Sunday, February 28, 2010

Contest Winners

Everybody who entered!!! Yay!!!

Seriously, the six people who entered all win.

The winners are in comments, and some of the prizes are:

Sahib Shihab - And the Danish Radio Orch

Lee Morgan - Leeway - Sealed Connoisseur edition

Kenny Dorham - Whistle Stop - Sealed Connoisseur edition

3 OJC titles - my choice, but will try to match your interests

Signed copy of Chip Defaa's Voices of the Jazz Age

Signed copy of Leonard Feather's The Jazz Years

Jackie McLean - A Fickle Sonance TOCJ

Alan Shorter - Tes Esat

Randi Hultin's Born Under The Sign Of Jazz

Earl Hines autograph (with Quinn Wilson and two others)
and a Symphony Sid autograph (both)

A list of books on request if there's one you've been looking for

Get in touch with some particular artist/instrument/label preferences and we'll work something out

Congratulations, and I'll send your prizes anywhere you want them.

BN LP 5029 & 5044 | Elmo Hope Quintet - New Faces/New Sounds, Volume 2

Freeman Lee (tp) Frank Foster (ts) Elmo Hope (p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 9, 1954

Frank Foster is back again, so is Percy Heath - but you have Art Blakey sitting in on the skins. Elmo Hope is in good form. I couldn't find anything in Cook's Blue Note bio about this session.

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ryan Kisor - Awakening

I'm not sure I agree with the review that this is his best to date, but it's definitely one to get before it is unavailable.

On his first album of all original material, trumpeter Ryan Kisor delivers an atmospheric mix of organ-based post-bop. Calling to mind the work of such late-'60s luminaries as Pat Martino, Freddie Hubbard, and Wayne Shorter, Awakening coalesces various harmonic and rhythmic themes Kisor has explored on his previous efforts. That said, there is something deeper and more crystallized about his work here, especially on the two-part opening title track, an eerie, spacy, and fractured bossa nova piece. Throughout the album, Kisor displays a knack for unpredictable, intellectual improvisation. He draws you in with warm storytelling phrases and pretty birdcall-like tones. Urging him on are the expansive organ sounds of Sam Yahel and sensitively funky guitar work of Peter Bernstein. Together they bring a mix of angular minimalism and gooey nonlinear swing to Kisor's understatedly hip compositions. Similarly, tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart and drummer Willie Jones III add their distinctive styles to an ensemble that seems to thrive on subtle group interplay. While Kisor does not push the boundaries of jazz style and form to their edges, he has found a fresh way to imprint his persona on the tradition with an album that ranks as his best so far. - Matt Collar AMG

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - 1964 The Carnegie Hall Concert

This is a recording of the historic Carnegie Hall concert of October 9, 1964. The concert matched the Getz Quartet (including a 21-year-old Gary Burton) with the Joao Gilberto Trio. The Stan Getz Quartet appears in seven tracks, playing songs from Gershwin, Ellington, Burke, Getz or Gary Burton. Other five songs (all of them from brazilian authors) are played by the Joao Gilberto Trio. The other four songs (from Jobim) are played by both groups and an Orchestra.

01 Samba De Uma Nota So (Jobim, Mendoça) 01:39
02 Desafinado (Jobim, Mendoça) 02:00
03 Tonight I Shall Sleep With A Smile On My Face (D & M Ellington, Gordon) 02:48
04 Grandfather's Waltz (Famlof, Lees) 04:45
05 Stan's Blues (Getz) 04:46
06 O Pato (Silva, Teixeira) 02:27
07 Samba De Minha Terra (Caymmi) 03:10
08 Bim Bom (Gilberto) 02:09
09 Meditation (Jobim, Mendoça, Gimbel) 04:04
10 Un Abraço No Bonfa (Gilberto) 02:54
11 Meditaçao (Jobim, Mendoça) 01:48
12 A Felicidade (Jobim, De Moraes) 02:50
13 The Singing Song (Burton) 03:45
14 Here's That Rainy Day (Burke, Van Heusen) 06:17
15 Summertime (Gershwin) 08:11
16 Six-Nix-Quix-Flix (Burton) 01:17

Stan Getz Quartet (tracks 3-5, 13-16)
Stan Getz (ts)
Gary Burton (vib)
Gene Cherico (b)
Joe Hunt (d)

Joao Gilberto Trio (tracks 6-10)
Joao Gilberto (g)
Keeter Betts (b)
Helcio Militio (d)

Joao Gilberto Trio & Stan Getz Orchestra (tracks 1, 2, 11, 12)

Recorded live at Carnegie Hall, New York, on October 9, 1964

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ryan Kisor - Donna Lee

This one also is hard to get at a reasonable price, but I hear several RK's may be re-issued later this year, hopefully at normal prices. No good reviews to be found, but you can take my word for it that you should have it!
Song for My Father
Donna Lee
Short Story
Up Your Tempo
Rip Tide
I Had the Craziest Dream
Work Song

Celia Cruz - Azucar Negra

Now out-of-print, this one is worth the price if you can find it.

Biography by Craig Harris

Celia Cruz was one of Latin music's most respected vocalists. A ten-time Grammy nominee, Cruz, who sang only in her native Spanish language, received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award, a National Medal of the Arts, and honorary doctorates from Yale University and the University of Miami. A street in Miami was even renamed in her honor, and Cruz's trademark orange, red, and white polka dot dress and shoes have been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute of Technology. The Hollywood Wax Museum includes a statue of the Cuba-born songstress. According to the European Jazz Network, Cruz "commands her realm with a down-to-earth dignity unmistakably vibrant in her wide smile and striking pose." (continued in comments)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sadao Watanabe - Parker's Mood (1985)

Sadao Watanabe has always sounded at his best when playing bebop, especially when accompanied by a great rhythm section. This 1985 live set from the Bravas Club in Tokyo features Watanabe with James Williams, Charnett Moffett and Jeff Watts stretching out on a set of well known tunes.

Sadao Watanabe (alto sax)
James Williams (piano)
Charnett Moffett (bass)
Jeff Watts (drums)

  1. Stella by Starlight
  2. Everything Happens to Me
  3. Lament
  4. Billie's Bounce
  5. I Thought About You
  6. Parker's Mood
  7. Bird of Paradise
  8. Beautiful Love
Recorded at Bravas Club, Tokyo, Japan, July 13, 1985

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BN LP 5043 | Frank Foster - New Faces/New Sounds, "Here Comes Frank Foster"

Benny Powell (tb) Frank Foster (ts) Gildo Mahones (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 5, 1954

from his bio;
Born September 23, 1928 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Frank Benjamin Foster III began his long musical career at age eleven, when he took up the clarinet. Two years later he began playing alto saxophone, advancing technically to the point of performing with local dance bands at age 14. He began to compose and arrange at 15, and led his own 12-piece band while still only a senior in high school. Foster attended Wilberforce University, then left for Detroit in 1949 (with trumpeter Snooky Young) where he played with such local musicians as Wardell Gray.
Upon finishing his military service in 1953, Foster joined Count Basie's big band (replacing Eddie Lockjaw Davis) on the recommendation of Ernie Wilkins.

So after the May 5th date (Wednesday), Frank Foster also appears on BN 5044 (May 9, 1954 - Sunday), he also recorded for Prestige, (Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 11, 1954)(Tuesday), then Blue Note again, BN 5045 (May 12, 1954 - Wednesday) - so a busy week. Then again on BN 5053 (August 8, 1954).

On this date you get a good part of Basie's brass, with Foster and Powell - for me this is a pleasant date and perfectly enjoyable, but certainly not electrifying - but Leonard Feather found it a, "delightful set of performances" - you can judge for youeselves.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Well, after the various apps made identifying audio tracks too simple, we have come up with more of an old school version.

In comments there is link to a file containing some photos, a couple of audio tracks, and an old fashioned 'match the quote to the speaker' file.

Very simple rules: just guess at whatever you can. For example, you can say for the audio tracks something like "That is so-and-so playing", or "There is a piano, bass and guitar on this track", or "This sounds like it was recorded in California".

Likewise for the photos.

Guess what you can - some are easy, some I couldn't figure out myself, probably. In any case, have some fun.

As for prizes: in the past "winners' would pick things to be re-uploaded, but this time I'll send some actual music. A Sahib Shihab CD was mentioned, but there are also Grant Green and Lee Morgan Connoisseur editions still sealed in original wrappers, maybe a signed copy of Leonard Feather's book; a bunch of fun stuff. I will prepare a list for the winners to choose from, and I'll send it anywhere the winner lives.

Also, we encourage EVERYONE to enter, not just mailing list members and fellow bloggers. Even if we've never heard from you before, you are welcome to join the fun. Three winners will be chosen, and we'll run this for a week or ten days or so.

Good luck, and have fun.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunna Gunnlaugs

The Washington Post described her music as possessing "such timeless virtues as lyricism and grace… elegantly bridges soul-searching passages with uncluttered swing." On her latest CD, "Songs from Iceland" she confirms that assessment by re-imagining 5 Icelandic folk-songs for jazz quartet, adding new perspective to Time Out New York's statement that Gunnlaugs is "proof that jazz is as much a part of the picture as the pop of Björk or SigurRos." Her next recording is scheduled for June in New York amidst US tour-dates.

Equally influenced by such American pianists as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, and Scandinavians like Bobo Stenson and Jon Balke, Sunna has found a way to make music to which people on both sides of the Atlantic can relate. Her own charming brand of romantic lyricism soaring over a driving American rhythm section appeals to jazzers and non-jazzers alike.

As a child growing up on a small peninsula called Seltjarnarnes not far from Reykjavik she began taking lessons on the organ at the urging of her mother. "The idea of playing the piano didn't appeal to me as a kid. I associated it with classical pianists who seemed to have no fun. But on the organ you could play anything, the Beatles, polkas, Strauss and that seemed like more fun." By her teens, having realized that you could in fact play a variety of music on the piano, it was the gift of a Bill Evans trio record (appropriately named "You're Gonna Hear From Me") that sold her on modern jazz.

In 1993 she made her way to the US as a student at William Paterson College and began to hone her own distinct musical voice both as an improvisor and a composer while immersing herself in the standards and studying the masters. Just a 15 minute drive from Manhattan, inspiration was not hard to find. "Suddenly being able to go to the Village Vanguard or Bradley's any night of the week and hear amazing pianists was an incredible experience. It was such a stimulating environment," and one that Gunnlaugs had no intention of leaving after graduating in 1996. She moved to Brooklyn and made her debut recording "Far Far Away" with her trio: bassist Dan Fabricatore and drummer (and future husband), Scott McLemore.

In New York her focus shifted decidedly to performing her own music. She began appearing at listening rooms such as Cornelia Street Cafe and the Knitting Factory, and rave reviews followed. Gunnlaugs was proclaimed an "impressive newcomer" by the Village Voice.

However, the music she was writing began to need more than just a trio. "I had been listening a lot to the Keith Jarrett quartet and Jan Garabrek with Bobo Stenson and the sound of the quartet was so appealing to me." She called upon saxophonist Tony Malaby and bassist Drew Gress. "I was familiar with Tony from his own bands and was stunned by how expressive he was. Drew, I knew from his work with Fred Hersch and Dave Douglas. He always added such a bounce to my tunes, while keeping it really open." In 1999, along with McLemore, the quartet recorded "Mindful" and, with time left over on the same day, they recorded the newly released "Songs from Iceland."

"Mindful" (chosen as one of the top 10 CDs of the year by the Virginian Pilot) was as personal a statement an artist can make. From the opening flurry of notes in duet with Malaby the listener knows something special is coming. There is at once a joyful buoyancy and ethereal melancholy which envelops the listener from start to finish. That ambience continues on "Songs from Iceland" and the relationship with the material, five Icelandic folk-songs that Gunnlaugs grew up with, is just as personal. "These were tunes that we were playing on concerts, and when we felt "Mindful" was complete I suggested we record these for posterity. I wasn't really sure what I would do with them, but it seemed important to document." Almost a decade later "Songs from Iceland" was released, adding more weight to a recommendation from Jazziz that her "unique blend of jazz piano and Icelandic folk music" is a "great listen."

In the meantime Sunna released 2 albums, the first was 2002's "Fagra Veröld" (music written to Icelandic poetry), featuring Gress and McLemore as well as the voice of Kristjana Stefánsdóttir and saxophonist Sigurdur Flosason. The 2nd was 2003's high-energy "Live in Europe" which rode the jazz charts into the top 10 in both the US and Canada. It was recorded in Prague in the middle of a three-week tour of Europe with saxophonist Ohad Talmor and bassist Matt Pavolka.

Gunnlaugs enjoys touring and has performed throughout the US, Canada and Europe, as well as in Tokyo, Japan. "I really like traveling by train in Europe, where you can just relax and reflect. It's a lot different than driving a mini-van in the US. We once had to get in a tiny little boat to play in Vancouver, and there was almost no room for the upright bass. When you are touring you get to visit little towns that you probably wouldn't go to as a tourist."

The 5 CDs she has released as a leader have consistently met with critical praise over the years, and she has appeared in publications such as JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazziz, Jazz Podium, Concerto, Stereo, Jazzman, Village Voice, Time Out New York, Swing Journal, All About Jazz and The Washington Post.

The latest incarnation of her quartet includes McLemore, Norwegian bassist Eivind Opsvik and saxophonist Loren Stillman. "This is a band that I've wanted to record for some time, but which I made the decision to put off and instead moved back to Iceland to have children." Gunnlaugs will be touring the US with the quartet this summer and recording her next album in NY.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ruby Braff and his Big City Six - 1955 Little Big Horn

For this session, Ruby chose a group made of such established veterans as Marty Napolean, piano; Milt Hinton, bass; and on drums, 'the greatest', Jo Jones. On this date, both Hinton and Jones reaffirmed their collective ability to set down as solid and swinging a beat as anyone could ask for.
For his associate horn men young Mr. Braff selected two of his contemporaries - comparative newcomers to jazz who have been steadily making a name for themselves among their fellow musicians during the past few years. On trombone we have the brilliant Billy Byers, who aside from playing one of the best all around jazz trombones we've heard lately, has been arranging for such TV shows as the NBC 'spectaculars' and the Arthur Godfrey programes. On tenor sax is one of Ruby's closest friends and a fellow Bostonian, Sam Margolis. Sam's sensitive stylings have none of the honking practised by so many tenor men these days. Sam's ideas are all his own, and his tone reminds one of Lester Young's. But is that bad?.
In all, this is group that is fresh and much more than competent. It is a group capable not only of lending support to Ruby's superlative trumpet improvisations, but of generating a great deal of musical excitement on its own.
Here, then, is nearly a full hour of easy-to-listen-to modern jazz, middle-of-the-road music you might call it, led by a man who Down Beat succinctly summed up this way: 'Braff', wrote their critic, 'is a gas'.
Paul Shapler

01 Only A Blues (R.Braff) 3:49
02 I'll Never Be The Same (Malneck-Signorelli-Newman) 7:21
03 In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree (Arlen-Harburg) 6:13
04 Deep River (Traditional) 6:24
05 I'm Shooting High (McHugh-Koehler) 4:13
06 Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (Arlen-Koehler) 3:59
07 The Lonesome Road (Shilkret-Austin) 3:53
08 'Deed I Do (Rose-Hirsh) 4:12
09 Flakey (Braff) 6:02
10 Love Me Or Leave Me (Donaldson-Kahn) 7:12

Ruby Braff (tp)
Billy Byers (tb)
Sam Margolis (ts)
Marty Napoleon (p)
Milt Hilton (b)
Jo Jones (d)

Recorded in New York City, on April 25, 1955

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From Johnny Griffin With Love

This four-disc set features three complete live CDs featuring the late tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin plus a DVD with a 1981 set at the Village Vanguard, including all of the music from In Copenhagen, Tough Tenors Back Again!, and Catharsis! The first disc contains excerpts from three different engagements, all from 1964 with pianist Kenny Drew, the then-young bassist Niels Pedersen (who only turned 18 that very year), and drummer Art Taylor. The audio quality is not as good as the later sessions, as the drums are a bit more prominent than the piano, but sparks fly throughout each selection, highlighted by the sizzling “A Night in Tunisia." Disc two was one of nine record dates by Griffin with fellow tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, though sadly, it was to be their last recorded get-together prior to the latter's death in 1986. It's hard to beat the lively exchanges with the uptempo blues battle “Blues Up and Down," originated by Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt; they are egged on by a tremendous rhythm section consisting of Chicago pianist Harry Pickens, bassist Curtis Lundy, and the very much in demand drummer Kenny Washington. The fire continues in the romp through “Lester Leaps In," while Griffin's sassy blues “Call It What You Wanna" also merits praise. Disc three consists of a 1989 set with a local rhythm section in Copenhagen, anchored by the veteran expatriate American pianist Kenny Drew. Griffin's sense of humor is blended into his delicious bop chops in his breezy setting of “Just Friends," while the brisk, likely improvised “Skulefter Blues" showcases Drew and bassist Jens Melgaard along with the leader. The tenor saxophonist was a master of ballads, as displayed in his lush take of the gorgeous Billy Strayhorn masterpiece “Isfahan," taken at a very deliberate tempo. The DVD reprises the music from Griffin's VHS Jazz Life, though instead of pairing it with a separate set by Richie Cole on an earlier DVD reissue, two valuable tracks by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis from a 1985 club date in Copenhagen take are substituted. The tenorist's rapid-fire attack dominates his challenging “Blues for Gonz," with a series of hilarious quotes in his trading of fours with drummer Ed Thigpen. In his performance, Davis tackles extended treatments of “'S Wonderful" and “Shiny Stockings," with a gruffer sound that still swings like mad. - Ken Dryden

CD 1 - In Copenhagen (1964)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

1. What Is This Thing Called Love
2. Body and Soul
3. Wee Dot
4. Doctor's Blues
5. Exactly Like You
6. A Night in Tunisia

CD 2 - Tough Tenors Back Again! (1984)
Johnny Griffin, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax)
Henry Pickens (piano)
Curtis Lundy (bass)
Kenny Washington (drums)

1. Blues Up and Down
2. Oh, Gee
3. Call It What You Wanna
4. Funky Fluke
5. Hey Lock
6. Lester Leaps In
7. Intermission Riff

CD 3 - Catharsis! (1989)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Jens Melgaard (bass)
Ole Streenberg (drums)

1. Just Friends
2. If I Should Lose You
3. Hush-A-Bye
4. Slukefter Blues
5. Isfahan
6. Rhythm-A-Ning

DVD (1981/1985)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Ronnie Mathews (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Kenny Washington (drums)

1. Opening & Blues for Gonzi
2. A Monk's Dream
3. 56 & Closing

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax)
Niels Jergen Steen (piano)
Jesper Lundgaard (bass)
Ed Thigpen (drums)

4. S'Wonderful
5. Shiny Stockings

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love’s Illusion Music from the Montpellier Codex 13th Century Anonymous 4


Love’s Illusion Program Notes
Music from the Montpellier Codex 13th Century

One of the first names we can associate with the Western poetic conceit of "courtly love" as we understand it today is that of the troubadour Duc Guillem IX of Aquitaine (1071-1127). The fin’amors (the phrase originates in the Langue d’oc, an old French dialect from South of France) or true love of Guillem and his contemporaries was usually extramarital and was intended for the young, brave and exceptionally good-looking, who performed renowned deeds in its service. Guillem’s granddaughter Alienor, known to us as Eleanor of Aquitaine, grew up with this literary heritage. As wife to Louis VII of France and Henry II of England, and as mother of Countess Marie de Champagne (d. 1198), with whom she lived for several years, Alienor brought some of the finest poets of fin’amors north with her to various courtly establishments. The poets of the north, called trouvères, were greatly influenced by the troubadours, but they refined the earthy style of the Provençal lyrics, smoothed its rough edges, and created the genteel rhetoric of fin amours (a phrase that originates in the Langue d’oeïl, an old French dialect from the North of France).

From the extensive literature of fin amours there emerge two inviolable precepts: first, true love may exist only outside of marriage and, second, a man must subject himself totally to the will of his beloved, whether her requests seem rational or not. A woman’s physical perfection (often manifested by blond hair and blue eyes) was an outward symbol of her inner goodness, for which a man yearned and suffered, to the point of death. True, this code did raise the woman above the level of pleasure object or chattel in the marriage market, making her both judge and prize in a realm of love outside of marriage. But this elevation only moved her from outright oppression to a starring but essentially passive role in a single dramatic episode. The romantic love expressed in the literature of fin amourswas probably little more than a clever illusion; the reality of day-to-day life remained unchanged.

Martial Solal - Concert à Lille

Here's a great concert I heard awhile back on the satellite version of France Musique. A sort of 80th birthday celebration.

Dans le cadre de la journée spéciale
Martial Solal du France Musique
rediffusion du concert donné le 16 septembre 2007
à l'auditorium du Nouveau Siècle à Lille
et diffusé le 08 octobre 2007

Prelude to a Kiss - I Got Rhythm - Corcovado
Tea for Two - Variations on Mozart's Marche Turque
All the Things You Are - Gershwin Medley
Caravan - Body and Soul

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BN LP 5042 | Tal Farlow Quartet

From Cook's;

"It was an experimental period as a much as one of achievement...., there were (also) dates for guitarists John Collins (eight rejected titles), Sal Salvador and Tal Farlow."
"Van Gelder..recorded guitarist Tal Farlow leading a quartet with another guitar player, Don Arnone."

Slim pickings on the info side, but as the sleeve notes tell us - after having guested on BN 5020 & 5033 (both Gil Melle), and Howard McGhee's BN 5024 - it looks like Alfred Lion was interested enough to offer a leader date.

My favourite is Flamingo, although it is simple and uses his 'harmonies' style - I find something melancholy and poignant in it - see what you think.

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

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble's 'Eternal Interlude'


Review of Eternal Interlude Album by John Hollenbeck -
Release Date

August 18th, 2009 on Sunny Side Records


John Hollenbeck: drums, composition, whistler (4); Kermit Driscoll: acoustic, electric bass; Gary Versace: piano, organ, keyboard; Theo Bleckmann; voice, whistler (4); Ben Kono: flute, soprano, alto saxophone, whistler (4); Jeremy Viner: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Tony Malaby: tenor, soprano saxophone; Dan Willis: tenor, soprano saxophone, flute, english horn, whistler (4); Bohdan Hilash: clarinet, bass clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, whistler (4); Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone (5, 6); Rob Hudson: trombone, whistler (4); Mike Christianson: trombone, whistler (4); Jacob Garchik: tenor horn (2), whistler (4); Alan Ferber: trombone; trumpet/flugelhorn: trombone; Tony Kadleck: trombone; Jon Owens: trombone, whistler (4); Dave Ballou: trombone; Laurie Frink: trombone; Matt Moran: mallet percussion (1, 3, 4); John Ferrari: mallet percussion (2, 5, 6); JC Sanford: conductor.

Track List:

   1. Foreign One
   2. Eternal Interlude
   3. Guarana
   4. The Cloud
   5. Perseverence
   6. No Boat

Friday, February 12, 2010

Louis Armstrong & King Oliver - 1923-24

Louis Armstrong's tenure as second cornettist to the great King Oliver is one of jazz history's legendary apprenticeships, on a par with the one Miles Davis served with Charlie Parker or Stephane Grappelli's with Django Rheinhardt. Sadly, only a handful of recordings survive from this formative period in Armstrong's career; happily, all of them are available in this handy and generous package, which includes all 18 of King Oliver' s 1923 recordings with Armstrong, as well as a bonus appendix consisting of seven tracks recorded in 1924 by the Red Onion Jazz Babies under Armstrong's sole leadership (and featuring, on one number, a very young Alberta Hunter). The performances are as red-hot as you'd expect, and even the sound quality — which one would expect to be terrible, given that all tracks were transferred form 78 rpm records — is surprisingly clear, thanks to advanced digital wizardry. [Note: the material on this disc was originally issued on LP in 1974, and included two King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton duets that are missing from the CD reissue. Those duets are available on another Milestone reissue CD, Jelly Roll Morton, catalog number 47018.
Rick Anderson

When cornetist King Oliver invited Louis Armstrong to leave New Orleans and join the Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1922, he completed one of the greatest bands in jazz history. This CD includes the 1923 Gennett and Paramount recordings, the world's introduction to the spirited rhythm and inspired contrapuntal improvisation of New Orleans music, highlighted by the dual cornet breaks of Oliver and Armstrong. The CD also includes Armstrong's 1924 recordings with the Red Onion Jazz Babies, some matching him with Sidney Bechet, the wonderful soprano saxophone pioneer, and the classic blues singer Alberta Hunter.
Stuart Broomer

01. Just Gone (Johnson, King Oliver) 2:42
02. Canal Street Blues (Armstrong, King Oliver) 2:28
03. Mandy Lee Blues (Bloom, Melrose) 2:08
04. I'm Going Away To Wear You Off My Mind (Smith) 2:50
05. Chimes Blues (King Oliver) 2:50
06. Weather Bird Rag (Armstrong) 2:41
07. Dippermouth Blues (King Oliver) 2:26
08. Froggie Moore (Morton) 3:00
09. Snake Rag (King Oliver, Piron) 2:58
10. Alligator Hop (King Oliver, Piron) 2:23
11. Zulu's Ball (King Oliver, Robertson) 2:28
12. Workingman Blues (Hardin, King Oliver) 2:09
13. Krooked Blues (Johnson, Spikes, Spikes) 2:49
14. Mabel's Dream (Smith) 2:48
15. Mabel's Dream (Smith) 2:44
16. Southern Stomp (Jones) 2:38
17. Southern Stomp (Jones) 2:43
18. Riverside Blues (Dorsey, Jones) 2:56
19. Texas Moaner Blues (Barnes, Williams) 3:03
20. Of All the Wrongs You've Done To Me (Dowell, Payton, Smith) 2:49
21. Terrible Blues (Williams) 2:51
22. Santa Claus Blues (Straight, Kahn) 2:46
23. Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning (Delaney, Delaney) 2:48
24. Early Every Mornin' (Higgins, Overstreet ) 2:51
25. Cake Walking Babies From Home (Smith, Troy, Williams) 3:07

Thursday, February 11, 2010

McCoy Tyner - Horizon (1979)

McCoy Tyner released so many outstanding albums for Milestone Records in the seventies that a few tend to get overlooked. Horizon has been reissued in 24-bit as part of the Keepnews Collection and contains an alternate take of the title tune as well as new liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.

McCoy Tyner has fronted many mid-sized ensembles, but this one ranks with the very best he has led. As violinist John Blake jives and jousts with alto and soprano saxophonist Joe Ford and the incendiary tenor saxophonist George Adams, Tyner realizes a perfectly balanced, extroverted, compatible and utterly unique front line. It enables him to offer some of the most remarkable, memorable and powerful music of his career. It all starts with the magnificent opener "Horizon" (this CD also includes a previously unreleased alternate take), which goes though a variety of dynamic rhythm changes, clarion calls, tinkling or rumbling piano set-ups prior to the band bursting loose, Afro-Cuban incursions, concise, inspired solos, and all powered by absolute perfect rhythm navigating from drummer Al Foster aside colorful percussive inserts by Guilherme Franco. It is one of the greatest single compositions of Tyner's career...sheer genius, period. "Just Feelin'" has been a piece that endures, played by Tyner in alternate trio and big-band settings as well. A singsong line courtesy of the vibrant tenor of Adams and Ford's plaintive, angular soprano radiates warmth for Blake's soaring violin to feed off of, as bright as any super nova. Blake's composition "Woman of Tomorrow, " with the violinist, both horn players switching to flute, Tyner and bass anchor Charles Fambrough is a textbook clinic exercise in beauty. "Motherland" chugs along in fierce modal revelry, powered by the rock-solid bass of Fambrough, with Adams getting to the heart of it in his typical fiery fashion and Franco urging him on playing the shekere, while "One for Honor" with just piano-bass-drums is a stone-cold hard bop wonder. The front cover has a silhouette of Tyner's face superimposed as lightning strikes fronting a raging thunderstorm, a great piece of art, as is this extraordinary recording, which cannot come more highly recommended. - Michael G. Nastos

McCoy Tyner (piano)
John Blake (violin)
Joe Ford (alto sax, soprano sax, flute)
George Adams (tenor sax, flute)
Charles Fambrough (bass)
Al Foster (drums)
Guilherme Franco (percussion)
  1. Horizon
  2. Woman of Tomorrow
  3. Motherland
  4. One for Honor
  5. Just Feelin'
  6. Horizon (alt. take)
Recorded April 24-25, 1979

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Joey DeFrancesco - Organic Vibes (2005)

Having reviewed some of Hammond organist Joey DeFrancesco's early albums on Columbia, then caught up with him again when he teamed up with the high-flying guitar acrobat Danny Gatton on Relentless, and then lost track of him, the word that comes to mind upon hearing this effort for Concord is "adult." DeFrancesco's earlier work was that of a young and precocious kid with a burning love of his instrument and something to prove. Fifteen years into what has become a celebrated career, he's settled in and is demonstrating the kind of taste and maturity that separates the flashy young hotshots from the serious musicians, the ones who will leave a legacy. On Organic Vibes, DeFrancesco goes beyond the traditional organ trio format that he has generally preferred up until now and is joined by a group that includes vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and tenor sax player George Coleman, and his desire to give them the space they need leads him to move away somewhat from center stage; as a result, his solos are tighter, more focused, and less frenetic than they have sometimes been. There's also more of a focus on slower numbers than has often been the case on past DeFrancesco projects, an approach that bears sweet fruit on the group's tender rendition of "I Thought About You" and on the sauntering and funky "Down the Hatch." DeFrancesco's own "Colleen" is lovely bossa nova that ends the album on an almost contemplative note. Very highly recommended. - Rick Anderson

Joey DeFrancesco (organ)
Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)
Ron Blake (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute)
George Coleman (tenor sax on 4, 6)
Jake Langley (guitar)
Byron Landham (drums)
  1. The Tackle
  2. Little B's Poem
  3. I Thought About You
  4. Somewhere in the Night
  5. Down the Hatch
  6. Speak Low
  7. JeNeane's Dream
  8. My Foolish Heart
  9. Colleen
Recorded August 24-26, 2005

Sunday, February 7, 2010

BN LP 5041 | The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 2

Bud Powell (p) George Duvivier (b) Art Taylor (d), WOR Studios, NYC, August 14, 1953

I'm going to have a look for a 'blurb' about this one in Cook's and update later. Nice Trio date.

Found it;

After his most recent spell of wretchedness, Powell had come back to the local scene, although under a kind of supervision. He had a regular Birdland gig, and the club put him up in an apartment, in a situation which Lion characterised as 'house arrest'. The Blue Note man had to ask Oscar Goodstein, Birdland's manager, for access to Powell, and one day the pianist played Lion some new pieces;
"One piece really stood out. I asked him what he called it. He looked around the apartment and said, 'Glass Enclosure'. I knew that we had to record that...We rehearsed at Birdland in the afternoon.."
The August 1953 date for Blue Note yielded a remarkable nine titles - a mix of standards, Powell originals and Oscar Pettiford's 'Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas' (sometimes known as 'Blues in the Closet')...Powell does much that is thrilling.

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

Gerry Mulligan All-Star Tribute Band - Thank You, Gerry! (1997)

Many tributes to Gerry Mulligan appeared following the death of the talented baritone saxophonist and composer in 1996, but this one is easily the best of the lot. Mulligan's final rhythm section is present, with pianist Ted Rosenthal (who also serves as arranger and musical director), bassist Dean Johnson, and drummer Ron Vincent, along with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer (a veteran of many editions of various groups, both large and small, led by Mulligan), alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, and Randy Brecker, who doubles on trumpet and flugelhorn. There are a number of reasons why this session turned out so well: the eight Mulligan compositions don't just include the early hits, but also challenging works from late in his career; the interplay between the players and their individual solos are never less than superb; finally, they felt no need to include a baritone saxophonist on the date, as Brookmeyer's valve trombone consistently achieves the lyrical feeling that Mulligan would have added on his baritone sax if he had been present, even if the two instruments aren't that close in sound. The breathtaking version of "My Funny Valentine," the perky "Bark for Barksdale" and "Bernie's Tune," and the lovely swinger "Curtains" are all highlights, but the entire release merits repeated hearings. The heartfelt remarks by Mulligan's old friend Dave Brubeck and the individual comments by each of the musicians on this date also add a nice touch. It is likely that the most difficult part of producing this session was choosing which songs to record from Mulligan's voluminous discography, so a follow-up recording would be most welcome. Highly recommended. - Ken Dryden

Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Randy Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ted Rosenthal (piano)
Dean Johnson (bass)
Ron Vincent (drums)
  1. Bark for Barksdale
  2. Theme for Jobim
  3. Elevation
  4. My Funny Valentine
  5. Rocker
  6. Walkin' Shoes
  7. Moonlight in Vermont
  8. Line for Lyons
  9. Festive Minor
  10. Bernie's Tune
  11. Curtains
Recorded August 28-29, 1997

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Victor Jara - El Derecho De Vivir En Paz

A fine artist. A great man. Even if you don't become a fan, you owe it to yourself to be able to say you listened to him. But I think you'll become a fan.

Many many people admire and support Jara's legacy because of the way he left this life, but I ask you to forget that for a little while; just listen to the man and his music.

Victor Jara was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, political activist and member of the Communist Party of Chile. A distinguished theatre director, he devoted himself to the development of Chilean theatre, directing a broad array of works from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of Ann Jellicoe. Simultaneously he developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement which led to a revolution in the popular music of his country under the Salvador Allende government. Shortly after the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup , he was arrested, tortured and ultimately shot to death by machine gun fire. His body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town in Santiago. The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice across Latin America.

1. El Derecho De Vivir En Paz
2. Abre La Ventana
3. Partida
4. Niño Yuntero
5. Vamos Por Ancho Camino
6. La Molina No Voy Más
7. Cuba
8. Casitas Del Barrio Alto
9. Alma Llena De Banderas
10. Ni Chicha Ni Limoná
11. Plegaria A Un Labrador
12. Brigada Ramona Parra
13. Oiga Pues Mijita
14. Muchachas Del Telar
15. Venían Del Deserto
16. Poema 15
17. Danza De Los Niños

Friday, February 5, 2010

Axel Dörner - Claque

Obscure trumpeter Axel Dörner joins legendary demolition experts, percussionist Michael Zerang and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, for nearly an hour of furious little sounds on this fascinating recording. Zerang and Lonberg-Holm have a concentrated history of intense interaction where boundaries know no limits. The trumpeter eschews the usual sounds from the brass and instead revels in brushstrokes of noise, air, and gurgles. The results barely resemble the horn from which the sounds emanate. Dörner appears subservient to Lonberg-Holm and Zerang, each of whom has been down similar paths with the other before. The total range of sounds is nothing short of fascinating, but this is music/noise of the extremes, where there are few rules other than creative expression. As a product of its genre it succeeds as unrestrained self-expression, but the solipsistic element cannot be denied. The most successful portions are those featuring the cello and drums, while the trumpeter/leader is often somewhat subdued. The scratchy strings are as good as ever, with the cellist continuing to mine new bleeps and burbles, or at least their string equivalents. ~ Steven Loewy

Axel Dörner (trumpet)
Frederick Lonberg-Holm (cello)
Michael Zerang (drums)

1. Bin
2. Tronc
3. Jar
4. Satchel
5. Ranzen
6. Krug
7. Kasu
8. Taloche
9. Gifle

The Billy Bauer Quartets - 1955-56 Let's Have A Session

Billy Bauer was the most celebrated guitarist in early modern jazz, winning more awards than any other on the instrument and establishing an enviable reputation as a member of the Woody Herman rhythm section. As a longtime sideman for Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, he made some brilliant recordings showcasing his magisterial authority with contrapuntal lines.
Despite his long career as a sideman, he did only two recording dates as a leader, both quartet sessions, compiled in this CD. In them he managed at all times to extract the greatest tenderness from his instrument. Playing with soul, swinging subtly, straight ahead or lightly as the need arose, he accomplished the rare and difficult feat of combining good jazz with accessibility.

In 1955 he recorded, as a leader of a quartet, the album "Let's Have A Session" for Ad Lib Records, a new label which concentrated on providing modern jazz rhythm backgrounds for musicians and singers. This album was the first of a series designed to make it possible for the at-home instrumental soloist or vocalist to practice with a top rhythm section at will. .......
Early in 1956, Bauer made his first and only recording under his own name, "Plectrist", which put Bauer front and center throughout playing great jazz guitar. .....

01 Somebody Loves Me (Gershwin, MacDonald, DeSylva) 2:38
02 September in the Rain (Warren, Dubin) 2:57
03 A Ghost of a Chance (Young, Washington, Crosby) 3:06
04 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:27
05 Easy Walkin' Blues (Bauer) 2:52
06 Out of Nowhere (Green, Heyman) 2:42
07 These Foolish Things (Strachey, Link) 3:14
08 (Back Home In) Indiana (Hanley, MacDonald) 2:22
09 It's a Blue World (Wright, Forrest, Wright) 4:11
10 Maybe I Love You Too Much (Berlin) 2:33
11 Lincoln Tunnel (Bauer) 4:05
12 Night Cruise (Bauer) 4:46
13 Too Marvellous for Words (Mercer, Whiting) 3:01
14 Lady Estelle's Dream (Bauer) 3:40
15 You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (Porter) 3:14
16 When It's Sleepy Time Down South (L. René, Muse, O. Rene) 3:46
17 The Way You Look Tonight (Kern, Fields) 3:40
18 Lullaby of the Leaves (Young, Petkere) 4:00
19 Moon Mist (Bauer) 2:11

Tracks 1-8
Billy Bauer Guitar
Tony Aless Piano
Arnold Fishkind Bass
Don Lamond Drums

Recorded in New York City, on April,1955

Tracks 9-19
Billy Bauer Guitar
Andrew Ackers Piano
Milt Hinton Bass
Osie Johnson Drums

Recorded in New York City, on May, 1956

Mulgrew Miller

Mulgrew Miller - Getting to Know You

Mulgrew Miller is in top form for these 1995 sessions. as he covers a wide range of compositions. With his regular trio on hand, including bassist Richie Goods and drummer Karriem Riggins, plus the addition of percussionist Steve Kroon and conga player Big Black, this marked the pianist's final recording for the Novus label. Miller's exotic "Eastern Joy Dance" and thoughtful "Second Thoughts" (which brings James Williams' writing style to mind) provide an excellent introduction. Standards include a breezy waltz treatment of "Getting to Know You" (from The King and I) and a driving rendition of "If I Should Lose You." The Beatles' "Fool on the Hill" takes flight in Miller's hands, as he adds a sprightly touch without sounding like a cocktail pianist. He also manages to make something of the usually lame "I Don't Know How to Love Him," as one wouldn't expect an introspective gospel flavor added to an Andrew Lloyd Webber composition, even if it is from Jesus Christ Superstar. Goods' contributed the soulful "Nandhi" to provide a strong finish to this rewarding, though now sadly out of print, CD.

1 Eastern Joy Dance Miller 6:39
2 Second Thoughts Miller 5:49
3 Sweet Sioux Hubbard 6:52
4 Getting to Know You Hammerstein, Rodgers 6:18
5 Whisper Miller 5:46
6 Didn't We Webb 5:15
7 The Fool on the Hill Lennon, McCartney 6:45
8 I Don't Know How to Love Him Lloyd Webber, Rice 5:10
9 If I Should Lose You Rainger, Robin 6:53
10 Nandhi Goods 5:36

Mulgrew Miller piano
Richie Goods bass Karriem Riggins drums Steve Kroon percussion

Recorded March 20-21, 1995
© 1995 Novus 63188

Mulgrew Miller - Hand in Hand

Mulgrew Miller, a talented McCoy Tyner-influenced pianist, leads an all-star septet on much of this date. The main stars, however, are Miller's nine diverse originals which range from modal to Monkish. With tenor-saxophonist Joe Henderson appearing on five selections, trumpeter Eddie Henderson on six and altoist Kenny Garrett heard throughout the full CD, Miller has a perfect frontline to interpret his tricky but logical originals. Vibraphonist Steve Nelson, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash do not exactly get overshadowed either.

1 Grew's Tune Miller 8:05
2 For Those Who Do Miller 6:41
3 Thinkin' Out Loud Miller 7:56
4 Leilani's Leap Miller 5:41
5 Like the Morning Miller 5:24
6 Hand in Hand Miller 7:19
7 Return Trip Miller 6:01
8 Waltz for Monk Brown 5:51
9 Neither Here nor There Miller 8:55

Mulgrew Miller piano
Kenny Garrett alto and soprano saxophone
Joe Henderson tenor saxophone #1,3,5,7,9
Steve Nelson vibes
Christian McBride bass
Lewis Nash drums

Recorded December 16-18, 1992
© 1993 Novus 63153

Mulgrew Miller - The Countdown

Mulgrew Miller's fourth Landmark release is a particularly strong all-star date, teaming the pianist with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson (who sits out on two of the seven numbers), bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams. Other than a surprisingly effective "What the World Needs Now Is Love," the repertoire is comprised of originals by Miller (four) and one apiece from Williams and Henderson ("Tetragon"). A high-quality advanced hard bop set.

1 The Countdown Miller 8:16
2 Exact Change Miller 5:19
3 What the World Needs Now Is Love Bacharach, David 7:27
4 "1684" Carter 5:51
5 Tetragon Henderson 6:42
6 Crystal Palace Williams 5:39
7 Ambrosia Miller 4:42
8 August Afternoon Miller 5:58

Mulgrew Miller piano
Joe Henderson tenor saxophone except #2,7
Ron Carter bass
Tony Williams drums

Recorded August 15-16, 1988
© 1992 Landmark LCD-1519-2

Mulgrew Miller - With Our Own Eyes

The consistent pianist Mulgrew Miller leads his trio (which includes bassist Richie Good and drummer Tony Reedus) through a set dominated by his originals but also including "Body and Soul" and Michel Legrand's "Summer Me, Winter Me." The McCoy Tyner influence will probably always remain a significant part of Miller's style but he is such a powerful player in his own right that one really does not mind. His originals on this set range from the modal 6/4 piece "Somewhere Else" and the thoughtful "Dreamin'" to the melancholy "Carousel." As with all of Mulgrew Miller's releases thus far, this one is well worth picking up.

1 Somewhere Else Miller 5:48
2 Carousel Miller 6:52
3 Small Portion Miller 6:32
4 Dreamin' Miller 6:25
5 Body and Soul Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour 5:41
6 New Wheels Miller 5:14
7 Words Miller 6:04
8 When I Get There Miller 5:48
9 Summer Me, Winter Me Legrand 5:34
10 Another Type Thang Williams 6:11

Mulgrew Miller piano
Richie Good bass
Tony Reedus drums

Recorded August 15-16, 1988
© 1989 Novus 63171-2

Mulgrew Miller - Work

Made about the time he left Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to go out on his own, Mulgrew Miller's second date as a leader matches his modern mainstream modal style with bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Once again, the repertoire is a mixture of Miller originals, jazz standards ("Without a Song," "Powell's Prances" and Thelonious Monk's "Work") and an unaccompanied piano solo ("My Man's Gone Now"). And once again, the set is recommended to fans of 1980s/'90s jazz piano.

1 Sublimity Miller 8:07
2 Without a Song Eliscu, Rose, Youmans 4:33
3 Blues Again Miller 6:19
4 Powell's Prances Powell 3:27
5 Work Monk 6:25
6 The Sage Miller 8:33
7 My Man's Gone Now Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward 5:58

Mulgrew Miller piano
Charnett Moffett bass
Terri Lyne Carrington drums

Recorded April 23-24, 1986
© 1992 Landmark LCD-1511-2

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bill Dixon And Archie Shepp - 7-tette And New York Contemporary 5

This is Dixon's important first statement, released on the label he was helping to run, and paired here with a set by Archie Shepp's New York Contemporary Five, who claimed the second side of the original LP. Dixon's piece is the five-part 'Winter Song', a gently flowing, semi-abstract suite of ideas that are reminiscent in places of some of Mingus' late '50s pieces, but marked throughout by Dixon's melancholy lyricism and fine sense of structure. The Shepp material is worth having as well, though inevitably one wishes there were more material by both groups. Two alternate takes of 'Winter Song: Section III, Letter F' appear on the CD and add somewhat to our understanding of the genesis of the album, but it's still a thin representation of Dixon's work at this time. ~ Penguin Guide

For approximately 18 months (from the fall of 1961 to June 1963), Archie Shepp and Bill Dixon co-led a group that varied in size between a quartet, quintet and sextet, depending on the gig. They mostly played coffee houses and small theaters in Greenwich Village, and travelled to Scandinavia in July 1962 for a series of concerts at the socialist-leaning First International Youth Festival in Helsinki.

Bill Dixon (trumpet)
George Barrow (tenor sax)
Ken McIntyire (alto sax, oboe)
Howard Johnson (tuba)
David Izenzon (bass)
Hal Dodson (bass)
Howard McRae (drums)

Archie Shepp (tenor sax)
Don Cherry (pocket Cornet on 7)
Ted Curson (trumpet, piccolo trumpet)
John Tchicai (alto sax)
Tonnie Boykins (bass)
Sonny Murray (drums)

Bill Dixon 7-tette
1. Winter Song 1964 Section I Letters A, B, C, D
2. Winter Song 1964 Section II Letter E
3. Winter Song 1964 Section III Letter F
4. Winter Song 1964 Section IV Letter G
5. Winter Song 1964 Section V Letter H Played Three Times
6. Winter Song 1964 Coda
7. The 12th December
8. Alternate Take Section III, 'F' from Winter Song 1964
9. Alternate Take Section III, 'F' from Winter Song 1964

Archie Shepp and The New York Contemporary 5
10. Where Poppie Bloom (Where Poppies Blow)
11. Like a Blessed Baby Lamb
12. Consequences

Victor Feldman - Latinsville

The great Victor Feldman (who else in '63 was turning down a spot in Miles' band?) and two previously unissued Scott LaFaro solos.

Vibraphonist Victor Feldman's 1959 recording, Latinsville, found the British expatriate exploring various Latin rhythms in a decidedly West Coast style. Featuring an all-star group that included such cool school luminaries as trumpeter Conte Candoli and Frank Rosolino, Feldman also brought in Latin music pros, including percussionists Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria, bassist Tony Reyes, and others. Selecting such popular songs of the day as "South of the Border," "Poinciana," and "Lady of Spain" -- most of which never originally specified a Latin-style treatment -- Feldman made explicit each song's implied Latin idiom. Although artists such as vibraphonist Cal Tjader and Dizzy Gillespie had been producing Afro-Cuban and Brazilian-inflected jazz for a few years, the cross pollination didn't really catch on until the '60s. Consequently, Latinsville, while in no way as influential as, say, Getz/Gilberto, is nonetheless a forgotten gem. [The 2003 Fantasy Jazz reissue of Latinsville includes five bonus tracks from the original sessions, two of which feature legendary bassist Scott LaFaro.] ~ Matt Collar

In December 1958, Victor Feldman—pianist, percussionist, and vibes player—began work on a project as a leader for Contemporary Records. He continued work on this project for nearly a year, ultimately recording two different quintets plus a ten-piece unit with contributions from bassists Al McKibbon and Scott LaFaro, soloists Walter Benton (tenor sax), Conte Candoli (trumpet), and Frank Rosolino (trombone), pre- Peanuts pianist Vince Guaraldi, and the best percussion ensemble in the history of jazz: the triple threat of Willie Bobo, Armando Peraza and Mongo Santamaria—George Shearing’s percussion section.

“I tried to blend straightforward arrangements in the Latin and Afro-Cuban vein with the improvisations of the jazz soloists,” Feldman said of his first Latin jazz set, “and it seems to me that Conte Candoli, Walter Benton and Frank Rosolino play with the swinging pulsation that they normally would with regular piano, bass, and drums rhythm.” The resultant Latinsville! (Contemporary) album is now reissued by Fantasy, including five previously unreleased tracks.

As a soloist, Feldman whisks through his ending to “Flying Down to Rio,” then his mid-song feature in “Cuban Pete” swings very deeply in Bags’ (Milt Jackson’s) bag. He also dances brilliantly against the amazingly timed percussion melody of “Cuban Love Song.”

But the musicianship of the other musicians—the percussionists and horn/brass soloists in particular, but also the bass and piano players—play as large a part in the excellence of this music as Feldman does. For example, as you’d expect, the three horn players, particularly Candoli, shine in Dizzy Gillespie’s “Woody’N You,” sound-surfing along the rhythm churned by the percussionists. “In A Little Spanish Town” rocks to its foundation from the percussionists, too.

Like this Gillespie tune, a previously unreleased alternate take of “Poinciana” is more jazz than Latin, very different from the version released on the original Latinsville! set. It’s straight-up quintet jazz quintet sans percussionists, driven both in support and as a soloist by bassist LaFaro, whose rhythm somehow sounds so essential and who solos as smooth and rich as the deepest, darkest chocolate.

Feldman would later work with Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis, who recorded Feldman’s composition as the title track for his Seven Steps to Heaven album in 1963. ~ Chris M. Slawecki

Victor Feldman (piano, vibraphone)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Frank Rosolino (trombone)
Walter Benton (tenor sax)
Vince Guaraldi (piano)
Scott LaFaro (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)
Mongo Santamaría (congas)
Armando Peraza (bongos)
Willie Bobo (timbales)

1. South Of The Border
2. She's A Latin From Manhattan
3. Flying Down To Rio
4. Cuban Pete
5. Gypsy
6. Poinciana
7. Lady Of Spain
8. Spain
9. Cuban Love Song
10. In A Little Spanish Town
11. Fiesta
12. Woody 'n You
13. Poinciana
14. Pancho
15. Breeze And I
16. Bullues Bullose
17. Lady Of Spain

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Track Of The Day

John Scofield - Time on my hands (1989)

Review by Michael G. Nastos

John Scofield has turned the corner from journeyman jazz guitarist to become one of the most inventive and witty players on the contemporary scene. This date, his first for the Blue Note label, builds on a discography following several recordings for the Gramavision label, and also progresses this contemporary jazz music into an individualism that can only bode well for his future efforts. Teamed with the rising-star saxophonist Joe Lovano and the bulletproof rhythm team of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Jack DeJohnette, Scofield is emerging as a player of distinction on the electric guitar, and a composer whose mirthful ideas add spark and vigor to his newfound musical setting. In this co-production with Peter Erskine, Sco has found his melodic stride in making music that is bright and clever without being overly intellectual, retaining a soulful quality enriched by the deep-rooted, bluesy tenor sax of Lovano. What is most refreshing is that this music has broken free of clichés from the earlier original fusion movement, and what Scofield might have accomplished prior. "Farmacology" is an excellent example of this, more in the hard bop vein and echoing both ringing country twang and the unique voicings of Ornette Coleman. There's rambling neo-bop and good-time fun in the unison of guitar and tenor sax during "Wabash III," a lighter, elegant, but free and melodic tone in 6/8 time for "Flower Power," and squeaky clean, sweet, easygoing swing demonstrated on "Since You Asked." Haden and DeJohnette are so well matched as a rhythm team that it's easy to take them for granted, while hard to ignore their brilliance. They load up on New Orleans-style blues while Scofield doles out amusing and fractured lines for "So Sue Me," collectively move to a sleek and sneaky stance on "Let's Say We Did," and rip up a driven, forceful neo-bop for the linear melody of the witty "Stranger to the Light." Even though it's a first-time issue on CD, there are three bonus tracks, including the soul song shuffle "Time and Tide," a free, loose association that identifies "Be Hear Now," and the big-time, rock & roll-flavored, squawky "Fat Lip." It's hard to fathom this being anything other than a sustainable new direction for Scofield's music, one that he can enhance as bandmembers come and go in the not too distant future.
1- Wabash III
2- Since you asked
3- So sue me
4- Let's say we did
5- Flower Power
6- Stranger to the light
7- Noctunal mission
9-Time and tide
10- Be hear now
11- Fat lip
John Scofield - Guitar
Joe Lovano - Saxophones
Charlie Haden - Bass
Jack DeJohnette - Drums
All compositions by John Scofield.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Track Of The Day

Violin AND Fiddle

This hodgepodge sampler contains 14 of violinist Joe Venuti's better recordings from the 1927-34 period, many of them also featuring guitarist Eddie Lang. The performances are mostly drawn from sessions by Venuti's Blue Four with some of the soloists including Jimmy Dorsey (switching between clarinet, alto, trumpet and baritone), Frankie Trumbauer (on C-melody sax and bassoon), bass-saxophonist Adrian Rollini and, on "Sweet Lorraine," clarinetist Benny Goodman. The music is consistently exciting although serious collectors will want to acquire releases from the more complete European series instead.~ Scott Yanow

This CD presents some extremely fine examples of hot jazz violin playing from electric recordings made between 1927 & 1934. In addition to Venuti's outstanding virtuosity, noteworthy performances are turned out by such greats as Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Frankie Trumbauer, Adrian Rollini, Joe Sullivan and ever present jazz guitar partner Eddie Lang among others. The fourteen cuts come through in excellent archival quality transfers that have long been a distinguishing characteristics of historic Yazoo collections. Session personnel are included for each cut but there is the usual glaring omission of discographic information which is one of the few annoying shortcomings of this labels otherwise superb products. ~ Martin Fisher

Joe Venuti (violin)
Eddie Lang (guitar)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Frankie Trumbauer (bassoon, C-melody sax)
Bud Freeman (tenor sax)
Adrian Rollini (baritone sax, bass sax, piano, vibraphone)
Don Murray (clarinet, baritone sax)
Dick McDonough (guitar)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sa, baritone sax, trumpet)
Joe Sullivan (piano)
Arthur Schutt (piano)

1. Sensation
2. Apple Blossoms
3. Raggin' tThe Scale
4. Satan's Holiday
5. A Mug Of Ale
6. Hey! Young Fella Listen
7. Wild Cat
8. The Wild Dog
9. Sweet Lorraine
10. Kickin' The Cat
11. Jig Saw Puzzle Blues
12. Hiawatha's Lullaby
13. Four String Joe
14. Goin' Places

I've always liked this guy, and I fondly remember an appearance at Tramps where the floor started shaking from his first moment on stage. I also have an early CD by him from when he had something to prove - and was able to do it. Yep, I've always liked this guy. When will the Joseph Cormier Rounder album from '74 ever become a CD?

Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac is as schizophrenic as ever on his self-titled first release for Decca. With his uniquely punk rock approach to Celtic reels and jigs, MacIsaac has plenty of room to toy with drum loops, reversed passages, and bizarro studio effects, and there are certainly moments where that experimentation pays off. The layered and loping "To America We Will Go" and the brittle "This Is My Father" both benefit from this multi-tiered approach, but it can also seem cluttered and unnecessary ("Grapes" may be the worst of these offenders). MacIsaac's strength has always been in his forceful fiddle playing, and this translates best in his updates of the traditional "Chorus Jig" and "Bog an Login," but the songs he has decided to test his own singing voice on fare less well. While his voice is forceful and in key, it is not necessarily interesting, and although this bluesy bar-belting could do justice to a pub-swaying drinking song or an impassioned battle ballad, on the majority of these tunes it just falls a little flat. Overall, as MacIsaac continues to push the boundaries of Celtic fusion he continues to hit and miss, and on this album the interesting textures and adept playing don't always make up for what the songwriting and singing lack. ~ Zac Johnson

1. ' Cello Song
2. Lay Me Down
3. Save Me From Tomorrow
4. I Don't Need This
5. Grapes
6. To America We Go
7. Chorus Jig / The King's Reel
8. The Wedding Funeral
9. Captain America
10. Mull Of Kintyre
11. Bog An Login
12. This Is My Father
13. Fairy Dance

John Park - If Winter Comes

I Love You
Spring is Here
Joy Spring
I Cant Get Started
Autumn Leaves
My Funny Valentine
I’ll Remember April

Live recordings from 1973-5

Sonny Stitt - Givin' Away The Store

This is, of course, a compilation by 32 Jazz of 70's Muse titles, but the program is unified by the fact that these are all (with the exception of Dig Dr. Woody) standards that may have made up any Sonny Stitt set list. I've enjoyed going back to the Dexter Gordon Steeplechase albums that Rab alluded to a couple of weeks ago--and they are similar to this one; loaded with standards--and Sonny never dissapoints.

Review by Tom Schulte
32 Jazz launched a retrospective series called Giving Away the Store. These are gateway recordings to an artist's entire catalog. The first release in the series is from Sonny Stitt. This bebop saxophone giant veers from bright jazz hops to compelling blues instrumental ballads. As with other recordings in the Giving Away the Store collection, this album serves as an excellent introduction for the uninitiated or a representative sampler for the knowledgeable fan.

with Roy Brooks, Jimmy Cobb, Alan Dawson, Walter Davis, George Duvivier, Barry Harris, Billy Higgins, Sam Jones, Duke Jordan, Herbie Lewis, Junior Mance, Cedar Walton, Leroy Williams

1. The Champ
2. Tune Up
3.(I Don't Stand) A Ghost Of A Chance With You
5.Just Friends
6.Is You or Ain't You My Baby?
7.At Last
8. Exactly Like You
9. Constellation
10.Every Tub
11.You Can Depend On Me
13.Dig Dr. Woody

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eddie Condon - Town Hall Concerts, Vol. 10

The tenth double-CD of 11 put out by Jazzology that completely document the Eddie Condon Town Hall Concerts that were broadcast over the radio during 1944-45 as usual has more than its share of exciting performances. Condon, a frequently sarcastic M.C., was an expert at gathering together overloaded all-star groups and somehow featuring everyone adequately. The main guests on the four shows included in this set are soprano-saxophonist Sidney Bechet, Jimmy Dorsey (on clarinet and alto) and trombonist Tommy Dorsey who join the remarkable Condon crew (trumpeters Billy Butterfield, Max Kaminsky, Yank Lawson and Muggsy Spanier, trombonist Lou McGarity, baritonist Ernie Caceres, clarinetists Hank D'Amico and Pee Wee Russell, pianist Jess Stacy, bassists Bob Casey, Jack Lesberg and Sid Weiss, drummers George Wettling and Johnny Blowers and singers Red McKenzie and Lee Wiley) for some freewheeling performances. All of the volumes in this essential series are highly recommended to fans of Dixieland and Chicago jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Eddie Condon (guitar)
Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax)
Tommy Dorsey (trombone)
Muggsy Spanier (cornet)
Jess Stacy (piano)
Pee Wee Russell (clarinet)
George Wettling (drums)

Disc: 1
1. Should I?
2. Song Of The Wanderer
3. I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
4. Indiana
5. Relaxin' At The Touro
6. I Can't Get Started
7. Impromptu Ensemble
8. Strut, Miss Lizzie
9. Time On My Hands
10. Ain't Misbehavin'
11. There'll Be Some Changes Made
12. At The Jazz Band Ball
13. Someone To Watch Over Me
14. Impromptu Ensemble

Disc: 2
1. Honeysuckle Rose
2. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home
3. China Boy
4. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
5. Royal Garden Blues
6. Any Old Time I'm Feeling Blue
7. Impromptu Ensemble
8. I've Found A New Baby
9. Just Friends
10. That's A-Plenty
11. High Society
12. Someday, Sweetheart
13. The Man I Love
14. Impromptu Ensemble