Thursday, March 31, 2011

George Wein Newport All-Stars - 1961 Midnight Concert At The Olympia

Jazz impresario George Wein is obviously more widely known for founding the Newport Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (among others) than as a musician, but he always gives it his all when he gets around to recording. Although he's hardly an innovator or an important pianist, he always surrounds himself with top-notch musicians, and this 1961 concert at the Olympia Theater in Paris is no exception. His group includes Pee Wee Russell, Ruby Braff, Vic Dickenson, Jimmy Woode, and Buzzy Drootin, all of whom are in fine form. The focus of this set is primarily Dixieland, though there are some standards from the swing era. Count Basie's "Blue and Sentimental" provides a terrific showcase for Braff, while Vic Dickenson's sassy solo is the centerpiece of "Lover, Come Back to Me." It's apparent that a good time was had by all, so anyone interested in three outstanding players (Russell, Braff, and Dickenson) will enjoy this long out of print LP issued by the long defunct Smash label.
Ken Dryden

01. Sweet Georgia Brown (3:42)
02. When My Sugar Walks Down The Street (6:09)
03. Blue & Sentimental (3:14)
04. Lover come Back To Me 3:09()
05. Blues Pour Commencer (7:46)
06. Sugar (5:02)
07. I've Found A New Baby (5:30)

Rudy Braff - Cornet
Vic Dickenson - Trombone
Pee Wee Russell - Clarinet
George Wein - Piano
Jimmy Woode - Bass
Buzzy Drootin - Drums

Recorded at The Olympia, Paris, on April 22, 1961

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ahmad Jamal - 1994-95 Big Byrd.The Essence, Part 2

The elements that made The Essence Part One such a success - bright, crisp, rhythmically alive piano work often revolving around a tense bass ostinato and propulsive percussion - are abundantly present on Part Two, which was drawn from the same Paris and New York sessions but released a year after its predecessor. In no way is this a collection of leftovers; the quality level is so high that one can only conclude that marketing considerations alone prevented The Essence from being issued as a double album in the first place. Jamal fields two trios, anchored on bass by James Cammack in the Paris sessions and former colleague Jamil Nasser in the New York ones and by drummer Idris Muhammad on both. Everyone gets an extra jolt of momentum whenever the Afro-Latin percussion of Manolo Badrena goes into action, and violinist Joe Kennedy Jr. adds a potent, slightly raw-edged solo voice to "Manhattan Relfections". A muted, skittering Donald Byrd appears only on the title track - hence its name - which winds its way through several tempo changes and dramatically charged sections over a vast 15-minute timespan. Into his mid-60s, Jamal remained as distinctive and inventive a pianist as ever, with delightful surprises lurking around every bend.
Richard S. Ginell

01 Lament (Jamal) 8:59
02 There's a Lull in My Life (Gordon, Revel) 6:38
03 Manhattan Reflections (Jamal) 8:35
04 Big Byrd (Jamal) 15:13
05 Jamie My Boy (Jamal) 9:36
06 I Love You (Porter) 8:30

Ahmad Jamal Piano
Donald Byrd Trumpet (4)
Joe Kennedy, Jr. Violin (3)
James Cammack Bass (1, 2, 5 & 6)
Jamil Nasser Bass (3 & 4)
Idris Muhammad Drums
Manolo Badrena Percussion (3, 4, 5 & 6)

Tracks 1, 2, 5 & 6:
Recorded at Studios Marcadet, La Plaine Saint-Denis (France) on October 30-31, 1994

Tracks 3 & 4:
Recorded at Clinton Studio, New York on February 6-7, 1995

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Benny Goodman - Complete RCA Victor Small Group Master Takes

In so many ways these small-group recordings by bandleader and clarinetist extraordinaire Benny Goodman from 1935-1939 are his most satisfying. Here, along with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa, Goodman got to the essence of his trademark brand of hot swing. The first four sides here are with that trio and they are simply glorious. As the years passed, Goodman added and subtracted members, who included vocalists Helen Ward and Martha Tilton, Lionel Hampton, drummer Dave Tough, bassist John Kirby, and others, but the effect was largely the same -- though perhaps not as intense as with the original trio and quartet with Hampton. The sides collected here, all 47 of them, are uniform in their freshness, stunning chart originality, and musical execution. While the package is not big on liner notes, all the necessary personnel information is included session by session, and the sound of the 24-bit digital master is superior to the RCA version of the same set. - Thom Jurek

Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Teddy Wilson, Jess Stacy (piano)
Lionel Hampton (vibes, drums)
Gene Krupa, Dave Tough, Buddy Schutz (drums)
John Kirby (bass)
Ziggy Elman (trumpet)
Helen Ward, Martha Tilton (vocals)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sahib Shihab - Sentiments

Like many Americans who opt to live and work in Europe, the recorded legacy of multi-reed player Sahib Shihab tends to be overlooked by fans in his native land. Sentiments pairs recordings he made for two separate albums between 1965 and 1971. On the 1971 session, he's accompanied by fellow
expatriate Kenny Drew, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and drummer Jimmy Hopps. Most of the compositions are by the leader, starting with the exotic blend of hard bop and African rhythm, featuring Shihab's dancing soprano sax and Pedersen's bass solo. Drew switches to organ and Pedersen makes a relatively rare appearance on electric bass on the funky "Sentiments." The leader switches to baritone sax for Drew's exuberant ballad "Extase." The 1965 sessions feature Shihab as a guest with the Danish Radio Jazz Group, playing six of his originals. "Di-Da" is a catchy hard bop tune in which one note is repeatedly echoed by members of the group, though the pattern disappears as he launches his powerful baritone sax. The moody "Tenth Lament" and the perky "Harvey's Tune" are also highlights, with Shihab switching to flute for the latter piece. The supporting cast has a number of top European musicians, including Niels Pedersen, pianist Bent Axen, trumpeters Palle Mikkelborg and Allan Botschinsky, and drummer Alex Riel. * Ken Dryden *

1 - Ma'nee
2 - The Call
3 - Rue De La Harpe
4 - Sentiments
5 - From Me To You
6 - Extase
7 - Companionship
8 - Di-Da
9 - Not Yet
10 - Tenth Lament
11 - Harvey's Tune
12 - No Time For Cries
13 - The Crosseyed Cat

Personnel: Sahib Shihab (flute, alto flute, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, cowbells); Sahib Shihab; Bent Juul Nielsen (flute, clarinet, baritone saxophone); Bent Jaedig (flute, tenor saxophone); Poul Hindberg (clarinet, alto saxophone); Niels Husum (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Torolf Molgaard (trombone); Kenny Drew (piano, organ, bells); Bent Axen (piano); Louis Hjulmand (vibraphone); Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (double bass, electric bass, bass guitar); Alex Riel (drums); Palle Mikkelborg (trumpet, flugelhorn); Jimmy Hopps (drums); Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra.

Teddy Edwards - 1946-48 Steady With Teddy

Four sessions (2 on Dial and 2 on Rex) that Teddy Edwards recorded at the beginning of his career, with the presence of some of the more reputated musicians in the coming years.

The session on October 18, 1946 was made just before the recording ban ordered by the Federation of Musicians (AFM) came into force, and the records made a very big impression when they were first issued. Bop was almost unknown on the Coast at that time and the session was notable for its originality, for the innovative tenor saxophone playing of Edwards, the strong trumpet lead from McGhee and the brilliance of Dodo Marmarosa's playing. The rhythm section is very fine too, with excellent hop guitar playing by Arv Garrison. Up In Dodo's Room is justly considered to be a classic.

The 1947 record date, the first under Teddy Edwards' own name, was notorious for the fact that the partaking musicians were never ever paid, yet Benny Bailey recalled it philosophically: "It was a very rice date. It was no problem at all, It went very fast and we did the whole thing in two or. three hours." Edwards remembered that. It took place in "a back alley studio off North Western Avenue, Los Angeles", for which Teddy contributed five originals. Edwards plays with imagination and confidence throughout the whole session, and his solo on Body And Soul owes nothing to Coleman Hawkins. From start to finish it's Teddy Edwards' ideas all the way. His virile swinging tenor playing is beard to advantage on Steady With Teddy and the very swinging blues that brings the session to an end, Roy's Boy. Bailey was in the Lionel Hampton band brass section at the time, and pianist Duke Brooks was affectionately remembered by Edwards as "by far one of the best and warmest piano players I ever worked with." The young Brooks certainly comps well on these sides, but, sad to relate, not long later he was tragically killed on a highway when thumbing a lift home to his native St. Louis.

The third set begins with two extended tracks. Hornin' In and The Duel, which are actually different takes of the same theme. Dexter Gordon, was currently a commanding presence in California and very influential, with plenty of charisma. And tenor ‘battles’ had become very popular at concerts, which inevitably led to a jousting being put on wax. The slower tempo of the longer Hornin' In seems to suit the two saxophonists better, and Edwards is particularly creative on this one. The studio session is brought to an end by Edwards playing vine choruses of the blues. He seems very much at home, for he was a natural blues player.

The final session on this CD was made in a somewhat furtive atmosphere during the actual recording ban, and according to Edwards was "in a home studio in the Valley." For this date Edwards played three of his own original compositions plus a ballad. Teddy's Tune gets the set off to a good start, a warm-up blues, which is immediately followed by the bouncey Wonderful Work, based on Just You, Just Me. Fairy Dance is a typical bop tune of the time, and Teddy leaps into his solo with bravura. In It's The Talk Of The Town, it's apparent that Edwards was thinking of Coleman Hawkins at the time. He plays the standard with great sensitivity, producing a solo of genuine elegance whereas his playing on the other tracks shows the power and forthrightness that have characterized his playing over since. There's fire and emotion there, and Edwards' remark that he was never unduly influenced by any other tenor player can be said to be confirmed. It's good to have these recordings made available again, and high time that Edwards received some recognition.
Mike Baillie

01 Up in Dodo's room (3:14)
02 Dialated pupils (2:31)
03 Midnight at minton's (2:59)
04 High wind in Hollywood (2:37)
05 Steady with Teddy (2:47)
06 Bird legs (2:59)
07 Roy's boy (2:32)
08 Rexology (2:43)
09 Out of nowhere (2:34)
10 Three bass hit (2:34)
11 R. B.'s wig (2:37)
12 Body and soul (2:42)
13 Hornin' in* (7:16)
14 The duel* (5:19)
15 Blues in Teddy's flat (2:58)
16 Teddy's tune (2:52)
17 Wonderful work (2:42)
18 Fairy dance (2:45)
19 It's the talk of the town (2:43)

Tracks 1-4 (Dial):
Howard McGee (tp), Teddy Edwards (ts), Dodo Marmarosa (p), Arvin Garrison (g), Bob Kesterson (b), Roy Porter (d).
Hollywood, October 18, 1946.

Tracks 5-12 (Rex):
Benny Bailey (tp), Teddy Edwards (ts), Duke Brooks (p), Addison Farmer (b), Roy Porter (d).
Hollywood, July 1947.

Tracks13-15 (Dial):
Teddy Edwards & Dexter Gordon* (ts), Jimmy Rowles (p), Red Callender (b), Roy Porter (d).
Hollywood, December 4, 1947.

Tracks16-19 (Rex):
Teddy Edwards (ts), Herbie Harper (tb), Hampton Hawes (p), Iggy Shevack (b), Roy Porter (d).
Hollywood, October 1948.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gene Harris - Like a Lover

Gene Harris recorded quite extensively for Concord Records in the eighties and nineties before his untimely death at the age of 66 in 2000. This quartet album is from 1992 and features a few uptempo tunes as well as his usual blues-drenched versions of standards.

Gene Harris (piano)
Ron Eschete (guitar)
Luther Hughes (bass)
Harold Jones (drums)

1. Like a Lover
2. Misterioso
3. Strollin'
4. Until the Real Thing Comes Along
5. Jeannine
6. I Can't Stop Loving You
7. You Make Me Feel So Young
8. Oh, Look at Me Now
9. Just One More Chance
10. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

Recorded January 17, 1992

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Howard Rumsey - Sunday Jazz A La Lighthouse, Vol 2

This 1998 OJC CD reissues a very elusive item, the first 10" LP released by Contemporary. The six selections by the Lighthouse All-Stars (actually their fourth recording and third for Contemporary) were recorded live at the Lighthouse. At the time, the band had quite a notable lineup (trumpeter Shorty Rogers, trombonist Milt Bernhart, both Jimmy Giuffre and Bob Cooper on tenors, pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Howard Rumsey, and drummer Shelly Manne). The recording quality is not as good as studio records of the era, but the musicians all play well; Teddy Edwards' "Sunset Eyes" is a highlight. Shortly after, Rogers and Manne would depart to lead their own bands and Giuffre would join Rogers. This CD concludes with three previously unreleased numbers from September 1953 (including a 12-minute version of "Four Others") that feature a mostly different version of the All- Stars: Rolf Ericson and Chet Baker, who were sitting in on trumpets; altoist Bud Shank; Cooper back on tenor; an unidentified pianist; leader/bassist Rumsey; and drummer Max Roach. Collectors of West Coast jazz and completists will want this CD even if it falls short of being essential. *Scott Yanow*

1 - Luau
2 - Comin' Thru The Rye Bread
3 - Taking A Chance On Love
4 - The Big Top
5 - The Duke You Say
6 - Sunset Eyes
7 - Glidin' Along
8 - Beau Boy
9 - Four Others

Personnel: Howard Rumsey (bass, leader); Bud Shank (alto saxophone); Jimmy Giuffre, Bob Cooper (tenor saxophone); Chet Baker , Maynard Ferguson, Rolf Ericson, Shorty Rogers (trumpet); Milt Bernhart (trombone); Lorraine Geller, Claude Williamson, Frank Patchen, Hampton Hawes, Russ Freeman (piano); Max Roach, Shelly Manne (drums); Carlos Vidal (congas).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Art Blakey - Cu-Bop

Liner notes:

Art Blakey's bristling Jazz Messengers consists of Johnny Griffin, tenor; Bill Hardman, trumpet; Sam Dockery, piano; "Spanky" DeBrest, bass. The addition, conga drummer "Sabu" Martinez, like Blakey, has the molten soul of a dedicated percussionist. Like Blakey, he is wholly intense; and when he begins to play, he projects a fire that at times threatens to consume his instrument and himself.

Like Blakey, Sabu too is a jazz drummer.

He is very insistent on this point. "You can't play Latin conga to jazz," he declares. "At least, you shouldn't. I play the conga drum as a jazz instrument, not as a Latin addition. Using the conga drum this way is still relatively new, and very few conga drummers can express themselves as jazz musicians yet."

Sabu was asked the primary differences between the way he plays jazz conga drum and the way he might play Latin conga drum. "I often leave more spaces in jazz, and I put more pressure on two and four. Actually, I feel jazz in two while in Latin music I have to feel the beat on all four beats pretty evenly. Another thing I do in jazz conga is to stretch my notes. I can deepen and stretch the beat by placing my hand heavier on the skin."

Sabu is proud of a recent Art Blakey award of merit and valor. "Art said that I'm the only conga drummer who doesn't interfere with his drumming and who doesn't get in the way of the musicians when they're taking solos."

This fervent conga drummer emphasizes another important aspect of his philosophy of jazz conga blowing. "You can express yourself on the conga drum in jazz as you would on a horn. I feel it as part of the group, like any other instrument, not as just a time-keeper."

Howard McGhee, the renowned trumpet player who was listening to this conversation, included his view: '"The conga drum can be like any other instrument, like another saxophone or trumpet. It adds more color, in a way, than another horn, so that it not only boosts the rhythm but colors the whole band."

Sabu is capable of becoming Toynbeeish about his beloved conga drum. "The conga drum," he assures those who will listen "is perhaps the first instrument in the world. Before the conga drum was a drum, it was a log, and logs were used to send messages." The subject has many ramifications through the eons, and we shall pursue it for the moment no farther.

Sabu does not read music. "I feel the beat. I have been in jazz since 1947 and consider myself a jazz musician so I have no problem in feeling the rhythm and knowing what to do to express what I feel and to blend with the group.''

The first major influence on Sabu was the inflammatory Chano Pozo, the Cuban bongo and conga drummer who toured with the Dizzy Gillespie big band in 1948 and electrified musicians and audiences until he was cut down by a bullet that same year in a night club brawl. "Chano, whom I knew very well," Sabu remembers, "was happy he was part of jazz and happy that he was the one to introduce into jazz the real jazz possibilities of his instruments."

Three days after Chano died, Sabu took his place with Dizzy. He has also worked with Charlie Parker, Mary Lou Williams, Blakey, Lionel Hampton, J. J. Johnson, Buddy De Franco, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, and other jazzmen. He would like to make his future in jazz, and has a quintet of trumpet, piano, bass, drums and conga drum. "I want to let people see and hear more of the conga drum as a jazz instrument."

Sabu believes that this is the first jazz date on which two conga drums have been played simultaneously. "Before, they have used one; I wanted to get a taste of how two would sound. I tuned one to A and the other an octave higher. After being slapped a while, they might have come down a little in pitch but still an octave apart. Art tuned to the piano, and I tuned to Art. I'd rather tune to a skin or to a bass because it sounds more like a drum to me..."

I have devoted this much space to Sabu because, first of all, it is his presence that differentiates this album from previous conclaves of Art Blakey and his Messengers. Secondly, Art's own background is already well and widely known, and has been detailed in a considerable number of liner notes. Very briefly, Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (his Moslem name) was born in Pittsburgh October 11, 1919. He has worked with Fletcher Henderson, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Eckstine (the honorable Eckstine 1944-47 modern jazz band), Lucky Millinder, Buddy De Franco, and has headed many units of his own. He has been a leader consistently in recent years, and this is his second Jazz Messengers unit of the '50s. (He had a big band titled the Messengers that he assembled intermittently from 1948-50.)

In a Down Beat interview with this questioner in early 1956, Art explained why he was drawn to "The Messengers" as the name for a jazz band: "When I was a kid, I went to church mainly to relieve myself of problems and hardships. We did it by singing and clapping our hands. We called this way of relieving trouble having the spirit hit you. I get that same feeling, even more powerfully, when I'm playing jazz. In jazz, you get the message when you hear the music. And when we're on the stand, and we see that there are people in the audience who aren't patting their feet and who aren't nodding their heads to our music, we know we're doing something wrong. Because when we do get our message across, those heads and feet do move."

Art's current sidemen represent a young blazing generation of jazzmen who grew up accepting the Bird-Dizzy-Monk-Bud revision of the jazz language as the natural way of speaking jazz. For many of them, it was the first jazz they heard and it made the most penetrating impact. Part of this younger generation continues to play directly within the Bird-Dizzy mainstream while at the same time trying to deepen, extend and continually re-energize the language.

Johnny Griffin, a roaring tenor from Chicago who has strikingly impressed New York musicians in recent months, goes back farther in his acknowledged influences than a number of his contemporaries. According to Joe Segal, Metronome's Chicago voice, Griffin has listed Don Byas, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Lester Young, Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Thelonious Monk as the musicians he prefers and presumably has [been] influenced by. Like Sonny Rollins, the dean of a section of young tenors, Griffin plays hard and hot and he possesses a conception that swings with compelling strength and rhythmic invention. Near 30, he is a valuable voice.

Hardman, a crackling, spearing trumpeter, was born in Cleveland April 6, 1932. According to Ira Gitler, his influences were Benny Bailey (who was with Lionel Hampton in the mid-'40s), Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. Hardman worked with Tiny Bradshaw from 1953-55, and became a member of Charlie Mingus' uncompromising Jazz Worksbop in 1956. It was while with Mingus on a lashing, rainy night at Newport, that Hardman's conviction and emotional drive first impressed a large number of the oriented. He has become increasingly recognized through his work with Blakey in the past year. "Spanky" DeBrest has worked in and around Philadelphia; and Sam Dockery is an alumnus of a Buddy Rich group, among other units.

The opening Shorty by Johnny Griffin is a virile head-shaker that sets and maintains a rolling, heated groove. Charlie Shavers' Dawn on the Desert begins with Johnny (not Griffin) stepping out of store-windows all over the oases but after that background camel-ride is happily over, the track settles down into a firmly pulsating, blues-shaded series of intent messages from the soloists. There is a conversation between Sabu and Blakey following Griffin that to his rhythm-struck listener, is an invigorating involving experience.

Dizzy Gillespie's Woodyn' You has become as familiar to the young modern jazzman as Royal Garden Blues was to some of their predecessors, and it is played with the swift assertiveness of familiarity. The final Sakeena is named after a very new Art Blakey daughter, and seems to this listener to be an invocation to the new soul to bestir herself, to become and express herself, and to live fully. At any rate, it affects the mnsicians that way. The climax is again attained during a colloquy between Art and Sabu that comes to sound like a village of voices, instead of just two.

This session not only swings; it multi-swings. ~ Nat Hentoff

Art Blakey (drums)
Bill Hardman (trumpet)
Johnny Griffin (tenor sax)
Sam Dockery (piano)
Spanky DeBrest (bass)
Sabu Martinez (conga)

1. Woody'n'you
2. Sakeena
3. Shorty
4. Dawn On The Desert

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Joe Carroll Vinyl Epic LN 3272

Joe "Bebop" Carroll (November 25, 1919–February 1, 1981) was a jazz vocalist, known primarily for his work with Dizzy Gillespie between 1949 and 1953. His collaborations with Gillespie include the humorous songs "Swing Low Sweet Cadillac" and "Oo Bla Dee."
He was known for an upbeat, energetic comedic style, often employing scat singing or vocalese. Carroll recorded three albums under his own name in the late 1950s and early 1960s; the best-known, and only one to have been released on CD, is 1962's The Man With The Happy Sound.
The 1947 Tadd Dameron song "A Be Bop Carroll" (recorded by Fats Navarro) is a Christmas song with a punning reference to Carroll.
From Wikipedia

11 Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea
12 Qu’est-que-ce
13 It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t got That Swing
14 Route 66!
15 St. Louis Blues
16 School Days
21 Jump Ditty
22 Jeepers Creepers
23 Oo-shoo.bee-doo-bee
24 Oh, Lady Be Good
25 One is Never Too Old to Swing
26 Honeysuckle Rose


Tracks # 11, 15, 21 & 22
Jimmy Cleveland – trombone
Urbie Green – trombone
Hank Jones – piano
Oscar Pettiford - bass
Osie Johnson - drums

Tracks # 13, 24, 16 & 26
Jimmy Cleveland - trombone
Seldon Powell – tenor saxophone
Ray Bryant - piano
Milt Hinton – bass
Osie Johnson – drums

Tracks # 12, 23, 14 & 25
Jim Oliver – tenor saxophone
Ray Bryant – piano
James Rowser - bass
Charles Blackwell – drums

Trio Rouge - Trio Rouge


In his liner notes to Trio Rouge, Ralf Dombrowski, the producer of the album, recounts his memories of the Talos Jazz Festival - the venue in which this unusual group first came to his attention. Due to bad weather, he tells us, the concert was shifted from the great outdoors to the ugly, functional civic centre. Naturally, the mood of the day was dampened - and the cello/tuba/vocals combination that had just stepped on to the stage offered little promise of cheering things up. But, as Dombrowski himself describes it, the discontent was not to last long: 'when Lucilla Galeazzi began to sing the sober surroundings were forgotten... The crowd went wild and I was impressed.'

Trio Rouge

Galeazzi, indeed, has one of those voices that instantly grabs the listener - rich, intense and filled with emotion, but never straying from a breathtaking precision that shines of musicality. And like all great musicians, she employs her talents with the utmost versatility. Passion and defiance seep through every note of songs like 'Voglio Una Casa', whilst sensitivity and tenderness characterise 'Per Vita Bella'. The most impressive tune of the collection is the short but absorbing 'Stornelli A Saltrarello'. Accompanied only by steady clapping, Galeazzi's expressive vocals glide with ease through the rhythmical mesh of this beautiful traditional melody. The rapid blast of notes at the end has to be heard to be believed...

And so does Michel Godard on tuba. As uninspiring as the instrument may be in the hands of the average performer, Godard's virtuousity is an utter delight to listen to. Attaining an almost voice-like quality, bending and stretching the notes like elastic, his solos breath tremendous life in to the sparse compositions of the trio. Experimental as he often is, though, Godard never allows his talents to compromise the tone and feel of the songs. His solos often work round the melody already laid down by the vocals, whilst in songs like 'Una Serenata' he shows his willingness to stick very rigidly to the simple, thumping bass line required to carry the tune forward.

It is Courtois, of course, who by-in-large provides the 'rhythm section'. Whether strumming at pizzicato chords or sawing away at a riff, his rhythmic assurance and precise approach do away with the need for percussion. In saying this, his more melodic work is also extremely impressive, bringing a depth and richness to the pieces, as well as a haunting quality.

There can little doubt, then, that Trio Rouge is a brilliant musical accomplishment - original, warm and highly absorbing. The only thing that concerns me in making my recommendation is that 'jazz' is a rather misleading term to describe this form of music. Whilst a jazz-like freedom seeps through the work - as does a jazz-like understanding of harmony - don't be expecting any walking bass lines, swinging melodies or toe-tapping beats. These are sparse, intense compositions rooted in a spirit of traditional folk songs... Still, to the open-minded jazz fan, the new experience will no doubt satisfy. Review by Robert Gibson.

Voilà! An open mind and an open heart is all you need to appreciate this very unique music! Jean Francois.


1. Bella Ciao

2. Voglio Una Casa

3. Per Vita Bella

4. Ah, Vita Bella

5. La Luze De Oro

6. C'ere Una Volta

7. Una Serenata

8. Stornelli A Saltraello

9. Per La Ninna Nanna

10. La Muntagnella

11. La Tarantelle Translucida

12. Per Gorizia

13. Gorizia

14. Rosso


Lucilla Galeazzi: vocals

Vincent Courtois: violoncello

Michel Godard: tuba, serpent

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

J.J. Johnson - 1965 Goodies

Goodies captures J.J. Johnson's mid-'60s big band in full gallop. Paired with arrangers Dick Hyman, Slide Hampton and Billy Byers, the music marries the nimble grooves of soul-jazz with the big, bold sensibilities of swing to stunning effect. Mastering adrenaline and atmosphere with equal aplomb, the music shifts effortlessly from powder keg dance melodies to lush, luminous ballads, complete with vocal contributions from Ossie Johnson and Marlene Ver Planck. The latter's wordless turn on the stunning "Pense a Moi" is the album's unequivocal highlight. A little-known but rewarding session most easily obtained via the Lonehill label's two-disc The Complete '60s Big Band Recordings set.
Jason Ankeny

01. Feeling Good (2:25)
02. The Seventh Son (2:42)
03. How Insensitive (2:45)
04. Pense à moi (2:02)
05. 008 (2:06)
06. In the Name of Love (2:03)
07. G'won Train (2:57)
08. No Particular Place to Go (2:10)
09. Agua de Beber (2:28)
10. Incidental Blues (2:40)
11. I'm All Smiles (1:57)
12. Billy Boy (2:51)

Recorded in RCA Victor's Studio A, New York City, on July 12, 13, 19 & 20, 1965

Clark Terry (trumpet, fluegelhorn)
J.J. Johnson, Alan Ralph, Tony Studd (trombone)
Ray Sterling (mellophonium)
Jerome Richardson, Phil Bodner, Romeo Penque, Danny Bank (reeds)
Dick Hyman (piano)
John Pizzarelli, Barry Galbraith, Carl Lynch (guitar)
Richard Davis (bass)
Bob Rosengarden, Sol Grubin, Ossie Johnson (drums)
John Pacheco, Irving Allen, Phil Kraus, Warren Smith (percussion)
Marlene Ver Planck, Ossie Johnson (vocals)

Arrangements by J.J. Johnson, Billy Byers, Dick Hyman & Slide Hampton

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jef Sicard - Tropisms

A l'audition de Tropismes (titre emprunté à Nathalie Sarraute), on est en droit de s'interroger quant à la signification de l'absence chronique du nom de son signataire au fronton des innombrables festivals de l'été.
Jef Sicard, brillant polyinstrumentiste (alto, soprano, clarinettes, conques...) formé à l'école libertaire du Machi Oul Big Band des frères Villaroel et membre fondateur du Dharma Quintet, combo phare (avec le Cohelmec) du free jazz français, serait-il tricard en son domaine ? Auquel cas, l'iniquité mérite d'être dénoncée.
Insatiable explorateur sonore, de la trempe des Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman et autre Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jef Sicard ne cesse en effet de compiler, au fil des enregistrements, les aventures musicales les plus novatrices, sans se soucier des modes et canons en vigueur, convaincu (à juste titre) de l'urgence de son rôle de défricheur.
Conséquence, Jef Sicard fait passer un souffle d'air frais sur le jazz hexagonal, ainsi qu'en atteste, cette fois encore, l'audition de son nouveau CD, gravé avec le concours de Nicolas Genest (trompette), Sébastien Llado (trombone), François Méchali (basse) et François Laizeau (batterie), dont l'exceptionnelle qualité (niveau arrangements notamment) n'a d'égale que son immense diversité. ~ Serge Loupien

Je me permettrai de rajouter un mot, ce que je ne fais jamais en d'autres occasions : Jef Sicard correspond le mieux à l'idée que l'on se fait du jazzman intègre, intransigeant..non pas seulement par l'adéquation du personnage à la représentation romantique que l'on se fait, avec gourmandise certes, du mode de vie du jazzman, mais bien, comme le disait Cannonball Adderley, par la mise en pratique permanente et risquée, de cette intégrité : "Jazz is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life" . (JCA, Live in New York, 1962, Riverside). Jef Sicard est de ceux-là, c'est à dire, à l'aune de notre triste époque, un exemple rare. J'ai gardé de nos légères mais régulières rencontres musicales un souvenir ébloui.

01 Le Sablier
02 Zooming The Blues
03 Au Fil De La Paix
04 Miroir
05 Danse Tropique
06 Drums Ovation
07 Parade parodie
08 Main A Main
09 Chandra
10 Blues Dialect
11 Sud Profond

Jef Sicard : ss, as, cl, conques, cloches
Nicolas Genest : tp, bugle, conques
Sebastien Llado : tb, conques
François Méchali : b
François Laizeau : dr

Octobre 2003, CD Night and Day

Johnny Hodges - 1956-1957 Johnny Hodges And The Ellington Men

The music here defies fad and fashion. Johnny Hodges and his alto sax speak with trademark elegance and eloquence—part and parcel of having been with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in its most celebrated days. The sides included come from three of Hodges’ classic albums: “Ellingtonia ’56,” “Duke’s in Bed” and “The Big Sound,” and the formations range from large combo units to the full-fledged Ellington band (without Duke). Rich, rocking, blue-boned relaxation is the mood, and this set of Hodges-guided numbers is full of his inimitable swing and ever present touches of warmth and humour.
Fresh Sound Records

No surprises, but the sessions were as good as one might hope. Gathered here was the Ellington band with Billy Strayhorn at the piano. While it was not an Ellington record, the band brought its solid qualities in backing and the occasional solo to all the fine Hodges features. This was an integrated unit, not some detached studio band for Hodges to blow over, under, around, and through. It was wonderful Hodges and fine Ellington.
Bob Rush

CD 1
01. Hi’ Ya (3:09)
02. Snibor (7:15)
03. Texas Blues (11:46)
04. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (3:28)
05. A-Oodie-Oobie (3:31)
06. Meet Mr. Rabbit (7:14)
07. Duke’s in Bed (2:53)
08. Just Squeeze Me (3:06)
09. Ballad for Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus Eaters (3:21)
10. Confab with Rab (3:16)
11. It Had to Be You (3:06)
12. Black and Tan Fantasy (6:18)
13. Take the “A” Train (8:03)

CD 2
01. The Happy One (2:51)
02. Night Walk (3:13)
03. You Got It Coming (6:01)
04. Duke’s Jam (6:24)
05. Little Rabbit Blues (9:22)
06. Johnny Comes Lately (2:26)
07. Gone and Crazy (3:12)
08. Fast Segdoh (3:26)
09. Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You (3:27)
10. An Ordinary Thing (3:19)
11. Waiting for Duke (3:57)
12. Dust Bowl (4:24)
13. Early Morning Rock (3:33)
14. Viscount (2:27)
15. Digits (4:17)
16. Bouquet of Roses (3:21)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Johnny Griffin Quartet - Jazz Jamboree 1963

01 - Sophisticated lady  
02 - Rhythm-a-ning
03 -Body and soul  
04 - Lover man

Jazz Jamboree '63: Johnny Griffin Quartet:
 Live "Philharmonic Hall", Warsaw, Poland,
 October 26, 1963

Johnny Griffin-ts
Kenny Drew-p
Ruud Jacobs-b
Robert Joseph-dr

    Sophisticated lady  

Wim Overgaauw-g replaces Robert Joseph

 Live "Philharmonic Hall", Warsaw, Poland,
 October 27, 1963

    Body and soul  
    Lover man      
    (Cherokee   XL0192)    

Muza XL0193