Monday, June 30, 2008

James Moody - Sweet and Lovely (1989)

James Moody sticks to standards on his third Novus release, including "My Melancholy Baby," "Sweet And Lovely," "Confirmation" and "My Ideal." He uses his rhythm section of the period (pianist Marc Cohen, bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Akira Tana) and welcomes guest Dizzy Gillespie on "Con Alma" and the exuberant "Get the Booty." Moody (tripling as usual on tenor, alto and flute) is the solo star throughout and sounds very much in prime form, whether swinging hard or playing lyrically on ballads. - Scott Yanow

Standards, yes, but not in a standard format. New harmonies, rhythms and tasteful synth add to the modern feel for much of this album. Dizzy Gillespie guests on two selections and "Get the Booty" (nominated for a Grammy) is really a new version of Gillespie's "Here 'Tis" featuring scat solos by Diz and Moody. And "Beer Barrel Polka"? You won't recognize it until Moody plays the melody toward the end of the track.

Dedicated to his wife, Linda, and recorded just three weeks before their marriage, parts of this album were played at the wedding in which Dizzy was the best man. They strolled up the aisle to "Con Alma" and exited to the vamp of "My Melancholy Baby".

James Moody (alto & tenor sax, flute)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocals)
Marc Cohen (keyboards)
Todd Coolman (bass)
Akira Tana (drums)
  1. My Melancholy Baby
  2. Sweet and Lovely
  3. Con Alma
  4. Rain
  5. Skippin'
  6. Confirmation
  7. My Ideal
  8. Get the Booty
  9. Beer Barrel Polka
Recorded March 11-13, 1989

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Viva España!!!!

Viva España!!!!

Bob Marley and The Wailers - One Love (At Studio One)

This two-disc set from Heartbeat Records contains the earliest recordings of the Wailers (Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh, plus, at this point in time, Junior Braithwaite and Beverly Kelso), and while its greatest value is probably archival, there is a wonderful sense of musical exploration and joy in these tracks, which include original compositions, ska covers of American hits, doo wop exercises, island mento standards, spirituals and gospel pieces, and even renditions of songs by Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Between 1964 and 1966 the Wailers cut some 100 of these nascent sides at Clement Dodd's Studio One, most of them done on Dodd's Ampex 350 portable one-track tape machine, which means these are largely live-in-the-studio performances, many of them with backing from the Skatalites. Energetic and ragged, these recordings show a group that was not quite yet dominated by Marley, although his compositions were clearly the Wailers' strongest fare, beginning with his "Simmer Down," the group's first Jamaican hit in 1964. Marley was by no means the best singer (just the most charismatic) in the group, as evidenced by Braithwaite's delicate and emotional lead vocal on the gorgeous "It Hurts to Be Alone," which also features a nice guitar line from Ernest Ranglin (which telegraphs that the song was actually a clever rewrite of the Impressions' "I'm So Proud"). By the time of 1965's "One Love," Dodd had upgraded to a two-track machine, and songs like "Rude Boy," the lovely soul ballad "I'm Still Waiting," and "I'm Gonna Put It On" (featuring guitarist Dwight Pinkney and his band, the Sharks) began to hint at what the Wailers would become. With 1965's rude boy anthem "Jailhouse," the Wailers began working with the new and slower rocksteady rhythms, and while there were still plenty of horn lines present, the manic, skipping ska pace becomes less prominent. In early 1966, with Marley temporarily living in the U.S., Tosh and Bunny recorded the ominous gospel gem "Sinner Man," as well as Bunny's striking "He Who Feels It Knows It" and Peter's attempt at a straight rock recording, "Can't You See." Also worth noting here is Bunny's version of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," which keeps only the song's chorus while rewriting the verses with lines like "Time like a scorpion stings without warning." With Marley back from the States later in 1966, the group recorded his "Bend Down Low," a song that prefigures the group's later work with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. In all, there are some 40 tracks here charting this formative period in the Wailers' creative development, and while casual Marley fans may find it all a bit half-baked and primitive, there is an undeniable joy in the music on display, and its pure archival value is immense. ~ Steve Leggett

Bob Marley (guitar, vocal)
Peter Tosh (guitar, vocal)
Bunny Wailer (vocal)
Ernest Ranglin (guitar)
Rita Marley (vocal)

Eddie Heywood - 1944-1946 (Chronological 1038)

The second installment in the Classics Eddie Heywood chronology traces the pianist's progression from a successful Commodore leader and accompanist (see the first installment as well as Billie Holiday's later Commodore material) into a Decca recording artist via a pair of V-Disc performances cut on November 13, 1944. This compendium of amiable, sophisticated, and mature swing music features alto saxophonists Lem Davis and Marshall Royal as well as trombonists Vic Dickenson, Henry Coker, and Young Lion Britt Woodman, who is heavily featured on "Pom Pom." If the artistic high point of the entire album is Heywood's interpretation of Duke Ellington's gorgeous melody "I Didn't Know About You" (a prelude to later renditions by Johnny Hodges, Lee Konitz, Thelonious Monk, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk), the toy surprise in this package is a very hip-sounding Bing Crosby, featured on five tracks recorded in Los Angeles near the end of the summer of 1945. Bing seems unusually comfortable in this company, and for this reason these tracks should be counted among the best jazz recordings he ever participated in. ~ arwulf arwulf

Eddie Heywood (piano)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Marshall Royal (alto sax)
Bing Crosby (vocal)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
Charlie Blackwell (drums)

1. Just You, Just Me
2. Save Your Sorrow
3. Begin The Beguine
4. Blue Lou
5. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
6. Lover Man
7. Save Your Sorrow
8. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home
9. That Little Dream Got Nowhere
10. I've Found A New Baby
11. Who's Sorry Now?
12. Coquette
13. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
14. The Man I Love
15. On The Alamo
16. I Didn't Know About You
17. Just You, Just Me
18. Sweet And Lovely
19. Who's Sorry Now?
20. Loch Lomond
21. Pom Pom

y Viva España!!!!

Frank Mantooth - Suite Tooth (1987) [flac]

The first big band album from composer/arranger Frank Mantooth. "Suite Tooth" comprises the first three tracks and was written for guest soloists Bobby Shew on trumpet, Art Farmer on flugelhorn, and Louie Bellson on drums. Farmer is also featured on "I Only Have Eyes for You".

Frank Mantooth (leader, arranger, keyboards)
Bobby Shew, Danny Barber, Art Davis, Mike Steinel (trumpet)
Scott Bentall, Tom Garling, Mark Bettcher, Mike Young (trombone)
Howie Smith, Bill Sears, Ed Petersen, Jim Massoth, Scott Robinson (reeds)
Sam LiPuma (guitar) Kelly Sill (acoustic bass)
Curt Bley (electric bass) Steve Houghton (drums) Tim Kitsos (percussion)
Guest Soloists:
Bobby Shew, trumpet; Art Farmer, flugelhorn; Louie Bellson, drums

  1. If the Shew Fits
  2. For the Sake of Art
  3. If I Were a Bellson
  4. Scam and Eggs
  5. I Only Have Eyes for You
  6. Lauralisa
  7. Squash
Recorded November 27-28, 1987

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jimmy Smith - Groovin' At Small`s Paradise

Jimmy Smith - Groovin' At Small`s Paradise (RVG Flac)

These recordings from 1957 are among the most momentous to appear in the Rudy Van Gelder series, marking the first American appearance on CD of these early live recordings and adding four previously unreleased tracks. Accompanied by his regular band of guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey, Smith is an extraordinary musical presence, combining the energy of a big band and a sanctified congregation as he serves up kinetic versions of pop songs, jazz standards, and blues. Among the new additions are a scintillating version of Smith's own up-tempo blues feature "The Champ," a marvel of keyboard technique, and a treatment of "Walkin'" that could define the idea of swing. Smith wasn't just using the organ as a jazz instrument, he was creating a new idiom that fused elements of modern jazz and R&B. The extended tunes also highlight a neglected jazz-blues talent in McFadden. --Stuart Broomer

Jimmy Smith (organ)
Eddie McFadden (guitar)
Donald Bailey (drums)

CD 1
1. Imagination
2. Walkin'
3. My Funny Valentine
4. It's Only A Paper Moon
5. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
6. Laura

CD 2
1. Indiana
2. Body And Soul
3. The Champ
4. Lover Man
5. Slightly Monkish
6. After Hours
7. Just Friends

Recorded live at Small's Paradise, New York, New York on November 15, 1957

In the 20 months between Jimmy Smith's first Blue Note session and this live appearance at the great Harlem club Small's Paradise, he'd become a nationwide hit and launched a whole new sound in jazz, playing the electric organ. He'd made 15 albums (!) in a variety of contexts, but this live session captured how he reached people night after night with his working trio. Nine selections here had made up two volumes of "Groovin' At Small's Paradise". Making its first appearance on CD, the session has been restored to the original order in which the band played the music that night with four previously unissued tunes added. Rudy Van Gelder returned to the original tapes he made in a corner of the club that night to achieve the best possible sound for this valuable document.

Tony Rizzi and his Five Guitars plus Four Plays Charlie Christian (1975)

I had the pleasure of seeing this group at the 1976 IAJE Convention and they were as fabulous live as they are on record. A must listen for Charlie Christian fans.

The musical compositions are based on Charlie Christian's guitar solos that were played with Benny Goodman's Sextet and Christian's own group between 1939-1941. All the transcriptions and arrangements are by Tony Rizzi.

"The concept of writing down and harmonizing what were once improvised solos by Christian on old 78's is no less valid than the Supersax experiment with Charlie Parker. Rizzi has done a remarkable job not only of research and elongation (one number, 'I Surrender Dear,' was expanded from what was originally a mere 16-bar solo), but also of finding compatible men who could read and interpret these complex lines.

Jazz guitar has played a central role in musical history, one in which Charlie Christian represented the crucial turning point. For any student under the illusion that guitar playing begins and ends with Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Carlos Santana, the melifluious coalition of Rizzi and company should be required listening." - Leonard Feather (L.A. Times May '75)

Tony Rizzi, Tim May, Mike Rosati, Jimmy Wyble, Grant Geissman (guitar)
Pete Christlieb (tenor sax)
Tom Ranier (piano)
Tom Azarello (bass)
John Perett (drums)
  1. Breakfast Food
  2. Frying Home
  3. Anything But Love
  4. Three for Two
  5. A New Baby
  6. Rose's Loom
  7. I Surrender
  8. He's Got Riddum
Recorded on December 12, 1975

Wynton Kelly - Kelly Great

Kelly Great, from August of 1959, would be the pianist's first for Vee Jay and it's a typical hard bop affair with Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter on the front line and the Miles rhythm team of Kelly, Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones firmly in place. The results, however, are far from run-of-the-mill, with Morgan's bristling attack and Shorter's idiosyncratic approach helping to make this an underground classic. Kelly, Morgan, and Shorter share the writing chores and the latter's two contributions ("Sydney" and "Mama G") are youthful examples of his brilliance as a modern composer.

A superb accompanist loved by Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, Wynton Kelly was also a distinctive soloist who decades later would be a strong influence on Benny Green. He grew up in Brooklyn and early on played in R&B bands led by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Hal Singer, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Kelly, who recorded 14 titles for Blue Note in a trio (1951), worked with Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lester Young during 1951-1952. After serving in the military, he made a strong impression with Washington (1955-1957), Charles Mingus (1956-1957), and the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1957), but he would be most famous for his stint with Miles Davis (1959-1963), recording such albums with Miles as Kind of Blue, At the Blackhawk, and Someday My Prince Will Come. When he left Davis, Kelly took the rest of the rhythm section (bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb) with him to form his trio. The group actually sounded at its best backing Wes Montgomery.

Wynton Kelly (piano)
Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Wrinkles
2. Mama 'G'
3. June Night
4. What Know
5. Sydney

Recorded on August 12, 1959

Jackie McLean - Bluesnik

Tipping their hats to the backbone?

" Bluesnik is a play on words; by riffing on the appellation "beatnik"--the term used to describe the Bohemian intellectuals of the 1950s--saxophonist Jackie McLean and his group are making a philosophical statement of their own with this '61 album. Here they tip their hats to the blues, which is the backbone of all jazz. Most of these pieces are in major keys, but the two minor-key blues numbers "Drew's Blues" and "Cool Green" round out the set nicely, giving this record some musical legroom. As always, McLean shines throughout, and his band, featuring many hard-bop all-stars, keeps pace on each of the eight tracks. Trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard adds fire to the proceedings, as does the nimble pianist Kenny Drew. "Torchin'" is the quintessential blues here, given its groovy, down-home flavor. However, it is the upbeat title track that adds just the right spice to this classic Blue Note release."

Jackie McLean (alto saxophone)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Pete La Roca (drums)

1. Bluesnik
2. Goin' 'Way Blues
3. Goin' 'Way Blues (alt)
4. Drew's Blues
5. Cool Green
6. Blues Function
7. Torchin'
8. Torchin' (alt)

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on January 8, 1961

Bennie Green | Mosaic Select 3

At first I was a bit dubious about this collection as I had never REALLY listened to Bennie Green's Blue Note recordings; but once it arrived and I gave it a listen, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The playing is first-rate and the re-mastering excellent.

Initially influenced by Trummy Young, trombonist Bennie Green hit the big leagues as a member of Earl Hines’ orchestra in 1942, where he developed a close relationship with emerging bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie. He absorbed the expanding harmonies of bop without forsaking his big, rich natural trombone sound. Whether he was in Ellington’s band or Charlie Ventura’s Bop For The People combo, he sounded like…well, Bennie Green.

In the early fifties, Bennie found success as a band leader, playing what he liked: a joyful mix of jump tunes, blues, ballads and standards with a Latin tinge. Hit singles like “Blow Your Horn” and “I Wanna Blow” made him a popular jukebox artist of the day.

As the fifties progressed, the long-playing album became an important medium for a musician charged with keeping a band working. With roots in both swing and bop, Green had no trouble stretching out and sustaining interest on any musical piece. In 1958, he signed with Blue Note and made three impressive albums (Back On The Scene, Soul Stirrin’ and Walkin’ & Talkin’) as well as a singles session.

With Soul Stirrin’, the trombonist made his masterpiece. The presence of two tenors (Gene Ammons and Billy Root), the creative accompaniment of Sonny Clark, Ike Isaacs and Elvin Jones and the hypnotic compositions of Green and Babs Gonzales created a unique and often haunting sound. In 1962, this instrumentation was reprised with equally stunning results on Ike Quebec’s Congo Lament with Green, Stanley Turrentine, Clark, Milt Hinton and Art Blakey.

All four of Bennie Green’s dates plus the Quebec session are in this Mosaic Select set which also includes Charlie Rouse, Eddy Williams, Gildo Mahones, George Tucker and Louis Hayes among the sidemen. Mosaic Records

Cecil Payne - Zodiac

Here's another Cecil Payne LP rip, this one rather more difficult to find and in LAME 3.98 vbr0. On the Strata-East label, never made it to CD reissue despite being a classic. Cecil Payne, Kenny Dorham, Albert Kuumba Heath, Wynton Kelly, and Wibur Ware play:
Martin Luther King, Jr. - I Know Love
Girl, You Got a Home
Slide Hampton
Follow Me
Flying Fish

Jackie McLean - Lights Out

Remembering that Miles' Blue Haze was recorded using only the light that came into the recording booth from the control room, the producer turned off the lights while the title track was being recorded. Lights Out!

The remainder were recorded under more conventional circumstances, and the result is a fine hardbop production with a prime line-up. McLean was here for his second, I believe, leader session. The year before saw him recording three times. Once with Miles, once with George Wallington, and once for himself. When this session was recorded three months later the only player he hadn't recorded with earlier was Elmo Hope. Byrd and Watkins were old friends from Detroit.

"Altoist Jackie McLean's second session as a leader is reissued on this CD. The music that he makes with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Elmo Hope, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor is essentially hard bop with fairly simple (or in some cases nonexistent) melody statements preceding two romps through the "I Got Rhythm" chord changes, a pair of blues, a thinly disguised "Embraceable You" and a straightforward version of "A Foggy Day." Enjoyable if not really essential music from the up-and-coming altoist." ~ Scott Yanow

Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Elmo Hope (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Arthur Taylor (drums)

1. Lights Out
2. Up
3. Lorraine
4. A Foggy Day
5. Kerplunk
6. Inding

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, January 27, 1956

Friday, June 27, 2008

Arturo Sandoval - Hot House (1998)

This is a contribution to the Funky Friday, which has been forgotten lately. In this CD, Arturo Sandoval leads a big band and although he now and then walks through rhythms of other Latin countries, the core is Cuban Jazz.

In the liner notes, Arturo writes : "Ever since hearing Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Chick Webb, Big Bands have always played a great interest to me. Mario Bouza, who was the first trumpet in Webb's outstanding Big Band, blew my mind. However, Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band has always had the most influence over me (especially when Chano Pozo was in it and the term Afro-Cuban Jazz came into existence. Those sessions and recordings were the most transcendental and, without a doubt, the driving force behind this album. One of my first professional experiences with a Big Band was playing with La Orquestra del Hotel Nacional and later with the Orquestra del Cabaret Tropicana, with Armando Romeu. Following that, I had the opportunity to work with what is considered the best big band in Cuba, La Orquestra Cubana de Musica Moderna. The Eighties allowed me one of the most marvelous experiences though: playing with The United Nations Band led by my mentor, Dizzy Gillespie."

Michael Brecker, Patti Austin, Ed Calle, Tito Puente, Rey Ruiz, Charles McNeill and Rene Toledo are guest stars.


1- Funky Cha-Cha (Sandoval)
2- Rhythm of our world (Sandoval)
3- Hot House (Dameron)
4- Only you (No se tu) (Manzanero)
5- Sandunga (Sandoval)
6- Tito (Sandoval)
7- Closely dancing (Sandoval)
8- Mam-Bop (Sandoval)
9- New images (Sandoval)
10- Cuban American Medley
11- Brassmen's holiday (Armengol)

Wynton Kelly - Kelly Blue

Wynton Kelly was a relatively new member of the Miles Davis band when he made this 1959 session, but he had already formed a strong musical partnership with bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb. The trio would stay together long after their departure from the Davis band and a further tenure with Wes Montgomery. Kelly was an original stylist, who had a lyrical and economical approach and a way of insinuating the blues into everything he touched. You can feel it here in the moving "Willow Weep for Me" and the bright takes on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" and "On Green Dolphin Street," just getting established as standards in the jazz repertoire and getting distinctive treatments here. His light, flowing lines are well matched by Cobb's spare accents and Chambers's own melodic bass. Benny Golson on tenor, Bobby Jasper on flute, and Nat Adderley on cornet join in to make up a powerful sextet on the extended title tune and two takes of another Kelly original, "Keep It Moving." It's apparent how much Kelly's comping could add to a soloist's work. ~ Stuart Broomer

Originally cut for Riverside, this set mostly features the influential pianist Wynton Kelly in a trio with his fellow rhythm section mates from the Miles Davis bands, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb. "Kelly Blue" and "Keep It Moving" add cornetist Nat Adderley, flutist Bobby Jaspar and the tenor of Benny Golson to the band for some variety. The CD reissue augments the program with a previously unreleased "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" and the alternate take of "Keep It Moving." Kelly was renowned as an accompanist, but as he shows on a set including three of his originals and four familiar standards (including "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" and "Willow Weep for Me"), he was also a strong bop-based soloist too. A fine example of his talents. ~ Scott Yanow

Wynton Kelly (piano)
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Bobby Jaspar (flute)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
New York: February 19, 1959

Wynton Kelly (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
New York: March 10, 1959

1. Kelly Blue
2. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
3. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
4. On Green Dolphin Street
5. Willow Weep For Me
6. Keep It Moving (take 4)
7. Keep It Moving (take 3)
8. Old Clothes

The Complete Blue Note 1964-1966 Jackie McLean Sessions

These are from quite a while ago - they are probably Ogg files.

Altoist Jackie McLean has recorded so many fine albums throughout his career, particularly in the '60s for Blue Note, that Mosaic could have reissued his complete output without any loss of quality. This four-CD limited-edition box set contains six complete LPs worth of material plus one "new" alternate take. The music (which also features trumpeters Charles Tolliver and Lee Morgan; pianists Herbie Hancock, Larry Willis, and Harold Mabern; vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson; bassists Cecil McBee, Bob Cranshaw, Larry Ridley, Herbie Lewis, and Don Moore; and drummers Roy Haynes, Billy Higgins, Clifford Jarvis, Jack DeJohnette, and Billy Higgins) is explorative (showing the influence of Ornette Coleman) but without totally disregarding McLean's bebop roots. The performances straddle the boundaries between advanced hard bop and free jazz with Jackie McLean consistently emerging as the main star; his solos are consistently exciting and full of unexpected twists and turns. Scott Yanow

Weather Report - Live and Unreleased

"We always solo and we never solo." - Joe Zawinul

To date, Weather Report has been documented accurately exactly once in a live setting, and that was on a Japanese import called Live in Tokyo in 1972. All of their U.S.-released product, including their double-live set 8:30, was truncated, though it did capture some of the excitement the band was capable of producing at their most effectively intent and focused. Unfortunately, Live and Unreleased goes no further in demystifying the truly mysterious that elemental process that allowed them to move from one idea to the next no matter how far distant, with no apparent bridges in between. Being a collection of tracks from various live dates from 1975-1983, with wildly varying personnel, that cannot be expected. That said, what does transpire here showcases what an intense -- and accessible -- listening experience Weather Report could provide in a concert hall at a moment's notice. One of the more confusing aspects of Live and Unreleased is its sequencing. In trying to showcase the band in as many settings as possible, some continuity is lost. When you begin with a a performance of Wayne Shorter's "Freezing Fire," recorded in 1975, with Alphonso Johnson on bass, Alex Acuna on percussion, and Chester Thompson on drums, then move directly to Shorter's "Plaza Real," recorded in 1983 at a much bigger hall (same city, though, London), with Victor Bailey on bass and Omar Hakim on drums, and then jump back again to Joe Zawinul's "Fast City" from 1980, with Jaco Pastorius on bass and Peter Erskine on drums, you have traveled a long way in the band's evolutionary process without the regard of context. While Zawinul and Shorter were constants and regarded as the band's leaders, no one can question Pastorius' role as a dominating influence as both a player and as a composer -- not to mention his and Zawinul's competitive/conflicting energy. That's missing here. Some moments are more smooth than others, as on disc two's transition from "In a Silent Way/Waterfall," both by Zawinul and recorded in 1978, to the title track from Night Passage, recorded with virtually the same band -- Pastorius and Erskine in the rhythm section -- in 1980 and then on to Shorter's "Port of Entry" from the same date. Here, glimpses are cast into the shadows of the real lightning that could (and often would) strike when the band was -- as most often they were -- on their mettle. And while Live and Unreleased is perhaps true but misleading in the sense of presenting the band at their live best, there is some wonderful and challenging music here, such as Pastorius engaging both Shorter and Zawinul on "Black Market"; the double-timed "Teen Town," with Manolo Badrena acting as a wizard of small percussion; "River People," with Erskine triple timing the beat to get Shorter's solo out from under the bank of Zawinul's keyboards and Pastorius supporting him, the sheer arpeggiattic flights of fancy Zawinul was capable of in mode such as on "In a Silent Way/Waterfall." All of these are wonderful moments in a collection of tracks that has nothing whatsoever to apologize for and is a more than worthy addition to any fan's library. Ultimately, this still leaves room for Legacy to come up with a live Weather Report Box, perhaps documenting the Jaco years. Here's to hoping. - Thom Jurek

Wayne Shorter (tenor and soprano sax)
Joe Zawinul (keyboards)
Alphonso Johnson, Jaco Pastorius, Victor Bailey (bass)
Chester Thompson, Alex Acuna, Peter Erskine, Omar Hakim (drums)
Alex Acuna, Manolo Badrena, Robert Thomas, Jose Rossy (percussion)
CD 1
  1. Freezing Fire
  2. Plaza Real
  3. Fast City
  4. Portrait of Tracy
  5. Elegant People
  6. Cucumber Slumber
  7. Teen Town
  8. Man in the Green Shirt
CD 2
  1. Black Market
  2. Where the Moon Goes
  3. River People
  4. Two Lines
  5. Cigano
  6. In a Silent Way/Waterfall
  7. Night Passage
  8. Port of Entry
  9. Rumba Mama
  10. Directions/Dr. Honoris Causa

Cecil Payne - Patterns of Jazz

Here's a vinyl rip in medium-quality vbr mp3 of an album I sold quite awhile back. But worth a download and listen as even the CD reissue seems hard to find these days. One side is a quartet with Duke Jordan, the other a quintet with the addition of Kenny Dorham. An AMG review in comments.

Dexter Gordon - Tangerine (1972)

Still considered an expatriate as he resided in Europe, Dexter Gordon (tenor sax) returned stateside in mid-1972 long enough to lay down two sessions' worth of material that would primarily be split between Tangerine (1972), Generation (1973), and Ca'Purange (1973). The opening update of the Johnny Mercer staple "Tangerine" gets things underway with a mid-tempo treatment allowing Gordon, Thad Jones (trumpet), Hank Jones (piano), and Stanley Clarke (bass) plenty of room to groove on their own as well as in the quintet with Louis Hayes' (drums) rock-solid downbeat. Oddly, the performance is not presented in its entirety, fading out nearly nine minutes in. Hank Jones shines on the easygoing "August Blues" -- the first of three Gordon originals featured on the platter. Gordon is more methodical as his interesting ideas develop organically and inspire the same from Thad Jones, who kicks things up with his dizzying double-time before handing things back to pianist Hank Jones. Clarke steps up and gives the tune a final shot of soul as the rest of the ensemble join back in. The funky "What It Was" is the most modern-sounding side on the album, with Clarke's undulating and propulsive bass giving the number a contemporary kick. Although pianist Jones decides to class up the joint with refined and bluesy contributions that rhythmically jump and jive all over the beat. From a slightly earlier date, Gordon is accompanied by Cedar Walton (piano), Buster Williams (bass), and Billy Higgins (drums) on the LP's final two entries. The interpretation of the Mancini/Mercer classic "Days of Wine and Roses" is suitably stately with Gordon's rich tone perfectly capturing the tuneful romanticism without seeming maudlin or trite. The same can be said of Walton's warm and inviting runs that glide into a short but sublime bass solo from Williams. It certainly ranks up there as one of Gordon's greats. Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) is on hand for the closer -- Gordon's "The Group" -- as listeners are given a taste of the former's strong melodic sense. His blows are resounding, particularly so when doubling up beside Gordon for maximum impact. ~ Lindsay Planer

1. Tangerine
2. August Blues
3. What It Was
4. Days of Wine and Roses
5. The Group (bonus track)

Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Thad Jones (flugelhorn)
Hank Jones, Cedar Walton (piano)
Stanley Clarke, Buster Williams (bass)
Louis Hayes, Billy Higgins (drums).

Cannonball Adderley - Quintet At The Lighthouse

The cool jazz that Miles Davis was forging around the same time gets more critical ink, but when a layman thinks about Jazz with a capital "J," the music that comes to mind probably sounds a lot like this 1960 club date from the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Throughout the set (which now includes a previously unreleased bonus track, the aptly titled "Our Delight"), the group shows off its chief assets: meaty rhythms and lively soloing with roots in both bebop and gospel. For the first time, it could also boast the presence of pianist-composer Victor Feldman. In addition to his tuneful-yet-conversational solos, Feldman contributes two of his own songs, the breezy "Azule Serape" (in his introduction, Adderley claims not to understand the title) and the antic "Exodus." The band handles both delicate numbers ("We think this one is kind of cute," Adderley says of "Blue Daniel") and more propulsive material (the boss' own classic, "Sack O' Woe") with equal parts vivacity and poise. Somethin' Else aside, the true brilliance of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet was best captured live in front of a small, appreciative audience. At the Lighthouse is an excellent document of soul-jazz at both its jazziest and most soulful. ~ Daniel Browne

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Victor Feldman (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Sack O' Woe
2. Big "P"
3. Blue Daniel
4. Azule Serape
5. Exodus
6. What Is This Thing Called Love?
7. Our Delight

Recorded live at The Lighthouse Cafe, Hermosa Beach, California on October 16, 1960

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Red Garland - Blues In The Night

The emphasis is on the blues (although not exclusively) on this CD reissue. The original eight-song program has been joined by "A Portrait of Jennie" by the same trio (pianist Red Garland, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor) from an earlier date. Most unusual about the set is that Garland makes a rare (and effective) appearance on organ during "Halleloo-Y'All." Otherwise, this is a conventional but enjoyable set of bluesy bop, highlighted by "Revelation Blues," "Everytime I Feel the Spirit" and "Rocks In My Bed." ~ Scott Yanow

Red Garland (organ, piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)
Ray Barretto (conga)

1. Back Slidin'
2. Revelation Blues
3. Everytime I Feel The Spirit
4. Halleloo-Y'All
5. I'll Never Be Free
6. Blues In The Night
7. Rocks In My Bed
8. Soul Burnin'
9. Portrait Of Jenny

Dave Pell's Prez Conference (1978)

Much like Supersax payed tribute to Charlie Parker, Dave Pell's Prez Conference took Lester Young's most famous solos and harmonized them for a sax section of three tenors and a baritone. Arranger Bill Holman used alternate takes and airchecks as well as the original issues for the source material. In between Lester's solos we get to hear from Sweets Edison and pianist Arnold Ross who share the solo spotlight.

A CD was released that combined this LP with Prez & Joe (featuring Joe Williams) but like many compilation 2-fers they left out some of the tracks from the LPs. If there's any interest I can also rip the other LP. Done--links in comments.

Dave Pell, Bob Cooper, Gordon Brisker (tenor sax) Bill Hood (bari sax)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Arnold Ross (piano)
Frank De La Rosa (bass)
Al Hendrickson (guitar)
Will Bradley, Jr. (drums)
Bill Holman (arranger)
  1. I Never Knew
  2. Sometime's I'm Happy
  3. Lester Leaps In
  4. Jumping with Symphony Sid
  5. Jumpin' at the Woodside
  6. One O'Clock Jump
  7. Just You, Just Me
  8. Lester Leaps Again
  9. Taxi War Dance
  10. Jump Lester Jump

David Murray and Mal Waldron - Silence

On June 24, 2008 Justin Time will release “Silence," a long-awaited duo session from saxophonist David Murray & pianist Mal Waldron.

Reedman/composer David Murray's astonishing career has been marked by his proclivity for embracing unusual thematic concepts, musical combinations and collaborative efforts in his prolific creative pursuits. Collaboration is the key to Silence, his latest release on Justin Time Records, and his eleventh recording as leader for the label. Here he's in the company of the legendary pianist/composer Mal Waldron, exploring a musical territory relatively uncommon in jazz, the piano/reeds duet.

Murray, who has often been characterized as a musician who has helped bridge the legacy of the jazz tradition with its future through his stylistic links with tenor immortals Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins, along with his willingness to perform in inter-generational contexts with many jazz elders throughout his career, adds another link to that reputation with this remarkable recording. Recorded in October 2001, a little more than a year before Waldron's passing, this is Mal's last known recording, and a stunning reminder of the great loss the jazz community has suffered with his departure.

Despite his great reputation as both a leader and a soloist, Mal was also noted for his brilliant collaborative efforts with many saxophone giants - including John Coltrane, Booker Ervin, Eric Dolphy, Jackie McLean, Steve Lacy and so many others - as well as for his two years as Billie Holiday's last pianist until her death in 1959. His qualities as a superb accompanist and a sensitive collaborator are clearly borne out on this recording.

The repertoire of seven compositions on Silence covers a good deal of ground, including standards, originals and a rarely covered Miles Davis piece that was a staple of his later performances. Four of the pieces are ballads, showcasing Waldron's special ability to accompany a dynamic and forceful soloist, while both supporting and enhancing the musical context. Among those ballads is Waldron's signature piece, the gorgeous “Soul Eyes, “ which ranks as one of the most beautiful of jazz ballads. For this version, an extended fourteen-minute excursion, Murray performs on bass clarinet, further enhancing his own reputation as the most influential and powerful voice on that challenging instrument since the unparalleled Eric Dolphy. The darkly luminous and dulcet tone of the horn, Murray's articulately exciting solo with a nicely-grooved double time section, Mal's lushly beautiful turn, and a swirling extended duet following the closing thematic statement, all contribute to making this a most unique version of this Waldron classic.

The other ballads include Duke Ellington's “All Too Soon, “ with highly emotive tenor and orchestral piano; and an extended version of the Sammy Cahn/Paul Stordahl/Paul Weston standard, “I Should Care, “ marked by a passionate tenor solo and a brief, but extremely beautiful solo by Waldron. “Free For C.T., “ another exquisite Waldron ballad (co-written with Max Roach) opens the album, featuring Murray again on bass clarinet. The woody sound is particularly suited to Waldron's writing as Murray reaches to the very bottom of its range to state the heart-wrenching theme. The instrument's entire range is utilized in his powerful solo, stoked by Mal's block chords, sometimes with tantalizing suspension. Mal's highly personal solo style is on full display here, building excitement with slowly developing single note structures with his right hand while adding darkly textured tight chords at the very bottom of the piano with his left.

That same tantalizing excitement is evident on two of the more up-tempo pieces, “Hurray For Herbie, “ another Waldron original and Miles Davis' “Jean-Pierre." For the former, a tautly tense free-time piece, with a repetitive theme built on a foundation of powerful block chords, Murray is on tenor and romps in Hawkins-ish style. Mal's solo is a smoker in his inimitable smolder-mode, building slowly with a Middle-Eastern modality in his single-note right hand runs, while kicking it from the rear with those dark low notes. “Jean-Pierre" is given a most original treatment. A sharply syncopated, angular and playful piece in Miles' hands, here it gets a more expansive treatment, with Waldron stretching Miles' tightly-knit rhythmic thrust into an orchestral texture of grandeur and majesty. Murray's tenor solo is burly, boiling and imaginative, while Mal's percolating solo style builds tension a note at a time over tight-knit deeply resonant left hand chords that sound like distant thunder, climaxing in a cascade of right hand block chords.

Murray's original, “Silence" is a free-blowing excursion. It's loping melody, interspersed with short fractured segments cascades into orbit with David rollicking in his dynamically fiery style and Mal mixing exciting block chords with freely flowing improvisational textures, in what is as clear-cut a definition of collaboration as one can imagine - an appropriate description of this entire affair. ~ Unattributed, All About Jazz

This was Mal Waldron’s last known recording, completed in two days in October, 2001, the year before his death.

David Murray (tenor sax)
Mal Waldron (piano)

1. Free For C.T.
2. Silence
3. Hurray For Herbie
4. I Should Care
5. Jean-Pierre
6. All Too Soon
7. Soul Eyes

Fats Waller - Complete Victor Piano Solos (1927-1941)

"nougats of wordless wonderment"

Thomas "Fats" Waller was the first jazz organist. He also helped to develop and establish the style of music commonly known as swing; was possessed of an outrageous sense of humor; sang however the hell he felt like singing, and made a point of cutting up whenever possible, particularly when he had to navigate a seemingly endless stream of Tin Pan Alley lyrics. All of his traits and accomplishments sometimes seem to obscure what is perhaps the most important and enduring aspect of Fats Waller -- he was a gifted and powerfully expressive pianist who learned his craft from the originators of the Harlem stride style: James P. Johnson, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Luckey Roberts. Seldom have Waller's major piano solos been made available en masse to the public for any length of time. These three-minute nougats of wordless wonderment popped up between clusters of ensemble and vocal tracks during the LP era, adding significant depth to the RCA Victor Vintage series in particular. A 1977 Bluebird double LP (containing 33 selections) presented most of the master takes recorded between 1929 and 1941, and a follow-up Bluebird double CD (40 selections) appeared in 1991 bearing the title Turn on the Heat. Both of these compilations disappeared after awhile, leaving the public to search through chronologies and compilations or to remain altogether ignorant of Waller's pianistic prowess. Definitive's 2006 double-CD reissue of the Complete Victor Piano Solos (with a whopping 52 selections) is the best compilation of its kind. The producers responsible for this package deserve highest praise for having assembled these precious recordings in an unprecedented chronological compendium. Beginning with the gutsy 1927 stomp "Blue Black Bottom" (which did not make it onto the 1977 LP two-fer), this edition omits Waller's two very first recordings, a pair of piano solos cut for the Okeh label in October of 1922. It does include all of the significant Victor solos with six alternate takes, and surpasses Turn on the Heat by dealing in the six-movement "London Suite" and six exquisite lesser-known radio transcriptions, including a gorgeous three-minute rumination on a theme from Faust, Charles Gounod's opera of 1859. These solos represent and reveal the very heart of Waller, and a significant portion of the collective soul of all humanity. If there were to be one Fats Waller album, or one jazz album, or one of a handful of sound recordings to speak for the world, this is it. It's that important, it's that beautiful, it's that essential. Honest to goodness. - arwulf arwulf

Wouldn't you love to have arwulf arwulf as a guest commentator on our blog?

Billy Bang with Sun Ra - A Tribute to Stuff Smith

Posted elsewhere over a year ago; these are probably Ogg files.

"Forty years before recording this very interesting CD, keyboardist Sun Ra made his debut on records on a duet with violinist Stuff Smith, playing a haunting version of "Deep Purple." For this CD (one of Ra's final sessions) the quartet workout with violinist Billy Bang finds Ra doing a new version of "Deep Purple" and performing a variety of tunes associated with Smith. Actually, Ra was a bit hemmed in by the concept, and his conception of time was different than Bang's, so there is a certain amount of tension in the music. Also, Billy Bang has a much rougher sound and a freer style than Stuff Smith, but the end results are well worth hearing." Scott Yanow

Sun Ra (piano, synth)
Billy Bang (violin)
John Ore (bass)
Andrew Cyrille (drums)

1. Only Time Will Tell
2. Satin Doll
3. Deep Purple
4. Bugle Blues
5. Foggy Day In London Town
6. April in Paris
7. Lover Man
8. Yesterdays

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Irakere - Chekeré Son (1979)

Recorded in Cuba and released on LP by JVC (Japan) and Milestone (USA), this one has never made it to CD. (there is a compilation with the same title but different tracks)

Chucho Valdés (piano, organ, keyboard bass, musical director)
Paquito D'Rivera (alto, soprano and baritone saxes, clarinet, flute)
Carlos Averhoff (tenor and soprano saxes, bass clarinet, flute)
Arturo Sandoval, Jorge Varona (trumpet, valve trombone, percussion)
Carlos Emilio Morales (guitar, alto sax, fliscornio)
Carlos del Puerto (bass, tuba)
Enrique Pla (drums)
Jorge Alfonso (tumbadora, bata drums, percussion)
Oscar Valdés (tumbadora, bata drums, paila, bongo, percussion, vocals)
Armando Cuervo (Cuban percussion, voices)
  1. Chekeré Son
  2. Quince Minutos
  3. La Semilla
  4. La Comparsa
  5. Camaguey
  6. Cha Cha Cha
Recorded in Havana, May 25-June 1, 1979

The Three Peppers - 1937-1940

This CD from the European Classics label has the entire recorded legacy of the Three Peppers (other than obscure sets in 1947 and 1949), 24 selections in all from six recording sessions. Consisting of Oliver "Toy" Wilson on piano, guitarist Bob Bell and bassist Walter Williams, the Three Peppers (which had Wilson, Bell and maybe Williams indulging in group vocals) preceded the Nat King Cole Trio and played hot swing and novelties with plenty of spirit. This CD includes a previously unreleased recording of "The Sheik of Araby" and is highlighted by such tunes as "Swingin' at the Cotton Club," "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" (one of four numbers with singer Sally Gooding, trumpet, clarinet and drums added), two versions of "Swing Out, Uncle Wilson" and "Pepperism." Recommended for lovers of small-group swing. ~
Scott Yanow

Oliver "Toy" Wilson (piano, vocals)
Bob Bell (guitar, vocals)
Walter Williams (bass)

1. Get The Gold
2. The Sheik Of Araby
3. Alexander's Ragtime Band
4. Swingin' At The Cotton Club
5. Yours, All Yours
6. The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere
7. It Must Be Love
8. Smile Up At The Sun
9. Swing Out, Uncle Wilson
10. If I Had My Way
11. Serenade In The Night
12. The Duck's Yas Yas Yas
13. Down By The Old Mill Stream
14. Fuzzy Wuzzy
15. Swing Out, Uncle Wilson
16. Smile Up At The Sun
17. Love Grows On The White Oak Tree
18. It's A Puzzle To Me (So What!)
19. Three Foot Skipper Jones
20. Pepperism
21. Tom Tom Serenade
22. Hot Dogs
23. Mary Had A Little Lamb
24. Was That All I Meant To You?

Recorded in NYC, 1937-1940

from bam bam to cherry oh! baby

reposted by request. some great stuff here, solid end to end.

Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan - At Newport '63

Lambert, Hendricks and Who? Yolande Bavan, born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), replaced Annie Ross at the end of 1962 and recorded three live albums with the vocal trio. The group disbanded in 1964 and Bavan pretty much disappeared although she made a surprising appearance on Weather Report's I Sing the Body Electric in 1972.

The famed vocal trio does a fun and entertaining set at Newport but the highlight of the performance are appearances by Clark Terry and Coleman Hawkins on five of the nine selections. Where else can you hear Hawkins soloing on "Watermelon Man"? "Bye Bye Blackbird" (based on the Miles Davis recording) was performed as an encore and added to the CD as a bonus track.

"Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Yolande Bavan (who had replaced Annie Ross in 1962) recorded three albums during their two years together. This LP has the second date, a successful concert at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival; four of the eight songs have since been reissued on a sampler CD. In addition to the Gildo Mahones Trio, L, H & B are joined on some songs by trumpeter Clark Terry and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Highlights include "One O'Clock Jump," "Watermelon Man," "Cloudburst" and a funny rendition of Hendricks' "Gimme That Wine." All of the records by this group (and its predecessor Lambert, Hendricks and Ross) are well worth acquiring even if Yolande Bavan was not a soloist on the level of an Annie Ross." - Scott Yanow

Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, Yolande Bavan (vocals)
Clark Terry (trumpet*)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax*)
Gildo Mahones (piano)
George Tucker (bass)
Jimmie Smith (drums)
  1. Watermelon Man*
  2. Sack O' Woe*
  3. One O'Clock Jump
  4. Deedle-Lee Deedle-Lum*
  5. Gimme That Wine
  6. Yeh-Yeh!*
  7. Walkin'*
  8. Cloudburst
  9. Bye Bye Blackbird
Recorded on July 5, 1963 at the Newport Jazz Festival

Jackie McLean and The Cosmic Brotherhood - New York Calling

Jackie McLean's band on New York Calling, the Cosmic Brotherhood, plays with uncompromising passion, fury, and intelligence. The group, a generation younger than the leader, has a sound that is definitive '70s advanced hard bop. Although not as well-known as some of their contemporaries, by the time of this 1974 recording, the members of McLean's quintet had logged playing time with many of the leaders of the hard bop scene: McCoy Tyner, Gary Bartz, Sam Rivers, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, and others. In addition to exceptional chops, the band has strong writers in trumpeter Billy Skinner and pianist Billy Gault. Their tightly voiced arrangements, punctuated by roiling power surges from the rhythm section, call to mind the work of Woody Shaw, whose classic Moontrane was also recorded in 1974. However, where Shaw's music possesses an urbane, majestic poise, Skinner and Gault go for a skittering, street-level urgency. McLean, recognizing the powerful talents in his midst -- including McLean's son, René, on tenor, alto, and soprano sax -- comes across as one among equals. It's to McLean's credit that the date bears the stamp of his band's artistry as much as it does his own. ~ Jim Todd

Jackie McLean (alto sax)
René McLean (tenor, alto and soprano sax)
Billy Skinner (trumpet)
Billy Gault (piano)
James "Fish" Benjamin (bass)
Michael Carvin (drums)

1. New York Calling
2. Star Dancer
3. Camel Driver
4. Some Other Time
5. Adrians Dance
6. New York Calling (take 3)

Recorded on October 30, 1974

The Savoy Story Volume 1 - Jazz

This is the first thing I ever uploaded anywhere - it was my first contribution to Jazz Pour Tous, of pleasant memory.

The old Savoy catalog gets bounced around from one distributor to the next like an unwanted foster child, with everyone starting from scratch once they get a hold of it. By 1999, it was Atlantic's turn and, hot on the heels of other label retrospectives, they have compiled a very good three-CD anthology of Savoy's jazz activities over 15 years in the middle of the 20th century. Decently remastered, the set opens around the tail end of the swing era (capturing some major figures in small-combo jazz like Ben Webster, Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet) and moves on to a detailed portrait of the emergence of bop just after the war. While rarely sticking with artists for very long to track their progress, Savoy (and the labels it absorbed) was a hugely important player in the early days of bop, managing to capture some of the earliest work of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Stan Getz, George Shearing, and Dexter Gordon. The set also tracks mid- to late-'50s hard bop, including numbers by Milt Jackson, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Byrd, Donald Byrd, Herbie Mann, and other major figures. There are no unreleased goodies -- not much that truly ventures out beyond hard bop -- and only after the opening of disc three does the canvas of each track expand beyond the length of a single. The set comes in a compact, laminated mini-box with mid-century-style cover art. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Includes a 70 page booklet with liner notes by Bob Porter
All tracks have been digitally remastered using Denon's 20-Bit Mastersonic process.

CD 1
1. Jersey Jump Off - Cozy Cole/Coleman Hawkins
2. Honeysuckle Rose - Ben Webster
3. Tush - Earl Warren/Lester Young
4. These Foolish Things - Johnny Guarnieri/Lester Young
5. Blue Lester - Lester Young/Count Basie
6. Uncle Sam's Blues - Hot Lips Page/Don Byas
7. Moppin' The Blues - Pete Brown
8. Sweet Man - Miss Rhapsody
9. Buck's Boogie Woogie - Herbie Fields
10. Johnson And Turner Blues - Joe Turner
11. Jim Dawgs - Ike Quebec
12. Laura - Erroll Garner
13. Jumpin' Jacquet - Illinois Jacquet
14. Candy - Don Byas
15. Slim's Jam - Slim Gaillard
16. Lonesome Lover Blues - Billy Eckstine & His Orchestra
17. How High The Moon - Don Byas
18. Now's The Time - Charlie Parker
19. Dexter's Deck - Dexter Gordon
20. I Love The Rhythm In A Riff - Billy Eckstine & His Orchestra
21. Boyd Meets Stravinsky - Boyd Raeburn
22. Koko - Charlie Parker

CD 2
1. Don't Worry Bout Me - Stan Getz
2. Mad Be Bop - J.J. Johnson
3. Ray's Idea - The Be Bop Boys
4. Nostalgia - Fats Navarro
5. Ice Freezes Red - Fats Navarro/Leo Parker
6. Churchmouse - Allen Eager
7. Gaberdine And Serge - Serge Chaloff
8. Chasin' the Bird - Charlie Parker
9. Half Nelson - Miles Davis
10. Settin' The Pace - Dexter Gordon
11. Wee Dot - Leo Parker/J.J. Johnson
12. Parker's Mood - Charlie Parker
13. Euphoria - Charlie Ventura & His Orchestra
14. Stan's Mood - Stan Getz
15. Moon Over Miami - George Shearing
16. Bird Gets The Worm - Charlie Parker
17. Move - Red Norvo Trio
18. Surf Ride - Art Pepper
19. Tin Tin Deo - Dizzy Gillespie
20. The Champ - Dizzy Gillespie
21. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square - Marian McPartland
22. Red Top - Gene Ammons

CD 3
1. Bernie's Tune - J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding
2. Eulogy For Rudy Williams - Charles Mingus
3. When Did You Leave Heaven - Little Jimmy Scott
4. With Apologies To Oscar - Kenny Clarke
5. A Little Taste - Cannonball Adderley
6. You Leave Me Breathless - Milt Jackson
7. If I Love Again - Donald Byrd
8. Afternoon In Paris - Kenny Clarke/Kenny Burrell
9. 8540 Twelfth Street - Yusef Lateef
10. Spring Is Here - Charlie Byrd
11. Yardbird Suite - Herbie Mann
12. E.F.F.P.H. - Wilbur Harden/John Coltrane
13. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face - Coleman Hawkins
14. Blues-ette - Curtis Fuller/Benny Golson

Don Cherry-Mu parts 1and 2 (1969)

Heres a very favourite of mine , my vinyl of these has literally worn out , so heres an upgrade from the crappy affinity lp reissue complete with pressing faults and shitful sound. .of one and an unplayably scratched original of 2.

This has appeared on other blogs/ forums in mp3 ‘s but (a search seems to reveal) it not to have been shared here or on related sites.
Best to approach this without any preconceptions about free jazz/ the avant guard , all those cherished clichés and crass labels which roll off the tongue so easily.
Timeless stuff enjoy!!.

Note the 2 sets of covers were sourced online(my scanner is broken)
Those interested should also check the archives for el Corazon ,shared months or longer ago by jean francois.

by Skip Jansen
An outstanding work in the free jazz and avant-garde jazz idiom, the Mu sessions are among the most beautiful improvised duets recorded during the height of the free jazz movement. Recorded in France in 1969 and originally released on the BYG Actuel imprint, Mu remained an obscure collector's item for three decades until its reissue in two parts during the '90s. With Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, piano, Indian flute, bamboo flute, voice, bells, and percussion and Ed Blackwell on drums, percussion, and bells, the pair created one of the most telepathic improvisations on record, matched only by John Coltrane and Rashied Ali on the album Interstellar Space. From simple playful themes, Cherry develops a complex interplay with his partner that results in irrational mood changes and rhythm shifts, moving from ecstatic bird-call flurries through to fragile blues and nursery rhyme patterns. An African-inspired pulse groove follows the rapid-fire introduction, after which flurries of Cherry's pocket trumpet soar ecstatically into the air. More than three decades later, Mu is one of the few records that one can say sounds free, playful, candid, and revolutionary, an utterly arresting masterpiece that is a milestone in Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell s careers — not to mention the free jazz movement in its entirety. Essentially, the recording represents such fire, passion, and energy that it can certainly reach listeners far beyond the avant-garde jazz academy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paul Chambers & Tommy Flanagan | Motor City Scene

Two sessions – one from 1959, the other 1960 – on this superb Lonehill Reissue. I think you'll like this stuff, as there's no leis or other gimmicks here, just great hard bop with lots of solo time in every tune!

20bit digitally remastered disc set. This sensational release features Paul Chambers and Tommy Flanagan with two all-star Detroit formations including such outstanding musicians as Thad and Elvin Jones, Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams, Billy Mitchell and Kenny Burrell. The majority of the compositions provided are by Thad Jones and Pepper Adams and the music never strays far from the sublime. A sterling recording of the legendary Detroit music scenes top musicians. Paul Chambers, Tommy Flanagan, Elvin and Thad Jones, Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams and Kenny Burrell, what more needs to be said? - Randolph Hayes, The New York Times


1-4: Thad Jones (cnt, flhrn), Al Grey (tb), Billy Mitchell (ts), Tommy Flanagan (pno), Paul Chambers (b), Elvin Jones (d) New York, October 24& 31, 1959

5-9: Donald Byrd (tp), Pepper Adams (bar), Kenny Burrell (gtr), Tommy Flanagan (pno), Paul Chambers (b), Louis Hayes (d) New York, 1960

Lester Bowie - All The Magic

Two very different sessions are combined on this two-LP set. Trumpeter Lester Bowie and a quintet also including Ari Brown on tenor and soprano, pianist Art Matthews, bassist Fred Williams, and drummer Phillip Wilson, are often used to accompany the soulful and gospel-oriented vocals of Fontella Bass and David Peaston (in addition to taking colorful solos). The 12-minute "For Louie" and a suite that is dominated by an emotional version of "Everything Must Change" are highlights; also memorable is a brief version of Albert Ayler's "Ghosts." The second album is quite a bit different, a set of unaccompanied trumpet solos by Bowie that are often quite humorous. On "Miles Davis Meets Donald Duck," the meeting does seem to take place; "Thirsty?" is a funny joke, and some of the other pieces (including "Organic Echo," "Dunce Dance" and "Fraudulent Fanfare") are brief but effective wisecracks. All in all, this two-fer shows off both Lester Bowie's playing abilities and his sense of humor. Scott Yanow

Jackie McLean - The Complete Jubilee Sessions

Which is to say, two albums made for the Jubilee label in '55 and '57. One of the more acceptable Lonehill releases. In the months prior to the first album Jackie was with Miles and George Wallington, and the album following was Lights Out for Prestige; that might be due for a re-post in flac. Fat Jazz came between Strange Blues/A Long Drink Of The Blues with the same line-up mostly, and Sonny Clark's Cool Struttin'. A fertile time for Jackie Mac, musically at least. A few more McLean things featuring Mal Waldron will be showing up in due course.

" ...desirable for freshly minted charts, and the inventive interplay of Young and Draper. 'Tune Up' is one of McLean's leanest and most daring performances of the period." ~ Penguin Guide

The Jackie McLean Quintet

Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Ronald Tucker (drums)
New York: October 21, 1955

Jackie McLean Plays Fat Jazz

Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Webster Young (trumpet)
Ray Draper (tuba)
Gil Coggins (piano)
George Tucker (bass)
Larry Richie (drums)
New York: November 27, 1957

1. It's You Or No One
2. Blue Doll
3. Little Melonae
4. The Way You Look Tonight
5. Mood Melody
6. Lover Man
7. Filide
8. Millie's Pad
9. Two Sons
10. What Good Am I Without You
11. Tune Up

Jess Stacy - 1935-1939 (Chronological 795)

Pianist Jess Stacy did not lead that many recording sessions during the swing era since he spent long periods playing with the big bands of Benny Goodman and Bob Crosby. This excellent CD contains his 21 selections as a leader from a four-year period. Stacy's three numbers from 1935 include a solo Bix Beiderbecke medley and two songs with bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Gene Krupa. In addition, this set has Stacy's eight piano solos for Commodore, a duet with Bud Freeman on tenor ("She's Funny That Way"), and eight very rare performances (plus an alternate take) cut for Varsity in 1939 that also feature trumpeter Billy Butterfield, tenor saxophonist Eddie Miller, and either clarinetist Hank d'Amico or Irving Fazola in an octet. This CD contains more than its share of gems. ~ Scott Yanow

Jess Stacy (piano)
Bud Freeman (tenor sax)
Billy Butterfield (trumpet)
Hank D'Amico (clarinet)
Israel Crosby (bass)
Gene Krupa (drums)

1. In The Dark/Flashes
2. Barrelhouse
3. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
4. Ramblin'
5. Complainin'
6. Candlelights
7. Complainin'
8. Ain't Goin' Nowhere
9. She's Funny That Way
10. You're Driving Me Crazy
11. The Sell-Out
12. Ec-Stacy
13. What's New?
14. Melancholy Mood
15. Noni
16. Jess Stay
17. Breeze (Blow My Baby Back To Me) - (Fox Trot)
18. Breeze (Blow My Baby Back To Me) - (Blues)
19. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
20. A Good Man Is Hard To Find
21. Clarinet Blues

Monday, June 23, 2008

Andrew Hill - Hommage

The wealth of jazz recordings originally released only in Japan, especially during the ‘70s, has long been a source of angst for collectors, especially given that for many years—outside of the occasional store prepared to bring in these expensive imports—they were virtually unobtainable in North America. Of course, with the advent of the internet, it has become much easier, albeit no less expensive, to obtain such recordings. The good news is that, while there is still a surprising number of albums being released strictly to Japanese audiences, many of the archival recordings from years past are finally seeing the light of day in North America—and often for the first time on CD, period.

And so kudos is due to 441 Records' fledgling subsidiary, Test of Time Records, which has acquired the rights to over thirty recordings from the Japanese East Wind Masterpiece Collection line.... (t)he first release is a long-lost outing from pianist Andrew Hill. Hommage was, in fact, Hill’s first solo recording, and it demonstrates, even stripped bare, the kind of complex harmonies and rhythms characteristic of Hill’s work for larger ensembles. On six original compositions and one standard—Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady”—Hill’s somewhat idiosyncratic and cerebral approach is on full display.

But what is also clear is Hill’s broad range of musical influences. “Vision,” while clearly coming from a jazz sensibility, is also the result of an artist who has spent considerable time with 20th Century classical composers like Hindemith, with whom Hill studied in the early ‘50s. And while Hill seemed to get lost in the shuffle of free jazz artists like Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor in the ‘60s, pieces like “Naked Spirit”—reportedly recorded in complete darkness, allowing Hill’s fingers to be guided by intuition and spirit rather than sight and form—retrospectively demonstrate just how important Hill was to a more liberated approach. Still, as opposed to the more aggressive stance of Taylor, Hill exhibits a broader range of colours, an inherently more supple approach, and perhaps a greater rooting in earlier pianists like Tatum—albeit twisted in strange new directions.

And in the looser context of a solo session, Hill is freed to explore in a more stream-of-consciousness mode. “Rambling” may seem aptly titled, as it gives the initial appearance of pure spontaneity and unconsidered invention; but even in a purely free context as this Hill’s inner logic is at work, providing a curious sense of form to an otherwise unfettered exploration.

The DSD technology used to transfer the master tapes to compact disc form has created a vivid sound that brings Hill’s pieces into clear focus. Hommage, aside from being an important Hill release, signifies the start of a new series that should make jazz fans around the world very happy indeed. John Kelman

Andrew Hill (piano)

1.- East 9th Street
2.- Naked Spirit
3.- Insanity Riff
4.- Sophisticated Lady
5.- Clayton Gone
6.- Vision
7.- Rambling

Recorded May 19 - July 31, 1975 at Vanguard Studios, NYC

Sun Ra- black myth/out in space, live at Donaueschingen 1970

Review by Jason Ankeny
Although portions of the Black Myth/Out in Space were previously issued as It's After the End of the World, this two-disc set is far and away the definitive release of the material in question, compiling two 1970 festival appearances documenting Sun Ra at the peak of his considerable creative powers. Black Myth, recorded at the Donaueschingen Music Festival, is the real find here, with a series of compositions and solos written specifically for performance on that evening — the Arkestra, including John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, is in excellent form throughout, and the music is consistently inventive and galvanizing. The same sentiments apply to Out in Space as well — a set comprised primarily of cosmic journeys like "Walkin' on the Moon," "Outer Space Where I Came From" and "Theme of the Stargazers," it climaxes with a powerful rendition of "We Travel the Spaceways."


early latino cal. three sessions with a baseline of manual duran on piano, bayardo velarde timbales, carlos duran bass, edgard rosales conga. on four tracks add woody herman's third herd trumpet section: al porcino, dick collins, charlie walp, and john howell. on four luis miranda replaces rosales.

hot chamingas. the small band was recorded at the blackhawk in san francisco with willie bobo, mongo santamaria, jose lozano, lonnie hewitt, and victor villegas. the large band was assembled in LA by eddie cano and has all mckibbon on bass and no other credits.

willie threw down a monster here. some say this one was instrumental in the formation of the new york sound; i don't know how it fits into the timeline but if you don't know what the 'new york sound' is, here is a good place to start. hector lavoe does the vocals, johnny pacheco and jerry masucci direct and produce respectively. no other credits.

cal and the lads roasting the campus area in san jose and sacramento circa 1959. with lonnie hewitt, eddie coleman, willie bobo, and mongo santamaria.

these guys never quit. with manuel duran, carlos duran, luis miranda, bayardo velarde, and brew moore.


with marty sheller on trumpet, hubert laws on flute and tenor, bobby capers on alto and baritone and flute, carmello garcia timbales and drums, rodger grant on piano, and victor venegas on bass.

hold on to your hat.

cal and eddie just tearing it up. creed taylor, claus ogerman, and rudy van g oversee cal and eddie with george castro, tommy lopez, manny oquendo, ismael quintana, jose rodrigues, mark weinstein, julian priester, bobby rodriguez, and barry rodgers. this is for the mighty bacoso.

mongo funks it up. slips into a porno sountrack vibe occasionally, but absolutely rips too. lady marmalade for god's sake.
with justo almario, al williams, ray maldonado, greg peachy jarmon, armon donelian, william allen, steve barrios, roscoe mackey, bob porcelli, victor paz, tom malone, bernard pretty purdie, and paul griffin. a who's who of nyc studio luminaries.

this was one of the first tjader records i bought after i had figured out how good he was. cool mambos with manuel duran on piano, carlos duran on bass, and edgard rosales on percussion. cal plays conga on mamblues, gourd on autumn leaves, and vibes on the rest.

Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass - Again! (1978)

This album was conceived of and originally recorded in mid-June, 1978 in flaming direct-to-disc...a sequel to the Boss Brass' immensely successful first Umbrella album. The potential disaster lurking behind all direct-to-disc recording projects did in fact come crashing down as all of the metal masters were ruined at some point in the matrixing process. Luckily, the sessions were recorded simultaneously on 2-track stereo reference tapes which were used for this 2-LP release.

"The first of two sets recorded by Rob McConnell's Boss Brass in 1978 was originally put out by the Canadian Umbrella label and for a time on LP by the now-obsolete Pausa company. The 17-horn, 22-piece orchestra performs five standards (including a samba version of "Take the 'A' Train"), plus McConnell's 'The 4, 679, 385th Blues In Bb." Pianist Jimmy Dale is featured on "Everytime We Say Goodbye"; flugelhornist Guido Basso is showcased on "A Time for Love"; the two French horns are prominent on "My Ship," and the two tenors (Eugene Amaro and Rick Wilkins) battle it out on the blues. Fine straight-ahead big band music.

The second of two now-hard-to-find Rob McConnell Boss Brass LPs put out domestically by Pausa is a bit unusual in that the side-long, 17-minute, four-song "Pellet Suite" was not arranged by McConnell, but by its composer, trombonist Ian McDougall. In addition, the 22-piece big band performs McConnell's reworkings of Lester Young's "Tickletoe" and "I Hear a Rhapsody." The main soloists include guitarist Ed Bickert, Rick Wilkins on tenor, altoist Jerry Toth, trumpeter Sam Noto, Gene Amaro on tenor, altoist Moe Koffman and McConnell himself on valve trombone." - Scott Yanow

Ripped from the original Umbrella 2-LP release.

Rob McConnell (leader, valve trombone)
Arnie Chycoski, Erich Traugott, Guido Basso, Bruce Cassidy, Sam Noto (trumpet)
Ian McDougall, Bob Livingston, Dave McMurdo, Ron Hughes (trombone)
Brad Warnaar, George Stimpson (french horn)
Moe Koffman, Jerry Toth, Eugene Amaro, Rick Wilkins, Gary Morgan (reeds)
Jimmy Dale (piano) Ed Bickert (guitar) Don Thompson (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums) Marty Morell (percussion)
  1. Confirmation
  2. Everytime We Say Goodbye
  3. The 4,679,385th Blues in Bb
  4. A Time for Love
  5. Take the 'A' Train
  6. My Ship
  7. Tickletoe
  8. I Hear a Rhapsody
  9. The Pellet Suite

Arthur Lyman - Leis of Jazz

Hi Fi Records

Considered by many to be at the top of the pantheon of exotica artists, Lyman got his start as a vibes player in Martin Denny's combo and can be heard on Denny's legendary first album, "Exotica." (Search this blog Denny Exotica)

Lyman's family moved to Honolulu after his father was blinded in an accident. Arthur began playing with a toy marimba and from playing along with records, was able to reproduce Lionel Hampton solos note for note. His performing career began early, when he won a talent contest on Honolulu radio station KGMB. By the time he graduated from high school, he was playing professionally with a small combo called "The Gadabouts," imitating the piano/vibes sound of George Shearing and Cal Tjader.

In 1951, he was hired to play in the bar at the Halekulani Hotel, where Martin Denny met him in the early 1950s. Denny hired him, and the two remained together for the next five years.

Denny's breakthrough success with his cover of "Quiet Village" paved a path for Lyman as well. Shipbuilding magnate and Hawaiian developer Henry J. Kaiser (of Kaiser Aluminum and Liberty Ship fame) hired him to replace Denny in his Honolulu nightclub. Soon after, Hi Fi Records in Los Angeles capitalized on Liberty's success with Denny and hired Lyman as their featured artist.
Even though the two men were competitors on vinyl, they remained close friends until the end. "He had a keen ear for music and a great imagination," Denny once remarked,"and I would say that his success and exposure paralleled mine. There were debates on who came first, but as far as I'm concerned we did it together." After both had ceased to record, Denny and Lyman often appeared together at performances on Oahu. And when Lyman entered a hospice as he entered the last stages of his fight with throat cancer, "Martin would take Arthur out in the sunshine and give a private show," according to a family friend.

Lyman's style was softer than Denny's, but he went much further in his use of exotic environmental sounds. The combination of macaw shrieks and gentle vibes was a vein Lyman mined consistently for over 30 albums. Unlike Denny, whose heavy touring schedule often forced his label to use a stand-in pianist on his albums, Lyman recorded almost exclusively in Hawaii. His Hi-Fi albums were usually recorded in Kaiser's Aluminum Dome auditorium in Honolulu, and still stand out for their superb audio qualities.

Lyman's combo included John Kramer on bass, guitar, and other stringed instruments, Alan Soares on piano and other keyboards, and Harold Chang on percussion. In between tours, the group played the Shell Bar at the Hawaiian Village Hotel for nearly 10 years, and reunited on a number of occasions thereafter. Hawaiian-born jazz vocalist Ethel Azama also appeared with Lyman in the early 1960s, and her version of "Lullaby of the Leaves" can be heard on the The Leis of Jazz.

Source: Space Age Pop

The Complete February 1957 Jimmy Smith Blue Note Sessions

After his first four albums, A New Sound-A New Star & The Champ and two live, he recorded five (count 'em: 5) albums in three days in five different ensembles including Donald Byrd, Lou Donaldson, Art Blakey and Kenny Burrell. The albums A Date with Jimmy Smith Vols. 1 & 2, Jimmy Smith At The Organ Vols. 1 & 2, and The Sounds of Jimmy Smith are collected on a 3-disc chronological compilation from Mosaic The Complete February 1957 Jimmy Smith Blue Note Sessions. Home Cookin', recently available from Japan, is more late 50's recordings with his faithful and esteemed guitar partner Burrell, who's own Midnight Blue with Stanley Turrentine is a Blues-drenched Jazz guitar classic.

It would not be an overstatement to say that organist Jimmy Smith was busy during February 11-13, 1957, for he recorded enough material for these three CDs, 21 often lengthy performances that originally appeared on five LPs plus three others that had been previously unissued. Smith is not only heard early in his career with his regular trio but in a sextet with trumpeter Donald Byrd, altoist Lou Donaldson, tenor-saxophonist Hank Mobley, and drummer Art Blakey, in duets with Donaldson and with a quartet that also stars guitarist Kenny Burrell. These jam sessions feature plenty of exciting solos over fairly common chord changes, and despite the heavy competition, Jimmy Smith (who is still the king of the jazz organ) is the dominant force. Recommended. Scott Yanow

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra - The Complete Solid State Recordings

The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band was one of the finest jazz orchestras of the late '60s, but its Solid State LPs had been long out of print for decades before Mosaic wisely reissued all of the music (plus seven previously unissued performances) on this deluxe but limited-edition five-CD set. With Jones' colorful and distinctive arrangements, soloists such as trumpeters Danny Stiles, Marvin Stamm, and Richard Williams; trombonists Bob Brookmeyer and Jimmy Knepper; the reeds of Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion, Joe Farrell, Billy Harper, Eddie Daniels, and Pepper Adams; and pianists Hank Jones and Roland Hanna; plus a rhythm section driven by bassist Richard Davis and drummer Mel Lewis, this was a classic band. Highlights among the 42 performances include "Mean What You Say," "Don't Git Sassy," "Tiptoe," "Fingers," "Central Park North," and the original version of "A Child Is Born," but nearly every selection is memorable.- Scott Yanow

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shelly Manne & His Men

At The Black Hawk: Vol. 4 (Flac)

Shelly Manne (drums)
Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone)
Victor Feldman (piano)
Monty Budwig (bass)

1. Cabu
2. Just Squeeze Me
3. Nightingale
4. Theme: A Gem From Tiffany
5. Cabu

Black Hawk, SF, September 24, 1959
1,4,5 on September 22, 1959

At The Manne-Hole Vol. 2 (Flac)

Shelly Manne (drums)
Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Chuck Berghofer (bass)

1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. What's New?
3. If I Were A Bell
4. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
5. A Gem From Tiffany

Recorded at Shelly's Manne-Hole, Hollywood, California from March 3-5, 1961

Sonny Rollins - A Night At The Village Vanguard

This CD is often magical. Sonny Rollins, one of jazz's great tenors, is heard at his peak with a pair of piano-less trios (either Wilbur Ware or Donald Bailey on bass and Elvin Jones or Pete La Roca on drums) stretching out on particularly creative versions of "Old Devil Moon," "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," "Sonnymoon for Two," and "A Night in Tunisia," among others. Not only did Rollins have a very distinctive sound but his use of time, his sly wit, and his boppish but unpredictable style were completely his own by 1957. [Originally released as separate albums, A Night at the Village Vanguard was reissued in its entirety, complete with alternate takes, as a two-disc set in 1999; it was part of Blue Note's acclaimed Rudy VanGelder reissue series.] Scott Yanow

Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone)
Donald Bailey, Wilbur Ware (bass)
Pete La Roca, Elvin Jones (drums)

CD 1
1. A Night In Tunisia
2. I've Got You Under My Skin
3. A Night In Tunisia (Evening Take)
4. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (Alternate Take)
5. Four
6. Introduction
7. Woody 'N' You
8. Introduction
9. Old Devil Moon

CD 2
1. What Is This Thing Called Love
2. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
3. Sonnymoon For Two
4. I Can't Get Started
5. I'll Remember April
6. Get Happy
7. Striver's Row
8. All The Things You Are
9. Get Happy (Short Version)

Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, New York, New York on November 3, 1957

The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Art Blakey's 1960 Jazz Messengers

Drummer Art Blakey led many great editions of the Jazz Messengers from the inaugural mid-'50s sessions until his death in the '90s. While arguments rage regarding which was his best, there is no doubt that the 1960-1961 unit figures in the debate. This wonderful six-disc set, notated with care and painstaking detail by Bob Blumenthal, covers studio and live sessions from March 6, 1960, to May 27, 1961, with the same personnel on all but two songs. Producer Michael Cuscuna used only first issue dates, and while he included some alternate takes, he did not litter the discs with second-rate vault material. They smoothly detail the band's evolution, cohesion, and maturation. This set, as with all Mosaic boxes, goes beyond essential. Get it post haste. - Ron Wynn

Art Farmer - Art and Perception

This Gambit disc compiles two separate sessions (Art and Perception) led by Art Farmer, made separately from the Jazztet (which he co-led with Benny Golson). The 1960 recordings featured on the first album featured Tommy Flanagan, Tommy Williams and Albert "Tootie" Heath with the trumpeter, playing show tunes and chestnuts in an elegant fashion that has stood the test of time. On the latter LP recorded the following year, Harold Mabern replaces Flanagan and Roy McCurdy takes over for Heath, with Farmer switching to the richer-toned flugelhorn. In addition to standards, the quartet explores two fine if unjustly obscure originals by the leader, along with the mellow "The Day After" (penned by Jazztet sideman Tom McIntosh). After being out of print for decades, both albums were issued individually overseas, as well as being joined for Art & Perception and collected with recordings by the Jazztet and Benny Golson in a Mosaic limited-edition boxed set. No matter how it is acquired, both sessions are among Art Farmer's best work of the '60s. ~ Ken Dryden

Two very special Art Farmer quartet dates from the 1960s with a stellar cast of sidemen. Of the albums here, Art Farmer said, "I wanted to do a very intimate session. I wanted it to sound as if I were just sitting and talking to someone with the horn, talking to just one person. The feeling was to be as if the horn were in the room, right next to the listener."

Art Farmer (trumpet)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Tommy Williams (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)
New York: September 21-23, 1960

Art Farmer (trumpet)
Harold Mabern (piano)
Tommy Williams (bass)
Roy McCurdy (drums)
New York: October 25-27, 1961

1. So Beats My Heart For You
2. Goodbye, Old Girl
3. Who Cares
4. Out Of The Past
5. Younger Than Springtime
6. The Best Thing For You Is Me
7. I'm A Fool To Want You
8. That Old Devil Called Love
9. Punsu
10. The Day After
11. Lullaby Of The Leaves
12. Kayin'
13. Tonk
14. Blue Room
15. Change Partners
16. Nobody's Heart

J.J. Johnson - Standards: Live at the Village Vanguard (1988) [flac]

The second of two CDs coming from the same engagement at the Village Vanguard (the first was Quintergy), this set features trombonist J.J. Johnson's quintet with Ralph Moore on tenor and soprano, pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Victor Lewis jamming on nine standards, plus the leader's "Shortcake." Johnson is in top form, particularly on "My Funny Valentine," "Just Friends," "Misterioso" and "Autumn Leaves." A good example of the ageless trombonist's talents. - Scott Yanow

J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Ralph Moore (tenor, soprano sax)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Rufus Reid (bass)
Victor Lewis (drums)

  1. See See Rider
  2. Shortcake
  3. Sweet Georgia Gillespie
  4. My Funny Valentine
  5. Just Friends
  6. Misterioso
  7. You Stepped Out of a Dream
  8. Misty
  9. Autumn Leaves
  10. What Is This Thing Called Love
Recorded July, 1988

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Charles Mingus - Cumbia And Jazz Fusion

As Charles Mingus's career (and life) moved into its final phase, his recordings exclusively featured large (and often potentially unruly) ensembles. This CD, which contains two rather long performances originally recorded as soundtracks for films, is better than most of what followed. "Cumbia & Jazz Fusion" has a large percussion section and quite a few woodwinds along with trumpeter Jack Walrath, tenor-saxophonist Ricky Ford and trombonist Jimmy Knepper while "Music for 'Todo Modo"' adds five horns to Mingus's Quintet. The music is episodic but generally holds its own away from the film. ~ Scott Yanow

Featuring two of Charles Mingus's last major works, the 1978 Cumbia & Jazz Fusion is typically ambitious and exciting. The 28-minute title track merges a winning theme played on reeds and Latin percussion, full-on big-band passages, and a burlesque of "Shortnin' Bread" that climaxes in cries of "Freedom! Freedom!" One of a kind, to be sure. "Todo Modo" covers nearly as much ground, moving between a gloomy theme and inspired upbeat passages with grand sax solos by George Adams. This CD edition adds two short takes of Mingus's solo piano on a medley of "The Wedding March" and his own "Slow Waltz." The maestro was to make only two more albums, but his physical decline is belied by the music's power. ~ Rickey Wright

Charles Mingus (bass)
George Adams (tenor sax, alto flute)
Jack Walrath (trumpet)
Ricky Ford (tenor sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone, bass trombone)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Cumbia & Jazz Fusion
2. Music For "Todo Modo"
3. Wedding March/Slow Waltz (Take 9)
4. Wedding March/Slow Waltz (Take 12)

Phineas Newborn Jr. | The promised two

Here are the two Phineas Newborn Jr. sessions I promised to post last weekend. Here is Phineas was his first, which I ripped from the recent Japanese WEA reissue. It's very short, clocking in at just over 30 minutes, but it's a real tour de force of piano playing. The second, Phineas Newborn Plays Again is a very interesting session recorded in Italy on the 28th of May, 1959. One listen to his version of Airegin and you'll be hooked. One of Newborn's favorite tunes was Night in Tunisia and he recorded it in nearly every session. Try listening to them back to back and you'll get a great appreciation of Newborn's abilities and imagination.

I couldn't find a review of Plays Again, but here's Yanow on Here is Phineas. Other than two numbers cut for the Progressive label in Houston a couple years earlier (and thus far never reissued), this Atlantic session (put out as a Koch CD in 1999) was the recording debut for the remarkable Phineas Newborn. The 24-year-old pianist's playing on this trio/quartet date with bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Kenny Clarke (and occasionally guitarist Calvin Newborn) is virtuosic to say the least, on Oscar Peterson's level if not Art Tatum's. Newborn rips through the repertoire (which is highlighted by "Barbados," "Celia," "Daahoud," and "Afternoon in Paris"); try to tap your foot to "Celia" without breaking your ankle! In the liner notes, George Wein faults Newborn's tendency to double time the ballads, and some listeners may shake their heads at his constant outpouring of technically impossible runs (those speedy octaves are ridiculous) -- but if one has chops on this level, one should feel free to display them. This is a dazzling debut from an ill-fated but classic pianist, and this CD is a gem. Scott Yanow/AMG

Louie Bellson - Note Smoking (1978)

Like Rob McConnell's Big Band Jazz, Note Smoking was a Limited Edition Direct-to-Disc recording. Issued by Discwasher Recordings and pressed in Japan, this was a two-day session with one side being recorded non-stop on each day.

Highlights include the opener, "Sambandrea Swing" by Don Menza, Conte Candoli's feature on "I Can't Get Started", and "Skin Deep", written by Louie Bellson and first recorded with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1952.

Chuck Findley, Snooky Young, Conte Candoli, Ron King, Walt Johnson (trumpet)
Alan Kaplan, Dana Hughes, Bill Booth, Bob Payne (trombone)
Joe Romano, Ted Nash, Pete Christlieb, Don Menza, Andy Mackintosh (reeds)
Ross Tompkins (piano) Peter Woodford (guitar)
Gary Pratt (bass) Louie Bellson (drums) Jack Arnold (percussion)
  1. Sambandrea Swing
  2. Bustling
  3. I Can't Get Started
  4. Odyssey in Rhythm
  5. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  6. Spitfire
  7. Picture IV
  8. Skin Deep
Recorded August 14, 15, 1978

Barney Bigard - 1944-1945 (Chronological 930)

'Poon-Tang'?, 'Sweet Marijuana Brown'? - leads me to believe that the Nine O'Clock Beer refers to the AM.

1944-1945 collects Bigard's output after the clarinetist left the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Although his brief time with a band fronted by Joe Thomas is not as consistently rewarding as his stint with Ellington (what could be?), it's still historically valuable and enjoyable for fans of the clarinetist. Bigard had certainly lost none of the virtuosity of his earlier years, but the material is patchier. Nevertheless, this release will be appealing to Bigard's fans, and the Classics label has done an admirable job with the remastering and liner notes. ~ Thomas Ward

"...there is an excellent quintet date for Keynote whichoffers Bigard at his best on 'Rose Room' and 'Bojangles'. and a pair of titles for the Lamplighter label have some entertaining jousting with Vic Dickenson." ~ Penguin Guide

Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Art Tatum (piano)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Georgie Auld (tenor sax)
Willie Smith (alto sax)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
Joe Thomas (trumpet)
Leonard Feather (piano)
Stan Levey (drums)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. Blues Before Dawn
2. Poon-Tang
3. Nine O'Clock Beer
4. How Long Blues
5. Can't Help Lovin' That Man
6. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
7. Sweet Marjuana Brown
8. Blues For Art's Sake
9. Rose Room
10. Bojangles
11. Coquette
12. Borobudor
13. My Melancholy Baby
14. Sweet Georgia Brown
15. Young Man's Blues - Part 1
16. Young Man's Blues - Part 2
17. Wini's Blues
18. My Complaint, Baby
19. Lazy River
20. You Took My Man
21. Rockin' Chair
22. I Want A Little Boy

Al Haig - Trio And Sextets

A few odd points: the trio sessions were produced by Henri Renaud when he came over to do the Birdlanders series. Both volumes are excellent, by the way. Tracks 9 through 16 were produced by Keynote's Harry Lim; although reviews (including Penguin) have these as Esoteric releases, they were actually the full extent of Lim's Seeco endeavor. What else....oh, yeah, Haig is said to have murdered his wife.

Al Haig was deplorably served by records in the early part of his career, and as a result he is almost the forgotten man of bebop piano. Yet he was as great a figure as any of the bebop masters. If he denied himself the high passion of Bud Powell's music, he was still a force of eloquence and intensity, and his refined touch lent him a striking individuality within his milieu. The first trio album a masterpiece that can stand with any of the work of Powell or Monk. Haig's elegance of touch and line, his virtually perfect delivery, links him with a pianist such as Teddy Wilson rather than with any of his immediate contemporaries, and certainly his delivery of an unlikely tune such as 'Mighty Like A Rose' has a kinship with the language of Wilson's generation. Yet his complexity of tone and the occasional cryptic delivery are unequivocably modern. Voicings and touch have a symmetry and refinement that other boppers, from Powell and Duke Jordan to Joe Albany and Dodo Marmarosa, seldom approached....Haig's bittersweet reduction of ''Round Midnight' unmissable, even among the many versions of that tune. ~ Penguin Guide

Al Haig (piano)
ABill Crow (bass)
Lee Abrams (drums)
New York: March 13, 1954

Al Haig (piano)
Wardell Gray (tenor sax)
Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)
Terry Swope (vocal)
New York: April, 1949

Al Haig (piano)
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Gene Ramey (bass)
Charlie Perry (drums)
Carlos Vidal (conga)
New York: May 12, 1949

1. Just One Of Those Things
2. Yardbird Suite
3. Taboo
4. Mighty Like A Rose
5. S'Wonderful
6. Just You, Just Me
7. The Moon Was Yellow
8. 'Round Midnight
9. Sugar Hill
10. Five Star
11. It's The Talk Of The Town
12. In A Pinch
13. Skull Buster
14. Ante Room
15. Poop Deck
16. Pennies From Heaven

Alto Summit (1995)

This is a sizzling meeting of three fine alto saxophonists in a session co-produced by Vincent Herring and Carl Allen. Phil Woods is the acknowledged dean of the alto, and his smooth chops contrast with Herring's grittier tone on bop classics like "Blue Minor" and "Minority." The veteran creates a sensational mood on "Stars Fell on Alabama," while Herring matches him with a lovely take of "Autumn in New York." The talented youngster Antonio Hart delivers a compelling solo in his feature, "God Bless the Child." All three saxophonists solo with gusto on Woods' "Song for Sass." The rhythm section includes Carl Allen on drums, Anthony Wonsey on piano, and Reuben Rogers on bass. - Ken Dryden

Phil Woods, Vincent Herring, Antonio Hart (alto sax)
Anthony Wonsey (piano)
Ruben Rogers (bass)
Carl Allen (drums)
  1. Blue Minor
  2. The Summer Knows
  3. Minority
  4. Stars Fell on Alabama
  5. Autumn in New York
  6. All the Things You Are
  7. Song for Sass
  8. God Bless the Child
Recorded June 4, 5, 1995

This Day In Jazz

Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd - Monk's Dream

Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy has devoted much of his career to the music of Thelonious Monk, with whom he played for a few months in 1960. Shortly after that gig, Lacy teamed with trombonist Roswell Rudd in a quartet devoted exclusively to Monk's music. It's no surprise, then, that this reunion finds the pair once again paying tribute to Monk. Sparked by the quirky interplay between Lacy's spry, angular soprano sax and Rudd's rollicking trombone, this meeting captures the joyful, unfettered sense of exploration that can be missing in overly academic readings of Monk. Lacy and Rudd rear back and let 'er rip, with Lacy tracing brisk, sharply defined lines around the perimeter of the tunes while Rudd huffs, puffs, and wobbles his way along a path closer to the song's charming center. While only two Monk compositions are covered here ("Monk's Dream" and "Pannonica"), Lacy's "The Rent" sounds as if it could have been lifted from the composer's notes while Ellington's "Koko" is given a robust, swinging workout that revels in the nooks and crannies of the piece. Supported by Lacy's longtime rhythm section of Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass) and John Betsch (drums), this is a warm, yet precisely rendered work by two of creative jazz's finest. --S. Duda

Roswell Rudd (trombone)
Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass)
John Betsch (drums)
Irene Aebi (I know, I know, but she's only on 2 tracks)

1. Monk's Dream
2. The Bath
3. The Rent
4. Pannonica
5. A Bright Pearl
6. Traces
7. Koko
8. Grey Blue
9. The Door

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dick Hyman - Face The Music: A Century of Irving Berlin

Dick Hyman certainly had a lot of songs to choose from for this solo piano CD tribute to Irving Berlin (who made it past 100). Hyman is heard expertly mixing together some of Berlin's better-known tunes (such as "Let's Face the Music," "Easter Parade," "Remember" and "Always") with such notable obscurities as "Lady of the Evening," "How About Me?" and "I'll See You In C.U.B.A." Hyman's total control of the piano and his versatile style (which on this date ranges from stride and swing to Art Tatum) makes the set an obvious success. Scott Yanow

Dick Hyman (piano)

1 Lady of the Evening 5:23
2 Let's Face the Music and Dance 2:25
3 The Night Is Filled With Music 2:51
4 Soft Lights and Sweet Music 3:29
5 Supper Time 4:10
6 Easter Parade 2:53
7 Remember 2:30
8 The Best Thing for You 5:41
9 Always 2:26
10 I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm 5:38
11 How About Me? 4:48
12 Russian Lullaby 6:58
13 Cheek to Cheek 3:45
14 I'll See You in C-U-B-A 4:04

Recorded December 8-9, 1987 at Clinton Studios, New York City

Sidney Bechet - Jazz At Storyville

Yes, THAT George Wein; he studied with Madame Chaloff dontyaknow.

Taken from Sidney Bechet's last major tour of the United States, this live session teams his passionate soprano with the subtle wit of trombonist Vic Dickenson and a fine rhythm section (including George Wein on piano). This set may only contain familiar standards, but the general enthusiasm and the interplay between Bechet and Dickenson makes the music enjoyable and well worth hearing. ~ Scott Yanow

In the scheme of things, this is not essential Sidney Bechet, but yet it's a vibrant, exciting, and fun blowing session with considerable charm. Recorded at Boston's Storyville in October 1953, Bechet on soprano is joined by veteran trombonist Vic Dickenson on the front line. The mood is joyous and animated, the tunes are basic, and the two primary soloists sound as if they're having a grand old time. Incidentally, that's promoter George Wein sitting in on piano as a last-minute sub, and he acquits himself quite admirably. Still, it's Bechet's show, and any chance to hear him stretch out should be taken, as his buoyant, charging tone is sure to bring out a smile. --Marc Greilsamer

Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)
George Wein (piano)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Buzzy Drootin (drums)

1. C Jam Blues
2. Crazy Rhythm
3. Jazz Me Blues
4. Basin Street Blues
5. Indiana
6. Bugle Blues
7. Honeysuckle Rose
8. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
9. Oh! Lady Be Good

Boston: October 25, 1953

Art Farmer - On The Road

This CD reissue of a Contemporary set from 1976 features a logical but only one-time collaboration between flugelhornist Art Farmer and altoist Art Pepper. With pianist Hampton Hawes, bassist Ray Brown and either Steve Ellington or Shelly Manne on drums completing the quintet, the five standards and Hawes's original "Downwind" were certainly in good hands. A special highlight is a duet version of "My Funny Valentine" featuring Farmer and Hawes. Everyone plays up to par on this spirited straightahead set. - Scott Yanow

On the Road brought together in 1976 three major jazz artists whose careers began in the Los Angeles jazz scene of the mid-Forties. Art Farmer had been drawn by music from Phoenix to L.A., where young Art Pepper and Hampton Hawes were rapidly puzzling out the mysteries of bebop. Now, 30 years later, they were among the master soloists of the music. Joined by two other giants, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne, and by the impressive young drummer Steve Ellington, Farmer and his friends settled into the Contemporary studio for three sessions of relaxed blowing. Included is a duet version of “My Funny Valentine” that highlights the empathy between Hawes and Farmer that went back to their post-war jam session days.

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Art Pepper (alto sax)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Ray Brown (bass)
Steve Ellington (drums)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Downwind
2. My Funny Valentine
3. Namely You
4. What Am I Here For?
5. I Can't Get Started
6. Will You Still You Be Mine

Recorded at Contemporary Records' Studio, Los Angeles, California on July 26 and 28 and August 16, 1976

Dexter Gordon - The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon (1960)

As the title The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon (1960) suggests, the tenor sax master resurfaced from his chronic bouts of addiction in an attempt to revive his on-again/off-again recording career. Truth be told, Gordon was actually on parole from Chino State Penitentiary and co-starring in a local Los Angeles production of The Connection -- a play ironically enough about the victims of heroin dependence. Julian "Cannonball" Adderley was able to talk the tenor into participating in a no-strings-attached studio date. Gordon (tenor sax), alongside Martin Banks (trumpet), Richard Boone (trombone), Charles "Dolo" Coker (piano), Charles Green (bass), and Larry Marable (drums) convened under the watchful eyes and ears of legendary producer Wally Heider in mid-October 1960 to document the half-dozen selections featured here. Not surprisingly -- especially under the circumstances -- Gordon only supplies a third of the contents with the remainder of the excellent material courtesy of pianist Coker. The piercing, penetrating melody of the Gordon-penned "Home Run" gets things underway as the horns' boppin' call-and-response sets the pace for the solos to follow. Coker's contributions are uniformly strong, and the frenetic energy of "Dolo" -- the keyboardist's nickname -- gives Gordon something substantive to dig into. And he does just that with all the assured litheness that ultimately defined Dexter Gordon's musical phoenix. After reeling off ribbons of sonic inspiration, Coker keeps up with him tickling the 88s with an enviable panache while maintaining the full-throttled pace. The bouncy blues of "Lovely Lisa" and the exotic syncopation fused within "Affair in Havana" place Gordon's sax in prominent proximity to Banks and Boone for a brass-lovers treat. The tunes are complex and provide insight into Gordon's flawless improvisational prowess. Gordon's other composition is the evocative ballad "Jodi." His lines are robust yet retain a moody and searching mystique. The subtleties become more clearly revealed when contrasted to Coker's comparatively personable interlude. "Field Day" closes the effort on a lighthearted and uptempo note. Boone getting his chops in early, followed by Gordon and then the highly underutilized Banks, who saves his best work for the end of the album. All told, The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon uncovers the immeasurable talents of an artist whose musical journey passes a critical crossroads on this project. ~ Lindsay Planer

Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone)
Richard Boone (trombone)
Martin Banks (trumpet)
Dolo Coker (piano)
Charles Green (bass)
Lawrence Marable (drums)

1. Home Run
2. Dolo
3. Lovely Lisa
4. Affair in Havana
5. Jodi
6. Field Day

Kenton Presents - Cooper, Holman, and Rosolino

"Notwithstanding such notable research and narrative as presented by Ted Gioia in his book West Coast Jazz, this period denoted largely by geographic location is still significantly one of the most misunderstood in all of jazz history. This is probably due to the fact that your average fan associates the “cool school” with just about anything that emanated from the West Coast. In reality, there were as many genres and formats being explored by our California neighbors as by their peers on the East Coast. It should be stated however that the “cool” sound was a vital part of the West Coast jazz community and was fostered primarily by white musicians with a lighter and more cerebral approach.

Although Stan Kenton claimed popularity throughout the United States, many of his key band members were associated with the “cool groups” and thanks to the wise prodding of Kenton a few of these men would receive a wonderful format in which to display their wares- namely the Kenton Presents series. This subsidiary of Capitol Records lasted a short time but during its reign produced several memorable sessions, of which a well-reasoned few are collected in this new 4-CD boxed set. In addition to their ties with the Kenton band, multi-reed player Bob Cooper, trombonist Frank Rosolino, and saxophonist/arranger Bill Holman are surely three of the finest “cool” players of the period and each of them produced work of lasting value in their respective releases for the “Kenton Presents” imprimatur.

Featured in his performances here on tenor sax, oboe, and English Horn, Bob Cooper was a transplanted Pennsylvanian who worked the West Coast with Kenton, Bud Shank, and wife June Christie throughout the '40s, '50s, and '60s. 19 of the cuts heard on disc one of this set come from 1954 and 1955 and were originally issued as the 10” LP Kenton Presents Bob Cooper and the 12” LP Kenton Presents: Shifting Winds. There is a strong “chamber jazz” quality present, with tight arrangements that often opt for a collective sound that in some ways is closer to contemporary classical music than to jazz. Name players abound, including Mel Lewis, Bud Shank, Jimmy Giuffre, Buddy Collette, Curtis Counce, and Shelly Manne. For a slightly more aggressive sound, disc four closes with five Cooper charts from 1961 that originally appeared on his half of the album spotlighting tunes from the Broadway musical Do-Re-Me. There's more sass and spirit here and Cooper's warm tenor work is a real treat, although there's still a campy quality present that slightly dates the music.

About one and a half discs are devoted to the hugely underrated talents of trombonist Frank Rosolino. For the record, the original albums covered here are 1954's Kenton Presents Frank Rosolino and 1955's Kenton Presents: Shifting Winds . Often left out when examining the history of the trombone in jazz, Rosolino's personal life (he killed his son and himself in a murder-suicide) often overshadows his musical triumphs, and that's when he's even remembered! A veteran of the LA studio scene and the house band at the Lighthouse, Rosolino had a pungent and brassy sound that recalled Curtis Fuller and his agility in handling the hairpin turns of bebop was something to marvel at. Indeed, there's much fine up tempo work heard from the trombonist here and there's much less of the thoroughly-composed writing that marks the Cooper dates, but then that's probably due to the fine arranging skills of Bill Holman (more on him in just a bit) and the cast of players which includes Charlie Mariano, Stan Levey, Pete Jolly, Sam Noto, and several others.

It should in no way take from the contributions of Cooper and Rosolino to suggest that this new package is really most valuable for restoring some of Bill Holman's finest work. Still very much active and revered, Holman is the native Californian who made a name for himself through the distinguished writing he lent to the books of Kenton, Shorty Rogers, Maynard Ferguson, and many more. Aside from the eight performances that were originally released as Kenton Presents Bill Holman, the real discovery here is the unearthing of two previously unissued performances from the same 1954 sessions that produced that album, along with eight never-before-heard pieces from two dates in 1955 (including four cuts that feature Holman's tenor with just a rhythm section of Carl Perkins, Leroy Vinnegar, and Larry Bunker).

The contrast in writing styles is made abundantly clear as one devours Holman's '50s charts. Getting away from the linear approach favored by Rosolino and Cooper, Holman voices across sections and clearly has a well- developed sense of orchestral harmony. This trait only becomes clearer in focus when examining 1960's Great Big Band album, which incidentally did not show up under the Kenton banner (the “Kenton Presents” series had been closed down by Capitol much earlier due to financial concerns). This masterpiece of modern big band writing has been unavailable far too long and is really worth the entire price of admission just to hear it at last on CD and in all its exquisite grandeur.

A finely assembled and aesthetic package, the material on this boxed set has been out-of-print for quite some time and its appearance on disc has been long overdue. And thanks to state-of-the-art recording techniques present on the original Capitol sides, sound quality is sterling throughout. The stereo spread experienced on Holman's Great Big Band is especially holographic. Highlighted by a number of session photos as seen through the lenses of William Claxton, Ray Avery, and Roy Harte, the 16-page booklet that is standard with every Mosaic set includes session-by-session commentary from pianist and arranger Sy Johnson. In conclusion, Mosaic has come up with a set that will please jazz fans from a variety of different camps with the further benefit of giving us a much deserved reevaluation of the greatness of Cooper, Rosolino, and Holman." Chris Hovan

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Birthday

Lucky Thompson - Lucky Strikes

In a few places, I've seen people comment on the irony of such an unfortunate being named Lucky. He is portrayed often as a rebel who fought against a megalithic industry, etc.. But if you read Buddy Collette's book, you'll also get the impression that he was a self-serving and selfish egotist that may have brought a lot of his misfortune on himself. Two points; Collette is much too much of a gentleman to have actually stated that as a fact, and Thompson certainly had the talent to justify a massive ego. He's a killer.

A legendary tenor and soprano saxophonist who took his place among the elite improvisers of jazz from the 1940's to the 1960's and then quit music. Lucky Thompson connected the swing era to the more cerebral and complex bebop style. His sophisticated, harmonically abstract approach to the tenor saxophone endeared him to the beboppers, but he was also a beautiful balladeer.

This CD reissue serves as a perfect introduction to the talents of the underrated saxophonist Lucky Thompson. Heard on four songs apiece on tenor and soprano (he was one of the first bop-oriented soprano players), Thompson plays two standards and six originals in a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Connie Kay. The playing time on this straight reissue of an earlier LP is a bit brief (just over 38 minutes), but the quality is quite high. Thompson's soprano solos in particular are quite memorable. ~ Scott Yanow

Lucky Thompson (soprano and tenor sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. In A Sentimental Mood
2. Fly With The Wind
3. Mid-Nite Oil
4. Reminiscent
5. Mumba Neua
6. I Forgot To Remember
7. Prey-Loot
8. Invitation

New York: September 15, 1964

Lucky Thompson - Lord, Lord, Am I Ever Gonna Know?

An exceptional discovery, just as they say; but before we fall too deep in to the "great artist battling an unappreciative industry" hype, it is well to remember some of the memoirs of those who knew him back when. Buddy Collette, who didn't have a bad word for anyone in his memoirs, indicates that Thompson had a pretty elevated view of himself, and wasn't particularly nice to his colleagues about it. His sneaky changing of a sign to make himself headliner put an end - at the outset - of what many thought to be the greatest working band on Central Avenue. "But Lucky was like that; Lucky was for Lucky. " Archie Moore the boxer had some similar experiences with Thompson.

With the exception of one selection ("Lord, Lord, Am I Ever Gonna Know"), all of the music from this rare performance went unreleased until this 1997 CD. Lucky Thompson (who doubles evenly here on tenor and soprano) is joined by pianist Martial Solal, bassist Peter Trunk and drummer Kenny Clarke for the Paris date. The formerly lost, LP-length tapes find Thompson in prime form playing his relaxed originals. Most unusual is "Choose Your Own," which features Thompson playing unaccompanied solos, on both tenor and soprano. The CD actually opens with a spoken monologue by Thompson from March 20, 1968, describing some of his philosophy and telling the public to ignore hype and decide for themselves what music is best. Unfortunately, he would soon become so disillusioned with the music business that he would drop out altogether by the '70s, a major loss to jazz. This fairly straight-ahead date is a valuable addition to Lucky Thompson's discography.

Lucky Thompson (soprano & tenor sax)
Martial Solal (piano)
Peter Trunk (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Spoken Introduction
2. Lord, Lord, Am I Ever Gonna Know?
3. Love And Respect
4. Say That To Say This
5. Choose Your Own
6. Beautiful Tuesday
7. Warm Inside
8. Our Shared Blessings
9. Scratching The Surface

Recorded in Paris de la France, in 19 de la 60

Niels Lan Doky - Dreams (1989)

Scott Yanow: "Although still not that well-known in the United States,"

Listen to this early relase from Niels and you will wonder why.

"This fine effort features pianist Niels Lan Doky and his brother, bassist Christian Minh Doky, being joined by drummer Adam Nussbaum for three trio numbers and, on three other tracks, playing with larger groups also including trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist Bob Berg, and guitarist John Scofield. Almost as impressive as Lan Doky's piano playing are his compositional and arranging talents; all of the songs except "This Is All I Ask" are his. A strong post-bop effort that finds the Doky brothers not being overshadowed by their famous sidemen, a major feat in itself." — Scott Yanow - AMG

Seems this one is now close to unavailable, so in the interest of keeping it alive and well, a LAME 3.98vbr0 rip with scans.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pearl Bailey - 1944-1947 (Chronological 1213)

When I saw Herman Chittison AND Billy Kyle on this CD I was sold...then Bud Powell too?

Pearl Bailey was a magnificent jazz singer and comedienne. Check her out in front of the Cootie Williams Orchestra! That's Bud Powell back there behind the piano. Cleanhead Vinson and Lockjaw Davis are in the reed section. Pearl seems perfectly at home with this early modern-sounding big band, and Cootie puts extra sass in his horn to complement the lady's personality. Herman Chittison leads a much smaller and more intimate ensemble for "He Didn't Ask Me," a subtly soft-spoken lament with wistful incidental whistling. Pearl attracted a lot of attention by being unusually tough, candid, and outspoken in ways that few pop vocalists had ever dared to pursue. For a black woman to assert herself in this way anywhere near the mainstream was particularly refreshing during the late '40s. Pearl's high-stepping improvisations on "St. Louis Blues" are spectacular, but her relaxed conversational musings on "Tired" are perfectly timed theater, naturally hip and funny as hell. "I Ain't Talkin'" has a similar easy perfection about it. Some of this material is pure entertainment. "Personality" turns out to be a metaphor for booty. "That's Good Enough for Me," "Say It Simple," and "Get It Off Your Mind" are clever routines. Some of this stuff seems like it was inspired by Cole Porter's high camp. The Mitchell Ayres Orchestra likes to pour on a little extra glitz, and low-tech reverb makes it seem like Pearl is performing in a gymnasium. Finally, there's a two-part duet with Frank Sinatra. They sound at ease with each other: two actors with seasoned pipes who enjoy tearing apart a slow song note for note and phrase by phrase. ~ arwulf arwulf

Pearl Bailey (vocal)
Bud Powell (piano)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)
Billy Kyle (piano)
Herman Chittison (piano)
Carl Kress (guitar)
Johnny Mince (clarinet)
Frank Sinatra (vocal)
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (alto sax)
Tony Mottola (guitar)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Axel Stordahl (orchestra director)

1. Now I Know
2. Tess's Torch Song
3. He Didn't Ask Me
4. The Quicker I Gets To Where I'm Goin'
5. St. Louis Blues
6. Tired
7. Fifteen Years
8. I Ain't Talkin'
9. Don't Like 'Em
10. Personality
11. Legalize My Name
12. It's A Woman's Prerogative
13. Legalize My Name
14. It's A Woman's Preogative
15. That's Good Enough For Me
16. Row, Row, Row
17. Get It Off Your Mind
18. I Need Ya Like I Need A Hole In The Head
19. --But What Are These!
20. Say It Simple
21. A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing-Part 1
22. A Little Learnin' Is A Dang'rous Thing-Part 2

Eddie Condon - The Town Hall Concerts Vol. 8

An artifact from the MoldyFig/Modern pseudo-controversy. (Diz was one of the players at a benefit for Bud Scott sitting in with Ted Vesley's Dixie band and the Firehouse 5, and, as noted recently, Bird's 'Relaxin' At Camarillo' was obviously a nod to Muggsy Spanier). Apart from the keepers of the "real jazz" flame, we see folks like Dorsey, Stacy, and others who, although grounded in the Chicago school style, were also active in the Swing movement. The magnificent Bechet was - as here - always his own school unto himself. I have volumes 9 and 10 if these prove to be of interest.

The eighth double CD in this essential series has four more half-hour shows that were billed as The Eddie Condon Town Hall Concerts. Condon, who was always more important as an instigator than as a guitarist, was a perfect host for the program, not only offering witty and sometimes sarcastic commentary but designing the shows so all of the all-stars were properly featured, both individually and collectively. The eighth volume has the usual incredible roster: trumpeters Billy Butterfield, Bobby Hackett, Max Kaminsky and Wingy Manone, trombonists Tommy Dorsey, Benny Morton and Jack Teagarden, Sidney Bechet on soprano, baritonist Ernie Caceres, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, pianists Dick Cary, Gene Schroeder and Jess Stacy, bassists Bob Casey, Jack Lesberg and Sid Weiss, drummers Johnny Blowers and George Wettling and vocalist Lee Wiley. As usual there are dozens of highlights from these spontaneous yet logical jam sessions, easily recommended to Dixieland and Chicago jazz fans. ~ Scott Yanow

Eddie Condon (banjo, guitar)
Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)
Bobby Hackett (cornet)
Tommy Dorsey (trombone)
Jess Stacy (piano)
Max Kaminsky (trumpet)
Pee Wee Russell (clarinet)
Jack Teagarden (trombone)
Lee Wiley (vocals)
Billy Butterfield (trumpet)
Wingy Manone (trumpet)
Benny Morton (trombone)
George Wettling (drums)

CD 1

1. Ballin' The Jack
2. The Sheik Of Araby
3. China Boy
4. There's A Small Hotel
5. Royal Garden Blues
6. Wherever There's Love
7. Impromptu Ensemble
8. Jingle Bells
9. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
10. D. A. Blues
11. Blue Skies
12. Rosetta
13. Exactly Like You
14. Ja Da
15. You're Lucky To Me
16. Impromptu Ensemble

CD 2
1. Walkin' The Dog Listen
2. I Ain't Got Nobody
3. Strut, Miss Lizzie
4. I Know That You Know
5. Sweet Georgia Brown
6. When Your Lover Has Gone
7. Impromptu Ensemble
8. Sunday
9. How Come You Do Me Like You Do?
10. Every Night
11. Keep Smiling At Trouble
12. Thats A-Plenty
13. Sugar
14. Impromptu Ensemble (Why Is Leonard So Modest?)

Ivo Perelman - Ivo (1989)

For his recording debut, Ivo Perelman performs seven folk melodies, five of which are traditional Brazilian children's songs. A powerful tenor player whose style and sound at times recalls Albert Ayler (without the vibrato), Gato Barbieri, and Clifford Jordan, Perelman uses the simple melodies as points of departure and places to land after his intense and fairly free but melodic improvisations. The first three songs co-feature vocalist Flora Purim, who is at the top of her game on the haunting "Nesta Rua" and the lighthearted but explorative "O Cravo e a Rosa." Two of the other pieces have Perelman dueting with pianist Eliane Elias. The two bassists, John Patitucci and Buell Neidlinger, work together quite well. Don Preston takes a wild synthesizer solo on "O Cravo e a Rosa," and both drummer Peter Erskine and percussionist Airto are colorful in support. But the main star throughout the CD is Ivo Perelman, whose distinctive sound, relative ease in the falsetto register, and creative spirit were already quite impressive at this early point in his career. Scott Yanow
Ivo Perelman - Tenor saxophone
Airto Moreira - Percussion
Flora Purim - Vocals
Peter Erskine - Drums
John Patitucci - Acoustic bass (2,6) and electric (1,3,5)
Buell Neidlinger - Acoustic bass (1,5) arco bass (2) & Fender (3,6)
Don Preston - Piano & Synthesizer
Eliane Elias - Piano (4,7)

Tracks -
1- Escravos de Jo (Slaves of Jo)
2- Nesta rua (On this street)
3- O cravo e a rosa (The carnation and the rose)
4- El dia que me quieras (The day you want me)
5- Ciranda cirandinha (Circle dance)
6- Terezinha de Jesus
7- Ponta de Areia (Sand Point)

Benny Carter - 1933-1936 (Chronological 530)

Benny Carter is, without doubt, one of the major jazz musicians of the century - a century he lived through, born in 1907 and passing in 2003. And when I say major, I mean in the ranks of Armstrong, Ellington, and the like. I have never been able to find his recorded output in anything like the state he deserves, and these Chronologicals are the best representations of his early and middle periods.

Here he is with some heavyweights, and some lights (Billie Holiday's father is on guitar here). George Washington's ( the trombonist) birthday was yesterday, and as far as I know, he's still with us.

"The second volume of the complete early Benny Carter from the European Classics label features Carter on alto, trumpet, clarinet and as arranger (in addition to contributing a bit of piano and even a vocal) on three numbers with Spike Hughes's all-star orchestra, as part of the 1933 edition of The Chocolate Dandies (an interracial outfit put together by Mezz Mezzrow) and with his own big band in 1933-34 and in England two years later. Highlights include "Symphony in Riffs," "Blue Lou" and "Everybody Shuffle."" ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (clarinet, alto and tenor sax, piano, trumpet, vocal)
Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet, vocals)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Coleman Hawkins (clarinet, tenor sax)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Spike Hughes (bass, arranger)
Clarence Holiday (guitar)
Ted Heath (trombone)
Otis Johnson (trumpet)
George Washington (trombone)
Max Kaminsky (trumpet)
J.C. Higginbotham (trombone)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
Mezz Mezzrow (drums)

Duke Ellington

Presented for the ongoing discussion on the virtues and/or drawbacks to big band versus small ensemble. It is a commonplace to say that Ellington's true instrument was the orchestra, but is a commonplace because it is so patently true. Duke's choice of bandmembers often (in the early days at least) seemed unusual, but he obviously heard something; and rather than fit the players to the music, he would write the music to reflect the abilities of the musicians.

So, here is big band music which is as tight, idiosyncratic, and adventurous as any small ensemble. Listen to 'Ko-ko' and 'In A Mellotone' for prime examples. After years of listening to Mellotone, I still find it to be one of the swingingest, most original things I ever heard.

This was a cheap CD I picked up in earlier days, and is one of my most played CDs still. These are stereo re-creations from original 78s by Australian engineer Robert Parker.

1. Jack The Bear
2. Ko Ko
3. Concerto for Cootie
4. Cotton Tail
5. Never No Lament (Don't Get Around Much Anymore)
6. Harlem Air Shaft
7. Rumpus in Richmond
8. In a Mellow Tone
9. Warm Valley
10. Take the "A" Train
11. Chelsea Bridge
12. Main Stem
13. Johnny Come Lately

Black, Brown, and Beige
14. Work Song
15. Come Sunday
16. West Indian Dance
17. Emancipation Celebration
18. Blues
19. Sugar Hill Penthouse

20. Swamp Fire
21. Royal Garden Blues
22. Esquire Swank
23. Trumpet No End
24. Stomp, Look and Listen

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SFJAZZ Collective - SFJAZZ Collective

This is meant as a contribution to the ongoing big-band discussion.

In its admirable quest to issue fine recordings regardless of genre or outward commercial appeal, Nonesuch Records has released a live disc of the exciting, cross-generational SF Jazz Collective. This self-titled set is taken from a triple-CD collection available only through its web site ( The band is a who's who of jazz talent, and includes the venerable vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, saxophonists Joshua Redman (the group's artistic director), and Miguel Zenón, drummer Brian Blade, pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Robert Hurst and trombonist Josh Roseman, with arrangements by Gil Goldstein. The group picks the work of a jazz composer's top study every year, and for 2004 it was Ornette Coleman. There are three of his compositions on this release, along with works by bandmembers. The Coleman tunes are revelatory with brilliant work by the two saxophonists. The ensemble is tight, focused, and swings hard. "Peace" is a knotty tune with many twists and turns in its head, it is flawless and inspired. Rosnes does a fine job of piloting the band through the work which wasn't scored with a piano in mind. And in the soloing there is no ego-tripping -- the tune and the band are served. Likewise with the gorgeous "Una Muy Bonita," with its staggered rhythms and bright melodic frame. Hurst's bassing here is the engine, nurturing the rhythm along seamlessly as the front-line players sift and sing through the changes. The interplay between Payton and Zenón is delightful. The originals may not be as memorable as Coleman's, but all are notable. Zenón's "Lingala" opens the set in a minor key head of vibes and Payton's elegiac trumpet before the tune breaks open into virtual song. The bluesy Eastern mode of Redman's "Rise and Fall" with its long, spacious line is just lovely, as is Rosnes' complex, lilting "Of This Day's Journey," with a beautifully tender and empathic solo by Hutcherson. The vibist's playful yet dramatic "March Madness" closes out this disc. It's tensile, quiet opening is turned upside-down a minute in as Hurst begins strutting out front before the front line answers in harmonic counterpoint. Payton's solo, with its taste, fire and supreme melodic sense, is the high point of the tune. This is as impressive a debut as we've heard in recent years, by a band who not only play like one, but who respect the jazz tradition enough to actually extend it with creativity, vision, and sensitivity in the current millennium. ~ Thom Jurek

Volume 2 will follow.

Bobby Hutcherson (marimba, vibraphone)
Joshua Redman (tenor and soprano sax)
Nicholas Payton (trumpet)
Renee Rosnes (piano)
Josh Roseman (trombone)
Miguel Zenón (alto sax)
Robert Hurst (bass)
Brian Blade (drums)

1. Lingala
2. Peace
3. Of This Day's Journey
4. When Will the Blues Leave
5. Rise and Fall
6. Una Muy Bonita
7. March Madness

Martial Solal Improvise pour France Musique (continued)

Yet another installment of the 40-concert series given by Martial in the early 90's for France Musique radio. In this package are shows 15 & 16, and this will be the next-to last offering, only because I didn't manage to record all the shows!

Count Basie - The Complete Decca Recordings

I got a few of the early Chrons recently but, luckily, alpax reminded me that he had pretty thoroughly covered them - for which I for one think we should all be grateful. This is perhaps the only real alternative to the Chrons; the sound is great, the collection thoughtful, and the notes comprehensive. Covering `37 to `39, these are the first recordings of this great, path-breaking orchestra.

This magnificent three-disc set has the first 63 recordings by Count Basie's Orchestra, all of his Deccas. The consistency is remarkable (with not more than two or three turkeys) and the music is the epitome of swing. With such soloists as Lester Young and Herschel Evans on tenors, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison, the great blues singer Jimmy Rushing, and that brilliant rhythm section of Basie, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page, and drummer Jo Jones, the music is timeless. It's all here: "One O'Clock Jump," "Sent for You Yesterday," "Blue and Sentimental," "Jumpin' at the Woodside," "Jive at Five," and many others. This is the first Count Basie collection to acquire and should be in every jazz collection. ~ Scott Yanow

Ellington's band had more grace and sophistication, but no big band swung harder than the incomparable Basie band. Recorded between 1937 and 1939, these 63 classics feature a cornucopia of legendary musicians: Herschel Evans' big-toned, earthy tenor balances Lester Young's ethereal tenor. Harry "Sweets" Edison's soaring blares complement Buck Clayton's muted trumpet. Jimmy Rushing's nasal, booming operatics contrast with Helen Humes's precise elegance. The Freddie Green-Walter Page-Jo Jones rhythm section flawlessly anchors the driving 4/4 rhythm. And, of course, there's the leader's minimalist piano, using just the right, essential mix of boogie-woogie and stride. These three CDs are peppered with what would become jazz standards and should be a cornerstone of any music library. ~ Marc Greilsamer

Down Beat (11/92, p.51) - 5 Stars - Excellent - "...It's hard to imagine a more important reissue"

Count Basie (piano)
Lester Young (clarinet, tenor sax)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Herschel Evans (tenor sax)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Helen Humes (vocal)
Jimmy Rushing (vocal)

Kenny Burrell - Introducing Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell - Introducing Kenny Burrell

The Detroit-born Kenny Burrell reigns as the dean of jazz guitarists. He's combined Charlie Christian's prebop fluency, Django Reinhardt's Old World touches, and the rhythmic drive of Nat King Cole's guitarist, Oscar Moore. This two-CD set contains Burrell's earliest Blue Note sessions from 1956. The first seven tracks, with drummer Kenny Clarke, bassist Paul Chambers, pianist Tommy Flanagan, and percussionist Candido Camero were released as Introducing Kenny Burrell.

It's a pleasing and swinging potpourri of Latin-tinged numbers and ballads such as "Weaver of Dreams," "This Time the Dream's on Me," and "Takeela" (read: Tequila). Burrell's nifty "Fugue 'n the Blues" is a Bach-meets-bop excursion worthy of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Tracks 8 and 9 are from Kenny Burrell Volume Two, and feature the guitarist's lightning-licked take on "Get Happy" and a succulent solo rendition of George Gershwin's "But Not for Me."

Those sessions continue on Disc 2 with Shadow Wilson and Oscar Pettiford taking over the drum and the bass with Frank Foster on tenor saxophone, and they remake classics such as Count Basie's "Moten Swing." Another date, Swingin', with Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins, and Louis Hayes, finds Burrell and company in superb form on Lester Young's "D.B. Blues" and Silver's "Nica's Dream." On all of those sides, Burrell's blues-based guitar sounds as modern today as it did in the '50s. - Eugene Holley Jr.

Detroit guitarist Kenny Burrell made his recording debut as a leader on Blue Note Records in 1956 at age 24, and forever changed the state of jazz guitar. This epic two-disc collection gathers that first session and two others from the same year. Burrell displays all the full-bodied, soulful swing for which he would become legendary, and a skillful hand at both standards and his own original tunes. These early sessions show a fully formed stylist who would soon take the jazz world by storm with his smooth, clear sound and unlimited creative virtuosity. No one session stands out above the rest, although Burrell's debut, covering all of Disc One, has a special energy. Disc Two, however, is stimulating in its pairing of Burrell in two sessions with either Frank Foster or Hank Mobley. Kenny Burrell's first recorded chapter is a stellar beginning.

Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Frank Foster, Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone)
Tommy Flanagan, Horace Silver (piano)
Paul Chambers, Oscar Pettiford, Doug Watkins (bass)
Kenny Clarke, Shadow Wilson, Louis Hayes (drums)
Candido Camero (congas)

Neu!! 1972

Fresh after leaving Kraftwerk in the fall of 1971 for what they perceived to be a lack of vision, guitarist Michael Rother and drummer Klaus Dinger formed their own unit and changed the face of German rock forever -- eventually influencing their former employer, Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk The 1974 album Autobahn was a genteel reconsideration of the music played here. Neu! created a sound that was literally made for cruising in an automobile. While here in the States people were flipping out over "Radar Love" by Golden Earring, if they'd known about this first Neu! disc, they would never have bothered. Dinger's mechanical, cut time drumming and Rother's two-note bass runs adorned with cleverly manipulated and dreamy guitar riffs and fills were the hallmarks of the "motorik" sound that would become the band's trademark. On "Hallogallo", which opens the disc, the listener encounters a timeless rock & roll sound world. The driving guitar playing one chord in different cadences and rhythmic patters, the four-snare to the floor pulse with a high hat and bass drum for ballast, and a bassline that is used more for keeping the drummer on time than as a rhythm instrument in its own right. These are draped in Rother's liquidy, cascading single note drones and runs, so even as the tune's momentum propels the listener into a movement oriented robotic dance, the guitar's lyrical economy brings an aesthetic beauty into the mix that opens the space up from inside. The tense ambient soundscape of "Sonderangebot" balances things a bit before the slower-than-Neil Young "Weissensee" opens with a subtle industrial clamor and opens up into a lyrical exploration of distorted slide guitar aesthetics with an uncharacteristic drum elegance that keeps the guitar in check. "Im Glück" tracks a restrained, droning path through the textural palette of the guitar, treated with whispering distortion and echo. All hell breaks loose again on Dinger's "Negativland" as an industrial soundscape eventually gives way to a bass and guitar squall as darkly enticing as anything on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures. It's really obvious now how the JD's sound was influenced by this simply and darkly delicious brew of noise, bass throb, percussive hypnosis, and an oddly placed, strangely under-mixed, guitar. Rother's style had as much to do with not playing as it did with virtuosity, and his fills of open chords, stuttered cadences, and broken syntax provided a much needed diversion for the metronymic regularity of the rhythm section. Rother didn't riff; he painted a mix with whatever was necessary to get the point across. His mannerisms here are not to draw attention to himself, but rather to that numbing, incessant rhythm provided wondrously by Dinger. Neu!'s debut album was driving music for the apocalypse in 1971. These official CD reissues, remastered by Neu! with Herbert Gronmeyer, are the first official ones. Their sound is phenomenal and the strange dropouts and fades are intentional. They are worthy packages. Oddly enough, after a millennial change and a constant stream of samples being taken from it, and its influence saturating both the rock and electronica scenes, it still sounds ahead of its time.

www stoner ,nz

Bugger me if this isn`t some of the absolute best and most accessible krautrock I`ve ever heard. The first track `Hallogallo` is beautiful. It seems that the main chiming rythm was lifted completely for the pumpkin`s `cherub rock`. There`s so many later bands that these guys remind of it`s unbelievable, it appears that 35007, hypnos 69 and their ilk owe a huge debt. Another thing that impresses hugely is that it's some of the most UN-floyd influenced prog I have heard from that time, that`s probably why it doesn`t sound dated. I guess it has more in common composition-wise with kraftwerk, even though it is based on conventional rock instrumentation rather than electronic. Another good reference point is Brian Eno`s ambient 70`s works. I`d go as far as to say this influenced Floyd, track 4 `im gluck` has the distant sound of a row-boat and muted distant radio dialogue, two things that floyd used later on. The album is an instrumental mixture of uplifting, ambient-but-solid rock, based on solid driving bass-lines, full of clever effects, reversed recording etc, and some tracks of experimental noise. It has a purity and efficiency that is very appealing, it`s minimal but never leaves you feeling that there isn`t enough to it. Something that makes this stand out is it`s totally timeless quality. I think anybody would be very hard-pressed to guess when it was recorded, it would sound totally in place on Elektrohasch`s current roster. It`s pedigree is beyond doubt - this is another conny plank-produced discovery that I have been very impressed with, a list that also includes Night Sun and Guru Guru:- "Neu! formed in 1971 as an off-shoot from an early line-up of that other seminal krautrock band from Düsseldorf, Kraftwerk, whose early works were also produced by Conny Plank."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Don Friedman Trio - Circle Waltz

Even ignoring that bassist Chuck Israels is on this set and the similarity of some of the repertoire, it is difficult to overlook the fact that pianist Don Friedman sounds very similar to Bill Evans on this CD reissue. With drummer Pete LaRoca completing the trio and such songs as "I Hear a Rhapsody," "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "So In Love" joining four of the leader's originals, Friedman uses chord voicings similar to Evans and engages in the same type of close interplay with his sidemen. However, since the music is of high quality and few other keyboardists sounded like Evans this early, the CD is worth picking up by post-bop collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

"Circle Waltz introduces LaRoca, a more beguiling presence than Hunt, and it is probably his brisk, tuneful cymbal work which makes the difference between (Circle Waltz and Flashback). Typically, Friedman sticks largely to familiar material, a superb rendition of 'I Hear A Rhapsody' which almost conjures up the lyric, so expressive is it, and a forceful, unsentimental interpretation of Dave Brubeck's 'In Your Own Sweet Way.' A splendid record. ~ Penguin Guide

Don Friedman (piano)
Chuck Israels (bass)
Pete LaRoca (drums)

1. Circle Waltz
2. Sea's Breeze
3. I Hear A Rhapsody
4. In Your Own Sweet Way
5. Loves Parting
6. Modes Pivoting
7. So In Love

New York, May 14, 1962

Benny Carter - The Complete Keynote

The Keynote sides are consistently high quality performances that, until this CD series, were available only on the 21 LP set. Carter was signed to Deluxe at this time, so the sides are ostensibly under the leadership of Arnold Ross; four of the tracks, Moonglow, Give Me Something, Lady Be Good, and Deep Purple appear on Chronological 1043, but only the master takes. This release has two or three takes of each of those tunes. So far as I can tell, the Ross led tracks are only on the Alternative Tracks series and/or a Proper set.

Although he was a lifelong fan of jazz, Harry Lim was primarily active in jazz during two different periods. He grew up in the Netherlands where he became very fond of jazz, moving to the U.S. in 1939. After working as a freelance record producer, Lim was the Keystone label's jazz producer from 1943-46, putting together scores of classic sessions. The emphasis was on small-group jazz that ranged from Dixieland to bop but mostly focused on top swing all-stars. The quality of the music under Lim's guidance was very high; unfortunately, in 1946, he was replaced by John Hammond, and Keynote soon declined and became defunct. Lim had his own short-lived HL label in 1949, produced a few obscure sessions for Seeco, and tried reviving Keynote in 1955, but he ended up working at Sam Goody's New York record store from 1956-73. Lim did return to producing in 1972 when he formed the Famous Door label, a top mainstream record company that recorded a variety of valuable (but now hard-to-find) sessions by Bill Watrous, Red Norvo, Zoot Sims and others up until the producer's death. Happily, Harry Lim was still around when Polygram reissued all of the Keynote jazz sessions on a huge LP box set in 1986. ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Arnold Ross (piano)
Allan Reuss (guitar)
Artie Bernstein (bass)
Nick Fatool (drums)
Los Angeles, California, April, 1946

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Sonny White (piano)
unknown (guitar)
unknown (bass)
unknown (drums)
Los Angeles, California, April 22, 1946

1. The Moon Is Low (take 1)
2. The Moon Is Low (take 2)
3. The Moon Is Low (take 4)
4. Stairway to the Stars
5. Bye Bye Blues (take 2)
6. Bye Bye Blues (take 3)
7. Bye Bye Blues (take 4)
8. I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do
9. Moonglow (take 1)
10. Moonglow (take 2)
11. Moonglow (take 4)
12. Give Me Something to Remember You By (take 1)
13. Give Me Something to Remember You By (take 3)
14. Oh, Lady Be Good (take 1
15. Oh, Lady Be Good (take 2)
16. Oh, Lady Be Good (take 3)
17. Deep Purple (take 1)
18. Deep Purple (take 3)
19. Deep Purple (take 5)

Louis Moreau Gottschalk - Piano Music

While getting to know more about the great Jelly Roll Morton, I became curious about what his influences were. Like many in that time and place there was a tension between socially acceptable music and the commoner popular music. We have seen that tension in the works of Blues players: Skip James being a good example.

So while Jelly Roll - who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame some years ago - was learning some of his art in the brothels, Fernande La Mothe was showing his Tante the parlor music she found acceptable. Gottschalk would have been entirely acceptable.

A child prodigy pianist who was touring Europe as a virtuoso concert soloist while still a teenager, Louis Moreau Gottschalk provides one of the most colorful chapters in the history of American music. Dubbed ‘the Chopin of the Creoles’, he was, above all, the first to capture the syncopated music of South Louisiana and the Caribbean in enduring works that anticipate ragtime and jazz by half a century. The piano miniatures, of which there are more than one hundred, embrace the vernacular melodies of New Orleans streets, South American dance halls and North American music halls.

Cecile Licad may have been groomed under Rudolf Serkin's exacting tutelage, but her visceral, exuberant Gottschalk playing evokes Vladimir Horowitz's diabolical art. It's not just speed and accuracy that Licad brings to the impossible repeated notes in Le banjo or Tremolo, but also impulsive dynamic surges and fustian drama. Her nimble, skywritten runs in La jota aragonesa simply take your breath away, as do her exquisitely shaped soft chords. For all of Licad's affetuoso teasing in The Dying Poet, somehow the work's surface treacle never turns maudlin.

She summons up every inch of blood and thunder in virtuosic nationalist works such as the Souvenirs d'Andalousie, Souvenir de Porto, and the Union. Her rhythm is infectious as well as galvanizing: listen to La Gallina's tango-influenced underpinnings and you'll be dancing within seconds. The sonics turn boxy at loud moments and occasionally amplify Licad's involuntary vocal accompaniments, but that doesn't matter in the long run. After all, we've got the best of Gottschalk, played to the hilt, at budget price. A sensational disc: don't miss it. ~ Jed Distler

Cecile Licad (piano)

1. Le banjo, Fantaisie grotesque, Op.15
2. Bamboula, Danse de nègres, Op.2
3. Le bananier, Chanson nègre, Op.5
4. La savane, Ballade créole, Op.3
5. Tremolo, Grande étude de concert, Op.58
6. La jota aragonesa, Caprice espagnol, Op.14
7. Manchega, Étude de concert, Op.38
8. Souvenirs d’Andalousie, Caprice de concert sur la caña, Op.22
9. Souvenir de Porto Rico, Marche des Gibaros, Op.31
10. L’étincelle, La scintilla, Op.20
11. La gallina, Op.53
12. Suis-moi!, Caprice, Op.45
13. Pasquinade, Caprice, Op.59
14. Tournament Galop
15. The Dying Poet, Meditation
16. The Union, Paraphrase de concert on the national airs; Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, and Hail Columbia, Op.48

Recorded at Auditorium de la Banque de Luxembourg, October 1-3, 2001

3-6, 8-10
Recorded Live at Auditorium de la Banque de Luxembourg, October 4, 2001

Louis Armstrong - 1936-1937 (Chronological 512)

Being a completist (when possible), I never wanted to start on Pops Chronos - there might be a few hundred. But I have been serially collecting from the first issued (just got the first one: #500, Ella. Look for it soon) and this was an early one. Anyway, it's Louis. Never say no to Louis.

"...includes two tremendous pieces in "Swing That Music" and Mahogany hall Stomp" as well as a peculiar meeting with a Hawaiian group and two dates with The Mills Brothers." ~Penguin Guide

Continuing the complete chronological reissue of Louis Armstrong's output for Decca during the swing era, this set finds Satch at his most exhibitionistic (hitting dozens of high notes on "Swing That Music"), fronting Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra, doing a "Pennies from Heaven" medley with Bing Crosby, joining in for two collaborations with The Mills Brothers and, on four selections, even making charming (if weird) music with a group of Hawaiians. Not essential but quite enjoyable. ~ Scott Yanow

Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocal)
Bing Crosby (vocal)
Bunny Berigan (trumpet)
The Mills Brothers (vocal)
Luis Russell (piano)
Charlie Holmes (alto sax)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax)
Dave Barbour (guitar)
Bobby Byrne (trombone)
Toots Camarata (trumpet)
Skeets Herfurt (clarinet, tenor sax)
Ray McKinley (drums)
Paul Barbarin (drums)

1. Yes! Yes! My! My!
2. Somebody Stole My Break
3. I Come From A Musical Family
4. If We Never Meet Again
5. Lyin' To Myself
6. Ev'ntide
7. Swing That Music
8. Thankful
9. Red Nose
10. Mahogany Hall Stomp
11. The Skeleton In The Closet
12. When Ruben Swings The Cuban
13. Hurdy-Gurdy Man
14. Dipper Mouth Blues
15. Swing That Music
16. Pennies From Heaven Medley
17. Pennies From Heaven
18. To You, Sweetheart, Aloha
19. On A Cocoanut Island
20. On A Little Bamboo Bridge
21. Hawaiian Hospitality
22. Carry Me Back To Old Virginny
23. Darling Nelly Gray

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Art Pepper | Unreleased Art

Here's another trio of recordings for you. Most of you regulars know that I post a lot of West Coast jazz, so these should be no surprise. Happy Fathers' Day.

Art Pepper: Unreleased Art, Volume 1 - The Complete Abashiri Concert - November 22, 1981
During his late 1970s renaissance, Pepper was wildly popular in Japan, touring and recording there several times. Much of this work is documented on the 16-CD set Art Pepper - The Complete Galaxy Recordings. Pepper’s appearance at Abashiri, Japan in November 1981 would be his last trip there. The recording was made from the soundboard directly to analog cassette tape by a local engineer, chosen by Laurie Pepper to do the job because he proved more reliable than other engineers she encountered. The taping begins with pianist George Cable in mid-solo on the 1979 Pepper original “Landscape.” The sound is fractional but clears up nicely, improved further in the digital transfer.

The concert repertoire is very much in keeping with Pepper’s book in his late period. The bulk of the pieces were associated with his return to the music scene in 1975. These include the aforementioned “Landscape,” 1976’s soul jazz workout “Red Car,” the recently composed 3/4 blues, “Road Waltz,” and the staggering “For Freddie” (divided because the recording cassette tape had to be turned over). Pepper did retain older standards in his book including “Besame Mucho,” the recently added “Goodbye,” and the rarely played (by Pepper) “Body And Soul.”

Pepper could slay any ballad and does with “Body and Soul” what he consistently had done in the past with “Over The Rainbow,” recasting the famous melody in that fragile place between the head and the heart. Pepper remarks on the recording that this performance “was one of the nicest things I ever played in my life.” Indeed. Pepper had recorded Monk’s “Rhythm-A-Ning” as early as 1960, revisiting it many times. Here, Pepper treats it as his own, displaying his splendid eloquence in the bop vernacular. His bop original “Straight Life,” hinged here with “Goodbye,” represent the most intense performances on the disc. This is surely Pepper heard at his pristine best.

Pepper’s renaissance performances, particularly those from the 1970s (and in particular at The Village Vanguard) were characterized by cathartic explosions of pathos. The experience for Pepper and audience alike was akin to a “burning bush” experience. By the time of the Abashiri Concert, Pepper had relaxed into a more comfortable performance, but still accented with emotive intensity, as in his second solo on “Road Waltz.” This working quartet was the one best suited to Pepper, header by his “Mr. Beautiful” George Cables and pinned down with bassist David Williams and another Pepper favorite, drummer Carl Burnett. The group’s simpatico is palpable, perhaps reaching a critical mass of cooperation that Pepper had never enjoyed previously. That alone makes this unreleased material such a special gift.

Art Pepper: Unreleased Art, Volume 2 - The Last Concert May 30, 1982 Kool Jazz Festival Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
Pepper’s last recorded performance took place on May 30, 1982 at the Kool Jazz Festival, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC. Before taking the stage, Pepper understood that he had 70 minutes during which to perform. He and his wife Laurie, per their habit, discussed the pieces to be performed before the show. Through a miscommunication, Pepper was allowed only 60 minutes in which to perform. Disappointed and angry, he nevertheless performed brilliantly. In his late creative period, Pepper would play as if every performance was to be his last one. This time it was.

The recording is acceptable—with the caveats that the piano and saxophone are a bit behind the drums and bass in the mix—as the performance was being prepared for broadcast over the Voice Of America. By this time Cables, Pepper’s favorite pianist, had left for a job with Sarah Vaughan and Laurie Pepper selected the very successful Roger Kellaway to replace him. Kellaway had more in common with Pepper pianist Milcho Leviev than Cables, providing an interesting contrast. The performance opens with the Pepper original “Landscape,” a favorite vehicle for the saxophonist after he introduced it into his book in 1979. The piece well illustrates Pepper’s affinity for complex charts. Everyone solos, Pepper and bassist David Williams being the most compelling. Kellaway has a shaky start, working out the kinks as the song warms.

The Last Concert includes plenty of Pepper stage banter in his introduction to his “Ophelia.” This mid-tempo ballad, full of life and breath, is the product of a superb jazz mind that gives his compositions an immediate ambience that can only be defined as jazz. Forget genre and subgenre. “Ophelia” accomplishes for Pepper what “Pilgrimage” did for the late Michael Brecker 25 years later—the music saying, “this is what jazz is all about.”

“Mambo Koyama,” another Pepper original, possesses a complex Latin head that put the saxophonist years ahead of the Latin jazz resurgence of the mid-1990s. Pepper blows his heart out in solo, playing long convoluted lines after the staccato introductory passage. The song evolves into a soul jazz-inspired serenade with waves of crescendos. Pepper follows the white-hot with the ballad-cool, playing one of his favorite concert pieces, “Over The Rainbow.” Playing with the quartet and not solo, as he often did, Pepper made his impassioned plea sincerely, as he always did when playing this song.

The final song, “When You’re Smiling,” Pepper played on clarinet and dedicated to saxophonist Zoot Sims, whom he had known in the old days. The song opens as a duet with Williams just as Pepper had done with his Village Vanguard “Anthropology” and bassist George Mraz. Like saxophonist Lester Young, Pepper never over did it on clarinet, but when he did play the instrument, it was magic. Kellaway turns in his most inspiring performance of the show, going well over the top and dragging the band with him. There is no more fitting way to remember Art Pepper than this performance of “When You’re Smiling. It is so good that there is more to come.

Unreleased Art, Volume 3—The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981
Laurie Pepper, widow of alto saxophonist Art Pepper, has single-handedly made the most significant contribution to her late husband's legacy in the last decade with the release of Unreleased Art, Volume 1: The Complete Abashiri Concert November 22, 1981 and Unreleased Art, Volume 2: The Last Concert May 30, 1982. Both were released in 2007 on her own Widow's Taste label. While superb, these performances were compromised by poor sonics.

Well, not so with Unreleased Art, Vol. III—The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981. Recorded from the soundboard by a dedicated fan, this recording was presented to Pepper who has now gladly released it. The sound is crisp and potent; particularly Bob Magnusson's mic'd double-bass, which exudes a warm virility, fluidly surrounding the musical micelles of the quartet.

The performances can only be described against the backdrop that Pepper himself presented in his autobiography, Straight Life (Da Capo, 1979), a scene where every performance was an artistically critical battle to prove himself. Pepper throws down the gauntlet, throwing caution to the wind, and plays with an urgency not heard since his Village Vanguard performances in 1977, albeit less torn and frayed.

After his final comeback in the late 1970s, Pepper typically opened his shows with a medium tempo blues and Croydon is no exception. “Blues for Blanche” opens the set, Pepper introducing the piece with a flurry of tart notes that crank start Magnusson into a propelling 4/4 12-bar stroll. White hot is the band's playing, with Pepper and Leviev's brief head leading into the evidence that Pepper was not simply a superb balladeer but also an outstanding bluesman.

If the performance starts off white hot, Pepper turns up the gas achieving a blistering intensity, even on his well-known ballads “Ophelia” and “Patricia.” Gordon Jenkins' “Goodbye” has only “Over the Rainbow” as competition as Pepper's standard balladic trademark. Pepper's rhythm section, perhaps the best of his fractured career, stirs the piece into ecstatic frenzy around Pepper's impassioned playing. This is not your parent's Benny Goodman playing “Goodbye” as a confection; this is terrible beauty, corrosively rendered.

Before “Goodbye” is “Cherokee,” a song that loomed large in Pepper's psyche as described in Straight Life. Where “Blues for Blanche” is medium tempo, “Cherokee” is taken at a breakneck pace, throwing off sparks. Drummer Carl Burnett kicks things off before Pepper enters, immediately improvising. He plays with the grit and soul that would come to characterize the alto saxophone in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pianist Milcho Leviev performs a percussive Bud Powell solo while Magnusson keeps perfect time.

The most intriguing and incendiary piece on the recording is the closer, “Make a List (Make a Wish).” Appearing first on Straight Life (Galaxy, 1979), “Make a List” carries on in the vein of “Red Car” from 1975's The Trip (Contemporary/OJC). That is, “Make a List” is a simple progression over which the soloist can explore. And explore they do...for twenty-plus minutes of jazz revelation. C. Michael Bailey

Unreleased Art, Volume 1: The Complete Abashiri Concert November 22, 1981
Tracks: Landscape; Besame Mucho; Red Car; Goodbye; Straight Life; Road Waltz; For Freddie (part 1); For Freddie (part 2); Body And Soul; Talk; Rhythm-A-Ning; Blues Encore (inc.).

Personnel: Art Pepper: alto saxophone; George Cables: piano; David Williams: bass; Carl Burnett: drums.

Unreleased Art, Volume 2: The Last Concert May 30, 1982
Tracks: Landscape; Talk; Ophelia; Talk; Mambo Koyama; Over The Rainbow; Talk; When You're Smiling.

Personnel: Art Pepper: alto saxophone; Roger Kellaway: piano; David Williams: bass; Carl Burnett: drums

Unreleased Art, Vol. III—The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981
Track listing: Blues for Blanche; Talk, Band Intro; Ophelia; Mambo De La Pinta; Patricia; Cherokee; Goodbye; Yours Is My Heart Alone; Dedicated; Make a List (Make a Wish).

Personnel: Art Pepper: alto saxophone; Milcho Leviev: piano; Bob Magnusson: bass; Carl Burnett: drums.

On This Day In Jazz

Ornette Coleman - Chappaqua Suite

This four-part suite is actually a film soundtrack to the debut feature by Conrad Rooks, though it was never used as such. Recorded in 1965, it was performed by the Ornette Coleman Trio with Charles Moffett on drums and David Izenson on bass; augmenting the session were Pharoah Sanders on tenor and a large studio orchestra arranged by Joseph Tekula. What is most notable is the kind of control Coleman has over the orchestra. His trio is playing by intuition, which was normal for them, but they open to accommodate the more formal constructs of a band who knows little about improvisation and how it works in the free jazz context. Sanders' interaction with Coleman is startling too, in that his normally overpowering voice is tempered here, playing along with the nuances and odd harmonic figures Coleman suggests and then blatantly states from his alto. The improvisation is complementary, not a cutting contest at all. Most of all, the rhythm section carries the balance of power and keeps the entire thing moving, handling the dynamic changes with a feral grace while at the same time suggesting a knottier path for Coleman to follow in the tempting pastoral sections of the work. While not considered a masterwork of Coleman's, perhaps because of its unavailability in the United States in its entirety, Chappaqua Suite is a testament to Coleman's vision as a composer and the power of his orchestral direction. Very worthwhile indeed. ~ Thom Jurek

Ornette Coleman Quartet With Joseph Tekula Band

Ornette Coleman (alto sax, trumpet)
Pharoah Sanders (tenor sax)
David Izenzon (bass)
Charles Moffett (drums)
Joseph Tekula (dir)
unidentified large studio band

1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
4. Part Four

NYC, June 15-17, 1965

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Phineas Newborn Jr. | Three Trios

I love the piano playing of Phineas Newborn Jr., so I decided to add five lps that haven't shown up here yet: three today and Phineas Plays Again and Here is Phineas later this week.

One of the most technically skilled and brilliant pianists in jazz during his prime, Phineas Newborn remains a bit of a mystery. Plagued by mental and physical problems of unknown origin, Newborn faded from the scene in the mid-1960s, only to re-emerge at irregular intervals throughout his life. Newborn could be compared to Oscar Peterson in that his bop-based style was largely unclassifiable, his technique was phenomenal, and he was very capable of enthralling an audience playing a full song with just his left hand.

He started out working in Memphis R&B bands with his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn, and recorded with local players including B.B. King in the early 1950s. Brief stints with Lionel Hampton and Willis Jackson preceded a period in the military (1952-54). After moving to New York in 1956, Newborn astounded fans and critics alike. Although he worked briefly with Charles Mingus (1958) and Roy Haynes, Newborn usually performed at the head of a trio or quartet. His early recordings for Atlantic (1956), Victor, Roulette and Contemporary are quite outstanding. Unfortunately, after the mid-'60s, Newborn's profile dropped sharply, and although there were further recordings for Contemporary (1969), Atlantic (1969), Pablo (1976) and the Japanese Philips (1977) label, and although he still sounded strong when appearing in public, the pianist was in danger of being forgotten by most of the jazz world during his last decade. Spending most of his time in Memphis, he was an inspiration to many younger pianists including James Williams, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown and Geoff Keezer, who after Newborn's death would dedicate their work as the Contemporary Piano Ensemble to Phineas. Fortunately, the episode of Jazz Scene USA that features Phineas Newborn in 1962 has been made available on a video by Shanachie.

The Newborn Touch

This CD reissue adds an alternate take and an unissued selection to the original program. Pianist Phineas Newborn's only recording of the 1963-1968 period, the trio outing with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Frank Butler, finds Newborn's virtuosic style unchanged from the late '50s. As is usual on his Contemporary recordings, the pianist explores superior jazz compositions, in this case interpreting a song apiece by Benny Carter, Russ Freeman, Hampton Hawes, Art Pepper, Ornette Coleman ("The Blessing"), Carl Perkins, Frank Rosolino, Leroy Vinnegar, Jimmy Woods and Barney Kessel. Newborn's remarkable control of the piano was still unimpaired, and he is heard giving Oscar Peterson a run for his money. Scott Yanow - AMG

Look Out - Phineas Is Back!

Phineas Newborn was one of the great jazz pianists, possessing phenomenal technique and mastery of the bebop vocabulary, but various illnesses plagued him throughout the 1960s and '70s. On what would be one of his final sessions, Newborn is in surprisingly strong form playing in a trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jimmie Smith. Highlights include "Abbers Song" (a rapid run-through on "I've Got Rhythm" chord changes), "A Night in Tunisia," a previously unreleased version of "Just in Time" that appeared for the first time on this CD reissue, and a creative version of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." Scott Yanow - AMG

C Jam Blues (1986): Ray Brown, bass; Marvin "Smitty" Smith, dr
Newborn Touch (1964): Leroy Vinnegar, bass; Frank Butler, dr
Look Out - Phineas Is Back: Ray Brown, bass; Jimmie Smith, dr

cinq novembre brings us...

One of the excellent Bethlehem releases, and this one is notable both for its scarcity and its excellent line-up. Cinq novembre is also the prime motivator of the recently started discussion section which was impressive in its results. Let's hope it begins again after it's crashing halt.

An extensive review is in Comments.

Bennie Green - Hornful of Soul (1960 Bethlehem Records)

Bennie Green (trombone)
Lem Davis (alto sax)
Jimmy Forrest (tenor sax)
Skip Hall (organ)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Tommy Lopez (conga drums)
Art Taylor (drums)
Wyatt Ruther (bass)

1. Summertime
2. Groove One
3. Lowland-ism
4. Dibblin' And Dabblin'
5. Foolish Heart
6. Indiana
7. Catwalk
8. Dee Dee

Recorded in NYC, December, 1960
Produced by Teddy Charles

Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass - Big Band Jazz (1977)

When this double LP was released in 1978 it was a marvel from both a musical and engineering perspective. Rob McConnell's fresh arrangements, a band loaded with great players and soloists, and four sides of direct-to-disc recording. Each side had to be recorded live, non-stop, and the band only had about 5 seconds in between each track to get ready for the next one. In this do-or-die situation the band performs almost flawless with the only noticeable clam being an early trumpet entry at the beginning of "No More Blues" which was the last song on side three.

Pausa Records reissued two volumes in 1985 as standard recordings. There was also a CD issued in Canada but it was actually alternate takes that were probably recorded in case there was a problem with the direct-to-disc process.

This rip is from the original limited edition direct-to-disc LP released on Umbrella.

Rob McConnell (leader, arranger, valve trombone)
Arnie Chycoski, Erich Traugott, Guido Basso, Bruce Cassidy, Sam Noto (trumpet)
Ian McDougall, Bob Livingston, Dave McMurdo, Ron Hughes (trombone)
Brad Warnaar, George Stimpson (french horn)
Moe Koffman, Jerry Toth, Eugene Amaro, Rick Wilkins, Gary Morgan (reeds)
Jimmy Dale (piano) Ed Bickert (guitar) Don Thompson (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums) Marty Morell (percussion)
Doug Riley (piano) and Bobby Edwards (guitar) on tracks 1-3
  1. Just Friends
  2. Keep Me in Your Heart
  3. Runaway Hormones
  4. Street of Dreams
  5. Dirty Man
  6. A Tribute to Art Fern
  7. Fred
  8. Good Morning Irene
  9. No More Blues
  10. Porgy and Bess Suite

Friday, June 13, 2008

Charles Mingus - Mysterious Blues

Although a Mosaic box set claims to have all of Charles Mingus's Candid recordings, this CD, in addition to four duplications from the box, contains three alternate takes not included elsewhere: "Body and Soul" (featuring trumpeter Roy Eldridge and altoist Eric Dolphy), the Dannie Richmond drum solo "Melody from the Drums" and a septet runthrough on "Reincarnation of a Love Bird." A fine introduction into the music of Charles Mingus, this set still cannot compare to the Mosaic box which has the Mingus's pianoless quartet with Dolphy, Richmond and trumpeter Ted Curson, but completists will have to acquire both releases. ~ Scott Yanow

Charles Mingus (bass)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Eric Dolphy (alto sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Jo Jones (drums)

Charles Mingus (bass)
Eric Dolphy (alto sax, bass clarinet, flute)
Ted Curson (trumpet)
Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Nico Bunick (piano)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Mysterious Blues
2. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
3. Body And Soul (take 2)
4. Vassarlean
5. Re-Incarnation Of A Love Bird (1st version) (take 4)
6. Me And You Blues
7. Melody From The Drums

Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios, New York City on October 20, 1960 and November 11, 1960

Bob Florence - State of the Art (1988)

On the heels of a healthy discussion of big bands in the new section comes this wonderful CD by arranger Bob Florence who I don't recall getting any exposure here. Florence led one of the better L.A. based big bands for the last 30 years and just recently passed away on May 15th.

"I believe in the Duke Ellington Philosophy of seeing the musicians in front of me as I write. It keeps them in focus and allows me to get the most out of them." - Bob Florence

A brief but right-on review by Scott Yanow:
The first of two sets by Bob Florence's Limited Edition Orchestra for the USA label breaks from his tradition in that only four of the nine selections are Florence originals. The arranger completely reworks such familiar tunes as "Just Friends," "Moonlight Serenade," "All the Things You Are" and even "Auld Lang Syne." Among the key players are altoist Lanny Morgan, trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, Bob Cooper on tenor, and Kim Richmond on alto and soprano. Modern, swinging and unpredictable music.

Lanny Morgan, Kim Richmond, Dick Mitchell, Bob Cooper, Bob Efford, John Lowe (reeds)
George Graham, Charley Davis, Warren Luening, Steve Huffsteter, Larry Ford (trumpets)
Chauncey Welsch, Rick Culver, Charlie Loper, Herbie Harper, Don Waldrop (trombones)
Bob Florence (piano) Tom Warrington (bass) Peter Donald (drums) Alex Acuna (percussion)
  1. Just Friends
  2. Moonlight Serenade
  3. Silky
  4. The Crunch
  5. Stella by Starlight
  6. All the Things You Are
  7. Mr. Paddington
  8. BBC
  9. Auld Lang Syne

Sahib Shihab - And The Danish Radio Jazz Group

One of the hippest 60s sets from saxophonist Sahib Shihab -- a large group album recorded with the Danish Radio Group -- a great batch of modernists from the Scandinavian scene of the time! The album's still got the modal rhythms and long-flowing solos we love in Sahib's best 60s work -- but the presence of the larger ensemble also fills up the sound a bit more too -- letting in a wider range of colors and tones behind the solos, in a way that makes for a really expressive sound! Shihab's playing baritone sax and flute -- and other players include Palle Mikkelborg and Allan Botschinsky on trumpets, Bent Jaedig on tenor and flute, Niels Husum on soprano sax and bass clarinet, Bent Axen on piano, and Louis Hjulmand on vibes. The whole thing's got a great sense of energy and soul -- never too academic, as you might expect from a modernist outing like this -- and Sahib keeps a strong, bold tone in his horns throughout! Titles include "Di Da", "Dance Of The Fakowees", "Mai Ding", "Not Yet", "Tenth Lament", "The Crosseyed Cat", and "Little French Girl".

Sahib Shihab (baritone sax, flute,)
Palle Bolvig, Palle Mikkelborg, Allan Botshinsky (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Torolf Molgard (tuba, euphonium)
Sven Age Nielsen (trombone)
Poul Kjaeldgard (tuba, trombone)
Poul Hindberg (alto sax, clarinet)
Disne Havaclu (electric snørrflårt)
Bent Jaedig (tenor sax, flute)
Hiels Husum (tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet)
Bent Nielson (baritone sax, flute, clarinet)
Ib Renard (baritone sax)
Louis Hjulmand (vibes)
Fritz von Bulow (guitar)
Bent Axen (piano)
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)

1. Di-Da
2. Dance Of The Fakowees
3. Not Yet
4. Tenth Lament
5. Mai Ding
6. Harvey's Tune
7. No Time For Cries
8. The Crosseyed Cat
9. Little French Girl

Jimmy Scott - Very Truly Yours

Though one of the great balladeers, Jimmy - usually at the suggestion of A&R men who thought they knew best - often sang songs that are the repertoire equivalent of 'B' movies (see "How Can I Go On Without You" above); not without charm but sometimes lacking somewhat in finesse. So it's a real treat to hear him sing some superior songs by Harry Warren and George Gershwin. Jimmy is heard singing Harry Warren's "Street Of Dreams" to great atmospheric effect during the movie Glengarry Glen Ross many years later. "Someone To Watch Over Me" features Cissy Houston (Whitney's mother) watching over him from soprano heaven, a kitschy touch the track probably could have done without. Jimmy didn't like it either, but happy to be recording his first album, kept quiet.

Pianist/arranger Howard Biggs and the boys creating spacious, sensitive backings within which Jimmy lets fly with and the effect is startling, probably unlike anything else in popular music. "Time On My Hands" and "Imagination" are typical Scott transformations of unassuming 1930s material into burnished, heartfelt epics. Although Jimmy's material is often forlorn, he rarely ventured into the blues style preferring to sing strong, expressive melodies. "Don't Cry Baby" is an exception and shows Jimmy's blue s inflexions were right there to be utilised when needed.

Little Jimmy Scott (vocal)
Budd Johnson (tenor sax)
Howard Biggs (piano)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Rudy Nichols (drums)

Little Jimmy Scott (vocal)
Dave McRae (alto, baritone sax)
George Berg (tenor sax)
Howard Biggs (piano)
George Barnes (guitar)
Al Hall (bass)
Dave Bailey (drums)

Little Jimmy Scott (vocal)
George Berg (tenor sax)
Howard Biggs (piano)
Phil Kraus (vibes)
Sal Salvador (guitar)
Jack Lesberg (bass)
Cliff Leeman (drums)

Little Jimmy Scott (vocal)
Budd Johnson (tenor sax)
Everett Barksdale (guitar)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Imagination
2. How Can I Go On Without You?
3. Time On My Hands
4. When Did You Leave Heaven?
5. Guilty
6. Everybody Needs Somebody
7. Why Don't You Open Your Heart?
8. Don't Cry Baby
9. Street Of Dreams
10. Someone To Watch Over Me
11. The Show Goes On
12. Very Truly Yours

Teddy Wilson - 1942-1945 (Chronological 908)

Pianist Teddy Wilson was the epitome of style in jazz. He stuck to his pristine brand of swing throughout a long career, never really seeming out of place in the process. After working with the likes of Billie Holiday, Roy Eldridge, and Benny Goodman, Wilson formed his own big band in 1939, only to have to fold it in 1940. Thankfully, Wilson returned to combo settings, which seemed to suit him best. This Classics disc features a mix of those small-group dates from the mid-'40s, along with some solo piano sides and a few vocal cuts featuring Helen Ward and Maxine Sullivan. Also on hand to contribute top-notch work are trumpeter Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Edmond Hall, tenor great Ben Webster, and trombonist Benny Morton. An optimal and highly enjoyable disc to start your Wilson collection. ~ Stephen Cook

Teddy Wilson (piano)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Red Norvo (vibraphone)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Maxine Sullivan (vocal)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Edmond Hall (clarinet)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Helen Ward (vocal), Emmett Berry (trumpet)
Billy Taylor, Jr. (bass)
Remo Palmieri (guitar)
Joe Thomas (trumpet)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
"Specs" Powell (drums)

1. These Foolish Things
2. You're My Favorite Memory
3. B Flat Swing
4. How High The Moon
5. Russian Lullaby
6. I Know That You Know
7. Blues
8. Stompin' At The Savoy
9. Undecided
10. China Boy
11. Every Time We Say Goodbye
12. Just You, Just Me
13. Just For You Blues
14. This Heart Of Mine
15. Bugle Call Rag
16. Running Wild
17. I Surrender Dear
18. Memories Of You
19. If Dreams Come True
20. I Can't Get Started
21. Stompin' At The Savoy
22. Blues Too

Susannah McCorkle - Let's Face The Music: The Songs of Irving Berlin

Resuming the McCorkle survey... only a few more to go. This one's got a great group on it and CHRIS POTTER! Scoredaddy

Susannah McCorkle, who consistently brings out new meanings in the lyrics she interprets, performs 16 Irving Berlin songs (complete with verses and sometimes lesser-known stanzas) on this delightful set. There is solo space for trumpeter Gregory Gisbert, trombonist Conrad Herwig, young tenor great Chris Potter and altoist Jerry Dodgion; the arrangements by Rich DeRosa are surprisingly modern, and McCorkle is heard in prime form. Among the many highlights are a wistful rendition of "Let's Face the Music and Dance," and a sensuous "Cheek to Cheek," "Let Yourself Go," and a wonderful closer, a version of "Waiting at the End of the Road" on which the singer is accompanied only by the rhythm guitar of Al Gafa. Although this interpretation of "There's No Business Like Show Business" (greatly slowed down and surprisingly touching) is not quite as classic as McCorkle's version of a decade earlier, this is overall a highly recommended set by a superb singer. Scott Yanow

Susannah McCorkle (Vocals)
Richard de Rosa (Synthesizer, Arranger, Drums)
Allen Farnham (Piano, Arranger)
Alexander Gafa (Guitar)
Steve Gilmore (Bass)
Greg Gisbert (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Conrad Herwig (Trombone)
Chris Potter (Clarinet, Alto Flute, Tenor Sax)

1 I'd Rather Lead a Band 4:48
2 Let's Face the Music and Dance 5:40
3 Isn't This a Lovely Day? 4:43
4 Heat Wave 5:00
5 How Deep Is the Ocean? 2:20
6 Medley: Everybody Knew But Me/When You Walked Out Someone Else 5:56
7 There's No Business Like Show Business 5:48
8 Cheek to Cheek 5:11
9 Love and the Weather 4:08
10 Supper Time 3:45
11 Medley: You're Easy to Dance With/It Only Happens When I Dance With You 4:05
12 Better Luck Next Time 2:48
13 Let Yourself Go 3:48
14 Waiting at the End of the Road 3:01

Recorded at Sound On Sound Studios, New York City on October 28-30, 1996

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Benny Goodman - Yale Recordings, Vol. 1

Today is the anniversary of Benny Goodman's death, and this is the first volume of the personal holdings he bequeathed to Yale University. I got hold of 5 or 6 later volumes (and posted one on May 26th). They are noticeably lacking in any information or CD inserts, but I suppose the notes from this first volume are intended to serve for the subsequent volumes. And it's good: notes by Morton Gould, Loren Schoenberg and Helen Oakley Dance.

Shortly after Benny Goodman's death in 1986, trustees at Yale University's Music Library were surprised to find out that, in addition to memorabilia and over 1, 500 arrangements, Benny Goodman had left them around 400 ten-inch master tapes of concert and studio performances that had never been heard before, along with the right to lease these recordings for commercial release. Volume 1 of what is now known as BG's Yale Archives is a hodgepodge collection of performances that skip around between 1955 and 1986. Among the dozen selections on this CD are a couple of tunes by BG's 1955 combo with trumpeter Ruby Braff, an example of the group he led briefly in 1959 with trombonist Bill Harris and Flip Phillips's tenor, some okay big-band performances, Goodman's forgotten 1967 septet with trumpeter Joe Newman and tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims, and a version of "Blue Room" played by his last band, Goodman's 1986 orchestra. ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Ruby Braff (trumpet)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Sir Roland Hanna (piano)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Henry Grimes (bass)
Attila Zoller (guitar)
Chuck Wayne (guitar)
George Duvivier (bass)

1. Sweet Georgia Brown
2. Macedonia Lullaby
3. Soft Lights and Sweet Music
4. Broadway
5. Marchin' and Swingin'
6. Batunga Train
7. Cherokee
8. Slipped Disc
9. Diga Diga Doo
10. Lullaby in Rhythm
11. Don't Blame Me
12. Blue Room

Oliver Nelson - The Blues And The Abstract Truth

Don't have this? Inexcusable!! as Frank Zappa would exclaim. Our friend Peter once told me that Zappa would often play Stolen Moments in performance.

This was Oliver Nelson's finest recording and one of the top jazz albums of 1961, a true classic. The lineup is an inspired one: Nelson on tenor and alto, Eric Dolphy doubling on alto and flute, a young trumpeter named Freddie Hubbard, baritonist George Barrow for section parts, pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Roy Haynes. The contrasting voices of the soloists really uplift these superior compositions, which are highlighted by "Stolen Moments" (a future standard), the fun "Hoe Down," and "Yearnin'." Dolphy cuts everyone, but Nelson and Hubbard are also in top form. ~ Scott Yanow

Oliver Nelson had recorded several sessions for Prestige when the fledgling Impulse! label gave him the opportunity to make this septet date in 1961. The result was a rare marriage between an arranger-composer's conception and the ideal collection of musicians to execute it. The material is all based somehow on the blues, but Nelson's structural and harmonic extensions make it highly varied, suggesting ballads, hoedowns, and swing. The band is one of those groupings that seem only to have been possible around 1960, a roster so strong that the leader's name was actually listed fourth on the cover. Nelson shares the solo space with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, alto saxophonist and flutist Eric Dolphy, and pianist Bill Evans, while bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Roy Haynes contribute support and baritone saxophonist George Barrow adds depth. In stark contrast to Dolphy's brilliant, convulsive explosions, Nelson's tenor solos are intriguingly minimalist, emphasizing a tight vibrato and unusual note choices. It's not quite Kind of Blue (nothing is), but Blues and the Abstract Truth is an essential recording, one that helped define the shape of jazz in the '60s. ~ Stuart Broomer

Oliver Nelson (alto and tenor sax)
Eric Dolphy (flute, alto sax)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Bill Evans (piano)
George Barrow (baritone sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. Stolen Moments
2. Hoe Down
3. Cascades
4. Yearnin'
5. Butch And Butch
6. Teenie's Blues

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on February 23, 1961

Ruby Braff & Dick Hyman

Ruby Braff & Dick Hyman – Manhattan Jazz (1987/FLAC/Scans)

Every duet album by pianist Dick Hyman and cornetist Ruby Braff is magical. The pair of distinctive musicians always seem to react immediately to each other and they consistently play highly expressive versions of prebop standards. This outing has its memorable moments and is highlighted by "Jubilee," "You're Lucky to Me," "I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby" and "Jeepers Creepers"; Hyman takes "I'm Just Wild About Harry" as an unaccompanied solo. The CD is easily recommended to mainstream collectors. Scott Yanow

Ruby Braff (cornet)
Dick Hyman (piano)

1 Jubilee (Adams, Carmichael) 2:44
2 You're Lucky to Me (Blake, Razaf) 3:26
3 Man I Love/How Long Has This Been Going On?/He Loves and She Loves (Gershwin) 7:13
4 I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (Hill, Waller) 3:20
5 Someday You'll Be Sorry (Armstrong) 3:15
6 Don't Worry About Me (Bloom, Koehler) 4:58
7 Jeepers Creepers (Mercer, Warren) 4:02
8 I'm Just Wild About Harry (Solo Piano) (Blake, Sissle) 4:42
9 The Man That Got Away/If I Only Had a Brain/Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Arlen) 6:55
10 Blues for John W. (Braff, Hyman) 3:04

Recorded at the Manhattan Recording Company, New York City in 1987

Ruby Braff & Dick Hyman – Music From My Fair Lady (1989/FLAC/Scans)

The many Lerner & Loewe songs written for the play My Fair Lady have long been rightfully acclaimed. Even with several decades of fine recordings, this duet set by cornetist Ruby Braff and pianist Dick Hyman is one of the finest interpretations of the famous music. Braff and Hyman come up with new ideas during melodic versions of such songs as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live," and "Get Me to the Church on Time," among others. Every Braff-Hyman collaboration is well worth getting, and this set is no exception. Scott Yanow

Ruby Braff (cornet)
Dick Hyman (piano)

1 Wouldn't It Be Loverly? 5:49
2 With a Little Bit of Luck [Slow] 3:54
3 With a Little Bit of Luck [Fast] 2:26
4 I'm an Ordinary Man 4:06
5 The Rain in Spain 6:11
6 I Could Have Danced All Night 4:42
7 Ascot Gavotte 4:02
8 On the Street Where You Live 5:01
9 Show Me 3:49
10 Get Me to the Church on Time 5:09
11 Without You 3:10
12 I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face 3:59

All selections by Lerner & Lowe

Recorded at Penny Lane Studios, New York City in July 1989

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dexter Gordon - More Power! (1969)

"Dexter Gordon's return Stateside resulted in the tenor participating in his first studio sessions in nearly a decade. Not only would his April 1969 confab with James Moody (tenor sax), Barry Harris (piano), Buster Williams (bass), and Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums) yield this long player, but its predecessor/companion Tower of Power! as well. Things get off to a hectic start with both Moody and Gordon front and center on Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird." Things get a bit overwhelming as the two tenors go horn-to-horn with Miles Davis' "Half Nelson" thrown into the mix. Otherwise, it is a fun rendition that finds Gordon quoting Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" within his extended extemporaneous leads. Moody then counters in an exceedingly soulful manner. He demonstrates his remarkable depth, dexterity and melodic sensibilities. One of the highlights of the project is the slight stylistic diversion on the update of Antonio Carlos Jobim's timeless "Meditation (Meditação)." The uncomplicated, yet exquisite horn lines rival that of sax samba guru Stan Getz. It also begs the question why Gordon didn't venture into Latin rhythms with any degree of frequency. "Fried Bananas" is a rousing recycling of Rodgers & Hart's "It Could Happen to You." The trend of reconfiguring Great American Songbook standards subsequently resurfaces on "Boston Bernie," but more about that in a moment. Back to "Fried Bananas" briefly to point out the charming interaction between Gordon and Heath as the pair trade fours just prior to the conclusion. The bouncy and beguiling "Boston Bernie" bears a definite resemblance to the Jerome Kern classic "All the Things You Are." The syncopated setting does wonders to the tune, creating an avenue for Gordon's catchy and expressive performance. "Sticky Wicket" concludes More Power! with Moody and Gordon blending together one last time. Moody merely accompanies his fellow tenor as they blow in tandem during the opening and closing. Debatably, the approach comes off more cohesively than the alternate of the number that initially surfaced on the Blue Dex: Dexter Gordon Plays the Blues compile. Other outtakes from these dates can be located on Gordon's authoritative Complete Prestige Recordings (2004) box set. It hosts previously unearthed renderings of "Lady Bird," an arguably superior "Boston Bernie," as well as the Michael Carr cut "Dinner for One Please, James," which Nat Cole had a modicum of success with." - Lindsay Planer

Dexter Gordon, James Moody (tenor saxophone)
Barry Harris (piano)
Buster Williams (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, NJ April 2 & 4, 1969

1. Lady Bird
2. Meditation
3. Fried Bananas
4. Boston Bernie
5. Sticky Wicket

John Colianni - At Maybeck: Maybeck Recital Series, Vol. 37

Well, I may be in the minority but I've about reached my saturation point for these Maybecks. One or two look interesting but....I'm good for now. BUT, I was looking at this out of curiosity, and was pleasantly surprised to see a tune by my absolute favorite band of all time - Nirvana. Those of you who know me will attest to the fact that I'm not kidding about that. So; will it be a Richard Cheese/Lounge Against The Machine version? No, it is pretty damn good. Colianni's father, James F. Colaianni, is a pretty righteous guy too.

Best known as Mel Tormé's pianist in the '90s, Colianni sounds like an interesting young man in the liner notes to his Maybeck solo recital (Vol. 37 in the series) -- interested in all kinds of music and not all that enchanted with bop. Yet this mostly conventional recital is far from a statement of rebellion, or a statement of anything other than the usual generic veneration of the old masters. I will say this; Colianni brings a dazzling technique, even by Maybeck standards, to his bop-laced-with-stride-and-Tatum interpretations. His "Tea For Two" in particular is drenched in a copycat Tatum conception, but at least Colianni has the chops to pull it off. The sole flash of an inquiring mind comes at the end, where Colianni sticks in a nicely bleak rendition of the late Kurt Cobain's "Heart Shaped Box" -- possibly its first jazz interpretation -- just after Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye." They do fit together, and he should explore more such juxtapositions. ~ Richard S. Ginell

1. Blue And Sentimental
2. Stardust
3. What's Your Story Morning Glory?
4. It Never Entered My Mind
5. Londonderry Air
6. Don't Stop The Carnival
7. When Your Lover Has Gone
8. Ja-Da
9. Basin Street Blues
10. I Never Knew
11. Baby Won't You Please Come Home
12. Tea For Two
13. Good Bye
14. Heart Shaped Box

We See Some Trees

Daniel Levin - Some Trees

Cellist Daniel Levin expands the compositional and improvisational palettes of modern jazz on Some Trees with a provocatively assembled group of adventurous musicians and pieces. Without a drummer, this group is able to rethink the dynamics and dialectic of a “jazz” group and find new phrasing, spacing and modes of interaction.

All of the players contribute vitally to this ”re-mix”: trumpeter Nate Wooley makes all of his effects—half-valving, dirty muting, etc.—work towards finding the optimal colors; vibist Matt Moran plays up the percussive aspects of his instrument and suggests the Bobby Hutcherson of the ‘60s, while also seeking new intervals and note placement; bassist Joe Morris is a solid foundation but also a very free, floating entity; and the leader uses formidable technique and an open mind to provide worlds of possibilities for the tunes, the musicians, and his own creative impulses.

This disc has roots in the Third Stream, as well as Mingus, Dolphy, Lacy and other pioneers of this new music. Like the trees in the John Ashbery poem from which Levin draws his inspiration, this music has the wild chaos of nature somehow centered in a sense of harmonious majesty.

Levin composed six of the eight tunes, and they sparkle with the surprise of the new. The proceedings begin with his “It’s For You,” in which the instruments emerge as if out of some primal setting and offer themselves in bold, spiky bursts. That setting is never truly lost, but each of the players is inventively seeking individual identities. They succeed and yet present a group identity as well.

Just when we’re beginning to get our bearings in the new landscape, we hear a familiar organization of notes. It’s the title tune from Eric Dolphy’s seminal 1964 Out to Lunch session, and it’s startling in its structured anarchy. The quartet rings all sorts of new emphases on these changes before returning—in newly-spaced quarters—to the theme.

And so it goes—with Levin and his mates forging new relationships between themselves and their instruments. The closer—sans vibes—is a haunting and unpredictable reading of another new music standard, Ornette’s “Morning Song.” Donald Elfman

Daniel Levin (cello)
Nate Wooley (trumpet)
Matt Moran (vibes)
Joe Morris (bass)

1 - It's For You
2 - Out To Lunch
3 - Some Trees
4 - Sitting On His Hands
5 - Zolowski
6 - Wild Palms
7 - Wickets
8 - Morning Song

Steve Lacy - We See

No doubt Steve Lacy possesses laudable chops in concert with a sweet, ringing tone. His Thelonious Monk influences have shaped his rather storied musical career, which is an ideology evidenced here on We See, Thelonious Monk Songbook. Naturally, Lacy's enactment of meter, depth, and space signify aspects of his Monk-based preferences and stylizations. Essentially, this a relatively straightforward set consisting of moderate to up-tempo swing vamps, accelerated by the saxophonist's gleaming choruses and Monk-like permutations. Lacy and associates perform these works with a deeply personalized and undeniably buoyant demeanor. A minor shift in strategy, however, resides within Lacy's collaboration with vibist Sonhando Estwick and trumpeter Hans Kennel. With that, the sextet pursues sequential soloing opportunities as this effort shines forth with the qualities that might parallel the birth of a sun-drenched summer's day. Glenn Astarita

Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Steve Potts (alto and soprano sax)
Hans Kennel (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Sonhando Estwick (vibes)
Jean-Jacques Avenel (double bass)
John Betsch (drums)

1. We See
2. Shuffle Boil
3. Evidence
4. Reflection
5. Ruby My Dear
6. Eronel
7. Monk's Mood
8. Thelonious
9. Misterioso
10. Well You Needn't
11. Hanky-Panky

Great Pianists At Maybeck

While we await more postings in the excellent Maybeck series of solo piano performances, I would like to share a "sampler" of this 42-volume set. This compilation features 12 of the 42 pianists and was assembled and sequenced by yours truly in 2000 when I saw, once upon a time, an advertisement from a company called They burned CD collections of tracks selected by the customer (this was before I had my own CD burner). Since I was so enchanted by the Maybeck series, I had this disc pressed for listening in my car stereo.

I chose a variety of pianists with different stylistic approaches, ranging from Dave McKenna to Sir Roland Hanna. Kenny Barron, Ellis Larkins, Cedar Walton, and the great Hank Jones are also included.

I hope this will tide us all over until the balance of the Maybeck series is posted here at CIA over the next few weeks/months. After that is completed, maybe we can even get to the Maybeck Duo series! Needless to say, this compilation cannot be found in any stores! Scoredaddy

1. This Time The Dream's On Me -Marion McPartland 4:03
2. The Folks Who Live On The Hill -Dick Hyman 6:05
3. I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart - Ellis Larkins 5:20
4. You Don't Know What Love Is - Fred Hersch 6:50
5. I Don't Know Why/You'll Never Know - Dave McKenna 5:03
6. Sweet And Lovely - Alan Broadbent 4:13
7. The Very Thought Of You - Hank Jones 5:00
8. I Didn't Know What Time It Was - Cedar Walton 5:06
9. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) - Bill Mays 4:22
10. Too Marvelous For Words - Mike Wofford 4:55
11. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You - Kenny Barron 7:17
12. They Can't Take That Away From Me - Roland Hanna 6:05

Recorded live at the Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, California at various dates in the early to mid-1990's

Jack Montrose & Bob Gordon - Two Can Play: Complete Quintet and Sextet Sessions 1954-1955

Includes three albums: Meet Mr. Gordon, By Jack Montrose and Jack Montrose Sextet.
Bob Gordon was a major player on the West Coast scene of the fifties and was on a path to become one of the greatest baritone sax players jazz had ever produced. Unfortunately, he died in an automobile accident in 1955, just as the cool jazz scene was beginning to gather some steam. Before his untimely death he was a widely sought after session player, easily able to adapt to any leader’s idiosyncrasies. He had a particular affinity for the playing of trombonist Herbie Harper and saxophonist/arranger Jack Montrose.
The Montrose sessions offer some of the best and most unusual concepts of arranging courtesy of Jack Montrose. His knotted, complicated charts may have cost him fame but are a musician’s delight and require the kind of tricky playing that Gordon excelled at. Trumpeter Conte Candoli joins the pair on the front line for some exciting ideas that represent some of the best of the West Coast. While some listeners may find Montrose’s music overly fussy, there’s no question that this session in particular produced some wonderful music that was at times bizarre, at times complicated, and at times swinging, oftentimes within the same song.
Bob Gordon isn’t the driving force behind any of these sessions, yet his contributions certainly affect their outcome in significant ways. He could blow the paint of the walls if given the opportunity (and you’ll hear it throughout) and his is a key link to the California music scene of the fifties. David Rickert

01 Meet Mr. Gordon (Montrose) 2:38
02 Tea for Two (Caisar, Youmans) 3:05
03 Modus Operandi (Montrose) 3:47
04 Onion Bottom (Montrose) 3:28
05 What a Difference a Day Makes (Adams, Grever) 3:39
06 For Sue (Montrose) 3:48
07 Love Is Here to Stay (Gershwin, Gerswhin) 2:24
08 Two Can Play (Montrose) 2:30
09 Two Can Play [alternate take] (Montrose) 2:27
10 A Little Duet (Montrose) 4:59
11 Paradox (Montrose) 4:05
12 When You Wish Upon a Star (Harline, Washington) 3:34
13 Have You Met Miss Jones (Hart, Rodgers) 5:16
14 Dot's Groovy (Montrose) 4:39

01 I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town (Razaf, Weldon) 5:47
02 Cecilia (Dreyer, Ruby) 4:36
03 April's Fool (Montrose) 5:05
04 The News and the Weather (Montrose) 4:18
05 Listen, Hear (Montrose) 5:35
06 Pretty (Montrose) 5:19
07 Bewitched, Botherd and Bewildered (Hart, Rodgers) 5:30
08 Credo (Montrose) 5:27
09 Fools Rush In (Bloom, Mercer) 5:36
10 Speakeasy (Montrose) 4:14
11 That Old Feeling (Brown, Fain) 4:30
12 Some Good Fun Blues (Montrose) 5:07

Jack Montrose Sax (Tenor)
Bob Gordon Sax (Baritone)
Conte Candoli Trumpet
Shelly Manne Drums
Red Mitchell Bass
Paul Moer Piano
Joe Mondragon Bass
Ralph Peña Bass
Billy Schneider Drums

Miles Davis - Green Dolphin Street. Live In Holland, 1960

Miles Davis and John Coltrane were a highly appealing combination, but an unlikely one. Davis played his trumpet in a subtle, economical fashion, whereas the big-toned Coltrane was often forceful and aggressive on his tenor sax. In terms of how they approached their instruments, the two couldn't have been more different. But those differences made for some interesting, exciting contrasts, and when Coltrane left Davis' employ for good in 1960, it marked the end of an era. Recorded live in Holland on April 6, 1960, Green Dolphin Street contains Coltrane's last documented performance with Davis, after that, Coltrane devoted all of his time to his own combo. Coltrane was believed to have grown bored with Davis' repertoire, but he certainly doesn't sound board on this excellent CD. In fact, Davis and Coltrane both sound inspired on performances of "'Round Midnight," "On Green Dolphin Street," "Walkin'," and "So What" (which lasts 17 minutes). And the rhythm section (Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums) is first-rate. No major surprises occur, but the players are in fine form on a CD that is highly rewarding, if less than essential.
Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

01 So What (Davis) 17:40
02 'Round Midnight (Monk, Hanighen, Williams) 5:47
03 On Green Dolphin Street (Kaper, Washington) 12:32
04 Walkin' (Carpenter) 9:09
05 The Theme (Davis) 0:48

Miles Davis trumpet
John Coltrane tenor sax
Wynton Kelly piano
Paul Chambers bass
Jimmy Cobb drums

Recorded at Kurhaus, Scheveningen (Holland) on April 9, 1960

Sarah Vaughan - Soft & Sassy (1961)

First issued in 1993, three years after Sarah Vaughan's death, these studio recordings were from a series of public service radio programs called "The Navy Swings" circa 1961. Sassy is in peak form accompanied by Roland Hanna and her regular bassist and drummer of the time, Richard Davis and Percy Brice.

Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Percy Brice (drums)

  1. Sometimes I'm Happy
  2. I Cried for You
  3. Out of This World
  4. You're Blasé
  5. Serenata
  6. Over the Rainbow
  7. Say It Isn't So
  8. Stormy Weather
  9. All of Me
  10. How Long Has This Been Going On?
  11. Day In, Day Out
  12. Tenderly
  13. What Is This Thing Called Love
  14. Summertime
  15. Poor Butterfly
  16. I'll Be Seeing You

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fats Waller - Fractious Fingering: The Early Years Vol. 3

The links to Volume 2 are gone; I got this earlier this week, I don't think it's been here before. Due to a production error some of the pages are out of sequence, but they are otherwise complete. Flac as usual. Fats belongs in the upper levels of jazz legend.

With the release of this two-CD set in 1997, it became possible for the first time ever to easily acquire all of pianist/composer/vocalist Fats Waller's Rhythm recordings of 1934-43. They are available in their entirety on three double-disc and three triple-disc sets, 15 discs in all. The 41 selections on this set feature Waller with trumpeter Herman Autrey, Gene Sedric on clarinet and tenor, guitarist Al Casey, bassist Charles Turner and either Yank Porter or Slick Jones on drums. The rarest performance ("Stay") has Elizabeth Handy (W.C.'s daughter) joining Fats for a duet vocal, and there are also five alternate takes (all previously released) of various tunes. This hard-swinging music is quite enjoyable (especially in small doses), with the most memorable selections including "All My Life," "Christopher Columbus" (with its hilarious lyrics), "Black Raspberry Jam," "Fractious Fingering," two run-throughs on "The Curse of an Aching Heart," the jubilant "Floatin' Down to Cotton Town," and two classic versions of "Swingin' Them Jingle Bells." This music is impossible not to like, and, as is always true of Fats Waller, it is touched with genius. ~ Scott Yanow

The 41 tracks on this two-CD set all date from an eight-month period between April and November of 1936, but Waller was brilliant as well as prolific and the quality of his piano playing never lets up. He's accompanied throughout by his regular sidemen: trumpeter Herman Autrey, Gene Sedric on clarinet and tenor sax, guitarist Al Casey, and bassist Charles Turner. Drummer Yank Porter is replaced by Slick Jones in midcourse, but there's no loss of bounce to the band Waller called His Rhythm. There's a special delight in the all-instrumental (though Waller does talk) session of June 8, including a take on Bach called "Bach Up to Me." Waller was a great songwriter, but the only song of his to appear in these recordings in the infectious "I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby." It doesn't really matter, though, because Waller manages to sing other people's songs--like "Christopher Columbus" and "Hallelujah! Things Look Rosy Now"--in a way that sounds as if he made them up on the spot. While Waller's wit and high spirits prevail, there are moments that reveal his other sides: his celesta combines with Sedric's round tenor for an intro of incredible sweetness to "Cabin in the Sky." ~ Stuart Broomer

CD 1
1. All My Life
2. Christopher Columbus (A Rhythm Cocktail)
3. Cross Patch
4. It's No Fun
5. Cabin In The Sky
6. Us On A Bus
7. Stay
8. It's A Sin To Lie
9. The More I Know You
10. You're Not The Kind
11. Why Do I Lie To Myself About You?
12. Let's Sing Again
13. Big Chief De Sota
14. Black Raspberry Jam (Instrumental)
15. Bach Up To Me (Instrumental)
16. Fractious Fingering (Instrumental)
17. Paswonky (Instrumental)
18. Lounging At The Waldorf (Instrumental)
19. Latch On (Instrumental)
20. I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me)
21. I Just Made Up With That Old Girl Of Mine

CD 2
1. (It Will Have To Do) Until The Real Thing Comes Along
2. There Goes My Attraction
3. The Curse Of An Aching Heart (Take 1)
4. The Curse Of An Aching Heart (Take 2)
5. Bye, Bye, Baby
6. S'posin'
7. Copper Colored Gal
8. I'm At The Mercy Of Love
9. Floatin' Down To Cotton Town
10. La-De-De-La-De-Da
11. Hallelujah! Things Look Rosy Now
12. Hallelujah! Things Look Rosy Now (Instrumental)
13. 'Tain't Good (Like A Nickel Made Of Wood)
14. 'Tain't Good (Like A Nickel Made Of Wood) (Instrumental)
15. Swingin' Them Jingle Bells
16. Swingin' Them Jingle Bells (Instrumental)
17. A Thousand Dreams Of You
18. A Thousand Dreams Of You (Instrumental)
19. A Rhyme For Love
20. I Adore You

Fats Waller - Breakin' The Ice, Early Years I (1934-1935)

Another one of these artists that are universally respected, cited as influential, left behind a large body of work - and are hardly listened to. Which is a great pity, because I don't know of anybody who dislikes Waller; they might not be familiar with him, but nobody actively dislikes him.

Nor should they; the work is - even now - unparalled by any other artist. You might think that this is some old-fashioned museum stuff, but it is some of the hippest stuff to be found on record. Far hipper than that Sinatra ring-a-ding, baby, ethos that passes for jazz hipsterism. My opinion, anyway. The price is right: check him out.

"The Great Depression had been grinding away for at least five years; the days of the big swing bands had yet to reveal themselves. While "Fats" Waller had been recording for Victor 12 years, very little of his piano (and pipe organ) had reached a wide audience. Well, these recordings on The Early Years, Part 1 did precisely that by initiating a new, small ensemble that hit audiences way beyond what the industry characterized as the "race" record market. This little band and these records were the first flowering of what became a bonanza for the starved record market and music fans. Many of the selections were chosen by Eli Oberstein, the pop Victor "A&R" man. Fats intensely disliked some of them, and simply burlesqued the selections in the recording to Victor's horror--and still they turned out to be some of his paramount performances and huge sellers. "Breakin' the Ice" has some of the richest two-fisted stride piano to be found, and "Serenade for a Wealthy Widow" presented Fats a melody that could only be arranged in the same manner as a concerto. No problem. He simply recorded a most harmonically intricate solo chorus, as sophisticated as Gershwin and hot as a college bonfire. A perusal of the rest is so arresting that even the grandest superlatives are inadequate in describing the music. These records, then, were the dawn of an entirely new era that a "pop" music aficionado or jazz fan must not pass up."

Ahmad Jamal Trio - The Awakening

The music on this CD has been reissued many times, most recently in 1997. By 1970, pianist Ahmad Jamal's style had changed a bit since the 1950s, becoming denser and more adventurous while still retaining his musical identity. With bassist Jamil Nasser (whose doubletiming lines are sometimes furious) and drummer Frank Gant, Jamal performs two originals (playing over a vamp on "Patterns"), the obscure "I Love Music" and four jazz standards. Intriguing performances showing that Ahmad Jamal was continuing to evolve. Scott Yanow

A sorely underexposed figure and a major influence on Miles Davis, pianist Ahmad Jamal isn't generally ranked among the all-time giants of jazz, but he impressed fellow musicians and record buyers alike with his innovative, minimalist approach. Jamal's manipulations of space and silence, tension and release, and dynamics all broke new ground, and had an impact far beyond Jamal's favored piano trio format. As an arranger, Jamal made the most of his small-group settings by thinking of them in orchestral terms: using his trademark devices to create contrast and dramatic effect, and allowing the rhythm section a great deal of independence in its interplay. Nonetheless, his ensembles were always tightly focused as well, following their leader through sudden changes in tempo or time signature, and often carrying the main riff of a tune.

Ahmad Jamal (piano)
Jamil Nasser (bass)
Frank Grant (drums)

1 - The Awakening
2 - I Love Music
3 - Patterns
4 - Dolphin Dance
5 - You're My Everything
6 - Stolen Moments
7 - Wave

Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City on February 2 and 3, 1970

Ahmad Jamal - Chicago Revisited: Live At Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase

Although it had been more than 40 years since his debut recording, pianist Ahmad Jamal's playing was as viable as ever in the 1990s. Teamed up with bassist John Heard and drummer Yoron Israel for this live Telarc CD, Jamal plays a particularly inspired repertoire that includes "All the Things You Are," Clifford Brown's "Daahoud," John Handy's "Dance to the Lady" and "Be My Love" among its nine selections. Jamal's style had developed since his early days, but his basic approach was unchanged while still sounding quite fresh. This date is an excellent example of Ahmad Jamal's unique sound and highly appealing music in the 1990s.
Scott Yanow

Ahmad Jamal (piano)
John Heard (bass)
Yoron Israel (drums)

1 - All The Things You Are
2 - Daahoud
3 - Tater Pie
4 - Bellows
5 - Blue Gardenia
6 - Dance To The Lady
7 - Be My Love
8 - Where Are You
9 - Lullaby Of Birdland

Recorded live at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in the Blackstone Hotel, Chicago, Illinois on November 13-14, 1992

Ahmad Jamal - Pittsburgh

On Pittsburgh, an ambitious tribute to his late mother and his hometown, Ahmad Jamal enlists the help of Chicago-based arranger Richard Evans — a more familiar presence in soul-jazz's '60s heyday than in 1989, alas — to decorate five of his compositions and Jimmy Heath's "Mellowdrama," while soloing alone on two others. While Jamal can summon forth all of the bravura resources of his piano technique on pieces like "Foolish Ways" and "Divertimento," he often chooses economy instead, relying on the trademark ostinatos of his rhythm section (James Cammack on bass; David Bowler on drums) for momentum. Evans' orchestrations, always elegant and lean, fit like gloves onto Jamal's compositions, enhancing rather than intruding, often following the contours of the melodic lines. This CD has captured both the character and the shaping hand of Jamal and the distinct sound of Evans, and they are a perfect match in this at-times-exquisite piece of work. Richard S. Ginell

Ahmad Jamal (piano)
James Cammack (bass)
David Bowler (drums)

1. Pittsburgh
2. Bellows
3. Mellowdrama
4. Foolish Ways
5. Divertimento
6. Cycles
7. Fly Away
8. Apple Avenue

Recorded at Universal Studios, Chicago, Illinois

Ahmad Jamal - Jamal At The Penthouse

This LP was a change of pace for pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose trio (with bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernell Fournier) is joined by a 15-piece string section arranged and conducted by Joe Kennedy. The interpretations are generally pretty, but with enough variety to hold one's interest. Among the nine selections are Hoagy Carmichael's "Ivy," "Tangerine," "Ahmad's Blues" and "I Like to Recognize the Tune." Scott Yanow

Ahmad Jamal (piano)
Israel Crosby (bass)
Vernell Fournier (drums)

Strings: Harry Lookofsky, Gene Orloff, Sylvan Shulman, Leo Kruczek, Harry Katzman, Alexander Cores, Alvin Rudnitsky, Seymour Miroff, Bernard Eichenbaum, Felix Orlewitz, Bertrand Hirsch, Isador Zir, George Brown, Lucien Schmit and David Soyer.

1. Comme Ci, Comme Ca
2. Ivy
3. Never Never Land
4. Tangerine
5. Ahmad's Blues
6. Seleritus
7. I Like To Recognize The Tune
8. I'm Alone With You
9. Sophisticated Gentleman

Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios Feb 27 and 28, 1959

Allen Farnham - Live At Maybeck

More Maybeck... I had uploaded the Roger Kellaway a while back here as well. I'll look it up and provide the link.

Volume 41 of the long-running Maybeck Recital Hall series finds Allen Farnham trying his hand at the solo piano game and scoring well in this all-revealing format. While employing many of the devices that Maybeck followers have come to know and expect — the bop-centered foundation, the Tatum interjections, outbreaks of stride, the Bill Evans-influenced harmonies, a few classical borrowings — Farnham uses them in a more musical, affecting way than most. Listen to the sly, elegant way in which he slips into the closing bars of "I Hear a Rhapsody"; the man has taste and a sense of structure. In addition to a handful of standards — including an "In Your Own Sweet Way" with allusions to Brubeck's chordal manner and a nice "Waltz for Debby" — Farnham contributes a couple of interesting improvisations entitled "Maybeck Sketches Nos. 1 and 2" and a sardonic reminder of the malady that threatens all keyboardists, "The Carpal Tunnel Blues." Scott Yanow

Allen Farnham (piano)

1 In Your Own Sweet Way (Brubeck) 6:23
2 Waltz for Debby (Evans, Lees) 7:27
3 The Carpal Tunnel Blues (Farnham) 4:32
4 Maybeck Sketch, No. 1 (Farnham) 4:32
5 I Get a Kick Out of You (Porter) 7:00
6 Never Let Me Go (Evans, Livingston) 5:48
7 Witch Hunt (Shorter) 5:56
8 Maybeck Sketch, No. 2 (Farnham) 5:18
9 I Hear a Rhapsody (Baker, Fragos, Gasparre) 4:59
10 Twilight World (McPartland) 5:06
11 Lover (Hart, Rodgers) 3:41

Recorded June 12, 1994 at Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, California.

Eric Kloss & Pat Martino

I bought these two vinyls back in the early 70s when I was collecting albums by and with Pat Martino. Several nice surprises resulted, such as these two by Eric Kloss. Hard to find vinyls, never reissued on CD it seems. Medium-quality mp3 is all I've got, since I sold the LPs awhile back. An Eric Kloss bio in the comments.

Lonnie Smith..."from the original 8-track tapes"

Move Your Hand

Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo -- featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay -- through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track. No one player stands out, but Move Your Hand is thoroughly enjoyable, primarily because the group never lets their momentum sag throughout the session. Though the sound of the record might be somewhat dated, the essential funk of the album remains vital. Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Lonnie Smith (organ, vocals)
Rudy Jones (tenor sax)
Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)
Larry McGee (guitar)
Sylvester Goshay (drums)

1 - Charlie Brown
2 - Layin' In The Cut
3 - Move Your Hand
4 - Sunshine Superman
5 - Dancin' In An Easy Groove

Recorded at Club Harlem, Atlantic City NJ on August 9 1969

Remixed by Rudy Van Gelder 1995 from the original 8-track tapes


Lonnie Smith had the raw skills, imagination, and versatility to play burning originals, bluesy covers of R&B and pop, or skillful adaptations of conventional jazz pieces and show tunes. Why he never established himself as a consistent performer remains a mystery, but this 1970 reissue shows why he excited so many people during his rise. Smith's solos on "Spinning Wheel" and his own composition, "Psychedelic PI," are fleet and furious, boosting the songs from interesting to arresting. He's also impressive on "Seven Steps to Heaven," while the array of phrases, rhythms, and voicings on "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" demonstrate a mastery of the organ's pedals and keys rivaling that of the instrument's king, Jimmy Smith. Ron Wynn

Lonnie Smith (organ, vocals)
Dave Hubbard (tenor sax)
Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)
Larry McGee (guitar)
Joe Dukes(drums)

1 - Twenty Five Miles
2 - Spinning Wheel
3 - Seven Steps To Heaven
4 - Psychedelic Pi
5 - Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

Produced by Francis Wolff at Van Gelder Studio January 2, 1970

Remixed by Rudy Van Gelder 1995 from the original 8-track tapes

Monday, June 9, 2008

Phineas Newborn, Jr. - Solo Piano

"In his prime, he was one of the three greatest jazz pianists of all time." ~ Leonard Feather

One of the most technically skilled and brilliant pianists in jazz during his prime, Phineas Newborn remains a bit of a mystery. Plagued by mental and physical problems of unknown origin, Newborn faded from the scene in the mid-1960s, only to re-emerge at irregular intervals throughout his life. Newborn could be compared to Oscar Peterson in that his bop-based style was largely unclassifiable, his technique was phenomenal, and he was very capable of enthralling an audience playing a full song with just his left hand.

He started out working in Memphis R&B bands with his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn, and recorded with local players including B.B. King in the early 1950s. Brief stints with Lionel Hampton and Willis Jackson preceded a period in the military (1952-54). After moving to New York in 1956, Newborn astounded fans and critics alike. Although he worked briefly with Charles Mingus (1958) and Roy Haynes, Newborn usually performed at the head of a trio or quartet. His early recordings for Atlantic (1956), Victor, Roulette and Contemporary are quite outstanding. Unfortunately, after the mid-'60s, Newborn's profile dropped sharply, and although there were further recordings for Contemporary (1969), Atlantic (1969), Pablo (1976) and the Japanese Philips (1977) label, and although he still sounded strong when appearing in public, the pianist was in danger of being forgotten by most of the jazz world during his last decade. Spending most of his time in Memphis, he was an inspiration to many younger pianists including James Williams, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown and Geoff Keezer, who after Newborn's death would dedicate their work as the Contemporary Piano Ensemble to Phineas. Fortunately, the episode of Jazz Scene USA that features Phineas Newborn in 1962 has been made available on a video by Shanachie. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Together Again
2. Serenade In Blue/ Where Is The Love
3. Lorraine's Walk/ Willow Weep for Me
4. Nica's Dream
5. Goodbye/ Flamingo
6. Live And Love/ One For Horace
7. Bouncing With Bud
8. Memphis Blues
9. The Midnight Sun Never Sets
10. Out Of This World
11. Giant Steps/Everything I Have Is Yours/Reprise

Great Trumpets: From Jazz to Swing

I know, this many trumpet tunes in a row is painful, but this is a nice little sampler of Swing era trumpet led sides from a label whose stable damn near defined the style. Apart from the leaders, there are sidemen such as Luis Russell, Sidney Bechet, Fats Waller, Garvin Bushell (with Jabbo Smith on a track not on the recent Chronological) Vic Berton, Chu Berry...a great roster of musicians.

1. That's My Home - Louis Armstrong
2. West End Blues - King Oliver
3. Snag It - Bunk Johnson
4. Everybody Loves My Baby - Tommy Ladnier
5. Tip Easy Blues - Lee Collins
6. Feeling Drowsy - Henry "Red" Allen
7. Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning - Sidney De Paris
8. Sippi - Jabbo Smith
9. Lonely Melody - Bix Beiderbecke
10. Davenport Blues - Red Nichols
11. Blues - Bunny Berigan
12. Black And Blue - Muggsy Spanier
13. Jumpy Nerves - Wingy Manone
14. Shim-Me-Sha Wabble - Max Kaminsky
15. Peckin' - Harry James
16. Bublitchky - Ziggy Elman
17. Concerto For Cootie - Cootie Williams
18. Subtle Slough - Rex Stewart
19. Little Jazz - Roy Eldridge
20. Skull Duggery - Hot Lips Page
21. Blues My Baby Gave To Me - Frankie Newton
22. Buckin' The Blues - Buck Clayton
23. Mahogany Hall Stomp - Louis Armstrong

Slide Hampton - Mellow-Dy (1968)

Because this CD was released on a budget label (*see note below) it is often overlooked, yet it has some of Slide Hampton's best playing on record and contains 55 minutes of music from two outstanding groups, a quartet and a sextet. The date of these sessions is listed as 1967-1968 but probably 1968 when the participants were all in Europe.

Trombonist Slide Hampton's writing ability has long overshadowed his skills as a player. This CD reissue sets the record straight by putting the focus on Hampton's boppish and consistently creative trombone. The first three selections (a couple of originals and J.J. Johnson's "Lament") showcase Hampton really stretching out with a quartet also including pianist Martial Solal, bassist Henri Texler and drummer Daniel Humair. The second half of the CD has Hampton joined by tenor saxophonist Nathan Davis, vibraphonist Dave Pike, pianist Hampton Hawes (sounding quite modern), Texler, and Humair for a couple more originals and Hawes' "Us Six." Overall, the advanced straight-ahead music on this CD comprises one of Hampton's best showcases as a trombonist, and the release is easily recommended. - Scott Yanow

*With the LRC/Delta/Laserlight labels you can never be too confident in what you are getting. Poor sound, re-packaged reissues, mis-information or no information at all is all too rampant and I've been burned a few times with cheesy sound or duplicates. However, with a little knowledge and a list price of 5 or 6 dollars, it's often worth the gamble. Lucky for you, anything I post from these labels has been pre-screened for quality assurance!

Slide Hampton (trombone)
Martial Solal (piano)
Henri Texier (bass)
Daniel Humair (drums)

1. Lament
2. Impossible Waltz
3. Chop Suey

Slide Hampton (trombone)
Nathan Davis (tenor sax)
Dave Pike (vibes)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Henri Texier (bass)
Daniel Humair (drums)

4. Mellow-Dy
5. The Thing
6. Us Six

Horace Tapscott - Dial 'B' For Barbra

The best of pianist Horace Tapscott's recordings for the tiny Nimbus label is this 1981 LP which features him in a sextet with trumpeter Reggie Bullen, altoist Gary Bias, tenor saxophonist Sabir Matteen, bassist Roberto Miranda and drummer Everett Brown, Jr. The group stretches out on a couple of Tapscott's originals plus a 19½-minute version of Linda Hill's "Dem Folks." Although the music could be called avant-garde, its use of rhythms and repetition keep the results from being forbidding and the performances have a momentum of their own. ~ Scott Yanow

Tapscott labored mostly on the fringes of the critical mainstream, recording prolifically, but mostly for the small, poorly distributed Nimbus label. The quality of the music on those releases, however, was almost invariably high. His pianistic technique was hard and percussive, likened by some to that of Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols and every bit as distinctive. In contexts ranging from freely improvised duos to highly arranged big bands, Tapscott exhibited a solo and compositional voice that was his own.

"Horace Tapscott, a staple in the jazz community for decades, will perhaps see his recordings resurrected as a result of Nimbus West Records' latest release, Dial 'B' for Barbra. While this disc has only three tracks, do not be deceived! Each track, from Lately's Solo clocking-in at 10:30 minutes,Dial 'B' for Barbra (9:50), to Dem' Folks (19:37) shows Tapscott at his lyrical best. As well, his accompanying band is stellar and provides the energy Tapscott was known for during his heyday.

Dem' Folks incorporates the robust horn section of Reggie Bullen (trumpet), Gary Bias (alto and soprano saxophones), and Sabir Mateen (tenor saxophone), all who play over and around Tapscott's circuitous melody. Roberto Miguel Miranda's bass violin handles the track's spirited and crisp running pattern.

The title track, Dial 'B' for Barbra is a very melodic piece and finds Tapscott employing a harmonically astute pattern accompanied by Miranda's smooth walking bass. And, it is Everett Brown Jr.'s well-timed notes on drums that make the track even more soothing. The swaying tempo is bound to capture listeners' attention and likely will find them moving here to fore as the track progresses. Reggie Bullen's (trumpet) solo is also worth noting as its muted sound adds an additional lyrical flavor.

Overall, Dial 'B' for Barbra is a great contribution to today's musical canon. And, hopefully, this disc will revive the discography of arguably one of the most underrated jazz pianists of all time." Eddie Becton

Horace Tapscott (piano)
Reggie Bullen (trumpet)
Gary Bias (alto and soprano sax)
Sabir Matteen (tenor sax)
Roberto Miguel Miranda (bass violin)
Everett Brown Jr. (drums and percussion)

1. Lately's Solo
2. Dial 'B' for Barbra
3. Dem' Folks

Recorded in Los Angeles, California; 1983

Cannonball Adderley - 1966 Money in the Pocket

The original liner notes of Mercy, Mercy, Mercy stated that the album was recorded live at the Club De Lisa in Chicago, however it was actually recorded at Studio A, in Capitol Tower (Los Angeles), with an invited audience and the bar opened. As Cannonball and the new manager of Club De Lisa (re-named "The Club", after years operating in Chicago under its old name) were friends, Adderley decided to use this trick to give the club a bit of free publicity.

This is really the live performance of Cannonball Adderley and his group at "The Club".

Money in the Pocket is a superb companion piece to Cannonball Adderley's immensely popular 1966 release Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Recorded and released in the same year, both Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! and Money in the Pocket were recorded before live audiences, and both feature the crack band of Nat Adderley on cornet, Roy McCurdy on drums, and Joe Zawinul on keys. (MONEY has Herbie Lewis replacing Victor Gaskin on bass). Here Adderley specializes in the sophisticated yet groove-oriented and accessible jazz on which he built his name. Two compositions by Zawinul--the hard-swinging title track and the delicate, Ellington-esque "Requiem for a Jazz Musician"--prove that the Austrian pianist was one of the most overlooked songwriting talents of the era, while Adderley's tunes--especially the fluid, propulsive "Introduction to a Samba"--are full of sprightly energy. There is plenty of stretching out from everyone involved, and the enthusiastic audience contributes to the spontaneous, free-flowing feel of this top-notch set of classic hard bop and soul jazz.

1 Money in the Pocket .... Zawinul 10:25
2 Stardust .... Carmichael, Parish 9:09
3 Introduction to a Samba .... Adderley 7:22
4 Hear Me Talkin' to Ya .... Adderley, Adderley 7:44
5 Requiem for a Jazz Musician .... Zawinul 10:32
6 Cannon's Theme (aka Unit 7) .... Jones 3:06
7 The Sticks .... Adderley 4:05
8 Fiddler on the Roof .... Bock, Harnick 10:28

Cannonball Adderley Sax (Alto)
Nat Adderley Cornet
Herbie Lewis Bass
Roy McCurdy Drums
Joe Zawinul Piano

Recorded at The Club in Chicago, on March 19-20, 1966

Gary Burton Quartet - Country Roads & Other Places

Very few of Gary Burton's recordings seem to demonstrate his wizardry to the level of several live appearances I've heard him play. A few years back the JVC Nice Jazz Fest, after it had been taken over by the City of Nice when they saw how much cash JVC had been making, made the incredible gaffe of booking Gary back to back on the same stage with Milt Jackson. What wizardry did we hear that day!! Gary & Milt did an additional set together, to even greater appreciation from the crowd. Here's a nice GB set from earlier days.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Count Basie - 1936-1938 (Chronological 503)

Bill (Count) Basie first shows up on record at the end of the 1920s, playing piano with Bennie Moten & the Kansas City Orchestra. Legend has it that Basie became a "Count" after Moten teasingly referred to him as "that no-account Basie." Classics No. 503 presents Basie's first recordings as a leader. On October 9th, 1936, a five-piece band cut two instrumental stomps and a pair of blues with vocals by Jimmy Rushing. Since Basie was breaking a contract by recording for the Vocalion label, the band was billed as "Jones-Smith, Inc." The "Jones" was drummer Jo Jones, and the "Smith" was trumpeter Carl Smith, filling in that day for Buck Clayton, who had a split lip. Basie opened up "Shoe Shine Boy" with a bit of his own brand of Harlem stride piano, powerfully supported by Walter Page's bass fiddle. Lester Young, shining like the rising sun, was making his very first appearance on phonograph record. Strong as nails, full of ideas and rhythmic enthusiasm, Young was obviously happy to be cooking in front of the microphone that day. On the 21st of January, 1937 the Count Basie Orchestra became a phonographic reality, utilizing former members of Walter Page's Blue Devils and Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra. Basie honored his Harlem roots by dishing up a smart instrumental treatment of Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," and a stomp dedicated to Waller's preferred cathouse, the Daisy Chain. "Roseland Shuffle" is remarkable for the extended "conversation" between Lester Young's sax and Basie's piano. Jimmy Rushing is often narrowly categorized as a blues singer rather than a versatile jazz vocalist who could sing anything, including the blues, with extraordinary passion. Rushing had developed himself as a singer of pop songs with Moten, so it's not surprising that he does so well with "Pennies From Heaven." Rushing often made it seem as though he himself had written the songs he sang. He did all he could with "Boo Hoo," a cutesy Guy Lombardo hit made into a smoking instrumental in 1937 by Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra. Waller sang on his own version of "Smarty," while Basie was wise enough to keep it instrumental. This left more room for a solo by Herschel Evans, who shared clarinet and tenor sax responsibilities with Lester Young. The March 26, 1937 version of "Boogie Woogie" is a big band expansion of the blues shuffle recorded with the small group five months earlier, and the effect is anything but redundant. What an amazing band! "One O'Clock Jump" made its very first appearance in July of '37, featuring Lester Young in all his glory. Compare his solo with that of Herschel Evans' on "John's Idea" and you'll be savoring one of the greatest tenor sax dichotomies in the history of big band jazz. Evans sounds like Coleman Hawkins or Chu Berry. Young sounds like Young and nobody else. In just a few years, half the tenors in the world would be trying to sound exactly like him. 1937 and '38 were wonderful years for this group of musicians. Things evolved steadily. New energies gradually began to pervade the ensemble: Earle Warren, Freddie Green, Eddie Durham, Benny Morton. Each man brought his personality along with his chops. The future looked, and was, very bright for Basie's Orchestra. What a treat to catch this wonderful band as it perpetually reinvented itself for all to hear. ~ arwulf arwulf

Count Basie (piano)
Lester Young (tenor sax, clarinet)
Herschel Evans (tenor sax, clarinet)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Jo Jones (drums)
Jimmy Rushing (vocals)
Benny Morton (trombone)

1. Shoe Shine Boy
2. Evenin'
3. Boogie Woogie
4. Oh! Lady be Good
5. Honeysuckle Rose en
6. Pennies From Heaven
7. Swingin' At The Daisy Chain
8. Roseland Shuffle
9. Exactly Like You
10. Boo-Hoo
11. The Glory Of Love
12. Boogie Woogie
13. Smarty
14. One O'Clock Jump
15. Listen My Children (And You Shall Hear)
16. John's Idea
17. Good Morning Blues
18. Our Love Was Meant To Be
19. Time Out
20. Topsy
21. I Keep Remembering
22. Out The Window
23. Don't You Miss Your Baby
24. Let Me Dream
25. Georgiana

Dizzy Gillespie - Perceptions (1961)

For the brass doesn't get much better than this.

This unusual session consists of a complex six-movement suite by J.J. Johnson featuring Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet over a brass choir (six trumpets, two trombones, two bass trombones, four French horns and two tubas), bass, drums, percussion and two harps. Often reminiscent of classical music, Johnson's writing allows plenty of room for Gillespie to improvise. The result is a rather unique set of music that is well worth searching for. - Scott Yanow

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
J.J. Johnson (composer, arranger)
Bernie Glow, Robert Nagel, Ernie Royal, Doc Severinsen, Nick Travis, Joe Wilder (trumpet)
Urbie Green, Jimmy Knepper, Paul Faulise, Dick Hixson (trombone)
John Barrows, Jimmy Buffington, Paul Ingraham, Robert Northern (french horn)
Harvey Phillips, Bill Stanley (tuba)
Gloria Agostini, Laura Newell (harp)
George Duvivier (bass)
Charli Persip (drums)
Michael Colgrass (percussion)
Gunther Schuller (conductor)
  1. The Sword of Orion
  2. Jubelo
  3. Blue Mist
  4. Fantasia
  5. Horn of Plenty
  6. Ballade
Recorded May 18, 22, 1961

two from bill withers

two of bill's best. for me there is an emotional quality to these records that few can rival. uniquely satisfying .

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thelonious Monk - Monk In France

In 1961, Thelonious Monk and his quartet toured Europe, producing a series of live albums for various labels. The First European Concert, as well as recordings of Monk in Paris, Italy, Bern, Copenhagen, and Stockholm all date from that year. The performances drew almost exclusively from a body of the pianist's best-loved original material, and Monk in France is no exception. While his playing here is less energized than it can be, Monk's singular philosophy is well intact. The pianist's lines are sparse and fluid. Characteristically, he maps out only the necessary notes in his off-kilter melodies, building solos from perfectly balanced melodic/rhythmic motifs. The European touring lineup is completed by drummer Frankie Dunlop, bassist John Ore, and tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse. Rouse had joined Monk two years earlier, replacing Johnny Griffin on 1959's Evidence. He has a vibrant tone and fluid rhythmic sense best heard here on "I Mean You." Monk's responding solo seems slightly reserved, the fire and weight of his attack largely absent. The remaining two-thirds of the rhythm section, while accomplished, do little to drive him in that direction. Performing solo, Monk's reading of the standards "Body and Soul" and "Just a Gigolo" are two highlights. The former features the sort of ornate playing uncharacteristic of the date. Monk spins off dense lines that take many listens to untangle. The latter is given a brief rendition tinged with ringing dissonance. The 1960s would see Monk signing to Columbia Records, where he would release another string of excellent recordings like Monk's Dream, Criss Cross, and Solo Monk. Monk in France represents a pleasant but unessential sidetrack in the pianist's output. ~ Nathan Bush

Thelonious Monk (Piano)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
John Ore (bass)
Frankie Dunlop (drums)

1. Well, You Needn't
2. Off Minor
3. Just a Gigolo
4. I Mean You
5. Hackensack
6. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
7. Body and Soul
8. Crepuscule With Nellie

Recorded live at the Olympia, Paris, France on April 18, 1961

New Blue Horns

The session that led to the recent Clark Terry In Orbit resulted in more music than would fit on the album at the time, and a blues was arbitrarily left off. With five trumpet players recording for the label, and with original blues either readily available or easily created on demand at a session, the producer was able to construct a "theme" anthology of previously unissued blues by star trumpeters.

At the time this music was released on Riverside, the six performances of blues by trumpeters had not been issued before. It was reissued on this album as part of the OJC series and since that time some of these selections have appeared as "bonus cuts" along with the other numbers recorded at the same sessions. However this album is worth getting, for it has excellent performances by Clark Terry (who uses pianist Thelonious Monk as one of his sidemen on "Fluegelin' the Blues"), Blue Mitchell, Nat Adderley, Kenny Dorham and two by Chet Baker. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Fluegelin' the Blues - Clark Terry Quartet
Clark Terry (flugelhorn)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)
May 1958

2. Studio B - Blue Mitchell Quintet
Chet Baker (trumpet)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)
December, 1958

3. Early Morning Mood - Chet Baker Quintet
Chet Baker (trumpet)
Bill Evans (piano)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)
December, 1958

4. Soft Winds - Chet Baker Quartet
Chet Baker (trumpet)
Al Haig (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)
September, 1958

5. Mammy Yokum - Nat Adderley Quartet
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Gene Harris (piano)
Andy Simpkins (bass)
Bill Dowdy (drums)
September, 1958

6. Optional - Kenny Dorham Quintet
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
G.T. Hogan (drums)
August 15, 1958

I Remember Bebop

No, this is not an anthology, but new recordings from four consecutive days in November of 1977 and released by Columbia in 1980 as a double LP.

Eight different pianists (Al Haig, Duke Jordan, John Lewis, Sadik Hakim, Walter Bishop, Jr., Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan and Jimmie Rowles), all survivors from at least the 1950s (and in a few cases the '40s) performed two to four selections apiece from the bop era for a tribute which comprises this out-of-print two-LP set. Everyone is in fine form; Haig, Lewis and Jordan are heard unaccompanied while the other pianists play with trios. None of this music has been released elsewhere, making this consistently satisfying and well-conceived set worth picking up. - Scott Yanow

At one time there was a 2-CD reissue with extra tracks released as a French import but I doubt that it's available anymore.

Al Haig Plays Dizzy Gillespie
Al Haig (solo piano)

1. A Night in Tunisia
2. Con Alma
3. Be-Bop
4. Salt Peanuts

Duke Jordan Plays Tadd Dameron
Duke Jordan (solo piano)

5. Lady Bird
6. Casbah

John Lewis Plays John Lewis
John Lewis (solo piano)

7. Afternoon in Paris
8. Django
9. Sacha's March
10. Mirjana of My Heart

Sadik Hakim Plays Charlie Parker
Sadik Hakim (piano) Errol Walters (bass) Al Foster (drums)

11. Yardbird Suite
12. My Little Suede Shoes
13. Now's the Time

Walter Bishop Jr. Plays Charlie Parker
Walter Bishop Jr. (piano) Bob Cranshaw (bass) Al Foster (drums)

14. Star Eyes
15. Au Privave
16. Ornithology

Barry Harris Plays Thelonious Monk
Barry Harris (piano) William Lee (bass) Leroy Williams (drums)

17. Epistrophy
18. In Walked Bud
19. 52nd Street Theme
20. Ruby, My Dear

Tommy Flanagan Plays Bud Powell
Tommy Flanagan (piano) Keter Betts (bass)

21. Strictly Confidential
22. Dance of the Infidels
23. Bouncing With Bud
24. I'll Keep Loving You

Jimmie Rowles' Impressions of the Miles Davis Nonet
Jimmie Rowles (piano) Rufus Reid (bass) Mickey Roker (drums)

25. Jeru
26. Venus De Milo
27. Godchild

Recorded November 2-5, 1977

Don Ellis - Live At Monterey

The first effort by the Don Ellis big band, as with all of his other orchestral projects, has yet to be reissued on CD. One of the most exciting new jazz big bands of the period, Ellis' ensemble became notorious for its ability to play coherently in odd time signatures. One of the four originals heard on this acclaimed outing from the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival is titled "33 222 1 222" to show how the band manages to perform in 19/4 time. The other selections are Hank Levy's "Passacaglia and Fugue," "Concerto for Trumpet" (in 5/4), and "New Nine." In addition to the time signatures, Ellis enjoyed utilizing unusual combinations of instruments; the instrumentation on this date consists of five trumpets, three trombones, five saxes, piano, three bassists, two drummers, and a percussionist. Among the more notable sidemen are a young Tom Scott (who solos on alto) and tenor saxophonist Ira Schulman. Highly recommended but unfortunately this album will be difficult to find. [The 1998 reissue adds three tracks not found on the original release: "Crete Idea," "27/16," and "Beat Me Daddy, 7 to the Bar."]~ Scott Yanow

The Don Ellis Orchestra burst onto the national scene at the Monterey Jazz Festival on August 16, 1966. Ellis and his band captivated the Monterey audience by performing compositions in meters with 5, 9, 11, 19, and 27 beats to the bar. The performance is documented on Live At Monterey, which includes the impromptu verbal introductions Ellis delivered before each selection. Ellis addresses the audience as though he was speaking to a gathering of devoted supporters. His descriptions combine technical explanations of the music with off-the-wall humor. In describing a composition composed with a 19/4 time signature, Ellis says, "The first number we have is one that is based in what we call the 'traditional 19,' nineteen beats to the bar. Let me give you the subdivision here, it is 3-3-2-2-2-1-2-2-2. Of course, that's just the area code." The performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival was a triumph for Ellis and his new ensemble. Live at Monterey recording ultimately went on to earn a Grammy award nomination.

Don Ellis (arranger, trumpet); Hank Levy (arranger); Reuben Leon (soprano & alto saxophones, flute); Ira Schulman (alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet); Ron Starr (tenor saxophone, clarinet); John Magruder (baritone saxophone, clarinet); Tom Scott (alto saxophone, saxello, flute); Glenn Stuart, Alan Weight, Ed Warren, Paul Lopez, Bob Harmon (trumpet); Dave Wells, Ron Meyers (trombone); Terry Woodson (bass trombone); Dave MacKay (piano, organ); Ray Neapolitan, Chuck Domanico, Frank De La Rosa (bass); Steve Bohannon, Alan Estes (drums); Chino Valdes (bongos, congas)

1. Introduction by Jimmy Lyons
2. 33 222 1 222
3. Passacaglia and Fugue
4. Crete Idea
5. Concerto For Trumpet
6. 27/16
7. Beat Me Daddy, Seven to the Bar
8. New Nine

Recorded live at The Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey and The Pacific Jazz Festival, Costa Mesa, California on September 18 and October 18, 1966

Stanley Cowell - Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 5

The song selection is gratifying, as is the tune dedicated to a very dedicated man; Cal Massey.

Playing at Maybeck Recital Hall before a small but attentive crowd seems to bring out the best in many pianists. Stanley Cowell performs a well-planned program of 14 selections on this 1990 CD. On a two-minute "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise," Cowell runs through all twelve keys. He pays tribute to the stride-piano tradition on "Stompin' at the Savoy," explores some bop, Latin-jazz (a transformed "Autumn Leaves") and post bop music, plays "Jitterbug Waltz" in the style of Art Tatum, inteprets "Stella by Starlight" in 5/4 time and performs J.J. Johnson's "Lament" with just his left hand. A very interesting recital. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
2. Stompin' At The Savoy
3. I Am Waiting
4. Nefertiti
5. Jitterbug Waltz
6. Stella By Starlight
7. I'll Remember April
8. Lament
9. Out Of This World
10. Django
11. Big Foot (aka 'Air Conditioning')
12. Little Sunny
13. Autumn Leaves
14. Cal Massey

Ran Jaki Jeanne Mal

Commentary is superfluous, but some is in the Comments section. One point to stress: Jeanne Lee is monstrously good here.

Ran Blake and Jaki Byard - Improvisations

Ran Blake (piano)
Jaki Byard (piano)

1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. Prelude
3. Chromatics
4. Wende
5. Tea for Two
6. Victoria
7. Sonata for Two Pianos

Milan; May 25-26, 1981

Jeanne Lee and Mal Waldron - After Hours

Jeanne Lee (vocal)
Mal Waldron (piano)

1. Caravan
2. You Got To My Head
3. I Could Write A Book
4. Goodbye Pork - Pie Hat
5. Straight Ahead
6. Fire Waltz
7. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
8. Every Time We Say Goodbye

Recorded at Acousti Studio, Paris, France on May 25-26, 1994

Woody Shaw - Solid

This CD serves as a perfect introduction to the memorable but always underrated trumpeter Woody Shaw, who tragically had only three years left to live. Sticking to jazz standards (including "There Will Never Be Another You," a ten-minute rendition of "It Might as Well Be Spring," and a surprisingly effective up-tempo romp through "The Woody Woodpecker Song"), Shaw is heard in a quartet with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Neil Swainson, and drummer Victor Jones, leading a quintet on two numbers with the up-and-coming altoist Kenny Garrett, and welcoming guest guitarist Peter Leitch to a sextet rendition of Sonny Rollins' "Solid." A gem. ~ Scott Yanow

In many ways, he is the last true innovator on his instrument and is well established as one of the major contributors in the line of great modern trumpet players that began with Louis Armstrong. Furthermore, Woody Shaw's early departure (May 10th 1989), while tragic in many ways, considering his tremendous role as one of the leaders of his generation, helps us realize how much he achieved in such a short period, and how far ahead of his time he truly was, and still is. The scale and complexity of his achievements are comparable to those of the greatest innovators of modern music.

Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Kenny Garrett (alto sax)
Peter Leitch (guitar)
Neil Swainson (bass)
Victor Jones (drums)

1. There Will Never Be Another You
2. You Stepped Out of a Dream
3. Speak Low
4. Solid
5. It Might as Well Be Spring
6. The Woody Woodpecker Song

Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: March 24, 1986


Don Friedman - Metamorphosis

For Friedman's fifth recording, he is definitely exploring the progressive edges of modern mainstream post-bop. He's more sublimated as a voice, with guitarist Attila Zoller taking a prominent role as frontman, while the performances of bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers provide perfect foils for Friedman's swashbuckling creative urges. While the pianist utilizes elements stemming from bop and the avant garde, the melodic and listenable ingredients are juxtaposed with challenging ideas, and the leader acts as a true ringleader in the midst of his three brilliant compadres. "Wakin' Up" starts the six tracks in a quirky, mid-swing waltz; Zoller's signature clipped, staccato leads and the innovative Davis' ruminating bass chords identify a sound prevalent throughout. "Spring Signs" presents a written 16-bar head, then scattered melodic and harmonic shards, and some free improv with instruments countermoving each other. A bop-swing mid-section, bowed long tones as only Davis can conjure, and Zoller rambling on and on roughly signifies this A-B-A composition, which runs 11 and a half minutes. Jimmy Guiffre's churning "Drive" has a design that the writer describes as a difficult piece of music which is embellished, perhaps even expounded upon, by the collective light of these four. The most tunefully attractive "Extension" of Zoller's is again boppish, with guitar and ostinato bass leading the way. It is here that Friedman's gypsy voice comes to the forefront amidst a string of probing, wafting, bright, and beautiful harmonic inventions, with or without guitar, in no time or with meter. "Troubadour's Groovedour" is Zoller's dark 12-tone based musical limerick, with phrases traded equally, swing in 4/4, and leading to a conspiratorial bridge of call and response with guitar and piano only. The finale, Zoller's "Dream Bells," is also a no time tryptych;, angular and Monk-like, it has a contained intensity much like the state of REM. The bowed bass of Davis has spaced-out overtones, and a nifty, multiple-cymbal solo from Chambers is delicate yet direct, in 6/8 or rubato fashion. Certainly Friedman challenges listeners with this music, but he also challenges his own abilities and concepts. For the time period, it is one of the most vital, original, progressive statements, and one that, after all these years, retains a timeless freshness that bears not only a second listening, but consideration as a creative music hallmark. Michael G. Nastos

Don Friedman (piano)
Attila Zoller (guitar)
Richard Davis (bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)

1. Wakin' Up
2. Spring Sign
3. Drive
4. Extension
5. Troubadours
6. Dream Bells

Ellis Larkins - Blue And Sentimental

Famous for his subtle chord voicings and ability to accompany singers, Ellis Larkins has been in great demand throughout his long career. His parents were musicians (his mother played piano while his father was a violinist) and Larkins was hailed as a prodigy early on, appearing with an orchestra when he was 11. After graduating from the Peabody Conservatory and Juilliard, Larkins was part of Edmond Hall's group in the mid-'40s; recorded with Mildred Bailey, Coleman Hawkins, and Dicky Wells; and then worked regularly at the Village Vanguard and the Blue Angel in New York over a 20-year period. His duet records with Ella Fitzgerald and Ruby Braff in the 1950s are masterpieces in subtlety, and he was also a busy studio player. During the 1960s, Larkins worked with singers Joe Williams, Jane Harvey, Georgia Gibbs, and even Eartha Kitt and Harry Belafonte; since then, Larkins has continued playing in New York clubs with a wide variety of singers. He recorded as a leader for Storyville and Decca in the 1950s, for Halcyon and Black & Blue in the 1970s, had additional duets with Braff for Chiaroscuro, and was featured on a couple of dates for Concord, including a 1992 recital at Maybeck Recital Hall. - Scott Yanow

1. Am I Blue
2. Interlude #1
3. Blue Prelude
4. At Loose Ends
5. Blue and Sentimental
6. Ode to Marie
7. Blue Moon
8. Interlude #2
9. Time
10. Blue Again
11. Four Bar Ontro with Tag
12. Blues Serenade

Red Garland Trio - Bright And Breezy

During 1961-1962, following a long series of recordings for Prestige, pianist Red Garland recorded four LPs for the Jazzland label. His style was unchanged from a few years earlier, and this trio set with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Charlie Persip (reissued on CD on the Original Jazz Classics label) is very much up to par. Highlights include Garland's interpretations of "I Ain't Got Nobody," "Blues in the Closet," and "Lil' Darlin'." An enjoyable straight-ahead session. Scott Yanow

Red Garland mixed together the usual influences of his generation (Nat Cole, Bud Powell, and Ahmad Jamal) into his own distinctive approach; Garland's block chords themselves became influential on the players of the 1960s. He started out playing clarinet and alto, switching to piano when he was 18. During 1946-1955, he worked steadily in New York and Philadelphia, backing such major players as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Roy Eldridge, but still remaining fairly obscure. That changed when he became a member of the classic Miles Davis Quintet (1955-1958), heading a rhythm section that also included Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. After leaving Miles, Garland had his own popular trio and recorded very frequently for Prestige, Jazzland, and Moodsville during 1956-1962 (the majority of which are available in the Original Jazz Classics series). The pianist eventually returned to Texas and was in semi-retirement, but came back gradually in the 1970s, recording for MPS (1971) and Galaxy (1977-1979) before retiring again.

Red Garland (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Charlie Persip (drums)

1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. I Ain't Got Nobody
3. You'll Never Know
4. Blues In The Closet
5. What's New
6. Lil' Darlin'
7. What Is There To Say?
8. So Sorry Please

Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York, New York on July 19, 1961

Friday, June 6, 2008

Billie Holiday - Vol. 2: 1936-1937

A volume from the very excellent Masters of Jazz series; the sound on this is excellent and the performances are sparkling. Yes, I said sparkling; sue me. This is straight up Swing, and echoes of the Chicago school aren't far from the surface. The notes are, in part, by Mimi Perrin who founded and performed in Les Double Six. She later became a professional translator of Anglo-Saxon literature (Hey, Chuchuni! If she wasn't 95 years old, she'd be perfect for ya!)

These are from an early point in Billie's career and she is supported by a number of great performers who recognized her abilities early on. She is pleasant and girlish - in the best sense - in these performances, and the ebullience is contagious. Three sets; one with Teddy Wilson's outfit and two with her own orchestra; and what kind of mutts did she get to back her up? Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Joe Bushkin, Ben Webster and John Kirby to name a few. Teddy Wilson brought along Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa, among others, to the party.

Billie Holiday (vocal)
Bunny Berigan (trumpet)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Artie Shaw (clarinet)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Clyde Hart (piano)
Dick McDonough (guitar)
John Kirby (bass)
Gene Krupa (drums)
Cozy Cole (drums)

Billie Holiday And Her Orchestra
1. Did I Remember?
2. No Regrets
3. Summertime
4. Billie's Blues
5. Fine Romance
6. I Can't Pretend
7. One, Two, Button Your Shoe
8. Let's Call a Heart a Heart

Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra
9. Easy to Love
10. With Thee I Swing
11. Way You Look Tonight
12. Way You Look Tonight
13. Who Loves You?
14. Pennies from Heaven
15. That's Life I Guess
16. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Billie Holiday And Her Orchestra
17. One Never Knows, Does One?
18. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
19. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
20. If My Heart Could Only Talk
21. Please Keep Me in Your Dreams

Bob Mintzer & Michael Brecker - Twin Tenors (1992)

Bob Mintzer and Michael Brecker appear together and individually on this date for Novus from the early 1990s, joined by a fine rhythm section consisting of pianist Don Grolnick, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Peter Erskine. Mintzer is the dominant voice on the CD, playing without Brecker on six of the nine tracks and contributing five originals. His moving ballad "Tenorman's Lament" is a warm tribute to Wayne Shorter, while the driving blues "The Saxophone" is bursting with energy. Brecker is on hand for a joint romp through John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" (a second version features only Mintzer), Mintzer's intricate blues"Two T's" and on his own for a lush interpretation of "Body and Soul," the latter which is combined in a medley with Mintzer's setting of "Everything Happens to Me." While the CD title is a bit misleading, the performances are consistently at a high level. With the demise of the label, this out of print release has turned into a sought-after collectable. - Ken Dryden

Bob Mintzer (tenor sax)
Michael Brecker (tenor sax on 2, 5 & 7)
Don Grolnick (piano)
Michael Formanek (bass)
Peter Erskine (drums)
  1. The Saxophone
  2. Giant Steps (version 1)
  3. Three Pieces
  4. Tenorman's Lament
  5. Two T's
  6. Body and Soul/Everything Happens to Me
  7. Three Little Words
  8. Giant Steps (version 2)
Recorded November 29 & 30, 1992

Andrew Hill: Solo - Mosaic Select

The three discs that comprise this fascinating box set reissue capture pianist Andrew Hill at a unique time in his tumultuous career. After a series of successes for Blue Note in the ‘60s, Hill—a man as elusive as his inscrutable music—in essence disappeared from the New York scene, taking a teaching position upstate and playing, as he states in the liner notes from an album of the period, “in rural America.” Hill’s decision in 1976 to move to California in order to care for his ailing wife completed his slow withdrawal from the East Coast and sent his life and career on a entirely new path.

Recorded in three sessions in Berkeley California in the late summer and fall of 1978, the solo performances that comprise Mosaic Select 23 present the visionary pianist/composer in a new light. Gone are the driving rhythm sections, fiery soloists and dense ensemble writing that characterized his earlier output; this is Andrew Hill unrefined: emotional, hypnotic, cerebral. Tracks run long—averaging about twelve minutes—and find Hill improvising with incredible emotion and freedom. Themes and melodies appear and reappear amid dense voicings and sharp dissonances, but throughout, Hill maintains a stream-of-consciousness approach.

“Pastoral Pittsburg” is vast and impressionistic, featuring Hill’s distinctive runs and pedal sustains before he injects a hint of down-home blues six minutes in. It’s almost imperceptible at first, but Hill continues to play with it, transforming and disguising it amid the pastoral scene. This is Hill’s MO throughout the entire album. With titles like “From California With Love,” “Above Big Sur” and “Moonlit Monterey,” it’s clear that Hill was inspired by his new surroundings and his performances seem, in a way, to represent a coming to terms with himself in his new environment. Hill’s blues roots run deep—whether in New York or “Pastoral Pittsburg”—and they color every landscape he renders.

A few familiar standards show up and are brilliantly reworked by Hill’s vivid imagination. “Gone with the Wind” is immense and inspired, featuring jolting lines and boomy countermelodies. Hill is positively joyous, taking raucous pleasure in transforming the familiar harmonies and adding a stuttering, wry air to his melodic lines. For all this, Hill is most inspired on the pieces he was debuting in this solo recording. It was the beginning of a new chapter in his life and the music reflects every bit of that excitement and emotion. It is the passionate, inspired performance of a man whose winding personal path has never strayed from the artistically sound. Matthew Miller

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Red Krayola- the parable of arable land 1967

the parable of arable land

The Parable of Arable Land (1967) is the first album by the
Red Krayola, then known as the Red Crayola. The album is self-described as a “Free Form Freak-Out,” and remains one of the most infamous in their catalogue. A “Free Form Freak-Out” segues each of the actual songs, often resurfacing again elsewhere within the songs. The songs introduce mainstay Mayo Thompson’s signature style of abstract lyrics wed to minimalist (and often avant-garde) melodies and rhythms. The album is also notable for instrumental cameos by label mate and 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson.
The album was allegedly recorded in a single session, featuring the band (then consisting of Mayo Thompson on guitar and vocals,
Steve Cunningham on bass and Rick Barthelme on drums), playing live with the Familiar Ugly. A recording purporting to be a demo which surfaced on the International Artists Records compilation would partially refute this. The “demo” of “Hurricane Fighter Plane” is identical to the take used on Parable, only minus the crossfades in and out of the preceding and subsequent Free Form Freak-Outs. This would suggest that the basic “song” tracks were first recorded by The Red Crayola, and then superimposed with the Familiar Ugly recording. (However, Erickson’s organ is still present throughout the entire “demo” version.) “Hurricane Fighter Plane” has an overall duller sound than the rest of the album, suggesting that it may just be that song that was recorded separately from the rest of the album’s session.

by Richie Unterberger
The Red Krayola's debut remains their most celebrated and notorious effort. Although this was categorized as psychedelia when first released, it's more like futuristic avant-noise-rock.
Mayo Thompson's flighty songs about hurricane fighter planes and transparent radiation are almost submerged by a cacophony of "free-form freak-out" noise created on kazoos, flutes, harmonica, hammer, jugs, bottles, sticks, and more by a large ensemble of friends dubbed the "Familiar Ugly." Minority opinion holds that the wistfulness of Thompson's tunes (the brittle "War Sucks" excepted) and voice may have been served better by less self-consciously far-out arrangements. (Several of the songs can be heard in more skeletal form on the Epitaph for a Legend compilation). Parable of Arable Land was quite a daring statement for its day, however, with instrumental cameos by Roky Erickson on a couple of tracks. [Sunspot reissued the album on disc in 2003.]

Ben Webster - 1953-1954 (Chronological 1458)

With the exception of the first session here (for eMarcy) the tracks are all from the Norgran label, which reflects the fact that Webster was actively touring with JATP at this point. The first set was of "ambitious charts" by Johnny Richards and the tune 'Pouting' was done again at his first Norgran session.

"Robust, soulful, and stunningly lyrical (especially on ballads), Ben Webster is one of the giants of the tenor sax. The French Classics label does its usual excellent job of compiling chronological recordings on Ben Webster - 1953-1954. Taken from sessions near the beginning of his career, these small-group dates show off Webster's formidable chops to fine effect. The fare is primarily hard-swinging bop, and the repertoire, which includes well-worn standards like "My Funny Valentine," "Tenderly," and "Pennies from Heaven," is given a shot in the arm by the verve and vitality of the players."

Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Harry Edison (trumpet)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Tony Scott (clarinet)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)

1. Hoot
2. Pouting
3. The Iron Hat
4. Pouting
5. Cotton Tail
6. Danny Boy
7. Bounce Blues
8. That's All
9. Pennies From Heaven
10. Tenderly
11. Jive At Six
12. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
13. Love's Away
14. You're Mine, You!
15. My Funny Valentine
16. Sophisticated Lady
17. Our Love Is Here To Stay
18. It Happens To Be Me
19. All Too Soon
20. Chelsea Bridge
21. Almost Like Being In Love

Hélio Delmiro - Romã (1991)

Hélio Delmiro is one of the best Brazilian guitar players. Since acoustic guitar is almost a symbol of Brazilian music, this means a lot. When Sarah Vaughan came here, in the 1970s, to record one of her Brazilian albuns, she was so impressed with his sound that invited him to be a member of her band. And many other great jazz names with whom he played (like Charlie Haden and Carla Bley) enjoyed to play with him. In Brazil, he played with some of our greatest names, like Elis Regina, Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Victor Assis Brasil. However, there are only a few records he made under his own name. Here, he leads a quartet, along with Rique Pantoja, Nico Assumpção and Carlos Bala. Romã, from 1991, had some tracks recorded during a presentation in Cecilia Meireles Hall, in Rio de Janeiro, and others in studio. Most track are compositions of himself or Rique Pantoja's, but we have also "Caravan", "Autumn Leaves" and Jobim-Mendonça's "Só Saudade". For those who likes jazz-guitar, this is a good choice.

Tracks -
1- Espada de fogo (Delmiro)
2- Ad infinitum (Delmiro)
3- Inaiá (Pantoja)
4- Paz no coração (Delmiro)
5- Caravan (Ellington-Mills-Tizol)
6- Romã (Pantoja)
7- Novo tempo (Delmiro)
8- Só saudade (Jobim-Mendonça)
9- Autumn leaves (Kozma-Prevert)
10- Carrousel (Delmiro)

Personnel -
Hélio Delmiro - Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Rique Pantoja - Piano & Keyboards
Nico Assumpção - Bass
Carlos Bala - Drums

P.S. - Romã is the Portuguese word for Pomegranate. And some months ago, I remember of Chuchuni mentioning Nico Assumpção. So, besides the record deserving by itself to be posted, this is also a homage to Rab Hines and Chuchuni, to whom I owe so much.

Henry "Red" Allen - World On A String

"the most creative and avant-garde trumpet player in New York. He is one of the major jazz improvisers, in the truest sense of the word." Don Ellis in downbeat

This belongs in any comprehensive jazz collection.

This CD is a true classic. Trumpeter Red Allen is heard at the peak of his creative powers with a remarkable octet also featuring trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, clarinetist Buster Bailey, and the great tenor Coleman Hawkins. "I Cover the Waterfront" has a wonderfully abstract statement from Allen, "Love Is Just Around the Corner" is joyous Dixieland, "Let Me Miss You, Baby" is a particularly strong blues (featuring Allen's vocal), and the simple blues line that serves as a melody on "Algiers Bounce" is quite catchy. The other seven selections from the classic veterans are also quite enjoyable. Although the music has its basis in Dixieland and swing, the solos of Allen and Hawkins in particular look ahead toward the future. There is nothing dated about these essential performances; highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Marty Napoleon (piano)
J.C. Higginbotham (trombone)
Everett Barksdale (guitar)
Lloyd Trotman (bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. Love Is Just Around The Corner
2. Let Me Miss You, Baby
3. Ride, Red, Ride
4. I Cover The Waterfront
5. 'S Wonderful
6. St. James Infirmary
7. Algiers Bounce
8. Love Me Or Leave Me
9. I've Got The World On A String
10. Ain't She Sweet
11. Sweet Lorraine

New York: March 21, 1957

Eric Dolphy - The Illinois Concert

"A live album, if well recorded, is the perfect medium for jazz. Sure, there are great studio albums by jazz musicians, but the energy of a great concert can propel jazz to epic heights. Further, I'm a huge fan of 1960s avant-garde. Thus, when I inserted Eric Dolphy's The Illinois Concert -- a previously unreleased recording of a 1963 performance -- into my CD player, I was flushed with hopeful excitement. I was not disappointed.

On this date, Dolphy -- playing his usual trio of instruments: alto sax, bass clarinet, flute -- is accompanied by Herbie Hancock on piano, Eddie Khan on bass and J.C. Moses on drums. Two of the seven tracks feature an extended orchestra: the University of Illinois Brass Ensemble on "Red Planet" and the University of Illinois Big Band on "G.W." And most of the album is made up of Dolphy compositions.

This is a fabulous document of a great concert. It sizzles with energy. Dolphy is clearly the dominant voice and the band knows this. Although they all take center stage at some point or other -- Hancock is especially fluid on piano -- they play to highlight Dolphy's performance and ideas. The whole thing is redolent of a wild ecstatic love of music and of playing music. The sound and format of this quartet is highly reminiscent of Coltrane's classic quartet from the late Atlantic/early Impulse! era: furious playing and interaction that urgently strive to express a beauty both savage and fragile. Also, the two tracks augmented with larger ensembles recall the similar "quartet plus" arrangements of Coltrane's The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions. Not surprisingly, Dolphy was an active creative voice in Africa/Brass.

A further Dolphy/Coltrane connection revealed itself when the first notes of "Red Planet" reached my ears: for what I was hearing was, to me, a Coltrane tune. On this album, "Red Planet" is credited as a Dolphy composition, while the same tune's appearances on Coltrane's Impulse! albums -- there titled Miles' Mode -- attribute composition to Coltrane. Although the full story behind this confusion is not known (and probably never will be, as both Dolphy and Coltrane died all too young in the 1960s), the liner notes to Coltrane's The Impulse! Years and to this Dolphy release reveal that critical consensus points to Dolphy as the likely composer, or at least co-composer. In any case, Coltrane and Dolphy were friends and collaborators, not opponents. They both strove, by playing deeply personal music, to create exciting, ecstatic sounds that challenged listeners' ideas of jazz and music.

The Illinois Concert is such a sustained assault of intensely beautiful music that no one track jumps at you. The whole album stands out as an indispensable musical event." Claude Lalumiere

Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Eddie Khan (bass)
J.C. Moses (drums)
The University of Illinois Brass Ensemble (track 6)
The University of Illinois Big Band (track 7)

1: Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
2: Something Sweet, Something Tender
3: God Bless the Child
4: South Street Exit
5: Iron Man
6: Red Planet
7: G.W.

McCoy Tyner - Mosaic Select

From Mosaic Records:

This set covers the last two years of McCoy Tyner's tenure with Blue Note, beginning with the pianist's Expansions, the first album on which his own identity as a leader-composer-pianist came ringing through.

With Woody Shaw, Gary Bartz, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter (on cello), Herbie Lewis and Freddie Waits, he fashioned a new sound, inspired by, but not mimicking his work with the John Coltrane Quartet. McCoy blended modality, Eastern music, African elements and spirituality into a music that was unmistakably his own.

Unfortunately neither this album nor its extraordinary follow-up Extensions with Bartz, Shorter, Alice Coltrane (on harp), Carter and Elvin Jones received the recognition they deserved at the time. So three more superb dates sat in the vaults; Asante, with Andrew White, Ted Dunbar, Buster Williams, Billy Hart and Mtume was issued in 1974. The rest of the music on this set was finally issued on the 1976 double album Cosmos. One session features a sextet with Bartz, White and Hubert Laws; the other is a magnificent date which adds two reeds and string quartet to Tyner's trio and includes the first version of "Song For My Lady."

In 1972, McCoy signed with the Milestone label and gradually his fortunes began to change. McCoy's new sound had found a receptive audience; record sales increased and McCoy was able to keep a band together and working. By the late seventies, he was one of the most popular and best-paid acoustic jazz artists in the world. The music in this set, five brilliant, innovative sessions over a 25-month period, represents the seeds of that success.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

King Curtis - Azure

Some solid players here; the Royal brothers, coupla fine guitarists and the excellent Garvin Bushell, regarding whom I always like to point out that he recorded with Jabbo Smith and Fats Waller, and appeared on stage with Dolphy and Trane on the Vanguard sessions.

King Curtis' lone LP for the tiny Everest label eschews his signature gutbucket R&B approach in favor of a late-night, bluesy atmosphere that brilliantly captures the unparalleled soulfulness of his tenor sax solos. Ballads and standards spanning from "Unchained Melody" to "The Nearness of You" are vividly realized by the lush arrangements of Sammy Lowe, complete with vocal contributions from the Malcolm Dodds Singers. Still, it's Curtis' melancholy leads that command the spotlight, boasting the cerebral intricacy of jazz and the emotional heft of soul. [Originally released in 1960, Essential Media Group's 2007 reissue appends the bonus tracks "Lonely Prairie" and "Jay Walk."] ~ Jason Ankeny

King Curtis (tenor sax)
Billy Bauer (guitar)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Marshall Royal (clarinet, alto sax)
Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Garvin Bushell (flute, oboe)

1. Close Your Eyes
2. Unchained Melody
3. Off Shore
4. The Nearness Of You
5. Misty
6. Stranger
7. When I Fall In Love
8. It Ain't Necessarily So
9. Our Love Is Here To Stay
10. My Love Is Your Love
11. Sweet And Lovely
12. Azure
13. The Lonely Prairie
14. Jay Walk

Gerry Wiggins - Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 8

Gerald Wiggins (often listed as Gerry Wiggins, as on this release) is well documented on records and CDs as a sideman, though he has only been recorded sporadically under his own name. That makes this solo piano concert even more valuable, as one can enjoy the adaptable, often surprising artist without any distractions. No matter how familiar the standard, whether it is "Yesterdays," "Body and Soul," or "Don't Blame Me," Wiggins finds a fresh approach while retaining the lyrical essence of each piece. The little vamp he uses to introduce "All the Things You Are" sounds a lot like Kenny Barron; it is impossible to say who played this lick first, though Wiggins is a generation older. His easygoing rendition of "Take the 'A' Train" has a few fast runs that likely were influenced by his good friend Art Tatum, but his gently striding left hand powers his dancing right hand. Wiggins' down-home "Berkeley Blues" has a boogie-woogie flavor. The late Jimmy Rowles' warm liner notes are an added bonus to this unfortunately out of print CD. ~ Ken Dryden

1. Yesterdays
2. My Ship
3. All The Things You Are
4. Night Mist Blues
5. Body And Soul
6. Easy To Love
7. You're Mine You
8. I Should Care
9. Don't Blame Me
10. Take The 'A' Train
11. Berkeley Blues
12. Lullaby Of The Leaves

Shorty Rogers and Andre Previn - Collaboration

Shorty on trumpet and Andre on piano
with Milt Bernhart, Frank Rosolino (tb)
Bud Shank (as, fl)
Bob Cooper (ts)
Jimmy Giuffre (bars)
Al Hendrickson, Jack Marshall (g)
Joe Mondragón, Curtis Counce, (b)
Shelly Manne (d)

1. It's Delovely
2. Porterhouse
3. Heat Wave
4. 40 Degrees Below
5. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
6. Claudia
7. You Do Something To Me
8. Call For Cole
9. Everything I've Got
10. Some Antics
11. It Only Happens When I Dance With You
12. General Cluster

Clark Terry with Thelonious Monk - In Orbit

Check the notes for an interesting discussion on how Terry plays flugelhorn in a manner different than most trumpeters. Also, the bonus track here is from New Blue Horns, which I'll post sometime. Riverside was in the habit, for a while, of reserving one track from various sessions (Chet Baker, Kenny Dorham, Blue Mitchell, etc.) and releasing them on an anthology. This last track formerly was available only on the anthology.

Terry's solitary excursion on Monk's Brilliant Corners, a vivid 'Bemsha Swing', underlined the degree to which Monk himself still drew sustenance from swing. In Orbit is firmly Terry's album. If the new material is less stretching, the arrangements are surprisingly demanding, and the interplay between flugelhorn (used throughout) and piano on 'One Foot In The Gutter' and the contrasting 'Moonlight Fiesta' is highly inventive. ~ Penguin Guide

One of Thelonious Monk's rare appearances as a sideman is on this quartet set led by flugelhornist Clark Terry. With bassist Sam Jones and drummer Philly Joe Jones, Terry and pianist Monk perform a set that surprisingly has only one Thelonious Monk song ("Let's Cool One"). Among the high points of this spirited, boppish date are C.T.'s "One Foot in the Gutter" and "Argentia." ~ Scott Yanow

Clark Terry (flugelhorn)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. In Orbit
2. One Foot In The Gutter
3. Trust In Me
4. Let's Cool One
5. Pea-Eye
6. Argentia
7. Moonlight Fiesta
8. Buck's Business
9. Very Near Blue
10. Flugelin' The Blues

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York on May 7 & 12, 1958

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mal Waldron - Free At Last

At a time when other artists were verging on the Fusion movement, Waldron was first making an attempt at "...coming to terms with free jazz." Free At Last - get it? There seems to be a lot of differing opinion on this one: listen or re-listen and see what you think.

Waldron is a highly regarded jazz pianist, but many jazz fans, while knowing of his importance to jazz, have not actually heard him. The relative obscurity of Free At Last, ECM's first release, remains a sheer mystery. The music is more than accessible: it's vibrant and jaunty, sexy and bold. This is acoustic jazz with a decidely funked-up attitude.

Rat Now beings the recording with Waldron playing a four-chord riff in his right hand against the lower register notes of the keyboard. Throughout he prefers strong rhythmic development to soloing over chord changes. This groove-oriented approach comes on strong again in Rock My Soul and Boo. As with Rat Now, these tunes are Waldron compositions of the highest calibre--the kind of songs you find yourself humming or scatting long after the record has played.

Waldron's more instrospective siden gets some airing on Balladrina--a lovely Monk-influenced ballad with stirring dissonance in the chord changes. Here Waldron's solo is confined to sparely-played single notes, again emphasizing his concern for rhythmic development over showy solo lines.

On Willow Weep for Me, Waldron reminds his listeners of his long tenure as Billie Holliday's pianist. But as the leader of his own trio,his piano has come to the fore and commands full attention as he works with two thoroughly capable musicians. Isla Eckinger's bass walks through many of the "up" tunes, but also delves into abstract solos, such as in Rat Now. Clarence Becton's drums provide the sturdy, groove punch required to handle the flavor of Waldron's compositions.

Mal Waldron (piano)
Isla Eckinger (bass)
Clarence Becton (drums)

1. Rat Now
2. Balladina
3. 1-3-234
4. Rock My Soul
5. Willow Weep For Me
6. Boo

Jimmie Lunceford - 1939 (Chronological 532)

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

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

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

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

Roy Eldridge/Dizzy Gillespie/Buck Clayton - Jazzfest Masters: The Trumpeters (1969)

At first glance I thought this might be another one of those compilations of poorly transferred early live recordings. Upon further inspection I noticed that these were previously unissued recordings from the 1969 New Orleans Jazz Festival and although the performances are hardly the cream of the crop from these legends' vast discography, the recording quality is first-rate and should be of interest to collectors. Being a huge Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie fan, this was a must-have for me.

"A lot of classic greats are heard on this CD, taken from the 1969 New Orleans Jazz Festival. Roy Eldridge performs four songs while backed by pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Alan Dawson; on "Perdido" fellow trumpeters Bobby Hackett and Clark Terry sit in. Dizzy Gillespie plays two obscure numbers with his quintet of the time (with James Moody on tenor and flute) while Buck Clayton heads an octet on "St. Louis Blues" that also includes Buddy (not Bunny as it says in the scanty liner notes) Tate and trombonist Dickie Wells. The performances are quite enjoyable, obscure and well-recorded. This CD is worth getting for Roy Eldridge's playing by itself." - Scott Yanow

Roy Eldridge (trumpet) Clark Terry, Bobby Hackett (trumpets on "Perdido")
Jaki Byard (piano) Richard Davis (bass) Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Rifftide
2. I Can't Get Started
3. Little Jazz
4. Perdido

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet) James Moody (tenor sax, flute)
Mike Longo (piano) Frank Shifand (bass) Candy Finch (drums)

5. Mas Que Nada
6. Ding-A-Ling

Buck Clayton (trumpet) Dickie Wells (trombone) Buddy Tate (tenor sax)
Jimmy Tyler (alto sax) Jaki Byard (piano) Danny Barker (guitar)
Milt Hinton (bass) Alan Dawson (drums)

7. St. Louis Blues

Jimmie Lunceford - For Dancers Only (1935-1937)

These are probably Ogg files, this upload is from some time ago.

The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra has always been a bit difficult to evaluate. Contemporary observers rated Lunceford's big band at the top with Duke Ellington and Count Basie but, when judging the music solely on their records (and not taking into account their visual show, appearance and showmanship), Lunceford's ensemble has to be placed on the second tier. His orchestra lacked any really classic soloists (altoist Willie Smith and trombonist Trummy Young came the closest) and a large portion of the band's repertoire either featured the dated vocals of Dan Grissom or were pleasant novelties. And yet, the well-rehearsed ensembles were very impressive, some of the arrangements (particularly those of Sy Oliver) were quite original and the use of glee-club vocalists and short concise solos were pleasing and often memorable. Plus Lunceford's was the first orchestra to feature high-note trumpeters (starting with Tommy Stevenson in 1934) and had a strong influence on the early Stan Kenton Orchestra.

Although he was trained on several instruments and was featured on flute on "Liza" in the 1940s, Jimmie Lunceford was much more significant as a bandleader than as a musician. While teaching music at Manassa High School in Memphis in 1927, Lunceford organized a student band called the Chickasaw Syncopators, recording two songs that year and a pair in 1930. After leaving Memphis, the band (known by then as the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra) played in Cleveland and Buffalo and cut two songs in 1933 that were not issued until decades later. 1934 was the breakthrough year. The orchestra made a strong impression playing at New York's Cotton Club, waxed a few notable songs for Victor and then started recording regularly for Decca. Their tight ensembles and colorful shows made them a major attraction throughout the remainder of the swing era. Among their many hits were "Rhythm Is Our Business," "Four or Five Times," "Swanee River," "Charmaine," "My Blue Heaven," "Organ Grinder's Swing," "Ain't She Sweet," "For Dancers Only," "'Tain't What You Do, It's the Way That Cha Do It," "Uptown Blues" and "Lunceford Special." The stars of the band included arranger Sy Oliver (on trumpet and vocals), Willie Smith, Trummy Young (who had a hit with "Margie") and tenor saxophonist Joe Thomas.

In 1939 it was a major blow when Tommy Dorsey lured Sy Oliver away (although trumpeters Gerald Wilson and Snooky Young were important new additions). Unfortunately Lunceford underpaid most of his sidemen, not thinking to reward them for their loyalty in the lean years. In 1942 Willie Smith was one of several key players who left for better-paying jobs elsewhere and the orchestra gradually declined. Jimmie Lunceford was still a popular bandleader in 1947 when he suddenly collapsed; rumors have persisted that he was poisoned by a racist restaurant owner who was very reluctant about feeding his band. After Lunceford's death, pianist/arranger Ed Wilcox and Joe Thomas tried to keep the orchestra together but in 1949 the band permanently broke up. ~ Scott Yanow

For this CD, 20 selections by Jimmie Lunceford's highly-rated orchestra are reissued. Dating from 1935-37 and not as complete as the Classics series, the release does give listeners a good overview of Lunceford's music. The arrangements by Sy Oliver (including "Swanee River," "My Blue Heaven." "Organ Grinder's Swing" and "For Dancers Only") are generally the most memorable tracks; this CD also contains a previously unissued take of "Ragging the Scale." Among the main soloists are altoist Willie Smith, tenor saxophonist Joe Thomas and trumpeter Oliver. We'll see more of Smith in the Norman Granz set the jazz scene

Hank Jones - Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 16

For Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 16, Concord persuaded a reigning giant of the piano to record at Maybeck's Yamaha keyboard -- and the result is one of the most musical, and certainly one of the most enjoyable, concerts in the whole series. Recorded closely enough so that you can hear him grunting along with the music, Hank Jones gives full vent to his melodic gifts in a brace of pop and jazz standards from several decades, never staying on any of them for more than five minutes, and rarely falling back on the usual pianistic bop patterns. Starting out with very attractive stride work on "I'll Guess I Have to Change My Plan" and "It's the Talk of the Town," he always chooses his notes with care while rarely losing touch with the pulse of jazz, which is all too tempting in a solo format. Among the more touching moments are the treatments of "I Cover the Waterfront" and "Memories of You"; "Blue Monk" and Joe Bushkin's "Oh, Look at Me Now" have the most wit. ~ Richard S. Ginell

1. Introductory Announcement
2. I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan
3. It's The Talk Of The Town
4. The Very Thought Of You
5. The Night We Called It A Day
6. Bluesette
7. A Child Is Born
8. What Is This Thing Called Love
9. Oh! What A Beautiful Mornin'
10. Six And Four
11. I Cover The Waterfront
12. Memories Of You
13. Spoken Introduction
14. Blue Monk
15. 'Round Midnight
16. Spoken Introduction
17. Oh, Look At Me Now

Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody - With Gil Fuller & The Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra

Note that these are 2 studio sessions with the Jazz Festival Orchestra, not Jazz Festival performance.

Gil Fuller’s jazz credentials date back to the late-forties when he was the principal architect of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band with James Moody. In 1965, arranger Gil Fuller pulled together the cream of LA’s jazz and studio scenes to form the Monterey Jazz Orchestra, which performed at that year’s festival and recorded two Pacific Jazz albums, one spotlighting Gillespie and the other Moody. Fuller pulls choice tunes from be-bop, tin pan alley, and contemporary originals to create beautiful canvases for his old friends. The result is some exceptional playing from Gillespie and Moody. Both albums, newly remixed from the original three- and four-track master tapes, are complete on this 75-minute CD.

Amazing work from arranger Gil Fuller -- usually a "background" talent, but one who really gets to shine in the spotlight on these two albums! First up is Gil Fuller & The Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra Featuring Dizzy Gillespie -- one of Dizzy's hippest big band sessions ever -- and one of the few dates as a leader from arranger Gil Fuller! Fuller will always be best-remembered as the man who composed some of Dizzy Gillespie's best known tunes from the bop era -- like "Manteca", "One Bass Hit", and "Things To Come" -- but on this album from 1965, he's reunited with Dizzy for a large group set of tracks that feature Diz as the main soloist -- at a level that really shows the growth of both men at the time! Fuller's charts are large and full, but with a sense of space that's really amazing -- almost like some of the soundtrack work Dizzy had done for The Cool World -- with a mix of soulful and modern moments that's really wonderful. The group's kind of a mix of hip LA players -- with Phil Moore Jr on piano, Dennis Budimir on guitar, and Jimmy Bond on bass -- plus a larger set of horn players backing Dizzy up. Titles include a number of great originals -- such as "Be's That Way", "Big Sur", "Things Are Here", "Man From Monterey", and "Angel City". Next up is Night Flight -- a newly majestic setting for James Moody in the 60s -- thanks to the mighty arranging talents of Gil Fuller! The album's similar to Fuller's session with Dizzy -- a blend of large ensemble backings and soulful work by the solo star -- which in this case is James Moody on alto, tenor, and flute! Moody's work here is kind of an extension of his 60s recordings with Tom McIntosh -- an amazing array of colors, tones, and emotions that would never have been heard in his music a decade or two before -- played with sophistication that's simply stunning, and a sense of swing and soul that makes the whole thing move nicely. The ensemble has a great rhythm section that features Mike Wofford on piano, Chuck Berghofer on bass, and Chuck Flores on drums -- plus percussion from Francisco Aquabella -- and titles include "Latin Lady", "Tin Tin Deo", "Our Man Flint", "A Patch Of Blue", "Night Flight", and "17 Mile Drive"

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
James Moody (Alto and tenor sax, flute)
Harry Edison (trumpet)
Buddy Collette (alto sax)
Dennis Budimir (guitar)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Bob Enevoldsen (trombone)

1. Man From Monterey
2. Angel City Blues
3. Love Theme From "The Sandpiper"
4. Groovin' High
5. Be's That Way
6. Big Sur
7. Moontide
8. Things Are Here
9. Tin Tin Deo
10. I'm In The Mood For Love
11. Night Flight
12. Our Man Flint
13. Seesaw
14. Batucada Surgiu
15. 17 Mile Drive
16. A Patch Of Blue
17. Latin Lady (From Angel City Suite)
18. Blues For A Debutante
19. Sweets For My Sweet
20. Wild Chestnuts

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chet Baker - This Time the Dream's On Me: Quartet Live, Vol. 1

Chet Baker's star rose rapidly during the 1950s and this CD marks the initial release of his earliest recorded concert as a leader, recorded at a 1953 Los Angeles engagement; it is combined with a 1954 Ann Arbor concert previously issued. The first performance took place following the dissolution of the quartet with Gerry Mulligan, caused by his partner's drug bust and subsequent prison sentence. Baker's group is extremely well rehearsed, starting with a rapid-fire take of "All the Things You Are." Pianist Russ Freeman, an important part of many of Baker's Pacific Jazz recordings, pushes Baker with his driving attack. The source tape wows a little during the introduction to "Isn't It Romantic," but the quartet's brisk run through the piece is flawless. Freeman's Latin-flavored "Maid in Mexico" received favorable reviews in its earlier studio version; this live take also swings rather well. "My Funny Valentine" begins with an almost over-dramatic drum roll and an outburst from a member of the audience, but Baker's lyrical trumpet saves the day. Bassist Carson Smith and drummer Larry Bunker round out the group heard during this set. The remainder of the music come from a 1954 Masonic Temple concert, with Bob Neel taking over the drums. Following Gerry Mulligan's softly swinging "Line for Lyons" (which was a hit for the Mulligan-Baker Quartet), Baker's updated look at "My Funny Valentine" still starts off with the same melodramatic drum roll but seems to come together much cleaner than the earlier live version heard on this CD. Likewise, the latter take of "Maid in Mexico" swings a bit harder. "Stella by Starlight" is the highlight of the Ann Arbor performance, though Baker's somewhat disguised introduction to "My Old Flame" makes it a close second. The balance of the master tapes on both concerts is inconsistent, though the strength of the performances should make up for any shortcomings of sound. Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden

Chet Baker (trumpet)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Carson Smith (bass)
Larry Bunker (drums)
Carlton Theatre, Los Angeles, August 12, 1953

Chet Baker (trumpet)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Carson Smith (bass)
Bob Neel (drums)
University Of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 9, 1954

1. All The Things You Are
2. Isn't It Romantic
3. Maid In Mexico
4. My Funny Valentine
5. This Time The Dream's On Me
6. Introduction
7. Line For Lyons
8. Lover Man
9. My Funny Valentine
10. Maid In Mexico
11. Stella By Starlight
12. My Old Flame
13. Headline
14. Russ Job

Stanley Cowell - Departure #2

Stanley Cowell was already a talented pianist at the time of his recording debut as a leader in 1969, but this 1990 trio session for Steeplechase demonstrates a seasoned artist whose chops had grown tremendously. His remakes of two compositions from his first release, "Departure #2" and "Photon in the Paperworld," seem light years ahead of the original versions. He has yet another salute to Art Tatum, the greatest pianist of them all, with a rollicking trio interpretation of "Just One of Those Things" that overwhelms the listener with his cascading runs. On the other hand, his easygoing approach to Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo" finds him taking a backseat for the first few choruses as he showcases bassist Bob Cranshaw. His sensitive renditions of ballads like Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" and Benny Golson's infrequently performed "Voices All" merit praise. Whether on sticks or brushes, drummer Keith Copeland adds just the right touch to this outstanding studio date. ~ Ken Dryden

Stanley Cowell (piano)
Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Keith Copeland (drums)

1. Departure #2
2. Voices All
3. Photon In The Paper World
4. Just One Of Those Things
5. Little Sunny
6. Placido
7. Relaxin' At Camarillo
8. Splintered Ice
9. Prelude To A Kiss
10. Setup

Dolphy In Germany

Eric Dolphy - Berlin Concerts

Less than three years after these (seemingly televised) performances from the Deutschlandshalle in Berlin, Dolphy was dead. They're poignant as a first sign of Dolphy "going single", working the more open European scene with pick-up bands. This one was better than most, not just because Bailey's tense, boppish sound occasionally recalls Little, but also because Auer and Smith lean hard on the beat and push things along briskly. "G.W." is remarkably similar to the version on Outward Bound, Bailey tends to dominate on "Hot House" (not surprisingly) and "I'll Remember April", on which he is unsentimentally lyrical. He sits out "When Lights Are Low" by namesake Benny Carter, and Dolphy thrives on the extra space. Even so, he sounds constrained on these tracks, not even opening up on the now obligatory "God Bless The Child." A curiosity, and a significant one in the foreshortened Dolphy canon, but certainly not one for casual buyers. Penguin Guide

Eric Dolphy (alto sax, bass clarinet)
Benny Bailey (trumpet)
Pepsi Auer (piano)
George Joyner (bass)
Buster Smith (drums)

1. Hot House
2. When Lights Are Low
3. Geewee
4. God Bless The Child
5. Hi-Fly
6. The Meeting
7. I'll Remember April

"Funkturm Exhibition " and "Jazz Saloon", Berlin, West Germany, August 30, 1961

Eric Dolphy - Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise: Munich

This CD has a very interesting lineup of musicians: Eric Dolphy (sticking to bass clarinet throughout), pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Mel Lewis. Dolphy was actually touring with the John Coltrane Quintet (of which Tyner and Workman were a part) at the time, and apparently Elvin Jones had passport problems, so Lewis subbed for him. The playing on these four lengthy standards, including a 23½-minute "On Green Dolphin Street," is fine, but unfortunately, the recording quality from this Munich, Germany concert is pretty bad, making much of this historic music...for Dolphy completists. ~ Scott Yanow

Hitting play on a reissue can be like stepping into a time capsule. In this case all the more so because the sound quality is Jurassic, but even despite incredible distortion and difficult resolution there's always room for more Dolphy on the shelf. Top-notch material here, displaying the same buoyant sense of adventure and unerring swing that made him a singular voice.

1961 was the young musician's second year on record as a leader and one of his most productive. Dolphy's quartet borrows bassist Reggie Workman and pianist McCoy Tyner from John Coltrane's contemporary groups—Dolphy was quite busy with Trane that year, joing forces on Africa Brass, Ole Coltrane, and the 1961 Village Vanguard recordings. Mel Lewis takes over the drum set.

The four tunes on the record, recorded live in Munich and originally released on Stash, are serious workouts from 11 to 23 minutes in length, featuring some involved improvisation. Dolphy sticks to the bass clarinet, an instrument he helped bring to the forefront of jazz. His tone is crisp one moment and rough the next: heads tends to be straightforward and solos span the entire range. But while free jazz would head into furious, overblown blasts of energy, Dolphy never really went that way.

The supporting cast has rarely played better, in all honesty. McCoy Tyner surfs his ongoing impulses with rippling single-note melodies, progressive chorded phrases, and dramatic swirls. You can hear traces of the blocky, energetic sound he would focus on in years to come, but at this point the pianist is still pretty loose and open. Reggie Workman, an underappreciated bassist, treats solos as an opportunity to explore inside/outside combinations and somehow manages to combine walking basslines with more interactive phrases.

Mel Lewis, the most conservative member of the group, is mostly buried in the mix behind crunched-up cymbal and snare work, but when there's less action you can hear how he fleshes out textures. Lewis is definitely not one to sit around. ~ Nils Jacobson

Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
3. The Way You Look Tonight
4. Oleo

Munchen, West Germany, December 1, 1961

James Moody - Wail Moody, Wail

James Moody's mid-'50s band was a septet featuring four horns including the leader's tenor and alto. The bop-based group had plenty of spirit (as best shown here on the 14-minute title cut) if not necessarily a strong personality of its own. This CD (a straight reissue of the original LP plus two additional titles from the same session) is accessible, melodic and swinging; trumpeter Dave Burns is the best soloist among the sidemen. ~ Scott Yanow

"...Without star names, though, ...the rather less gimmicky and straight-ahead Wail establish a strong, individual sound that deserves to be more widely known and that certainly stands up very strongly alongside later works." Penguin Guide

James Moody (alto and tenor sax)
Dave Burns (trumpet)
Pee Wee Moore (baritone sax)
Jimmy Boyd (piano)
John Lathan (bass)
Clarence Johnson (drums)

1. The Golden Touch
2. The Nearness Of You
3. Donkey Serenade
4. Moody's Blue Again
5. Wail Moody, Wail
6. The Strut
7. A Sinner Kissed An Angel

Hackensack, New Jersey: December 12, 1955

Mal Waldron Quartet- live at middleheim jazz fest antwerp (august 2001)

zero brings us ,the next installment of an on going series of superb Mal Waldron,boots concerts and broadcasts.

the band here features Arjen Gorter the great bassist associated with(indeed a pioneer)of the European free scene, beginning in the mid sixties onwards ,and having played with the globe unity orchestra, brotzmann, Mischa Mengleberg and Steve lacy among others.

Sean Bergin who plays tenor,and penny whistle is probably best known as a member of Mischa Mengleberg's icp orchestra.

John Betch ,was Steve Lacy's regular drummer for nigh on 20 years.
an exiting group all round...

zero says.."As I'm typing, I'm auditioning another recent Mal boot -- two sets from the Bimhuis in 2001, same crew as the set below (an mp3 of the second set was posted somewhere months ago). I may just have to upload this one, too".

the Waldron celebration is far from over!!
hope y'all got the stamina.

thanks to the original recorder/ seeders/traders

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Roland Hanna - Perugia: Live at Montreux '74

"Some people say that a musician's life and work are separate entities having nothing to do with each other. Others say, as I do, that that's bullshit, that the music is an extension of the person. And as Exhibit A, I offer the Black Knight and a princely pianist, Roland Hanna." - Neil Tesser

"One of the most rewarding musical nights that I have ever spent was Tuesday, July 2, 1974. Rolling into Montreux, Switzerland after a day of meetings and traveling, I walked right into the festival's piano night, which had the underlying theme of serving as a tribute to Duke Ellington.

Jay McShann and Earl Hines did amazing and vital sets, typifying two great eras of jazz. But it was Roland Hanna's performance that transfixed and stunned me. Hanna has had occasional trio albums through the years and worked as a featured sideman with the best of them, but never had I heard and appreiciated his art as much as on this magic night of solo piano. He was truly original and outstanding. Listen especially to his tone poem 'Perugia,' a classic performance.

The art of piano moved on to Cecil Taylor, whose performance 'Silent Tongues' is also available on Freedom. Through the entire evening, I kept hoping that someday these performances would make their way onto disc for permanent preservation.

No one can take Roland Hanna for granted any longer. This recording confirms his genius. Enjoy it." - Michael Cuscuna

There was a CD reissue a number of years ago but is no longer available.

Roland Hanna (solo piano)
  1. Take the 'A' Train
  2. I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
  3. Time Dust Gathered
  4. Perugia
  5. A Child Is Born
  6. Wistful Moment

Kenny Barron - Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 10

Producing a darker tone from the Maybeck Yamaha piano than do some other participants in the series, Kenny Barron gets a chance to flaunt a wider range of his influences than he usually does in a group format. Barron opens with a stride-ish "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," which sports a few minor fluffs (this is live, folks), and then explores a number of diverse styles under the bop umbrella. Barron's "Bud-Like" has reminiscences of "Un Poco Loco," built on an ostinato bass pattern most of the way, with a witty "Bemsha Swing." As usual with Maybeck, the sound of the hall's bright, brittle Yamaha piano is brilliantly captured. ~ Richard S. Ginell

1. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
2. Witch Craft
3. Bud-Like
4. Spring Is Here
5. Well You Needn't
6. Skylark
7. And Then Again
8. Sunshower

Recorded live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, California on December 3, 1990