Monday, March 31, 2008

Arthur Blythe - Retroflection

Arthur Blythe, whose alto tone has been quite original ever since the start of his career, is joined by pianist John Hicks, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Bobby Battle on this superior quartet date from Enja. Blythe really stretches out on this "Live at the Village Vanguard" set, with six of the seven songs being over nine minutes long. "Jana's Delight" (which is based on a five-note pattern), "JB Blues," a remake of Blythe's "Lenox Avenue Breakdown," and one of the best versions ever of Thelonious Monk's "Light Blue" are the high points of the explorative program. Arthur Blythe fans are strongly advised to pick up this particularly strong effort. ~ Scott Yanow

Arthur Blythe (alto sax)
John Hicks (piano)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Bobby Battle (drums)

1. Jana's Delight
2. JB Blues
3. Peacemaker
4. Light Blue
5. Lenox Avenue Breakdown
6. Faceless Woman
7. Break Tune

Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, New York, New York on June 26, 1993

James Moody - Return From Overbrook

Two of James Moody's better albums from the 1950's are reissued in full on this single Chess CD: Last Train From Overbrook and Flute 'N The Blues. The former session features Moody (on tenor, alto and flute) backed by ten horns and a four-piece rhythm section on a variety of strong straightahead material (including the title cut, "What's New," "Tico-Tico" and "The Moody One") while the latter is a septet outing that also has solos by trumpeter Johnny Coles, trombonist William Shepherd and baritonist Pee Wee Moore along with three memorable vocals from Eddie Jefferson. Recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

James Moody (alto, tenor sax)
Johnny Coles (trumpet)
Eddie Jefferson (vocals)
Junior Mance (piano)
Numa Moore (baritone sax)
William Shepherd (trombone)
Sonny Cohn (trumpet)
Bill Atkins (alto sax)
Red Holt (drums)

1. Last Train From Overbrook
2. Don't Worry 'Bout Me
3. Why Don't You
4. I'm Free a.k.a. What's New?
5. Tico-Tico
6. There She Goes
7. All The Things Your Are
8. Brother Yusef
9. Yvonne
10. The Moody One
11. Flute 'n The Blues
12. Birdland Story
13. It Could Happen To You
14. I Cover The Waterfront
15. Body And Soul
16. Breaking The Blues
17. Parker's Mood
18. Easy Living
19. Boo's Tune
20. Richard's Blues

Lou Donaldson - A Man With A Horn

Compiled from two previously unreleased sessions (with the exception of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," previously released in Japan), the music on A Man with a Horn spotlights both the lushness and the soulfulness that characterize the sound of alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. An artist who managed to elude the immense shadow cast by Charlie Parker, Donaldson was a leading figure during the bluesy, hard-bop movement of the mid-1950s and a fixture in funky organ combos during the early '60s. This CD alternates between tracks recorded in 1961 at a quartet date with guitarist Grant Green and organist Jack McDuff and a 1963 quintet date with Green, trumpeter Irvin Stokes, and organist Big John Patton. Six of the nine selections are ballads and include a diaphanous version of Erroll Garner's "Misty" and a dreamy interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Star Dust." Donaldson's up-tempo blues "Hipty Hop," which features muted growls by Stokes, and a swinging rendition of "My Melancholy Baby" add some spice to the set. ~ Mitchell Feldman

These sessions were recorded for Blue Note in 1961 and 1963. The first date features five cuts with Jack Mcduff on organ, Grant Green on guitar, and Joe Dukes on drums. The four remaining cuts were recorded two years later with John Patton on organ, Ben Dixon on drums, and the addition of Irvin Stokes on trumpet. This is a mainly mellow affair with six of the nine tracks exchanging the hard bop and soul-jazz of the times for ballads and slow blues. However, the occasional up-tempo funky surprise does pop up on "My Melancholy Baby" and the Donaldson originals "Hipty Hop" and "Soul Meetin'." ~ Al Campbell

Lou Donaldson (alto sax)
Brother Jack McDuff (organ)
Grant Green (guitar)
Joe Dukes (drums)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, September 25, 1961

Lou Donaldson (alto sax)
Irvin Stokes (trumpet)
"Big" John Patton (organ)
Grant Green (guitar)
Ben Dixon (drums)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, June 7, 1963

1. Misty
2. Hipty Hop
3. Please
4. My Melancholy Baby
5. The Man With A Horn
6. Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
7. Prisoner Of Love
8. Soul Meetin'
9. Stardust

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Art Pepper - Among Friends

Despite a remarkably colorful and difficult life, Art Pepper was quite consistent in the recording studios; virtually every recording he made is well worth getting. In the 1950s he was one of the few altoists (along with Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond) that was able to develop his own sound despite the dominant influence of Charlie Parker.

Art Pepper mostly sticks to standards on this Discovery LP, but he brings out new life in the veteran songs, particularly on such ballads as "Round Midnight," "What's New" and "Besame Mucho." With the assistance of pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Frank Butler, the great altoist (who is heard just prior to signing an exclusive contract with the Galaxy label) is also in top form on such pieces as "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "I'll Remember April." An excellent (if not quite essential) release. -- Scott Yanow

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Bob Magnusson (bass)
Frank Butler (drums)

1. Among Friends
2. 'Round Midnight
3. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
4. Blue Bossa
5. What Is This Thing Called Love
6. What's New
7. Besame Mucho
8. I'll Remember April

United Western Studios, Hollywood, California, September 2, 1978

Big Bill Broonzy - The Young Big Bill Broonzy

Big Bill Broonzy probably had his biggest commercial success in the '50s, when he became the darling of the folk crowd. But his glory days as a musician were no doubt the late '20s and early '30s, when these exceptional sides were done. Broonzy was a guitarist of amazing ability, highly sought after as a sideman by his peers. He also did some superb solo work, and both facets are clearly evident here. "How Do You Want It Done?"--arguably his solo tour de force--is likely the earliest example of a rocking guitar boogie. "Long Tall Mama" and "Skoodle Do Do" show that his fingerpicking prowess was equally formidable. He was also a fine singer with a deep, rich tenor voice. The band sides include appearances by such great pianists as Black Bob and Georgia Tom Dorsey, as well as vocalist Jane Lucas. There are more than a few Broonzy albums available, but this fine collection may well be the most definitive. --Lars Gandil

Big Bill Broonzy was one of the few country blues musicians of the '20s and '30s to find success when the music evolved into an electric, urbanized form. From his initial sides with Paramount in 1928, he followed the music's development closely. Switching to electric guitar and adding drums to his music in the late 1930s, he helped pave the way for the Chicago bluesmen that followed him. Even though his music continued to contain echoes of his rural background, Broonzy's reversion to a folk-blues style (popular amongst white audiences) in the 1950s was viewed by purists as an inauthentic stance. The truth is that experts have always had a difficult time classifying Broonzy's music. Even on the early sides collected on The Young Bill Broonzy (1928-1935), the guitarist alternates between standard 12-bar fare, brisk rag numbers, guitar and piano duets, and showcases of his flatpicking prowess. Regardless of the setting, however, one thing remains certain: Broonzy's guitar skills are superb. He was an exceptional flatpicker, capable of dazzling with rapid, single note runs. Proof is provided on "I Can't Be Satisfied" (with Hokum Boy Frank Brasswell on second guitar) and the classic "How You Want It Done?" Broonzy was also criticized for relying, more than most, on the key of C (favored by ragtime musicians), though a song like "Skoodle Do Do" demonstrates the guitarist's ability to construct an unconventional arrangement regardless. In addition to Brasswell, Broonzy is joined by Steel Smith (six-string banjo) and Georgia Tom Dorsey (piano) on various selections. Along with the companion set Do That Guitar Rag, this is quite simply the finest collection of Broonzy's timeless, early sides available. ~ Nathan Bush

1. Long Tall Mama
2. Mississippi River Blues
3. Saturday Night Rub
4. How You Want It Done?
5. Stove Pipe Stomp
6. Hokum Stomp
7. I Can't Be Satisfied
8. Brownskin Shuffle
9. Eagle Ridin' Papa
10. Starvation Blues
11. Hip Shakin' Strut
12. Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down
13. Skoodle Do Do
14. Banker's Blues

Red Garland - Crossings

Amazingly enough, this set (reissued on CD) was the first time that pianist Red Garland and drummer Philly Joe Jones recorded together in a trio setting, even though they had both been a part of Miles Davis' first classic quintet. With bassist Ron Carter completing the group, they perform five standards and the bassist's "Railoroad Crossing." This is one of Garland's best later dates (Philly Joe often pushes him), and the highlights include "Solar," "Oleo" and "Love for Sale." ~ Scott Yanow

Red Garland (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Solar
2. Railroad Crossing
3. Never Let Me Go
4. Oleo
5. But Not For Me
6. Love For Sale

Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California; December 1977

Bob Brookmeyer - Electricity

Electricity is another one of an infrequent series of recordings by Bob Brookmeyer, who used to pop up all over the place throughout the 1950s and 1960s. While he's always been rooted firmly in the mainstream (Gerry Mulligan, the Concert Jazz Band, the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra and his own records on Verve), Brookmeyer has also consistently approached creative music in unorthodox ways (his two-piano quartet with Bill Evans, and his trombone jazz samba records). His greatest gifts, though, are his contributions to orchestral jazz. His tonal palette has many more shades than one expects. As a result, his compositions and arrangements often require more than one listen. There's much to appreciate in his music's richness and depth. Even though in his notes to Electricity , Brookmeyer writes, “I think that I'm looking more for meaning and worrying less about coloring the orchestra,” he manages to achieve both here.

But Electricity , as its title may suggest, is by no means a look backwards. Many of Brookmeyer's six long tunes (ranging from seven to sixteen minutes each) are framed by John Abercrombie's thrashing electric guitar or cushioned by his tasteful guitar synth or other electronic keyboards. This March 1991 recording finds Brookmeyer fronting the excellent WDR Big Band (which also supports Mike Gibbs, Bernard Purdie and Eddie Harris on other recent Act Jazz releases). The German WDR Big Band, like the Dutch Metropole Orchestra, are all that remain of the great jazz orchestras - many of which Brookmeyer has successfully contributed to since the early 1950s!

All of these pieces have a progressive, story-like pattern to them, utilizing Abercrombie as the principal storyteller. “Farewell New York” is a 16-minute dirge that begins with Abercrombie's dissonant guitar-synth wail then progresses into march-like cadenzas to eventually find the guitarist in a more contemplative mood. Its intensity oddly recalls Elton John's “Funeral for A Friend.” The album's strongest tracks, “Ugly Music” and “Say Ah” bring to mind those cool, jazzy soundtracks of Italian mystery films from the 1970s (i.e.: Deep Red ). Abercrombie is simply amazing throughout. He can mine the wealth of innovations from Hendrix and Montgomery to Farlow and Frisell and yet never lose his own multiply talented identities.

One senses that Electricity more successfully achieves much of what Gil Evans was trying to accomplish in the late 1970s and 1980s with his own big bands. Aside from the lovely, almost simplistic harmonies and rhythmic patterns, Brookmeyer's choice of a main soloist with multiple talents (in this case, Abercrombie) is perfect. Some listeners may be discouraged that Brookmeyer didn't showcase his own beautiful and distinctive valve trombone (his only real features are brief ones in “No Song” and “The Crystal Place”). But that's a small gripe. Brookmeyer always reveals so much more as a musician in his orchestrations. For the small group fans, however, Challenge Records recently issued Brookmeyer's Paris Suite , a 1993-94 session which finds the valve trombonist leading a Dutch quartet.

Electricity is highly recommended to those who appreciate the lost art of orchestral jazz in a contemporary setting and, most especially, to fans of John Abercrombie — who is nothing short of brilliant in his varied roles here. Douglas Payne

Bob Brookmeyer (conductor, valve trombone)
John Abercrombie (guitar)
WDR Big Band (Cologne)

1. Farewell New York
2. Ugly Music
3. White Blues
4. Say Ah
5. No Song
6. The Crystal Palace

WDR Studios, Cologne, Germany; March 1991

Woody Herman - Mosaic Select 31

FINALLY!! I've waited many years for my favorite Woody Herman albums to be reissued on CD and leave it to Mosaic to release them all in one tidy package - 5 albums on 3 CDs. Woody Herman 1963 is the only one that has been on CD before with a few tracks from the others showing up on some compilations.

From Mosaic's Website:

There are great bands and then there are phenomenal bands. The "Swinging Herd" that Woody Herman led during the mid 1960s is one of those bands. Collectively it possessed remarkable power. Individually, the soloists were imaginatively progressive. In total, it seemed like there was never another band like it.

Herman's soloists capture us like a deer in the headlights. The sheer energy of trumpeter Bill Chase, the tremendous drive of Phil Wilson's trombone and the unbelievable Sal Nistico (especially on a live version of "Apple Honey") is nothing short of breathtaking.

The albums included are "Woody Herman - 1963", Woody Herman: 1964", "Encore", "The Swinging Herman Herd Recorded Live" and the classic "Woody's Big Band Goodies". The liner notes to the original albums by Ralph J. Gleason, Willis Connover, and Leonard Feather convey the raw excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime band.

Discography in comments

Hampton Hawes - The Green Leaves Of Summer

Pianist Hampton Hawes' first recording after serving five years in prison finds Hawes evolving a bit from a Bud Powell-influenced bop pianist to one familiar with more modern trends in jazz. Reissued on CD, this trio date finds Hawes interacting closely with bassist Monk Montgomery and drummer Steve Ellington (making his recording debut). Hawes had lost nothing of his swinging style while in prison, as can be heard on such numbers as "Vierd Blues," "St. Thomas" and "Secret Love," and he was just starting to hint at moving beyond bop. Recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Hampton Hawes (piano)
Monk Montgomery (bass)
Steve Ellington (drums)

1. Vierd Blues
2. The Green Leaves Of Summer
3. Ill Wind
4. St. Thomas
5. Secret Love
6. Blue Skies
7. The More I See You
8. G. K. Blues

Recorded at Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles, California on February 17, 1964

John Handy - Projections (Columbia LP, 1968)

This album is intense to listen to. You never really know where the group will take you next, but you can bet it will be soaring high. All of the music is original tunes written by the guys and doesn't fall into any genres. Recorded one night in studio the music sounds to me like a live performance by the 'Concert Ensemble'

John Handy was a very adventurous player saying he would "go crazy if I had to play with the same people for eleven years". Unfortunately this would be his last album for seven years (only performing on 2 Mingus records in between) when he came back playing Indian and Jazz fused music in 1975.

Reissued on CD by Koch (I think its out of print now)

John Handy - alto sax, saxello, flute
Michael White - violin
Mike Nock - piano
Bruce Cale - bass
Larry Hancock - drums, tambourine

Stan Kenton - 1950-1951 (Chronological 1255)

Illness, exhaustion and a national recording ban imposed by executives heading the American Federation of Musicians forced Stan Kenton to disband and withdraw from the music scene in December 1948. The hiatus lasted until February 1950, when he resumed making records for the Capitol label (see Classics 1185, Stan Kenton & His Orchestra 1950). Classics 1255, 1950-1951, which is the seventh volume in the Classics Kenton chronology, contains all of the recordings he made with his big band between May 18 1950 and March 20 1951. By and large, Kenton's music sounded better than ever during this period. His 37-piece Innovations Orchestra, which nearly bankrupted him when he took it on a national tour that set him back something like two hundred grand, performed attention-getting music using ambitiously conceived "progressive" arrangements. Kenton shared composing and arranging duties with Laurindo Almeida, Shorty Rogers and the ever-imaginative Pete Rugolo. In addition to dynamic studies focusing upon the brass and string sections, as well as the cello department in particular, a series of pieces were created as portraits of bandmembers June Christy, Art Pepper, Maynard Ferguson and Shelly Manne. Two tracks cut on August 16 1950 feature pianist and vocalist Nat King Cole, who maintained his composure amid blasts from the brass and shouts from the band during "Orange Colored Sky" -- note that the vocal routine used by the band is a precise word-for-word imitation of the famously rowdy version by that "Incendiary Blonde" Betty Hutton. Kenton bowed to convention by employing a resonant crooner and Billy Eckstine impersonator by the name of Jay Johnson; there is also a wistful band vocal on "September Song." Kenton continued to employ Latin American percussionists to spice up his Caribbean-style arrangements; Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" works very nicely under the influence of Miguel Ramon Rivera's conga drumming. Lest anyone should complain that this band didn't play enough melodies that could be whistled or hummed, Kenton's old chum Vido Musso's tenor sax was featured on the familiar "Santa Lucia" and a dramatic rendering of "Vesti la Giubba," the famous aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci. After capping all of this with the delightful "Artistry in Tango" and savoring Bud Shank's graceful solo on Pete Rugolo's "Theme for Alto," one can begin to understand how and why Kenton's early-'50s band enjoyed increasing popularity in its day. Much of what he'd recorded during the previous decade pales by comparison. ~ arwulf arwulf

Stan Kenton (piano)
Art Pepper (clarinet, alto sax)
Nat King Cole (piano, vocals)
Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Maynard Ferguson (trumpet)
Herbie Harper (trombone)
Shelly Manne (drums)
June Christy (vocals)
Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Jack Constanzo (bongos)
Bob Cooper (English horn, oboe, tenor sax)
John Graas (French horn)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Buddy Childers (trumpet)
Bud Shank (flute, alto sax)
Bill Russo (trombone)

1. Cello-Logy
2. Art Pepper
3. Halls of Brass
4. Maynard Ferguson
5. Shelly Manne
6. Orange Colored Sky - Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton
7. Jambo - Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton
8. Be Easy, Be Tender
9. But Then You Kissed Me
10. Easy Go
11. June Christy
12. House of Strings
13. Love for Sale
14. Viva Prado
15. I'm So in the Mood
16. Round Robin
17. Santa Lucia
18. Pagliacci
19. Something New
20. Artistry in Tango
21. September Song
22. Theme for Alto

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kai Winding - Solo (1963)

Trombonist Kai Winding is not featured on unaccompanied solos despite the title of this album, but it does showcase his horn without the usual three or four trombones that he regularly used during the period. With support from pianist Ross Tompkins, bassist Russell George, either Gus Johnson or Tommy Check on drums and guitarist Dick Garcia (on three of the 11 selections), this is one of Winding's best (and least commercial) recordings of the 1960s. The performances are concise (none exceed four minutes) and are highlighted by "How Are Things in Glocca Morra," "The Things We Did Last Summer" and "You've Changed." This LP is long overdue to be reissued on CD. - Scott Yanow

One of the finest trombonists to emerge from the bebop era, Kai Winding was always to an extent overshadowed by J.J. Johnson although they co-led one of the most popular jazz groups of the mid-'50s. Born in Denmark, Winding emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 12. He had short stints with the orchestras of Alvino Rey and Sonny Dunham and played in a service band in the Coast Guard for three years. Winding's first burst of fame occured during his year with Stan Kenton's Orchestra (1946-47) during which his phrasing influenced and was adopted by the other trombonists, leading to a permanent change in the Kenton sound. He also participated in some early bop sessions, played with Tadd Dameron (1948-49) and was on one of the Miles Davis' nonet's famous recording sessions. After playing with the big bands of Charlie Ventura and Benny Goodman, he formed a quintet with J.J. Johnson (1954-56); the two trombonists (who sounded nearly identical at the time) had occasional reunions after going their separate ways. Winding led a four-trombone septet off and on through the latter half of the 1950s and into the '60s, was music director for the Playboy clubs in New York and during 1971-72 worked with the Giants of Jazz (an all-star group with Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt and Thelonious Monk). Although he recorded frequently both as a leader and a sideman throughout his career, most of Winding's sessions are not currently available on CD.

This LP rip is from the mono version.

Kai Winding (trombone)
Ross Tompkins (piano)
Russell George (bass)
Gus Johnson (drums)
Tommy Check (drums on 3, 5, 9, 10)
Dick Garcia (guitar on 2, 7, 11)
  1. How Are Things in Glocca Morra
  2. Recardo (Bossa Nova) [sic]
  3. Playboy's Theme
  4. The Things We Did Last Summer
  5. The Sweetest Sounds
  6. Hey There
  7. I'm Your Bunny Bossa Nova
  8. Days of Wine and Roses
  9. You've Changed
  10. I Believe in You
  11. Capricious
Recorded January 24, February 4 & 5, 1963

Sam Lazar - Playback & Spaceflight

Two albums from organist Sam Lazar, on the ARGO label. Hard to find recordings.

Medium-quality mp3's from a time when there was no LAME. Good listening, however, no mp3 artifacts apparent. Album details with package.

ARGO LP 4002
Sam Lazar, organ;
Grant Green, guitar;
Willie Dixon, bass;
Chauncey Williams, drums.

Playback ARGO LP 4015
Sam Lazar, organ;
Miller Brisker, tenor sax;
Phillip Wilson, drums;
Joe Diorio, guitar

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dave Pike - It's Time For Dave Pike

Dave Pike was never an innovator, but his best albums are definitely solid. A perfect example is 1961's It's Time for Dave Pike, which was recorded when the vibist was only 22. By 1961 standards, this album isn't experimental or forward-thinking -- certainly not compared to some of the adventurous, challenging sounds that were coming from modal and avant-garde improvisers in the early '60s. But it's easy to enjoy if you appreciate swinging, inspired bop along the lines of Milt Jackson, who is one of Pike's primary influences. In fact, this album favors the same vibes/piano/bass/drums format that Jackson embraced during his years with the Modern Jazz Quartet -- Pike is joined by pianist Barry Harris, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Billy Higgins. But It's Time for Dave Pike doesn't sound like an MJQ date and doesn't contain any third stream experiments; it has more in common with Jackson's work outside the MJQ. Hard bop is the name of the game on this album, which includes a few Pike originals as well as inspired versions of jazz standards like Miles Davis' "Solar," Charlie Parker's "Cheryl," and Tadd Dameron's "Hot House." The only time Pike doesn't lead a quartet on this album is when he tackles Rodgers & Hart's "Little Girl Blue" and performs an unaccompanied vibes solo. Produced by Orrin Keepnews for Riverside, It's Time for Dave Pike was out of print for many years. But that changed in 2001, when Fantasy finally reissued this pleasing album on CD on its Original Jazz Classics imprint.~Alex Henderson

Dave Pike (vibes)
Barry Harris (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1 - Cheryl
2 - On Green Dolphin Street
3 - It's Time
4 - Hot House
5 - Forward
6 - Solar
7 - Little Girl Blue
8 - Tendin' To Business

Gil Mellé

Yeah, Cinderella was his real name. I'd like to know if he ever played with that guy Ballerina from Art Pepper's group. Also, I have The Andromeda Strain if anyone is on fire to hear it. It is negligible, though, I think. But chaque à son goût as they say in China.

Gil Mellé - Primitive Modern/Quadrama!

Gil Mellé was a modern artist in the purest and most comprehensive sense of the term: he composed music, he played music, he painted, he sculpted, he invented electronic instruments, he built the electronic instruments that he invented, he built his own computers, he learned enough about architecture to design his own home and he restored classic automobiles. All of his artistic endeavors were bound by the overriding goals of experimentation and efficiency, and typically his art was infused with principles, tools and techniques that were the products of pioneering technology. Some of his most notable accomplishments in music involved the assemblage of the world's first all-electronic jazz band (which he debuted at the Monterrey Jazz Festival in 1967), the invention of an early (some say the first) drum machine, and the composition of the first all-synthesizer film score (for 1971's The Andromeda Strain).

Mellé spent most of his musical career making electronic film and television scores. During this time, he also composed symphonies and dabbled in electronic jazz. As a young man in the 1950s, though, Melle played baritone sax and led his own quartet - a quartet that is now recognized as being one of the earliest progressive jazz outfits. Unfortunately, it is also a group that has largely been forgotten. The well-known Modern Jazz Quartet was the first small jazz ensemble to fuse classical music with improvised jazz and the brand of chamber jazz that they slipped in between the harder-swinging bop numbers was an early example of what Gunther Schuller dubbed "Third Stream Music" in the late 1950s. Even theoretician and arranger George Russell — while hardly a household name himself — ensured that his own progressive legacy would live on by mentoring the likes of future jazz giants Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Don Ellis in his late-'50s/early-'60s groups, guiding them through the application of the principles outlined in his 1953 treatise "The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization" and liberating jazz from the structure and harmonic conventions of bop by introducing the new terrain offered by modal exploration.

And then there's Gil Mellé's quartet. Melle had several recording sessions for Blue Note throughout the early '50s, but didn't release a long-player until 1956. He then left the label and recorded three records over a 12-month span for Prestige before taking a long hiatus from jazz in 1957. Primitive Modern is the first of these. Melle's group was probably too experimental for its day and too short-lived to become particularly popular; in any event his innovations just never caught on among the avant-garde, being eclipsed first by Ornette Coleman's free jazz experiments in the late 1950s and then by the tide of modal jazz that was made in the wake of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. Melle's contribution to jazz was to combine 20th-century classical harmonics with familiar jazz elements: the liner notes to Primitive Modern suggest that classical composer Bela Bartok and jazz legend Duke Ellington were his primary influences.

On Primitive Modern as well as 1957's Quadrama, Mellé kept the size of his band to a bare minimum: saxophone, guitar, and the active, swinging rhythm section. The resulting music isn't nearly as "weird" as one might think; in fact, it's very easy to listen to. Keep in mind that this was 1956 and there really isn't much jazz from that era that would strike a 21st century listener as difficult listening. But also realize that it was never an intention of Melle's to shock or confuse his audience. He loved jazz and wanted to use new harmonic devices to increase the scope of its traditional possibilities, not turn it into an academic exercise.

What makes Primitive Modern and Melle's other records unique to the jazz avant-garde of the 1950s is his choice of 20th century composition as the classical source material. Whereas the Modern Jazz Quartet typically borrowed from older classical sources, Melle's ultimately proved to be the more "modern" of the two. Primitive Modern opens ominously with "Dominica," a piece that Melle described as a "dirge" for a recently-deceased friend. With its bowed bass, somber pace and dissonant themes, the tune crawls unsettlingly past the listener, somewhat recalling the contemporaneous experimentation of Charles Mingus. The tense mood is broken quickly by the second track, the exuberant "Ironworks," which more or less defines the style of the rest of the album: swinging jazz with no clearly-defined lead instrument. Some tracks are quite spirited ("Ironworks," "Ballet Time,"); others assume a more loping gait ("Dedicatory Piece to the Geophysical Year of 1957," "Mark One"). They're all very accessible but have plenty of meat on them to chew.

Central to Mellé's sound on this record is intertwining sax and guitar leads. Although the guitar is sometimes used in the traditional manner to lay down chords, it also works as a second lead for the purpose of counterpoint to Melle's sax. Melle commented in the liner notes that he wanted the instrument to perform similar functions as a piano, but he selected the guitar specifically because it could easily be played in a range outside that of a baritone sax (as opposed to a piano, which is typically played by jazz pianists in the central and lower registers, thereby overlapping the baritone).

Aside from giving the music a unique sound for the era, Mellé's preference for instrumentation is fortuitous from a technical standpoint as well. 1956 recording technology being what it was, pianos often sounded dull and muffled on quartet or quintet recordings from the period and only in the best of circumstances did the finished product have the kind of separation and balance that would be commonplace on recordings made even a few years later. The plugged-in nature of the electric guitar, though, alleviates these concerns and Cinderella's bright, crisp single-note runs contrast nicely with Mellé's baritone.

For any fan of jazz, I would highly recommend this album (and the CD comes paired with 1957's also-excellent Quadrama). Although I think Primitive Modern would be an enjoyable listen even for a neophyte, its experiments will be appreciated most by more experienced listeners. Mellé's music is aptly described by the All Music Guide as "looking toward a future that never occurred." Listening to the music, it is clear to me that this was an undeserved fate. Matt P.

Gil Mellé (baritone sax)
Joe Cinderella (guitar)
Billy Phillips (bass)
Ed Thigpen (drums)
April 20 and June 1, 1956

Gil Mellé (baritone sax)
Joe Cinderella (guitar)
George Duvivier (bass)
Shadow Wilson (drums)
April 26, 1957

1. Dominica
2. Ironworks
3. Ballet Time
4. Adventure Swing
5. Dedicatory Piece To The Geophysical Year Of 1957
6. Mark One
7. Full House
8. Quadrama
9. In A Sentimental Mood
10. Walter Ego
11. Rush Hour In Hong Kong
12. Jacqueline
13. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Gil Mellé - Gil's Guests

Baritonist Gil Mellé's recordings are usually a bit unusual and this CD reissue is no exception. Melle's nine compositions are performed by one of three sextet/septets featuring either Art Farmer, Kenny Dorham or Donald Byrd on trumpets, Hal McKusick or Phil Woods on alto, guitarist Joe Cinderella, bassist Vinnie Burke, drummer Ed Thigpen and sometimes either Julius Watkins on French horn or Don Butterfield on tuba. The charts are unpredictable and often dramatic, looking ahead toward a musical future that never occurred. Watkins takes solo honors during his three appearances. ~ Scott Yanow

Gil Mellé (baritone sax)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Hal McKusick (alto sax, flute)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Gil Melle (baritone sax)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Joe Cinderella (guitar)
Vinnie Burke (bass)
Ed Thigpen (drums)
Don Butterfield (tuba)

1. Soudan
2. Tomorrow
3. Block Island
4. Sixpence
5. Still Life
6. Ghengis
7. Funk for Star People
8. Golden Age
9. Herbie

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 24, 1956

The Birth Of The Third Stream

A classic; here's Miles three days before recording Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet and a few weeks after 'Round About Midnight. This recording (All About Rosie) also marked the debut of pianist Bill Evans, who subsequently went on to a major and distinguished career of his own, but whose long excellent piano solo in the third movement of "Rosie" launched him with a bang and was much talked-about at the time.

Mingus's "Revelations (First Movement)." ....This is the piece's only performance on record, and apparently only the First Movement was ever written (a pity). Nonetheless, this a a full and complex work, leaving no loose ends dangling, and if "(First Movement)" had been omitted from its title, no one would have suspected that there might still be yet more. This piece, recorded in 1957, is probably the first large-scale orchestral piece of Mingus's to be performed, and as such prefigures his 1962 TOWN HALL CONCERT recording (with a 30+ orchestra) and the posthumous EPITAPH (also using a very large orchestra). It also features his bass teacher, Fred Zimmerman, on arco (bowed) bass while Mingus plays pizzicato (plucked) bass.

THE BIRTH OF THE THIRD STREAM is all monophonic (although stereo recordings were made of MODERN JAZZ CONCERT, they weren't used), but very well recorded (as was common with Columbia recordings of that era). The packaging includes replicas of the original album covers and back covers, and republishes the original liner notes (as appropriate -- the writeups on the two missing pieces aren't included) along with 1996 folowups by Schuller and Avakian. The pieces are not presented as they were on the original albums, however. "In sequencing this CD, we chose to present the music somewhat on the order of a concert program, rather than in two groupings, one from each original LP," Avakian notes, and once I got over the shock of seeing the two albums mixed together I recognized the virtue in Avakian's choices. As he points out, "The program builds to the 'serious' and completely non-jazz Schuller 'Symphony,' after which his 'Transformation' -- which was composed with this sort of thing in mind -- forms a bridge back to jazz, and a rousing finish with Giuffre's 'Pharaoh.'"

For anyone who wants to see what jazz composition can be capable of, or who wants some of the milestone jazz recordings of the late fifties, this CD is a necessity.

(Full review:

Miles Davis (flugelhorn)
Joe Wilder, Bernie Glow (trumpet)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Hal McKusick (tenor sax)
John LaPorta (alto sax)
Teo Macero (baritone sax)
Teddy Charles (vibes)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Urbie Green, J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)

John Lewis
1. Three Little Feelings

J.J. Johnson
2. Poem For Brass

George Russell
3. All About Rosie

Charles Mingus
4. Revelations (First Movement)

Jimmy Giuffre
5. Suspensions

Gunther Schuller
6. Symphony For Brass And Percussion
7. Transformation

Jimmy Giuffre
8. Pharaoh

Matrix IX (1976)

Funky Fridays seems to have gone by the wayside, so how about a little Fusion for this Friday. Not the bland, "smooth" variety that likes to pass itself off as jazz, but some of the adventurous music of the seventies that had some real teeth.

Matrix was formed in 1974 by pianist/composer John Harmon and recorded their first album in 1976. After the debut of Matrix IX they went on tour that included a performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival. This was a powerhouse nine-piece group with six horns and three rhythm that sounded at various times like Weather Report, Chase, Return to Forever, and early seventies Miles. They brought together all of these influences to create a sound of their own. Everyone in the band also plays percussion, synths, and/or sings. They made three more albums after this one (none have been reissued on CD) before disbanding in 1979 and then returning again in 2000 with a "reunion" record two years later.

Mike Hale, Jeff Pietrangelo, Larry Darling (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Kurt Dietrich, Fred Sturm (trombone)
Michael Bard (reeds)
John Harmon (keyboards)
Randal Fird (bass)
Gary Miller (drums)
  1. Earth and the Overlords
  2. Catalpa Complex
  3. Blue Snow
  4. Dark Riders
  5. Clea
  6. Geese
  7. The Last Generation
Recorded in May, 1976

Lonnie Johnson - Blues By Lonnie Johnson

These recordings took place after a determined disc jockey finally located Johnson holding down a job as a janitor in a Ben Franklin store.

After four years off records and in obscurity, Lonnie Johnson launched his final comeback with this release, which has been reissued on CD. Teamed with tenor saxophonist Hal Singer, pianist Claude Hopkins, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Bobby Donaldson, Johnson sings and plays guitar on a variety of blues, showing that the layoff (he was working at the time as a janitor) had not hurt his abilities in the slightest. ~ Scott Yanow

Blues guitar simply would not have developed in the manner that it did if not for the prolific brilliance of Lonnie Johnson. He was there to help define the instrument's future within the genre and the genre's future itself at the very beginning, his melodic conception so far advanced from most of his pre-war peers as to inhabit a plane all his own. For more than 40 years, Johnson played blues, jazz, and ballads his way; he was a true blues originator whose influence hung heavy on a host of subsequent blues immortals.

Johnson's extreme versatility doubtless stemmed in great part from growing up in the musically diverse Crescent City. Violin caught his ear initially, but he eventually made the guitar his passion, developing a style so fluid and inexorably melodic that instrumental backing seemed superfluous. He signed up with OKeh Records in 1925 and commenced to recording at an astonishing pace -- between 1925 and 1932, he cut an estimated 130 waxings. The red-hot duets he recorded with White jazz guitarist Eddie Lang (masquerading as Blind Willie Dunn) in 1928-29 were utterly groundbreaking in their ceaseless invention. Johnson also recorded pioneering jazz efforts in 1927 with no less than Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Duke Ellington's orchestra.

After enduring the Depression and moving to Chicago, Johnson came back to recording life with Bluebird for a five-year stint beginning in 1939. Under the ubiquitous Lester Melrose's supervision, Johnson picked up right where he left off, selling quite a few copies of "He's a Jelly Roll Baker" for old Nipper. Johnson went with Cincinnati-based King Records in 1947 and promptly enjoyed one of the biggest hits of his uncommonly long career with the mellow ballad "Tomorrow Night," which topped the R&B charts for seven weeks in 1948. More hits followed posthaste: "Pleasing You (As Long as I Live)," "So Tired," and "Confused."

Time seemed to have passed Johnson by during the late '50s. He was toiling as a hotel janitor in Philadelphia when banjo player Elmer Snowden alerted Chris Albertson to his whereabouts. That rekindled a major comeback, Johnson cutting a series of albums for Prestige's Bluesville subsidary during the early '60s and venturing to Europe under the auspices of Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau's American Folk Blues Festival banner in 1963. Finally, in 1969, Johnson was hit by a car in Toronto and died a year later from the effects of the accident.

Johnson's influence was massive, touching everyone from Robert Johnson, whose seminal approach bore strong resemblance to that of his older namesake, to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, who each paid heartfelt tribute with versions of "Tomorrow Night" while at Sun. ~ Bill Dahl

Lonnie Johnson (guitar, vocal)
Hal Singer (tenor sax)
Claude Hopkins (piano)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Bobby Donaldson (drums)

1. Don't Ever Love
2. No Love For Sale
3. There's No Love
4. I Don't Hurt Anymore
5. She Devil
6. One Sided Love Affair
7. Big Leg Woman
8. There Must Be A Way
9. She's Drunk Again
10. Blues 'Round My Door
11. You Don't Move Me
12. You Will Need Me

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, March 8, 1960

Stanley Turrentine - 1960 Look Out (RVG)

One of the greatest Stanley Turrentine albums ever -- a hard-blown session that's been one of our favorite Blue Notes for years! Turrentine's tone here is amazing -- really raspy and earthy, with a quality that never shows up much in later recordings -- a mode that's incredibly focused, yet deeply personal -- stepping out with equal parts of gritty groove and creative imagination. The group's a perfect one too -- with Horace Parlan really setting fire to the keys of the piano, and the team of George Tucker on bass and Al Harewood on drums giving Stan some super-tight rhythmic backing. The record is incredible, and the kind that keeps us hanging for every moment that it's on -- and titles include "Journey Into Melody", "Return Engagement", "Little Sheri", "Tiny Capers", "Minor Chant", and "Look Out". CD features 3 bonus tracks -- "Tin Tin Deo", "Yesterdays", and a 45 take of "Little Sheri".
Dusty Groove America

01 Look Out (7:07)
02 Journey into Melody (4:52)
03 Return Engagement (4:40)
04 Little Sheri (7:46)
05 Tiny Capers (4:56)
06 Minor Chant (6:17)
07 Little Sheri (45 Version) (5:36)
08 Tin Tin Deo (6:15)
09 Yesterdays (6:52)

Al Harewood Drums
Horace Parlan Piano
Stanley Turrentine Sax (Tenor)
George Tucker Bass

Recorded at Englewood Cliffs, NJ. on June 18, 1960

Lou Donaldson - 1961 Here 'Tis (RVG)

Here 'Tis is in the front rank of Lou Donaldson records, an exceptionally funky soul-jazz session that finds the saxophonist swinging harder than usual. As he moves from hard bop to soul-jazz, Donaldson reveals a bluesy streak to his playing while keeping the vigorous attack that defined his best bop. Donaldson's playing is among his finest in the soul-jazz vein, but what makes Here 'Tis such an enjoyable session is his interaction with his supporting trio of guitarist Grant Green, organist Baby Face Willette, and drummer Dave Bailey. As support, all three know how to keep a groove gritty and flexible, following Lou's lead and working a swinging beat that keeps flowing, never growing static. Green and Willette also have their time in the spotlight, and both musicians are frequently stunning. Green's single-note leads are clean and inventive; Willette is rhythmic and forceful, but also capable of soulful, mellow leads on the slow blues. Their talent, combined with Donaldson at a peak, results in a terrific record.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

1. A Foggy Day (6:35)
2. Here 'Tis (9:23)
3. Cool Blues (6:50)
4. Watusi Jump (7:30)
5. Walk Wid Me (8:36)

Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone)
Grant Green (guitar)
Baby Face Willette (organ)
Dave Bailey (drums)

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on January 23, 1961

Bill Evans Trio in Buenos Aires - Volume 2

Not really a 'volume 2' since this is an entirely different concert recorded 6 years after 'volume 1'. The trio is different as well, with Marc Johnson and Joe La Barbera. Recorded Sept 27, 1979 at the Teatro Municipal General San Martin.

CD rip to LAME3.98 vbr0 + booklet scans

Mal Waldron- the whirling dirvish 1972, Joe Henderson quartet with Mal- live in LJulbjana 1979

heres another classic 70's waldron album.. among his free masterpieces.
im pleased to have replaced my cassette of crackly vinyl.
hope y'all enjoy it
the spiel

by Jason Ankeny
The Whirling Dervish looms among Mal Waldron's boldest and most challenging sessions — its three epic compositions are intimidating in their scope and reach, but the music rewards the intellectual commitment it demands with some of the pianist's most inspired playing. Liberated from the conventions of structure and tempo, Waldron immerses himself completely in pieces like "Reaching Out" and "Walk," creating strong, wonderfully complex lines driven as much by emotion as by intellect — bassist Peter Warren and drummer Noel McGhie anchor the music in reality but also push it further into the unknown, forging rhythms that suggest the pulse of some strange, heretofore unknown life form.

and zero says "Somewhere along the way I managed to upload a Joe Henderson Quartetbootleg with Mal (see info below). If you'd like it for sol or if youthink it might shake loose some Waldron contributions at CIA, feelfree to post it. Otherwise, I'll eventually post it as a comment inCIA contributions.
It's nice and clean -- good sound and no editingneeded to produce a fine listening cd. Mal's playing is satisfyingly intense but the overall feel of the show is more sunny than brooding.
Joe Henderson Quartet Ljubljana, Yugoslavia
June 15, 1979 Joe Henderson - ts Mal Waldron - p Wayne Darling - b Doug Hammond - dr 1. Inner Urge 9:182 Recorda Me 8:413. Invitation 10:434. And I Love Her (Mediterranean Sun) 11:025. Relaxin´ At Camarillo 7:07 Source: FM
same rythym section as joe hendersons 'barcelona ' on enja sans mal.
a great one in good sound. thanks z

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bunny Berigan - 1938 (Chronological 815)

Here's the Berigan band arguably at its peak, taking the music of Bix Beiderbecke to the next level, almost making these sides a case study in "what would Bix have sounded like had he lived and worked with a big band"? Although sides like "The Pied Piper" and "Ten Easy Lessons' feature vocals by Ruth Gaylor (herself a knockoff of Benny Goodman vocalist Helen Ward), instrumentals like "Jelly Roll Blues," "In a Mist," and "Livery Stable Blues," stress the Bix connection and bring these tunes into the big band age. On all but four tracks, the drumming chores are handled by a young Buddy Rich, swinging the band for all he's worth. ~ Cub Koda

Bunny Berigan (trumpet)
Ray Conniff (trombone)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Gus Bivona (alto sax, clarinet)
Joe Bushkin (piano)
Georgie Auld (tenor sax)
Johnny Blowers (drums)

1. The Pied Piper
2. Tonight Will Live
3. (A Sky Of Blue And You) And So Forth
4. (How To Make Love In) Ten Easy Lessons
5. When A Prince Of A Fella Meets A Cinderella
6. Livery Stables Blues
7. Let This Be A Warning To You, Baby
8. Why Doesn't Somebody Tell Me These Things?
9. High Society
10. Father, Dear Father
11. Simple And Sweet
12. Button, Button (Who's Got The Button?)
13. I Won't Tell A Soul I Love You
14. Rockin' Rollers' Jubilee
15. Sobbin' Blues
16. I Cried For You
17. Jelly Roll Blues
18. 'Deed I Do
19. In A Mist
20. Flashes
21. Davenport Blues
22. Candelights

Eric Dolphy

Ken McIntyre and Eric Dolphy - Looking Ahead

It was quite fitting that Ken McIntyre had an opportunity to record in a quintet with Eric Dolphy, for his multi-instrumental approach was similar to Dolphy's, although he always had a very different sound. On this CD reissue, McIntyre plays alto on four tunes and flute on two others (his work on bassoon, oboe, and bass clarinet would come slightly later), while Dolphy mostly plays alto but doubles on flute on one number and switches to bass clarinet for "Dianna." With pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Taylor offering concise solos and swinging support, McIntyre somehow almost holds his own with Dolphy on a variety of originals and George Gershwin's "They All Laughed." A very interesting date.

Ken McIntyre (alto sax, flute)
Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet)
Walter Bishop, Jr. (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Arthur Taylor (drums)

1 - Lautir
2 - Curtsy
3 - Geo's Tune
4 - They All Laughed
5 - Head Shakin'
6 - Dianna

Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 28, 1960

Eric Dolphy - Last Date

Although one slightly later session has since been discovered, Last Date remains a near-classic with the great Eric Dolphy (heard on alto, flute, and bass clarinet) backed by a top European rhythm section -- pianist Misha Mengelberg, bassist Jacques Schols, and drummer Han Bennink -- performing exciting versions of "Epistrophy," "You Don't Know What Love Is," and four of his originals. The innovative music points out what a giant loss Dolphy's premature death was; he passed away just 27 days after this memorable performance. ~ Scott Yanow

Dolphy was born in Los Angeles in 1928 and became a prominent voice in jazz in the late-1950's playing with Chico Hamilton. His wailing alto sax was heard with many groups besides his own, and he could further claim to be the first bass clarinetist to become a jazz soloist of importance.

This was Dolphy's last concert, recorded on June 2, 1964 in Hilversum, Holland, four weeks before his death from diabetes. This was Dolphy's third visit to Holland; he played there in the fall of 1961 with John Coltrane and in April 1964 with Charles Mingus.

Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet)
Misha Mengelberg (piano)
Jacques Shols
Han Bennink (drums)

1 - Epistrophy
2 - South Street Exit
3 - The Madrig Speaks, The Panther Walks
4 - Hypochristmutreefuzz
5 - You Don't Know What Love Is
6 - Miss Ann

Recorded in Hilversum, Holland on June 2, 1964

John Lewis & Albert Mangelsdorff - Animal Dance (1962)

Recent posts of Lewis and Mangelsdorff inspired me to rip this one. The LP needed a lot of repair but it was worth the effort. This was early in Mangelsdorff's career so this session is pretty straight-ahead.

"This studio date came about as a result of Albert Mangelsdorff's appearance at the Third Yugoslavian Jazz Festival, where pianist John Lewis was impressed enough with his performance to set up a recording session a few days later. With bassist Karl Theodor Geier and drummer Silvije Glojnaric also on hand, none of the musicians had ever played together, though it made little difference as they quickly absorbed the originals of Lewis and Mangelsdorff, along with the familiar standard "Autumn Leaves" (a trio arrangement omitting Lewis) and Gary McFarland's "Why Are You Blue." The leader's judgment is validated with Mangelsdorff's impressive work. The final track showcases a separate group, the Zagreb Jazz Quartet, featuring pianist Davor Kajfes, vibraphonist Bosko Petrovic, bassist Miljenko Prohaska and Glojnaric on drums. Long out of print, this Atlantic LP will be somewhat hard to find." - Ken Dryden

Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone)
John Lewis (piano)
Karl-Theodor Geier (bass)
Silvije Glojnaric (drums)

The Zagreb Jazz Quartet (track 7)
Bosko Petrovic (vibes)
Davor Kajfes (piano)
Miljenko Prohaska (bass)
Silvije Glojnaric (drums)
  1. Animal Dance
  2. Autumn Leaves
  3. Set 'em Up
  4. Monday in Milan
  5. The Sheriff
  6. Why Are You Blue
  7. Ornaments
Recorded in Baden-Baden, West Germany on July 30, 1962

Sunny Murray - Sunshine & An Even Break

A release of two Murray Actuel sessions from 1969 on one CD.


Sunny Murray's Sunshine is yet another all-star blowing session from the BYG Actuel series. Like many of the others, it is loud, very intense, and clocks in at just over 30 minutes. Also, and again like the others in the series, it is an indispensable document of late-'60s Pan-African art music. This is an opportunity to hear a number of fantastic players at the peaks of their respective careers. Represented here are three different groups. Both "Flower Trane" and "Red Cross" are performed by ensembles featuring (among others) Archie Shepp, Alan Silva, Arthur Jones, Lester Bowie, and Roscoe Mitchell. "Real," on the other hand, is a piece for the trio of Murray, tenor man Kenneth Terroade, and bassist Malachi Favors. This is some heavy music and is not for the faint of heart, but fans of avant-garde jazz will find a great deal to enjoy here. ~ Brandon Burke

Sunny Murray (drums)
Archie Shepp (tenor sax)
Kenneth Terroade (tenor sax)
Arthur Jones (alto sax)
Lester Bowie (trumpet)
Roscoe Mitchell (alto sax)
Malachi Favors (bass)
Alan Silva (bass)

1. Flower Trane
2. Real
3. Red Cross

Paris; August 15, 1969

An Even Break (Never Give a Sucker)

Recorded in 1969, this is one of three albums to feature drummer Sunny Murray as a leader in 1969. Issued on the French Actuel label, it showcases Murray's brand of fiery, spiritual free jazz grooveology with sidemen Malachi Favors of the Art Ensemble of Chicago (which, as a band, came over to France a few weeks before to begin a residency), veteran saxophonist Byard Lancaster, and flutist and saxophonist Kenneth Terroade. Less than half an hour in length, it features four mid-length performances that amount to free jazz improvisation. It's compelling, and holds the listener's interest for its passion and intrigue, but this was not a band per se and the rough edges certainly show. ~ Thom Jurek

Sunny Murray (drums, balafon, poetry reading)
Kenneth Terroade (tenor sax, flute)
Byard Lancaster (alto, soprano sax, bass clarinet, flute)
Malachi Favors (bass)

1. An Even Break (Never Give a Sucker)
2. Giblets, Pt. 12
3. Complete Affection
4. Invisible Blues

Paris; November 22, 1969

Jimmy Woods

Jimmy Woods - Awakening !!

I believe Barak told us that Woods was selling realty in Alaska.

Altoist Jimmy Woods, whose style fell between hard bop and the avant-garde, only recorded two albums as a leader; this CD reissue brings back his first. The backup musicians include Joe Gordon or Martin Banks on trumpet, Amos Trice or Dick Whittington on piano, Jimmy Bond or Gary Peacock on bass, and drummer Milt Turner, but Woods is by far the most advanced musician. On six of his originals, an obscurity, and "Love for Sale," Jimmy Woods' original sound and passionate, chance-taking style make one wonder why he was never able to really make it; his music has not really dated. ~ Scott Yanow

Jimmy Woods (alto sax)
Joe Gordon (trumpet)
Martin Banks (trumpet)
Amos Trice (piano)
Dick Whittington (piano)
Gary Peacock (bass)
Jimmy Bond (bass)
Milt Turner (drums)

1 - Awakening
2 - Circus
3 - Not Yet
4 - A New Twist
5 - Love For Sale
6 - Roma
7 - Little Jim
8 - Anticipation

Jimmy Woods - Conflict

made a good observation that this type of thing could be better termed LA Bop, rather than the meaningless and misleading West Coast sound. This set is led by a guy that it's hard to find information about. He recorded another work the year previous to this with Joe Gordon; and that whole subgroup of musicians - Carmell Jones, Harold Land, Curtis Amy, Gordon, Dupree Bolton - produced some great stuff. Maybe the Carmell Jones Mosaic is due for reposting.

"It's hard to understand why Jimmy Woods recorded so little before evidently retiring from jazz. His entire recorded legacy includes just a pair of dates as a sideman and two albums for Contemporary. Woods' final date as a leader is a memorable affair, with an all-star cast of musicians, including trumpeter Carmell Jones, tenor saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Andrew Hill, bassist George Tucker, and drummer Elvin Jones, all of whom (except Tucker) recorded as leaders before the decade was over. The program is made of six originals, including the tense, bluesy march "Conflict"; the turbulent "Aim"; and the tricky (and well-named) "Apart Together." His one ballad of the date is the unusually structured "Look to Your Heart." While all of the soloists are impressive and Jones' powerful drumming fuels the horn players, the leader's adventurous alto sax is not to be missed. Ken Dryden

Jimmy Woods (alto sax)
Carmell Jones (trumpet)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Andrew Hill (piano)
George Tucker (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Conflict
2. Coming Home
3. Aim
4. Apart Together
5. Look To Your Heart
6. Pazmuerte
7. Conflict (alt take)
8. Aim (alt take)
9. Look To Your Heart (alt take)

Recorded at Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles, California on March 25 & 26, 1963

Gerry Mulligan - The Gerry Mulligan Songbook

Until it was reissued on CD, this was one of the rarer Gerry Mulligan albums. The original program consisted of seven Mulligan compositions played by a five-sax octet (including the leader on baritone, altoist Lee Konitz, Allen Eager and Zoot Sims doubling on tenor and alto, Al Cohn on tenor and baritone and a rhythm section consisting of guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Henry Grimes, and drummer Dave Bailey). The session has a few surprise touches, giving listeners the rare opportunity to hear Eager and Sims soloing on alto and Cohn doubling on baritone. This was Allen Eager's first recording in several years and would be the last one of his prime (Eager's next album would be for Uptown in 1982); he had other interests outside of music. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the date is that the clever, witty and swinging arrangements are not by Mulligan but by Bill Holman. The CD reissue is rounded off by four selections from a largely unissued ("The Preacher" came out as an edited sampler) session featuring Mulligan with drummer Dave Bailey and a string quartet led by bassist Vinnie Burke. The performances are not chamber music but fairly conventional if spirited bop. Cellist Calo Scott trades off a bit with Jeru and guitarist Remo Palmieri makes one wonder what ever happened to him. Highly recommended for Gerry Mulligan fans. ~ Scott Yanow

Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax)
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Allen Eager (alto, tenor sax)
Zoot Sims (alto, tenor sax)
Al Cohn (tenor, baritone sax)
Dick Wetmore (violin)
Calo Scott (cello)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Paul Palmieri (guitar)
Henry Grimes (bass)
Vinnie Burke (bass)
Dave Bailey (drums)
Bill Holman (arranger)

1. Four And One More
2. Crazy Day
3. Turnstile
4. Sextet
5. Disc Jockey Jump
6. Venus De Milo
7. Revelation
8. May-Reh
9. The Preacher
10. Good Bait
11. Bags' Groove

Recorded in New York on December 4-5, 1957

Don Pullen - Ode To Life

The quartet co-led by pianist Don Pullen and saxophonist George Adams made some of the very best jazz albums of the '80s (though most of them were available in the U.S. only as imports), and Ode to Life, the second album by Pullen's African-Brazilian Connection, is dedicated to the late Adams. As a result, the album is elegiac and more subdued than Pullen's usual convulsions. It may not match Pullen's best work, but in its understated way, The African-Brazilian Connection reveals the pianist's gift for soulful melodies and romantic harmonies. And it's a wonderful showcase for Carlos Ward, whose work on alto sax and flute boasts a refined lyricism. --Geoffrey Himes

Pianist Don Pullen's second recording by his African-Brazilian Connection (which includes bassist Nilson Matta, two percussionists and altoist Carlos Ward) is dedicated to the memory of the late tenor-saxophonist George Adams. The music is more subdued than is usual on a Pullen disc, with the harmonies being less dissonant and the mood often melancholy and reflective but occasionally joyous. This is one of Pullen's more accessible and introspective sessions. ~ Scott Yanow

Don Pullen (piano)
Carlos Ward (alto sax, flute)
Nilson Matta (bass)
Guilherme Franco (percussion, berimbau, timba)
Mor Thiam (percussion, chimes, tablua, djembe)

1. The Third House On The Right
2. Paraty
3. El Matador
4. Ah George, We Hardly Knew Ya
5. Aseeko! (Get Up And Dance!)
6. Anastasia/Pyramid
7. Variation On Ode To Life

Bill Evans Trio in Buenos Aires - Volume 1

The 1973 concert with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell. The rip is of a Swiss made CD on the 'Jazz Lab' label. Recorded at the Cine Teatro Gran Rex of Buenos Aires, June 24, 1973. A difficult to find recording.

LAME 3.98 vbr0 + booklet scans

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

John Lewis - Evolution

For nearly 60 years, pianist John Lewis has co-led the Modern Jazz Quartet and successfully fused Bach, bop, and the blues into his own brilliant musical conception. He's recorded only twice as a solo pianist, which makes this offering all the more special. Alone at the keyboard, the New Mexico-raised Lewis displays the kind of spare and swinging pianism that recalls the "storytelling" style that made Count Basie and saxophonist Lester Young famous. Lewis's sly, rollicking version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" is a superb example of how to swing and embellish without wasting notes, as are his takes on the standards, "I'll Remember April," "Willow Weep for Me," "Cherokee," and "Don't Blame Me." Lewis's invigorating improvisation breathes new life into his own compositions. "Afternoon in Paris" is blessed with an engaging lyrical melody. "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West" rings with the cool hues of the blues, while "At the Horse Show" is an impromptu, fleet-fingered workout. Lewis's "Django" is moving elegy to guitarist Django Reinhardt, rendered in a mournful, Ravelian mood, and "For Ellington" is performed in the same saintly and sanctified aural image of "Come Sunday" and "Heaven" by this underrated master of African-American piano. --Eugene Holley

John Lewis (piano)

1. Sweet Georgia Brown
2. September Song
3. Afternoon In Paris
4. Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West
5. I'll Remember April
6. Django
7. Willow Weep For Me
8. Cherokee
9. For Ellington
10. Don't Blame Me
11. At The Horse Show

Art Pepper - Smack Up (20bit K2)

Art Pepper’s reckless lifestyle tended to overshadow his superb musicianship, and the circumstances surrounding Smack Up are certainly no exception. Shortly after recording it in 1960, he spent three years in jail for heroin possession, and one can only wonder if the title of the record is a play on words. Nevertheless, Pepper is in good form, as he usually was despite his troubles, darting over the changes and stitching together sharp, boppish lines without hesitation. Featuring a crack rhythm section and a subtle accompanist in trumpeter Jack Sheldon, one can easily expect a set of expertly played jazz.

However, this album is different from the usual West Coast program of standards and show tunes, in that it features songs composed by other saxophonists associated with the Contemporary label, from the famous (Carter) to the infamous (Coleman) to the downright obscure (Duane Tatro and Jack Montrose). Most of these songs are inspired originals that never would have been recorded again had Pepper not resuscitated them, and the varied selection of artists and styles gives the album a wider reach than Pepper’s other records, or most West Coast records for that matter.

The end result is a set that runs through various directions of music from the high-powered swing of Buddy Collette’s “A Bit of Basie” to the hard bop of “Smack Up” to the edgy leanings of the Tatro tune “Maybe Next Year.” The quintet even explores a soulful groove more commonly found on Blue Note releases with Pepper’s own “Las Cuevas de Mario” (in 5/4) and Montrose’s “Solid Citizens.” Appropriately Jolly sits out for the Coleman tune while Pepper and Sheldon wander over the changes, a little more tentatively than Ornette did.

But the strength of the album, other than the terrific playing, is just that it sounds different, an unexpected foray into little known songs that features energy and swing in equal doses. Perhaps the novelty of the music forced the musicians to approach the material more creatively or purposefully, but whatever the reason, Smack Up is one of the highlights of Pepper’s career, a record that shows that despite his sordid life, he was a master on his instrument. David Rickert

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Jimmy Bond (bass)
Frank Butler (drums)

1. Smack Up
2. Las Cuevas De Mario
3. A Bit Of Basie
4. How Can You Lose
5. Maybe Next Year
6. Tears Inside
7. Solid Citizens (take 33)
8. Solid Citizens (take 37)

Los Angeles; October 24-25, 1960

The New York Scene in the 40's: From Be-Bop to Cool

There was a request for some Metronome All Stars, and although there are only two tracks of the 1950 version of this band on this LP I thought there was enough other material of interest to post the whole album.

The Gillespie and Vaughan tracks are fairly common and easy to find on other compilations but take a close look (and listen) to the three tracks by Claude Thornhill of Charlie Parker tunes arranged by Gil Evans in 1947. This stuff was way ahead of its time. Lee Konitz is a featured soloist, Red Rodney is in the trumpet section and Barry Galbraith plays a couple of good solos (there's even a bit of distortion used at the end of one solo).

Also of interest are the rare tracks by Chubby Jackson's short-lived big band. This was an exciting group in the mold of Woody Herman's second herd and featured arrangements by drummer Tiny Kahn. Among the soloists are Al Porcino and Norman Faye on trumpet, Frank Socolow on alto sax, and Teddy Charles on vibes. Too bad this band only lasted for such a short time.

Besides the advanced music presented by the Metronome All Stars (check out the personnel!), there is also the first recorded version of Monk's "Epistrophy" from Cootie Williams in 1942. At the time it was released as "Fly Right" and the featured trumpet soloist is not Williams but Joe Guy.

Baden Powell Ao Vivo No Teatro Santa Rosa

This record is a must have. Recorded in 1966, it is, in my opinion, the first time that Baden appeared not as a gifted player, but as a genious of acoustic guitar. His renditions of "Berimbau" and "Consolação" are almost unbelievable, sharing both an extraordinary technics with feeling and passion. Baden was a big name of the bossa nova age, but he became lesser known in US than others names, like Jobim, Sérgio Mendes, Luiz Bonfá, Eumir Deodato and others. But, with the exception of Tom Jobim, he made a more authentic contribution than these others, for Mendes, Deodato, etc. adapted themselves to American pop taste, while Baden keep faithfull to his music. Baden was soon recognized for European public, so he never created a strong link with US, rarely presenting there. In fact, he leaved Brazil for some years in the seventies and went to live (where else!) in Baden-Baden. Powell recorded many records and surely I don't know them all. But of all I know, I can say that this is one of the best. And to have one of the best of a genious, well worths the time of a download. Take my word!

1- Abertura - Choro para metrônomo (Baden)
2- O astronauta (Baden-Vinicius)
3- Valsa de Eurídice (Vinicius)
4- Prelúdio em ré menor (Bach)
5- Berimbau - (Baden-Vinicius)
6- Consolação (Baden-Vinicius)
7- Lamentos (Pixinguinha)
8- Samba de uma nota só (Jobim-Mendonça)
9- Tempo feliz (Baden-Vinicius)

Recorded live at Teatro Santa Rosa, Rio de Janeiro, in 1966.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Roy Eldridge - 1943-1944 (Chronological 920)

Roy Eldridge worked with Gene Krupa for a couple of years, then made a series of hot sides with a great seven-piece band, featuring tenor saxophonists Ike Quebec and Tom Archia. "After You've Gone" begins with a funny false-start introduction that Eldridge seems to have developed while working with Krupa. "The Gasser," a hot-to-trot walking blues, was based on the chord changes of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Also included here are two lovely, passionate ballads and an incomplete take of "Oh, Lady Be Good." The Esquire Metropolitan Opera House V-Disc Jam Session turned into a real all-star blowout on "Tea for Two," the conglomerated ensemble sounding pretty crowded by the time it works up to the out chorus. Eldridge's next adventure occurred with Lionel Hampton's V-Disc All-Stars. "Flyin' on a V-Disc" is, of course, Hamp's big hit "Flyin' Home." He hammers the vibes while saying "heyyy!' and keeps on saying it, clapping his hands and braying like a goat throughout all subsequent solos by the horn players, eventually leading the pack into an inevitable grandstand conclusion. The Little Jazz Trumpet Ensemble is heard on one of the earliest of all Keynote sessions, and the very first of producer Harry Lim's instrument-oriented dates, setting a precedent for the Coleman Hawkins Sax Ensemble and the Benny Morton Trombone Choir. Emmett Berry's inspiration was Roy Eldridge himself, while Joe Thomas patterned himself after Louis Armstrong. "St. Louis Blues" in particular is amazing. They work it up to a fine finish. Eldridge's working relationship with Decca Records bore fruit briefly in June of 1944 with another big-band date. This particular group included former Fats Waller trumpeter John "Bugs" Hamilton, ace trombonist Sandy Williams, and a pair of strong tenor players -- Franz Jackson and Hal Singer. Two dramatic ballads resulted, along with yet another patented stampede version of "After You've Gone." The orchestra assembled on October 13, 1944, had a formidable trombone section, as Williams found himself flanked by noteworthy slip horn agents Wilbur DeParis and Vic Dickenson. This band was also fortified with the presence of trumpeter Sidney DeParis, drummer Cozy Cole, and flashy amplified guitarist Napoleon "Snags" Allen, who is heavily featured on "Fish Market," a rocking blues that sounds a bit like "Tuxedo Junction." After Eldridge savors a pretty air called "Twilight Time," he leads a charge through "St. Louis Blues." Running the changes as fast as he can through a muted horn, Eldridge fires off a rapid stream of lyrics, turns Franz Jackson loose for a scorching hot tenor solo, and heads up an explosive hot finale. ~ arwulf arwulf

Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Louis Armstrong (trumpet)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Ike Quebec (tenor sax)
Art Tatum (piano)
Lionel Hampton (vibes)
Jack Teagarden (trombone)
Cozy Cole (drums)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Hal Singer (tenor sax)
Emmett Berry (trumpet)
Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
Joe Thomas (trumpet)

1. After You've Gone
2. The Gasser
3. Jump Through The Window
4. Minor Jive
5. Stardust
6. Lady Be Good (Incomplete)
7. I Surrender, Dear
8. Tea For Two
9. Flyin' On A V-Disc Part 1 (Flying Home)
10. Flyin' On A V-Disc Part 2 (Flying Home)
11. Don't Be That Way
12. I Want To Be Happy
13. Fiesta In Brass
14. St. Louis Blues
15. I Can't Get Started
16. After You've Gone
17. Body And Soul
18. Fish Market
19. Twilight Time
20. St. Louis Blues

Lucky Thompson - 1944-1947 (Chronological 1113)

Tenor saxophonist Eli "Lucky" Thompson came up in Detroit but made all of his earliest recordings in the Los Angeles area during the 1940s. This fascinating album of rare jazz opens with a mind-blowing Timme Rosenkrantz-sponsored jam session recorded on December 26, 1944. Thompson leads an ensemble combining violinist Stuff Smith, trombonist Bobby Pratt, pianist Erroll Garner, and drummer George Wettling. "Test Pilots" appears to be a collective improvisation during which, like many Stuff Smith dates, the mood is wonderfully relaxed and informal. Recording for the Excelsior label in September of 1945, Lucky Thompson's All-Stars consisted of trumpeter Karl George, trombonist J.J. Johnson, bop clarinetist Rudy Rutherford and a tough rhythm section in Bill Doggett, Freddie Green, Rodney Richardson, and Shadow Wilson. In August, 1946, Thompson appeared in a live performance with fellow tenor Jack McVea and trumpeter Howard McGhee, along with pianist Jimmy Bunn, guitarist Irving Ashby, bassist Red Callender and drummer Jackie Mills. The proceedings were recorded and issued on the Black and White label under the heading of "Ralph Bass' Junior Jazz Series." The five-minute "Oodle Coo Bop" is really "Ornithology." It is followed by a gutsy jam titled "Bopin' Bop," and a 12-minute blowout simply called "Big Noise." This begins with a detailed introduction by producer Ralph Bass, who speaks like a 1940s high school principal or camp counselor. "Body and Soul," a feature for Hilton Jefferson-styled alto saxophonist Les Robinson, was included for the sake of completeness even though Thompson is not heard on this track. His next date as a leader occurred on September 13, 1946 and is noteworthy for the presence of piano genius Dodo Marmarosa. Red Callender and Jackie Mills acted as the perfect "other half" of this smart little quartet. Dodo and Red were present at the "Lucky Moments" session on April 22, 1947, where Thompson delivered a masterpiece in tenor sax ballad artistry, "Just One More Chance." This inventive octet included Benny Carter, Neal Hefti, baritone saxophonist Bob Lawson, guitarist Barney Kessel, and Lester Young's brother Lee on the drums. It forms one rousing conclusion for this excellent collection of Lucky Thompson's earliest recordings. ~ arwulf arwulf

Lucky Thompson (tenor sax)
Howard McGhee (trumpet)
J.J. Johnson (trombone
Dodo Marmarosa (piano)
Erroll Garner (piano)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
George Wettling (drums)
Jack McVea (tenor sax)
Stuff Smith (violin)
Shadow Wilson (drums)
Lee Young (drums)

1. Test Pilots - Part 1
2. Test Pilots - Part 2
3. Why Not
4. No-Good Man Blues
5. Irresistable You
6. Phace
7. Oodie Coo Bop (Ornithology) - Part 1
8. Oodie Coo Bop (Ornithology) - Part 2
9. Bopin' Bop - Part 1
10. Bopin' Bop - Part 2
11. Big Noise - Part 1
12. Big Noise - Part 2
13. Big Noise - Part 3
14. Body And Soul
15. Dodo's Dance
16. Dodo's Lament
17. Slam's Mishap
18. Schuffle That Ruff
19. Smooth Sailing
20. Commercial Eyes
21. Just One More Chance
22. From Dixieland To Bop
23. Boulevard Bounce
24. Boppin' The Blues

Leonard Feather - 1937-1945 (Chronological 901)

This very interesting CD reissues six diverse sessions organized and led by jazz critic Leonard Feather, who plays piano or celeste on 11 of the 22 selections (including all of the music during the final two dates). On their two dates, Feather's British Olde English Swynge Band performs swing versions of English folk songs in 1937 and 1938, including "There's a Tavern in the Town," "Colonel Bogey March," and "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes"; the tenor of Buddy Featherstonhaugh (on the earlier session) and trumpeter Dave Wilkins are the solo stars of the rare performances. Better known are Feather's two All Star Jam Bands, which feature such notables as cornetist Bobby Hackett, altoist Pete Brown, Benny Carter (doubling on alto and trumpet), and clarinetist Joe Marsala on some unusual material, including "Jammin' the Waltz." Eccentric singer Leo Watson's spots on "For He's a Jolly Good Feather" and "Let's Get Happy" (based on "Happy Birthday") are memorable. A 1944 all-star group finds Feather comping decently behind trumpeter Buck Clayton (featured on "Scram!"), clarinetist Edmond Hall, and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, while the final set has four basic chord changes (mostly blues) explored by both Feather and fellow writer Dan Burley on pianos; guitarist Tiny Grimes easily takes honors. ~ Scott Yanow

Leonard Feather (piano, celeste)
Buddy Featherstonhaugh (tenor sax)
Benny Carter (trumpet, alto sax)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Tiny Grimes (guitar)
Bobby Hackett (guitar, cornet)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Specs Powell (drums)
Joe Bushkin (piano, celeste)
Cozy Cole (drums)
Edmond Hall (cornet)
Joe Marsala (clarinet, tenor sax)
Remo Palmieri (guitar)

1. D'ye Ken John Peel
2. There's A Tavern In The Town
3. For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
4. Jammin' The Waltz
5. Let's Get Happy
6. Clementine
7. Colonel Bogey March
8. Widdiecombe Fair
9. Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes
10. Early One Morning
11. Twelve Bar Stampede
12. Feather Bed Blues
13. Men Of Harlem
14. Ocean Motion
15. Scram!
16. Esquire Stomp
17. Esquire Jump
18. Thanks For The Memory
19. Bedroom Blues
20. Living Room Romp
21. Kitchen Conniption
22. Bathroom Boogie

Sonny Stitt - Kaleidoscope

Taken from a couple of 10" releases, and issued in this form in, I believe, 1983.

Deftly handling the alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone, bebop giant Sonny Stitt is heard to perfection here on a variety of early-'50s dates. Stitt not only shows off his patented speed throughout, but he goes a long way in dispelling criticisms of him being all fire and no grace. The 16-track disc kicks off with four tight, Latin-tinged swingers featuring an octet that includes trumpeter Joe Newman and timbales player Humberto Morales. Switching to piano quartet mode for the bulk of the disc, Stitt ranges effortlessly from frenetic blasts ("Cherokee") to golden-hued ballads ("Imagination"). Capping off the set with four bonus cuts featuring the likes of Gene Ammons and Junior Mance, Stitt delivers one of the top sets of performances from the late bebop era. ~ Stephen Cook

Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor, baritone sax)
Gene Ammons (baritone sax)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Billy Massey (trumpet)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Junior Mance (piano)
Matthew Gee (trombone)
Art Blakey (drums)

1. Stitt's It
2. Cool Mambo
3. Blue Mambo
4. Sonny Sounds
5. Ain't Misbehavin'
6. Later
7. P.S. I Love You
8. This Can't Be Love
9. Imagination
10. Cherokee
11. Can't We Be Friends
12. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)
13. To Think You've Chosen Me
14. After You've Gone
15. Our Very Own
16. 'S Wonderful

Memoirs Of Willie The Lion Smith

What early piano great was Bar Mitzvahed in 1910? Art Hodes? Nope. OK, then, what early Harlem pianist was Cantor of his Temple in the '40's? Joe Bushkin? Nope. Ok, which piano master caused Artie Shaw to ask him about the Hebrew on his business card? Willie "The Lion" Smith? Correct for all three questions!!

This double LP is the equivalent of Jelly Roll Morton's Library of Congress recordings. The legendary Willie "The Lion" Smith reminisces about his colorful life, plays some piano and warbles out some vocals. Particularly interesting are his stories of the early days, his medleys of songs associated with Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington, and his performances of eight of his own compositions, some of which are quite obscure. Not everything works and some of the talking rambles on a bit, but overall this is a fascinating historical document that has many interesting moments. ~ Scott Yanow

CD 1
1. Relaxin'
2. Sand Dune
3. Alexander's Ragtime Band
4. Shine
5. That Barbershop Chord-Red Head
6. Where's My Red, Red Rose
7. Blue Skies
8. Nagasaki
9. Runnin' Wild
10. Diga Diga Doo
11. Got Everything But You
12. Doin' The New Low Down
13. Love Will Find A Way
14. I'm Just Wild About Harry
15. Chevy Chase
16. Memories Of You
17. Porter's Love Song To A Chambermaid
18. Old Fashioned Love
19. Carolina Shout
20. Charleston

CD 2
1. Ain't Misbehavin'
2. Keeping Out Of Mischief Now
3. Sophisticated Lady
4. Solitude
5. Portrait Of The Duke-Satin Doll
6. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
7. The Sheik Of Araby
8. Keep Your Temper
9. Bring On The Band
10. The Old Stamping Ground
11. Love Remembers
12. I'm All Out Of Breath
13. Tango A La Caprice
14. Sneakaway

Albert Mangelsdorff

Ego brings us...

...two early Mangelsdorff albums

Albert Mangelsdorff und das Jazzensemble des Hessischen Rundfunks: Die Opa Hirchleitner Story; Brunswick EPB10815 (EP); Dusko Gojkovich (tp), Emil Mangelsdorff (as), Joki Freund (ts), Pepsi Auer (p), Peter Trunk (b), Rudi Sehring (dr), Albert Mangelsdorff (tb, gt). 1958

Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett: Tension; CBS 62336,L+R LR41001; CD:CDLR71002; Günther Kronberg (as, bas), Heinz Sauer (ts), Günter Lenz (b), Ralf Hübner (dr), Albert Mangelsdorff (tb). 1963

All thanks go to

Monday, March 24, 2008

Howard Johnson - Gravity!!! (1996)

Jazz tuba, anyone?

Imagine a group that consists of piano, bass, drums, and five to seven tubas. Howard Johnson, one of the mightiest tuba players of the past 30 years, has been leading Gravity since 1968 but this is their first recording. Despite the instrumentation, the group plays the music (which ranges from Don Pullen's colorful "Big Alice" and two of Johnson's originals to such standards as "Stolen Moments," "Yesterdays," and "'Round Midnight") with swing, creativity, and more variety than one might expect. - Scott Yanow

Howard Johnson, Dave Bargeron, Tom Malone, Nedra Johnson, Bob Stewart, Earl McIntyre, Joe Daley, Carl Kleinsteuber, Marcus Rojas (tuba)
Raymond Chew, James Williams, Paul Shaffer (piano)
George Wadenius (guitar)
Bob Cranshaw, Melissa Slocum (bass)
Kenwood Dennard, Kenny Washington (drums)
Victor See Yuen (percussion)
  1. Big Alice
  2. Stolen Moments
  3. 'Way 'Cross Georgia
  4. Kelly Blue
  5. Be No Evil
  6. Yesterdays
  7. Here Comes Sonny Man
  8. Appointment in Ghana
  9. 'Round Midnight
  10. And Then Again...

Astor Piazzolla - Tango: Zero Hour

Considered by Piazzolla to be his best work, 1986's Tango: Zero Hour was the culmination of a career that began in Argentina in the 1930s. Piazzolla started out auspiciously enough working with one of the brightest lights of the classic tango era, singer Carlos Gardél. After Gardél's tragic death in 1935 (by turning down an offer to tour with the singer at the age of 13, Piazzolla amazingly avoided the plane crash that killed Gardél), Piazzolla went on to perfect his bandoneón playing in various tango bands during the '40s and '50s, eventually studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Like she did with so many other great talents like Aaron Copeland and Quincy Jones, Boulanger encouraged Piazzolla to find a new way of playing his county's music. Piazzolla began experimenting and soon enough perfected what is now known as "nuevo tango." Moving tango music into the more serious area of high-art composition, Piazzolla added eccentric and, at times, avant-garde touches to the traditional format; he gained the appreciation of adventurous music lovers worldwide while alienating tango purists back home. Tango: Zero Hour is the fruition of his groundbreaking work and one of the most amazing albums released during the latter years of the 20th century. Joined by his Quinteto Tango Nuevo featuring violin, piano, guitar, and bass, Piazzolla offers up seven original tango gems that take in the noirish, "Zero Hour" world found between midnight and dawn. Essential for all music lovers. ~ Stephen Cook

Astor Piazzolla lived and died as tango's bad boy, having almost single handedly invented the music's vanguard, the form known as tango nuevo. It took Piazzolla decades to reach his unequivocal apex, which is captured flawlessly on Tango: Zero Hour. When this recording was cut in 1986, some of the compositions Piazzolla and his quintet cued up were standards for the band. Whether it was an epiphanic period or not, the recording captures an ensemble alchemically transforming seriously complex works into goose-bump-inducing electricity. Pianist Pablo Ziegler brings his jazz background into the mix with jarring urgency, just as violinist Fernando Suárez Paz makes quavering classical inflections sing amid Piazzolla's here tender and there blistering bandoneon. For a peak experience in music that challenges the ear to dance and the body to fully listen, look no further than this recording. --Andrew Bartlett

Astor Piazzolla (bandoneon)
Pablo Ziegler (piano)
Fernando Suárez Paz (violin)
Horacio Malvicino, Sr. (guitar)
Hector Console (bass)

1. Tanguedia III
2. Milonga Del Angel
3. Concierto Para Quinteto
4. Milonga Loca
5. Michelangelo '70
6. Contrabajissimo
7. Mumuki

Harold Harris - Here's Harold

Harold Harris - no entry in the Grove's Encyclopedia of Jazz, nor Leonard Feather's, two albums listed at AMG (this is the first) but no bio there either. Nothing spectacular here but yet another chapter in the history of jazz piano, of interest at least to collectors.

LP —> GWdclk —> LAME3.98 vbr0 + scans

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet - Now Jazz Ramwong (1964)

Apart from being a good home for expatriate jazz musicians, Europe hasn't really done a good job marketing its own accomplishments and jazz artists. After Django, it all went downhill. Whereas in the past you'd have lots of American musicians being ignored at home and worshipped on the Continent, nowadays I find the roles have inverted. Americans keep reissuing and promoting those past artist while Europeans hardly do so.
Had this record been made in the U.S.A. it would now rank among classics such as Mingus' ‘Blues & Roots’ or Miles' ‘E.S.P.’ and would have had its umpteenth CD reissue. But it wasn't. So it'll remain obscure.
I've posted this LP on two other sites and it got little interest. Maybe I haven't done a good job promoting it, so here I go again. But I'm no Scott Yanow (do you sense the sarcasm?) and I won't be able to give you a full-blown album review. You'll have to trust me on this one.

Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone)
Heinz Sauer (tenor, soprano sax)
Günter Kronberg (alto sax)
Günter Lenz (bass)
Rolf Hübner (drums)

1. Now, Jazz Ramwong
2. Sakura Waltz
3. Blue Fanfare
4. Three Jazz Moods
5. Burungkaka
6. Raknash
7. Theme from Vietnam
8. Es sungen drei Engel

Recorded in Frankfurt, Germany, 1964

As you may deduce from the titles, these are adaptations of ancient Asian tunes and they swing like hell. My own personal favourite is ‘Sakura Waltz’, an instant classic. The last tune, a German folk song, was later adapted by Paul Hindemith in 1938 and was finally recorded by Roland Kirk with the Benny Golson Orchestra as ‘Variations on a Theme of Hindemith’, some of you may know the tune.
Ironically, this album was also released in the mid 60s on Pacific Jazz (I scanned the cover from a book). Some other label released it on CD in 1993, but chances are you've never come across it.


Gigi Gryce - Nica's Tempo (1955, Savoy)

Warning: Material contains heavy dosis of M.O.N.K.

This is one hell of an album. Just look at the line-up and drool. I'm amazed at how well Gryce sounds with Monk together. They should have done this more often. You'll find some rather obscure Monk compositions in here (I'm not sure I've seen ‘Gallop's Gallop’ anywhere else), but they're all sublime. I'll spare you the usual bland Yanow review.

Gigi Gryce (as) Art Farmer (tp) Eddie Bert, Jimmy Cleveland (tb) Danny Bank, Cecil Payne (bs) Gunther Schuller, Julius Watkins (french horns) Bill Barber (tuba) Horace Silver (p) Oscar Pettiford (b) Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke (d) Ernerstine Anderson (voc)
Thelonious Monk (p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d)

I only have this in OGG but maybe I'll update it the next time I come across the CD in the library. The sound quality is nonetheless state of the art.

Eric Dolphy - Berlin Concerts (1961, Enja)

Eric Dolphy (fl, b-cl, as)
Benny Bailey (tp)
Pepsi Auer (p)
George Joyner (b)
Buster Smith (d)

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

Recorded at Funkturm Exhibition Hall and Club Jazz-Saloon, Berlin
August 30th, 1961
Produced by J.E. Berendt

LP to OGG@500kbps + scans

Arthur Alexander - Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter

“When the Beatles and the Rolling Stones got their first chance to record," says Keith Richards, “one did 'Anna' and the other did 'You Better Move On.' That should tell you enough."

Arthur Alexander had been forgotten by nearly everyone short of hardcore fans of Southern soul when he was lured away from his day job as a school bus driver in Cleveland to cut a new album as part of Elektra Records' American Explorer series, and 1993's Lonely Just Like Me was a potent reminder of Alexander's estimable gifts as a vocalist and a songwriter. However, Alexander died of a heart attack at the age of 51 just weeks after the album was released, and while the story of his short-lived comeback brought him back to the attention of music fans (and prompted long-overdue reissues of his classic sides of the '60s and '70s), the album that brought him back to the spotlight didn't fare so well. With no artist to promote the album, Lonely Just Like Me promptly disappeared, and Alexander's valedictory effort seemed doomed to obscurity. However, the collectors at Hacktone Records have given his final recordings a second chance in the marketplace, and Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter is a splendid expansion of what was already a wonderful album. This disc includes the dozen songs from the album in remastered and resequenced form (the new running order is meant to conform more closely to the original intentions of Alexander and producer Ben Vaughn), as well as an appearance by Alexander on NPR's Fresh Air, four songs recorded in a Cleveland hotel room while Alexander and Vaughn were working out material for the recording sessions, and Alexander singing his 1962 hit "Anna" at New York City's Bottom Line in 1991 (this was the performance that prompted Elektra Records to give him a new record deal). While it might sound as if Hacktone has cluttered this disc with odds and ends, what's startling is how committed and compelling Alexander sounds regardless of the circumstances, whether he's singing an old Neil Diamond tune into a cassette machine or recording superb new compositions for his major-label comeback. There's a heartbreaking emotional honesty in his best songs, and he sang them with a voice that melded churchy grace with gritty home truths, and even though he'd been away from professional music making for close to a decade and a half when he cut this music, it's as moving and timeless as anything he ever recorded. Songs as good as "In the Middle of It All," "If It's Really Got to Be This Way" and "All the Time" only come around once in a lifetime, and thankfully, Alexander was given one last chance to share them with Lonely Just Like Me; this new edition only improves an overlooked classic anyone with an ear for vintage R&B will cherish. ~ Mark Deming

Lonely Just Like Me
1. If It's Really Got To Be This Way
2. Go Home Girl
3. Sally Sue Brown
4. Mr. John
5. Lonely Just Like Me
6. Every Day I Have To Cry
7. In The Middle Of It All
8. Genie In The Jug
9. Johnny Heartbreak
10. All The Time
11. There Is A Road
12. I Believe In Miracles

Live on Fresh Air, 1993
13. Introduction
14. Go Home Girl
15. "You Kinda Want To Get Paid"
16. Genie In The Jug
17. "I Think That's How They Heard Me"
18. You Better Move On
19. Every Day I Have To Cry

The Hotel Demos
21. Solitary Man
22. Johnny Heartbreak
23. Genie In The Jug
24. Lonely Just Like Me

Live at the Bottom Line, 1991
25. Anna

Easter Egg
26. A Cappella tune

Med Flory - Jazz Wave (1957)

I dug out this album to listen to after noticing that Med Flory formed another big band under the name Jazz Wave that is working in the L.A. area along with his Supersax group. It seems like there are more and more big bands working on the West Coast nowadays, or is it just my imagination?

This West Coast big band, co-founded by Flory with trumpeter Al Porcino and bassist Red Kelly, had everything needed to be a great big band: good arrangements, strong soloists, a powerful lead trumpet, and a drummer that can really drive the band. Unfortunately, 1957 was a tough time to find work for any jazz group let alone a big band, hence this was their only recording. You'll notice from the personnel list that a number of these players went on to join the Terry Gibbs Dream Band a couple of years later.

Ripped from the original Jubilee LP.

Al Porcino, Lee Katzman, Conte Candoli, Jack Holman,Ray Triscari (trumpet)
Lew McCreary, Dave Wells (trombone)
Med Flory (alto sax, tenor sax)
Charlie Kennedy (alto sax)
Richie Kamuca, Bill Holman (tenor sax)
Bill Hood (baritone sax)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Red Kelly, Buddy Clark (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
  1. Jazz Wave
  2. Davy Jones
  3. An Occasional Man
  4. I Cover the Waterfront
  5. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  6. Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat
  7. Ocean Motion
  8. Rapture
  9. On a Slow Boat to China
  10. Jonah and the Whale
  11. Sea Chase
Recorded on May 13 and June 3, 1957

Red Garland - Groovy (20bit K2)

When Red Garland was a member of Miles Davis's band in the late '50s, Davis would regularly depart the stage to feature Garland in a trio format. He was a complete jazz pianist, able to find ideal chordal extensions to prod a soloist, to swing aggressively with block chords, and to string together single note lines with buoyant energy and a bright articulation. He was capable of real delicacy, but his playing never descended to the decorative. His regular trio featured bassist Paul Chambers, his gifted partner from the Davis quintet, and drummer Art Taylor, a rock-solid timekeeper whose balance of subtlety and drive also made him Bud Powell's drummer of choice. Garland mated his harmonic sophistication to elements that communicated directly, his tunefulness, his rhythmic drive, and his vigorous roots in Texas and the Southwest blues traditions. They're evident everywhere here, from the medium-tempo swing of Ellington minimalist masterpiece "C-Jam Blues" to the deep, melancholic blues that infuse "Willow Weep for Me." Garland's Prestige recordings of the late '50s are models for the piano trio in modern jazz, and Groovy is among the best of them. --Stuart Broomer

Red Garland (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Arthur Taylor (drums)

1. C Jam Blues
2. Gone Again
3. Will You Still Be Mine?
4. Willow Weep For Me
5. What Can I Say (After I Say I'm Sorry)?
6. Hey Now

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on December 14, 1956 and May 24 and August 9, 1957

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Modern Jazz Sextet

In some ways, the name of this group makes sense, as pianist John Lewis and bassist Percy Heath represent half of the Modern Jazz Quartet. But in other ways, the tag is a bit misleading. For one, this 1956 blowing session is much looser and more high-spirited than your typical MJQ set. For another, a few of the cuts seem to have a retro swing feel (even for 1956), thanks to a relaxed rhythm section that adds guitarist Skeeter Best and drummer Charlie Persip to the Lewis-Heath tandem. That said, the dominant forces here are the two ferocious bop hornmen Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt, who sticks to alto throughout. Even when the rhythm section, anchored by Best's steady pulse, lays back in an easy-flowing swing groove, as on the Gillespie original "Tour de Force," the standard "Mean to Me," or the slow-blues finale, Gillespie and Stitt offer fiery, decidedly boppish lines. In contrast, "Dizzy Meets Sonny" finds everyone in a "modern" high-tempo frenzy. Much has been made of Stitt's resemblance to Charlie Parker on alto, and while those similarities are evident here, Stitt's playing still astonishes, bursting with flurries of notes that seem to flow uncontrollably from his horn--just listen to him explode in the middle of introducing the "Old Folks" melody. Dizzy, as usual, shows great command of the trumpet, whether blaring proudly, moaning low, or scurrying quickly along. --Marc Greilsamer

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Sonny Stitt (alto sax)
John Lewis (piano)
Skeeter Best (guitar)
Percy Heath (bass)
Charli Persip (drums)

1. Tour De Force
2. Dizzy Meets Sonny
3. Ballad Medley
4. Mean To Me
5. Blues For Bird

Recorded January 12, 1956 at Fine Sound, New York City

Red Garland - Red Alone

Red Garland recorded 16 ballads during this single 1960 session for Prestige's Moodsville subsidiary label, half of which appear on this CD reissue, with the remainder being heard on Alone With the Blues. Although these selections were intended as mood music for lovers, Garland's imaginative arrangements keep things interesting. The pianist's strolling tempo of "When Your Lover Has Gone" suggests nostalgic reflection rather than melancholy from the typically slow performances by singers. His playful side comes out in "These Foolish Things," while the graceful runs in the upper keyboard are complemented by his rich block chords in "My Last Affair." The subtlety of his interpretation of "You Are Too Beautiful" and the delicate rendition of "The Nearness of You" are also memorable. But the obvious high point of this release is his stunning exploration of Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," which succeeds in conveying the powerful emotions of this ballad without a singer. This remarkable collection of standards should appeal to any fan of jazz piano.

1. When Your Lover Has Gone
2. These Foolish Things
3. My Last Affair
4. You Are Too Beautiful
5. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
6. The Nearness of You
7. Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
8. When I Fall in Love

Bill Evans - The Complete Fantasy Recordings

Bill Evans' Fantasy recordings of 1973-1979 have often been underrated in favor of his earlier work but, as this remarkable nine-CD set continually shows, the influential pianist continued to grow as a musician through the years while holding on to his original conception and distinctive sound. The collection has all of the 98 selections recorded at Evans' 11 Fantasy sessions, including nine numbers from a previously unreleased 1976 concert with his trio. In addition, Evans' appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio program is tacked on as a bonus and it is actually among McPartland's finest shows, a fascinating hour of discussion and music with Evans.

Nearly all of the performances on this box (which includes duets with bassist Eddie Gomez and singer Tony Bennett, trio outings with Gomez and either Marty Morell or Eliot Zigmund on drums, and a couple of quintet sets with the likes of tenors Harold Land and Warne Marsh, altoist Lee Konitz, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Philly Joe Jones) is available individually on CD but Bill Evans' more passionate collectors will certainly want this definitive box. — AMG


France Musique - Jazz Club

par Claude Carrière et Jean Delmas

Concert donné le 19 mars 2008 au Sunside à Paris

Le quintette du batteur Dré Pallemaerts avec
Mark Turner, saxophone
Bill Carrothers, piano
Stéphane Belmondo , trompette/bugle
Joszef Dumoulin, Fender Rhodes piano

Quite an interesting set from these guys, don't miss it. I've done it in .flac (all day to upload) so you can decompress, edit the .wav track into selections if you want, and recompress to desired format without losing any quality. You can then eliminate the announcements too. As it stands you get the entire show with intro, applause, chatter, cash-register ringing, and other of Mingus' favourite annoyances.

Thad Jones & Mel Lewis - Live in Munich (1976)

The last major release by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra before Jones moved to Europe was their strongest in several years. The orchestra was in a state of transition, evolving from an all-star band filled with veterans to a group filled with advanced and hungry young improvisers. Most memorable of the five selections are "Mornin' Reverend," and Jones' flugelhorn showcase on "Come Sunday," and a definitive 16-minute version of his "Central Park North." Heard on this LP (not yet reissued on CD) are such soloists as pianist Harold Danko, Gregory Herbert on tenor, and Jerry Dodgion on soprano, but it is the sound of the ensemble and the colorful Jones arrangements that make this an album well worth searching for. - Scott Yanow

This was Thad & Mel's third album for A&M/Horizon and only one of them, New Life, has ever had a CD reissue and it's long gone. Oh well...

Thad Jones (cornet, flugelhorn, all arrangements)
Al Porcino, Earl Gardner, Lynn Nicholson, Frank Gordon (trumpet)
John Mosca, Billy Campbell, Clifford Adams, Earl McIntire (trombone)
Jerry Dodgion, Eddie Xiques, Gregory Herbert, Larry Schneider, Pepper Adams (reeds)
Harold Danko (piano)
Bob Bowman (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
  1. Mach II
  2. A' Thats Freedom
  3. Mornin' Reverend
  4. Come Sunday
  5. Central Park North
Recorded September 9, 1976 at the Domicile Club, Munich, Germany

John Coltrane - Transition (1965, Impulse)

The title of this album fits perfectly for John Coltrane was certainly at an important transitional point in his career at the time. Although he was still utilizing the same quartet that he had had for over three years (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones) and his music had always been explorative, now he was taking his solos one step beyond into passionate atonality, usually over simple but explosive vamps. Other than the tender ballad "Welcome," most of this set is uncompromisingly intense; in fact, the closing nine-minute "Vigil" is a fiery tenor-drums duet. The 21-minute "Suite," even with sections titled "Prayer and Meditiation: Day" and "Affirmation," is not overly peaceful. It must have seemed clear, even at this early point, that Tyner and perhaps Jones would not be with the band much longer. — Yanow

1. Transition
2. Dear Lord
3. Suite: Prayer and Meditation - Day/Peace and After/Evening/Affirmation/4 A.M.
Notes: The tunes "Vigil" and "Welcome" are not included here, for this Japanese disc is a straight reissue of the original LP. You can find the tunes on the album "Kulu Sé Mama", though. The ballad "Dear Lord" features Roy Haynes on drums and is also available on "Dear Old Stockholm" (a repackaging of "The Mastery of John Coltrane Vol. 2: To the Beat of a Different Drum"). Both mentioned albums are to be found elsewhere on this site.


Jimmy Hamilton - It's About Time (1961)

A longtime member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Jimmy Hamilton's cool vibrato-less tone and advanced style (which was ultimately influenced by bop) initially bothered some listeners more accustomed to Barney Bigard's warmer New Orleans sound, but Hamilton eventually won them over with his brilliant playing. As opposed to how he sounded on clarinet, Hamilton's occasional tenor playing was gutsy and emotional. Prior to joining Ellington, he had worked with Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Mundy, and most noticeably Teddy Wilson's sextet (1940-1942) and Eddie Heywood; Hamilton also recorded with Billie Holiday. He was with Ellington for 25 years (1943-1968), and was well-featured on clarinet on "Air Conditioned Jungle," "Ad Lib on Nippon," and a countless number of other pieces. After leaving Ellington, Hamilton moved to the Virgin Islands, where he taught music in public schools. He did return to the U.S. to play with Clarinet Summit in 1981 and 1985, and gigged a bit in New York during 1989-1990, but was otherwise little heard from in his later years. Jimmy Hamilton only had a few opportunities to record as a leader, mostly dates for Urania (1954), Everest (1960), Swingville (two in 1961), and a 1985 set for Who's Who. - Scott Yanow

Although Jimmy Hamilton was featured heavily on clarinet with Ellington, we rarely got a chance to hear him on tenor sax. The theme of this LP is mostly blues and Hamilton plays tenor on three of the six selections. His style is a little grittier than you would think from listening to his clarinet playing. The rest of the band, as you can see, is top notch and it sounds like they had a lot of fun playing together.

This rip is from the original mono pressing released by Prestige. I bought this record used over 30 years ago and although it was free of any pops, cracks or skips, there was a lot of surface noise. I usually don't filter anything out when digitizing my vinyl but this time I decided to see what I could do with the noise. There was a little loss in fidelity but overall I was quite pleased with the result. Hope you enjoy this as much as I have over the years.

Jimmy Hamilton (tenor sax, clarinet)
Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
  1. Two for One
  2. Mr. Good Blues
  3. Peanut Head
  4. Stupid But Not Crazy
  5. Nits and Wits
  6. Gone With the Blues
Recorded on March 21, 1961

Phil Woods and Gene Quill - Phil & Quill With Prestige

Altoists Phil Woods and Gene Quill always made for a mutually inspiring team. Both of the similar-sounding musicians were competitive, influenced by (but not imitative of) Charlie Parker, and really knew bebop. This CD reissue (which adds two selections from the same session that were originally part of the sampler Bird Feathers) features the two altoists in top form on six of Woods' obscure originals, plus "Airegin" and "Solar." The rhythm section (pianist George Syran, bassist Teddy Kotick, and drummer Nick Stabulas) is tasteful and quietly supportive. ~ Scott Yanow

Phil Woods (alto sax)
Gene Quill (alto sax)
George Syran (piano)
Teddy Kotick (bass)
Nick Stabulas (drums)

1. Creme De Funk
2. Lazy Like
3. Nothing But Soul
4. A Night At St. Nicks
5. Black Cherry Fritters
6. Altology
7. Airegin
8. Solar

Hackensack, March 29, 1957

Duke Jordan - Trio & Quintet (1955, Signal/Savoy)

The title of this 1955 Savoy release by pianist Duke Jordan succinctly points to the set's merits and shortcomings. The five trio performances with Art Blakey (drums) and Percy Heath (bass) work well. The five tracks from the same group augmented by Cecil Payne (baritone sax) and Eddie Bert (trombone) don't come up to the mark. For the trio tracks, Jordan's elegant, swinging bop style is the main attraction, with Blakey and Heath providing appropriately understated support. "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Night in Tunisia" are each given fresh reworkings. Jordan's upbeat "Forecast" and his meditative ballad "Sultry Eve" are strong originals. George Gershwin's "Summertime," unfortunately, gets an undistinguished, overly literal reading. 1 On the quintet tracks the focus wavers. Jordan is too often relegated to conventional comping in the background. Blakey's playing occasionally becomes cluttered and Heath seems to lose interest. More problematic is the ineffective, bottom-heavy baritone sax/trombone combination. Payne's and Bert's parts generate little harmonic interest. The result is two horns doing no more than the work of one. As for the tunes, the pianist's "Flight to Jordan" and Payne's "Cu-ba" offer respectable solos, while "Scotch Blues" is an awkward attempt by Jordan to fuse a Scottish folk dance theme with straight-ahead blues. The blues passages are fine, but the scotch doesn't mix. There are some good moments on this CD, particularly from Jordan and Payne. Both the pianist and the baritone saxophonist, however, can be heard to better advantage on Payne's 1956 set, Patterns of Jazz, where Jordan, with Tommy Potter (bass) and Art Taylor (drums), shines in a consistently integrated and cohesive performance with Payne. ~ Jim Todd, All Music Guide
1 "overly literal reading" — that's exactly the strength and beauty of this interpretation, in my opinion

Boppy Easter, folks

Friday, March 21, 2008

Leo Parker

Leo Parker - 1947-1950 (Chronological 1203)

There's something about the purling, snarling and booting of a baritone sax that can create pleasant disturbances in the listener's spine and rib cage. Leo Parker came up during the simultaneous explosions of bebop and rhythm & blues. Everything he touched turned into a groove. Recording for Savoy in Detroit during the autumn of 1947, Leo was flanked by Howard McGhee and Gene Ammons, who at this point seems to have been operating under the influence of Lester Young. Leo does his own share of Prez-like one-note vamping, bringing to mind some of Lester's Aladdin recordings made during this same time period. Leo's Savoys originally appeared on 78 rpm platters, then on 10" long-playing records. Anyone who has ever heard one of these relics played on period equipment can testify to the sensation of hearing an old-fashioned phonograph wrestling with the extra fidelity contained in the voice of that king-sized sax. The next session happened in New York two months later. J.J. Johnson was on hand to supervise a smart recording of his own soon-to-be-famous "Wee Dot." Dexter Gordon is in fine form and it's nice to hear Joe Newman blowing so much gutsy bebop through his trumpet. Everything smoothes out for a gorgeous rendition of Duke Ellington's "Solitude," a lush feature for the baritone. The rhythm section of Curly Russell, Hank Jones and Shadow Wilson makes this particular session even more solid than usual. Leading his "Quintette" in Detroit on March 23rd, 1948, Leo races into "Dinky" with a run straight out of Herschel Evans' "Doggin' Around." Sir Charles Thompson tosses off some of his most fragmented playing, splattering the walls with abrupt block chords and tiny whirlpools of truncated riffs. "Señor Leo" cruises at a very cool, almost subterranean Latin tempo, a mood that brings to mind Bud Powell's hypnotic opus "Comin' Up." You get to hear the voices of Parker and Thompson at the beginning of "Chase 'n' the Lion," a fine bit of updated boogie-woogie. Apparently, Sir Charles was also known at that time as "Chase." A second session recorded on the same day adds Charlie Rouse to an already steaming band. Leo gnaws his way through four tunes of his own devising. Nothing brilliant here, just good hot jamming. The people at Prestige Records were smart enough to line up a date with the Leo Parker Quartet in July of 1950, resulting in what has got to be the hippest version of "Mona Lisa" ever put on record. The quartet hatched two other handsome ballads and a pair of kickers. "Who's Mad" is a sort of sequel to the famous "Mad Lad," made when Leo was recording for the Apollo label under Sir Charles' leadership. That makes "Mad Lad Returns" a sequel to the sequel. Unable or unwilling to shake this particular thematic, Leo called his next recording band "the Mad Lads." Two out of four sides were issued on the little Gotham label. Meet the all-but-forgotten Henri Durant, a bop tenor who made all the right moves and promptly split the scene. Good thing he at least made it on to this blowing session. Finally, get a load of Leo's creatively reconstituted "Solitude," rejected by Gotham but included by Classics at the tail-end of this mother lode of vintage recordings by the amazing Leo Parker. ~ arwulf arwulf

Leo Parker (baritone sax)
Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Gene Ammons (tenor sax)
Dexter Gordon (alto, tenor)
J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Hank Jones (piano)
Sir Charles Thompson (piano)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Curly Russell (bass)
Shadow Wilson (drums)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

1. El Sino
2. Ineta
3. Wild Leo
4. Leaping Leo
5. Wee Dot
6. Solitude
7. Lion Roars
8. Mad Lad Boogie
9. On the House
10. Dinky
11. Senor Leo
12. Chase N' the Lion
13. Leo's Blues
14. Sweet Talkin' Leo
15. Swinging for Love
16. New Look
17. Mona Lisa
18. Who's Mad
19. Darn That Dream
20. I Cross My Fingers
21. Mad Lad Returns
22. Woody
23. Rolling With Parker
24. Leo Leaps In (On the House) [Take 2]
25. Solitude

Leo Parker - Let Me Tell You 'Bout It (RVG)

An uncomplicated, booting, bass-register driven melange of first generation bop and early R&B, Let Me Tell You 'Bout It is baritone saxophonist Leo Parker's finest surviving work, and it's measurably enhanced in this edition by Rudy Van Gelder's 2004 remastering.

Parker came up through the swing/jump band nexus—his most regular employer during the '40s was Illinois Jacquet—but frequently crossed over into more or less pure bop during the latter part of the decade, working with Tadd Dameron, J.J. Johnson, Fats Navarro, and Dexter Gordon, amongst other heavy hitters. He also picked up some of these musicians' heroin habits and spent most of the '50s off the scene. In '61, apparently clean, he was introduced to Alfred Lion by mutual friend Ike Quebec, and Let Me Tell You 'Bout It was his comeback album and Blue Note debut.

It's a glorious, funked-up romp through bop, swing, and R&B which, were it not for the excellent sound quality, could well have been recorded in the late '40s. It's almost as if the stylistic developments of the '50s never happened—which, given where Parker was at during most of the decade, was indeed pretty much the case for him. There are two, then-vogueish, gospel infused, soul jazz tunes—the title track and “Low Brown”—but the first of these, with the horns arranged in a manner reminiscent of “Abide With Me” on Thelonious Monk's Monk's Music, was written by Robert Lewis, and the second, with pronounced similarities to Herbie Hancock's “Watermelon Man,” was written by pianist Yusef Salim. (Interestingly, Hancock recorded “Watermelon Man” six months after the session for Let Me Tell You 'Bout It, raising the question of who, if anyone, influenced whom.)

Parker, of course, takes to the soul jazz groove like a duck to water, and he also shines on his own down-the-line bop tunes “Glad Lad” and “TCTB,” the swing-reminiscent “Parker's Pals,” and the sprightly, midtempo blues “Blue Leo” (co-written with Quebec). The band members, all coming from the same bop/R&B crossroads as Parker, provide rock-solid, hard-swinging accompaniment, and when offered solo space—Parker takes most of the solos—rise to the occasion.

Parker died a few months after making this album (having recorded one more for Blue Note, the almost as excellent Rollin' With Leo), and he remains an unjustly neglected figure. Anyone discovering Leo Parker now for the first time is in for a big treat.

Leo Parker (baritone sax)
Bill Swindell (tenor sax)
John Burks (trumpet)
Yusef Salim (piano)
Stan Conover (double bass)
Purnell Rice (drums)

1. Glad Lad
2. Blue Leo
3. Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It
4. Vi
5. Parker’s Pals
6. Low Brown
8. The Lion’s Roar
9. Low Brown (long version)

Eddie Harris - Exodus to Jazz

EDDIE HARRIS - tenor saxophone

Duke Ellington's Far East Suite (1966)

Before it spilled out onto the world, Duke Ellington's music existed in an inaccessible world of creative genius, a solitary realm deep inside his soul where uncharted sounds swirled wildly. His gift lay in his ability to move inside himself, explore, and return from solitude to forcefully express his inner musical visions. Duke was on intimate terms with his soul, and he understood how to conjure up emotional landscapes that could be felt by anyone else with hearts and ears. He didn't simply commit his ideas to paper, but wrote out parts with the individual voices of his musical partners in mind. He knew how to get the very best out of saxophonists Johnny Hodges and Paul Gonsalves, how to push and direct them so that they could flower in the fertile realm of his ideas. It has almost become an obligation to acknowledge the genius of Duke Ellington when writing about the man and his music. But in the perfunctory ritual of praising that has followed the 100th anniversary of his birth, the true essence of Duke's brilliance has often been overlooked. Above all else, Duke Ellington's genius lay in his ability to create music that was uncompromisingly accessible. Making music for the masses usually involves a dumbing-down to the lowest common denominator. The celebrated work of many modern artists all too often leaves us unsatisfied, thinking "This is great? I could've done THAT." While the popular songbook of jazz is heavy with the compositions of Duke Ellington (and Billy Strayhorn), nobody who plays his songs would ever suggest that they could have written them in the first place.

Duke Ellington was just the kind of American the whole world could love. President Kennedy realized this when he dispatched Ellington on a tour of the Middle and Near East in 1963. With Duke as musical ambassador, Kennedy hoped to win the hearts and minds of the peoples of the East. Dutifully, Duke Ellington led his caravan of mighty musicians through the exotic cities of Amman, Baghdad, Ceylon, Tehran, Bombay, and Ankra. They performed the classic Ellington songs, all the while absorbing the sounds of what Ellington described as "a world upside down." Rather than trying to reproduce the music they heard on their journey through the East, Ellington and Strayhorn "let it roll around, undergo a chemical change, and then seep out on paper." By opening The Far East Suite with a song entitled "Tourist Point of View," Ellington makes it clear that the album’s Eastern sounds are no more than the musical impressions of two Westerners. "Tourist Point of View" is fresh, dramatic, and mysterious—as the East always appears to unfamiliar eyes. With a nimble hand on the cymbals, the drumming of newcomer Rufus Jones is a key ingredient on the record—adding layers of Eastern infused polyrhythms to the mix. Johnny Hodges is spectacular on all of the album's nine original compositions, but nowhere is his playing more lush and evocative as on the beautiful "Isfahan." The song is one of the greatest examples of the writing genius of Ellington and Strayhorn. The fact that "Isfahan" was recorded in only two takes demonstrates the deep empathy of the entire band to the musical visions of Ellington/Strayhorn. And when the individual musicians step out, every solo they take adds perfectly to the distinct vibe of each song. On the hard swinging "Blue Pepper (Far East of the Blues), Johnny Hodges rocks the house with a surprisingly mean tone. Jimmy Hamilton’s graceful clarinet playing is showcased throughout "Ad Lib On Nippon," an 11-minute Ellington composition inspired by his many visits to Japan. This lengthy track gives Ellington room to really stretch out on piano, highlighting his often overlooked playing. It's remarkable to think that Ellington was 67 years old when he recorded The Far East Suite . At this point he already had over 2,000 compositions and heaps of recordings under his belt. But the amazing thing about Ellington is that he never stopped growing creatively, and even in the winter years of life he passionately continued innovating, experimenting, and refining on the broadest of musical canvases.

Duke Ellington and his musical tribe "didn't want to do anything others had done before" when they set out to make The Far East Suite. The phenomenally accessible yet unprecedented music that they recorded over three days in 1966 is proof of just how brilliantly they succeeded. ~ John Ballon

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Nola Penthouse Studios

Well, let's find out.

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)

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 February 27-28, 1959

Pepper Adams - Encounter!

Baritonist Pepper Adams and tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims (who rarely performed together) make a surprisingly compatible team on this CD reissue of a 1968 Prestige session. With pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Elvin Jones forming a fairly adventurous rhythm section, Pepper and Sims sound inspired on material that includes obscurities by Flanagan, Thad Jones and Adams in addition to the Ellington-Strayhorn ballad "Star-Crossed Lovers" and a pair of Joe Henderson songs. The setting is more advanced than usual for Sims, who rises to the challenge. Scott Yanow

Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Inanout
2. Star-Crossed Lovers
3. Cindy's Tune
4. Serenity
5. Elusive
6. I've Just Seen Her
7. Punjab
8. Verdandi

NYC, December 11-12, 1968

The Prestige Blues Swingers - Outskirts of Town

Not too long ago we posted some stuff by the Prestige AllStars - leaderless combos of guys who were signed to Prestige. Here's something along the same lines

Of the many mid-'50s Prestige jam sessions, Outskirts of Town is probably one of the more successful. If nothing else, it features a handful of players who did not record together on a regular basis. The all-star lineup featured, among others, Art Farmer, Idrees Sulieman, Jerome Richardson, Pepper Adams, Ray Bryant, Tiny Grimes, and Osie Johnson. Richardson and tenor man Jimmy Forrest are particularly exciting and take the set's opener, "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town," to unexpected heights, given the tune's mellow opening bars. As one might guess, uptempo and midtempo blues numbers dominate the program here, and the accompaniment of the 11-piece ensemble lends many of these tunes a hot Midwestern Basie vibe.

Art Farmer (trumpet)
Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)
Jerome Richardson (alto sax, flute)
Jimmy Forrest (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Buster Cooper (trombone)
George Cooper (trombone)
Ray Bryant (piano)
Tiny Grimes (guitar)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)

1. I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town
2. Blue Flute
3. Blues A-Swingin'
4. Jelly, Jelly
5. Sent for You Yesterday and Here You Come Today
6. I Wanna Blow, Blow, Blow

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 29, 1958

Art Pepper - One September Afternoon

From a studio session the day after his Winter Moon session, which the Penguin guide called "...profoundly beautiful...a strings album which far surpasses the norm for this kind of record." It was posted not too long ago..

"For several months prior to this session, Art had been preparing for his dream-come-true strings date, Winter Moon. Then he did it, stunningly and quickly–in two days. On the third day, satisfied and happy, the band returned to the studio, sans strings, and jammed. Stanley Cowell and Cecil McBee, master musicians, had proved their empathy with Art about a year earlier when they'd recorded the critically acclaimed Art Pepper Today. Carl Burnett, Art's favorite drummer, was his steady sideman, and the sublime Howard Roberts, a bonus holdover from the string session, sat in on two tunes. This is a deft, pretty, gleeful album. The pressure was off. This was the party."

This is one of the lesser-known Art Pepper Galaxy sessions. In addition to pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Carl Burnett, guitarist Howard Roberts helps out on two songs. Three alternate takes are added to the original six-tune program which is highlighted by "There Will Never Be Another You" and a passionate rendition of "Brazil." ~ Scott Yanow

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Stanley Cowell (piano)
Howard Roberts (guitar)
Cecil McBee (acoustic bass)
Carl Burnett (drums)

1. Mr. Big Falls His J.G. Hand
2. Close To You Alone
3. There Will Never Be Another You
4. Melolev
5. Goodbye, Again!
6. Brazil
7. There Will Never Be Another You (alt)
8. Melolev (alt)
9. Goodbye, Again! (alt)

Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California on September 5, 1980

Count Basie - Basie Jam 2

Count Basie is best known for his big-band swing orchestras. But BASIE JAM 2 finds the legendary pianist "jamming" with an all-star octet. In truth, Basie's music has always been based around spontaneity and fun-the hallmarks of the jam session. Basie, the consummate entertainer, always encouraged playful, extended improvisations from his sidemen.

BASIE JAM 2 is consistent with the acclaimed bandleader's credo. Soloists Benny Carter, Al Grey, Clark Terry, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis should require no formal introduction. These four jazz greats have developed highly personalized styles of improvisation, influencing an entire generation of players. Their keen and insightful improvisations-sometimes sensitive, sometimes bold-epitomize modern jazz at its best. All of the musicians heard on the distinctly blues-based BASIE JAM 2 render excellent performances. Standout tracks include "Mama Don't Wear No Drawers" and "Kansas City Line," and Basie and company swing with elegance and grit throughout.

"For this enjoyable jam session, Count Basie heads up a very impressive cast of players, including altoist Benny Carter, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis on tenor, trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Al Grey and guitarist Joe Pass. The four lengthy performances give each of the principals plenty of solo space and the results are predictably exciting. It's a big improvement over the first Basie Jam." ~ Scott Yanow

Count Basie (piano)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Al Grey (trombone)
Joe Pass (guitar)
John Heard (bass)
Louis Bellson (drums)

1. Mama Don't Wear No Drawers
2. Doggin' Around
3. Kansas City Line
4. JJJJump

Recorded at RCA Studios, Los Angeles, California on May 6, 1976

Art Pepper | Intensity

This album, reissued on CD with an additional song, "Fine Points," was altoist Art Pepper's final one of his early period and was released when he was already serving a long prison sentence due to his addiction to heroin. Assisted by pianist Dolo Coker, bassist Jimmy Bond and drummer Frank Butler, Pepper was just starting to show the influence of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman in his style, freeing up his playing and displaying a greater intensity during his improvisations. Ironically, Pepper sticks to swinging standards such as "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me," "Gone with the Wind" and "I Wished on the Moon" as points of departure on the interesting and largely enjoyable set. Excluding a 1973 recording with Mike Vax's big band, it would be 15 years before Art Pepper led another record date in the studios. Scott Yanow/AMG

I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me
I Love You
Come Rain or Come Shine
Long Ago (And Far Away)
Gone With the Wind
I Wished on the Moon
Too Close for Comfort
Five Points

Art Pepper, alto; Dolo Coker, pno; Jimmy Bond, bass; Frank Butler, dr. Recorded November 23 & 25, 1960 in Los Angeles

Birdology, Vol. 2 (1989)

This 1989 concert in France was led by trumpeter Don Sickler, who also did all of the arrangements. You might remember him from the Superblue album that I posted many moons ago in the old contributions section. His arrangements are what keeps this from being just another all-star jam session, although a lot of those are fun to listen to just for the great solos.

Everyone on stage gets a chance to express themselves, although "Shawnuff" is a tour de force for the saxophones of Johnny Griffin and Jackie McLean, and "Don't Blame Me" is a vehicle for the artistry of Duke Jordan and Ron Carter. Of special note with this being a tribute to Charlie Parker, the band plays three songs that Duke Jordan recorded with Bird, and Sickler even arranged parts of Jordan's original intros for the horns. Jordan was on the Dial sessions for "Scrapple from the Apple" and "Dewey Square" in 1947 as well as "Drifting on a Reed" which was later retitled "Big Foot". Roy Haynes also recorded with Parker and one of his earliest appearances with Bird was on a session from the Pershing Ballroom in 1949 doing "Big Foot".

Jackie McLean, Johnny Griffin and Cecil Payne all had close ties with Charlie Parker's music and it really comes through with the performances here. By the way, there was a volume one from the same set of concerts. Anyone happen to have it?

Don Sickler (trumpet, arranger)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)
  1. Shawnuff
  2. Billie's Bounce
  3. Relaxin' at Camarillo
  4. Don't Blame Me
  5. Scrapple from the Apple
  6. Dewey Square
  7. Big Foot
Recorded in France on June 4 and 7, 1989

The Cats & the Fiddle | Killin' Jive

I have these recordings on an old double RCA Bluebird LP, but it was water damaged during a flood so I bought this re-issue CD. I love this band and so will you.

The Cats & the Fiddle were one of dozens of harmony vocal groups to spring up in the wake of the success of the Mills Brothers. They endured longer than many of their pre-World War II rivals, both as a performing and recording unit and also as an influence on others who came after them, mostly by virtue of their style being so far out in front of the competition; yet they never charted a record in their dozen years of recording, and the biggest success that their founder ever saw on record was as a member of Louis Jordan's Tympany Five, and rather late in the day for that group as well. Leader/founder Austin Powell (lead vocals, guitar), who'd been leading groups as far back as high school in the mid-'30s, first put the Cats & the Fiddle together in 1937. Powell, Jimmy Henderson (tenor, tipple), Chuck Barksdale (bass vocals, upright bass), and Ernie Price (tenor, guitar, tipple) got together a quartet that was built on harmony vocals, but was also completely self-contained instrumentally, needing no further support on record or on-stage -- in that sense, the Cats & the Fiddle were very unusual and also offered a fuller and more complex, challenging sound than many of their rivals. The group spent a couple of years taking any work they could get, including weddings, proms, and graduation parties. They also got minor supporting (almost more like "extra") roles in a couple of Hollywood movies, including Too Hot to Handle (1938) and Going Places (1939), before they'd ever recorded a note for commercial release. In the late spring of 1939, the Cats & the Fiddle were discovered by producer/agent Lester Melrose, who got them signed to Victor Records' Bluebird imprint, for which they recorded some 42 sides, making their debut in August of 1939 with "Nuts to You" b/w "Killin' Jive."

Gang Busters
Chant of the Rain
I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water
Nuts to You
Killin' Jive
Please Don't Leave Me Now
Mister Rhythm Man
When I Grow Too Old to Dream
Public Jitterbug No. 1
That's on, Jack, That's On
Just a Roamer
I Miss You So
Left With the Thought of You
You're So Fine
Hush-A-Bye Love
Swing the Scales
Pig's Idea
Thursday Evening Swing
That's All I Mean to You
In the Midst of a Dream
We Cats Will Swing for You
Till the Day I Die
Hep Cats Holiday
Killer Diller Man from the South

Sir Elf: Roland Hanna

Roland Hanna's first solo album. Choice records wasn't a big outfit, and my LP, although in gem condition and not a late pressing, shows some evidence of recording problems with a bit of fuzz on the occasional high note. You'll like it nonetheless!

LP —> GWdeclick —> LAME3.98 vbr0

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Duke Ellington - Presents...

Having gone from the myopic to the strabismic, here's something everyone can enjoy.

In the early '50s, one of the great American composers (also performer and bandleader), Duke Ellington, was in a slump, creatively and commercially. The few big bands left where having a hard time of it then, and the Duke's association with Capitol Records at the time produced few masterpieces. On top of all that, Ellington's star sax man Johnny Hodges had left for a solo career. In the mid-'50s, Hodges returned, and Duke and company hooked up with the short-lived Bethlehem label.

The program here has only four originals (five, if you count the jam-thing that is "Blues") and the rest are standards. Perhaps the Duke wanted to ease Hodges back into things--regardless, this is a fine album. The orchestrations are sumptuously rich and classy, there's some terrific solos (Harry Carney's baritone sax on "Frustration"), and some mellow, Nat "King" Cole-style vocals from trumpeter/violinist Ray Nance. This session sounds like the band is gearing up to the good times just around the corner--the late '50s would see the Duke sign on with Columbia Records and reign triumphant at the Newport Jazz Festival.

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

1. Summertime
2. Laura
3. I Can't Get Started
4. My Funny Valentine
5. Everything But You
6. Frustration
7. Cotton Tail
8. Day Dream
9. Deep Purple
10. Indian Summer
11. Blues

Chicago, Illinois, February 7-8, 1956

Gene Ammons

Blowing The Blues Away 1944-1947

Blowing the Blues Away 1944-1947 is a good introduction to bebop tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons. It captures the earliest sides of Ammons as a member of the Billy Eckstine Orchestra, featuring jazz legends Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. He is also heard with his father and boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings and leading his own Gene Ammons Sextet. These 19 tracks include "McDonald's Sprout," "Second Balcony Jump," and the legendary tenor sax showdown with Gordon, "Blowing the Blues Away." This is a great collection on the French label EPM. It may be slightly difficult to obtain but well worth the search. ~ Al Campbell

Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone)
Billy Eckstine, Earl Coleman (vocals)
Dexter Gordon (saxophone)
Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Albert Ammons, Junior Mance (piano)
Art Blakey (drums)

Young Jug

This is a CD that will most likely frustrate Gene Ammons collectors a bit. From 1948-51, the great tenor recorded 24 titles for Chess and its related labels, and all were reissued on the double LP Early Visions. This best-of CD has 16 of the songs, plus a very rare four-song session from 1952 for Decca that had not been reissued previously; completists are therefore stuck acquiring both sets. But discographical details aside, the music on the Chess CD is excellent, with Ammons sounding quite lyrical on the ballads (which showcase his huge tone), quoting a dozen Christmas songs on "Swingin' for Xmas," and romping with his combos on the jump material. This CD is recommended to those listeners not already owning the two-fer.

Gene Ammons (tenor sax)
Sonny Stitt (baritone sax)
J.J. Johnson (Trombone)
Junior Mance (Piano)
Leo Blevins (Guitar)

The Gene Ammons Story: The 78 Era

Chronologically, this set follows the Young Jug anthology (that collection being comprised primarily of Gene Ammons' recordings for the Chess label in the late '40s). This is the earliest volume in The Gene Ammons Story. It's comprised of his earliest recordings for the Prestige label and, along with the Gentle Jug and The Organ Combos volumes, offers an essential overview of a large portion of his career. In the '50s Gene Ammons had yet to focus singularly on balladry. There are some rich ballads here, though ("Back In Your Own Backyard" positively dazzles), along with jump blues and bop with small and large ensembles. Ammons is variously accompanied by a piano trio and combos of up to twice that size, complete with a handful of other horn players (including longtime musical cohort Sonny Stitt on baritone). Of the trio material, the version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" swings with quietly propulsive intensity as Ammons flies over and around pianist Duke Jordan and his rhythm section.

Gene Ammons (vocals, tenor saxophone)
Earl Coleman (vocals)
Sonny Stitt, Rudy Williams, Gene Easton (baritone saxophone)
Bill Massey, Nate Woodyard (trumpet)
Duke Jordan, Junior Mance (piano)
Tommy Potter, Gene Wrighte (bass)
Jo Jones, Art Blakey (drums)

Recorded between March 1950 and November 1955

The Big Sound

Along with its fellow CD Groove Blues, this reissue fully documents all of the music recorded by tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons on the busy day of Jan. 3, 1958. Although there were many guest soloists, only one of the four songs on this half of the set (Mal Waldron's "The Real McCoy") has appearances by John Coltrane (on alto) and the tenor of Paul Quinichette. However, baritonist Pepper Adams is aboard for two of the performances, and flutist Jerome Richardson (along with pianist Mal Waldron, bassist George Joyner and drummer Art Taylor) are on all four. Ammons is easily the main star (he really excelled in this setting) and is in generally fine form on the two standards ("That's All" and "Cheek to Cheek"), his own "Blue Hymn" and the Waldron original. ~ Scott Yanow

Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone)
John Coltrane (alto saxophone)
Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone)
Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone)
Jerome Richardson (flute)
Mal Waldron (piano)
George Joyner (bass)
Arthur Taylor (drums)

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on January 3, 1958

Groove Blues

On January 3, 1958, Gene Ammons had a good day-a very good day. Recording sessions from that date resulted in two albums with his All Stars, Groove Blues and the equally impressive The Big Sound. On Groove Blues, the All Stars stretch out on four tunes: Ammons' own "Jug Handle," two numbers by pianist Mal Waldron, and one song by Rogers & Hammerstein. The All Stars boast four saxophonists and represent the cream of the post-bop crop. John Coltrane's alto, Pepper Adams' baritone, and Paul Quinichette's tenor trade off with Ammons' tenor with fire and grace. Their massed sound, along with Jerome Richardson's flute, is a dazzling force as it flies over the piano and rhythm section gently pushing "Groove Blues." The closing ballad, "It Might as Well be Spring," is built around the lush tones of Ammons' solitary horn and the piano-anchored trio, its 11 minutes of passionate romanticism drifting by like a hypnotic reverie.

Up Tight!

These are from Jug's Prestige tenure. A reissue of two LPs (Up Tight and Boss Soul) recorded during the same two-day period, these performances find Ammons backed by a pair of four-piece rhythm sections (with either Walter Bishop or Patti Brown on piano and Ray Barretto's congas a major asset) and taking the lion's share of the solo space. Ammons sounds particularly warm and emotional throughout this CD, particularly on such numbers as "The Breeze and I," "I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is over," a cooking "Lester Leaps In" and "Song of the Islands." His sound and style effectively bridged the gap between bop and soul jazz.

Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone)
Walter Bishop, Jr., Patti Brown (piano)
Arthur Davis, George Duvivier (bass)
Arthur Taylor (drums)
Ray Barretto (congas)

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on October 17 & 18, 1961

Georgie Auld - 1946-1951 (Chronological 1371)

Volume three in the Classics Georgie Auld chronology opens with the last four sides he cut for the Musicraft label on June 14, 1946. The 16-piece big band had Neal Hefti in the trumpet section, Auld, Al Cohn and Serge Chaloff in the reeds, and vocalist Sarah Vaughan featured on "You're Blasé." While Hefti's two original compositions are pleasantly modern sounding, the true gem from this date was Budd Johnson's rock-solid "Canyon Passage." Changes in the postwar entertainment industry resulted in the dissolution and dispersal of many big bands. Auld threw in the towel and waited about two-and-a-half years before resuming his recording career on January 17, 1949. His new band had ten pieces, including trombonist Billy Byers, pianist Jimmy Rowles and drummer Alvin Stoller. Eight sides cut for the Discovery record label on this date and on March 21 used mostly Hal Vernon arrangements; Byers scored the charts for "Hollywood Bazaar" and "Mild and Mellow." (For a 100-percent satisfying example of Auld leading a ten-piece band similar to this one, seek out You Got Me Jumpin' (Sounds of Yesteryear 6680), recorded live at the Empire in Hollywood, CA, 1949.) The next leg of the chronology consists of nine titles recorded for the Royal Roost record label on January 24, 1951 by the Georgie Auld Quintet, with trombonist Frank Rosolino, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett and drummer Tiny Kahn, whose eccentric opus "Seh! Seh!" is group participation bop; the band shouts the song's title at regular intervals as part of the melodic line. This little-known session hatched a veritable goldmine of cruising cookers and luscious ballads; "Taps Miller" and "New Airmail Special" are particularly piquant. ~ arwulf arwulf

Georgie Auld (soprano, alto, tenor sax)
Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Serge Chaloff (baritone sax)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Neal Hefti (trumpet)
Lou Levy (piano)
Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Al Porcino (trumpet)
Max Bennett (bass)
Johnny Mandel (trombone)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Frank Rosolino (trombone)

1. Canyon Passage
2. You're Blasé
3. Handicap
4. Mo Mo
5. You've Got Me Jumpin'
6. Darn That Dream
7. Hollywood Bazaar
8. They Didn't Believe Me
9. Nashooma
10. Vox Bop
11. Mild and Mellow
12. Settin' the Pace
13. Seh! Seh!
14. New Air Mail Special
15. Autumn in New York
16. Be My Love
17. Taps Miller
18. Out of Nowhere
19. What's New?
20. You Made Me Love You
21. Things We Did Last Summer

Joe Bushkin - 1940-1946 (Chronological 1434)

Joe Bushkin (1916-2004) was a fine swing pianist who operated in a groove similar to that of Teddy Wilson, Jess Stacy or Joe Sullivan. He worked with Bunny Berigan, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw and Eddie Condon, then with Tommy Dorsey and young Frank Sinatra until 1942 whereupon he transferred most of his energies to the war effort by blowing trumpet in the United States Army Air Corps Band until 1946. Bushkin's postwar career would involve him briefly with Benny Goodman's band, in an excursion to Brazil with tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman and subsequently in New York's theater and nightclub scene. In 2007, the Classics Chronological Series took on the Joe Bushkin discography, beginning with his first solo Commodore session of May 17, 1940 (tracks one through five); lining up master takes from three subsequent Commodore dates and rounding off the album with four solid Savoy sides cut in Los Angeles at some undetermined point during the year 1946. Some of these recordings are uncommon and have been sought after for years by jazz lovers. Bushkin's harmonic sensibilities make his "Serenade in Thirds" the most attractive of the 1940 solos. An inspired threesome, Joe Bushkin's Blue Boys waxed five titles on March 28, 1941. "Morgan's Blues" spotlights string bassist Al Morgan and trumpeter Hot Lips Page is featured on the other four tunes. On May 23, 1944 Joe Bushkin waxed another five sides for Commodore, this time with bassist Sid Weiss and drummer Cozy Cole. The following day Bushkin, Weiss and drummer Specs Powell backed trumpeter Ernie Thomas Figueroa, trombonist Bill Harris and 18-year-old tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims; what a thrill to hear a teenage Zoot riding the swift and straightforward changes of "Pickin' at the Pic." The Savoy session of 1946 (tracks twenty through twenty-three) resulted in four choice cuts, rendered pleasantly cool by the lightly amplified guitar of Barney Kessel with subtle support from bassist Harry Babasin. Bushkin's technique at this point brings to mind the dexterity of Nat King Cole, a master pianist who would soon all but abandon the instrument in order to focus his energies on singing pop tunes for mass consumption. The next leg of Joe Bushkin's career would find him recording for V-Disc, MGM, Atlantic, Columbia and Capitol. Hearing this artist's recordings laid out neatly session by session is a wonderful treat for which many listeners are and will continue to be grateful. ~ arwulf arwulf

Joe Bushkin (piano)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Hot Lips Page (trumpet)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Specs Powell (drums)
Harry Babasin (bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. Serenade In Thirds
2. I Can't Get Started
3. Blue Chips
4. Joe's Blues
5. In a Little Spanish Town
6. I'll Never Be the Same
7. Caldonia Is Gone
8. Morgan's Blues
9. Sweet Georgia Brown
10. Bozay
11. Merci Michelle
12. Getaway Joe
13. Black Satin Gal
14. In a Persian Black Market
15. Culver City Suite
16. Pickin' At the Pic
17. Fade Out
18. Oh, Lady Be Good!
19. Georgia
20. Mean To Me
21. Indian Summer
22. Boogie Woogie Platter
23. Indiana

Clark Terry - Color Changes

I read a statement recently which, very imperfectly remembered, was something along the lines of: If you ask a trumpet player who they really dig, they'll say "Miles", but if you look them in the eye, they'll smile and say; "Clark Terry."

Another Nola Sound production, which I think is at least as good as what Van Gelder was doing at the time.

"This is one of flugelhornist Clark Terry's finest albums. Terry had complete control over the music and, rather than have the usual jam session, he utilized an octet and arrangements by Yusef Lateef, Budd Johnson, and Al Cohn. The lineup of musicians (C.T., trombonist Jimmy Knepper, Julius Watkins on French horn, Yusef Lateef on tenor, flute, oboe, and English horn, Seldon Powell doubling on tenor and flute, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Joe Benjamin, and drummer Ed Shaughnessy) lives up to its potential, and the charts make good use of the sounds of these very individual stylists. The material, which consists of originals by Terry, Duke Jordan, Lateef, and Bob Wilber, is both rare and fresh, and the interpretations always swing. Highly recommended." ~ Scott Yanow

Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Yusef Lateef (tenor sax, flute, oboe, English horn)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Seldon Powell (tenor sax, flute)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Budd Johnson (piano)
Joe Benjamin (bass)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)

1. Blue Waltz (La Valse Bleue)
2. Brother Terry
3. Flutin' And Flugin'
4. No Problem
5. La Rive Gauche
6. Nahstye Blues
7. Chat Qui Peche (A Cat That Fishes)

Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios, New York, New York on November 19, 1960

Roy Lanham | Sizzling Strings & The Fabulous Guitar

OK, here's another winner by a country guitar player, Roy Lanham. Despite the overall tenor of the review, this compilation contains some pretty good guitar work on a variety of jazzy tunes. Nothing too radical....just tasty playing. Lanham obviously has some Les Paul influences, but heck, who doesn't?

Review: Sizzling Strings is a 1959 instrumental album from Lanham's group, the Whippoorwills, and The Fabulous Guitar is his 1961 solo album. This two-fer collects both albums on one CD, and the sonic and stylistic differences between the two are slight. Both are heavily oriented toward instrumental versions of pop hits and jazz tunes with mellow guitar leads that emphasize melody over virtuosic display. In fact, compositions by such cowhands as Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman far outnumber country songs. Only "Air Mail Special" and the Delmore Brothers' "Sand Mountain Boogie" work up a fret-happy steam, and the remainder provides pleasant, if not jaw-dropping evidence of Lanham's guitar mastery. Listeners looking for guitar wizardry may not immediately appreciate Lanham's subtlety, but fans of instrumental music bordering on easy listening may enjoy these jazzy, laid-back takes on such chestnuts as "Tea for Two" and "In the Mood."

Biography: Although known primarily as guitarist for the Sons of the Pioneers from 1961 through 1986, Roy Lanham also led the Whippoorwills for many years and performed as a solo artist, recording albums of country-jazz guitar instrumentals under his own name in the late '50s and early '60s. Despite his relative obscurity, Lanham is often esteemed on the level of such well-known guitar greats as Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. Lanham was born in Corbin, KY, on January 16, 1923, and picked up the guitar at an early age. Beginning as a teenager he found radio work as a rhythm guitarist in a number of instrumental combos, one of which was eventually hired by pop vocalist Gene Austin and renamed the Whippoorwills. In this group Lanham functioned as lead guitarist, performing in a jazzy style influenced by Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt but distinguished by his development of a four-part harmony chord technique he would alternate with single-string figures. In 1943 Lanham joined Cincinnati's WLW, a 50,000-watt station that allowed him the opportunity to work with King Records, for which he soon performed regularly as a session guitarist, appearing on recordings by Hank Penny and the Delmore Brothers, among others. After participating in one Chet Atkins session in 1946 for the Bullet label, Lanham moved to Dayton and re-formed the Whippoorwills. For the next few years the combo toured, recorded transcriptions for Smiley Burnette's radio show in Hollywood and collaborated with Merle Travis on six sides for Capitol in the early '50s. It was during his tenure with Smiley Burnette's show that Lanham first met the Sons of the Pioneers, who invited the Whippoorwills to fill in for them on their radio show while the Sons were on tour. Lanham found additional session work recording separately with Johnny and Dorsey Burnette as well as Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Bonnie Guitar, the Browns, and the Fleetwoods, in addition to recording singles under his own name and with the Whippoorwills. The success of the Fleetwoods singles on which he appeared led to his recording of a solo LP in 1959 and the sole Whippoorwills album, Sizzling Strings, later that year. review and bio by Greg Adams/AMG

Summit Ridge Drive
Stomping at the Savoy
Sophisticated Swing
Kerry Dance
Tea for Two
Air Mail Special
If I Had You
Slipped Disc
Mellow Mood
Eager Beaver
Tuxedo Junction
Your Heart Darlin'
Holiday for Strings
Roy's Blues
Tuxedo Junction
We'll Be Together Again
In the Mood
Under the Double Eagle
Brown's Ferry Blues
Carnival in Paris
One Love
Can't We Be Friends?

1-12: 1958, Hollywood, CA; 13-24 February 14, 1963, Hollywood

Chingon | Mexican Spaghetti Western

This is one of my favorite all-time albums!!! Get it and be happy . . .

The Austin music scene could well be North America's best. For years it has been the hotbed of blues with the Vaughan brothers, Angela Strehli, Doug Sahm, Sue Foley, and others calling Austin home. There are also a great number of rock and country musicians, such as the Del Castillo, Charlie Sexton, and Eric Johnson. For some years now Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios has been pumping out movies such as Sin City and Desperado. Now, Rodriguez, who many of you might recall partly financed his first movie, El Mariachi, by spending a month in an Austin hospital testing a cholesterol-lowering drug, has teamed up with many of Austin's talented musicians and formed the band, Chingon. Quite frankly...this band kicks ass in a way few do. Get it here now, then rush over to chingon and grab a copy. It's only $12, the proceeds go to charity, and you'll get xtra songs and the DVD. If you like Chingon, you'll also love Del Castillo, so head on over there and grab a few of theirs as well.

From their web site: Chingon is a band started by Robert Rodriguez, director of ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO and DESPERADO. Chingon is his band made up of members from the Austin music community, featuring members of the Latino Rock band, DEL CASTILLO, Carl Thiel, Rafael Gayol of Bob Schneider's band, Cecilio Ruiz from the HeeBeeJeeBee's, and others.

Originally formed to create songs such as CUKAROCKA and SIENTE Mi AMOR (featuring Salma Hayek on vocals) for the ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO soundtrack, Chingon (spanish for BAD ASS) reformed for the companion CD to the Mariachi series, MEXICO and MARIACHIS. This CD comes with a DVD showing the making of the music, and features songs not included on the other soundtracks.

One of the songs is MALAGUENA SALEROSA, a re-arrangement of the classic mariachi standard, which Rodriguez conceived of originally for Desperado. It makes its first appearance on this album.

When Rodriguez was contracted to score KILL BILL 2 for Quentin Tarantino, Quentin heard Rodriguez's version of Malaguena Salerosa and designed his end titles around it. The song also appears on the KILL BILL 2 soundtrack album.

Harold Land - The Fox

Posted because of interest in the recent Dupree Bolton offering; this is, in the estimation of many, one of the finest jazz records ever made. The notes below are from the last time this was posted.

I was reading recently - I forget where - that the author considers jazz to be a series of, not missed opportunities, but rooms looked into yet never entered. One can play the "what if..." game very easily with jazz. Case in point: what if a horn player who held his own nightly on stage with Clifford Brown had gone East where the dominant music scene was, instead of to California?

While Dexter Gordon and Charles Mingus started out as part of that thriving Central Avenue scene, they knew where the money was. For some reason, Harold Land went the other way. And that has made all the difference.

For this excellent straightahead quintet set with trumpeter Dupree Bolton and pianist Elmo Hope, Land performs four of Hope's superior but little-known compositions along with two of his own.

Harold Land (tenor sax)
Dupree Bolton (trumpet)
Elmo Hope (piano)
Herbie Lewis (bass)
Frank Butler (drums)

1. The Fox
2. Mirror-Mind Rose
3. One Second, Please
4. Sims A-Plenty
5. Little Chris
6. One Down

Los Angeles, California, August, 1959

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Coleman Hawkins - Today And Now

Coleman Hawkins recorded three sessions for Impulse Records in the early to mid '60's. Of the three, Today And Now is the most compelling. The unusual choice of repertoire is what sets this album apart. Versions of the traditional song "Go Li'l Liza" and the fairly obscure Quincy Jones ballad "Quintessence" are creatively rendered. Indeed, Hawk seems inspired throughout; he plays with an abandon that is altogether effortless.

Moreover, his band (consisting of pianist Tommy Flanagan, bass player Major Holley, and drummer Eddie Locke) backs the tenor king up with a similar imaginative approach. A largely impromptu session, each song develops and evolves with each chorus. The Bean's (one of Hawkins' nicknames) interplay with Flanagan on the mid-tempo swinger, "Swingin' Scotch" is the album's highlight. Indeed, this is one of Hawkins' last great records

Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Major Holley (bass)
Eddie Locke (drums)

1. Go Li'l Liza
2. Quintessence
3. Don't Love Me
4. Love Song From "Apache"
5. Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet
6. Swingin' Scotch
7. Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on September 9, 1962

Roy Smeck Plays Hawaiian Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele and Guitar 1926-1949

I love most Yazoo re-issues and this is one of my favorites. Man 'o' man... could Roy Smeck ever play. Give him a stringed instrument and he'd rip it up. John Jorgenson is the modern equivalent, I suppose, and maybe later on we'll post some of his stuff. For now, give Roy Smeck a listen...he really was something special.

The only problem with this album is the use of the word "play" in the title. Sure, with most musicians it can be called "playing" an instrument. With Roy Smeck, what he does on Hawaiian guitar or just plain old regular guitar is more like a consecration. His banjo work is more like a reordering of molecules. "Ukulele Bounce" sounds like a man playing a ukulele, and very well at that, but creates more of a historical impact as one realizes recordings from nearly a quarter of a century are represented on this collection. Colorful lettering by none other than R. Crumb just adds to the class of the whole affair. Smeck was a technical genius of stringed instruments and also an explorer. He created sounds behind the bridge and nut, and on the body of the instrument as well. Listeners might be used to these types of techniques from avant-garde music, but the real innovators in this type of playing were musicians such as Smeck. He used these techniques in the course of so-called "normal" music, but the fact that it is neither atonal nor really weird shouldn't make one think it isn't exciting or interesting to listen to. His early pieces were pretty straight from the Hawaiian style, Smeck tinkering energetically around the edges of what might be acceptable to the "aloha" crowd while establishing his mastery of the genre's traditions. Exposure to jazz players such as Eddie Lang apparently inspired him to sit the guitar up straight in his lap and attack it with a plectrum, which is the same way he took on the banjo. The results are imaginative and frequently wild, perfect musical miniatures with such a visual presence one might think they were landscape paintings. Some of the titles add to the fun: "Tough Pickin'," "Guitarese," "Slippery Fingers," and "Nifty Pickin'." Smeck plays wonderfully whether the track was recorded in the '20s, '30s, or '40s. That's no surprise, seeing how he was the fellow who described his ascension in the music industry thusly: "I didn't play any better for 1,250 dollars than for 150 dollars." Which goes to show that even he considered what he did "playing," no matter how miraculous it sounded. Nobody ever played any better than he did, either. Eugene Chadbourne/AMG

The Martin Taylor-David Grisman Acoustic Jazz Quartet

As one of the prime movers behind the "new acoustic" movement that began gathering speed in the mid-'70s, David Grisman helped usher in a new era of acoustic jazz. With other renegade players like Tony Rice, Richard Greene and Sam Bush, he took an instrument generally associated with bluegrass music (in his case, the mandolin) and turned it to more adventurous uses, often combining the instrumentation and textures of bluegrass with the advanced harmonic structures and rhythms of jazz. He's never completely turned his back on bluegrass, but his primary focus has been on jazz and jazz-derived styles for some time. I'm Beginning to See the Light is a collection of standards recorded in collaboration with guitarist Martin Taylor, bassist Jim Kerwin and drummer George Marsh. The program is pretty predictable, including "Autumn Leaves," "Cheek to Cheek," and "Makin' Whoopee." But the mandolin gives the quartet an unusual texture, and Taylor's playing is always fun to listen to. There's a pervasive gentleness to the group's sound that sometimes borders on soporific, but every time you stir yourself to listen closely, you'll be rewarded. Recommended. Rick Anderson/AMG

I'm Beginning to See the Light
Autumn Leaves
Do You Know What it Means
East of the Sun
Autumn in New York
Makin' Whoopee
Lover Man
Exactly Like You
Willow Weep for Me
A Foggy Day
Cheek to Cheek
Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

Martin Taylor, guitar; David Grisman, mandolin, Jim Kerwin, bass; George Marsh, drums. Recorded and mixed direct to 2 track in 1999.

Victor Assis Brasil - The Legacy

Victor Assis Brasil began playing saxophone at the age of 17 and 4 years later he was a professional. He played at Beco das Garafas, where were the night-clubs which difunded Bossa Nova, studied with Paulo Moura and developed a growing interest for jazz. While most of our musicians jazz influenced mix some jazz with the Brazilian music,Victor mixed some Brazilian music with jazz. Victor had a short life. He died at 35, after a rupture of a cerebral aneurism, but let some records released and many tapes recorded. The sessions which made this CD were produced in 1970, by Roberto Quartin, and Victor is joined by Hélio Delmiro on guitar, with whom he makes great dialogues, and Edison Machado, which plays drums where the Brazilian rhytms are clearly depicted, making a nice mixture. The CD was only released in 2002, hence its name.

1- Gingerbread Boy (Jimmy Heath)
2- Marília (Victor A. Brasil)
3- Senegal (40o à sombra) (Victor A. Brasil)
4- Children (Victor A. Brasil)
5- Marília (Victor A. Brasil) (Bonus Track)

Victor A. Brasil - Alto Sax
Cláudio Roditi - Trumpet in track 4
Don Salvador - Piano and organ
Hélio Delmiro - Guitar
Edison Lobo - Bass
Edison Machado - Drums

Giants of Jazz in Berlin '71

Can you imagine hearing these guys together when they were all in their prime?

At least George Wein had the foresight to put this group together for a tour while they were still alive. Dizzy's chops were not always the best and they had to deal with Monk's often changing moods, but Kai Winding was always at least adequate, Al McKibbon was rock-steady, Art Blakey could still light a fire underneath the soloists, and Sonny Stitt was always on.

This concert was performed on November 5th, a year before the more widely known London concert that was released on Atlantic Records as a 2-LP set. They were in the middle of a tour that started in September and took them to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Israel and every country in Europe for a total of forty-two concerts!

As George Wein states in the liner notes, "So some nights the music was absolutely sensational. Other nights, since you had so many diverse personalities, it was average. But on the nights it was great - one of those nights was Berlin where this concert was recorded..."

This CD was issued in 1988 by Nippon Phonogram and released on the Emarcy label.

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)
  1. Introduction of the Band
  2. Blue 'N Boogie
  3. Round Midnight
  4. Tour De Force
  5. Lover Man
  6. Tin Tin Deo
  7. Everything Happens to Me
  8. A Night in Tunisia
Recorded in Berlin on November 5, 1971

Jimmie Rivers and the Cherokees | Brisbane Bop

This is a great web site - one of the best music blogs out there - but I find it a tad myopic, mainly because it tends to focus on horn- and piano-based jazz while ignoring entire the acoustic jazzgrass realm and the jazz tradition of country and western swing.

Jazz, in my mind at least boils down to improvised solos sung or played over a set of chord changes (or in some cases of modal or free jazz, no changes), all with a syncopated beat that gives the music "swing". These elements separate jazz from the Euro-centric classical realm, in a which improvisation and swing are non-existant. In many ways, my definition of jazz would thus include some rock & roll, country, and bluegrass. Here I am playing guitar as New Caledonia Bob with Fiddlin' Fred Woodson in 1974, when we played fiddle tunes, Led Zep tunes, swing tunes such as Cherokee, and bop tunes such Ornithology. Even though our instruments might not be considered typical jazz instrumentation, we were clearly playing jazz. The breadth of American (and indeed world) music is way too complex to simply isolate one small segment of music and call it jazz.

Today I want to start to focus on some of the different types of jazz, much of it I expect many here aren't familiar with, because I believe that the main purpose of this site is to inform and educate people, not simply to pad people's record collections. Nevertheless, if you don't like this music or don't believe that it belongs on this site, simply tell me and I'll stop. I hope that this doesn't happen and that you'll at least listen to the music.

First, here is a collection of live recordings by the great western swing guitarist, Jimmie Rivers, and his band. Rivers was apparently quite the character, getting in knife fights at the club and so forth! This is some pretty raw stuff, but I found it to be great guitar playing any way you cut it.

Here's a bio from AMG: Despite his obscurity, Jimmie Rivers is one of the great western swing/bop guitarists. His legacy is miniscule, consisting of a disc's worth of live tracks with his group, the Cherokees, recorded between 1961-64, but these low-fidelity documents show a guitarist with a near-unparalleled ability to construct exciting, melodic solos in the vein of Charlie Christian. Born Jimmie Fewell in Hockerville, OK in 1926, Rivers was introduced to the fiddle by his father, switching to guitar before he was ten years old. The music of Bob Wills gave the youth his first influence, in particular the twin electric guitar arrangements of Leon McAuliffe and Eldon Shamblin. In high school, he also played trumpet before his family moved west to Oakland in the early ‘40s. Although Rivers' style had largely matured by the time he was a late teenager, it was in Oakland that he received his greatest musical instruction. Sitting in with a jazz combo one evening, he met a pianist named Don Burke, who introduced him to the music of the great electric guitar pioneer Charlie Christian. (Amazingly, although Rivers' guitar playing was already saturated with be-bop stylings, the youth had never heard of Christian; rather, he had absorbed the technique of Barney Kessel, himself a Christian fan.) After two years in the Navy, in 1946 Rivers moved to Corpus Christi, TX and formed a trio called the Gadabouts. His reputation as a guitarist was growing, bringing job offers from both Spade Cooley and Bob Wills. Rivers, however, declined, as by this time he was making more money on his own than either bandleader could promise. In 1954, he moved back to Oakland and took work as a DJ at KVSM. Before his first broadcast, he was re-christened "Jimmie Rivers" by a local man who expressed distaste for the name Fewell. (Rivers, who was half-Indian, had explained that his original family name was "Two Rivers.") Soon after, he formed a western swing group called the Cherokees, who began appearing on the California Hayride television show dressed in Indian headdresses. The Cherokees also cut some records for the Cavalier label and frequently backed Tommy Duncan on his solo recordings. In 1958, the group took up residence at the 23 Club in Brisbane, CA. That same year, Rivers hooked up with ex-Billy Jack Wills steel guitarist Vance Terry, and in 1959 Terry joined what would become the definitive Cherokees lineup. They played the 23 Club for six years, before Rivers disbanded the group in 1964. Aside from a long gig with the Fulton Street Jazz Band and a 1992 Rivers-Terry reunion concert, he remains retired from music.

Back Bay Shuffle
Jimmie's Blues
Jammin' with Jimmy
On the Alamo
Hold it
A Smo-o-o-oth One
Slow Boat to China
It's all your fault
Steelin' Home
Tippin' In
After You've Gone
Swedish Pastry
Buffalo Burgers
Airmail Special
How High the Moon
Surf Ride
Rose Room
It's a Sin to Tell a Lie
Twin Guitar Special

Jimmie Rivers, 6 & 12 string guitar, trumpet; Vance Terry, steel guitar; Gene Duncan, rhythm guitar and vocals; various combos of Lucky Ford/Marvin Fried, bass, Bobby Collins/Bob Kell, dr. Recorded at the 23 Club, Brisbane, CA, 1961-1964.

Warne Marsh Quintet | Jazz of Two Cities

These tracks date from the time Marsh spent back in his hometown well, Los Angeles from February 1956 to November 1957, leading a quintet that was something of a Tristano student reunion. Disc one reprises the material that once appeared on the Imperial and Kapp labels. Disc two introduces Art Pepper into the mix and was originally issued on a Vanguard LP. The final 15 minutes is taken from a TV show of the period. Contains alternate takes and a previously unreleased session. The Vanguard session was also issued on the Complete Free Wheeling Sessions.

A classic album of Tristano-school cool jazz with subtle leanings toward the avant-garde. While this set is not without a number of typical West Coast jazz tendencies (i.e., cool reed tones, a stiff rhythm section, happy-go-lucky heads, etc.), it has an interestingly wide-open and probing vibe. This band was simply bursting with ideas. On "Ear Conditioning," for example, the tenor tandem of Marsh and Ted Brown weaves in and out of the head with the proficiency and grace displayed -- admittedly, to greater effect -- on Lennie Tristano's "Wow," a tune also featuring Marsh, only with Lee Konitz on alto instead of Brown on tenor. Like "Ear Conditioning," "Smog Eyes" and the title track both employ long and busy heads. In a manner typical of compositions by Tristano's associates, many of these themes are very complicated and take several measures to achieve resolution. That having been said, comparisons to the Tristano Capitol sessions are simply inevitable, as they laid the foundation for everything heard here. To judge the quality of one versus the other, though, is trivial. Jazz of Two Cities has many treasures all of its own. Thankfully, both historic sessions have been reissued together on the Capitol Jazz CD Intuition. Included in the collection are both the stereo and mono takes of four different pieces from the Marsh date. This is because Jazz of Two Cities was issued once in mono and later in stereo with the new title The Winds of Marsh. The two versions of the record feature altogether different takes of two numbers ("Jazz of Two Cities," "I Never Knew") and different solos on the other two ("Ear Conditioning," "Lover Man"). In other words, fidelity is not the only difference between Jazz of Two Cities and The Winds of Marsh; though in and of itself, that's probably not reason enough to spend an arm and a leg on both copies, since they're quite rare and all versions are included on the CD. This is some very fine music by a band with an exceptionally rich collective imagination. It is clear that, in the hands of this combo, every theme is treated like a question with an absolutely limitless amount of harmonic and melodic answers. Brandon Burke, AMG

CD 1: October 1956: Warne Marsh, Ted Brown, tenor; Ronnie Ball, piano; Ben Tucker, bass; Jeff Morton, drums

CD 2: December 21, 1956:, 1-9: Warne Marsh, Ted Brown, tenor; Art Pepper, alto; Ronnie Ball, piano; Ben Tucker, bass; Jeff Morton, drums; 10-15; March 11. 1957: Warne Marsh, Ted Brown, tenor; Ronnie Ball, piano; Ben Tucker, bass; Jeff Morton, drums

Big Black - Elements of Now

You may recognise the name Big Black - he is the amazing conga man on the high-pressure live session by Freddie Hubbard, 'Night of the Cookers'. A rare LP - it was snapped up the minute I offered it for sale a few years back. Converted to mp3 before there was LAME, but no listening problems detected by me. Track list and details with the package.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Music Revelation Ensemble - In The Name Of (DIW)

This one shimmers...

Music Revelation Ensemble - In The Name Of

Review from
James Blood Ulmer has never come close to achieving the fame of John McLaughlin as a jazz guitarist, which means that even his best recordings are harder to find. But I've never heard anyone who has been able to take the sort of frenzied guitar work that McLaughlin pioneered in the early 1970s and carry it into modern times, retaining the energy and inventiveness while liberating it from the Jimi Hendrix stylistic flourishes that everyone was copying. Whereas McLaughlin usually found interesting ways to swirl around the melody line on long solo runs, Ulmer is astounding in his ability to identify chords and notes that take the music in unexpected harmonic directions. It is this singular ability of his that makes every track on "In the Name of..." stand out and lets them survive repeated listening. It is also this joyous exploration of creative discordancy that makes the CD too abrasive for anyone looking for smooth jazz or even ultra-produced 70's-era fusion.

Ulmer's colleagues in the Music Revelation Ensemble (Cornell Rochester on drums and Amin Ali on electric bass) offer quality performances, and because the music is so democratic (harmolodically) they manage to make critical contributions outside the context of a conventional rhythm-section solo. Guest woodwind players, meanwhile, share the front line with Ulmer -- including Arthur Blythe on alto sax for three tunes and a gripping but spare bari sax performance by Hamiet Bluiett for another. The true giant of the session is multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers. I don't know what it is about Rivers ... Most free jazz recordings sound indulgent to me, but Rivers has some kind of magical ability to wander off on the most liberating jazz excursions while staying deliciously grounded in the underlying musical idea. To those who say free jazz is nothing but noise, Sam Rivers forces me to answer: "Maybe, but not all noise is created equal, and this guy produces some glorious noise." His pairing with Ulmer on three tracks -- once playing soprano sax, once playing flute, and once playing tenor -- will take you to free-jazz heaven if anything can.

1 In Time 8:10
2 Non-Believer 10:38
3 The Dawn 8:09
4 Mankind 9:28
5 Help 8:37
6 Abundance 6:13
7 Purity 7:49

Milt Hinton - East Coast Jazz/5

This 1955 date finds the venerable jazz bassist in the choice company of clarinetist Tony Scott (listed as A.J. Sciacca), pianist Dick Katz, and drummer Ossie Johnson. Having already established himself as a veteran sideman after getting his start in the late '20s, Hinton marked the mid-'50s with some solo dates for Bethlehem label. This collection features several remastered tracks from this association, including the Hinton originals "Pik 'N' Pat" and "Upstairs With Milton." And while Scott and Katz avail themselves nicely on a smattering of solos, Hinton is the focus, displaying his deft bass work on every track with some extended soloing -- he even indulges in a bit of bowing on his own "Ebony Silhouette." Topped off with some fetching numbers by Katz and Scott, and handful of tasty covers, this Hinton disc makes for a perfect showcase of the master bassist's considerable talents. ~ Stephen Cook

Milt Hinton (bass)
A.J. Sciacca aka Tony Scott (clarinet)
Dick Katz (piano)
Osie Johnson (drums)

1. Mean To Me
2. Pink 'N Pat
3. Over The Rainbow
4. Milt To The Hilt
5. Don't Blame Me
6. Katz' Meow (A Canon For Cats)
7. Upstairs With Milt
8. Ebony Silhouette
9. Cantus Firmus
10. These Foolish Things
11. Milt To The Hilt (Alternate Take)

NYC, January 20, 1955

Benny Golson - Tenor Legacy

On this enjoyable set, veteran tenor saxophonist Benny Golson pays tribute to nine other tenors: Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster, and Don Byas. On "Body & Soul," Branford Marsalis joins Golson, three songs have James Carter making the quartet a two-tenor quintet, Harold Ashby is on four others, "Lester Leaps In" has Golson interacting with both Carter and Ashby, and Golson is the only tenor on the closing "In Memory Of." While each of the saxophonists is in fine form, Carter's fiery style is a perfect contrast to Golson's cooler but explorative playing. With pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Joe Farnsworth swinging the tunes (all but "In Memory Of" are standards), Golson sounds quite inspired by the settings. This is one of his strongest all-round sessions of the 1990s. ~ Scott Yanow

Tenor saxist Benny Golson was immortalized long ago by "I Remember Clifford," his paean to trumpeter Clifford Brown. Here, however, he elects to pay heed to his colleagues on the tenor sax--and to that end enlists a tenor elder, Harold Ashby, and two of the sharpest young players on the scene, Branford Marsalis and James Carter. Yes, three-plus decades separate Golson and Ashby's birthdates and those of Marsalis and Carter, and yes, this is a sax quartet fronting a rhythm section. And the quartet sounds every bit like a joyful chorus here, from their punchy take on "Lester Leaps In" to the imaginative, high-tone tenor they take up on "My Favorite Things." Probably the finest colors fly on "Lover Come Back to Me," which the group dedicates to Ashby's mentor, Ben Webster. All the smolder the ad hoc sax quartet throws into the mix with Geoff Keezer's fast-thinking piano is kept fiery by everyone's ability to jump sky-high in their note runs. So it is that this CD runs the traps from hard swinging bounce to after-hours sizzle. With all the great assets of an age-old jam session, this CD is also a flash of tenor sax brilliance. --Andrew Bartlett

Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Branford Marsalis (tenor sax)
James Carter (tenor sax)
Harold Ashby (tenor sax)
Geoff Keezer (piano)
Dwayne Burno (bass)
Joe Farnsworth (drums)

1. Lester Leaps In
2. Body and Soul
3. St. Thomas
4. Cry Me a River
5. My Favorite Things
6. Whisper Not
7. Girl from Ipanema
8. My Old Flame
9. Lover, Come Back to Me
10. In Memory Of

Recorded at Sound On Sound, New York, New York on January 29-30, 1996

Jimmy Smith - Standards

Standards is a 12-track collection that is culled from the sessions that resulted in the House Party and Home Cookin' albums, both of which featured Jimmy Smith in a trio with guitarist Kenny Burrell and drummer Donald Bailey. All of the songs are familiar standards along the lines of "Bye Bye Blackbird," "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," "September Song," "Mood Indigo" and "It Might As Well Be Spring," and seven of the tracks are previously unreleased. Throughout the album, the trio is relaxed and laidback, resulting in a warm, inviting collection of standards. It's among Smith's mellowest recordings, and it's all the better for it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The ultimate late-night smoky nightclub music, this collection of standards by Hammond-organ master Jimmy Smith is as swirling and atmospheric as the lounge it evokes, a vision made complete by a loosened black tie and a couple scotches on the rocks. Smith's sidemen, Kenny Burrell and Donald Bailey, on guitar and drums respectively, provide subdued, elegant support: Burrell with measured comping, Bailey delicately brushing the snare throughout. When Burrell takes the lead, which he does quite often on this disc, his solos are skillful, intricate and lovely.

Smith's Hammond organ sound, fat as a sandwich and smooth as an ice cube, works wonders on favorites like "Little Girl Blue," "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Mood Indigo." Smith's playing, when he is doing chordal blocking or skittering over the higher register with skillful fingers, exhibits a style that is both graceful and groovy. Taken from sessions in '57, '58 and '59, STANDARDS is at once retro and modern, since Smith augments the nostalgic nightclub feel with the help of chorus settings, volume shifts and other effects. All in all, however, the effect is unified one: a relaxed sound that simply drips with cool.

Jimmy Smith (organ)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Donald Bailey (drums)

1. Little Girl Blue
2. Bye Bye Blackbird
3. I'm Just A Lucky So And So
4. Ruby
5. September Song
6. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
7. Memories Of You
8. But Beautiful
9. Mood Indigo
10. While We're Young
11. It Might As Well Be Spring
12. The Last Dance

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on August 25, 1957, July 15, 1958 & May 24, 1959

Tracks 1-5 originally released as ON THE SUNNY SIDE on Blue Note (1092). Includes liner notes by Ben Sidran.

Howard Roberts | Goodies & Something's Cookin'

Here's a bit of Howard Roberts for ya'll. On Something's Cookin' you'll find Roberts with Charles Kynard on organ, Chuck Berghofer on bass, and Earl Palmer on drums, accompanied by a collection of brass players: Al Porcino, Jack Sheldon, Ray Triscari, John Audino, Shorty Roberts, Bob Bryant; Bob Enevoldson, Frank Rosolino and Ken Shroyer. Vic Feldman does additional percussion. On Goodies, you'll hear Larry Bunker, Berghoferm, Kynard, Shelly Manne, Henry Cain, and on two tunes (Marie and Summer Wind) you'll find our old favorite, Pete Jolly, playing his organ.

Here's a bio from Wikipedia. Roberts was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and began playing guitar at age 8. By the time he was 15 he was playing professionally locally.
In 1950 he moved to Los Angeles. There, with the assistance of Jack Marshall, he began playing with musicians including Bobby Troup, Chico Hamilton and Barney Kessel. In about 1956, Bobby Troup signed him to Verve Records as a solo artist. Around that time he decided to concentrate on recording, both as a solo artist and session musician, a direction he would continue until the early 1970s.
Roberts played rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass and mandolin, both in the studio and for television and movie projects, including:
• Lead guitar in the theme from The Twilight Zone.
• Guitar on the theme from The Munsters.
• Rhythm guitar on the theme from I Dream of Jeannie.

Artists Roberts backed included Georgie Auld, Peggy Lee (Fever), Eddie Cochran (Sittin In The Balcony), Bobby Day (Rockin Robin), Jody Reynolds (Endless Sleep), Shelley Fabares (Johnny Angel), Dean Martin (Houston), The Monkees, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins, and The Electric Prunes.
In 1963, Roberts recorded Color Him Funky and H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player, his first two albums after signing with Capitol. Produced by Jack Marshall, they both feature the same quartet of with Roberts (guitar), Chuck Berghofer (bass), Earl Palmer (drums) and Paul Bryant alternating with Burkley Kendrix on organ. In all he recorded nine albums with Capitol before signing with ABC Impulse.
From the late 1960s, Roberts began to focus on teaching rather than recording. He travelled around the country giving guitar seminars, and wrote several instructional books. For some years he also wrote an acclaimed column Jazz Improvisation for Guitar Player magazine. To support his teaching activities, he founded the Guitar Institute of Technology, and Playback Publishing.
Roberts died in 1992. His wife Patty, also active in musical education and curriculum development, continued in this field after his death.

Jack Sheldon - And His All Stars

Trumpeter Jack Sheldon is heard leading two separate sessions from the late '50s. The earlier supporting cast includes Pete Jolly, Stu Williamson, and baritone saxophonist Billy Root. Several of the arrangements on the first studio date are by Lennie Niehaus, including the uplifting opener, "On Green Dolphin Street," the snappy blues "I'm Also a Person" (composed by Niehaus), and a richly textured chart of "I Had the Craziest Dream." George Wallington scored two snappy originals, "Arrividerci" and "Brown Cow." The mood is much lighter on the second date, with all of the arrangements by Paul Moer, including three originals. Although Art Pepper, Mel Lewis, Herb Geller, Chet Baker, and Harold Land are among the musicians present, this session is still a cut below the first. The playing is at a consistently strong level, even if some of the arrangements and compositions are less than memorable. But fans of cool jazz will likely enjoy this CD. ~ Ken Dryden

Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Art Pepper (alto sax)
Herb Geller (alto sax)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Chet Baker (trumpet)
Conti Candoli (trumpet)
Billy Root (baritone sax)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Red Callendar (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Lennie Niehaus, Paul Moer, George Wallington (arranger)

1. Green Dolphin Street
2. I'm Also A Person
3. I Had The Craziest Dream
4. Arrividerci
5. Brown Cow
6. Anyhow
7. Julie Is Her Name
8. Aplomb
9. Sunset Eyes
10. J.S.

Recorded in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 1957 and March 6, 1959

James Moody - Sun Journey

One of two (the other is Timeless Aura) James Moody LPs on the Vanguard label.This one seems to be quite hard to find. But with this lineup, how can you ignore it:

James Moody - as, ts, s sax
Clark Terry - trumpet and flugelhorn
(on Last Train From Overbrook)
Randy Brecker - trumpet
(on Sun Journey)
Kenny Barron - electric piano
Bob Cranshaw - bass
Roland Prince - guitar
Eddie Gladden - drums
Emanuel Rahim - percussion

Side One:

Side Two:

LP —> GWdeclick —> LAME3.98 vbr0 + scans

AMM - Newfoundland (Matchless)

Having searched the archives it's getting harder to find albums in my limited jazz collection that haven't already been upped... Hopefully this one is new to some of you. It's a wonderfully languid affair and one of my favourites.

AMM - Newfoundland

Review by Brian Olewnick
Since its inception in 1966, the cooperative group AMM has been uncompromising in its commitment to freely improvised music. Often, especially early in its existence, this resulted in a harsh, aggressive sound field, one that even the most inquisitive newcomer might have difficulty approaching. By the mid-'80s, perhaps due to the mellowing that comes with age or the addition of pianist John Tilbury, AMM's music took a turn toward the quieter, more contemplative music evidenced on this release. In fact, Newfoundland, in addition to being one of their finest albums, is also one of the easiest entries not only into AMM, but into electro-acoustic improvisation in general. For this live recording, AMM consists of its founding members, Keith Rowe (guitar and electronics) and Eddie Prevost (percussion), in addition to Tilbury. The disc is a single, 77-minute piece in which the group constructs a breathing, evolving sonic space, ranging from the quietest whispers of softly brushed cymbals to raging electronic maelstroms, all sounding unforced and flowing. Tilbury, well known as one of the world's finest interpreters of Morton Feldman, inserts surprisingly melodic fragments into the proceedings, leavening the more severe sounds emanating from Rowe's guitar (which never sounds like a guitar) and Prevost's percussion arsenal. When, late in the piece, Rowe tunes in a radio program, it somehow sounds perfectly appropriate; it is the exact accent needed at that point. While this recording is a must for fans of AMM or freely improvised music in general, it is also one of the best possible introductions to the genre.

1. Newfoundland (Prevost, Rowe, Tilbury) 76:46

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Culture - Two Sevens Clash: The 30th Anniversary Edition

One of the masterpieces of the roots era, no album better defines its time and place than Two Sevens Clash, which encompasses both the religious fervor of its day and the rich sounds of contemporary Jamaica. Avowed Rastafarians, Culture had formed in 1976, and cut two singles before beginning work on their debut album with producers the Mighty Two (aka Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson). Their second single, "Two Sevens Clash," would title the album and provide its focal point. The song swept across the island like a wildfire, its power fed by the apocalyptic fever that held the island in its clutches throughout late 1976 and into 1977. (Rastafarians believed the apocalypse would begin when the two sevens clashed, with July 7, 1977, when the four sevens clashed, the most fearsome date of concern.) However, the song itself was fearless, celebrating the impending apocalypse, while simultaneously reminding listeners of a series of prophesies by Marcus Garvey and twinning them to the island's current state. For those of true faith, the end of the world did not spell doom, but release from the misery of life into the eternal and heavenly arms of Jah. Thus, Clash is filled with a sense of joy mixed with deep spirituality, and a belief that historical injustice was soon to be righted. The music, provided by the Revolutionaries, perfectly complements the lyrics' ultimate optimism, and is quite distinct from most dread albums of the period.

Although definitely rootsy, Culture had a lighter sound than most of their contemporaries. Not for them the radical anger of Black Uhuru, the fire of Burning Spear (although Hill's singsong delivery was obviously influenced by Winston Rodney), nor even the hymnal devotion of the Abyssinians. In fact, Clash is one of the most eclectic albums of the day, a wondrous blend of styles and sounds. Often the vocal trio works in a totally different style from the band, as on "Calling Rasta Far I," where the close harmonies, dread-based but African-tinged, entwine around a straight reggae backing. Several of the songs are rocksteady-esque with a rootsy rhythm, most notably the infectious "See Them Come"; others are performed in a rockers style, with "I'm Alone in the Wilderness" an exquisite blend of guitar and vocal harmonies. One of the best tracks, "Get Ready to Ride the Lion to Zion," is a superb hybrid of roots, rocksteady, and burbling electro wizardry; its roaring lion (created who knows how) is a brilliant piece of musical theater. "Natty Dread Take Over" twines together roots rhythms, close harmonies, and big-band swing, while even funk and hints of calypso put in appearances elsewhere on the album. Inevitably, the roots genre was defined by its minor-key melodies, filled with a sense of melancholy, and emphasized by most groups' lyrics. But for a brief moment, roots possibilities were endless. Sadly, no other group followed Culture's lead, and even the trio itself did not take advantage of it, especially after parting ways with Gibbs. When Culture re-emerged in the mid-'80s, they swiftly moved into a reggae lite/world music mode a world apart from where they started. Thus, Clash remains forever in a class all its own. [Shanachie issued a 30th anniversary edition of the album in 2007 that adds expanded liner notes and five extra tracks made up of dubs and 12" mixes.] ~ Jo-Ann Greene

This is the correct track order;

1. Calling Rastafari
2. I'm Alone in the Wilderness
3. Pirate Days
4. Two Sevens Clash
5. I'm Not Ashamed
6. Get Ready to Ride the Lion to Zion
7. Black Starliner Must Come
8. Jah Pretty Face
9. See Them a Come
10. Natty Dread Taking Over
11. See Dem a Come (12" Mix
12. See Dem Dub
13. Natty Dread Taking Over (12" Mix)
14. I'm Not Ashamed (12" Mix)
15. Not Ashamed Dub

Sam Noto - Notes to You (1977) [LP > flac]

Sam Noto's first album for Xanadu featured a quartet, just trumpet and rhythm. His second added Joe Romano on tenor sax. Notes to You, Noto's third album, adds Ronnie Cuber on bari sax to make it a sextet. Sam Jones is the only returning rhythm player with Freddie Waits taking over on drums and the incomparable Jimmy Rowles on piano.

Monk's '"Round Midnight" is the only standard, with the rest of the songs written by Noto. These are originals in the true sense with only "Notes to You" based on other chord changes ("I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire").

This will be the last of my Noto on Xanadu posts. He did record one more, Noto-Riety in 1978, but alas, I never did pick that one up. Anyone else happen to have it?

Sam Noto (trumpet)
Joe Romano (tenor sax)
Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Freddie Waits (drums)
  1. Quasinoto
  2. 'Round Midnight
  3. Parley
  4. Cross Chris
  5. Notes to You
  6. Conclusion
Recorded May 18, 1977

Bean and Frog...and Bean

Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster

This 1957 session brings together two of the most important tenor saxophonists in jazz history. Coleman Hawkins is known as the father of the jazz sax, while Webster may be its greatest balladeer. Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster highlights the talents of both tenor men nicely, with Hawkins and Webster consistently complementing each other's playing. In fact, they develop a kind of conversational interplay that is quite beautiful, particularly on the gentle "It Never Entered My Mind" and the slowly swinging "Shine on Harvest Moon." Although the rest of the band consists of stellar musicians (including pianist Oscar Peterson and guitarist Herb Ellis), they concede the spotlight to Hawkins and Webster, whose dual saxophones more than carry the record. Other standout tracks include the sultry ballad "Tangerine" and the Latin-flavored "La Rosita."

Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Alvin Stoller (drums)

1. Blues For Yolande
2. It Never Entered My Mind
3. La Rosita
4. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
5. Prisoner Of Love
6. Tangerine (Duplicate)
7. Shine On Harvest Moon
8. Blues For Yolande
9. Blues For Yolande

Recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California on October 16, 1957

Coleman Hawkins - 1946-1947 (1998)

Another from the excellent and increasingly scarce Chronological Classics label. This "chapter" features work done for the Victor, Camden, Sonora, Ca-Song and Aladdin labels. The range, as is usual for Hawkins, is wide and varied; everything from a Dixieland style tune to state of the art bop ( a previous Hawkins post in this series had what is considered to be the " first official bop record session"). Check out the list of players here - and you can bet that every one of them was honored to be playing with Hawkins.

"Coleman Hawkins was the first important tenor saxophonist and he remains one of the greatest of all time. A consistently modern improviser whose knowledge of chords and harmonies was encyclopedic, Hawkins had a 40-year prime (1925-1965) during which he could hold his own with any competitor."

Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Allen Eager (tenor sax)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Hank Jones (piano)
Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
Kai Winding (trombone)
J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Harry Carney (baritone sax)
Mary Osborne (guitar)
Chuck Wayne (guitar)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Max Roach (drums)

1. Say It Isn't So
2. Spotlite
3. Low Flame
4. Allen's Alley
5. Indiana Winter
6. Indian Summer
7. Blow Me Down
8. Buckin' The Blues
9. Dixieland Stomp
10. I Mean You
11. Bean And The Boys
12. You Go To My Head
13. Cocktails For Two
14. The Old Songs
15. You Said Good-Bye
16. Bean-A Re-Bop
17. Isn't It Romantic
18. The Way You Look Tonite
19. Phantomesque
20. How Did She Look?
21. Under A Blanket Of Blue
22. Never In A Million Years
23. You Were Meant For You

Coleman Hawkins - 1934-1937 (Chronological 602)

Coleman Hawkins was already well on his way to becoming the first master of the tenor saxophone when these sides were recorded. With his ten-year incubation with the heralded Fletcher Henderson band in the past (not to mention fine stints with McKinney's Cotton Pickers and various session outfits), Hawkins moved to Europe in 1934 and proceeded to hone his tough yet romantic sound with a variety of overseas groups. This Classics disc covers the first half of his eventual five-year sojourn. In addition to the four sides with pianist Stanley Black that kick things off, the 22 cuts find Hawkins in the adequate, yet somewhat stiff, company of continental contingents from The Hague, Paris, and various other locales. Hawkins is impressive throughout, though, in spite of the less than swinging environs; thankfully, the ensemble playing heats up quite nicely on the cuts with Django Reinhardt. A few reservations having been aired, this disc's good overall sound and sufficient enough supply of quality solos and cuts make it a title Hawkins fans should seek out. ~ Stephen Cook

Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax, vocal)
Stéphane Grappelli (piano)
Django Reinhardt (guitar)
The Ramblers (Ensemble)
Omer de Cock (tenor sax)
Alix Combelle (tenor sax)

1. Lullaby
2. Oh, Lady Be Good
3. Lost In A Fog
4. Honeysuckle Rose
5. Some Of These Days
6. After You've Gone
7. I Only Have Eyes For You
8. I Wish I Were Twins
9. Hands Across The Table
10. Blue Moon
11. Avalon
12. What a Difference A Day Made
13. Stardust
14. Chicago
15. Meditation
16. What Harlem Is To Me
17. Netcha's Dream
18. Love Cries
19. Sorrow
20. Tiger Rag
21. It May Not Be True
22. I'm in the Mood For Love

Dave 'Fathead' Newman - Straight Ahead

Another LP from my 'bins'! This one I see was reissued on CD, but since there were no bonus tracks I'll settle for this vinyl rip in LAME for my digital collection.



Dave "Fathead" Newman, flute, alto sax or tenor sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Charlie Persip, drums.
Dave "Fathead" Newman plays flute on Night Of Nisan & Summertime; alto sax on Skylark & Congo Chant, and tenor sax on Batista's Groove & Cousin Slim.

Stanley Turrentine - A Bluish Bag

Although Blue Note could boast a roster second to none in its heydays, there were certain artists on the label that were led down more interesting paths than others as their careers progressed. One of these was tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. At first, he would be featured in typical quartet formats or with his brother Tommy as part of a tenor and trumpet front line. Then came time in front of an organ combo, typically with his wife Shirley Scott. As the late 1960s progressed, Turrentine would launch into a new period marked by large ensemble backings first heard on the iconic Joyride (Blue Note, 1965). Other gems to follow would include The Spoiler (Blue Note, 1966) and Rough and Tumble (Blue Note, 1966), both under the direction of arranger Duke Pearson. In a similar vein are the dozen cuts that make up A Bluish Bag, some of which were first released in the 1970s on vinyl. The line-ups on the two sessions featured here are first rate and include such names as saxophonist/flautist Joe Farrell, saxophonist Pepper Adams, trombonist Julian Preister, and pianists Kenny Barron and McCoy Tyner. First up is a 1967 date focused on bossa-tinged numbers and the results are just marvelous, with Turrentine adding just a bit of breathiness to his husky tone. The second outing from 1969 includes several Henry Mancini trinkets and more superb playing by all on hand. The former obscurity of these recordings can surely not be based on any degree of deficiency as they are of the highest order and belong right alongside Turrentine’s other highpoints.

Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Joe Farrell (flute, tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (clarinet, baritone sax)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)
Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar)
Julian Priester (trombone)
Jerry Dodgion (alto sax, alto flute, flute)
Duke Pearson (arranger)

Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax)
Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Tommy Turrentine (trumpet)
Al Gibbons (tenor sax, bass clarinet)
Pepper Adams (clarinet, baritone sax)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Walter Booker (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)
Julian Priester (trombone)
Jerry Dodgion (alto sax, flute)
Duke Pearson (arranger)

1. Blues for Del
2. She's A Carioca
3. Manha Da Carnaval
4. Here's That Rainy Day
5. What Now My Love
6. Samba De Aviao
7. Night Song
8. Days Of Wine And Roses
9. Come Back To Me
10. Silver Tears
11. A Bluish Bag
12. With This Ring

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, February 17, 1967 (1-7) and June 9, 1967 (8-12)

Introducing the Mastersounds - Jazz Showcase

First LP by the Monk & Buddy Montgomery group - 1957

Monk Montgomery - fender bass
Buddy Montgomery - vibes
Richie Crabtree - piano
Benny Barth - drums

LP —> GWdeclick —> LAME3.98 vbr0
Full scans - liner notes by Ralph Gleason

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sonny Rollins - On Impulse!

Timing is everything. I saw a request for this the other day, and there were two copies available at the shop I go to. The price was right, it's Sonny Rollins, et Voilà.

The mid-'60s were a troubled, dissatisfied musical period for Sonny Rollins. ON IMPULSE, recorded in 1965, reflects an occasional vagueness and a tendency to disappear into long, ambiguous improvisations. Despite this, the album includes some brilliant moments that display the kind of discipline and focus the tenor saxophonist is capable of. At his best, Rollins creates a sense of cohesion through his unmistakably distinct phrasing and his subtle way of bringing colors and textures to his music.

In Rollins' hands, the jazz standard "Everything Happens to Me" becomes multi-dimensional, with a variety of shades and nuances not usually found in the song. Another standout is the vigorous calypso tune "Hold "Em, Joe," but Rollins' mastery is illustrated nowhere better than the zippy, high-speed "Three Little Words." Here he never loses his wit, accuracy, or the vividness of his articulation, despite the song's daunting speed and intricacy.

Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)
Ray Bryant (piano)
Walter Booker (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)

1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. Everything Happens To Me
3. Hold 'Em Joe
4. Blue Room
5. Three Little Words

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on July 8, 1965

Pat Flowers - 1941-1945 (Chronological 1060)

Flowers was a disciple of Fats Waller, and tracks 5-20 are from a WNEW memorial broadcast a year after Waller's death. Flowers was, by all accounts, what held the show together.

Pat Flowers was a fine stride pianist whose dedication to playing in a style similar to Fats Waller's at first helped and then ultimately hurt his career. His jivey remarks and vocals lacked Waller's humor and warmth, being a bit distracting and annoying at times, but his piano playing was excellent. This CD has Flowers' first recordings: two trios from 1941 when he was 21, a couple of solo piano-vocals from 1944 (originally put out as V-Discs), and four instrumentals from 1945 (including "Chopin E Minor Waltz" and "Canteen Honky Tonk Boogie") that are enjoyable. The bulk of the CD is taken from a radio broadcast on Feb. 11, 1945, that was a tribute to the recently deceased Fats Waller. All of the selections that involve Flowers are included: piano solos, sextet selections with Fats Waller's former group (including trumpeter Herman Autrey, Gene Sedric on clarinet and tenor, and guitarist Al Casey) plus numbers with a variety of guest stars. Xylophonist Red Norvo is featured on "Honeysuckle Rose," Louis Armstrong is showcased on "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "I Got Rhythm," and there are spots for trombonist Tommy Dorsey, pianist James P. Johnson, and singers Mildred Bailey and Red McKenzie. Overall this is an interesting CD, but one wishes Pat Flowers did not talk quite so much! ~ Scott Yanow

Pat Flowers (piano, vocals)
Louis Armstrong (trumpet)
Mildred Bailey (vocals)
Red Norvo (xylophone)
Red McKenzie (vocals)
James P. Johnson (piano)
Herman Autrey (trumpet)
Gene Sedric (tenor sax, clarinet)

After The Sun Goes Down
Beg, Borrow And Steal
You're Some Pretty Doll
Crazy 'Bout My Baby
Yacht Club Swing
Honeysuckle Rose
On The Sunny Side Of The Street
I Got Rhythm
Joint Is Jumpin'
Early To Bed Medley: There's A Gal In My Life / The Lady Who Sings With A Band / Slightly Less Than Wonderful
Honeysuckle Rose
Ain't Misbehavin'
I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling
Honeysuckle Rose
Keeping Out Of Mischief Now
Blue Turning Grey Over You
Medley: I've Got My Fingers Crossed / Spreadin' Rhythm Around / Living In A Great Big Way
Handful Of Keys
Fractious Fingering
Chopin E Minor Waltz
Original Blues
Eight Mile Boogie
Canteen Honky Tonk Boogie

Tracks 5-20 From The Fats Waller Memorial Show 02-11-45

Curtis Amy and Dupree Bolton - Katanga!

This is a gem which is treasured by those who are familiar with it, not only for the fine musicianship of Curtis Amy but because it is one of the rare recorded examples of Dupree Bolton who amazed everybody that was familiar with him. I know, all these guys who have only 2 or 3 sessions to put forward are always said to be the great lost genius; but before you get a minute and a half into this set, you'll know something special is going on. This appeared as part of the Mosaic Select Curtis Amy set, which is , again, excellent throughout. Trivia question: what does Amy have in common with Lester Bowie?

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

Curtis Amy (soprano and tenor sax)
Dupree Bolton (trumpet)
Ray Crawford (guitar)
Jack Wilson (piano)
Roy Ayers (vibraphone)
Roy Brewster (valve trombone)
John Houston (piano)
Marcus Belgrave (trumpet)
Victor Gaskin (bass)
George Morrow
Doug Sides (drums)
Tony Bazley (drums)

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

Thelonious Monk - Monk In Tokyo

This double-CD package of a single Tokyo gig during Monk's seven-date tour of Japan is being issued in the United States for the first time on compact disc. Of the many bootlegs of the shows Monk played there in 1963, be assured that Columbia has chosen the best one for official release. Recorded in the middle of May in 1963, this was one of the last tours Monk would undertake with the rhythm section of drummer Frankie Dunlop and bassist Butch Warren. The group had been together since 1959, and Monk was looking in new rhythmic directions as he entered fully into his record deal with Columbia. The band comes out steaming with "Straight, No Chaser," with its lyrical off-meter strut swinging through a weird 5/8 time signature. Rouse solos first, winding through a Dexter Gordon ballad ("Star Eyes") and through to some of Monk's faves that would be played later that evening, such as "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and "Evidence." The tone is rough, raw, and punchy. Rouse swung hard his entire life and his '60s-period playing is easily his best. Monk takes up the solo with interesting counterpoint figures at harmonic odds with the key signature of the tune but, true to form, he could bend any pitch worth messing with to get the right harmonic balance. When he starts plunking down cluster chords followed by higher- to lower-register slide runs, the tune's up for grabs. It's Dunlop's dancing drumming and Warren's steady if unimaginative playing here that keeps it grounded. Given the adulation of the Tokyo audience, Monk slides easily into "Pannonica," with his solo quoting "Liza" and "Uptown" in the same eight measures. Rouse is at his level swinging best on "Just a Gigolo." After a rousing and harmonically bizarre ride through "Bemsha Swing," Monk introduces the "Epistrophy" theme and carries it through the rest of the gig in suite form. The tunes between the theme and its full-on jam treatment are "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," "Hackensack," and a stinging "Blue Monk," which creates the seamless opportunity for the band to shift rhythms and changes and move into a harmonically dense yet flowing final round of "Epistrophy." The solos of both Monk (in which he quotes Errol Garner, Bud Powell, and Teddy Wilson) and Rouse (which uses the hard bop approach to go sailing over the band by double-timing the rhythm section) are as breathtaking as they seem effortless. The Japanese audience howls its appreciation, making for a finely recorded ending to this phase of Monk's career. The CD sound is improved over the Japanese issues and far cleaner than either of the LP versions. What's more, no additions or deletions were made from this performance, meaning it was originally issued exactly as it happened. For the many who believe Monk did his best work on the bandstand, this set is a fine point to make in your argument. ~ Thom Jurek

Thelonious Monk (piano)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Butch Warren (bass)
Frankie Dunlop (drums)

CD 1
1. Straight, No Chaser
2. Pannonica
3. Just A Gigolo
4. Evidence (Justice)
5. Jackie-ing
6. Bemsha Swing
7. Epistrophy

CD 2
1. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
2. Hackensack
3. Blue Monk
4. Epistrophy

Sankei Hall, Tokyo; May 21, 1963

James Moody - Never Again!

Nice review of this one at AMG.

JAMES MOODY, tenor saxophone
ROLAND WILSON, fender bass

Side A

Side B

Phil Wilson & Carl Fontana - Live at the Four Queens, Las Vegas (1984)

I recorded this live set in 1984 from an NPR broadcast at the Four Queens in Las Vegas as part of a series of shows hosted by Alan Grant. Phil Wilson was invited to join local resident Carl Fontana and the house rhythm section for this collaboration of two trombone giants.

The opener is "The Way You Look Tonight" taken at a fast clip with Fontana taking the first solo. After Vince Falcone's piano solo, the two trombones trade eights before taking the tune back to the head. "Wave" has Wison playing the melody and Fontana again taking the first solo followed by Phil, Falcone, and bassist Carson Smith. After intros by Alan Grant, Phil Wilson is all by himself with his impression of hearing Duke Ellington play "In a Sentimental Mood". "Stella by Starlight" features Wilson taking the first solo this time with Fontana following the wonderful piano work of Vince Falcone. The set ends with Phil Wilson doing some scat singing on "Billie's Bounce".

If you are a jazz trombone lover then you will not be disappointed. These are two masters in a rare meeting and probably the only time they recorded together.

Phil Wilson, Carl Fontana (trombone)
Vince Falcone (piano)
Carson Smith (bass)
Tom Montgomery (drums)
  1. The Way You Look Tonight
  2. Wave
  3. Introductions by Alan Grant
  4. In a Sentimental Mood
  5. Stella by Starlight
  6. Billie's Bounce

Hampton Hawes - Live At The Jazz Showcase In Chicago, Vol. 1

A really good set from Hawes' later period, he's here with Roy Haynes and Cecil McBee. They do a Sonny Rollins tune, and perhaps it was McBee's suggestion; he had been working with him shortly before. The sparse liner notes are really good nonetheless; it's a blindfold test with Hawes being distinctly opinionated.

Although some of Hampton Hawes' early-'70s recordings found him using electric piano (and sounding less distinctive than usual), this live set is purely acoustic. Hawes teams up with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Haynes for lengthy renditions of "Stella by Starlight," Charlie Parker's "Bluebird," the pianist's "Spanish Moods" and "St. Thomas." Although Hawes resisted any avant-garde influences, his playing on this date often finds him stretching himself past bebop and he is heard throughout in prime form. ~Scott Yanow

Hampton Hawes (piano)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. Spoken Intro
2. Stella By Starlight
3. Bluebird
4. Spanish Moods
5. St. Thomas

Chicago, IL, June, 1973

Art Pepper and George Cables - Goin' Home

Pepper's last years are becoming increasingly recognized as one of the finer closing acts in American music. He was continuously striving to be the greatest living player of his instrument in his last years, and there are many - Gary Giddins for one - who readily concede that he did just that.

This was his last session, and is a duet set with the man Pepper called Mr. Beautiful, George Cables; and the interaction between them is a fine thing to hear. Not the least because this was a direct-to-digital recording. The technology was new to the producer and engineer, so the session was duplicated, and also features Pepper playing his Buffet clarinet, of which he was quite proud. Laurie Pepper says of this set; "I've been to a lot of record dates but none to equal those (Goin' Home and Tête-à-Tête) for sweetness and light and dedicated hard work."

Pepper was a good looking man who showed the ravages of his experiences in later years; but the picture of him on the cover of this album is one of my favorites. He looks as if weight and time had been lifted temporarily. A month later he was dead.

Art Pepper (alto sax, clarinet)
George Cables (piano)

1. Goin' Home
2. Samba Mom Mom
3. In A Mellotone
4. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
5. Isn't She Lovely
6. Billie's Bounce
7. Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?)
8. The Sweetest Sounds
9. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin' (Alternate A)
10. You Go To My Head (Alternate)

Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California on May 11-12, 1982

"If you like Kenny G, just go away. There's nothing for you here." - Laurie Pepper

Thelonious Monk - The Man I Love

This and a companion Black Lion LP were recorded just before Monk's sudden 'retirement' from the jazz scene. Seems to be a hard recording to find these days, unless it has been reissued somewhere I didn't see.

THELONIOUS MONK (piano) (a & b)
AL McKIBBON (bass) (b)
ART BLAKEY (drums) (b)

1. I MEAN YOU (b)


A BLACK LION recording Produced by Alan Bates
Recorded at Chappell Studios,
London 15th November 1971

LP —> GWdeclick —> Lame 3.98 vbr0 + scans

Red Garland - Rojo

Pianist Red Garland recorded frequently with trios for Prestige during the second half of the 1950s. For this set (reissued on CD), Garland, bassist George Joyner and drummer Charlie Persip are joined by Ray Barretto on congas and the emphasis is on forceful swinging. Garland takes such ballads as "We Kiss in a Shadow" and "You Better Go Now" at faster-than-expected tempos. "Ralph J. Gleason Blues" and the Latin feel of "Rojo" are among the highlights of this enjoyable disc. ~ Scott Yanow

Red Garland (piano)
George Joyner (bass)
Charlie Persip (drums)
Ray Barretto (conga)

1. Rojo
2. We Kiss In A Shadow
3. Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
4. Ralph J. Gleason Blues
5. You Better Go Now
6. Mr. Wonderful

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 22, 1958

Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet Plus Two - Short Visit to Nowhere

Short Visit to Nowhere is the companion disc to Broken English, recorded by Peter Brötzmann's tentet on the same dates in 2000. This release contains four pieces, more or less alternating between riff-oriented, driving works and more abstract pieces. Mars Williams' "Hold That Thought" has a North African feel in its sinuous primary theme before giving way to a wonderfully driving secondary structure that serves as a fine underpinning for some raucous free soloing. It's rather reminiscent of Willem Breuker's band at their wildest, but with fiercer soloists. The band switches gears entirely for the wryly titled "Ellington," a composition by Mats Gustafsson that begins in a flurry of key clickings and breath sounds before exploding into various areas, including percussion duets and massed reed formations. Brötzmann's title track is a brutish, lumbering thing, very dark and harsh but powerful for all that. Lonberg-Holm has a strong turn on electrified cello, summoning Hendrix-like ghosts, but the piece sputters a bit out of breath to its conclusion. "Lightbox," the Lonberg-Holm conduction that closes the disc, begins as a well-measured and almost delicate affair before giving way to some amazing work by Mats Gustafsson on baritone and extreme blowing by the entire wind section. Capturing all the brilliance and ferocity of the Brötzmann tentet in the studio and on disc is a thankless task. That this album comes within shouting distance is reason enough to recommend hearing it. Brian Olewnick

Peter Brötzmann (clarinet, tenor sax, tarogato)
Joe McPhee (trumpet, valve trombone)
Ken Vandermark (clarinet, tenor sax)
William Parker (bass, log drums)
Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Hamid Drake (drums)
Mats Gustafsson (baritone and tenor sax)
Jeb Bishop (trombone)
Kent Kessler (bass)
Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello)
Mars Williams (alto, tenor sax)
Michael Zerang (drums)

1 - Hold That Thought
2 - Ellington
3 - Short Visit to Nowhere
4 - Lightbox

Friday, March 14, 2008

Herbie Nichols - Love, Gloom, Cash, Love

Recorded a year after his last landmark Blue Note dates, this album finds Nichols performing in the familiar trio setting again -- this time with Mingus drummer Dannie Richmond and bassist George Duvivier. These performances may be less animated than Nichols' earlier sides as a leader, but that's not to suggest the pianist's writing or playing had become pedestrian or predictable. The absence of the powerhouse drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach makes these ten tunes easier to appreciate upon first listen. Richmond's characteristic bombast and humor are kept in check here. With the drummer maintaining straight, subdued rhythms, Nichols' complex melodies and solos shine that much brighter -- especially on such standout originals as the album's title track, "Beyond Recall," and "S'Crazy Pad." Rhino reissued Love, Gloom, Cash, Love in 2001. ~ Brian Beatty

Herbie Nichols (piano)
George Duvivier (bass)
Danny Richmond (drums)

1. Too Close For Comfort
2. Every Cloud
3. Argumentative
4. Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
5. Portrait Of Ucha
6. Beyond Recall
7. All The Way
8. 45 Degree Angle
9. Infatuation Eyes
10. S'Crazy Pad

Phil Wilson - The Wizard of Oz Suite (1989)

Phil Wilson is another world-class musician who has chosen to stay out of the limelight for most of his career. After making a name for himself as a featured trombone soloist with the Woody Herman band in the early sixties, Wilson chose to devote much of his time and energy to the field of education rather than building a recording career. He has also done a lot of writing, starting with "Basically Blues" for the Buddy Rich band in 1966, and was nominated for a grammy for his arrangement of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" in 1970.

Wilson has been teaching at Berklee School of Music for 22 years and although this is where he chooses to allocate most of his time, he occasionally surfaces to record an album. If you want to hear some of his masterful trombone playing, check out That's All, a quintet album with Al Cohn, or Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive with pianist Paul Schmelling. Both of these were posted here some months ago.

The Wizard of Oz Suite was recorded with the NDR big band in 1989 and is mostly a feature for Wilson's writing abilities, although he does play a little too. Recorded in two sessions, the earlier one included creative arrangements of jazz standards while the second session was for the Oz suite.

Phil Wilson (trombone, arranger)
NDR Big Band
Featured Soloists:
Herb Geller (alto sax) Danny Moss (tenor sax) Walter Norris (piano) Wolfgang Schlueter (vibes) Ronnie Stephenson (drums) Lennart Axelsson (trumpet)
  1. Munchkinland
  2. If I Were King of the Forest
  3. If I Only Had a Brain
  4. We're Off to See the Wizard
  5. Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead
  6. In the Merry Ol' Land of Oz
  7. Over the Rainbow
  8. Perdido
  9. St. James Infirmary
  10. Lady Be Good
  11. Ghost of a Chance
  12. Woodchopper's Ball
  13. I Like the Sunrise
Recorded in May & October, 1989

Red Mitchell and Harold Land - Hear Ye!

In the early '60s, bassist Red Mitchell and tenor saxophonist Harold Land co-led a quintet in Los Angeles. The group did not catch on but they did record one Atlantic set that has been reissued on CD. In addition to the co-leaders, the quintet included trumpeter Carmell Jones, pianist Frank Strazzeri, and drummer Leon Pettis, and, although their original program of six songs was comprised entirely of group originals, the music falls easily into the hard bop area with plenty of fine solos and swinging ensembles. The CD reissue adds two previously unreleased tracks including a lone standard, "I'm Old Fashioned." This is a fine effort from a group that deserved greater recognition at the time. Scott Yanow

Red Mitchell (bass)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Carmell Jones (trumpet)
Frank Strazzeri (piano)
Leon Petties (drums)

1. Triplin' Awhile
2. Rosie's Spirit
3. Hear Ye!
4. Somara
5. Catacomb
6. Pari Passu
7. I'm Old Fashioned
8. The Way I Feel

Paul Smith - He Sells Jazz By The Sea Shore (1965)

Soaring piano work from the great Paul Smith -- a player who's working here with a much more vibrant sound than on some of his Capitol sides of the 50s! Smith's got a much harder approach to the keys than during his "liquid sounds" years -- one that's possibly a bit influenced by some of Oscar Peterson's most successful trio sides for Verve in the early 60s, but which still retains most of Smith's sense of lyricism and flowing energy. -dustygroove

Paul Smith is well-known to jazz fans for his sterling accompaniment on a number of Ella Fitzgerald's best albums, particularly Ella in Berlin. But the veteran pianist has recorded quite a bit on his own, though few of his LPs (like this Warner Bros. album from the 1960s) have been reissued on CD. Joining him on this trio date are bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks (who worked alongside Smith with Ella) and drummer Frank Capp. The music swings throughout this live session taped at the Hunting Horn, mixing numerous standards (including a romp through "Laura"), overlooked gems (such as a furious but intricate rendition of Rodgers & Hart's "Mountain Greenery" that reveals Smith's love of classical music), and imaginative treatments of current pop tunes such as "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" and "Fly Me to the Moon." Of special interest is his anything but mundane approach to the often-recorded "Satin Doll"; Smith interpolates a number of tunes into this warhorse, including "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and Gershwin's "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'." This long unavailable record will not be easy to find, but it is well worth acquiring. -Ken Dryden

Martial Solal & Johnny Griffin - 1999 In & Out

Pianist Martial Solal and tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin have more in common than their status as septuagenarian French immigrants--Solal moved to Paris from his native Algeria in the 1940s, and Griffin settled in southern France in the '60s. Each plays in a unique style, unimitative and unimitated, informed by a virtuosity rarely heard on their respective instruments. Big words, but the facts remain.
Although he boasts an ambidexterity reminiscent of Art Tatum, Solal uses it in a far more understated way, pencil-sketching the fills and fillips of an arrangement where Tatum would have used tempera flourishes. And Griffin--on this recording, especially--can rise above the fireworks riffing of his hard-bop contemporaries; his colossal technique allows him to develop an idea further than many other saxists could take it, at which point he essentially turns his style into the substance of his improvisations. The 8 tunes on this relatively short (47-minute) disc show a matchup that results in at least Griffin's finest work in years. And why not? Performing with the sensitive, constantly inventive Solal must be like playing a jazz concerto grosso as he turns the keyboard into a chamber orchestra of varied colors and voicings to support Griffin's solos, then expands his own brilliant statements to provide echoes and cues for his partner.
On "Neutralisme," a raffish tone poem by Solal, they volley solo snippets with the telepathic empathy of the great jazz partners from Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines through Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. Solal has mesmerized listeners for nearly half a century, but a paucity of U.S. releases has kept him out of the mainstream limelight. In & Out will serve as a splendid introduction for Solal newbies, a reminder of his restless and inspiring creativity for the rest of us, and delightful proof of Griffin's powerful command of line and emotion.
Neil Tesser

1. You Stepped Out of a Dream (7:09)
2. Come With Me (6:05)
3. In and Out (4:46)
4. Hey Now (6:30)
5. Oreille Est Hardie
6. When You're in My Arms (6:38)
7. Neutralisme (4:29)
8. Well, You Needn't (4:59)

Recorded at Studio Damiens (Boulogne-Billancourt, France) on 29 & 30 June and 1 July, 1999

Martial Solal (Piano)
Johnny Griffin (Sax)

Martial Solal – 1983 Bluesine (Solo Piano)

A piano solo recording with the Soul Note label, recorded in Milan (Italy). The program includes 4 Solal songs, as well as several standards (I'll Remember April, 'Round About Midnight, Have You Met Miss Jones?.....). Iniatially influenced by Art Tatum, Solal has also been influenced by Monk or Powell, but always prints his personal style into his recordings. A good oportunity to discover why Solal is included in the elite of jazz piano.

Track List
01 The End of a Love Affair (5:11)
02 Bluesine (2:55)
03 Lover (3:54)
04 I'll Remember April (5:40)
05 Moins de 36 (2:47)
06 'Round About Midnight (6:00)
07 Yardbirdie Suite (3:02)
08 14 Septembre (4:00)
09 Have You Met Miss Jones? (3:40)

Recorded on 18 & 19 January 1983 at Barigozzi Studio, Milan

Martial Solal (Piano)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


the music was hot..

but my baby, was not.

lowell george and the boys joined by the tower of power horn section. a perfect live set.

as i remember it, these guys started out with ties to the mothers of invention/beefheart crew. how strong those ties are at the time of this recording i do not know. if number of plays is any indication, this is easily one of my top ten records of all time. a churnin' urn of burnin' funk. from the promo vinyl.

Duke Ellington - Such Sweet Thunder

Inspired by the words of William Shakespeare, Duke Ellington--possible the greatest jazz composer/bandleader America has produced--composed a suite that is a sublime tribute and could-be soundtrack to the plays of the immortal playwright. Commissioned in 1956 by the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival, Such Sweet Thunder is a 12-part suite in which, as the bard wrote for his company of players, Ellington fashions musical miniatures that evoke and parallel Shakespeare's characters. "Sonnet for Caesar" is dark, somber, full of dissonant twists; "Lady Mac" is light, airy without-a-care ballroom dance music, until the surprise, fraught-with-portent ending; "The Star-Crossed Lovers" is late-night after-hours blues, the music that Romeo and Juliet listened to while holding hands at the No Exit Hideaway club. Ellington got such a unique orchestral sound by writing for the individual strengths and styles of his musicians. Highlights include the lush, luscious tone of alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges and trumpeter Clark Terry (who takes on the role of Puck here). Thunder is a multi-faceted work that you don't have to be a drama student to enjoy--just a music fan.

The 1999 reissue of this album marks a total reconstruction and rethinking of the original LP, and such a complete break from the original album that its story could fill a book. Such Sweet Thunder was originally announced as a stereo and mono release, but only showed up in mono thanks to the technical problems inherent in early stereo, in creating a concert-like ambience in which the performance seemed continuous. The reissue presents the original album as it was intended, using alternate takes from the original sessions, plus the stereo masters of the takes used on the original album, all rounded out with a mono outtake or two. The music itself counts among Ellington's most well-realized "concept projects," all inspired by Shakespeare's work and filled with memorable melodies and ample opportunities for solos by Cat Anderson, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, and Quentin Jackson. The Ellington-Strayhorn compositions treat their soloists like actors doing scenes and, in effect, playing parts, even quoting lines after a fashion -- Clark Terry "plays" Puck in "Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)," and Johnny Hodges turns in one of the most sensuous performances of his career for "Half the Fun," from Antony and Cleopatra. These moments more than justify the cost of the CD, and the bonus tracks, many of which are different takes and others are simply material that came from the same sessions, more than double the length of the original LP. The extended notes by Phil Schaap deserve some kind of award for detail and clarity. Bruce Eder

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

Roland Hanna Trio - Child of Gemini

Here's another hard to find LP that caught my attention whilst looking for that request in the H-bin. Roland Hanna originals with Dave Holland on bass and Daniel Humair à la batterie as they say here in France.

Nice review of this one at AMG

LP —> GWdeclick —> LAME3.98 vbr0

Sonny Criss - The Complete Imperial Sessions

Had alto saxophonist Sonny Criss spent most of the time on the East Coast instead of settling in Los Angeles, he might have become more of a household name. In fact, it wasn't until he made a series of sides for Prestige in the late '60s that he obtained even a modicum of the recognition due him, particularly through the magnificent Sonny's Dream album. Unfortunately, by the end of the '70s he had met his untimely death at the age of 50. While Criss' Prestige titles have been made available ..., his earlier work for Peacock and Imperial has been perennially hard to obtain.

Thanks to the folks at Blue Note, all three of Criss' original Imperial albums have been collected on a new two-disc Connoisseur series reissue. All recorded in 1956, the original releases included are Jazz U.S.A., Go Man!, and Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter. Sound quality for these West Coast sides is superb throughout, with Criss largely working as the sole horn in a small group format. In addition to such names as Barney Kessel, Kenny Drew, Leroy Vinnegar, Larry Bunker, and Lawrence Marable, these recordings also serve as a valuable missing piece in the meager catalog of pianist Sonny Clark, who appears on 22 of the 34 collected tracks. For the uninitiated, Criss might best be described as a cross between Johnny Hodges and Jackie McLean. He's not quite as laid back as Hodges, but his tone is nowhere near as acerbic as McLean's. The words "rich" and "romantic" come to mind. Anyway you describe it, this is some of Criss' finest work and one of the best reissues of the year. C. Andrew Hovan

Sonny Criss (alto saxophone)
Larry Bunker (vibraphone)
Sonny Clark, Kenny Drew (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Leroy Vinnegar, Bill Woodson, Buddy Clark (bass)
Chuck Thompson, Lawrence Marable (drums)

Bill Barron- jazz caper

a great album which surprisingly hasn’t been reissued on cd.
Apparently this was a return to the recording studios after an absence of 15 or so years.

Its good to hear jimmy owens getting some space, he’s someone whos playing ive always enjoyed, but haven’t heard enough of.

Ed Blackwell and buster Williams.. on this… wow..

This is as challenging an extension of the hard bop idiom as one could hope for.
A sadly underrated record.

I think pepper 57 posted another of bill b’s muse albums in the contributions last year
Check that out.. by scrolling down the page to contributions 1

by Scott Yanow
Bill Barron was always a bit overlooked during his career, and after 1968, he spent most of his time as an educator. This set was only his second date as a leader in 15 years, and it shows how the always adventurous tenorman (who doubled on soprano) had continued to advance through the years. Heading a quintet with trumpeter
Jimmy Owens, his brother pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Ed Blackwell, Barron performs seven of his complex but thoughtful originals, including such titles as "Until Further Notice," One for Bird" and "Flip Flop." Intriguing music that rewards repeated listenings
bill barron- tenor and soprano saxes
jimmy owens trumpet
ed blackwell- dr, buster williams- db
kenny barron- pno
rec- nyc ,aug 1978

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Paul Smith - The Good Life (1979)

I've always had a lot of admiration and respect for Paul Smith ever since I heard him as Ella Fitzgerald's accompanist. Here's someone with impeccable technique and taste who could have become a star but instead chose to stay out of the limelight.

"Paul Smith is a brilliant pianist with technique on the level of an Oscar Peterson, but a musician who never really dedicated himself to jazz. After playing early on with Johnny Richards in 1941 and spending a couple years in the military, he worked with Les Paul (1946-1947) and Tommy Dorsey (1947-1949) before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a studio musician. Smith has recorded frequently both with his trios and as a soloist. In addition to recording with Dizzy Gillespie, Anita O'Day, Buddy DeFranco, Louie Bellson, Steve Allen, and Stan Kenton (among others), he toured with Ella Fitzgerald off and on during 1956-1978." - Scott Yanow

The Good Life was first issued on LP in 1979 by Discwasher and had a CD reissue by Voss in 1988. This rip is from the CD.

Paul Smith (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Monty Budwig (bass)
Frank Capp (drums)
  1. Boppo for J.J.
  2. I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You
  3. Madame Butterfly
  4. Someday My Prince Will Come
  5. What I Did for Love
  6. The Good Life
  7. Perdido
  8. Here's That Rainy Day
  9. The Fourth Way
  10. Send in the Clowns
Recorded April 9-10, 1979

Johnny Hodges - Rippin' & Runnin'

Went looking in the H-bin for a request and didn't find it, but this popped out. Unbelievably, it seems not only out-of-print but un-CIA'd too - quite a find if true! Maybe it is included, however, with some collection or complete recordings set I didn't see in a CIA search. If not, you're gonna like it:

Johnny Hodges, alto sax
Freddie Waits, drums
Ron Carter, bass
Willie Gardner, organ
Jimmy Ponder, guitar

Recorded in December, 1968, at A & R Studios in New York City

CUE TIME ................................................4:53
RIO SEGUNDO ..........................................3:23
JEEP BOUNCES BACK..............................5:50
RIPPIN'ANDRUNNIN'* ............................4:13
TOUCH LOVE* ..........................................4:00
TELL EVERYBODY'S CHILDREN* ..............8:23

LP —> GWdeclick —> LAME3.98 vbr0

bill harris and charlie ventura- live at the 3 deuces april 1947

click to enlarge.
here’s one for the bone lovers…
It’s a concert by bill Harris and Charlie Ventura two of the great eccentrics in the music.
Recorded live at the 3 deuces in April 1947.
I love bill harris… the performances here are seat of the pants ..loose and at times wonderfully shambolic.

‘free bop’ …? It reminds me of nothing so much as roswell rudd and archie shepp.. those exiting drawn out sonic brawls/ chases on albums such as live in san Francisco 20 years later.

It turns out two volumes of music from this gig were issued in 1995.. so this is only a third of what exists.

This is ripped from the mono lp, issued for the first time in 1975 on the phoenix label

More bill harris!!
Heres the amg spiel

"Charlie Ventura and Bill Harris made their mark among fellow jazz musicians but both died in obscurity. The reappearance of these historic live performances from 1947 are important parts of their discography, most of them transcribed by collector Jerry Newman during gigs at the Three Deuces. Unlike 78 rpm discs of the era, the musicians get a chance to stretch out at length. Ventura's boppish tenor sax shows the influence of swingers like Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, yet he is clearly speaking a new language on the instrument. Harris is a bit more economical with his notes but no less effective an improviser. The rhythm section features pianist/arranger Ralph Burns, bassist Bob Leininger and the tragic but gifted drummer Dave Tough. While this isn't a complete compilation of their material from this period, it represents most of the highlights. Highly recommended. "

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Charles Fambrough - The Charmer

As usual, bassist Charles Fambrough assembled an impressive all-star group for this CD. Such players as altoist Kenny Garrett, Grover Washington, Jr. (on soprano), trumpeter Roy Hargrove, pianist Kenny Kirkland and even pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (making a rare appearance as a sideman for his own "Beautiful Love") are heard from, along with a few overlapping rhythm sections. The music ranges from light swing and some funky moments to Ibrahim's spiritual piece. Fambrough is generous in allocating solo space, allowing his illustrious guests to make strong impressions. ~ Scott Yanow

Best-known for his stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, bassist Charles Fambrough has led three very effective all-star dates for CTI that were filled with his stimulating originals. He originally studied classical piano but switched to bass when he was 13. In 1968, Fambrough began playing with local pit bands for musicals and after some freelancing in 1970, he joined Grover Washington, Jr.'s band, staying with the popular saxophonist up until 1974. Fambrough was with Airto (1975-1977), McCoy Tyner (1978-1980), and then Art Blakey (1980-1982). Since that time, he has freelanced in many different situations. Fambrough's sidemen on his CTI recordings have included Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Kenny Kirkland, Jerry Gonzalez, Steve Turre, Donald Harrison, Kenny Garrett, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Grover Washington, Jr. ~ Scott Yanow

Charles Fambrough (bass)
Abdullah Ibrahim (piano)
Grover Washington Jr. (soprano sax)
Kenny Garrett (alto sax)
Roy Hargrove (trumpet)
Kenny Kirkland (piano)
Bill O'Connell (piano)
Billy Drummond (drums)

1. Charmer
2. Beautiful Love
3. Alycia/Andrea
4. Oasis
5. Lullaby for Shana Bly
6. Little Man
7. Sparks

Woody Shaw - Rosewood

This Columbia/Legacy recording was the first major label effort from the trumpeter Woody Shaw. Recorded in 1977 at Columbia's famous Studio B on 52nd Street and originally released in 1978, this stands as one of the stronger statements of Shaw's genius as a player, composer, and bandleader. He fronts both his quintet and his larger concert ensemble here and the results are exceptional. Also included are three bonus tracks from a later Columbia recording, FOR SURE. Shaw died young in 1989 but his fire and innovative improvisation survive on ROSEWOOD.

The title track is Shaw's own and features the complex layering of the larger ensemble as arranged by pianist Onaje Alan Gumbs. Shaw's playing on this upbeat, happy tune written to honor his parents is joyful and soaring. The leaping intervals characteristic of Shaw's playing and his ability to just pull out the stops and swing are evidenced in full force on "Rahsaan's Run" (also by Shaw) and on "Sunshowers" by Clint Houston.

Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Carter Jefferson (soprano, tenor sax)
Gary Bartz (alto sax)
Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Steve Turre (trombone, bass trombone)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
James Spaulding (flute)
Larry Willis (piano)
Onaje Allen Gumbs (piano)
Stafford James (bass)
Victor Lewis (drums)
Nana Vasconcelos (percussion)

1. Rosewood
2. Every Time I See You
3. The Legend Of Cheops
4. Rahsaan's Run
5. Sunshowers
6. Theme For Maxine
7. Isabel The Liberator
8. Joshua C.
9. Why

Recorded in New York, New York in December 1977 and December 1979

Great Britain's Marian McPartland And George Shearing

Two sessions released on an early Savoy issue (12016): McPartland's two dates are from early and late 1952 and the Shearing from early and late 1947. At the time of this recording, McPartland had just started her association with the Hickory House: "...and it was there that the pianist grew in stature among her peers and legions of jazz fans, the casual and cognoscenti alike. On any given night those in attendance to hear McPartland play might include Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Steve Allen, Oscar Peterson, Artie Shaw and all kinds of celebrities from Broadway to Hollywood, along with musicians like Bucky Pizzarelli and Paul Bley hoping to sit in with the band."

At the time of Shearing recordings here, he had pretty much established himself as the pre-eminent young jazz pianist in Britain, and had just relocated to New York on the advice of countryman Leonard Feather. "...He quickly absorbed the popular bebop style of the time (his early recordings in England focused mainly on the swing genre), joining the Oscar Pettiford Trio as Erroll Gardner's replacement and leading a quartet with Buddy DeFranco."
He also became one of the most succesful jazz musicians in America- so popular, in fact, that his credentials as a serious musician have been occasionally overlooked.

This CD obviously used discs for the transfer - at least some of the tracks, anyway; there is occasional surface noise. I'm guessing that's not going to bother anybody here.

Marian McPartland (piano)
Max Wayne (bass)
Eddie Safranski (bass)
Mel Zelnick (drums)
Don Lamond (drums)

George Shearing (piano)
Gene Ramey (bass)
Denzil Best (drums)
Curly Russell (bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)

1. It Might As Well Be Spring
2. Gypsy In My Soul
3. Strike Up The Band
4. Love Is Here To Stay
5. Love For Sale
6. Yesterdays
7. All The Things You Are
8. Sweet And Lovely
9. When Darkness Falls
10. So Rare
11. Bop's Your Uncle
12. Sophisticated Lady
13. Buccaneer's Bounce
14. Cozy's Bop
15. Have You Met Miss Jones

Chu Berry - 1937-1941

One has to invest in a few discs to track down most of Chu Berry's recordings as a leader. And while some of his best sides are available from Commodore, there are still many cuts from throughout his career that have been hard to come by. Now, Classics has collected a good chunk of the tenor luminary's solo sides on this welcome collection -- in lieu of a badly needed and thorough retrospective that should include both solo material and tracks from Berry's numerous dates with Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, and scores of other bandleaders and vocalists, this remains the best roundup available. Bookended by a 1937 session with his Stompy Stevedores and four 1941 sides featuring Charlie Ventura (including two alternate takes), this disc's main attraction has to be the eight numbers from Berry's respective 1938 and 1941 sessions with Roy Eldridge and Hot Lips Page. A solid collection that's perfect for newcomers. Now all we need is for the Smithsonian's music arm to resurrect its invaluable, multi-label reissue series, so Berry can finally get his due. ~Stephen Cook

Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Hot Lips Page (trumpet)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Horace Henderson (piano)
Clyde Hart (piano)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Charlie Ventura (tenor sax, piano)
Danny Barker (guitar)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
Milt Hinton (bass)

Chu Berry & His Stompy Stevedores
1. Now You're Talking My Language
2. Indiana
3. Too Marvelous For Words
4. Limehouse Blues
5. Chuberry Jam
6. Maelstrom
7. My Secret Love Affair
8. EbbTide

Chu Berry & His 'Little Jazz' Ensemble
9. Sittin' In
10. Stardust
11. Body & Soul
12. Forty-Six West Fifty-Two

Chu Berry & His Jazz Ensemble
13. Blowing Up A Breeze
14. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
15. Monday At Minton's (What's It To You?)
16. Gee, Ain't I Good To You?

Charlie Ventura - 1946-1947 (Chronological 1111)

DeArango, Charlie Shavers, Red Rodney...

Tenor saxophonist Charlie Ventura (born Charles Venturo) was a byproduct of the Chu Berry/Coleman Hawkins methodology of gutsy swing and early bop improvisation. The Classics Chronological Series did the world an enormous favor when they reissued Ventura's earliest recordings as a leader and followed suit with this fascinating second volume of rare material. Back in Los Angeles during the spring of 1946, Ventura -- still billed on record as "Charlie Venturo" -- paired up with master clarinetist Barney Bigard in front of a rhythm quartet anchored by bassist Red Callender. Two of the four sides waxed on this occasion feature an unidentified male vocalist who sings wistful ballads without doing too much damage. Four sides recorded for the Black & White label in May of 1946 are particularly satisfying for the exchange of ideas between "Venturo," alto saxophonist Charlie Kennedy, trumpeter Red Rodney, pianist Teddy Napoleon, guitarist Allan Reuss, drummer Nick Fatool, and once again bassist Red Callender, who is sometimes called upon to introduce the melody by himself. On September 6, 1946, "Venturo" began a 13-month engagement with the National record label in New York. This was a turning point in several ways: the spelling of the leader's name was altered for the first time to read "Ventura"; the ensemble was expanded to an unprecedented 18 pieces; and Lily Ann Carol, a smooth vocalist with bop touches, was added on two ballads, "Either It's Love or It Isn't" and "Please Be Kind," backed by two instrumentals, a captivating "Misirlou" and a brassy treatment of "How High the Moon." On Ventura's next session for National, more vocals, both cute and romantic and decorated with little bits of bop-flavored scat, were inserted. The rest of the material from this second big-band date features the leader's mellifluous saxophone and, on "Annie, Annie Over," trombonist Bennie Green and the marvelous bop clarinet of Aaron Sachs. This segment of the Ventura chronology closes with a smart bop session featuring Charlie Ventura's American Sextet. After Buddy Stewart sings a sweet ballad and executes a briskly bopped scat routine very closely patterned after the records being made at that time by Babs Gonzales, Ventura slowly pours out "Blue Champagne" and tears into a fiery jam called "Stop and Go." This one track is worth the cost of the entire CD, as Ventura wails along with trumpeter Charlie Shavers, trombonist Bill Harris, and an explosive rhythm section driven by bassist Chubby Jackson and drummer Dave Tough, who was living out the final months of a very turbulent life. It's worth having the entire album just to hear how Tough handles his cymbals on this last cut. ~ arwulf arwulf

Charlie Ventura (alto, tenor sax)
Bill DeArango (guitar)
Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Red Rodney (trumpet)
Tony Scott (clarinet, alto sax)
Ralph Burns (piano)
Teddy Napoleon (piano)
Neal Hefti (trumpet)
Marjorie Hyams (vibraphone)
Chubby Jackson (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)
Dave Tough (drums)

1. Charlie Boy
2. I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do
3. I'm Through With Love
4. The Man In The Moon
5. Chopin's Minute Waltz
6. Slow Joe
7. What Is This Thing Called Love
8. I'm In The Mood For Love
9. Either It's Love Or It Isn't
10. Please Be Kind
11. Misirlou
12. How High The Moon
13. Can't Help Lovin' That Man
14. A.M.-P.M. Son
15. Moon Nocturne - Part 1
16. Moon Nocturne - Part 2
17. I'll Never Be The Same Again
18. Annie, Annie Over
19. Synthesis
20. Soothe Me
21. Blue Champagne
22. Stop And Go

The Caju Collection

Caju Music was a indie company that lasted few years. During his short lifetime, released very good records. The Caju Collection is a compilation taken from instrumental records the company had in its catalog. It includes top musicians, like Raphael Rabello, Paulo Moura, Baden Powell, Marco Pereira, Luiz Bonfá and Cristovão Bastos, among others, who visit different musical genres. A good introduction for those with little contact with Brazilian music and surely a rewarding record for those who know and like it.
Tracks -
1 - Na Baixa do Sapateiro - Marco Pereira & Cristovão Bastos
2 - Domingo no Orfeão Portugal - Paulo Moura & Raphael Rabello
3- Segura ele - Raphael Rabello & Dino 7 Cordas
4- Canção da América - Rildo Hora
5- Baião cigano - Nonato Luiz & Djalma Correia
6- Chorando baixinho - Paulo Moura & Raphael Rabello
7- Batukada - Luiz Bonfá
8- Conversa de botequim - Raphael Rabello & Dino 7 Cordas
9- Manhã de Carnaval - Luiz Bonfá & Márcio Montarroyos
10-Samba do avião - Baden Powell
11- Grande Otelo - Nonato Luiz & Túlio Mourão
12- Pisando em brasa - Canhoto da Paraíba & Raphael Rabello
13- San Vicente
14- Espraiado - Rildo Hora

Red Rodney - The Red Arrow (1957)

These sessions featuring trumpeter Red Rodney were taped in 1957, and listening to them is like discovering a long lost treasure. On the first date, his supporting cast includes tenor saxophonist Ira Sullivan, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Neither Rodney nor Sullivan run out of ideas within their extended solos during "Star Eyes." A soft very effective treatment of the ballad "You Better Go Now" is next, followed by "Stella by Starlight" at a crisp medium tempo. The second session was recorded just two days later, with Elvin Jones taking over the drums. Sullivan switches to trumpet to join the leader (Sullivan played trumpet prior to teaching himself tenor sax) on "Red Arrow," a high energy bop original by Rodney that repeatedly incorporates licks from "Turkey in the Straw." Pettiford's tasty bass is more prominent in Rodney's snappy "Box 2000." The bassist contributed the Latin-flavored "Ubas," which was dedicated to conga player Sabu Martinez (who is not present on this recording); without its Latin rhythm, the piece would sound more like an up-tempo spiritual. - Ken Dryden

This was originally released by Signal and then reissued by a number of labels. I believe there has also been a CD reissue. This particular rip is from the LP released by Onyx, a subsidiary of Xanadu.

Red Rodney (trumpet)
Ira Sullivan (tenor sax, trumpet)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums on 1-3)
Elvin Jones (drums on 4-6)
  1. Star Eyes
  2. You Better Go Now
  3. Stella by Starlight
  4. Red Arrow
  5. Box 2000
  6. Ubas
Recorded November 22 & 24, 1957

Mary Lou Williams - Presents Black Christ of the Andes

Generally regarded as our greatest female jazz musician, Mary Lou Williams composed and arranged for Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie and was an important influence on fellow pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. Williams converted to Catholicism in the mid '50s, and in 1962 she began work on Black Christ of the Andes, the centerpiece of which is a hymn dedicated to the 16th century Afro-Peruvian priest, St. Martin de Porres, featuring a chorus by the Ray Charles Singers. In many ways, this three-part work anticipates Ellington's Sacred Concerts. The rest of the disc blends the sacred and the secular while highlighting Williams mostly in trio settings (often including the MJQ bassist Percy Heath). Williams embraces the whole history of jazz, from the funereal, John Kennedy tribute "Dirge Blues" and the Latin-styled "Koolbonga" to the soul-jazz-tinted treatment of "My Blue Heaven" and her avant-garde solo, "A Fungus A Mungus." --Eugene Holley, Jr.

The Smithsonian Folkways reissue of Mary Lou Williams's 1964 experimental classic Black Christ of the Andes is an excellent package. With four previously unreleased bonus tracks and an annotated booklet including track-by-track notes and accompanying photographs, there is no shortage of extras. Fortunately, one also gets the remarkable original album--a project of great ambition on which Williams melds spirituals, blues, and jazz into a forward-thinking suite that draws the thematic parallel between Christian spirituality and African-American music.

Stylistically, Black Christ of the Andes is nothing if not eclectic. Peppered with spiritually themed a cappella choral pieces, Williams's album spins through a history of modern music. Sophisticated interpretations of familiar tunes (including a smoky "It Ain't Necessarily So) alternate with Williams's originals. The fractured, avant-classical "A Fungus A Mungus," for example, gives way to the fun bounce of "Koolbonga," before closing out with the rollicking "Praise the Lord." The artist's piano skills are on full display here, too; her solos show her roots as a stride pianist, yet also find her conversant with post-bop and modal playing. For its musical range and breadth of vision, Black Christ of the Andes is a stunning and singular achievement.

Mary Lou Williams (piano)
The Ray Charles Singers
The George Gordon Singers
Grant Green (guitar)
Percy Heath (bass)
Larry Gales (bass)
Budd Johnson (bass clarinet)

1. St. Martin De Porres
2. It Ain't Necessarily So
3. The Devil
4. Miss D.D.
5. Anima Christi
6. A Grand Night for Swinging
7. My Blue Heaven
8. Dirge Blues
9. A Fungus A Mungus
10. Koolbonga
11. Forty-Five Degree Angle
12. Nicole
13. Chunka Lunka
14. Praise the Lord

Martial Solal - The RCA Sessions

Here's another hard-to-find recording from the great French pianist-composer, a trio session from 1970 with Gilbert Rovere and Jean-François Jenny Clarke, plus 6 solo numbers recorded in 1971.

CD —> LAME vbr0 + scans

mal waldron- my dear family 1993

zero... brings you another waldron session, this time with grover washington junior , and eddie henderson.
zero asks
" What do you think about saying something about how well received the Waldron fest has been - he's got a huge discography filled with extraordinary material - the fest could run for a long while.
- lots of stuff hasn't been posted yet, at least not in lossless contributions welcome!!!!!!!
zero , yeah im not quite sure what to add other than ...amen ..yep more waldron!
zero and i would be especially grateful for the appearance of a great album ( that i only have as a crappy casette) called "the whirling dirvish" it has never been reissued since its initial run on the french america label circa 1972.
verve did not even deem to reissue one of the jewels of the america label, which tended to focus on more obviously freer things.
another welcome addition would be "explosive encounter"(a trio with gary peacock) from roughly the same period

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Golden Boy

Here's a rather rare Art Blakey LP you might not have seen before. Nothing astonishing by the lads, but a couple of memorable numbers nonetheless, especially listen to the haunting, melancholy arrangement of I WANT TO BE WITH YOU. Sorry it's only in medium quality mp3, the LP itself was not a miracle of modern recording. The lineup:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Irakere - El Coco (1980)

In 1973 the Cuban band Irakere burst on the scene with a revolutionary sound quite unlike anything heard before. It soon gained popularity with US audiences, winning Grammys in 1980 and 1981. Founded and led by pianist Jesus "Chucho" Valdés, (son of the legendary pianist "Bebo" Valdés), Irakere seamlessly blends jazz and traditional Cuban music to an unprecedented degree. Recalling the roots of Afro-Cuban jazz, Irakere's wind section burns with Cubanized be-bop lines. Sometimes the phrases almost seem beyond what is humanly possible. It's no surprise that the group has always had remarkable players such as Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, José Luis Cortés (founder of N.G. La Banda) and many others.

Irakere also experiments with incorporating resonances from Cuba's African roots through the use of traditional rhythms and folkloric drums such as the batá. Using synthesizers, batá drums, rumba, jazz, funk and salsa, Irakere is capable of blending together many genres in a steamy, delectable stew. Irakere has come to represent the cutting edge of contemporary Cuban music and the wondrous possibilities of mixing musical styles.

El Coco was recorded in Tokyo in August of 1980, several months after Paquito D'Rivera defected while in Spain. Even without the presence of Rivera this is one of their better albums, not as commercial as their 2nd one for Columbia. Milestone released it on LP in 1982 but never on CD.

"This out-of-print album features the 1980 version of Chucho Valdes' Irakere, a remarkable Cuban band comprised of four horns and a six-piece rhythm section. Paquito D'Rivera had defected, but trumpeter Arturo Sandoval was still a key part of the music, along with trumpeter Jorge Varona, tenorman Carlos Averhoff, altoist German Urdeliz and the stirring percussionists. The heated band performs four obscurities (including two by Valdes) and an adaptation of a Beethoven melody." - Scott Yanow

Arturo Sandoval (trumpet, trombone)
Jorge Varona (trumpet)
German Velazco Urdeliz (alto sax)
Carlos Averhoff (tenor sax)
Chucho Valdes (keyboards)
Carlos Emilio Morales (guitar)
Carlos Puerto (bass)
Enrique Pla (drums)
Oscar Valdes (vocals, percussion)
Jorge Alfonso (percussion)
  1. Las Hijas de Anaco
  2. Zanaith
  3. El Coco
  4. Ese Atrevimiento
  5. Molinaria
Recorded in Tokyo, August 3-5, 1980

Sonny Stitt - The Hard Swing

Despite the familiar material and nondescript rhythm section (though drummer Lenny McBrowne was highly underrated throughout his career and veteran bassist George Morrow under-utilized during his tenure with Max Roach), Stitt's sound is as golden and radiant as ever, ensuring that each of these songs receives VIP treatment from an artist who, while often suspicious of “creativity” and “innovation,” always placed the highest value on clarity, logic and communication. As a result, his mastery of the saxophone and realization of the melodic soul of his material will remain the gold standard, or point of reference, for many years to come. As most true artists soon discover, “originality” and even “creativity” become meaningful only when one is able to recognize what is inarguably good or consummate. Samuel Chell

Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax)
Amos Trice (piano)
George Morrow (bass)
Lenny McBrowne (drums)

1. Blues For Lester
2. What's New?
3. I'll Remember April
4. Street of Dreams
5. I Got Rhythm
6. Tune-Up
7. Subito
8. If I Had You
9. After You've Gone
10. Way You Look Tonight
11. Presto

NYC, February 9, 1959

Willie Bobo - Bobo's Beat

Willie Bobo pulled an impressive lineup for his debut as a leader, due in part to a profile gained from his work with Cal Tjader and Herbie Mann. Leading the brass section in this midsized group is trumpeter Clark Terry, who lends the necessary grit and fire, while Joe Farrell's burring tenor gives the record dynamic range. Though Bobo's percussion kit is displayed on the front, it's occasionally difficult to appreciate his playing on the record; he sounds bored and in the background during a trio of Brazilian crossover numbers (this was the year of Jazz Samba, after all), leaving organist Frank Anderson to flare his way playfully through his own "Bossa Nova in Blue." Bobo does finally allow himself some solo space at the end of "Capers," after several minutes of brilliant interplay between brass and reeds. The highlight comes with the group's interpretation of Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis," a slow-burning hard bop number with Bobo's timbales shuffle framing more excellent sectioning, with Farrell's tenor and an unnamed trombone positioned in counterpoint to Terry's trumpet. With none of the Latin fire solo features or pop crossover material often found on "Stereo Spectacular" LPs of the day, Bobo's Beat is a jazz fan's delight: great work from all the principles, and a steady sense of inter-relational talents sounding off in close harmony with each other. ~ John Bush

Willie Bobo (timbales, percussion)
Joe Farrell (tenor sax)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Frank Anderson (piano, organ)
Unknown others

1. Bon Sueno
2. Naked City Theme
3. Felicidade
4. Bossa Nova in Blue
5. Boroquinho
6. Crisis
7. Mi Fas y Recordar
8. Capers
9. Let Your Hair Down Blues
10. Trinidad
11. Timbale Groove

Recorded between October 11, 1962 and May 28, 1964

McCoy Tyner - 1997 McCoy Tyner Plays John Coltrane

Tematically related (John Coltrane's music) to my previous post of Tommy Flanagan, this album has also in common the format of trio (piano, drums and bass) and the use of the same drummer (Al Foster) and the same bassist (George Mraz).

Wow, here's a first (or so it seems) -- a tribute to sax legend John Coltrane that doesn't include his arrangement of "My Favorite Things." Working with his trio featuring bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster at New York's Village Vanguard, the pianist instead chose a mix of well-known Coltrane gems like "Naima" (which begins cool and moody, and then heats up into a booming, improvisational jam and -- dare it be said when talking about traditional jazz? -- funk explosion) and "Afro Blue (in a strolling, slightly melancholy take with Tyner gliding over Foster's swift brushes). "Moment's Notice" is wacky and wild from the start, a primer on the power of freeform and swing; Tyner's improv ability has never been more intensely realized. After that, the 12 minutes of the mid-tempo "Crescent" come as a slight letdown despite some booming low-register chord pounding and an increasingly throbbing bassline. "After the Rain" is a somber interlude, while Billy Eckstine's "I Want to Talk About You" is like a cheerful ray of dancing sunlight after the gloom is gone. Like many great live jazz dates these days, the music was recorded direct to two-track analog tape, with no mixing or editing. The show on September 23, 1997, was to celebrate Coltrane's 71st birthday, and this recording brings listeners so joyfully close that they can almost blow out the candles themselves.
Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide

Track listing
1 Naima (12:17)
2 Moment's Notice (7:07)
3 Crescent (12:27)
4 After the Rain (3:46)
5 Afro Blue (12:18)
6 I Want to Talk About You (11:08)
7 Mr. Day (7:20)

McCoy Tyner (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Al Foster (drums)

Recorded live at The Village Vanguard, New York on September 23, 1997

Sarah Vaughan - O Som Brasileiro

Not truly a Pablo release as requested by scoredaddy but a Sarah from that era. Least but not last it got a Pablo's reissue in Japan under the name I love Brazil, with 3 additional tracks which unfortunately I don't have on the original audio CD to rip for you. Anyway, highly recommended for those who love Sarah. A couple more Sarah to come soon.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Charlie Shavers - 1944-1945 (Chronological 944)

After dramatically altering the course of human evolution by making dozens of hot records with the John Kirby Sextet, Charlie Shavers went to work for Harry Lim's amazing Keynote label. The music made on June 8, 1944, is typical of the no-nonsense jam atmosphere that usually prevailed at Keynote. Fronting with Jonah Jones and Budd Johnson, and wonderfully supported by Johnny Guarnieri, Milt Hinton, and J.C. Heard, Shavers sautés his way through each four-minute performance. Edgar Sampson's "Blue Lou" is particularly spicy with its interplay between Hinton and Heard. "I Found a New Baby" is the hottest of all. A V-Disc jam tosses Shavers into the midst of a group of individuals from different stylistic backgrounds. "Rosetta" positively percolates, with exceptionally fine solos from Don Byas' tenor sax and Ernie Caceres' wonderfully soulful clarinet. The mood shifts down to first gear for Linda Keene's session for Black and White Records. Shavers is able to relax and provide easygoing support for this pleasant vocalist. Note the presence of early modern clarinetist Aaron Sachs. A fiery blowing session led by Walter "Foots" Thomas puts listeners back on the fast track with "The Bottle's Empty." This band is fascinating. Ben Webster is at the peak of his powers. Alto saxophonist Milt Yaner turns in a couple of very nice solos, then apparently evaporates from the scene forever. (Who was he?) Billy Taylor and Slam Stewart each show off their best colors. The Classics label has done a wonderful job reissuing material originally brought out on small-time labels. The Vogue Picture Record Company, a division of Detroit's Sav-Way Industries, put out 78-rpm discs with colorful illustrations displayed beneath transparent grooves. Collectors will testify that some of these relics have terrible music on them, but the six titles reissued here are all spectacular early modern jazz. Charlie shares the date with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, presenting four Shavers originals and two ballads. It's a pleasant surprise to hear Shavers sing "She's Funny That Way," but the sparks really fly during "Dizzy's Dilemma" and "Broadjump." "Musicomania" trots at an easier pace, as does "Serenade to a Pair of Nylons." Fortunately, Classics has included the original illustration displayed on this particular disc: a splendidly rendered pair of stocking-encased "gams" in high heels with a photo of Shavers' rather bemused face superimposed near the pretty left foot. ~ arwulf arwulf

Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Buddy DeFranco (clarinet)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Budd Johnson (tenor sax)
Jonah Jones (trumpet)
Specs Powell (drums)
Slam Stewart (bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)
Trummy Young (trombone)
Ernie Caceres (clarinet, baritone sax)
J.C. Heard (drums)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Billy Taylor (piano)

1. You're Driving Me Crazy
2. I'm In The Market For You
3. Blue Lou
4. I Found A New Baby
5. Rosetta
6. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You
7. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
8. Blues On My Weary Mind
9. I Must Have That Man!
10. The Bottle's Empty
11. Save It, Pretty Mama
12. For Lovers Only
13. Peach Tree Street Blues
14. She's Funny That Way
15. Serenade To A Pair Of Nylons
16. Dizzy's Dilemna
17. Broadjump
18. Musicomania
19. If I Had You

Duke Pearson - Prairie Dog

Harold Vick, y'all.

"Pearson was introduced to brass instruments and the piano as a youth, and his abilities on the latter inspired his uncle, an Ellington admirer, to give him his nickname. Dental problems forced Pearson to abandon the brass family, so from there, he worked as a pianist in Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia and Florida before moving to New York in 1959. There, he joined Donald Byrd's band, the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Sextet, and served as Nancy Wilson's accompanist. In 1963, he arranged four numbers for jazz septet and eight-voice choir on Byrd's innovative A New Perspective album; one of the tunes was "Cristo Redentor," which became a jazz hit. From 1963 to 1970, Pearson was in charge of several recording sessions for Blue Note, while also recording most of his albums as a leader. He also led a big band from 1967 to 1970 and again in 1972, hiring players like Pepper Adams, Chick Corea, Lew Tabackin, Randy Brecker and Garnett Brown. Pearson continued to accompany vocalists in the 1970s, such as Carmen McRae, but he spent a good deal of the latter half of the decade fighting the ravages of multiple sclerosis. "~ Richard S. Ginell

Duke Pearson (celeste, piano)
Johnny Coles (trumpet)
Gene Bertoncini (guitar)
Bob Cranshaw (bass )
George Coleman (tenor sax)
Harold Vick (tenor, soprano sax)
Mickey Roker (drums)
James Spaulding (flute, alto sax)

1. The Fakir
2. Prairie Dog
3. Hush-A-Bye
4. Soulin'
5. Little Waltz
6. Angel Eyes

Art Pepper - ...The Way It Was!

Released in 1972, but recorded 16 years earlier, this album was an important one for Pepper. It features his first liner notes, and one of his best - in his own opinion - solos, in "Autumn Leaves."

Despite his very erratic lifestyle, altoist Art Pepper never made a bad record. This collection is better than most. The first four titles team together Pepper with tenor-saxophonist Warne Marsh, pianist Ronnie Ball, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Gary Frommer for generally intriguing explorations of four standards. One can feel the influence of Lennie Tristano (with Pepper in Lee Konitz's place) although Pepper had his own sound and a more hard-swinging style. The success of the Pepper-Marsh frontline makes one wish that they had recorded together again. The other three selections are leftovers from a trio of classic Pepper albums and all are quite worthwhile. Pepper is heard backed by three separate rhythm sections which include pianists Red Garland, Dolo Coker or Wynton Kelly, either Paul Chambers or Jimmy Bond on bass and Philly Joe Jones, Frank Butler or Jimmy Cobb on drums. Overall this album sticks to bop standards and finds Art Pepper in top form. -- Scott Yanow

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Warne Marsh (tenor sax)
Ronnie Ball, Red Garland, Dolo Coker, Wynton Kelly (piano)
Ben Tucker, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Bond (bass)
Gary Frommer, Philly Joe Jones, Frank Butler, Jimmy Cobb (drums)

1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
2. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me (Alternate Take)
3. All The Things You Are
4. All The Things You Are (Alternate Take)
5. What's New
6. Tickle Toe
7. The Man I Love
8. Autumn Leaves
9. The Way You Look Tonight

Phineas Newborn Jr. - The Great Jazz Piano of Phineas Newborn Jr.

This recording lives up to its title. In his prime, Phineas Newborn had phenomenal technique (on the level of an Oscar Peterson), a creative imagination, and plenty of energy. These trio sessions (with Leroy Vinnegar or Sam Jones on bass and either Milt Turner or Louis Hayes on drums) feature Newborn displaying plenty of heat and fresh ideas on compositions by Bud Powell, Bobby Timmons, Benny Golson, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis (along with two of his own). This is piano jazz at its highest level. ~ Scott Yanow

" It might be argued that this (hand injury), compounded by a growing self-doubt, made him a more expressive player: The best of these sides are genuinely moving, as when on "Prelide To A Kiss", he restates the theme in octaves and floats it away over his own restatement, like a ghost score." Penguin Guide

Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Milt Turner (drums)
September 12, 1962

Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)
November 21, 1961

1. Celia
2. This Here
3. Domingo
4. Prelude To A Kiss
5. Well, You Needn't
6. Theme For Basie
7. New Blues
8. Way Out West
9. Four

The Modern Jazz Quartet - Concorde

After issuing 10" EPs for several years, Concorde (1955) marked two significant touchstones in the five-plus-decade career of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ). One of those was the replacement of co-founder Kenny Clarke (drums) with former Lester Young quintet member Connie Kay (drums), who joined in time for the other hallmark -- this, the MJQ's very first full-length long-player. Kay remained with the combo for the better part of four decades, until his passing in 1994. The transition between percussionists is both smooth as well as sensible. Kay's understated rhythms and solid timekeeping are perfectly suited to the clever arrangements and sophisticated sound of Milt Jackson (vibraphone), John Lewis (piano) and Percy Heath (bass). One MJQ constant is the blend of classic covers and stunning original compositions that comprise their releases. Concorde is certainly no exception as the effort kicks off with a mid-tempo Jackson's "Ralph's New Blues." Immediately, Kay's contributions are ample yet discrete, as he interacts with a consistent backbeat, supporting the tasty vibe runs and improvisations from the tune's author. The title track "Concorde" is the other tune to be derived from within the band. Lewis' effervescent syncopation drives through the heart of the melody, with the pianist laying down essential interplay. Once again Kay impresses with well-placed ringing interjections that never overpower the soloist. Most notable among the reworked popular standards are the slightly brooding opulence of Cole Porter's "All of You" and the fugal, if not slightly Third Stream approach taken on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" from the short-lived collaborations of Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II. However, the centerpiece is undoubtedly the four selections within the "Gershwin Medley." The interpretations of "Soon," "For You, For Me Forevermore," "Love Walked In" and "Our Love Is Here to Stay" are nothing short of definitive. They collectively provide keen insight into the inner-workings of the MJQ and their collective abilities to improvise with purpose, rather than simply combining aimless solos. All manner of post-bop jazz listeners will find much to enjoy throughout Concorde. ~ Lindsay Planer

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

1. Ralph's New Blues
2. All Of You
3. I'll Remember April
4. Gershwin Medley:
Soon/For You, For Me
ForeverMore/Love Walked In
Our Love Is Here To Stay

5. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
6. Concorde

NYC, July 2, 1955

Thelonious Monk - Monk

The end of Monk's Prestige period included some remarkably inventive and adventurous music; which isn't always played as well as it deserves....(this CD contains) four quintet tracks from May 1954 featuring Copeland and Foster on "We See', "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", "Locomotive", and the too-little-played "Hackensack", ... Penguin Guide

Thelonious Monk's Prestige recordings (reissued on three LP-length CDs) have been somewhat neglected through the years but, with the exception of a date for Vogue, they are the only documentation that exists of the unique pianist-composer's work as a leader during the latter half of 1952 through 1954. This set has four numbers (including Monk's originals "Wee See," "Locomotive" and the catchy "Hackensack") featuring Monk with trumpeter Ray Copeland (an underrated player), tenor saxophonist Frank Foster, bassist Curly Russell and drummer Art Blakey. However it is "Let's Call This" and the two versions of "Think of One" that are best-known, for Monk teams up with the French horn wizard Julius Watkins, bassist Percy Heath, drummer Willie Jones and the great tenor Sonny Rollins. Every Thelonious Monk recording is well worth getting although this one is not quite essential. ~ Scott Yanow

Thelonious Monk (piano)
Ray Copeland (trumpet)
Frank Foster (tenor sax)
Curly Russell (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, May 11, 1954

Thelonious Monk (piano)
Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Percy Heath (bass)
Willie Jones (drums)
NYC, November 13, 1953

1. We See
2. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
3. Locomotive
4. Hackensack
5. Let's Call This
6. Think of One (Take 2)
7. Think of One (Take 1)

Freddie Hubbard - Goin' Up

Freddie Hubbard's GOIN' UP is an excellent all-star date in the classic Blue Note tradition. Considered an up-and-comer at the time, Hubbard is in stellar form here. He displays sharp technical skills and a daring sense of adventure. Hubbard's sound is a logical descendant of Clifford Brown's, but a bright, distinctive shimmer hints at even greater things to come. This hard swinging session with Hank Mobley, McCoy Tyner, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones is a fine showcase for Hubbard's emerging talents and a foreshadow of his tenure with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

Fellow trumpeter Kenny Dorham contributes two to GOIN' UP. The classic "Asiatic Raes" is a punchy burner with driving solos, and "Karioka" is another fiery number featuring vigorous rhythms by the incomparable Jones. Hubbard and Mobley are a perfect match on the front line, evidenced on two Mobely-penned numbers--the bluesy "The Changing Scene" and the intricate bopper "A Peck A Sec." The ageless ballad "I Wish I Knew" features Hubbard's most sensual treatment, his dark, controlled tones followed by tasteful solos from Mobley and Tyner. This most enjoyable session closes with the bouncing "Blues For Brenda," another fine offering from the trumpeter's pen.

Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Asiatic Raes
2. The Changing Scene
3. Karioka
4. A Peck A Sec.
5. I Wished I Knew
6. Blues For Brenda

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on November 6, 1960

Bill Evans - Eloquence

This interesting album was originally released posthumously in 1982. Pianist Bill Evans is featured on four duets with his longtime bassist Eddie Gomez in 1974-75, exploring a quartet of superior standards. The second half of the program (which dates from 1973 and 1975) is not on the same level. Evans is heard playing two songs he was not all that familiar with late at night at a club, and he performs two other songs and a wandering medley while rehearsing in a recording studio. Being a musical perfectionist, it is a bit doubtful if he would have wanted this music to be released although longtime Bill Evans collectors will find the explorations to be intriguing. ~ Scott Yanow

Just for the record: four of these tracks are duos with bassist Eddie Gomez, two that never made the "Intuition" album, and two left over from the "Montreaux III" duo performance. They are of a high quality and all are legitimately fine performances. Gomez was at the peak of his tenure with Bill, and reads the pianist' s many nuances as if by magic.

The other five selections are Bill Evans solo recordings from the sessions that eventually yielded the "Alone Again" album (released in 1976). A bonus is a brief medley of two Cy Coleman tunes, "When In Rome" (which Evans only recorded once, with Tony Bennett) and "It Amazes Me". These were recorded 'live' at the end of a trio date, with just Bill on piano, at one of his favorite west coast venues, Shelly's Manne-Hole jazz club in 1973. They are, in the last analysis, perhpas still being "worked out" by Bill, but with Evans' legendary perfecrionist tendencies, they are wholly legitimate renditions.

In the solo studio material we can hear him investigating, probing, running through some tunes he knew well, though sometimes tenuously, as we hear. (It's great to once again hear "Isn't it Romantic", which he was doing in the mid-sixties with the trio.)These are obviously tracks not intended for release by the artist. They are not always successful, but they are always fascinating, such was the high caliber of his work.

Somewhat an uneven CD as a whole, since it is a posthumously released album of course, and taken from four different recording situations spanning 1973-75, some live and some studio. However, Bill was hardly, if ever, sub-par. Nonetheless, not unlike the December 1963 solo sessions for Riverside, it is still quite a worthwhile insight into the genius of Evans at work, whether the "prober" or the "achiever". ©Jan Stevens

Bill Evans (acoustic, electric piano)
Eddie Gomez (bass)

1. Gone With The Wind
2. Saudade Do Brasil
3. In A Sentimental Mood
4. But Beautiful
5. All Of You
6. Since We Met
7. But Not For Me / Isn't It Romantic / The Opener
8. When In Rome / It Amazes Me

Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California from November 7-10, 1974 and December 16-18, 1975

Montreux, Switzerland on July 20, 1975

Shelly's Manne Hole, Hollywood, California in November 1973


Andrew hill
les trinitaires ‘ 1998
live at the trinitaires cathedral feb 10th and 11th 1998

I cant find a single online review of this, album….

What is there to say ..its a luminescent masterpiece and hills last complete solo album.
Beautiful , may he rest in peace.

Joanne, whats new?, little spain, 15/8, metz, dusk 1, labyrinth, seven, dusk 2
Ill be seeing you.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sam Noto - Act One (1975)

With the release of Act One, his second for Xanadu, Sam Noto and producer Don Schlitten put together another fine rhythm section and added the excellent Joe Romano on tenor sax. Romano played with Woody Herman's band in the '60's, Buddy Rich in the '70's, and on occasion with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. His stylistic approach is in the early Sonny Rollins vein with a tip-of-the-hat to Coltrane. This makes for a good pairing with Noto who comes from the school of Clifford Brown. In fact, they played together back in the mid-60's in a quintet at the Renaissance in Buffalo, a jazz coffee house that was owned by Noto.

Noto and Romano are but two of a whole delegation of Italians from upstate New York that came onto the scene in the fifties and sixties. Others from that group include J.R. Monterose, Sal Nistico, Frank Strazzeri, Gus Mancuso, Sal Amico, Chuck and Gap Mangione, Don Menza, and Nick Brignola.

All of the music on this LP except for the ballad medley was composed by Sam Noto.

Sam Noto (trumpet)
Joe Romano (tenor sax)
Barry Harris (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
  1. Act One
  2. Medley: I Should Care/What Is There to Say/You Are Too Beautiful
  3. Aries
  4. Upstate Association
  5. Wavelength
  6. Contact
Recorded on December 1, 1975

jack and pupi

here's a couple to work it out with on a sunny saturday. two artists that are too legit to quit. in the high fidelity that golden tone and seeco have come to be known for. get some booze, add some sugar and something green, shake it up, and shake it up.

Zoot Sims - Goes to Jazzville

Zoot here with a backing group (Williams and Anthony) that worked mostly with Stan Getz - they appear together on the Shrine album. Lloyd appeared - playing bass trumpet - on George Wallington's Prestidigitator album and on several things with Gerry Mulligan. Bill Anthony's sister lives in my town, and was once telling me stories about her brother, and John Williams, and Frank Isola and others. A nice lady.

"Zoot Sims Goes to Jazzville sets him alongside the little-known (Jerry) Lloyd, who does nothing to disgrace himself and has a light though rather short-breathed style. Zoot plays alto on four tracks, and a surprise choice is Monk's "Bye-Ya". The original LP programme is bolstered by six extra tracks, four of the "new"." Penguin Guide

Zoot Sims (alto, tenor sax)
Jerry Lloyd (trumpet)
John Williams (piano)
Bill Anthony (bass)
Knobby Totah (bass)
Gus Johnson (drums)

1 You're My Girl
2 ThePurple Cow
3 Ill Wind
4 TheBig Stampede
5 Too Close For Comfort
6 Jerry's Jaunt
7 How Now Blues
8 Bye-Ya
9 I Cover the Waterfront
10 Blues For The Month Of May
11 I Should Care
12 Mixed Emotions
13 How Do I Love You?
14 Knotty Pine

Recorded in NYC on August 10th and September 4th, 1956

Ran Blake- painted rhythms- vol 2 1988

For ramon
Here’s an incandescent beauty!!
Does anyone have vol-1?

Amg spiel
The first volume of Painted Rhythms, from the same sessions as its partner, was an excellent introduction to pianist Ran Blake's style, for it included his reharmonizations of a variety of jazz standards and obscurities.

The second volume ranges from Blake's often-scary originals ("Shoah!," "Babbit," "Storm Warning") to 1,000-year-old melodies written by Spanish Jews and a fourth reinterpretation of "Maple Leaf Rag" (the first three were on the first volume). Throughout, Blake was quite concise (only "Shoah!" exceeded four minutes and seven other sketches were under two), very expressive, and, as usual, totally individual.

Friday, March 7, 2008

John Handy - The 2nd John Handy Album

Altoist John Handy's second Columbia album was actually his fourth as a leader. Utilizing the same musicians who had joined him during his sensational set at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival (violinist Michael White, guitarist Jerry Hahn, bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke), Handy performs five of his complex yet accessible originals, which include the "Theme X" (in 5/4 time), the catchy "Blues for a Highstrung Guitar," and the adventurous "Scheme #1." The CD reissue adds three previously unissued alternate takes to the earlier program. This would be the unit's only studio album, and after disbanding, they did not reunite until 1994. The memorable music is highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

The group chemistry is the main point of interest for jazz listeners.... Handy is also a master of the sax and his cohorts rate high as soloists and even higher as group players, all of which assures a deserved continued interest, and three previously unheard tracks add to that. But if one long (13:46) piece version made a record worth buying, "Scheme #1") here is surely that piece.... The group's togetherness raises this performance to a level no other third stream music ever reached. Jazz Times

John Handy (alto sax)
Michael White (violin)
Jerry Hahn (guitar)
Don Thompson (bass)
Terry Clarke (drums)

1. Dancy Dancy
2. Theme X
3. Blues For A Highstrung Guitar
4. Dance For Carlo B
5. Scheme #1
6. A Bad Stroke Of Luck
7. Blues For A Highstrung Guitar (alt)
8. Debonair

July, 1966

Aretha Franklin - Rare & Unreleased Recordings

“We've discovered a treasure trove of vintage Aretha that's nothing short of thrilling. Aretha's outtakes are the sort of performances most artists would be proud to call first choices.” - Jerry Wexler, in the liner notes

Nearly every music legend leaves behind a slew of unreleased songs, alternate takes of released tunes, and live and demo material. To collectors, such detritus from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and others is manna from heaven. Aretha Franklin's first six years with Atlantic Records generated its own sheaf of unreleased songs and rarities, lovingly compiled into a chronological two-CD collection. Raw 1966 demos of her first Atlantic hit "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Dr. Feelgood" from her debut album open the gates to an embarrassment of riches from 1967 to 1973, most eventually recorded for other albums. The explosive, gospel-flavored "The Letter" and "It Was You," recorded during the Aretha Arrives sessions, are masterpieces, as is her extraordinary spin on the Beatles' "The Fool on the Hill," given to Franklin by Paul McCartney and released on Magical Mystery Tour only after her version never appeared. Her soulful take on "My Cup Runneth Over" renders Ed Ames's syrupy '60s-pop version irrelevant and it's difficult to see why the down-and-dirty blues "Do You Know" from her Other Side of the Sky sessions never appeared. A live duet with Ray Charles on Duke Ellington's "Ain't But the One" from a 1973 Ellington salute on CBS is followed by an eloquent takes on Etta James's hit "At Last" and Nat King Cole's "Love Letters." With knowing, poignant reminiscences from Atlantic's legendary Jerry Wexler, Franklin's producer during these years, it's an overdue, eminently fulfilling journey beyond her classics. --Rich Kienzle

CD 1
1. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Demo)
2. Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business) (Demo)
3. Sweet Bitter Lover (Demo)
4. It Was You (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
5. The Letter (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
6. So Soon (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
7. Mr. Big (Aretha Now Outtake)
8. Talk To Me, Talk To Me (Soul '69 Outtake)
9. The Fool On The Hill (This Girl's In Love With You Outtake)
10. Pledging My Love, The Clock (Single B-Side)
11. You're Taking Up Another Man's Place (Spirit In The Dark Outtake)
12. You Keep Me Hangin' On (This Girl's In Love With You/Spirit In The Dark Outtake)
13. I'm Trying To Overcome (This Girl's In Love With You/Spirit In The Dark Outtake)
14. My Way (Spirit In The Dark Outtake)
15. My Cup Runneth Over (Young, Gifted And Black Outtake)
16. You're All I Need To Get By (Take 1)
17. You're All I Need To Get By (Take 2)
18. Lean On Me (Single B-Side)

CD 2
1. Rock Steady (Alternate Mix - Young, Gifted And Black Outtake)
2. I Need A Strong Man (The To-To Song) (Young, Gifted And Black Outtake)
3. Heavenly Father (Young, Gifted And Black Outtake)
4. Sweetest Smile And The Funkiest Style (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
5. This Is (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
6. Tree Of Life (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
7. Do You Know (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
8. Can You Love Again (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
9. I Want To Be With You (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
10. Suzanne (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
11. That's The Way I Feel About Cha (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) Outtake)
12. Ain't But The One (with Ray Charles)
13. The Happy Blues (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
14. At Last (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
15. Love Letters (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
16. I'm In Love (Alternate Vocal - Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
17. Are You Leaving Me (Demo)

Louie Bellson - Thunderbird (1963?)

Another gem of an LP that deserves to be preserved on CD. There was a late nineties Japanese pressing but those imports tend to go in and out of print so fast that they hardly count. This rip is from the original stereo LP release by Impulse!

This octet session features a front line of Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, Carl Fontana on trombone and Sam Most on alto sax along with little-known players Ed Scarazzo on tenor sax and Jim Mulidore on baritone sax. Arnold Teich on piano and Jim Cook on bass round out the rhythm section with Bellson on drums. The cover spells his name Louis but he preferred Louie.

There is a little confusion about the recording date as the cover says 1966 but the liner notes by Stanley Dance infer that the session took place in 1963 around the time that this group was working at The Thunderbird in Las Vegas. I would lean toward '63 as the actual recording year.

Highlights include an early version of Thad Jones' "The Little Pixie", an up-tempo "Cottontail" that gives some solo space to everyone, and "Back on the Scene" which is a feature for the virtuoso playing of Carl Fontana.

Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Carl Fontana (trombone)
Sam Most (alto sax)
Ed Scarazzo (tenor sax)
Jim Mulidore (baritone sax)
Arnold Teich (piano)
Jim Cook (bass)
Louie Bellson (drums)
  1. Thunderbird
  2. The Little Pixie
  3. Nails
  4. Serenade in Blues
  5. Back on the Scene
  6. No More Blues (Chega de Saudade)
  7. Cottontail
  8. Softly With Feeling

Ronnie Cuber - The Eleventh Day of Aquarius

LP rip. FLAC. No scans

Thanks to alpax for the pictures now displayed here

This one is probably the last of my LP rips. It was the first on
my list but at the time I decided against including it because
it had many faults, particularly at the start of the first track.
However, with a lot of expert help from ramson, it has been
knocked into shape and is now quite reasonable I think.

The album has not as far as I know been issued on CD.

AMG - Baritonist Ronnie Cuber performs six fairly recent compositions
(including his own "Klepto") on this quintet set with trumpeter
Tom Harrell, pianist Mickey Tucker, bassist Dennis Irwin and
drummer Eddie Gladden. The music is essentially advanced hard
bop performed by underrated but talented jazz improvisers. A
fine workmanlike date, most notable for featuring Cuber's
deep-toned baritone.

Tom Harrell - trumpet, flugelhorn
Ronnie Cuber - baritone sax
Mickey Tucker - piano
Dennis Irwin - bass
Eddie Gladden - drums

1 Klepto
2 Open Air
3 Sunburst
4 Taurus Lullaby
5 Commit to Memory
6 Cumana

Al Green - I'm Still In Love With You

Yes, I know, you have this in vinyl, 8-track, cassette...but when's the last time you put this on? Lemme guess...well, in terms of a record-played-to-knickers-off ratio, I'd guess he even beat Johnny Mathis.

"There are few perfect records in the world, but Al Green's I'm Still In Love With You may be one of them. Backed by producer Willie Mitchell's phenomenal stable of musicians, including drummer Al Jackson and the three Hodges brothers, Green reached deep into his soul to pull out one of the finest recordings of his (and, arguably, anyone else's) career. The opening title track is classic Green, with staccato punctuation from the Memphis Horns and Jackson's relaxed, syncopated drum pattern setting the stage for the singer's luxurious, silk-voiced expressions of devotion.

The drums and slinky organ riff that kick off "So Glad You're Mine" are irresistible, while the inventive chord progression and infectious call and response section help make "Love And Happiness" one of the singer's finest moments. Continuing his tradition of turning unlikely outside material into gorgeous R&B, Green works his soulful magic on Kris Kristofferson's ballad "For The Good Times" and Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman." The high point comes with "Simply Beautiful," an aptly titled tune that finds Green weaving his ethereal falsetto in and around a hypnotic groove with a grace that justifies his reputation as the king of R&B crooners. In truth, I'm Still In Love With You is almost too good to believe. Not incidentally, it set the standard for the next 20-plus years of R&B music."

Al Green (vocals)
Tennie Hodges (guitar)
Andrew Love, Ed Logan (tenor sax)
James Mitchell (baritone sax)
Wayne Jackson (trumpet)
Jack Hale (trombone)
Charles Hodges (piano, organ)
Leroy Hodges (bass)
Howard Grimes (drums)
Rhodes, Chalmers & Rhodes (background vocals)

1 - I'm Still in Love With You
2 - I'm Glad You're Mine
3 - Love and Happiness
4 - What a Wonderful Thing Love Is
5 - Simply Beautiful
6 - Oh, Pretty Woman
7 - For the Good Times
8 - Look What You Done for Me
9 - One of These Good Old Days

Roy Haynes with Booker Ervin - Cracklin'

Most of drummer Roy Haynes' dates as a leader put the focus on a star soloist. For this CD reissue, Haynes is joined by pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Larry Ridley, and the great tenor Booker Ervin. Ervin's unique sound, soulful yet very advanced, is well showcased on "Under Paris Skies" and originals by Mathews, Haynes, and Randy Weston ("Sketch of Melba"), along with his own "Scoochie." ~ Scott Yanow

"...Cracklin' is more mainstream but the fizz and pop are still very much there, and Haynes' polyrhythms are all the more evident for not being eclipsed by such an idiosyncratic frontman. Which isn't to say that Ervin is less than exemplary. His solo on "Under Paris Skies" is first rate and Mathews's accompanimentpushes a rather slight vehicle to the limit." Penguin Guide

Roy Haynes (drums)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Ronnie Mathews (piano)
Larry Ridley (bass)

1. Scoochie
2. Dorian
3. Sketch Of Melba
4. Honeydew
5. Under Paris Skies
6. Bad New Blues

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 10, 1963

Charlie Parker - Charlie Parker Memorial Vol.1

1993's 20-track CHARLIE PARKER MEMORIAL VOLUME ONE is part of the same Atlantic/Savoy CD reissue series that produced 1991's outstanding THE IMMORTAL CHARLIE PARKER. Two or three takes of a single tune are placed in groups that evidence the alto saxophonist's indefatigable determination to never cover the same thematic ground in a solo twice. Unlike THE IMMORTAL CHARLIE PARKER, which is geared toward relative newcomers, this volume of CHARLIE PARKER MEMORIAL is aimed directly at the Parker obsessive. Much of the material here is previously unreleased, and there's a strong emphasis on what the liner notes call "short takes," or false starts, breakdowns, and rehearsals. While this focus may sound unnecessarily trainspotter-like to casual fans, Parker's remarkable improvisatory technique makes these previously unheard snatches of prime Parker simply indispensable.

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
United Sound Studios, Detroit, MI, December 21, 1947

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
John Lewis (piano)
Curly Russell (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
Harry Smith Studios, NYC, September 18, 1948

same personnel
Harry Smith Studios, NYC, September 24, 1948

19, 20
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Bud Powell (piano)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
Harry Smith Studios, NYC, May 8, 1947

1. Another Hair Do (Short Take 1)
2. Another Hair Do (Short Take 2)
3. Another Hair Do (Original Take 3)
4. Bluebird (New Take 1)
5. Bird Gets The Worm (New Take 1)
6. Barbados (New Take 1)
7. Constellation (Short Take 2)
8. Constellation (New Take 1)
9. Parker's Mood (New Take 1)
10. Ah Leu Cha (Short Take 1)
11. Ah Leu Cha (Original Take 2)
12. Perhaps (Short Take 4)
13. Perhaps (New Take 5)
14. Perhaps (Original Take 6)
15. Marmaduke (Short Take 1)
16. Marmaduke (New Take 2)
17. Steeplechase (Original Take 1)
18. Merry Go Round (New Take 1)
19. Buzzy (Short Take 4)
20. Buzzy (Original Take 5)

Susannah McCorkle - As Time Goes By

I'm back continuing the complete survey of Susannah McCorkle's recorded output. There's not much information out there on this title. In fact, it's missing from most McCorkle discographies. I believe it was intended for the Japanese market only.

In 1987, CBS/Sony Japan released a series of ten CD's they called "Brand New Standard Vocals From New York." All were recorded in New York City during the fall of 1986 by acclaimed female jazz vocalists such as Carol Sloane, Shirley Horn, Sheila Jordan, Carmen Lundy, Lorez Alexandria, and others (the complete listing can be found in the booklet scan). All were accompanied by small groups with a mixed repertoire of 10 standard songs each, except for the Sloane which was a Gershwin-only collection. Beyond that, I do not know much more about the circumstances of this series.

Anyway, the McCorkle set came out VERY well, especially in that she is accompanied by a quintet led by the great Billy Taylor with Jimmy Heath on tenor. This is pretty rare recording... I picked it up at the NYC Tower Records in the Village when it was first released and it disappeared shortly thereafter. Scoredaddy

Susannah McCorkle (vocals)
Billy Taylor (piano)
Victor Gaskin (bass)
Tony Reedus (drums)
Ted Dunbar (guitar)
Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)

1. September in the Rain
2. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
3. Taking A Chance On Love
4. For All We Know
5. As Time Goes By
6. I Get A Kick Out Of You
7. Alone Together
8. Pennies From Heaven
9. You Don't Know What Love Is
10. Blues In The Night

Recorded October 4-5, 1986 at Celebration Recording, New York City

Red Mitchell - Presenting Red Mitchell

Red Mitchell was a Kenton alumnus who was a "...profoundly important part of post-bop jazz." Not only did he work with Hampton Hawes and Shelley Manne, but appeared with Ornette Coleman on Tomorrow Is The Question ( Clay is an Ornette veteran, as well.) Now, one of my favorite concepts for an album is Images with Sonny Red, Grant Green, and Blue Mitchell But Red Mitchell went that one better: he recorded an album with his brother, Whitey, and Blue Mitchell. Red, Whitey and Blue Mitchell; I kid you not.

Here is also a chance to hear Lorraine Geller, whose early death ended a promising career. She was, incidentally, accompanist to Kay Starr, who Gary Giddins wrote a very interesting essay about. He cites Lester Young as replying to the question if " ...anybody nowadays could sing like Bessie Smith?" with the name of Starr.

Bassist Red Mitchell, who had led two fairly obscure sessions for Bethlehem in 1955, came up with a gem on his lone Contemporary set as a leader (which has been reissued as this CD). Based in Los Angeles at the time, Mitchell utilized pianist Lorraine Geller and two up-and-coming players: James Clay (who splits his time between tenor and flute) and, in one of his first recording sessions, drummer Billy Higgins. The quartet performs then-recent tunes by Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown ("Sandu"), a pair of Mitchell originals, "Scrapple From the Apple" and "Cheek to Cheek." Despite Higgins' and (to a lesser extent) Clay's connections with Ornette Coleman, the music is strictly high-quality modern mainstream bop of the era. Easily recommended to collectors of straight-ahead jazz.

Red Mitchell (bass)
James Clay (flute, tenor sax)
Lorraine Geller (piano)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. Scrapple From The Apple
2. Rainy Night
3. I Thought Of You
4. Out Of The Blue
5. Paul's Pal
6. Sandu
7. Cheek To Cheek

Charlie Parker - Live Performances Volume 1

In the early Sixties Doris Parker, the widow of the immortal Bird, and Aubrey Mayhew, his manager, issued previously unreleased tapes of radio broadcasts, "air checks" and jams on the Charlie Parker label. Sadly, the venture failed financially, but Leon Parker, Bird's son and administrator of his estate, has now made available two of a projected series of 14 Parker LPs, many of which will bring "new" material to light.

Thankfully, Bird is not raped by any "electronically rechanneled for stereo" horrors; these are original monos, carefully remastered. Considering the catchpenny on-location recording techniques of 1947-'49 the sound is quite acceptable.

As for the music on Volume 1 (released last fall), there are such Bird staples as "Groovin' High," "Ornithology" and "Half Nelson," with some glorious Parker choruses. Also on hand was the young Miles Davis, the late, underestimated trumpeter Kenny Dorham and the cohesive fraternity of pianist Al Haig, bassist Tommy Potter and percussion dynamo Max Roach.

Best of all, however, is an animated "Tiger Rag" with Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and the brilliant Lenny Tristano on piano. Taken from a "battle of the bands" broadcast that pitted Bird's boppers against the Dixielanders of Wild Bill Davison, "Tiger" is a hilarious put-on, taken at the raggedest of rapid tempos. In light of the fact that Louis Armstrong, himself a musical radical in the Twenties, later denounced bop as "Chinese music," "Tiger Rag"'s overtly sarcastic tone is all the more mordantly amusing—and significant.

Volume 2 is further testament to the "Dean Benedetti Theory," to which I subscribe in part. Benedetti was the man who followed Bird from club to club and surreptitiously recorded only Parker's solos on a wire spool recording machine. His rationale was, as Ross Russell wrote in the biography, Bird Lives!, "These men [Parker's accompanists] were just barely good enough to occupy the same bandstand ... of interest only because of their supporting roles."

Perhaps Benedetti's obiter dictum was too severe, but this set certainly reinforces the notion that Parker cast the most colossal shadow in the annals of black music. Bird plays with almost casual magnificence on an album that is taken primarily from live 1948-49 sets with the Dorham-Haig band, as well as a few cuts with Miles. And aside from the music, which again includes "Ornithology" and "Groovin' High" (the latter versions show Bird at the peak of his improvisational powers) plus Parker's purported favorite tune, "Slow Boat to China," we hear a bit of Americana, as DJ Symphony Sid serves as an interlocutor, interviews The Master and invites us to come down to the Royal Roost while the boisterous crowd ushers in the New Year of 1949. It must have been a hell of a party. (RS 156) JAMES ISAACS

Barry Ulanov's All Star Modern Jazz Musicians
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
John LaPorta (clarinet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Lennie Tristano (piano)
Billy Bauer (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
WOR radio broadcast, NYC, September 13, 1947

1. Tiger Rag

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Al Haig (piano)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
"Royal Roost", NYC, December 11, 1948

2. Groovin' High
3. Big Foot
4. Ornithology
5. On A Slow Boat To China

Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Al Haig (piano)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Max Roach (drums)
"Royal Roost", NYC, December 25, 1948

6. Half Nelson
7. White Christmas
8. Little Willie Leaps

Sonny Criss - Rockin' In Rhythm

I picked this up having never heard it, but such is my admiration for Sonny Criss, I couldn't wait to check it out. Right into the first tune - Eleanor Rigby - I started thinking; "Man, I guess he'd have to make some commercial stuff sometime. Lounge music does pay the bills." I figured it would get better at the solos. And, of course, it did. But I also realized that much of the problem was the expectation I brought: that is, it seemed odd to bring a beautiful song of quiet desperation and make it a pop tune. But that was just my construct. Criss is under no obligation to regard a tune the way I do. It was a new tune when he recorded it, and it's a natural for an extended jazz treatment - the melody, that is - plus, it was commercially viable. Sometimes you gotta stop thinking and just listen. Which is my recommendation: just listen. Criss never disappoints.

" Like his labelmates Jaki Byard and Booker Ervin, Sonny Criss left a legacy of often overlooked music on the Prestige label that must be taken into account when taking the full measure of jazz in the Sixties. Criss's strengths--originality within the accepted modern style, unrelenting passion, and a knack for making contemporary pop material like "Eleanor Rigby" and "Misty Roses" jazz-worthy--are all on display in this program, which spotlights his alto sax in a quartet setting. Whether the source is Duke Ellington or Lennon and McCartney, Criss assures that each tune receives his intensely personal stamp. There is also a previously unissued version of "All the Things You Are" from an earlier session, with a Walter Davis piano introduction borrowed from Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy.""

Sonny Criss (alto sax)
Eddie Green (piano)
Walter Davis (piano on 7)
Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Paul Chambers (bass on 7)
Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Eleanor Rigby
2. When The Sun Comes Out
3. Sonnymoon For Two
4. Rockin' In Rhythm
5. Misty Roses
6. (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over
7. All The Things You Are

Sonny Criss - This Is Criss!

I've been listening to the Imperial sessions all week; and still am finding things to admire about Criss. While I always enjoyed him, I gained a deeper interest through Gioia's West Coast Jazz, and am trying to get hold of some of the works cited in that book. Meanwhile, I don't think this has been posted; at least, not for a long while.

Sonny Criss must be considered one of the great underground musicians of all time. Living in Los Angeles was not conducive to gaining great national recognition since whatever publicity can be gathered from club dates or concerts somehow gets smogbound on its route over the Rockies.

Yet Criss found a way to survive. Every ten years or so he headed for Paris where he knew he had an audience. These periodic leaves of absence were necessary to restore the soul. In addition, Sonny gave a series of concerts for the LA City School system each spring playing for youngsters in classes designed to present a history of jazz.

Sonny Criss (alto saxophone)
Walter Davis (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Black Coffee
2. Days Of Wine And Roses
3. When Sunny Gets Blue
4. Greasy
5. Sunrise, Sunset
6. Steve's Blues
7. Skylark
8. Love For Sale

Recorded on October 21, 1966 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Tommy Flanagan - 1982 Giant Steps

A wonderful little tribute to the late, great John Coltrane -- served up as a piano trio session led by Tommy Flanagan, but done with a sense of power and imagination that rivals the strength of Trane's classics! All tracks here are originals by Coltrane, performed by Flanagan with a forceful approach to the piano that shows a bit more McCoy Tyner than usual -- and which is propelled strongly on most numbers by bold rhythm work from the team of George Mraz on bass and Al Foster on drums. Foster's work on the kit is especially nice -- quite bold, and really soaring forward with a sense of righteous energy -- inspiring Flanagan to heights we've never heard before on a session like this. Titles include "Naima", "Giant Steps", "Syeeda's Song Flute", "Central Park West", "Mr PC", and "Cousin Mary".
Dusty Groove

1 Mr. P.C. (6:31)
2 Central Park West (5:31)
3 Syeeda's Song Flute (5:53)
4 Cousin Mary (7:07)
5 Naima (4:57)
6 Giant Steps (6:12)

George Mraz Bass
Al Foster Drums
Tommy Flanagan Piano

Rececorded at Eurosound, NYC on February 17 and 18, 1982

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Paul Chambers - Paul Chambers Quintet

This Blue Note CD reissues one of bassist Paul Chambers' rare outings as a leader. Chambers heads a group of up-and-coming all-stars (including trumpeter Donald Byrd, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, pianist Tommy Flanagan and drummer Elvin Jones) on a program consisting of four originals by either the leader or Benny Golson plus a pair of standards; an alternate version of "Four Strings" was previously unissued. Chambers (who has "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" as his feature) and Byrd are the most impressive soloists while Jordan (who here mostly recalls Sonny Rollins with touches of John Coltrane) consistently swings although he had not yet found his own sound. The uncomplicated straightahead music falls securely into the modern mainstream of the period. ~ Scott Yanow

Paul Chambers (bass)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Clifford Jordan (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Minor Run-Down
2. Hand of Love
3. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
4. Four Strings
5. What's New?
6. Beauteous
7. Four Strings (alt)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey, May 19, 1957

Bud Powell - 1945-1947

An excellent companion to Classics' 1949-1950 Bud Powell title, this roundup of the bop pianist's early post-war sides gets top overview honors for its better balanced share of combo and trio sides. The first half is mostly taken up by an incredible 1946 session featuring Fats Navarro, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Dorham, and Kenny Clarke, with highlights including the Navarro originals "Webb City," "Fat Boy," and "Everything's Cool." For Powell fanatics, though, the eight trio sides will be the real attraction. Backed by first-tier boppers Max Roach and Curly Russell, Powell is at his fleet and innovative best on a mix of his own work ("Bud's Bubble"), some Monk ("Off Minor"), and a handful of choice covers ("I'll Remember April," "I Should Care"). A taste of possibly the most irrepressible and sophisticated bop on wax. ~ Stephen Cook

Bud Powell (piano)
Frank Socolow (tenor sax)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Sonny Stitt (alto sax)
Freddie Webster (trumpet)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Gil Fuller (arr)
Curly Russell (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

1. The Man I Love
2. Reverse The Charges
3. September In The Rain
4. Boppin' A Riff-Part 1
5. Boppin' A Riff-Part 2
6. Fat Boy-Part 1
7. Fat Boy-Part 2
8. Everything's Cool-Part 1
9. Everything's Cool-Part 2
10. Webb City-Part 1
11. Webb City-Part 2
12. I'll Remember April
13. Indiana
14. Somebody Loves Me
15. I Should Care
16. Bud's Bubble
17. Off Minor
18. Nice Work If You Can Get It
19. Everything Happens To Me

Dizzy Reece - Blues In Trinity

As Dizzy Reece's first album for Blue Note, Blues in Trinity goes a long way to establish the trumpeter's signature sound. Reece doesn't take chances stylistically; he prefers to stay within the confines of hard bop. Nevertheless, he has a bold, forceful sound that simply burns with passion. Even on slower numbers, there's a fire to his playing that keeps Blues in Trinity from being predictable. The high quality of the album is even more impressive given the recording circumstances. The English-based Reece was playing in Paris at the time, and he assembled a sextet featuring the vacationing British musicians Tubby Hayes (tenor saxophone) and Terry Shannon (piano), visiting American stars Donald Byrd (trumpet) and Art Taylor (drums), and Canadian bassist Lloyd Thompson, who was playing in Paris with Zoot Sims. Although the band was thrown together, there's a definite spark to this combo, which interacts as if it had been playing together for a long time. Throughout it all, Reece steals the show with his robust playing, and that's why Blues in Trinity rises above the level of standard-issue hard bop and becomes something special. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Dizzy Reece (trumpet)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Tubby Hayes (tenor sax)
Terry Shannon (piano)
Lloyd Thompson (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

1. Blues in Trinity
2. I Had the Craziest Dream
3. Close-Up
4. Shepherd's Serenade
5. Color Blind
6. 'Round About Midnight
7. Eboo
8. Just a Penny

Recorded in London, England on August 24, 1958

The Spirits Of Rhythm - 1933-1945 (Chronological 1028)

The Spirits of Rhythm were to the 1930s what the Cats & the Fiddle were to the 1940s. Both groups relied upon well-organized, carefully harmonized scat singing and a flurry of adroitly picked tipples and guitar. What the Spirits had going for them was the great Leo "Scat" Watson (1898-1950), drummer, tipple tickler, and one of the most interesting scat singers of all time. Teddy Bunn was their guitarist, and may be heard playing and singing throughout the entire CD. The recordings made in 1933 are exceptionally fine. Two delightful versions of "I Got Rhythm" are matched with "Rhythm," an original by Wilbur Daniels. "I've Got the World on a String" cuts off abruptly during a reprise of the vocal chorus, as they ran out of room on the recording platter. The session of December 6, 1933, introduces bassist Wilson Myers. "I'll Be Ready When the Great Day Comes" is something like a spiritual with humorous overtones: "Didn't the good book say that Cain slew Abel? Hit him in the head with the leg of a table!" Johnny Mercer's "My Old Man" belongs in a special category of cruel songs poking fun at fathers. This picturesque ditty predicts that the parent in question will end up in a garbage can: "Put a bottle of gin there and he'll get in there." The first seven tracks are so satisfying that it's a bit of a jolt when Red McKenzie is featured as lead vocalist on the session of September 11, 1934. Whose idea was it to foist this character onto the Spirits? His wobbly chortling sounds a bit incongruous with such hip backing. The expert picking and scatting comes as a relief, after which McKenzie's reprise sounds foolish. He should have confined himself to his famous paper and comb, which would have sounded wonderfully weird with this band. As it is, he sounds about as hip as, say, Nelson Eddy. Three days later, the Spirits were back without McKenzie but with the addition of percussionist and vocalist Virgil Scroggins. "Junk Man" is good fun, and Watson sings a snatch of the old vaudeville number "Horses, Horses," a riff he'd quoted on tipple during a solo on "I Got Rhythm" the previous year. Mercer's lightweight Sherlock Holmes routine is peculiar enough for entertainment purposes, but "That's What I Hate About You" is too closely modeled after a record made several years earlier by Jack Teagarden and Fats Waller. Waller fans who are aware of the original might actually resent the close cover. Now the chronology leaps ahead seven years. Ella Logan's piping vocal with the Spirits on "Tipperary" and "From Monday On" are cute enough, but the two instrumentals from the same session allow us to concentrate on the presence of bassist Wellman Braud and the fine drumming of Watson. "We've Got the Blues" contains a premonition of "Caldonia," and we learn that cement is the reason her head is so hard. The final six sides to appear under this band's name involved only Watson and Bunn from the original group. This 1945 ensemble contains no tipples whatsoever. Leonard Feather is sitting in on piano, Ulysses Livingstone operates a second guitar, and Red Callender is the bassist, while Georgie Vann sings the blues and plays the drums. Here we get a fine dose of Watson's fully developed singing style. No doubt Waller would have approved of "Honey-Sock-Me-on-the-Nose." Watson's throaty interjections on "She Ain't No Saint" sound slightly deranged. Irving Berlin's "Coquette" becomes a smorgasbord centering on "Chicken Croquette." Watson was working with Slim Gaillard during these years, and this last number sounds a lot like something Slim would have dished up. ~ arwulf arwulf

1. I Got Rhythm
2. Nobody's Sweetheart
3. I Got Rhythm
4. I've Got The World On A String
5. Rhythm
6. I'll Be Ready When The Great Day Comes
7. My Old Man
8. 'Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
9. I've Got The World On A String
10. From Monday On
11. As Long As I Live
12. Junk Man
13. Dr. Watson And Mr. Holmes
14. That's What I Hate About You
15. Shoutin' In The Amen Corner
16. It's A Long, Long Way From Tipperary
17. I Woke Up With A Teardrop In My Eye
18. From Monday On
19. Walkin' This Town
20. We've Got The Blues
21. Honeysuckle Rose
22. Scattin' The Blues
23. Suspicious Blues
24. She Ain't No Saint
25. Last Call Blues
26. Coquette (Chicken Croquette)

Art Farmer - Maiden Voyage

This lesser-known set, released by several Japanese labels including a 1991 CD issue by Denon, features flugelhornist Art Farmer with pianist Masahiko Satoh (doubling on electric piano), bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette and a 14-piece string section arranged and conducted by Satoh. Despite its initial release in Japan, the music was actually recorded in New York City. Farmer is in excellent form on the seven modern jazz originals, most of which are given fresh treatments. The arrangements are fine, and Farmer is up to the task of carrying the main load on such songs as "Nica's Dream," "Blue In Green," "Maiden Voyage" and "Naima." Worth searching for. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Ron Carter (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Masahiko Satoh (piano)

1. Nica's Dream
2. Ruby, My Dear
3. Blue Bossa
4. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
5. Blue in Green
6. Maiden Voyage
7. Naima

A&R Studios, New York, April 1983

Two by Coleman Hawkins

Here are two vinyls by Coleman Hawkins, the last of several I had cued to rip for my mp3 collection. The first is a compilation from four dates in 1944, and swings well! Hawkophiles will no doubt know the original discs or other re-issues. The second is...well...if I were to be nasty I'd say, 'step right up folks and see what a great te
nor man can do with elevator music'! But I'll be kind and say that, as you might expect, Coleman shines through any setting no matter how mellow (or bland). Well, some do indeed like harps and strings, no doubt. De-clicked .wav rips to LAME3.98 vbr0 + notes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Harold Land - A Lazy Afternoon

Harold Land, a long underrated tenor giant based in Los Angeles, is quite melodic yet subtly explorative on his surprising disc. Backed by a string orchestra arranged and conducted by Ray Ellis and a rhythm section led by pianist Bill Henderson, Land explores dozen standards that are highlighted by "Nature Boy," "Invitation" and "You've Changed." He treats the melodies with respect and taste yet is not shy to stretch the music when called for. Harold Land plays beautifully throughout this memorable release. ~ Scott Yanow

For years, Land had wanted to do an album with strings, having been touched by recordings by Parker and Brown, as well as by Lady in Satin. And his appearances with Tony Bennett in the late '60s and '70s also flamed his desire for a string album. Then, he'd join the singer, mostly in Las Vegas, but occasionally on tours of Latin America, serving as the star soloist with the full orchestra that backed Bennett and reaching audiences that might not have otherwise known of his work. "Those appearances were always memorable and helped foster the desire in my soul to make an album with strings," says Land.

Harold Land (tenor sax)
Ray Ellis (arranger)
Bill Henderson (piano)
James Leary (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

1. Lazy Afternoon
2. You Don't Know What Love Is
3. In A Sentimental Mood
4. Nature Boy
5. You Got To My Head
6. But Beautiful
7. Invitation
8. Stella By Starlight
9. The End Of A Love Affair
10. You've Changed
11. Wave
12. Round Midnight

Recorded at Music Griner Studios, Hollywood, California on December 28-31, 1994

Xanadu In Africa (Xanadu 180)

Recorded March 14, 1980 at Club Taski Les Almadies, Senegal. The group played for 5 days at various locations, resulting in another album (Night Flight To Dakar, Xanadu 185)

Despite the exotic location, this LP contains a typical Xanadu high-quality bebop date. The quintet (tenors Al Cohn and Billy Mitchell, pianist Dolo Coker, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Frank Butler) performs five standards (including long versions of "All or Nothing at All" and "Robbins Nest") in Senegal (this may very well be the first live recording of American jazz musicians in Africa) and the crowd is rightfully enthusiastic. Even if the music contains few surprises, this album is easily recommended to bop collectors although it may be difficult to find. -Scott Yanow

Billie Holiday - Jazz at the Philharmonic

If you're a Billie Holiday fan with money then you already have this as part of the 10-disc Complete Billie Holiday on Verve. For the rest of us, this CD presents a tidy package of some of Billie's live recordings. Included are 15 tracks from her 1945-47 Jazz at the Philharmonic performances, 6 tracks from her 1958 Newport set, and 2 tracks from the Seven Ages of Jazz festival in 1958.

Collective personnel includes: Buck Clayton, Joe Guy, Howard McGhee (tp); Trummy Young (tb); Georgie Auld, Willie Smith (as); Wardell Gray, Charlie Ventura, Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet, Lester Young (ts); Ken Kersey, Bobby Tucker, Mal Waldron (p); Tiny Grimes, Barney Kessel (g); Al McKibbon, Charles Mingus (b); Davie Coleman, J.C. Heard, Jo Jones (d)

Roy Eldridge - Little Jazz Trumpet Giant

One of the most exciting trumpeters to emerge during the swing era, Roy Eldridge's combative approach, chancetaking style and strong musicianship were an inspiration (and an influence) to the next musical generation, most notably Dizzy Gillespie. Although he sometimes pushed himself farther than he could go, Eldridge never played a dull solo!
Scott Yanow

Jack Costanzo and his Afro Cuban Band - Mr. Bongo

Remarkably, the links to Latin Fever! from two days ago have been trolled. Don't the Dutch like bongos? In any case, this album and it's mate from a day or two ago raises a question that has haunted me for a while: what things must a man do, what choices must a man make in the brief time we have on earth to earn the great honorific "Mr. Bongo"? Gary Cooper, whom the liner notes assure us "...was one of Jack's most avid pupils." never was able to claim such a title in a life full of accomplishment. And I begin to fear that I will never, in the years remaining to me, ever be called Mr. Bongo. Metaphysical speculation can be so sad. The remedy?: Everybody Mambo!!!!!

"Like Cal Tjader, Costanzo started as a dancer, touring as a team with his wife before World War 2. After his discharge from the Navy, he worked as a dance instructor at the Beverly Hills Hotel when Latin band leader Bobby Ramos heard him playing bongos in a jam session and gave him a job. Through the end of the 1940s, Costanzo worked with a number of Latin bands, including a revived version of the Lecuona Cuban Boys, Desi Arnaz, and Rene Touzet.

Costanzo's first real fame came when he joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra in 1947. Ace Kenton arranger Pete Rugolo wrote "Bongo Riff" to showcase Costanzo's talents. Costanzo was a featured soloist on a number of other Kenton recordings from this period, including "Chorale for Brass, Piano, and Bongo," "Fugue for Rhythm Section," "Unison Riff," "Journey to Brazil," and "Harlem Holiday."

He left Kenton to work with Nat King Cole from 1949 to 1953, when he became a studio musician. Among the more noteworthy recordings he played on were Nat King Cole's last straight jazz recording, "After Midnight" (on which Juan Tizol also appears), and "Mucho Calor," an influential West Coast jazz collaboration featuring compositions by Bill Holman and Johnny Mandel and solo work by Art Pepper. During the bongo craze, Costanzo was hired by several different labels to record albums under his own name that spotlighted his bongo and conga work. Costanzo also acted occasionally, appearing in the television series "Staccato" and movies such as "Thrill in Brazil" and the Jerry Lewis version of Gore Vidal's "Visit to a Small Planet." "

Jack Costanzo (bongo deluxe)
Eddie Cano (piano)
Kaskara (vocals)
Marda Saxon (vocals)
Neil Norman (guitar)
Gerrie Woo (vocals)
Harry Belafonte (chimes)
Miriam Makeba (chimes)

1. Coco May May
2. Viva Tirado
3. La La La
4. El Resbaloso
5. Chopsticks Mambo
6. Melado De Cana
7. Abaniquito
8. Cu Cu Ru Curu
9. Goza Negra
10. Pata Pata
11. Just One Of Those Things
12. La Bamba
13. Caravan
14. Chicken And Rice
15. Guantanamera
16. Bongo Festeris

Joe van Enkhuizen & Horace Parlan - Ellington Ballads

Joe van Enkhuizen - tenor saxophone
Horace Parlan - piano

1. Blue Reverie
2. Prelude To A Kiss
3. Just A Sittin' And A Rockin'
4. Creole Blues/ Tonight I Shall Sleep
5. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
6. Melancholy
7. I Got It Bad
8. Serenade To Sweden
9. Day Dream
10. Sophisticated Lady
11. What Am I Here For?

Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves - Salt And Pepper

This 72-minute CD starts off with one of the underrated gems of the 1960s, an exciting matchup by tenors Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves. Other than the brief throwaway "Theme from Lord of the Flies" (producer Bob Thiele's idea), this is very much a jam session set, with "Salt and Pepper" being a heated medium-tempo blues and the two competitive tenors stretching out on "S'posin'" and a lengthy "Perdido." Actually, the most memorable selection from the date is the one on which Stitt switches to alto, "Stardust." His beautiful playing behind Gonsalves' warm melody statement raises the session to the classic level. Also included on this consistently exciting CD is a Sonny Stitt quartet set originally titled Now! Although Stitt (doubling on alto and tenor) recorded scores of quartet sessions, he sounds particularly inspired here, especially on such offbeat material as "Estralita," the Dixieland standard "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone," and "My Mother's Eyes." Highly recommended to bebop and straight-ahead jazz fans. ~ Scott Yanow

Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax)
Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Al Lucas (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)

1. Salt And Pepper
2. S'posin'
3. Theme From Lord Of The Flies
4. Perdido
5. Star Dust
6. Surfin' Sonny Stitt
7. Lester Leaps In
8. Estralita
9. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
10. Touchy
11. Never ----Sh!
12. My Mother's Eyes
13. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 10, 1963 and NYC, September 5, 1963

Yusef Lateef - 1961 Into Something

Yusef Lateef's career has been one of the most varied in jazz. He arrived on the scene, ostensibly, in 1949 when he joined Dizzy Gillespie's big band becoming a bebop (and hard bop) tour-de-force. However, in 1961, when INTO SOMETHING was recorded, Lateef was beginning to make changes in his musical conception: changes that by the late '60s would establish him as one of jazz's finest experimenters. Joined by an all-star band including Barry Harris on piano, Herman Wright on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, INTO SOMETHING is a forward looking effort that combines both strong bop elements with a flair for the eclectic and the unusual.We hear this best on the album's opener, "Rasheed." A standard blues--but marked by the shrill tone and unconventional ideas of Lateef's oboe playing--this song hints at the rapid evolution of jazz. In contrast, Lateef's gorgeous version of the ballad "You've Changed" serves almost as an homage to the great swing-era tenor saxophonist, Ben Webster.
CD Universe

Tracks list
1. Rasheed [Lateef] 5:26
2. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) [Fisher, Goodwin, Shay] 4:43
3. Water Pistol [Lateef] 5:40
4. You've Changed [Carey, Fischer] 4:53
5. I'll Remember April [DePaul, Johnston, Raye] 6:51
6. Koko's Tune [Lateef] 6:29
7. P. Bouk [Lateef] 7:11

Yusef Lateef - flute, oboe, tenor saxophone
Barry Harris - piano
Herman Wright - bass
Elvin Jones - drums

Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, NJ on December 29, 1961

The Red Nichols Story

Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
recordings from 1926 - 1930

Benny Goodman
Pee Wee Russell
Jimmy Dorsey
Joe Venuti
Eddie Condon
Eddie Lang
Jack Teagarden
Gene Krupa
Miff Mole
Glenn Miller

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bill DeArango - Anything Went

There's a little story behind this. It was requested in ...Requests. I had seen it in the store a few days earlier for a couple of bucks, so I picked it up today. I had decided to post it in MP3, because I figured its a working artist and its still for sale. But when I saw there was just one used copy at Amazon for $70 (well, $69.99 actually) I figured it may as well be like our other releases. This CD is going to surprise you.

Guitarist Bill DeArango is best known for participating on a classic Dizzy Gillespie combo date back in 1946, taking such advanced solos that it almost seemed as if he was playing his guitar backwards. Remarkably little has been heard from DeArango since, with only four obscure recordings made since 1954 before this 1993 CD (which was released in 1996). DeArango -- who has spent years living in his hometown of Cleveland making local gigs, teaching, and running a music store -- was never a revivalist. As this CD shows, he kept up with current trends and was quite familiar with up-to-date electronic devices. Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Ed Schuller, and drummer George Schuller are strong assets on this set, which has four brief guitar-tenor duets, four hornless trio pieces, and three numbers featuring the full quartet. With the exception of three standards and Ed Schuller's lyrical "Song for D," the performances are all free-form improvisations with DeArango often distorting his sound (à la Bill Frisell). While not everything works (the duets are generally too brief and some songs end inconclusively), there are plenty of fireworks and heated moments. It is rewarding not only to have Bill DeArango back on record again, but to hear a veteran of the bop era playing such adventurous music a half-century later. ~ Scott Yanow

Bill DeArango (guitar)
Joe Lovano (tenor sax)
Ed Schuller (bass)
George Schuller (drums)

1. Anything Went
2. Duet #1
3. Bye Bye Blackbird
4. What Is This Thing Called Speak Low
5. Duet #2
6. Cherokee
7. At Miss Fears
8. Duet #3
9. Free Rango
10. Song For D
11. Duet #4

Recorded 1-2 April 1993 at Sear Sound in New York City

Red Rodney & Sam Noto - Superbop (1974)

Like Xanadu, Muse is another one of those smaller, jazz-oriented labels that have either fallen by the wayside or have not reissued much of their libraries on CD. Some of these might never make it to digital unless we do it ourselves. We certainly can't wait for Mosaic to do it all! There are a bunch of other labels that are in this same boat. Bee Hive and Famous Door come to mind. Others?

Although trumpeter Red Rodney would get stronger as the 1970s progressed, this 1974 effort (not yet reissued on CD) is one of his most exciting recordings of the decade. The reason is that he is matched with the fiery trumpeter Sam Noto. With fine support from pianist Dolo Coker, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, plus occasional solos from Jimmy Mulidore on alto and soprano, Rodney and Noto jam through such numbers as "Superbop" (highlighted by their rendition of Clifford Brown's "Daahoud" solo), "Last Train Out" (similar to "Airegin") and the heated blues "Fire." "The Look of Love" (which adds a tenor and trombone to the ensembles with Mulidore contributing some alto flute) is a lyrical change of pace. There are plenty of fireworks on this trumpet-dominated set. - Scott Yanow

Red Rodney (trumpet)
Sam Noto (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Jimmy Mulidore (alto & soprano sax, alto flute)
Dolo Coker (piano)
Ray Brown (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Larry Covelli (tenor sax on #2)
Mayo Tiano (trombone on #2)
  1. Superbop
  2. The Look of Love
  3. Last Train Out
  4. Fire
  5. Green Dolphin Street
  6. Hilton
Recorded on March 26, 1974

Ben Webster - 1944-1946 (Chronological 1017)

Most Ben Webster albums on the market today seem to be reissues from his magnificent autumnal years, majestically lush or bearishly brusque. It's good to have a chronological sampling of Webster's work from the mid-'40s, in order to appreciate exactly how he developed into the Ben Webster of 1959 and 1969. After popping up on early big band swing records by Bennie Moten and Willie Bryant, Webster came into his own as the first really exceptional tenor saxophonist to be featured with Duke Ellington's Orchestra. What we have here is the post-Ellington Ben Webster. His tone has gotten bigger and wider, grittily sensuous and invariably warm like a pulse in the jugular. The first eight tracks were made for radio broadcast purposes in February of 1944. The combination of Hot Lips Page and Ben Webster is a bitch. There are strolling romps with titles like "Woke Up Clipped," "Dirty Deal" and "'Nuff Said," lively stomps built on to the changes of "Tea for Two" and "I Got Rhythm," and two choice examples of Webster developing his ballad chops. "Perdido," from a quartet session recorded near the end of March 1944, is positively stunning. Webster has definitely tapped into something primal, and no one can hear him without being at least partially transformed by the sounds of his saxophone. April Fool's day, 1944 found Webster in the company of tenors Budd Johnson and Walter "Foots" Thomas, with trumpeter Emmett Berry and a modern rhythm section. "Broke but Happy" is a sweet jaunt, real solid, especially when the saxes take over in unison. But the main reason to get your own copy of Classics 1017 is to have the Savoy session of April 17th, 1944. Gracefully accompanied by Johnny Guarnieri, Oscar Pettiford and David Booth, Webster blows four of the greatest three-minute recordings of his entire career. "Kat's Fur" is a goosed up, improved version of "'Nuff Said." "I Surrender Dear" runs even deeper than the two other versions included on this disc. "Honeysuckle Rose" and especially "Blue Skies" each represent Ben Webster at his toughest and truest. This is a rare blend of musk, and it's not synthetic. It's the real thing. ~ arwulf arwulf

Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Budd Johnson (tenor sax)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Cozy Cole (drums)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Emmett Berry (trumpet)
Denzil Best (drums)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
Clyde Hart (piano)
Hot Lips Page (trumpet)

1. Woke Up Clipped
2. Teezol
3. 'Nuff Said
4. The Horn (I Got Rhythm)
5. Dirty Deal
6. Don't Blame Me
7. I Surrender Dear
8. Tea For Two
9. Perdido
10. I Surrender Dear
11. Broke But Happy
12. Blues On The Bayou
13. Jumpin' With Judy
14. Blues On The Delta
15. Honeysuckle Rose
16. I Surrender Dear
17. Blue Skies
18. Kat's Fur
19. Blues In My Heart
20. Emaline
21. Am I Blue
22. Rose Of The Rio Grande

mal waldron and steve lacy- esteem 1993

heres another great lacy and waldron disc, zero wants to share with you!
its very beautiful and possibly a touch more adventurous than say 'sempre amore'.
see comments for the details

Tadd Dameron - Dameronia

The TADD DAMERON Memorial Album
A re-issue of the 1956 classic DAMERONIA.

KENNY DORHAM, trumpet;
HENRY COKER, trombone;
SAHIB SHIHAB,, alto sax;
JOE ALEXANDER, tenor sax;
CECIL PAYNE, baritone sax;
(Recorded March 9,1956)

earl hines- 'fatha' 1965

what a pity earl Hines didn't sing very often!

Here's a great little earl Hines album from 1965.
Earl sings on beautiful versions of st james infirmary, and travellin’ all alone.

Theres very little info on the cd sleeve, no session details , nor is there any mention of who the rhythm players are.

Similarly there's practically nothing on the net… not even an online sessionography for someone of earls stature!

all i could find was this jpeg of the original cover.

This was reissued on budget ( ‘cbs red hot’ series) cd in the early 90’s .
A great album


Monday, March 3, 2008

J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding - Jay And Kai

The music on this Savoy CD is excellent, but the packaging is rather dumb. Rather than reissue all 12 selections from a pair of 1954 sessions that led to the birth of the J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding two-trombone quintet (renditions that also include either pianist Wally Cirillo or guitarist Billy Bauer along with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Kenny Clarke), there are just eight on this CD along with a Johnson track from 1947 ("Yesterdays") and three of the four Winding performances (in a quintet with pianist Lou Stein) from 1952. Sure to frustrate completists, this reissue is still worth picking up if found at a budget price, for the music contains plenty of worthy trombone solos. ~ Scott Yanow

J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Leo Parker (baritone sax)
Hank Jones (piano)
Al Lucas (bass)
Shadow Wilson (drums)
NYC, December 24, 1947

Kai Winding (trombone)
Lou Stein (piano)
Eddie Safranski (bass)
Tiny Kahn (drums)
Al Young (bongo, timbales)
NYC, March 4, 1952

2-4, 9,
J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Billy Bauer (guitar)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 24, 1954

1, 6-8
Wally Cirillo (piano) replaces Bauer
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, August 26, 1954

1. Bernie's Tune
2. Lament
3. Blues For Trombones
4. The Major
5. Yesterdays
6. Co-Op
7. Reflections
8. Blues In Tows
9. What Is This Thing Called Love
10. The Boy Next Door
11. I Could Wright A Book
12. Carioca

Jack Costanzo - Latin Fever!

The ultimate in transistorized Stereophonic Hi-Fidelity sound!! Says so on the cover, in fact.

Typical of most Liberty products of the era, Latin Fever features a gorgeous, if perfectly lewd, jacket, which of course has no particular relevance to the musicians. Costanzo gets to reprise "The Peanut Vendor" ("El Manisero"), which was one of his three big spotlight numbers under Stan Kenton. Better are the five originals, however, including a deadly hip bass spotlight, "Bajo Numero Uno." (Sounds like a precursor to Perez Prado's seven-minute funk version of something that turns out in the last half-minute to be "Tequila.") Eddie Cano enjoys playing standards by Noro Morales and the Lecuonas in this group. While "Taboo" loses some of its exoticism with the bongos, it regains it with Alcaraz' flute. And "Malaguena" here is an excuse for a nearly eight-minute jam! Finally, "Drum-A-Mania" is a Mr. Bongo solo. Costanzo's enormous talent (or perhaps just the in-your-face mix of his bongos) is largely wasted on anything less than the beatnik jive of "Googie." Latin music requires much more subtlety, more sparseness than this. Of course, this is really just a bongo showcase; it is feverish, though. Playing Latinate Hollywood jazz (glued to the chart, commercial, and often cheesy) and promoting both bongos and stereo, Costanzo is perfectly suited to Liberty. Indeed, there are few others of his caliber on the parent label. Note that seven of the Latin Fever tracks are available on the ten-track LP Bongo Fever on Liberty's reissue-compilation label, Sunset. ~ Tony Wilds

Jack Costanzo (bongos)
Tony Reyes (bass)
Eddie Cano (piano)
Jay Corre (tenor sax)
Paul Lopez (trumpet)
Ray Rivera (drums)

1. Sax Con Ritmo
2. Peanut Vendor
3. Bajo Numero Uno
4. Taboo
5. Malaguena
6. Latin Fever
7. Cumbanchero
8. Hornacopia
9. La Paloma
10. Oye Negra
11. Mama Yo Quiero
12. Drum-A-Mania

Recorded in Los Angeles, California in 1958

Sarah Vaughan - Duke Ellington's Songbooks (Vols. 1 & 2) [Pablo]

Another couple of Sarah's on Pablo for our friend scorydaddy.
More to come. Stay tunned.

Review by Scott Yanow

Sarah Vaughan interprets ten Duke Ellington-associated songs on the first of two sets; Songbook, Vol. 2 was recorded at the same two sessions as this CD reissue. Vaughan is accompanied by a variety of jazz all-stars, including trumpeter Waymon Reed, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and the tenors of Frank Foster, Frank Wess, and Zoot Sims. Bill Byers contributed the arrangements for the larger band performances. The emphasis is on ballads, with the highlights including "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," "I Didn't Know About You," "All Too Soon," and "Lush Life." Sassy's voice is in typically wondrous form throughout.

Gary McFarland - Profiles (1966)

Can you give me one good reason this LP has never been reissued on CD? Thought so.....I can't think of one either. I believe this is the only live recording in McFarland's discography and is much more jazz oriented than his large group studio recordings with ample room given to some of the all-star soloists in the band. McFarland's writing for a large ensemble is very distinctive with his use of bass & guitar ostinatos and densely textured mixed woodwinds. Richie Kamuca and Jerome Richardson needed a row to themselves for their battery of reeds. Between the two of them they covered soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe and english horn! Too many highlights to list them all here but you can read about them in the included liner notes. The cover scan is from the mono LP but this rip is from the stereo version.

From AMG:
An excellent collection of McFarland originals performed at Lincoln Center by a stellar orchestra of jazz luminaries including Clark Terry, Bob Brookmeyer, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Richie Kamuca, Richard Davis, Gabor Szabo, Sam Brown, and others. The concert showcases some of McFarland's best writing and there is a welcome spontaneity lacking in McFarland's studio recordings. - Douglas Payne

Gary McFarland (leader, composer-arranger, vibes, marimba)
Bernie Glow, Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Bill Berry, John Frosk (trumpet)
Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Bob Northern (f horn) Jay McAllister (tuba)
Phil Woods (alto sax, clarinet) Jerry Dodgion (alto sax, clarinet, flute) Zoot Sims (tenor sax, clarinet) Richie Kamuca (tenor sax, bari sax, oboe, english horn, bass clarinet) Jerome Richardshon (soprano sax, alto sax, bari sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo)
Gabor Szabo, Sam Brown (guitar) Richard Davis (bass)
Joe Cocuzzo (drums) Tommy Lopez (percussion)

1. Winter Colors
a. An Early Morning River Stroll
b. Grey Afternoon
c. January Jubilee
2. Willie
3. Sage Hands
4. Bygones & Boogie (Boogie & Out)
5. Mountain Heir
6. Milo's Other Samba

Recorded at Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall on February 6, 1966

Etta James - Tell Mama: The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions

Having already been an established leading soul singer for 13 years and having 18 R&B hits to her name, in 1967 Etta went to record in Alabama at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio. The result was her most accomplished album, on which her voice had been mixed to perfection, allowing her to sound strong on the previously distorted high notes. James was rightly seen in a different light as one of the great soul voices of all time as she belted out powerful tracks such as "The Love Of My Man" and "Watch Dog." Her slower numbers were equally arresting, including the wonderful "I'd Rather Go Blind."

Etta James (vocals)
Albert Lowe, Jr., Jimmy Ray Johnson (guitar)
Charles Chalmers, Aaron Varnell, Floyd Newman, James Mitchell (saxophone)
Gene "Bowlegs" Miller (trumpet)
Dewey Oldham (piano, organ)
George Davis, Marvell Davis (piano)
Carl Banks, Barry Beckett (organ)
David Hood (bass)
Roger Dawkins (drums)

1. Tell Mama
2. I'd Rather Go Blind
3. Watch Dog
4. Love Of My Man
5. I'm Gonna Take What He's Got
6. The Same Rope
7. Security
8. Steal Away
9. My Mother-In-Law
10. Don't Lose Your Good Thing
11. It Hurts Me So Much
12. Just A Little Bit
13. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
14. You Took It
15. I Worship The Ground You Walk On
16. I Got You Babe
17. You Got It
18. I've Gone Too Far
19. Misty
20. Almost Persuaded
21. Fire
22. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man

Recorded at Fame Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Roland Dyens - Chansons Françaises

Introducing you all to another of our great French musicians, the guitarist Roland Dyens, well known for his classical interpretations on quite a few recordings and live appearances. He used to give a guitar workshop at a little town just down the road from here, so I was lucky enough to attend several of his performances. Absolute precision in his playing, but much love and passion as well. On this recording he performs his very unique interpretations of songs that every Frenchman learns in his youth, songs that are usually thought of as part of childhood, perhaps trivial, but here they become great works. Roland has a couple of jazz albums out as well. Worth a listen. Maybe I was slightly to blame for that, at one of his concerts back when I gave him a cassette of the two Jim Hall / Bill Evans albums. I see at Google there arre a couple of youtube videos out there as well.

The Complete Capitol Live Recordings of George Shearing

AMG Review by Scott Yanow
Pianist George Shearing, whose vibes-guitar-piano-bass-drums quintet was one of the most popular in jazz throughout the '50s and '60s, seemed to have had a dual career while signed to Capitol. While his studio recordings often found his quintet augmented by strings, voices, brass, and/or Latin percussion in performances closer to mood music (or even Muzak) than jazz, his live engagements were definitely in the cool/bop vein. This Mosaic five-CD limited-edition box set brings back his five in-concert recordings, two of which are now double in length thanks to the inclusion of 13 previously unissued selections. There is more variety than expected to this program, with the full quintet featured on most numbers but space also set aside for showcases by the trio, Shearing's solo piano, and his regular "guest" Armando Peraza on congas. Shearing is the star throughout, although the sidemen include such fine players as vibraphonists Gary Burton, Emil Richards, and Warren Chiasson; guitarists Toots Thielemans (who plays harmonica on "Caravan"), Dick Garcia, John Gray, and Ron Anthony; bassists Al McKibbon, Ralph Pena, Bill Yancey, and Gene Cherico; and drummers Percy Brice and Vernel Fournier. Shearing's funny comments to the audience have also been included, and the result is a classy show filled with accessible but surprisingly inventive bop-based music.
Release Date Mar 8, 1958-Jul 6, 1963

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sakis Papadimitriou - Piano Oracles

Sakis Papadimitriou - Piano Oracles (Flac & scans)
Leo Records 1994

Recorded live at Le Mans Europe Jazz Festival in 1985 and in Athens' studio in 1987 this CD features a unique way of solo piano playing by Sakis Papadimitriou, whose piano sounds as koto, zither, lute or any other imaginable instrument, the music retaining a very Greek feel. (Leo Records website)

Customer review from
One thing I am certain of is that this record is not for everyone. However, I have given it 5 stars because I, not as a critic but as a simple listener, have found it to be absolutely stunning, virtuosic and thoroughly unlike anything I have ever heard in my life before.
It would not come as a surprise to anyone to whom I played this album without giving them details about it, for them to learn it was recorded on Leo Records. After all, who else could have let Sakis Papadimitriou record his great feats of "pianistic imagination", as it is coined in the liner notes, alongside the likes of Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton and other avant-garde pioneers? It might come as a surpise to those listeners though that the instrument Papadimtriou singlehandedly uses is a piano. What is so remarkable about this is that Sakis Papadimitriou is opening up a whole unexplored world with his "prepared piano" which sounds like a kora, an oud and a guitar simultaneously.

Perhaps it is not just the music but the names he chooses for his songs, the picture on the front and the liner notes . There is generally this aura of ancient Greek mysticism, and a prophetic tradition being carried on in this lone advocate of complete musical individuality, that adds even more to the music itself, and supplements the remarkable feel that we are sharing in some secret rite only witnessed by a few over the ages. Also, considering that Papadimtriou's vast and varied discography is mostly either long out of print or unavailable in the Western world ( apart from Greece), I would seize these few editions which are available swiftly, before they become known only to a few.

1. Alpha Prologue
2. Alpha Prologue and One Piano Oracle
3. Alpha Prologue and Two Piano Oracles
4. Alpha Prologue and Three Piano Oracles
5. Alpha Prologue and Four Piano Oracles
6. Alpha Prologue and Five Piano Oracles
7. Alpha Prologue and Six Piano Oracles
8. Alpha Prologue and Seven Piano Oracles
9. Alpha Prologue and Eight Piano Oracles
10. Alpha Prologue and Nine Piano Oracles
11. Alpha Prologue and Ten Piano Oracles
12. Beta Le Mans Piano [Live]

gary peacock and bill frisell- just so happens 1994

a lovely record,
with a rare opportunity of hearing peacock play some arco (track 3), something he hadn't done for years (on record)

im no huge bill frisell fan, but this is good.
at least half the tracks are spontaneous improvisations, + a beautiful version of jc higginbotham's good morning heartache.

heres the amg hype
Gary Peacock's duo album with Bill Frisell is rewarding, though a bit repetitive. Most interesting is the sonic contrast between Peacock's imposing upright bass and Frisell's quirky electric guitar. After eight tracks, however, the appearance of Frisell's acoustic guitar — on the standard "Good Morning, Heartache" — comes as a welcome change. Most of the pieces are free improvisations, and while they all have their moments, some wind up treading water. "In Walked Po," an oblique take on the blues, is an exception. "Reciprocity" and "N.O.M.B." are the only originals credited solely to Peacock, leading one to believe they were written before the session. Perhaps not surprisingly, these two tracks are the most coherent on the record. The duo also plays two versions of "Home on the Range" (one would have sufficed), and Peacock renders "Red River Valley" as an unaccompanied solo. For Frisell, at least, this could have been a sign of things soon to come: His Nashville album was released about a year later.

this is much better than nashville or any other frisell album!!

Sam Noto - Entrance! (1975)

An excellent bop soloist, Sam Noto's late-'70s recordings for Xanadu briefly gave him a high profile in the U.S. Best-known in his early days as a big band player, Noto was with Stan Kenton (1955-1958), Louie Bellson (1959), back with Kenton (1960), and twice with Count Basie during 1964-1967. He spent much of 1969-1975 working in Las Vegas where he became acquainted with Red Rodney. Rodney used Noto on a 1974 recording and, although he moved to Toronto in 1975 (where he worked in the studios and regularly with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass into the early '80s), Noto gained some fame for his many recordings with Xanadu. Although appearing on records less often after that, Sam Noto remains quite active in Toronto.

An excellent trumpeter who had long been overlooked, Sam Noto finally, at age 44, had an opportunity to lead his own record date in 1975. In fact, he would head four sessions for Xanadu during a three-year period, all of which are easily recommended, although not yet available on CD. This set is of particular interest, because Noto is the only horn in a quartet also featuring pianist Barry Harris, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Lenny McBrowne. Mixing a few originals with standards, Noto's performance is pure bebop, with the highlights including "Fats Flats," "Entrance," and "Nostalgia." - Scott Yanow

Sam Noto (trumpet)
Barry Harris (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Lenny McBrowne (drums)
  1. Fats Flats
  2. Lover Man
  3. Entrance!
  4. Make Believe
  5. Nostalgia
  6. The Things I Love
  7. Jen-Jen
Recorded March 2, 1975

Jazz by Sun Ra

This long-player contains some of Sun Ra's most complex, yet accessible efforts. Ra had been an active performer since the late 1940s, recording with his various combos or "Arkestra(s)" as Ra dubbed them. Since this was the first widely distributed platter that the artist cut, it is often erroneously referred to as his debut. The tracks were documented by then-unknown Tom Wilson. If the name rings a bell, it may be because Wilson would go on to produce such rock luminaries as Frank Zappa, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and the Velvet Underground, among others. Ra's highly arithmetical approach to bop was initially discounted by noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff as "repetitious," with phrases "built merely on riffs with little development." In retrospect, however, it is obvious there is much more going on here. Among the musical innovations woven into the up-tempo "Brainville" and "Transition," are advanced time signatures coupled with harmonic scales based on Ra's mathematical equations. Not to be missed is the lush elegance within the delicate, if not intricate arrangements heard on "Possession," as well as the equally involved "Sun Song" -- both of which take on an air of sophistication in their deceptive simplicity.
- Lindsay Planer

Kirk Lightsey Live at "The Alibi"

France Musique Jazz-club
par Claude Carrière et Jean Delmas
Concert donné le 2 février 2008 à "l'Alibi"
50, rue des Vignes
02290 Morsain, FRANCE

Le pianiste Kirk Lightsey
avec Santi Debriano : contrebasse
Victor Lewis : batterie

Maceo Parker - Roots Revisited

Yada yada yada. All you gotta know is Don Pullen is in the house. The other gents is cool too.

Altoist Maceo Parker has spent most of his career in R&B/funk bands, most notably those led by James Brown, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. This CD gave him a chance to stretch out as a leader and his soulful horn immediately brings to mind Hank Crawford and (to a lesser extent) Lou Donaldson. With a strong backup group that includes Pee Wee Ellis on tenor, trombonist Fred Wesley and Don Pullen on organ, Parker enthusiastically plays over infectious grooves with just one funky departure ("In Time"). Roots Revisited is a throwback to the 1960s soul jazz style and Maceo Parker gives one the impression that, if called upon, he could hold his own on a bebop date. ~ Scott Yanow

Maceo Parker (alto sax, piano, organ)
Don Pullen (organ)
Fred Wesley (trombone)
Pee Wee Ellis (tenor sax)
Bootsy Collins (bass, guitar)
Rodney Jones (guitar)
Bill Stewart (drums)

1. Them That Got
2. Children's World
3. Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul
4. People Get Ready
5. Up And Down East Street
6. Over The Rainbow
7. Jumpin' The Blues
8. In Time

Ornette Coleman - In All Languages

In All Languages is a 1987 double album by Ornette Coleman. Coleman and the other members of his 1950s quartet, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Billy Higgins, performed on one of the two records, while his electrified ensemble, Prime Time, performed on the other. Many of the songs on In All Languages had two renditions, one by each group.

Originally issued as a two-LP attempt to give the skinny on Ornette Coleman's very different electric and acoustic musical languages, this set catches the "classic" acoustic quartet and the electric Prime Time band as alter egos of one another. Coleman's compression of harmony and melody in the acoustic quartet was always groundbreaking and remains no less so in this slightly varnished recording of the group (with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Billy Higgins). Without the raw production qualities of the Atlantic-era quartet LPs, the quartet sounds strangely clean but still paints Coleman as a top-drawer harmonic (er, harmolodic) theorist. The bouncing gait of the tunes and their irrepressible fun is about all that remains constant once guitarist Bern Nix, Jamaaldeen Tacuma, and the other Prime Timers plug in, playing many of the same songs the quartet play on the CD's first half. Coleman's electric funk band managed to sound wiry and fuzzy in equal (large) portions, and here they paddle in lakes of rhythms that will energize James Brown fans and West African percussion aficionados. Its odd studio polish aside, this is a stunner. Andrew Bartlett

The Quartet
Ornette Coleman (alto & tenor Saxophones)
Don Cherry (trumpet)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

Prime Time
Ornette Coleman (saxophone & trumpet)
Denardo Coleman (drums)
Calvin Weston (drums)
Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass)
Al MacDowell (bass)
Charlie Ellerbee (guitar)
Bern Nix (guitar)

1. Peace Warriors
2. Feet Music
3. Africa Is The Mirror Of All Colors
4. Word For Bird
5. Space Church (Continuous Services)
6. Latin Genetics
7. In All Languages
8. Sound Manual
9. Mothers Of The Veil
10. Cloning
11. Music News
12. Mothers Of The Veil
13. The Art Of Love Is Happiness
14. Latin Genetics
15. Today, Yesterday And Tomorrow
16. Listen Up
17. Feet Music
18. Space Church (Continuous Services)
19. Cloning
20. In All Languages
21. Biosphere
22. Story Tellers
23. Peace Warriors

Early Ornette

Ornette Coleman - Tomorrow Is The Question!

With his second album as a leader, 1959's Tomorrow Is The Question!, Ornette Coleman had not quite made all the necessary adjustments that would introduce his classic period. However, enough changes had been made to make it clear that the alto saxophonist -- contrary to his detractors' sneers--had a specific sound he was aiming toward, and a clear idea of how to get there. The biggest change between this album and Coleman's 1958 debut is the lack of a pianist, which puts the melodic emphasis solely on Coleman's sax and Don Cherry's trumpet. Coleman and Cherry are in remarkable sync throughout; indeed, "Rejoicing" features several passages of the pair playing in unison, and two of the album's most harmonically fearless and rhythmically loose solos are Cherry's spotlights in "Giggin'" and "Endless." Only the somewhat ordinary post-bop rhythm section of bassist Percy Heath (spelled by Red Mitchell on the last three tracks) and drummer Shelly Manne keeps Tomorrow Is The Question! from reaching the ecstatic free-jazz heights of Coleman's classic Atlantic albums.

Ornette Coleman (alto saxophone)
Don Cherry (trumpet)
Percy Heath (bass)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Tomorrow Is The Question!
2. Tears Inside
3. Mind And Time
4. Compassion
5. Giggin'
6. Rejoicing
7. Lorraine
8. Turnabout
9. Endless

Recorded at Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles, California on January 16, February 23 and March 9 & 10, 1959

Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz

As jazz's first extended, continuous free improvisation LP, Free Jazz practically defies superlatives in its historical importance. Ornette Coleman's music had already been tagged "free," but this album took the term to a whole new level. Aside from a predetermined order of featured soloists and several brief transition signals cued by Coleman, the entire piece was created spontaneously, right on the spot. The lineup was expanded to a double-quartet format, split into one quartet for each stereo channel: Ornette, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Scott LaFaro, and drummer Billy Higgins on the left; trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Ed Blackwell on the right. The rhythm sections all play at once, anchoring the whole improvisation with a steady, driving pulse. The six spotlight sections feature each horn in turn, plus a bass duet and drum duet; the "soloists" are really leading dialogues, where the other instruments are free to support, push, or punctuate the featured player's lines. Since there was no road map for this kind of recording, each player simply brought his already established style to the table. That means there are still elements of convention and melody in the individual voices, which makes Free Jazz far more accessible than the efforts that followed once more of the jazz world caught up. Still, the album was enormously controversial in its bare-bones structure and lack of repeated themes. Despite resembling the abstract painting on the cover, it wasn't quite as radical as it seemed; the concept of collective improvisation actually had deep roots in jazz history, going all the way back to the freewheeling early Dixieland ensembles of New Orleans. Jazz had long prided itself on reflecting American freedom and democracy and, with Free Jazz, Coleman simply took those ideals to the next level. A staggering achievement. Steve Huey

Ornette Coleman (alto saxophone)
Don Cherry (pocket trumpet)
Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Scott La Faro (bass)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Ed Blackwell (drums)

1. Free Jazz
2. First Take

Recorded on December 21, 1960

Comus –first utterance 1971, (psyche folk)

moving away from jazz based music , here's a great folk album from Britain circa 1971(recorded in 70) an all acoustic affair , with lead singer roger wooten , sounding fairly horse ,and occasionally as though he's chocking (on cough inducing , unfiltered bong smoke) mid phrase.
anyone who likes , vintage British crossover/experimental folk groups like pentangle or the third ear band(the group who most famously scored Polanski's Macbeth) will probably like this.
if you 're well adjusted , making lots of money, wear glued on rose tinted glasses and like 70's grant green and Donald Byrd records ... you'll probably hate it.
here are a couple of reviews (extracts)
1) scaruffi
Comus were one of England's underground bands that dealt with the folk revival from a psychedelic and classical perspective. First Utterance (Pye, 1971 - Earmark, 2005) employed viola, violin, flute, oboe, guitar and percussion's, distributed among six members, to craft complex songs such as Diana, Drip Drip, Song To Comus, The Bite, The Prisoner that hark back to the Middle Ages but also comply with the canon of Canterbury's progressive-rock. The three-part suite The Herald is possibly their masterpiece. Roger Wootton's growling vocals (a` la Family's Roger Chapman) added an evil dimension to their sordid tales of murder, rape and witchcraft."
2) from brainwashed
"Previously, the only way to hear much of this music was to track down the original Pye/Dawn LPs, which frequently trade hands for upwards of a thousand dollars for a VG+ copy, or to buy one of the exorbitantly priced bootleg CD reissues that have surfaced on Korean and Japanese labels over the years. Indeed, First Utterance is probably the ultimate psych-folk Holy Grail, a storied and obscure album that more than earns its reputation. In writing this review, I had to make an effort to remain as dispassionate as possible, as First Utterance is certainly one of my top five favorite albums of all time, and I've been obsessively trying to uncover its mysteries over the period of eight years since I first heard it. This album, along with Jan Dukes De Grey's Mice and Rats in the Loft, is probably the truest manifestation of the genre sometimes called "progressive folk," as songs with a distinctly Brit-folk vibe are stretched out into dynamic, multi-part convocations, joined together with instrumental passages of acoustic guitar, reeds and hand percussion. Far from being the sort of contrived, antiseptic art-rock normally associated with the "progressive" tag, the music made by Comus is fierce and visceral, passionate and intense, living in an ever-present now. To listen to First Utterance is to be kidnapped by cult of forest-dwelling Magus and witches, who drug you, blindfold you, strip you naked and convey your cold, quivering corpus to a clearing in the woods, where you are forced to participate in an ancient initiation rite. Along the way are invocations of the huntress-goddess Diana, chilling murder ballads, songs of praise to a malevolent demon, stories of necrophilia, crucifixion and insanity. There are moments of fragile, pastoral beauty on First Utterance, but they are interrupted at unpredictable intervals by the frightening howls, growls and vocal ululations of singer Roger Wootton. It's frequently amazing just how much power and ferocity the quintet are able to pull out of their completely acoustic instruments, making the album also function as a sort of unplugged proto-Metal album. Songs seem to slither and pulsate, with their own phantasmagorical logic, traveling from innocuous nature hymns set against placid folk music, to anarchic, tribalistic surrenders to the nightmarish and Satanic, often within the same song. This frightening dynamism led David Michael Formerly Tibet to declare that First Utterance was his favorite album of all time, and Current 93 covered "Diana" on their Horsey EP. The band is also on the Nurse With Wound list, and are frequently name checked by a slew of recent "freak-folk" acts, many whom, shall we say, have "borrowed" their eccentricities from Comus' monolithic LP. "