Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tower of Power - Back to Oakland (1974) [flac]

I can't imagine any Tower of Power fans not already having this one but if you don't, you should!

Tower of Power followed their self-titled gold album with an even better album that didn't enjoy similar sales success. Back to Oakland had tougher, funkier and better-produced cuts, stronger vocals from Lenny Williams (who was more comfortable as their lead singer), and included an excellent ballad in "Time Will Tell," and a rousing tempo in "Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)." The Tower of Power horn section reaffirmed its reputation in both soul and pop circles, and the album included a powerhouse instrumental. - Ron Wynn

That "powerhouse instrumental" is Squib Cakes, perhaps the funkiest tune TOP ever recorded.

Lenny Williams (lead vocals)
Chester Thompson (keys)
Bruce Conte (guitar)
Francis Rocco Prestia (bass)
David Garibaldi (drums)
Brent Byars (congas)
Mic Gillette, Greg Adams, Lenny Pickett, Emilio Castillo, Steve Kupka (da horns)

  1. Oakland Stroke...
  2. Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)
  3. Just When We Start Makin' It
  4. Can't You See (You Doin' Me Wrong)
  5. Squib Cakes
  6. Time Will Tell
  7. Man from the Past
  8. Love's Been Gone So Long
  9. I Got the Chop
  10. Below Us, All the City Lights
  11. ...Oakland Stroke

Funky Friday!

The Blues Ain't Nothing

Guitarist Bill Harris (no relation to the trombonist of the same name) was a very diverse musician and most of the various sides of his playing are heard from on this well-rounded CD which contains performances from 1957, 1973, 1975, 1982 and 1986. Harris sings the blues (his use of repetition is an acquired taste), has an interesting monologue and performs music ranging from a Bach prelude arranged by Segovia and a few swing standards to John Coltrane's "Syeda's Song Flute" and two movements from a tribute to Wes Montgomery. This CD serves as an introduction to the infrequently recorded legend. - Scott Yanow

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Birelli Lagrene - Complete Gypsy Project & Friends


Birelli Lagrene - Complete Gypsy Project & Friends (2003)

This double CD set is a compilation of two previously released CDs -- Gipsy Project (2001) and Gipsy Project & Friends (2002. It was released in 2003.

I had the pleasure of seeing Lagrene at the 2006 Montreal Jazz Festival. I anticipated hearing some great gypsy swing - a real love of mine. I should have read the program more closely before buying tickets. This particular concert featured him with a big band - lotsa horns! - and he/they played great. But they didn't play a note of gypsy swing. They played a Django composition, but it didn't sound at all like Django. Was I disappointed? You bet. But once I let go of my disappointment and made the shift toward acceptance, it was a great show. Front row seats and everything!

I've included some background information on Lagrene, the CDs and a couple of reviews.



Bireli Lagrene Overview

Hailed as a child prodigy for his young abilities to reproduce the complexities of the guitar work of gypsy jazz and swing guitar master, Django Reinhardt, with austere precision in mechanics and inspired spirit reminiscent of Django, Bireli Lagrene is one of the few guitarists that has ever been able to reproduce Django's works with a style that is true to form and more than simple immitation. Displaying an obvious respect for Django, Bireli approaches Django's classics in a manner that seeks to assimilate Reinhardt's original perspectives rather than to reduce the recreations to mere analsyis of techniques, mechanics, and verbatim reproduction. By gaining the original perspectives, Bireli takes on a mindset similar to Django's and follows his lines of thinking in new directions that bring a freshness and uniqueness to his reproductions that maintain a sense of authenticity and consistency with the originals in a manner that is not contrived, but is instead vivid, spontaneous, and lively.

Bireli Lagrene is generally recognized among fans of swing guitar and disciples of Django, as the premiere swing guitarist of his (the current) age. His style embraces everything that swing guitar is generally idealized to encompass. Bireli delivers an unending stream of grooving, hard swingin' rhythms, witty lead phrasings, and can deliver leads filled with blazingly fast sections and chocked full of inventive, colorful, dazzling ideas. Rhythm is one aspect of playing where many guitarists are severely deficient. But, Lagrene is a solid rhythm guitarist and this dimension of his playing is deeply developed. In true Django fashion, Bireli revives the concept of lead rhythm in his works and reminds other guitarists that in the sections where other instruments are playing leads, there is still plenty of possibilities for improvising lead rhythms to complement the other instruments taking the lead or even vocals. Rhythmic variation and development is one area that Lagrene towers over other jazz guitarists. His mastery of heavily syncopated swing rhythms is a virtual dictionary of the swing rhythmic lexicon, though some credit must also be given to his "friends" that accompany him on the Gipsy Project albums. It appears as though Lagrene approaches rhythmic development more like a percussionist (in mindset) at times, than as a guitarist. And Lagrene does not depend upon "chippy" rhythms that voice contrived chordal harmonies. Instead, Bireli develops truly accessible, fluid, spirited rhythms that serve to better voice the underlying intricate chordal harmonies. If nothing else, jazz guitarists should listen to Lagrene's rhythmic stylings to bring more fluid continuity, genuine syncopation, and real swing to their rhythm playing.

Though his Django / gypsy works capture the genuine style, feel, and essence of swing guitar, one of Bireli's key strengths is his open-mindedness in considering other modern guitarists that emerged in the more recent years of contemporary jazz. Instilled with an innate sense of judgement for traditional gypsy jazz and swing style, Bireli is able to integrate newer techniques (though those that have studied Django know that he did nearly everything possible technique-wise on the guitar and is not given credit for a fraction of what he did...), modes of harmonization, and rhythms into the traditional repertoire in a manner that augments and modernizes the traditional stylings thereby reinventing the boundaries and even the gypsy and swing styles, as they were known prior to Bireli's undertaking. After all, the gypsy style is a style that evolved through history by this same basic process of incorporating new musical ideas as the traveling gypsies encountered them in the course of their travels. In days of old, the very survival of the gypsy musicians could be dependent upon whether they could keep the attention of their audiences by mesmerizing them with their flashy style of musical fusion developed by a combination of passing down ideas from generation to generation and incorporating new ideas as encountered in the course of their travels. The gypsy style is inherently a style of world fusion. Gypsy music is probably the original form of world music fusion. Django Reinhardt is the single person most responsible for fusing the gypsy musical stylings with jazz. His unique perspectives actually served to largely define what swing guitar was because he did this so early on in the evolution of jazz and defined what swing guitar was by integrating gypsy stylings with the contemporary jazz of the era. Bireli Lagrene continues in the footsteps of the master of gypsy and swing guitar with this evolutionary process, picking up where Django left off with swing guitar.

Though Lagrene's playing and works have expanded and evolved beyond coverage of Django Reinhardt's classics, gypsy jazz, and swing guitar, Bireli's coverage of the swing classics has served to redefine our understanding of these classics. One of the major problems with the old recordings of Reinhardt's works and other older swing era classics, is the limitations of the recording equipment of the age. Musicians intent on extracting the intrinsic value from these old recordings can, with some effort, listen through the poor production quality to pick out, albeit with an astute musician's ear, what was really going on. However, what was actually played, the swinging spirit, and the striking impact of the music is not well conveyed by the original, old recordings, especially to a casual listener that may not have the capacity or will to listen through poor production quality, no matter what is done to improve the sound quality of the original masters. But, this is where the Gypsy Project albums rewrite history. By dusting off the old classics and reviving them with a modern perspective steeped in respect for the authenticity of the originals, these old classics are reproduced with integrity, applying modern production equipment, so that any listener, casual or trained musician alike, can really appreciate the intrinsic feel, raw emotional content, and spirited swing that existed when the classics were originally played (i.e. live) during the swing era. Casual listeners and swing connoisseurs can now enjoy the classic swing music unfettered by the blemishes of the archaic recording equipment of the swing era and revived with a brilliance and sparkling charisma comparable to Django's originals so that listeners can now really appreciate what this music sounded like during the heyday of the swing era; the one difference being that when Django originally produced his swing arrangements, his audience was really hearing this music (style and persona) for the first time with nothing to compare it against because nothing preceding it could give them a basis for comparison. If nothing else, Bireli Lagrene has done all swing fans a great service by reproducing so many Django originals with such authenticity and inspired spirit.

But, Bireli Lagrene brings more to his music than being only a Django reproduction factory. He is a true virtuoso and musical savant with a foundation based in gypsy swing and an avant guarde forging ahead into new territories. And, where other guitarists might be phenomenal in some dimensions in certain aspects of their playing and deficient in other regards, Bireli Lagrene is a well-balanced, complete player; he is equally solid as a lead rhythm player and lead guitarist, as well as gifted in all other aspects of harmonization, lyricism, dynamics, and timing. The amazing leadwork is only part of what he does but is not the sole purpose. Like Django, Bireli is always busy even when he is not in the forefront taking the spotlight with a solo... and very much like Django Reinhardt, he is also in the background stealing the spotlight with his rhythm work! Bireli Lagrene: Gipsy Project And Friends
2002, Disques Dreyfus, FDM 36628-2
Google Search: Bireli Lagrene

The 2002 release, Gipsy Project And Friends, is a compilation of gypsy jazz and swing arrangements that feature the virtuoso guitar work of Bireli Lagrene. Throughout this CD, Lagrene reproduces the major works of Django Reinhardt, one amazing piece after the next, with remarkable enunciation driven by inspired vision.

Opening with a stunning rendition of "Djangology" that would turn even Django's head if he heard it passing by, Lagrene voices the signature rhythms and fleeting chromatic runs with a resounding clarity that brings renewed meaning to the Reinhardt showpiece. Were it not for the crispness of the modern production quality, one might think they were listening to a previously lost, rediscovered version of the old classic sounded by Django and Stephane themselves. Lagrene follows with a captivating take of "When Day Is Done", capturing the authentic swing era feel for a swing blues number that fuses lamentable solace with upbeat, swingin' emancipation. Continuing along the same lines of sentimental ( sentiment, Bireli delivers a warm, heartfelt rendition of "Bei Dir War Es Immer So Schon" that is both moving and striking in its Django qualities again.

The album next takes a turn for the upbeat with the hard swingin' track "Babik". Bireli trades leads on guitar with Florin Niculescu, tearin' up the gypsy violin. Taking it up another notch in emotional content and projection, "Ou Es-tu Mon Amour?" is next on the program. Lagrene and Niculescu again trade leads, competing for the deepest sentiment and wrenching of hearts in this sad ballade that the two deliver standout performances. Lagrene turns up the heat even further on his rendition of the traditional gypsy arrangment, "Les Yeux Noirs" (Dark Eyes). Working craftily around the chromatic accented changes and diminished chords, Lagrene and Stochelo Rosenberg blaze through a set of synchronized leads arranged to the piece in flawless unison, traversing gypsy scales, eery arpeggios, chromatic runs, and syncopated lead rhythms like nothing ever done before on acoustic guitars. Catch your breath and collect your gaping jaw after listening to the stunning synchronized leadwork on this track!

Having torn it up a bit on "Dark Eyes", Bireli takes the tempo down for the sentimental vocal arrangement of "Envie De Toi" that adds a touch of class and elegance to the album. Bouncing right back to life with the hard swing of the signature Django composition, "Minor Swing", Lagrene and Niculescu once again engage in duelling leads reminiscent of the torrid Reinhardt and Grapelli duels. Niculescu scales a number of chromatically-flavored runs, devilish minor and diminished arpeggios, shrill vibratos, and enigmatic sequences in his lead passages that impart to the arrangement, a striking feel of both Grapelli and something a little more aggressive and darker, something a little more... gypsy. Lagrene complements Niculescu's lead playing with continuous variations of heavily syncopated rhythms that "Minor Swing" lends itself so well.

Without detailing the remaining tracks to leave some part of the plot to learn for the potential listeners, Lagrene and friends lay down a total of 14 breathtaking tracks on this epic reconstitution of the swing guitar music of Django Reinhardt.

Considering Bireli Lagrene's phenomenal guitar work, incredible reproduction of Django Reinhardt's essence (... je ne sais quoi ...), demonstration of rhythmic variation and swing rhythms, exposition of gypsy and jazz lead stylings, and the terrific support from the other world class musicians hailing from real-life gypsy culture, this is a must have album for all fans of swing music, Django Reinhardt, and rhythm guitar.

Bireli Lagrene Guitar
Holzamo Lagrene Guitar
Stochelo Rosenberg Guitar
Hono Winterstein Guitar
Thomas Dutronc Guitar
Diego Imbert Double Bass
Florin Niculescu Violin
Henri Salvador Vocals

1) Djangology
2) When Day Is Done
3) Bei Dir War Es Immer So Schon
4) Babik
5) Ou Es-tu Mon Amour
6) Les Yeux Noirs
7) Envie De Toi
8) Minor Swing
9) Laura
10) Artillerie Lourde
11) Place De Broukere
12) Songe d'Automne
13) Une Histoire Simple
14) Ma Premiere Guitare

~ Christopher Ruel ~ ~ ~ March 2007
Bireli Lagrene & Gipsy Project: Move
2004, Disques Dreyfus, FDM 36668-2
Google Search: Bireli Lagrene

Django Reinhardt was a phenomenon of 20th Century music, a gypsy boy who lost the use of two left-hand fingers in a caravan fire but went on to become the greatest guitar player in the world. Reinhardt's life held a surfeit of event, anecdote and music and his story has been told many times, but perhaps never more meaningfully than through the work of his true artistic heir, Bireli Lagrene.

Much attention has been given to the prodigious nature of Lagrene's early career. A gypsy boy himself, as an 11-year-old he released Routes to Django, a virtuoso interpretation of Reinhardt's signature pieces.

An increasingly albatross-like rep as a very particular kind of child star may well have been the spur that drove Lagrene toward other forms of jazz in subsequent years, as much as natural inclinations to explore and develop as a musician per se. But Djangology was never too far from his fingertips. While some people live in legends, other have legends live in them.

Acknowledging Lagrene's place among the latter, it's a delight to witness this return to his original metier on an uplifting new collection of Reinhardt standards and choice Gallic swing. The stylistic template of Reinhardt's Hot Club Quintet was so tightly constructed as to be essentially unalterable, and its multiple guitars-plus-violin configuration supplies the framework here. Lagrene asserts his individuality within it with lead lines and improvisations of the utmost piquancy and sweetness, spraying supernaturally fast runs across full-blooded readings of his mentor's "Minor Swing" and "Djangology". But it's on bluer cuts like "Ou Est-tu Mon Amour" that the depths of his tenderness are revealed, feather-edged single-note statements rising and falling in alternating breaths of heartbreak and resignation.

For all that, the overriding group atmosphere is of spontaneity and bonhomie, the only inconsistent note being Henri Salvador's vocal on "Envie De Toi", one drip of honey too many in some ears, perhaps.

The sound of gypsy jazz has been co-opted by so much toothpaste and so many Awaydays that it's possible to forget that it's real Rusticana we're listening to here - passionate, bucolic music made by extraordinary players. And if one may find Bireli Lagrene a little too close to Django himself to be appreciable in his own right, we offer: it may be Reinhardt music, but it's heart music just the same.

From BBC Review -


With Gypsy Project, Bireli Lagrene returns triumphantly to the acoustic, Django Reinhardt-influenced sound that first won him accolades as a teen prodigy in the early '80s. Joined by Holzmano Lagrene and Hono Winterstein on rhythm guitars, Diego Imbert on double bass, and the Romanian virtuoso Florin Niculescu on violin, an older and wiser Lagrene leaps acrobatically through a propulsive set of Reinhardt originals and Reinhardt-associated vehicles. He may sound quite a bit like Django (just as he did at age 13), but he manages to imbue the session with his own brand of flash and interpretive finesse. Highlights include "Belleville," "Swing 42," and a searing guitar/violin duo on "Limehouse Blues," as well as long and short versions of "Daphné," both featuring superb accordion work from Richard Galliano. The takes are short and sweet (generally under three minutes), and the arrangements can be a bit repetitive -- hear one snappy double-time transition and you've heard them all, it could be argued. However, Lagrene and his companions vary the menu with mournful French songs like "Si Tu Savais" and "Vous et Moi," as well as Charles Trenet's ballad "La Mer" (better known to Americans as "Beyond the Sea," made famous by Bobby Darin). ~ David R. Adler, All Music Guide

Donald Byrd “Off to the Races” (1959, Blue Note 4007)

Scene: Detroit in the late ‘50s
Action: a lot more than cars were being produced in this dynamic music town!

A case in point was two of the best instrumentalists - Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams. You will feel their Motor City background and their 25-year musical relationship. This is Byrd’s first recording for Blue Note as a leader, and a sign of future collaborations with Adams. As I understand, they first met at Detroit’s Blue Bird Inn in the early ‘50s. When you then add Jackie McLean to this mix, you end up with a competitive atmosphere where each member is stretched to new limits. This album was definitely the tip of the musical iceberg for Byrd, and for the future Byrd-Adams collaborations.

Adams’ attitude seems to be like George Bush - “shoot first, ask questions later” approach (in a much, much more positive light ;-). Check out Adams’ pulsating tempos on, “Lover Come Back to Me”! McLean solos do not waste time or notes. Byrd’s powerful solo on, “Lover Come Back to Me” is one rippin’ upper register! Taylor’s cymbal work in this session is a wonderful accent to the others’ playing. Taylor’s opening solo on, “Off to the Races” sets a thundering pace that Jones successfully compliments. Not to be missed is Taylor’s solo on, “Down Home” – what a lovely blues touch! Kelly, as usual, does not stand out in the session but that is only because he never seemed to have a bad recording as he was the supreme complementary musician ~ enjoy!

Donald Byrd (tp), Pepper Adams (baSax), Jackie McLean (as), Wynton Kelly (p), Sam Jones (b), Art Taylor (d); recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studios, NJ on December 21, 1958

01. Lover Come Back to Me
02. When Your Lover Has Gone
03. Sudwest Funk
04. Paul’s Pal
05. Off to the Races
06. Down Tempo

Note: I read that this album is part of the Mosaic “The Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Studio Sessions (2000)” but I do not have it and I wish that I did :-(

Horace Parlan “On The Spur Of The Moment” (1961, Blue Note 84074)

Following up on the posts of Jean Lafite’s “Mr. T.” and Clio’s “Texas Tenor”, I offer you the following tasty tidbit, although I am afraid that it was probably posted many times by Granny’s favorite wee-un. Today’s trivia and the link to Clio’s post: Parlan’s longtime rhythm section, George Tucker (b) and Al Harewood (d), were actually recording a different project with Booker Ervin at the time of this recording!

Parlan plays not only a delicate but rhythmic hard bop. Brothers Turrentine contribute a very appealing bluesy edge. There are a couple of ballads, and even when things are at their hottest, Parlan’s finessed playing keeps the quintet in a refined mood. By the way, most of these numbers are Parlan’s original compositions. End result? A successful and relaxed bop session by one of the most underrated pianists ~ enjoy!

Horace Parlan (p), Stanley Turrentine (ts), Tommy Turrentine (tp), George Tucker (b), Al Harewood (d); recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ on March 18, 1961

01. On the Spur of the Moment - (studio)
02. Skoo Chee - (studio)
03. And that I Am So in Love - (studio)
04. Al’s Tune - (studio)
05. Ray C - (studio)
06. Pyramid - (studio)

Vincent Herring - The Days of Wine and Roses (1994) [flac]

When I first heard Vincent Herring about 10 years ago I thought I was listening to an unissued Cannonball Adderley session.

It was only fitting that Vincent Herring gained his first important recognition playing with Nat Adderley, for his sound is strongly influenced by his idol, Cannonball Adderley. Born in Kentucky and raised in California, Herring moved to New York in 1983, and played with a variety of major musicians (including Lionel Hampton, David Murray, Horace Silver, and Art Blakey) before joining Adderley (1987-1993). Vincent Herring, who has recorded for Landmark and Music Masters, has led his own group since the early '90s. - Scott Yanow

On Days of Wine and Roses, Vincent Herring runs through many of his favorite standards from composers like Jimmy Van Heusen, Henry Mancini, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern. Backed by pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Jesse Yusef Murphy, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and drummer Billy Drummond, Herring turns in a sympathetic and graceful performance. Days of Wine and Roses may not be anything out of the ordinary -- after all, these are straightforward versions of well-known songs -- but it is a pleasant, enjoyable record. ~ Thom Owens, All Music Guide

Vincent Herring (alto, soprano sax)
Cyrus Chestnut (piano)
Jesse Yusef Murphy (bass)
Billy Drummond (drums)
Daniel Sadownick (percussion)

  1. Star Eyes
  2. Body and Soul
  3. Dearly Beloved
  4. Here's That Rainy Day
  5. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
  6. Come Rain or Come Shine
  7. The Days of Wine and Roses
  8. Triste
  9. We'll Be Together Again
Recorded June 17-18, 1994

Somethin' else from Cannonball

Here's two radio broadcasts featuring the Cannonball Adderley Quintet from April, 1961. These are a must hear if you like Cannonball, and also because of the excellent sound quality.

Lineup for both:
Cannonball Adderley, as
Nat Adderley, cornet
Victor Feldman, p, vib
Sam Jones, b
Louis Hayes, dr

One is in flac, the other in mp2 format (I left it in mp2 because that's the way I got it. If you're not too familiar with this format, you can listen to mp2 in iTunes. Also, if you want to convert mp2 to wav or ogg, I checked and you can use Audacity, which is freeware and really easy to use...).

More info in comments...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Poll Winners - “Straight Ahead” (1975, Contemporary S7635)

Because Kessel, Brown and Manne all won the Downbeat, Metronome and Playboy jazz polls of 1956, it was decided to team the trio together for a few recordings. The outcome is fairly predictable: swingin’ bebop all the way! This set was recorded in 1975 and probably their third album together - as you see I posted their first set's album cover above right (kindy of funky, but very ‘50s). Each player has solo opportunities in the spotlight, though as you can imagine that Kessel’s guitar work leads the way. Even 20 years after their first outing, they prove that they can adapt with the times, each other's artistic development/maturity to produce some very nice jazz. For me the highlights of this set are “Somedayday My Prince Will Come”, “Two Cents” and “One Foot Off of the Curb”.

Barney Kessel (g), Ray Brown (b), Shelly Manne (d); recorded at Contemporary Studios, Los Angeles, California on March 18-19, 1975

Jay Jay

1. Jay Bird
2. Coppin' The Bop
3. Jay Jay
4. Mad Be Bop
5. Boneology
6. Down Vernon's Alley
7. Audobon
8. Don't Blame Me
9. Goof Square
10. Bee Jay
11. Yesterdays
12. Riffette

Something to ponder is just how much you don't know about a musician from hearing a small amount of recordings. I cannot offer anything anecdotal only that I think its great stuff, rab digs his bones and Yanow likes it. The 'middle period' of bebop interests me a lot.

Not sure if this cd was even mastered? sound is a bit rough.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges “Side by Side” (1959, Verve)

I cannot recall if Rab or someone else posted this album at C&B or another place (if so, my apologies), but it has spent some time in my player recently. Look at the sidemen in this session and then ask yourself, “Would this be a must-have album for me?”

Duke Ellington (p), Johnny Hodges (as), Ben Webster (ts), Roy Eldridge, Harry “Sweets” Edison (tp), Lawrence Brown (tb), Les Spann (fl/g), Billy Strayhorn (p); Al Hall, Wendell Marshall (b), Jo Jones (d), Norman Granz (prod); recorded in August ‘58 and February ‘59
[orig. rip @ ogg & scans]

01. Stompy Jones
02. Squeeze Me
03. Big Shoe
04. Going Up
05. Just a Memory
06. Let’s Fall in Love
07. Ruint
08. Bend One
09. You Need to Rock

. . .he's back! - take a look at this bowl of 'cherries' (no pits) -->

Green Eggs And Bob

Imagine prime 60s Dylan singing Dr. Seuss lyrics. No seriously.

Because that's exactly what you have with "Dylan Hears A Who", the funniest musical parody I've heard in years. It's the Dylan of Highway 61 Revisited singing songs like "GertrudeMcFuzz" and "ToManyDaves" and my personal favourite, the 12-minute album closer, "The Cat In The Hat". Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands it is not!

The fake Dylan here is seriously spot on. You can practically close your eyes and imagine that it is Bob himself singing ridiculous Seussian lines such as,

"Would you eat them in a box?
Would you eat them with a fox?"

If you're not laughing now, you will be soon. If you're even a mild Dylan fan, or like Dr. Seuss, you have to check this out. Oh, and the creator of these songs was given a cease and desist from none other than Dr. Seuss Enterprises. That's why his website is no more. And I assume, no more Seussian Dylan albums to follow, sadly. More info about the whole thing in comments...

Dizzy Gillespie 1945 [ogg]

In chronological order, all of Dizzy's recordings from January and February of 1945 including sessions with Oscar Pettiford, Clyde Hart, Trummy Young, Tony Scott and Dizzy's first as a leader.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Classics label, here's some background info taken from a 1999 article by Michael Zwerin:

The Classics record label has been releasing five jazz reissues a month for what, by the end of December, will add up to 600 CDs in 10 years. That's five a month, on the 15th of each month, "like a magazine," says Gilles Petard, the label's founder and one-man-band director. "I've never missed a deadline."

Reissues only, all of the material was originally released on 78 rpms. Most came from Petard's personal collection, which covers just about every wall of every room and hall of his large Parisian apartment. (What he doesn't have he knows where to find.) There are all formats — 78s, 45s, LPs and CDs. He prefers listening to one-tune-per-disk 78s, where you have to motivate yourself to get up and choose the next number.

Classics consists of everything ever recorded by close to 200 musicians. "Everything," however, requires qualification. It does not mean everything. It refers to studio recordings the artists originally agreed were the best versions of each song. No alternate takes, no air shots, no concerts, no pirates — only definitive studio releases, but all of them.

In France, recordings come into the public domain after 50 years. So rational business practice coincides with chronological historical continuity.

Petard is a bachelor, and he does not own a television set. Basically, he listens to music all day.

Catering to collectors limits Petard's market. Niche marketer par excellence, he knows his niche; he's in it. Overhead is about as low as it can get, only himself in his own apartment. Subletting all goods and services, he breaks even selling 1,000 copies. He's like a mom-and-pop store. His product never spoils or goes out of style.

"Classics presents the entire mosaic of an artist's musical activity," the critic Peter Watrous wrote in The New York Times. "The good, the bad and the ugly. It's democratic. Reissues that don't give all the recorded output of any artist are by definition ideological works, since decisions are based on the viewpoint of those compiling the music."
Album notes, tracks and personnel in comments

Album artwork

Which are your favorite sites for getting artwork for downloaded albums that lack such material or if you want to have the original covers for the individual albums from a boxed set? I seem to remember Rab mentioning some sites with Blue Note LP-covers in the comments of some post, but I can’t find it now. I thought that it might be a good idea to collect all the links in the comments section of this post.

I also thought of asking for links to sessionographies, but they are usually organized by artist on the web, so there would be as many links as there are artist if we were to list them. Unless there are some sites that are devoted to certain labels, rather than artists. That would limit the results a bit.

Byungki Hwang – Kayagum Masterpieces, Vol 1–4 [Flac & Scans]

And now for something completely different…

I bought these albums when I worked in Korea for a short period. They caught my eye at first for their beautiful packaging. Each cd comes packed in a small thread-bound book with articles in English, Korean, French and Chinese which in turn is covered in a dust jacket. But soon I found that the music on the discs was as beautiful as their appearance. Byungki Hwang is a master of the kayagum, or gayageum; a 12-stringed zither-like traditional Korean instrument. These four albums, which, besides from being gorgeously packed, have amazing sound quality, gives a thorough introduction to his music, ranging from larger compositions to magnificent solo performances. I hope someone will enjoy this.

Also note that the third composition on the first album is called ”Pomegranate House”!


”Byungki Whang is a leading composer, performer and scholar of Korean traditional music. Born in Seoul in 1936, he studied gayageum and composition at the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts from 1951, continuing to learn traditional music while taking a degree in law at Seoul National University.

He received first prizes in the National Traditional Music Competition in 1954 an 1956, the National Musci Prize in 1965, the Korean cineama Music Award in 1973, and the prestigious Jungang Cultural Grand Prize in 1992.

In 1990 he led a group of South Korean musicians at a Music Festival for Reunification in Pyeongyang, North Korea, and was named Performing Artist of the Year by the Korean Critics’ Association. Since 1974 Byungki Hwang has been Professor of Korean music at Ewha Woman’s University, and he has also served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington (1965) and a visiting scholar at Harvard University (1986).

He serves on the government’s Cultural Properties Preservation Committee, and in 2000 was appointed to the National Academy of Arts. Byungki Hwang has toured widely since 1964, performing both traditional pieces and his own compositions in major venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Paris’ Musee Guimet.

His best-known works feature the twelve-string plucked zither, gayageum, on which he is a renowned performer. Ranging in style from the evocation of traditional genres to avant-garde experimentation, a selection of these pieces is available on a series of four albums.

Byungki Hwang has also developed and taught his own unique version of sanjo, the traditional extended solo music for gayageum.”

PS. The main articles are the same for the four albums, so they are only scanned once. You can find them in the artwork-folder for the first cd.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Complete Bill Evans on Verve [18 CDs, mp3 320 kbps + scans]

Rab was kind enough to complete my Bill Evans-box with the first four CDs. So in case any of you missed it when it was posted on C&D; here it is again.

Woody Herman - Encore (1963) [LP > flac]

Woody Herman put together his fourth band in 1962 and dubbed it "The Swingin' Herd". He signed with Philips Records and that same year recorded Woody Herman 1963. After the success of that album, producer Jack Tracy couldn't wait to get the band back into the studio and decided to record a live session at Basin Street West in Hollywood.

Although this album won the 1963 Grammy Award for best big band recording, it has never been re-issued on CD (go figure). With a band chock full of great soloists like Sal Nistico and Phil Wilson, Jake Hanna propelling the rhythm section, and Bill Chase riding herd over the brass section, this was, in my opinion, Woody's best. Nat Pierce wrote most of the arrangements with Bill Chase and Bob Hammer contributing one each. Highlights include the Basie-like opener "That's Where It Is", a spirited "Better Get It in Your Soul", Sal Nistico's feature on "El Toro Grande", and the definitive version of "Caldonia".

Bill Chase, Paul Fontaine, Dave Gale, Billy Hunt, Gerry Lamy (tp) Bob Rudolph, Henry Southall, Phil Wilson (tb) Woody Herman (cl, as) Bobby Jones, Sal Nistico, Bill Perkins (ts) Frank Hittner (bars) Nat Pierce (p) Chuck Andrus (b) Jake Hanna (d)

  1. That's Where It Is
  2. Watermelon Man
  3. Body and Soul
  4. Better Get It in Your Soul
  5. Jazz Me Blues
  6. El Toro Grande
  7. Days of Wine and Roses
  8. Caldonia
Recorded May 21, 1963 at Basin Street West

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross [flac]

The immortal vocal jazz group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross recorded five albums during its career: one apiece for Impulse! and World Pacific and three for Columbia. This two-CD set has all of the music from LH&R's Columbia dates (The Hottest Group in Jazz, Sing Ellington, and High Flying), plus four previously unissued and three very obscure selections. Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross were all very talented jazz singers as individuals, and were masters of vocalese. Virtually every one of their performances was special and, in the long run, influential. With assistance from the Gildo Mahones Trio, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (on the earliest album), and altoist Pony Poindexter (during the seven bonus tracks), the vocal group is heard in memorable form throughout the two-fer. Among the many highlights are "Twisted," "Cloudburst," Hendricks' hilarious "Gimme That Wine," "Everybody's Boppin'," "Cotton Tail," "All Too Soon," "Main Stem," "Farmer's Market," "Cookin' at the Continental," "Halloween Spooks," and "Popity Pop." Essential music for all serious jazz collections. - Scott Yanow

Collective Personnel

Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross (vocals)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Pony Poindexter (alto sax)
Gildo Mahones (piano)
Ike Isaacs, Ron Carter, W. Yancy (bass)
Walter Bolden, Jimmy Wormsworth, Stu Martin (drums)

Track list in comments

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Jazz Band Ball

First Set
Leader: Marty Paich
Stu Williamson - valve trombone
Jack Sheldon - trumpet
Bob Enevoldsen - valve trombone
Don Fagerquist - trumpet
Buddy Clark - bass
Mel Lewis - drums

Second Set
Leader: Terry Gibbs - vibes, marimba
Vic Feldman - vibes, xylophone
Larry Bunker - vibes, xylophone
Lou Levy - piano
Max Bennett - bass
Mel Lewis - drums

Friday, May 25, 2007

Azteca (1972) [LP > flac]

Azteca, a 14-piece band formed by Coke Escovedo in 1972, only recorded two albums, with this being the first. Imagine a blend of Santana and Tower of Power with a little Airto & Flora thrown in. This album was originally issued on Columbia and then re-issued by GNP/Crescendo on CD in 1995 but has since gone oop. If you want the CD be prepared to pay a premium. (if you can even find a copy)

Here's what Dusty Groove says:

Excellent bit of west coast Latin fusion -- featuring an all star band that includes such massive talents as Pete Escovedo, George Muribus, Paul Jackson, Lenny White, Coke Escovedo, and Victor Pantoja. The groove is nice and smooth, with a Bay Area early 70s sound on the production tip -- and in a way, the record reminds us of some of the excellent work on Fantasy Records from the time, with touches of other 70s CA Latin soul groups, like Malo or El Chicano. Cuts include "Peace Everybody", "Empty Prophet", "Can't Take The Funk Out Of Me", "Azteca", "Ah! Ah!", and "Mamita Linda".

Pete Escovedo, Errol Knowles, Rico Reyes, Wendy Haas (vocals)
Tom Harrell (trumpet)
Jules Rowell (valve trombone)
Bob Ferreira (tenor sax, flute, piccolo)
Mel Martin (soprano, tenor, baritone sax, flute, piccolo)
George Muribus (electric piano)
George DiQuattro (acoustic piano, clavinet)
Flip Nunez (organ)
Jim Vincent, Neal Schon (guitar)
Paul Jackson (bass, vocal)
Lenny White (drums)
Coke Escovedo (timbales)
Victor Pantoja (congas, vocals)

  1. La Piedra del Sol
  2. Mamita Linda
  3. Ain't Got No Special Woman
  4. Empty Prophet
  5. Can't Take the Funk Out of Me
  6. Peace Everybody
  7. Non Pacem
  8. Ah! Ah!
  9. Love Not Then
  10. Azteca
  11. Theme: La Piedra del Sol
Recorded September, 1972 at Columbia Studios, San Francisco

Funky Friday

Tower Of Power - In The Slot

It was either this, or the Pharoahs In The Basement. I'll do that in a couple of weeks when I get back.

The renowned horn-driven funk outfit Tower of Power has been issuing albums and touring the world steadily since the early '70s, in addition to backing up countless other musicians. The group's leader since the beginning has always been tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo, who was born in Detroit, but opted to pursue his musical dreams in Oakland, CA. It was in Oakland that Castillo put together a group called the Motowns, which as its name suggested, specialized in '60s-era soul. Castillo teamed up with a baritone sax player (and Motowns fan) Stephen "Doc" Kupka, and soon the Motowns had transformed into Tower of Power (one of the first tunes the duo penned together was "You're Still a Young Man," which would eventually go on to be one of the TOP's signature compositions). Tower of Power played regularly in the Bay Area throughout the late '60s, as its lineup often swelled up to ten members, including such other mainstays as Greg Adams on trumpet and vocals and Rocco Prestia on bass. By 1970, the funk outfit had inked a recording contract with Bill Graham's San Francisco Records, resulting in the group's debut the same year, East Bay Grease, which failed to make an impression on the charts as TOP was still trying to find their own sound.

But it all came together quickly for the group, as 1972's Bump City would touch off a string of classic hit releases, including 1973's self-titled release (which included another one of the group's most enduring tunes, "What Is Hip?"), 1974's Back to Oakland, plus 1975's Urban Renewal and In the Slot. While Tower of Power remained a must-see live act, the quality of their subsequent records became erratic, resulting in some admirable releases (Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now, Live and in Living Color) and several uninspired albums that are best skipped over (We Came to Play, Back on the Streets).

Despite the dip in the quality of their albums, Tower of Power remained a much in-demand backing group for some of pop/rock's biggest names, including Elton John, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, Little Feat, David Sanborn, Michelle Shocked, Paula Abdul, Aaron Neville, Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, Billy Preston, PiL, Rod Stewart, Toto, Merl Saunders, and others. Tower of Power remains very active to this day, keeping up a brisk touring schedule and issuing such new albums as 1999's Soul Vaccination: Live; while several compilations were issued around the same time: Rhino's double disc What Is Hip?: The Tower of Power Anthology (1999) and Very Best of Tower of Power: The Warner Years (2001), plus Epic/Legacy's Soul With a Capital "S": The Best of Tower of Power (2001).

1. Just Enough And Too Much
2. Treat Me Like Your Man
3. If I Play My Cards Right
4. As Surely As I Stand Here
5. Fanfare: Matanuska
6. On The Serious Side
7. Ebony Jam
8. You're So Wonderful, So Marvelous
9. Vuela Por Noche
10. Essence Of Innocence
11. The Soul Of A Child
12. Drop It In The Slot

Paul Motian - I Have the Room Above Her (ECM, 2005)

It's not ECM Monday yet, but as I'm heading out of town on a long weekend, I thought to leave this a bit earlier. Hope noone minds.

Motian, Frisell & Lovano are all in top form in this 2004 recording, mostly with Motian compositions. This album marks the return of Paul Motian to ECM as a leader after 20 years; it was released in 2005 and I consider this to be one of the best jazz releases of that year.

"Supposedly you can't argue about taste. But sometimes an icon of exquisite taste simply presents itself, inescapable and undeniable like an early sunrise on a clear winter day. Such is the case with I Have the Room Above Her , the new album by the Paul Motian Trio.

So why is that? Because in this superstar-studded project, egos aren't elbowing each other out of the limelight. Quite the contrary: Paul Motian, Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell first and foremost use their ears, gridlocked in total concentration. From the first note to the last, this CD is an excursion in the wonders that can happen if people listen to each other before they—maybe—do something.

It is uncanny how every project Bill Frisell plays in, seems to turn into Bill Frisell music. Maybe even more so on "I Have the Room Above Her". The lack of a bass and the openness of Paul Motian's drumming provide a full view of his contrapuntal craftiness and excellent intonation. Disharmonic half step intervals sound just as matter-of-factly as the campfire harmonies he is often fond of using. Through his sometimes endless delay effects, he pushes the lower range of his guitar into a somewhat foggy background. His harmonisations, therefore, acquire a depth suggestive of a huge ensemble. Frisell completely exceeds the acknowledged boundaries of his instrument.

Joe Lovano's style, by contrast, is conceptually intertwined with the tenor sax jazz tradition. You can recognize as such the arpeggiatic flurries which are part of the standard jazz sax bag-o-tricks. He brings to the plate a thoughtful application of the full range of historically proven tenor tones, rather than reinventing his instrument completely, as Motian and Frisell have done.
But while Frisell's and Lovano's contributions are equally empathic and substantial, it is Motian who is in charge here. Like a Napoleon overlooking the scene from the nearest hillside, he makes some tactical moves here and small changes there, with quiet confidence and supreme mastery. He steers his adjutants with a steady hand over the battlefield of improvisation through subtle punctuations and sparse linear drumming. The tunes, most of which are by Motian, are often somewhat folksy themes, which are offset by his circling around the pulse. His tempi change constantly in subtle ways, but you never know when or where this will happen. It creates a consciousness which is totally in the moment and steers the listener to an attentive state of mind, which should do wonders for anyone's attention span.

It is not the material, or the contributors exceeding their usual standard of individual excellence, that makes this a fine record. It is the masterful level of concentrated interplay that never wavers, the collective ability to keep improvising without technical inhibitions or a flinch in focus. Exquisite taste might be an absolute thing after all." Jochem van Dijk/AAJ


Paul Motian: Drums
Bill Frisell: Guitar
Joe Lovano: Tenor Saxophone

Recorded in April 2004

Tracklist in comments

Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil-Up

For this Funky Friday's offering, I chose this boiling set issued by Numero Group in 2005.

I couldn't even tell the exact location of Belize on the world map, until a couple of years ago when I stumbled upon a nice "Rough Guide to Central American Music" compilation , which included a couple of nice Belizean folk songs - only then I realized that Belize is the former British Hondura, a small piece of land bordering with the southernmost part of Mexico, Guatemala and with a small coastline at the Caribbean.

I checked recently the website of the Greek ministry of foreign affairs and found out some interesting piece of information, such as that Greece has 'excellent diplomatic relationships with Belize' (thank God, I'd be scared of a possible dispute with Belize) and that 'Greece is in support of a peaceful resolution regarding the disputed land between Belize and Guatemala' (now I'm afraid that we might have problems with Guatemala...). The most important info was that "Greece has a deficit in its commercial balance with Belize - imports are 620,000 euros and exports are a mere 60,000 Euros". What on hell we import from Belize still remains a veiled mystery to me...I wish it was this music.

The title is representative of the music presented here: The "boil-up" is the traditional Belizean dish, a stew of pig's tail, potatoes, bananas, boiled eggs, yams and fish. And while the dish may sound discouraging, I can guarantee you that the music mixture is well worth grabbing. It's a compelling mixture of soul, funk, latin soul, reggae & raggamuffin (the cover of the O'Jays' "Back Stabbers" presented here is a real treat) - even an unbelieavable disco funk ("Disco Connection" by the might Lord Rhaburn, which will have you ask for more). Most of the music presented here was recorded in the US, where these groups toured in the 1960s and '70s to entertain the Belizean communities established there after a hurricane which devastated Belize in 1961 and drove a lot of Belizeans to seek refuge in US.

This is another fine compilation by the Numero group crew, the first in their Cult Cargo series which explores the influence of US funk & soul to the music of Central & Latin America and the Caribbean (the second instalment of the Cult Cargo series on Bahamas was very recently released and it's equally a gem). As they self proclaim at their site: "There is no "Numero" sound; instead, Numero offers an aesthetic. A shelf of Numero discs feels less like a "record collection" and more like a library. The library to date is a mix of thrift shop soul, skinny tie pop, Belizean funk, and hillbilly gospel. Numero makes records for people who may have everything from indigenous Central American drumming to Canadian chanteuses stacked next to their CD players".

I love those guys.


Tracklist and review in comments

Thursday, May 24, 2007


amg likes it: Review by John Bush
What's Going On is not only Marvin Gaye's masterpiece, it's the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices, a man finally free to speak his mind and so move from R&B sex symbol to true recording artist. With What's Going On, Gaye meditated on what had happened to the American dream of the past — as it related to urban decay, environmental woes, military turbulence, police brutality, unemployment, and poverty. These feelings had been bubbling up between 1967 and 1970, during which he felt increasingly caged by Motown's behind-the-times hit machine and restrained from expressing himself seriously through his music. Finally, late in 1970, Gaye decided to record a song that the Four Tops' Obie Benson had brought him, "What's Going On." When Berry Gordy decided not to issue the single, deeming it uncommercial, Gaye refused to record any more material until he relented. Confirmed by its tremendous commercial success in January 1971, he recorded the rest of the album over ten days in March, and Motown released it in late May. Besides cementing Marvin Gaye as one of the most important artists in pop music, What's Going On was far and away the best full-length to issue from the singles-dominated Motown factory, and arguably the best soul album of all time.

Conceived as a statement from the viewpoint of a Vietnam veteran (Gaye's brother Frankie had returned from a three-year hitch in 1967), What's Going On isn't just the question of a baffled soldier returning home to a strange place, but a promise that listeners would be informed by what they heard (that missing question mark in the title certainly wasn't a typo). Instead of releasing listeners from their troubles, as so many of his singles had in the past, Gaye used the album to reflect on the climate of the early '70s, rife with civil unrest, drug abuse, abandoned children, and the spectre of riots in the near past. Alternately depressed and hopeful, angry and jubilant, Gaye saved the most sublime, deeply inspired performances of his career for "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," and "Save the Children." The songs and performances, however, furnished only half of a revolution; little could've been accomplished with the Motown sound of previous Marvin Gaye hits like "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" and "Hitch Hike" or even "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." What's Going On, as he conceived and produced it, was like no other record heard before it: languid, dark and jazzy, a series of relaxed grooves with a heavy bottom, filled by thick basslines along with bongos, conga, and other percussion. Fortunately, this aesthetic fit in perfectly with the style of long-time Motown sessionmen like bassist James Jamerson and guitarist Joe Messina. When the Funk Brothers were, for once, allowed the opportunity to work in relaxed, open proceedings, they produced the best work of their careers (and indeed, they recognized its importance before any of the Motown executives). Jamerson's playing on "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" functions as the low-end foundation but also its melodic hook, while an improvisatory jam by Eli Fountain on alto sax furnished the album's opening flourish. (Much credit goes to Gaye himself for seizing on these often tossed-off lines as precious; indeed, he spent more time down in the Snakepit than he did in the control room.) Just as he'd hoped it would be, What's Going On was Marvin Gaye's masterwork, the most perfect expression of an artist's hope, anger, and concern ever recorded.

jean lafite says: this, as i'm sure you know already, is hard to beat.

Ronnie Cuber - Live at the Blue Note (1986) [flac]

"I had a sound in mind, a quartet with trumpet, baritone sax, organ and drums. I played with George Benson back in the 60's and that was the set up he used. It was very simple but the groove was so strong I felt that if I did a live recording it would be with players like Randy Brecker, Lonnie Smith (who was the organist in Benson's band) and Ronnie Burrage, it would be that sound all over again." - Ronnie Cuber

This is the most rewarding of baritonist Ronnie Cuber's three Projazz CDs which were originaly made for the Japanese King label and released domestically through Intersound. Cuber romps with trumpeter Randy Brecker, organist Lonnie Smith and drummer Ronnie Burrage on two of his originals ("Trane's Waltz" and "Philly's Blues") and a variety of jazz standards. In some ways this band was a throwback to Cuber's early recordings with George Benson and Lonnie Smith despite the lack of a guitar. Enjoyable and often-heated hard bop. - Scott Yanow

Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)
Randy Brecker (trumpet)
Lonnie Smith (organ)
Ronnie Burrage (drums)

  1. Tune Up
  2. Trane's Waltz
  3. Nica's Dream
  4. Maiden Voyage
  5. Night and Day
  6. Philly's Blues
  7. Something You Got
  8. Blue 'n Boogie
Recorded November 3, 1986

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Terry Callier – What Color is Love

I think the last line of this review sums it up quite nicely....

Like the artist himself, the music on this brilliant album defies all categories, embracing Terry Callier's wide range of influences and experiences. Callier's musical kaleidoscope is filled with funk, rock, folk, jazz, and even classical influences. "Dancing Girl" opens the album with Charles Stepney's majestic orchestration. This opus is the album's pinnacle, moving with soft intensity toward soul-stirring crescendos. Songs like "What Color Is Love" and "Ho Tsing Mee (A Song of the Sun)," an elegant antiwar prayer of confusion, somehow avoid clichés or take them to another level. "You Goin' to Miss Your Candyman" was made popular by Urban Species when they sampled it on "Listen" in the early '90s, and not surprisingly, it sounds better in its original form. No matter where you turn, Callier's passionate voice captures the sweeping drama of the human condition. A lost romantic amid "concrete front yards," this album is a must-have for any music connoisseur.

1. Dancing Girl
2. What Color Is Love
3. You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman
4. Just As Long As We're In Love
5. Ho Tsing Mee (A Song Of The Sun)
6. I'd Rather Be With You
7. You Don't Care


By Request...

Presenting Joe Williams and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra [flac]

This CD reissues one of Joe Williams' finest recordings. Accompanied by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, the singer is heard at the peak of his powers. The big band primarily functions as an ensemble (Snooky Young gets off some good blasts on "Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning"), but the inventive Thad Jones arrangements ensure that his illustrious sidemen have plenty to play. Many of the selections (half of which have been in the singer's repertoire ever since) are given definitive treatment on this set (particularly a humorous "Evil Man Blues," "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You," and "Smack Dab in the Middle"), and Williams scats at his best on "It Don't Mean a Thing." Get this one. - Scott Yanow

Joe Williams (vocals)
Thad Jones (flugelhorn)
Snooky Young, Jimmy Nottingham, Bill Berry, Richard Williams (trumpet)
Bob Brookmeyer, Garnett Brown, Tom McIntosh, Cliff Heather (trombone)
Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion (alto sax)
Eddie Daniels, Joe Farrell (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Sam Herman (guitar)
Richard Davis (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

  1. Get Out of My Life
  2. Woman's Got Soul
  3. Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning
  4. Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You
  5. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
  6. Keep Your Hand on Your Heart
  7. Evil Man Blues
  8. Come Sunday
  9. Smack Dab in the Middle
  10. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
  11. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  12. Night Time Is the Right Time (To Be With the One You Love)
Recorded September, 1966

Ruth Brown with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra - Fine Brown Frame [flac]

They called Atlantic Records "the house that Ruth built" during the 1950s, and they weren't referring to the Sultan of Swat. Ruth Brown's regal hitmaking reign from 1949 to the close of the '50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label's predominance in the R&B field. Later, the business all but forgot her -- she was forced to toil as domestic help for a time -- but she returned to the top, her status as a postwar R&B pioneer (and tireless advocate for the rights and royalties of her peers) recognized worldwide. - Bill Dahl

Ruth Brown (vocals)
Thad Jones (flugelhorn)
Snooky Young, Jimmy Nottingham, Danny Moore, Richard Williams, Bill Berry (trumpet)
Garnett Brown, Jimmy Cleveland, Jimmy Knepper, Cliff Heather (trombone)
Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion (alto sax)
Eddie Daniels, Seldon Powell (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

  1. Yes Sir, That's My Baby
  2. Trouble in Mind
  3. Sonny Boy
  4. Bye, Bye Blackbird
  5. I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town
  6. Black Coffee
  7. Be Anything (But Be Mine)
  8. You Won't Let Me Go
  9. Fine Brown Frame
Recorded June 18 and July 2, 1968

Cab Calloway - Are You Hep to the Jive? (1939-1947)

The influence of Cab Calloway simply cannot be understated. He was present at the genesis of R&B, rock, hip-hop, swing, and jazz, and his contributions shaped the way the world hears pop music. Thankfully, this task fell upon the zoot-suited shoulders of an artist of wit, intelligence, energy, and the ability to connect one-on-one with his audience. This collection includes tracks from the late '30s up to the late '40s and offers listeners a taste of all Calloway's incredible talents. From his hepster raps like "Are You All Reet?" to his hits like "Minnie the Moocher," Calloway's performances are carefully orchestrated yet loose-limbed and sparkling with humor, and for recordings in mono, the sound is surprisingly good. Highly recommended. --S. Duda

With his deft dance moves, giddily playful disposition, and charmingly enthusiastic vocals, Cab Calloway fascinated and delighted audiences at New York City's Cotton Club for years, hitting the peak of his powers in the 1940s. This wonderfully selected and sequenced Legacy compilation draws from this era (1939-47), featuring many of the singer/bandleader's finest moments. Always backed by a top-notch big-band ensemble, Calloway coasts along on swinging melodies, relating silly street narratives with the utmost crowd-pleasing verve. Numerous highlights of this disc include the slinky "Are You Hep to the Jive?" (and its equally enjoyable cousin, "Are You All Reet?"), the rhyme-happy "Everybody Eats When They Come to My House (Pass Me a Pancake, Mandrake!)", and, of course, Calloway's signature tune, the scat sing-along "Minnie the Moocher." For proof that Calloway was indeed one of the greatest performers of all time, look no further than these 22 outrageously entertaining tracks.

1. Boo-Wah Boo-Wah
2. Are You All Reet?
3. Hey Now, Hey Now
4. Everybody Eats When They Come To My House
5. Are You Hep To The Jive?
6. The Calloway Boogie
7. Hep Cat's Love Song
8. Papa's In Bed With His Britches On
9. What's Buzzin' Cousin - (previously unreleased)
10. Twee-Twee-Tweet
11. Come On With The "Come On"
12. Chant Of The Jungle - (previously unreleased)
13. I Want To Rock
14. Oh! Gram'pa
15. The Jungle King (You Ain't A Doggone Thing)
16. Don't Falter At The Alter - (previously unreleased)
17. Who's Yehoodi?
18. A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird
19. Tarzan Of Harlem
20. Minnie The Moocher
21. Boog It
22. Foo A Little Bally-Hoo

Eric Dolphy | Complete Prestige Recordings

So as mentioned earlier, the uploading begins. Here is CD 1 of 9
I'm going to take crispi's lead and do this in sections (some may remember my slightly over ambitious JH u/p's.

Eric Dolphy, like Clifford Brown, was a musical angel, who made the most of his short stay on Earth. One of the great musical innovators of the 20th century, Dolphy was a wailing, fearless spirit with impeccable instrumental skills, and an authentic jazz pedigree, just as much at home in swing and bop settings as we was in avant garde and classical contexts. Over the course of nine discs, Eric Dolphy: The Complete Prestige Recordings documents his growth as a composer and improviser, both as a leader and a sideman. Dolphy could do it all, with a phenomenal technical and emotional command of the reed and woodwind family, most prominently alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet (an instrument he elevated into an archetypal jazz voice, as evidenced by his speech-like turns of phrase on an unaccompanied "God Bless the Child"). Among a rich buffet of highlights, his studio recordings with Roy Haynes and Jaki Byard are standouts, but it's his spiritual partnership with the youthful trumpet titan Booker Little (on the studio recording of Far Cry and their legendary live sets at Manhattan's Five Spot) that produce this box's most compelling moments. --Chip Stern

Lewis Taylor - Debut (1996)

Lewis Taylor
Self-titled Debut

Prepare to meet a great soul singer! British vocalist Lewis Taylor works in a modern idiom of fierce downtempo grooves, but he's got a sound that reminds us of the best Marvin Gaye recordings of the mid 70s -- all soul, all the way, with a style that's so great we can hardly believe it! Sure, there's a bit of that modern/retro approach to the production of his voice -- but the way he inflects the songs and fills them with his own emotion, you know he'd sound pretty darn great even acapella.

I raked this out of my cupboard and after listening to it again, had to share it. If you've got it you'll know what I mean. If not, really give it a try.

These are some of the reviews it got.

"Undoubtedly the most accomplished debut of the year"
"Beautiful, eccentric loose...spookily assured"
"Major new artist alert"
Guardian, CD of the Week
Absolutely bloody faultless"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Phil Woods - Birds of a Feather (1981) [flac]

One of the true masters of the bop vocabulary, Phil Woods has had his own sound since the mid-'50s and stuck to his musical guns throughout a remarkably productive career. There has never been a doubt that he is one of the top alto saxophonists alive, and he has lost neither his enthusiasm nor his creativity through the years.

This 1981 album was pianist Hal Galper's first recording as a member of the Phil Woods Quartet (replacing the departed Mike Melillo), the regularly working group that also included the altoist/leader, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin. Woods performs two of his stronger originals ("Petite Chanson" and "Goodbye Mr. Evans") in addition to four standards, which are highlighted by "Star Eyes" and "Nica's Dream." When it comes to modern bebop, few players of the post-1970 era have been in Phil Woods' class, and his solos on this album are consistently fiery and inventive. - Scott Yanow

Phil Woods (alto sax)
Hal Galper (piano)
Steve Gilmore (bass)
Bill Goodwin (drums)

  1. Star Eyes
  2. Goodbye Mr. Evans
  3. Petite Chanson
  4. Summer Night
  5. My Old Flame
  6. Nica's Dream
Recorded August 11 and 12, 1981

KRS-One - Return of the Boom Bap

Because we dont want to pay money to hear the same old sounds.
Watch him he'll take hip-hop to a higher ground.
And I know (how do I know? )
And I know because of krs-one. Brad Nowell

The reputation of Boogie Down Productions leader KRS-One began to slip in the early '90s as he spent more time educating than performing. He hit back at his critics with the slamming Return of the Boom Bap, his first official solo release. Leaving behind the detailed production of the last BDP album, Sex and Violence, Boom Bap returns the MC to the spare, gritty territory of Criminal Minded. KRS-One sounds reinvigorated, as well, spitting out his rhymes with fury and intelligence. Although the record isn't as didactic as Edutainment or Sex and Violence, KRS-One hasn't made his lyrics simplistic, nor has he abandoned his cutting, intelligent social commentary. The combination of hard, basic beats and exciting rhymes makes Return of the Boom Bap a genuine comeback for KRS-One, one of the founding figures of modern hip-hop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1 - KRS - ONE Attacks
2 - Outta Here
3 - Black Cop
4 - Mortal Thought
5 - I Can't Wake Up
6 - Slap Them Up
7 - Sound Of Da Police
8 - Mad Crew
9 - Uh Oh
10 - Brown Skin Woman
11 - Return of The Boom Bap
12 - 'P' Is Still Free
13 - Stop Frontin'
14 - Higher Level

Jimmy Smith - Softly As a Summer Breeze (RVG)

An oddity and supporting cast player in the Jimmy Smith canon, Softly As A Summer Breeze is nonetheless a welcome addition to Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder remasters programme, bringing together three distinct sessions with partially overlapping personnel. All the evidence suggests the first four tracks were originally recorded for a Kenny Burrell album which was never released, and the next two for a Jimmy Smith set which likewise didn't materialise. The final four tracks, featuring vocalist Bill Henderson, were originally released on a pair of jukebox-targeted 45 rpm singles and were included as bonus tracks on the album's first CD issue ten years ago.

Tracks 1-6 were recorded in February 1958, the day after Burrell had contributed to the sessions for Smith's House Party and The Sermon. They stayed on the shelf until 1965, either because they didn't include one of Smith's trademark soul-jazz shouters or, as seems more likely, because they were simply overtaken by new material recorded by the prolific organist and guitarist. All the signs are of a compilation of Burrell and Smith sessions that were paired up for joint release as a late afterthought.

Burrell states the themes and takes most of the opening solos on “These Foolish Things,” “Hackensack,” “It Could Happen To You” and “Sometimes I'm Happy.” The first two tunes ride at a furious gallop, with Burrell and Smith each taking rapid-fire, long-line, mainly single-note, bop-based solos. Smith gets a shade more raucous and funky on ”Sometimes I'm Happy,” but the rest of time he plays close to the top lines and remains relatively well behaved. (As does Philly Joe Jones, who, apart from trading fours on ”Hackensack,” stays in a crisp accompanying role.)

Though he made his mainstream reputation with sweating, shouting soul-jazz and screaming big band set pieces, it's sometimes forgotten that Smith started out a performer of standards, albeit phattened ones. His 1956 Blue Note debuts A New Sound... A New Star, Vols 1-3 did indeed include the monumental funktifications of Horace Silver's ”The Preacher” and Dizzy Gillespie's “The Champ,” but most of the material consisted of standards and showtunes. Smith liked to soup them up, sometimes to the point of florid three-ring-circus cheesiness, but he relished pretty tunes and his naif performances of them, on those debut albums and this one from a couple of years later, are as irresistible as they are flamboyant.

The least successful tracks are the last four, featuring vocalist Bill Henderson and averaging three minutes in length. The spotlight is naturally enough on Henderson, whose routine and anonymous readings haven't travelled well. But hey, you can always hit the search button. The rest of the music is busting.

Jimmy Smith (organ)
Bill Henderson (vocals)
Kenny Burrell, Eddie McFadden (guitar)
Philly Joe Jones, Donald Bailey (drums)

1. These Foolish Things
2. Hackensack
3. It Could Happen To You
4. Sometimes I'm Happy
5. Someone To Watch Over Me
6. Home Cookin' (a.k.a. One For Philly Joe)
7. Willow Weep For Me
8. Ain't No Use
9. Angel Eyes
10. Ain't That Love

Recorded at Manhattan Towers, New York, New York on February 26, 1958 and the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on October 14, 1958

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Bill Holman/Mel Lewis Quintet - Jive For Five

For a brief time, tenor saxophonist Bill Holman and drummer Mel Lewis led a hard-swinging quintet based in Los Angeles. Trumpeter Lee Katzman, pianist Jimmy Rowles and bassist Wilford Middlebrook complete the group, a band that benefits greatly from the arrangements of Holman. Rowles contributed "502 Blues Theme," Holman brought in two songs, and the unit also performs the obscure "Mah Lindy Lou" and two originals. This album (originally on the Andex label) serves as proof that not all jazz recordings from Los Angeles in the 1950s are quiet and cool. ~ Scott Yanow

ECM/ HAT Monday

Steve Lacy & Steve Potts Flim-Flam (1986, Hat Hut Records)
Steve Lacy: soprano (left channel) Steve Potts: soprano & alto (right channel)
1. The Crust
2. Flim-Flam
3. 3 Points
4. The Whammies
5. Rimane Poco
6. The Gleam

Sunday, May 20, 2007

nancy wilson and cannonball adderley

amg says: Review by Dave Nathan
This is a reissue of an excellent collaboration of the Nancy Wilson voice with the Cannonball Adderley alto sax from the early '60s. While this 1961 recording was the first time Wilson was with Adderley in the studio, it was not the first time they had worked together. After singing with Rusty Bryant's band, Wilson worked with Adderley in Columbus, OH. It was there that Adderley encouraged her to go to N.Y.C. to do some recording, eventually leading to this session.

Not entirely a vocal album, five of the 12 cuts are instrumentals. The additional cut added to the reissue, "Little Unhappy Boy," tips the scales in favor of Wilson's vocalizing. A highlight of the album is the gentle cornet playing of Nat Adderley behind Wilson, especially on "Save Your Love for Me" and on "The Old Country." Cannonball Adderley's swinging, boppish sax is heard to excellent effect throughout. Joe Zawinul's work behind Wilson on "The Masquerade Is Over" demonstrates that he is a talented, sensitive accompanist. On the instrumental side, "Teaneck" and "One Man's Dream" are especially good group blowing sessions. On the other end of the spectrum, Adderley's alto offers a lovely slow-tempo treatment of the Vernon Duke-Ira Gershwin masterpiece, "I Can't Get Started." To keep the listeners on their musical toes, the first couple of bars of "Save Your Love for Me" are quotes from "So What" from the Miles Davis Sextet seminal Kind of Blue session.

Given the play list and the outstanding artists performing it, why any serious jazz collection would be without this classic album is difficult to comprehend.

jean lafite says: yes.

sonny rollins -- east broadway run down

amg says:Review by Steven McDonald
Around the ten-minute mark of the title track, things get very interesting indeed — moody and spooky as Jimmy Garrison hangs on a single note, making his bass throb along while Elvin Jones widens the space and fires drum and cymbal hits in all directions. Coming off bass and drum solos that never seem to fit anywhere in the piece, it's a supreme moment of tension-building, one that gets repeated after Rollins and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard restate the theme in unison. This is the sound of Rollins' group working in unity. For much of "East Broadway Run Down," though, the rhythm section is off doing their thing, usually together, while Rollins meanders about in limbo, seemingly trying to figure out what it is that he should be doing. That Rollins was having an off day for this recording is a suspicion that's strengthened by Hubbard's part — where Rollins is wandering, Hubbard is charging ahead, focused and tight, fitting with the rhythm section, keeping the tension up. The remainder of the album is more on the mark, with "Blessing in Disguise" being quite enjoyable — it starts out in a cheerfully traditional vein and gradually, subtly, starts to slide off into an improvisational area only to come back again to the traditional, and so back and forth. Rollins floats his sax line around the melody with only occasional excursions toward the outer regions. "We Kiss in a Shadow," though, is charmingly straightforward, a ballad rendering supported by Jones and Garrison locking together on a nice rhythm construction that lets Rollins float around the melody

jean lafite says: sonny rollins.

Two from Mr.T

amg says: 4.5 stars on zt's blues and on look out!: Review by Michael Erlewine
An all-star lineup has Turrentine with Grant Green on guitar and Tommy Flanagan on piano. The rhythm section has Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor on drums. Green and Turrentine made few albums together, but the combination is a natural — the two greatest groove masters, bar none. Flanagan seldom appears in this type of setting and his playing is very tasteful. A studio recording by Rudy Van Gelder at Englewood Cliffs, NJ. If you can find a copy of this, it is a keeper.

jean lafite says: i still have not completely mastered the photo arrangement, however, mr t is ok with me.

John Wright - Mr. Soul

John Wright, who is now quite obscure, recorded five albums during 1960-62 that emphasized the souful side of hard bop. The liner notes are by Tom Wilson, who certainly had flawless taste in musicians; and he compares Wright to Phineas Newborn, Jr., and he feels that Wright developed in a parallel manner rather than being influenced by Newborn.

In any case, Wright is often identified as being of the soul school of jazz playing, and while he is soulful - whatever that may mean: I sold mine a long time ago - I suspect it was just an easy way to pigeonhole him after the success of Bobby Timmons. Nothing like marketing to confuse and be reductive.

John Wright (piano)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Walter Perkins, Jr. (drums)

1. Our Waltz
2. Blue Prelude
3. What's New
4. Everything's Gonna Work Out Fine
5. Mr. Soul
6. Shake
7. Strut
8. Now Hang In There

Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, NJ; April 10, 1962

Ray Brown and All-Star Big Band

What superlative can I add to the long list associated with Ray Brown? That he played with consummate taste? That he played in one of the greatest trios to ever record?

I first purchased this LP in 1966, after working for the entire summer to save enough to buy a KLH portable stereo -- the best on the market at the time ($150 USD!!!) -- to take away to university. This was the first album I bought. I played it to death, and eventually, it went away with all my vinyl.

I scoured the web for a copy for a long time, but never found one until recently, when a friend found it for me. When I listened to it for the first time in many years, I was overjoyed to hear that it wasn't just a rosy memory -- the playing is fantastic, the sound has that quaint, extreme stereo separation characteristic of the period, and Ray Brown is wonderful! My favourite piece is My One and Only Love, where Ray plays a gorgeous solo on cello!

The information below comes from

This album teams two of the most talented and most popular jazz musicians in modern music. Cannonball Adderley is an artist of fire and startling rhythmic excitement. He is a player who has captured the imagination bf modern jazz fans. Ray Brown is the backbone of the Oscar Peterson Trio; a bass soloist and rhythm player of indisputable talent energy and creative ability. On this album, Brown not only shows his talent on his major instrument, the bass, but on cello as well. He plays cello on My One And Only Love, the title tune Two For The Blues and Baubles, Bangles And Beads. On these tunes, Hank Jones plays bass behind Ray's cello.

side one

TWO FOR THE BLUES Solos: Yuseff Lateef, Nat Adderley.

IT HAPPENED IN MONTEREY Solos: Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley.

TRICROTISM* Solos: Ray Brown, Cannonball Adderley, Ray Brown (again).

DAY IN, DAY OUT* Solos: Cannonball Adderley,Ray Brown.

CANNON BILT Solos: Cannonball Adderley, Ray Brown.

side two

WORK SONG Solos: Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, Ray Brown.

THUMBSTRING Solos: Cannonball Adderley, Yuseff Lateef, Ray Brown.

MY ONE AND ONLY LOVE* Solos: Hank Jones, Ray Brown, Cannonball Adderley (release), Ray Brown (again).

BAUBLES, BANGLES AND BEADS Solos: Ray Brown, Cannonball Adderley.

*Arranged by Al Cohn; all others by Ernie Wilkins

Conductor: Ernie Wilkins
Bass and cello soloist: Ray Brown
Alto sax soloist: Cannonball Adderley
Trumpets: Ernie Royal, Joe Newman, Nat Adderley, Clark Terry
Trombones: Jimmy Cleveland, Mel ba Liston, Britt Wood man, Paul Faulise
Reeds: Budd Johnson, Earl Warren, Yuseff Lateef, Jerome Richardson, Seldon Powell
Bass: Ray Brown or Sam Jones
Piano: Hank Jones or Tommy Flanagan
Drums: Osie Johnson

Recording Information:
Recorded January 22 and 23,1963
in New York City
Engineer: Ray Hall
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
Remastering Engineer: Frank Greenwald
Cover Art: Jon Henry
Art Director: Acy Lehman
Design: Don Saffer/Bob Nastasi
Album originally produced by
Jim Davis

Chuck Israels - National Jazz Ensemble, Vol. 2 (1976) [LP > flac]

Following up on a previous post, this double LP completes the entire recorded work of Chuck Israels and his National Jazz Ensemble.

You should only download this album if you like Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Jelly Roll Morton, Charlie Parker, Fletcher Henderson, Oscar Pettiford, Thelonious Monk and Louis Armstrong. Whether by composition, arrangement or transcribed solos orchestrated for big band, they are all represented here. There are also several original pieces written by Chuck Israels and Rod Levitt for the band. See comments for soloists.

Jimmy Maxwell, Mike Lawrence, Tom Harrell, David Berger (trumpet)
Jimmy Knepper, Rod Levitt, Gerry Chamberlain (trombone)
Arnie Lawrence, Lawrence Feldman (alto sax)
Joe Romano, Dennis Anderson (tenor sax)
Ken Berger (baritone sax)
Ben Aronov (piano)
Steve Brown (guitar)
Steve Gilmore (bass)
Bill Goodwin (drums)
Margot Hanson (soprano)
Chuck Israels (leader, conductor)

  1. Sarabande
  2. Extract I
  3. King Porter Stomp
  4. His Master's Voice
  5. Skipping Tune
  6. Cotton Club Stomp
  7. Stompin' at the Savoy
  8. Lady of the Lavender Mist
  9. Royal Garden Blues
  10. Hotter Than 'ell
  11. Confirmation
  12. Blues for O.P.
  13. I Mean You
  14. Struttin' With Some Barbecue

Thelonious Monk in Poland 1966

Online video (26:37) - check it out at:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Buddy Collette - Man of Many Parts

Not sure how well known Buddy Collette is. I was quite surprised to hear Charles Mingus mention him in the Triumph of The Underdog DVD, and that they also went to high school together.

"In the triple-threat department of composing-arranging-orchestration, Buddy's writing has clarity, sonority and above all, he writes what symphonic composers call economy of means. In plain language, he puts into his scores only what is necessary to the presentation of his ideas, and consequently is never guilty of over-arranging.

As an instrumentalist he has solved the immensely difficult problem confronting all musicians who play more than one instrument, i.e., producing the natural tone one associates with certain woodwinds. Since there must be plenty of music lovers left who appreciate the beauty and color provided by the natural tone inherent in these instruments (although they seldom hear it in a jazz group) this album should fulfill their requirements."

- linear notes - Lyle Murphy - June 1, 1956

Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert

Most of Charles Mingus's larger-group recordings, particularly in the later part of his career, tended to be unruly and somewhat undisciplined. This two-CD reissue set (which adds five selections to the original two-LP program), celebrated Mingus's return to jazz after six years of little activity. Such great jazzmen as baritonist Gerry Mulligan, tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons, altoist Lee Konitz, pianist Randy Weston, James Moody (heard on flute) and a variety of Mingus regulars had a chance to play with the great bassist; even fellow bassist Milt Hinton and Bill Cosby (taking a humorous scat vocal) join in. Most of the music is overly loose but the overcrowded "E's Flat, Ah's Flat Too" and particularly the "Little Royal Suite" are memorable. The "Little Royal Suite," in addition to Ammons, Konitz, Mulligan, Charles McPherson and Bobby Jones, features an 18-year old Jon Faddis (who was sitting in for an ailing Roy Eldridge) stealing the show. - Scott Yanow

Lee Konitz, Charles McPherson, George Dorsey, Rich Perri (alto sax)
Gene Ammons, Bobby Jones (tenor sax)
Gerry Mulligan, Howard Johnson (baritone sax)
James Moody (flute)
Jon Faddis, Lloyd Michaels, Eddie Preston, Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet)
Sharon Moe, Dick Berg (french horn)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Bob Stewart (tuba)
John Foster, Randy Weston (piano)
Charles Mingus, Milt Hinton (bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)
Honey Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie (vocals)

  1. Introduction by Bill Cosby
  2. Jump Monk
  3. E.S.P
  4. Ecclusiastics
  5. Eclipse
  6. Us Is Two
  7. Taurus in the Arena of Life
  8. Mingus Blues
  9. Introduction to Little Royal Suite
  10. Little Royal Suite
  11. Introduction to Strollin'
  12. Strollin'
  13. The I of Hurricane Sue
  14. E's Flat, Ah's Flat Too
  15. Ool-Ya-Koo
  16. Portrait
  17. Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too
Recorded February 4, 1972 at Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Center

fuel to the fire

everybody is going batshit crazy these last few days. one monster after the next, coming from all sides. fantastic work my brothers, here are two i hope you'se will enjoy.

pete townshend and ronnie lane -- rough mix

amg says: Review by Brett Hartenbach
Rough Mix, Pete Townshend's 1977 collaboration with former Small Faces and Faces songwriter and bass player Ronnie Lane, combines the loose, rollicking folk-rock of Lane's former band, Slim Chance, with touches of country, folk, and New Orleans rock & roll, along with Townshend's own trademark style. Lane's tunes, especially the beautiful "Annie," possess an understated charm, while Townshend, with songs such as "Misunderstood," the Meher Baba-inspired "Keep Me Turning," and the strange love song "My Baby Gives It Away," delivers some of the best material of his solo career. Rough Mix stands as a minor masterpiece and an overlooked gem in both artists' vast bodies of work. Eric Clapton, John Entwistle, and Charlie Watts guest

jean lafite says: i can't say enough good things about this record. i have been listening to it for 25+ years and it is great every time. i am continually surprised at how many people do not know about it. one way or another, load it up.

freddie hubbard -- backlash
amg says: Review by Scott Yanow
The first of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's three Atlantic albums (reissued on a Koch CD in 2000), this excellent set falls between hard bop and the avant-garde, often hinting at both. Hubbard's regular group of the time (with James Spaulding on alto and flute, pianist Albert Dailey, bassist Bob Cunningham, and drummer Otis Ray Appleton, plus guest conga player Ray Barretto) performs the debut version of his famous "Little Sunflower," an excellent remake of "Up Jumped Spring," and four lesser-known pieces. Hubbard and Spaulding made for an excellent team and there are plenty of exciting moments on this brief but potent set

jean lafite says: this should be right up pomegranate alley.

Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band (1968) [LP > flac]

By special request from Jazz-Nekko comes this live set from the opening night of the Berlin Jazz Festival on November 7th, 1968. The band is made up of alumni dating back to Dizzy's late '40's band up to his current 1968 group. Re-workings of "Things to Come" and "One Bass Hit" are included as well as a new arrangement of "Con Alma" and two new tunes, "Frisco" and "Things Are Here". Dizzy is, of course, the main soloist although the lengthy tracks include solo space for almost everyone in the band.

Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Owens, Dizzy Reece, Victor Paz, Stu Haimer (trumpet)
Curtis Fuller, Tom McIntosh, Ted Kelly (trombone)
Chris Woods (alto sax)
James Moody, Paul Jeffery (tenor sax)
Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Mike Longo (piano)
Paul West (bass)
Candy Finch (drums)

  1. Things to Come
  2. One Bass Hit
  3. Frisco
  4. Con Alma
  5. Things Are Here
  6. Theme (Birks Works)
Recorded November 7, 1968 at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall

Friday, May 18, 2007

Calypsos From Trinidad- Politics, Intrigue and Violence in the 1930's

This collection offers an unusual opportunity to examine an important incident which became a catalyst in the early years of a Caribbean island colony’s movement towards independence. The first few songs reflect a common struggle Trinidad shared with the rest of the industrialized Western world as it tried to extricate itself from the effects of the Depression. Occasional details also appear which bring a focus to the local situation, highlighting the plight of unwanted children, the problems of competition for low-wage employment and other elements of rural and urban poverty.
The latter numbers intensify the focus, with songs commemorating a 1937 oil field strike which was a dramatic element in the struggle of Trinidad’s black majority (and Fast Indian minority) to gain access to the institutions of government and financial power. Strike leader Uriah Butler was an authentic worker hero who threatened a social structure which had been largely undisturbed since the time of slavery. Following the events recounted in these historic calypsos, Butler was imprisoned for over seven years; hut the colonial system he challenged paid an even greater price.

Continued in Comments

Freddie Redd Trio/Hampton Hawes Quartet - Piano: East/West

This CD reissue has two unrelated early sessions from pianists Hampton Hawes and Freddie Redd. Hawes, heard in a quartet with vibraphonist Larry Bunker, bassist Clarence Jones and drummer Larence Marable, already ranked as one of the top bop-based pianists in 1952. He performs eight straight-ahead numbers (five bop standards and three originals like "Hamp's Paws"), including a two-minute version of "Move" that lives up to its name. Redd, who recorded much less during his longer career, stretches out a bit more on four numbers (including three originals) in a trio with bassist John Ore and drummer Ron Jefferson. Excellent music, easily recommended to bop collectors. Scott Yanow

Hampton Hawes-piano
Larry Bunker-vibes
Clarence Jones-bass
Larry Marable-drums

1. Terrible T
2. Fanfare
3. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)
4. I'll Remember April
5. Hamp's Paws
6. Move
7. Once In A While
8. Buzzy
Recorded in Los Angeles; December, 1952

Freddie Redd-piano
John Ore-drums
Ron Jefferson-drums

9. Debut
10. The Things We Did Last Summer
11. Lady J Blues
12. Ready Freddie
Recorded in Hackensack, NJ; February 28, 1955

Michel Camilo - One More Once (1994) [flac]

Best way I can describe this CD is "Funky-Latin-Big Band."

Michel Camilo is a very powerful Latin jazz pianist who is quite capable of playing several rhythms at once. He emulates an orchestra even when playing solo, so it is not surprising that this outing with 21 other musicians in an impressive all-star band is intense and passionate. Camilo performs ten of his originals on this date including the blues "One More Once," an atmospheric "Dreamlight," "Caribe," "Just Kidding" and his "hit" "Why Not." Among the notables heard from are tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, altoist Paquito d'Rivera, Chris Hunter on soprano and alto, and trumpeter Michael Mossman, but Camilo is the main star throughout. The catchy rhythms make the music accessible but the pianist never coasts or takes it easy, constantly challenging himself. Recommended. - Scott Yanow

Jon Faddis, Michael Mossman, Stanton Davis, Bryan Lynch, Ryan Kisor (trumpet)
Dave Bargeron, Ed Neumeister, Conrad Herwig, Doug Purviance, David Taylor (trombone)
Paquito D'Rivera, Chris Hunter, Ralph Bowen, Craig Handy, Gary Smulyan (saxes)
Michel Camilo (piano)
Chuck Loeb (guitar)
Anthony Jackson (bass)
Cliff Almond, Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums)
Giovanni Hidalgo, Guarionex Aquino (percussion)

  1. One More Once
  2. Why Not!
  3. The Resolution
  4. Suite Sandrine, Part III
  5. Dreamlight
  6. Just Kidding
  7. Caribe
  8. Suntan
  9. On the Other Hand
  10. Not Yet

Wild Tchoupitoulas

"I'm an Indian ruler from the Thirteenth Ward

Blood shief-a-oona I won't

Be barred

I walked through fire and I swam

Through mud

Snatched the feathers from an eagle

Drank panther blood"

This kind of tall taletelling has always been a part of American culture, most recently echoed in rock & roll by the likes of Bo Diddley and Bob Dylan. In New Orleans, a city rivaled only by New York in its ability to absorb yet preserve wildly different cultures, it is wed to headstrong rhythms.

The Wild Tchoupitoulas is one of about 20 groups of Indian "tribes" who compete in Mardi Gras parades. This is a tribe descended from interracial marriages among blacks and Indians in 18th century Louisiana. The tribes spend all year working on their personalized costumes and songs; competition during the 20-mile Mardi Gras parade is heated, each tribe singing of its superiority. Later, on the feast of St. Joseph, they gather to drink, vote on the best costumes and choose a "Big Chief" of the entire event.

This is R&B roots music that reminds me of the "unity in sound and rhythm" Don Cherry achieved on Eternal Rhythm. It is marked by insistence, particularly in the famed New Orleans second-line rhythms and polyrhythms which inspired reggae and much early rock 'n' roll. This spirit is also reflected in the crude but melodic vocal harmonies and call-and-response singing and in the nonsense lyrics and unremittingly violent images ("Well, de Wild Tchoupitoulas gonna stomp some rump"), which recall a time when the tribes warred with guns, knives and hatchets rather than songs and costumes.

The Tchoupitoulas are backed here by the reigning second-line masters, the Meters; all their songs loosely concern the big day and such related matters as the music (the Meters' "Hey Pocky-A-Way"), fallen comrades ("Brother John") and tribal solidarity ("Indian Red").

The Wild Tchoupitoulas -- a group of Mardi Gras Indians headed by George "Big Chief Jolly" Landry -- only released one album, but that one record caused a sensation upon its initial 1976 release. It was one of the first records of the album-oriented rock generation that captured the heady gumbo of New Orleans R&B and funk. Landry may have fronted the Wild Tchoupitoulas, but the key to the record's success was his nephews, Charles and Cyril Neville, who headed the rhythm section. They drafted in their brothers, Art and Aaron, to harmonize, and thereby unwittingly gave birth to the band that became the Neville Brothers. Still, the fact that The Wild Tchoupitoulas ranks among the great New Orleans albums isn't because of the Nevillles themselves, but the way the Wild Tchoupitoulas lock into an extraordinary hybrid that marries several indigenous New Orleans musics, with swampy, dirty funk taking its place in the forefront. There are only eight songs, and they are all strung together as if they're variations on the same themes and rhythms. That's a compliment, by the way, since the organic, flowing groove is the key to the album's success. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


Funky Friday

The Impressions - Further Impressions

I don't think this needs much of an intro. Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions : everything is said... Review in comments.

1 Can't Work No Longer
2 Girl You Don't Know Me
3 I Made a Mistake
4 We're in Love
5 Just Another Dance
6 I've Found Out That I've Lost
7 Get up and Move
8 Never Could You Be
9 Just One Kiss From You
10 Since I Lost the One I Love
11 Too Slow
12 You Always Hurt Me
13 I Can't Stay Away from You
14 You Got Me Running

Woody Guthrie, ”The Asch Recordings Vol. 3 & 4” [Flac & Scans]

Completing the series.

. . .aaahhh ~

Benny Goodman “Collector's Edition”: Bartok, Bernstein, Copland, Gould, Stravinsky (1990)

“Goodman’s performances of all the music on this disc are superb. He (along with violinist Joseph Szigeti) commissioned the Bartok score and, notwithstanding its age there has never been a better recording than this one. The other performances are first-rate stereo recordings that appeared on a 1966 CBS/Columbia Lp titled “Meeting at the Summit.” The Stravinsky is a true masterpiece that has never sounded better, and the same goes for Bernstein’s powerfully imagined, joyous “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs.” Having the composers conduct is inspiring (in the case of the Bartok, the composer accompanies at the piano).” ~ Anonymous reviewer

Jazz Nekko: It should not surprise you how well Goodman played in the mid-60s. I think he still gave solid performances well into the ‘70s, but he was still at his peak when these recordings were made - the dead-on intonation and range of color in his playing is awesome. The anonymous reviewer mostly likes the Stravinsky score. In my opinion, Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto is one of the most magical pieces of music ever written out of North America. All of these are nice, but for my money’s bang, the real deal here is the Bernstein: 7 1/2 minutes of sheer big-band bravado – do not miss out on this number!

Benny Goodman (cla), Joseph Szigeti (vio), Bela Bartok (p), Columbia Jazz Band, Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990):
01. Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1955, USA)
Benny Goodman (cla)
Columbia Jazz Combo, Leonard Bernstein (dir)

Aaron Copland (1900 - 1990):
02. Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra (1947-1948, USA)
Benny Goodman (cla)
Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Aaron Copland (dir)

Igor Stravinsky (1882 - 1971):
Ebony Concerto (1945, USA)
03. I - Allegro moderato
04. II - Andante
05. III – Moderato, con moto
Benny Goodman (cla)
Columbia Jazz Combo, Igor Stravinsky (dir)

Morton Gould (1913 - 1996):
Derivations for Clarinet and Band (1956, USA)
06. I - Warm-Up
07. II - Contrapuntal Blues
08. III - Rag
09. IV - Ride-Out
Benny Goodman (cla)
Columbia Jazz Combo, Morton Gould (dir)

Bela Bartok (1881 - 1945):
Contrasts (1938, recorded in Budapest) (mono)
10. I - Verbunkos (Recruiting Dance)
11. II - Piheno (Relaxation)
12. III - Sebes (Fast Dance)
Benny Goodman (cla)
Joseph Szigeti (vio)
Bela Bartok (p/clavier)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ray Brown - "Jazz Cello" (1960, Verve 68390)

In this session, Brown plays the smaller, higher-pitched violoncello (see picture). After you listen to this acoustic-bass sounding instrument, perhaps you will also wonder why more bass players do not use this instrument, check him and the superb side-men out ~

Ray Brown (b/cel), Joe Mondragon (b), Jimmy Rowles (p), Don Fagerquist (tp), Harry Betts (tb), Jack Cave (frhrn), Paul Horn, Bill Cooper, Med Flory, Bill Hood (reeds), Dick Shanahan (d); recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA on August 31st & September 1st, 1960
01. Tangerine
02. Almost like Being in Love
03. That Old Feeling
04. Ain’t Misbehavin’
05. Alice Blue Gown
06. Rosalie
07. But Beautiful
08. Poor Butterfly
09. Memories of You
10. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody

Funky Friday

The Pharaohs - Awakening

The Pharaohs were one of the forgotten treasures of '70s R&B, a freewheeling jazz-funk congregation heavily influenced by Chicago's jazz avant-garde as well as on-the-one funk and African motifs. Unfortunately, they recorded only one album before Earth, Wind & Fire frontman Maurice White (who played in an early version of the Pharaohs) hired several of its members to form the Phenix Horns, the justly celebrated horn section for Earth, Wind & Fire during the '70s.

The group was formed from several jazz bands active around Chicago's Affro Arts Theater, a community educational collective. One of the bands, the Jazzmen, was formed in the early '60s around trumpeter Charles Handy, trombone player Louis Satterfield, and alto Don Myrick (along with three who didn't survive later conglomerations: pianist Fred Humphrey, bassist Ernest McCarthy, and drummer Maurice White). The other main component of the Pharaohs was the Artistic Heritage Ensemble, who had already recorded one late-'60s LP with cornetist Philip Cohran, a veteran of Sun Ra's Arkestra and AACM. By the time of the Pharaohs' 1971 recording debut, Awakening, the group included Handy, Myrick, and Satterfield plus Big Willie Woods on trombone, Oye Bisi and Shango Njoko Adefumi on African drums, Yehudah Ben Israel on guitar and vocals, Alious Watkins on trap drums, Derf Reklaw-Raheem on percussion and flute, and Aaron Dodd on tuba. Though the album's astonishing fusion of funk, jazz, and Afro-beat earned them an assortment of die-hard fans and critics, the group's abstract inclinations hardly geared them for commercial success.

Back in the '60s, before the Pharaohs were formed, Handy, Satterfield, and Maurice White had often contributed to sessions at Chicago's Chess studios, so when White recorded a demo for a new band he wanted to form, both Handy and Satterfield appeared on it. After he signed to Warner Bros., they also began recording Earth, Wind & Fire material and eventually were officially hired by White as the Phenix Horns, with the addition of Pharaohs Yehudah Ben Israel and Rahm Lee, plus Michael Harris. The Pharaohs soldiered on until 1973, but called it quits without recording another studio album. Derf Reklaw became a respected world-jazz leader, while Woods and Dodd both appeared on many soul sessions around Chicago during the '70s. In 1996, the acid jazz label Luv 'N' Haight reissued Awakening and also released the 1972 live outing In the Basement.

1. Damballa
2. Ibo
3. Tracks of My Tears
4. Black Enuff
5. Somebody's Been Sleeping
6. Freedom Road
7. Great House

Belated Birthday Wishes to the Sax

Following up on Rab’s post about the anniversary of the saxophone and being a sax player/blunderer, I put together a variety of sessions that celebrate various aspects of the sax. I hope, between them, one appeals to you on this fine, sunny, blue-skied Friday here in the islands. . . enjoy the sax ~

Uncle Frank

FZ--lead guitar, vocals
Ray White--guitar, vocals
Steve Vai--guitar, vocals
Tommy Mars--keyboards, vocals
Bobby Martin--keyboards, vocals
Ed Mann--percussion, vocals
Scott Thunes--bass, vocals
Chad Wackerman--drums

Black Napkins
Easy Meat
Society Pages
I'm A Beautiful Guy
Beauty Knows No Pain
Charlie's Enormous Mouth
Fine Girl
Teen-age Wind
Harder Than Your Husband
Bamboozled By Love
Sinister Footwear II
Stevie's Spanking
Cocaine Decisions
Nig Biz
Goblin Girl
Black Page #2
Tryin' To Grow A Chin
Strictly Genteel
The Torture Never Stops
Joe's Garage
Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?
The Illinois Enema Bandit
King Kong
Auld Lang Syne


'Oki' Funky Friday - Stanley Clarke & George Duke “3” (1980, Epic)

The third Stanley Clarke/George Duke project is supposed to better than the two previous projects, but I cannot tell you as I do not own the others. To me, this session has high energy techno-funk R&B – check out Duke’s ‘70s jiving. ‘Oh Oh’ gives Clarke a chance to show off his bass skills on a great solo. The best of this album: ‘Pit Bulls’, ‘No Place to Hide’, ‘Somebody Else’ and ‘Mothership Connection’ which are monster late 80’s-style electro-funk jams. The loser might be the smarmy romantic ballad ‘Right by My Side’. Sadly even though Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter perform on ‘Find Out Who You Are’ it just doesn’t quite seem like their genre or it just wasn’t their day. . . enjoy ~

Stanley Clarke (b/eB/ten-B/clevenger bass/kybrd/syn/vcl/rap/prod), George Duke (kybrd/p/synclavier/vcl/rap/prod), Wayne Shorter (ss/ts), Joe Henderson, Kirk Whalum (ts), Brandon Fields (as), George Bohannon (tb), Jerry Hey (tp), Marilyn Baker, Carole Mukogawa, Dan Neufeld, Mihail Zinovyev (viola), Ronald Cooper, Doug Davis, Steve Erody, Earl Madison (cel), Murray Adler, Frank d’Antonio, Israel Baker, Brenton Banks, Michael Ferril, Armen Garabedian, Endre Granat, Reg Hill, Alexander Horvath, Bill Hybel, Neal Laite, Mitchell Newman, Claudia Parducci, Anatoly Rosinsky (vio), Michael Landau (g), Dorothy Remsen (harp), Dennis Chambers, Ray Griffin (d), Gerald Alston, Roy Galloway, Jim Gilstrap, Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Osborne, Rahsaan Patterson (vcl), Above the Law, Philip Bailey, Carl Carwell, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, Darrell Cox, Phil Perry (rap)

01. Pit Bulls (An Endangered Species)
02. Oh Oh
03. No Place to Hide
04. Somebody Else
05. Mothership Connection (Star Child)
06. Right by My Side
07. From the Deepest Corner of My Heart
08. Lady
09. Find Out Who You Are
10. Quiet Time
11. Finger Prints
12. Always

Funky Friday On The Isthmus!

Panama! Latin, Calypso & Funk on the Isthmus 1965-75 (a Soundway compilation)

"Panama, puente del mundo, corazon del universo"

Thinking of Panama, the first (if not the only) thing coming to mind is, of course, the canal. The second would probably be the Panama hat, which is not Panamanian at all (if I'm right, they're produced in Ecuador). Some may also remember Colonel Norriega and the parody of the US invasion. Basketball fans might also add Rolando Blackman, and that'd be almost about it.

Speaking of Panamanian musicians, until recently I could barely name three (all grown and excelled in the US): the great Ruben Blades, the pianist Danilo Perez and the jazz bassist & composer Santi Debriano (dropping ideas for future posts, maybe..?). Thanks to this magnificient compilation launched by Soundway records last year, this is not anymore the case.

This comes from the same guys who produced the Ghana funk compilations which have become quite popular among the CIA clan (that's how Call It Anything gets when abbreviated, now isn't that spooky!); it's another exemplary job of thorough research, documentation and excellent music picks. This time it was Roberto Ernesto Gyemant who did it; as he mentions in the extensive liner notes it took him ten trips to Panama within two years (and a lot of crate-digging) to put all this together. I say that the result is worth every effort put into it.

The 15 tracks presented here all comes from the 'golden decade' of Panamanian music (1965 - 1975), the era of the Combos Nacionales; those groups were very popular in Panama at the time, recorded for Panamanian labels such as Discos Istmenos, Loyola, Tamboga et. al. but remained unknown beyond the border. The music is hard to classify: it's a complex mixture of latin jazz descargas, heavy funky soul (a super version of Cymande's "The Message" is included), boogaloos, latin rock, doowop, calypso etc. As a singer of one of the groups presented mentions in the liner notes: "Every band had their own unique sound, but what we found was they all had the same feeling. Ironically, we still have no name for that feeling. Every other country can name their stuff, the bachata, the mambo, the vallenato, the salsa...We are still waiting for someone to name what we did".

With or without a name, this music is infectiously loveable and, not surprisingly, extremely danceable. In the notes, this is referred as 'Volume I', a hint that probably we can hope that a sequel will be released in the future (I've also read that the compiler has filmed a documentary, which I'd very much like to see). Btw, Soundway has very recently released another monster compilation by the same compiler (Gyemant), this time on Colombia's Discos'll probably soon find its way here at CIA.

In the meantime, grab this one and enjoy it; I'd also add, buy it when you come across this - such people need all our support.

(Tracklist and a review in comments)

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 saxophone)
Bill Swindell (tenor saxophone)
John Burks (trumpet)
Yusef Salim (piano)
Stan Conover (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)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today In History

Adolphe Sax Patents Saxophone (1846)

Antoine-Joseph (known as Adolphe) Sax (November 6, 1814 – February 4, 1894) was a Belgian (of Saxon origin) musical instrument designer, best known for inventing the saxophone.

Adolphe Sax was born in Dinant in Wallonia, Belgium. His father, Charles-Joseph Sax, was an instrument designer himself, who made several changes to the design of the horn. Adolphe began to make his own instruments at an early age, entering two of his flutes and a clarinet into a competition at the age of fifteen. He subsequently studied those two instruments at the Royal School of Singing in Brussels.

Having left the school, Sax began to experiment with new instrument designs, while his father continued to produce conventional instruments to bring money into the household. Adolphe's first important invention was an improvement of the bass clarinet design which he patented at the age of 20.

In 1841, Sax relocated permanently to Paris and began work on a new set of instruments which were exhibited there in 1844. They were valved bugles, and although he had not invented the instrument itself, his examples were so superior to those of his rivals that they became known as saxhorns. They range in approximately 7 different sizes, looking somewhat similar to the euphonium and also paved the path to the creation of the flugelhorn. Today, they are widely used in concert bands and sometimes in orchestras. The saxhorn also laid the groundwork for the modern euphonium. He also developed the saxtromba in 1845, though this survived only briefly.

The spread of saxhorn instruments throughout the world was ferocious. The superior saxhorn valves were accepted as state of the art and still largely unchanged today. The advances made by Adolphe Sax no doubt leading to the formation of the famous British Brass Band movement who exclusively adopted the saxhorn range. An example of which are the Jedforest Instrumental Band who formed in 1854 within the Scottish Borders only a decade after Saxhorn models became available.

The late 1830's and/or early 1840s saw Sax inventing the clarinette-bourdon, an early (and unsuccessful) design of contrabass clarinet. Most significantly, at this time he developed the instrument for which he is now best known, the saxophone, though his new invention was actually patented in 1846. The saxophone was invented for use in both orchestras and concert bands. The composer Hector Berlioz wrote approvingly of the new instrument in 1842. By 1846 Sax had designed, on paper at least, a full range of saxophones (from soprano to bass). Although they never became standard orchestral instruments, the saxophones made his reputation, and secured him a job teaching at the Paris Conservatoire from 1867.

Sax continued to make instruments later in life, as well as presiding over a new saxophone class at the Paris Conservatoire. However, rival instrument-makers attacked the legitimacy of his patents and mounted a lengthy campaign of litigation against Sax and his company, driving him into bankruptcy twice (in 1856 and 1873). The prolonged legal struggle may also have undermined his own health; he suffered from lip cancer between 1853 and 1858 but made a full recovery.

He died in 1894 in Paris and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.

Jan Garbarek “Places” (1977, ECM 1118)

Q: Why should you listen to this album?

Just because Scott Yanow said, “a fairly sleepy ECM date, this outing matches Jan Garbarek on tenor, soprano and alto with guitarist Bill Connors, John Taylor (doubling on organ and piano) and drummer Jack DeJohnette for lengthy explorations of four of his originals. With such titles as “Reflections,” “Entering” and “Passing,” it is not surprising that the music has plenty of space, is introspective, and often emphasizes long tones.”

This album appeals to my Japanese sense of minimalism - from the titles to the arrangements, this session cleverly uses space, time and notes sparingly ~ enjoy

Jan Garbarek (as/ss/ts), John Taylor (p/org), Bill Connors (g), Jack DeJohnette (d)
01. Reflections
02. Entering
03. Going Places
04. Passing

Guillermo Gregorio “Degrees of Iconicity” (2000, HAT 134)

Reminding you that one of the world’s greatest music cities is Chicago . . . (:-0)

Argentine Guillermo Gregorio makes his home in Chicago after spending time in L.A. studying with Wayne March. His music styles range in between avant-garde jazz, free jazz, improvisation and modern creative. Growing up in Buenos Aires, Gregorio’s initial music influences were jazz clarinetists Pee Wee Russell and Jimmy Noone. He later became interested in the cool aestheticism of pianist Lennie Tristano. He has studied modern classical music, as well as art and architecture; in fact, he currently commutes from Chicago to teach Art Appreciation at Purdue University.

I have said before that music is a like a lens; the light (or note) is refracted on an individual level – so I like the following quote from Guillermo:

“Much more directly than, for example, Webern, Feldman or Tristano, who have often been cited as influencing my work, I think that the most important elements acting on my music come from the visual arts -- more specifically, from the so-called ‘constructive’ tendencies of 20th century art, namely, some varieties of Constructivism and Concrete Art”.

“What have we here?”, said the spider to the fly. Jazz-Nekko’s answer - come and see for yourself, my friends!

Guillermo Gregorio “Degrees of Iconicity” (2000, HAT 134)
Guillermo Gregorio (cla/as/con), Carrie Biolo (vib/marimba), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cel/cor), Michael Cameron, Kent Kessler (b); recorded in Chicago in 1999
01. Tres
02. First Sketch of “Omaggio a Luigi Nono”
03. Moholy
04. Construction in Three Parts
05. Konkretion I
06. Con Trabajo
07. Counter-Composition
08. Construction in Nine Fields
09. Moholy 3
10. Degrees of Iconicity

Richard "Groove" Holmes - Soul Message

Check out his fine version of Silver's "Song For My Father."

Revered in soul-jazz circles, Richard "Groove" Holmes was an unapologetically swinging Jimmy Smith admirer who could effortlessly move from the grittiest of blues to the most sentimental of ballads. Holmes, a very accessible, straightforward and warm player who was especially popular in the black community, had been well respected on the Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey circuit by the time he signed with Pacific Jazz in the early '60s and started receiving national attention by recording with such greats as Ben Webster and Gene Ammons. Holmes, best known for his hit 1965 version of "Misty," engaged in some inspired organ battles with Jimmy McGriff in the early '70s before turning to electric keyboards and fusion-ish material a few years later. The organ was Holmes' priority in the mid- to late '80s, when he recorded for Muse. Holmes was still delivering high-quality soul-jazz for that label (often featuring tenor titan Houston Person) when a heart attack claimed his life at the age of 60 in 1991. ~ Alex Henderson

Richard "Groove" Holmes (organ)
Gene Edwards (guitar)
Jimmie Smith (drums)

1. Groove's Groove
2. Dahoud
3. Misty
4. Song For My Father
5. The Things We Did Last Summer
6. Soul Message

Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, NJ; August 3, 1965

Paul Chambers “Whims of Chambers” (1956, Blue Note 1534)

Following up on my previous Chambers’ post (and the post below from Alpax relates - in terms of side men), I offer you one of the jewels in my album collection, “Whims of Chambers”. While researching reviews, I discovered that a copy of this album can reach upwards of $3-400; perhaps, I should consider selling my LP? . . .nah, fur-get-ya!

A note of concern: this is a vinyl rip from a 41 year-old lp. I think it is in pretty damn good condition but the first rip at FLAC was not so good for some reason. So I decided to drop down to OGG because I think the sound quality is more than reasonable when you compare the file size versus sound quality. Please leave message if the sound is unacceptable or problematic. I apologise for not maintaining my “Jazz-Nekko” standard of offering you FLAC ~

As Paul Chambers is one of the all-time best bass players, picking up this album should be almost essential. Four of the seven songs on this album are more common than the others because of ‘Trane’s solos and subsequent reissues. However, for my money, Coltrane’s playing is, well, rather unimpressive and uninspiring. While Byrd’s solos are, as usual, red-hot and Burrell smokes along to Jones’ beat. Philly Joe lights a huge fire under Burrell and his guitar solos will knock you in the teeth! Chambers’ tremendous bowing and plucking rightfully support his reputation and offer him a good share of the spotlight. Overall, this is a great session, but the original poor sound quality may influence your judgment – don’t let it! I have been told that the CD remaster takes out the unnecessary echoes, but I will stick with my worn vinyl baby. . .

Paul Chambers “Whims of Chambers” (1956, Blue Note 1534)
Paul Chambers (b), John Coltrane (ts), Donald Byrd (tp), Horace Silver (p), Kenny Burrell (g), Philly Joe Jones (d); recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on September 21, 1956
01. Omicron
02. Whims of Chambers
03. Nita
04. We Six
05. Dear Ann
06. Tale of the Fingers
07. Just for the Love

Portrait of Cannonball (1958) [flac]

Julian Adderley's initial Riverside album was recorded in July of 1958. It was to be the first of fifteen such packages during a working relationship that lasted a full six years and saw Cannonball leap forward from a supporting role in a notable Miles Davis sextet to major stardom as leader of his own group. Portrait strongly reflects some of Adderley's closest associations up to that time. Bill Evans and Philly Joe Jones were colleagues in the Davis band; Sam Jones and Blue Mitchell (also making his first appearance on the label) were friends and co-workers from early days in Florida. In addition, Miles had written a new tune, the memorable "Nardis," to celebrate the occasion.

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Bill Evans (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

  1. Minority
  2. Minority (take 2)
  3. Minority (take 3)
  4. Straight Life
  5. Blue Funk
  6. A Little Taste
  7. People Will Say We're in Love
  8. Nardis (take 5)
  9. Nardis (take 4)
Recorded July 1, 1958

We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite

There was a time I used to see Olatunji in Brooklyn: "...Nel mezzo del cammin di Nostrand Avenue....." Within, like, a square mile or so, lived Timmons, Roach, Bud, Jaki, Cal Massey, KD. If I knew then what I know now.....

This is a classic. At a time when the civil rights movement was starting to heat up, drummer Max Roach performed and recorded a seven-part suite dealing with black history (particularly slavery) and racism. "Driva' Man" has a powerful statement by veteran tenor Coleman Hawkins and there is valuable solo space elsewhere for trumpeter Booker Little and trombonist Julian Priester, but it is the overall performance of Abbey Lincoln that is most notable. Formerly a nightclub singer, Lincoln really came into her own under Roach's tutelage and she is a strong force throughout this intense set. On "Tryptich: Prayer/Protest/Peace," Lincoln is heard in duets with the drummer and her wrenching screams of rage are quite memorable. This timeless protest record is a gem. ~ Scott Yanow

Max Roach (drums)
Abbey Lincoln (vocals)
Coleman Hawkins, Walter Benton (tenor saxophone)
Booker Little (trumpet)
Julian Priester (trombone)
James Schenck (acoustic bass)
Michael Olatunji (congas)
Tomas Duvall, Ray Mantilla (percussion)

1. Driva Man
2. Freedom Day
3. Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace - Max Roach,
4. All Africa
5. Tears for Johannesburg

Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios, New York City, on August 31 and September 6, 1960

Denis Charles IV-tet - Captain Of The Deep

"Captain is an imposing live set led by the late drummer Charles (he died the day this was released). With a resume that included time with Steve Lacy and Cecil Taylor, Charles was firmly ensconced in the restless beauty of the free jazz world, and that sort of passion and joy overflows here. His group draws its sound from Albert Ayler and early Ornette Coleman, with stirring folkish themes that turn into blazing marathon solos. Its all-encompassing exuberance draws funeral wails, blues, African rhythms and down-the-line bebop into one roaring vortex. This band includes veteran avant-gardist Jemeel Moondoc on alto and Nathan Breedlove, now with the Skatalites, on trumpet. Their music is consisently powerful but controlled. They are both careful never to go so far out that they leave the other musicians behind or destroy the fabric of the melody. They are uplifting both on the crazed, martial air of 'We Don't' and the bluesy improvisations of 'Round About.' Add Wilbert DeJoode's deep-souled bass and Charles powerful drumming and you have an amazing, hot-blooded session with the best features of modern jazz. It sounds both ancient and up to the minute at the same time." Jerome Wilson

Jemeel Moondoc (alto saxophone)
Nathan Breedlove (trumpet)
Wilbert DeJoode (double bass)
Denis Charles (drums)

1. We Don't
2. Mota
3. Round About
4. Jamaj's
5. Rob
6. Tobie Continyou

Zuid-Nederlands Jazz Festival: May 9, 1991

Benny Golson Quintet - Groovin' With Golson

As renowned for his writing as his playing, Golson contributes two originals to this set--a smooth blues tune entitled "My Blues House" and the up-tempo bop sizzler "The Stroller." (Golson composed for Dizzy Gillespie's band and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers during his tenure with those groups in the mid-to-late-1950s.) The slyly melodic "Drum Boogie" is great fun, as is the gentle take on Rodgers & Hart's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was." A seductive reading of "Yesterdays" rounds out the set. Golson's mellow tone on the tenor never betrays the intensity or velocity of his chops--he can burn through changes on the faster cuts, then downshift with ease to a smoky, romantic feel on ballads. Fuller, one of the most distinctive trombonists since J.J. Johnson, plays beautifully throughout. (The precision of his playing makes the fact that he's playing a slide instrument nearly impossible to detect.) In-the-cut support from pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Blakey make this a solid hard-bop outing from Prestige's classic era.

Benny Golson (tenor saxophone)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Ray Bryant (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)

1 - My Blues House
2 - Drumboogie
3 - I Didn't Know What Time It Was
4 - The Stroller
5 - Yesterdays

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 28, 1959

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Paul Chambers “Bass on Top” (1957, Blue Note ST-1569)

I do not recall ever seeing a post at C&D or here by Paul Chambers – let me remedy that in a hurry. Besides my Brother Jack fetish, Paul Chambers stands up there in the top five when it comes to musicians! This guy was part of “The Rhythm” and one of many dearly-lost jazz artists who died way too young. “Bass on Top” is the third and final Blue Note release for Paul Chambers as a leader. What a schedule this guy had:
1) He was in his third year with the first great Miles Davis Quintet.
2) He had just taken part in the Davis/Gil Evans Orchestra sessions that led to the classic “Miles Ahead” album.
3) He was appearing with the Davis Quintet’s new saxophone player Sonny Rollins at the Cafe Bohemia in New York
. . . all at the age of twenty-two – and already recognised as the top bass player in jazz!

This album is a remarkably mature musical statement for anyone, let alone someone so young.

What the hell are we doin’ with our lives?

You may feel like “Bass on Top” sounds very much like a Davis group's work on a diet, i.e. a slimmed down version of a Davis group. There is also a relaxed, friendly tone and atmosphere to the music. Check out the way Chambers tackles “Dear Old Stockholm”; it is clearly a tremendous piece and my favorite – hands down! This is not simply a session led by a bass player, but one which the bass dominates . . .

I think you will enjoy this. Simplicity at its best: the absence of any horns gives this session a chamber-type jazz. This is quiet, thoughtful, and intelligent (just like me (?;-) music.

Paul Chambers “Bass on Top” (1957, Blue Note ST-1569)
Paul Chambers (b), Kenny Burrell (g), Hank Jones (p), Art Taylor (d); recorded on July 14, 1957
01. Yesterdays
02. You’d Be so Nice to Come Home to
03. Chasin’ the Bird
04. Dear Old Stockholm
05. The Theme
06. Confessin’

now 'ere 'dis:

wendell stuart and the downbeaters

jean lafite says: alton and delroy fans must look into this. many many plays at my house. could not find any reviews but the lafite clan says check it.

the harder they come

amg says:

Review by Toby Ball
In 1973, when the movie The Harder They Come was released, reggae was not on the radar screen of American pop culture. The soundtrack went a ways toward changing that situation. It is a collection of consistently excellent early reggae songs by artists who went on to thrive with reggae's increased popularity and others for whom this is the most well-known vehicle. Jimmy Cliff is both the star of the movie and the headliner on the soundtrack. He contributes three excellent songs: the hymnal "Many Rivers to Cross," "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "The Harder They Come" (the latter two are repeated at the end of the album, but you probably wanted to hear them again anyway). Interestingly, the better production values of his songs actually seems to detract from them when compared to the rougher, but less sanitized, mixes of the other tracks. All the songs on this collection are excellent, but some truly stand out. Toots & the Maytals deliver two high-energy songs with "Sweet and Dandy" and "Pressure Drop" (covered by the Clash among others). Scotty develops a mellow, loping groove on "Stop That Train" (not the same as the Wailers' song by the same name) and the Slickers prove on "Johnny Too Bad" that you don't have to spout profanity or graphic violence to convey danger. The Harder They Come is strongly recommended both for the casual listener interested in getting a sense of reggae music and the more serious enthusiast. Collections don't come much better than this

jean lafite say: collections do not come any better to my memory. g'wan make a strong man cry, but it fill you wid' 'ope at de same time. grab it up on the off chance you don't have it already.

Hmmm... Let's See...Who can I Screw Next???

The war on the middle class and poor is going well!

The oil companies are fat and everyone else's expense!

Climate change is happening fast!

Infrastructure is a disaster!

My own party is sick of me!

Maybe that silly separation of church and state thingy can be next on the agenda...Yes! ....and torture, always more torture!

Chuck Israels - National Jazz Ensemble, Vol. 1 (1975) [LP > flac]

Chuck Israels first became widely known in the jazz world as a brilliant bassist who succeeded Scott LaFaro in the Bill Evans Trio. But Chuck, born in New York City in 1936, made his recording debut in in 1958 with Cecil Taylor. He played with Bud Powell, Billie Holiday, Max Roach, Don Elliott, Tony Scott, J.J. Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Gary Burton, and Hampton Hawes. George Russell and Eric Dolphy were among the many people with whom he recorded. In 1973, he founded the National Jazz Ensemble, the first such orchestra, years before the Jazz at Carnegie Hall program.

"The National Jazz Ensemble is unique. Here is one orchestra, one single assemblage of jazz players that undertakes everything from Jelly Roll Morton's Black Bottom Stomp through Horace Silver's Room 608, from early Ellington through Bill Evans.

The whole question of jazz repertory is fraught with problems, most of them stemming from the fact that jazz is an individual player's and improvisor's art. Shall jazz repertory use improvisation? And if so, how much and what kind, and what shall it do with the "original" improvised solo? It is entirely to its credit that the National Jazz Ensemble undertakes every possible approach to such problems." - Martin Williams - 1976

Greg Herbert, Lawrence Feldman, Sal Nistico, Dennis Anderson, Ken Berger (reeds)
Jimmy Maxwell, Tom Harrell, Dan Hayes, Dave Berger (trumpets)
Jimmy Knepper, Rod Levitt, Joe Randazzo (trombones)
Ben Aronov (piano)
Steve Brown (guitar)
Chuck Israels, Lisle Atkinson (bass)
Bill Goodwin (drums)

Special Guest Soloists
Lee Konitz (alto sax on "Solar Complexes")
Bill Evans (piano on "Very Early")
Margot Hanson (voice on "Transblucency")

  1. Every Tub
  2. Understanding Depression
  3. Black Bottom Stomp
  4. Transblucency
  5. Room 608
  6. Solar Complexes
  7. Hot Feet
  8. Very Early
  9. Harlem Airshaft
Recorded April-May, 1975

Donald Byrd “Fuego” (1959, Blue Note 4026)

Donald Byrd plays six original tunes on this hard-
bop set. The title track is perhaps the most hard-driving bop but other influences to be heard include, the gospel influence on ‘Amen’, the swing on ‘Funky Mama’ and the blues on ‘Low Life’. As usual with Byrd’s late 50s-early-60s albums, there is nothing but top-class musicians. I am also particularly fond of the strong compositional writing set against a rather laid-back feel of this album ~ enjoy!

Donald Byrd (tp), Jackie McLean (as), Duke Pearson (p), Doug Watkins (b), Lex Humphries (d); Alfred Lion (prod), Leonard Feather (liner notes); recorded on October 4, 1959 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
01. Fuego
02. Bup a Loup
03. Funky Mama
04. Low Life
05. Lament
06. Amen

Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio - Constellations (hatOLOGY 1995) [Flac, scans]

A HatOLOGY disc might be more appropriate on a Monday, but then... what the heck? Actually, Adolphe initiated this post with the excellent "A Thousand Evenings" he posted yesterday.

I consider Douglas to be one of the most prolific composers (and players) of our time; i am particularly impressed of his open-minded approach towards diverse aspects of music, which encompasses music from various eras, styles and places.

This 1995 album is his second with his Tiny Bell Trio with Brad Shepik on guitar and Jim Black on drums (if I remember correctly the first one had appeared at C&D); it consists of seven original compositions by Douglas (influenced by Eastern European music, as in the case of the first Tiny Bell Trio album and also in some subsequent Douglas' works), a very enjoyable rendition of Herbie Nichols' "The Gig" and an interpretation of Schumann's "5 pieces in popular style". This band had been together almost three years at the time, and the instant interaction and interplay of the members between improvising and accompanying is of the highest level.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable album, which stands out in Douglas's exhaustive catalogue of very fine albums as a leader or a sideman.


Dave Douglas - trumpet
Brad Shepik - guitar
Jim Black - drums

Track List:
(all tracks by Dave Douglas except 5 & 9)

1 - Constellations
2 - Unhooking The Safety Net
3 - Hope Ring True
4 - Taking Sides
5 - The Gig (Herbie Nichols)
6 - Scriabin
7 - Les Croquants
8 - Maquiladora
9 - Vanitatus Vanitatum (mit Humor) (Robert Schumann)

Recorded February 27-28, 1995 at Radio DRS Zurich

(AMG review in comments)

Delroy Wilson

I love Ken Boothe and Alton Ellis. But to me, Jamaica's greatest soulman (in the largest meaning of the sense) ever was Delroy Wilson. In his review for AMG (posted in comments), Steve Leggett said that "Jamaica's diminutive Delroy Wilson was as soulful a singer as the island ever produced, and like Marvin Gaye, whose phrasing and timing Wilson much admired, he made almost everything he recorded sound casually sincere." I could not come up with a better definition of this great artist, not even if my life depended on it. This comp does not cover his best period - actually I chose it because it's a perfect cd copy a friend made for me so I was able to rip it to Flac. His best period were the Studio 1 years. I have a few vinyls and a couple of low bitrate internet downloads I may post upon requests. In the meanwhile, I hope our little reggae crew will dig this slice o'soul (Yardie stylee, mon).
1 I'm Yours, You're Mine
2 Doing My Own Thing (Nobody but You Babe)
3 You'll Be Sorry
4 Peace and Love
5 Nice to Be Near
6 Hey Jude
7 My Baby Is Gone
8 Baby Don't You Do It
9 Can't Stop Me
10 It's Just Your Carelessness
11 I Can't Explain
12 Just Because
13 Mash up Illiteracy
14 Rascal Man
15 Find Another Girl
16 There Will Be No Escape
17 Dub Stairs (Half Way up the Stairs)
18 So Long Baby

Junko Moriya “Points of Departure” (2005, Spice of Life SOLJP 0001)

It is overdue time for another installment of Japanese jazz! This album has made the’s list of albums to take to a desert island; I don’t know if that has any significance, or does it mean you supposed to dispose of this album in the middle of nowhere?

Imagine big band jazz, orchestrations and arrangements - then imagine someone who has worked with the likes of Cecil Bridgewater, Wendell Harrison, John Stubblefield and Rudy Van Gelder. Then know that Junko Moriya won the 2005 Thelonious Monk International Composer Competition. Her very talented rhythm section backs the harmonics of a rather large brass section. I believe you will hear these standard renditions in a positive way. My favorite on this album would have to be '25% Solution', check it out. I think you will get a sense that, maybe, Japanese jazz is finally beginning to have a tradition of fine jazz and not just repetition.

Junko Moriya (p/prod/comp/arr), Kouichi Kanou (b), Masahiko Osaka (d), Kazuhiko Kondo (as/ss/fl), Hidenori Midorikawa (as), Osamu Koike (ts/fl), Andy Wolf (ts/fl), Dairo Miyamoto(baBax), Eric Miyashiro, Mitsukuni Kohata, Akira Okumura, Yoshiro Okazaki (tp), Hideaki Nakaji, Yuzo Kataoka, Haruki Sato (tb), Satoshi Kawano (baTB), Don Sickler (cond/prod)
01. Highway
02. Departure
03. I Love You
04. Wind Farm
05. 25% Solution
06. All Blues
07. My Funny Valentine
08. Mobius
09. Fragments
10. Heartsong
11. Fascinating Rhythm

John Wright “South Side Soul” (1960, Prestige 7190)

In the mid-50s, my father was transferred to Chicago, so we all moved to the “Windy City”. This was a major change for me from a small island. Chicago was a world beyond my dreams – skyscrapers, endless expressways, ‘friggin’ cold winters and a tremendous source of music that influenced my later choice of instrument (ts/as). I could bore you with many recollections of attending the Chicago Jazz Festival, or the Ravinia Jazz Festival, or sneaking underage into ‘hole-in-the-wall’ jazz & blues clubs or seeing performances by native Chicagoans such as Louis Armstrong (N’awlins transplant, I know but…), Vic Dickenson (awesome ‘bone player), George Dixon (Fatha’ Hines’ saxist & trumpeter), Bud Freeman (one of the best live performers tenor players – ever), Benny Goodman, Milt Hinton, Ramsey Lewis, Jimmy McPartland, Jimmy Noone, Sun Ra (transplant, I know but…), Stuff Smith, Mel Torme, Malachi Thompson, Buster Williams, Muddy Waters (long-time resident), BB King – if I included visiting acts, this bloody list would go on and one because Chicago always had someone in town worthy of seeing. . .

However, I never did get to see one important Chicago native, John Wright, who probably influenced the famous “South Side” sound as much as anyone. His compositions truly reflected the south side of Chicago’s local life, issues and black lifestyles. Our Pomegranate ‘wayward son’, Scott Yanow had the following to say about this share; the jackass couldn’t even be bothered to mention the correct titles (some of which are street names or neighborhoods!) in this album! I have listed the correct tracks below – enjoy!

“John Wright, who is now quite obscure, recorded five albums during 1960-62 that emphasized the soulful side of hard bop. In a trio with bassist Wendell Roberts and drummer Walter McCants on his debut session (which has been reissued on CD), Wright performs seven of his originals, all of which have something to do with Chicago. On titles such as "South Side Soul," "Salle St. After Hours" and "Amen to Corner," Wright plays soulfully while swinging. The results may not be all that substantial, but the music is enjoyable.” ~ Scott Yanow, AMG

John Wright “South Side Soul” (1960, Prestige 7190) [vinyl rip @ 320kbps & album jacket]
John Wright (p), Wendell Roberts (b), Walter McCants (d)
01. South Side Soul
02. 47th and Calumet
03. La Salle Street After Hours
04. 63rd and Cottage Grove
05. 35th Street Blues
06. Sin Corner
07. Amen Corner

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lucky Thompson “Tricotism” (1956, reissued 1993 - Impulse! GRP 11352)

This reissue of two of Lucky Thompson’s set is a 16-song set chock-o’-songs and cleverly crafted improvisations. The ‘56 ABC album volumes’ 1 and 2 were combined for this CD reissue, with one session featuring Lucky backed by Oscar Pettiford (b) and Clifton ‘Skeeter’ Best (g), while the other session is a quartet/quintet featuring Jimmy Cleveland (tb) and Hank Jones (p).

I think you will find that this is some rather standout small group session material from Lucky Thompson. The atmosphere is a bit more laidback, and with room for more solo focus for players. This CD has mostly drum-less trios; featuring some ‘bone work from Jimmy Cleveland – who works under the pseudonym “Jim Whatsmyname”! . . . Enjoy

P.S. I included the ABC Fresh Sound (Spain) reissue album jacket that I discovered while researching the album - I didn't know about that reissue. . .

1-4 & 9-12: Lucky Thompson (ts/comp), Clifton ‘Skeeter’ Best (g), Oscar Pettiford (dblB)
5-8 & 13-16 : Lucky Thompson (ts/comp), Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Hank Jones (p #5-8), Don Abbey (p #13-16), Oscar Pettiford (dblB), Osie Johnson (d)
Produced by Creed Taylor, Michael Cuscuna, Dave Grusin, Larry Rosen; tracks 1–8 were recorded on January 24th & 30th, 1956 and tracks 9-16 on December 11th & 2nd, 1956
01. Bo-bi My Boy
02. OP Meets LT
03. Tricotism
04. Deep Passion
05. Old Reliable
06. Translation
07. Tom Kattin’
08. A Lady’s Vanity
09. Dancing Sunbeam
10. Mr. Man
11. The Plain but the Simple Truth
12. Little Tenderfoot
13. Once There Was
14. NR No.1
15. NR No.2
16. Good Luck

dizzy gillespie -=- jazz creations ARS G 405

Dave Douglas - A Thousand Evenings (2000) [flac]

Dave Douglas has arguably become the most original trumpeter/composer of his generation. Douglas' stylistic range is broad, yet unaffected; his music is not a pastiche, but rather, a personal aesthetic that reflects a wide variety of interests. He explicitly cites such diverse influences as Igor Stravinsky, Stevie Wonder, and John Coltrane. As a composer, Douglas adapts and synthesizes unusual forms and creates his own out of disparate elements. As a trumpeter, Douglas possesses a comprehensive jazz technique; certainly, one hears the ghost of Lester Bowie in Douglas' expressive manipulations of timbre and pitch, but more pronounced is the integration of distinctive compositional and improvisational conceptions that ultimately defines his work. - Chris Kelsey

See comments for album review.

Dave Douglas (trumpet)
Mark Feldman (violin)
Guy Klucevsek (accordion)
Greg Cohen (bass)

1. A Thousand Evenings

The Branches (for Dave Tarras)
2. Part One
3. Part Two

4. Words for a Loss

5. Variety (for Guy Klucevsek)

6. The Boy with the Sad Eyes

In So Many Worlds (for Jaki Byard)
7. Ecstatic
8. Mournful
9. In Praise

10. Goldfinger

11. On Our Way Home

12. Memories of a Pure Spring

Oscar Peterson - The More I See You 1995 (320 kbps MP3)

I thought this would be a nice follow-up to "Benny Carter Meets Oscar Peterson" that Rab posted recently, since it has Oscar and Benny plus a full band, including one of Canada's greatest guitarists, Lorne Lofsky.

Here's a review:

After Oscar Peterson suffered a severe stroke in the spring of 1993, it was feared that he would never again play on a professional level, but two years of intense therapy resulted in the masterful pianist returning to what sounds, on this Telarc CD, like near-prime form. For the all-star date, The More I See You, Peterson tears into seven standards and two blues and outswings all potential competitors. Altoist Benny Carter at 87 sounds like he is 47 (if Carter had retired back in 1940 he would still be a legend), and flugelhornist Clark Terry (here 74) proves to be not only (along with the remarkable 90-year-old Doc Cheatham) the finest trumpeter over 70 but one of the top brassmen of any age. The cool-toned guitarist Lorne Lofsky and drummer Lewis Nash are also strong assets while bassist Ray Brown (a year younger than Peterson at a mere 68) displays his typical limitless energy on appealing tunes such as "In a Mellow Tone," "When My Dream Boat Comes Home," and a medium/up-tempo version of "For All We Know." The musicians all play up to their usual high level, making this a joyous comeback album for the great Oscar Peterson.

by Scott Yanow

Woody Guthrie, ”The Asch Recordings Vol. 1 & 2” [Flac & Scans]

Woody Guthrie was one of the 20th century's greatest poets and songwriters. Moses Asch was an idealistic, workaholic record-company owner who could be found in his small office/studio at all hours of the day or night and had a great respect for really creative artists, whether they were commercially viable or not. He and Guthrie made and documented history together in a vibrant moment that is brought to life in this boxed set, WOODY GUTHRIE, THE ASCH RECORDINGS VOLUMES 1-4. Guthrie rarely let a week go by without hammering out poetry, songs, rambling letters to friends, articles, diatribes and books on his manual typewriter. Hating conformity and distrusting authority, he would come to the studio when he felt like it -- often bringing his friend Cisco Houston along, and sometimes a larger group including Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, and Sonny Terry. The songs they sang there included some of the oldest folk songs in America, some of the newest and most powerful topical songs from Guthrie's typewriter, and some of the funniest and oddest songs you will ever hear.

Each CD in this set has a different emphasis, and together they are a powerful statement about Woody Guthrie the man and Moses Asch the producer. They are also the richest and most representative set of Woody Guthrie recordings ever assembled -- carefully selected, lovingly remastered, and richly annotated by Jeff Place and Guy Logsdon. VOLUME 1 presents many of what have become Guthrie's best-known songs; VOLUME 2 is a selection of the more traditional folk music repertory Guthrie had learned and made his own over the years; VOLUME 3 is selected from the enormous number of songs he wrote about current events; and VOLUME 4 presents songs about cowboys, outlaws and other western themes.

Anarchistic, wildly creative artistic geniuses are all too rare in this world. Even more rarely do they encounter a supporter who carefully collects and preserves their art. Guthrie's sharp, humorous, angry, quirky genius shines through in this sessions with Moses Asch. Asch carefully preserved the masters, and the Smithsonian Institution presents the best of them to the public as they have never been heard before.

The year 2000 ushers in the re-release of the historic Moe Asch recordings on the Smithsonian Folkways label. This 4-CD box set includes just about all the recordings Woody ever did for Folkways in the mid-1940s.


Flac & Scans

Myriam Alter - If (© enja, 2002) [OGG,scans]

For this first "technicolor" post of mine (tyvm brewboy for suggesting and Rab for inviting), I chose to share one of my favourite jazz albums from the production of the past 5 years.

I first listened to this album in 2002, in a very fine record shop at a small city in south France; I go there once a year for the past 15 years or so, and have become good friends with the shop-owner. Moreover, I trust his suggestions when it comes to jazz and fine French wine and food. When he played this for me, I was truly captivated from the very first notes. I even remember that quite a few passers-by entered the shop to query about the fine music that was playing from the loudspeakers. I took this without any hesitation, have listened to it literally hundreds of times ever since, and still it sounds as fresh and wonderful as the first time.

Myriam Alter's compositional and arranging skills are obvious on all ten original compositions. Same goes for their execution by a line-up of highly accomplished musicians (the great Dino Saluzzi on bandoneon, Kenny Werner at the piano, John Ruocco at the clarinet and the impeccable rhythm section of Greg Cohen and Joey Baron). Most importantly, it's about the melody: i can hardly remember a recent jazz album with such an abundance of fine melodic lines and such a feeling of 'fluidity' that leaves a strong aftertaste of optimism after each hearing.

This is a record that is prone to make you smile.

(Tracklist and review in comments)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sarah Vaughan at Mister Kelly's (1957) [flac]

During an era when many of her studio recordings found Sarah Vaughan backed by large commercial orchestras, this live session reaffirmed her remarkable jazz talents. Accompanied by pianist Jimmy Jones, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Roy Haynes at a Chicago club, Sassy makes the standards sound as if they were written for her. High points include "September In the Rain," "Stairway to the Stars," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Poor Butterfly" and "Sometimes I'm Happy," but every selection is well worth hearing. Fortunately, this classic music has been reissued on CD. - Scott Yanow

Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Jimmy Jones (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)

  1. September in the Rain
  2. Willow Weep for Me
  3. Just One of Those Things
  4. Be Anything But Darling Be Mine
  5. Thou Swell
  6. Stairway to the Stars
  7. Honeysuckle Rose
  8. Just a Gigolo
  9. How High the Moon
  10. Dream
  11. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
  12. It's Got to Be Love
  13. Alone
  14. If This Isn't Love
  15. Embraceable You
  16. Lucky in Love
  17. Dancing in the Dark
  18. Poor Butterfly
  19. Sometimes I'm Happy
  20. I Cover the Waterfront
Recorded August 6, 7, and 8, 1957 at Mister Kelly's, Chicago

late issue lee

amg says:Review by Scott Yanow
Trumpeter Lee Morgan performs two funky boogaloos, a ballad and three complex group originals on this album whose music was first released in 1980. This is a transitional date with the hard bop stylist leaning in the direction of modal music and even anticipating aspects of fusion. His sextet (which includes Bennie Maupin on tenor, guitarist George Benson, pianist John Hicks, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Billy Higgins) is quite advanced for the period and inspires Morgan to some fiery and explorative playing.

amg says:Review by Scott Yanow
It seems strange that the music on this CD was not released initially until 1980. Trumpeter Lee Morgan had had an unexpected hit with "The Sidewinder," so his more challenging recordings were temporarily put aside. As it turns out, this was one of Morgan's better sets from the 1960s and he had gathered together quite an all-star cast: altoist Jackie McLean, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Art Blakey. They perform "Rigormortis," McCoy Tyner's "Twilight Mist," and three of the trumpeter's originals, including the title cut. The advanced hard bop music still sounds fresh decades later despite its initial neglect.

jean lafite says: dig it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fats Navarro & Tadd Dameron - Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings [flac]

Many valuable performances from the height of the bop era are included on this double CD. Subtitled "The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings" and comprised of 23 songs and 13 alternate takes, the reissue features the great trumpeter Fats Navarro in peak form with three groups headed by pianist/arranger Tadd Dameron, in trumpet battles with one of his major influences, Howard McGhee, and on a remarkable all-star quintet with pianist Bud Powell and the young tenor Sonny Rollins; among the other sidemen are altoist Ernie Henry; tenors Charlie Rouse, Allen Eager, Wardell Gray, and Dexter Gordon; and vibraphonist Milt Jackson. In addition to such gems as "Our Delight," "Lady Bird," "Double Talk," "Bouncing With Bud," "Dance of the Infidels," and "52nd Street Theme," Fats is heard with the 1948 Benny Goodman septet ("Stealin' Apples") and Dameron leads a group with the 22-year-old Miles Davis. On a whole, this double CD has more than its share of essential music that belongs in all historical jazz collections. - Scott Yanow

(track list and personnel - click to enlarge)

Peter Herbolzheimer - Jazz Gala Concert (1976) [LP > flac]

This one's for the mighty Bacoso from Orgy in Rhythm who has posted a lot of hard-to-find LP's at his wonderful site, including some from Peter Herbolzheimer and his Rhythm Combination & Brass.

For this 1976 recording from two concerts, Herr Herbolzheimer assembled an all-star big band along with some guest soloists. Among the highlights are a reunion of Art Farmer and Gerry Mulligan on "Festive Minor", Toots Thielemans' reading of "Brown Ballad", Stan Getz on Chick Corea's "Times Lie", the amazing trombones of Albert Mangelsdorff and Slide Hampton, Nat Adderley's inspired solo on "Jive Samba", and dig Ferdinand Povel's alto solo on "Gentle Mood".

(click photo to enlarge)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cubano said...

Clio, here are the links for Orchestra Baobab's "Bamba."From the liner notes: "Bamba is the long awaited and much solicited reissue of two of Baobab's greatest albums, recorded and originally released in 1980-81, until now rare and prized collector's items. It represents this great band at its peak, featuring some of Senegal's finest musicians..."

(Cubano had posted this jewel in the comments to Pirates' Choice. I felt it deserved a better exposure. Thanx Cubano !!!).

astor piazzolla -- discos 9 and 10

ok that's it. these two have live performances.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lonnie Smith - Foxy Lady: Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (1994) [flac]

The resurrection of Lonnie Smith continues with this exciting mini-survey of the Jimi Hendrix legacy. This time, the material allows Smith's crackling, tightly knit collaborators, John Abercrombie and Marvin "Smitty" Smith, to run a bit wild -- indeed, Abercrombie's tone and attack takes on a Hendrix-like cast on the title track -- while Lonnie mostly remains in the same cool soul-jazz frame of mind, an excellent foil. The most ambitious track, "Castles Made of Sand," takes on a military rhythm before breaking out into Smitty's everywhere-at-once drum patterns, cooking at a fine boil through its 23 1/2-minute length before breaking into a suitably chaotic rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" toward the end. On the latter, Abercrombie has a ball pouring on the sarcasm, and Lonnie bounces around the organ. "Third Stone from the Sun" moves at a casual, loping pace before Abercrombie and Smitty go into their guitar- and drum-slinger modes. Finally, there is a bit of fantasy in Lonnie's "Jimi Meets Miles" -- a musical event that nearly happened -- with Abercrombie doing a laconic Hendrix impression over a propulsive rhythm that recalls Miles' Bitches Brew period. - Richard S. Ginell

Lonnie Smith (organ)
John Abercrombie (guitar)
Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums)

  1. Foxy Lady
  2. Castles Made of Sand - Star Spangled Banner
  3. Third Stone from the Sun
  4. Jimi Meets Miles
Recorded on March 19, 1994

Andre Previn w/ Mundell Lowe & Ray Brown "Uptown" (1990, TelArc 83303) [orig. rip @ ogg & covers]

Uptown (1990, TelArc 83303)
André Previn (p), Mundell Lowe (g), Ray Brown (b)
01. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
02. A Sleepin' Bee
03. Come Rain or Come Shine
04. Stormy Weather
05. Over the Rainbow
06. Let's Fall in Love
07. Day Dream/Prelude to a Kiss
08. Good Queen Bess
09. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
10. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Swing)
11. Five O'Clock Whistle
12. Come Sunday
13. 'C' Jam Blues

This group of seasoned jazz veterans brings heat, excitement and pizzazz to these Arlen and Duke-associated pieces!
What strikes me about this set is that the old standards’ have been given a new life with cool arrangements. I love the snappy tempo on “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”. In general, “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Swing)”, is one of my favorite pieces and this is version is a burner – I mean s-m-o-k-i-n’, while “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be” will grab you ear with its kicky staccato ~ enjoy
These arrangements are so varied and lively interpreted – whoa, check these guys out . .

Funky Friday: Timbalada "Mineral" (1997) [orig. rip @ flac & scans]

Timbalada, featuring upwards of 120 players, was created by Carlinhos Brown in 1992, from Candeal (Salvador,Bahia). Timbalada is also a neighbourhood group with a social mission that has educational projects which aid street children. The Timbalada is both a band and a Carnaval bloco (Carnaval group). Timbalada uses the timbau (an indigenous drum of candomblé religions) in an Afro-pop-oriented way, combining rhythms of Bahia with Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean music. The musical style could be described as samba-reggae-axé, with strong influences from African music. Timbalada also uses vocalists, body painting and a multitude of pop signs that show ironies between tribal and industrial societies. They have performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and tours throughout Europe and North America.

Due to the band’s success, the timbau has since been absorbed into nearly every samba-reggae bateria. The group aims for a hybrid, pop outline, with three singers, sax, trumpet, trombone, keyboards, bass, guitar, drums, ten timbaus, five marcações, one repique, two timbales, and a kind of Afro drum set, the percuteria. Group info:

Today’s Funky Friday offering is their 1996 album, “Mineral”, which won the Brasilian Prêmio Sharp award. Timbalada played the album’s debut here in Japan – to which I was fortunate enough to have attended! An amazing sight to see 100 musicians groovin' with nothing more than a tiny thong and striped body paint on which quickly melted due to the humidity... ;-&

Q: Do you like bateria?
A: Download this unique set. . .

Woody Herman Orchestra - The Raven Speaks (1972, OJC) [vinyl rip @ 320 kbps & CD covers]

Woody Herman (cla/as/ss/vcl), Harold Danko (p/eP/fender rhodes), Bill Byrne, Charlie Davis, Al Porcino, John Thomas (tp), Bill Stapleton (tp/flghrn), Bob Burgess, Rick Stepton (tb), Harold Garrett (tb/baTB), Gregory Herbert (fl/alFL/pic/ts), Steve Lederer (baSax/ts), Tom Anastasio (baSax), Frank Tiberi (fl/bassoon/ts/cowbell), Pat Martino (g), Albert Johnson (eB/gB), Joe La Barbera (d), Johnny Pacheco (cga)
01. Fat Mama H
02. Alone Again (Naturally)
03. Watermelon Man
04. It’s too Late
05 .The Raven Speaks
06. Summer of ‘42
07. Reunion at ‘72 Newport
08. Bill’s Blues

Jimmy Mcgriff -- Electric Funk

funky friday is coming up fast.
amg says:

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The title of Electric Funk may lead you to believe that it's a set of unrepentant, rampaging hard funk, but that's not quite the case. The record is laid-back but undeniably funky, with Jimmy McGriff and electric pianist Horace Ott leading an unnamed group through a set of soul workouts. It's not jazz, it's jazzy soul, and it's among the funkiest of any soul-jazz records from the late '60s, filled with stuttering drum breaks, lite fuzz guitars, elastic bass, smoldering organ and punchy, slightly incongruous horn charts.

jean lafite says: incongruous is a pretty big word. this here is a monster. dust off your best interpretive funk moves and turn it loose. don't hurt yourself though.

combo jazz - jazztone society j-1221

one of these jazztone samplers, has a little crackle, but plays pretty well. i thought i would put it up since i was listening to it. has some interesting lineups playing some songs not in every set (at least as far as i can remember). check it out if you like.
1. i surrender dear
2. smack
3. dedication
4. esquire bounce
5. mop mop
6. esquire blues
7. love me or leave me
8. diga diga doo
9. we're in the money
10. curbstone scuffle
11. woodchopper's holiday
12. somebody loves me

1-3 early 40's coleman hawkins roy eldridge benny carter (alto and piano) bernard addison guitar john kirby bass sid catlett

4-6 early 40's hawkins cootie williams edmond hall (clarinet) art tatum al casey (guitar) oscar pettiford catlett

7-9 June 1945 first issued at 33rpm here buck clayton flip phillips teddy wilson slam stewart danny alvin (drums)

10-12 September 1946 flip phillips sonny berman (trumpet) bill harris serge chaloff ralph burns chuck wayne (guitar) artie bernstein (bass) don lamond (drums)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Duke Ellington -- All American in Jazz

duke and the boys interpret the music from the broadway hit.

according to amg:

Review by Scott Yanow
Throughout this LP, the Duke Ellington Orchestra is largely wasted playing ten selections from the now-forgotten play All American. None of the melodies caught on but Ellington does the best he can with them, featuring his many all-stars on concise. and respectful performances. The music is harmless enough but there are at least 100 other more worthy Ellington releases currently available.

according to jean lafite: scott yanow is a punk. if you like duke, you will like this.

astor piazzolla discos 7 and 8

anos de soledad and tangata del alba

Red Garland “Groovy” (1956-7, Prestige 7113) & All Kinds of Weather (1958, OJC 193) [original rips @ ogg & cover]

Miles Davis used to highlight Red Garland’s skills by departing the stage and thereby showcasing the Red Garland Trio. As talented a pianist as they come, Garland is known for chord extensions, aggressive swings with block chords, and stringing together single note lines. His trio consisted of Paul Chambers (b) and Art Taylor (d). Their incredible balance, intuition and subtle interplay are why they are referred to as “the Rhythm”.

From the swing of “C-Jam Blues”, to the melancholic blues of “Willow Weep for Me”, you will enjoy this late 50’s Garland recording. . .

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Scott Yanow basically called this a gimmick CD because the six titles are related to the seasons and weather. . .I would urge to consider that you may not have these standards at such a swift tempo and with rather jaunty melodies – let’s test Yanow: is this set a gimmick to you?

All Kinds of Weather (1958, PRT 7148 /OJC 193)

Carl Fontana - The Great Fontana (1985) [flac]

In the world of music, as in all of the arts, there are only a few truly original voices that emerge in each generation, and an even smaller number of those voices transcend their time to become a major influence and inspiration for succeeding generations. Carl Fontana was--and is through his recorded legacy--such a voice.

"Considering his ability and strong reputation, it is very surprising that this was trombonist Carl Fontana's first recording date as a leader. Fifty-seven at the time, Fontana's fluent horn matches well with tenor saxophonist Al Cohn, pianist Richard Wyands, bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Akira Tana. The CD reissue of the Uptown release expands the original six-song program to ten. An excellent effort from an underrated but talented bop-based trombonist." - Scott Yanow

"Carl Fontana is one fantastic jazz trombone player. I couldn't improve upon that statement if I tried." - J.J. Johnson

"When I get a minute and I want to listen to something I recently recorded, I play Carl Fontana's Polka Dots and Moonbeams for pure pleasure." - Rudy Van Gelder

Carl Fontana (trombone)
Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Richard Wyands (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Akira Tana (drums)

  1. Shoutin' on a Riff
  2. It Might as Well Be Spring
  3. Soon
  4. I Thought About You
  5. Showcase
  6. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
  7. Always
  8. Expubident
  9. What's New
  10. America the Beautiful
Recorded September 5 & 6, 1985

Ladysmith Black Mambazo “Classic Tracks” (1990, Shanachie 43074)

Clio & Yiannis’ posts in the contributions reminded of my offering for today; thank you gentlemen for the prompt! This was one of those impulse buys, while en route back from a cancelled Jean-Michel Jarre concert that was supposed take place at Teotihuacan (Mexico) during the solar eclipse of July’91. I later read somewhere that the boat carrying Jarre’s stage equipment, lasers, pyrotechnique, etc. sunk in the Gulf of Mexico! Anyhow, while killing time at the airport, I paid $2 for this CD. It has stayed as an occasional favorite with me since. . .

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a ten-man acappella group who perform ‘mbube’, a Zulu signing tradition. They are unique perhaps in that they combine Christian choral music with Zulu rhythmic and harmonic traditions. Joseph Shabala formed the group in 1974 but began to gain international acclaim after collaborating with Paul Simon on “Graceland” back in ‘87.

According to the liner notes, this album is a collection of “outstanding recordings drawn from different phases of their career”. Hence, if you do not know Ladysmith, this is a good introduction to their work. If you like African vocal arrangements – then take a listen to this and treat your ears to spiritually lifting music. Sadly, as you will see in the scans, the liner notes do not explain the recording dates, information on the songs – anything, but I still give the collection “two thumbs up” for its comprehensiveness.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Antonio Carlos Jobim "Echoes of Rio" (1989, RCA 9602)

Thank you Jean for your post – I wish I could make the acquaintance of Vasconselos; I own many of his albums and was fortunate to attend a concert (he was a guest member of Zil’s collaborative band) in Fortaleza back in the early 80’s. Your Vasconselos post prompted this post.

One of the things I perceive when listening to jazz/music in general is arrangements. As a prism collects light and reflects into a colourful spectrum, so do composers with music. How that light is recognised is personal, same goes for music & the arts, cultural values, etc. Today’s offer comes to you by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Born in the Tijuca neighborhood of Rio, Jobim originally studied as an architect. He made his first record in 1954 backing singer Bill Farr as the leader of “Tom and His Band” (Tom is Jobim’s nickname). When João Gilberto recorded some of Jobim’s songs in 1958, he effectively launched the “bossa nova” boom. Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd brought Jobim’s first international acclaim when they recorded “Desafinado” in 1962.

The “George Gershwin of Brazil”, Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim, has contributed greatly to jazz, Brasilian music and composition theory. His music is characterised by graceful melodies and harmonies. Jobim’s roots are deep in jazz; the records of West Coast jazz musicians such as Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Barney Kessel and many others made an enormous impact upon him in the 1950s. In various interviews he also noted the decisive influence of French impressionist composer Claude Debussy upon his harmonies, and that Brazilian samba gave his music a uniquely exotic rhythm.

Lovely album with Chico Buarque and Miúcha (Chico’s sister & second wife of João Gilberto) sitting in several of the numbers. . . ‘nuff said -


Horace Silver - Silver 'N Voices (1976) [LP>flac]

Never issued on CD, this Blue Note session was initially panned by "critics" but I find it a very refreshing addition to the Horace Silver discography. The vocals by The Alan Copeland Singers are pleasant and generally unobtrusive but the real focus is on the music and soloists. Tom Harrell's lyrical trumpet and the Coltrane-esque solos of tenor saxophonist Bob Berg are highlights on most of the songs. In the eighties Harrell would go on to be an integral member of the Phil Woods Quintet and Berg would be recording and touring with Miles Davis.

From AMG:
Horace Silver, a brilliant composer of funky melodies, was never that strong a lyricist despite his good intentions. For this set (following the Silver 'N Brass and Silver 'N Wood sessions), the pianist's quintet (featuring trumpeter Tom Harrell and tenorman Bob Berg) is joined by six voices under the direction of Alan Copeland. The self-help lyrics get a bit cloying and the voices simply weigh down the music but there are some good solos along the way. - Scott Yanow

And from Dusty Groove:
Pretty late for Horace -- but a surprisingly nice record that you've probably been overlooking for years! On this one, Horace is moving into the "jazz with voices" territory explored by Max Roach and Billy Harper -- and the album's actually about as hip as either of their work in the vein, with a soaring spiritual soul jazz groove that never gets as hokey as you'd expect. The core group of musicians is great, too -- and includes Bob Berg on tenor, Tom Harrell on trumpet, and Ron Carter on bass. Titles include "I Will Always Love You", "Out Of The Night", "Incentive", "New York Lament", and "All In Time". Excellent stuff -- and if it was recorded for MPS in 1971, you wouldn't bat an eye if we were charging 10 times the price!

Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bob Berg (tenor sax)
Horace Silver (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Al Foster (drums)
The Alan Copeland Singers

  1. Out of the Night (Came You)
  2. Togetherness
  3. I Will Always Love You
  4. Mood for Maude
  5. Incentive
  6. New York Lament
  7. All in Time
  8. Freeing My Mind
Recorded September 24 and October 1, 1976

A Canadian Jazz Compilation

Someone a while ago asked about Canadian Jazz, so I decided to go through what I have and make a compilation. Avoiding the usual names you think of when you hear Canuck jazz mentioned (Oscar Peterson, Lenny Breau etc...), I tried to make it as good an overview of the Canadian jazz scene as possible, given my rather limited collection. Also, I don't listen to much vocal jazz, so the only Canadian jazz vocalist I had was Diana Krall – even though the inclusion of Krall breaks my cardinal rule of not including big-time names I guess. But I wanted to include at least once vocalist.

So, here you go. Hope you like it. If anyone wants to attempt a volume 2, or has older Canadian jazz to post (most of my stuff, as you can see, is relatively recent), that would be really cool.

And yes, I realize that Jay McShann was not Canadian, but the band he's playing with is and it was recorded in Toronto :)

A Canadian Jazz Compilation, vol. one

disc 1:
01 Oliver Jones - Late Afternoon Blues
(from "Have Fingers Will Travel" 1997)
02 Al Henderson Quartet - Zot
(from "Dinosaur Dig" 1993)
03 Sax Summit - My Favourite Things
(from "Sax Summit" 2002)
04 NOJO feat. Don Byron - The Great Farini - part 2 (Funambullism)
(from "Highwire" 2002)
05 Sonny Greenwich + Ed Bickert - I Remember You
(from "Days Gone By" 1979)
06 Don Thompson's Banff Jazz All Stars - 12 Ton Blues
(from "Celebration" 1998)
07 Ed Bickert + Lorne Lofsky - This Is New
(from "This Is New" 1990)
08 Mark Eisenman - Someday My Prince Will Come
(from "Sweet & Lovely" 2004)
09 Al Henderson quartet - Hadronic Interactions
(from "Dinosaur Dig" 1993)
10 Sonny Greenwich - The Entertainer
(from "Fragments Of A Memory" 2001)
11 Climax Jazz Band - Shout Em Aunt Tillie
(live recording-San Diego,CA 2006-11-25 soundboard feed)
12 Dave Young Quintet - All The Things You'd Be Right Not, If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother
(from "Mainly Mingus" 2005)
13 Diana Krall - Departure Bay
(from "The Girl In The Other Room")

disc 2:
01 Guido Basso + Doug Riley - A Lazy Afternoon
(from "A Lazy Afternoon" 1997)
02 Ed Bickert + Rob McConnell - Everywhere
(from "Mutual Street" 1991)
03 NOJO with Sam Rivers - Duke A Go Go
(from "City Of Neighbourhoods" 2004)
04 Doug Riley B3 Quartet - Dinosaurus
(from "Con Alma" 1994)
05 Rob McConnell Jive 5 - Red Devil
(from "The Rob McConnell Jive 5" 1990)
06 Don Thompson Quartet - Elis
(from "Ask Me Later" 2005)
07 Ed Bickert Trio - I Surrender Dear
(from "Third Floor Richard" 1989)
08 Guido Basso + Dave Turner-In A Boppish Sort Of Way
(from "Dedications" 2002)
09 One Take Vol.1 (w/ Guido Basso, Vito Rezza, Lorne Lofsky and Joe Defrancesco)- Caruso
(from "One Take Volume One" 2004)
10 Jake Langley - The Garage
(from "Diggin' In" 2004)
11 Jay McShann (w/Jim Galloway, Don Thompson and Terry Clarke) - Georgia On My Mind
(from "Just A Lucky So And So 1983)
12 Oliver Jones - Hymn To Freedom
(from "A Class Act" 1991)

Orchestra Baobab - Pirates Choice

A few weeks ago, I posted some African salsa, and Yannis brought up the idea of posting some Orchestra Baobab stuff. I'd like to get the ball rolling here and propose Pirates' Choice, may be the finest example of this band's unique blend of pre-m'balax West African music, consisting of a melting pot between African music and traditional Afro-Cuban son. I am posting a review in comments, just for the sake of it (it's full of mistakes). What really matters is that this music makes sense, as Africans were re-taking control of something that was/is partially and rightfully theirs : Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Barthelemy Attisso Guitar
Issa Cissocko Saxophone
Medoune Diallo Vocals
Ndiouga Dieng Vocals
Rudolphe Gomis Vocals
Mountaga Kouyate Percussion
Charly N'Diaye Bass
Papa Ba Guitar
Adama Sarr Guitar
Mapenda Seck Vocals
Bala Sidibe Timbales, Vocals

Carabali "Carabali II" (1984, Island)

vibes-led Latin jazz-inflected quintet
[orig. rip @ flac & scans]

Monday, May 7, 2007

Threesome on a Beach?

Sumiko Yoseyama "Interlude" (2005, Tuff Beats UBCA-1004) [orig. rip @ flac & scans]

Stanley Jordan "Magic Touch" (1985, Blue Note-Canada 85101) [orig. rip @ flac & scans]

Steve Swallow "Real Book" (1994, ECM 3207) [orig. rip @ flac & scans]
Repost of links (09 May 2007):
Mal Waldron and Sumiko Yoseyama “Duo” (1985, East Wind EWJ-90046)Mal Waldron (p) Sumiko Yoseyama (vcl); recorded in Tokyo, Japan, September 17 & 18, 1985

dr buzzard's original savannah band

amg says: 5 stars.

jean lafite says: though i have certainly branched out a bit, my musical education came from my moms who was and is a pro. oddly enough, my pops brought this record home, the only one i can recall him buying ever. he says he liked the cover and the name dr buzzard.

this is a fantastic effort and stands up (in my case anyway) to literally hundreds and hundreds of plays. i rank it with my all time favorites. august darnell (kid creole) and sugarcoated andy hernandez are my boys.

hope you'se like it.

ECM Monday Nana Vasconcelos -- Saudades

according to amg: Review by John Storm Roberts
This 1979 recording is probably Afro-experimentalist Vasconcelos' finest. It presents his various facets — berimbao playing, intricate overlain vocals, fine percussion, even gorgeous guitar — simply and almost overwhelmingly. This is one of those performances that remind one to never let natural dogmatism get out of hand. according to jean lafite: i try not to be too dogmatic. this guy used to be a good friend of mine, i had a lot of fun with him back in the day. i miss him now that he has moved back to brazil, he is a rare bird.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Keith Jarrett - Somewhere Before (1968) [flac]

While still a member of the Charles Lloyd Quartet, Keith Jarrett did some occasional moonlighting with a trio, anchored by two future members of Jarrett's classic quartet, Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). On this CD, Jarrett turns in a very eclectic set at Shelly's Manne-Hole in Hollywood, careening through a variety of idioms where his emerging individuality comes through in flashes. He covers Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" -- which actually came out as a single on the Vortex label -- in an attractive, semi-funky style reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi. "Pretty Ballad" delivers a strong reflective dose of Bill Evans, while "Moving Soon" is chaotic free jazz. By the time we reach "New Rag," we begin to hear the distinctive Jarrett idiom of the later trios, but then, "Old Rag" is knockabout stride without the stride. As an example of early, unfocused Jarrett, this is fascinating material. - Richard S. Ginell

Keith Jarrett (piano)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Paul Motian (drums)

  1. My Back Pages
  2. Pretty Ballad
  3. Moving Soon
  4. Somewhere Before
  5. New Rag
  6. A Moment for Tears
  7. Pouts' Over (And the Day's Not Through)
  8. Dedicated to You
  9. Old Rag
Recorded at Shelly's Manne-Hole on August 30 and 31, 1968

curtis fuller - images of curtis fuller

from 1960. 1&5 has fuller wilbur harden yusef lateef mcoy tyner jimmy garrison and clifford jarvis 2-4 has lee morgan lateef tyner milt hinton and bobby donaldson.

hope you'se like it.

Joe Henderson - The State of the Tenor (1985) [flac]

Blue Note's Doubletime series combines live sessions previously issued on two single albums onto one double CD. One of the first releases was Joe Henderson's brilliant tenor sax recital recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 1985. The State of the Tenor, Vols. 1 & 2 features Henderson backed only by bass and drums in a setting that pays homage to his prime stylistic source, Sonny Rollins, while displaying his prime skills in an ideal forum. The 14 selections range from customary standards to Henderson originals, and include compositions by Sam Rivers, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Horace Silver. It is not only a fine trio outing, but a series of performances in which Henderson strips songs to their essence, turning them into his own vision. - Ron Wynn

Upon hearing the first volume of these recordings, Alfred Lion, founder of Blue Note and its sole producer until 1967, said, "I think this is truly a classic album. What Joe plays is unbelievable. With Ron, it's also the state of the bass. This is one of the most important albums that I have ever heard. It is definitely one of the best ever made on Blue Note. And I don't mean the new Blue Note. It's one of the best ever, including all of the records that we did in the fifties and sixties."

Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Ron Carter (bass)
Al Foster (drums)

Volume 1
  1. Beatrice
  2. Friday the Thirteenth
  3. Happy Reunion
  4. Loose Change
  5. Ask Me Now
  6. Isotope
  7. Stella by Starlight
Volume 2
  1. Boo Boo's Birthday
  2. Cheryl
  3. Y Ya La Quiero
  4. Soulville
  5. Portrait
  6. The Bead Game
  7. All the Things You Are
Recorded at the Village Vanguard, NYC on November 14, 15 and 16, 1985

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Funky Friday

Cold Blood - Sisyphus (1970) [LP>flac]

How 'bout some San Francisco Blue-Eyed Soul/Jazz-Rock/East Bay Grease with a side of Blues?

"Sisyphus -- Cold Blood's second release for Bill Graham's San Francisco label -- was a shift to a more aggressive and decidedly funkier sound. Taking their cues as much from James Brown's J.B.'s as from their Bay Area contemporaries and labelmates Tower of Power, Sisyphus is a much more cohesive and concentrated effort compared to their 1969 eponymous debut. The infusion of strong original material certainly did not hurt either -- as five of the disc's six tracks are credited as original band compositions. From the opening edgy/up-tempo instrumental "Shop Talk," the change in Cold Blood's direction is evident. This extended jam showcases the entire ensemble -- sans vocalist Lydia Pense -- including the band's latest addition, Sandy McKee (drums/percussion). The track also features notable assistance from original Santana bandmember Chepito Areas (congas/timbales). The driving rhythms are punctuated by the three-piece brass section, whose contributions are infinitely less obtrusive, especially during the dramatic segue into "Funky on My Back" -- one of Cold Blood's most definitive compositions. Highlighted by Pense's dramatic and sensual vocals, the track recalls the laid-back, soulful style of their first album. Another throwback is the slightly gospel-influenced cover of "Your Good Thing" -- originally performed by Stax diva Mable John -- which also features background vocals from the Pointer Sisters. The second half of Sisyphus consists of up-tempo groovers "Too Many People," "Understanding," and "I Can't Stay," which is not only the hardest-rocking track on the disc, it also features a lead vocal from percussionist McKee. The song actually comes off sounding like an early Santana cut rather than anything else on the album. This probably has to do more with the frenetically inspired fretwork of Larry Field than the absence of Pense." - Lindsay Planer

Lydia Pense (vocals)
Raul Matute (organ, piano)
Larry Field (guitar)
Rod Ellicott (bass)
Sandy McKee (drums, vocals)
Mic Gillette (trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn)
Larry Jonutz (trumpet, trombone)
Danny Hull (tenor sax)
Chepito Areas (congas, timbales)
Pointer Sisters (background vocals)

  1. Shop Talk
  2. Funky on My Back
  3. Your Good Thing
  4. Understanding
  5. I Can't Stay
  6. Too Many People

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Cecil Payne - "The Connection" (1962) [LP>flac]

The Connection was an off-Broadway play that centered around a number of dope addicts waiting to score a fix from their dealer, with a musical score contributed by pianist Freddie Redd. After Redd recorded an album for Blue Note and left the production, baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne and pianist Kenny Drew composed songs for a brand new score, with Payne taking over Redd's duties providing music for the play. Payne expanded to a sextet from a quartet for his LP (issued by the Charlie Parker label), though his recording has been unjustly overlooked. Joined by Clark Terry and Bennie Green in the front line, and a rhythm section consisting of Duke Jordan, Ron Carter, and Charlie Persip, Payne's album also has much to offer. While it is difficult to conceptualize what the play was like by just listening to this recording, the music stands on its own. All of the musicians shine throughout the sessions. Though Payne is a fine soloist, Terry's almost conversational solos tend to steal the show. Long out of print, this excellent disc will likely be found only on jazz auction lists. - Ken Dryden

Ripped from original vinyl to aiff and converted to flac. No scans, and the best I could come up with are the photos you see here.

See the main Pomegranate page for the Freddie Redd LP posted by Rab and Gleckit Loon.

Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Bennie Green (trombone)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Charlie Persip (drums)

  1. Stop and Listen (Payne)
  2. Born Again (Payne)
  3. Dear People (Payne)
  4. Kenny's One (Drew)
  5. Sister Carol (Drew)
  6. Mighty Fine Wine (Drew)
  7. It's Your Life (Drew)

Recorded March 14, 15 and 16, 1962

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

The Best of Louis Jordan [MCA]

This is one of my all time favorite discs...hell even the kids like this one!

This is a best-of CD collection that actually lives up to its name. Virtually all of Louis Jordan's hits, which musically bridged the gap between small-group swing, R&B, and rock & roll, are on this single CD, including "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," "Let the Good Times Roll," "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens," "Saturday Night Fish Fry," "Caldonia," "Five Guys Named Moe," and "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." Serious collectors will want to explore a more complete series, particularly the one put out by Classics, but for a single acquisition, this is the Louis Jordan set to get. Jordan's very likable and good-humored vocals and his hot alto, as well as the playing of the Tympani Five, belong in everyone's music collection.

1. Choo Choo Ch'boogie
2. Let The Good Times Roll
3. Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens
4. Saturday Night Fish Fry
5. Beware
6. Caldonia
7. Knock Me A Kiss
8. Run Joe
9. School Days (When We Were Kids)
10. Blue Light Boogie
11. Five Guys Named Moe
12. What's The Use Of Getting Sober
13. Buzz Me Blues
14. Beans And Corn Bread
15. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
16. Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door
17. Barnyard Boogie
18. Early in The Mornin'
19. I Want You To Be My Baby
20. Nobody Knows You When You Are Down And Out