Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stan Getz ~ Academy Of Jazz

This is a live recording of Stan Getz and the Bob Brookmeyer Sextet in Warsaw on April 1978, issued for local market by Poljazz.

Poljazz Z-SX 0681

Academy Of Love
Par For The Course
Pretty City

Stan Getz - tenor sax
Bob Brookmeyer - valve trombone
Andy Laverne - piano
Mike Richmond - bass
Jaff Brilinger - drums
Efrain Toro - percussions
Kongress Hall Margano, Warsaw PL, April 9, 1978

Gil Evans ~ Synthetic Evans

One of the most significant arrangers in jazz history, Gil Evans' three album-length collaborations with Miles Davis (Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain) are all considered classics. Evans had a lengthy and wide-ranging career that sometimes ran parallel to the trumpeter. Like Davis, Gil became involved in utilizing electronics in the '70s and preferred not to look back and re-create the past. He led his own band in California (1933-1938) which eventually became the backup group for Skinnay Ennis; Evans stayed on for a time as arranger. He gained recognition for his somewhat futuristic charts for Claude Thornhill's Orchestra (1941-1942 and 1946-1948) which took advantage of the ensemble's cool tones, utilized French horns and a tuba as frontline instruments, and, by 1946, incorporated the influence of bop. He met Miles Davis (who admired his work with Thornhill) during this time and contributed arrangements of "Moon Dreams" and "Boplicity" to Davis' "Birth of the Cool" nonet.
This is a rare concert issued in Poland at Jazz Jamboree on October 23, 1976 released only for local market by Poljazz records

Poljazz Z-SX-0636

Side A
Priesteso aka Priestess

Side B

Gil Evans - piano, electric piano
Lew Soloff - trumpet
Ernie Royal - trumpet
Joe Faddis - trumpet
Tom Malone - trombone
J.Robinson - trombone
Pete Levin - french horn, synthesizers
Bob Stewart - tuba
George Adams - tenor saxophone
John Clark - guitar, french horn
Mike Richmond - bass
Sue Evans - drums, percussion
XIX International Jazz Jamboree’76 Festival
Congress Hall, Warsaw PL, October 23, 1976
[On back cover was mentioned Arthur Blythe (alto sax). It is not correct. Arthur Blythe don’t played in Warsaw this evening]

Gene Harris Trio - 1955 Our Love Is Here To Stay

If you check Harris' biography, you'll find that after discharging the Army (1954) he formed The Three Sounds (1956). However, in 1955 he recorded, only 22 years old, this album for the Jubilee label, reissued by Toshiba in LP format and by Fresh Sound on CD.

On this Fresh Sound CD, Gene Harris sounds more like Oscar Peterson than himself, since he had not yet developed the bluesy style that was the trademark of his many recordings for Concord during the last two decades of his life. This 1955 studio session with bassist Mike Long and drummer George Herman predates his initial record as leader of the Three Sounds by approximately three years, and it was likely recorded for Jubilee, although the information is very sketchy. The 14 songs on this release are rather brief and to the point, with the focus on Harris, although both Long and Herman get a few brief features. Since Harris had only been discharged from his three-year stint in the army the year before, it's obvious that his approach to the keyboard was still forming at the time this album was made. Highlights include a very relaxed treatment of "Old Devil Moon" and a brisk rendition of "I'd Do Anything for You."
Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

01 Let's Fall In Love (Arlen, Koehler)
02 I'd Do Anything For You (Healy, Kane)
03 Cheerful Little Earful (Gershwin, Rose, Warren)
04 A Foggy Day (Gershwin, Gershwin)
05 My Heart Belongs To Daddy (Porter)
06 There'll Never Be Another You (Gordon, Warren)
07 The Girl Friend (Hart, Rodgers)
08 Love Me Or Leave Me (Donaldson, Kahn)
09 Old Devil Moon (Harburg, Lane)
10 Varsity Drag (Brown, DeSylva, Henderson)
11 Our Love Is Here To Stay (Gershwin, Gershwin)
12 Almost Like Being In Love (Lerner, Loewe)
13 Try A Little Tenderness (Campbell, Connelly, Woods)
14 Out Of This World (Arlen, Mercer)

Recorded in NYC, 1955

Gene Harris Piano
Mike Long Bass
George Herman Drums

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pat Martino - Think Tank

Pat Martino - guitar
Joe Lovano - tenor saxophone
Gonzalo Rubalcaba - piano
Christian McBride - bass
Lewis Nash - drums

01 The Phineas Trane
02 Think Tank
03 Dozen Down
04 Sun On My Hands
05 Africa
06 Quatessence
07 Before You Ask
08 Earthlings

For me Pat has always been an icon, an inspiration and a source of ideas. He has created his own language on the guitar — he walks among us but down different pathways. How great it is to hear him hitting a creative peak once again. With a band like this, it is an embarrassment of riches.
- Bela Fleck

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Panassié Sessions

It is difficult to review records that have become part of one's frame of musical reference. This LP contains nearly the whole of the famous sessions arranged by French jazz writer Hugues Panassie, aided by clarinettist Mezz Mezzrow, in New York in 1938; I still possess most of these masters on 78s, though I had not played them for many years.
The first impression on hearing them again, and it may be an unfair one, was how bad they were. Mezzrow's clarinet was even more limited than I remembered—he was out of practice— and his tenor saxophone (played reluctantly ort two tracks at Panassie's
instigation) was execrable. Trumpeter Tommy Ladnier's lip was in such poor shape that he strained even to reach middle E; on Gamin' On With The Come On second trumpeter Sidney de Paris gets fed up with the dreariness of it all and starts a rather silly riff (after the growl on part 2); this so annoys Ladnier that he blows a raspberry on his trumpet, thus silencing de Paris. The session limps to the most faltering finish in recorded jazz. Panassie's intention was to re-create the glories of New Orleans jazz, but what with Mezz bringing in the Chicago shuffle (When You And I Were Young, Maggie), the incorrect instrumentation, the inappropriateness of guitar solos, and tensions between the musicians, the music never got within miles of New Orleans. It is an ironical fact that the three tracks—Rosetta, Ja-Da and The World Is Waiting—which Panassie made later with Frankie Newton on trumpet and Pete Brown on alto, and dismissed as 'swing', are truer in their ensemble passages to the spirit of New Orleans.
Why were these recordings so popular? There are several reasons. One is the excellence of guitarist Teddy Bunn, but most important is the superb, unshakeable playing of Sidney Bechct on the first four tracks. He is quite wonderful, and Weary Blues and Really The Blues deserve their place as jazz classics: it was certainly Bechet who made new men of Mezz and Ladnier for the few minutes of these tracks. On the three 'swing' tracks Newton plays splendidly and the punching style of Pete Brown's alto is quite remarkably good. But perhaps the over-riding reason for their fame is historical: they were made at a time when the sterility of the Swing era was becoming obvious to almost all jazz lovers, and, as a contrast to the slick, riff-bound commercial music of their time, they came as a revelation.
If ever there was a curate's egg, this issue is it and I am almost at a loss how to sum up this review. I think my final advice must be this: get it for the tracks featuring Bechct and Pete Brown; play the rest occasionally as curiosities. The appendix to Mezzrow's book Really The Blues gives a blow-by-blow account of the sessions which will add non-musical interest to the less successful numbers.

RCA Victor LPM 33042

A1 Weary Blues
A2 Really The Blues
A3 When You And I Were Young, Maggie
A4 Ja-Da
A5 Revolutionary Blues
A6 Comin' On With The Come On (part 1)
A7 Comin' On With The Come On (part 2)
A8 Rosetta

B1 Royal Garden Blues
B2 If You See Me Comin'
B3 Gettin' Together (take 1)
B4 Gettin' Together (take 2)
B5 Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly-Roll
B6 Everybody Loves My Baby
B7 Who?
B8 The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise

Tommy Ladnier - trumpet
Sidney Bechet - clarinet, soprano sax
Mezz Mezzrow - clarinet, tenor sax
Cliff Jackson - piano
Teddy Bunn - guitar
Elmer James - bass
Manzie Johnson - drums
November 28, 1938

Tommy Ladnier - trumpet
Sidney DeParis - trumpet
Mezz Mezzrow - clarinet
James P. Johnson - piano
Teddy Bunn - guitar
Elmer James - bass
Zutty Singleton - drums
November 21, 1938

Frankie Newton - trumpet
Mezz Mezzrow - clarinet
Pete Brown - alto sax
James P. Johnson - piano
Al Casey - guitar
John Kirby - bass
Cozy Cole - drums
January 13, 1939

Tommy Ladnier - trumpet
Mezz Mezzrow - clarinet
Teddy Bunn - guitar, vocals
Pops Foster - bass
Manzie Johnson - drums
December 19, 1938

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Machito and his Salsa Big Band 1982

A classic, and Grammy winner, now oop it seems and getting expensive.

Machito played a huge role in the history of Latin jazz, for his bands of the 1940s were probably the first to achieve a fusion of powerful Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation. At its roaring best, the band had a hard-charging sound, loaded with jostling, hyperactive bongos and congas and razor-edged riffing brass. Machito was the front man, singing, conducting, shaking maracas, while his brother-in-law Mario Bauza was the innovator behind the scenes, getting Machito to hire jazz-oriented arrangers. The son of a cigar manufacturer, Machito became a professional musician in Cuba in his teens before he emigrated to America in 1937 as a vocalist with La Estrella Habanera. He worked with several Latin artists and orchestras in the late '30s, recording with the then-dominant Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat. After an earlier aborted attempt to launch a band with Bauza, Machito founded the Afro-Cubans in 1940, taking on Bauza the following year as music director where he remained for 35 years. After making some early 78s for Decca, the Afro-Cubans really began to catch on after the end of World War II, appearing with -- and no doubt influencing -- Stan Kenton's orchestra (Machito played maracas on Kenton's recordings of "The Peanut Vendor" and "Cuban Carnival") and recording some exciting sides for Mercury and Clef. Upon Bauza's urging, Machito's band featured a galaxy of American jazz soloists on its recordings from 1948 to 1960, including Charlie Parker (heard memorably on "No Noise"), Dizzy Gillespie, Flip Phillips, Howard McGhee, Buddy Rich, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Mann, Curtis Fuller and Johnny Griffin. Playing regularly at New York's Palladium, Machito's band reached its peak of popularity during the mambo craze of the 1950s, survived the upheavals of the '60s and despite the loss of Bauza in 1976, continued to work frequently in the '60s, '70s, and early '80s when the term "salsa" came into use. The band recorded for Pablo (in tandem with Gillespie) and Timeless in its later years, and was playing Ronnie Scott's club in London in 1984 when Machito suffered a fatal stroke. A documentary film by Carlo Ortiz, Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy, was released in 1987.
- Richard S. Ginell

Chubby Jackson - 1944-47 The Happy Monster. Small Groups

A fine bassist, Chubby Jackson is best-known for his association with Woody Herman's first two Herds of the mid- to late '40s, where he functioned not only in the rhythm section but as a sort-of cheerleader whose vocal interjections really pushed the band. Although he started on the clarinet when he was 16, Jackson soon switched to bass and was a professional by the time he was 19, playing with many big bands, including those led by Raymond Scott, Jan Savitt, and Henry Busse. After touring with Charlie Barnet from 1941 to 1943 (sometimes with Oscar Pettiford as the second bassist), Jackson joined Woody Herman's transitional orchestra and was partly responsible for the group adding many young modernists to the personnel, resulting in the First Herd. Jackson was with Herman during 1943-1946 (appearing on many recordings). After Herman broke up the band, Jackson played with Charlie Ventura's septet (1947) and had his own small group that toured Scandinavia. A second tour with Herman (1948) was followed by a period leading his own big band (1948-1949), more work with Ventura (1951), and a period co-leading a combo with Bill Harris. Chubby Jackson spent the 1950s as a studio musician, freelancer, and a host of his own children's television show. After periods living in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, he eventually settled in San Diego in semi-retirement, although Jackson occasionally emerged, including for a stint with Lionel Hampton (1978-1979) and with Herman reunion groups. Even in retirement, Jackson seemed tireless, helping to organize cultural events for senior citizens and briefly hosting a cable TV jazz program. Jackson passed away in San Diego on October 1, 2003 after a protracted battle with cancer.
Scott Yanow

01. I gotcha covered 2:49
02. Bass face 2:36
03. Popsie 2:29
04. Don't get too wild child 2:48
05. 1-2-3-4 jump 2:37
06. Skyscraper 3:07
07. Northwest passage 2:51
08. Cryin' sands 3:06
09. Cross country 2:55
10. Characteristically B.H. 3:02
11. Mean to me 3:25
12. She's funny that way 3:19
13. Head quarters 2:55
14. Head hunters 2:43
15. Sam's caravan 3:08
16. Two heads better than one 2:49
17. The happy monster 2:49
18. L'ana 2:47
19. Follow the leader 3:04
20. "Mom" Jackson 3:05
21. Lemon drop 3:00
22. Cryin' sands 2:55
23. Boomsie 2:53
24. Crown pilots 2:50
25. Begin the beguine 3:03
26. Dee Dee's dance 2:38

Tracks 1-4:

Neal Hefti (tp)
Flip Phillips (ts)
Ralph Burns (p)
Billy Bauer (g)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Dave Tough (d)

Recorded in Chicago, on July 1, 1944

Tracks 5-6:

Neal Hefti (tp)
Bill Harris (tb)
Woody Herman (cl)
Flip Phillips (ts)
Marjorie Hyams (vb)
Billy Bauer (g)
Ralph Burns (p)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Dave Tough (d)

Recorded in New York, on September 27, 1944

Tracks 7-8:

Howard McGhee (tp)
Bill Harris (tb)
Flip Phillips (ts)
Billy Bauer (g)
Ralph Burns (p)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Dave Tough (d)

Recorded in New York, on February 2, 1945

Tracks 9-12:

Pete Candoli (tp)
Bill Harris (tb)
Flip Phillips (ts)
Billy Bauer (g)
Ralph Burns (p)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Alvin Borroughs (d)

Recorded in New York, on April 5, 1945

Tracks 13-16:

Tony Aless (p)
Billy Bauer (g)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Arnold Fishkin (b)
Shelly Manne (d)

Recorded in New York, on November 29, 1945.

Tracks 17-20:

Conte Candoli (tp)
Emmet Carls (ts)
Tony Aless (p)
Billy Bauer (g)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Mel Zelnick (d)

Recorded in New York, on May 22, 1947

Tracks 21-26

Conte Candoli (tp)
Frank Socolow (ts)
Terry Gibbs (vb)
Lou Levy (p)
Chubby Jackson (b)
Denzil Best (d)

Recorded in Stockholm, on December 20, 1947

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dave Brubeck ~ Dave Brubeck Trio

The Dave Brubeck Trio, which made its home in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1949-51, played a role in jazz more far-reaching than its short lifespan would indicate. Fortunately for record collectors, the numerous strands of the Trio's significance can be traced directly to the recordings reissued in this collection. These recordings launched the career of Dave Brubeck, inaugurated Cal Tjader's prolific career on records, involved some near-comic, early attempts to record on tape instead of acetate, and turned out to be the seeds from which grew Fantasy Records, the world's largest jazz record producer.
Although the Trio was the best showcase for Brubeck's talents as a pianist, his first love at the time was his experimental Octet. (The Octet eventually recorded, but not unti! the Trio had proved itself commercially.) In the Octet, members were applying the techniques of modern classica) composition to jazz. They were not alone in these endeavors during the late 1940s; others were ClaudeThornhill, Stan Kenton, Bob Graettinger, George Russell, and Gil Evans. While others were successfully writing for the large ensemble, Brubeck was the first to succeed in navigating these "cool" waters with a small combo.

Fantasy F 24726

Side 1:
1. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
2. Lullaby In Rhythm
3. Singin' In The Rain
4. I'll Remember April
5. Body And Soul
6. Let's Fall In Love

Side 2:
1. Laura
2. Indiana
3. Blue Moon
4. Tea For Two
5. Undecided
6. That Old Black Magic

Side 3:
1. September Song
2. Sweet Georgia Brown
3. Spring Is Here
4. 'S Wonderful
5. Perfidia
6. Avalon

Side 4:
1. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
2. Always
3. How High the Moon
4. Squeeze Me
5. Heart And Soul
6. Too Marvelous For Words

Dave Brubeck - piano
Cal Tjader - vibes, drums
Ron Crotty - bass

Side 1 and Side 2, # 1-2 were originally released as Fantasy 10" LP 3-1 (The Dave Brubeck Trio / Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals).
Side 2, # 2-6 and Side 3, # 1-4 originally released as Fantasy 10" LP 3-2 (same title).
Sfide 3, # 5-6 and Side 4 originally released as Fantasy 10" LP 3-4 (same title)
Recorded during 1950-51.

Lennie Tristano/Buddy DeFranco ~ Croscurrents

"At eight o'clock, one Friday evening, May 13 of this year," jazz critic Barry Ulanov wrote in the September 1949 issue of Metronome, "after two hours of more orthodox recording, five men grouped themselves around two microphones and began to make permanent the most audacious experiment yet attempted in jazz. The men were Lennie Tristano, Billy Bauer, Arnold Fishkin, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. The experiment was to create a spontaneous music, out of skill and intuition, which should be at once' atonal, contrapuntal and improvised on a jazz base. Capitol was bewildered by and uncertain about what it heard. Two of the four sides recorded that night were erased from the tape, and the remaining two were put away."

The rest of this side shows how the cool concept was worked out by others. In the combo he Ied during 1949, DeFranco used it to modernize the Benny Goodman sextet tradition without really breaking any new ground. The interesting contributions on these three tracks come from guitarist Jimmy Raney, the Lee Konitz of the guitar.
During this period an attempt was made to feature Bill Harris an underrated, but virile and warm-blooded trombone player - in cool surroundings. Even though everyone concerned, including arranger Neal Hefti, obviously did his best to make the most of it, a recording such as Opus 96 mainly serves to drive home the fact that in the so-called cool school Lennie Tristano was the only master.

During our Capitol recording session in May 1949 some significant things happened. Alter we did the conventional part of the date, we did the two free sides, "Intuition" and "Digression". As soon as we began playing the engineer threw up his hands and left his machine. The A & R man and the management thought I was such an idiot that they refused to pay me for the sides and to release them. Free form means playing without a fixed chord progression; without a time signature; without a specified tempo. I had been working with my men in this context for several years so that the music which resulted was not haphazard or hit and miss.
Several months after that Capitol date, Symphony Sid who was a prominent disc jockey during that period, managed to grab a copy of those two free form sides. He played them three of four times a week on his nightly show over a period of several years. Through that, Capitol records received enough requests for those two sides to warrant re-leasing them. And, of course, they did pay me for them.
In view of the fact that 15 years later a main part of the jazz scene turned into free form, I think this incident is very significant. These two sides were completely spontaneously improvised. A lot of people who heard them thought they were compositions. To my knowledge Miles Davis is the only noted musician who acknowledged in print the real nature of the music on those sides. ~ Lennie Tristano

Capitol M 11060

A1 Wow
A2 Crosscurrent
A3 Yesterdays
A4 Marionette
A5 Sax Of A Kind
A6 Intuition
A7 Degression
B1 A Bird On Igor's Yard
B2 This Time The Dream's On Me
B3 Extrovert
B4 Good For Nothing Joe
B5 Aishie
B6 Opus 96

Lee Konitz - alto sax
Warne Marsh - tenor sax
Lennie Tristano - piano
Billy Bauer - guitar
Arnold Fishkin - bass
Harod Granowsky - drums
Denzil Best (dr)
NYC, March 4, 1949

Lennie Tristano - piano
Billy Bauer - guitar
Arnold Fishkin - bass
Harod Granowsky - drums
Denzil Best (dr)
NYC, March 14, 1949

Lee Konitz - alto sax
Warne Marsh - tenor sax
Lennie Tristano - piano
Billy Bauer - guitar
Arnold Fishkin - bass
Denzil Best - drums
NYC, March 16, 1949

Bernie Glow - trumpet
Paul Cohen - trumpet
James Pupa - trumpet
Jack Eagle - trumpet
Ollie Wilson - trombone
Earl Swope - trombone
Bart Varsalona - trombone
Buddy De Franco - clarinet
Lee Konitz - alto sax
Frank Socolow - alto sax
Al Cohn - tenor sax
Jerry Sanfino - tenor sax
Serge Chaloff - baritone sax
Gene DiNovi - piano
Oscar Pettiford - bass
Irv Kluger - drums
NYC, April 23, 1949

Buddy De Franco - clarinet
Harvey Leonard - piano
Jimmy Raney - guitar
Teddy Charles - vibes
Bob Carter - bass
Max Roach - drums
NYC, August 24, 1949

Stan Fishelson - trumpet
Bill Harris - trombone
Sam Marowitz  - clarinet
Milt Yaner - bass clarinet
Hal Feldman - oboe
Fred Pfeiffer - french horn
Lou Stein - piano
Eddie Safranski - bass
Shelly Manne - drums
NYC, November 2, 1949

Sunday, May 22, 2011

James Moody - Something Special

For his debut on Novus, James Moody (switching between tenor, alto and flute) performs four of Tom McIntosh's moody originals, the standard "More Than You Know" and an updated version of "I'm In The Mood For Love." With strong assistance from pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Idris Muhammad, Moody takes some chances during this date and stretches himself, showing that he was not content to rely on bebop cliches. All of James Moody's recordings are worthwhile and this one is certainly above-average. - Scott Yanow

James Moody (tenor sax, alto sax, flute)
Kirk Lightsey (piano)
Todd Coolman (bass)
Idris Muhammad (drums)

1. Moody's Mood Update
2. Real Feels Good
3. Nubian Fantasies
4. Transfer to Manhattan
5. More Than You Know
6. Inside Lover
7. Shake, Rattle and Boogie

Recorded July 1 & 2, 1986

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getz/Sims/Quinichette/Gray ~ Tenors Anyone?

Drawn from various sessions in the 1940s, this LP collects tracks by four then up-and-coming jazz saxophone legends. What all have in common is their chief influence, Lester Young, whose heartfelt tone helped to change jazz after his emergence in the 1930s.
All four tenor saxophonists here epitomize class, melody, and swing, and all adapted to innovations in bebop and cool jazz. While Stan Getz is perhaps the best known of the four, all are Captains of Cool and well-worth hearing

Dawn DLP 1125

A1 These Foolish Things
A2 Blues For A Month Of May
A3 I Should Care
A4 Along This Time Last Year
B1 Skull Buster
B2 It's The Tal Of The Town
B3 Ante Room
B4 Pennies From Heavem
B5 In A Pinch
B6 Poop Deck

A1 and A4
Gene Roland - trumpet
Paul Quinichette - tenor sax
Nat Pierce - piano
Freddie Green - guitar
Wendell Marshall - bass
Sonny Payne - drums
NYC, October 1956

A2 and A3
Jerry Lloyd - trumpat
Zoot Sims - tenor sax
John Williams - piano
Bill Anthony - bass
Gus Johnson - drums
NYC, August 1956

B1, B3, B4 and B6
Stan Getz - tenor sax
Al Haig - piano
Jimmy Raney - guitar
Gene Ramey - bass
Charlie Perry - drums
Carlos Vidal - conga
NYC, May 12, 1949

B2 and B5
Wardell Grey - tenor sax
Al Haig - piano
Jimmy Raney - guitar
Tommy Potter - bass
Roy Haynes - drums
NYC, April 1949

Friday, May 20, 2011

Joe Morello ~ It's About Time

Awe-inspiring, stirring, soothing. These words can best describe the adventurous music led by legendary drummer Joe Morello. Here in this recording are tracks breathing alive with flair and resonance. The songs of spontaneous beauty, some speedy and some relaxed, seem to soar off the spinning black record. Others, such as the romantic, sullen “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” seem to possess a dreamy, ethereal quality, delighting young couples toward a romantic mood. In the song “Just in Time,” Morello sets the pace with a dashing, daring timbre, giving Phil Woods the freedom to explore melodically creative territory on his lush-sounding alto sax. Woods has been regarded as one of the finest sax soloists in the post-bop era. Gary Burton also receives creative expression to expand the record’s musical variety in the use of a merry-go-round-like vibraphone. “Every limit in jazz and popular music has been stretched and broken with the passing years. Technical skills have been sharpened; musicians have turned what was once dazzling virtuosity into the professional norm.” These are the written words of music critic George Avakian, who sincerely expresses the fact that jazz as an art has evolved to enter new heights, a startling yet fascinating new frontier in its creative direction. Thanks are due to Morello, who toured with his musical compatriot Dave Brubeck and his quartet, playing to well-received crowds largely in the ’60s. Morello, the percussionist that he is, gave the jazz and musical world new ground to explore, concerning the field of timbre and percussive measures. He improvs in everything, including 6/4, 3/4, and 5/4, in this collection of songs. Though present in the back of the group, his leadership provides tremendous drive and sweeping force, eagerly inspiring Woods and Burton to reach and express their musical senses. Gene Cherico adds the baritone flavor on his steady marching walking bass, while John Bunch displays sweeping melody notes sitting down at the piano. This record is compelling and free-spirited, giving listeners a delightful picture of some of the best in ’60s jazz. ~ Shawn M. Haney

In 1961, Joe Morello, drummer with the Dave Brubeck Quartet for the past six years (with six more years to go), received an opportunity to lead his own album. It's About Time featured ten songs with the word "time" in their title. Of these, six quintet selections (starring Phil Woods and a young Gary Burton) and four other songs (which has the quintet augmented by a brass section) are on this LP. A powerful drummer with impressive technique, Morello is also a master of subtlety and, although an important part of this set, does not dominate the music. With Manny Albam contributing the arrangements, It's About Time was a happy surprise, a hard-driving set of swinging music.

RCA Victor LSP 2484

Side A
1 I Didn't Know What Time It Was
2 Time After Time
3 Every Time
4 Every Time We Say Goodbye
5 Just In Time

Side B
1 Summertime
2 Time On My Hands
3 Mother Time
4 Fatha Time
5 It's About Time

A2 and A3 were recorded on June 6, 1961 at RCA Studio A, NYC
Personnel: Phil Woods (sax), John Bunch (p), Gary Burton (vib), Gene Cherico (b), Joe Morello (dr)
A5, B1, B3 and B5 were recorded on June 15, 1961 at RCA Studio A, NYC
Personnel: same as above
A1, A4, B2 and B5 were recorded on June 7and 9, 1061 at Webster Hall, NYC
Personnel: Manny Albam (cond), Phil Woods (sax), Ernie Royal (tp[June 7]) or Nick Travis (tp[June 9]), Doc Severinsen (tp[June 7]) or Clark Terry (tp[June 9]), Bob Brookmeyer (trb), Urbie Green (trb), Richard Hixon (trb), Harvey Phillips (tuba), John Bunch (p), Gary Burton (vib), Gene Cherico (b), Joe Morello (dr)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phil Wilson & Makoto Ozone - Live at the Berklee Performance Center

Berklee has produced numerous jazz alumni who have made a name for themselves as instrumentalists and bandleaders, though few seem to be recorded while still studying there. This 1982 concert pairs veteran trombonist and longtime Berklee faculty member Phil Wilson with the talented young pianist Makoto Ozone, who was only 21 at the time of the performance. Yet Ozone demonstrates an incredible depth of knowledge for his tender age, fusing the influences of earlier greats with his own developing style, becoming a superb partner for the wily Wilson. The delicious opener, "Stella by Starlight," with flashes of Oscar Peterson during his heyday in Ozone's playing, is an obvious highlight. Wilson's vocal-like solo is sensitively backed by the younger player, while the duo has plenty of fun diving into Ray Brown's playful "Gravy Waltz." Perhaps the biggest surprise is to hear Ozone venture into vintage jazz with Wilson, engaging in some slick stride piano in "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me." The two men pull out all the stops in their rapid-fire interpretation of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." Previously issued on LP with limited distribution, this Capri CD reissue reveals the strength of a seasoned trombonist and the promise of an emerging pianist who has made a mark of his own in the decades following this concert. - Ken Dryden

Phil Wilson (trombone)
Makoto Ozone (piano)

1. Stella by Starlight
2. Here's That Rainy Day
3. Gravy Waltz
4. These Are the Days
5. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me
6. Giant Steps

Recorded November 2, 1982

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dizzy Gillespie - 1957 The Greatest Trumpet Of Them All

Beyond the meaningless controversy presented by Leonard Feather in the original liner notes as to who plays “the greatest jazz trumpet” (how can you compare the likes of individual geniuses such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge and Clifford Brown, to name but a few?), The Greatest Trumpet of Them All is a truly interesting album. It presented Dizzy Gillespie in a relatively new context: an octet featuring the arrangements of Gigi Gryce and Benny Golson. Two of the most creative composers and arrangers of their time, they were also wonderful instrumentalists who formed part of the octet. Golson had first recorded with Diz in 1956 as a member of Gillespie’s big band. Gryce had been a member of the trumpeter’s orchestra in 1955 (participating on a recording session for Norman Granz on September 12 of that year), but wouldn’t record with Diz again until The Greatest Trumpet of Them All, which would mark their final recorded collaboration. The contrast between Gillespie’s trumpet and Golson and Gryce’s compositions and arrangements is quite interesting and differentiates this LP from other albums by Diz in which he tended to present more “popular” material or to clown a bit while singing on some tracks. This is by far a more serious project, and Gillespie limits himself to playing his horn. While it can be argued that he alone was not the greatest trumpeter of all time, it is an indisputable fact that Dizzy was certainly one of the greatest trumpeters of them all.


As always, you can also consider Yanow's opinion:

The title given this LP may very well be true, but this particular session is surprisingly restrained. Dizzy Gillespie is heard in an octet with tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, altoist Gigi Gryce, trombonist Henry Coker and baritonist Pee Wee Moore, but the Golson arrangements seem to inhibit the trumpeter and the repertoire (mostly by Golson and Gryce) fails to inspire Gillespie. For many other jazz musicians this would be a "good" or even "fine" effort, but Dizzy Gillespie has recorded too much classic music for this disappointment to rate very high.
Scott Yanow

01. Blues After Dark (Golson) 6:29
02. Seabreeze (Norman- Douglas/arr.Gryce) 3:17
03. Out Of The Past (Golson) 5:32
04. Shabozz (Gryce) 6:00
05. Reminiscing (Gryce) 4:50
06. A Night At Tony’s (Gryce) 5:11
07. Smoke Signals (Gryce) 5:04
08. Just By Myself (Golson) 4:47

Orginally issued in LP as Verve MGV-8352.

The Dizzy Gillespie Octet:
Dizzy Gillespie (tp)
Henry Coker (tb)
Gigi Gryce (as)
Benny Golson (ts)
Pee Wee Moore (bs)
Ray Bryant (p)
Tommy Bryant (b)
Charlie Persip (d)

Recorded in New York City, on December 17, 1957.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Warren Vaché & John Allred - Top Shelf

Warren Vaché and John Allred have played numerous times together, working at jazz parties and club dates, as well as making an earlier CD for Arbors. Accompanied by pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Nicki Parrott, and drummer Leroy Williams, they explore more than a few forgotten gems that have plenty of potential, starting with the snappy rendition of trumpeter Blue Mitchell's "Top Shelf," a breezy bop vehicle with on-the-money ensembles and tight solos all around. Thelonious Monk's "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues" is one of his less frequently performed works, but the quintet plays it with the wry sense of humor that is a part of many of the jazz legend's pieces. Cannonball Adderley's sassy, loping blues "Spontaneous Combustion" is full of fire, while Parrott's bop vehicle "Aussieology" crackles with energy as well. There are a number of familiar songs as well. The interplay between the leaders is the highlight of the standard "By Myself." The quintet begins with a free-form introduction to "Parisian Thoroughfare" that is somewhat reminiscent of the hilarious duo recording by Jaki Byard and Roland Kirk, though their interpretation is at a far more relaxed tempo, much like a brisk stroll that still allows time to see the sights. Top Shelf is a welcome alternative to the many jazz CDs of all originals by young unknowns or all familiar repertoire by artists of all ages. - Ken Dryden

Warren Vaché (cornet)
John Allred (trombone)
Tardo Hammer (piano)
Nicki Parrott (bass)
Leroy Williams (drums)

1. Top Shelf
2. Sweet Pumpkin
3. Aussieology
4. Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues
5. Moonlight in Vermont
6. Tiny Capers
7. The Best Thing for You
8. Spontaneous Combustion
9. By Myself
10. My Romance
11. Whisper Not
12. East of the Sun
13. Parisian Thoroughfare

Recorded June 8 & 9, 2009

Monday, May 9, 2011

Harry Babasin And The Jazz Pickers

With the help of my friend "paomag", I could assemble my "cd-puzzle"... Thanks Paolo

Mode producer Red Clyde was always open to innovative jazz ideas, so when Downbeat editor
John Tynan suggested that he record Harry Babasin's experimental group, it was only a matter of time before the jazzpickers were assembled at Radio Recorders for this recording date. Harry Babasin began experimenting with creating a group that featured the cello in a jazz setting while producing great recordings for Nocturne Records in 1954, when he formed The Jazzpickers. The concept behind The Jazzpickers was that it was to be pianoless and consist of string and percussion instruments only. For this recording date, Harry brought together Terry Gibbs, guitarist Dempsey Wright, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Bill Douglass to perform 5 of his original compositions and three standards. The interplay between Harry Babasin's pizzicato solos and Terry Gibbs' vibes makes this session thoroughly satisfying, not only because of the conceptual instrumentation, but because of the melodic West Coast Jazz sound that is a quintessential element of Harry Babasin's various recordings.

Harry Babasin was (along with Oscar Pettiford) probably the first bassist to play jazz cello. This CD reissue of a set originally for the MOD (Music of the Day) label features Babasin's Jazz Pickers (a quartet with guitarist Dempsey Wright, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Bill Douglass), plus guest vibraphonist Terry Gibbs. The music (five Babasin originals and three veteran standards) swings hard but lightly with Babasin's cello solos being the date's most unusual feature. *Scott Yanow*

1 - Thou Swell
2 - Wingo
3 - Basin Street Blues
4 - Pee Wee
5 - De Ge
6 - Hoppy
7 - These Foolish Things
8 - On Bear Hill

Harry Babasin (cello), Terry Gibbs (vibes), Dempsey Wright (guitar), Ben Tucker (bass), Bill Douglass (drums); Hollywood, July 1957.