Jarrett - Belonging (1974)

On Keith Jarrett's first recording with his "European" quartet - Jan Garbarek (sax), Palle Danielsson (bass), Jon Christiensen (drums) - he stakes out somewhat less abrasive territory than that which his "American" foursome was exploring at this time. Garbarek sports a neutral, vibratoless tone that occasionally reaches an emotional climax; the rhythm section is supportive and just loose enough. The record operates at its strongest level when Jarrett locks the quartet into his winning gospel mode on "'Long as You Know You're Living Yours" and the tense drive of "Spiral Dance"; the reflective numbers are less compelling. Still, this LP-turned-CD successfully bucked the powerful electric trends of its time and holds up well today. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Jan Garbarek (tenor, soprano saxes)
Keith Jarrett (piano)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Jon Christensen (drums)

1. Spiral Dance
2. Blossom
3. 'Long As You Know
4. You're Living Yours
5. Belonging
6. The Windup
7. Solstice

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Howard McGhee - The Return Of Howard McGhee (K2 HD)

The Penguin Guide notes that there is a scarcity of works by McGhee but says the situation is improving. Yet they have no entry for this prime work from the mid '50s. So much of what is written about McGhee addresses the generally accepted fact that he was the Crown Prince of bop trumpet, and was influential in much the same way and degree as Fats Navarro.

But the music is studded with great beginnings and later works that "show some of the same fire as the early work", or some permutation of that idea. But the work that should have been their prime, the work that should have exemplified their gift (in both senses of the word) is often missing, or unrecorded, or in such a shabby form that it makes some field recordings look like state-of the-art pressings.

Well, it is remarkable to me that this is not the best known of McGhee's works. Witness the lack of critical sources that has led this lazy bastard (yours truly) to actually write some background information. His crew is as prime a bop band as you'll find, and Shihab is, as usual, fucking sublime. Yes, sublime. Duke Jordan shines, and the music is full of pleasant twists, yet still as exemplary a bop session as anyone could wish to hear.

Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Sahib Shihab (alto and baritone sax)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Get Happy
2. Tahitian Lullaby
3. Lover Man
4. Lullaby Of The Leaves
5. You're Teasing Me
6. Transpicuous
7. Rifftide
8. Oo-Wee But I Do
9. Don't Blame Me
10. Tweedles
11. I'll Remember April

New York: October 22, 1955

Sonny Simmons - Burning Spirits

As much as I like Sonny Simmons, I have really come to enjoy Barbara Donald in recent years.

When Lester Koenig produced Burning Spirits for Contemporary in 1970, jazz was moving in many different directions. Commercially, jazz had lost a lot of ground to rock and R&B, but creatively, it was incredibly healthy and offered a wide variety of options -- everything from fusion, soul-jazz, and funky organ combos to bossa nova, Afro-Cuban jazz, modal post-bop, cool jazz, and Dixieland revivalists. Sonny Simmons represented free jazz, which was considered jazz's lunatic fringe (certainly in bop circles) but was exciting and invigorating if you understood what was going on. Many listeners, unfortunately, didn't comprehend free jazz back then and don't comprehend it now; however, those who do understand free jazz will find Simmons to be in top form on this CD. The saxman -- who is heard on tenor and alto as well as the English horn -- leads a passionate, highly inspired band that boasts Barbara Donald on trumpet, Richard Davis and Cecil McBee on upright bass, Lonnie Liston Smith on acoustic piano, and Clifford Jarvis on drums. That doesn't sound like a terribly avant-garde lineup -- most of those improvisers have played inside more often than they've played outside -- but make no mistake: Burning Spirits is a shining example of avant-garde expression. Although "New Newk" (which was written for Sonny Rollins) favors an inside/outside approach and offers a modal post-bop groove along the lines of John Coltrane's "Impressions," Burning Spirits is generally more free jazz than post-bop. But regardless of whether Simmons is playing inside or outside (usually outside), the saxman plays with tremendous conviction on this album (which was out of print for a long time but came back into print when Fantasy reissued it on CD in 2003). ~ Alex Henderson

Sonny Simmons (tenor and alto sax, English horn)
Barbara Donald (trumpet)
Lonnie Liston Smith (piano)
Michael White (violin)
Cecil McBee (bass, right channel)
Richard Davis (bass, left channel)
Clifford Jarvis (drums)

1. Burning Spirits No. 1
2. New Newk
3. Healing Rays
4. Burning Spirits No. 2
5. Things and Beings
6. E=MC²

Virgil Gonsalves and Steve White - Jazz In Hollywood

The two obscure sets reissued on this single CD from Original Jazz Classics were originally released as 10" LPs by the Nocturne label. The first six numbers are West Coast cool jazz by a sextet featuring baritonist Virgil Gonsalves, valve trombonist Bob Enevoldsen, and tenor saxophonist Buddy Wise. These concise renditions of five standards and the obscure "Bounce" find the musicians in excellent form, making the most of each note. The second half of the CD is an unrelated quartet date by the eccentric tenor saxophonist Steve White, who is joined by pianist Jimmie Rowles, bassist Harry Babasin, and drummer Roy Harte; trombonist Herbie Harper is a big asset on "Topsy." White's sound was quite influenced by Lester Young, while his odd singing (heard on "My New Jet Plane") is certainly unique. An interesting if not essential reissue. ~ Scott Yanow

Virgil Gonsalves (baritone sax)
Steve White (tenor sax)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Lou Levy (piano)
Bob Enevoldsen (valve trombone)
Herbie Harper (trombone)
Buddy Wise (tenor sax)
Harry Babasin (bass)
Larry Bunker (drums)
Roy Harte (drums)

1. Bounce
2. Out Of Nowhere
3. Too Marvelous For Words
4. It Might As Well Be Spring
5. Yesterdays
6. Love Me Or Leave Me
7. Topsy
8. Crazy Rhythm
9. 'Tis Autumn
10. Body And Soul
11. Tea For Two
12. My New Jet Plane

Friday, December 19, 2008

Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer-straight no chaser 1965,vinyl rip

Alpax,its a pleasure to be able to replace(reciprocate,for all your great shares) even if only temporarily ,a much loved record.
Which brings me to the point , that this is quite a worn record, it was an op shop find 20 years ago ,and was obviously much loved by its previous owners.
Groove wear causes a few minor (i hope) distortions in the lower registers.

I love this group, and prefer them to almost any good if meretricious ,hard bop on blue note or any other label of similar vintage.

These performances bristle with invention, and unexpected contrasts.
This has all the ingredients common to hard bop but seems to defy category.
Roger Kellaway is simply phenomenal he throws in the least expected accents and phrases,ranging from stride piano fills ,to monkish clusters and unresolved tonally ambiguous chords, his playing is a sheer delight.

anyone who has this pegged as run of the mill mainstream jazz is in for a pleasant surprise, to my ears even Hancocks Blindman,Blindman sounds fresher than the original.

Clark terry -tpt,fl h
Bob Brookmeyer-valve trmb
Roger Kellaway-pno
Bill Crow-db
Dave Bailey-dr
mainstream lp-320

Eddie Lang - 1927-1932

I just read an article/interview with Joe Tarto. Even these unfamiliar guys have great stories to tell.

This delightful set collects the earliest sides released by jazz guitarist Eddie Lang under his own name (or as Blind Willie Dunn, but more on that in a moment), which means it doesn't include any of his famous duets with fellow guitarist Lonnie Johnson, since all of those were officially released under Johnson's name. Lang does play with Johnson here on two tracks, though, under the name Blind Willie Dunn as part of the Gin Bottle Four (which also included pianist J.C. Johnson and horn man King Oliver), and his two striking duets with guitarist Carl Kress ("Pickin' My Way" and "Feeling My Way") are also here. One can't help but wonder where Lang might have gone on his instrument as the era of the electric guitar dawned, but his early death leaves nothing but "what if" conjecture on that subject. Lang was a much sought-after session player during his short life, and the sides released under his own name aren't necessarily his most influential, but it's nice to have them all in one set like this. ~ Steve Leggett

Although seemingly exaggerated at first, the following excerpt from an anonymous article on Eddie Lang hits the spot: "Lang practically invented jazz guitar, playing four-to-the-bar rhythm, often with a newly created chord on each stroke, his solo work sparkling with invention; furthermore he was adaptable, with a deep feeling for the blues." Considering his short life, Eddie Lang participated in an enormous number of sessions. His sensational records with Lonnie Johnson were originally issued under Johnson's name and have not been included here. This CD includes the complete output that reached the market under Lang's own name. His enormous versatility becomes evident when comparing the first two tracks: "Eddie's Twister" and "April Kisses."

Eddie Lang (guitar)
King Oliver (cornet)
Lonnie Johnson (guitar)
Hoagy Carmichael (percussion, vocal)
Tommy Dorsey (trombone)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax)
Joe Tarto (bass)
Mildred Bailey (vocal)
Carl Kress (guitar)

1. Eddie's Twister
2. April Kisses
3. Prelude
4. Little Love, a Little Kiss
5. Melody Man's Dream
6. Perfect
7. Rainbow Dreams
8. Add a Little Wiggle
9. Jeannine
10. I'll Never Be the Same
11. Church Street Sobbin' Blues
12. There'll Be Some Changes Made
13. Jet Black Blues - Blind Willie Dunn
14. Blue Blood Blues - Blind Willie Dunn
15. Bugle Call Rag
16. Freeze an' Melt
17. Hot Heels
18. What Kind o' Man Is You?
19. Walkin' the Dog
20. March of the Hoodlums
21. Pickin' My Way
22. Feeling My Way

Hal McKusick - East Coast Jazz Series No. 8 (K2 HD)

These feature arrangements by Manny Albam, who McKusick singled out many years after as a particular favorite.

" 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 .... almost every track has airy, beautiful work from both McKusick and Galbraith." ~ Penguin Guide

A fine cool-toned altoist and an occasional clarinetist, Hal McKusick worked with the big bands of Les Brown, Woody Herman (1943), Boyd Raeburn (1944-1945), Alvino Rey (1946), Buddy Rich, and Claude Thornhill (1948-1949). In the 1950s, in addition to his work with Terry Gibbs and Elliot Lawrence, he was a busy and versatile studio musician. During 1955-1958, McKusick recorded nine albums of material as a leader for Jubilee, Bethlehem, Victor, Coral, New Jazz, Prestige, and Decca. Those small-group recordings, although basically cool bop, sometimes used very advanced arrangements, including charts by George Handy, Manny Albam, Gil Evans, Al Cohn, Jimmy Giuffre, and particularly George Russell. ~ Scott Yanow

Hal McKusick (clarinet, alto sax)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)

1. Taylor Made
2. You Don't Know What Love Is
3. They Can't Take That Away From Me
4. Lullaby For Leslie
5. Minor Matters
6. Blue-Who
7. By-Ian
8. What's New?
9. Interwoven
10. Give 'Em Hal

New York: February 17, 1955

Passport - Looking Thru (1974)

More Friday Fusion.....

A few months ago I posted several Doldinger/Passport albums. This one, for which I could find no good review, rates in my book as one of their top two or three. The first Passport releases were heavy on rock and somewhat raw - not that that's a bad thing. To my thinking, Looking Thru and Cross Collateral represent Passport at their studio peak. By the late '70's their sound had (d)evolved toward excessive smoothness with new-age and disco tendencies. Here is Klaus Doldinger's bio, courtesy of AMG:

Klaus Doldinger, best-known for leading the excellent fusion group Passport in the 1970s and '80s, has had a diverse and episodic career. He started out studying piano in 1947 and clarinet five years later, playing in Dixieland bands in the 1950s. By 1961, he had become a modern tenor saxophonist, working with such top visiting and expatriate Americans as Don Ellis, Johnny Griffin, Benny Bailey, Idrees Sulieman, Donald Byrd, and Kenny Clarke, recording as a leader for Philips, World Pacific, and Liberty. However, in 1970, he initiated a long series of fusion-oriented sessions for Atlantic that featured his tenor, soprano, flute, and occasional keyboards with an electric rhythm section. In addition to writing music for films (including Das Boot) and television in Europe, Doldinger has remained active as a player who occasionally explores his roots in hard bop into the late '90s, but because he has always lived in Europe, he remains underrated in the U.S. ~ Scott Yanow

Curt Cress (drums, electronic percussion)
Klaus Doldinger (soprano & tenor saxes, Moog, electric piano, Mellotron)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass)
Kristian Schulze (electric piano, organ)

1. Eternal Spiral
2. Looking Thru
3. Zwischenspiel
4. Rockport
5. Tarantula
6. Ready For Takeoff
7. Eloquence
8. Things To Come

Joe Venuti - 1933 (Chronological 1348)

The recordings made under Joe Venuti's name during the years immediately following the sudden and premature death of Eddie Lang on March 26, 1933, often have a somewhat strange quality to them. Venuti was crushed by this personal loss and must have still been mourning the death of his friend and musical companion when the two opening tracks -- concluding the session that produced the thrilling "Vibraphonia" -- were recorded on May 8th. Six sides waxed in September of 1933 for the Banner label feature vocalist Don Elton, infinitely better on the upbeat novelties than as a crooner suspended in syrup. This smooth band had a young Max Kaminsky in the brass section and Bud Freeman in the reeds. The creamy, beautiful "Moon Glow" is one of Venuti's best-known sides from this period, and with good reason. The band on the completely instrumental Columbia session from one week later is the best group on the entire package, with Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman, and Adrian Rollini on the front line. It is worth noting that the great Dick McDonough was now established as Eddie Lang's replacement. His work on this session demonstrates exactly why. "In de Ruff" turns out to be King Oliver's "Dipper Mouth Blues," later known as "Sugar Foot Stomp." A Bluebird session from October 13th yielded four more instrumentals -- three of them by Will Hudson -- beginning with a rousing "Fiddlesticks." On "Phantom Rhapsody" and Benny Carter's "Everybody Shuffle," this band sounds a bit like Fletcher Henderson's, except of course for the fiddle. Venuti spent the rest of the year recording for Banner. Dolores Reade, presenting a couple of melodies by Irving Berlin, had more charm and substance than Howard Phillips and Slim Fortier put together. Even the least of these sides are fascinating for those who enjoy studying jazz and popular music from the early '30s. ~ arwulf arwulf

Joe Venuti (violin)
Bud Freeman (tenor sax)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Max Kaminsky (trumpet)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, trumpet, alto sax)
Adrian Rollini (piano, baritone sax, vibraphone)
Joe Sullivan (piano)
Dick McDonough (guitar)
Chauncey Morehouse (drums)

1. Isn't It Heavenly?
2. My Gypsy Rhapsody
3. You're My Past, Present And Future
4. I Want To Ring Bells
5. Doin' The Uptown Lowdown
6. Gather Lip Rouge While You May
7. Moon Glow
8. Cheese And Crackers
9. Sweet Lorraine
10. Doin' The Uptown Lowdown
11. The Jazz Me Blues
12. In De Ruff
13. Fiddlesticks
14. Everybody Shuffle
15. Moon Glow
16. Phantom Rhapsody
17. Heat Wave
18. Easter Parade
19. Build A Little Home
20. No More Love
21. My Dancing Lady
22. Everything I Have Is Yours
23. One Minute To One
24. You Have Taken My Heart

Jimmy Knepper - A Swinging Introduction To Jimmy Knepper (K2 HD)

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

There's not a lot of review material for this album, but you hardly need a recommendation to listen to a line-up like this. Just for contextual purposes, though; In the month or two preceding this, Knepper was working on Mingus' East Coasting and Tijuana Moods sessions, and he had done an unissued leader date a few months prior with Mingus, Richmond, Joe Maini and Bill Triglia. He, Mingus and Richmond would next work on Shafi Hadi's session and A Modern Jazz Symposium Of Music And Poetry, which will appear here shortly.

Evans was as active as ever, having been present for the East Coasting sessions, and would follow this session with a Sahib Shihab date. Just prior to this he performed at the Brandeis Jazz Festival, which is also forthcoming. Maybe fifthcoming; we'll see what happens. ( And no, I never get tired of that joke.) As an irrelevant side note, this release came between the just posted Eddie Vinson and the "Coltrane" Winners Circle in the Bethlehem catalogue.

Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Bill Evans (piano)
Gene Quill (alto sax)
Gene Roland (trumpet)
Bob Hammer (piano)
Teddy Kotick (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Love Letters
2. Ogling Ogre
3. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
4. How High The Moon
5. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You
6. Idol Of The Flies
7. Close As Pages In A Book
8. Avid Admirer
9. Irresistible You

New York: September, 1957

Friday Fusion

Miles Davis - The Cellar Door Sessions 1970

Six CD's covering four nights and six sets at The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C., December 16-19. Ripping and uploading the music was the easy part. The CDs came enclosed in a 95-page hard cover book which required some creative scanning. The scans (135 MB) are available in a separate file as well as a pdf file of the book. I got the number of music files down to twelve with each one about 180MB.

One of the longest reviews I've seen at AMG. Unlike Yanow, Jurek is never at a loss for words.

When Miles Davis released Live-Evil in 1970, fans were immediately either taken aback or keenly attracted to its raw abstraction. It was intense and meandering at the same time; it was angular, edgy, and full of sharp teeth and open spaces that were never resolved. Listening to the last two CDs of The Cellar Door Sessions 1970, Sony's massive six-disc box set that documents six of the ten dates Davis and his band recorded during their four-day engagement at the fabled club, is a revelation now. The reason: it explains much of Live-Evil's live material with John McLaughlin.

These discs finally reveal the crackling energy and deep-groove conscience that Miles Davis was seeking in his electric phase. First and most startling is that John McLaughlin only appears on the final two discs. The first four discs feature a new lineup, one with Keith Jarrett who, in a first for Davis in the electric era, was the lone keyboardist after Chick Corea's departure. Airto Moreira and Jack DeJohnette are holdovers from the Live at the Fillmore East and Tribute to Jack Johnson sessions, among other concerts and sets that have appeared on many different records, from Big Fun to Get Up with It to Directions. The new players here include Gary Bartz on alto and soprano saxophone (he replaced Steve Grossman), and 19-year-old bassist Michael Henderson -- fresh out of Stevie Wonder's band -- replacing Dave Holland.

Davis was keen on having Columbia record his live sets, and pressured them to do so for these four nights, just a week before Christmas in 1970. This set is a solid look at what's in-the-can, since the vast majority of these tracks -- three hours' worth of them -- have never seen the light of day in any form. As Adam Holzman wonderfully states in his liner notes, this is truly the missing link between Bitches Brew and Dark Magus. This music reveals a truly muscular Miles Davis at the top of his form as an improviser and as a bandleader with the most intense and nearly mystical sense of the right place-the right time-the right lineup. These shows, played in a club instead of a concert hall, provided a virtual laboratory for possibilities Davis was exploring. The money for the gig was nearly non-existent compared to what he was used to making playing halls, so he paid the band out of his own pocket.

The music here fades in with Joe Zawinul's "Directions." There is a five-note bass figure that repeats almost constantly throughout, offering DeJohnette a solid bass from which to enhance the groove and dance around. From the beginning, Davis is blowing his ass off, soloing furiously in the middle register. Jarrett is filling the space, playing both a Rhodes and an organ at the same time. When Bartz begins to solo on soprano, the deep, funky groove is well-established, giving the musicians room to dig in and let loose. Jarrett's solo is like a spaced-out Sly Stone, offering back the groove and then building on it like a man possessed. He matches both DeJohnette and Henderson with a slippery, utterly rhythmic sense of pure groove and then moves them somewhere else until Davis brings them back.

Disc two opens with Jarrett, Henderson, and Airto locking horns in a ferocious groove on "What I Say" that has the members of the audience showing their appreciation with shouts of "Yeah!" and "Blow!" and "You Go!" Jarrett's solo at the beginning is unlike anything he has ever played -- before or since. As they move through the set and get to "Inamorata," the gate to heaven and hell is wide open. The spaced-out blues in "Honky Tonk" reveals Davis' total mastery of the wah wah he employed in so much of his material of the time. "Inamorata" is wildly funky, dirty, and outright nasty in places. But the middle sections offer, as Bartz notes in his liner essay, the kinds of vocalese concepts that are reflected in his solo, Davis' solo, and in the actual voices of Airto and Henderson.

What happens as the band plays each night is that the sense of adventure grows, while the utter relaxation and confidence in each member is carried through to Davis who pushes the buttons and in strange, nearly wordless ways, communicates what he wants on-stage, and the other players give it to him. There are so few rough moments here where someone drops a line or doesn't quite make it; when it does happen on that rare occasion, some other member picks it up and goes with it. And DeJohnette's drumming, in his virtual mind-lock with Henderson, is some of the best playing of his career.

The final surprise is when McLaughlin joins the band for the final two discs -- he came down on Saturday night after an invitation from Davis and had not rehearsed with the group at all. The first set is not here, so who knows what transpired, or how the band got comfortable with McLaughlin. But the final two sets are here, and what transpires is revelatory because one can hear what was missing on Live-Evil: melody. Teo Macero and Davis edited the melodies out for that release. The intensity begins quickly with "Directions" on disc five. Henderson is a bit tentative at first, but Jarrett eggs him on and soon enough he responds with a vengeance. Bartz carries the wave in his solo, and Airto is singing the groove in the back. McLaughlin fills the backdrop with big, ugly chordal figures until it's time for his solo, and then he simply goes for it, digging into that bassline and DeJohnette's circular groove and he just throws notes at them, gunshot-like in the cut, and then moves out enough to carry it all somewhere else. "Honky Tonk" meanders a bit, but when "What I Say" shows up it's all aggression, hard-edged dare, and daunt. It's almost a challenge to the audience because the playing is so fast and raw.

Ultimately, on disc six, recorded in the third set later that evening, again it's "Directions" that gets the nod, but this time, in spite of the trance-like bassline in the tune and Davis' driving, whirlwind playing, Jarrett gets it spacey, sinister, dark, and strange. Bartz's solo comes from the blues and is in stark contrast to Davis', but when McLaughlin takes his cue, it's all knots and folds, razor-sharp and driven, torn between fun and free improvisation. The tension is killer; Bartz's storm of grace and rage in his solo, coming immediately before, throws McLaughlin off for a bit at the beginning of his own solo on "Inamorata," but he finds a place to walk the razor's edge and does just that. The box closes with a fine, freaky version of "It's About That Time," where Bartz goes back to the blues and Davis sinks into the melody of the tune and quiets everything to a hush, slowing it way, way down to a whispering finish.

The Cellar Door Sessions set is like a combination of the Tribute to Jack Johnson set and the complete It's About That Time disc, with a watershed of information providing a complete bridge from one phase of that exploratory period in Davis' career to another. As Jarrett observes in his liner essay (each bandmember has one) after this date, Davis never played with a group as musically sophisticated again. And for all the ego displayed in stating this, one may tend to agree with him. Lavishly packaged and annotated, The Cellar Door Sessions is the last great reissue of the year 2005, and an essential testament to the genius Davis displayed in weaving together exploratory jazz, funk, and rock. - Thom Jurek

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Gary Bartz (soprano and alto sax)
Keith Jarrett (keyboards)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Michael Henderson (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Airto Moreira (percussion)

Set list in comments

Benny Carter - Gentlemen of Swing (1980)

Here is another disc in the Aurex Jazz Festival Series -I posted a Dizzy Gillespie group a few days ago entitled “Battle of the Horns” which also included Lockjaw Davis, Illinois Jacquet, Cal Tjader, Shelly Manne (who also participates here in this group) and some other great players.

This CD also sports an all-star group of musicians, swinging their collective asses off in front of appreciative Japanese audiences during a tour of this festival in 1980.

There is NO information out there on the web(that I could find) on this CD but the music is so straight forward that in-depth analysis or, on the other hand, the simple-minded commentary provided by critics such as Yanow, is hardly needed. The music speaks for itself.

This is a swinging set that needs no introduction. Benny Carter leads an all-star quintet with occasional vocals by Helen Humes (on two selections).

I hope you all enjoy this great set! Scoredaddy

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Helen Humes (vocals on#7,8)

1. In A Mellow Tone
2. Honeysuckle Rose
3. Undecided
4. It don’t Mean A Thing
5. I’m Confessin’
6. Misty
7. St Louis Blues
8. Lover Man
9. Sometimes I’m Happy
10. Idaho

(#2,3,6,9) Recorded live at Budoken, Tokyo, Japan on September 3, 1980 and balance recorded at Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama, Japan on September 7, 1980

Thursday, December 18, 2008

'Louisiana Red'-sweet blood call 1975, vinyl rip

One of my very favourite blues records.
Louisiana red was born under THE bad sign..his mother died a week after giving birth to him 1n 1936, his father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan when he was legend would have it ,he watched his father die, his corpse mutilated in a most horrific way.

Taking up the guitar at eleven he went on the road early with a couple of jug playing hustlers and for a few years suffered hardships ,humiliations and beatings as a street busker.
At sixteen he got busted when an older member of a street gang 'the midgets' stole the cash register in a grocery store, and he just happened to be there looking guilty, even though he had barely known the guy.

heres the lyric to "sweet blood call" one of his best songs....proof that all his bad luck and beatings made him one bad motherfucker, he makes gangster rappers look like choir boys.
ive uploaded sweet blood call (the track) as an mp3 ..for introductions sake.

Sweetblood Call (Louisiana Red & Kent Cooper)

I have a hard time missing you baby, with my pistol in your mouth
Mmmm have a hard time missing you baby, with my pistol in your mouth
You may be thinking 'bout going north, but your brains are staying south

Just roll your pretty eyes, if you intend to stay
Just roll your pretty eyes, if you intend to stay
Close 'em up again, and I blow your world away

I see your eyes are rollin'
Must mean your love for me has come back
Must mean you're satisfied again
With our little wooden country shack
I have a hard time missing you baby, with my pistol in your mouth
You may be thinking about going north woman, but your brains are staying south

Even if you sneak away
I'll find you before nightfall
You're tied to me girl
I can feel your sweetblood call
Even if you sneak away
I'll find you before nightfall
Caused you are tied to me girl
I can feel your sweetblood call

just red on acoustic guitar(slightly amplified on a few tracks)

The Capitol Jazzmen - The Hollywood Sessions

Groups such as the Prestige All-Stars will be familiar to most people here: musicians, often of high caliber, who would record nominally leaderless dates. And in the early years of Capitol records there were a great number of similar sessions. They would have been relegated to obscurity and small label release, but they have been given representation in a 12CD Mosaic. This CD is nowhere near as comprehensive, but it gives a good look at some of the activity to be found in Los Angeles in the mid-1940's.

There are several permutations of staff musicians here, and the list is remarkable. Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Nat King Cole, Max Roach and John Kirby together? You betcha!; and with Kay Starr, Bill Coleman (the session he called "one of the greatest thrills of my life") and Buster Bailey to boot! Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton in a vocal duet supported by Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Red Norvo, Lee Young and Jimmy Rowles among others...and it is very funny. Jimmy Noone's last recordings, Peggy Lee on drums. There's one session where the musicians (including Frank DeVol) swap instruments ... The session that led to Kay Starr getting a record contract, a session led by Frank Trumbauer ... not a lot of pastelate interval cracks, but you ain't going to miss them. You get the idea, this is one to check out.

Benny Carter (alto and tenor sax)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Nat King Cole (piano)
Max Roach (drums)
Red Norvo (vibes, xylophone)
Frank Trumbauer (alto sax)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Jack Teagarden (trombone, vocal)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Benny Goodman (clarinet, vocal)
Stan Kenton (vocal)
Joe Sullivan (piano)
Dave Barbour (guitar, trumpet)
Carl Kress (guitar)
Red Callender (bass)
John Kirby (bass)
Peggy Lee (drums)
Lee Young (drums)
Nick Fatool (drums)

1. Clambake In B Flat
2. Casanova's Lament
3. In My Solitude
4. I'm Sorry I Made You Cry
5. Mighty Lak' A Rose
6. Stars Fell On Alabama
7. 'Deed I Do
8. Sugar
9. Ain't Goin' No Place
10. Someday Sweetheart
11. That Old Feeling
12. You Can Depend On Me
13. If I Could Be With You
14. Stormy Weather
15. Riffmarole
16. I Apologize
17. Them There Eyes
18. Happy Blues
19. Ja-Da
20. Three O'Clock Jump
21. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
22. China Boy

Shorty Rogers - And His Giants

One of the leading figures of West Coast jazz, Shorty Rogers' decision to stop performing and switch to full-time studio work in 1962 marked the end of its golden era. Rogers played with a number of big bands in the late 1940s, and began to attract attention as an arranger while working with Woody Herman. Stan Kenton then hired him away from Herman and Rogers' compositions and arrangements for Kenton made him as much of a star as any of Kenton's soloists. Rogers left Kenton and pulled together a small group that included Art Pepper, Shelley Manne, Jimmy Giuffre, and Hampton Hawes to record Modern Sounds for Capitol. Rogers' tight and innovative arrangements on this recording are considered by many to be as influential as Gil Evans' for Miles Davis' small group on Birth of the Cool.

Rogers formed a small group he called the Giants and recorded a series of albums for RCA, including The Cool and the Crazy and Shorty Courts the Count. Marlon Brando wanted Rogers to provide the soundtrack for his movie, The Wild One, but the studio refused, hiring Leith Stevens to provide most of the score. Rogers was featured on screen, though, in Frank Sinatra's The Man With the Golden Arm, leading the jazz group Sinatra's character played with.

1-4, 7-10
Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Art Pepper (alto sax)
Jimmy Giuffre (tenor sax)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Milt Bernhart (trombone)
John Graas (French horn)
Gene Englund (tuba)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet, tenor and baritone sax)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Curtis Counce (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Morpo
2. Bunny
3. Powder Puff
4. Manbo Del Crow
5. Joy Cycle
6. The Lady Is A Tramp
7. The Pesky Serpent
8. Diablo's Dance
9. Pirouette
10. Indian Club
11. The Goof And I
12. My Little Suede Shoes

André Previn & J.J. Johnson - Play Mack the Knife and Other Kurt Weill Songs (1961) [LP > FLAC]

This project was the idea of André Previn and Irv Townsend at Columbia Records in which J.J. Johnson was asked to participate. Johnson's memories of the session indicate that this was for him essentially a studio call, a response to a challenge posed by Previn.

"I got a call about this. It intrigued me. When I talked to André he was very nice about it...neither of us knew how it would turn out. We were from such different backgrounds...I did it as a see if we could bring any chemistry to it. And we did." - J.J. Johnson in a 1992 interview

Don't expect to hear another worn out version of "Mack the Knife" as Previn decided to take this into the realm of bitonality.

"Years ago (early 60s?), I recall hearing Andre Previn at a night club in London with the bebop trombonist JJ Johnson. I went to hear Previn but Johnson was an unexpected bonus. They played a set of Kurt Weill songs and announced they'd play "Mack the Knife." You could feel the room groan - "ANOTHER version of 'Mack the Knife' - do we really need to hear this?" - was the collective vibe in the room. Until they started to play. Turns out we DID need to hear it. Previn and the bass player (forget who it was) set down the intro in G flat and when Johnson came in, he played in C. After Johnson played through the tune once, they flipped keys. Later, the whole improv was in C until they flipped back in the coda to the bitonality. It was stunning. The room erupted. They DID say something new. Of course it wasn't new at all. But it was smart, clean, clear, neat and it resolved. And we all went humming the tune (in both keys) and slept well. Even after hearing "contemporary music." - Fusedule Tecil

First released in 1962 and later reissued on the Columbia Jazz Odyssey series, this LP has since fallen into obscurity. A pity since there is nothing else quite like it in the J.J. Johnson discography.

J.J. Johnson (trombone)
André Previn (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Frank Capp (drums)
  1. Bilbao-Song
  2. Barbara-Song
  3. Overture (from The Threepenny Opera)
  4. Seerauberjenny
  5. Mack the Knife (Moritat)
  6. Surabaya-Johnny
  7. Wie man sich bettet
  8. Unzulanglichkeit
Recorded December 1961

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joe Pass and John Pisano - Duets

A pair of guitarists with a great deal of affection for each other's styles, showcased here in a set of delicate duets that allow both to shine equally. There's never any false flash or glamour, only charm and style. ~ Steven McDonald

There was a long-standing and fruitful liaison with fellow guitarist Pisano, and Duets documents their sympathies very candidly. Whether playing acoustic or electric, there's a good deal of bite about this pairing, with little of the sonorous fluff that sometimes gets stuck to guitar duets. ~ Penguin Guide

Joe Pass (guitar)
John Pisano (guitar)

1. Alone Together
2. Baileywick
3. S'il Vous Plait
4. Lonely Woman
5. Nina's Birthday Song
6. You Were Meant For Me
7. Blues For The Wee Folk
8. Satie
9. For Jim H.
10. Back To Back

Art Farmer - Early Art (20bit K2)

Two of trumpeter Art Farmer's earlier sessions as a leader ... Farmer teams up with an all-star quintet (which includes tenor-saxophonist Sonny Rollins, pianist Horace Silver, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke) for four songs and dominates a quartet (with pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Herbie Lovelle) on six other tunes. Farmer's sound is lyrical even on the uptempo pieces and he is heard throughout in his early prime. Highlights include "Soft Shoe," "I'll Take Romance," "Autumn Nocturne" and an uptempo "Gone with the Wind." ... the music is quite enjoyable and a must for 1950s bop collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Farmer's always a delight -- but he sounds especially great on this batch of early tracks, ones that have him grooving a bit harder than in later years, with a firey tone that really steps out at times. There's still plenty of Art's sweetness in the tunes, but the material is a bit more upbeat and forward, with less lyrical meandering than later, and more of an early 50s bop approach. - Dusty Gush

Art Farmer (trumpet)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Horace Silver (piano)
Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)
Addison Farmer (bass)
Percy Heath (bass)
Herb Lovelle (drums)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Soft Shoe
2. Confab In Tempo
3. I'll Take Romance
4. Wisteria
5. Autumn Nocturne
6. I've Never Been In Love Before
7. I'll Walk Alone
8. Gone With The Wind
9. Alone Together
10. Pre Amp

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on January 20 and November 9, 1954

Fred Katz - Folk Songs for Far Out Folk (1958)

"Tradition is a terrible tyrant. Memory, man. It's better to live in the moment. I am eating this sandwich. Know what I mean?" - Fred Katz

Fred Katz lives in a ranch house on a quiet street in the suburbs south of Los Angeles. He's set up a music studio in his garage. On a wall is a faded poster for the 1960 version of Little Shop of Horrors, one of three Roger Corman films Katz scored. At 88, Katz is still composing, often as he sits in front of the 88 keys.

By any measure, Fred Katz has had an extraordinary career. Credited with bringing the cello into modern jazz, he was a member of the Chico Hamilton quintet, one of the beacons of the Los Angeles jazz scene in the 1950s. He wrote for film in Hollywood, provided piano accompaniment for Harpo Marx and taught college anthropology. So remarkable is his music that earlier this year [2007], a small record label reissued one of Katz's old recordings: 1958's Folk Songs for Far Out Folk. - John Kalish

Cellist Fred Katz is best remembered as a sideman with the Chico Hamilton Quintet, Paul Horn, and Pete Rugolo, though on this famous, long unavailable record of his own, he serves as conductor and arranger rather than player. Folk Songs for Far Out Folk consists of his tantalizing, imaginative adaptations of African, Hebrew, and American folk tunes. The musical cast varies with each group of selections. The three African songs, highlighted by the explosive "Mate'ka," include trumpeters Pete Candoli, Don Fagerquist, and Irving Goodman, with a six-man percussion section that features Larry Bunker and Nat King Cole sideman Jack Costanzo. Four American songs include treatment of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" that alternates between brooding and upbeat cool, with vibraphonist Gene Estes, pianist Johnny Williams, and guitarist Billy Bean lending a hand. The two Hebrew songs focus on reeds exclusively (excepting Mel Pollen's bass). The playful setting of "Ray's Nigun" showcases Justin Gordon on bass clarinet with Paul Horn and Buddy Collette providing whimsical accompaniment on flutes. This CD reissue by Reboot Stereophonic expands considerably on the original Warner Bros. LP, adding updated liner notes and photos of Katz in addition to reproducing the original notes and poetry that were part of the original package. [The booklet is 34 pages] Highly recommended. - Ken Dryden

Fred Katz (arranger, conductor)

African Folk Tunes (1, 4, 7)
Pete Candoli, Irving Goodman, Don Fagerquist (trumpet)
Harry Betts, Bob Enevoldsen, George Roberts (trombone)
Larry Bunker, Gene Estes, Jack Constanzo, Carlos Mejia, Lou Singer (percussions)

American Folk Tunes (2, 3, 6, 9)
Gene Estes (vibes)
Billy Bean (guitar)
Johnny T. Williams (piano)
Mel Pollen (bass)
Jerry Williams (drums)

Hebrew Folk Tunes (5, 8)
Buddy Collette (flute)
Paul Horn (flute, alto sax)
George Smith (clarinet)
Jules Jacobs (oboe, clarinet)
Justin Gordon (bassoon, bass clarinet)
Mel Pollen (bass)
  1. Mate'ka
  2. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
  3. Been in the Pen So Long
  4. Chili'lo (Lament)
  5. Rav's Nigun
  6. Old Paint
  7. Manthi-ki
  8. Baal Shem Tov
  9. Foggy, Foggy Dew
Recorded July 21, August 19, September 17, 1958

Kai Winding & Carl Fontana's Cleveland Express - 1957 The Complete Ohio Sessions FLAC

Who said bones?

Four trombones playing together (I think the record is 8, JJ & Kai + 6). This cd has been previously released in two different labels and with different number of songs. "Cleveland June 1957" in the Storyville label included the first 10 songs. "Jive At Five. Live In Cleveland" in the Status Records label had 11 songs (all, except tracks 7 and 8)

Of all the legendary trombone innovators, no one deserves more recognition for the development of the instrument than the great Kai Winding and Carl Fontana. Peerless soloists, band leaders, section players, arrangers and composers, the two trombonists' legendary collaboration began in August 1956, when Winding decided to form a septet consisting of four trombones and a rhythm section.
The band's most impressive recording consists of an excellent June, 1957 live performance in Cleveland, Ohio. The minimal amount of background noise and ample applause is a testament to the high musical quality and audience chemistry. Winding expertly weaves moods, tempos, and textures on an array of show tunes, ovie songs, classic jazz and several originals that showcase his superb arrangements and virtuoso group of musicians
Fresh Sound Records

01. Blue Lou (Sampson, Mills) 7:12
02. The Party's Over (Styne, Comden) 4:25
03. The Preacher (Silver) 6:47
04. Surrey with the Fringe on Top (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:33
05. Jive at Five (Edison) 4:34
06. The Blues (Winding) 7:19
07. Whistle While You Work (Morey, Churchill) 3:07
08. You Don't Know What Love Is (DePaul, Raye) 5:10
09. Mole Hill (Lieb) 4:51
10. There'll Never Be Another You (Gordon, Warren) 6:43
11. Jim and Andy's (Winding) 8:04
12. In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington, Kurtz, Mills) 5:14
13. I Want to Be Happy (Youmans, Caesar) 7:36

Recorded in Cleveland (Ohio), on June 1957

Kai Winding Trombone
Carl Fontana Trombone
Wayne Andre Trombone
Dick Lieb Horn (Baritone), Trombone (Bass)
Roy Frazee Piano
Kenny O'Brien Bass
Tom Montgomery Drums

Bob Brookmeyer/Clark Terry quintet-live in 1965? bootleg

A Lovely concert for y'all the Terry Brookmeyer quintet, i'm almost certain it's the same line up that made the 'straight no chaser'lp for mainstream.
most of the material comes from that album.
there's no precise date or location specified on this shoddily packaged 'chazzer' boot.. though for once it appears that the track titles are correct.
the sound is not bad for the day, a little muffled ,with a few drop outs and improbable tape splices... i like the music a lot.

all the tracks are extended...8 to ten minutes or more(on the studio album referenced ,all come in under 3 minutes)
i have the straight no chaser album (mainstream mrl 320),which I'm pretty sure was posted a year or so ago...if not i'd be happy to rip it.
here's the raw material 2 tracks each comprising a side. no de- clicking or compression of any kind.

track list
Side A
1)sometime ago ,2)incoherent blues, 3)straight, no chaser
Side B
1)wee, 2)hum, 3)pretty girl
Clark Terry-tpt
Bob Brookmeyer-trb
Roger Kellaway -piano

bass and drums uncertain, probably Bill Crow, and Dave Bailey.
no date or location specified


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teddy Charles - The Teddy Charles Tentet

Most of this CD features vibraphonist Teddy Charles heading an advanced tentet in 1956, a unit including the likes of trumpeter Art Farmer, altoist Gigi Gryce, tenor saxophonist J.R. Monterose, pianist Mal Waldron, and guitarist Jimmy Raney. The arrangements of George Russell ("Lydian M-1"), Gil Evans (a year before Miles Ahead), Jimmy Giuffre, Mal Waldron, and Charles are quite advanced but often leave room for some swinging spots. The final three selections on the CD are actually taken from a slightly later album. Of these, "Blue Greens" is a change of pace, a quartet outing for Charles, pianist Hall Overton, bassist Charles Mingus, and drummer Ed Shaughnessy. All in all, this CD is pretty definitive of Teddy Charles' more adventurous music of the 1950s and it grows in interest with each listening. ~ Scott Yanow

Full of pungent writing from several hands, the record is almost a showcase for some of the sharpest arranging minds of the day: Giuffre, Brookmeyer, Waldron, Evans and especially George Russell, whose 'Lydian M-1' makes an extraordinary climax to the date. Charles' own 'The Emperor' and the transfiguration of 'Nature Boy' stand as tall as the rest of the scores. A welcome return for a neglected classic. ~ Penguin Guide

Teddy Charles (vibraphone)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Gigi Gryce (alto sax)
J.R. Monterose (tenor sax)
Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Sol Schlinger (baritone sax)
Joe Harris (drums)

1. Vibrations
2. The Quiet Time
3. The Emperor
4. Nature Boy
5. Green Blues
6. You Go to My Head
7. Lydian M-1

Coastal Recording Studios, New York: January, 1956

Stan Kenton - Sketches on Standards (1953)

For my tastes, Stan Kenton's best bands were those of the early fifties. With an all-star lineup of soloists and given the right arrangements, these bands could actually swing . Sketches of Standards was first released as a 10" album and this CD contains the original eight tracks plus six bonus tracks recorded between 1953 and 1956. Highlights include Bill Russo's arrangement of "Sophisticated Lady", Lee Konitz' feature on "Lover Man", Conte Candoli's trumpet solo on "Pennie's from Heaven" (a personal favorite), and "Fascinatin' Rhythm" with solos by Konitz, Frank Rosolino, Richie Kamuca and Bill Holman. These are essential recordings for any Kenton, Konitz, Candoli, Rosolino, etc. fans, even if Yanow gives his usual "not essential" recommendation.

This LP contains six Bill Russo arrangements, five from Stan Kenton, and one by Lennie Niehaus. The repertoire features many songs not associated with Kenton (such as "Sophisticated Lady," "Pennies from Heaven," and "Over the Rainbow"), but the inventive yet melodic treatments certainly sound like the Kenton band. The main soloists are altoist Lee Konitz, guitarist Sal Salvador, trumpeter Conte Candoli, and trombonist Frank Rosolino and, although these concise interpretations (none of the dozen performances is much over three minutes) are not essential, the music is quite pleasing. This collection is a change of pace for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. - Scott Yanow

Tracks 1-10
Buddy Childers, Maynard Ferguson, Conte Candoli, Don Dennis, Ruben McFall (trumpet)
Bob Burgess, Frank Rosolino, Bill Russo, Keith Moon, George Roberts (trombone)
Vinnie Dean, Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Bill Holman, Richie Kamuca (tenor sax)
Bob Gioga (baritone sax)
Stan Kenton (piano)
Sal Salvador (guitar)
Don Bagley (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)

Personnel on tracks 11-14 in scans
  1. Sophisticated Lady
  2. Begin the Beguine
  3. Lover Man
  4. Pennies from Heaven
  5. Over the Rainbow
  6. Fascinatin' Rhythm
  7. There's a Small Hotel
  8. Shadow Waltz
  9. Harlem Nocturne
  10. Stella by Starlight
  11. Dark Eyes
  12. Malagueña
  13. Spring Is Here
  14. I'm Glad There Is You

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eddie Vinson - Clean Head's Back In Town

One of the great figures who showed that trying to classify is pointless. Maybe the natural successor to Louis Jordan, he still had solid jazz credentials; Coltrane was in his band early in Coltrane's career, and Miles recorded at least a couple of Vinson's tunes. And Vinson not only toured with Bill Broonzy when he was starting out, but was a member (vocals included) of Cootie Williams outfit (check out the Cootie Chrono posted here in October '07 to hear him alongside bandmates Lockjaw Davis and Bud Powell). Quite a guy: how'd he become "Cleanhead" Vinson? Too much lye while getting a conk.

It is next to impossible to peg Eddie Cleanhead Vinson in either jazz or blues exclusively, as he perfectly straddled the supposed borders between the two, as exemplified on this 1957 session for Bethlehem. He's backed by a core of musicians from Count Basie's band, including trumpeter Joe Newman, baritone saxophonist Charles Fowlkes, trombonist Henry Coker, and bassist Ed Jones, as well as appearances by Basie veterans Frank Foster and Freddie Green and Monk's longtime tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse (prior to his association with the pianist). Whether Vinson is singing a jump blues like his own "Kidney Stew Blues," a loping swinger like "Cleanhead's Back in Town," or even a work by another singer (Big Joe Turner's "Cherry Red"), his work has stood the test of time and will appeal equally to jazz and blues fans. Vinson also cuts loose with a few hot alto sax solos, though the primary emphasis of this session is his vocals. An added bonus of this Avenue Jazz CD is the inclusion of three alternate takes in stereo, though this 2001 reissue has already unjustly lapsed from print. ~ Ken Dryden

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (vocals)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Frank Foster (tenor sax)
Paul Quinichette (tenor sax)
Henry Coker (trombone)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Nat Pierce (piano)
Ed Jones (bass)
Ed Thigpen (drums)
Manny Albam (arranger)

1. Cleanhead's Back In Town
2. That's The Way To Treat Your Woman
3. Trouble In Mind
4. Kidney Stew Blues
5. Sweet Lovin' Baby
6. Caldonia
7. It Ain't Necessarily So
8. Cherry Red
9. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?
10. I Just Can't Keep The Tears From Tumblin' Down
11. Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine
12. Hold It Right There
13. Trouble iIn Mind
14. Kidney Stew Blues
15. Hold It Right There

George Wallington Quintet - At The Bohemia (20bit K2)

This live set, although led by pianist George Wallington, is most significant for giving listeners early examples of the playing of trumpeter Donald Byrd and altoist Jackie McLean; bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor complete the quintet. The music, although comprised mostly of group originals (other than "Johnny One Note" and Oscar Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark"), is essentially a bebop jam and it is particularly interesting to hear just how much McLean was influenced by Charlie Parker at this point (although his sound was already quickly recognizable). This was a solid if short-lived group and their brand of hard bop will be enjoyed by straightahead jazz fans. ~ Scott Yanow

George Wallington (piano)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

1. Johnny One Note
2. Sweet Blanche
3. Minor March
4. Snakes
5. Jay Mac's Crib
6. Bohemia After Dark

Dizzy Gillespie - Battle of the Horns (1980)

This edition of the Aurex Jazz Festival series comes from a group of concerts recorded in Japan during September 1980, featuring Dizzy Gillespie, a trio of tenor saxophonists (Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Harold Land, and Illinois Jacquet), and an outstanding rhythm section consisting of Cedar Walton, Eddie Gomez, and Shelly Manne, with the addition of vibraphonist Cal Tjader on some tracks. The album title Battle of the Horns is somewhat misleading, as this isn't a Jazz at the Philharmonic-type concert with the four horns trading licks, but mostly individual highlights spotlighting one artist at a time.

The opening cut features Dizzy and the rhythm section on yet another exciting take of his landmark composition "A Night in Tunisia"; his chops also hold up very well on his timeless ballad "Con Alma." Land's feature is "The Peacemaker," an original that is enjoyable though not very memorable. Davis is more impressive with his interpretation of "I Can't Get Started," weaving in and out of Walton's exquisite accompaniment. Tjader and the rhythm section go it alone on a waltzing "Tangerine," then the vibes player drops out as Walton takes center stage for a strutting rendition of John Lewis' "Django." It is only on the final track, a rousing "Lover, Come Back to Me," that all eight musicians are heard together.

Like other releases by Eastwind in the Aurex Jazz Festival series, the sound quality is first-rate, though the liner notes are indecipherable unless the listener is fluent in Japanese. This out of print LP will be somewhat challenging to locate but worth the search. Ken Dryden

Dizzy Gillespie (Trumpet)
Eddie Gómez (Bass)
Illinois Jacquet (Tenor Sax)
Harold Land (Tenor Sax)
Shelly Manne (Drums)
Cedar Walton (Piano)
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (Tenor Sax)
Cal Tjader (Vibraphone)

1. A Night In Tunisia
2. The Peacemaker
3. Con Alma
4. I Can't Get Started
5. Tangerine
6. Django
7. Lover, Come Back to Me

Recorded at Budokan, Tokyo, Japan on September 2, 1980 (#4-6); at Expo Park, Osaka, Japan on September 6, 1980 (#1-3); at Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama, Japan on September 7, 1980 (#7)

Martin Scorsese presents The Blues

This is by far the best and most comprehensive introduction to recorded blues ever assembled, drawing styles, record labels, and eras together with the efficiency of a spider’s web. These five discs--tied to the hit-and-miss PBS film series Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues--embrace field hollers, early queens Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, the music’s first composer W.C. Handy, Delta slide guitarists, string bands, piano barrelhousers, jazz geniuses Count Basie and Lionel Hampton, Texas hotshots, lyric poets Percy Mayfield and Willie Dixon, Chicago powerhouses from Muddy Waters to Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf and howling white boys, soulkittens Etta James and Janis Joplin, juke joint brawlers like Hound Dog Taylor, African torchbearer Ali Farka Toure, modern guitar heroes Stevie Ray Vaughan and Luther Allison, and even recent hit-makers Peggy Scott-Adams and Susan Tedeschi. And that’s just a smidgen of the talents represented across more than 100 cuts. Nonetheless, there are grave omissions in disc five, which focuses on contemporary blues. The raw electric sound of present-day Mississippi, embodied by R.L. Burnside and other artists on the Fat Possum label, has done much to open the ears of college-age audiences and should be included. Also absent are the music’s most important contemporary innovators: Afro-blues fusionist Corey Harris, psychedelic folk bluesman Otis Taylor and rap-blues proselytizer Chris Thomas King. Still, it’s obvious this collection is a work of devotion and intelligence as well as commerce.
Ted Drozdowski

J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding - 1954-57 Jay & Kai FLAC

A frontline of two trombones was an atypical combination for jazz prior to these groundbreaking collaborations by Jay Jay Johnson (the first and primary exponent of bebop on his instrument) and Danish-born Kai Winding (a brilliant trombonist in his own right).
The complete LP “Jay & Kai” (1956) is one of the best albums by the Johnson-Winding Quintet. The original LP “Jay & Kai”, presented here, included two complete sessions by the tandem plus a couple of tunes taken from different sessions : "I Should Care" was recorded for a quintet session with J.J. and Bobby Jaspar, which belongs to the sessions that produced the LP “J Is for Jazz”, while "Yes,You" was recorded by the Kai Winding Septet (without J.J.) for the session that produced the LP “Trombone Panorama”.
Included as a bonus, are six rare tracks: three concert performances by Jay & Kai at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, and three studio recordings presenting both trombonists as part of groups conducted by Quincy Jones, one of them taken from a long unavailable compilation LP titled “The Giants Of Jazz”.

01 You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To 3:30
02 Caribe 2:41
03 Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe 3:40
04 The Song Is You 4:02
05 In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning 4:18
06 Yes You 3:29
07 Tromboniums In Motion 3:40
08 How High the Moon 2:33
09 Violets For Your Furs 4:20
10 Too Close For Comfort 3:26
11 'S Wonderfu 3:08
12 I Should Care 3:54
13 Lover Come Back To Me* 5:32
14 True Blue Tromboniums* 4:17
15 NWPT* 3:04
16 You're Crying* 3:12
17 Funk Junction* 3:07
18 Grasshopper* 3:20

J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding trombones on all tracks (except otherwise indicated)
1-12: JAY & KAI
Tracks 1-5: Dick Katz (p), Milt Hinton (b), Shadow Wilson (d), Candido Camero (congas/bongos). New York, November 17, 1955.
Track 6: Jay Jay Johnson out. Wayne Andre, Carl Fontana (tb), Dick Lieb (b-tb, bar-hrn), Roy Frazee (p), Kenny O'Brien (b), Jack Franklin (d). New York, December 19-21, 1956.
Tracks 7-11: Dick Katz (p), Bill Brown (b), Kenny Clarke (d). New York, July 18, 1956.
Track 12: Kai Winding out. Bobby Jaspar (ts), Tommy Flanagan (p), Wilbur Little (b), Elvin Jones (d). New York, January 29, 1957.

13-15: Dick Katz (p), Bill Brown (b), Rudy Collins (d). Live at the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, July 6, 1956.
16-17: Jay & Kai with the Quincy Jones Orchestra: New York, December 7, 1954.
18: Jay & Kai with Quincy Jones and the All Stars: New York, February 25, 1955.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Charlie Christian - Complete Edition Volumes 1-9 {FLAC w/ scans}

"Charles Henry Christian was born in Bonham, TX on July 29, 1916 and succumbed to chronic pulmonary and ileocecal tuberculosis in New York City on March 2, 1942. During that brief lifespan, he developed an unprecedented ability to improvise on the electrically amplified guitar and became internationally famous as Benny Goodman's featured soloist. During the 1990s, the Masters of Jazz historic reissue label set a precedent for the careful reappraisal of Christian's complex and only partially studio-recorded legacy. The producers did this by lining up selected air shots, location recordings, and studio takes in chronological sequence, beginning with music that materialized on August 19, 1939 (three days after Christian auditioned for Benny Goodman in Los Angeles and sat in with Goodman's band at the French Garden Room of the Victor Hugo Restaurant in Beverly Hills on the evening of the same day) and following his footsteps to the Columbia recording session of November 7, 1940, when pianist Count Basie sat in with the Benny Goodman Sextet. Eight volumes in this series cover much of the recorded evidence from Christian's meteoric career; volumes one through four, issued separately and as a four-CD set, paint a fascinating portrait of a young innovator at large during an exciting and transitional period in the evolution of jazz from swing to bop. A ninth volume, appended to the series in 2001, contained remastered versions of some tracks along with previously unheard rarities." ~ arwulf arwulf, allmusic guide...

"This series of CDs, produced in France on Media 7’s Masters of Jazz label, is one of the best and most complete ever issued on any artist in jazz. Eight volumes were released containing all available recordings on which Charlie Christian is prominently featured. This includes studio masters, alternate takes, radio broadcasts, and jam sessions.
Assembled between 1992 and 1994, each volume is about an hour long and comes with an excellent 28 to 40-page booklet (in French and English) containing good-quality photos, great track-by-track commentary and a discography identifying the soloists. The most-rare recordings have not all been included nor is the information quite 100% accurate but the series does have some items that had never been issued before. Most likely this is the best anthology we’ll ever see on Charlie Christian.
An added bonus on the last four CDs is the restoration of all the recordings to their correct pitch. This had not been done before on any other LP or CD releases, including the first half of this series. I took a large sampling, especially of those tunes that I knew to be always blatantly off-key in the past, and found them all to be virtually on the exact pitch. Many thanks to those responsible for getting this batch on the right key.
This 8-volume CD series has my highest possible recommendation—it is my all-time, number-one “Desert Island” choice. With these CDs you can have almost all of the available major works by Charlie Christian in chronological sequence. I sincerely want to express my gratitude to Claude Carrière and Jean-Claude Alexandre for producing the most essential series of recordings yet released." ~ Leo Valdes...

Arwulf again: "In 1992 the Masters of Jazz historic reissue label initiated a nine-part series devoted to the recordings of jazz guitarist Charlie Christian (1916-1942). Volume one, which consists of recordings made between August 19 and October 31, 1939, opens with material harvested from Camel Caravan radio broadcasts emanating from the Hollywood Bowl and the Michigan State Fair in Detroit. These tracks feature the guitarist as a newly hired member of the Benny Goodman Sextet. Christian's first studio session occurred on September 11, 1939 when he participated in a Victor recording date with a band led by vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. On September 24, 1939 Christian was recorded while participating in a late-night jam session at the Harlem Breakfast Club in Minneapolis, MN. With Christian at this nocturnal get-together (which took place after a performance at the Orpheum Theater) were tenor saxophonist Jerry Jerome, pianist Frankie Hines, and bassist Oscar Pettiford. This compilation also contains selections from Christian's first studio date with the Benny Goodman Sextet, which occurred on October 2, 1939. It ends with an example of the guitarist's work with Ida Cox and her All Star Band. "Deep Sea Blues," recorded on Halloween 1939, is one of 12 sides (seven titles) that resulted from two Vocalion sessions that took place in two different studios on the same day. It is the only Cox recording included in the Masters of Jazz Charlie Christian series; all seven of the master takes from the Christian/Cox collaborations may be found on Definitive's Complete Studio Recordings of Charlie Christian. While some tidbits from this artist's complicated legacy remain unissued, the Definitive and Masters of Jazz labels have covered his essential recordings with reverential devotion. This disc and the other volumes in the Masters of Jazz series are chock-full of alternate takes and multiple renditions. Casual listeners will therefore probably want to seek out a "best-of" sampler rather than this sort of intensive gig-by-gig documentation"...

Dudearonymous says: This is the entire series, with complete scans, ripped using EAC, all personnel notated in info.txt files, ffps, md5s, et al... The ever-elusive 9th volume was supplied by an uploader elsewhere - included here (with Rab's OK ) because of it's rarity and for the sake of completeness. There are a few items that have emerged since this series ended in 2001, most importantly those included within the Columbia/Legacy box.

Thanks, everybody, for your contributions to this fantastic blog!

The Secret Museum Of Mankind: Music Of North Africa 1925-1948

"Passionate music from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and, yes, Timbuktu, recorded in the 1920s." ~ Jazz Times

Music of North Africa from The Secret Museum of Mankind is a compilation of 24 songs and instrumental pieces from the Maghreb (the region of North Africa that is west of Egypt). All of the tracks, originally recorded during the first half of the 20th century, were initially circulated on fragile wax cylinders or brittle 78s. These crackling recordings have since been mastered and transferred onto CD by the staff at the Secret Museum. Particular cultural regions represented on this CD include Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, and Timbuktu. If all you've ever heard from North Africa are Moroccan talents -- such as Hassan Hakmoun and the Master Musicians of Jajouka -- then check out this wonderfully eclectic and inspiring collection of North African "roots" music. ~ John Vallier

1. Set Nourria - Habitec Oualâche Nghir (Tunisia)
2. Raoul Journo - Ma Thama Zinek II (Morocco)
3. Cheikh Hamada - Yaben Sidi (Algeria)
4. Z. El Fassia and Troupe - Yali Fik Demoui (Morocco)
5. Khamous and Bougadi - Saadaoudi (Libya)
6. Kouideche - Kelbi Belhaâb (Algeria)
7. Mlle. Dalila Taliana - E' Rebbi Lech Hakka (Tunisia)
8. Mahieddine - Aou' el Aâchqi Felbanat (Algeria)
9. Raoul Journo - Ya Fatma II (Morocco)
10. Abou Bakr and Omar - Leila Kanat (Sudan)
11. Mme. Fritna - Aroubi Rasd Eddil, Pt. 1 (Tunisia)
12. Mme. Fritna - Aroubi Rasd Eddil, Pt. 2 (Tunisia)
13. Cheika Zohra Rilizania - Ya Khouya Ãaoued el Khber (Algeria)
14. Orchestre Mimoun - Prèlude et Touchiat Zidane (Algeria)
15. Lili l' Abbassi - Djella Alladi Nächk (Algeria)
16. Rais Boudjemaa - Ezzah'ra da Krabal (Morocco)
17. Cheikka Reno Et Sa Troupe - El Djinat el Kheil, Pt. 1 (Morocco)
18. Cheikka Reno Et Sa Troupe - El Djinat el Kheil, Pt. 2 (Morocco)
19. Amar El Madhbouh; Hassen El Ayari - Hayarti Noumi Ouirgadi (Tunisia)
20. Cheikh Zouzou - Bekith Mehmome (Algeria)
21. Messaoud Habib - Taksim Rasd (Algeria)
22. Anon. Tuareg Elder - Yali (War Song) (Timbuktu)
23. Omar El Guizawi - Salamou Aleikom (Morocco)
24. Louisa Tounsia - Ya Ourda (Tunisia)

Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta - Mambo Con Conga Is Mozambique

With a little luck, our wandering Admin Chuchuni will fill in some background for this. The notes, as such, are non-existent; they even spell Eddie's name wrong on the back. I found a bunch of stuff like this - somebodies collection, no doubt - all for 4 and 5 bucks each. And I mean a couple of hundred CDs; Palmieri is always a safe bet and the presence of Teddy Reig as producer is kind of a good thing. This might be a nice ongoing feature, but if some clunkers show up, blame Chuchuni.

An important early album from Eddie Palmieri -- one in which he introduces the "mozambique" rhythm - essentially a conga-styled approach to the tune, and one that features a lot more percussion than on his earlier sides! The group that supports him is strong enough to carry off the sound well -- and features Manny Oquendo on timbales and bass, Tommy Lopez on conga, and vocals by Ismael Quintana -- and the overall shift is similar to the one that Pacheco made between his records on Alegre and those on Fania. The album's filled with loads of great upbeat tracks.

(Until Chuchuni fills us in, I have included what I believe to be the titles of the tunes in English.)

Eddie Palmieri (piano)
Ismael Quintana (vocal)
Manny Oquendo (bongos, timbales)
Barry Rogers (trombone)
Jose Rodrigues (trombone)
George Castro (flute)
Dave Perez (bass)
Tommy Lopez (conga)

1. Mi Mambo Conga (My Snake Can Dance)
2. Sujetate La Lengua (I Have Bitten My Tongue)
3. Manha de Carnaval (Welcome To NASA)
4. Que Suene La Orquesta (The Band Is Sleeping)
5. Ajiaco Caliente (Hot Garlic)
6. Pobre Pedro (Tell Her To Go Home)
7. Estamos Chao (We Are The Tea)
8. Camagueyanos y Habaneros (There Are Peppers In My Bed)

Mary Lou Williams - Zoning

Mary Lou Williams emerged in the early '70s after a long period in which she worked in the Catholic church to resume her always-stimulating career as a jazz pianist. On this CD reissue, one of her finest recordings of her later years has been brought back and augmented by two previously unissued performances. Williams performs in duos and trios with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Mickey Roker, uses Zita Carno on second piano during a couple of the more avant-garde pieces, and also performs some trios with bassist Milton Suggs and Tony Waters on congas. Rather than sounding like a veteran of the 1920s, Mary Lou Williams sounds 40 years younger, shows the influence of McCoy Tyner and hints at free jazz in spots. An often-surprising set of modern jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Though she would periodically leave the music business for extended periods, Mary Lou Williams had one of the most extraordinary careers in jazz, interacting with everyone from Jelly Roll Morton to Cecil Taylor in a career that spanned over half a century. Always open to new influences, she also influenced others along the way, including essential figures like Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell.

These 1974 sessions present Williams in various configurations, from solo to quartet, and she takes a range of approaches that embraces everything from funk to free jazz. The initial formation is a standard trio, with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Mickey Roker, but there's nothing ordinary about the way Williams asserts her identity, blending strong two-handed playing with spacious modality and some striking, original flourishes. A second pianist, Zita Carno, joins Williams on the brief "Intermission" and the longer "Zoning Fungus II," an intensely abstract performance that looks ahead to Williams's controversial collaboration with Cecil Taylor, Embraced. Two duos with Cranshaw, the ballad "Holy Ghost" and the blues "Medi I," are taken at very slow tempos and they develop luminous depths, with Williams sculpting her notes and showing the rare lyricism of her work. The final tracks present Williams in a very different trio, with bassist Milton Suggs and conga drummer Tony Waters. Suggs's floating, multinote style is in marked contrast to Cranshaw's rock-solid concentration on fundamentals, and it brings out a more impetuous Williams in the free interplay of "Praise the Lord." The tune "Gloria" is heard in versions by each trio, the contrasts emphasizing how inventive an improviser Williams was. ~ Stuart Broomer

Mary Lou Williams (piano)
Zita Carno (piano)
Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)

1. Syl-O-Gism
2. Olinga
3. Medi II
4. Gloria
5. Intermission
6. Zoning Fungus II
7. Holy Ghost
8. Medi I
9. Rosa Mae
10. Ghost Of Love
11. Praise The Lord
12. Gloria
13. Play It Momma

Recorded at A&R Studios, New York from January to March 1974

Phil Wilson & Rich Matteson - The Sound of the Wasp (1975) [LP > FLAC]

Sometimes you can get a feel for the quality and type of music that an album cover conveys. Don't let this one fool you or scare you away! This is a fine and mostly straight ahead session featuring two of the best low brass players in jazz. A real rarity now, this LP was released by ASI Records and is one that you would remember if you've ever seen it.

Phil Wilson is commonly thought of as a bebop trombonist along the lines of Carl Fontana and Frank Rosolino, but he cites Jack Teagarden and Vic Dickenson as his main influences. Throw in some multi-phonics and other effects ala Albert Mangelsdorff and you've got someone who is capable of playing swing to bebop to avant-garde. Wilson clearly has his own unique sound and concept.

Rich Matteson is heard here on valve trombone, euphonium and tuba. Probably the best jazz euphonium player you'll ever hear and was a highly regarded clinician and educator at North Texas State University before he passed away in 1993.

The supporting cast includes guitarist Jack Peterson, a young Lyle Mays on keyboards, Kirby Stewart on bass, and Ed Soph on drums. All of the selections on the LP are originals - six by Phil Wilson, two by Rich Matteson, and one apiece from Peterson and Mays. Though they cover a lot of styles, it is the bebop tunes that garner the most attention. "Hassles" is Matteson's line on "Just Friends" and "What's Her Name?" was written by Phil Wilson to the changes of "All the Things You Are." Wilson and Matteson showcase their sense of humor on the title tune with Phil on trombone and Matteson on tuba, backed by the rhythm guitar of Jack Peterson. All through the album you get the sense that these guys were having a lot of fun being serious about their music.

Phil Wilson (trombone)
Rich Matteson (valve trombone, euphonium, tuba)
Lyle Mays (acoustic and electric piano)
Jack Peterson (guitar)
Kirby Stewart (bass)
Ed Soph (drums)
  1. What Wasp?
  2. Hey Man!
  3. Hassles
  4. Another Balance
  5. Red Flannel Hash
  6. The Sound of the Wasp
  7. Hills and Valleys
  8. Carrob
  9. A Breath of Fresh Air
  10. What's Her Name?
  11. Kilgore Trout
  12. That Wasp
Recorded in Dallas, Texas 1975

Lionel Hampton - You Better Know It!!! (1964)

Happy Birthday to Clark Terry, who's age reaches a new milestone - the number of keys on a piano.

Vibist Lionel Hampton's rhythmic abilities haven't been dulled by age, and he displayed his proficiency on this date, which includes the enjoyable bonus track "Moon Over My Annie." There was no wasted energy or unnecessary or exaggerated solos; just bluesy, assertive, muscular arrangements, accompaniment, and ensemble segments. Highlights included "Vibraphone Blues," "Trick or Treat" and "Swingle Jingle," in which Hampton shifted from vibes to piano. - Ron Wynn

Lionel Hampton (vibes, vocals, piano on 10)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)
  1. Ring Dem Bells
  2. Vibraphone Blues
  3. Tempo's Birthday
  4. Sweethearts on Parade
  5. Moon Over My Annie
  6. Pick a Rib
  7. Trick or Treat
  8. Cute
  9. A Taste of Honey
  10. Swingle Jingle
Recorded October 28-29, 1964

Milt Jackson - The Prophet Speaks

A musician's musician, for sure. The secret is in the phrasing, like with Bill Evans... For the uninitiated, it's just 'pleasant' jazz. When you can dig it, you are blown away.

"48 years after he first made a major impression on a Dizzy Gillespie recording date, vibraphonist Milt Jackson proves that he was still at the top of his form on this CD. The straight-ahead date finds his quartet (with pianist Cedar Walton, bassist John Clayton and drummer Billy Higgins) welcoming guests Joshua Redman (whose tenor is on six of the dozen selections) and singer Joe Williams, who helps out on three songs. Redman easily fits into the role that other tenors such as Teddy Edwards and Jimmy Heath have had with Jackson, taking concise solos while allowing the great vibist to be the lead in most of the ensembles. Joe Williams is fine during his three spots, but it is the apparently ageless Milt Jackson who is the main star during this enjoyable set." —Scott Yanow

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Red Norvo Trio - Move!

If you already got the Complete Savoy, which was posted last September 5th - with his V-Disc effort - then you already have these tracks, and more.

During 1950-51, vibraphonist Red Norvo led one of his finest groups, a popular trio also including guitarist Tal Farlow and bassist Charles Mingus. They recorded 20 selections (not counting alternate takes) for the Savoy label before Mingus eventually quit; his replacement would be Red Mitchell. This Japanese Savoy CD has 12 of the songs, totaling just 40 minutes. Although one wishes that all 20 songs were included on the disc (they would have fit), this CD makes for a decent sampling, at least until the music is reissued in complete fashion, as it was in the 1970s on a double LP. The interplay between the three expert musicians is often brilliant, particularly on such numbers as "Norvo," "I'll Remember April," "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" and "Swedish Pastry." ~ Scott Yanow

In those early 'hands-off' days, Norvo frequently encountered engineers who would unilaterally boost the sound on quieter numbers or adjust the balances to accord with conventional expectations. Most of those were overturned in the 1950-51 trio in which Charles Mingus was the replacement for Red Kelly. Just as Norvo made a pioneering contribution to the use of vibraphone in jazz, so too did the early trios contribute enormously to the development of a style of 'cool' or 'chamber' jazz that became dominant much later in the decade. One of the more significant aspects of the early trio is the unprecedentedly prominent role assigned to Mingus. ~ Penguin Guide

Red Norvo (vibraphone)
Tal Farlow (guitar)
Charles Mingus (bass)

1. Move
2. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
3. I'll Remember April
4. September Song
5. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
6. I've Got You Under My Skin
7. I Get A Kick Out Of You
8. If I Had You
9. Godchild
10. This Can't Be Love
11. Cheek To Cheek
12. Swedish Pastry

Enrico Pieranunzi featuring Art Farmer - Isis

Art Farmer's always lyrical, inviting flugelhorn fit nicely into this quartet and quintet setting matching him with an Italian ensemble. They covered standards, such bop anthems as Dizzy Gillespie's "Blue 'N' Boogie" and Charlie Parker "Ah-Leu-Cha," plus Pieranunzi originals "Little Moon" and the title track. Pieranunzi's light, enticing piano phrases made a nice contrast with Farmer's effortless, shimmering solos, while bassist Furio Di Castri and drummer Roberto Gatto handled rhythm details smoothly, and special guest Massimo Urbani chipped in with vigorous alto sax solos on three cuts. A solid, often delightful session. ~ Ron Wynn

Pieranunzi is not an extravagant virtuoso; his self-effacing manner recalls something of Hancock, but he uses all the ground-breaking modern discoveries in modality, rhythm and the broadening of pianistic devices to his own ends.....Isis is transformed by the presence of Farmer and by a couple of gorgeous solos fom the ill-fated Urbani, who provided Pieranunzi wih a solo voice that chimes perfectly with his own. - Penguin Guide

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Enrico Pieranunzi (piano)
Massimo Urbani (alto sax)
Furio Di Castri (bass)
Roberto Gatto (drums)

1. Isis
2. Ah-Leu-Cha
3. Love Walked In
4. Blue 'N' Boogie
5. Soul Dance
6. Nancy
7. Au Privave
8. Little Moon

Sarah Vaughan - The Divine One

My favorite album by one of my relatively few favorite singers. My first real exposure to her was from the selection of "It Ain't No Use" on the Smithsonian Classic Jazz set years ago. When it was released on CD, they had different selections for Sassy, probably due to some copyright bullshit. I bought a copy of this on vinyl at that great place on Carmine Street, and then found it on CD as part of the Mosaic. It is striking that this stuff was so taken for granted that nobody even knows for sure who some of the musicians were.

Recorded just after Sarah Vaughan joined the Roulette label in 1960, The Divine One found her in exactly the right circumstances to suit her excellent talents. Arranged by Jimmy Jones, who also sits in on piano, the setting was a small group that included one strong voice to accentuate hers -- and no less a strong and clear voice than trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (the perfect accompaniment for Vaughan). The Divine One is mostly a ballads collection, and it includes a few songs that were new to her repertoire -- good choices like "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (aka "Old Jones"), "When Your Lover Has Gone," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," and "Jump for Joy." One great left-field choice is "Ain't No Use," the R&B song taken as a slow torch song that Big Maybelle had first recorded (Nina Simone didn't record it until several years later). Roulette would soon push Vaughan in many different directions -- releasing over a dozen LPs in just a few short years -- but this small-group date is a gem. ~ John Bush

Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Don Lamond (drums)
Unknown others

1. Have You Met Miss Jones?
2. Ain't No Use
3. Every Time I See You
4. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
5. Gloomy Sunday
6. What Do You See In Her?
7. Jump For Joy
8. When Your Lover Has Gone
9. I'm Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life
10. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
11. Somebody Else's Dream
12. Trouble Is A Man

Clarke-Boland Big Band - Handle With Care

Kenny Clarke's 11-year collaboration with Francy Boland produced many fine records, but most of them have not reappeared as CDs. Happily, this 1962 session is once again available, showcasing the Clark-Boland Big Band's mix of top-notch European and expatriated American musicians. Boland wrote all of the arrangements and four of the six songs, with his "Long Note Blues (Here Is Cecco Peppe)" opening the album with a flourish. Cole Porter's "Get out of Town" has a Thelonious Monk-like introduction and recurring motif, alternating with the muted brass. Clarke's "Sonor" is another burning blues, featuring tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott and Billy Mitchell along with trumpeters Benny Bailey and Idrees Sulieman. Although pretty brief by CD standards at just 34 minutes 26 seconds, there's absolutely no filler in this highly recommended CD. ~ Ken Dryden

"...The arrangements are spot on, open-ended, relaxed but also germanically precise and the playing from all the soloists (including some great stuff from Ronnie Scott) is marvellous. Clarke and Boland never claimed much solo space, preferring to keep the engine-room turning over, but lovers of big-band music will enjoy these latter-day masters of the craft." ~ Penguin Guide

Kenny Clarke (drums)
Francy Boland (piano)
Billy Mitchell (tenor sax)
Benny Bailey (trumpet)
Sahib Shihab (flute, baritone sax)
Ronnie Scott (tenor sax)
Jimmy Deuchar (trumpet)
Ake Persson (trombone)
Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)
Jimmy Woode (bass)

1. Long Note Blues
2. Get Out Of Town
3. Sonor
4. Speedy Reeds
5. Old Stuff
6. Om Mani Padme Hum

Friday, December 12, 2008

The John Carter Octet - Dauwhe

The first of clarinetist John Carter's five-part series in which he musically depicts the history of black Americans is one of the strongest. For the only set on Black Saint (the following chapters were released by Gramavision), Carter utilizes a notable octet which also includes cornetist Bobby Bradford, flutist James Newton, Charles Owens on soprano, oboe and clarinet, bassist Roberto Miranda, the veteran Red Callender on tuba, drummer William Jeffrey, and Luis Peralta on percussion. The five originals pay tribute to life in Africa a few centuries ago, mixing together folk melodies with very advanced improvising; Newton and Callender in particular really excel in this setting. Highly recommended for open-eared listeners. ~ Scott Yanow

John Carter’s masterwork, the five-volume Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, traces the evolution of contemporary urban music through the history of African-Americans and the legacy of slavery. Carter names “Dauwhe,” the title track of the first volume, for an ancient African goddess of happiness; the dedication is loving, but the music rings ominous. The ensemble blends are striking—with the purr of bowed bass and tuba; and clash of cornet and flute—not to mention the eerie ambience of Peralta’s scraped waterphone, and the leader’s shrieking clarinet. Miranda and Jeffery hurtle along with a free-bop swing that suggests the influence of Ornette Coleman, Carter’s childhood friend in Fort Worth.

John Carter (clarinet)
Red Callender (tuba)
Bobby Bradford (cornet)
James Newton (flute, bass flute)
Charles Owens (soprano sax, oboe, clarinet)
Roberto Miranda (bass)
William Jeffery (drums)
Luis Peralta (waterphone, percussion)

1. Dauwhe
2. Ode To The Flower Maiden
3. Enter From The East
4. Soft Dance
5. The Mating Ritual

Los Angeles: February and March, 1982

Friday Fusion

Joe Zawinul - Brown Street
With the WDR Big Band

Big Band Fusion? Past efforts have usually resulted in something contrived, such as Maynard Ferguson's version of "Chameleon", but Zawinul, arranger Vince Mendoza and the WDR Big Band make it work.

Like his friend and onetime collaborator Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul was not one to look back on his past and savor the view. Yet as in the case of Miles (his parting concert in Montreux), Zawinul finally took the plunge in central Europe late in life by revisiting his old Weather Report repertoire -- live at his Vienna nightclub, Joe Zawinul's Birdland. The significant difference is that while Miles doubled back to a re-creation of the original Gil Evans charts, Zawinul retrofitted his tunes with new big-band arrangements by Vince Mendoza, read with gusto and heft by the crack visiting WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany. To this, Zawinul added his own synthesizer virtuosity and some overdubs from his Malibu studio, two distinguished WR alumni who still play with him off and on -- bassist Victor Bailey and percussionist Alex Acuña -- and drummer Nathaniel Townsley. In just about every case, Mendoza's charts replicate and flesh out every twist and turn in the Weather Report originals, paying off big-time with "Brown Street," an overlooked swinger from the WR 8:30 album that gets the remake album off to a percolating start. Occasionally he piles on additional harmonic tissue, as in the Miles-period "In a Silent Way." Some of the writing seems a bit redundant, yet things never become too overloaded thanks to the ceaseless drive of the rhythm section, and there is plenty of room for solos. Only on "Procession" does Zawinul write his own big-band chart; though tied tightly to the original recording, it sounds looser than most of the Mendoza charts as it works out over the drone. A few of the song choices are unexpected: the frantic "Fast City" and the strutting title tune from the Night Passage album; the former features some liquid synth solos by Zawinul and stimulating tenor sax by Paul Heller, and the latter some relaxed flügelhorn from Kenny Rampton. Others aren't from the WR catalog at all; "Silent Way" predates it, of course, though WR did play the tune in concert, and "March of the Lost Children" and the perennial "Carnavalito" are from the post-WR solo years. Unlike most jazz tribute projects -- including a fairly bloodless, multi-artist 1999 salute to Weather Report on Telarc -- this double-CD set isn't burdened with artificial nostalgia, and it benefits a lot from the presence of one of the two founding co-leaders (the other being the absent Wayne Shorter). And Zawinul is the crucial one, because the crusty Austrian keyboardist sees to it that the swing is the thing and that the groove is deep. - Richard S. Ginell

Joe Zawinul (keyboards, vocoder)
Victor Bailey (bass)
Nathaniel Townsley (drums)
Alex Acuna (percussion)
John Marshall, Andy Haderer, Kenny Rampton, Rob Bruynen, Klaus Osterloh (trumpet)
Ludwig Nuss, Dave Horler, Bernt Laukamp, Mattis Cederberg (trombone)
Heiner Wiberny, Karolina Strassmayer, Olivier Peters, Paul Heller, Jens Neufang (reeds)
Paul Shigihara (guitar)
Vince Mendoza (arranger)
CD 1
  1. Brown Street
  2. In a Silent Way
  3. Fast City
  4. Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz
  5. Black Market
CD 2
  1. March of the Lost Children
  2. A Remark You Made
  3. Night Passage
  4. Procession
  5. Carnavalito
Recorded Live at Joe Zawinul's Birdland, Vienna, October 2005

Kazumi Watanabe - The Spice Of Life (1987)

More Friday Fusion.....

Here is the in-depth review from AMG:

This album is a fusion-lover's dream. Bill Bruford and Jeff Berlin drive Watanabe. ~ Paul Kohler

This progressive rock/jazz fusion is weighted toward progressive rock with Bruford's influence at the forefront. Mostly high-energy and fast paced. A more sunny, upbeat sound than I usually go for but I enjoy it nonetheless.

Kazumi Watanabe (guitars, guitar-synthesizer)
Bill Bruford (electronic drums, drums, percussion)
Jeff Berlin (bass)

1. Melanchoe
2. Hiper K
3. City
4. Period
5. Unt
6. Na Starovia
7. Lim Poo
8. J.F.K.
9. Rage In

Big Mama Thornton - 1966 With The Muddy Waters Blues Band

If she is remembered at all by any but the most dedicated blues historians, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton is best known for her 1953 hit single "Hound Dog." The song spent seven weeks on top of Billboard magazine's R&B charts and made Thornton a minor star on the SE/SW chitin' circuit. Later appropriated by Elvis Presley, his 1956 recording of the song overshadowed Thornton's considerable success and launched Presley's career beyond the confines of Sun Records.
It's high time that modern blues fans rediscovered the talented Thornton. Signed to Peacock Records in 1951, Thornton released a number of singles for the label throughout the decade. None hit as big as "Hound Dog," however, and Thornton was eking out a meager living through sporadic performances well into the 1960s.
The singer with the giant voice hooked up with blues fan and Arhoolie label founder Chris Strachwitz for a handful of mid-1960s album releases that helped redefine her career. Strachwitz had recorded an inspired Thornton performance in Europe with a band led by guitarist Buddy Guy, and he thought that lightning might strike twice. He arranged for Muddy Waters' band to back Thornton on these April 1966 sessions, Thornton's powerful vocals perfectly matched by the group of veteran performers.
After all these years, the release of Thornton's With The Muddy Waters Blues Band - 1966 is a revelation. Thornton is in good form on songs like the soulful "I'm Feeling Alright" and the dirty blues of "Black Rat." Waters' band - which included Otis Spann on piano and James Cotton soaring on harmonica - embraced the material, their immense skills amplifying Thornton's performances.
Especially welcome is Waters himself on guitar, the blues giant's often-overlooked six-string prowess on display in songs like "Everything Gonna Be Alright" and "Sometimes I Have A Heartache." The gospel-tinged "Guide Me Home" foreshadows what might have been if Thornton had been able to record the album of spiritual tunes that she wanted to while "Big Mama's Bumble Bee Blues" is a more secular example of traditional blues double-entendre lyrics.
The long overdue CD release of With The Muddy Waters Blues Band - 1966 also includes seven previously unreleased bonus tracks, including alternate takes of "Black Rat," "Gimme A Penny" and "I'm Feeling Alright." It is the new songs that really stand out, though. The lively instrumental "Big Mama's Shuffle" showcases Thornton's harmonica skills, an instrument she would use more and more on her work into the 1970s, the song becoming a literal battle between Thornton and the raging James Cotton.
"Since I Fell For You" is an old-fashioned torch song, drenched in emotion and dripping with passion. The album-closing "Big Mama's Blues" is a slow, smoky Chicago-styled blues, Spann providing rhythm on the ivories while Cotton plays off of Thornton's vocals with an impressive performance. It was well worth the almost three-decade wait to hear these tracks.
Remastered for CD from the original three-track (!) recordings, With The Muddy Waters Blues Band - 1966 sounds damn good for its age, suffering little from the digital transfer and playing loud, raw and vibrant. Hopefully some blues fans will pick up the album simply because of the Muddy Waters connection, or maybe the recent Janis Joplin tributes and revivals, which include Joplin's version of Thornton's "Ball And Chain," will cause some young listeners to seek out the original. Either way, they'll be rewarded with the ample talents of one of the blues most underrated and unique vocalists, Big Mama Thornton.
(Arhoolie Records)

1. I'm Feeling Alright
2. Sometimes I Have a Heartache
3. Black Rat - (take 4)
4. Life Goes On
5. Everything Gonna Be Alright
6. Big Mama's Bumble Bee Blues
7. Gimme a Penny - (take 6)
8. Looking the World Over
9. I Feel the Way I Feel
10. Guide Me Home
11. Black Rat - (take 2)
12. Wrapped Tight
13. Gimme a Penny - (take 5)
14. Big Mama's Shuffle
15. Since I Fell For You
16. I'm Feeling Alright - (Fast Version)
17. Big Mama's Blues (My Love)

Recording date: April 25, 1966

Big Mama Thornton (vocals)
Muddy Waters, Sammy Lawhorn (guitar)
James Cotton (harmonica)
Otis Spann (piano)
Luther Johnson (bass guitar)
Francis Clay (drums)

Niels Lan Doky - Friendship

Yet another album now 'discontinued by the manufacturer' that deserves to be constantly available so that new people may discover the music of Niels Lan Doky. And yet another spot-on review at AMG:
Pianist Niels Lan Doky goes through several different overlapping genres on this 1990 recording which includes a session apiece recorded in New York and Copenhagen. From pieces featuring the rock-ish guitar of John Abercrombie and (on one song) Randy Brecker's electrified trumpet to some pop-ish originals and straight ahead playing worthy of Oscar Peterson, the pianist excels in every setting. Lan Doky is a major talent and, although the Danish pianist has not become a household name in the United States, he has been well documented. Jazz fans owe it to themselves to discover him. — Scott Yanow

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ada Moore - Jazz Workshop Vol. 3

A strikingly potent and unusual vocalist, who continues to be overlooked even by seasoned jazz heads. Little is known about her life, and only three distinct phases of her brief career are discussable until more information surfaces. Ada recorded for the Debut label in 1954, backed by an amazing chamber jazz ensemble that included guitarist Tal Farlow, bassist Oscar Pettiford and alto saxophonist John La Porta. Arrangements were by Charles Mingus and Alonzo Levister. The original album cover ("Jazz Workshop Vol. 3") provides what is possibly the only easily obtainable photograph of Ms. Moore. Cast in various shades of blue, the photo shows her lovely Afro-American profile in silhouette. The artist appears to be absorbed in her own thoughts. Moore sang in a disarmingly deep and somewhat wry alto, bringing irony to "You Came A Long Way From St. Louis" and pathos to Billy Strayhorn's "Something To Live For". The immediate and sustained impression is that of a film noir soundtrack. While some have compared her to Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae, nobody has ever sounded quite like Ada Moore. An historical comparison might be made with the equally under-recorded Anna Robinson, whose entire discography consists of two three-minute recordings made in 1939 with James P. Johnson's Orchestra. Both women sang with unconventional force, using textures that obviously did not conform to popular expectations. Ada's career briefly took a turn for the popular as she appeared in Harold Arlen's "House of Flowers", a Broadway musical set in the West Indies that opened Dec 30, 1954 and closed May 21st 1955. This production starred Pearl Bailey, Alvin Ailey and, in her Broadway debut, Diahann Carroll. Ada Moore was cast as Gladiola. She performed "exotic" novelty numbers in the company of Enid Mosier, whose character's name was Pansy. Night after night they enunciated their way through songs with profound titles like "Two Ladies In The Shade Of De Banana Tree". If this seems to be artistically far removed from that cool Debut session, the next item lands somewhere between the two extremes. In 1956, Ms. Moore was paired with Jimmy Rushing in front of a band led by Buck Clayton. They were the stars of "Cat Meets Chick", a concept album typical of its day. Surrounded by excellent musicians, Moore was able to maintain artistic integrity despite the goofily contrived premise of the album's theatrical structure, a love triangle plot devised by Columbia Records producer Irving Townsend. Following this concession to popular taste, her career as a recording artist seems to have ended. Thirty-four years later, Ada Moore died of cancer on January 6th, 1991. Those who are curious about her singing style should investigate the aforementioned "Jazz Workshop Vol. 3" on Debut. It endures as the ultimate example of this woman's unique and unforgettable artistry. ~ arwulf arwulf

Ada Moore (vocal)
John La Porta (alto sax)
Tal Farlow (guitar)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)

1. The Man I Love
2. The Man I Love (take 2)
3. Something To Live For
4. You Came A Long Way From St. Louis
5. You Came A Long Way From St. Louis (take 4)
6. The Devil Is A Woman
7. The Devil Is A Woman (take 1)
8. Lass From The Low Country
9. Lass From The Low Country (take 2)
10. Strange Fascination
11. Summertime

New York: June 27, 1954

Benny Goodman - Yale Recordings, Vol. 8

I have 6 or 7 of this series; the ones I've listened to so far have been well worth the time. And where else can you find Goodman and Herbie Hancock playing together? Not much in the way of discographical information, though.

The eighth volume of previously unreleased material willed by Benny Goodman to Yale continues the series with some very interesting selections. Martha Tilton gets to redo her hit "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" in 1958 with a big band, Goodman's clarinet is well-featured with a quintet that includes pianist Andre Previn on three tracks, and BG has his last musical encounter with pianist Mel Powell on a pair of medleys. But most unusual are eight selections cut with a nine-piece unit in 1961 that are dominated by songs associated with Hawaii including "On the Beach at Waikiki," "Blue Hawaii," "Sweet Leilani" and "My Little Grass Shack." Bill Stegmeyer's creative arrangements and an all-star lineup actually make this into a highly enjoyable and very surprising session. ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Goodman (clarinet)
André Previn (piano)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Bernie Privin (trumpet)
Martha Tilton (vocals)
Others not noted

1. It's All Right With Me
2. Willow Weep For Me
3. My Little Grass Shack
4. Too Many Tears
5. Easy To Love
6. Who?
7. Sweet Leilani
8. Song Of The Islands
9. Moon Of Manakoora
10. On The Beach At Waikiki
11. Blue Hawaii
12. Bei Mir Bist du Schon
13. Gershwin Medley: The Man I Love/Embraceable You/Oh, Lady Be Good! /Somebody Loves Me
14. Rodgers and Hart Medley: Where Or When/I Didn't Know What Time It Was/There's A Small Hotel/This Can't Be Love/Sing For Your Supper/Blue Room

Harry James - 1937-1939 (Chronological 903)

Trumpeter Harry James was very consistent in his musical tastes throughout his career. This CD, which has the first 22 selections that James recorded as a leader, starts off with eight numbers in which the trumpeter (still a Benny Goodman sideman at the time) uses many of Count Basie's top sidemen (including trombonist-arranger Eddie Durham, tenor saxophonist Herschel Evans and singer Helen Humes) for swinging performances highlighted by "Life Goes to a Party" and "One O'Clock Jump"; James' bands (particularly from the 1950s on) would often sound like a duplicate of Basie's. In addition, this CD has four tunes from 1938 in which James mostly uses Goodman players (plus baritonist Harry Carney), and he is also heard on the first six numbers by his big band (including "Two O'Clock Jump" and his earliest recording of his theme "Ciribiribin"). However, the hottest performances are four numbers in which James is backed by a boogie-woogie trio featuring either Pete Johnson or Albert Ammons on piano. This enjoyable CD is full of many examples of James' hot swing trumpet and is easily recommended to swing fans. ~ Scott Yanow

"...three terrific sessions, two in which he fronts a small group drawn from the Basie band, one where he repeats the trick using Goodman sidemen (plus Harry Carney!). Unabashed by the heavy company, James often blows the roof off. Four tracks with Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson spotlight his hottest, tersest playing before the session with his proper big band close the disc, opening on his theme tune 'Ciribirbin', which exemplifies what James was about: no better trumpet technician, a great capacity to swing, but with a penchant for schmaltz mixed with bravado which has been his critical undoing." ~ Penguin Guide

Harry James (trumpet)
Albert Ammons (piano)
Jess Stacy (piano)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Herschel Evans (tenor sax)
Arthur Rollini (tenor sax)
Ziggy Elman (trumpet)
Harry Carney (baritone sax)
Helen Humes (vocals)
Jo Jones (drums)
Dave Tough (drums)

1. Jubilee
2. When We're Alone
3. Can't I?
4. Life Goes To A Party
5. Texas Chatter
6. Song Of The Wanderer
7. It's The Dreamer In Me
8. One O'Clock Jump
9. Out Of Nowhere
10. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)
11. Lullaby In Rhythm
12. Little White Lies
13. Boo-Woo
14. Woo-Woo
15. Home James
16. Jesse arry
17. Ciribiribin (They're So in Love)
18. Sweet Georgia Brown
19. Blame It on My Last Affair
20. Love's a Necessary Thing
21. 'Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)
22. Two O'Clock Jump

John Coltrane - Winner's Circle (K2 HD)

As is common practice since his demise, deification and established profitability, this album is listed under the leadership of John Coltrane although he was just one of several players. Which is not to say that he was anything less than the top-of-his-game sideman; just the month before he led his own Blue Train session, and would be doing his seminal Monk dates soon after. These, in fact, are also on the very excellent Coltrane; The Bethlehem Years CD, which combines and Art Blakey Big Band (!) date - recorded shortly after this - and this 5th DownBeat poll winners session, done under the nominal leadership of Oscar Pettiford. The Bethlehem Years can be found here by search engine, but the CIA post URL is in comments also.

And, yes, this sounds really good; after all, it started out with, as previously noted, High Fidelity, True High Fidelity, AND Micro Cosmic Sound.

Art Farmer (trumpet)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Frank Rehak (trombone)
Gene Quill (alto sax)
John Coltrane (tenor sax)
Al Cohn (baritone sax)
Eddie Costa (piano)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Rolf Kuhn (clarinet)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)
Ed Thigpen (drums)

1. Lazy Afternoon
2. Not So Sleepy
3. Seabreeze
4. Love And The Weather
5. She Didn`t Say Yes
6. If I`m Lucky (I`ll Be The One)
7. At Home With The Blues
8. Turtle Walk

Dexter Gordon - The Apartment

While in Europe, tenor-sax-great Dexter Gordon recorded many sessions with pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels Pedersen and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. All are worth acquiring and this one is no exception. In addition to three of his originals (including the title tune), the quartet performs the old bop line "Wee-Dot" and Horace Silver's "Strollin" while the ballad "Old Folks" is taken as an emotional Gordon-Pedersen duet. ~ Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. The Apartment
2. Wee-Dot
3. Old Folks
4. Strollin'
5. Candlelight Lady
6. Stablemates
7. Antabus

Doug Sertl - Uptown Express (1982) [LP > FLAC]

Doug Sertl, a trombonist in the mold of Carl Fontana and Bill Watrous, was the leader on this date but it is the sidemen that has garnered the most interest among collectors - Bobby Shew on trumpet and flugelhorn, Kenny Barron on piano, George Mraz on bass, and especially baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola who uncharacteristically doubles on alto, tenor and soprano. The LP was released by now defunct Palo Alto Records which means it has little chance of ever making it to CD.

The selections are mostly jazz standards with a couple of originals thrown in - "Relaxin'", by pianist Frank Strazzeri, and "Art Appreciation", a ballad written by Bobby Shew and dedicated to Art Pepper.

Doug Sertl (trombone)
Bobby Shew (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Nick Brignola (baritone, alto, tenor, soprano sax)
Kenny Barron (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Dave Calarco (drums)
  1. Tune Up
  2. Gentle Rain
  3. I Hear a Rhapsody
  4. Art Appreciation
  5. Yes or No
  6. Relaxin'
Recorded July 25, 1982

VIDEO: Martial Solal & Didier Lockwood at Antibes

A video from the well-known series by Jean-Christophe Averty that was a frequent feature on French television many years ago. Now they occasionally get re-broadcast by specialist satellite channels such as MEZZO. This one is from the 30th Antibes - Juan-les-Pins International Jazz Festival, July 25, 1990. The programs were edited to half-hour epsiodes, and only a few appeared as part 1 - part 2 where you would get the entire concert.

Tim Hagans - No Words

This a favourite among my recent purchases, and I see it is now out-of-print so in the interest of keeping it alive I present it here. A quite on the nose review from Scott Yanow:

The impressive trumpeter Tim Hagans holds his own with the tenor of Joe Lovano during a sextet session with guitarist John Abercrombie, keyboardist Marc Copland, bassist Scott Lee and drummer Bill Stewart that features nine of his originals. The music is essentially advanced hard bop (Lovano and Abercrombie both sound somewhat inspired) and Hagans displays both an attractive tone and a fertile imagination. It's a strong set of modern mainstream jazz.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The JFK Quintet - New Jazz Frontiers From Washington

Cannonball and Nat Adderley went from teaching in High School to the upper ranks of the jazz hierarchy almost overnight; and Cannonball was always willing to put out a hand to others: Wes Montgomery, Chuck Mangione (don't sneer, his early Jazz Brothers stuff is very good), and these young gentlemen.

Made available again on the Riverside limited-edition series, New Jazz Frontiers From Washington is a rare and highly enjoyable set from the short-lived JFK Quintet. With the exception of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and "Dancing in the Dark" all the compositions are up-tempo originals. Alto saxophonist Andrew White propels this hard bop date by occasionally utilizing Eric Dolphy-influenced atonality while trumpeter Ray Codrington plays the perfect foil, keeping the music swinging and straight-ahead. It's this interplay that makes this disc consistently funky and exploratory. Not to be excluded from praise was the top-notch rhythm section featuring underrated pianist Harry Killgo, drummer Mickey Newman, and bassist Walter Booker Jr., along with the added presence of Cannonball Adderley as producer and mentor. Its unfortunate this quintet, named as a tribute to then president JFK's ideology of change and new ideas, only lasted for the 1962 follow-up recording Young Ideas. ~ Al Campbell

Andrew White (alto sax)
Ray Codrington (trumpet)
Harry Killgo (piano)
Walter Booker (bass)
Carl Newman (drums)

1. Aw-Ite
2. Eugly's Tune
3. Hominy Grits
4. Dancing In The Dark
5. CiCi's Delight
6. Nairod
7. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
8. Delories

Plaza Sound, New York: July 17, 1961

Slide Hampton - Jazz with a Twist/Explosion! (1961-62)

There was a time when I would quickly pass by these records with maybe a smirk at the cheesy covers. And now, just seeing the name Slide Hampton results in raised eyebrows and twinkling eyes. When I discover that I don't already have it in my collection, there's the euphoric feeling that comes with yet another great find and seeing these two albums combined on one CD at a local used shop, it is quickly added to the stack.

During the time he playing and writing for the Maynard Ferguson band, Slide Hampton released two octet recordings for Atlantic and one for Charlie Parker Records before these two "little big band" sessions in 1961 and '62. Slide's arrangements for the 13-piece Ferguson band gave him a lot of experience writing for this type of ensemble where he can make a 10-piece band sound like 20. There are seven Hampton originals along with reworkings of jazz standards, and even some pretty hip arrangements of tunes like "Maria" , "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Bye Bye Love."

Great solos are in abundance with George Coleman, Jay Cameron, and trumpeter Willie Thomas featured on Jazz with a Twist. Joe Farrell and a 20-year-old Ronnie Cuber are given a lot of space on Explosion! and of course Hampton is featured throughout both sessions.

Hobart Dotson, Willie Thomas (tp) Benny Jacobs-El (tb) Slide Hampton (tb, arr) George Coleman (ts) Jay Cameron (bars) Horace Parlan (p) Eddie Khan (b) Vinnie Ruggiero (d) Ray Barretto (per)

Chet Ferretti, Jerry Tyree (tp) Benny Jacobs-El (tb) Slide Hampton (tb, arr) Joe Farrell (ts) Ronnie Cuber (bars) Horace Parlan (p) Bob Cranshaw (b) Vinnie Ruggiero (d) Willie Bobo (cga)

Johnny Bello (tp) Jay Cameron (bars) Walter Davis Jr. (p) replace Cuber, Parlan, Bobo on 10, 12, 14, 16, 17
  1. The Jazz Twist
  2. Mack the Knife
  3. Gorgeous George
  4. Strollin'
  5. The Barbarians
  6. Work Song
  7. Slide Slid
  8. Day In Day Out
  9. Red Top
  10. Revival
  11. Maria
  12. Delilah
  13. Begin the Beguine
  14. Your Cheatin' Heart
  15. Spanish Flier
  16. Bye Bye Love
  17. Love Letters
  18. Slide's Blues

Larry Young - Spaceball

Young's last album.

Larry Young ... was an American jazz organist and occasional pianist. Young pioneered a modal approach to the Hammond B-3 (in contrast to Jimmy Smith's soul-jazz style). However, he did play soul-jazz also, among other styles.

Young played with various R&B bands in the 1950s before gaining jazz experience with Jimmy Forrest, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley and Tommy Turrentine. Recording as a leader for Prestige from 1960, Young made a number of soul-jazz discs, Testifying, Young Blues and Groove Street. When Young went to Blue Note in 1964, his music began to show the marked influence of John Coltrane. In this period, he produced his most enduring work. He recorded many times as part of a trio with guitarist Grant Green and drummer Elvin Jones, occasionally augmented by additional players; most of this sequence of albums was released under Green's name, though Into Somethin' (with Sam Rivers on saxophone) became Young's Blue Note debut. Unity, recorded in 1965, remains his best-known album; it features a front line of Joe Henderson and the young Woody Shaw. Subsequent albums for Blue Note (Contrasts, Of Love and Peace, Heaven On Earth, Mother Ship) also drew on elements of the '60s avant-garde and utilised local musicians from Young's hometown of Newark. Young then became a part of some of the earliest fusion experiments: he played on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, then joined The Tony Williams Lifetime with guitarist John McLaughlin. His sound with Lifetime was made distinct by his often very percussive approach and often heavy use of guitar and synthesizer-like effects. He is also known to rock fans for a jam he recorded with Jimi Hendrix, which was released after Hendrix's death on the album Nine to the Universe.

Larry Young (piano, organ, keyboards)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
Ray Gomez (guitar)
Paula West (vocals)
Dave Eubanks (bass)

1. Moonwalk
2. Startripper
3. Sticky Wicket
4. Flytime
5. Spaceball
6. Message From Mars
7. I'm Aware Of You

Recorded at Dick Charles Studio, New York

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ray Anderson, Han Bennink, Christy Doran - Azurety

A multinational group, trombonist, Ray Anderson, (United States) and drummer, Han Bennink (Holland) are known for injecting wit and whimsy into various musical frameworks. The musicians infuse their playful tendencies into this set also featuring the equally talented electric guitarist, Christy Doran (Ireland). On this release, the trio is simply having a blast as they surge forward with the intensity of your average high-octane, heavy metal rock outfit. Here, Anderson's often-verbose mode of execution rides atop Bennink's rolling thunder, and Doran's quasi free-jazz/hard-rock style licks.

The trio engages in uninhibited dialogue in concert with ominous sounding undercurrents thanks to a rollicking and rolling presentation of pieces spanning bluesy, dirge-like progressions and turbulently executed exchanges. Doran utilizes delay effects amid blazingly fast single note leads, and a few ostinato motifs while Anderson and Bennink frequently trade sprightly fours. The musicians also provide the listener with softly enacted swing vamps along with some downright riotous interplay. Recommended! ~ Glenn Astarita

A boisterous trombonist who has greatly expanded the range of the trombone and is masterful at multi-phonics, Ray Anderson's playing is often hilarious. His main fault is a tendency to repeat the same joke over and over again, namely "look how high I can play." Anderson began playing the trombone when he was eight and early on had a wide variety of experience ranging from classical lessons, enjoying Dixieland, playing blues and funk, and going to some concerts by the AACM. After spending some time in California, he moved to New York in 1972 and freelanced. In 1977, Anderson joined Anthony Braxton's Quartet (replacing George Lewis) and started working with Barry Altschul's group. From this point forward he started ranking high in polls and becoming influential himself. In addition to leading his own groups since the late '70s (including the funk-oriented Slickaphonics), Anderson has worked with George Gruntz's Concert Jazz Band. In the '90s, he began taking an occasional good-humored vocal, during which he shows the ability to sing two notes at the same time (a minor third apart). ~ Scott Yanow

Ray Anderson (trombone, tuba)
Christy Doran (guitar)
Han Bennink (drums)

1. Open House
2. Azurety
3. B & D
4. March Of The Hipsters
5. Heights
6. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)
7. A B & D
8. The Waters Dixon Line

The Secret Museum of Mankind Vol. 3: Ethnic Music Classics: 1925-48

Volume Three is another eclectic sampling of vintage "ethnic" recordings taken from the storerooms at The Secret Museum of Mankind. A Rhodesian hymn of praise precedes a 1948 recording of an Uzbeki diva, while the serpentine melodic lines of a Greek clarinetist follows the contemplative resonance of a 1939 solo performance on the Chinese qin or chin (a plucked zither). Though one may think that the enormous musical breath of the CD might make listening to it a scattered and unsatisfactory experience, this is not the case. The historical context within these works presented -- worldwide recordings made between 1925 and 1948 -- give this and the other Secret Museum works a cohesion that allows for disparate musical examples to be placed side by side. All in all, this CD gives the listener a window into another time, when recording technology was young and Western popular music had not invaded every corner of the globe. ~ John Vallier

1. Indaba Yomkonto - Hope Fountain Native Girls' Choir (Matbeleland)
2. Dilbar - A. Mirzaeva (Samarcand)
3. Flisak - Makowska Orkiestra Dzialowego (Poland)
4. La Virgen de Corvadonga - "Cuchichi" Jose Menendez (Spain)
5. Parting at Yang Kwan - Wei Chung Loh (China)
6. Ta Magia Sto Pegadi - Georgios Trakis (Epirus)
7. Kidimenkazandi Kuna Ngombe - Ngigi Leon Nkenkete (Angola)
8. Inthakannananda - Vidwan Rajamanikkam (India)
9. Vdol Po Piterskoi; Veisia, Vesia Kapoustka - (Russia)
10. Bakmiyor Cesmi Siyah - Hamiyet Yuceses (Turkey)
11. Yebitchai - Navajo Elders (Lukachukai, Arizona)
12. Gunan Kor - Chimiddorzh Ghanzhuryin (Mongolia)
13. Buen Humor - Grupo Dominicano (Dominca)
14. Nalimbsi Yo - Jean Kalafayi (Congo)
15. Kamarinskaya - (Russia)
16. Mai Wanga Anadiuza - Thayelo Kapiye Trio (Nyasaland)
17. Moe Pau Ko Phan (Flower of Heaven) - Maung Su (Burma)
18. Verra Quel di di Lune...(The Day Will Come) - "Canto Di Soldati" (Tuscany)
19. Byatt Turk - Iran Dowleh Helen (Persia)
20. Running Set - Elsie Avril (England)
21. O Ju Male Me Debore - Kendon Grupi (Albania)
22.Soutsanenh - Anon. Khene (Laos)
23. Raks Fazani - Khomais Ternan/Mohammed Kadri (Tunisia)
24. Lugger Song - Fly River Singers (Kiwai Island)

Franz Koglmann - The Use Of Memory

This live debut of Franz Koglmann's mammoth work The Use of Memory, in nine sections or movements, was heralded not by the triumph of cheers and the awe of applause, but by critical remarks from journalists with hard-line views of what jazz "is" or "isn't." Too bad. Americans have come more and more to view Euro-jazz as its own thing that has little to do with the music of origin but is no less valid, and have also accepted classical music -- including "new music" -- for decades. Apparently, those busy carving out an identity from an inferiority complex find it impossible to hear genius when it is right in front of them, bleating its heart out. The Use of Memory is a stellar achievement, and a great thank you to Hat Hut is warranted for recording this first performance. This is a suite that has all the earmarks of a symphony, or a symphony that has the emotive and improvisatory ability to be a full-blown jazz suite. But it is neither. This work so thoroughly combines jazz, "new music," and Western classical music that it is almost impossible to separate the threads. Praise the lord. Utilizing the gifts of 13 players -- including himself -- and the conducting expertise of Gustav Bauer, Koglmann realized a dream. He created with his Pipetet -- a group that also includes pianos and electric guitars as well as reeds and woodwinds -- a place where music becomes nothing other than itself. It becomes what it recalls as being true from its origins and moves on, picking up along the way other memories as passengers, weaving them into its fabric. Koglmann has his players and audiences moving through everything from Berg to Ellington, Stravinsky, Miles, Gil Evans, Minnie Pearl, George Russell, Kenny G, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Catfish Horowitz, Mahler, Webern, Armstrong, Basie, Saskia Laroo, Beiderbecke, Coltrane, John Phillip Sousa, Cowell, Cage, and even Wagner -- and so many more you would have to hear it a thousand times to note them all. This is a love song, ultimately, a swinging yet meditative and tender amorous paean to not only Koglmann's heroes, but to his dream of a music that contains no genres -- only beauty. And on this recording, he's gone further than any of his predecessors to making it a reality. ~ Thom "Fluffy" Jurek

Franz Koglmann (flugelhorn)
Tony Coe (clarinet, bass clarinet)
Radu Malfatti (trombone)
Roberto Ottaviano (soprano and sopranino sax)
Burkhard Stangl (guitar)
Klaus Koch (bass)
Fritz Hauser (drums)

1. Chateau De Bouges
2. For Max
3. The Use Of Memory: Bix, Miles, and Chet
4. Das Rätseleinestages
5. Der Vogel
6. Uccello
7. Monoblue
8. Die Kühle, Der Duft, Der Glanz
9. Constantin's Dream

Snooky Young - Horn of Plenty (1979) [LP > FLAC]

Snooky Young is best known for his lead trumpet work with the Count Basie and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis bands but is also a fine soloist. The best lead players have also been good jazz players - Pete Candoli, Buddy Childers, Bill Chase, Bobby Shew and Jon Faddis are few that come to mind. The liner notes to this album bring up comparisons with Louis Armstrong and Buck Clayton but to my ears, Snooky sounds a lot like his old compatriot with the Basie band, Sweets Edison.
Horn of Plenty was Snooky's first album as the only horn player so he gets a lot of space to feature his trumpet, flugelhorn and plunger work. Also featured prominently are Ross Tompkins on piano and John Collins on guitar. And who could ask for better support than from bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna? Another enjoyable LP that has yet to be released on CD.

Snooky turned 89 this year, received an NEA Jazz Masters award in October and still plays in the L.A. area, often with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

Snooky Young (trumpet, flugelhorn
Ross Tompkins (piano)
John Collins (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)
  1. Lady Be Good
  2. Alley Blues
  3. The Gypsy
  4. My Buddy
  5. Rosetta
  6. Old Blue
  7. Valerie
  8. Bad News
Recorded March, 1979

Johnny Griffin - Way Out

Recorded by Orrin Keepnews in New York City, this is a set that nevertheless breathes Chicago. In some respects, it isn't the 'person we knew'; Griffin sounds quieter, more measured and contained, and apart from a blaze through 'Cherokee' at high tempo he is content to play a much gentler set. Items like'Where's Your Overcoat, Boy?' and 'Teri's Tune' centre on Ware's hugely expansive bass line, with Drew in close proximity, leaving Griff to develop and embellish. 'Little John' is distinctive for Drew's solid chording and interchanges with the drummer. The rhythm section could hardly be faulted, and CD transfer has improved sound quality tenfold. ~ Penguin Guide

This formerly obscure quartet set by tenor-saxophonist Johnny Griffin (reissued on CD in the OJC series) features the fiery soloist on five little-known originals written by Chicagoans plus a burning version of "Cherokee." Virtually all of Griffin's recordings are worth getting and, with the assistance of pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Philly Joe Jones, the tenor is in superior form for this spirited date. ~ Scott Yanow

Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Wilbur Ware (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Where's Your Overcoat, Boy?
2. Hot Sausage
3. Sunny Monday
4. Cherokee
5. Teri's Tune
6. Little John

New York: February, 1958

Helen Merrill & Dick Katz - A Shade of Difference

Even if you don't much go for the singers, this one's a must.

Review by Scott Yanow
Originally put out by the Milestone label and later reissued by Landmark, this is a superior and consistently surprising effort by singer Helen Merrill. With arrangements provided by pianist Dick Katz and adventurous yet sympathetic playing by Thad Jones on flugelhorn and cornet, flutist Hubert Laws, altoist Gary Bartz (who is only on Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman"), Katz, guitarist Jim Hall, either Ron Carter or Richard Davis, on bass and drummer Elvin Jones, this is a particularly strong jazz vocal date. Merrill's voice was at its prime during the era, and her ability to tackle a wide repertoire and to bring new life to standards (including taking "My Funny Valentine" as a fairly free duet with Ron Carter) makes this a highly recommended effort.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lee Konitz-horo jazz a confronto#32 1976(vinyl rip)

here's a lovely very light but not light weight konitz quartet on the ultra collectible mostly avant guard horo label.
the bands good but nowhere near as adventurous as Lee himself..though the drummer has his moments.
its always enjoyable to hear Lee in a more harmonically open and expansive setting with a guitar as the chordal instrument rather than the usual piano.

before i continue i just want to stress that this record is only in passable to good condition ...quite crackly in parts, none the less perfectly listenable to my ears.

the final track ceri tree is Lee alone , and save for a brief melodic statement sounds largely improvised ..beautiful.

Lee Konitz Quartet-1-17-76
Lee Konitz (as), Dave Cliff (g), Peter Ind (b), Al Levitt (dr):
,rome Italy
01. Roma Today (Lee Konitz) 02. 317 East 32nd (Lennie Tristano) 03. Mimiche (Lee Konitz) 04. Background Music (Warne Marsh) 05. Blues For Sinesio (Lee Konitz) 06. Fools Rush In 07. Feather Bed (Ted Brown) 08. Cerri Three (Lee Konitz) Lee Konitz: Jazz A Confronto 32: Lee Konitz (Horo 101-32)

V.A. - The Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook (1995)

Today is the 14 anniversary of Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim's death (yes, the same day John Lennon died). To many people, Jobim is the best Brazilian composer, ever. To myself, he shares this position with Chico Buarque. Jobim works has more world appeal, though. And he tried harder for an international career, also. This is a homage to him, a compilation sharing Brazilian and jazz artists, featuring mainly his Bossa Nova phase. (galego)

The first of several tribute albums issued just after Jobim's death, this one generally sticks to his most famous songs as interpreted by several Brazilian and American artists from PolyGram's archives. Jobim himself appears on such obvious choices as the best-selling Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto hit "The Girl from Ipanema," and with Astrud on "Agua de Beber" and "Dindi," and again with Elis Regina on an "Aguas de Marco" that nearly breaks up with laughter. The American contributions are a mixed bag; Sarah Vaughan's "Corcovado," for example, is rather inappropriately overwrought but Wes Montgomery's "Insensatez" is a beautiful recording, with Jobim's favored arranger, Claus Ogerman, in top wistful form. The other jazzers on the CD are Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Shirley Horn, and Dizzy Gillespie, proving that Jobim's timelessly aching music attracted quite a diverse cross-section of admirers. (Review by Richard Ginell)


1- Garota de Ipanema (The girl from Ipanema) - Stan Getz, João Gilberto and Tom Jobim
2- Corcovado (Quiet Nights) - Sarah Vaughan
3- Felicidade - Billy Eckstine
4- O morro não tem vez - Stan Getz, Luiz Bonfá e Tom Jobim
5- Água de beber - Astrud Gilberto e Tom Jobim
6- Só danço samba (Jazz Samba) - Tom Jobim
7- Insensatez (How Insensitive) - Wes Montgomery
8- Once I loved - Shirley Horn
9- Samba de uma nota só (One note samba) Charlye Byrd
10- Meditação - João Gilberto
11- Desafinado - Ella Fitzgerald
12- Dindi - Astrud Gilberto & Tom Jobim
13- Wave - OscarPeterson
14- Chega de Saudade (No more blues) - Dizzy Gillsepie

Fletcher Henderson sextet-live at the cafe society N.Y.C ,dec 1950 (vinyl rip)

Heres a wonderful small group recording by Fletcher Henderson.
Obviously a broadcast recorded at a special reunion concert at New York's Cafe Society,no precise date is given ,merely december 1950.
Recorded apparently on the night before he had a crippling stroke that was to paralyse him for two years before killing him.
Lucky Thompson features prominently on every track .
The sound is fine if nothing special ..and these french musidisc lp's were hardly state of the art, the company were little more than bootleggers.

side a
c jam blues
i found a new baby
rose room
side b
anything you want
sometimes im happy
soft winds
three buckets of jive

Dick Vance -trpt, vox
Eddie Barefield- cl
Lucky Thompson-tenor sax
Fletcher Henderson-pno
John Brown-db
Jimmy Crawford-dr

Toots Thielemans - Live (1974) [LP > FLAC]

While Captured Alive from September of '74 had Toots exclusively on harmonica, this live date recorded in Holland on April 4th features his guitar as well. He plays harmonica on "No Greater Love", the ballads "That Misty Red Animal", Summer of '42" and "Nice to be Around", the humorous "You Are My Blues Machine" (in which he plays with just a metronome), and "C to G Jam Blues" which employs a device Clark Terry would often use - moving up keys chromatically each chorus. "Blue Lady", "Waltz for Sonny", "Dirty Old Man" and "Bluesette" feature his guitar work while "Curta Metragem" has Toots taking solos on both guitar and harmonica.

Other than Rob Franken I've never heard of the other players but they play very well for a local rhythm team. Along with some nice solos on piano and organ by Franken, guitarist Joop Scholten gets to take a ride on "No Greater Love." All in all a very enjoyable an well-rounded set by Thielemans and company.

First issued by the Dutch label Polydor, there haven't been any CD reissues although a few of the tracks have appeared on several compilations. This rip is from the US release by Inner City Records.

Toots Thielemans (harmonica, guitar)
Rob Franken (electric piano, organ)
Joop Scholten (guitar)
Victor Kaihatu (bass)
Evert Overweg (drums)
Cees Schrama (percussion)
  1. There Is No Greater Love
  2. Blue Lady
  3. That Misty Red Animal
  4. Waltz for Sonny
  5. Curta Metragem
  6. Dirty Old Man
  7. The Summer of '42
  8. Bluesette
  9. Nice to Be Around
  10. You Are My Blues Machine
  11. C to G Jam Blues
Recorded in Holland, April 4, 1974

Bob Brookmeyer - Back Again

The 70's were a difficult decade for Brookmeyer, and the title of this album reflects how much time he spent away from active music-making, at least as a recording artist. It's a dream band, of course, and the interplay of two such mellifluous horns makes it a constant pleasure. Rowles, Mraz, and Lewis only add to that effect. Rowles is a songster to the soles of his shoes and the bassist doesn't know how to play other than lyrically. It's sad that there isn't more from this period. ~ Penguin Guide

This session was valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer's first jazz date in 13 years after a period writing for the studios and then away from music altogether. Brookmeyer, who is featured in a quintet with cornetist Thad Jones, pianist Jimmy Rowles, George Mraz and drummer Mel Lewis, proves to still be in prime form playing in an unchanged style. Other than the leader's uptempo blues 'In a Rotten Mood' and a Latin piece ('Carib'), the quintet sticks to veteran standards. Highlights include 'Sweet and Lovely,' 'Caravan' and 'You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To.'

Bob Brookmeyer (trombone)
Thad Jones (flugelhorn, cornet)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. Sweet And Lovely
2. Carib
3. Caravan
4. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
5. Willow Weep For Me
6. I Love You
7. In A Rotten Mood
8. I Love You (alt)

Tony Bennett - Hometown, My Town (1958 LP)

HOMETOWN, MY TOWN is one of the finest LP’s never released on CD. Originally issued in 1959, it certainly is a rarity in the Bennett catalog in more than one way. Unusual in the Bennett repertory in that several of the tracks are super-long extended affairs on which Bennett permits his collaborator, the magnificent big-band veteran arranger Ralph Burns, to stretch out and show his stuff: these are NOT typical vocal-accompanist charts. “I Cover the Waterfront” comes in at almost five minutes while the first two selections, “Skyscraper Blues” and “Penthouse Serenade” are 6-7 minute extravaganzas with huge instrumental passages.

Check out the comments section for a listing of the all-star session musicians that played in Burns’ orchestra. Such soloists as Walt Levinsky, Urbie Green, Al Cohn, Toots Mondello, Milt Hinton, and Eddie Costa were just a few of this studio orchestra comprised of the very finest New York studio players of that time.

The total running time of HOMETOWN, MY TOWN is only 27 minutes which may explain its lack of release in the digital domain. However, the sonics of these recordings are incredible, even for LP: a cleaned up remastering from the original tapes would be revelatory! I have done my best with a pristine vintage LP, although the final track does suffer some imperfections that could be minimized, but not eliminated.

I really cannot sufficiently express my admiration for this album: Tony Bennett’s personal tribute to his New York hometown (with support from Ralph Burns and his incredible orchestrations) may be short, but it is well worth the half hour it takes to listen… I am sure many of you will enjoy many repeat hearings. Scoredaddy

Tony Bennett (vocals)
Ralph Burns (arranger)

1. The Skyscraper Blues
2. Penthouse Serenade (When We're Alone)
3. By Myself
4. I Cover The Waterfront
5. Love Is Here To Stay
6. The Party's Over

Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio, New York City on November 3, 4 & 6, 1958

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Esbjorn Svensson Trio at Montreux - Dodge the Dodo

As a followup to a recent post, here's a short video of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio playing at the Montreux Jazz Fest - not sure which year since these clips are presented on the satellite TV channel 'Mezzo' without much information. They play 'Dodge the Dodo', one of their signature compositions.
From Wikipedia:

Esbjörn Svensson Trio (or E.S.T.) (formed 1993) was a Swedish jazz piano trio consisting of Esbjörn Svensson (piano), Dan Berglund (double bass) and Magnus Öström (drums).
E.S.T were renowned for their vibrant style, often playing in rock venues to young crowds. They achieved great commercial success and critical acclaim throughout Europe. Their 1999 release From Gagarin's Point of View started their international breakthrough, being the first E.S.T. album to be released outside of Scandinavia through the German label ACT.
Pianist Esbjörn Svensson died in a scuba diving accident on 14 June 2008. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Giuseppe Logan - The Giuseppe Logan Quintet

Don Pullen's first recording date.

One of the more mysterious figures on the always mysterious label ESP-Disk, Giuseppi Logan was a Philadelphia-born reedman who made only two recordings as a leader and less than a dozen more as a sideman before disappearing entirely. One of the most uncompromisingly "out" free jazz records of its time, this 1964 session features Logan on tenor and alto sax, Pakistani oboe, clarinet, flute, and even bass, backed with a piano-bass-drums trio featuring drummer Milford Graves, the leading free jazz drummer of the New York scene. Graves doubles on tabla, adding the then-unique Indian percussion sound to the chaotic opener, Tabla Suite. The other four tracks are slightly more restrained than that wild start, but while pianist Don Pullen and bassist Eddie Gomez occasionally slip into recognizable chord patterns and time signatures (particularly on the almost conventional opening section of the 15-minute Bleecker Partita, the completely free playing of Logan and Graves keeps the set firmly in free jazz territory. Detractors have long said that Logan went into free jazz because his technique was poor but, while his tone is occasionally a little weak, his solos never sound random in the manner of an undertrained player. The Giuseppi Logan Quartet is definitely only for the free jazz faithful, but it's a solid, often fascinating set. ~ Stewart Mason

Giuseppi Logan (tenor and alto sax, bass clarinet, pakistani oboe)
Don Pullen (piano)
Milford Graves (drums, tabla)
Eddie Gomez (bass)

1.Tabla Suite
2.Dance of Satan
5.Bleecker Partita

Recorded on October 5, 1964

Martial Solal - Jazz Never Ends

Here's the latest video documentary-interview with Martial Solal. There have been a few over the years, but this one excels. One drawback for you Yanks - it's in French, with no subtitles. Still worth seeing however. The program was made by Michel Follin in 2008, Martial is 81 this year. 90 minutes, DivX @ 2k and 320k.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Teddy Hill - Dance With His NBC Orchestra

It would not be an exaggeration to call this French CD "definitive" of Teddy Hill's band, since it includes all 26 of his orchestra's recordings. Hill led an excellent big band during 1935-1937 that, although overshadowed by its competitors, featured such major soloists as trumpeters Roy Eldridge, Frankie Newton, and Dizzy Gillespie (heard on his very first recording date); trombonist Dicky Wells; and tenorman Chu Berry, among others. Although trumpeter Bill Dillard takes nine unfortunate ballad vocals, the other selections are excellent examples of no-nonsense swing. Highlights include "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie," "Uptown Rhapsody," "At the Rug Cutter's Ball," "China Boy," and "King Porter Stomp." A must for swing collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

Though he led a successful big band throughout the 1930s, Teddy Hill is best-remembered for managing Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, a nightclub where experimental jam sessions eventually led to the birth of the lingua franca of jazz: bebop. Prior to that, his musical career began after moving to New York in 1927, where he joined George Howe's band (which become Luis Russell's within months), staying until 1931. He started his own band in 1934, attracting such sidemen as Roy Eldridge, Chu Berry, Dicky Wells, Bill Coleman, and Dizzy Gillespie (who recorded his first solos while with Hill). The band played at the Savoy Ballroom regularly and toured England and France in the summer of 1937, but by 1940, Hill had left the band business in order to manage Minton's. There, such players as Gillespie, Berry, Charlie Christian, Jimmy Blanton, Thelonious Monk, and Kenny Clarke jammed after their regular gigs until past the wee hours, working out advanced harmonic innovations. (Indeed, one of the jams recorded by fan Jerry Newman was given the title "Up on Teddy's Hill.") Minton's importance waned after World War II, though, and when it discontinued its music policy in 1969, Hill became manager of the Baron Lounge. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Teddy Hill (tenor sax)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Bill Coleman (trumpet)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Frankie Newton (trumpet)
Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax)

1. (Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie
2. Got Me Doin' Things
3. When The Robin Sings His Song Again
4. When Love Knocks At Your Heart
5. Uptown Rhapsody
6. At The Rug Cutter's Ball
7. Blue Rhythm Fantasy
8. Passionette
9. The Love Bug Will Bite You
10. Would You Like To By A Dream?
11. Big Boy Blue
12. Where Is The Sun?
13. The Harlem Twister
14. My Marie
15. I Know Now
16. The Lady Who Couldn't Be Kissed
17. (Have You Forgotten) The You And Me That Used To Be
18. A Study In Brown
19. Twilight In Turkey
20. China Boy
21. San Anton'
22. I'm Happy, Darling, Dancing With You
23. Yours And Mine
24. I'm Felling Like A Million
25. King Porter Stomp
26. Blue Rhythm Fantasy

Don Byron - Bug Music (1996)

Most of us are familiar with the early work of Duke Ellington, and some of us are aware of the John Kirby Sextet, but few know of composer Raymond Scott, a pioneer in experimental music of the thirties and later in his career, the use of electronics. A fascinating person with an amazing career - check out his bio when you get a chance.

Bug Music is a tribute to the music of the Raymond Scott Quintette, the John Kirby Sextet and Duke Ellington, headed by the remarkably versatile clarinetist Don Byron. Raymond Scott's legendary compositions feature eccentric song titles (including, on this set, "Siberian Sleighride," "Tobacco Auctioneer" and "War Dance for Wooden Indians"), complex and thoroughly composed arrangements (all of which were originally memorized rather than being written out) and unique melodies. Kirby's brand of swing, which is quite complementary to Scott's novelties, often utilized themes from classical music and had solos, but were also tightly arranged (even "St. Louis Blues" and "Royal Garden Blues"). The CD begins and ends with four Ellington/Strayhorn pieces that fit well into the idiom (particularly "The Dicty Glide" and "Cotton Club Stomp"). In addition to Byron, the key players on the project include altoist Steve Wilson (one of the best of the younger swing stylists), trombonist Craig Harris and pianist Uri Caine, in addition to four other horns and several rhythm sections. Other than a silly rendition of Ellington's "Blue Bubbles" and an adventurous interpretation of "Snibor," the selections are played with respect and great understanding of the somewhat forgotten style. None of the modern musicians sound as if swing were only their second language, making the continually surprising set a major success. - Scott Yanow

Don Byron (clarinet, baritone sax, arranger)
Steve Wilson (alto sax)
Robert DeBellis (tenor sax)
Charles Lewis, Steve Bernstein, James Zollar (trumpet)
Craig Harris (trombone)
Uri Caine (piano)
David Gilmore (guitar)
Paul Meyers (banjo)
Kenny Davis (bass)
Billy Hart, Joey Baron, Pheeroon akLaff (drums)
  1. The Dicty Glide
  2. Frasquita Serenade
  3. St. Louis Blues
  4. Wondering Where
  5. Bounce of the Sugar Plum Fairies
  6. Charley's Prelude
  7. Royal Garden Blues
  8. Siberian Sleighride
  9. The Penguin
  10. The Quintet Plays Carmen
  11. Powerhouse
  12. Tobacco Auctioneer
  13. War Dance for Wooden Indians
  14. Cotton Club Stomp
  15. Blue Bubbles
  16. SNIBOR
Recorded May, 1996

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bruce Fowler - Ants Can Count (1990)

More Friday Fusion.....

This post was prompted by alpax's excellent November 21 contribution by The Fowler Brothers. Check it out if you haven't already. Ants Can Count features many of the same personnel, but makes the fusion category by virtue of its melding of jazz and classical forms. So, if you are not a jazz/rock fusion aficionado, don't be put off by the product placement. Nor by Mr. Yanow's lukewarm review - this is wonderful music.

Although trombonist Bruce Fowler and his many brothers all have a strong sense of humor, this set is actually fairly somber much of the time. Fowler utilizes different instrumentation on each of his originals and some of the pieces are almost completely written out, while a couple others are more freely improvised. The music falls between jazz and modern classical music, with a wide variety of intriguing tone colors and unusual combinations of instruments. For example, "Mountain Mist" and "Something Big" have four brass instruments, flute, drums, and percussion. Fowler overdubbed himself on a few trombones for "Ode to Stravinsky and the American Indians" and is heard all alone on "One Man One Bone." There are duets by Fowler with flute and French horn, a feature for a brass quartet on "Let's Hope," and a few numbers with more conventional instrumentations. This set would have been uplifted if it had utilized more of Fowler's wit, but what is here does hold one's interest. ~ Scott Yanow

Bruce Fowler (trombone)
Walt Fowler (trumpet)
Steve Fowler (flute & alto sax)
Suzette Moriarty (french horn)
Phil Teele (bass trombone)
Ed Fowler (piano & bass)
Tom Fowler (bass)
Ed Mann (percussion)
Billy Mintz (drums)
Chester Thompson (drums)
Clark Woodard (drums)

1. Mountain Mist
2. Ants Can Count
3. 3 MOD2=1
4. Ode to Stravinsky and the American Indians
5. Winter in Maine
6. One Man One Bone
7. Something Big
8. Duet for Flute and Trombone
9. Duet for French Horn and Trombone
10. Downriver
11. Let's Hope

John Fahey - The Mill Pond

This was released originally as an LP in an edition of 1000; it sold out immediately and is quite scarce. So, for it's CD release what do they do to make it more widely available? Release it in an edition of 3000.

"Four ecstatic, lo-fi grabs for the ring of eternity, recorded in Fahey's Oregon hotel room. Containing the first graspable evidence of John's throat-singing abilities, this represents the merging of the bull and the china shop. The crudity of the electronics and the delicacy of the string work make for a wonderful match." ~ Byron Coley

The Mill Pond was originally released on vinyl only. This limited edition CD reissue includes the first-ever collection of Fahey's paintings in the accompanying booklet. John Fahey has been around since the 1950s, making records (mostly) with just his acoustic guitar. He has influenced countless guitarists, from Jim O'Rourke to Thurston Moore to Nels Cline to Wham-O. His music has been called folk, blues, bluegrass, noise, even (gasp!) new age, so you're never quite sure what you're going to get with any of his releases. All of them, almost without exception, though, are excellent.

On this EP, Fahey uses heavy reverb, electric slide and feedback to create an eerie mood. He gets a bit of help from Jeff Allman, who recorded the songs and adds some electronic noise in spots, and from Scott Colburn, who mixed the tracks, but this record is all Fahey. The Mill Pond is all over the place stylistically, so it should confuse those who try to pigeonhole Fahey into any one category. The Mill Pond further proves that there is only one category into which he fits: truly innovative guitar genius.

John Fahey (guitar, vocals)
Jeff Allman (electronics)

1. Ghosts
2. Garbage
3. You Can't Cool Off in the Mill Pond, You Can Only Die
4. The Mill Pond Drowns Hope

Friday Fusion

Soft Machine - Third (1970)
2007 Remaster + Bonus Disc

Soft Machine plunged deeper into jazz and contemporary electronic music on this pivotal release, which incited The Village Voice to call it a milestone achievement when it was released. The original vinyl release was a double album of stunning music, with each side devoted to one composition -- two by Mike Ratledge, and one each by Hugh Hopper and Robert Wyatt, with substantial help from new bandmember Elton Dean on saxophones and a number of backup musicians, including Canterbury mainstay Jimmy Hastings. The Ratledge songs come closest to jazz fusion, although this is fusion laced with tape loop effects and hypnotic, repetitive keyboard patterns. Hugh Hopper's "Facelift" recalls "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson, although it's more complex, with several quite dissimilar sections. The pulsing rhythms, chaotic horn and keyboard sounds, and dark drones on "Facelift" predate some of what Hopper did as a solo artist later (this song was actually culled from two live performances in 1970). On his capricious composition "Moon in June," Robert Wyatt draws on musical ideas from early 1967 demos done with producer Giorgio Gomelsky. Lyrically, "Moon in June" is a satirical alternative to the pretension displayed by a lot of rock writing of the era, and combined with the Softs' exotic instrumentation, it makes for quite a listen. Not exactly rock, Third nonetheless pushed the boundaries of rock into areas previously unexplored, and it managed to do so without sounding self-indulgent. A better introduction to the group's psychedelic pop side is Vols. 1 & 2, but once introduced, this is the place to go. [The 2007 remastered edition features the original two-disc vinyl set of Third on one CD plus a bonus live disc of the Softs' "classic quartet" -- Ratledge, Hopper, Dean, and Wyatt -- performing "Out-Bloody-Rageous," "Facelift," and "Esther's Nose Job" live at Royal Albert Hall in 1970; this live material (also remastered) was previously issued as the Live at the Proms 1970 CD.] - Peter Kurtz

Mike Ratledge (piano, organ)
Hugh Hopper (bass)
Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals)
Elton Dean (alto sax)
Lyn Dobson (flute, soprano sax)
Jimmy Hastings (flute, bass clarinet)
Nick Evans (trombone)
Rab Spall (violin)

Disc One - The Original Album
1. Facelift
2. Slightly All the Time
3. Moon in June
4. Out-Bloody-Rageous

Recorded January - May 1970

Disc Two - Bonus
1. Out-Bloody-Rageous
2. Facelift
3. Esther's Nose Job
Orange Skin Food
A Door Opens and Closes
Pigling Bland
10:30 Returns to Bedroom

Recorded at the Promenade Concert, Royal Albert Hall, August 13, 1970

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stan Kenton - 1945 (Chronological 898)

Volume two in the Classics Stan Kenton chronology presents all of his Capitol and V-Disc recordings made between January 16 and December 26, 1945, with a pair of initially rejected Gene Howard vocal sides from 1944 tossed in as bonus tracks, out of sequence, like an afterthought. Singers would now become an increasingly important ingredient in the postwar entertainment industry. At the beginning of 1945, Kenton's featured female vocalist was sultry Anita O'Day, who later explained with characteristic gut level honesty why she quit after the session of January 16: "The band was great -- but it wasn't a swing band." June Christy began her own recording career with "Tampico" on May 4 after carefully studying the recordings of O'Day, who must have been a tough act to follow. There were occasional bouts of crooning from Gene Howard, and a Roy Eldridge disciple named Ray Wetzel sang and blew his trumpet on "I'm a Shy Guy." Kenton himself was one of four voices used on "I Been Down in Texas," an overbearing, embarrassingly contrived, campy combination of bop caricature and western novelty, grossly cluttered with imitation hepcat vernacular and hyped-up corn. On the more authentically hip side of things, "Around the Town," "Southern Scandal," "Opus in Pastels" and "Painted Rhythm" are among the better instrumental tracks from this part of the Kenton discography. Already the arrangements indicate the influence of Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Buster Harding, Earl Hines and the Billy Eckstine Orchestra. With all of the innovations circulating in the air at that time, it was Kenton's steadily expanding ensemble that attracted much of the attention with its "modern" angularities, shrill brass and bop-flavored charts. Kenton's sax section continued to morph during this period; Stan Getz split around the same time as O'Day and Kenton's old running buddy Vido Musso was back with the band on October 15. ~ arwulf arwulf

Stan Kenton (piano)
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Boots Mussulli (alto sax)
Anita O'Day (vocals)
June Christy (vocals)
Eddie Safranski (bass)

1. Ooh, What I Dreamed About You
2. I Want A Grown-Up Man
3. Travelin' Man
4. Around The Town
5. Tampico
6. Southern Scandal
7. Opus In Pastels
8. It's Been A Long, Long Time
9. Don't Let Me Dream
10. That's the Stuff You Gotta Watch
11. Southern Scandal
12. Ride On
13. I'm A Shy Guy
14. I Never Thought I'd Sing The Blues .
15. Are You Livin', Old Man?
16. Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'
17. Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'
18. Artistry Jumps
19. Painted Rhythm
20. She's Funny That Way
21. Say It Isn't So

Stanley Turrentine - Rough 'n Tumble

It's no secret that I'm not the biggest Turrentine fan, and most of the stuff of his I buy is for the sidemen involved - this has some killers, notably Spaulding, Mitchell, and Pepper Adams.

"Finally, this 1966 gem is available on CD. Though one of majestic-toned, blues-and-bop tenor saxophone maestro Stanley Turrentine's lesser-known albums, Rough 'n' Tumble is nonetheless a foot-stomping delight. On six very engaging numbers, Stanley is surrounded by a dynamic seven-piece all-star band that features trumpeter Blue Mitchell, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, guitarist Grant Green, drummer Mickey Roker, and McCoy Tyner (!!!) on piano. The very solid arrangements are by top-drawer writer Duke Pearson. Each track has something special. "And Satisfy" is a riveting, shuffle blues. Turrentine's reading of the theme and his singing then shouting, blues-drenched solo sport his typical vocal inflections. Mitchell and Green's more boplike (though still indigo-shaded) efforts provide delicious contrast. Turrentine's solo on Sam Cooke's "Shake" is another joyous holler. Ray Charles's ever-so-slow ditty, "What Could I Do Without You," has the tenorman at his emotive best, pulling the listener in with crying-like notes while Tyner gets Ray's piano style just right. Stanley also sings out on "Walk On By," and Roker's crisp cymbal and drum work help "Feeling Good" motor right along with a spark. Stanley employs the wears-well melody in his percolating improvisation, and Tyner also scores with a similar approach. The closing "Baptismal," the one strictly straight-ahead piece here, is home to crackling solos from the leader, Tyner-making the style he developed with Coltrane work superbly in a more traditional context--and the ever-galvanizing, gritty and rhythmically sure-footed Adams. A winner all around." - Zan Stewart

Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
James Spaulding (alto sax)
Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (bar sax)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Grant Green (guitar)
Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)
Duke Pearson (arr)

1. And Satisfy
2. What Could I Do Without You
3. Feeling Good
4. Shake
5. Walk On By
6. Baptismal

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, July 1, 1966

Esbjorn Svensson Trio - From Gagarin's Point Of View

"...surely Svensson's best... Working in comparative isolation in Stockholm, he was here producing piano-trio records ready to take on the best of whatever the rest of the jazz world can retaliate with. From Gagarin's Point Of View continues in the same vein [than Winter In Venice] perhaps even more inventively. If jazz musicians are going to effect any kind of rapprochement with rock or dance music, then one way might be the kind of fusion which the trio suggests in 'Dodge The Dodo', where Öström plays a sort of hip-hop beat at the kit and Svensson still lets the melodious theme determine the end result. It's just one of 11 diverse, ingenious compositions. The shaping of these episodes into a sequence may strike some as a bit too artful, but it's the act of musicians who are of a generation that knows about their vast range of options and still want to play acoustic jazz. At any rate, Svensson does more than enough here to show why, along with such performers as Jason Moran, Guus Janssen, Yosuke Yamashita and Brad Mehldau, he's helping to keep the piano-trio situation full of new music." ~ Penguin Guide

Esbjörn Svensson (piano, keyboards, percussion)
Dan Berglund (bass, percussion)
Magnus Öström (drums, percussion)

1. Return Of Mohammed
2. Definition Of A Dog
3. Chapel
4. From Gagarin's Point Of View
5. Cornette
6. Southwest Loner
7. Dating
8. Dodge The Dodo
9. Subway
10. In The Face Of Day
11. Picnic

Ira Sullivan - Peace (1978) [LP > FLAC]

With Benny Carter, Ira Sullivan is one of less than a handful of musicians who is equally adept at playing both trumpet and saxophone. Jay Thomas from Seattle is another. With his arsenal of instruments, Sullivan is as likely to venture into the free jazz world as he is to tearing into some Charlie Parker inspired bebop.

, which has yet to be reissued on CD, does a masterful job of highlighting his various talents beginning with an uptempo version of "I Get a Kick Out of You" featuring tenor sax. "Send in the Clowns" is a rather open, spacey version which has Sullivan playing soprano sax and trumpet. Joe Diorio's "Gong" has an Eastern flavor with soprano sax and the percussive effects of Kenneth Nash while "Vento Bravo" gets into a fast 6/8 groove with Ira doubling on flute and tenor sax. The closer, Horace Silver's "Peace", opens with flugelhorn, and following solos on tenor sax and guitar, ends with alto flute. Throughout the album the guitar of Joe Diorio is well highlighted and the two main soloists have strong support from the others. Kenneth Nash shows why he is one of the most in-demand percussionists around and Billy Higgins seems to be everywhere, doesn't he?

The remarkable Ira Sullivan (who on this album plays trumpet, flugelhorn, flute, alto flute, soprano and tenor with equal skill) teams up with the underrated guitarist Joe Diorio, bassist John Heard, drummer Billy Higgins and percussionist Kenneth Nash for a diverse program of music. Ranging from "I Get a Kick Out of You" and a tolerable version of "Send in the Clowns" to Diorio's "Gong" and Horace Silver's "Peace," Sullivan and Diorio contribute many intriguing solos. - Scott Yanow

Ira Sullivan (trumpet, flugelhorn, flute, alto flute, soprano and tenor saxophones)
Joe Diorio (guitar)
John Heard (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Kenneth Nash (percussion)
  1. I Get a Kick Out of You
  2. Send in the Clowns
  3. Gong
  4. Vento Bravo
  5. Peace
Recorded September 20-21, 1978

Benny Carter - Live And Well In Japan


"Turning 70, Carter seemed eager to dismiss biblical estimates of an average lifespan by playing like a man half his age. In an all-star line-up in Japan ( a country he came to love and where he was treated like a minor deity) he trades superbly crafted licks with all and sundry. The sound is rather cavernous but there's great atmosphere, and the playing makes up for all other deficiencies." ~ Penguin Guide

Benny Carter headed a talent-filled tentet for this frequently exciting concert. With trumpeters Cat Anderson and Joe Newman, trombonist Britt Woodman, Cecil Payne on baritone and Budd Johnson doubling on tenor and soprano, it is not at all surprising that the results would be memorable, but this date actually exceeds one's expectations. In addition to fine jam versions of "Squatty Roo," "Them There Eyes" and "It Don't Mean a Thing," there is a remarkable Louis Armstrong medley on which Carter (on trumpet) plays "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," Cat Anderson follows with a high note solo on "Confessin'" and then Joe Newman (who rarely recorded vocals) does a near-perfect imitation of Louis Armstrong singing on "When You're Smiling." ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (trumpet, alto sax)
Cat Anderson (trumpet)
Budd Johnson (tenor and soprano sax)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Nat Pierce (piano)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
George Duvivier (bass)
Harold Jones (drums)

1. Squatty Roo
2. Tribute to Louis Armstrong: Medley
3. Them There Eyes
4. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Kosei Nenkin Hall, Tokyo: April 29, 1977

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Anthology Of Scat Singing Vol. 3 1933-1941

Another of the excellent Masters Of Jazz Series; I have just this one volume - which is excellent - and have only otherwise seen Volume 2. That copy was $25- 30 and it was a water damaged copy. The comprehensive notes contain the Introduction to all volumes, and the remastering is done by John R.T. Davies, of recent discussion. Perhaps Dudearonymous can fill us in on some background information; he's our go-to guy for this excellent series even though he's recent to the scene. See what happens when you treat this place like a community? It's a love thing, maaaaaan.

Svend Asmussen?

2. DAVE ROSE (Hotcha Trio) - Dinah
4. CAB CALLOWAY - Zaz Zuh Zaz
5. CAB CALLOWAY - Father's Got His Glasses On
6. CAB CALLOWAY - The Scat Song
7. CAB CALLOWAY - Hotcha Razz-Ma-Tazz
8. THE MILLS BROTHERS - I've Found A New Baby
9. CAB CALLOWAY - Chinese Rhythm
10. ALABAMA JUG BAND - Sister Kate
11. TINY BRADSHAW - Mister, Will You Serenade?
12. TINY BRADSHAW - The Darktown Strutter's Ball
13. TINY BRADSHAW - The Sheik Of Araby
14. TINY BRADSHAW - I Ain't Got Nobody
15. CAB CALLOWAY - Nagasaki
16. WASHBOARD SERENADERS - The Sheik of Araby
17. THE THREE PEPPERS - Swingin' At The Cotton Club
18. DICKY WELLS - Hangin' Around Boudon
19. GENE KRUPA - Nagasaki
20. KING COLE TRIO: The Sheik of Araby
22. LEO WATSON - It's The Tune That Counts
23. KING COLE TRIO - I Like To Riff
24. BON BON AND HIS BUDDIES - Blow, Gabriel, Blow
25. THE SPRITS OF RHYTHM - Walkin This Town
26. SVEND ASMUSSEN - Ring Dem Bells
27. FATS WALLER - I Wish I Were Twins

Milt Jackson - Opus De Jazz

I had the vinyl of this referred to in Scotty's review, but it was given to me by a friend who worked for Arista, who had just bought the Savoy imprint - hence a white noteless sleeve. My friend liked to swipe albums but had no idea what to do with the jazz titles; I lucked out. Clive Davis had just taken over the company and I went with my pal to a show by The Band at a private company show at The Bottom Line. I sat next to Davis and - I blush for him - the dude had painted his bald spot black. Funny thing is, nobody mentioned it to him! I enjoyed listening to this again - I remember Frank Wess' flute on track 3 very well.

What is it with Scotty and his essential/non-essential? Downbeat gave this 5 not essential stars.

This Savoy CD is a duplicate of the original LP although it lacks the fine liner notes included on the Arista/Savoy 1978 LP. The four selections (which unfortunately total under 34 minutes) are excellent, particularly a fun version of Horace Silver's blues "Opus De Funk" in which vibraphonist Milt Jackson, flutist Frank Wess and pianist Hank Jones have a long tradeoff. The quintet (which also includes bassist Eddie Jones and drummer Kenny Clarke) swings nicely throughout the three blues and lone ballad ("You Leave Me Breathless"). This is not essential, but it is enjoyable music. ~ Scott Yanow

Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
Hank Jones (piano)
Frank Wess (flute, tenor sax)
Eddie Jones (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Opus de Funk
2. Opus Pocus
3. You Leave Me Breathless
4. Opus and Interlude

Eddie Daniels & Gary Burton - Benny Rides Again (1992)

During 1991-92, clarinetist Eddie Daniels and vibraphonist Gary Burton teamed up on a tour, performing a tribute to Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. Never mind that they sound nothing at all like their predecessors. On the CD that resulted from the collaboration, the duo use pianist Mulgrew Miller (who sounds much more like McCoy Tyner than Teddy Wilson), bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine for 11 songs associated with the King of Swing plus Bix Beiderbecke's "In a Mist." Actually the most memorable selection is "Knockin' on Wood," which has nothing to do with Goodman or Hampton (it was a feature for Red Norvo) and features Burton romping on a xylophone. Other highlights include a surprisingly brief "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Airmail Special," "Slipped Disc" and "Avalon." - Scott Yanow

"This is a tribute to Benny and Lionel, without becoming an imitation....the premise here is that we are mature musicians showing respect for men who preceded us, in our own way". - Eddie Daniels

Eddie Daniels (clarinet)
Gary Burton (vibes, xylophone)
Mulgrew Miller (piano)
Marc Johnson (bass)
Peter Erskine (drums)
  1. Sing, Sing, Sing
  2. Stompin' at the Savoy
  3. Moonglow
  4. Airmail Special
  5. Let's Dance
  6. Slipped Disc
  7. Memories of You
  8. Avalon
  9. In a Mist
  10. Grand Slam
  11. After You've Gone
  12. Goodbye
  13. Knockin' on Wood
Recorded January 14 & 15, 1992

Claude Williamson - 'Round Midnight

Claude Williamson was one of the better bebop-oriented pianists to be active during the 1950s. This trio set with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Mel Lewis has been reissued on CD. With the exception of four-minute renditions of "Stella by Starlight" and Horace Silver's "Hippy," all of the numbers clock in around the three-minute mark. The repertoire (which includes such tunes as "Somebody Loves Me," "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," "Just One of Those Things" and "The Song Is You") is typical for the time period and Williamson brings to the music his own approach to playing bop. The set is quite enjoyable and, even if the program (which is around 39 minute) is a bit brief, it should appeal to straightahead jazz fans. ~ Scott Yanow

Claude Williamson has been an exceptional advocate of bop piano since the late 1940s, combining refinement and energy in a style that derives directly from Bud Powell, while retaining occasional leavening traces of Williamson's earlier influence, Teddy Wilson. His 1995 CD, Hallucinations, was a fitting tribute to Powell, as both composer and pianist. On this 1956 recording, Williamson plays succinct versions of well-chosen standards like "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and "Stella by Starlight," along with occasional bop tunes like Horace Silver's then recent "Hippy." There's never a hint of sentimentality on the ballads or wasted rhetoric at any tempo; just lean, anti-rhapsodic bop piano distilled to the essence, with Williamson's quick, light touch adding his own joyous animation. He gets consistently good support throughout from bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Mel Lewis. --Stuart Broomer

Claude Williamson (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. Stella By Starlight
2. Somebody Loves Me
3. I'll Know
4. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
5. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
6. Hippy
7. Tea For Two
8. Stompin' At The Savoy
9. 'Round Midnight
10. Just One Of Those Things
11. Love Is Here To Stay
12. The Song Is You

Los Angeles, California, December, 1956

The Claude Williamson Trio - Hallucinations (1995)

For his V.S.O.P. release, veteran pianist Claude Williamson performs six Bud Powell compositions, plus six other standards that the innovative bop pianist enjoyed playing. With the assistance of bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Paul Kreibich, Williamson displays both the Powell influence and his own approach to bebop piano. The music always swings, has enough surprises to hold on to one's interest, and shows that Claude Williamson (who has been somewhat underrated through the years) was still in prime form four decades after his initial recognition. Highlights of this easily recommended disc include "Hallucinations," "Bud's Bubble," "Parisian Thoroughfare," and "Bouncing With Bud." ~Yawnow

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Art Farmer - Yesterdays Thoughts

Eastwind is one of those small Japanese companies that commisioned established but under-utilised musicians (plenty of which were around in the '70s) to record in the States for Japanese-only consumption; these have been steadily coming on to the international market in recent years.

With Art Farmer's phenomenal output of recordings as a leader during his long career, it isn't surprising to run across obscure gems such as this pair of 1975 studio sessions recorded in New York for release in Japan by Eastwind. Joined by frequent collaborator Cedar Walton on piano, as well as bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins, the mellow flugelhornist excels on the ballads that make up the majority of the album. "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life" begins slowly, with the rhythm section slowly pushing the tempo, as if to push for an answer to the title of the song. "Namely You" is played as a brisk waltz, while the snappy approach to "Alone Together" finds the leader at the top of his game. A reworking of ex-partner Benny Golson's "Yesterday's Thoughts" is followed by the only up-tempo tune present, Walton's invigorating "Firm Roots." Both Jones and Higgins provide the solid support that they delivered on numerous dates throughout their respective careers. Don't expect to find this long-unavailable LP quickly or at a bargain price, but it is well worth the effort to acquire it. ~ Ken Dryden

Possibly better-appreciated in the latter period of his life and after his death, Art Farmer, along with Clark Terry, was instrumental in bringing the flugelhorn, a mellow cousin of the trumpet, to the fore. Appearing on literally hundreds of recordings and releasing over seventy albums under his own name, he may have been the perfect definition of the journeyman musician—well-known in music circles, but a name that tended to elude the larger record-buying public for many years. Still, with a lyrical style that set him apart from many of his stratosphere-reaching contemporaries, Farmer has aged incredibly well in retrospect.

Yesterdays Thoughts is part of the fledgling Test of Time record label's commitment to making recordings, originally released by the Japanese East Wind Music label in the '70s—and previously only available as expensive import LPs—accessible to North American audiences. Like the first two releases on the label—Andrew Hill's Hommage and the Great Jazz Trio's At the Village Vanguard—Yesterday's Thoughts has been remastered using the Direct Stream Digital process (DSD), and the result is a sound that as closely resembles what the musicians heard in the studio control room as is possible.

With an all-star cast featuring pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Billy Higgins, this outing may be identified by the liner notes as a ballad recording, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The opening track, Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life" does set the pace for a relaxed session, and the Benny Golson title track is a tender piece indeed; but there's plenty of variety on the date, from the medium-tempo bossa of Jobim's "How Insensitive" to the at-ease swing of Mercer/DePaul's "Namely You" and Dietz/Schwartz's "Alone Together" plus the more energetic Walton original "Firm Roots."

What makes the whole session sound so effortless may be the behind-the-beat approach of virtually everyone on the session. Farmer may demonstrate the most laid-back phrasing this side of Dexter Gordon, with Walton, Jones, and Higgins following close behind. And the sense of swing is unassailable; even on the two ballads there's that indefinable quality that makes everything dance. Walton's lightly funky bop approach lends a brighter element to an otherwise soft and mellow session. Even when the group takes off, as it does on "Firm Roots", there's a complete lack of anything resembling an edge, with Higgins' touch in particular feeling gentler than usual.

Easy on the ears, Yesterday's Thoughts captures Farmer at particularly busy time in his career—during '76 and '77 he'd release no fewer than six albums under his own name. But in Farmer's case, boosting quantity didn't mean sacrificing quality, and Yesterday's Thoughts is a welcome addition to the Farmer back catalogue: an album that, in its own quiet way, reaffirms Farmer's strength as a rich-toned, melodic player who may only be receiving his proper due retrospectively. ~ John Kelman

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life
2. How Insensitive
3. Namely You
4. Alone Together
5. Yesterday's Thoughts
6. Firm Roots

Charli Persip and Gerry LaFurn's Superband (1980) [LP > FLAC]

There is a recent post in contributions from fabianbass by the excellent Gene Harris and the Philip Morris Superband. Ten years earlier another "superband" was presented by drummer Charli Persip and trumpeter Gerry LaFurn. The term Big Band wasn't good enough? Kind of like commercial products going from regular to extra-strength to maximum-strength. So what's next? Superdupermegaband?

Whatever you want to call it, this was a unique grouping of musicians playing some creative arrangements. "Manteca" was arranged by Slide Hampton and features Frank Gordon on trumpet and Monty Waters on alto sax. Ex-Mingus sideman Jack Walrath contributed "On the Road" which features his own trumpet work. Frank Foster's lush arrangement of the standard "Once in a While" is a solo vehicle for guest trumpeter Chris Albert. "Meantime" was composed by Gary Anderson who wrote a lot of charts for Woody Herman in the '70s. The use of odd meters give this one a modern flair with its complex rhythms and has some nice solo work by Bobby Rutledge on trumpet, Charles Stephens on trombone, Bill Saxton on tenor sax, and Charli Persip on drums. The best charts on the album are the last two: "King Duke" is a Jack Walrath composition and a tribute to Duke Ellington via Charles Mingus (whom Walrath did a lot of orchestrations for) and "Jupiter" is Frank Gordon's adventurous original composition and arrangement. Along with some very difficult ensemble work, there are searing solos by Saxton and Gordon. In the liner notes, Max Roach called Gordon's solo "one of the most inventive trumpet solos ever recorded." Maybe a little overstated...kind of like calling this group Superband.

"Drummer Charli Persip's second album as a leader (and first in 20 years) was the debut set of his "Superband," a modern 17-piece orchestra. Co-led by trumpeter/arranger Gerry LaFurn, the big band has some particularly interesting musicians within its ranks, including trumpeters Jack Walrath, Frank Gordon and Chris Albert (who is featured on "Once In a While"), trombonist Charles Stevens, altoist Monty Waters, Bill Saxton on tenor, baritonist Gary Smulyan, pianist Garry Dial and Bob Stewart on tuba. They perform two standards (including "Manteca") and four group originals, with Walrath's "King Duke" being a highlight." - Scott Yanow

Gerry LaFurn, Jim Bossy, Frank Gordon, Jack Walrath, Bobby Ruteledge (trumpet)
Chris Albert (trumpet on 3)
Gerard Carelli, Dick Griffin, Charles Stephens (trombone)
Bob Stewart (tuba)
Bob Porcelli, Monty Waters, Orpheus Gaitanopoulous, Bill Saxton, Gary Smulyan (reeds)
Gary Dial (piano)
Cameron Brown (bass)
Charli Persip (drums)
  1. Manteca
  2. On the Road
  3. Once in a While
  4. Meantime
  5. King Duke
  6. Jupiter
Recorded October 10 & 13, 1980

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hoagy Carmichael - Sings And Plays Carmichael 1927-1939

This seems like a good time for this King Jazz title that's been sitting here for a while. Stardust is often mentioned as being in contention for the most recorded song. I know, I know, the Beatles, but some still contest it. I just recently read Carmichaels memoirs, and was a little disappointed.

"Why isn't everyone in the world here to hear this?" Hoagy Carmichael spoke those words of admiration not when referring to his own music, but to King Oliver's, after being present at a performance by the Creole Jazz Band at the Lincoln Gardens in Chicago. Hoagy, the young lawyer wh had decided to give up his legal career after falling in love with jazz, was one of the few composers of popular songs who adapted the jazz vocabulary into his work. Which he did with a charm that has never been equalled. Carmichael has been a fortunate composer. Songs such as "Georgia On My Mind", "Rockin' Chair, "Skylark", "New Orleans", "I Get Along Without You Very Well", or his very best, "The Nearness Of You" form part of the repertoire of musicians from many generations: "Stardust" was recorded more than 1100 times and translated into 30 languages. But composing was not enough for him for he needed to actively participate in music. As a pianist he was competent. As a singer he would never have gone so far if he hadn't have limited himself to his own repertoire, and if his southern accent and somewhat casual style hadn't brought a special attractiveness to his interpretations. An intimate friend of Bix Beiderbecke, for whom he wrote Riverboat Shuffle", Hoagy Carmichael had always the astuteness to surround himself with some of the very best jazzmen: Bix, Pee Wee Russell, Bubber Miley, Jack Teagarden, the Dorsey brothers, Red Norvo and Louis Armstrong among others, many of whom appear on these waxings. On this disc the interpretations alternate, at times, with those in which Louis Armstrong also appears, or those which are actually Armstrong's own masterworks. A quite natural choice if one takes into account that all his life Louis was a great admirer of Hoagy's music. ~ Jorge Garcia

Hoagy Carmichael (piano)
Bix Beiderbecke (cornet)
Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals)
Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax)
Tommy Dorsey (trombone)
Luis Russell (piano)
Miff Mole (trombone)
Eddie Lang (guitar)
Bud Freeman (tenor sax)
Joe Venuti (violin)
Gene Krupa (drums)

1. Washboard Blues
2. Sittin' And Whittlin'
3. Harvey
4. Stardust
5. Stardust
6. Rockin' Chair
7. Rockin' Chair
8. High And Dry
9. My Sweet
10. Georgia On My Mind
11. Georgia On My Mind
12. Lazy River
13. Lazy River
14. Come Easy, Go Easy Love
15. Sing It Way Down Low
16. Lazy Bones
17. Lazy Bones
18. Judy
19. Moon Country
20. Two Sleepy People
21. Hong Kong Blues
22. Riverboat Shuffle
23. New Orleans
24. Little Old Lady

Mal Waldron - Soul Eyes: The Mal Waldron Memorial Album

There has been a lull in the ongoing MalFest, but I take that to be one of those good problems. There are a good 20 or 30 of his albums that have been through here, and when some others stop costing $50 there'll be more, no doubt.

Meanwhile, here's a compilation that has nothing that hasn't been through here already, but it has the virtue of being one of the better compilations available.

A beautifully judged selection from a fertile period. The title-track is a genuine jazz classic. ~ Penguin Guide

Mal Waldron was a remarkably versatile piano player, able to work in many different contexts, from Billie Holiday to Eric Dolphy. This ability made him invaluable as musical director for Prestige Records, where the recording dates were often little more than jam sessions. Soul Eyes: The Mal Waldron Memorial Album collects 11 tracks, recorded between 1955 and 1962, that Waldron played on and/or led, including a mammoth version of the title cut, featuring John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers, and others, that clocks in at 17-plus minutes. Although all the cuts have been previously released (not always under Waldron's name), it's nice to have this overview of one of his most fertile periods. ~ Sean Westergaard

Mal Waldron (piano)
Eric Dolphy (alto sax)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
John Coltrane (tenor sax)
Gene Ammons (tenor sax)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Paul Quinichette (tenor sax)
Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Teddy Charles (vibraphone)
Webster Young (trumpet)
Ron Carter (cello)
Buell Neidlinger (bass)
Charlie Persip (drums)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. A Portrait Of Bud Powell
2. Soul Eyes
3. Potpourri
4. Dakar
5. While My Lady Sleeps
6. God Bless The Child
7. Dear Elaine
8. Splidium-Dow
9. Bye-Ya
10. Fire Waltz
11. Light'n Up