Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clark Terry's Big Bad Band - Live at the Wichita Jazz Festival 1974

Clark Terry led a short-lived big band in the mid-'70s, and the 18-piece orchestra is showcased on this set from the 1974 Wichita Jazz Festival. With arrangements by Ernie Wilkins, Phil Woods, Jimmy Heath, and Allan Foust, the emphasis during this CD reissue is on swinging in a beboppish fashion. However, C.T. kept an open mind and his performance also has versions of Kenny Dorham's "Una Mas" and Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti" along with some more basic material. In addition to the flügelhornist/leader (who takes a trademark vocal on "Mumbles" and good-humoredly announces the songs), such soloists as altoist Phil Woods, tenor man Jimmy Heath, and pianist Duke Jordan are among the more important voices. This is an easily recommended CD for straight-ahead jazz fans. - Scott Yanow

"It's pretty damn seldom you get lucky enough to take a band on the road with Jimmy Heath, Arnie Lawrence and Phil Woods in the reed section; Richard Williams and Sir James Nottingham playing side by side in the trumpets; Chuck Connors anchoring the trombones; and a rhythm section like Duke Jordan, Wilbur Little, and Ed Soph. Man, that's a whole gang of talent. I have to get them on wax." - Clark Terry

So the decision was made to tape the band in concert on the evening of Sunday, April 21, 1974, and this album is the result.

Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals)
Jimmy Nottingham, Richard Williams, Oscar Gamby, Greg Bobulinski (trumpet)
Sonny Costanza, Jack Jeffers, Janice Robinson, Jimmy Wilkins, Chuck Connors (trombone)
Phil Woods, Arnie Lawrence, Jimmy Heath, Ernie Wilkins, Charles Davis (reeds)
Duke Jordan (piano) Wilbur Little (bass) Ed Soph (drums)

1. Una Mas
2. Nefertiti
3. Take the 'A' Train
4. Randi
5. Mumbles
6. Sheba
7. Cold 'Tater Stomp

Randy Weston - Earth Birth (1997)


This concert by Randy Weston was recorded at the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 4th of 1995. I attended the concert at the Ludger-Duvernay Hall (not Ludget, as stated in the liner notes), a magnificent 100 years old concert hall with great acoustics. I was seated in the second row and as I recall the music was lush and warm. I also remember that Melba Liston was present that evening and was warmly applauded at the end of the concert. Jean François.

Randy Weston Earth Birth

During his 40-something years as a musician, pianist Weston has incorporated various influences in his playing-primarily elements of African music he studied and later acquired during his lengthy stay in Tangier, where he ran the Africans Rhythm Club for five years about 30 years ago. He also came under the sway of Thelonious Monk or, as he told Len Lyons (in his 1983 book, The Great Pianists), "Monk entered my soul."

Much of that is ever present in his playing; however, the African sources are less evident on this collection of his compositions recorded with bassist Christian McBride, drummer Billy Higgins and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the 1995 Montreal Jazz Festival. In the liner notes Weston says, "The overall concept of the CD is love, romance and the beauty of life. It's something to slow you down, make you appreciate the finer things of life."

With the Symphony's 24 strings providing shading, intriguing undercurrents of sound and splashes of tonal color and with marvelous arrangements by Melba Liston , Weston gives us classic interpretations of such tunes as the title track ("My First Song"), written to honor the birth of his daughter, Pam, and son, Niles, who were also memorialized by "Pam's Waltz" and "Little Niles," both of which are on the disc. "Little Niles," one of four waltzes here, receives a particularly nice reading with the strings digging into the tune in stately style.

"Babe's Blues," another of the waltzes here that was written for children, gets an enjoyably Monkish treatment. "Where" is a spiritual played by the trio. "Berkshire Blues," the only uptempo piece, is a cheery item written to celebrate that area of Massachusetts that's home to the Music Inn, where, in the early '50s, Weston was the breakfast cook (!) and the after-dinner pianist. Two portraits-of his mother, Vivian, and Billie Holiday-are tender pieces with Holiday's getting an especially lush, wistful string accompaniment. "Hi-Fly," perhaps Weston's best-known tune, is played as a very relaxed ballad. On a collection of standout performances, it stands out above all the others; at 10:29 (it's the longest piece) Weston and Liston obviously thought so, too. This is an excellently recorded disc and Weston's rich piano sound is heard to great advantage. Review by Miles Jordan.


  1. Earth Birth
  2. Pam's Waltz
  3. Little Niles
  4. Babe's Blues
  5. Where?
  6. Hi-Fly
  7. Portrait of Billie Holiday
  8. Berkshire Blues
  9. Portrait of Vivian


  • Margot Aldrich Viola
  • Hung Bang Contractor, Violin
  • Jocelyne Bastien Viola
  • Jacques Beaudoin Double Bass
  • Denis Béliveau Violin
  • Marc Béliveau Violin
  • Ariane Bresse Violin
  • Suzanne Careau Viola
  • Lorraine Desmarais Viola
  • Sophie Dugas Violin
  • Nadia Francavilla Violin
  • Pascale Frenette Violin
  • Christine Giguère Cello
  • Daniel Godin Violin
  • Chirstine Harvey Cello
  • Billy Higgins Drums
  • Sylvie Lambert Cello
  • Christiane Lampron Viola
  • Sylvie Laville Viola
  • Jeanne LeBlanc Violin
  • Isabelle Lessard Violin
  • Melba Liston Arranger, String Arrangements
  • Francine Lupien Viola
  • Marcelle Mallette Violin
  • Christian McBride Bass
  • Jean-Luc Morin Cello
  • Orchestre Du Festival De Jazz de Montréal Performer
  • Monique Poitras Violin
  • Andre Roy Viola
  • Paul E. West Conductor
  • Randy Weston Piano

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jimmy Giuffre 3 - Fusion & Thesis

Two amazing albums from the 2nd version of the Jimmy Giuffre 3. After working with his first combo of Bob Brookmeyer and Jim Hall during the late 50s, Giuffre hooked up with a pair of younger modernists – Paul Bley and Steve Swallow – reintroducing the piano and bass to his trio format, instruments that had been previously missing because Giuffre wanted to explore the possibilities of melodic composition freed from rhythmic constraints. With this trio, Giuffre was still working in that mode – as you'll hear on Bley and Swallow's incredibly free playing. The group's performances are not free jazz by any means, but they're a key link in that tradition – as Giuffre and crew do an excellent job of creating unconventional compositions, most of which feel like little sculptures in sound. There's a total of 20 tracks on 2CDs – and titles include "Cry, Want", "Trudgin", "Jesus Maria", "Ictus", "Sonic", "Whirrrrr", "The Gamut", "Herb & Ictus", and "Flight".

This reissue of Fusion and Thesis, the two albums the new Jimmy Giuffre 3 made in 1961, prior to their breakthrough and breakup in 1962, is nothing short of a revelation musically. Originally produced by Creed Taylor, who was still respectable back then, the two LPs have been complete remixed and remastered by ECM proprietor and chief producer Manfred Eicher and Jean Philippe Allard and contain complete material from both sessions resulting in one new track on Fusion and three more on Thesis. *Thom Jurek*

Fusion: Disc One
01- Jesus Maria 6:13
02- Emphasis 4:12
03- In The Mornings Out There 6:50
04- Scootin' About 3:35
05- Cry, Want 5:08
06- Brief Hesitation 4:15
07- Venture 3:51
08 - Afternoon 5:10
09- Trudgin' 4:33

Thesis: Disc Two
01- Ictus 2:44
02- Carla 4:35
03- Sonic 4:44
04-Whirrrr 4:54
05- That's True, That's True 4:41
06- Goodbye 4:56
07- Flight 3:21
08- The Gamut 4:37
09- Me Too 5:03
10- TemporaLY 6:09
11- Herb & Ictus 0:54

Jimmy Giuffre clarinet, Paul Bley piano, Steve Swallow double-bass

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Woody Herman And His Orchestra - 1958 Live At The Peacock Lane

The album kicks off with Autobahn Blues, a real swinger in every sense of the word. Gene Roland's Park East comes next, an attractive ballad reminiscent of Lionel Hampton's Midnight Sun in which Woody Herman himself solos delightfully on alto saxophone and clarinet. There is so much good music to enjoy here — such as Horace Silver's classic Opus de Funk, which is taken for a real romp; the easy-paced Saxy, which features the marvelous saxophone section (who shine throughout, not just on this track); the groovy feel to Why You?; the slow and funky Blue Satin, and so on. However, it is trombonist Bill Harris, long a Herman key sideman, who for these ears is the star soloist throughout the date, and his magnificent playing reaches an extraordinarily inspired peak on that poignant bailad Gloomy Sunday. (Woody announces it as his favourite tune.) On this evidence alone, Bill's highly personal sound and unique way of phrasing remains unsurpassed to this day, for Harris was a genuine master, and possessed of the most individual trombone sound in jazz. Over the years, the Harris showpiece with the Herman band was always considered to be Bijou, and his version here is fine, as is his Skylark — both pure delight in fact — but it is Gloomy Sunday that really astonishes. (A great arrangement by Ralph Burns too, in which the band backs the trombonist to perfection.) Pete Jolly's swinging piano style is always a pleasure to hear, and he is heard to good effect on many tracks, on Ready, Set, Jump, and especially on Opus de Funk, where his intro sets the pace for what is to follow.
We have here then, a rousing and exhilerating CD, vintage 58, a good vintage by any standards, a year when Woody Herman was still out there leading a virile sounding Herd. And this particular band happened to be caught on a very good night. In fact they play as if their very lives depended on it, especially the brass section. The selection of titles is a characteristically intelligent Herman mix of standards and enterprising new charts, notably those by Gene Roland, Ralph Burns and Nat Pierce. Woody certainly gave his public foil value at Peacock Lane in 1958, and extremely fortunate were the people who were there in person, but equally fortunate are we to have the music available on this CD. An album to savour again and again.
Mike Baillie

01. Autobahn Blues (R.Burns)
02. Park East (G.Roland)
03. Why You? (J.Bunch)
04. Saxy (G.Roland)
05. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (D.Ellington-B.Russell)
06. Natchel Blues (G.Roland)
07. Lullaby Of Birdland (G.Shearing-G.Weiss)
08. Gloomy Sunday (L.Javor-R.Seress-S.Lewis)
09. Ready, Get Set, Jump (G.Roland)
10. Blue Satin (G.Roland)
11. Skylark (J.Mercer-H.Carmichael)
12. Captain Ahab (M.Albam)
13. Bijou (R.Burns)
14. Barfly Blues (G.Roland)
15. Opus De Funk (H.Silver)

Recorded live at the Peacock Lane Club, Hollywood, on January 10-16, 1958

Danny Styles, Bob Clark, John Coppola, Andy Peele, Hal Posey: trumpets
Bill Harris, Archie Martin, Roy Wiegand: trombones
Woody Herman: clarinet
Joe Romano, Jay Migliori, Arno Marsh: tenor saxes
Roger Pemberton: baritone sax
Pete Jolly: piano
Jimmy Gannon: bass
Jake Hanna: drums

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tim Berne - The Empire Box

The most remarkable thing about this box set of four of Tim Berne's reissued releases from the JMT label is that the wealth, depth, and breadth of the material here was recorded in only two years. This is astonishing, if one considers -- merely by cracking the box set open (a very handsome cardboard sleeve, really) and looking at the notes -- that Berne composed, arranged, and performed on these albums with no less than four different bands during the period. For starters, from 1979 there is The Five Year Plan, which featured Berne alongside the late clarinetist John Carter, wind and reedman Vinny Golia, drummer Alex Cline, and bassist Roberto Miranda. This is a live date with Berne's aggressive saxophone work taking a back seat to his leading a band full of strident personalities. Certainly he blows here, especially on alto on "The Glasco Cowboy," written for his mentor and hero, the late Julius Hemphill. Carter and Golia entwine each other, playing through separate harmonic architectures through the entire gig. Everything is crash and burn, and let's see who gets there first. Next is 7x, with Miranda, Cline, his brother Nels on guitars, Golia, and trombonist John Rapson. Here, the aggression factor is heightened by the presence of Nels Cline, whose overdriven scree and amplitude push Berne into the red zone and make Golia carry the structural frameworks and harmonic structures of most of the numbers. An excellent example is when Berne and Cline begin to solo at each other in "The Water People," and Golia and Rapson offer a contrapuntal intervallic figure to hold them in check while the rhythm section moves the tune into more open territory to accommodate them.

On Spectres, from 1981, Berne's counterparts include trombonist James Harvey, Olu Dara on cornet, and John Lindberg and Ed Schuller on alternating basses. On the title track and on "Hot and Cold," Berne utilizes the humorous aspects of Dara's attack on the cornet. Dara is the king of tricks on the instrument, and gives everything a loose carnival feel, even in the heat of a chromatic solo. When the band launches into "Stroll" with Lindberg, it's two players with a wry sense of jester's humor moving through Berne's raw emotionalism and roughing out the edges; the tempered moments of free-swinging post-bop are joyous in both their levity and intensity. Finally, on the double album Songs and Rituals in Real Time, Berne's compositions are in the hands of a band that includes drummer Paul Motian, Ed Schuller, and saxophonist Mack Goldsbury. In this quartet, also recorded in 1981, Berne found the perfect balance of aggressive improvisatory innovation and hardcore, taut ensemble playing. His compositions and arrangements walked the tightrope between restrained, reserved timbral and tonal equanimity and a swinging, blowing rhythmic intensity that had each saxophone player trying to move the other up the scale, not in terms of competition, but in expression. From a knotty, shimmering blues-like figure on "New Dog/Old Tricks," Berne slips into a modal R&B as Goldsbury answers him by taking the modal scale out of the rhythm section's interval, carrying it into an empty one (a diminished fourth), and roaring into the stratosphere with it. For their part, Motian and Schuller play around with time a lot, they stretch intervals to the breaking point and somehow roll them over, and conversely break apart small units of time into bebop-like figures. The 25-minute "The Ancient Ones" is one of Berne's finest moments as a composer and as a soloist, as he goes head to head with Schuller and Motian for ten minutes and clips through the entire chromatic range of his chord progression's palette. Each color becomes another figure upon which to build and deconstruct.

This set is a must for Berne's fans who didn't have the opportunity to get the records the first time around and, for those who did, hearing them in this way, as a set of music spanning only two years (the albums themselves were issued over a longer period), it becomes a revelation of Berne's development as a bandleader and as a soloist. Here is the shop work that witnessed him harnessing his considerable power as a composer and his frighteningly deft ability as a soloist, while leading not just one but four bands in a variety of settings with the same clarity and quality. Essential. ~ Thom Jurek

Tim Berne (alto sax)
John Carter (clarinet)
Nels Cline (guitar)
Vinny Golia (Piccolo Flute)
Olu Dara (cornet)
Ed Schuller (bass)
Alex Cline (percussion)
Glenn Ferris (trombone)
Roberto Miguel Miranda (bass)
Paul Motian (drums)

CD 1
1. The Glasco Cowboy (For Julius Hemphill)
2. A.K. Wadud (For Abdul Wadud)
3. Computerized Taps for 12 Different Steps
4. N.Y.C. Rites

CD 2
1. Chang Tim Berne
2. The Water People (For Brian Horner)
3. 7x
4. Flies
5. A Pearl in the Oliver C.
6. Showtime (For Don and Thelma Cline)

CD 3
1. Hot and Cold
2. Spectres
3. Grendel (For Hamid Drake)
4. Stroll
5. For Charles Mingus

CD 4
1. San Antonio/The Unknown Factor
2. Roberto Miguel (For Roberto Miguel Miranda)
3. New Dog/Old Tricks

CD 5
1. Shirley's Song (For Shirley Britt) /The Mutant of Alberan
2. Flies/ The Ancient Ones (For Alex Cline)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pee Wee Russell & Red Allen at the College Concert

Pee Wee Russell & Red Allen at the College concert
A 9137 (stereo)

Pee Wee Russell - clarinet
Red Allen - trumpet
Steve Kuhn – piano
Charlie Haden – bass
Marty Morell – drums

11 Blue Monk
12 I want a little girl
13 Body and soul
21 Pee Wee’s blues
22 2 degrees East, 3 degrees West
23 Graduation Blues

Recorded on April, 17th, 1967

“All Music Guide – 1994"
Although trumpeter Red Allen (heard in his final recording)and clarinetist Pee Wee Russell had recorded back in 1932, their paths only crossed on an infrequent basis throughthe years.
For this LP, the two veteran modernists (who spent much of their careers in Dixieland settings) are joined by a young rhythm section of pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Marty Morel.
The music is generally relaxed with an emphasis on blues and a fine feature for Red on Body and soul.
Scott Yanow
Produced by Bob Thiele
Notes by George Hoefer
Diggited from original LP (my best effort) and converted to flac mode & scans included on links

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Curtis Amy - Katanga!

This 1998 reissue contains 3 bonus tracks not included on the original release.

Tenor saxophonist Curtis Amy recorded six albums for Pacific Jazz during 1960-63. This CD reissue from 1998 has all of the music from his sixth set (Katanga) and half of the performances (three selections) from his fourth outing, Way Down. Amy had a fine hard bop-oriented style with a soulful sound. The Katanga date matched him with the legendary (and barely documented) trumpeter Dupree Bolton, guitarist Ray Crawford (heard in top form), pianist Jack Wilson, bassist Victor Gaskin and drummer Doug Sides on four originals, plus "A Shade of Brown" and "You Don't Know What Love Is." The other session finds Amy with a completely different group consisting of trumpeter Marcus Belgrave (one of his few recordings from the era), valve trombonist Roy Brewster, vibraphonist Roy Ayers (at the beginning of his career), bassist George Morrow and drummer Tony Bazley, performing three of Amy's tunes. Obscure but rewarding music that was overshadowed during the era and was previously long out of print. * Scott Yanow *

1 - Katanga
2 - Lonely Woman
3 - Native Land
4 - Amyable
5 - You Don't Know What Love Is
6 - A Shade of Brown
7 - A Soulful Bee, a Soulful Rose
8 - 24 Hour Blues
9 - Lisa

Personnel: Curtis Amy (soprano & tenor saxophones); Dupree Bolton, Marcus Belgrave (trumpet); Roy Brewster (valve trombone); Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Jack Wilson, John Houston (piano); Ray Crawford (guitar); Victor Gaskin, George Morrow (bass); Doug Sides, Tony Bazley (drums).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lyle 'Spud' Murphy - New Orbits in Sound & His 12-Tone System

Lyle (Spud) Murphy (1908-2005) the veteran arranger of the swing era began attracting attention in 1955 with his self-devised 12-tone scale system of composition and arranging. It was something completely different - an organized sound in a fresh and new harmonic concept.
To achieve this result Murphy used the unique instrumentation of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones giving the full tonal range to the section captured in his first 10" record for the Gene Norman Presents label (Four Saxophones In Twelve Tones). The musicianship of the performers is first rate. In addition to the superb section work, which features Benny Carter, the solos played by Buddy Collette, Bob Gordon are outstanding, and especially striking is Frank Morgan, who emerged here as one of the most exciting West Coast altoists.
The second record on which Murphy applied his musical system (12-Tone Compositions & Arrangements by Lyle Murphy), was produced Lester Koenig's Contemporary, on which five woodwinds play collectively with a rhythm section made up by Andre Previn and Shelly Manne, in a horizontal, or contrapuntal, design.
On the last four selections (from the album New Orbits In Sound), two trombones were added to the first instrumentation for additional tonal effect. The execution of the orchestral parts is flawless and the imagination and technique displayed by the soloists a still-exciting experience.

As a fascinating slice of 1950s experimentation, well worth checking out.
Jazz Journal - Simon Adams

01. Tone Poem (Murphy)
02. I Only Have Eyes for You (Warren, Dubin)
03. Frantastic (Murphy)
04. Caleta (Murphy, Laguna)
05. Lost in Fugue (Murphy)
06. Frankly Speaking (Murphy)
07. Illusion (Murphy)
08. Crazy Quilt (Murphy)
09. Fourth Dimension (Murphy)
10. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington)
11. Poly-Doodle (Murphy)
12. Dizzy Dialogue (Murphy)
13. Seismograph (Murphy)
14. Triton (Murphy)
15. Perdido (Tizol)
16. Blue Moon (Rodgers, Hart)
17. These Foolish Things (Marvell, Strachey, Link)
18. Pemba (Murphy)
19. Orbit (Murphy)
20. Misty Rose (Murphy)
21. Slightly Off Center (Murphy)
22. Daily Double (Murphy)

Tracks 1-8: Four Saxophones In Twelve Tones (GNP-9)

Recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, on November 3 (tracks 1-4) & December 3 (tracks 5-8), 1954

Lyle Murphy (cel)
Frank Morgan (as)
Benny Carter (as)
Russ Cheever (cl,ss,as)
Buddy Collette (fl,cl,as,ts),
Bob Gordon (bs)
Buddy Clark (b)
Chico Hamilton (ds) (tracks 1-4)
Richie Frost (ds) (tracks 5-8)

Tracks 9-18: 12-Tone Compositions & Arrangements by Lyle Murphy (C-3506)

Recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, on August 16 (tracks 9-13) & October 11 (tracks 14-18), 1955

Buddy Collette (fl,cl,as,ts)
Abe Most (fl,cl,as)
Russ Cheever (cl,ss,as)
Jack Dumont (cl,as)
Chuck Gentry (bcl, bs)
Andre Previn (p)
Curtis Counce (b)
Shelly Manne (ds)

Tracks19-22: New Orbits In Sound (GNP-38)

Recorded at Audio Arts Studio, Hollywood, on September 30 (tracks 19-22), 1957

Milt Bernhart (tb)
Dick Nash (tb)
Russ Cheever (cl,ss,as)
Buddy Collette (fl,cl,as,ts)
Morrie Crawford (ts)
Curtis Counce (b)
Bill Ulyate (bs)
Larry Bunker (ds)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Aldo Ciccolini fête ses 85 ans à la Roque d'Anthéron

Piano recital of Chopin and Liszt by
Aldo Ciccolini
August 15, 2010
30th International Piano Festival
La Roque d'Anthéron - France

One of the grand masters of the classical piano in performance, and what an astonishing recital it was, in celebration of his 85th year. Viewed on the Mezzo satellite channel and captured to divx in high quality. I particularly liked the exceptional timbre of Mr Ciccolini's Bechstein and I wonder why more pianists don't choose it over the sometimes all-too-common sound of the Steinway instruments.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kenny Dorham - The Shadow Of Your Smile

A live date which was broadcast over WABC-FM in stereo, this recording is a fortuitous survival which is surprisingly good both in sound and content. The passing of years elevates the value of artifacts like this, although at the time they were recorded they were so taken for granted that its surprising these tapes are still around. Also at the Half Note, for example, was Lennie Tristano's quartet, and I dont believe any record of his performance exists. This is a treat; listening to KD speak, you can see why he was called Quiet Kenny.

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

1. Jong Fu
2. Spring Is Here
3. Somewhere In The Night
4. The Shadow Of Your Smile
5. Straight Ahead

"Half Note", NYC, February 25, 1966

Frank Rosolino - Free For All

Recorded December 1958 with Harold Land, Victor Feldman, Leroy Vinnegar, and Stan Levey, Rosolino was upset that the album was never released, as he felt that it was his best effort up to that time. Pure bebop and pure Rosolino, it is worth seeking out for the efforts of all concerned. This is the easiest to find of any of his recordings as a leader.

First the bad news: Frank Rosolino took the life of his two children and then shot himself in 1978 after a lifelong battle with depression. The good news: in 1959 he recorded Free For All a wonderfully spirited set that belies the psychological problems that plagued the trombonist throughout his life. Rosolino spent the first part of career honing his chops in the Stan Kenton band, like many of the West Coast musicians of the time. He developed an agility and melodic sense equal to that of any trumpet player. After a stint with the Lighthouse All-Stars, Rosolino was given the opportunity to record this quintet session with fellow West Coasters, which features the usual mix of originals and standards. Right from the start, this session promises to be something exceptional as the disc starts off with an off-kilter, waltz-time intro to “Love For Sale” which leads into some spirited soloing from the horns and punchy comping from Feldman. This sets the tone for the entire session, which is irresistibly jubilant throughout; even “Stardust” swings gently under Rosolino’s textured playing (he should be commended for giving this overworked standard new life). However, the band really comes to life on the up-tempo numbers, where Land and Rosolino keep tight formation on the heads and then blaze off into playful solos while Levey sizzles underneath. This album is one of the few sessions that this neglected trombonist ever made as a leader and is a fitting testament to his achievements. Free For All captures an artist at a pivotal point in his career making the transition from big band work to small-group session while being haunted by inner demons. Make no mistake about it; Rosolino was capable of making exciting music that more people should hear. * David Rickert *

1 - Love For Sale
2 - Twilight
3 - Don't Take Your Love From Me
4 - Chrisdee
5 - Stardust
6 - Free For All
7 - There Is No Greater Love
8 - Sneakyoso
9 - Chrisdee (alt. take)
10 - Don't Take Your Love From Me (alt. take)
11 - There Is No Greater Love (alt. take)

Frank Rosolino (trombone); Harold Land (tenor saxophone); Victor Feldman (piano); Stan Levey (drums).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Norvo - The Forward Look

This is an exceptional recording of a live performance, made by Keith Johnson while he was a college student on a recorder he built himself. The professional review ... incorrectly notes that the recording was made on New Year's Eve 1957 as stated in the liner notes, but it was actually 1959. Norvo and company are in fine form here. One great tune follows another.

This recording is well known among several generations of audiophiles for its lifelike, natural sound. Of particular note in this regard is the track "Saturday Night" which has the potential to damage speakers if played too loudly. There are rumors that this album might be released in the new SACD format soon, which should elevate its already superb sound even more.

Highly recommended for both its musical content and sound quality.

The music on this CD, taken from a New Year's Eve concert, had never been issued prior to the release of this CD by Reference in 1991. With Jerry Dodgion (mostly on alto and flute), guitarist Jimmy Wyble, bassist Red Wooten and drummer John Markham being his sidemen, this was a well-integrated group despite the lack of major names. Norvo's vibe playing was in its prime and he is in excellent form during a wide-ranging set that ranges from "My Funny Valentine" and "When You're Smiling" to Quincy Jones's "For Lena and Lennie" and "How's Your Mother in Law"; the repertoire includes quite a few obscurities. This surprisingly well-recorded CD is well worth picking up as an example of Red Norvo's playing in the latter half of the 1950s. ~ Scott Yanow

Recorded live on New Year's Eve in 1957, this session finds vibraphonist Red Norvo in an exuberantly swinging mood. Playing vibes without vibrato to achieve a clear and distinctive sound, Norvo demonstrates tremendous rhythmic energy and invention. Jerry Dodgion contributes inventively boppish solos on alto, while his flute blends with Norvo's vibraphone and Jimmy Wyble's guitar to add to the group's light, transparent textures. A fine rhythm section of journeymen Red Wootten on bass and John Markham on drums keeps the emphasis on concentrated swing in a repertoire that ranges from well-chosen pop tunes to Horace Silver's "Room 608" to Norvo's own classic "Cookin' at the Continental." Reference Recordings has a reputation for audiophile sound, and this very early tape by the label's engineer, Keith Johnson, is remarkably well recorded, capturing the intimacy and immediacy of Norvo's music. ~ Stuart Broomer

Red Norvo (vibes)
Jerry Dodgion (reeds)
Jimmy Wyble (guitar)
Red Wootten (bass)
John Markham (drums)

1. Rhee Waahnee
2. The Forward Look
3. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
4. My Funny Valentine
5. How's Your Mother-In-Law?
6. Saturday Night
7. Mountain Greenery
8. I'm Beginning To See The Light
9. When You're Smiling
10. Room 608
11. For Lena And Lennie
12. Cookin' At The Continental

The Ganelin Trio - Ancora Da Capo

A Penguin Guide 'crown' selection.

" ... this is the Ganelin Trio's definitive performance. Even though somewhat separated by geography and time, and by significant changes in acoustic, this two-part suite has a monolithic intensity which condenses everything the group was about at its best; a shining expressiveness, dense, passionate playing, humour and, underlying it all, an ironclad discipline. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece, and we strongly recommend it to your attention." Penguin Guide

Composed by pianist/leader Vyacheslav Ganelin, Ancora Da Capo is an inspired major work consisting of two parts, recorded live on two separate occasions in 1980 and each nearly 40 minutes long. The Ganelin Trio's brand of loosely structured free jazz was something really distinctive, though unfamiliar listeners might use the Art Ensemble of Chicago as a loose comparison since the two groups share several common elements: multi-instrumentalism (the trio's members play 16 instruments among themselves here); liberal uses of space, miscellaneous percussion sounds, and traditional/folk music references; and an anything-goes sense of humor. All of these qualities are evident on Ancora Da Capo. The piece has a few pre-composed themes (which are actually more alluded to than they are clearly stated) and an overarching form that guides the playing along, but the bulk of the music is heavily improvised within this larger framework. "Part 1" begins quietly with several minutes of chimes, shakers, and rattling percussion sounds before Ganelin and Vladimir Chekasin switch to piano and clarinet, respectively, improvising sparsely and patiently around a skeletal theme. Things heat up about halfway through when a new theme enters, as percussionist Vladimir Tarasov slides into a more propulsive free jazz groove and Chekasin's saxophone begins honking and vocalizing. Subsequently, there are more rattling percussion noises, some violin scrapes courtesy of Chekasin, a Ganelin piano solo that veers from fluid bop references to inside-the-instrument plucking, and a raucous finale that finds Chekasin quacking and literally screaming through his horn before he works his way back to the closing melodic theme. "Part 2" incorporates moments of actual toe-tapping, swing-like rhythms, along with primitive synthesizer sounds, more wild soloing from Chekasin (who sometimes blows two horns at once) and Ganelin, and, finally, a folk-like closing theme that brings things to a rousing conclusion. Ancora Da Capo has a rare balance of form and freedom, wildness and restraint that makes it continually surprising (at times even jarringly so) as well as remarkably durable in terms of repeated listening. [Note that Ancora Da Capo originally came out in the form of two separate LPs; the CD combines includes the original release of "Part 1," recorded in Leningrad, with a different version of "Part 2," which was performed weeks earlier in Berlin but not available for release when the original LPs came out.] ~ William York

Vyacheslav Ganelin (electric guitar, basset-horn, piano, percussion)
Vladimir Chekasin (violin, wooden flute, clarinet, altond tenor sax, basset-horn, percussion)
Vladimir Tarasov (drums, talking drum, percussion, bells, chimes)

1. Part 1
2. Part 2

Tony Ortega - Jazz For Young Moderns (TOCJ-62073)

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

Anthony Ortega (alto and tenor sax, clarinet, flute)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Bobby Timmons (piano)
Ahmed Abdul- Malik (bass)

1. Just One Of Those Things
2. Bat Man's Blues
3. These Foolish Things
4. Tune For Mona
5. No Fi
6. Four To Four
7. I Can't Get Started
8. Cinderella's Curfew
9. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
10. Patting

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie

I assumed this one had been posted here at some time but apparently not.

Masterful playing by two of the most competitive musicians in jazz.

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Oscar Peterson (piano)

1. Caravan
2. Mozambique
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Close Your Eyes
5. Blues for Bird
6. Dizzy Atmosphere
7. Alone Together
8. Con Alma
    Recorded November 28, 29, 1974

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Conte Candoli West - Coast Wailers

    Conte Candoli - trumpet
    Bill Holman - tenor
    Lou Levy - piano
    Leroy vinnegar - bass
    Lawrence Marable - drums

    01 Lover Come Back to Me
    02 Comes Love
    03 Lover Man
    04 Pete's Alibi
    05 Cheremoya
    06 Jordu
    07 Flamingo
    08 Marcia Lee

    by William Ruhlmann

    Trumpeter Conte Candoli and pianist Lou Levy had only occasional opportunities to work as leaders before this 1955 session they recorded together for Atlantic Records. Both made the most of the chance, fronting a quintet that also included tenor saxophonist Bill Holman, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Lawrence Marable. The group got out of the gate quickly (following a contemplative piano intro, that is) on a quickstep bop reading of the Sigmund Romberg operetta tune "Lover Come Back to Me," which quickly established that a commonplace of jazz ensembles would hold -- no matter whose name is in large print on the cover, it's the group that's performing, and other people will get their chance to shine, too. While the rhythm section contented itself with supporting (though Marable often made his drums noticeable), Holman got more solo time than his sideman credit would indicate, at least on this track. Levy and Candoli got to make their statements up front, of course, but this was really a five-headed beast and, from the sound of forceful bop compositions like Candoli's "Pete's Alibi," it's one that should have been given more of a hearing than just one album.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Sonny Stitt - Deuces Wild

    Originally released on Atlantic in 1967, this welcome reissue of an above-average sax/organ date finds Sonny Stitt in a familiar setting with familiar company. The organist is listed as Wilmer Mosby, but one listen makes clear that it's the great Don Patterson working the B-3 with his customary drive, taste, and imagination. (The pseudonym may have been necessary for contractual reasons.) The core trio is rounded out by drummer Billy James, a longtime collaborator with Patterson and Stitt, who supports with a supple, active style. The performances are concise, blues-based blowing numbers. What they lack in compositional refinement they make up for in energetic execution. The one exception is the flaccid reading of the ballad standard "My Foolish Heart." Saxophonist Robin Kenyatta's serpentine facility brings a progressive dimension to the tracks "In the Bag" and "Me 'n You." Stitt, in turn, responds with a slightly more outward-bound approach on these two Kenyatta originals, the second of which is, unfortunately, flawed by an abrupt edit near the end of Patterson's solo. The final track, "Pipin' the Blues," includes a jazz rarity...bagpipes. Sounding like an electric organ (Farfisa not Hammond), piper Rufus Harley's single-note lines fit right in with Stitt's blues groove. A whole album of soul-jazz bagpipes might wear thin, but as a one-off, Harley's performance here is more than mere novelty. - Jim Todd

    Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax)
    Don Patterson (organ)
    Billy James (drums)
    Robin Kenyatta (alto, soprano sax)
    Rufus Harley (tenor sax, bagpipes)

    1. Deuces Wild
    2. My Foolish Heart
    3. Blues Ahead
    4. Sittin' In With Stitt
    5. In the Bag
    6. Me 'n' You
    7. Pipin' the Blues
    Recorded September 11, 1966

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Bunky Green - Healing The Pain

    In listening to Bunky Green, one can hear where Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, and Gary Thomas came from. Green sails in and out of the chord changes and makes most of his solos into a do-or-die situation full of emotional intensity, especially when he plays alto. On this diverse CD (which finds him also performing a bit on soprano), Green shows that he is not afraid to occasionally caress a melody (as on a slow "Everything I Have Is Yours") and frequently emphasizes unexpected notes, particularly during a fascinating version of "I Concentrate on You." Joined by a fine rhythm section consisting of pianist Billy Childs, bassist Art Davis, and drummer Ralph Penland, Green is in top form on what may very well be his definitive recording. Highly recommended.

    Scott Yanow

    01. The Thrill Is Gone (Brown/Henderson)
    02. Walter's Theme (E. Bland)
    03. Who Can Turn To (Bricusse & Newley)
    04. I Concentrate on You (Cole POrter)
    05. Love Theme (E. Bland)
    06. You've Changed (Fisher/Carey)
    07. Wild Life (B. Green)
    08. Radio Theme (E. Bland)
    09. Everything I Have Is Yours (Lane/Adamson)
    10. Seashells (B. Green)
    11. Goodbye (Gordon Jenkins)
    12. Love Theme - Reprise (E. Bland)

    BUNKY GREEN soprano and tenor saxophones
    BILLY CHILDS piano
    ART DAVIS bass

    DELOS DE 4020

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Bill Carrothers - The Electric Bill

    The Electric Bill
    Bill Carrothers - Fender Rhodes piano
    Michael Lewis - tenor and soprano saxophone
    Reid Anderson - acoustic and electric bass
    Dave King - drums

    Recorded March 25-26, 2001
    at Creation Audio, Minneapolis, MN

    Some of Bill Carrothers' fans may not even know that he plays the electric Fender Rhodes, since his only other recorded performance on the instrument is on the 1998 Happy Apple disc, Part of the Solution Problem...You'd never know from its visceral, jammy-yet-composed nature, but this set of tunes has its formative origins in high-concept historical basis; in essence, the history of continual change in America. Check out the song titles, then hear how Bill's compositions reflect America's recurring process of rebellion, revolution and evolution. Taken in conjunction with 1998's The Blues and the Grays , we can conclude that the leader here finds a wellspring of inspiration in high school's most sleep-inducing subject-American history. But this one is, in spots, flowing, funky, lyrical, reflective and fun-the only thing certain in life is change, after all- and Bill's written some rather cool and loose changes to accompany that paradigm. He's also made one of the three great Rhodes records that have come to my attention in 2002. That he has done so using no adornments to the instrument's tone or timbre, on an axe with a rich history of enhancement via little colored boxes, is a testament to his considerable compositional and playing abilities.

    Bunky Green - 1965-66 Playin' for Keeps & Testifyin' Time

    This LoneHill Jazz release includes two old Bunky Green albums from the middle of the 60: Playin' for Keeps (Cadet 766) and Testifyin' Time (Argo 753), as well as a bonus track (Step High, from the album with the same title).

    Playin' for Keeps draws on inspirations spanning from Tin Pan Alley to bossa nova to the British Invasion to forge a soul-jazz groove with its own distinct sensibility. Though rooted in bop, Bunky Green embraces both pop and avant-garde idioms as well, channeling his myriad influences to create a soulful and lithe sound with an impressive command of space and time. Bassist Cleveland Eaton, pianist Willie Pickens, and drummer Harold Jones are all in fine form throughout, clearly relishing the indelible melodies of selections like "The Shadow of Your Smile" and "Yesterday." Green's edgy, forceful alto is nevertheless the focal point, navigating the material with skill and finesse.
    Jason Ankeny

    As its title suggests, Testifyin' Time channels elements of gospel but otherwise eschews tradition and cliché, bolstering its modern jazz sensibilities with nods to the emerging Chicago soul sound. Backed by tenorist James Meyer, trumpeter Walter Strickland, bassist Cleveland Eaton, and drummer Marshall Thompson, Bunky Green flourishes in the session's hip, contemporary mode, uncorking a series of nimble alto solos galvanized by a communal joie de vivre that elevates the entire session beyond the norm. And like most of Green's Argo sessions, Testifyin' Time boasts a thoughtful song selection as well, with material spanning from the perennial "On Green Dolphin Street" to the Gershwin/Weil collaboration "My Ship."
    Jason Ankeny

    01 On Green Dolphin Street (Kaper, Washington) 5:21
    02 My Ship (Gershwin, Weill) 4:03
    03 Yesterday (Lennon, McCartney) 3:39
    04 Playin' for Keeps (Green) 4:17
    05 What I Can Do (Edwards, Green) 5:43
    06 Mi Compasion (Edwards) 4:09
    07 My Man's Gone Now (Gershwin, Heyward) 3:51
    08 Brazilano (Garcia) 5:29
    09 Step High (Green) 5:31
    10 Tamra (Wallace) 4:17
    11 Silver Dollar (Palmer, Van Ness) 3:39
    12 When the Sun Comes Out (Arlen, Koehler) 4:31
    13 Testifyin' Time (Green) 3:37
    14 Tweedlee Dee (Scott) 4:21
    15 Orbit Six (Green) 3:27
    16 The Shadow of Your Smile (Love Theme from The Sandpiper) (Mandel, Webster) 3:25
    17 Mama Looka Boo Boo (Alexander, Melody) 4:32

    Recorded in Chicago between October 28, 1960 and January 18, 1966

    John Avant Trombone
    Cleveland Eaton Bass
    Bunky Green Sax (Alto)
    Elias Meneses Gutierrez Conga
    Harold Jones Drums
    Wynton Kelly Piano
    Warren Kime Trumpet
    Willie Pickens Piano
    Larry Ridley Bass
    Paul Serrano Trumpet
    Kenneth Soderblom Saxophone
    Charles Stepney Piano
    Walter Strickland Trumpet
    Marshall Thompson Drums
    Billy Wallace Piano

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Metta Quintet - Going To Meet The Man

    Drummer H. Benjamin Schuman is the founder and director of JazzReach, a Brooklyn based not-for-profit organization that takes its educational jazz programs on the road to expose students to the often hidden away piece of American culture known as "jazz". "Jazz has the ability to enrich and elevate them in ways that a lot of pop music doesn't," Schuman explains. "The music is a really vital, exciting art form and it isn't a part of the standard classroom curriculum, and it's not promoted in mainstream media." He, therefore, has taken it upon himself to make sure that young people were learning about the music and history of jazz. After selling an inherited Steinway piano to raise money, Schuman started JazzReach in 1994, and began creating unique and informative programs geared towards students from elementary to high school. A few years ago, the writing of James Baldwin so moved and inspired him that he commissioned pieces from his musician pals that would represent stories from Baldwin's Going to Meet the Man. "I was so taken by his writing, the level of _expression, the sense of urgency he seemed to have," explained Schuman. "It reminded me of music. The feeling of 'I have to get this out. My life depends on it'." The result is an album of the same name, recorded by the organization's resident group, the Metta Quintet. In addition to Larry Golding's title track, the disc combines the playing and compositions from four of New York's premier young musicians: guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel , saxophonist Mark Turner , pianists Brad Mehldau and George Colligan . Each track captures Baldwin's literary tone with harmonies that change from minor to major keys and fluctuating tempos and motifs that represent individual characters. Each piece tells a tale of human suffering, relationship strife and woebegone ways. But jubilance, curiosity, growth and development prevail. An influx of letters from students, teachers and administrators assures Schuman that he's getting somewhere. "When they love it, when they get it, it's incredible," Schuman admits. "When we leave the stage feeling like they've gotten it, I really feel like we've accomplished our mission."

    All About Jazz. Celeste Sunderland

    1. Previous Condition (Kurt Rosenwinkel)
    2. Question & The Smile (Mark Turner)
    3. The Outing (Brad Mehldau)
    4. Chico Harriet Pt. I, II & III (Kurt Rosenwinkel)
    5. Sonny's Blues (Mark Turner)
    6. Going To Meet The Man (Larry Goldings)
    7. Out The Wilderness (George Colligan)
    8. The Rockpile (Brad Mehldau)

    MARK TURNER tenor saxophone
    MARK GROSS alto & soprano saxophones
    GEORGE COLLIGAN piano, hammond B3 organ
    JOSHUA GINSBURG acoustic bass

    Recorded April 2000 at Systems Two Studios, Brooklyn, NY
    KOCH JAZZ 6 52405 14132 3