Sunday, May 30, 2010

Henry Gray - Plays Chicago Blues

Louisiana-based pianist and singer Henry Gray has a career in American roots music that goes back more than 60 years. Gray was born January 19, 1925, in Kenner, LA, now a suburb of New Orleans. He grew up in Alsen, LA, a few miles north of Baton Rouge. Henry began playing piano as an eight-year-old, and he learned from the radio, recordings, and Mrs. White, an elderly woman in his neighborhood. As a youngster, he began playing piano and organ in the local church, and his family eventually got a piano for the house. While blues playing was not allowed in his parents' home, Henry was encouraged to play blues at Mrs. White's house, and by the time he was 16 he was asked to play at a club near the family home in Alsen. After he told his father, his father insisted on going with him, and once he saw that little Henry made decent money playing blues, he had no ethical or moral problems with his son playing blues piano.

After a stint in the Army in the South Pacific in World War II, Henry relocated to Chicago where he had relatives. After arriving in Chicago in 1946, Gray began hanging out in the bustling postwar club scene there, checking out the Windy City's best piano players. One day while he was sitting in at a club, he caught the attention of Big Maceo Merriweather, then a big fish in a small pond of Chicago piano players. Merriweather kindly took Gray under his wing and showed him around the city's blues clubs, and he got to know stars of the scene, including Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. In 1956 Wolf asked Henry to join his band. Gray quickly accepted the offer and stayed on as Wolf's primary piano player until 1968. Gray also became a session player for other recordings made by Chess Records, and over the years he has recorded with many icons of the blues. In addition to Wolf, Gray has recorded or performed with Robert Lockwood Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Hubert Sumlin, Lazy Lester, Little Walter Jacobs, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Little Milton Campbell, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmy Reed, and Koko Taylor, among others. Although Howlin' Wolf did not pass away until 1976, Gray left Wolf's band in 1968, following the death of his father, and returned to Alsen to assist his mother with the family fish market business. Gray worked with the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board as a roofer for the next 15 years.

In the past 30 years, since he's been back in Louisiana, Gray has performed at nearly every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as well as other prestigious gatherings, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, and the San Francisco Blues Festival. In 1999 he was nominated for a Grammy for his playing on the Tribute to Howlin' Wolf album released by the Cleveland-based Telarc label, and in 1998 he was handpicked by Mick Jagger himself to play Jagger's 55th birthday soiree in Paris, along with a few other noted blues musicians. Having spent so much of his life as a sideman, Gray's recordings under his own name were few and far between, but that all began to change in the 1990s. Gray's recordings include Lucky Man for Blind Pig in 1988; Louisiana Swamp Blues, Vol. 2 for Wolf Records in 1990; Watch Yourself in 2001 for Lucky Cat; Henry Gray Plays Chicago Blues for Hightone Records in 2001; and the Henry Gray and the Cats CD and DVD sets for the Lucky Cat label in 2004. ~ Richard Skelly

Henry Gray (vocals, piano)
Bob Margolin (guitar)
Johnny Rapp (guitar)
Kid Ramos (guitar)
Bob Corritone (harmonica)
Paul Thomas (bass)
John "Paps" McFarlane (bass)
Chico Chisum (drums)

1. Talkin' 'Bout You
2. Times Are Getting Hard
3. Henry's Houserocker
4. Trouble Blues
5. How Many More Years
6. It Hurts Me Too
7. How Could You Do It
8. I Held My Baby Last Night
9. Everybody's Fishin'
10. Don't Start That Stuff
11. They Raided The Joint
12. Ain't No Use
13. That Ain't Right
14. Showers Of Rain

Bill Watrous Big Band - Space Avalaible

In the mid-1970s, trombonist Bill Watrous led a couple of notable big band albums for Columbia. Since relocating to the Los Angeles area in the '80s, Watrous has put together jazz orchestras on a part-time basis to play at local clubs. Finally, in 1997, a recording was released by the more recent version of the Bill Watrous Big Band. Featuring arrangements by Tom Kubis, Shelly Berg, Gordon Goodwin, Ken Kaplan and Frank Perowsky, the Double-Time set is largely straight-ahead but not exactly predictable. Most of the eight selections have their complex sections, but always swing. The warm-toned trombonist is the main soloist (fully showcased on "My Foolish Heart" and "My Romance"); powerhouse pianist Shelly Berg is the top supporting player, and other key voices include Gene Burkurt and Bill Liston on tenors, trumpeters Bob Summers and Steve Huffsteter, and altoist Sal Lozano. The music is as rewarding as one would expect, considering the caliber of these players, and is easily recommended to modern big-band fans. - Scott Yanow

01. Space Available
02. The Road Goes Ever Onward
03. It'll Count If It Goes
04. My Foolish Heart
05. Mama Lama Samba
06. My Romance
07. I Got d'Zzz'z
08. Village Dance

Bill Watrous (tb, leader)
Bob Summers, Dennis Farias, Wayne Bergeron (tp)
Daniel Gardiner, Steve Huffsteter (tp)
Gene Burkurt, Phil Feather, Bill Liston (reeds)
Sal Lozano, Bob Carr (reeds)
Richard Bullock, Wendell Kelly, Bob McChesney, Doug Inman (tb)
Shelly Berg (p)
Trey Henry (b)
Randy Drake (dr)

Dec 1996

ROSARIO GIULIANI - More Than Ever (2004)

The enthusiastic and triumphal tones used by the press to describe Giuliani's playing characteristics derive directly from the special sound he creates. With nonchalance he draws from his instruments a fluid phrasing style, at times dazzling, which naturally links him to great saxophonists such as Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Art Pepper, and John Coltrane. Frequent comparisons are made spontaneously by his listeners. But even though this musician has been inspired by great saxophonists, it is the instinctive originality that strikes us, and it is easily found, not only in his instrumental approach, but also in his originally composed scores.

After having made many recordings with various Italian and foreign record labels, in September of 2000 Rosario Giuliani signed an important contract with the prestigious French recording company, Dreyfus Jazz, with whom he has already recorded five very successful albums: "Luggage" (April 2001), "Mr. Dodo" (October 2002), "More Than Ever" (October 2004), "Anything else" (January 2007), and the new one "Lennie's pennies" (March 2010).


01. More Than Ever
02. Seven Thoughts
03. Dream House
04. I Remember Astor
05. J.F.
06. MR. R.G.
07. Suite Et Poursuite I, II, III
08. Monsieur Martin
09. London By Night
10. Bianco E Nero

ROSARIO GIULIANI alto & soprano saxophones
REMI VIGNOLO double bass

All compositions by Rosario Giuliani except: 4 & 5: Richard Galliano, 6: Jean-Michel Pilc
Recorded at Studio Guillaume Tell, Suresnes, France on April 2004

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Milt Jackson - Memories Of Thelonious Sphere Monk

Milt Jackson and his quartet of 1982 (with pianist Monty Alexander, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Mickey Roker) recorded three albums of material during an engagement at Ronnie Scott's Club in London. Pianist/composer Thelonious Monk had passed away two months earlier and Jackson decided to pay tribute to his old associate. The vibraphonist is in excellent form on four of Monk's standards in addition to a lengthy "Django," his own "Think Positive" and Ray Brown's "Blues for Groundhog." ~ Scott Yanow

Milt Jackson understood and appreciated Thelonious Monk in the 1940s, when Monk was ignored and ridiculed by most musicians. Jackson was one of the first to see into the depths of Monk's music and grasp its implications. He was with Monk on two 1948 recording sessions that turned out to be milestones in the maturing of modern jazz. In all the years since, he has been a major interpreter of Monk's compositions, eager for opportunities to perform them and to emphasize Monk's stature. Here, in a London club engagement, the great vibraharpist plays four of Monk's best known works in tribute to his friend. He is accompanied by a formidable trio, the towering bassist Ray Brown, pianist Monty Alexander, and drummer Mickey Roker. In addition to the Monk segment, the program includes "Django," long associated with Jackson and the Modern Jazz Quartet, and blues pieces written by Jackson and Brown.

Milt Jackson (vibes)
Monty Alexander (organ)
Ray Brown (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)

1. Straight, No Chaser
2. Blue Monk
3. 'Round Midnight
4. In Walked Bud
5. Django
6. Think Positive
7. Blues For Groundhog

Jonah Jones - 1954 J.J. Special

While he was in France, Jonah Jones had the chance to do something he had hardly done in his own country: he recorded albums under his own name. In June 1954, the "Salon du Jazz" was held in the Salle Pleyel in Paris and Jones was called to replace Sidney Bechet - who had played there the previous lew years - due to health related issues. Jonah's performance was a real eye-opener for everyone in the audience, for the brilliance of his sound as much as for the sustained creative energy of his swing. Vogue did not hesitate to arrange a recording session where Jonah would play with French tenor saxophonist Alix Combelle - his main inlluence was Coleman Hawkins - and his group. The trumpet player was at his best, which is obvious when one pays close attention to his excellent versions of five well-known standards and an original, Whale's Blues (Blues de la Baleine), a tune he composed in collaboration with Alix.
In September that year, once Sidney Bechet had recovered, he and Jonah arranged their Paris recording date, and we say Paris because, as we have mentioned before, they had already recorded together in New York the previous year. The good relationship between both musicians is sell-evident this time around. The recording session was done New Orleans style (Chinatown, When You Wore a Tulip and Somebody Stole My Gal). It is worth noticing the block-chords style of French pianist André Persiany, which might remind you of Milt Buckner.
It seems his stay in Europe had a positive effect on his career, because when he moved back to New York, Bethlehem offered Jonah two sessions as a leader. Thus on December 9, 1954, he fronted his own New Orleans formation with Edmond Hall, Vic Dickenson, and bassist Pops Foster. Their music was open and full of life, and Jonah shows some Armstrong inlluence, and his peculiar singing style, in Down by the Riverside and The Sheik of Araby. European Blues is a Jones original that has a slow drag motion which is an excellent showpiece for Jonah, moody and relaxed. Ken Kersey shows up with a tasteful solo backed by Pops and Osie. Vic and Ed join in to prepare for the final climax by Jonah.
For the following session, he used a more mainstream-oriented sextet that included Urbie Green, on trombone, and George Clarke, on tenor sax, as additional soloists. Kenny Jersey and drummer Osie Johnson joined Jonah once again, with Milt Hinton replacing Foster. Jonah delivers an exciting solo in J.J. Special that Charlie Shavers would have been proud of, and in You're the Cream in My Coffee he mutes his trumpet in a way that would soon become his signature. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams offers further proof of Jonah's expertise and a demanding solo by Green. Our trumpet player of choice wraps the session up with a fantastic rendition of Stars Fell on Alabama.
Jonah Jones made clear in the sessions at hand how good he could sound; one is tempted to hear in his vibrato, and in the originality of his ideas, the style that, two years later, would lead him to a big success as a leader of his own quartets.
Tomás González

01. Jonah’s Wail (3:17)
02. Love Is Just Around The Corner (4:19)
03. Confessin’ (4:23)
04. Whale’s Blues (4:21)
05. Coquette (5:05)
06. I May Be Wrong (4:05)
07. Crazy Rhythm (3:58)
08. Lonesome Road (5:02)
09. Somebody Stole My Gal (4:23)
10. When You Wore A Tulip (4:05)
11. Squeeze Me (3:27)
12. Chinatown, My Chinatown (4:36)
13. Beale Street Blues (3:55)
14. Down By The Riverside (3:22)
15. European Blues (3:50)
16. The Sheik Of Araby (3:54)
17. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (2:52)
18. Stars Fell On Alabama (2:53)
19. You’re The Cream In My Coffee (3:12)
20. J.J. Special (3:30)

Recorded in Paris and New York City, between June, September, and December 1954

Originally issued as SWING M33328 (# 1-6), VOGUE LD119 (# 7-12), and BETHLEHEM BCP1014 (# 13-20)

Jonah Jones (tp)
Sidney Bechet (ss)
Vic Dickenson, Urbie Green (tb)
Edmond Hall (cl)
George Clarke, Alix Combelle (ts)
Kenny Kersey, Jean-Claude Pelletier, André Persiany (p)
Jean Bonal (g)
Milt Hinton, Pops Foster, Benoit Quersin (b)
Osie Johnson, Pierre Lemarchand, Marcel Blanche (d)

Achille Gajo Trio - Blue Sand (2004)

When American jazz enthusiasts visit cities like Vienna, Stockholm, Munich, and Amsterdam, they learn that Western Europe really does have a dedicated jazz audience. No, Jackie McLean isn't outselling Britney Spears in that part of the world, but the Europeans who do spend money on jazz in those cities are a highly enthusiastic, dedicated bunch. And American travelers also learn that the jazz scenes in the larger cities of Western Europe can be highly competitive; you need to know your stuff if you hope to earn a living playing jazz in Milan or Paris. Blue Sand, in fact, is an enjoyable indication of the sort of jazz talent that one can expect to find in the City of Lights. This 2003 date finds Italian pianist Achille Gajo (who has lived in Paris since 1996) forming a trio with two Steve Lacy sidemen: bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, and drummer John Betsch (who moved to Paris in 1985). But Blue Sand doesn't sound like a Lacy album -- there's no sax, and Gajo's compositions don't resemble Lacy compositions. Rather, this is an album of post-bop piano jazz, and Gajo favors the sort of cleaning-sounding pianism one associates with Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Ahmad Jamal, and Michel Petrucciani. Gajo is a poetic, introspective sort of player -- an approach that serves him well on eight original pieces and interpretations of Abdullah Ibrahim's "Mountain of the Night," and Carla Bley's "Ida Lupino" (which was named after an excellent, if somewhat underrated, actress of the '40s and '50s). One of the most interesting tracks is "Korain," which finds Avenel stretching out on the kora (a traditional African string instrument). Blue Sand falls short of exceptional, but it's a solid, worthwhile effort for Gajo and his fellow Paris residents.
Alex Henderson

Achille Gajo (p)
Jean-Jacques Avenel (db)
John Betsch (d)

1 Window, The 
2 Mountain of the Night
3 Test
4 Blue Sand
5 Korail
6 Ida Lupino
7 Rwanda
8 I Am Leaving
9 Bach to Steve
10 Shark Waltz

Friday, May 28, 2010

Orhan Demir Trio - Originals 1986-1989

Canadian-based guitarist, Orhan Demir (born in 1954 in Istanbul, Turkey), possesses a phenomenal talent. Arriving in North America from his native Turkey, he soon fell under the spell of jazz, drawing upon a myriad of influences in the process of shaping his own creative voice, - John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, to mention a few. These served as touchstones in the development of his distinctly unique amalgam of eastern and western elements, evident both in his playing and in his compositions. There are fleeting moments that conjure up a Django Reinheart or an Oscar Alleman, or even more contemporaneous echoes of John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell; nevertheless, in his total commitment to fashioning his own brand of music, he sounds like no one before or since. - John Sutherland, Coda Magazine.

01-As Time Goes On
02-The Way I See You
03-In Favor
04-Satellite Service
05-North West
06-Allah Supreme
08-Fun Town
09-Sultan of Strings
10-Old World
11-Painting on Silk
12-Devils Dance
14-Category Three

Orhan Demir (g)
Neil Swainson (b) on 1 to 8
Barry Elmes (dr) on 1 to 8
Rick Lazaroff (electric b) on 13, 14
Jack Vorvis (dr) on 13, 14

Recorded between 1986-1989
1997, Hittite Records - CD HTT2006 (OOP)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Joe Morello - Going Places

Drummer Joe Morello is in prime form for this rare opportunity to record as a leader. Morello takes a drum solo on the « Mission Impossible Theme » and shares a duet with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi on « Autumn leaves » ; he also propels the solid rhythm section, which includes pianistGreg Kogan, while Ralph Lalama contributes tenor solos very much in the vein of 1950s Sonny Rollins.The strong repertoire and a certain amount of variety make this CD into an enjoyable bop date. - Scott Yanow

01-Sweet Georgia Brown
02-Parisian Thoroughfare
03-Secret Love
06-Mission Impossible Theme
07-I should care
08-Calypso Joe
09-Autumn leaves
10-Sweet & lovely

Joe Morello (dr)
Greg Kogan (p)
Ralph Lalama (saxes, fl)
Gary Mazzaroppi (b)

Recorded April 1-2, 1993

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don Lanphere Sextet – Go…Again...

Don Lanphere (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Jay Clayton (vocals)
Jonathan Pugh (trumpet)
Jeff Hay (trombone)
Marc Seales (piano, synth)
Dean Hodges (drums)

02- Go Again
03- Darn That Dream
04- Maddie's Dance
05-Music That Makes Me Dance)
06- Darkness on the Delta
07-The Maestro
08-What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life
09-Midge's Late Valentine
10-I Love
11-Shangri La

Recorded November 27-28, 1987 and March 6, 1988
CD Hep 2040
Bhowani's post

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BN LP 5056 | The Jutta Hipp Quintet - New Faces/New Sounds from Germany

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Horace Parlan - Frank-ly Speaking

This 1977 session in the United States marked a rare return to his native land for pianist Horace Parlan, where he reunited with old friends and made his first recording with another veteran. Featuring alto saxophonist Frank Strozier, bassist Lisle Atkinson, drummer Al Harewood, and ex-Basie tenor saxophonist Frank Foster (working with Parlan for the first time), the band benefited from playing a one-nighter and holding an afternoon rehearsal rather than going into the studio cold. Most of the selections played on this date were composed by fellow expatriates, including Thad Jones, Idrees Sulieman, and Duke Jordan, along with Parlan's buoyant hard bop vehicle "Frank-ly Speaking." The sauntering rendition of Jones' "Quietude," Atkinson's intricate "Hit It," and an extended workout of Sulieman's "Chocolate Cadillac" are also among the session's highlights, while the playing is inspired throughout the date by everyone involved. ~ Ken Dryden

Horace Parlan (piano)
Frank Strozier (alto sax)
Frank Foster (tenor sax)
Lyle Atkinson (bass)
Al Harewood (drums)

1. Frank-ly Speaking
2. Quietude
3. Hit It
4. Mirror Lake
5. Chocolate Cadillac
6. Misty Thursday
7. U.A.I.
8. Veronica's Walk

Kenny Graham - Moondog And Suncat Suites

By 1956, the early New York street recordings of the great Moondog had reached British shores. His primitive percussive sounds struck a new nerve with many artists and musicians, none more so that fine London jazzman Kenny Graham. So inspired was he by these extraordinary recordings that he decided to bring together a band of top notch session men and pay his very own musical homage. The result is this exceptionally rare and unique 1957 album of Moondog covers (Moondog Suite) and Graham’s own complimentary compositions (Suncat Suite). Engineered by a young Joe Meek and starring Stan Tracey, Phil Seamen, Danny Moss, Ivor Slaney, soaring vocalise and a host of strange instruments this was a truly unique cocktail of sound and musical vision. The result is an exotic, ethereal and timeless recording that will inspire, haunt, beguile and charm for many years to come. The recording has remained unissed since 1957, when it was forst pressed on HMV records, and probably sold about 6 copies. I came across it when I was looking into the lost film music of Kenny graham, and relaised that this was an album worth investigating. Think about it; Moondog, British jazz and Joe Meek all at the same time, and to top it all musically it’s very fine indeed. Little Bert currently goes to sleep listening to it. He’s 4. Before relase I looked in to using the classic painting “Dog Barking At The Moon” by Jean Miro that featured on the original album sleeve, but modern fees and licensing laws stood firmly in the way. So instead we improvised in a sort of 50s way, just like Graham would have done. What’s most important of all though is that this magical recording now exists again. It’s not jazz as we know it, it’s not really anything as we know it. It’s just an otherworldy recording that belongs in your world now. ~ Jonny Trunk

Back in 1956 the early New York street recordings of the legendary Moondog aka Louis Thomas Hardin had reached Britain. They were picked up and digested by the likes of London jazzman Kenny Graham who heard a commonality in Moondog's primitive percussive compositions. He assembled a troupe of like-minded players and set about recording an homage to Moondog, resulting in the exceptionally rare album of covers 'Moondog Suite' and Graham's own complimentary compositions 'Suncat Suite'. Accompanied by a young Joe Meek on engineering duties and a cast including Ivor Slaney, Phil Seamen, Stan Tracey and Danny Moss, the ensemble made a strange, exotic and ultimately charming set of music in thrall to this magnificent mystic from the West. So the first 10 tracks directly interpret Moondog compositions like 'One Four', the brilliant 'Fog On The Hudson', the spooky 'Lullaby' and 'Chant' among others. Meanwhile Graham's own 'Suncat Suite' takes a more liberal approach, heavily inspired by Moondog, i.e still economically melodic and percussive, but with a jauntier jazz or exotic lounge feel. Moondog fiends will find much of interest, as will any followers of the Trunk or Finders Keepers sets.

Kenny Graham (tenor sax, percussion, whistle)
Stan Tracey (piano, vibes, accordion, celeste)
Phil Seamen (drums, percussion)
Ivor Slaney (oboe)
Sammy Stokes (bass)
Don Lawson (percussion, drums)
Danny Moss (bass clarinet)
Jack Ellory (flute)
Eddie Taylor (percussion)
Martin Slavin (xylophone, marimba, vibes)
Sammy Stokes (bass)
Vic Ash (clarinet)
Yolanda (vocals)

1. One Four
2. 2 West 46th Street
3. Two Four
4. Chant
5. Three Four
6. Utsu
7. Four Four
8. Lullaby
9. Five Four
10. Fog On The Hudson
11. Sunrise
12. Sunbeam
13. Tropical Sun
14. Sunstroke
15. Sunset
16. Sunday

Friday, May 21, 2010

Whatever happened to Luigi ?

I' m asking ya...

Peter Bernstein - Signs of Life

Peter Bernstein - Signs of Life

Peter Bernstein's second CD as a leader reunites him with pianist Brad Mehldau and once again features him in a quartet. However, both Bernstein and Mehldau had grown quite a bit as soloists during the previous two years (the pianist really tears into "Nobody Else but Me") and this time they are joined by the virtuosic bassist Christian McBride and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. In addition, the songs (five Bernstein originals and four standards) are stronger and challenge the soloists to play at their best. Among the highlights are "Jet Stream," "Jive Coffee" (Bernstein's sly revision of "Tea for Two"), "Will You Still Be Mine," and a tasteful "My Ideal" in addition to "Nobody Else but Me." An excellent effort. — Scott Yanow AMG

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dixieland At Carnegie Hall 1958

01 - Royal Garden Blues
02 - Intro
03 - Basin Street Blues
04 - Tin Roof Blues (Clarinet Challenge)
05 - High Society
06 - When the Saints Go Marchin' In
07 - Rosetta (Trombone Cavalcade)
08 - Sidewalks of New York
09 - River Boat Shuffle
10 - Drums vs. Vibes (Just Blues Harmony) - That's a Plenty

1958  Roulette Records 25038

Jimmy McPartland-tp
Wild Bill Davison-tp
Pee Wee Russell-cl
Vic Dickinson-tb
George Wettling-dr
Joe Barufaldi-cl
Zutty Singleton-dr
Miff Mole-tb
Bud Freeman-ts
Cozy Cole-dr
Tony Parenti-cl
Ricky Nelson-tb
Dick Cary-as
Tyree Glenn-tb
Al Hall-b
Gene Schroeder-p
Buzzy Drootin-dr
Bob Wilber-cl
Phil Failla-dr
Elmer "Mousey" Alexander-dr
Tommy Potter-b
Sammy Price-p

This long-out-of-print LP contains some valuable music, all recorded at Carnegie Hall during an all-star Dixieland concert. Trumpeter Jimmy McPartland acts as the host and leads clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, trombonist Vic Dickenson, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman and a fine rhythm section on four standards. In addition, a very memorable version of "Tin Roof Blues" features the contrasting clarinets of Russell, Tony Parenti and Joe Barufaldi in solos and ensembles; trombonists Dickenson, Tyre Glenn and Miff Mole all
interact on "Rosetta"; trumpeter Wild Bill Davison and clarinetist Bob Wilber jam on "Riverboat Shuffle"; and there is an incoherent and infectiously overcrowded version of "The Saints" with practically everyone. This is a consistently exciting album that deserves to be reissued on CD.
Review by Scott Yanow

Walter Davis, Jr. - Scorpio Rising

01. Backgammon
02. Why Did I Chose You
03. Just One Of Those Things
04. Pranayama
05. Two Different Worlds
06. 400 Years Ago Tomorrow
07. Skylark
08. Scorpio Rising

Walter Davis, Jr. (piano)
Santi Debriano (bass)
Ralph Peterson (drums)

Recorded in 1989.Near the end of his life, Walter Davis, Jr. was starting to get the recognition he long deserved. But this Steeplechase CD turned out to be his swan song, as he died the following year. Accompanied by bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Ralph Peterson, the pianist concentrates primarily on his provocative original works. "Backgammon" initially signals a bit of gospel influence before evolving into a solid but innovative hard bop vehicle, featuring solid solos by all three musicians. "400 Years Ago Tomorrow" also throws a curve with an initial Caribbean influence before taking flight into a furious setting. His most famous composition, "Scorpio Rising," is not just a rehash of earlier recordings but a blistering performance complemented by his rhythm section's intuitive playing. The standards are also worthy of praise. His spacious interpretation of "Skylark" and funky introduction to "Just One of Those Things" (before returning to his hard bop roots with Peterson's crisp brushwork) prove very refreshing. Two bonus tracks were added to the CD reissue, adding to its already considerable value. ~ Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

Jimmy Raney - Featuring Bob Brookmeyer

01. Isn't It Romantic
02. How Long Has This Been Going On?
03. No Male For Me
04. The Flag Is Up
05. Get Off That Roof
06. Jim's Tune
07. Nobody Else But Me
08. Too Late Now

Though Jimmy Raney recorded under his own name as early as 1953, this 1956 set is regarded as his arrival as a leader. Raney is as fine an arranger as he is a guitarist. These eight tracks with Bob Brookmeyer on trombone (another fine arranger in a soloist's role) shine with the ease and fluidity of the best of the cool sessions recorded at the dawn of hard bop. One of the finest examples of the interplay between Raney and Brookmeyer occurs at the beginning of the album's second track, "How Long Has This Been Going On?," where the pair engage in a brief contrapuntal dialogue before Brookmeyer solos on the melody and Raney gently fills the space behind him by whispering his chords and fills through the trombonist's phrasing, before taking his own solo and slipping an inverted harmonic pattern on the tune's lyric line. The pair re-engage about halfway through before Dick Katz solos on piano with a bluesy series of runs in the upper register. Raney's own tunes, such as "The Flag Is Up," are strident and swinging without losing the breezy cool feel . Raney's solo is a mix of bop phrasing and heated arpeggios that glide effortlessly into Katz's comping. Brookmeyer's "Get Off That Roof" is another swinging mini-opus that offers a new view of the trombonist as soloist. Hank Jones plays piano here and is stellar at creating a solid backdrop for both front-line players. This is as fine a set from the end of the cool jazz period as one is likely to hear. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Anthony Ortega - On Evidence

01. Tyler
02. Avignon
03. Gone Again
04. Norge
05. Little Lou
06. Moon´s Ago
07. Warm Canto

Manuel Rocheman, p
Didier Levallet , b
Jacques Mahieux, d
Sylvain Kassap (bass-clarinet on Warm Canto)

Recording information: Studio Piccolo, Paris, France (04/06/1992).

No review for this one, so I'll just say: this deserves to be heard! This is a meeting between Anthony Ortega and some of the best young jazz musicians in France at the time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Joe Lovano and Hank Jones - Kids- Live at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola

Review by Scott Yanow
Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Hank Jones make for a perfect combination on this set of live duets. They had played together on an occasional basis for the two years prior to this project, collaborating on the Joyous Encounter recording. Jones has a timeless style that since 1944 has been a transitional approach between swing and bop. His two-handed playing makes it possible for him to be an entire rhythm section by himself, so one does not miss the bass and drums. Lovano, one of the most versatile of all saxophonists, fits easily into this format, coming across as a major modern swing stylist, paying respect to the melodies while also adding his own individual sound to the music. In addition to their duets, Jones has a pair of individual features (including "Oh! Look at Me Now!") and Lovano gets to stretch out a bit on the more boppish numbers. Although the team of Joe Lovano and the ageless Hank Jones was not inevitable, it has proven to be an ideal matchup between two giants of jazz. Recommended. This CD was nominated in 2007 for a Grammy award as Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Individual or Group,) and the improvisation by Jones on "Lullaby" was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.

Lady Luck/Charlie Chan/Lullabye/Little Rascal on a Rock/Budo/Southtrane/Kids are Pretty People/Oh, What A Beautiful Morning/Oh Look At Me Now/Four In One/Lazy Afternoon
rec. 2007 for Blue Note


Hank Jones, pianist and jazz legend, beloved husband of Theodosia, dear uncle to his nieces and nephews across the country, friend to music, inspiration to countless
musicians, died May 16, 2010 in New York City, after a brief illness. He was 91 years old, and would have been 92 on July 31st.

Today we celebrate his spirit, his gift, his joy, his wisdom and his friendship. Hank lived and breathed music, and was never far from a keyboard, even at the end. His incredible burst of productivity - concerts, recordings, fundraisers, clinics - these last few years was unprecedented and truly remarkable. He had gigs planned through next year and in fact was due to play Birdland in NYC next week.

Hank, you were truly loved and cherished. We will miss you dearly.


Jean-Pierre Leduc
Personal Management & Booking
for Hank Jones

Perico Sambeat ft. Mehldau and Turner - 1995 Ademuz

Perico Sambeat is one of the most prominent jazz musicians in Spain. He began studying piano, then switched to saxophone. After an autodidact period, he goes to Barcelona to study harmony and flute. He eventually moved to the United States, which gives him the opportunity to work with people like Jimmy Cobb, Steve Lacy, Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau. With the pianist he has had a fairly fluid relation and two albums they recorded together have already appeared some time ago at CIA ("New York-Barcelona Crossing" and" Friendship").
This disc is recorded in 1995, the same year that Mehldau published his "Introducing Brad Mehldau", and has the support of the young, at that time, Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Michael Leonhart. As an additional piece, the vocalist Enrique Morente appears on 3 tracks doing a fusion of jazz and flamenco that, years later, would have a good acceptance.

Perico Sambeat, an overlooked Spanish altoist and composer, recorded this album in 1995 with the help of future superstars Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Mark Turner. Michael Leonhart, the underrated trumpeter, is the session's third horn. In the rhythm section are Joe Martin on bass, Jordi Rossy on drums, and both Guillermo McGill and Enric Canada on percussion. Enrique Morente contributes vocals on three tracks.
This is a fairly large ensemble, and the sounds on this record are, accordingly, huge. Sambeat's Latin jazz compositions present the listener with an unusually dramatic sweep, a breathtaking landscape of beautiful melodies, striking harmonic colors, churning, multi-layered rhythms, subtle dynamics, and brilliant solos. Morente's yearning, intense vocal performances lend an aura of heightened spiritual fervor. Overall, the first four tracks are the most ambitious -- particularly "Ademuz," with its hard-hitting, quasi-fusion groove and keyboard, electric bass, and overdriven guitar textures, all of which give way to an acoustic ambience as the tune progresses. The remaining three tracks are a bit more conventional, particularly "Barri de la Coma," the closing Latin romp based on rhythm changes with a modified bridge. Sambeat's flute and Leonhart's muted trumpet are nice touches on the shout chorus.
David R. Adler, All Music Guide

01 A Free K (Sambeat) 9:56
02 Ademuz (Sambeat) 8:33
03 Tu Rostro Oculto (Sambeat) 8:17
04 Expedición (Sambeat) 9:03
05 La Noche de Lemuria (Sambeat) 6:07
06 Porta Do Ferro (Sambeat) 7:17
07 Barri de la Coma (Sambeat) 6:22

Perico Sambeat (Flute, Keyboards, Alto Sax)
Mark Turner (Tenor Sax)
Michael Leonhart (Trumpet)
Brad Mehldau (Piano, Keyboards)
Kurt Rosenwinkel (Guitar)
Joe Martin (Bass)
Jordi Rossy (Drums)
Enric Canada (Percussion)
Guillermo McGill (Percussion)
Enrique Morente (Vocals)

Recorded at Tabalet Estudis in Valencia, on August & November, 1995

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ray Anderson - Old Bottles - New Wine

01 - Love Me Or Leave Me
02 - Bohemia After Dark
03 - La Rosita
04 - Ow!
05 - In a Mellotone
06 - Laird Baird
07 - Wine

rec.: Classic Sound NYC, 1985
enja 4098

Trombonist Ray Anderson, best-known for his avant-garde recordings, surprised many with these explorations of standards. His high-note outbursts are often hilarious, yet on this program he really digs into the material. "Love Me or Love Me," "La Rosita" and "In a Mellotone" are among the highpoints and Anderson takes an interesting vocal on "Wine."
The all-star rhythm section pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Dannie Richmond is also a strong asset to this memorable date.
Review by Scott Yanow

Monday, May 17, 2010

SteepleChase Jam Session, Vol. 22 (1999)

This session features three trumpet players who follow the Freddie Hubbard-Booker Little-Woody Shaw lineage. Ballou is a recent discovery of mine and I've been listening to Hagans since he joined the Stan Kenton band in 1976, but I'm most impressed with the playing of Greg Gisbert who I've only heard sporadically over the years with various big bands. Pianist George Colligan provides great comping and surprises us by adding another trumpet solo on "Joy Spring". The only downside of this session is that all of the trumpets play with similar concepts and tone so it would have been nice to hear more contrast from one solo to the next. Exceptions to this are found on the ballad medley and with Dave Ballou switching to flugelhorn for "Joy Spring".

Dave Ballou, Greg Gisbert, Tim Hagans (trumpet)
George Colligan (piano, trumpet)
Doug Weiss (bass)
Darren Beckett (drums)

  1. One Finger Snap
  2. Like Someone in Love
  3. Mamacita
  4. Body and Soul
  5. Stella by Starlight
  6. Angel Eyes
  7. Joy Spring
  8. Solar
Recorded May 1999

The Legendary Andrés Segovia, Marquis of Salobreia (continued)

Volumes 5&6 of The Legendary André Segovia series.
The modern classical guitar first came into use toward the end of the eighteenth century, in Italy, and from there it made its way through the entire civilized world. It found an especially sympathetic reception in Spain, where Antonio Torres (1817-1892) made the finest, full-toned guitars, and Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) wrote and played the music that gave the instrument a new life. The art of Andres Segovia (1893-1987), the greatest guitarist of the twentieth-century and probably of all time, helped create a whole new repertoire of guitar music. Composers vied to write for him, and he himself adapted for the guitar a great deal of music written centuries ago for the vihuela and the lute, instruments that are the guitar's Spanish ancestors.
— Leonard Burkat

Louisiana Red - Live At Painted Sky

I saw Red performing live a few days ago. He is 78 years old and although his playing reveals his age now and then, his voice won't. I bought this CD that very night (his wife was selling his latest CDs, autographed by him).
He was backed by a trio (gtr, bass, drums). I asked him if he could play a solo piece. He waved ok and kept his promise at the end of his programme. Needless to say it was the highlight of that night.

Leaflet says: This is one of Louisiana Red’s very rare live recordings available.
In August 2006 Red performed at a live recording room called the “Painted Sky Studios” in the Village of Cambria, which is located on Hwy 1, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The wonderful atmosphere of this club-like recording venue and the capacity crowd of great blues lovers attending was the perfect mix, making this recording even more authentic.
That night, Red performed some of his best material: “Red’s Dream”, “Ride On, Red, Ride On” and “I Wonder Who” from his successful album “Lowdown Back Porch Blues”, which he recorded for Roulette Records in 1963.
Red's great versatility shines, from the old acoustic Delta Blues sound of Robert Johnson, all the way to the urban electric style of his mentor Muddy Waters
Red is one of the last bluesmen still performing all over the world who learned the blues from the fathers and grandfathers of the Blues: Lightnin’ Hopkins, Arthur Crudup, Robert Nighthawk, Son House, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and his uncle, John Lee Hooker, to name just a few. Red took all of those influences, and, using the essence of all these great bluesmen, created his own unique style.
This live session marks one of the greatest moments of Louisiana Red’s nearly 60 years of recording.

01 - Red's Dream
02 - You Used To Call me Daddy
03 - I Wonder Who
04 - Ride On Red, Ride On
05 - When My Mama Was Living
06 - Wrestling Jacob
07 - Bernice
08 - All The Women I've Known
09 - Red's New Dream
10 - Bad Bad Whiskey
11 - Sleep On Muddy Waters
12 - Driftin'
13 - King Bee
14 - Freight Train Blues
15 - Detroit Blues

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BN LP 5055 | Lou Donaldson Sextet, Volume 2

No liner notes for this one. Re-released often as part of different formats and compilations.
Having said that - there is a reason for that, you get Kenny Dorham, Elmo Hope, Art Blakey, Matthew Gee and Percy Heath.
Interesting to think that Elmo Hope was heading towards being the in-house pianist for Blue Note at this stage - you can hear why.

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington - 1938 (Chronological 700)

" Classics 700 includes a lot of distinctive Ellingtonia that has been obscured by some of his obvious hits: 'Braggin' In Brass', 'The Gal From Joe's', the new version of 'Black And Tan Fantasy', superbly played by the bandwhich transforms itself from dance orchestra to complex jazz ensemble - and back again. Though seldom commented on, the rhythm section of Guy, Taylor, or Alvis and Greer is unobtrusively fine." ~ Penguin Guide

1938 was a very busy year for Duke Ellington in the recording studios, whether making classics with his big band or being the pianist and organizer of sessions allegedly led by his sidemen. This disc has plenty of big-band sides and combo dates led by clarinetist Barney Bigard, trumpeter Cootie Williams, and altoist Johnny Hodges. Most notable among the selections are "Stepping Into Swing Society," "Echoes of Harlem," "The Gal From Joe's," "I Let a Song Go out of My Heart," and "Jeep's Blues," but there are no throwaways among these three-minute gems. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Stepping Into Swing Society
2. Prologue To Black And Tan Fantasy
3. New BlackAnd Tan Fantasy
4. Drummer's Delight
5. If I Thought You Cared
6. Have A Heart (Lost in Meditation)
7. My Day
8. Silvery Moon And Golden Sands
9. Echoes Of Harlem
10. Riding On A Blue Note
11. Lost in Meditation
12. Gal From Joe's
13. If You Were In My Place (What Would You Do?)
14. Scrounch
15. I Let a Song Go out of My Heart
16. Braggin' In Brass
17. Carnival In Caroline
18. Jeep's Blues
19. If You Were In My Place (What Would You Do?)
20. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
21. Rendezvous With Rhythm
22. Lesson In C
23. Swingtime In Honolulu

Duke Ellington - 1938-1939 (Chronological 747)

The 1938-1939 Duke Ellington Orchestra, even before bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster became members, was quite a strong band, having at least eight major soloists. With Ellington providing constant new material plus rearrangements of older tunes, there was a limitless amount of high quality music flowing from this band. On this CD, there are eight numbers from the small group of Cootie Williams, four from Johnny Hodges, and three by Rex Stewart in addition to eight big-band performances. Among the many gems are "Old King Dooji," Rex Stewart's famous feature on "Boy Meets Horn," "Slap Happy," "Dooji Wooji," "Pussy Willow," "Subtle Lament," and a pair of Duke Ellington piano solos. ~ Scott Yanow

Duke Ellington (piano)
Johnny Hodges (soprano and alto sax)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)
Harry Carney (alto and baritone sax, clarinet)
Otto Hardwick (alto & bass sax)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Juan Tizol (valve trombone)
Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Sonny Greer (drums)

1. Delta Mood
2. The Boys from Harlem
3. Mobile Blues
4. Gal-Avantin'
5. Blue Light (Transblucency)
6. Old King Dooji
7. Boy Meets Horn
8. Slap Happy
9. Like a Ship in the Night
10. Mississippi Dreamboat
11. Swingin' on the Campus
12. Dooji Wooji
13. Beautiful Romance
14. Boudoir Benny
15. Ain't the Gravy Good?
16. She's Gone
17. Just Good Fun
18. Informal Blues
19. San Juan Hill
20. I'll Come Back for More
21. Fat Stuff Serenade
22. Pussy Willow
23. Subtle Lament

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A young student in Barcelona needs a hand ..

identifying artist, title, year

theme 2 is, I think, All Of You, done by Miles, not the Olympia or Blackhawk versions (I just listened)

theme 3 - Lee Morgan (?)

theme 5 - Coltrane (?)

Let's see what we can come up with for the kid.

Friday, May 14, 2010

R.I.P Francisco Aguabella

Francisco Aguabella dies at 84.

Afro-Cuban percussionist
Aguabella, a sacred drummer of the Santeria religion, left Cuba in the 1950s. He performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Palmieri, Carlos Santana and the Doors.
May 09, 2010|By Keith Thursby, Los Angeles Times

Francisco Aguabella, an Afro-Cuban percussionist considered a master sacred drummer who also had a wide-ranging career in jazz and salsa, has died. He was 84.

Rest of the article:

Air - Air Lore [1979]

Not entirely sure what makes 'Jurek' think that '...this remains the album most Air fans love most...'

Probably because lack of availability creates desire ...

or | and therefore horrendous overpricing... 106.95 € ... 104.75 $... What???? C'mon!!!

... or probably just because he gets paid by the word.

I personally find it far more important to mention that the shoes on the cover shot are supplied by Vigevano, New York... as you will discover in the liner notes... if anybody here could give me directions to that establishment...

I'd love a pair!

But then I'm not Jurek... here's his full lament:

Recorded for RCA in 1979, the vanguard trio Air set out to explore its jazz roots. In fact, not only the trio's jazz roots, but everybody's right back to Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton as they were inventing a music that would tear up the streets of New Orleans and later change the world.

Interestingly, since most of the music here -- all written by the aforementioned except for one tune -- was composed by pianists and is widely regarded as piano music, Air's exploration entirely struck the piano from the conversation. Reedman Henry Threadgill, bassist Fred Hopkins, and drummer Steve McCall turned the ragtime music of the fathers inside out and created an exploratory reinsertion of it into the avant-garde of the late '70s. Jelly Roll's "Buddy Bolden's Blues" becomes a blues from another century in the melodic universe of Threadgill, who doesn't give a damn about changes as much as he does stretching the harmonics of the blues idiom into other musics entirely. And in the familiar "King Porter Stomp", also by Morton, Threadgill challenges McCall, who quadruples the time so Henry and Fred can stop up the middle eight with some weird angular intervals where arpeggiated harmony and modal striation become one and the same thing. Finally, on Joplin's "Weeping Willow Rag," the band moves through the changes and then undermines them, turning them inside out as if this were really a party tune from somewhere that willow trees didn't exist or had already disappeared into some toxic twilight. Here are the joyous blues, the raucous blues, the rip 'em up and then send 'em home blues trapped in a color palette so rich and so varied it's difficult to find only one or two textures to fit them inside. Through it all, this remains the album most Air fans love most, precisely because of all the joy and irreverence in the proceedings, which didn't update the old music, but brought it into focus for the revolutionary improvisational template that it is. All Music Guide.

01. The Ragtime Dance (Scott Joplin) [9:19]

02. Buddy Bolden's Blues (Jerry Roll Morton - Edwin H. Morris and Co.) [9:27]

03. King Porter Stomp (Jerry Roll Morton - Edwin H. Morris and Co.) [3:48]

04. Paille Street (Henry Threadgill) [2:19]

05. Weeping Willow Rag (Scott Joplin) [11:35]

Henry Threadgill (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone & flute)

Fred Hopkins (bass)

Steve McCall (drums, percussion)

Recorded at C.I. Studios, New York City | May 11 & 12, 1979 | CD ND86578 | Arista Bluebird | RCA | BMG

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SteepleChase Jam Session, Vol. 8 (1997)

Volume 8 in this series of jams from SteepleChase features a front line of Ryan Kisor, Jimmy Greene and Jim Pugh. There are now 29 volumes and the format is generally three soloists, usually on like instruments, with a rhythm section. Unlike most jam sessions, these are very organized and contain a mix of standards and originals. Andy LaVerne has organized a good deal of these sessions and writes the arrangements for the horns. I've heard several of these so far and they're all good.

Ryan Kisor (trumpet)
Jimmy Greene (tenor sax)
Jim Pugh (trombone)
Andy LaVerne (piano)
Jay Anderson (bass)
Billy Drummond (drums)

  1. ESP
  2. Up Jumped Spring
  3. Seven Steps to Heaven
  4. Never Let Me Go
  5. I'm Old Fashioned
  6. Body and Soul
  7. Footprints
  8. Blue Cycle
  9. Freedom Jazz Dance
Recorded September 1997

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bud Shank - Bud Shank Plays Tenor (TOCJ)

As its title promises, Bud Shank Plays Tenor eschews the jazzman's signature alto and flute, and while the leap to tenor doesn't dramatically impact his overall sound and style, it does add soul and depth to his lyrical solos. Paired with pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Don Prell, and drummer Chuck Flores, Shank crafts a radiant set of standards spanning from "All the Things You Are" to "Long Ago and Far Away," and while none of the performances reinvent the familiar material, the robust approach sets the session apart from his other Pacific Jazz dates. ~ Jason Ankeny

Bud Shank (tenor sax)
Claude Williamson (piano)
Don Prell (bass)
Chuck Flores (drums)

1. Thou Swell
2. Tenderly
3. Over The Rainbow
4. Long Ago And Far Away
5. I Never Knew
6. All The Things You Are
7. Body And Soul
8. Blue Lou


Pianist, composer and arranger, Adrian Iaies, has studied with some of the most important musicians of Argentina, among which worth mentioning his close relationship with Manolo Juarez, his teacher of composition and orchestration for several years. From the 85 'is dedicated to teaching music, both in particular as leading teacher training workshops or giving clinics and workshops. The combination of a prolific work and his unique approach to the tango and other forms of popular music from an aesthetic Argentina clearly jazz has earned him many compliments, both inside and outside Argentina.

Nominated three times Latin Grammy Awards for his albums "The Tardecitas of Minton's" (2000), "Tango reflections" (2002) and "Things are moving" (2003), creditor

Clarín Award for best jazz musician 2002, critics of the Spanish magazine Cuadernos de Jazz voted "The evenings of Minton's" and "Tango reflections" between the records of the year. The first named also represented an event in sales for a jazz album in Argentina. He recently received the platinum Konex its artistic task in the decade between 1995 and 2005.

In October 2000 the trio was presented at the International Festival "The 7 Lakes of Bariloche, with artists from the likes of Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Nicholas Payton, John Patitucci, Chucho Valdes, Dino Saluzzi, and so on. Also in October 2000 participated in the Third Argentine-Brazilian Festival of Jazz in New York. "During February 2001, the trio appeared in Aspen, Colorado and later at the Miami Film Festival, sharing stage with Bebo Valdes, Cachao Jane Bunnett, Freddie Cole, among others. Down Beat magazine dedicated a full page, something that only happened before with Astor Piazzolla or Gato Barbieri, among musicians.

In November 2001 was featured on "Latin Jazz Week Madrid" with Bebo Valdes, during the tour to promote the album "Tango Reflections" edited by Essay RBA Music, the first of a series of three albums recorded in Barcelona with Horacio Fumero, Pablo Mainetti and David Xirgu. Also the French magazine Jazzman and Jazz Magazine have been unanimously praised their work. In April 2002, Adrian Iaies offered three piano concerts at the prestigious Lincoln Center in New York in a show titled "Nights of Blues, and Tango Habanera", sharing stage with Paquito Echevarria and Arturo O'Farrill, and in July of that same year he presented his album "R ound Midnight & other tangos" at the prestigious Auditorium Kursal during the Festival de Jazz de San Sebastian.

In early 2002, during the International Jazz Festival of Punta del Este shared the evening with Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner. He shared the stage with Ron Carter, Stanley Jordan, Yellowjackets, Lee Konitz, Richard Bona and Pedro Aznar, among others. Critics of this magazine have voted in the "R ising Star" in the 2003 survey.

Adrian Iaies has ventured into film, another of his passions. He composed the music for "Back" and "Three of Hearts", both films awaiting release. And it also has a stake in "Lifting of heart" by Eliseo Subiela, and "Tango, un giro extraño" Mercedes Guevara, both already displayed. Furthermore, and in addition to its many activities, Iaies is the creator and artistic director of SJAZZ, record label EMI originally developed within ODEÓN independent but now has been devoted to editing records Argentine jazz musicians.

His new group, the Tango Reflections Trio (with Pablo Mainetti and Horacio Fumero) has just released "Astor changes", on CD and DVD and has been unanimously praised by critics and audiences. The group debuted at the Madrid Jazz Festival 2004, sharing the night with Brad Mehldau's trio, and has already been presented at several stages in Europe and Argentina. In the last tango festival in Buenos Aires in March 2006, gave a concert in duo with accordionist Raul Barbosa before more than 5,000 people. This meeting represents an ongoing concern Iaies. The meeting with musicians from other musical traditions. Maybe if Barbosa, or the singer Liliana Herrero.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Harold Mabern - Straight Street

01. Mr. Stitt
02. It's All In The Game
03. To Wane
04. Afterthoughts
05. Straight Street
06. Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing
07. Crescent
08. It's You Or No One
09. Seminole
10. APAB And Others

For a time in the early 1990s, some of the CDs from the Japanese DIW label were made available domestically through Columbia. This trio date by pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jack DeJohnette has Mabern originals dedicated to Sonny Stitt and Wayne Shorter, plus some offbeat standards and a pair of rarely performed John Coltrane tunes ("Straight Street" and "Crescent"). The interplay between the musicians is impressive and Mabern is heard throughout in excellent form. He closes the set with a piano solo that he titled "Apab and Others," after Art Tatum, Phineas Newborn, Ahmad Jamal and Bud Powell. This will be a difficult CD to find. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Glen Ferris, Skin Me! (2004)


Glenn Ferris has participated in more than a hundred recordings and many of them won awards : Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros in 2001, Django d'Or in 2002, les Victoires du Jazz, Grand prix of the International Festival of film music : "Strade del Cinema" 2002, Best Record of the Year, Académie du Jazz 2003, for "Air" (with Mirabassi and Boltro). Skin Me! won the Record of the Year Award, presented by the Jazz Academy in December 2004. Jean François.

Ferris Skin Me!

Born in 1950 in Hollywood. As early as 8, he studies classical trombone music in Los Angeles and in 1964, he adds Jazz improvisation, composition and direction of orchestra to his classical studies with Don Ellis. He has a diploma of the California Institute of Arts. When 16, he becomes a professional musician and performs or records with Don Ellis Big Band first, then he founds Revival with Jack Walrath, and his own orchestra with 20 musicans : Celebration Orchestra. He becomes also trombone soloist with Frank Zappa, Don Ellis, Tim Buckley, Harry James, Billy Cobham, Bobby Bradford, among others, and performs and records with George Duke, Philly Joe Jones, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, John Scofield, Art Pepper, etc...

In addition to his American carrer, which made him an instrumentalist of international dimension, his collaboration, performances and records in Europe definitely put him at the top with the greats : the Azur quartet and quintet of Henri Texier, Palatino quartet, Michel Petrucciani, Joachim Kühn, Quincy Jones, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Enrico Rava, Franco D'Andrea, Martial Solal, Louis Sclavis, Michel Portal, Bex, Ferris et Goubert (BFG), Glenn Ferris "Chrominance" trio et Glenn Ferris "Pentessence" Quintet.

Since 2000, Glenn Ferris has been a teacher in the Jazz Department of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. Since 2002, he has been Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Tenor sax Jean-Michel Cabrol accompanies and "replies" just as masterfully to the deep, warm tones of the trombone. Both performers are backed by Philippe Milanta (p), Brunot Rousselet (b) and Jeff Boudreaux (d-perc) from New-Orleans.


Glenn Ferris Tormbone
Jean-Michel Cabrol Tenor Saxophone
Philippe Milanta Piano
Bruno Rousselet Double Bass
Jeff Boudreaux Drums, percussion

1. Boy Boy
2. Saint James Infirmary
3. Memoreez
4. Femmes, Je Vous Aime
5. Skin Me!
6. Chimney Sweep
7.Pastel Blues
8. When The Night Turns Into Day
9. Sud-Ouest Jump
10. Black Trombone
11. Key Of Blue
12. Purge

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Legendary Andrés Segovia, Marquis of Salobreia (continued)

Volumes 3 & 4 of this remarkable series. The Segovia Collection, Vol. 3 was compiled with Segovia's assistance during the last year of his life and consists of his favourite works. It becomes a fitting tribute to a great man.

The Segovia Collection, Vol. 4 Music of the Baroque Era
Notes by Leonard Burkat
In the course of his long musical career, the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia (1893-1987) created a new way of playing his instrument, a new place for it in musical life, and a huge new repertoire of original compositions and arrangements that he recorded and played in concerts everywhere. His probing musical mind took him into the distant past, the years of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that are known as the Baroque era, where he found a quantity of delightful compositions that he adapted for guitar. For this anthology of Baroque music performed by Segovia, producer Israel Horowitz has assembled in one place twenty-six compositions that were formerly scattered among several different albums of miscellaneous pieces.

Claudio Roditi, Klaus Ignatzek, Jean-Louis Rassinfosse - 2005 Smile

Roditi/Ignatzek/Rassinfosse are a trio of equals with each player listening to the others and developing their ideas and moods. They are all inventive, melodic swingers so their music plays to the head, the heart and the feet. With several recordings and hundreds of gigs they have proved that they belong to the crème de la crème of today’s jazz trios.
This time the trio is trying to move a few steps further. They have not only brought a drummer – Hans Dekker – into their dream-team but have also hired the Bremer Philharmoniker for a very special concert event. This recording is the documentation of this one night only jazz experience. Listeners will be for sure as enthusiastic as the audience were that magical night in November last year.

01 Light in the Dark (Ignatzek) 6:26
02 Little Sunflower (Hubbard) 6:48
03 Éu e a Brisa (Alf) 5:08
04 Believe It or Not (Drabek) 3:37
05 Corcovado (Jobim) 6:14
06 Cantaloupe Island (Hancock) 3:31
07 Misty (Garner) 6:47
08 Shadow of Your Smile (Mandel) 4:21
09 Monster and the Flower (Roditi) 7:22
10 Obrigado (Ignatzek) 4:30
11 Moonlight and Tears (Drabek) 5:24
12 Girl from Ipanema (Jobim) 8:07

Claudio Roditi – trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
Klaus Ignatzek – piano
Jean-Louis Rassinfosse – bass

Hans Dekker – drums
with the Bremen Philharmonic Strings arranged and conducted by Steffen Drabek

Recorded live at Schlachthof, Bremen (Germany), on November 13, 2005

Sunday, May 9, 2010

BN LP 5054 | The Gil Mellé Quartet - New Faces/New Sounds, Volume 3

From the sleeve notes;

"The problem of breaking through the barrier between obscurity and recognition on the jazz scene is one that has, inevitably confronted every musician of talent at some point in his career. For Gil Mellé, still in his early twenties, some of the bastions fell not long after his first Blue Note releases on BLP 5020, with the Quintet and Sextet and 5033, with a new quintet.
Since then, Gil has grown perceptibly in status (for his newest adventure is a more compact, more permanent one than it's predeccessors..."

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Nels Cline - New Monastery

If Otomo Yoshihide can interpret Eric Dolphy and Marc Ribot can do Albert Ayler, then why not Nels Cline doing Andrew Hill -- who is still alive and creating marvelously, with his recordings in the current century clear evidence of this. As Cline describes his approach in the liner notes, this most certainly is not a tribute record or an attempt to completely re-create Hill's music. The transcriptions came from recordings rather than notated sources. He also writes that the bandmembers -- like many of Hill's ensembles -- do not play on changes (in "Dedication" and the medley "Yokada Yokada/The Rumproller" -- a bit of humor tossed in -- they do, but nowhere else). The band includes Cline on guitars, Ben Goldberg on clarinets, Bobby Bradford on cornet, Andrea Parkins on accordion and sonics, Devin Hoff on bass, drummer Scott Amendola, and Alex Cline playing drums on "Dedication" and "Compulsion." This is an unusual lineup, but then, perhaps the music, interpreted as it is here from nearly all of Hill's periods, demanded it. There are four medleys, so Cline could get as much in as possible. The opening set, which blends "McNeil Island" with "Pumpkin," is held together by the general restraint of the ensemble and Bradford's muscular cornet. In the medleys, the band is much freer, and engaging a sense of humor that has always been in Hill's work but is generally not considered -- although in the next track, "Not Sa No Sa," the free playing reaches a peak with Parkins barging through the mix with her accordion and Cline playing his fiery, distorted best.

On the medley of "Yokada Yokada" and "The Rumproller," the latter tune's harmonics are completely torn apart and reassembled. It's only a little over four and a half minutes long, but is an ear-opening delight. The longest of the medleys assembled is the third cut, which contains and is titled "No Doubt/11/8/Dance with Death." Over 20 minutes long, it showcases the modalities and striations of Hill's melodic lines as they open up into free playing and, in general, spaces for improvisers to move around and discover what's actually in them and then stretch them -- although not often to the breaking point (or as Cline states in his liners, to "find OURSELVES"). The beautiful sense of restraint and freedom the band approaches this material with is commendable. On this medley, Cline eventually takes his guitar solo into the stratosphere, but does so by examining the various tunes' spaces for doing just that. Otherwise, the composition is used to guide improvisation within its parameters. Cline has done so much of late -- from his own Nels Cline Singers to playing with acts like Wilco (and saving their ass since Jay Bennett left the ranks) and guesting with other jazzsters -- that this focused project, which required the musicians to listen very closely in his sometimes knotty arrangements, is not only refreshing but feels like new ground, new aural terrain. Hill's work does not suffer for its interpretations by Cline and company; it breathes in a new context, one that understands his own. This is a fine and important date and necessary listening for those who care about the composer or are just coming to him, or about Cline and his own development. Essential listening. ~ Thom Jurek

Nels Cline (guitar)
Bobby Bradford (cornet)
Ben Goldberg (clarinet, contra-alto clarinet)
Andrea Parkins (electric accordion)
Devin Hoff (contrabass)
Scott Amendola (drums, percussion)
Alex Cline (percussion)

1. McNeil Island / Pumpkin
2. Not Sa No Sa
3. No Doubt / 11/8 / Dance With Death
4. Yokada Yokada / The Rumproller
5. Dedication
6. Reconciliation / New Monastery
7. Compulsion

J.J. Johnson - The Trombone Master

Review by Scott Yanow
"....sampler of trombonist J.J. Johnson's 1957-60... there are some fine moments (most notably on "Misterioso," "Blue Trombone" and "What Is This Thing Called Love")."

I would add Laura and Cry me a River. But that's just a question of taste. Nevertheless it's always great to listen to his great trombone.

Sorry that I've been very delayed on posts but it's due only because of lots of work and some long travels.  But I deeply that all those that have been posting some precious stuff. As soon as I get back home in 2 or 3 weeks I'll be around often.


1- Misterioso (Monk) 6:34
2- Laura (Mercer, Raksin) 3:52
3- What Is This Thing Called Love? (Porter) 5:57
4- My Old Flame (Coslow, Johnston) 4:38
5- Blue Trombone (Johnson) 9:08
6- What's New? (Burke, Haggart) 4:47
7- Satin Doll (Ellington, Mercer, Strayhorn) 4:28
8- Cry Me a River (Hamilton) 4:46
9- Goodbye (Jenkins) 2:09

Friday, May 7, 2010

I would like to remind folks that only rips THAT YOU DO YOURSELF should be posted at CIA - no "shares" that you found elsewhere, no torrents from DIME, none of that stuff. You can put them in discussions or we can re-institute a contributions section - but not front page posts


Steve Lacy - Scratching The Seventies


The three-CD box set that makes up Scratching the Seventies/Dreams represents Steve Lacy's first expatriate records in Paris beginning with sessions in June of 1969 and concluding in 1977 with six of the seven members of the Steve Lacy Septet (pianist Bobby Few was not yet on board). Here, five complete albums tell the story of that decade in the musical aesthetic of Steve Lacy's development as an artist as well as a composer and bandleader. From disc one we are allowed to revisit Lacy as a solo performer on Lapis from 1971. Here Taoism's mighty influence holds sway over Lacy's playing and improvising. From the late-'60s avant-gardism he so deeply enmeshed himself in comes a different topical discussion on the horn. Here, pieces that became ensemble standards in later years, like "The Way," "Existence," and "Rain," had their first hearing as solo works. Lacy's non-reliance -- for perhaps the only time in his professional career -- on the music of Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols for inspiration -- is readily apparent. He's digging his own ground here -- not totally separate from the blues, but seriously extrapolated upon are its themes; they are abstracted into elongated statements on tonality, breath, and melodic invention. The rest of disc one is devoted to Scraps from 1974. Here Lacy teams with Irene Aebi, Steve Potts, and Kent Carter in early settings for the sextet that also included flutist and percussionist Kenneth Tyler and pianist Michael Smith. The signature tunes here are the extreme high-register bleats of "The Wire," and the angular turnaround blues motifs in "Ladies," both of which would be staples of the band's live sets for years to come.

Disc two pairs the album Dreams, one of Lacy's finest, with the first part of his Paris 1969 debut Roba. On the former from 1975, Lacy engaged Steve Potts, Irene Aebi, Jean-Jacques Avenel, Carter, and Tyler, but also vanguard guitarist Derek Bailey and another pair on "Crops": in the rock personages of Jack Treese and Boulou Ferre. Interestingly enough, Lacy and Ornette Coleman were traveling in similar directions at this time, taking small, catchy melodies; rasping them up; and playing them incessantly throughout the body of a work where improvisation could displace them without displacing the tune. Bailey plays electric here and is positively funky, especially on "The Uh Uh Uh" and "Them Oil." Aebi's vocals -- which can be irritating as hell -- are processed electronically here, making them far more palatable. Dreams is easily Lacy's greatest moment from the 70s, and the one that sounds, simultaneously, most and least like him.

With Roba, from 1969, that closes out the disc, Lacy worked with an Italian group with the exception of Aebi. Most notable is trumpeter Enrico Rava. Recorded in a live setting, it's poor in sound quality, full of cavernous echo and distortion; but it marks what would soon become the end of a period in Lacy's life. Given that the rest of the music here is collected from the 1970s, it can be assumed that this material is included here only for the purpose of rounding out all three discs.

Finally, on disc three, along with the conclusion of Roba (at the end of the disc), we get Lacy's legendary album Owl. With an octet (including everybody but Few from the septet) which includes Lawrence Butch Morris and Takashi Kako on piano, the band on Owl digs deep into Lacy's obsession with poetry, and texts from Frances Picabia, Guillarme Appolinaire, Salvador Dali, Paul Eluard, Brion Gysin, and others, which are then set to a lush ensemble treatment that involves advanced harmonic studies of intervalic figures based on the shifting timbres of individual instruments. Lacy's band took Eastern ceremonial musics, Western jazz standards, and pop tunes, and cut angles from them: he took their most intrinsic elements, threw out the rest, and, as Pound had admonished, made it new. Tracks like the title cut, "The Owl," with Aebi's wondrously lyrical and sweet vocals, and Lacy and Potts' intricate, off-minor melody that is danced to the center of the ballroom by Avenel and Oliver Johnson, are remarkable in their complexity and instinctual "songfullness." Later, on "Wish," the same tuneful aspiration is taken apart and reinvented by group improvisation, and "Blinks" makes its first appearance with its Latin intro that is skewed by modal erudition and percussive sound clusters from the middle registers of the horns before moving off into hard bop harmonic and melodic figures.

Ultimately, this is an essential collection for Lacy fans. As the story unfolds one small piece at a time over three discs, the vision of the man comes clearly into view and his true genius is revealed. Lacy saw jazz in the 70s as a way to make sense of the entire world -- a world in transition and fragmentation. His musical view was all-inclusive (note Bailey's rock and funk moves on the Dreams album) and sought order using a musical language that would open the doors to dialogue: first with musicians and then with other artists everywhere. The amazing thing is that -- at least in the avant-garde music world -- he succeeded: because everyone there cites him as an influence. And for that vision and temerity he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant. This set on Saravah, which is the only way to get Lacy's '70s records without paying a fortune for them, tells the story of both how and why. This is an essential purchase for any serious jazz library. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Derek Bailey (Guitar), Steve Lacy (Percussion), Steve Lacy (Sax (Soprano)), Steve Lacy (Bandes), Lawrence Butch Morris (Cornet), Enrico Rava (Trumpet), Irene Aebi (Cello), Irene Aebi (Vocals), Jean-Jacques Avenel (Autoharp), Jean-Jacques Avenel (Kora), Jean-Jacques Avenel (Chang), Kent Carter (Bass), Kent Carter (Cello), Steve Potts (Sax (Alto)), Steve Potts (Sax (Soprano)), Steve Potts (Sax (Tenor)), Takashi Kako (Piano), Roberto Masotti (Photography)

The Legendary Andrés Segovia, Marquis of Salobreia

A change of pace. I don't know about the rest of you, but musical vistas other than jazz attract me - in fact, I was listening to the classics long before I knew jazz existed. That was about 1950. So here I will inflict upon you one of my favourites, the 9-volume Segovia Collection starting with the first two. As for technique, there is no greater classical player - check out his use of vibrato, for example. As for the proper use of technique in pursuit of supreme artistry....

The Artist —Andres Segovia, 1893-1987
For all of us who follow classic guitar concerts, the ritual seemed to be eternal: from the wings, a stout gentleman carefully strolled to center stage and eased himself onto an adjustable piano bench, seemingly unmoved by the standing ovation that greeted him. Adusting his left leg on the footrest, he makes a friendly hand gesture for his audience to be seated. Then, after quietly tuning, he sounds the strings of his instrument, sending the listener to another time period. This ritual has now ended; Segovia now stands as a legendary figure in the firmament of the performing arts.
His impact was staggering. Lately, (1987) it is claimed that in Japan alone he influenced more than 2 million aspiring guitar students and amateurs. He has expanded the repertoire of his chosen through transcriptions and by soliciting composers for new works. His master classes have developed new talent in performance and teaching. He has encouraged luthiers to build a better instrument. He has demonstrated to the public at large that the guitar is capable of much more than "noisy amusement."
All of this began in 1909 when he gave his first formal concert at the Ateneo in Madrid. Here began the sacrifices which brought forth the expanded repertoire — Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces — and opened the door for others to make arrangements.
It brought little known guitar repertoire to the forefront and created a greater interest in the works of the 19th century, by Sor, Giuliani, Aguado, etc., and eventually, the new works of Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ponce, Villa-Lobos Roussel, Tansman, Torroba, Mompou, Rodrigo and many other composers who wrote and dedicated their works to Segovia. ../

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dizzy Gillespie & Sonny Stitt - 1974 Live in Paris & Copenhagen

This European bootleg (c'mon, the label name is Rare Live Records) features trumpet boss and bop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie in the company of some killer sidemen including saxophonist Sonny Stitt, drummer Mickey Roker, drummer Earl May, and guitarist Al Gaffa, ripping through ten bop-era nuggets in Copenhagen in October and November of 1974, with another couple of tracks added on from a third performance in Belgrade in between those two dates. The sound quality varies from gig to gig, from fair to very good. The readings of "Groovin' High," (there are two), "'Round Midnight," and "All the Things You Are" are the best things here, but there isn't a weak cut on the disc. That said, this is strictly for collectors. Novices should be steered to some of the classic compilations on Verve.
Thom Jurek

The Copenhagen concert appeared here (thanks to Alpax):

01 Groovin' High (Dizzy Gillespie) 5:18
02 I Can't Get Started (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) 3:34
03 'Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk) 4:17
04 Kush (Dizzy Gillespie) 7:26
05 Groovin' High (Dizzy Gillespie) 5:40
06 Lover Man (Ramírez, Daniel) 7:10
07 Be-Bop (Dizzy Gillespie) 4:37
08 Hot House (Tadd Dameron) 5:08
09 All the Things You Are (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II) 6:25
10 Wee (Denzil Best) 4:18
11 Jam [*] Dizzy Gillespie) 9:41
12 Groovin' High [*] (Dizzy Gillespie) 5:33
13 All the Things You Are [*] (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II) 4:49
14 Wee [*] (Denzil Best) 4:47

1-4: live in Paris, France, November 19, 1974
5-10: live in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 28, 1974
11-14: live in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, November 15, 1974

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Al Gafa (guitar)
Sonny Stitt (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Mickey Roker (drums)

Anthony Ortega - A Man and his Horns 1961, – The Anthony Ortega Quartet 1954

Bhowani's post:

A Man and his Horns  1961

Anthony Ortega (horns)
Hank Jones (p)
Addison Farmer (b)
Edmond Thigpen (dr)

Recorded in NYC, 1961
Blue Moon CD 1607 (Original LP Herald HLP0101)

01 – Happy Day
02 – Handful of Stars
03 – Titoro
04 – Memories of Spring
05 – They all laughed
06 – We’ll be together again
07 – Birdwatcher
08 – Strolling Through the Casbah 

The Anthony Ortega Quartet 1954

Anthony Ortega (horns)
Einer Iversen (p)
Ivar Børson (b)
Karl Otto Hoff (dr)
Thorleif Østreng (ann.)

Recorded in Oslo, Norway, 1954
Blue Moon CD 1607 (Original 10’’ LP Vantage Records VLP 2)

09 – Serenade to Sonny
10 – Laura
11 – Cherokee
12 – Lady Bird
13 – Body and Soul
14 – Sweet Georgia Brown 

A talented and advanced improviser, Anthony Ortega never received that much recognition and has been in obscurity for far too long. Ortega had his first major job with Earle Spencer's Orchestra in 1947. After serving in the Army, he was with Lionel Hampton's big band (1951-53) including for Hamp's ill-fated European tour. He played with Milt Buckner, led his own group in Los Angeles, visited Scandinavia in 1954 (which resulted in an Lp for Vantage) and then in 1955 relocated to New York. Ortega had stints with Nat Pierce (1956-58), Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Paul Bley and the Quincy Jones Big Band (1960). From then on he often led his own group, moving back to Los Angeles by the mid-1960's and working with the big bands of Don Ellis and Gerald Wilson. As a leader, in addition to the Vantage album, Ortega has recorded sets for Bethlehem, Herald, Revelation (including a 1967 session that was reissued on CD by Hat Art) and Discovery (1978); the latter featured his wife Mona Orbeek Ortega on piano and vibes.
- by Scott Yanow 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

George Cables Dark Side Light Side

George Cables Dark Side Light Side, Steeplchase, SCCD31405
Lossless, no scans
Contributed by Trane

George Cables (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Billy Hart (drums).

Recording information: SteepleChase Recording Studio (10/1996).
Recording Time 64 minutes

Track Listing
1. Dolphin Dance
2. Dark Side, Light Side
3. Ruby, My Dear
4. Alone Together
5. In a Sentimental Mood
6. One Finger Snap
7. Sweet Rita Suite, Pt. 1
8. Ah, George, We Hardly Knew Ya

Dexter Gordon - The Shadow Of Your Smile

Tenor-saxophonist Dexter Gordon uplifts four warhorses (a cooking "Secret Love," "Polkadots and Moonbeams," "The Shadow of Your Smile" and "Summertime") in lengthy and creative renditions. This live set from Stockholm, Sweden finds Gordon joined by an excellent Swedish rhythm section (pianist Lars Sjosten, bassist Sture Nordin and drummer Fredrik Noren) on an excellent LP of fairly explorative bop. ~ Scott Yanow

The Shadow of Your Smile is among the first of Gordon’s Steeplechase releases from the 1970s. Supported with a light touch by a Swedish backing band, Gordon is in the mood to play slowly here, and does so exquisitely. “Shadow of Your Smile,” along with his longtime favorite, “You’ve Changed,” are two of the ballads that Gordon played most frequently, and any version you may find speaks to Gordon’s dedication to staying true to the original lyric. On this one, he chooses to embellish that lyric, and later develop his improvisation, with a heightened sense of open rhythmic space. We’re so used to hearing Gordon seem to know exactly where he’s going next that listening to a more speculative, slow-searching statement is an attractive and unique late-career experience.

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Lars Sjösten (piano)
Sture Nordin (bass)
Fredrik Norén (drums)

1. Once I Had A Secret Love
2. Polkadots And Moonbeams
3. The Shadow Of Your Smile
4. Summertime

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Portfolio: Aram Shelton

Arrive - Aram Shelton
2005 by 482 Music

Arrive is Aram Shelton's second release on 482 Music (the first one was with the group Grey Ghost). This quartet project features the Vandermark 5's drummer, Tim Daisy (who previously worked with Shelton in the trio Dragons 1976), vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz (Harris Eisenstadt's The Soul and Gone), and bassist Jason Roebke (Tigersmilk, Scott Fields Ensemble and Eisenstadt's The Soul and Gone) — a Chicago jazz quartet by all means. Arrive runs on sharp heads, a flexible rhythm section, and inspired far-reaching exchanges between Shelton's alto sax and Adasiewicz's vibes. The young sax player's writing has a lot of elegance and soul, in a field where it's often too easy to come up with clinical-sounding themes. "All Dressed Up" is propelled by a warm tune that you are likely to come back to often. "The Return" has a well-pinned free jazz flux going on, with mind-boggling work from Roebke and Daisy. The only disappointment is "Johann & Leo"; its vibes intro is a bit too predictable and bland to truly showcase Adasiewicz's skills, and the piece tacked to it fails to convince the listener that the harsh contrast between the ballad-like sax line and the hammered vibes part was really necessary. Shelton's tone is well rounded, with nice boppy inflections and a sharp attack, even in the quieter pieces. The album has been kept short (45 minutes), which, "Johann & Leo" aside, provides a pleasant and focused listening experience. – All Music Guide

Alto saxophonist Aram Shelton has made a name for himself around Chicago’s vibrant music scene as one of the keepers of the flame of the first wave of youngsters after Ken Vandermark and his associates took hold in the 90’s. In contrast to many of the current hardnosed Chicagoans, Shelton stands out with a less acidic approach that might surprise some folks given his forward-thinking ideas. Past work in collectives Dragons 1976 and the electro-acoustic environments of Grey Ghost demonstrate his experimental nature and Arrive, his debut as a leader, is yet another document supporting his growing reputation. As for the specifics, this spacious, yet ambitious 2001 quartet session features frequent collaborators vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Tim Daisy. Adasiewicz’s appearance is the master stroke and although he is known for his hard-hitting attack, he is surprisingly subtle, at times recalling Bobby Hutcherson’s classic Blue Note era work. In fact, the chamberesque, airy results easily lead to comparisons with the string of records from the Hutcherson-Hill-Moncur-McLean Blue Note axis that remains timeless even today.

The unison, written lines and open setting commence “On Time,” a hazy sojourn that whirs thanks to Adasiewicz’s gentle sonorities and Roebke’s fluid arco. The jaunty swing of “All Dressed Up” charges next, followed by the lush balladry of “Because of You.” Initially a bass/vibes rumination, Shelton and Daisy slide their way into formation, as the quartet ratchets up the emotionality of the piece. From a different direction comes the Classically shaped world of “The Return” that escalates into an urgent final succession. Concluding with “Johann & Leo,” the quartet introspectively wanders, with Adasiewicz creating a moody atmosphere that floats as his vibes wash away.

Word is it that Shelton has recently moved to the West Coast. While this is a loss for Chicago’s active scene, let’s hope that Shelton continued his creative journey that has begun with this excellent date. – Jay Collins, Cadence

Poll the average jazz aficionado about the current movers and shakers on the Chicago scene and odds are strong that Ken Vandermark’s name will percolate to the top. Vandermark’s positioning and reach speaks to both his perseverance and to the tendency of the jazz press to harp upon high profile names. The situation on the ground is a bit different, with younger players like saxophonist Aram Shelton and his colleagues contributing to the scene right alongside their older, more well-established peers. In bands like Dragons 1976, Grey Ghost and this latest aggregation on Arrive, Shelton advances a postbop to free vocabulary anchored in the past that also draws on the present and expectantly eyeballs the future. The basic elements will be familiar to any student of the 60s New Thing, but Shelton and his band aren’t about rote regurgitation.

The heads on the first two pieces are vamp-ish, and the choppy cadences of their unison themes recall the dark angularity of 60s Andrew Hill. Jason Adasiewicz’s amplified vibraphone proves an adroit pivot for the quartet, with luminous clusters splashing from their struck surfaces to create cunning and subtle rhythmic suspensions. His style harkens to Bobby Hutcherson’s Blue Note reign as the vibraphone's understated master. There’s also a bit of Khan Jamal’s unsinkable lyricism in his otherworldly patterns. “On Time” serves as a workout for bassist Jason Roebke’s scurrying bow as hair-trigger arco streaks engage in a zero-gravity dance with the Adasiewicz’s ringing clouds of notes. The circular “All Dressed Up” sounds like an outtake from the aforementioned Hill’s Judgment, rhythmically and harmonically restless and primed for off-kilter solos by each of the players. Drummer Tim Daisy keeps a supple responsive beat while Roebke’s hulking bass throb, ripe with stops and knuckle-punishing snaps, belies an unexpected agility in relation to its girth.

The album’s ballads are even more majestic and masterfully realized. “Because of You” builds from a tender incremental progression parsed by bass, vibes and alto in a gently shimmering lattice that eschews conventional rhythmic tethers. The mood is sweetly mindful of Jemeel Moondoc in its naked pathos that never slips into lachrymose melancholy. Last in the roll call, “Johann & Leo” serves as a showcase for Adasiewicz, who embraces the space and latitude to a preface of uncommon dream-like beauty, pedals and mallets working in tandem to paint a lambent watercolor vista. The inevitable entrance of the rest of the band almost seems like an intrusion, but Shelton’s acapella solo (again awash with ardent echoes of Moondoc) allays concern over any abeyance. Daisy and Adasiewicz set up a telegraphing line on “The Return.” Shelton and Roebke shape a sliding counterpoint that segues into a series of searching subdivisions of the ensemble while Daisy maintains meter that refuses to be tagged for too long. A swirling full band fanfare brings the encounter to an effulgent close. Albums like this one announce that there’s plenty of room in the Windy City klieg lights for an entire assembly of players, not just those anointed by the tastemakers. - Derek Taylor, Dusted Reviews

Two Citizens - Aram Shelton’s Fast Citizens
2009 by Delmark

If you're wondering whether or not there is a connection between Keefe Jackson's Fast Citizens and Aram Shelton's Fast Citizens, the answer is a definite "yes." Fast Citizens are a collective, and they have different leaders at different times. While Jackson was the leader on the 2006 release Ready Everyday, Shelton is in charge on the 2009 date Two Cities (whose title was derived from the fact that Shelton has both a Chicago connection and an Oakland connection). Shelton was prominently featured on Ready Everyday and contributed the piece "Blackout"; on Two Cities, however, Shelton contributes five pieces. But stylistically, Two Cities is not a major departure from Ready Everyday. Post-bop and avant-garde jazz are still Fast Citizens' focus, and the influences that served them well in the past (Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra's Arkestra, Charles Mingus, Dave Douglas, East European music) continue to serve them well on this 59-minute CD. Fast Citizens' approach remains an inside/outside approach, but ultimately, outside playing is dominant for the acoustic sextet (which consists of Shelton on alto sax and clarinet, Jackson on tenor sax and bass clarinet, Josh Berman on cornet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Anton Hatwich on bass, and Frank Rosaly on drums). And even though Shelton is the one in the driver's seat this time, there is never any doubt that Fast Citizens are a musical democracy. All six members make inspired contributions to the cerebral, abstract post-bop/avant-garde/free jazz dialogue. Those who enjoyed the Jackson-led Ready Everyday will be glad to know that Fast Citizens fare equally well under Shelton's leadership on Two Cities. – All Music Guide

Ready Everyday - Keefe Jackson’s Fast Citizens
2006 by Delmark

Tenor-saxophonist Keefe Jackson and his sextet show impressive versatility within the genre of post-bop/avant-garde jazz throughout Ready Everyday. While some of the free bop selections are reminiscent of the early Ornette Coleman Quartet, there are also sound explorations, intense ensembles, and hard-swinging and unusual tone colors. Keefe Jackson's compositions sometimes hint at his early infatuation with klezmer and Eastern European music. Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm alternates between emulating a higher-tone bass and soloing like a rock guitarist. With cornetist Josh Berman taking impressive solos, altoist Aram Shelton showing a strong ability to swing without being tied to chord changes, and stimulating support and commentary supplied by bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly, this is a consistently intriguing and creative set full of surprises.

Varmint - Jason Adasiewicz
2009 by Cuneiform Records

The second recording for Jason Adasiewicz with his quintet Rolldown takes the band into a distinct modern jazz arena, sporting equal parts of straight-ahead mainstream pacings alongside the bold, inventive, improvisational music of latter and current day Chicago. As a vibraphonist, he is deferring to his bandmates in the best spirit of teamwork, and admittedly would rather be a cog in the works than the driving force. This democracy has worked in his favor, not merely to divert attention away from his agile and lithe vibraphone playing. There's a group sound being developed, due to the sharp pitched alto saxophone of Aram Shelton, and Josh Berman, who is making strides and progressive statements on the more traditionally identified cornet. And there's a connection to the advanced jazz players from the '60s who made equally brash statements for the Blue Note label, folks like Jackie McLean, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Tolliver, and Sam Rivers. Rolldown is most adept at turning a title like "Dagger" into a bluesy dirge via Shelton's ribald clarinet and the stoic cornet of Berman, or morphing "Hide" from Thelonious Monk-style angularities into a dredged-up, mucky consistency. "Varmint" is the perfect representation of a sneaky, snide, dangerous critter, rendered in a precise, prickly, yet loose melody not all that unlike something you might have heard from the Art Ensemble of Chicago in their mid-period ECM stage. As ironic as the other titles are representative, "Green Grass" is a churning post-bop swinger with some deft rhythm changes, effervescent in the energy and penetrating tone Adasiewicz exudes, while you hear the full, piquant, strained alto sound of Shelton quite similar to McLean or Arthur Blythe. In a driving-sideways, elusive, slippery, post-bop idea, "The Griots" punctuates and acknowledges the aforementioned Blue Note pioneers — it's written by Andrew Hill. Where Adasiewicz himself shines and takes the lead is during "Punchbug," a macabre waltz contrasted by the silly clarinet of Shelton. Special mention should be made of bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly, who are not mere timekeepers, but have innate knowledge as to the flexible rhythms, organic ins/outs, and smart-set soul of how this combo operates, lives, and breathes. Considering his relatively young age (32 at the time of this recording) and rapid progress as a maturing musician, it's safe to say Jason Adasiewicz has a tiger by the tail, though it also seems like he's wrestling with alligators, two varmints he apparently has tamed.

Rolldown - Jason Adasiewicz
2008 by 482 Music

Vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz is emerging as one of the most interesting bandleaders and composers in modern creative improvised jazz. As an individualist, his instrument is one that very few specialize in, the exception in recent times being New Yorker's Bill Ware or Brian Carrott. For Rolldown, the 14th in the series of Document Chicago CDs, Adasiewicz has assembled a quintet of astounding musical proportion and depth, playing his tricky music that seems to have no limits of imagination, wit or wisdom. Clarinetist and alto saxophonist Aram Shelton, a true rising star, proves his mettle frequently on this date. Josh Berman is a new name playing the cornet, while the rhythm section of bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly are well established in their peer circle. Collectively the ensemble is quite fond of changing up tempos at will, evidenced by the stop-start, decaying and no-time bluesy swing centered "Small Potatoes," and the easier, then ramped up, bouncy and head nodding "Creep." The band is munching on some strange blue fruit during "Good Looking Android" establishing clarion calls, staggered phrasings, spatial and brittle melody lines with direct and indirect swing. The perfectly titled "Nearby" sports an ultimately underground theme via vibes and bass, hushed tones, reticent playing, inner space, and some long tones in the mezzo piano range. Also at a low level, "Valerie" features Shelton's clarinet during a curious piece of deference informed by the inquisitive vibes of Adasiewicz, while "Gather" is a solemn, funeral like piece where Shelton's clarinet and Roebke's bass coalesce. There's also a loping straight bop workout piece, "Little Screw," at nearly 17 minutes, again sped and slowed with scattered brass and sax. Adasiewicz is a fine player, in the backdrop overall, and more pronounced as an emerging writer. He's scratching the surface, and offering great potential on this fine effort that comes recommended to those who choose to listen closely.

Rapid Croche - Jason Roebke
2003 by 482 Music

Chicago area bassist Jason Roebke's credentials include stints with saxophonist Andrew d'Angelo, clarinetist François Houle, and other modern jazz notables. The trio outing Rapid Croche highlights Roebke's sensitivity and laudable chops amid his generally insightful compositional skills. With the opener, titled "Please," the bassist and drummer Tim Daisy deliver a series of tumbling rhythmic passages in support of clarinetist Aram Shelton's disparate textures. Elsewhere, the band incorporates a tightly integrated approach, consisting of odd-metered pulses and dark harmonic overtures. Roebke and Shelton often counterbalance each other's lyricism in concert with pert unison choruses and a systematic manner of re-engineering various themes. At times, the band abides by an open-ended methodology but generally close the improvisational loop, witnessed on the piece titled "Whatever You Think Is Beautiful." It's not all about stoically preformed free jazz music, as they often demonstrate a propensity for laying down bottom-heavy grooves. Overall, Roebke and associates emerge as forward-thinking artists, although this relatively strong outing might serve as a harbinger for better things to come.

Dave Kikoski - Details (2004)

David Kikoski has earned his chops backing everyone from legends like Roy Haynes (two decades and counting) to young gun David Sanchez. Though he can commandeer a set when he wants (an astoundingly fractured, nearly chaotic barrelhouse blues piano solo is all that remains in memory of the last Pat Martino gig I caught), by nature he's a team player: gently tenacious exploration and ethereal post-bop empathy are this Berklee grad's true bread and butter.

Thus Details , as you might expect from its title, is loaded with both. It's a trio disc, and for this kind of patient investigation, Kikoski could scarcely have filled out the group better. Bass man Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart provide the pianist with a near-telepathic unity that lifts the disc immediately above the ordinary. (Stewart, whose extensive trio forays with keyboardist Larry Goldings have prepared him magnificently for this kind of work, seems particularly alert.) From the group's leisurely twelve-minute stroll through Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," to its thoughtful, intense work on Joe Henderson's great "Inner Urge," and through the host of tricky Kikoski originals that comprise the remainder of the material, ideas flow free and quick and no subtle shift goes unnoticed. (Even Kikoski's single-track detour on electric keyboard, "K's Blues," comes off.) Short on flash but loaded with exquisite three-way rapport, Details is a dreamy, first-rate disc from a player deserving more attention.

1 In Your Own Street Way
2 Detachment
3 7/4 Ballad
4 Inner Urge
5 Juriki
6 Adorable You
7 K's Blues
8 Presage 7:09

Larry Grenadier: Bass
Dave Kikoski: Piano
Bill Stewart: Drums

Recorded December 18, 2003 in Brooklyn, NY, USA by Max Bolleman

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jimmy Heath, You Or Me

Jimmy Heath You Or Me, Steeplechase SCCD31370
Contributed by Trane

Jimmy Heath (tenor saxophone);
Tony Purrone (guitar);
Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass);
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums).

Recorded and released 1995
Recording Time 62 minutes

1. Quota, The
2. Rio Dawn
3. Ballad from Upper Neighbors Suite
4. Is That So?
5. Fungii Mama
6. You or Me
7. All Too Soon
8. Hot House

Jimmy Heath is in top form throughout this quartet session, which took place on the day his elder sister died after a lingering illness. Backed by his brother Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums, guitarist Tony Purrone, and bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa, the tenor saxophonist revisits his fluid blues "The Quota" (which is very appropriately full of interesting quotes, displaying the leader's witty side) and debuts a new work, the enticing "Rio Dawn." He also delves into the works of other important jazz composers, including a lightly swinging treatment of Duke Pearson's "Is That So?," a potent arrangement of Blue Mitchell's lively calypso "Fungii Mama," and an extended workout of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" that features each of the musicians in the spotlight to good effect. But it is Jimmy Heath's lush rendition of Duke Ellington's ballad "All Too Soon" that leaves the most lasting impression on this outstanding date. ~ Ken Dryden

Duke Ellington - 1937 Vol. 2 (Chronological 687)

Chuchuni wants some Rabbit.

"Much stronger is Classics 687, which peaks on the still remarkable first recording of 'Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue' but which also has the tremendous 'Harmony In Harlem', 'Chatterbox' and 'Jubilesta', as well as several of the small group sessions." ~ Penguin Guide

During the period covered by this CD, the Duke Ellington Orchestra recorded nine performances (including vocal and instrumental versions of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm") while combos led by Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart, and Cootie Williams that were mostly filled with Ellington all-stars accounted for 14 other selections. Duke was overseeing everything while letting his star sidemen stretch out, and the result was a steady stream of fresh and high-quality recordings that both fit into the mainstream of swing and stood apart from other bands. Among the more memorable selections on this set (which contains quite a few obscurities) are "The Back Room Romp," "Tea and Trumpets," the remarkable "Harmony in Harlem," and the original versions of "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue." ~ Scott Yanow

Duke Ellington (piano)
Johnny Hodges (soprano and alto sax)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Sonny Greer (drums)

1. You'll Never Go To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)
2. Peckin'
3. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm (instr.)
4. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm (vocal)
5. Alabamy Home
6. Get It Southern Style
7. Moonlight Fiesta
8. Sponge Cake And Spinach
9. If You're Ever In My Arms Again
10. The Back Room Romp (A Contrapuntal Stomp)
11. Swing Baby Swing (Love In My Heart)
12. Sugar Hill Shim Sham
13. Tea And Trumpets
14. Chatter-Box
15. Jubilesta
16. Diminuendo In Blue
17. Crescendo In Blue
18. Harmony In Harlem
19. Dusk In The Desert
20. Jubilesta
21. Watching
22. Pigeons And Peppers
23. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Sunday, May 2, 2010

BN LP 5053 | Julius Watkins Sextet - New Faces/New Sounds

From the sleeve notes;

As Julius Watkins said, "I think of the horn as sometimes very romantic, sometimes somber, sometimes a heroic type of expresssion". In these four performances he has shown, very eloquently, just what he had in mind.

I have to admit to not having listened to this recently and thought I should before posting. I find this a very pleasant outing, not just because of Julius Watkins, but because of the sidemen; Frank Foster is in good form and Perry Lopez is excellent on guitar - quite Tal Farlow in his style and sound to my ear.
Quite why the French Horn could be seen as so unusual, I'm not sure - if marching bands had had French Horn, then I'm sure it would have been there at the beginning in New Orleans along with the Saxophone and Trombone. Perhaps not the most agile instrument though.

For specific tracklistings, have a look at the excellent Jazz Discography Project

Anat Cohen & The Anzic Orchestra - Noir

From Tel Aviv to Berklee to New York. A rising star on clarinet and saxophones.

Anat Cohen (clarinet, tenor, alto & soprano sax)
Oded Lev-Ari (arranger, conductor)
Frank Greene, Tanya Darby, Avishai Cohen (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Deborah Weisz, Yonatan Voltzok (trombone)
Ted Nash, Billy Drewes, Scott Robinson, Yuval Cohen (reeds)
Guilherme Monteiro (guitar)
Barak Mori (bass)
Ali Jackson, Jr., Antonio Sanchez, Duduka Da Fonseca (drums)
Ze Mauricio (percussion)
Erik Friedlander, Robert Burkhart, Greg Heffeman (cello)

1. La Comparsa
2. No Moon at All
3. Carnaval de Sao Vicente
4. Do It
5. Cry Me a River
6. You Never Told Me That You Care
7. Samba de Orfeu/Struttin' With Some Barbeque
8. Cry
9. Bebe
10. Ingenuo

Recorded in NYC, August 2006

Pete Christlieb Quartet - Conversations With Warne, Vol. 2

01. No Tag
02. Fish Tale
03. So What's Old
04. You Drive!
05. Nate and Dave
06. Lunch
07. Woody and You
08. Bess You Is My Man
09. The April Samba

Pete Christlieb (Ts)
Warne Marsh (Ts)
Jim Hughart (B)
Nick Ceroli (D)

Recorded September 15, 1978 in by Jim Hughart

This matchup works quite well. With alert contributions made by bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Nick Ceroli, tenors Pete Christlieb and Warne Marsh match wits, swing and ideas throughout nine runthroughs on "originals" based on common chord changes. This second of two CDs has four alternate takes of songs included on the earlier CD plus five other numbers. With titles such as "Woody and You," "Bess You Is My Man" and "So What's Old," experts should have little difficulty in most cases figuring out which standards the "new" pieces are based on. Because Marsh and Christlieb had very different sounds but competitive natures, plenty of sparks flew during this date. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Pete Christlieb Quartet - Conversations With Warne Vol. 1

01. Lunch
02. Fishtale
03. Meal Balls
04. Get Out!
05. Weeping Willow
06. India No Place
07. You Drive!
08. Woody And You

Pete Christlieb had a special opportunity to record with one of his idols, fellow tenor Warne Marsh, on this quartet session with bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Nick Ceroli. Christlieb, a powerful player himself, blends in well with Marsh and the results are both complementary and competitive. Two CDs' worth of material resulted from the one night's work. As was usual with Marsh and his teacher, Lennie Tristano, the "originals" were all based on the chord changes of standard songs and most of the song titles (such as "Weeping Willow," "India No Place," and "Woody and You") give away the original sources. This stimulating music is easily recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz and the Tristano school; Christlieb not only held his own with Marsh, but clearly inspired him. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Pete Christlieb (Ts)
Warne Marsh (Ts)
Jim Hughart (B)
Nick Ceroli (D)

Recorded September 15, 1978 in by Jim Hughart

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wadada Leo Smith - Spritual Dimensions

Al-Shadhili's Litany of the Sea: Sunrise Smith 12:59
Pacifica Smith 5:49
Umar at the Dome of the Rock, Parts 1 & 2 Smith 14:55
Crossing Sirat Smith 6:22
South Central L.A. Kulture Smith 15:42
South Central L.A. Kulture Smith 12:37
Angela Davis Smith 19:23
Organic Smith 18:09
Joy: Spiritual Fire: Joy Smith 13:34

Cuneiform Records 2009 290291

Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet; Vijay Iyer – piano, synthesizer; John Lindberg – bass; Pheeroan AkLaff – drums; Don Moye – drums; Nels Cline – guitar; Michael Gregory – guitar; Brandon Ross – guitar; Lamar Smith – guitar; Okkyung Lee – cello; John Lindberg – double bass; Skuli Sverrisson – electric bass.

Spiritual Dimensions is a double album that features two very special groups, both filled with truly great and legendary musicians! Both discs were recorded live to capture the energy and spirit that Smith's shows have.

The first disc is by his Golden Quintet. This disc is a modern/avant jazz release that has some distinctive electric touches and features many of the hallmarks of Wadada's work; space, depth, melody and abstraction:

Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
Vijay Iyer – piano, synthesizer
John Lindberg – bass
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums
Don Moye – drums

The second disc is the first-ever release of Wadada's Organic group and is a completely different creature. It's a fully electric, four guitar, creative, bad-ass beast with slinky grooves, but the same hallmarks run through this set as well:

Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
Nels Cline – guitar
Michael Gregory – guitar
Brandon Ross – guitar
Lamar Smith – guitar
Okkyung Lee – cello
John Lindberg – double bass
Skuli Sverrisson – electric bass
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums

The easiest comparison between the albums can be drawn by listening to the two different versions of the composition South Central L.A. Kulture, which appears at the last track by the Golden Quintet and as the first track by Organic; its inclusion here in two versions is a good example of how Smith’s compositions can mutate to embrace new settings.

Billy Eckstine - 1944-1945 (Chronological 914)

Billy Eckstine was still around on the talk show scene when I was a kid and I always found him to be an oddity along the lines of Charo and the like. First, he had that big old fucking grill and his looked like it was hinged sideways. And the ascot ... he was working that Playboy thing to the ground. And his greasy voice was a joke to me; I still don't like it. But Godamn! what a band!

One of the most glaring gaps in the jazz reissue boom is a thorough chronicle of Billy Eckstine's bop era work with both Earl Hines' group and his own innovative outfits. A veritable workshop for the era's teaming bop talent, Eckstine's big bands captured Charlie Parker's and Dizzy Gillespie's advances in a swing framework, which provided a challenging yet ultimately perfect setting for the singer's luxurious baritone. So, considering what's to be missed, listeners shouldn't hesitate in checking out this Classics collection of Eckstine's 1944-1945 sides, especially since Savoy's chronicle of the same material is in dire need of an audio upgrade. Effortlessly ranging between ballads, blues, and swingers, Eckstine delivers both hit covers ("Prisoner of Love," "Cottage for Sale") and indelible originals ("I Want to Talk About You," "Blowin' the Blues Away"). And with the likes of Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Art Blakey on hand -- not to mention Tadd Dameron and Budd Johnson handling the charts and a young Sarah Vaughan contributing vocals -- the high standards are maintained throughout. A perfect companion collection to both Classics' followup disc of 1946-1947 tracks and Xanadu's roundup of Eckstine sides form the first half of the '40s. ~ Stephen Cook

Billy Eckstine (vocals)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Wardell Gray (tenor sax)
Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Sonny Stitt (alto sax)
Gene Ammons (tenor sax)
Leo Parker (baritone sax)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)
Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Tadd Dameron (arranger)

1. I've Got A Date With Rhythm
2. I Stay In The Mood For You
3. Good Jelly Blues
4. If That's The Way You Feel
5. I Want To Talk About You
6. Blowing The Blues Away
7. Opus X
8. I'll Wait And Pray
9. Real Thing Happened To Me
10. Lonesome Lover Blues
11. Cottage For Sale
12. I Love The Rhythm In A Riff
13. Last Night
14. My Deep Blue Dream
15. Prisoner Of Love
16. Penny For Your Thoughts
17. It Ain't Like That No More
18. I'm In The Mood For Love
19. You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)
20. All I Sing Is Blues
21. Long, Long Journey