Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ira Sullivan (1975-76) [LP > flac]

A rather eclectic offering from one of the most versatile musicians on the planet. Trumpet, flugelhorn, saxophones, flute; bebop, hard bop, post bop, free bop or whatever you want to call it - Ira Sullivan has no boundaries.

Ira Sullivan has long been a remarkable multi-instrumentalist with a personal sound on each of his horns. On this A&M release, Sullivan mostly sticks to soprano and flute although he plays trumpet briefly on "Old Hundredth" and stretches out on tenor during a lengthy medley of his "Slighty Arched" and the standard "Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most." His supporting cast includes the talented guitarist Joe Diorio and on one selection an unknown bassist named Jaco (here misspelled Joco) Pastorius. The generally thoughtful music is not as exciting as some of Sullivan's other sessions (particularly the later ones with Red Rodney) but has its strong moments. - Scott Yanow

1. Old Hundreth
Ira Sullivan (trumpet)
2. Jitterbug Waltz
Ira Sullivan (soprano sax)
Joe Diorio (guitar)
Tony Castellano (piano)
3. Purples, Violets and Blues
Ira Sullivan (soprano sax)
Alex Darqui (piano)
4. Portrait of Sal La Rosa
Ira Sullivan (flute, afuche)
Joe Diorio (guitar)
Jaco Pastorius (bass)
Steve Bagby (drums)
Don Alias (congas)
5. Finlandia
Ira Sullivan (soprano sax, tenor sax, trumpet)
6. Dove
Ira Sullivan (flute, soprano sax)
Alex Darqui (piano)
7. Slightly Arched/Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
Ira Sullivan (tenor sax)
Joe Diorio (guitar)
Tony Castellano (piano)
Steve Bagby (drums)
8. My Reverie
Ira Sullivan (soprano sax)
Tony Castellano (piano)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sahib Shihab - Conversations

Amazon has one used copy of this for $93.45. I'm willing to let my copy go for just $92.45.

Because he spent so much of his career living in Europe, Sahib Shihab is primarily known for being a baritonist in the bop era. As this very interesting CD shows, he was also quite original on the alto, soprano and flute and by the early 1960's was open to the influence of the avant-garde without losing his own musical personality. Shihab, who is teamed on this live Copenhagen session with flugelhornist Allan Botchinsky, guitarist Ole Molin, drummer Alex Riel and the 17-year old bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pederson, performs "Someday My Prince Will Come," "Charade" and a lengthy version of "Billy Boy" along with five originals including the three-part "Conversations." This surprising music is well worth several listens and shows that Shihab was a much more diverse player than is usually thought. ~ Scott Yanow

Sahib Shihab (alto, baritone, soprano sax and flute)
Allan Botchinsky (flugelhorn)
Ole Molin (guitar)
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)
Bjarne Rostvold (drum)

1. Forty-Seventy Blues
2. Billy Boy
3. Not Yet
4. Conversations-Part I
5. Conversations-Part II
6. Conversations-Part III
7. Charade
8. Someday My Prince Will Come

Walter Bishop, Jr. - Bish Bash (1964 - 1968)

This album contains two sessions from a period where Walter Bishop, Jr. had no other recording opportunities as a leader.

The first from 1964 is a great but poorly taped club performance which features the short lived tenor sax player Frank Haynes. The guys are jamming hard here and really stretch the tunes out.

In 1968 no one would touch Bishop so he had to produce his own session which went unissued until this albums first LP release in 1977. It's a trio date with Reggie Johnson and Leo Morris (or maybe it was Idris Muhammed) who play mostly Bishop's original compositions.

Bishop fans should enjoy this one.

Bob Sheppard - Tell Tale Signs (1991)

Some excellent post-bop music from Bob Sheppard, a very active but relatively unknown saxophonist.

Bob Sheppard is known as one of the most sought-after and well-respected saxophonists on the West Coast. He participates in a wide range of activities based in Los Angeles, from touring with different groups to playing on movie and television soundtracks and teaching. Sheppard received a master's degree at the Eastman School of Music, then began his professional career playing with a diverse array of jazz and pop musicians. He has performed prominently with drummer Peter Erskine, Chick Corea's Grammy-nominated Origin ensemble, and for many years with pianist Billy Childs. As a sideman he's accompanied Freddie Hubbard, Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Scott Henderson, Lyle Mays, Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Horace Silver, Nat Adderley, the Tonight Show Orchestra, Bobby Shew, Bob Florence, Bill Holman, and the big bands of Toshinko Akiyoshi and Lew Tabackin. In the rock and pop world he has accompanied Steely Dan, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones, and others. Sheppard's tenor sax sound recalls the post-John Coltrane mode adopted by Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Mallach, and Ernie Watts, but retains a neo-bop-based sound of his own. He also employs clarinet, bass clarinet, flutes, and the soprano sax. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor of jazz at University of Southern California.

Bob Sheppard (tenor, alto, soprano sax)
John Beasley (piano, organ, synth)
Billy Childs (piano, synth)
Larry Koonse (guitar)
Tom Warrington (bass)
Tom Brechtlein, Peter Erskine (drums)
Rob Lockart (tenor sax)
Bruce Paulson (trombone)
  1. Hidden Agenda
  2. Might as Well Be
  3. Once Removed
  4. Tell Tale Sign
  5. Point of Departure
  6. Shifting Sands
  7. Echoes
  8. You Betta' Off
  9. A.J.
  10. How Deep Is the Ocean

Jackie McLean - The New Tradition

Something of a rarity in it's vinyl form - going for upwards of $5000 even without the jacket - this is still not too easily found in CD form.

Altoist Jackie McLean made his recording debut as a leader with this album when he was 24. He is here in full command of his musical gifts and plays with a lot of guts, drive, heated emotion, and a good beat.

On these early days Jackie’s concept and playing still reflected a strong Bird-influence, but he was not far from finding his own style and voice.

This set is certainly worth hearing, and the presence of trumpeter Donald Byrd, another young lion, is definitely a plus. Listening to these sides we can understand why Byrd and McLean later became major jazz voices.

Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Ronald Tucker (drums)

1. It’s You Or No One
2. Blue Doll
3. Little Melonae
4. The Way You Look Tonight
5. Mood Malody
6. Lover Man

Recorded in NYC, October 21, 1955

This Day In Jazz

Charles Mingus - Mingus Plays Piano

This is not a performing seal act. This isn't even Ornette on violin. Mingus Plays Piano is no gimmick or avant garde foolery, because Mingus can really play piano.

Really play piano. On the Atlantic album Oh Yeah his piano fronts a band including Rahsaan Roland Kirk in a rollicking set; his comping there is competent but undistinguished. Nothing prepared the world for Mingus Plays Piano, except, perhaps, the unpredictable genius of Mr. Mingus himself.

If this was even just a seven-and-a-half minute album, it would be worth the price for the opening cut, "Myself When I Am Real." To what can Mingus' piano playing be compared? "Myself When I Am Real" sounds like Debussy plays Bill Evans, or maybe it's the other way around. The piece is tender and emotional, as strong in its own way as The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady but a good bit more introverted. "Myself When I Am Real" is like a peek into the quiet core of what makes other Mingus records so comprehensively successful. For all the clowning and braggadocio, at the center of Mingus' art is the soul of a man keenly aware of the joy and suffering that are both inescapable in life. "Myself When I Am Real" is a stunningly beautiful statement of that awareness.

Not to say that the rest of the album is a letdown. "I Can't Get Started" is precise and wistful, "Body and Soul" springingly embellished. "Roland Kirk's Message" takes upon itself the intriguing task of hailing an accomplished reedman with no reeds, or horns, at all. Leave it to Mingus, ladies and gentlemen! The minor blues opens with a bit of Ellingtonian fanfare and does its job with a few progressions set against trills (Kirk's multi-instrumentalism?) and deft shifts of mood (Kirk's eclecticism?). "It's not like playin' at home by yourself," Mingus says then, but just snorts derisively when somebody (Bob Thiele?) responds, "Well, what can we do for you?" What could they do for him? Peel back the layers of his soul? He was doing that part of it just fine.

"Memories of You" is fine, but it's a breather between the fascinating "Roland Kirk's Message" and the meditative musing of "She's Just Miss Popular Hybrid." Then comes a highlight of the set, "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blues," which, of course, became a staple of Mingus' Jordan / Dolphy European tour band in the coming year. Without the horns it is less jaunty and more profound, with a fragile meditative feel. Mingus sings a fragment of a lyric half under his breath at one point; rather than the gospellish egging on of other players that his vocalizing represents on other discs, here it signifies his total involvement in his art. And art it is.

"Meditations for Moses" is full of foreboding and plaintive restiveness. It bears little resemblance to the magisterial "Meditations" variations Mingus would record in 1964, but earns its own place in the canon. Like many of these pieces, it starts out as one thing and, by a series of tempo and mood shifts, ends up another, with a pianistic nod to the flamenco guitar Mingus was so fond of in between. The epitome of this most Mingusian technique of shifting moods is the finale, "Compositional Theme Story: Medleys, Anthems and Folklore." While less nakedly emotional than "Myself When I Am Real," Mingus' performance here is no less magisterial. This piece, by the way, contains a riff or two that did land in the bravura "Meditations" of the 1964 tour.

Mingus Plays Piano is one of the most beautiful recordings, period. It is a on its own terms perhaps a more personal statement than even the masterpiece The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. While indulging in absolutely none of the ear-straining superficial ugliness of much of the "new jazz" music of the period, it manages to attain to the personal exposure and honesty to which many New Thing-ers aspired. Anything by Mingus is worth hearing; Mingus Plays Piano should be in the first rank — so far from a mere novelty as to be one of this great artist's finest hours. Robert Spencer

1. Myself When I Am Real
2. I Can't Get Started
3. Body And Soul
4. Roland Kirk's Message
5. Memories Of You
6. She's Just Miss Popular Hybrid
7. Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress, Then Silk Blues
8. Meditations For Moses
9. Old Portrait
10. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
11. Compositional Theme Story: Medleys, Anthems And Folklore

Recorded on July 30, 1963

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coleman Hawkins - With The Red Garland Trio

Long before joining Miles Davis in 1955, Red Garland was regularly employed by Coleman Hawkins, who had been a symbol of greatness in jazz since the mid-'20s. This 1959 date constitutes a happy reunion.

On this, probably his best session for Swingville, Hawk tries his hand keeping up with a then-modern rhythm section, accomplishing this with great panache. His solos on With The Red Garland Trio are bop-tinged and somewhat experimental, though he retains the thick, coarse sound that was his trademark. Garland and his trio play impeccably here, with drummer Specs Wright in particular contributing a simply stunning series of four bar breaks on "It's a Blue World." Other highlights include the smoky ballad, "I Want To Be Loved," and the lengthy, ever-evolving "Bean's Blues."

One of Hawkins's better Prestige sessions (originally on its Swingville subsidiary) finds him fronting a then-modern rhythm section for a variety of basic originals, the ballad "I Want to Be Loved" and "It's a Blues World." The lengthy "Bean's Blues" is the highpoint of this generally relaxed session. ~ Scott Yanow

Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Red Garland (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Charles "Specs" Wright (drums)

1. It's a Blue World
2. I Want to Be Loved
3. Red Beans
4. Bean's Blues
5. Blues for Ron

Hackensack, New Jersey: August 12, 1959

Buddy Rich - Mercy, Mercy (1968)

Saw this one in the request section and I thought someone had posted it awhile back but it didn't show up when I did a search of the archives. 'tis.

This should also be of interest to Art Pepper fans as it is a rare late sixties session when he was in between his "two lives". According to trombonist Rick Stepton - "Art had been playing tenor with a latin band in the barrio section of Los Angeles and didn't own an alto when he got the call to join the band. Don Menza offered to lend him his horn until he could get one of his own and that's Don's alto Art was playing at Caesar's."

This CD reissue brings back the finest all-round recording by Buddy Rich's big band. The original version of "Channel 1 Suite" is a classic and contains tenor saxophonist Don Menza's most memorable solo, plus a couple of brilliant improvisations from the explosive drummer/leader. Another highlight is an inventive Phil Wilson arrangement of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and even "Alfie" (a melodic feature for altoist Art Pepper) and "Ode to Billie Joe" come across well. In addition to the original LP program, three selections were released for the first time on this CD. "Chelsea Bridge" is particularly significant, for it showcases Pepper, who was making a brief (and unsuccessful) comeback seven years before he finally returned to the scene. This spirited and often-exciting set is a real gem and is essential. - Scott Yanow

Art Pepper, Charles Owens, Don Menza, Pat LaBarbera, John Laws (reeds)
Al Porcino, Bill Prince, Ken Faulk, Dave Culp (trumpet)
Jim Trimble, Rick Stepton, Peter Graves, Dave Culp (trombone)
Joe Azarello (piano)
Walt Namuth (guitar)
Gary Walters (bass)
Buddy Rich (drums)
  1. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
  2. Preach and Teach
  3. Channel 1 Suite
  4. Big Mama Cass
  5. Goodbye Yesterday
  6. Acid Truth
  7. Alfie
  8. Ode to Billie Joe
  9. Chavala
  10. Mr. Lucky
  11. Chelsea Bridge
Recorded July 7, 1968 at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas

Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Just a day or so ago I came across a stash of Japanese 20bit K2 things; you know, that stuff that comes with the obis - Yes, Helen Merrill, Todd Rundgren, Small Faces, etc., at really cheap prices, so I picked up a couple or three; the Merrill, Small Faces, and this. I'm surprised that it hasn't been here before - not that I can recall, anyway.

Having completed what he (and many critics) regarded as his masterwork in The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Charles Mingus' next sessions for Impulse found him looking back over a long and fruitful career. Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus is sort of a "greatest hits revisited" record, as the bassist revamps or tinkers with some of his best-known works. The titles are altered as well -- "II B.S." is basically "Haitian Fight Song" (this is the version used in the late-'90s car commercial); "Theme for Lester Young" is "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"; "Better Get Hit in Your Soul" adds a new ending, but just one letter to the title; "Hora Decubitus" is a growling overhaul of "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too"; and "I X Love" modifies "Nouroog," which was part of "Open Letter to Duke." There's also a cover of Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo," leaving just one new composition, "Celia." Which naturally leads to the question: With the ostensible shortage of ideas, what exactly makes this a significant Mingus effort? The answer is that the 11-piece bands assembled here (slightly different for the two separate recording sessions) are among Mingus' finest, featuring some of the key personnel (Eric Dolphy, pianist Jaki Byard) that would make up the legendary quintet/sextet with which Mingus toured Europe in 1964. And they simply burn, blasting through versions that equal and often surpass the originals -- which is, of course, no small feat. This was Mingus' last major statement for quite some time, and aside from a solo piano album and a series of live recordings from the 1964 tour, also his last album until 1970. It closes out the most productive and significant chapter of his career, and one of the most fertile, inventive hot streaks of any composer in jazz history. ~ Steve Huey

Charles Mingus (bass, piano)
Eric Dolphy (flute, alto sax)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Charlie Mariano (alto sax)
Jaki Byard (piano)
Jerome Richardson (flute, baritone and soprano sax)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Jay Berliner (guitar)
Walter Perkins (drums)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. II B.S.
2. I X Love
3. Celia
4. Mood Indigo
5. Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul
6. Theme For Lester Young
7. Hora Decubitus

Happy Birthday, Mr. Redman

Don Redman - 1931-1933 (Chronological 543)

The first great arranger in jazz history, Don Redman's innovations as a writer essentially invented the jazz-oriented big band with arrangements that developed yet left room for solo improvisations.

The first of three Don Redman Classics CDs consists of his orchestra's earliest sessions. Although Redman's big band never hit it as big as his former employers' (Fletcher Henderson and McKinney's Cotton Pickers), it was an impressive outfit, thanks to the leader's advanced arrangements. Among the key sidemen on these performances are trumpeters Red Allen (who is on the first two sessions) and Sidney DeParis, tenor saxophonist Robert Carroll, and pianist Horace Henderson. Highlights include "Chant of the Weed" (Redman's atmospheric theme song), "I Heard," "How'm I Doin'," and "Hot and Anxious." The main Don Redman CD to get. ~ Scott Yanow

Don Redman (alto sax)
The Mills Brothers (vocals)
Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet)
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (tapdance)
Cab Calloway (vocals)
Bill Coleman (trumpet)
Sidney DeParis (trumpet)
Horace Henderson (piano)

1. Trouble, Why Pick On Me?
2. Shakin' The African
3. Chant Of The Weed
4. Shakin' The African
5. I Heard
6. How'm I Doin'? (Hey-Hey)
7. Try Getting A Good Night's Sleep
8. Got The South In My Soul
9. If It's True
10. It's A Great World After All
11. You Gave Me Everything But Love
12. Tea For Two
13. Hot And Anxious
14. I Got Rythm
15. Pagan Paradies
16. Two-Time Man
17. Underneath The Harlem Moon
18. Ain't I The Lucky One?
19. Doin' What I Please
20. Nagasaki
21. Doin' The New Low-Down (Instr.)
22. Doin' The New Low-Down (vocal)
23. How Ya Feelin'?
24. Shuffle Your Feet/Bandana Babies

Monday, July 28, 2008

Skip James- devil got my woman 1966, and the Biograph comeback session 1964 (FLAC upgrade)

Here's an upgrade of Skip's december 1964 biograph session , something i ripped to ogg and uploaded 8 months ago..
here it is in again in flac , along with the second volume of his vanguard studio recordings.
it ought to be noted that the biograph session contains alot of the same material as later appeared on the vanguard albums.. james hadn't played for many years , and that is apparent on these magnificently raw cuts, bum notes and all! .
" Skip James made his original reputation with 17 recordings that he cut during February 1931, when he was 28. Although fluent on both the guitar and (to a lesser extent) the piano, James was most notable for his storytelling lyrics, his haunting high-pitched voice, and his distinctive interpretations of the Delta blues. James was rediscovered 33 years after his early recordings, in time to appear at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. He was quite active during 1964-1966, making the music on this solo CD (his last record) three years before his death in 1969. One can easily hear the influence that Skip James' music had on the then flourishing folk music movement, and he still sang his country blues with great intensity."

"I'd rather be the devil, to be that woman manI'd rather be the devil, to be that woman man Aw, nothin' but the devil, changed my baby's mind Was nothin' but the devil, changed my baby's mindI laid down last night, laid down last nightI laid down last night, tried to take my restMy mind got to ramblin', like a wild geeseFrom the west, from the westThe woman I love, woman that I lovedWoman I loved, took her from my best friendBut he got lucky, stoled her back againAnd he got lucky, stoled her back again"

Elis Regina - Elis (1973) & Elis (1974)

Following the post of Elis (1971), and by request, I am posting two other records of our main singer.

Elis Regina - Elis (1973)
Review by Alvaro NederElis Regina had discovered the duo João Bosco/Aldir Blanc two years later, and they contributed with four songs for this album, the same as Gilberto Gil, leaving only two tracks to be filled by old guard hits ("Folhas Secas," a beautiful samba classic by Nelson Cavaquinho/Guilherme de Brito, and "É Com Esse Que Eu Vou" by Pedro Caetano). The fusion-sounding album with arrangements/execution by César Camargo Mariano opens with the slow pace of the mysterious "Oriente," "O Caçador de Esmeraldas," and "Doente Morena" until "Agnus Sei" is introduced with its suggestive percussion; the dynamics continue to grow with the swinging samba "Meio de Campo" but recede with the romantic introduction of the tango "Cabaré," which develops until its marked tango beat. Another swinging samba follows, "Ladeira da Preguiça"; "Folhas Secas" receives a cool bossa rendition; "Comadre" is a mid-samba; and "É Com Esse Que Eu Vou" is another bossa interpretation.

1- Oriente (Gilberto Gil)
2- O caçador de esmeraldas (Bosco-Blanc-Tolomei)
3- Doente morena (Gil-Duda)
4- Agnus sei (Bosco-Blanc)
5- Meio de campo (Gil)
6- Cabaré (Bosco-Blanc)
7- Ladeira da Preguiça (Gil)
8- Folhas secas (Nelson Cavaquinho-G Brito)
9- Comadre (Bosco-Blanc)
10- É com esse que eu vou (Pedro Caetano)

César Camargo Mariano (Piano, Organ, Arrangements. The tracks 1,4,5 and 7 have collective arrangements)
Luisão - Bass
Paulinho Braga - Drums
Chico Batera - Percussion
Toninho Horta - Guitar in 2,10
Ari - Guitar in 3,5,7
Ubirajara Silva - Bandoneon in 6
Roberto Menescal - Acoustic guitar in 8
Maurílio - Trumpet in 9.

Elis Regina - Elis (1974)
Review by David Rumpler
It's not her very best, but this solid 1974 studio session has great songs by Nascimento, Joao Bosco, and Gilberto Gil, plus a rare recording of "Na Batucada da Vida" by Ary Barroso. It includes complete Portuguese lyrics.

Comments by Galego
Well, Mr. David Rumpler for sure isn't paid for word written. So, let me say a little more about this record. Wewere living under military government and the artists werebeen under censorship. Many times, second intentionswere seen where they didn't exist and many times they used a figurated language to day what they wanted. It wass'tso easy to find new composers. This record was made just after the one who joined Elis and Tom Jobim and again therewere no new names, which she used to look for. So, she agaim choosed two musics by João Bosco and Aldir Blanc,(one of them, "O mestre-sala dos mares" had the lyrics changes to be released), two by Gilberto Gil (which nowadays is our Culture Minister), three by Milton Nascimento (rescued Travessia -"Bridges"-, with a slower pace, and two new nostalgic songs, "Ponta de Areia" and "Conversando no bar") and, as she always dis, get to old songs, "Na batucada da vida" , by Ary Barroso, better known as the composer of "Aquarela do Brasil", aka as "Brazil" and "Na Baixa do Sapateiro, aka as "Bahia") and Lupicinio's Maria Rosa. The personnel is fundamentally the same as Elis 1973, and the highligts are "Na batucada da vida, Travessia, Conversando no bar, O mestre-sala dos mares andDois pra lá, dois pra cá), but there are no fillers.

Tracks -
1- Na batucada da vida (Ary Barroso-Luiz Peixoto)
2- Travessia (Milton Nascimento-Fernando Brant)
3- Conversando no bar (Milton Nascimento-Fernando Brant)
4- Ponta de Areia (Milton Nascimento-Fernando Brant)
5- O mestre sala dos mares (João Bosco - Aldir Blanc)
6- Amor até o fim (Gilberto Gil)
7- Dois pra lá, dois pra cá (João Bosco-Aldir Blanc)
8- Maria Rosa (Lupicínio Rodrigues-Alcides Gonçalves)
9- Caça à raposa (João Bosco-Aldir Blanc)
10- O compositor me disse (Gilberto Gil)

César Camargo Mariano - Piano, Organ, Clavier, Phaser, Arrangements
Natan Marques - Guitar & 12 Strings Viola
Luizão - Bass
Paulinho Braga - Drums (Bongo in 7)
Chico Batera - Marimbas & Bells
Hélio Delmiro - Guitar in 7.

Dexter Gordon - Live at the Amsterdam Paradiso (1969)

The great tenor Dexter Gordon made so many consistently enjoyable straightahead recordings during 1960-78 that it is difficult to come up with any sets that are not recommended to fans of bebop. This double album finds Gordon in excellent form, performing four jazz standards along with two of his originals ("Fried Bananas" and "Junior") with a Dutch trio (pianist Cees Slinger, bassist Jacques Schois and the future avant-garde innovator Han Bennink on drums). Virtually all of Gordon's records from his productive European period find him at his peak and this two-fer is no exception. - Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Cees Slinger (piano)
Jacques Schols (bass)
Hans Bennink (drums)

  1. Introduction
  2. Fried Bananas
  3. What's New
  4. Good Bait
  5. Rhythm-A-Ning
  6. Willow Weep for Me
  7. Junior
  8. Scrapple from the Apple
Recorded February 5, 1969

Bird. The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve

This 10-CD set collects all of Parker's recordings for Norman Granz's various labels, beginning with an isolated Jazz at the Philharmonic appearance in 1946. Parker recorded exclusively for Granz beginning in late 1948, and the relationship continued to his final studio session in 1954. While the most brilliant flowers of Parker's creativity bloomed before that contract began, this set documents in meticulous detail Bird's longest relationship with a single record company and a period in which he was the most influential musician in jazz. While labels such as Savoy and Dial had been limited to recording Parker in the small groups he worked with regularly, Granz's greater resources allowed Parker to undertake the more expansive projects he sought, such as the famous recordings with strings, heard here in their entirety. Granz also recorded Parker with many of the giants of the Swing Era who made up his roster, and there are performances with many of Parker's original influences, such as Johnny Hodges, Lester Young, and trumpeter Roy Eldridge.
Some of Granz's inspirations were less appropriate, like burdening Parker and Dizzy Gillespie with the flamboyant Buddy Rich, but Parker even manages to sound fluent and amused on a confused arrangement of "In the Still of the Night" with reed parts by Gil Evans and voices arranged by Dave Lambert. He's more often heard in congenial small group settings that include Miles Davis, Hank Jones, and Max Roach, and there are plenty of moments when Parker is a match for even his own earlier recordings. The wealth of alternate takes and false starts provides an intimate and detailed portrait of Bird in the studio, and there's a brilliance to Parker's improvisations that makes every track of interest.
Stuart Broomer

Sorry, no scans of the booklet. If someone has it ......

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Booker Little - Booker Little 4 & Max Roach

This CD reissue features trumpeter Booker Little at the beginning of his tragically brief career. The first six selections find the distinctive soloist playing with a quintet also including the young tenor George Coleman, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Art Davis, and drummer Max Roach (who was his regular employer at the time). Little contributed three now-obscure originals and also plays two standards and an early version of Miles Davis' "Milestones." The remainder of the CD has lengthy versions of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" and "Blue 'n Boogie" from a jam session that matched Little with fellow Memphis-based players including Coleman, altoist Frank Strozier, and the masterful pianist Phineas Newborn. Overall, this forward-looking hard bop set is easily recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Booker Little (trumpet)
George Coleman (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Art Davis (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

Booker Little (trumpet)
Louis Smith (trumpet)
George Coleman (tenor sax)
Frank Strozier (alto sax)
Phineas Newborn (piano)
Calvin Newborn (guitar)
George Joyner (bass)
Charles Crosby (drums)

1. Milestones
2. Sweet And Lovely
3. Rounder's Mood
4. Dungeon Waltz
5. Jewel's Tempo
6. Moonlight Becomes You
7. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
8. Blue 'N Boogie

The Prestige Records Story

A nice set, thoughtfully arranged and with a few out of the ordinary things (when did you last see Jungle Strut on a blog?) Check out the artwork for a very comprehensive booklet.

Along with Blue Note, Verve, and Riverside, Prestige was one of the most significant independent jazz labels of the '50s and '60s. It was especially important in the '50s, recording the decade's greatest figures--including Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane--long before the major labels would beckon. This four-CD set traces the label from its founding by Bob Weinstock in 1949 until 1971 when it was sold to Fantasy.

The first two CDs in the collection take the music up to 1960, and they brim with superb tracks that demonstrate the label's depth, range, and vision, with performances by Monk, Lennie Tristano, and Gil Evans that sound as quirky and inspired as when they were recorded. Miles Davis was clearly the label's most significant artist until he left for Columbia in 1956; his work here ranges from the sparse and extended "Bags' Groove," with Monk and Milt Jackson, to hard-bitten bop. There's room here for the cool lyricism of Stan Getz on "Round Midnight" and the early Modern Jazz Quartet's beautiful "Django," as well as Rollins's hard-edged calypso, "St. Thomas," and Coltrane's brilliant, forward-looking contribution to Tadd Dameron's "On a Misty Night." Prestige also managed to have a few surprise hit vocals in the period, and it's terrific to have a disc that matches Wardell Gray's original "Twisted" and James Moody's "I'm in the Mood for Love," with Annie Ross's and King Pleasure's joyous, vocalise transformations.

As the set continues its chronological journey through the label's history after 1960, however, it takes an unusual turn. Prestige was remarkably diverse in the early '60s, with separate sublabels like New Jazz, Swingville, Moodsville, and Soulville to cover different genres, spanning the classic swing piano of Claude Hopkins and the atonal experiments of Don Ellis. It had an extensive, and excellent, blues catalogue and even released an LP of Norman Mailer's poetry. In this set's view of Prestige's history, however, that range gets very little attention, with the reissue producers favoring stylistic consistency over diversity. While there are nods to swing (Coleman Hawkins), the avant-garde (Eric Dolphy), and classic bop (Dexter Gordon), the set emphasizes the tenor-organ-guitar funk bands that were the label's commercial mainstay in its final active decade. That's not to argue with the quality of what's here, though. Gene Ammons's "Ca' Purange" is as potent as soul-jazz ever got, and there's much heartfelt, gritty music that communicates immediately.

It may simply be that the project required more discs (see The Blue Note Years) than this set includes, but the cumulative effect is schizophrenic, moving from the musically adventurous to the populist. Meanwhile, the first two discs provide as rich a view of jazz in 1950s New York as any single label could hope to provide (only Blue Note might hope to match it); they're an essential experience for listeners new to jazz or the period, while disc 4 may serve handily as exalted party music. --Stuart Broomer

CD 1
1. Subconcious-Lee - Lee Konitz/Lennie Tristano
2. Four And One Moore - Stan Getz/Zoot Sims/Al Cohn/Allen Eager/Brew Moore
3. Twisted - Wardell Gray
4. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm - Sonny Stitt
5. Blues Up And Down - Gene Ammons
6. I'm In The Mood for Love (Aka Moody's Mood For Love - James Moody
7. Moody's Mood For Love (Aka I'm In The Mood For Love) - King Pleasure
8. Twisted - Annie Ross
9. Dig - Miles Davis
10. 'Round Midnight - Jimmy Raney/Stan Getz
11. The Serpent's Tooth (Take 1) - Miles Davis
12. Blue Monk - Thelonious Monk
13. Bags' Groove (Take 2) - Miles Davis
14. My Funny Valentine - Milt Jackson
15. Doxy - Miles Davis
16. Django - The Modern Jazz Quartet

CD 2
1. Disappointed - James Moody
2. Walkin' - Miles Davis Sextet
3. St. Thomas - Sonny Rollins
4. Pent-Up House - Sonny Rollins
5. Well, You Needn't - Miles Davis Quintet
6. On A Misty Night - Tadd Dameron
7. If I Were A Bell - Red Garland
8. Nobody's Heart - Gil Evans
9. Russian Lullaby - John Coltrane
10. In The Kitchen - Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis

CD 3
1. Canadian Sunset - Gene Ammons
2. Trouble Is A Man - Coleman Hawkins
3. Very Saxy - Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis/Coleman Hawkins/Arnett Cobb/Buddy Tate
4. The Seventh Son - Mose Allison
5. G.W. - Eric Dolphy
6. Kirk's Work - Roland Kirk
7. Soul Street - Oliver Nelson/King Curtis/Jimmy Forrest
8. Don't Go To Strangers - Etta Jones
9. Hip Soul - Shirley Scott
10. This'll Get To Ya - Willis Jackson
11. Rock Candy - Jack McDuff
12. Troubled Times - Willis Jackson

CD 4
1. Ca'Purange (Jungle Soul) - Gene Ammons
2. Sweet Alice Blues - George Benson
3. Misty - Richard 'Groove' Holmes
4. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free - Illinois Jacquet
5. Smile - Sonny Criss
6. Fried Bananas - Dexter Gordon
7. Jamilah - Houston Person
8. Jungle Strut - Gene Ammons
9. More Today Than Yesterday - Charles Earland
10. Sould Liberation - Rusty Bryant
11. No Way - Boogaloo Joe Jones
12. You Talk That Talk - Gene Ammons

Art Blakey - Africaine

The artwork above are scans of the original LP but the rip and included scans are from the Connoisseur CD.

Not released until over 20 years after it was recorded, this set (reissued on CD in 1998 ) features tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter in his first recording with the Jazz Messengers. The quintet at the time also featured the great trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Walter Davis, Jr., bassist Jymie Merritt, and the drummer/leader Art Blakey. The highpoint is easily Shorter's memorable composition "Lester Left Town" (written after Lester Young's passing). Overall, this forgotten session contains plenty of excellent hard bop. ~ Scott Yanow

Many fans with tuned-in ears rate Blakey and Blue Note as the ultimate in Jazz talent-spotting - and his Jazz Messengers were their Academy of Excellence. Lee Morgan, Cedar Walton, Wayne Shorter, Feddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Curtis Fuller, Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons all became Messengers, in front of one of the presiding geniuses of hard bop. Blakey ruled the drum stool from the inception of the band in the mid-Fifties to the end of the line in the late Eighties, and in the absence of a massive boxset covering all the many line-ups' output, this complete reissue of 1959's sublime Africaine is a reminder of how productive a little creative tension can be.

The sessions for Africaine - recorded in 1959 but not released until 1979 - saw innovative young tenorist Shorter linked with the equally forward-looking trumpet of Lee Morgan for the first time on record, set against the efforts of producer Alfred Lion to shape another commercial hit to match Blakey's breakthrough with Moanin'. What he got instead was a showcase for two hot young horn players and composers burning ideas and talent over the uniquely wide-screen Blakey percussion style, all anchored by Walter Davis' s low-key, self-effacing and supportive blues piano.

This first CD release for Africaine - as part of Blue Note's 60th anniversary programme - does what Blakey always wanted for his music and his Messengers. It captures a transitory creative coalition at a peak moment, and keeps the fruit of their imaginations and skill as something timeless, elegant and brave. ~ Ian Nicolson

Art Blakey (drums)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Walter Davis, Jr. (piano)
Jymie Merritt (bass)
Dizzy Reece (conga)

1. Africaine
2. Lester Left Town
3. Splendid
4. Haina
5. The Midget
6. Celine

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: November 10, 1959

Flora Purim - Perpetual Emotion (2001)

For those who thought that despite recording, Flora Purim's musical career went out the window with her prison term in the early '90s, or, worse, at the end of 1970s jazz-world fusion boom, think again. Perpetual Emotion is the strongest recording Ms. Purim's monumental talent has given us since 1975's 500 Miles High. Accompanied by life partner and collaborator percussionist Airto Moreira, saxophonist Gary Meek, pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry, and acoustic guitarist Oscar Castro Neves, and producer Dom Comardella, Purim has selected material that showcases the ease and flow of a voice that contains within it the passion of Brazil and the airiness of a spring day. Some of those selections, such as Cesar Mariano's "Saudade," offer the deep melancholy of looking back to places you can never again visit and reveal within them the sweeter memories they hold. Chris Jacob's piano leads the way trough the tune and strips it of any false "exotic" artifice. It's a jazz ballad with a Brazilian melody and rhythm, eased through the gates by Moreira's easy touch and a flowing bassline by Henry. On "Fotographia" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Purim takes the tune, which has been recorded literally hundreds of times, to its folksy essence and makes of it a song that is neither jazz nor samba, but a tome of memory and longing. The highlight of the album is the revisiting of Chick Corea's and Neville Potter's "Crystal Silence." While the song had been in Purim's early repertoire as an improvisation, a wordless melody, because she had not known -- even though she had been part of Corea's Return to Forever -- that the tune had words all along. Her feeling for the original is fierce and moving; it flows from her like a river of feeling and motion, it offers the notion of seeing with new eyes that which has been present all along. Her interpretive voice has never sounded stronger, and her band is understated enough to let it come freely through the mix while providing her with musical challenges to rise to. Perpetual Emotion is the album Purim's been promising to deliver her entire career. Let us hope that this is the first of many like it to come. - Thom Jurek

Flora Purim (vocals)
Gary Meek (alto, tenor, soprano sax, bass clarinet, flutes)
Christian Jacob (piano)
Oscar Castro Neves (guitar)
Trey Henry (bass)
Airto Moreira (drums, percussion)
  1. San Francisco River
  2. My Ship
  3. Escape
  4. Saudade
  5. Crystal Silence
  6. Flora & Airto
  7. Fotografia
  8. Journey to Eden
  9. Search for Peace
  10. Airto's Jazz Dance
  11. Carinhoso

Cecil Taylor - In Florescence

This is an out of print recording by A&M put out in 1990 -- a year when the label got adventurous and recorded the "Modern Masters Jazz Series" (they also recorded Sun Ra). It's too bad this is out of print -- it is an unmitigated gem in the Cecil Taylor catalog -- a good starting point for newcomers and a unique album for those already Cecil disciples. Cecil's first album (Jazz Advance) featured brief trio numbers, but after the 1960's he pretty much abandoned short group pieces in favor of extended hour long concerts and the occasional quick solo encore. This album (along with the more recently released Momentum Space) is a notable exception. The studio recording is a collection of 14 short works featuring Cecil along with William Parker (bass) and Gregg Bendian (percussion). Most of the tracks are preceded by a short poetic recitation (actually recorded separately on a different date) 'introducing' each piece. The music itself is accessible -- the trio interacts well throughout and the playing is fairly reigned in for Cecil. Parker spent several formative years with Cecil and is one of his best accompanists (probably his best bassist) -- on this album, he uses his bow quite a bit. Bendian likewise employs a bow on his cymbals in places and in general serves to embellish the piano playing rather than compete with it. As far as Cecil goes, his pianistic signatures abound with thundering chord clusters and short, fast runs throughout, but the overall tone is a bit more subdued and lyrical as his short encore performances usually are. In addition to the trio music, there are some unique explorations as well -- each musician gets a solo number (Cecil on "Ell Moving Track," Parker on "Anast in Crisis...," and Bendian on "Entity"); there is a longer free group improvisation with a lot of vocalisms ("Chal Chuiatlichue Green Goddess..."); and finally a fantastic poetic monologue by Cecil ("Morning of Departure") that captivates. A great recording and a good choice for those who enjoy Cecil's shorter works. ~ Joe Pierre

Cecil Taylor (piano)
William Parker (bass)
Gregg Bendian (percussion)

1. J
2. Petero Visiting The Abyss
3. Saita
4. For Steve McCall
5. In Florescence
6. Mooving Track
7. Sirens 1/3
8. Anast In Crisis Mouthful Of Fresh Cut Flowers
9. Charles and Thee
10. Entity
11. Leaf Taken Born
12. Chal Chuiatlichue Goddess Of Green
13. Morning Of Departure
14. Feng Shui

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Steve Lacy plus … - Five Facings

This set, recorded between April 4 and April 8, 1996, teamed soprano saxophone giant Steve Lacy with five different pianists. Half the cuts were composed by Lacy, three by Thelonious Monk, and one improvisation by Van Hove and Lacy — the least interesting work included here, because it didn't work. The first five tracks would have made an album for any jazz fan, and the rest, while interesting, don't touch the first half, and perhaps that's because the first two pianists are Marilyn Crispell and Misha Mengelberg. Two pieces by Lacy, "The Crust" and "Blues For Aida," start things off with Crispell playing an inspired counterpoint to the artist during the melody, moving into a piano solo that combines a total shift of Lacy's compositional thought into an almost purely classical realm (Bruckner anyone?) before entering into a dialogue that brings the work back to the jazz tradition, and there is no seam. On the next, she provides a chordal framework for the artist to explore the complexities inherent in his own work. He rolls and tweaks pitches to find himself between those voicings before shedding them and taking Crispell with him for a long and knotty ride. The three Monk tunes with Mengelberg — "Off Minor," "Ruby My Dear," "Evidence" — are the heart of the recording. Both men being obsessed with the work of Monk to the point of no return nonetheless have different ways of reading him. Mengelberg with his extended reading of Monk's already extended chord structures, and Lacy with his inherent absorption of Monk's ideas about melodic range and possibility. It's a little uneasy at first, since the individual approaches are so different, but gels within two minutes of "Off Minor." What follows for the next 20 minutes is a ride through the mind of Monk as seen by two of its keen postmortem musicological psychologists! Every aspect of Monk's compositions is explored and re-examined with smaller, previously unnoticed fragments of harmonic invention and architecture brought to the fore as melodic frameworks. Neither man tries to exemplify his own skill as a player, it's all how playing what one perceives to be the truth in these works. The rest of the set is satisfying enough: there isn't anything boring or uninteresting in anything here, but given the amazing 35 minutes that preceded it, it just pales in comparison. Nonetheless, programming one's CD player in reverse would make for an even more satisfying listening experience. We are fortunate to have all of these recordings. Thom Jurek

Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Marilyn Crispell (piano)
Misha Mengelberg (piano)
Ulrich Gumpert (piano)
Fred Van Hove (piano)
Vladimir Miller (piano)

A Marilyn Crispell April 7, 1996
1. The Crust
2. Blues for Aida

B Misha Mengelberg April 5, 1996
3. Off Minor
4. Ruby My Dear
5. Evidence

C Ulrich Gumpert April 4, 1996
6. Art

D Fred Van Hove April 8, 1996
7. Twenty One

E Vladimir Miller April 6, 1996
8. The Wane

Recorded live during the 'Workshop Freie Musik' on April 4- 8, 1996 at the 'Akademie der Künste', Berlin

Johnny Griffin - 1994 Chicago, New York, Paris FLAC

This album celebrates Johnny Griffin's fifty years in the business by utilizing repertoire with a musical affinity for each of these great cities of the world. Chicago is represented by blues and blues-based material of, the JAMFS, and Leave Me Alone. The New York tracks have a be-bop orientation with the original compositions Do It and Not Yet, as well as Johnny's reworking of the standard Without A Song. Paris provides the record's romantic inspiration with To Love, You Must Believe In Spring, and, of course, My Romance.

CD liner notes

01 The Jampfs Are Coming (7:50)
02 Do It (5:47)
03 To Love (4:38)
04 Hush-A-Bye (7:26)
05 You Must Believe in Spring (6:58)
06 Without a Song (8:19)
07 Leave Me Alone Blues (5:57)
08 My Romance (8:39)
09 Not Yet (7:12)

Johnny Griffin Tenor Sax
Roy Hargrove Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Kenny Barron Piano
Peter Martin Piano
Christian McBride Acoustic Bass
Victor Lewis Drums
Gregory Hutchinson Drums

Recorded at RPM Studios, New York on December 4-5, 1994

Friday, July 25, 2008


The American saxophonist Johnny Griffin, has died at age 80 at his home in Poitiers (France), where he resided since two decades ago, as reported by his authorized representative, Helene Manfredi.

Jack DeJohnette - The DeJohnette Complex

"What sets this extraordinary musician apart, though, isn't the sheer bulk of his output but it's vivid musicality. Everything he does is marked with intelligence, controlled fire and an enviable instinct for both texture and form. This early album was recorded a mere month after his first studio date with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew) having played with Coltrane and Jackie McLean. It's a fine band he's assembled, fairly conventional in emphasis, but with Cowell and Vitous the maverick component....Not a classic album, but an impressive start to the discography and certainly a pointer to what was to come later." ~ Penguin Guide

Drummer Jack DeJohnette's debut as a leader (which has been reissued on CD) has quite a bit of variety. The music ranges from advanced swinging to brief free improvisations and some avant-funk. DeJohnette (who doubles on melodica) is joined by Bennie Maupin (on tenor and flute), keyboardist Stanley Cowell, bassists Miroslav Vitous and Eddie Gomez, and drummer Roy Haynes. He uses six different combinations of musicians on the eight songs (five of his originals, John Coltrane's "Miles' Mode," Cowell's "Equipoise" and Vitous' "Mirror Image"). Intriguing and generally successful music. ~ Scott Yanow

Jack DeJohnette (drums, Melodica)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Bennie Maupin (tenor sax, flute)
Eddie Gómez (bass)
Miroslav Vitous (bass)
Roy Haynes (percussion, drums)

1. Equipoise
2. The Major General
3. Miles' Mode
4. Requiem Number 1
5. Mirror Image
6. Papa-Daddy And Me
7. Brown, Warm And Wintry
8. Requiem Number 2

Irakere - Live at Ronnie Scott's (1991)

In Irakere's earlier days, this premiere Cuban group often had to disguise the fact that they were playing imperalistic music from the West (i.e. jazz). Maybe now the masquerade is no longer necessary for the music on this definitive CD would never be mistaken for anything else. Heavily influenced both by Dizzy Gillespie and the rhythms of Cuba and South America, the 11-piece group is in top form interpreting the compositions of its pianist/leader Chucho Valdes (who has a memorable workout on "Mr. Bruce"). Five of the six selections are primaily features for individual players. Throughout this memorable set, the ensemble work is clean and loose, the percussionists keep the proceedings fiery and the soloists are excellent. - Scott Yanow

Juan Monguia, Adalberto Moreno (trumpet)
Ceasar Lopez (alto sax, soprano sax)
Carlos Averhoff (tenor sax)
Orlando Valle (flute, keyboards)
Jesus "Chucho" Valdes (piano)
Carlos Morales (guitar)
Carlos Del Puerto (bass)
Oscar Valdes (vocals, percussion)
Enrique Pla (drums, percussion)
Miguel "Anga" Diaz (congas)
  1. Neurosis
  2. Cuando Canta El Corazon
  3. Mirando Arriba
  4. Flute Notes
  5. Mr. Bruce
  6. Claudia
Recorded September, 1991

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Complete Bethlehem Porgy And Bess

Bethlehem Records was a New York–based independent record label active in the 1950s and ’60s. It boasted an impressive array of jazz talent, including Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Mel Tormé, Dexter Gordon, and many others. Shout! Factory is proud to be reissuing some of the key Bethlehem albums. This ambitious Bethlehem album from 1956 was the second-ever complete recording of Gershwin’s classic opera Porgy and Bess, but it was the first to use jazz singers and players. Featuring such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Mel Torme, Johnny Hartman and Frank Rosolino, it inspired other landmark jazz recordings of the opera, including the classic instrumental LP by Miles Davis and Gil Evans. However, the original Bethlehem recording remains the definitive vocal version.

This 1956 recording based on George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess was the second "complete" recording of the opera after the 1951 version recorded several years earlier, and the first recording of the work to feature jazz singers and musicians instead of operatic singers and a classical orchestra.

Russell Garcia arranged Gershwin's work for the Bethlehem Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Australian Jazz Quintet, the Pat Moran Quartet and the Stan Levey Group. Mel Tormé sang the role of Porgy and Frances Faye the role of Bess. The Ellington Orchestra plays "Summertime" as the overture, but does not appear elsewhere on the album.

Mel Tormé (Porgy)
Frances Faye (Bess)
Johnny Hartman (Crown)
Betty Roche (Clara)
George Kirby (Sportin' Life)
Sallie Blair (Serena)
Frank Rosolino (Jake)
Loulie Jean Norman (Strawberry Woman)
Joe Derise (Honey Man)
Bob Dorough (Crab Man)

Duke Ellington Orchestra
Duke Ellington (piano)
William "Cat" Anderson, Willie Cook, Clark Terry (trumpet)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Quentin Jackson, John Sanders, Britt Woodman (trombone)
Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax)
Johnny Hodges (alto sax)
Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax)
Harry Carney (baritone sax)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Sam Woodyard (drums)

Stan Levey Group
Conte Candoli, (trumpet)
Frank Rosolino (trombone)
Richie Kamuca (tenor sax)
Sonny Clark (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)

Australian Jazz Quintet
Dick Healey (alto sax, flute)
Erroll Buddle (tenor sax, bassoon)
Jack Brokensha (vibraphone)
Bryce Rohde (piano)
Jimmy Gannon (bass)
Frank Capp (drums)

The Bethlehem Orchestra
Frank Beach, Buddy Childers, Don Fagerquist, Maynard Ferguson, Roy Linn, Howard McGhee, Uan Rasey (tp) Bob Enevoldsen, Herbie Harper, Joe Howard, Tommy Pederson, Frank Rosolino, Lloyd Ulyate (tb) John Cave, Vince DeRosa (frh) Albert Pollan (tu) Sam Most (fl) Bill Holman (ts, cl) Ralph Sharon, Claude Williamson (p) Stan Levey (d) Irv Kluger, Alvin Stoller (d, timp, vib) Russ Garcia (arr, cond) 10 violin, 2 viola, 1 violoncello

Wayne Kramer - The Hard Stuff

Dunno where Chuchuni's been lately - probably re-populating parts of Europe - but I figure he might like this. Standards? Well...Mr. Kramer does express gratitude to Reid Miles and BN for graphic inspiration. He always was a gracious punk.

While it made sense that a label inspired by the punk ethic the MC5 helped found put out Wayne Kramer's first full-on solo album, in many ways The Hard Stuff sticks out like a sore thumb from the usual Epitaph fare -- namely, because it's not interested in toeing a particular sonic line. Kramer's youthful obsession with soul power mixed with rough and ready noise, tempered by his older and wiser years but not lacking for a section of energy, makes for a great full-on rock & roll album. Certainly when one compares this work with the neutered slop his Detroit contemporary Ted Nugent was churning out in the late '80s and into the '90s, there's little question who chose to rest on laurels and who decided to jump into things full on. Kramer's choice of musicians to work with doesn't hurt -- all of Claw Hammer back him up on a number of songs, including the great opening blast "Crack in the Universe," while elsewhere the Melvins, Josh Freese, Keith Morris, Kim Shattuck, and even label boss Brett Gurewitz sit in. In a fine nod to Kramer's soul roots, Was (Not Was)'s Sweet Pea Atkinson, along with bassist James Jamerson Jr., take a turn on the heavy groove "Pillar of Fire." Kramer's lyrics take on the wreckage of America with compassion for those stuck at the bottom, but it's his wailing guitar work, direct and powerful, that demonstrates best of all how you can't keep a good man down. Hearing the perversely beautiful sludge/slow jam of "Junkie Romance," Kramer demolishing the heroin chic image with the eye of a weathered survivor armed with wit and compassion, or the spoken word portrayal of an argument turned violent in "Incident on Stock Island" shows how his gifts are in full swing. Fine bonus: the untitled bonus track paying tribute to Kramer's personal hero Charles Bukowski. ~ Ned Raggett

Wayne Kramer (guitar, vocals)
Sweet Pea Atkinson (vocals)
Dale Crover (percussion)

1. Crack In The Universe
2. Junkie Romance
3. Bad Seed
4. Poison
5. Realm Of Pirate Kings
6. Incident On Stock Island
7. Pillar Of Fire
8. Hope For Sale
9. Edge Of The Switchblade
10. Sharkskin Suit
11. Bonus Track

Benny Goodman - On The Air 1937-1938

I'm a fan of radio broadcasts; the Ellington Treasury shows are consistently good and offer pleasant surprises. And the recent Count Basie/ Benny Carter radio broadcasts are some of the best I've heard, and add to the too scant amount of available recordings. Here are radio broadcasts from Goodman's Camel Caravan radio show. Live, but in studio.

This two-CD set was originally issued as a deluxe multi-disc set in Columbia's Masterwork series and was intended as a companion piece to Goodman's best-selling Live at Carnegie Hall, a record so successful that it was parceled out by Columbia in as many piecemeal configurations and vinyl speed formats as is imaginable. Mainly pulled from Goodman's appearances on the Camel Caravan radio show, these capture the swing band of the era in its defining moment, blowing audiences away on a night to night basis in a variety of locales. Carefully edited (radio broadcasts could often have announcer's remarks annoyingly inserted in the middle of performances), the sound is far cleaner than the majority of bootlegs from the same time frame. With plenty of brilliant soloing from Goodman, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, and a brace of trio and quartet sides featuring Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton, with Gene Krupa power-housing everything he touches, this is the swing era in all its glory. If you have the Carnegie Hall set and a good sampling of the Victor-era sides, this is your next stop. ~ Cub Koda

Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Bud Freeman (tenor sax)
Lionel Hampton (vibraphone)
Harry James (trumpet)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Jess Stacy (piano)
Ziggy Elman (trumpet)
Vido Musso (tenor sax)
Arthur Rollini (tenor sax)
Will Bradley (trombone)
Dave Tough (drums)
Gene Krupa (drums)

CD 1
1. Introduction/Let's Dance
2. Ridin' High
3. Moten Swing
4. Nice Work If You Can Get It
5. Vibraphone Blues
6. The Sheik Of Araby
7. Peckin'
8. Sunny Disposish
9. Nagasaki
10. Whispers In The Dark
11. St. Louis Blues
12. Life Goes To A Party
13. Sugar Foot Stomp
14. Moonglow
15. I'm A Ding Dong Daddy
16. I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You
17. Bumble Bee Stomp
18. Down South Camp Meetin'
19. That Naughty Waltz
20. Sweet Leilani
21. Vieni, Vieni
22. Sometimes I'm Happy
23. Roll 'Em

CD 2
1. King Porter Stomp
2. Have You Met Miss Jones?
3. Limehouse Blues
4. Shine
5. Always
6. When Buddha Smiles
7. Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day
8. Laughing At Life
9. Running Wild
10. You Turned The Tables On Me
11. Darktown Strutter's Ball
12. My Gal Sal
13. Bugle Call Rag
14. Mama, That Moon Is Here Again
15. Clarinet Marmalade
16. Time On My Hands
17. Stardust
18. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree
19. Benny Sent Me
20. Everybody Loves My Baby
21. Moonlight On The Highway
22. Josephine
23. Killer Diller
24. Someday Sweetheart
25. Caravan
26. Goodbye

Bill Carrothers - Armistice 1918

The more I listen to Bill Carrothers, the more I come to appreciate his unusual approach to jazz. We've expressed all sorts of views about 'free jazz' lately over on discussion, and some of Bill's stuff would certainly qualify for that but in a way far different from the 'free jazz' that seems to depend more on getting some 'new sound' out of a reed. I think Bill C's work is as free from convention, and as original as you can get, even though many pieces are based on an old standard, and he may well be overlooked just as the piano genius of another Bill was for many years, when the uninitiated just thought it was one more example of 'piano bar' music. Pleasant but shallow. It took us a couple of decades to understand how such magisterial complexity could be contained within such a plain envelope. The album here is very unusual indeed, and I offer it for you all since it seems to be getting scarce. Hoping you will all support Bill Carrothers when he plays a concert chez vous, and buy an album from time to time (I've got them all, all excellent). One of his latest, 'Keep Your Sunny Side Up' is a masterwork! 'Armistice' is in LAME 3.98vbr0 with cover scans. There is a rather fat booklet with the album I decided not to scan as it would have damaged it to open it flat. Apologies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Buddy Collette

Here's a double feature by the great Buddy Collette. "Tasty Dish" features Collette in quartet settings with the little known Dick Shreve, and in a quintet setting with Howard Roberts and the recently departed Gerry Wiggins on piano, while "Soft Touch" features his quintet with Gerald Wilson and the late Al Viola on guitar.


Tasty Dish

#1-3: Buddy Collette (as,fl), Dick Shreve (p), John Goodman (b), Bill Dolney (d). "Stars of Jazz" TV Show, Hollywood, November 19, 1956.
#4-7: Buddy Collette (ts,cl,fl), Howard Roberts (g), Gerald Wiggins (p), Eugene Wright (b), Bill Richmond (d). Radio Recorders, Hollywood, May 14, 1957.
#8-11: Buddy Collette (ts,cl,fl), Dick Shreve (p), Eugene Wright (b), Bill Richmond (d). Radio Recorders, Hollywood, May 15, 1957.

1. Makin' Whoopee
2. Fall Wind
3. I'll Remember April
4. Tasty Dish
5. I Still Love You
6. Mrs. Potts
7. You Better Go Now
8. Orlando Blues
9. Soft Touch
10. Old School
11. Debbie

Soft Touch

Gerald Wilson (t), Buddy Collette (as,ts,cl,fl), Al Viola (g), Wilfred Middlebrooks (b), Earl Palmer (d). Master Recorders, Hollywood, February 17, 1958 (#1-9) & "Stars of Jazz" TV Show, Hollywood, July 7, 1958.

1. Soft Touch
2. Orlando Blues
3. It's You
4. My Funny Valentine
5. The Cute Monster
6. Walkin' Willie
7. Changes
8. Blue Sands
9. Soft Touch
10. Moonlight in Vermont
11. It's You
12. Soft Touch

Don Pullen-Hamiet Bluiett Quartet- live at jazz pulsations fest Nancy France ,oct 1977 FLAC

Here's , a superb concert by Don Pullen one of the late 20th century masters.
Although Pullen is probably now best known as a side man with Mingus, I like him best either solo or in an exploratory group like the one featured here.

This is obviously a 2nd or third gen broadcast tape , or a very good audience tape
The sound is very clear with the bass and drums coming through most of the time.
A bit monochromatic perhaps by the standards of our digital era ,with a few minor dropouts and static blips.
(they are of trivial proportions)..
this is great music.

The seeder says that this is A Don Pullen –Chico Freeman quartet , but that is doubtful and I respectfully beg to differ
The horn is most definitely a baritone , and the language and nuances of the phrasing identify this clearly in my mind as Hamiett Bluiett.
The show starts out in very free territory ,and eventually settles into a tuneful groove before seamlessly phasing back into total abstraction.

This is well worth any ones time!!
Thanks to the taper/seeders /traders

Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label

Quality reissue crew the Numero Group began its excellent Eccentric Soul series in Ohio, spotlighting the little known gems that made up the '70s output of Columbus' generally unheralded Capsoul label. For the eighth installment in this excellent series of vintage crate digs, Numero chose to return to the city in which Eccentric Soul started for a closer look at the Prix label, another one of the many small-time single pushers that made Columbus a surprising hotbed of funk and soul over three decades ago. Much like the other compilations in the series, Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label gathers up a clutch of should-have-been hits from a cast of unlikely characters, further illuminating the rich depth of this Midwestern city and its homegrown talent.

In a series first, there's a little bit of crossover between Prix and Capsoul, as standout vocalist and songwriter Marion Black re-appears on two tracks here -- the sultry, forlorn pull of "Listen Black Brother," and the ample-bottomed groove of "Come and Gettit." Aside from that (relatively) familiar name, though, Prix focuses on an entirely different set of Columbus soul-slingers, ranging from the Royal Esquires sweetly harmonized lament "Our Love Used to Be" to the manically twitchy pulse they tap for the propulsive "Ain't Gonna Run." But even in light of these highpoints, this volume of Eccentric Soul undoubtedly belongs to singer Eddie Ray, whose four tracks bound from the triumphant horns of album-opener "Wait a Minute" to the sunshine soul strums of "Glad I Found You." And while the folks behind this series have made next level record hunting their modus operandi from day one, The Prix Label goes one better and salvages a fistful of unheard, unissued label tracks that were found at a random estate sale a few years back, capturing a couple of great Eddie Ray outtakes and a few more off the cuff jams. All things considered, it's hardly a surprise that this latest release from the Numero Group stands every bit as tall as the ones that came before it.

When our first albums, Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label, was issued in 2004, it was lauded as Columbus, Ohio's answer to Motown. To the outside world, the capital city's soul heratige was an anomoly in a landscape dominted by Detroit, Memphis, and Chicago, but to those living inside I-270, Capsoul was just one of dozen's of tiny imprints being ignored. Across town, the tiny custom studio Harmonic Sounds was cutting and releasing equally as brilliant and left-of-center material on their Prix imprint, but its what they didn't release that makes this record so special. In addition to 11 previously issued cuts, we've thrown on 8 more tracks that turned up an estate sale. Demos, finished masters, and what can only be described as "studio tomfollery" all here waiting to be discovered. Just like the Prix label was in 1973.

1. Wait a Minute - Eddie Ray
2. Mystic - OFS Unlimited
3. Never Walk Out On You - Gene King
4. Speak On Up - Joe King
5. Ain't Gonna Run - Royal Esquires
6. You Got Me - Eddie Ray
7. I'm Gonna Gitcha - Chip Willis & Double Exposure
8. Can't Get a Nuff - Mitch Mitchell
9. Melon Jelly - Soul Ensemble
10. Glad I Found You - Eddie Ray
11. Listen Black Brother - Marion Black
12. Our Love Used To Be - Royal Esquires
13. Mister Kidneys - OFS Unlimited
14. Come On And Gettit - Marion Black
15. You're My Everything - Joe King
16. Untitled Studio Moves - Harmonic Sounds Band
17. You Got Me - Eddie Ray
18. You And Me - Penny & the Quarters
19. You Are Mine - Eddie Ray

Carmen McRae - In Person (1962-63)

Taken from four live sessions in 1962 and 1963, this 1972 Mainstream LP was originally issued as In Person/San Francisco and had a brief CD reissue as Live at Sugar Hill.

Carmen McRae (vocals)
Norman Simmons (piano)
Victor Sproles (bass)
Stewart Martin (drums)
  1. Sunday
  2. What Kind of Fool Am I?
  3. A Foggy Day
  4. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
  5. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
  6. Let There Be Love
  7. This Is All I Ask
  8. Thou Swell
  9. It Never Entered My Mind
  10. Make Someone Happy
Recorded September 27 & October 13, 1962 and September 2 & 21, 1963

Hank Mobley - No Room For Squares

No Room For Squares is one of the more inventive titles in the Blue Note catalog. This is certainly an apt description for a session that includes the very hip Mobley and accompaniment from the swinging Lee Morgan, creative piano master Andrew Hill, sturdy bassist John Ore, and the powerful Philly Joe Jones on drums. Mobley's confident tenor wail is in full force here, as he and Morgan blow through the all-original program with strong support from the daring rhythm section. SQUARES is among Mobley's most raucous sessions. This is evident on energized tracks like the opening title track and the Latin-tinged "Three Way Split." Also featured is Morgan's lush ballad "Carolyn." In all, this is another stunning hard bop classic.

Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Andrew Hill, Herbie Hancock (piano)
John Ore, Butch Warren (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. No Room For Squares
2. No Room For Squares (alt)
3. Three Way Split
4. Comin' Back
5. Me 'N You
6. Carolyn (alt)
7. Carolyn
8. Syrup And Biscuits

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on March 7 and October 2, 1963

Buck Clayton Jam Session How Hi The Fi FLAC

This record is the first of a 20 CD series, re-issued by Membran, of jazz productions originally released in "long play" format 12-inch vinyl. The production includes the original LP cover as well as a booklet with a lot of information. Many of these classic gems were from selected sessions from the beginning of the 1950's, when musicians first started taking advantage of the revolutionary possibility of extended improvising on longer titles (this is the reason why the series contains many jam sessions).

This is a 1953 reissue CD that looks like vinyl. The first of the famous Buck Clayton jam sessions. Two songs ('Sentimental Journey' and 'Moten Swing') are from a December 1953 session in which the trumpeter/leader is teamed with trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonists Urbie Green and Benny Powell, altoist Lem Davis, Julian Dash on tenor, baritonist Charlie Fowlkes, pianist Sir Charles Thompson, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page and drummer Jo Jones. However it is 'How Hi the Fi' (cut along with 'Blue Moon' on March 31, 1954) that is most memorable. Buck and fellow trumpeter Joe Thomas, trombonists Urbie Green and Trummy Young, clarinetist Woody Herman, Davis and Dash, Al Cohn on second tenor, pianist Jimmy Jones, guitarist Steve Jordan, bassist Walter Page and drummer Jo Jones are all in inspired form. The most memorable soloists are the rambunctious Trummy Young, the harmonically advanced chordings of Jimmy Jones and an exuberant Woody Herman who was rarely heard in this type of jam session setting. With Clayton having worked out some ensemble riffs for the horns beforehand and plenty of space left for spontaneity, this music has plenty of magic.

1 How Hi The Fi (Clayton) 13:50
2 Blue Moon (Hart, Rodgers) 14:12
3 Sentimental Journey (Green, Brown, Homer) 13:52
4 Moten Swing (Moten, Moten) 12:43

Tracks 3 and 4
Buck Clayton, Joe Newman (tp)
Urbie Green, Benny Powell (tb)
Lem Davis (as)
Julian Dash (ts)
Charles Fowlkes (bari)
Sir Charles Thompson (p)
Freddie Green (g)
Walter Page (b)
Jo Jones (d)
Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio on December 14, 1953.

Tracks 1 and 2
Buck Clayton, Joe Thomas (tp)
Urbie Green, Trummy Young (tb)
Woody Herman (cl)
Lem Davis (as)
Al Cohn, Julian Dash (ts)
Jimmy Jones (p, celeste)
Steve Jordan (g)
Walter Page (b)
Jo Jones (d)
Recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studio on March 31, 1954.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Lee Morgan - Introducing Lee Morgan

One of his earliest, indeed. His first was the day before this.

Originally a Hank Mobley session, this is one of trumpeter Lee Morgan's earliest recordings. At the time Morgan (who was just 18) was very much under the musical influence of Clifford Brown although a bit of his own personality was starting to shine through. With the fine tenor of Mobley, pianist Hank Jones, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor, Morgan sounds quite comfortable playing bebop and participating in a ballad medley. This set (along with a previously unissued version of "Nostalgia") was later reissued as A-1 — The Savoy Sessions.

Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

1. Hank's Shout
2. Nostalgia
3. Bet
4. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
5. P.S. I Love You
6. Easy Living
7. That's All

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, November 5, 1956

Lee Morgan - Search For The New Land

Probably his finest effort.

This set (the CD reissue is a duplicate of the original LP) is one of the finest Lee Morgan records. The great trumpeter contributes five challenging compositions ("Search for the New Land," "The Joker," "Mr. Kenyatta," "Melancholee," and "Morgan the Pirate") that deserve to be revived. Morgan, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist Grant Green, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Billy Higgins are all in particularly creative form on the fresh material, and they stretch the boundaries of hard bop (the modern mainstream jazz of the period). The result is a consistently stimulating set that rewards repeated listenings. ~ Scott Yanow

This release is something of a departure for the bold trumpet stylist. After the Latin-tinged dance-floor jams of The Sidewinder (released about six months prior to this disc), Morgan turns somewhat reflective. The music is quieter, with a good deal of structural space and restrained, almost expressionistic playing. The title track opens the album and evokes a mood of poignancy and careful balance, like a Japanese painting. Even the more up-tempo numbers like "The Joker" and "Mr. Kenyatta" are relaxed and thoughtful, the richly textured passages unfolding in a way that seems both organic and tightly disciplined.

Morgan's playing maintains its articulate brightness, but his notes and phrases are carefully shaded. This is matched by Wayne Shorter's sax work (also simultaneously edgy and lyrical), Grant Green's glowing guitar and Herbie Hancock's atmospheric contributions. Lee should also be recognized as a significant composer, since all the tracks here, with their floating themes and protean solo sections, are from his pen. Search For The New Land lives up to its title, finding a high ground of intelligent, evocative work and outstanding playing.

Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Grant Green (guitar)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. Search For The New Land
2. The Joker
3. Mr. Kenyatta
4. Melancholee
5. Morgan The Pirate

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on February 15, 1964

Red Rodney - Live at the Village Vanguard (1980) [LP > flac]

Trumpeter Red Rodney and multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan had first recorded together in 1955. They were reunited in the 1980's starting with this live date from the Village Vanguard.

"I am most grateful for being a survivor and entering 1980 to celebrate my thirty-fifth year as a jazz musician. The dental problems that plagued me throughout the seventies over with, and my chops strong again, I was determined to associate myself with young musicians in order to move ahead with the music of today. This group was formed over a year ago and a prolific composer, trumpeter named Jack Walrath wrote much of our library, combining Be-Bop, Modal and other newer jazz forms....With the help of the young men in the rhythm section and the tremendous influence of Ira Sullivan, I am proud to present a new RED RODNEY playing music of the 1980's". - Red Rodney

Red Rodney (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ira Sullivan (soprano sax, tenor sax, flute, flugelhorn)
Garry Dial (piano)
Paul Berner (bass)
Tom Whaley (drums)
  1. Lodgellian Mode
  2. A Time for Love
  3. Mr. Oliver
  4. What Can We Do
  5. Come Home to Red
  6. Blues in the Guts
Recorded May 8-9, July 5, 1980

Bob Howard - 1935-1936 (Chronological 1121)

Remarkably, Lawrence Lucie, who appears here, is still with us. And this is from when Artie Shaw was still just a hired gun.

Bob Howard recorded frequently for Decca during 1935-1938. The Decca label was hoping that his jivey vocal records would duplicate the commercial success of Fats Waller's Rhythm sides for Victor, but Howard remained comparatively obscure. For this classics chronological study, Howard leads six band dates which find his vocals accompanied by such notable swing players as trumpeter Bunny Berigan (who is on eight songs), clarinetists Cecil Scott and Artie Shaw, trombonist Benny Morton, pianists Frank Froeba and Frank Signorelli, and the team of trumpeter Eddie Farley and trombonist Mike Riley. Among the tunes are "Lost My Rhythm, Lost My Music, Lost My Girl," "It's Written in the Stars," "You Hit the Spot," "Spreadin' Rhythm Around," and "Wake Up and Sing." Concluding this CD are four medleys (two or three songs apiece) featuring Howard as a pianist (accompanied by drummer Ronnie Gubertini) recorded in London. Overall, this is one of the best of the Bob Howard collections. ~ Scott Yanow

Bob Howard (vocal)
Bunny Berigan (trumpet)
Artie Shaw (clarinet)
Lawrence Lucie (guitar)
Dave Barbour (guitar)
Benny Morton (clarinet, trombone)
Babe Russin (tenor sax)
Frank Froeba (piano)
Frank Signorelli (piano)
Dick Stabile (alto, tenor sax,piano,bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. Lost My Rhythm, Lost My Music, Lost My Girl
2. I'm Painting The Town Red
3. It's Funny What A Kiss Can Do
4. Sugar Plum
5. It's Written In The Stars
6. Give Me A Break, Baby
7. Whose Big Baby Are You?
8. Much Too Much
9. Garbo Green
10. You Hit The Spot
11. Spreadin' Rhythm Around
12. Wake Up And Sing
13. If Love Is Blind
14. The Best Things Happen At Night
15. Public Weakness No.1
16. Let's Not Fall In Love
17. Swing It, Bob - Part 1: (Intro.I Ain't Got Nobody/I Can't Give You Anything But Love/Bugle Call Rag
18. Swing It, Bob - Part 2: (Intro.Some Of These Days/Limehouse Blues/Somebody Stole My Gal
19. Swing It, Bob - Part 3: (Intro.Solitude/Nobody's Sweetheart/St. Louis Blues
20. Swing It, Bob - Part 4: (Intro.Chinatown My Chinatown/Tiger Rag

Tony Scott and Bill Evans - A Day In New York

A great time in Evans' career, he had been working with these guys not only in Scott's outfit, but in previous sessions with Mingus and in Shihab and Knepper's sessions as leaders.

Tony Scott led several small groups of various sizes during the month of November 1957, resulting in three separate LPs being issued by Seeco, Carlton, and Perfect without duplicating any of the 24 tracks. This Fresh Sound two-CD set collects everything recorded during these sessions. Scott's core group features pianist Bill Evans (not long after he was discharged from military service), either Milt Hinton or Henry Grimes on bass, and drummer Paul Motian. In addition to his powerful clarinet, Scott plays a potent baritone sax on six selections. The music includes a few standards, a handful of originals by Scott, and some obscure compositions. Trombonist Jimmy Knepper is a guest on several songs, providing a perfect foil for the leader in a snappy take of "The Lady Is a Tramp," with the soloing on clarinet and baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab following Knepper. Trumpeter Clark Terry (still with Duke Ellington at the time) blows a very soft solo in a subdued arrangement of "Tenderly." Even though Evans was yet to make his mark as a leader or composer, his "Five" is heard in extended form rather than as a brief signoff as he played on early recording dates of his own. He also solos brilliantly in "There Will Never Be Another You." The title to this collection is a bit misleading, as trustworthy discographies list these sessions as being recorded over several days. Because obtaining each of the originally issued LPs is likely to be very expensive for collectors, this comprehensive CD set is the better alternative. ~ Ken Dryden

Tony Scott (clarinet, baritone sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
Milt Hinton, Henry Grimes (bass)
Paul Motian (drums)

CD 1
1. Five
2. She's Different
3. Lady Is a Tramp
4. Tenderly
5. Blues for Three Horns
6. I Remember You
7. Lullaby of the Leaves
8. Shoulder to Cry On
9. At Home with the Blues
10. There Will Never Be Another You
11. Portrait of Ravi
12. Body and Soul

CD 2
1. I Can't Get Started
2. Gone with the Wind
3. Explorer
4. If I'm Lucky (I'll Be the One)
5. Chant
6. Villa Jazz
7. Zonk
8. Blues for Five
9. Third Moon
10. For Pete's Sake
11. Just One of Those Things
12. Franzy Pants

Eric Dolphy & Booker Little Remembered Live At Sweet Basil

In memory of the great tandem of alto saxophonist/flutist/bass clarinetist Dolphy and trumpeter Little, Blanchard and Harrison team with the same rhythm section -- Mal Waldron on piano, Richard Davis on bass, Ed Blackwell on drums -- who backed those modern jazz pioneers, who played 25 years hence at the Five Spot (The Great Concert of Eric Dolphy on Prestige.) These sessions at Sweet Basil/NYC do great justice to that historic juncture while creating a little history of their own in the process. There are three lengthy selections. "The Prophet" is almost 22 minutes of the sheer joy and bluesy madness that so typified the Dolphy sound. The band captures a sourdough, bluesy swagger. Harrison's solo is less edgy but just as frantic as Dolphy's, while Blanchard is Blanchard, capturing the melodicism but not the bite of Little. Blackwell spontaneously doubles the time during the trumpeter's solo, settles it back, and then lets Waldron and Davis rest in a solid groove. "Aggression" is the highlight: a lightning fast, ribald-toned hard-bop line played perfectly. This is where Waldron's signature vamping comes to the forefront; his deep, blue-grey chords express his completely individual sound during the trio-only section. "Booker's Waltz" has Harrison switching to bass clarinet, with not quite the same childlike depth as Dolphy, and mixed a little thin. This is a beautiful, 3/4-paced song that ebbs and flows naturally, all members listening and responding in less dramatic ways. Despite eventual stylistic comparisons, which are truthfully minor, the intentions of this recording and its execution produce more than delightful results. It's a major coup for Blanchard and Harrison. Further proof is found on the companion disc Fire Dance. Recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Terence Blanchard (trumpet)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Donald Harrison (alto sax, bass clarinet)
Richard Davis (bass)
Eddie Blackwell (drums)

1. The Prophet
2. Aggression
3. Booker's Waltz

Recorded live at Sweet Basil, New York: October 3-4, 1986

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sonny Criss - Sonny's Dream (Birth Of The New Cool)

A pretty laconic review from Yanow, of an album and artist who deserves much better. The set can be seen as a Horace Tapscott venture as much as a showcase for Criss. And showcase it is: Davis Sherr is an additional alto, providing ensemble parts while Sonny solos throughout.

Tapscott and Criss were students of Samuel Browne - to whom the second selection is dedicated - as was Dexter Gordon, Chico Hamilton and other students at Jefferson High School and they share a high degree of professionalism, not to mention talent. And there's plenty of other talent on this date.

"For Sonny Criss this was an unusual date. The altoist is backed for the set by a nonet arranged by the great Los Angeles legend Horace Tapscott. The arrangements are challenging but complementary to Criss' style, and he is in top form on the six Tapscott originals. The CD reissue includes two additional alternate takes, and is highly recommended for both Criss' playing and Tapscott's writing. " ~ Scott Yanow

Sonny Criss (soprano & alto sax)
David Sherr (alto sax)
Teddy Edwards (tenor sax)
Pete Christlieb (baritone sax)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Dick Nash (trombone)
Ray Draper (tuba)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Everett Brown Jr. (drums)

1. Sonny's Dream
2. Ballad For Samuel
3. The Black Apostles
4. The Golden Pearl
5. Daughter Of Cochise
6. Sandy And Niles
7. The Golden Pearl (Previously Unissued Alternate)
8. Sonny's Dream (Previously Unissued Alternate)

Recorded in Los Angeles, California on May 8, 1968

Eccentric Soul - Soul Messages From Dimona

Dimona, Israel. Between 1975-1981, a group of American ex-pats took their native sounds of Detroit and Chicago and intermingled them with the messages of the Black Hebrew culture. The results are a heavenly mix of spiritual soul and jazz with an undercurrent of gospel psychedelia. Featuring the Soul Messengers, the Spirit Of Israel, Sons Of The Kingdom, and the Tonistics, Soul Messages From Dimona is the only living document of a thriving community at both the center and fringe of the world.

“Our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And the nation can be nowhere else but in Africa.” ~ Marcus Garvey

Or maybe Israel?

While Marcus Garvey voiced a Black Nationalist movement in the 1920s, his words carried on for decades, inspiring various communities like the Nation of Islam and the Rastafari, who even view him as a prophet. The Black Hebrew Israelites were equally influenced by Garvey’s doctrine of purity and redemption, but in place of Liberia, their holy destination was Israel. In 1966, Ben Ammi Carter accumulated hundreds of followers from Chicago and Detroit suburbs, preaching their linkage to Judah and the Ten Lost Tribes. Among Carter’s followers were some supremely skilled musicians, including Charles Blackwell and Thomas Whitfield who would later help form the Soul Messengers. The road from Chicago to Dimona is a long one, and to reveal the journey would take too much time and ruin part of the fun of unearthing the story yourself. It’s enough to say that the tumultuous voyage eventually ended in the desert city, just west of the Dead Sea. As Numero Group describes it, this record is yet “...another stop on the soul diaspora tour.” But it might be more accurate to call this an otherworldly musical revelation. The dance floor-filling bass lines, spiritual grooves, and Jackson 5 family chants combine for a sonic journey that’s as adventurous and fascinating as Carter’s pilgrimage itself.

Soul Messages From Dimona stands out as one of the most conceptually cohesive compilations in the Numero Group catalogue. Certainly this can be attributed to the esoteric nature of the recordings. Then again it wouldn’t be Numero Group if it wasn’t esoteric. But it’s also displayed in other ways. The 16 songs on the album are divided among only four bands with the bulk of the selections coming from the Chicago-based Soul Messengers. There are no brief, minute-long outtakes or rehearsals that often fill up Eccentric Soul track lists. Instead, the tracks are fully fleshed-out with lyrical content that oscillates between general messages of salvation and deliverance, to more specific references to Judaic principles and history.

Anyone familiar with the label’s output will recognize the thick slices of funk, cool jazz, and soulful harmonies that make up Soul Messages. But this, more than any other album, seems to encompass all of the flavors and genres of Numero Group’s far-reaching discography. The Spirit of Israel provides a slightly psychedelic rendition of the spiritual “Daniel” that’s full of background gospel response. “Hey There,” by the Sons of the Kingdom, unwinds with an especially “soft jazz” horn refrain before it picks up cadence and develops into a full-bodied mesh of layered harmonies. The Sons’ second track on the compilation is a rather clunky, paranoia-filled future jam. The band pleads and wails that modernization will lead to some kind of apocalypse.

One of the most interesting features here is recognizing the different styles adopted by these artists. For instance, the Tonistics’ first entry “Holding On” is righteously funky and chock full of teenage spunk. But on “Dimona (Spiritual Capital of the World)” the boys sound more collective and free to linger on harmonies. And certainly this penchant for mixing it up is apparent on the hefty contributions from the Soul Messengers. They switch from freak-soul instrumentals to Hebrew croons to straight jazz. With all of these bands, the unexpected twists in sound are almost always a positive.

There is a noticeable innocence in the words of the Spirit of Israel’s second contribution. “A Place to Be” begins with a flock of female singers chanting, “It’s a place that’s free and easy / It’s a world of love and peace.” The tone is joyous and carefree, and of course, painfully ironic in light of the Middle East’s sociopolitical climate over the past decades. Then the lead singer enters with equally optimistic aspirations: “I just want to live in Israel. Live a life of purity. Away from the wild and wicked world, teach my children how to be free.” The song is gorgeously simple with only a light guitar strum providing the background instrumentation. But the way it speaks to the hopefulness and values of the Black Hebrew Israelites is no small measure.

At the time of this music’s production, Carter and his Black Hebrew followers were charging toward Israel without reservations. It was the revered holy land, free of the racial struggles and oppression that had afflicted the black American community for so long. The image of Dimona today, as a battered textile industry and placement ground for those Jews that Israel doesn’t quite know what to do with, well, that image doesn’t matter. Soul Messages is an incredible historical document. It’s an exploration of a very specific musical niche that, like all great albums, sounds utterly familiar, as if we’ve been listening to it for years and years.

1. Burn Devil Burn
2. Our Lord and Savior
3. Holding On
4. Daniel
5. Hey There
6. Go to Proclaim
7. Equilibrium
8. Prince of Zeal
9. Modernization
10. Heaven of Heroes
11. Victory
12. Dimona (Spiritual Capital of the World)
13. Junky Baby
14. Place to Be
15. Messiah
16. Savior in the East

This Day In Jazz

Muhal Richard Abrams - Blues Forever

Tremendous large orchestra session, with Abrams heading a crew that includes the cream of '70s and '80s improvisers, plus some '60s survivors. Although every arrangement doesn't click, the band successfully romps and stomps through enough cuts to show that the big band sound doesn't just mean "ghost" groups recreating dusty numbers from the '30s and '40s. ~ Ron Wynn

Abrams is also a conduit for the tradition. Though his music is noted for its vanguard edginess, he nonetheless bridges everything in his playing from boogie-woogie to bebop to free improv, as evidenced by Sightsong and Rejoicing With the Light, both on the Black Saint label. Abrams has been a composer that moves through the classical tradition as well. Novi, his first symphony for orchestra and jazz quartet, has been performed at various festivals, and the Kronos Quartet performed his String Quartet, No. 2. ~ Thom Jurek

Muhal Richard Abrams (piano)
Baikida Carroll (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Craig Harris (trombone)
Howard Johnson (tuba, baritone sax)
Jean-Paul Bourelly (guitar)
Vincent Chancey (French horn)
Wallace McMillan (baritone sax, flute)
Eugene Ghee (tenor sax, clarinet)
Michael Logan (bass)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. Ancient And Future Reflections
2. Du King
3. Chambea
4. Duet For One World
5. Blues Forever
6. Cluster For Many Worlds
7. Quartet to Quartet

Milan: July 20-21, 27, 1981

Coleman Hawkins-Johnny Hodges - In Paris (1949-50)

This CD from the French Vogue label features two unrelated groups, six titles from tenor-saxophonist Coleman Hawkins that were formerly on a Prestige LP and a lengthy pair of sessions by altoist Johnny Hodges that were last available in the U.S. on Inner City in the 1970s. Hawkins dominates his sextet date (altoist Hubert Fol and drummer Kenny Clarke are most prominent among the sidemen) and is in superior form on two blues, two ballads and two romps. Hodges allocates much more solo space to his fellow players during his 16 numbers, a wise decision considering that the musicians include Don Byas on tenor, trumpeter Harold Baker, trombonist Quentin Jackson and clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton; all four soloists had their own individual voices. The mixture of bop-tinged jump tunes, blues and ballads is a predecessor to the type of music featured by Hodges's own group a few years later when he temporarily left Duke Ellington's Orchestra to go out on his own. There are lots of highlights to be heard on this highly recommended CD. - Scott Yanow

Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax) Hubert Fol (alto sax) Nat Peck (trombone)
Jean-Paul Mengeon (piano) Pierre Michelot (bass) Kenny Clarke (drums)
1. It's Only a Paper Moon
2. Sih-Sah
3. Bean's Talking Again
4. Bah-Uh-Bah
5. I Surrender Dear
6. Sophisticated Lady
Recorded December 21, 1949

Johnny Hodges (alto sax) Don Byas (tenor sax) Harold Baker (trumpet)
Quentin Jackson (trombone) Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet)
Raymond Fol (piano) Wendell Marshall (bass)
Sonny Greer, Butch Ballard (drums)
7. Jump, That's All
8. Last Legs Blues, Part 1
9. Last Legs Blues, Part 2
10. Nix It, Mix It
11. Time on My Hands
12. Run About
13. Wishing and Waiting
14. Get That Geet
15. That's Grand
16. Skip It
17. Perdido
18. In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree
19. Mood Indigo
20. Sweet Lorraine
21. Bean Bag Boogie
22. Hop, Skip and Jump
Recorded April 15 & June 20, 1950

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dizzy Gillespie - Dizzy Digs Paris: The Complete 1953 Salle Pleyel Concert

I'm not a big fan of some of these European re-issue labels like Lonehill or Gambit or whatever, but this Giant Steps group have been doing some nice work. Here they present a comprehensive moment in time: the fully restored Salle Pleyel concert, the studio session from shortly after, and even the rare Wade Legge leader session. The sound is excellent, the work complete, the notes - if not as comprehensive as a Mosaic booklet - at least exist and are informative. It's all you might look for in a re-issue.

On February 9, 1953, Dizzy Gillespie played a live concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris that was recorded, though when excerpts were first released, there were only enough used to fill one 10" LP. This two-disc set not only includes the entire 84-minute show (which actually fills just over one disc) for the first time on CD, it also adds 16 studio tracks that Gillespie cut in Paris that same month, as well as eight Gillespie-less studio tracks (also done in Paris in February 1953) by three of his sidemen, working under the name the Wade Legge Trio. It's the live Salle Pleyel set that's the main feature, presented here, according to the liner notes, in an "unedited remastered version of that evening's events with a number of butchered solos fully restored plus the addition of [alto and baritone saxophonist] Bill Graham's previously discarded showcase "'I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance,'" for which Dizzy made a rare appearance on piano."

This might not have been Gillespie's best band, or Gillespie's very best period; those honors probably belong to the work he did in the mid- to late '40s. Still, Gillespie close to his best -- as he is here -- is very good indeed, as is the sound quality of this concert recording. The program mixes some of the more well-known tunes identified with Dizzy ("Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be," "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac") with some standards (including no less than four songs written or co-written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin). On one of those Gershwin tunes, "Embraceable You," there's also a surprise vocal by Sarah Vaughan -- not a member of Gillespie's band at the time, but a fellow jazz star "who just happened to be in the building," according to the liner notes.

The first ten of the 16 Gillespie-led studio tracks -- in which just one of the 16 songs from the live portion ("Mon Homme") is reprised -- are much in the same vein, though not quite as lively as the concert material. Too, the live setting, unlike the studio one, gave the band a chance to stretch out songs to nearly ten minutes, as they did on "The Champ," "Good Bait," and "Birk's Works." For those who like the fun-loving, vocal side of Gillespie's persona, though, this studio version of "Clappin' Rhythm" stands out as a highlight. The final six of the Gillespie-led studio recordings finds the sextet supplemented by the Paris Operatic String Orchestra (with arrangements by Michel Legrand), and are good as bop-meets-orchestration goes, though orchestral arrangements don't play to Gillespie's strengths. The eight final cuts on disc two represent pianist Wade Legge's sole session he did as a leader, with the rhythm section of bassist Lou Hackney and drummer Al Jones. Though not too similar in tone to the Gillespie-led numbers that dominate this compilation -- it's well-done if typical early-'50s bop, with the piano to the fore -- it does round out this extended snapshot of the music Gillespie and his band were creating in Paris during this month. As a whole, the two-CD set might not be a major entry in the Gillespie discography, but it's a good one. And it's certainly hard to imagine a more complete package of this 1953 Salle Pleyel concert, complemented as it is by studio material recorded by the same musicians at the same time and place, augmented by detailed liner notes. ~ Richie Unterberger

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Sarah Vaughan (vocal on 'Embraceable You')
Wade Legge (piano)
Nat Peck (trombone)
Bill Graham (alto, baritone sax)
Joe 'Bebop' Carroll (vocal)
Lou Hackney (bass)
Al Jones (drums).

CD 1
1. Intro
2. The Champ
3. Good Bait
4. Swing Low... Sweet Cadillac
5. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance
6. Lady Be Good
7. Mon Homme
8. (i've Got) The Bluest Blues
9. Birk's Works
10. Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be
11. They Can't Take That Away From Me
12. Embraceable You
13. Play Fiddle Play
14. I Can't Get Started
15. Tin Tin Deo
16. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Disc: 2
1. School Days
2. Undecided
3. The Way You Look Tonight
4. Always
5. Mon HOmme
6. Clappin' Rhythm
7. Fais Gaffe (Watch Out)
8. Moon Nocture
9. This Is The Way
10. S'Wonderful
11. Oo-Bla-Dee
12. Stormy Weather
13. Jalousie
14. The Very Thought Of You
15. Fine And Dandy
16. I've Got You Under My Skin
17. Pennies From Heaven
18. Perdido
19. Dream A Little Dream On Me
20. Wade Legge's Blues
21. A Swedish Folk Song
22. Dance Of The Infidels
23. Aren't You Glad You're You
24. These Foolish Things
25. Why Don't You Believe Me

Oliver Nelson - Fantabulous (1964)

By the time Oliver Nelson and his big band had recorded Fantabulous in March of 1964 for Argo, the great composer, saxophonist, conductor and arranger was a man about town in New York. He had released some truly classic dates of his own as a leader in smaller group forms-Blues And The Abstract Truth and Full Nelson among them--and had done arrangement work for everyone from Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Johnny Hodges, Nancy Wilson, Frank Wess, King Curtis, Etta Jones, Jimmy Smith, Jack Teagarden, Betty Carter, Billy Taylor, and Gene Ammons-to name a few. For Fantabulous he took his working big band to Chicago for a gig sponsored by Daddy-O-Daylie, a famous local disc jockey. He had also worked a number of the players on this date before, even recording an earlier version of the tune "Hobo Flats" that opens this set a year before on an album of the same name. Altoist Phil Woods, baritone roarer Jerome Richardson, trumpeters Snooky Young and Art Hoyle, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Grady Tate are a few of the names on Fantabulous Nelson holds down the tenor chair, and Patti Bown is on piano with additional brass and reed players. Another Nelson original, "Post No Bills" features killer alto work from Woods, and a brief but smoking hot baritone break form Richardson on the same cut. This program is compelling in that it provides an excellent meld of all of Nelson's strengths-as an advanced, colorful harmonist who insisted on the hard swinging esthetic, as an excellent tenor saxophonist and a killer conductor. Another highlight is "Daylie's Double," (which bears a similarity to Nat Adderley's Work Song") named for the aforementioned DJ, with smoking tenor breaks from Nelson, and big fat soulful chord soloing from Brown. Likewise Billy Taylor's "A Bientot," it opens in true big brass Ellingtonian elegance, and unravels itself as a gorgeous bluesy ballad with echoes of "I Only Have Eyes For You" in its melody. The subtle shades of flute and twinned clarinet are a nice touch before the entire band arrives to carry it out on a big yet tenderly expressive lyric cloud. That said, there isn't a weak moment here, there isn't anything that doesn't captivate delight-and even astonish as in the smoking striated harmonic bop head on "Three Plus One." It's almost amazing it took more than 20 years before this appeared on American shores on CD, but at last, here it is in excellent sound at a budget price as part of Verve's Originals series. This is for those who are fans who don't have it yet (and unwilling to pay high collector's fees for good vinyl copies or the wages of Japanese import insanity), and those wondering where to begin with Nelson the arranger. - Thom Jurek

Oliver Nelson (tenor sax, arranger)
Snooky Young, Art Hoyle (trumpet)
Roy Wiegano, Tony Studd (trombone)
Phil Woods (alto sax, clarinet)
Kenny Soderblom (alto sax, flute)
Robert Hashton (tenor sax, clarinet)
Jerome Richardson (baritone sax, flute, alto flute)
Patti Bown (piano)
Ben Tucker (bass)
Grady Tate (drums)
  1. Hobo Flats
  2. Post No Bills
  3. A Bientot
  4. Three Plus One
  5. Take Me With You
  6. Daylie's Double
  7. Teenie's Blues
  8. Laz-ie Kate
Recorded March 19, 1964

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Barney Kessel - To Swing Or Not To Swing

Guitarist Barney Kessel's string of recordings for Contemporary in the 1950s included some of the finest work of his career. The unusual repertoire on this set -- which includes "Louisiana," "Indiana," and "12th Street Rag," along with four Kessel originals and more usual standards -- would by itself make this bop/cool set noteworthy. Add to that a very interesting lineup of players (trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, Georgie Auld or Bill Perkins on tenor, pianist Jimmy Rowles, the rhythm guitar of Al Hendrickson, bassist Red Mitchell, and Shelly Manne or Irv Cottler on drums) and some excellent showcases for Kessel, and the overall result is a CD highly recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

The answer to the world-class trivia question "Name the guitarist who played with Artie Shaw, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Chico Marx," Barney Kessel's unusual discography is testimony to his versatility and professionalism. Born in Muskogee, he followed in the professional footsteps of fellow Oklahoman Charlie Christian and evinced a similarly unswerving dedication to swing. Although his later recording frequently paired him with fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis, these 1955 West coast recordings showcase Kessel as both a soloist and leader in medium combos. A tribute to swing style music, To Swing or Not to Swing mixes Kessel originals with such standards of that era as "Indiana," "Moten Swing," "Louisiana," and "Embraceable You." On board are trumpeter Harry Edison, saxophonists Georgie Auld and Bill Perkins, drummer Shelly Manne, and pianist Jimmy Rowles. Among the album's most outstanding tracks are Kessel's own "Begin the Blues," and a dreamy reading of Lionel Hampton's "Midnight Sun." A real find for guitar fanatics and West coast jazz fans alike. --Fred Goodman

Barney Kessel (guitar)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Georgie Auld (tenor sax)
Bill Perkins (tenor sax)
Al Hendrickson (rhythm guitar)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Irving Cottler (drums)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Begin The Blues
2. Louisiana
3. Happy Feeling
4. Embraceable You
5. Wall Street
6. Indiana
7. Moten Swing
8. Midnight Sun
9. Contemporary Blues
10. Don't Blame Me
11. 12th Street Rag

Recorded in Los Angeles, California on March 28 and July 26, 1955

Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation

Chuchuni and I had an early collaboration with Eccentric Soul's Capsoul retrospective; here's another from a label that is quickly becoming a favorite.

This is the Big Dig, the Tutankhamen of R&B: Twinight. After two years of interviews, cold calls, storage spaces, half truths, unknowns, and dead ends, we’ve finally completed a large piece of Chicago’s secret soul history. Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation takes a look beyond their hit maker Syl Johnson, and instead focuses on the records that never had a shot at the charts. It’s the story of struggling disc jockeys moonlighting as producers, high school talent show winners, major label cast offs, minor label upgrades, girlfriends with decent voices, and master purchases traded for chart position. This comprehensive two CD set includes a complete label history, a bakers dozen of unpublished photos and three unreleased tracks, including two that were only rumored to exist.

Chalk up another shoot-the-moon collection of long-lost soul to the master excavators at the Numero Group. Upping the ante to a two-disc set accompanied by trivia-filled liner notes, Twinight's Lunar Rotation is a treasure chest--40 tracks of sweaty, sassy R&B goodness, churned out by the prolific and independent Chicago-area Twinight Records in the late '60s and early '70s. Committed to producing anything they thought could sell or merit radio airplay, the producers at Twinight generated ballads, minor gems like George McGregor and the Bronzette's "Temptation Is So Hard to Fight," hip-shaking instrumental soul workouts and smoky psychedelic guitar grooves. Tight funk ensembles Pieces of Peace and the Dynamic Tints come off like a mini-Tower of Power, and the teenaged Mystiques (discovered at a high school talent show) capture the urgency of adolescent obsession with "Put Out the Fire." This lunar rotation is worth taking for a spin. --Ben Heege

CD 1
1. The Devastator - Stormy
2. Mama - Annette Poindexter
3. Package Of Love Part I - Dynamic Tints
4. Main Squeeze - Nate Evans
5. Satisfied - Krystal Generation
6. Yes, My Goodness Yes - Velma Perkins
7. Not Too Cool To Cry - Renaldo Domino
8. Temptation Is Hard To Fight - George McGregor
9. So Good To Have You Home Again - Mystiques
10. Soul Strokes - Sidney Pinchback
11. Pass It On Part I - Pieces Of Peace
12. Be My Lady - Dynamic Tints
13. Let Me Come Within - Renaldo Domino
14. Which One Am I - Perfections
15. Can You Find Me Love - Harrison
16. Is It Worth A Chance - Josephine Taylor
17. Lonely People - Notations
18. To Love Someone (That Don't Love You) - Kaldirons
19. My Sunshine Girl - Radiants
20. Powerful Love - Chuck & Mac

CD 2
1. A New Day - Notations
2. Rosemarie - Dynamic Tints
3. You And Me Baby - Kaldirons
4. Lift This Hurt - Elvin Spencer
5. Why Do You Want To Make Me Sad - Perfections
6. Put Out The Fire - Mystiques
7. Breaking Point - Johnny Williams
8. Life Walked Out - Mist
9. Nevermore - Renaldo Domino
10. Pardon My Innocent Heart - Nate Evans
11. Remind Me - Schiller Street Gang
12. Is It Meant To Be - Krystal Generation
13. Wayward Dream - Annette Poindexter
14. I'll Always Love You - Velma Perkins
15. Tearing Me Up Inside - Harrison
16. I've Made Up My Mind - Josephine Taylor
17. Goin' Man Huntin - Jo Ann Garrett
18. I Can't Stop - Notations
19. Two Years Four Days - Renaldo Domino
20. Yesterday's Mistakes - Jimmy Jones

Tony Fruscella

Here's a second 4CD set after the Joe Maini set I shared a little back, again one of the rare instances where the crooks did the right thing: This set compiles most of Tony Fruscella's known recorded output, and it's a beaut! Fruscella is one of a bunch of lyrical trumpet players that came to the front in the 50s - other, similar musicians would be Don Joseph and maybe Jon Eardley or Dick Sherman. Fruscella's trumpet voice is an emotional one, it has been described as a "husky whisper".

Fruscella played with Lester Young and Gerry Mulligan, occasionally he also accompanied Bird (as did Maini) or Billie Holiday. For a short time, he was with Stan Getz, the few surviving examples of their collaboration can be heard in this set, both in studio and live settings. Also included are two early studio sessions, the earliest from 1948 with Chick Maures, a little-known alto sax player, and Bill Triglia, and one from 1952 with Herb Geller, the late Phil Urso, Gene Allen on baritone, and again Triglia on piano. Highlight of the studio material is Fruscella's Atlantic album, again featuring Triglia on piano and the great Allen Eager on tenor sax.

The live material, in addition to three tunes with Getz' band (as with the Getz studio titles, John Williams is on piano) finds Fruscella in company Hank Jones (1 tune) and Phil Woods and others. The highlight of the live material is a long session with Triglia and Brew Moore's tenor added on some extended jams.

Here are small scans providing all the info:

And finally, here's what AMG's Scott Yanow has to say:

For Tony Fruscella fans, it would be difficult to improve upon this four-CD set, for it includes every single recording that the short-lived trumpeter made in his career! Fruscella, who lived to be 42 in 1969, largely finished his career in 1955 (at 28) due to his drug problems. Before he totally lost it, he was a fine cool-toned trumpeter a little reminiscent of Chet Baker (who he actually preceded) although able to play with fire at times. This perfectly-done box from the European Jazz Factory label has two CDs apiece of Fruscella playing in the studios and in clubs. The former consists of five sessions, including a date with the even more ill-fated altoist Chick Maures (his only recording), and appearances by such players as bassist Red Mitchell, altoist Herb Geller, and tenors Phil Urso, Allen Eager, and (on two songs) Stan Getz. The live sessions feature Fruscella in a pair of quartets (pianist Hank Jones is on one date), featuring contributions from tenors Brew Moore, and (on three numbers) Stan Getz and altoist Phil Woods. The final number, "Lover Man," is a trumpet-guitar duet with Bill Keck that nicely wraps up the set. Though much of this music is available elsewhere (from Atlantic and Spotlite), this is the best way to acquire it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Charles Mingus - Plus Max Roach

There's nothing rare here; if you have the Debut set or the expanded Mingus At The Bohemia, then you have these tracks. More for the OJC completist.

"The mid-'50s was a transitional period for Mingus' music. Still working within fairly conventional song structures, he began to experiment with various harmonic and rhythmic augmentations of the pieces in his repertoire, like a sculptor changing the shapes of familiar objects until, while still identifiable, they begin to take on a new identity. Here he directs his quintet through evocative, atmospheric embellishments (trombonist Eddie Bert's sustained notes sound like a fog horn on "A Foggy Day"), shifts in tone and dynamic (the jarring changes in "Lady Bird") and the pulsing, contrapuntal lines of "Love Chant," while maintaining strong links to traditional form and melody."

"Master skinsman Max Roach appears on two tracks here, "I'll Remember April," and the floating dialogue between drums and bass in "Drums." The members of the Quintet play solidly throughout (though Roach's spot in "I'll Remember April" steals the show). The music (recorded live at a club date in New York City, 1955) is skilful, intriguing and accessible: a cross-section of Mingus' earliest concentrations and the exploratory direction he would take in the late '50s/ early '60s."

Charles Mingus (bass)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
George Barrow (tenor sax)
Willie Jones (drums)
Max Roach (drums on 2 and 5)

1. A Foggy Day
2. Drums
3. Haitan Fight Song
4. Lady Bird
5. I'll Remember April
6. Love Chant

"Cafe Bohemia", New York: , December 23, 1955

Bobby Hutcherson - Mirage

The bossa that starts the album turned me off initially, but it gets pretty good. Of course, if you like Bossa Nova....

This CD is a re-release of a 1991 album on the Landmark label, and this first-meeting-of-leaders-set is as much Tommy Flanagan's recording date as Hutcherson's. Flanagan's exquisite taste and thoughtful mellowness dominate this album, and that's not a bad thing. This isn't meant as a put-down to Hutcherson, but he really plays up to Flanagan's level. I've never heard Hutcherson sound so serenely relaxed--he is always a lyrical player, but here he steers away from glib hard-bop phrases and plays with a rich melodic sense that's hard to resist.

Their sublimely airy version of T. Monk's "Pannonica" sounds like they wrote it themselves! But don't worry, they remember to swing, as on the crisp, driving "Groundwork," which is also a bit of a showcase for Drummond. Mostly though, things here flow nice 'n' easy--relaxed & summer-y, yet never slips/slides into background-music. You get 10 tracks in 63 minutes, with all concerned making the most of it--there's no noodling or water-treading here. MIRAGE is a minor masterpiece of relaxed, shimmering swing. ~ Lee Prosser

This quartet date by Bobby Hutcherson works quite well due to the chemistry between the vibist and pianist Tommy Flanagan. They take Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica" and "Love Letters" as exquisite duets and perform eight high-quality selections as a quartet with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Billy Drummond. Among the other highlights are Barry Harris' "Nascimento," Flanagan's "Beyond the Bluebird" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Zingaro." Everything clicks on this inspired outing. ~ Scott Yanow

Bobby Hutcherson (marimba, vibraphone)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Peter Washington (bass)
Billy Drummond (drums)

1. Nascimento
2. Mirage
3. Beyond The Bluebird
4. Pannonica
5. Del Valle
6. I Am In Love
7. Zingaro
8. Groundwork
8. Love Letters
9. Heroes
10. Love Letters

New York: February 15 and 18, 1991

Lou Rawls | Black and Blue & Tobacco Road

This remixed and 24-bit remastered re-issue of all the classic Lou Rawls recordings made with the Onzy Matthews Big Band is startling good. This is great stuff with all-star bands . . . . people like Sonny Criss and Teddy Edwards. If you like this band be sure and check out the 3 CD set Onzy Matthews Mosaic Select Release. It's wonderful!

Black and Blue and Tobacco Road were Lou Rawls' third and fourth records for Capitol cut in 1962 and 1963, respectively. The powers that be at the label made the decision to send Rawls into the studio with a swinging big band under the direction of Onzy Matthews and featuring some real heavyweights like saxophonists Curtis Amy, Teddy Edwards, and Sonny Criss; organist Groove Holmes; and bassist Curtis Counce. The choice didn't pan out commercially, but artistically it is a triumph. The band is perfect, the arrangements are tight and interesting, and Rawls sounds completely in his element as he belts out jazz standards like "Summertime" and "Gloomy Sunday." Most of the records are devoted to blues standards like "Trouble in Mind," "Stormy Weather," "St. James Infirmary," and "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water," and while on paper they may look like the same old songs everyone does, Rawls brings them to life and even sets a few ablaze with his rich, rough, and powerful vocals. The best moment is his sparse and exhilarating version of "Tobacco Road," a tune that has come to be associated with him, mostly due to his live version cut a couple of years later on Lou Rawls Live This version is a touch less exciting but just as impressive, and it is a treat to hear. In fact, both albums are a treat. Rawls may just be starting his long career, but he sounds fully formed, relaxed, and at home with the big band behind him. It makes for some of the most enjoyable Lou Rawls you'll hear, and fans of Rawls and great jazz and blues vocals should rejoice that Capitol has finally made the records available on CD. - Tim Sendra, All Music Guide

Airto - Identity (1975)

Dusty Groove Up Side:
A strident set of Brazilian fusion tracks played by one of the world's greatest percussionists! The record has a tighter feel than some of Airto's earlier sessions, and features guest work by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter -- yet the album also still retains a strong Brazilian feel, thanks to a host of good players that includes Egberto Gismonti and Raul De Souza. Titles include "Flora On My Mind", "Café", "The Magicians", "Tales From Home", and "Encounter". Produced by Herbie Hancock, too!

AMG Down Side:
Identity is a pleasant but unremarkable outing produced by Herbie Hancock which finds Airto Moreira moving away from the fusion of predecessor Virgin Land to a more acoustic Brazilian sound. The material here is not as strong as on earlier releases. - Jim Newsom

Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle?

Airto Moreira (drums, percussion, vocals)
Roberto (drums, percussion)
John Heard, John Williams, Louis Johnson (bass)
David Amaro (guitar)
Egberto Gismonti (keyboards, wooden flutes, guitar, arrangements)
Raul De Souza (trombone)
Ted Lo (organ)
Flora Purim (vocals)
Wayne Shorter (soprano sax)
Herbie Hancock (synth)
  1. The Magicians (Bruxos)
  2. Tales from Home (Lendas)
  3. Identity
  4. Encounter (Encontro No Bar)
  5. Wake Up Song (Baiao Do Acordar)/Café
  6. Mae Cambina
  7. Flora on My Mind

Eddie Costa Quartet - 1958 Guys And Dolls Like Vibes FLAC

The reissue of Eddie Costa's Guys and Dolls Like Vibes once again makes available one of his few dates as a leader. A talented vibraphonist (and also pianist, though he doesn't play it on this 1958 session), Costa leads a sterling quartet with the legendary Bill Evans on piano (although he was just starting to get noticed by the jazz press at the time), Wendell Marshall on bass, and drummer Paul Motian, in a Frank Loesser songbook taken from the musical +Guys and Dolls. Costa and Evans mesh beautifully throughout, and Costa's solos are well crafted, particularly his long feature on the up-tempo opener, "Guys and Dolls." The leader goes from a soft bell-like a cappella introduction to "If I Were a Bell" to a suddenly driving arrangement, in which Evans sits out the first full chorus before gradually working his way in. Liner note writer Dick Katz notes the rhythmic originality in Costa's approach to "Luck Be a Lady," while Evans' solo introduction adds to the shear beauty of the ballad "I've Never Been in Love Before," and this time it is Costa who delays his entrance. Costa's death in an automobile accident at the age of 31 was a tragic loss for jazz, and the reissue of classic dates such as this one has been long overdue.
Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

1 Guys and Dolls 6:45
2 Adelaide 8:29
3 If I Were a Bell 5:09
4 Luck Be a Lady 6:23
5 I've Never Been in Love Before 7:00
6 I'll Know 6:03

Eddie Costa (vibraphone)
Bill Evans (piano)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Paul Motian (drums).

Recorded January 1958 in New York City: tracks 1 and 6 on January 15; tracks 4 and 5 on January 16; tracks 2 and 3 on January 17.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Charles Mingus - Pithecanthropus Erectus

Pithecanthropus Erectus was Charles Mingus' breakthrough as a leader, the album where he established himself as a composer of boundless imagination and a fresh new voice that, despite his ambitiously modern concepts, was firmly grounded in jazz tradition. Mingus truly discovered himself after mastering the vocabularies of bop and swing, and with Pithecanthropus Erectus he began seeking new ways to increase the evocative power of the art form and challenge his musicians (who here include altoist Jackie McLean and pianist Mal Waldron) to work outside of convention. The title cut is one of his greatest masterpieces: a four-movement tone poem depicting man's evolution from pride and accomplishment to hubris and slavery and finally to ultimate destruction. The piece is held together by a haunting, repeated theme and broken up by frenetic, sound-effect-filled interludes that grow darker as man's spirit sinks lower. It can be a little hard to follow the story line, but the whole thing seethes with a brooding intensity that comes from the soloist's extraordinary focus on the mood, rather than simply flashing their chops. Mingus' playful side surfaces on "A Foggy Day (In San Francisco)," which crams numerous sound effects (all from actual instruments) into a highly visual portrait, complete with honking cars, ringing trolleys, sirens, police whistles, change clinking on the sidewalk, and more. This was the first album where Mingus tailored his arrangements to the personalities of his musicians, teaching the pieces by ear instead of writing everything out. Perhaps that's why Pithecanthropus Erectus resembles paintings in sound -- full of sumptuous tone colors learned through Duke Ellington, but also rich in sonic details that only could have come from an adventurous modernist. And Mingus plays with the sort of raw passion that comes with the first flush of mastery. Still one of his greatest. ~ Steve Huey

Charles Mingus (bass)
Mal Waldron (piano)
J.R. Monterose (tenor sax)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Willie Jones (drums)

1. Pithecanthropus Erectus
2. A Foggy Day
3. Profile Of Jackie
4. Love Chant

Buddy Rich - Big Swing Face

Starting with a drummer led Big Band version of "Norwegian Wood" shows why it's so hard to get to like this type of music. But, it has its fans I suppose. Include me out. The CD was cheap, so...

Big Swing Face not only reissues the second recording by Buddy Rich & His Big Band but doubles the program with nine previously unissued performances from the same engagement at the Chez Club in Hollywood. Rich's orchestra was in its early prime, displaying a very impressive ensemble sound, charts by Bill Holman, Shorty Rogers, Bob Florence, Bill Potts and others, and such soloists as altoist Ernie Watts (a newcomer), trumpeter Bobby Shew, Jay Corre on tenor and the remarkable drummer/leader. Even with the presence of "Norwegian Wood" and "The Beat Goes On" (the latter features Rich's teenage daughter Cathe on a vocal), this is very much a swinging set. Rich has some outstanding solos and lots of drum breaks but does not hog the spotlight; he was justifiably proud of his band. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
2. Big Swing Face
3. Monitor Theme
4. Wack Wack
5. Love For Sale
6. Mexicali Nose
7. Willowcrest
8. The Beat Goes On
9. Bugle Call Rag
10. Standing Up In A Hammock
11. Chicago
12. Lament For Lester
13. Machine
14. Silver Threads Among The Blues
15. New Blues
16. Old Timey
17. Loose
18. Apples (aka Gino)

Recorded at United Recording and live at the Chez Club, Hollywood, California on February 22-25 and March 10, 1967

Martial Solal Improvise pour France Musique

The final installment from my cassette recordings of the 40-show series Martial did for FM in the early 90s. These are recordings you can't find anywhere else but here, so get them while you can! Here we have broadcasts 17 & 18 by my (arbitrary) count - 2 half-hour shows. The rest of the shows I do not have, sadly, but at least we have here almost half of them (see comments). I do have a couple of other concerts given by Martial which I will post soon. Cassettes were recorded from terrestrial FM broadcasts on an AIWA Excelia top-end machine with metal tape and Dolby-C NR. Then captured to computer and LAME'd at vbr0. They sound pretty good, don't be discouraged by the near-Jurassic methods used to get to digital!

Lee Morgan - Taru

Taru is certainly only an inch away from the kind of stuff with which Miles Davis was to revolutionize jazz in the next couple of years. The presence of George Benson has something to do with it, and underneath his smooth and unguent approach there is a whiff of cold steel. The recruitment of Maupin to Morgan's group was to be a significant one. After Shorter, he was perhaps the most adventurous saxophonist Morgan was to work with. Often dismissed as a colourist with no real jazz centre, Maupin always sounds completely convincing in the trumpeter's company. ~ Penguin Guide

By the time of this 1968 session, the quintessential hard-bop trumpeter Lee Morgan, was stretching in several directions at once, pushing into freer forms and also pressing the crossover funk market that he had tapped so brilliantly with The Sidewinder. The different directions are apparent in the sidemen. Bennie Maupin made few recordings in the period, but he was among the most distinctive avant-garde tenor saxophonists, with a blunt, Rollins-inspired approach that would eventually come to the fore on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew and with Herbie and the Headhunters. Guitarist George Benson explores the funkier side of Wes Montgomery's style, while the rhythm section of pianist John Hicks, bassist Reggie Workman, and Billy Higgins is perfect for the potent mix of modal, hard-bop, and funk approaches that Morgan was pulling together. The trumpeter plays with his usual intensity, displaying quick musical wits and a sound that's almost menacing. --Stuart Broomer

Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Bennie Maupin (tenor sax)
John Hicks (piano)
George Benson (guitar)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. Avotcja One
2. Haeschen
3. Dee Lawd
4. Get Yourself Together (Get Yo'Self Togetha)
5. Taru, What's Wrong With You
6. Durem

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on February 15, 1968

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nat Adderley - Work Song

This CD reissue brings back a near-classic by cornetist Nat Adderley. Utilizing a cornet-cello-guitar front line (with Sam Jones and Wes Montgomery) along with a top-notch rhythm section (pianist Bobby Timmons, Percy Heath, or Keter Betts on bass and drummer Louis Hayes), Adderley performs a fine early version of his greatest hit ("Work Song") and helps introduce Cannonball Adderley's "Sack O' Woe." Four songs use a smaller group with Timmons absent on "My Heart Stood Still" (which finds Keter Betts on cello and Jones on bass), "Mean to Me" featuring Nat backed by Montgomery, Betts, and Hayes, and two ballads ("I've Got a Crush on You" and "Violets for Your Furs") interpreted by the Adderley-Montgomery-Jones trio. No matter the setting, Nat Adderley is heard throughout in peak form, playing quite lyrically. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Nat Adderley (cornet)
Wes Montgomery (guitar)
Sam Jones (cello)
Bobby Timmons (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Work Song
2. Pretty Memory
3. I've Got A Crush On You
4. Mean To Me
5. Fallout
6. Sack Of Woe
7. My Heart Stood Still
8. Violets For Your Furs
9. Scrambled Eggs

Count Basie and Benny Carter - Legendary Radio Broadcasts

From the Storyville website:

This is the start of a new series of famous radio broadcasts – more fine artists to follow a.o.: Ella Fitzgerald, Mildred Bailey, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway etc.

It was in the 30's and 40's when the radio was the most important media before television took over. There were many different radio broadcasts all over USA. Live programs from different concerts and studio recordings. Count Basie had nightly broadcasts from Reno Club in Kansas City. When John Hammond heard a broadcast he went to Kansas City to hear the band in person. He then decided to bring it to New York City where they opened at the Roseland. To be regular featured on the radio was the best promotion an artist could get. Storyville has found many fine radio programs with various artists that will be released in the Legendary Radio Broadcasts series.

The first 15 minutes of the oldest preserved broadcast from Chatterbox, Pittsburgh, February 10, 1937 are included on this CD. The titles are Moten Swing, King Porter Stomp, I’ll Always Be In Love With You, You do the Darnest Things, Baby and Swinging At The Daisy Chain. Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Walter Page, Jo Jones and vocalist Jimmy Rushing are members of the band. Two other broadcasts are included. CBS "American Dances" the complete broadcast, New York, July 9, 1938 and also the complete broadcast from Southland, Boston, 1940. Dicky Wells, Harry Edison and Helen Humes are now in the band.

After a three-year stay in Europe, Benny Carter Assembled and rehearsed a big band to perform at extended engagements at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. His nightly broadcasts from "The Home Of The Happy Feet" were recorded on at least ten different occasions. Five numbers, broadcast from the Savoy Ballroom on May 20, 1939, are included on this CD. Three other broadcasts are from Trianon Ballroom in California 1946 and Southern California Ballroom, late 1942 0r early 1943. The third is recorded in NBC Studios, Hollywood 1943. It is a swinging big band and Benny Carter can be heard on alto saxophone, trumpet and clarinet. Four of Benny Carter’s composition are also on the CD: Fish Fry, Back Bay Boogie, Opening Night and his theme song Melancholy Lullaby.

CD1 Count Basie
1. Moten Swing
2. King Porter Stomp
3. I'll Always Be In Love With You
4. You Do The Darnest Things, Baby
5. Swinging At The Daisy Chain
6. One O'Clock Jump
7. Every Tub
8. Song Of The Wanderer
9. Flat Foot Floogie
10. Oh! Lady Be Good
11. Boogie Woogie
12. One O'Clock Jump
13. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
14. One O'Clock Jump
15. One O'Clock Jump
16. Ebony Rhapsody
17. Riff Interlude
18. Darn That Dream
19. Take It, Prez
20. Baby, Don't You Tell On Me
21. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight
22. I Got Rhythm

CD2 Benny Carter
1. Melancholy Lullaby
2. Rose Room
3. I Can't Get Started
4. Night And Day
5. One O'Clock Jump
6. Sleep
7. I Used To Love You
8. Ill Wind
9. Fish Fry
10. Swanee River
11. All Of Me
12. Honeysuckle Rose
13. Midnight
14. Back Bay Boogie
15. Opening Night
16. Love's Dream
17. My Heart Has Wings
18. Oh, Lady Be Good
19. Big Wig In The Wigwam
20. Melancholy Lullaby

Oscar Peterson - Hello Herbie (1969)

With the recent passing of Bobby Durham, Herb Ellis is the only remaining survivor from this quartet session. Ripped from the 24-bit Most Perfect Sound Edition.

Guitarist Herb Ellis still considers this to be one of his personal favorite recordings. Ellis was reunited with his old boss Oscar Peterson and, with the assistance of Peterson's trio of the period (with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Bobby Durham), the two lead voices often romp on the jam session-flavored set. Most of the chord changes are fairly basic (including three blues and "Seven Come Eleven"), and Peterson was clearly inspired by Ellis' presence (and vice versa). - Scott Yanow

Oscar Peterson (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Sam Jones (bass)
Bobby Durham (drums)
  1. Naptown Blues
  2. Exactly Like You
  3. Seven Come Eleven
  4. Hamp's Blues
  5. Blues for H.G.
  6. A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
  7. Day by Day
Recorded November 5-6, 1969

Budd Johnson - The Stanley Dance Sessions

Here's another Lonehill compilation, this time featuring the great saxophone voice of Budd Johnson. First there's a date with Charlie Shavers and others, and second there's Budd as the lone horn in an Earl Hines date from several years later.

Here's what AMG's "arwulf arwulf" has to say:

Saxophonist Budd Johnson made a series of excellent recordings for producer Stanley Dance in February 1958 and June 1967. The 1958 dates (septet and quintet) featured trumpeter Charlie Shavers; the septet included trombonist Vic Dickenson and Al Sears, who blew the baritone sax instead of his customary tenor. Pianists were Ray Bryant and Bert Keyes, who also played organ. The bassist in 1958 was Joe Benjamin; the drummer was Kansas City Jo Jones. The music is outstanding. "Destination Blues" is particularly strong, with all of the horns in fine fettle. The collective energy, especially what boils up out of the quintet on "Blues by Five" is spectacular, with Benjamin and Jones each working up exhilarating solos and Charlie Shavers blowing his top in heated exchanges with Budd Johnson. The inclusion of four powerful tracks recorded in 1967 with the Earl Hines Trio transforms a superb reissue into one of the strongest entries in the entire Lone Hill Jazz catalog. Using both the tenor and soprano saxophones, Budd Johnson blew some of the best jazz of his entire career. The tenor feels especially warm and muscular, while Johnson's soprano sax invokes the great Sidney Bechet, an influence he was always proud to acknowledge.

  1. Foggy Nights (Johnson) 5:38
  2. Leave Room in Your Heart for Me (Dobson/Johnson) 7:16
  3. Destination Blues (Johnson) 5:19
  4. Blues à la Mode (Johnson) 7:32
  5. Used Blues (Johnson) 7:06
  6. Blues by Fire (Johnson) 6:10
  7. Louisiana (Johnson/Razaf/Schafer) 6:46
  8. Summertime (Gershwin/Gershwin) 5:43
  9. Changin' the Blues (Hines) 3:35
  10. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone (Clare/Stept) 4:43

1,3,5: Charlie Shavers (t), Vic Dickenson (tb), Budd Johnson (ts), Al Sears (bari),Bert Keys (p,org), Joe Benjamin (b), Jo Jones (d)
New York, February 11, 1958

2,4,6: Shavers (t), Johnson (ts), Ray Bryant (p), Benjamin (b), Jones (d)
New York, February 14, 1958

7-10: Johnson (ts,ss), Earl Hines (p), Bill Pemberton (b), Oliver Jackson (d)
New York, June 19, 1967

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Special Olympians (Zorn, J.Patton, Ulmer,Previte) live in Saalfelden, Austria August 28, 1999

Heres an exiting , funky organ combo quartet gig fronted by John Zorn
Featuring “big” john patton, james “blood ‘Ulmer , and Bobby Previte.
Im not a huge fan of Zorn’s , apart from the occasional thing.
but this is good, great sound too.
unfortunately i am unable to upload images due to an ftp server error.

Details are
Special Olympians
Saalfelden Jazz Festival
Saalfelden, Austria
August 28, 1999

01 Unknown
02 Unknown
03 Unknown
04 Unknown

John Zorn - alto
John Patton - organ
James 'Blood' Ulmer - guitar
Bobby Previte - drums

thanks to the original taper/traders/seeders

Jazz Giants '58

Producer Norman Granz (1918-2001) had an uncanny ability to create really amazing jazz albums by experimenting with the combinative chemistry of musical minds, temperaments, and personalities. While not every Granz session resulted in recordings of equal depth or profundity, the number of artistically rewarding, genre-defining albums that came together under his supervision is almost difficult for the human mind to fully comprehend. One fine example is Jazz Giants '58, a Verve album recorded inside the rented Capitol studios in Hollywood, CA on August 1, 1957 and released almost exactly one year later. The 2008 Japanese CD reissue faithfully reproduces the original cover art and makes this outstanding music available in immaculately remastered sound. Although it has since come to be identified mainly with Stan Getz, Jazz Giants '58 feels a lot like a Gerry Mulligan session, with Harry "Sweets" Edison perfectly complementing the other two horns. To support and illuminate the trumpet, tenor, and baritone saxes, Granz used his preferred rhythm trio -- Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, and Ray Brown -- and added master percussionist Louie Bellson, fully primed after working for his wife Pearl Bailey, his hero Duke Ellington, and with Granz's internationally famous Jazz at the Philharmonic project. This was the blossoming of the great era of long-playing records, and the participants clearly relished the opportunity to stretch out and jam together in a relaxed, intimate studio environment. "Chocolate Sundae," a ten-minute collectively improvised blues of incredible warmth and irresistible texture, is followed by seven- and eight-minute sets of creative variations on a couple of tunes that were in the air during the '50s. The nearly 12-minute manifestation of the patented Norman Granz "Ballad Medley" is especially powerful by virtue of starting out with Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." An extended romp through the changes of Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody N You" (a tribute to the progressive sensibilities of bandleader Woody Herman penned during the 1940s) adds pure undiluted pleasure to an album that already sounds and feels like some of the best music ever recorded by any of the participants under any circumstances. - arwulf arwulf

Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Louie Bellson (drums)
  1. Chocolate Sundae
  2. When Your Lover Has Gone
  3. Candy
  4. Ballade: Lush Life/Lullaby of the Leaves/Makin' Whoopee/It Never Entered My Mind
  5. Woody'n You
Recorded August 1, 1957

Bobby Hutcherson - Components

Perhaps the single album that best sums up Bobby Hutcherson's early musical personality, Components is appropriately split into two very distinct halves. The first features four Hutcherson originals in a melodic but still advanced hard bop style, while the latter half has four free-leaning avant-garde pieces by drummer Joe Chambers. Hutcherson allots himself more solo space than on Dialogue, but that's no knock on the excellent supporting cast, which includes Herbie Hancock on piano, James Spaulding on alto sax and flute, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Ron Carter on bass. It's just more Hutcherson's date, and he helps unite the disparate halves with a cool-toned control that's apparent regardless of whether the material is way outside or more conventionally swinging. In the latter case, Hutcherson's originals are fairly diverse, encompassing rhythmically complex hard bop (the title track), pensive balladry ("Tranquillity," which features a lovely solo by Hancock), down-and-dirty swing ("West 22nd Street Theme"), and the gaily innocent "Little B's Poem," which went on to become one of Hutcherson's signature tunes and contains some lyrical flute work from Spaulding. The Chambers pieces tend to be deliberate explorations that emphasize texture and group interaction in the manner of Dialogue, except that there's even more freedom in terms of both structure and tonal center. (The exception is the brief but beautiful closing number, "Pastoral," an accurate title if ever there was one.) Components illustrated that Hutcherson was not only the most adventurous vibes player on the scene, but that he was also capable of playing more straightforward music with intelligence and feeling. Steve Huey

Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet
James Spaulding - Alto Sax & Flute
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibes & Marimba
Herbie Hancock - Piano
Ron Carter - Bass
Joe Chambers - Drums

1 Components
2 Tranquillity
3 Little B's Poem
4 West 22nd Street Theme
5 Movement
6 Juba Dance
7 Air
8 Pastoral

Recorded June 14, 1965 at The Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Klaus Weiss - Lightnin' (1984)

A mostly straight-ahead CD from German drummer Klaus Weiss with an international all-star big band. Issued by Jeton, I don't believe this was ever released in the U.S.

Benny Bailey, Greg Bowen, Don Rader, Bert Joris (trumpet)
Jiggs Whigham, Bobby Burgess, Joe Gallardo, Eric van Lier (trombone)
Herb Geller, Heiner Wiberny, Andy Scherrer, Wolgang Engstfeld, Max Boeree (reeds)
Rob Pronk (piano)
John Schroder (guitar)
Isla Eckinger (bass)
Klaus Weiss (drums)
Bill Holman, Francy Boland, Bora Rokovic, Don Menza, Bob Mintzer, Rob Pronk (arrangers)

  1. Lightnin'
  2. Don't You Ever Learn
  3. Papa Lips
  4. One for Maja
  5. Late Spring
  6. Klever Klaus
  7. Mr. Fonebone
  8. New Bread
  9. Antigua
  10. Time Change
  11. Too Close for Comfort
  12. Morning Song
  13. So Here You Are
Recorded September 8, 9, 1984

Dave Tarras and the Musiker Brothers - Tanz!

This is one of the virtues of sites like these; it makes it painless to get exposed to some byways of jazz. Let's face it, it's very unlikely that you'd spend your money on something like this - even if you could find it. But the scene it reveals is interesting in its own way. The Jewish/jazz connection certainly didn't begin with John Zorn; you can see some influence in the work of Terry Gibbs, for example. Gibbs (born Gubenko) came from a musical family that was active on the social music scene in New York, doing weddings and Bar Mitzvahs; his father was Abe Gubenko of the Radio Novelty Orchestra.

What tenuous connection will I bring to this? Not so tenuous at all, my friends; when Gibbs recorded his Plays Jewish Melodies In Jazztime album, he had members of his brothers band play on it - one of whom is the remarkable Ray (Ramon) Musiker, heard here. Also making her recording debut on the Jewish Melodies album, alongside Ray Musiker, was young Alice McLeod, later known as Alice Coltrane. Sam Musiker was drafted by Gene Krupa for his's an interesting scene.

One last thing: Tarras was called 'the Jewish Benny Goodman'. That's kinda like saying Elmo Hope is the Black Thelonious Monk, no?

When Tanz! was released in 1955 its revolutionary blend of klezmer and swing failed to excite fans of either style and the LP promptly disappeared without a trace. Which was too bad because the record not only offered an intriguing vision of what klezmer could have become, it featured some of the finest playing by two of klezmer's most important figures, the legendary clarinet players Dave Tarras and Sam Musiker. The 14 tracks were arranged by Musiker, a Gene Krupa Band veteran, who skillfully combined the wild melodic flights and rhythmic drive of klezmer with the sophisticated harmonies of jazz. Tarras is one of those musicians whose playing is always wonderful, but on tracks like his composition "Tango," or the traditional tune "Gypsy," he seems particularly inspired by the innovative settings. Tanz! was unjustly ignored when it was realized in 1955. Don't make the same mistake with this reissue. --Michael Simmons

1. Intro: Rumania
2. Gypsy
3. The Roumanian Fantasy
4. Tango
5. Tanz! Bulgar
6. Sam's Bulgar
7. Der Yemenite Tanz
8. Rumania
9. Der Neier Doina
10. Der Cholum Fun Yid
11. Sam Shpielt
12. Silkene Pajamas
13. A Bulgar
14. Papirossen
15. Silkene Pajamas (Alternate Take)
16. Der Neier Doina (Alternate Take)

Walter Bishop, Jr. Coral Keys (1972)

All the tunes here were written by Walter Bishop, Jr. They're easy and catchy grooves that you won't want to stop listening to.

Perhaps this will help you understand

On Tracks 1-4: Idris Muhammed, Reggie Johnson, Harold Vick

On Tracks 5-7: Alan Shwartz Benger, Reggie Johnson, Harold Vick, Woody Shaw

Roland Kirk - 1968 Left & Right

The title of this album, Left and Right, no doubt refers to the sides of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's brain, which were both heavily taxed in the composing, arranging, conducting, and playing of this recording. For starters, the band is huge -- 17 players plus a 16-piece string section, all of it arranged and conducted by Kirk, a blind man. None of this would matter a damn if this weren't such a badass platter. Along with Kirk's usual crew of Ron Burton, Julius Watkins, Dick Griffin, Jimmy Hopps, and Gerald Brown, there are luminaries in the crowd including Alice Coltrane on harp, Pepper Adams on baritone saxophone, and no less than Roy Haynes helping out on the skins. What it all means is this: The man who surprised and outraged everybody on the scene -- as well as blew most away -- was at it again here in "Expansions," his wildly ambitious and swinging post-Coltrane suite, which has "Black Mystery Has Been Revealed" as its prelude. While there are other tracks on this record, this suite is its centerpiece and masterpiece -- despite killer readings of Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" and "Quintessence." "Expansions" has Kirk putting his entire harmonic range on display, and all of the timbral extensions he used in his own playing are charted for a string section to articulate. There are subtleties, of course, which come off as merely tonal variations in extant harmony with the other instruments, but when they are juxtaposed against a portrayal of the entire history of jazz -- from Jelly Roll Morton to the present day -- then they become something else: the storytellers, the timbres, and the chromatic extensions that point in the right direction and get listeners to stop in the right places. This is an extreme for Rahsaan -- extremely brilliant and thoroughly accessible.
Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

1. Black Mystery Has Been Revealed 1:17
2. Expansions: Kirkquest / Kingus Mingus / Celestialness / A Dream Of Beauty Reincarnated / Frisco V... 19:37
3. Lady's Blues 3:46
4. IX Love 3:40
5. Hot Cha 3:23
6. Quintessence 4:11
7. Waited For You 2:54
8. A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing 3:55

Roland Kirk (spoken vocals, arranger, tenor saxophone, stritch, manzello, flute, clarinet, celeste, organ, thumb piano, various instruments)
Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone)
Richard Williams (trumpet)
Julius Watkins, James Buffington (French horn)
Dick Griffin (trombone)
Benny Powell (bass trombone)
Frank Wess (woodwinds)
Daniel Jones (bassoon)
Alice Coltrane (harp)
Warren Smith (vibraphone, percussion)
Ron Burton (piano)
Vernon Martin (bass)
Jimmy Hopps, Roy Haynes (drums)

Recorded on June 18, 1968

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Peter Apfelbaum and The Hieroglyphics Ensemble - Jodoji Brightness (1992)

“An adventurous collection of ‘multikulti’ pieces that defy neat categorization…the music ranges in mood from the somber and mysterious to the whimsical and joyful…Apfelbaum is still playfully exploring sonic possibilities with his 17-piece Hieroglyphics Ensemble and, in the process, making some bold musical assertions about the future of jazz.” - DownBeat

AMG gave the album 4 stars and then had this to say about it. I don't agree with the reviewer but after hearing this CD we're all going to walk away with different impressions. To each his own...

"On its second album, saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum's worldbeat big band slips a bit from the tightrope it had walked successfully on its debut, teetering away from the genuinely attractive global jazz-fusion of the first album and toward the self-indulgent and overly impressionistic exoticism that lesser bands have already explored fully. In other words, as interesting as most of these compositions are in theory (highlife morphs into reggae segues into mbaqanga, all with brainy horn charts), they tend to be pretty tedious in practice. At the core of "The Glow" is the idea of heavy metal guitar on top of massed polyrhythms in the horns; cool concept, right? But as it turns out, there's nothing there: the music sits loudly in one place for five-and-a-half minutes until it stops. "Light Leaving the Spirit Bridge" (as one might infer from its title) is more of the same, as is "The Ankh." But "A las Estrellas (To the Stars)" ends things on a nicely focused and tuneful note. Jazz musicians will probably find lots to appreciate here. More casual listeners are more likely to find themselves impressed but bewildered." - Rick Anderson

Peter Apfelbaum (tenor sax, piano, organ, synth, drums, percussion)
Bill Ortiz (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Jeff Cressman, James Harvey (trombone, percussion)
Paul Hanson (alto, tenor sax, bassoon)
Tony Jones (tenor sax)
Peck Allmond (soprano, tenor, baritone sax, trumpet)
Norbert Stachel (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass sax, clarinet, flute piccolo)
Will Bernard, Stan Franks, Jai Uttal (guitar)
Bo Freeman (bass)
Joshua Jones V (drums, percussion, vocals)
Deszon X. Claiborne (drums, percussion)
"Buddha" Robert Huffman (percussion, vocals)
Rachel Durling (violin)
  1. Ghost Train Comes Peacefully
  2. Chant #9
  3. 500 Years
  4. Light Leaving the Spirit Bridge
  5. The Hand That Signed the Paper
  6. The Glow
  7. Gypsies
  8. The Gates
  9. The Ankh
  10. Libya Blues
  11. I'll Look for You
  12. A Las Estrellas (To the Stars)
Recorded January 25-28, 1992

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Art Blakey - New Year's Eve At Sweet Basil

Proof positive that Blakey never stopped cooking. Live features the drummer at the peak of his powers, kicking a band of upstarts in the rear and making them rise to levels of passionate creativity they might never again attain. Take altoist Donald Harrison, for instance, who in my opinion has never sounded as inspired as he did with the Messengers. The same can probably be said for dozens of young men who passed through the band, for there was nothing more challenging to an improvisor than the shattering intensity of a Blakey groove. For a soloist teetering on the edge of jazz oblivion, it was either jump or get pushed kicking and screaming into the abyss. Jazz's sometimes counter-productive macho ethic was epitomized by the Messengers, yet the music didn't suffer. It thrived, and the credit must be given to the unqualified brilliance of Mr. Blakey. This late version of the band was of a very high quality. As fine as the assembled players were, it seems apparent in retrospect that all of them -- Terence Blanchard on trumpet, Harrison on alto, Jean Toussaint on tenor, Tim Williams on trombone, Mulgrew Miller on piano, and Lonnie Plaxico on bass -- played over their heads with Blakey. While they all went on to develop greater technique and accumulate more knowledge, none of them have thus far transcended the quantity and quality of passion and imagination that is evidenced here. The tunes are all original drivers and swingers written by band members or alumni, yet right out of the Blakey bag, and the group makes the most out of them. An excellent album that illustrates the transfiguring effect a creative genius can have. ~ Chris Kelsey

Art Blakey (drums)
Terence Blanchard (trumpet)
Jean Toussaint (tenor sax)
Donald Harrison (alto sax)
Mulgrew Miller (Piano)
Tim Williams (trombone)
Lonnie Plaxico (bass)

1. Hide And Seek
2. Little Man
3. New York
4. I Want To Talk About You

Recorded live at Sweet Basil, New York, New York on December 30-31, 1985

Elis Regina - Elis (1972)

Elis Regina was one of the best Brazilian singers (many would say: the best. And I would sign under it). She had great qualities. Gifted was a marvelous voice, she became very careful in choosing what to record, getting good arrangers and was always looking for new composers with good material. She recorded Milton Nascimento, Ivan Lins and João Bosco, for example, when they were completely unknown. In this record, there are old Brazilian standards (Vida de bailarina, Boa noite amor), names already established (Jobim, Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Ivan Lins) and newcomers like João Bosco, Fagner, Belchior, Zé Rodrix, Sueli Costa and Vitor Martins. All these newcomers made succesful careers later, in part because Elis shed lights over their works. Unfortunately to Brazilian music Elis died very early. She was only 36 (1982). There are no informations avalaible about the musicians who play in this records. On the piano certainly is César Camargo Mariano, who was also the arranger. Other musicians probably are Luis Cláudio (guitar), Luisão (Baixo) and Paulinho Braga (drums). A great record from a great singer.


1- 20 anos blue (Sueli Costa-Vitor Martins)
2- Bala com bala (João Bosco-Aldir Blanc)
3- Nada será como antes (Milton Nascimento-Ronaldo Bastos)
4- Mucuripe (Fagner-Belchior)
5- Olhos abertos (Rodrix-Guarabyra)
6- Vida de bailarina (Seixas-D. Silva)
7- Águas de março (Jobim)
8- Atrás da porta (Chico Buarque-Francis Hime)
9- Cais (Milton Nascimento-Ronaldo Bastos)
10- Me deixa em paz (Ivan Lins-Ronaldo Monteiro)
11- Casa no campo (Rodrix-Tavito)
12- Boa noite amor (Abreu-Matoso)

Jimmy Giuffre - Emphasis & Flight, 1961

This double-disc reissue by Hat packages together the two 1961 German dates by the Jimmy Giuffre 3 with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow. Emphasis and Flight were both issued separately by the label in the 1990s. This collection has been 24-bit digitally remastered and released in a limited edition of 3000. The most remarkable thing about these shows is how nakedly they reveal the improvisational fearlessness of Giuffre's drummerless trio. While he did compose some of the music for the group — namely the first three movements of "Stretching Out (Suite For Germany)" — its fourth movement, like so much else here, is freely improvised according to wildly sophisticated notions of dynamic tension and counterpoint. Having both recordings together is a delight: we can hear how the group worked on these two nights. Recorded on the Thesis tour, preceding the sessions for Free Fall by a few months, this is the sound of a trio in full possession of their power of discovery, and willing to walk the edge on every single track. The two sets mirror each other on about half the selections, with the hinge-piece of each being the suite. In true vanguard fashion, the tracks that are duplicated feel alike but sound nothing alike, and Paul Bley's "Carla," and Carla Bley's own "Jesus Maria" and "Postures" offer the trio the opportunity to stretch out on warm, idiosyncratic themes where harmony is striated and inverted to great result. Highly recommended. Thom Jurek

Paul Bley (piano)
Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet)
Steve Swallow (bass)

1 Whirrrr
2 Emphasis
3 Sonic
4 Venture
5 Jesus Maria
6 Stretching Out (Suite for Germany)
7 Carla
8 Cry, Want
9 Call of the Centaur
10 Postures
11 Sonic
12 Goodbye
13 Stretching Out (Suite for Germany)
14 Cry, Want
15 Flight
16 That's True, That's True
17 Trance
18 Whirrrr

Phil Woods - Song for Sisyphus (1977)

"...Woods justified the worldwide respect he has held as a nonpareil alto saxophonist. His sound is brighter and more buoyant than ever, his solos, never faltering, are a model of conception and construction, the logical extension of a long line that goes back to Charlie Parker...This is, in fact, one of the two or three best units in its field of non-electric, non-fusion jazz" - Leonard Feather, L.A. Times, 1977

I've had the LP since it came out in 1978 but the price tag on this CD reissue made for a no-brainer purchase, although it's hard to beat the quality of the original direct-to-disc vinyl. Sometimes you do get what you pay for as on this low-budget release there are no liner notes and they misspell track 5.

At any rate, this is a favorite Phil Woods album coming from one of his most productive periods. While others in the jazz world were doing fusion or "pop" jazz, Woods was holding true to his bebop heritage. This particular group, save guitarist Harry Leahey, had been together for three years and their interplay on "Change Partners" is quite astonishing. Mike Melillo and Harry Leahey have both been under-recorded and each are given unaccompanied features - Leahey on "Nuages" and Melillo on "When My Dreams Come True" (from the Marx Brothers' "The Cocoanuts")

A rather short album of around 35 minutes but there is no filler here.

"This recording features an early version of altoist Phil Woods' Quintet, the second of two albums that includes guitarist Harry Leahey. With pianist Mike Melillo, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin completing the group, the Woods band's sound and musical philosophy were very much in place. The great altoist performs a few boppish tunes, some group originals (two songs by Melillo) and a couple of ballads. Highlights of the lesser-known but worthy recording include "Nuages," "Change Partners" and a cooking version of "Shaw Nuff." - Scott Yanow

Phil Woods (alto sax)
Mike Melillo (piano)
Harry Leahey (guitar)
Steve Gilmore (bass)
Steve Goodwin (drums)
  1. Song for Sisyphus
  2. Last Night When We Were Young
  3. Nuages
  4. Change Partners
  5. Monking Business
  6. Summer Afternoon
  7. When My Dreams Come True
  8. Shaw Nuff
Recorded November 9, 1977

Richard "Groove" Holmes - After Hours

Richard "Groove" Holmes was one of the first jazz organists to emerge after the rise of Jimmy Smith (who would remain a lifelong influence). Holmes had a lighter tone on the more up-tempo pieces, but on the ballads (such as "Denise" on this set) his organ could give the impression of weighing a ton. This CD reissue combines together most of the music from Holmes' two early albums: After Hours and Tell It like It 'Tis. These trio renditions (with either Joe Pass or Gene Edwards on guitar and Larance Marable or Leroy Henderson on drums) give one a strong sampling of the organist's talents on a variety of blues, bop standards, and obscure originals. ~ Scott Yanow

Richard "Groove" Holmes (organ)
Joe Pass (guitar)
Larance Marable (drums)

Richard "Groove" Holmes (organ)
Gene Edwards (guitar)
Leroy Henderson (drums)

1. Sweatin'
2. Jeannine
3. Minor Surgery
4. This Here
5. It Might As Well Be Spring
6. Moose The Mooche
7. Groove's Bag
8. Hallelujah, I Love Her So
9. After Hours
10. Later
11. Do It My Way
12. Secret Love
13. Denise

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sonny Criss - Saturday Morning (1975)

I'm back from my wee hiatus everyone. Hello to all the new faces. Starting where I left off with some Xanadu recordings. I've been trying to track this one down for a while now and it is really good.

Just a week after recording the classic Criss Craft for Muse, altoist Sonny Criss made the nearly equal Saturday Morning for Xanadu. Assisted by the great bop pianist Barry Harris, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Lenny McBrowne, Criss performs four superior if often-overlooked standards ("Angel Eyes," "Tin Tin Deo," "My Heart Stood Still" and "Until Tthe Real Thing Comes Along"), his blues "Jeannie's Knees" and one of his better originals, "Saturday Morning." Criss, an underrated altoist who was instantly recognizable within three notes, was neglected during long portions of his career but he did leave behind several memorable recordings, such as this one. Recommended. -Scott Yanow

Klaus Doldinger - Blues Happening (1968)

While reading the discussion on "free" jazz I thought of this album by Klaus Doldinger. Where "Tempus Fugit" (not the Bud Powell tune) displays his post-bop tenor sax, and "Saragossa" and "Face in the Night" show his ballad style on soprano sax, it is the 18-minute title track that garners the most attention. I believe it shows that "organized" and "free" jazz can co-exist and that both are viable forms of expression.

Ironically, in 1966, just two years before this session, Doldinger was accusing Peter Brotzmann of being a charlatan. Then in March of 1968 both of them performed at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt and their respective groups took away top honors. Brotzmann recorded Machine Gun in May and Doldinger did Blues Happening in August.

Klaus Doldinger (tenor sax, soprano sax)
Ingfried Hoffmann (piano)
Helmut Kandelberger (bass)
Cees See (drums)
  1. Saragossa
  2. Tempus Fugit
  3. Face in the Night
  4. Blues Happening
Sequence 1: Doldinger-soprano sax; Kandelberger-bass; Kurt Bong-drums and horn section
Sequence 2, 3, and 4: Doldinger-tenor sax; Hoffmann-organ; Kandelberger-bass; See-drums
Sequence 5: Doldinger-tenor sax; Hoffman-organ; Joe Quick-guitar; Lothar Maid-bass; Wolfgang Paap-drums

Recorded in Munich, August 19, 1968

This Day In Jazz

John Coltrane - Live in Japan

The 1966 Japanese tour of John Coltrane and his quintet of Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison and Rashied Ali marked not only the jazz master's only visit to the country but the advent of his provocative, challenging avant-garde work. Taken from two Tokyo radio concerts, John Coltrane - Live in Japan captures the freeform, kinetic performances of the saxophonist with the jagged accompaniment of this quintet; a striking visceral adjustment from Coltrane's usual quartet of McCoy Tyner, Garrison and Elvin Jones.

This is probably not the place for Coltrane newcomers to begin; the recordings are demanding since basic rhythmic structure soon gives way to what may sound to untrained ears like cacophony, rather than an intense, emotional dialogue between musicians. The solid firmament of such Coltrane recordings as A Love Supreme or Giant Steps are better introductions to the man's oeuvre. On Live in Japan, hour and half-hour long jams like "Peace on Earth" and "Crescent" spiral off into bold, transcendental exchanges, breaking from established rhythms to free-spirited playing. Even the Coltrane staple "My Favorite Things" is deconstructed into an hour-long frenzy of abstract expressionism. A fascinating addition to Coltrane's remarkable catalogue, Live in Japan is a fevered stroke of unpredictable genius.

John Coltrane (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, percussion)
Pharoah Sanders (alto & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, percussion)
Alice Coltrane (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Rashied Ali (drums)

CD 1
1 - Peace on Earth
2 - Leo

CD 2
1 - My Favorite Things

CD 3
1 - Afro Blue
2 - Peace on Earth

CD 4
1 - Introduction Crescent - short closing theme- Leo

Discs I & II were recorded at Shinjuku Kosei Nenkin Hall in Tokyo on July 11, 1966. Discs III & IV were recorded at Sankei Hall in Tokyo on July 22, 1966. These recordings are mono and were originally taped for Japanese radio broadcast. Disc 3 was previously released in the U.S. as LIVE IN JAPAN, all other material is previously unreleased in this country.

Billie Holiday - The Complete Original American Decca Recordings

A Lady who needs no introduction, so I'll refrain from making one. This seems to be a reissue of a reissue of reissues - no matter, it's a great 2-CD collection that I havent seen on the various blogs although I believe it was available somewhere awhile back. Well then, here it is again in LAME 3.98 vbr0 for your rapid DL-ing and listening enjoyment. Full scans - the booklet has all the lyrics printed out - a nice touch.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Horace Tapscott - Dissent Or Descent

This 1984 trio date offers a rare early chance to hear the Los Angeles-based pianist playing with New York City peers. Dissent or Descent offers food for thought on where Tapscott falls in the jazz style spectrum by teaming him with Ben Riley, a drummer linked to Thelonious Monk, and AACM-associated bassist Fred Hopkins.

"As A Child" opens with nice melodic touches--the piano may be mixed a little low but it's not a crucial drawback since Tapscott is forceful enough and the rhythm section sensitive enough to overcome it. The prominent role Tapscott's left hand plays in his melodic conception makes Randy Weston comparisons come to life both here and on "Sandy and Niles."

"To The Great House" is a high spot, insistently pushing and jabbing, with Hopkins switching from anchor to doubling the melody to playing counter-melodies during the theme. Tapscott doesn't strew notes around--his solo is built off melodic impulses over gorgeous chordal ripples, unfolding organically with sensitive cymbal support from Riley, who reserves drums for his solos. Clifford Jordan's "Spell Bound" finds Tapscott romping around the buoyant tempo and Hopkins at his best ranging through the middle. "Ballad For Samuel" pays homage to Tapscott's mentor Samuel L. Browne, the famous music teacher at Los Angeles' Jefferson High in the ‘30s and ‘40s.

Two extra solo pieces boast a much crisper piano sound and a more expansive Tapscott. "Ruby, My Dear" starts gorgeously with rolling chords smoothing out the Monk quirks before Tapscott elaborates to show why he may rank as one of the most intrinsically fascinating solo pianists ever. The original "Chico's Back In Town" is another prime example because you never know where he's going--the music unfolds as it happens (exactly as it should), with a fragmented start leading to pounding flourishes, forceful pedal work and a racehorse finale.

Actually, Tapscott's playing with the trio is fairly muted, with more emphasis put on his formidable melodic gifts than any virtuoso turns. Dissent or Descent may not be the best music any of these musicians created but it's a good example of solid, tasteful professionalism. ~ Don Snowden

Horace Tapscott (piano)
Fred Hopkins (bass)
Ben Riley (drums)

1. As A Child
2. Sandy And Niles
3. To The Great House
4. Spellbound
5. Ballad For Samuel
6. Ruby, My Dear
7. Chico's Back In Town

Jack Walrath - I Am The Walrath

Funny how we respond to marketing. I like most of these 32Jazz things, but I hate the packaging; they don't scan well. And TelArc and such? - I don't care if it's the Buddy Bolden recording, I still don't like looking at that stuff.

A brilliant improviser with formidable technique, trumpeter Jack Walrath came onto the jazz scene during the late '60s and achieved international recognition as a vital participant in the ensembles led by Charles Mingus during the '70s. In 2000, producer Joel Dorn and 32 Jazz brought out I Am The Walrath, a bracing retrospective of the trumpeter's recorded works dating from 1979-1992. Walrath's versatility, imagination and fortitude suggest an artistic kinship with trumpet legends Booker Little, Don Cherry, Lee Morgan, Ted Curson, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Marcus Belgrave and Michael Ray. The collective personnel on this exciting collection include Dannie Richmond and Don Pullen, Ray Drummond and Anthony Cox, Benny Green, Cecil Brooks and Ronnie Burrage. An excellent album of modern music, including four Walrath originals (with characteristically twisted titles) and an adaptation of an Albinoni adagio. ~ arwulf arwulf

Jack Walrath (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Don Pullen (Hammond B3)
John Scofield (guitar)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
Carter Jefferson (soprano sax)
Benny Green (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Cecil Brooks III (drums)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Fungus
2. Wake Up And Wash It Off!
3. Izlyal E Delyo Haidoutin
4. Stardust
5. Ray Charles On Mars
6. (The Last Remake Of) I Can't Get Started
7. Clear Out Of This World
8. Spherious
9. Adagio For Strings And Organ
10. Come Sunday

Frank Foster - 1954 Here Comes Frank Foster & George Wallington

This double reissue combines saxophonist Frank Foster's first U.S. recording and a session led by pianist George Wallington that took place one week later with Foster sitting in. Recorded for Blue Note in Hackensack, NJ, on May 5, 1954, Here Comes Frank Foster (also issued as New Faces, New Sounds) was only Foster's second album as a leader. His debut album was recorded one month earlier for the Vogue label in Paris, France. Here Comes Frank Foster fits neatly with other albums from the mid-'50s Blue Note catalog. Foster shares the spotlight with trombonist Benny Powell, and the rhythm section of Gildo Mahones, Percy Heath, and Kenny Clarke is superb. On tracks eight through 17, Foster is heard as a member of the George Wallington Showcase band, recorded for Blue Note on May 12, 1954. This solid little organization included James Moody's ace trumpeter Dave Burns, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, baritone saxophonist Danny Bank, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and, once again, drummer Kenny "Klook" Clarke. Arrangements were scored by Quincy Jones. This straight-ahead hard bop is tasty and stimulating. Use the four alternate takes for a chaser.

arwulf arwulf, All Music Guide

01 Little Red 3:53
02 How I Spent the Night 4:58
03 Blues for Benny 3:46
04 Out of Nowhere 3:35
05 Gracias 4:11
06 The Heat's On 3:44
07 How I Spent the Night (Alternate Take) 4:15
08 Frankie and Johnny 4:05
09 Baby Grand 4:03
10 Christina 3:39
11 Summertime 3:51
12 Festival 4:01
13 Bumpkins 3:42
14 Frankie and Johnny (Alternate Take) 4:06
15 Summertime (Alternate Take) 3:55
16 Festival (Alternate Take) 3:53
17 Bumpkins (Alternate Take) 3:43

HERE COMES FRANK FOSTER (1-6) + 1 bonus track

Frank Foster (tenor saxophone)
Benny Powell (trombone)
Gildo Mahones (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on May 5, 1954

GEORGE WALLINGTON SHOWCASE (8-13) + 4 bonus tracks

George Wallington (piano)
Quincy Jones (arranger)
Frank Foster (tenor saxophone)
Danny Bank (baritone saxophone, flute)
Dave Burns (trumpet)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Recorded at Audio-Video Studios, New York, New York on May 12, 1954

Curtis Counce Quintet - Complete Studio Recordings (Master Takes)

Another pirate hackjob, but marvellous music!This set mainly contains three albums, one of which rab has shared before here. Another album perfectly complementing this double set with some alternates and originally unissued tracks is also here, do a search.

Counce was a mainstay of the West Coast scene, whatever that means. He was black though, played music much closer to what the cliché says comes from the East Coast... his band's tenor player, Harold Land, of course earlier did play with one of the major combos of (East Coast) hard bop jazz, the great Max Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet (where no other than Sonny Rollins took his chair).

So Counce may have mainly been active on the West Coast, but just as Teddy Edwards, Mingus, Dexter and others from the area, he defies the still generally accepted cliché.

Scott Yanow's take from AMG:

Bassist Curtis Counce led one of the top hard bop groups to be based on the West Coast during the mid-'50s, a quintet with trumpeter Jack Sheldon, tenor saxophonist Harold Land (shortly after he left the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet), pianist Carl Perkins and drummer Frank Butler. Nearly all of that group's recordings are on this two-CD set. Reissued are the contents of the Contemporary LPs Landslide, You Get More Bounce with Curtis Counce and Carl's Blues except for three alternate takes and three selections with pianist Elmo Hope that were issued years after the original LPs. Gerald Wilson takes Sheldon's place on three selections from the band's final date. Also not here is the group's obscure Dooto LP from 1958 which has Elmo Hope and trumpeter Rolf Ericson joining Land, Butler and Counce. In its place are three numbers from the band's appearance on the Stars of Jazz television series. On these 26 selections, the Curtis Counce Quintet features an attractive mixture of jazz standards and group originals with plenty of passionate and colorful solos from Sheldon, Land and Perkins. This was an excellent band, so collectors who do not have their Contemporary sets will certainly want to pick up this attractive two-fer.

Jack Sheldon (tp), Harold Land (ts), Carl Perkins (p), Curtis Counce (b), Frank Butler (d)

On CD2#9-11 Gerald Wilson (tp) replaces Sheldon
CD2#15 is a drum solo by Frank Butler

CD 1
1. Landslide
2. Time After Time
3. Mia
4. Sarah
5. A Fifth for Frank
6. Big Foot
7. Sonar
8. Stranger in Paradise
9. Woody'n You
10. Pink Lady
11. Counceltation
12. Love Walked In
13. Sophisticated Lady
14. A Fifth for Frank 
15. The Butler Did It (drum solo)

CD 2
1. Love Walked In
2. Too Close for Comfort
3. How Deep Is the Ocean?
4. Complete
5. Nica's Dream
6. How Long Has This Been Going On?
7. Mean to Me
8. I Can't Get Started
9. La Rue
10. Carl's Blues
11. A Night in Tunisia

Recorded in Los Angeles, California, 1956-1958.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dizzy Gillespie - Live at the Downbeat Club (Summer 1947)

Broadcast from the Downbeat Club in New York City during the Summer of 1947, these two live sets were recorded just prior to the band's first studio sessions for RCA Victor. Some of these pieces were never recorded in the studio, at least by the big band, and it's nice to hear them stretching out a little. Soloists include James Moody, Cecil Payne, John Brown, Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Ray Brown, and of course, Dizzy. Arrangements were by Dizzy, Tadd Dameron, John Lewis and Gil Fuller.

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocals)
Dave Burns, Elmon Wright, Matthew McKay, Ray Orr (trumpet)
Taswell Baird, Bill Shepard (trombone)
John Brown, Howard Johnson (alto sax)
James Moody, Joe Gales (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
John Lewis (piano)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
Ray Brown (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)
Kenny "Pancho" Hagood (vocals)
  1. Theme (I Waited for You)
  2. Groovin' High
  3. Oop-Pop-A-Da
  4. Cool Breeze
  5. Stay on It
  6. Lady Bird
  7. Theme (I Waited for You)
  8. Woody 'n You
  9. Two Bass Hit
  10. Oo-Bop-Sh'Bam
  11. Hot House
  12. Ray's Idea
  13. Pan-Dameronia

Charles Mingus - Mingus

The reviewer is entitled to her opinion, but recorded at Nola Sound, these are tracks from the same session that produced Mysterious Blues. And they came at the end of the same run that produced Mingus At Antibes, Pre-Bird, and the productions of his annus mirabilis, 1959.

While not reaching the heights of other recordings of its era like Mingus Ah Um, this album presents a fine collection of musicians who complement the increasingly adventurous compositions of Charles Mingus. As much a tribute album as an exploration of Mingus' psyche, this recording for the Candid label contains three works. There's "MDM (Monk Duke & Me)," which features the players in Mingus' Jazz Workshop weaving through three intertwining themes: Duke Ellington's "Main Stem," Thelonius Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," and Mingus' own "Fifty-First Street Blues." The song manages to echo the styles of all three songs while tying them together in a unified whole. "Stormy Weather," the second track on the album, finds Mingus working within the classic quartet (Mingus, Dannie Richmond, Eric Dolphy, and Ted Curson) to produce a somewhat deconstructed version of the classic song. The third track, though, takes a completely different tune. The larger band is brought out again, but this time they are playing an example of true Mingus madness. Indeed, the inspiration for "Lock 'Em Up (Hellview of Bellevue)" came when Mingus ill-advisedly knocked on the front door of the Bellevue mental hospital, hoping to get some relief for some minor malaise and found himself committed, necessitating a rescue by some of his friends. The song explodes in angry, chaotic frenzy, and acts as a precursor to some of the off-the-wall music that Mingus had in his future. Combined, the three tracks on Mingus make for some solid listening, even if it lacks moments of true greatness. ~ Stacia "Why doesn't Thom call?" Proefrock

Charles Mingus (bass)
Eric Dolphy (alto sax, bass clarinet)
Paul Bley (piano)
Ted Curson (trumpet)
Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Nico Bunick (piano)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. M D M (Monk, Duke & Me)
2. Stormy Weather
3. Lock 'Em Up (Hellview of Bellevue)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Joe Gordon - Lookin' Good!

Joe Gordon did not live long, only making it to 35. His second of two recordings as a leader (originally released by Contemporary) finds him on the verge of leading his own group. Gordon wrote all eight of the selections and is joined by adventurous but obscure altoist Jimmy Woods, pianist Dick Whittington, bassist Jimmy Bond, and drummer Milt Turner. Although the solos are generally more memorable than the tunes, this is an excellent effort that hints at what might have been had Joe Gordon lived. ~ Scott Yanow

A fine bop-oriented trumpeter, Joe Gordon's tragic death in a fire cut short any chance he had at fame in the jazz world. He became a professional in 1947 and had stints with Georgie Auld, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker (on an occasional basis during 1953-1955), Art Blakey (1954), and Don Redman. Gordon was with Dizzy Gillespie's 1956 big band, touring the Mideast, and getting a solo on "Night in Tunisia." He was in the Horace Silver quintet, moved back to Boston for a period, and then relocated to Los Angeles where he worked and recorded with Barney Kessel, Benny Carter, Harold Land, Shelly Manne, Dexter Gordon, and Shelly Manne (1958-1960). Joe Gordon, who led dates for EmArcy (1955) and Contemporary (1961), was on one Thelonious Monk recording and spent his last few years as a freelance musician. ~ Scott Yanow

Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Dick Whittington (piano)
Jimmy Woods (alto sax)
Jimmy Bond (bass)
Milt Turner (drums)

1. Terra Firma Irma
2. A Song for Richard
3. Non-Viennese Waltz Blues
4. You're The Only Girl In The Next World For Me
5. Co-Op Blues
6. Mariana
7. Heleen
8. Diminishing

Los Angeles: July 11, 12, 18, 1961

Jimmy Smith - Bucket!

Recorded the first day of February in 1963, but not released for a few years, Bucket! is a fairly typical Jimmy Smith session, featuring the organist running through a selection of originals and standards with guitarist Quentin Warren and drummer Donald Bailey in tow. The vibe is relaxed, not too laid-back but hardly energetic, as the trio easily strolls through bluesy ballads and lightly swinging soulful ballads. It's damning with faint praise to say that nothing exceptional ever happens but it doesn't need to happen, but that is truly the case here. Bucket! is simply a middle-of-the-road affair, not quite boring but never quite compelling either. It's good easy-listening music, finding an organ master kicking out seven tunes (the 2000 CD reissue contains nine cuts, including the previously unreleased "Trouble in Mind" and an alternate take of "Sassy Mae") without any pressure and with a minimal sense of style. That makes for a pretty good record, one that hardcore fans will find satisfying after they've exhausted the greater Smith sessions, but not one that will captivate the attentions of anyone who isn't a dyed-in-the-wool Jimmy Smith aficionado. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Jimmy Smith (organ)
Quentin Warren (guitar)
Donald Bailey (drums)

1. Bucket
2. Careless Love
3. 3 For 4
4. Just Squeeze Me
5. Sassy Mae
6. Come Rain Or Come Shine
7. John Brown's Body
8. Trouble In Mind
9. Sassy Mae (alternate take)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, February 1, 1963

Woody Shaw - Givin' Away The Store, Vol. 2

32 Jazz, as many of you will know, re-issues many things from the old Muse, Atlantic, and other catalogues. One of the best projects they've undertaken was bringing the bulk of Woody Shaw's early work back into print. As with the first volume of Givin' Away The Store, which was a compilation of Sonny Stitt pieces, this draws from the seven Shaw titles they've released. Five of those have appeared here already, and 6 of the titles are drawn from them. Three, however, are from the two 32 Jazz Shaw titles I don't have yet. And with or without the earlier CDs, this is a fine little anthology of Woody works. The list of performers is stellar.

"32 Jazz launched a retrospective series called Giving Away the Store. These are gateway recordings to an artist's entire catalog. Volume 2 highlights the talent of Woody Shaw. Included in the collected recordings of this trumpet journeyman are tracks cut with Ron Carter. Other treats for the ear include the master horn player with Kenny Barron, Cecil McBee, Herbie Hancock, and more. 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." ~ Tom Schulte

Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Anthony Braxton (alto sax)
Larry Young (piano)
Slide Hampton (trombone)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Billy Harper (tenor sax)
Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Kirk Lightsey (piano)
Frank Strozier (alto sax)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Ron Carter (bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)

1. Cassandranite
2. Jean Marie
3. Tapscott's Blues
4. Sun Bath
5. Solid
6. Tetragon
7. Steve's Blues
8. Symmetry
9. Obsequious

This Day In Jazz

Harold Land In New York - Eastward Ho!

It's no big secret that I'm a big Harold Land fan; as many of us here are. His peers esteemed him highly - he was, after all, a member of Brownie and Max Roach's stellar ensemble - but his decision to stay in LA assured that he'd never be as well known as he deserved. This is one of only 5 dates he did as a leader in the '60's; this time with another great player, and fellow Texan, who also seems doomed to always have the adjective 'underrated' in front of his name - Kenny Dorham.

Tenor saxophonist Harold Land and trumpeter Kenny Dorham make for a potent front line on this CD reissue, a superior hard bop set. With an obscure and quietly boppish rhythm section (pianist Amos Trice, bassist Clarence Jones, and drummer Joe Peters) giving suitable backup, Land and Dorham stretch out on five selections, most notably Cole Porter's "So in Love," "On a Little Street in Singapore," and Land's "O.K. Blues," which was dedicated to producer Orrin Keepnews. A fine effort that serves as a strong example of Harold Land's early work. Scott Yanow

Are Obie and Amos related?

Harold Land (tenor saxophone)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Amos Trice (piano)
Clarence Jones (bass)
Joe Peters (drums)

1. So In Love
2. Triple Trouble
3. Slowly
4. On A Little Street In Singapore
5. Okay Blues

Recorded in NYC, July 5 and 8, 1960

Ted Brown / Art Pepper / Warne Marsh

Please note that the original files have one duplicate track while another track is missing - there's a fix-file to be found in the comments! This mistake happened due to the Lonehill disc having the two respective tracks in wrong order, apologies for not noting that before ripping the whole load of music!

I realize that the first part of this upload has been here before, as part of another (Warne Marsh) package, but I get anal about such things... this post completes two sessions, culled from two different CDs. Both dates were recorded on the very same day, one under the leadership of Ted Brown, the other under the leadership of Art Pepper.

The first album was taken from a Lonehill CD, the second was taken from an OJC with additional tracks from the same Lonehill CD the first is from. Confusing? Well... the OJC managed to leave off three tracks but added stray tracks from other Pepper sessions for Contemporary. I completed the session by using *only* those tracks from that date included on the Lonehill, but did *not* duplicate the other tracks from there, and I did also *not* include the tracks from different sessions that were used to fill up the OJC. So, as I said: two full sessions, no crap!

Ted Brown - Free Wheeling

Ted Brown (ts), Warne Marsh (ts), Art Pepper (as - out on 3,6,7), Ronnie Ball (p), Ben Tucker (b), Jeff Morton (d)
Los Angeles, November 26, 1956

1. Aretha
2. Long Gone
3. Once We Were Young
4. Foolin' Myself
5. Avalon
6. On a Slow Boat to China
7. Crazy, She Calls Me
8. Broadway
9. Arrival

Art Pepper - The Way It Was...

Art Pepper (as), Warne Marsh (ts), Ronnie Ball (p), Ben Tucker (b), Gary Frommer (d)
Los Angeles, November 26, 1956

1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
2. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me (alt tk)
3. All the Things You Are
4. All the Things You Are (alt tk)
5. What's New
6. Tickle Toe
7. Avalon
8. Warnin'
9. Stompin' at the Savoy

This post includes full scans for both CD releases, but does not include the entire contents of either CD, to omit duplication and to not mix the music of this great day with the fillers.

The files are fully tagged, including all session info, so you can also just skip the scans and do your own covers. And of course you could reconstruct the Lonehill CD by using the respective tracks I took from the OJC, but with the alternates, it won't fit on one CD. That's why this got so awfully complicated in the first place.

I hope not to stir any controversy with this post - but here you are, the full recording results from November 26, 1956 by Art Pepper, Warne Marsh, Ted Brown, and great British Tristano-scholar Ronnie Ball! And yes, that's the same Ben Tucker that wrote "Comin' Home Baby"... nothing to add about the drummers, I know Frommer was on other Pepper dates - they do their job, but obviously this is all about the great saxophonists here!

This Day In Jazz

Horace Silver - Horace-Scope

Horace-Scope is the third album by Horace Silver's classic quintet -- or most of it, actually, as drummer Louis Hayes was replaced by Roy Brooks starting with this session. The rhythmic drive and overall flavor of the group are still essentially the same, though, and Horace-Scope continues the tight, sophisticated-yet-swinging blueprint for hard bop pioneered on its two classic predecessors. The program is as appealing as ever, and even though not as many tunes caught on this time -- at least not on the level of a "Juicy Lucy" or "Sister Sadie" -- Silver's writing is tuneful and tasteful. The best-known selections are probably the lovely closing number "Nica's Dream," which had been around for several years but hadn't yet been recorded on a Silver LP, and the genial, laid-back opener "Strollin'." But really, every selection is full of soulful grooves and well-honed group interplay, the qualities that made this band perhaps the top hard bop outfit of the early '60s. Silver was in the midst of a hot streak that wouldn't let up for another few years, and Horace-Scope is another eminently satisfying effort from that period. ~ Steve Huey

Horace Silver (piano)
Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Junior Cook (tenor sax)
Gene Taylor (bass)
Roy Brooks (drums)

1. Strollin'
2. Where You At?
3. Without You
4. Horace-Scope
5. Yeah!
6. Me And My Baby
7. Nica's Dream

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: July 8-9, 1960

Freddie Hubbard - Live from Concerts by The Sea (1981)

After a number of failed attempts with Columbia to become rich & famous, Freddie Hubbard returned to jazz in the early eighties but would continue to try and overcome the damage that was caused to his reputation for years to come. On this live set he once again reminded us why he was such a major influence on a whole generation of trumpet players. Budget label, no liner notes, and a mono recording, but the music is invaluable.

"Freddie Hubbard leads a quintet with tenor saxophonist Harold Land, keyboardist Billy Childs, bassist Herbie Lewis, and drummer Steve Houghton, recorded at Concerts by the Sea. Though no date is given, most of the personnel recorded a number of dates with Hubbard in 1981, so that seems to be a likely time frame. The leader is in great form on both trumpet and flügelhorn throughout the set, while Land's powerful tenor sax ignites the furious rendition of "A Night in Tunisia." On the down side, the lack of liner notes is a bit frustrating, but this budget release is worth acquiring." - Ken Dryden

Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Billy Childs (piano)
Herbie Lewis (bass)
Steve Houghton (drums)
  1. Joy Spring
  2. Body and Soul
  3. One of a Kind
  4. A Night in Tunisia
  5. True Colors

Dizzy Gillespie - The Champ

It's funny how little of Diz's stuff gets posted here, considering how central he is to the development of bop and much that followed it. And, personally, Diz was maybe my first favorite jazz player. I used to listen to his stuff with Don Byas, for example, ALL the time. Before I was into jazz, even.

But the fact is; Diz did put out - or had put out in his name - a lot of dodgy stuff.
So here's a release from 1951, a typical Savoy album comprised of various sessions and sidemen. And look at who some of them are; Coltrane, Blakey, Wynton Kelly, Milt Jackson. And I'll bet you they were all honored to be playing with Diz. There was no-one like him.

"An early LP on Savoy that gathers Dizzy Gillespie's small-group recordings from 1951-52, The Champ has a lot to recommend it -- songs, sidemen, and performances. With just one exception, each of the selections are drawn from quintet or sextet dates, boasting work by Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson, Percy Heath, and Stuff Smith in addition to an early appearance from John Coltrane (he made his debut with Diz, though not here). On the title track, a six-minute jam released as a two-part single, Gillespie plays furiously and tenor Budd Johnson contributes a great squawking solo. "Birk's Works," one of Dizzy's finest compositions, gets its first commercial recording, while Stuff Smith's violin solo gives "Caravan" exactly the exotic touch it needs to lift it above competing versions. Diz and Joe Carroll trade vocals on "On the Sunny Side of the Street," and bop culture meets gospel for "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac." ~ John Bush

Mal Waldron and George Haslam - Waldron-Haslam

Mal Waldron's dark, circumspect approach is in full force as he carves agile lines with the help of British baritone saxophonist George Haslam. The diverse program includes a couple of standards ("I Got It Bad [And That Ain't Good]" and "If I Were a Bell"), a twist on a classical favorite ("Variations on Brahms 3, Movement 3"), a Waldron original ("A Time for Duke"), a tune by Haslam ("The Vortex"), and a couple of jointly improvised efforts ("Catch as Catch Could" and "Motion in Order"). The two musicians are fully in sync, aside from the few times, particularly on the improvised pieces, where there is a tendency to ramble. Haslam boasts a singularly attractive, thin tone that balances the pianist's dense styling. The commanding improvisations by both Haslam and Waldron straddle the boundaries of free and post-bop jazz in a compellingly charming way. ~ Steve Loewy

Mal Waldron (piano)
George Haslam (baritone sax)

1. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
2. If I Were A Bell
3. Catch As Catch Should
4. Somewhere
5. Variations on Brahms 3, Mvt 3
6. A Time For Duke
7. The Vortex
8. Motion In Order

February 24, 1994

Monday, July 7, 2008

Stefano Di Battista - Live at the Vienne Jazz Festival 2008

Like many concert performances, the music here is best appreciated either live, impossible now, or with a good quality video reproduction. The program was captured from satellite TV as lossless Huffy-compressed 720x576 .avi and then compressed to DIVX in 'excellent quality' with a 320k mp3 soundtrack. Should look quite good even on a large TV. Video is 16/9 PAL 25fps progressive.
The show was broadcast live from Vienne, France on July 3, 2008.

The musicians are:
Stefano Di Battista - saxophones
Fabrizio Bosso - trompette
Baptiste Trotignon - orgue
Greg Hutchinson - batterie

Eddie Daniels - To Bird With Love (1987)

Following his remarkable classical/jazz recording Breakthrough, clarinetist Eddie Daniels performed a set of Charlie Parker tunes with pianist Fred Hersch, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Al Foster; "This Is the Time" (an abstract rendition of "Now's the Time" has pianist Roger Kellaway sitting in. Daniels' playing is often quite remarkable throughout the program and the highlights include "East of the Sun" (which finds Hersch utilizing a synthesizer to simulate strings), "Just Friends," "Passport" and a Bird medley of three of his blues lines. Recommended. - Scott Yanow

Eddie Daniels (clarinet)
Fred Hersch, Roger Kellaway (piano)
John Patitucci (bass)
Al Foster (drums)
Steve Thornton (percussion)

  1. She Rote
  2. East of the Sun
  3. Just Friends
  4. Old Folks
  5. Little Suede Shoes
  6. Passport
  7. Repetition
  8. Why Do I Love You
  9. Bird Medley: Cheryl/Au Privave/Bird Feathers
  10. This Is the Time

Charles Tolliver - 1972 Grand Max

Recorded by a radio station at The Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, this recording is a little tribute to Parker (Repetition), Coltrane (Our Second Father) and Max Roach (Grand Max).

Originally released by Strata East as Live at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, this CD reissue features the great but very underrated trumpeter Charles Tolliver in a quartet with pianist John Hicks, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Alvin Queen. The group performs three of the leader's songs plus Cowell's "Prayer for Peace" and Neal Hefti's "Repetition"; the lengthy renditions clock in between 11 and 17 minutes apiece. Tolliver's music (which holds on to one's attention throughout the live set) has its connections to the bebop tradition but also forges ahead and can be quite passionate. Recommended.
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

1 Grand Max (Charles Tolliver) 11:22
2 Truth (Charles Tolliver) 11:06
3 Prayer for Peace (Stanley Cowell) 15:15
4 Our Second Father (Charles Tolliver) 16:40
5 Repetition (Neal Hefti) 13:10

Reggie Workman Bass
Charles Tolliver Trumpet, Flugelhorn
John Hicks Piano
Alvin Queen Drums

Recorded at The Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, Holland on August 9, 1972

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Art Blakey - Blakey

This is a combination of two Blakey albums from 1954. Although Blakey had been recorded in the ten years prior to this disc, it was in '54 that he started to record as a leader. In fact, his first three releases under his own leadership are A Night At Birdland, this date, and Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers . .

The second session in this release was from a date led by Joe Gordon who appeared on Blakey, and was on the Transition sessions with Donald Byrd. He died in his 30's, from injuries sustained in a fire. He worked with Bird, Blakey, toured with Dizzy, and worked extensively with Shelly Manne. There's a few fine players here: Rouse before he joined Monk, Gigi Gryce, Junior Mance - its a good one.

" Trumpeter Joe Gordon only led two sessions during his short life (he died at age 35). For his debut set, the fine hard bop trumpeter was matched with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, pianist Junior Mance, bassist Jimmy Schenck and drummer Art Blakey. Most of the tunes are originals based on the chord changes of standards, and Gordon sounds in fine form in this swinging setting." ~ Scott Yanow

This compilation assembles some long unavailable bop sessions led by either Art Blakey or trumpeter Joe Gordon as a collectable Verve Elite Edition reissue CD. Blakey's quintet includes Gordon pianist Walter Bishop, Jr. and alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce, who composed most of the music. "Minority" has long since become a standard among boppers but "Salute To Birdland" is almost as good; the remaining tracks are quite as strong. Gordon's set leads off with Coleman Hawkins' well known riff tune "Rifftide; " Pianist Junior Mance provides Gordon with some strong backing and a young Charlie Rouse adds a spirited tenor sax solo. Gordon's playing is a little choppy on his tunes "Xochimilco" and "Evening Lights," while his lyrical take of "Body And Soul" is strangely backed by Blakey's tom toms. This is a mandatory acquisition for Blakey fans and those who enjoy bop. ~ Ken Dryden

Art Blakey (drums)
Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Gigi Gryce (alto sax)
Walter Bishop Jr. (piano)
Bernie Griggs (bass)
Fine Sound Studios, New York: May 20, 1954

Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Junior Mance (piano)
Jimmy Schenck (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)
Fine Sound Studios, New York: September 3 and 8, 1954

1 - Minority
2 - Salute To Birdland
3 - Eleanor
4 - Futurity
5 - Simplicity
6 - Strictly Romantic
7 - Hello
8 - Mayreh
9 - Rifftide
10 - Lady Bob
11 - Grasshopper
12 - The Theme
13 - Bous Bier
14 - Xochimilco
15 - Evening Lights
16 - Body And Soul

Jack Grassel | Guitar Smoke

I haven't seen any Grassel around here, and I'm not sure why as he's a pretty darn good player. This is a solo album and it shows off Grassel's pianistic approach, which I like.

Guitar Smoke, Jack Grassel's tenth album as a leader, is a daring foray into the world of unaccompanied guitar, a foray where Grassel emerges as conqueror. The album is sponsored by the makers of Grassel's axe, the Hofner Guitar Co. of Germany. The result is a clear, resonant sound which enhances the guitarist's superior technical skills and, most importantly, allows him to express his obvious delight with the music he's playing. With a program split right down the middle between Grassel material and standards, he shows the influences of those he studied with, especially those two masters of the stringed instrument, George Van Eps and Tal Farlow. Grassel combines innovative harmonic ingenuity with a relatively gentle touch, even when working in fast tempos. His imaginative extemporization and excellent execution abilities are brought to bear on such tunes as John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," where he mixes the jagged rhythms and meditative flows that often characterized Coltrane's work. Grassel's compositions are well within the framework of the mainstream jazz tradition. It's clear that with such pieces as "Kissing the Princess," Grassel favors strong melodic lines which allow him to fly in and around the melody line, landing intact. On a tune like "Nuages," Grassel gives the impression there are two guitars on the set, engaging in a musical conversation. It's not all quick-time playing on this CD by any means. "Turning Back" is a quiet, introspective piece that allows Grassel to linger over some favorite licks. This album should establish the Wisconsin native as one of the pre-eminent guitar players on the current scene as he achieves virtuosity without resorting to "cheap thrill" technical wizardry. Recommended. Dave Nathan/AMG

Lee Konitz - Very Cool + Tranquility

Here's my second offering, a Gambit twofer pairing two Verve albums by the astonishing Lee Konitz (still going strong, after all these years!). Lee Konitz is one of the most amazing characters in jazz, a true improviser, full to the brim with fresh ideas, endless invention. He got his start under the auspices of Lennie Tristano but soon drifted away from that orbit, playing with a straighter, more openly swinging rhythmic conception than Tristano's master elève, Warne Marsh. The two albums included on this CD feature Konitz well on his way, on his own way. The sidemen include some Tristano-ites, Sal Mosca, Billy Bauer and Peter Ind, but also people from different parts of jazz history, such as Henry Grimes and Shadow Wilson. The other main asset to me though, is the appearance of unsung Don Ferrara on the first album. One of those much too small number of lyrical trumpet players, who, in addition to being of a small number, recorded even less... Don Joseph and Jon Eardley come to mind, too. So the setting of the first album is fairly conventional, but the second has a sparse setting, Lee's alto being backed only by guitar, bass and drums.

For those who want to read more, following is what AMG has to say about the disc in question. The phrase "early creative improvising" - don't ask me what that's supposed to mean! - prompted me to do my own write-up. What you've just read is the second version (thanks, blogger!) and I likely forgot half of what I had written before... anyway, here's AMG to add some things I might have forgotten:

Lee Konitz was, by 1957, firmly established as an individualist capable of forging his path away from the alleged West Coast Cool School. So the reissued titles included on this single CD - Very Cool and Tranquility - could be deceiving. Flying away from peers Paul Desmond and Art Pepper, Konitz on his trusty alto sax braved the waters of third stream and early creative improvising, which would hold him in good stead for the remainder of his career. Those inferences are clearly imbued on this reissue. The two bands heard here are quite distinct, as the witty and mostly wonderful Very Cool sessions feature underappreciated trumpeter Don Ferrara in a quintet with Konitz, doing standards, the Konitz composition "Kary's Trance" and two of Ferrara's tunes. On the Tranquility sides, the trumpet and piano leave, replaced by guitarist Billy Bauer, another unsung jazz giant. Heavyweights Henry Grimes on bass and drummer Dave Bailey prove one of the best units Konitz ever fronted. They do more standards, a single original by Bauer or Konitz, and one from their collective mentor, Lennie Tristano. This CD is a marvelous time capsule revealing much about Konitz, this pivot point time period, and the late-50's state of modern, progressive mainstream hard to post-bop jazz.
(AMG Review by Michael G. Nastos)

Don Ferrara (t), Lee Konitz (as), Sal Mosca (p), Peter Ind (b), Shadow Wilson (d)
New York City, May 5, 1957

1. Sunflower (Ferrara)
2. Stairway to the Stars (Parish-Malneck-Signorelli)
3. Movin' Around (Ferrara)
4. Kary's Trance (Konitz)
5. Crazy She Calls Me (Meyer-Kahn-Caesar)
6. Billie's Bounce (Parker)

Lee Konitz (as), Billy Bauer (g), Henry Grimes (b), Dave Bailey (d)
New York City, October 22, 1957

7. Stephanie (Konitz)
8. Memories of You (Blake-Razaf)
9. People Will Say We're in Love (Rodgers-Hammerstein II)
10. When You're Smiling (Rodgers-Hammerstein II)
11. Sunday (Cohn-Krueger-Miller-Styne)
12. Lennie Bird (Tristano)
13. The Nearness of You (Carmichael-Washington)
14. Jonquil (Bauer)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Charlie Ventura - 1949 (Chronological 1215)

The height of tenor saxophonist Charlie Ventura's Bop for the People band is covered in this CD. In April 1949 his band consisted of trumpeter Conte Candoli, trombonist Benny Green, Boots Mussulli on alto and baritone, a rhythm section, and vocals from Jackie Cain and pianist Roy Kral. In addition to two songs from a studio session (including the rather eccentric "Barney Google"), there are eight numbers from the group's notable Pasadena concert of May 9, 1949. The additional titles later released by GNP/Crescendo are not included. This CD concludes with sessions from August and September, after Cain and Kral had departed (and gotten married). Teddy Kaye and (a little later) Dave McKenna are on piano, with vocals taken by Betty Bennett, Beverly Brooks, Jimmy Vanelli, and bandmembers. The boppish music is at times almost a self-parody (particularly the nuttier vocals), but the solos are of high quality, particularly those of Candoli. ~ Scott Yanow

Charlie Ventura (tenor, baritone sax)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Dave McKenna (piano)
Roy Kral (piano)
Teddy Kaye (piano)
Boots Mussulli (alto, baritone sax)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)

1. Barney Google
2. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
3. Yesterdays/The Peanut Vendor
4. Euphoria
5. Fine And Dandy
6. East Of Suez
7. If I Had You
8. I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
9. Pennies From Heaven
10. How High The Moon
11. Boptura
12. Feather's Den
13. Yankee Clipper
14. Lotus Blue
15. Honey
16. High On An Open Mike
17. Too Marvelous For Words
18. Lullaby Of The Leaves
19. Ha!

Lou Blackburn - The Complete Imperial Sessions

This was recently requested in the, ahem, Request section; let it also serve as an early entry in what may be a Horace Tapscott fest; Mal Waldron is/was our last "feature".

There are a number of artists who developed and sharpened their skills in the army. Eric Dolphy and Albert Ayler come to mind. Wayne Shorter too, spent two years there after a brief period with Horace Silver. Another is a lesser known Pittsburgh musician who settled on the West Coast: Lou Blackburn.

Blackburn is another of those that made a living in the R&B circuit, but who had jazz credentials. He appeared on Mingus At Monterrey, and was in the Ellington orchestra for eight months at the time Duke was signed to Columbia. He was also on "Good Vibrations" and other Beach Boy sessions, as well as the Righteous Brothers and Zappa affiliates The Turtles. Blackburn was another of the American expatriate community, settling first in Berlin, and later in Switzerland.

"Trombonist Lou Blackburn's contributions to jazz have been long overlooked, but Complete Imperial Sessions, a collection of his two jazz albums for Imperial, include the full contents of Jazz Frontier and Two Note Samba, plus a previously unissued track, and shows the potential of his early-'60s West Coast quintet, even though they worked infrequently. Trumpeter Freddie Hill is a capable foil for the leader, while Blackburn's fluid chops on his instrument invite an obvious comparison to J.J. Johnson. The potent rhythm section includes pianist Horace Tapscott, bassist John Duke, and drummer Leroy Henderson. Most of the disc is devoted to Blackburn's originals, sticking to bop and hard bop vehicles during the initial sessions (highlighted by his driving piece "New Frontier") and including an exotic take of the oldie "Song of Delilah," a breezy original waltz called "Blues for Eurydice" and strong charts of bossa nova hits on the latter sessions. The musicianship throughout these dates is exemplary and it is a shame that the short-lived quintet didn't achieve greater recognition. Even bop fans who are not at all familiar with Lou Blackburn will enjoy this collection of his early work as a leader. The reissue producer is also to be commended for squeezing over 80 minutes of music onto a single disc, rather than omitting a track or reissuing the compilation as a more expensive, two-disc set."

Lou Blackburn (trombone)
Horace Tapscott (piano)
Freddie Hill (trumpet)
John Duke (bass)
Leroy Henderson (drums)

1. New Frontier
2. Perception
3. I Cover The Waterfront
4. 17 Richmond Park
5. Harlem Bossa Nova
6. Luze Blues
7. The Clan
8. Scorpio
9. Jazz-A-Nova
10. Stella By Starlight
11. Manha De Carnaval
12. Jean-Bleu
13. Blues For Eurydice
14. Secret Love
15. Two-Note Samba
16. Grand Prix
17. Song Of Delilah
18. Dear Old Stockholm
19. Ode To Taras

Recorded January 25, 1963

January 31, 1963

2-15, 19
March 12, 1963

March 18, 1963

United Recorders, Los Angeles, Calif.

Bob Thiele Emergency - Head Start (1968)

One of the first releases from legendary producer Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label. This rather eclectic double LP included a wealth of material and musicians covering everything from blues to bop to avant garde to the jazz-rock of the late sixties.

A synopsis from Dusty Groove: Quite an interesting record -- one that was sort of a jam session party, starring most of the leading lights of Flying Dutchman during their early days. Thiele broke the set into 4 sides -- 1. A bunch of messed-up jazz tunes from the Tom Scott, Roger Kellaway, Howard Roberts camp; 2. The Jazz Story -- tracing the development of jazz in the 20th century, and featuring Esther Marrow on one track [not], plus some modern performances by John Carter, Bobby Bradford, and Horace Tapscott; 3. Dedication To John Coltrane -- featuring work by the Elvin Jones Trio, The Ornette Coleman Quartet, and Joe Farrell; 4. A Few Thoughts For The Day, featuring some of the political spoken side of the label, with music by the Appleton Syntonic Menagerie. Very wild stuff overall -- with more than a few great moments. Titles include "Lament For John Coltrane", "Head Start", "Freaky Zeke", "Lanoola Goes Limp", and "Jungle Sound".

Featured artists include:
Tom Scott, Roger Kellaway, Howard Roberts, Bob Brookmeyer, George "Harmonica" Smith, Joe Pass, Gary Barone, John Carter, Bobby Bradford, Horace Tapscott, Elvin Jones, Joe Farrell, Wilbur Little, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and others.

1. Head Start
2. Freaky Zeke
3. Beatle Ballads
a) Blackbird b) Julia c) I Will
4. Lanoola Goes Limp

5. The Jazz Story
1. Pickin' Taters Blues
2. Oh, Didn't He Ramble/High Society
3. Jungle Sound
4. Swing Era
5. Be Bop
6. In the Vineyard/Avant Garde

Dedication to John Coltrane
6. Lament for John Coltrane
7. A Love Supreme
8. Holiday for a Graveyard

9. A Few Thoughts for the Day
(Biafra, King, John and Robert, The American Indian)

The Riverside Records Story

The Riverside Records Story is essentially Orrin Keepnews' baby -- and why not, for the grizzled jazz producer/journalist co-founded the label, ran it from day one in 1952 until it suddenly went bankrupt in 1964, and produced almost all of the original sessions. Riverside's current custodians at Fantasy had Keepnews select and sequence four CDs' worth of the label's output, which over the span of less than nine years made a big splash in the cloistered world of hard bop. Keepnews also writes a voluminous set of notes that settles old scores, crows about What Went Right, offers often self-deprecating analyses of What Went Wrong, and generally keeps the reader riveted to the pages. The box is loosely organized around four topics instead of the usual chronological rundown; indeed, the earliest track, Randy Weston's "Zulu," comes last. And Keepnews devotes lots of time to four major figures whose extensive recordings for Riverside form the cornerstones of their reputations: Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Wes Montgomery. There are some imaginative sequences that give the collection extra star power -- like Monk performing his standards with Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry, respectively -- and there is a welcome touch of the bizarre, too, like Philly Joe Jones' hammy "Blues for Dracula." Moreover, gratefully defying some of his holier-than-thou pronouncements elsewhere, Keepnews does not shy away from his own ventures into the commercial sphere, including Montgomery with strings on "Tune Up," Charlie Byrd likewise on "Meditation," Mongo Santamaria's Top Ten hit "Watermelon Man," and some soul-jazz singles. The first two discs by and large are consistently strong, while some of the lesser tracks on the remaining discs may be there more to represent the artist than to thrill the listener. Richard S. Ginell

In his liner notes to the 4-CD boxed set The Riverside Records Story, released in 1997 by Fantasy Records, Keepnews reflected on the early days of jazz recording and how musicians came to his attention after his initial successes with Monk: “We had a great chain-reaction talent scout system; the example I like to cite starts with Thelonious (who told me about Johnny Griffin and Wilbur Ware when they were still in Chicago) bringing Clark Terry to my attention. Then Terry introduced me to his friends the Adderley brothers, and of course it was Cannonball who made me aware of Wes Montgomery."

Full scans of the 50+ page book enclosed.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Richard "Groove" Holmes - Groove

When the participants on this CD reissue gathered together in March 1961, it was with the objective of recording a Les McCann vocal album. However, the band had such a good time during their warmup that McCann and the others agreed that it would be a crime to waste the opportunity. Organist Richard "Groove" Holmes, whom McCann had recently discovered, was made the leader; a few jump tunes and originals were agreed upon, and the result is a loose, enjoyable jam session. In addition to Holmes' appealing organ and McCann's typically funky piano, a major bonus is the brilliant playing of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, whose tone was at its most gorgeous during this period. The five songs on the original LP are joined by a number that was last on a sampler, a McCann vocal track ("Next Spring"), and a previously unreleased version of "Just Friends." The spontaneous and soulfully swinging music, which also features trombonist Tricky Lofton, guitarist George Freeman and drummer Ron Jefferson, is easily recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Richard "Groove" Holmes (organ)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Les McCann (piano, vocal)
Tricky Lofton (trombone)
George Freeman (guitar)
Herbie Lewis (bass)
Ron Jefferson (drums)

1. Them That's Got
2. That Healin' Feelin'
3. Seven Come Eleven
4. Deep Purple
5. Good Groove
6. Just Friends
7. Licks a Plenty
8. Next Spring

Los Angeles: March , 1961

Jaki Byard - Hi-Fly

Following the success of Here's Jaki, the eclectic pianist continued his explorations in a trio format, with Pete La Roca replacing Roy Haynes on the drums. The set mixes standards with some forgotten gems, plus three originals. The "Excerpts from Yamecraw" is an updated version of the nearly forgotten James P. Johnson orchestral suite, which is complimented here by the Byard original "There Are Many Worlds," which was also written for an orchestra. "Tillie Butterball" is a fun blues romp based on a puppy and a bowling alley. Byard's distinctive approach is evident on Randy Weston's title track "Hi-Fly" and George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland," while his debt to Thelonious Monk, sprinkled throughout this session, is obvious on "'Round Midnight." What makes this session special, however, is his original "Here to Hear." His multi-influenced compositional style matched by his versatile technique is explored at length. There are certain pieces that can never be interpreted by anyone else but the composer, and that is the case here, for it would be virtually impossible, and futile, to try and duplicate the individual genius of Jaki Byard. This stands as one of his best. ~ Robert Taylor

Jaki Byard (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Pete La Roca (drums)

1. Hi-Fly
2. Tillie Butterball
3. Excerpts From 'Yamecraw'
4. There Are Many Worlds
5. Here To Hear
6. Lullaby Of Birdland
7. 'Round Midnight
8. Blues In The Closet

Englewood Cliffs: January 30, 1962

Randy Weston - Blue Moses (1972)

Randy Weston had mixed feelings about this album. I don't - It is one of my favorite CTI releases. From the joyous "Ifrane" to the haunting "Night in Medina" to the exotic "Marrakesh Blues" to the majestic title tune, this album presents Weston's music in a setting unlike any of his other releases. One downside is that Weston only plays electric piano but the solo spotlight shines mostly on Freddie Hubbard and Grover Washington, Jr. (who displays some of his best tenor solo work on record). Hubert Laws adds some nice flute work and arranger Don Sebesky does a masterful job of adding a lot of color to the music without getting over-zealous.

Most people either like it or hate it. How about you?

Ripped from the 24bit remastered Japanese pressing.

Randy Weston (electric piano)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor sax)
Hubert Laws (flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo)
Ron Carter, Bill Wood (bass)
Billy Cobham (drums)
Airto Moreira, Azzedin Weston, Phil Krause (percussion)
Don Sebesky (arrangements)
John Frosk, Alan Rubin, Marvin Stamm (trumpet)
James Buffington, Brooks Tillotson (french horn)
Wayne Andre, Garnett Brown, Warren Covington, Paul Faulise (trombone)
Romeo Penque, George Marge (reeds)
Madame Meddah (voice)
  1. Ifrane
  2. Ganawa (Blue Moses)
  3. Night in Medina
  4. Marrakesh Blues
Recorded March, April, 1972

Art Pepper - In Copenhagen 1981

This is my first post on CIA and I'm not sure how many are to come, but I hope I'll find the time to contribute something of interest every now and then. I shall mostly dedicate my activities here to share "public domain" (in Europe, that is) or "pirate" releases, by labels such as Lonehill, Gambit etc - and I will also put up my own wantlist someplace later, so that other people hopefully will contribute more!

Besides this new activity here on Call It Anything, I started my own blog just recently (well, I was astonished to realize it's been over a year now...), it's in the links here, but for once allow me to post a direct link here as well:

The purpose of my own blog is mostly to share live recordings - check some of it out if you like!

Now for starters, here's an OOP Art Pepper set from 1981 that features Duke Jordan on piano - here's what AMG has to say:

This was the first and last time Pepper worked with Jordan, and came about as a result of Pepper's usual pianist, George Cables, being unable to make the dates at Club Montmartre in Copenhagen. To Pepper's dismay, Danmarks Radio decided to record the first gig of the Montmartre series. Pepper need not have worried -- the show was a rousing success, with the band tackling a set of standards (and a couple of Pepper originals) with such verve and determination that relatively simple tunes turned into astounding solo workouts (there are several drum and bass solos to be heard on this record), the amazing highlight of which is a shot at "Besame Mucho" that rounds out to twenty-two minutes. Art Pepper was in the process of dying at the time this recording was made, but there's no lack of energy, no loss of vitality. A two-CD live jazz set that's well worth having and should not be overlooked. (reviewed by Steven McDonald)

Art Pepper with Duke Jordan - In Copenhagen 1981 (FLAC/scans)

Art Pepper, alto sax; Duke Jordan, piano; David Williams, bass; Carl Burnett, drums


1. Blues Montmartre (Pepper) 14:01
2. What Is This Thing Called Love? (Porter) 9:27
3. Over the Rainbow (Arlen, Harburg) 7:18
4. Caravan (Ellington, Mills, Tizol) 15:48
5. Rhythm-A-Ning (Monk) 14:26
6. You Go to My Head (Coots, Gillespie) 12:18


1. Besame Mucho (Skylar, Velazquez) 22:06
2. Cherokee (Noble) 8:46
3. Radio Blues (Pepper) 11:40
4. Good Bait (Basie, Dameron) 10:41
5. All the Things You Are (Hammerstein, Kern) 15:28

Recorded at Café Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark, July 3, 1981

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Count Basie & Orchestra - 88 Basie Street

One of Basie's final albums, the very appealing title cut seems to sum up his career, a lightly swinging groove with a strong melody. Two small-group performances with guest Joe Pass on guitar and the tenor of Kenny Hing add variety to a particularly strong set. Scott Yanow

While this is one of Count Basie's final albums, he's still in superb musical shape on this 1983 release. His band swings with the same kind of conviction and intimacy that made it famous during the Depression.

However there's a more contemporary feel to Basie's orchestra on 88 BASIE STREET; Cleveland Eaton plays all electric bass guitar, and saxophonist Eric Dixon and others contribute bop-inflected solos on "Contractor's Blues" and "The Blues Machine". To the end, Basie was dedicated to swing and the blues, never experimenting with rock or funk, as did contemporaries such as Buddy Rich and the next generation of big band icons such as Maynard Ferguson.

Count Basie (piano)
Danny Turner, Christopher Woods (alto saxophone, flute)
Eric Dixon, Eric Schneider (tenor saxophone, flute)
Kenny Hing (tenor saxophone)
John Williams (baritone saxophone)
Bob Summers, Dale Carley, Sonny Cohn, Frank Szabo, Jim Crawford (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Booty Wood, Grover Mitchell, Dennis Wilson, Bill Hughes (trombone)
Joe Pass (guitar)
Cleveland Eaton (bass)
Dennis Mackrel (drums)
Sal Nestico (arranger)

1 Bluesville (Nestico) 6:53
2 88 Basie Street (Nestico) 4:50
3 Contractor's Blues (Basie) 7:53
4 The Blues Machine (Nestico) 6:33
5 Katy (Nestico) 2:35
6 Sunday at the Savoy (Basie) 12:32

Recorded at Oceanway Studios, Hollywood, California on May 11 & 12, 1983

Howard Roberts - 1977 The Real Howards Roberts

"The sadly undersung Howard Roberts was never well represented on disc, although those he did make were remarkably consistent. Fortunately his one and only outing with Concord: 'The Real Howards Roberts' (Concord CCD-4053) is amongst the recent batch of reissues. Good taste, great chops and a wonderful tone were the overt qualities of Roberts' playing, while his improvisation was consistently swinging and considered. Check out his quartet harmony on Herbie Hancock's Dolphin Dance, his chordal work on Darn That Dream and his straight ahead bebop chops on the Wesish reading of Gone With The Wind. We shouldn't forget either his blues forte on Parking Lot Blues or the Miles Davis classic All Blues. In short a great recording, providing a breath of fresh air for the jazz guitar. Buy it, buy it, buy it!!!"

Adrian Ingram, Just Jazz Guitar

01 Dolphin Dance (Hancock)
02 Darn That Dream (Van Heusen-DeLange)
03 Lady Wants To Know (Franks)
04 Parking Lot Blues (Brown)
05 Gone With The Wind (Wrubel-Magidson)
06 Serenata (Anderson)
07 Angel Eyes (Dennis)
08 All Blues (Davis)

Recorded in Los Angeles on August 26, 1977

Howard Roberts Guitar
Jimmie Smith Drums
Ray Brown Bass
Ross Tompkins Piano

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Andrew Hill - Dance With Death

Andrew Hill's Dance of Death, recorded in 1968 with a stellar band, was not issued until 1980. In the late 1960s, Blue Note was no longer the most adventurous of jazz labels. While certain titles managed to scrape through — Eddie Gale's Ghetto Music did but only because Francis Wollf personally financed it — many didn't. The label was firmly in the soul-jazz groove by then, and Hill's music, always on the edge, was deemed too outside for the label's roster. Musically, this is Hill at his most visionary. From hard- and post bop frames come modal and tonal inquiries of staggering complexity. Accompanied by trumpeter Charles Tolliver, saxophonist Joe Farrell, drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Victor Sproles, Hill engages, seemingly, all of his muses at once. Check out the sinister modal blues that is "Fish 'N' Rice" with its loping Eastern-tinged blues and loping horn lines around Hill's knotty fills in the head and choruses. In "Partitions" the steaming head is so rigorously tangled it's only the counterpoint of Hill's piano that makes an exit possible, with deep blues underpinnings and strident swinging soul. The title cut dances Afro-Cuban in the head, but Hill's piano is in a minor modal groove, with Higgins playing a textural, syncopated four-four as Sproles' punches on the two and four as the solos begin winding through the modes, bringing back the blues on tags. Dance of Death is a phenomenal record, one that wears its adventure and authority well. Thom Jurek

Andrew Hill (piano)
Charles Tolliver (trumpet)
Joe Farrell (soprano and tenor sax)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Victor Sproles (bass)

1 Yellow Violet
2 Partitions
3 Fish 'n Rice
4 Dance With Death
5 Love Nocturne
6 Black Sabbath

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studios on October 11, 1968

Stanley Turrentine - Everybody Come On Out

And then go back in again.

In honesty, I am not a Turrentine fan; if I get something by him it's usual for the sidemen.
I got this only because I buy OJC's when I see them, especially if they're cheap. But the few reviews I saw were enthusiastic. It's a big world, thank goodness.

And no, it's not that "Stairway To Heaven".

I haven't listened to this yet. I'm saving it for when I'm old and deaf.

Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax)
Buddy Collette (tenor sax, flute)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
Dorothy Ashby (harp)
Joe Sample (electric piano)
Dawilli Gonga (synthesizers)
Lee Ritenour (guitar)
Paul Jackson (electric bass)
Harvey Mason (drums)

1. Everybody Come On Out
2. Stairway To Heaven
3. There Is A Place (Rita's Theme)
4. Many Rivers To Cross
5. Hope That We Can Be Together Soon
6. All By Myself
7. Airport Love Theme
8. I'm Not In Love

Berkeley, California, March, 1976

Johnny Griffin - A Blowing Session (1957)

A Blowin' Session is one of the greatest hard bop jam sessions ever recorded; it is filled with infectious passion and camaraderie. It's also the only time tenor saxophonists Johnny Griffin and John Coltrane would play together on record. Initially Coltrane wasn't scheduled to be on this date, but Griffin saw him on his way to Rudy Van Gelder's studio and asked him to join the remaining musicians, third tenor Hank Mobley, trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Blakey. These musicians were all associates within the same East Coast hard bop scene of the time; they came from the Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis' quintet, and many had played with Dizzy Gillespie's big band. Showcased on this April 8, 1958, session are two standards, "The Way You Look Tonight" and "All the Things You Are," along with two original Griffin compositions, "Ball Bearing" and "Smoke Stack." An added bonus on the 1999 Rudy Van Gelder remastered edition is an alternate take of "Smoke Stack." Of special note is "The Way You Look Tonight," featuring the three tenors trading off with complexity and speed that is still astonishing, especially in the case of Griffin (dubbed the world's fastest saxophonist) and Coltrane's ability to navigate complex chord changes over a fast tempo.
Review by Al Campbell
1- The way you look tonight (Kern-Fields)
2- Ball bearing (Griffin)
3- All the things you ara (Kern-Hammerstein)
4- Smoke stack (Griffin)

Lee Morgan - Trumpet
Johnny Griffin, Hank Mobley, John Coltrane - Tenor saxes
Wynton Kelly - Piano
Paul Chambers - Bass
Art Blakey - Drums

Sun Ra - Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel

I am a fan of Sun Ra, and I notice that some people mention that it's hard to know where to start with him; his catalog is wide and stylistically diverse. Here's a good place to begin, and all the stuff is from his Saturn label days.

Sun Ra didn't really have "greatest hits," or hits at all to speak of, producing scores of LPs on his own Saturn label in editions numbering in the hundreds, primarily for bandstand sales. These albums sported cover art handcrafted by band members, and the records have become rare collector's items. Whatever the title, Jerry Gordon, the person responsible for Evidence Music's ambitious reissues of the Saturn recordings, has constructed an excellent introduction to Sun Ra's cosmic empire of big-band swing, free-jazz improvisation, electronic sound effects, science fiction, and ancient Egyptian mysteries with this Greatest Hits.

While the strange trappings of Sun Ra and the Arkestra--the names, costumes, homemade percussion, and space rap that seemed suspended between vaudeville and cult--remained constant, the music was always in development, picking up approaches from the surrounding world and the inner workings of its own processes. The 18 tracks here are drawn from 15 Saturn LPs, a film soundtrack, and two 45 rpm singles, and they range from the earliest Sun Ra recordings in 1956 to 1973, covering the band's odyssey from Chicago to New York to Philadelphia. It was a period that saw the Arkestra evolve from a hard-swinging, modern-jazz big band that was already rhythmically and tonally adventurous to a unique orchestra incorporating large-scale collective improvisation and ritual, then moving on further to a multilayered transformation of funk.

Through it all, Sun Ra maintained a nucleus of brilliant and loyal musicians, with a saxophone section that rivaled Ellington's for durability and sheer brilliance, however different the musical context could be. Its members--including John Gilmore on tenor, Marshall Allen on alto and oboe, and Pat Patrick on baritone--supply highlights throughout this collection. Virtually every track is of special interest, another dimension of Sun Ra's fertile creativity. Trumpeter Hobart Dotson adds a crisp brassiness to the intensely swinging "Saturn," and there are Ellingtonian touches in the plunger-muted trombone of "Medicine for a Nightmare." Early versions of "'Round Midnight," with a vocal by Hattie Randolph, and "I Loves You, Porgy" show Sun Ra's faithful and moving handling of other people's music. The episodic space chant "Rocket Number Nine," from 1960, has a Gilmore tenor solo that parallels period Coltrane and a Ronnie Boykins bass solo that uses bowed upper harmonics in a way that was otherwise unheard of at that time. Sun Ra's lyrical solo piano on "The Alter Destiny" compresses his decades of jazz experience (he began playing with Fletcher Henderson), while "Yucatan" is an episode of dense, propulsive drumming. The concluding "A Perfect Man," originally a 1973 Saturn 45, sounds like a slightly tilted theme for an espionage thriller. For those seeking entry into the sometimes daunting world of a great original, this CD is a good first choice. Identification of key soloists in the liner notes, though, would have been a nice touch. --Stuart Broomer

1. Saturn
2. Kingdon Of Not
3. Medicine For A Nightmare
4. Enlightenment
5. 'Round Midnight
6. Velvet
7. Rocket Number Nine Take Off For The Planet Venus
8. I Loves You, Porgy
9. We Travel The Spaceways
10. When Angels Speak Of Love
11. Thither And Yon
12. Pleasure
13. The Alter Destiny
14. Yucatan
15. Otherness Blue
16. We'll Wait For You
17. The Order Of The Pharaonic Jesters
18. The Perfect Man

Dusko Goykovich - Balkan Connection (1995)

After writing more than 100 big band charts and recording some 130 albums, our favorite Serbian trumpeter finally recorded the album of his dreams - his own big band playing his own compositions and arrangements.

Though the solo spotlight is on the leader, other fine players from Europe are heard from as well: Tenor sax players Gianni Basso from Italy and Tony Lakatos from Hungary; pianist Peter Michelich from Slovenia; Luigi Trussardi from France; drummer Ratko Divjak from Slovenia. Truly an international band in the tradition of Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland.

With so many charts to choose from, Dusko covers tunes going all the way back to the sixties and as the title suggests, several pieces reflect his Balkan roots.

Dusko Goykovich (trumpet, flugelhorn, arranger, director)
Thomas Bendzko, Gil Kaupp, Tom Howard, Joe Rivera (trumpet)
Eberhard Budzjat, Uli Plettendorf, Michael Kohler, Rainer Muller (trombone)
Peter Peuker, Thomas Bouterwek (alto sax)
Gianni Basso, Tony Lakatos (tenor sax)
Michael Lutzeier (baritone sax)
Peter Michelich (piano)
Luigi Trussardi (bass)
Ratko Divjak (drums)
  1. Doboy
  2. You're My Everything
  3. The Bopper
  4. Manhattan Mood
  5. Balkan Blue
  6. You Don't Know What Love Is
  7. A Handful O' Soul
  8. Why Not You
  9. Nights of Skopje
  10. Nella
Recorded in Munich, Germany on May 9 & 10, 1995

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lester Young - The Complete Aladdin Recordings

These are Ogg files.

Lester Young recorded for the Aladdin label between December 1945 and December 1947, leading a series of small groups that would range in size from quintets to a septet. While Young's solos were a marvelous paradox of the languid and the taut, his approach to putting a group together could be simply casual. His sidemen here come from both the ranks of the justly celebrated and the journeymen, whose names have all but disappeared from jazz history. The bands can include collisions of swing era stalwarts and dedicated boppers. Something of that's apparent in the first Aladdin session, where trombonist Vic Dickenson and pianist Dodo Marmarosa seem to have the blues in different languages on Young's eloquent "D.B. Blues." It seems to have mattered little to Young, who was in many ways a school of one. His playing here is usually at a level that others only dream about, creating a linear flow that has its own superior internal logic, whether the subject at hand is a standard, a blues, or an uptempo variant on "I Got Rhythm." His sound is one of the marvels of jazz, not just for its airy transparency but for its flexibility, the way a line is constantly shaded with gently honking punctuations and a hint of gravel. In addition to the Aladdin sessions, this two-CD set includes a 1942 trio date that's focused on standards and has Nat "King" Cole on piano and Red Callendar on bass. Young's solo on "Indiana" is one of his marvels of multidimensional swing. There's also a 1945 session with singer Helen Humes that has terrific input from trumpeter Snooky Young and altoist Willie Smith as well as Young. - Stuart Broomer

Lee Morgan - Live At The Lighthouse

As Lee himself points out in his on--tape introduction to these three nights of live recording for Blue Note Records, the band had no plans to play anything Lee had already recorded, because, as Morgan mutters, "It just wouldn't make any sense." This sprawling three-CD set does, in the end, include a version of "The Sidewinder," as well as "Speedball," an uptempo blues from Lee's album THE GIGOLO, with Jack DeJohnette guesting. But even these tunes are rendered in a more abstract fashion than the way they were originally recorded, and on the balance of the material here you can feel the effects of the decade loud and clear. Solos lean towards the exploratory and the cathartic, with the result that no tune clocks in under eleven minutes, and bassist Jymie Merritt's "Absolutions" pushes well past the twenty minute mark. Morgan's generosity as a leader extends beyond providing room to stretch out: with the exception of "The Sidewinder" and "Speedball," all of the material for these three nights was composed by either Merritt, saxophonist Bennie Maupin or pianist Harold Mabern.

Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Bennie Maupin (flute, tenor saxophone)
Harold Mabern (piano)
Jymie Merritt (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Recorded live at The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California in 1970

Ms. Teri Thornton

In the liner notes to the first album here, from 1961, Orrin Keepnews said: "This girl has got to make it. If she doesn't, something's very wrong. If Teri doesn't quickly soar to the top, it will surely be only because of some external, unlooked-for, and unfair twist of fate." And there was every reason to believe this to be true. She was recording for major labels such as Riverside and Columbia, and was playing the major venues. She even appeared on the Tonight show. The members of her backup group on this album were drawn from the bands of Basie, Ellington, and Miles Davis. Impressive indeed.

So why don't we know her? A number of things militated against her achieving the fame that had been predicted for her, most notably alcohol dependency. There is a comprehensive review of her career in Comments; and there is a beautiful outcome to this story.

Thornton was championed by her manager and began a stunning comeback. A nice postscript: her triumph at the Monk competition featured the piano playing of Norman Simmons; the arranger for this album done 37 years earlier.

Teri Thornton - Devil May Care

This is the first (of three) long out of print recordings by Teri Thornton, finally available to the general public. It would not be a stretch to say she is perhaps the most talented, distinctive, clean, out-of-sight singer listeners have never heard....until now. Thornton's powerful, almost chilling voice compares favorably to the pristine tones and vibrato of Sarah Vaughan, the blues sassiness of Dinah Washington, and some of the more soulful refrains of Abbey Lincoln. Simply put, you have to hear her once to believe her. Whether on doleful ballads or raucous swingers, Thornton is totally confident and in control — of her emotions and yours. From the best version of the Bob Dorough-written title track you are likely to hear, to the regretful ballad "My Old Flame" or the ultimate heart-melter "Left Alone," to an interesting arrangement on a pleading "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?," Thornton charges through the bar lines. Check her forcefulness on "Dancing in the Dark" and "I Feel a Song Coming On." Sometimes she purposefully staggers behind measures to grand effect. Every track is a showstopper, thanks to her uniquely soulful, drama-laden approach. Potent, unobtrusive horn charts feature legends like trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Britt Woodman, and saxophonists Earle Warren and Seldon Powell. The rhythm section of guitarist Freddie Green (half the tracks, Sam Herman on the others), pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Jimmy Cobb can do no wrong. Arranger par excellence Norman Simmons provided the perfect charts. This is an important document of a truly great jazz singer, and is essential in the collection of every serious aficionado. The only one regret is that it can't be given several handfuls of *****.

Teri Thornton (vocals)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Earl Warren (alto saxophone)
Selden Powell (tenor saxophone)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Freddie Greene (guitar on
Sam Herman (guitar on 2,4,6,8,10,11)
Sam Jones (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

1. Lullaby Of Leaves
2. Devil May Care
3. Detour Ahead
4. The Song Is You
5. My Old Flame
6. What's Your Story, Morning Glory
7. Dancing In The Dark
8. Left Alone
9. Blue Champagne
10. I Feel A Song Comin' On
11. What's New?
12. Blue Skies

Recorded at Plaza Sound, NY, on December 23, 1960 and January 10, 1961

Thornton Teri - I'll Be Easy To Find

On September 25, 1998, veteran vocalist Teri Thornton tore up the Smithsonian's Baird Auditorium in Washington, D.C. with a performance that won the Thelonious Monk Institute's International Vocal Competition. It was a particularly sweet triumph for Thornton, who had seen her career go into eclipse for decades and had recently survived cancer. A new star all over again as the millennium approaches,

Teri Thornton (vocals, piano)
Jerome Richardson (alto saxophone, flute, bass flute)
Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone, cornet, tuba, clarinet)
Dave Bargeron (trombone)
Ray Chew, Norman Simmons (piano)
Lonnie Plaxico, Michael Bowie (bass)
J.T. Lewis, Grady Tate (drums)

1. Somewhere In The Night
2. I Believe In You
3. It Ain't Necessarily So
4. The Lord's Prayer
5. Knee Deep In The Blues
6. I'll Be Easy To Find
7. Nature Boy
8. Wishing Well
9. Where Are You Running?
10. Feels Good
11. I'll Be Seeing You
12. Salty Mama

Monty Alexander - Zing! (1967)

Pianist Monty Alexander was 23 when he recorded his lone album for RCA, just his third recording of what would be a very productive career. Alexander, who at that point in time was most influenced by Oscar Peterson and Ahmad Jamal, already showed a great deal of maturity in his playing, as effective on uptempo tunes as he was on ballads. Last reissued as a French RCA, this outing matches Alexander in trios with either Victor Gaskin or Bob Cranshaw on bass and Roy McCurdy or Al Foster on drums. The repertoire ranges from the pianist's title cut and Cole Porter's "Always True to You In My Fashion" to some show tunes, Neal Hefti's "Girl Talk," and Chopin's "Nocturne In E-Flat," which is turned into jazz. A strong effort that is long overdue to be reissued on CD. - Scott Yanow

Now available on CD as a Japanese import. This LP ripped from the original RCA issue.

Monty Alexander (piano)
Victor Gaskin, Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Roy McCurdy, Al Foster (drums)
  1. Zing!
  2. You're My Everything
  3. Once Upon a Time
  4. Always True to You in My Fashion
  5. The Magnificent Seven
  6. Bossa Nova Do Marilla
  7. Small Fry
  8. Girl Talk
  9. Nocturne in E-flat
Recorded December 11, 14, 1967

Swing Reunion

This historic live two-CD set recorded at Town Hall was distributed exclusively by Book of the Month Records in 1985, featuring an all star cast of swing musicians. This collection is a bit of a swan song for several musicians, including Teddy Wilson (who wasn't so obviously ill with cancer as he was when he performed in the Nov., 1985 concert for public television honoring Benny Goodman), Red Norvo (who had a major stroke not long after the concert), and bassist George Duvivier (in his final recording prior to his death); but all three men make vital contributions. Likewise, alto saxophonist Benny Carter, drummer Louis Bellson, electric guitarist Remo Palmier and Count Basie's long time rhythm guitarist Freddie Green are also in top form. The cast continuously fluctuates as musicians come and go between pieces and they stick mostly to well known standards, but there are some strong originals, too. Duvivier's "E.K.E.'s Blues," in memory of Duke Ellington, opens with a potent solo; Palmier and Bellson co-composed the swinging "Town Hall Tonight" for the concerts, while Carter sings his "All That Jazz" (and jokes afterward, "Nobody left!") and his "Swing Reunion" is actually a lively blues written for the occasion as well. There are so many highlights among the 22 tracks it's impossible to list them all, so fans of swing will be richly rewarded by locating this long out of print release. Ken Dryden

Teddy Wilson (piano)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Red Norvo (vibes)
Louis Bellson (drums)
Remo Palmier (electric guitar)
George Duvivier (bass)
Freddie Green (guitar)

Disc One
1. Rosetta
2. There’ll Never Be Another You
3. Here’s That Rainy Day
4. Swing Reunion
5. Evening star
6. Porgy & Bess Medley/Undecided
7. How High The Moon
8. Exactly Like You
9. Star Dust
10. I Surrender Dear
11. All That Jazz

Disc Two
1. E.K.E.’s Blues
2. On Green Dolphin Street
3. Body and Soul
4. After You’ve Gone
5. How About You?
6. Dancers In Love
7. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
8. What Is This Thing Called Love?
9. Town Hall Tonight
10. I Can’t Get Started
11. Lush Life/Take The “A” Train/Avalon

Recorded live at Town Hall, New York City on March 1 & 2, 1985

Lionel Hampton and Stan Getz - Hamp And Getz

If one were to believe the clichés and stereotypes common in some jazz history books, this matchup should not have worked. By 1955, Lionel Hampton was a veteran swing vibraphonist while Stan Getz was the leader of the "cool school" of young tenors. But what these two masters had in common (in addition to a healthy respect for each other's talents) was the ability to swing as hard as possible. Joined by a fine trio, the duo really rips into "Cherokee" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" (listen to their blistering tradeoffs) and, even with a fine ballad medley, it is these torrid jams that make this a highly recommended disc. ~ Scott Yanow

People, hardcore jazz people, are still surprised that Lionel Hampton and Stan Getz did an album together; more so when informed that it occurred over 30 years ago. My surprise is that August 1, 1955 studio recordings that produced Hamp And Getz for Verve have yet to reach legendary status; the right ingredients are there. The headliners are truly BIG names, superstars not often linked. More important, they hit it off! In short, Hamp And Getz is a Jazz Classic! ~ Phil Schaap

If one were to believe the clichés and stereotypes common in some jazz history books, this matchup should not have worked. By 1955, Lionel Hampton was a veteran swing vibraphonist while Stan Getz was the leader of the "cool school" of young tenors. But what these two masters had in common (in addition to a healthy respect for each other's talents) was the ability to swing as hard as possible. Joined by a fine trio, the duo really rips into "Cherokee" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" (listen to their blistering tradeoffs) and, even with a fine ballad medley, it is these torrid jams that make this a highly recommended disc.

Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Lionel Hampton (vibraphone)
Lou Levy (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Cherokee
2. Ballad Medley
3. Louise
4. Jumpin At The Woodside
5. Gladys
6. Gladys
7. Headache