Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Woody Herman - Complete Columbia Recordings 1945-1947 (Mosaic)

"Woody Herman’s tremendous success in the mid '40s was one the last bright moments during the tail end of the Swing Era. At a time when the big bands were being decisively challenged by a growing trend towards small groups, the burning excitement and new sounds of the Herman band stemmed the tide, at least for a moment. Playing the brilliant arrangements of the 22 year old Ralph Burns, Herman and his Thundering Herds made music that is as electrifying today as it was six decades ago." - Loren Schoenberg, liner notes

From the Mosaic site:

This is it. This is THE set.

These are the recordings that introduced a new sound and fury to band music in the 1940s. The musicians and arrangers whose names you think of first. The songs that topped the charts then, and are most-remembered today. All from the one bandleader ahead of anyone else.

Here they are, massively collected on seven CDs from the Columbia vaults for the first time anywhere: Woody Herman’s First Herd, plus first recordings by The Second Herd, and the “group within the group,” The Woodchoppers. It’s a set we’ve been eager to release for years now, documenting the early evolution of one of the most important voices in jazz.

But given Mosaic’s mania for completeness, we’ve found much more than the Herds you know. The set’s 141 tracks include a whopping 35 alternate takes and 10 previously unissued tunes. You’ll listen in during rehearsals, and discover significant but rejected takes, on such timeless hits as "Apple Honey,” "Caldonia,” "Goosey Gander,” "The Good Earth,” "Wild Root,” "Igor," "Sidewalks of Cuba,” and "Keen and Peachy.” There are also extended works done by the band, including "Lady McGowan's Dream" and the classic "Summer Sequence (Part 4)" which includes a previously unissued alternate featuring a Serge Chaloff solo after the famous Stan Getz solo. You’ll recognize it – the piece later became the Getz feature "Early Autumn."

All these revealing delights are presented in lavish Mosaic style with sound re-mastered to our demanding specifications almost entirely from the original lacquer discs.

From the rhythmically-inspired “The Good Earth” and the electrifying crowd-pleaser “Caldonia” to the cool, career-breaking “Four Brothers,” Herman’s accomplishments are even more noteworthy when you consider they came largely after the popularity of big bands had tapered.

Musicians and Music Lovers

The Herd’s roots are in the dance organizations that employed Herman in the 1930s. Herman -- a clarinetist -- worked around Chicago and on the road in a number of different bands, and finally began building his own. While he had a couple of blues hits, the band didn’t do much of any great significance until the mid-1940s when he and his members fell under the spell of two extraordinary influences: Ellington and bebop.

Herman’s men were different from the rest. They didn’t just work in music – they were into it. They carried records with them on the road and listened to the best of everything in jazz. Compositionally, that meant Ellington. Improvisationally, it meant bebop. “I would say that I got into jazz when I got into Woody Herman's band,” Neal Hefti, trumpeter and arranger, related later.

Hefti was one of many arrangers working with Herman in those years who gave the band its distinctive voice. The others included Chubby Jackson, Ralph Burns, Flip Phillips and Bill Harris. The blend of modern writing and improvising over traditionally-powered big band arrangements is what makes the music sound fresh -- even today. The soloing was top notch as well, by Harris, Pete Candoli, Shorty Rogers, Red Norvo and others.

The first five discs are all First Herd and you owe it to yourself to hear again what was going on with this band. It’s clear these arrangers were devouring everything they could find, incorporating much that was revolutionary, inspirational, eclectic and surprising into what was essentially a popular form. In addition to the gems listed earlier, you’ll find vocalist Frances Wayne’s signature “Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe” and the “Ebony Concerto,” composed for the band and conducted by Igor Stravinsky.

One disc by the Woodchoppers (a pared-down group of the top players from the first orchestra) includes, on many previously unissued takes, the fleet soloing of Sonny Berman on trumpet, Harris on trombone, Herman, Phillips on tenor saxophone, vibist Red Norvo, Rogers or Jimmy Rowles on piano, guitarists Billy Bauer and Chuck Wayne, Jackson or Joe Mondragon on bass, Don Lamond on drums and the arrangements of Ralph Burns.

A Sound Shift

After disbanding in 1946 while Herman tried to become a homebody, he ended up forming what would be called The Second Herd within a year. The group had an unmistakably different attitude that can be summed up in a few names: Herbie Steward, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz and Serge Chaloff. Later, Steward would be replaced by Al Cohn, but this Second Herd also became known as the Four Brothers band because of the Jimmy Guiffre hit that featured the saxophone section. These guys played it cool, in the Lester Young style. Their attitude defined this group more than the fire of Herman’s previous organization. Steward’s uncomplicated lines; Chaloff’s emotionalism; Sims’ light, natural swing; Getz’s impeccable phrasing; Cohn’s rich tone. Together, they blended like nothing anyone had heard before.

“Four Brothers” is the classic from the Second Herd, but you’ll pour over fourteen more gems and nine previously unheard alternates within these recordings.

All in all, the set cleans up once and for all the convoluted release of music from three 78 album sets, one EP, two 10-in LPs, seven 12-inch LPs, and two CDs. Our full-sized booklet corrects the inaccuracies rampant in every discography of the band’s work, and includes a loving essay by musician and music historian Loren Schoenberg. Rare photos of the band at the Paramount Theatre and the RKO Theater in Boston complete what is, by far, one of Mosaic's finer releases.

Hampton Hawes - Live At The Montmartre

Hamp's wife was a teacher on sabbatical, and while in Europe he got in touch with Randi Hultin, the great friend to so many expatriate American musicians. (Her Born Under The Sign Of Jazz is a worthwhile book to read.) She started him playing at some local gigs andput him in touch with a number of other musicians.

Hamp played an acoustic set at the Montmartre, which was the home club of Kenny Drew, Dexter Gordon (who appears here on a 13 minute track) and others.

"Hampton Hawes, a bop-oriented pianist in the '50s, continued to develop and evolve throughout his career without losing his musical identity. For this trio set with bassist Henry Franklin and drummer Michael Carvin, Hawes shows the influence of McCoy Tyner a bit and, by performing Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love with You" (along with four other group originals), he shows his openness to including some pop material in his repertoire (although his explorative version owes little to the original hit tune). This excellent live session has plenty of close interplay by the tight trio."- Scott Yanow

Hampton Hawes (piano)
Dexter Gordon (tenor sax) on Dexter's Deck
Henry Franklin (bass)
Michael Carvin (drums)

1. Camel
2. Little Miss Laurie
3. Broad Blue Acres
4. This Guy's In Love With You
5. Footprints
6. Spanish Way
7. Dexter's Deck

"Cafe Montmartre", Jazzhus, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2, 1971

Diz and Getz [Remastered] (1953)

In 1953 Dizzy Gillespie was at the height of his musical powers, acknowledged as being one of the founders of Bebop with Charlie Parker and ready to take on anybody in a battle of jazz improvisation. He had ideas to spare and a technique that enabled him to play them as he thought of them.

Stan Getz had come to fame with the Woody Herman Four Brothers Band, where his solo on Early Autumn remains a jazz legend. At the time of this recording, he was ten years younger that Diz, just 26 years of age. I doubt whether Diz had played with him before.

There was therefore quite an element of competition on this session, which was organized by Norman Granz of JATP fame. It proved to be a meeting of jazz giants in which there is no clear winner, the playing of both men is of the highest calibre and the music they produced is what jazz is all about. Every track whether fast, very fast or slow, swings along well and both Stan and Diz produce the kind of solos we know they are capable of, full of inspiration and invention.

Oscar Petersen says of the session "Diz was going to eat someone that day and I was determined that it was not going to be me" The Oscar Peterson Quartet was probably the only rhythm section around at the time, that could have provided what was needed. In Oscar’s case of course there is always his own solos, I can’t get enough of them, and to me he is the finest jazz piano player ever.

It Don’t Mean a Thing is taken at 100 miles an hour, Max Roach handles this very fast tempo brilliantly and Diz and Stan are both on top form. I Let Song features both men and again, it is difficult to say who comes out on top, both are excellent. Exactly Like You has some excellent interplay between the horns as well as more admirable solo work. It’s the Talk has Dizzy going straight into the improvisation and Stan demonstrating what an excellent ballad player he is.

Impromptu kicks off with a number of driving choruses from Oscar, once again the tempo is fast and furious. Stan and Diz then demonstrate another facet of they’re playing, handling the up-tempo blues in brilliant style.

One Alone is from another session a year later and it really has no place in the album, Dizzy is the only musician in common with the rest of the music.

This is an excellent album and I am delighted that VERVE has seen fit to make it available again, it is a jazz classic. - Don Mather

Tracks 1-5, 7 and 8

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

Recorded December 9, 1953 in Hollywood

Track 6

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
Wade Legge (piano)
Lou Hackney (bass)
Charli Persip (drums)

Recorded May 25, 1954 in New York City

  1. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
  2. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart
  3. Exactly Like You
  4. It's the Talk of the Town
  5. Impromptu
  6. One Alone
  7. Girl of My Dreams
  8. Siboney (Parts 1 and 2)

Sonny Stitt ~ New York Scene

Sonny has the Tenor and the Alto going on this one. I Know That You Know could easily pass as a Charlie Parker recording--which probably would have annoyed Stitt, nevertheless, it's true. Anything that features Jo Jones is going to smoke (in addition to Ray Brown and Jimmy Jones. Recorded September 14, 1956 at Fine Sound Studios in, you guessed it, NYC. Here is the esteemed Mr. Jurek with some more verbiage:

by Thom Jurek
Sonny Stitt was so closely identified with Charlie Parker on the alto that even when he played tenor, his style was of the quicker-than-lightning variety with all the notes he could pack in a phrase in his soloing. Which makes listening to him, for all but the most ardent bebop fans, an endurance contest no matter how agile he was. Here, in a 1956 session with Ray Brown and Jo and Jimmy Jones backing him, there is some tempering of the maelstrom that Stitt conjured up on every bandstand. Half the program is ballads, including "The Stars Fell on Alabama," a gorgeous "Body & Soul," and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea." While these cuts show an uncharacteristic restraint from Stitt, the midtempo tunes, such as "Down Home Blues," "Alone Together," and "If I Had You," still reveal his insistence on streaking everything into the blue despite a rhythm section that wishes to hold the tunes within recognizable tempos. It's no problem for Stitt; he just plays twice or three times as fast. This is a good session, but like all of Stitt's records, wears thin after about six cuts. (WBF: like all critics, Jurek listens with his head up his ass)

J.J. Johnson - Complete Columbia Small Group Sessions

This seven-CD limited-edition box set from Mosaic is another mind-boggling collection. The masterful trombonist J.J. Johnson recorded steadily for Columbia during the 1956-61 period, heading groups that ranged from quartets to sextets that performed solid hard bop. Johnson is joined on various selections by tenors Bobby Jaspar (doubling on flute) and Clifford Jordan; cornetist Nat Adderley; the young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard; pianists Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton, and Victor Feldman; bassists Percy Heath, Wilbur Little, Paul Chambers, Spanky DeBrest, Arthur Harper, and Sam Jones; and drummers Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Albert "Tootie" Heath, and Louis Hayes. The music was originally issued on nine LPs; plus, there are 21 previously unreleased selections. Johnson's high-quality and consistently inventive playing is quite impressive, making this box a true must for his greatest fans. Scott Yanow

This set starts out with a medium-tempo version of ''I Should Care,'' taken from Johnson's time at Columbia between 1956 and 1961. The piece sets the tone for the collection, and much of the music is blessed with calmness and intelligence. Johnson's band mates include Hank Jones, Cedar Walton and Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and the drummers Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Albert (Tootie) Heath. In its patience, the music is a response to the challenges of be-bop. It is mainstream jazz at its best, adult and literate. PETER WATROUS

Ray Barretto - Acid

By the time 1968 rolled around, Ray Barretto was a celebrated studio session player whose hard-driving conga rhythms could be heard all over the records of Dizzy Gillespie, Cal Tjader, Cannonball Adderley, and countless others. Once he dropped Acid onto the music world, Barretto firmly established a reputation for himself as an innovator in his own right.

Like the drug itself, Acid had a mind-expanding influence on everyone, allowing for a far more adventurous and eclectic edge to slip into New York's Latin music scene. A lot less psychedelic than its title and cover might lead you to believe, Acid remains one of the most far-out fusions of Latin and soul music ever conceived.

Catchy as hell, the records four original Latin/soul numbers (”Mercy, Mercy Baby”, “The Soul Drummers”, “A Deeper Shade of Soul” and “Teacher of Love”) are obscure classics loaded with plenty of vintage '60s soul references—punchy James Brown and Stax Records sounding horns, thickly grooving bass lines, fat-back drums, and cliche soul catch-phrases such as “What I say,” “Lord have mercy,” “Come on, come on baby” and “Sock it to me!”

El Nuevo Barretto (The New Barretto)” opens the album on familiar ground, with its high-energy boogaloo-styled salsa sung passionately in Spanish. With the second track, “Mercy, Mercy Baby,” the sound shifts dramatically as soul gets a serious drenching in hot sauce. The band chants “Mercy, Mercy Baby” behind Memphis-styled horns, catchy lyrics, timbales, and Barretto's kicking congas. The title track, “Acid,” opens up sparsely with a lazy hypnotic bass and percussion groove over which stretches the muted trumpet sounds of Rene Lopez (who was soon to be drafted and shipped off to Vietnam). After a rock-steady timbales solo by Orestes Vilato, the band begins calling out “Barretto, Barretto,” and master Ray steps forward, obliging them with one of his most fiery and intense conga solos ever. The lyrics on “The Soul Drummers” totally sums up the record: “Have you heard them cooking / The Soul Drummers / well they play so cool / Soul Drummers / so hard to resist / Soul Drummers / with the African twist.”

The album's most psychedelic soul sounds can be heard on its closing track, the appropriately titled “Espiritu Libre (Free Spirit).” This instrumental opens with some pretty far out-there trumpet statements that sound as if they could've come straight off of Bitches Brew—pretty advanced stuff for a 1968 Latin record! The track builds into a full blown drum-heated jam flavored with odd rhythmic time-signatures, passionate brass, and feverish bass lines, bringing the album to a satisfying peak that leaves you in bad need of a smoke.

Acid turned on a lot of important players with its irresistible blending of Latin and soul music, significantly helping to bring about the rise of the Afro-Latin funk revolution.
~John Ballon

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Don Ellis - Soaring (1973)

Soaring and Haiku are the only Don Ellis albums that have not as yet been reissued on CD. Even if you don't like Don Ellis you should get this one just for Vince Denham's feature on "Invincible" - a remarkable performance.

"The last album by Don Ellis' big band before the trumpeter suffered a heart attack that would ultimately cut short both his career and his life, this underrated set finds Ellis' orchestra consisting of seven brass (including tuba), four strong woodwind players, a string quartet, and an enlarged six-piece rhythm section that includes guitarist Jay Graydon and keyboardist Milcho Leviev. A special highlight is "Invincible" which is an outstanding feature for altoist Vince Denham; whatever happened to him? Ellis composed four of the eight originals including one titled "The Devil Made Me Write This Piece!" This out-of-print Lp is well worth searching for". - Scott Yanow

Don Ellis - trumpet, electronic trumpet, drums (on 3); Gil Rathel, Bruce Mackay, Jack Caudill - trumpets; Mike Jamieson, Ken Sawhill - trombones; Fred Selden, Vince Denham, Sam Falzone, Gary Herbig - woodwinds; Sidney Muldrow - french horn; Doug Bixby - tuba; Joel Quivey, Earle Corry, Renita Koven, Pat Kudzia - strings; Milcho Leviev - keyboards; Jay Graydon - guitar, bag; Dave McDaniel - bass; Ralph Humphrey - drums; Ron Dunn - drums, percussion; Lee Pastora - congas

1. Whiplash (Hank Levy)
2. Sladka Pitka (Milcho Leviev)
3. The Devil Made Me Write This Piece (Don Ellis)
4. Go Back Home (Sam Falzone)
5. Invincible (Don Ellis)
6. Image of Maria (Don Ellis)
7. Sidonie (Alexej Fried)
8. Nicole (Don Ellis)

West Coast Getz

Maybe one of our clever brothers or sisters can tell us how More West Coast Jazz was two years earlier than West Coast Jazz.

Stan Getz - West Coast Jazz

In August 1955, Getz recorded "West Coast Jazz" in Los Angeles with four other relocated Easterners -- trumpeter Conte Candoli, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Shelly Manne. Despite the fact that this was not your typical "West Coast" session -- the playing was anything but cool or syrupy smooth -- these musicians, along with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Group, would become synonymous with a harder L.A. bop sound that would become the new left coast standard. "West Coast Jazz" features great versions of Miles Davis' "Four," Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia" and Gershwin's "Summertime" among other cuts. This remastered Verve disc also boasts five songs not included on the original LP issue, two alternate takes, and a sumptuous gatefold digipak with extensive liner notes. For anyone who loves Getz albums like "The Steamer" or "Award Winner," or Shelly Manne's "At The Blackhawk" volumes, "West Coast Jazz" is where this sound all started.

Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Lou Levy (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1 - East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
2 - Four
3 - Suddenly It's Spring
4 - A Night In Tunisia
5 - Summertime
6 - S-H-I-N-E
7 - Split Kick
8 - Of Thee I Sing
9 - A Handful Of Stars
10 - Love Is Here To Stay
11 - Serenade In Blue
12 - Of Thee I Sing (Alternative Take)
13 - Love Is Here To Stay (Alternative take)

Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California on August 9, 15, 19, 1955

Stan Getz - More West Coast Jazz (c Japanese edition)

This long out-of-print LP finds the great tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz teaming up with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer in a quiet but hard-swinging quintet. The very complementary horns perform four diverse standards (including "The Varsity Drag" and "Give Me the Simple Life") and Brookmeyer's original "Oh, Jane Snavely" with melodic solos and fine ensemble work. — Scott Yanow

Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes as a Cosmogenic Polyphasic Zygodisc. It is strictly limited to the amount sold.

Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Frank Isola (drums)
John Williams (piano)
Teddy Kotick (bass)

1 Crazy Rhythm
2 Willow Weep for Me
3 I Didn't Know What Time It Was H
4 Tangerine
5 The Nearness of You

Los Angeles,July and August 1953

Jack Sheldon & His All Star Band

Please advise: This is available as a cd; I just happen to like the analog version better. This is actually two different dates, the first side was recorded july 20 1957; side two recorded march 6, 1959. I could not find a definitive listing of who's on what--I trust that the personnel differs between the two sides. What is known is that Lennie Niehaus arranged "Green Dolphin Street" and "I Had the Craziest Dream" (a beautiful solo by Jack) Perhaps the cd version is a little more forthcoming. Paul Moer is credited with the arrangements on side two (1959) It isn't too difficult to distinguish (if you know these musicians, i.e. Art Pepper, Harold Land, Pete Jolly and some very rare section work for Chet Baker) who is soloing, but there again, no credits to verify for certain. One thing that is, though, is that this is very much a "Birth of the Cool" type of album, and it showcases Sheldon tremendously. Niehaus' writing and especially the little known Paul Moer did not cut ANY corners. A sweet album. Now here's something that Scotty boy dashed off in two minutes:
by Scott Yanow
Although the liner notes to this album state that these two sessions were Jack Sheldon's first as a leader, he actually led two full sets for Jazz West during 1954 and 1956, plus three titles for Pacific Jazz in '55. However, this was the initial album to gain wide recognition and helped to introduce the L.A.-based trumpeter's talents to the East Coast. Five selections feature Sheldon with a ten-piece band arranged by Lennie Niehaus
and some have spots for valve trombonist Stu Williamson, pianist Pete Jolly and baritonist Billy Root. The later session features the writing of Paul Moer and such fine soloists as trumpeter Chet Baker (in a rare sideman outing for another trumpeter), altoists Art Pepper and Herb Geller, tenorman Harold Land and valve trombonist Williamson. High-quality and consistently swinging West Coast jazz.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Benny Carter - Central City Sketches (1987)

I've been listening to a lot of Benny Carter lately, including some of the early sides from the Classics series posted by Rab. I've always admired Carter's playing and writing but his stature has increased over the years as I have matured and become more knowledgeable. Like some of his contemporaries - Armstrong, Hodges, Hawkins, et al - Benny Carter was a true original.

"One of the many Benny Carter recordings cut after he returned to jazz on a full-time basis in the mid-'70s, this double-LP set is the jewel among the seemingly countless number of gems. Eight of Carter's compositions are performed by the all-star American Jazz Orchestra ("Doozy" gets two versions) along with his old theme song "Sleep" and his recently written six-part "Central City Sketches." Virtually every player in this big band was a potential star soloist; among the more notable musicians are trombonist Jimmy Knepper, tenors Lew Tabackin and Loren Schoenberg and either John Lewis or Dick Katz on piano. But, as is often the case, Benny Carter frequently steals solo honors and his brief trumpet spot on "Central City Blues" is memorable". - Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (conductor, arranger, alto sax, trumpet)

The American Jazz Orchestra
Musical Director: John Lewis
Trumpets: John Eckert, Virgil Jones, Bob Millikan, Marvin Stamm
Trombones: Eddie Bert, Jack Jeffers, Jimmy Knepper, Britt Woodman
Alto Saxophone, Flute: Bill Easley, John Purcell
Tenor Saxophone: Loren Schoenberg
Tenor Saxophone, Flute: Lew Tabackin
Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet: Danny Bank
Piano: Dick Katz, John Lewis
Guitar: Remo Palmieri
Bass: Ron Carter
Drums: Mel Lewis
  1. Doozy (Second Version)
  2. When Lights Are Low
  3. A Kiss from You
  4. Sleep
  5. Central City Sketches: Central City Blues/Hello/People/Promenade/Remember/Sky Dance
  6. Lonesome Nights
  7. Doozy (First Version)
  8. Easy Money
  9. Symphony in Riffs
  10. Souvenir
  11. Blues in My Heart

Yusef Lateef - Before Dawn

This is one of the most obscure of all Yusef Lateef recordings, one that has even been left out of some discographies. Lateef mostly sticks to tenor (playing only flute on one song and making one appearance on the double-reed arghul) and is featured with his Detroit All-Stars, a quintet also including the up-and-coming trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Hugh Lawson, bassist Ernie Farrow and drummer Louis Hayes. Overall, the set is more bop-oriented than normal, with versions of "Pike's Peak" (based on "What Is This Thing Called Love"), Charlie Parker's "Constellation" and the blues "Chang, Chang, Chang" showing how strong and original Lateef could be even playing conventional straight-ahead material. Some of the other pieces look toward the future and/or the East, and all eight selections have their memorable moments, with the passionate yet thoughtful ballad "Love Is Eternal" being among the high points. Recommended. Scott Yanow

Yusef Lateef (tenor sax, flute, arghül, percussion)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Hugh Lawson (piano, celeste)
Ernie Farrow (bass, rabab)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1 - Passion
2 - Love Is Eternal
3 - Pike's Peak
4 - Open Strings
5 - Before Dawn
6 - Twenty-Five Minute Blues
7 - Chang, Chang, Chang
8 - Constellation

April 16 1957: WOR Recording Studios NYC

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ruby Braff - Hi-Fi Salute To Bunny

Ruby Braff's 1957 tribute to trumpet great Bunny Berigan is only appropriate, as he has long since gone on to establish himself as one of the modern masters of swing. His band includes pianist Nat Pierce, guitarist Steve Jordan, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, trombonist Benny Morton, tenor saxophonist Dick Hafer, bassist Walter Page (in one of his last recordings prior to his death), and drummer Buzzy Drootin. Braff's passionate, always-melodic solos contrast with Russell's rather distinctive approach to the clarinet, while the rhythm section is dominated by Page's fat-toned bass. The leader's approach to "I Can't Get Started," a song forever associated with Berigan, remains fresh decades later. Most of the selections were reissued on the since-deleted Bluebird CD This Is My Lucky Day, so finding a copy of this valuable music remains somewhat challenging - Ken Dryden

Ruby Braff (trumpet)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Pee Wee Russell (clarinet)
Dick Hafer (tenor sax)
Nat Pierce (piano)
Steve Jordan (guitar)
Walter Page (bass)
Buzzy Drootin (drums)

1. Keep Smiling At Trouble
2. I Can't Get Started
3. It's Been So Long
4. I'm Coming Virginia
5. Marie
6. Downhearted Blues
7. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good
8. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place
9. Did I Remember?

Recorded at RCA Studio 3, New York City on March 26 , April 3 and April 12, 1957

Budd Johnson - 1944-1952 (Chronological 1307)

One thing about these chronological compilations: if the featured musician only rarely acted as a bandleader, what listeners get is a core sample of nearly every recording date he happened to be in on. In the case of Texas tenor Budd Johnson, the people at Classics decided to begin his story with sessions waxed when he was 34 years of age and had been making records as a sideman for more than ten years. This is a pity, as a thorough survey could have begun with his bizarre vocal on Louis Armstrong's "Sweet Sue" (1933), then sampled his work with Lionel Hampton and Earl Hines, up through 1943. That would have lent context and background to this grab bag of primal bebop and R&B, designated as "the first volume of the recordings of Budd Johnson." Nevertheless, this segment of Johnson's career is exciting and full of surprises. Clyde Hart's Hot Seven, recording for Savoy in December of 1944, included legendary trumpeter Benny Harris and the wild alto sax of Herbie Fields. A Manor date led by squealing trumpeter Al Killian is extra solid due to the presence of Ellington's baritone, Harry Carney, who seems to enjoy weaving a bit of thunder into an already smoking ensemble. J.C. Heard & His Cafe Society Orchestra deliver four very concise, classy studies in boppish swing. George Treadwell's muted trumpet is notably attractive, and Johnson is able to shout or soothe as needed. James Charles Heard was a discerning artist, and his band's interpretation of Ellington's "Azure" is breathtakingly lovely. Of the three sides recorded in March of 1946 for the Hot Record Society by trombonist Dicky Wells & His Big Seven, "Bed Rock" is the cooker, but is somewhat upstaged by "Opera in Blue," a rhapsody built entirely around Johnson's lyrically inspired tenor. Johnson led his own session in June of 1947 for the obscure Cyclone label. Included here are apparently the only two surviving sides. The tenor is very expressive on "My Heart's Doin' Time (For You)," and Mary Stafford belts out a smart little piece of blues on the flip side. A few months later, crooner Leslie Scott fronted a band with strings and a handful of jazz musicians, including drummer Denzil Best and a very sensuously laid-back Johnson. These sentimental numbers are oddly comforting, and fortunately the strings are not obtrusive. Johnson seems to have specialized in getting signed with small-time labels. In February 1951, working for Faith Records, he can be heard leading an all-star ensemble including Howard McGhee, J.J. Johnson, Cecil Payne, Kenny Drew, Oscar Pettiford, and Kansas Fields. Freddie Jackson sings a tough take on the blues called "Sometime I Feel Like Leaving Home," the band bounces through something called "Grooving in Birdland," and Johnson completely dominates the ballad "Talk of the Town." In March of 1952, Budd Johnson's All-Stars backed vocalist Johnny King on a pair of Louis Jordan-style numbers issued on the MGM label. The leader adapted unflinchingly to every stylistic trend during these years, always delivering gutsy, substantial solos. Here is an intriguing glimpse of one working tenor's professional evolution during a period notable for its many cultural transitions. ~ arwulf arwulf

Budd Johnson (tenor sax)
Hilton Jefferson (alto sax)
J.J. Johnson (trombone)
Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Denzil Best (drums)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Billy Taylor (piano)

1. Smack That Mess
2. Dee Dee's Dance
3. Little Benny (King Kong)
4. Shoot The Arrow To Me Cupid
5. You're The One
6. Goin' Down
7. The Walk
8. Heard But Not Seen
9. Azure
10. Bouncing For Barney, Bed Rock
11. Opera In Blue
12. Drag Nasty (The Walk)
13. My Heart's Doin' Time
14. I Just Can't Find That Kind
15. So Long
16. Blue And Sentimental
17. Sometime I Feel Like Leaving Home
18. Grooving In Birdland
19. I'm All Alone
20. Talk Of The Town
21. Where Were You?
22. Way Downtown At The Bottom Of The Hill

glidernyc presents -- this is pat moran

glidernyc says: Here’s an LP I think piano trio fans will like. My favorite thing about this LP (other than the music) is the bass player. For years, I’ve been listening to the LP wondering why the credited bass player, John Doling, wasn’t more famous because the bass playing is (in my opinion) exceptional on this LP. Then I was told why - John Doling got the credit on the LP cover, but the bassist on the recoding is really Scott LaFaro.

From the Internet with thanks to researcher -
This Is Pat Moran -- The Pat Moran Trio. New York, NY: Audio Fidelity, [c1958] AFLP 1875
· Pat Moran, piano
· Johnny Whited, drums [sic, in recté Gene Gammage]
· John Doling, bass [sic, in recté Scott LaFaro]
Side 1 (AFLP-A)
1. Making Whoopie (Donaldson)
2. In Your Own Sweet Way (Brubeck)
3. Onilisor (Rosilino)
4. Stella By Starlight (Young)
5. Someone To Watch Over Me (G. & I. Gershwin)

Side 2 (AFLP-B)
1. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Arlen)
2. Blackeyed Peas (Glover)
3. I Could Have Danced All Night (Lowe)
4. Farewells (Moran-Frey)
5. Yesterdays (Kern)
6. Blues (Moran-Frey)
LaFaro, in Martin Williams, "Introducing Scott LaFaro," Jazz Review 3 (August 1960) p. 16, said, "I don't even like any of my records except maybe the first one I did with Pat Moran on Audio Fidelity." Recorded December 1957.
Helene LaFaro-Fernandez, Scott's sister, says that her brother is the bassist. Careful listening confirms this.
Note: 1998 02.05 email from Ms. Patti Moran McCoy identifies the drummer on this recording as Gene Gammage and confirms that Scott LaFaro as the bassist. Ms. McCoy believes that the album's producer inadvertently transferred from an earlier recording date (on Bethlehem) the names of Doling and Whited.

The L.A. Four - Going Home (1977)

This album has been out on CD for a few years as a Japanese import but I doubt that the sound is better than this direct-to-disc cutting, which was also an import from Japan.

Bud Shank (alto sax, flute, alto flute)
Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Going Home
2. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
3. Greensleeves
4. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
5. Recipe of Love
6. Romance de Amor
7. Django

Recorded September 29, 30, 1977

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gil Mellé - Patterns In Jazz

Like the modern art that stormed the art world in the '50s, Patterns in Jazz, Gil Mellé's debut album for Blue Note, is filled with bright, bold colors and identifiable patterns that camouflage how adventurous the work actually is. On the surface, the music is cool and laid-back, but close listening reveals the invention in Mellé's compositions and arrangements of the standards "Moonlight in Vermont" and "Long Ago and Far Away." Part of the charm of Patterns in Jazz is the unusual instrumental balance of Mellé's bari sax, Eddie Bert's trombone, Joe Cinderella's guitar, and Oscar Pettiford's bass. These low, throaty instruments sound surprisingly light and swinging. Compared to the two standards, Mellé's original compositions are a little short on melody, but they give the musicians room to improvise, resulting in some dynamic music. Ultimately, Patterns in Jazz is cerebral music that swings -- it's entertaining, but stimulating. Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Gil Mellé (baritone sax)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Joe Cinderella (guitar)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Ed Thigpen (drums)

1. The Set Break
2. Weird Valley
3. The Arab Barber Blues
4. Nice Question
5. Moonlight In Vermont
6. Long Ago And Far Away

Charles Mingus - Oh Yeah (Japan 24-bit)

For an artist as perpetually re-inventing as Mingus, it's almost a given that one album will be very unlike the next. OH YEAH is, in fact, quite different than the bassist/composer's other releases for two reasons: Mingus plays piano throughout the entire set, and he sings--not the standard grunts and exhortations that one usually hears from Mingus as bandleader, but an actual hoarse, blues-rattled vocal directly into the microphone. If this weren't enough to distort his already unpredictable program, the compositions, though based primarily on blues patterns, are infused with even more frenzied energy than usual and range into free-form instrumental explorations that shove at structural boundaries.

The musicians, including the wonderfully individualistic trombonist Jimmy Knepper and the inspired Rahsaan Roland Kirk, sound like a drunken congregation ascending to heaven after the world's most beautiful train wreck. The musical and emotional energy is raw and powerful, pouring out of rattle-trap tracks like "Hog Callin' Blues," the Gospel-based "Ecclusiastics," the hilarious nod to Fats Waller in "Eat That Chicken," and the psychedelic freak-out of "Passions Of A Man." The bonus track, a 25-minute interview Mingus gave to producer Nesuhi Ertegun, is an additional surprise on an album already full of surprises.

Charles Mingus (vocals, bass)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (tenor sax, manzello, stritch, flute, siren)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1 - Hog Callin' Blues
2 - Devil Woman
3 - Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am
4 - Ecclusiastics
5 - Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me
6 - Eat That Chicken
7 - Passions Of A Man
8 - Charles Mingus Interviewed by Nesuhi Ertegun

Recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York, New York on November 6, 1961

Chet Baker & Art Pepper - The Route

Continuing with the excellent Richie Kamuca theme thats been on here the past few days, here is a mainly sideman role for him, but he is given the leadership for a superb version of 'If I Should Lose You'.

Review: This 1989 CD issue compiles all known sides cut during a July 26, 1956, session led by Chet Baker (trumpet) and Art Pepper (alto sax). Keen-eyed enthusiasts will note that this particular date occurred during a remarkable week — July 23 through July 31 — of sessions held at the behest of Pacific Jazz label owner and session producer Dick Bock at the Forum Theater in Los Angeles. The recordings made during this week not only inform The Route, but three other long-players as well: Lets Get Lost (The Best of Chet Baker Sings), Chet Baker and Crew, and Chet Baker Quintet at the Forum Theatre. Likewise, these were the first sides cut by Baker since returning from his triumphant and extended stay in Europe. The Route compiles all 11 tracks by the sextet featuring Richie Kamuca (tenor sax), Pete Jolly (piano), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), and Stan Levey (drums) in support of Baker and Pepper. Bock had no immediate plans to use these recordings for any one album; that is to say he incorporated the tracks throughout various compilations released on Pacific Jazz. Three months later, however, Baker and Pepper did record with completely different personnel for the expressed purpose of issuing what would become known as Playboys and alternately Picture of Heath. Perhaps encouraged by the swinging interaction on Pepper's "Tynan Time" and "Minor Yours," both tracks were featured at this session as well as during the Picture of Heath collaboration. There are a few unexpected moments of sheer brilliance spread throughout, such as the Baker-penned title track, which contains supple and nicely contrasting solos from Kamuca and Vinnegar — whose solid pendulum accuracy swings all through this collection. The Route is recommended for completists as well as curious consumers wishing to expand their knowledge of the light and airy rhythms that typify the cool West Coast jazz scene of the mid-'50s.Lindsay Planer.

Chet Baker Trumpet
Pete Jolly Piano
Richie Kamuca Tenor Sax
Stan Levey Drums
Art Pepper Alto Sax
Leroy Vinnegar Bass

Friday, October 26, 2007

This Day In Jazz

Grant Green's First Session from this day in 1961 has already been posted here.
Thanks once again to Webbcity.

1955 - Cannonball Adderley - And Strings/Jump For Joy

Cannonball Adderley - And Strings/Jump For Joy pairs two 1955 albums by alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. It's one of the best and most representative examples of his early hard-bop years, fully exploring two of Adderley's more prominent musical styles and giving the listener a more in-depth feel for Adderley's skills than some of the scattershot compilations can provide.

And Strings is more interesting than most versions of this somewhat-overused staple of '50s jazz, both because Richard Hayman's strings avoid the Mantovanni-style glop of some strings albums and because Adderley's tone--as hard-edged and soulful as ever--provides an interesting tension. Jump For Joy finds occasional Miles Davis sideman Adderley leading his own small, hard-bop group. The results are spectacular, recalling the best aspects of Davis' hard-bop recordings for Prestige during this time and showcasing the saxophonist's remarkable soloing.

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
With Richard Hayman's orchestra

1 - I Cover The Waterfront
2 - A Foggy Day
3 - The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
4 - Two Sleepy People
5 - I'll Never Stop Loving You
6 - (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over
7 - I've Never Been In Love Before
8 - Lonely Dreams
9 - Falling In Love With Love
10 - Street Of Dreams
11 - Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Around A Pug-Nosed Dream)
12 - You Are Too Beautiful

Recorded at Fine Sound, New York, on October 27-28, 1955

Something of a companion album to the earlier Julian Cannonball Adderley and Strings, Jump for Joy sounds like it could be outtakes from the same sessions in terms of its orchestral-quality arrangements, but this is very much its own album. Jump for Joy is Adderley's reinterpretation, circa 1958, of a Duke Ellington stage musical from 1941. A minor artifact in the Duke's long career, Jump for Joy is nonetheless a marvel, a response to Porgy and Bess that Ellington thought was a more accurate portrayal of African-American life. Adderley and arranger Bill Russo update the tunes into the then-current post-bop jazz vernacular but otherwise leave them alone for the simple reason that they don't need any embellishment. Hearing Adderley's often thrilling, always well-constructed alto sax improvisations over tunes like the standard "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" is reason enough for the album to exist, and although Russo's orchestral flourishes occasionally threaten to overwhelm the soloist (especially on the closing "The Tune of the Hickory Stick"), they're always at the very least charming examples of '50s jazz-pop arrangements. Stewart Mason

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Emmett Berry (trumpet)
Leo Kruczek (violin)
Gene Orloff (violin)
Dave Schwartz (viola)
George Ricci (cello)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
Bill Russo (arr)

13 - Two Left Feet
14 - Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)
15 - I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
16 - Nothin'
17 - Jump for Joy
18 - Bli-blip
19 - Chocolate Shake
20 - If Life Were All Peaches And Cream
21 - Brown-Skin Gal (In The Calico Gown)
22 - The Tune Of The Hickory Stick

1999 - Andrew Hill - Dusk

Alfred Lion, founder of Blue Note records, reaction to encountering pianist Andrew Hill's music said it was exactly like the experience he had the first time he heard Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols. Lion and Blue Note devoted most of the 1960s to recording sessions for Hill. His sixties sessions were unique post-Monk visions somewhere between bop and the avant-garde. Like Herbie Nichols, Hill didn't receive the deserved public recognition during his Blue Note career. And unlike Monk, he didn't persist in the New York scene suffering in semi-obscurity until being “discovered” by the masses. Hill moved to the West Coast, spending the 1970s and 80s teaching and performing solo recitals.

His return to New York a few years ago signaled a readiness to enter the jazz dialogue once again. Earlier this year, he, along with guitarist Jim Hall, sat in as sidemen on Greg Osby's four star recording The Invisible Hand (Blue Note). This release, as leader for Palmetto, assembles a quintet of instruments that parallel his 60s opus Point Of Departure. Eschewing bop for melancholy, Hill's all too personal music is thoughtful, meditative, and accessibly intellectual. He has found a musical soulmate in alto saxophonist Marty Ehrlich. The 45 year-old reedist plays a cerebral horn a la John Carter and Julius Hemphill. Joined by young lion Greg Tardy and Ron Horton of the Jazz Composer's Alliance, Hill develops a complete suite of music. From horn chorale work to the Monk influenced piano of “ML,” Hill plays with shifting time sequences and patterns. Exactly the attractiveness he has to Greg Osby and his sidemen Ehrlich and Horton. “Tough Love” opens with an allusion to “Thanks For The Memories” before exercising some elegant demons. “15/8” another variant timepiece allows his rhythm section to boil, with Ehrlich, Tardy and Horton letting their respective big dogs eat. Hill's music of the sixties opened doors for musicians like Anthony Braxton, Myra Melford, Dave Douglas, and Greg Osby. His return to the New York spotlight will definitely nudge the jazz world into new and creative directions. Mark Corroto

Andrew Hill (piano)
Ron Horton (trumpet)
Greg Tardy (tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute)
Marty Ehrlich (alto saxophone)
Scott Colley (bass)
Billy Drummond (drums)

1. Dusk
2. ML
3. Ball Square
4. Tough Love
5. Sept
6. T.C.
7. 15/8
8. Focus

Recorded on September 15 and October 27, 1999

Dave Frishberg ~ Classics

Admittedly, he has a songwriter's voice. Notwithstanding that, he is possibly the greatest living writer in this idiom. As some of you already know, or heard on the recent Kamuca post of Drop Me Off in Harlem, he is also a monster piano player.
Here's a ready made, but fairly dry review: CLASSICS is a specially selected compilation of two previously issued LPs: THE DAVE FRISHBERG SONGBOOK VOL. 1 (1981) and THE DAVE FRISHBERG SONGBOOK VOL. 2 (1983).Personnel: Dave Frishberg (vocals, piano); Steve Gilmore (bass); Bill Goodwin (drums).Recorded at Mountain Sound, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania in April 1981, December1982 & March 1983. Includes liner notes by Dave Frishberg.Remixed and remastered by Phil Edwards (PER, Hayward, California).
Blizzard of Lies/Van Lingle Mungo/Saratoga Hunch/Do You Miss New York/Slappin' the Cakes On Me/Sweet Kentucky Ham/Useless Waltz/Dodger Blue/My Attorney Bernie/Marilyn Monroe/A Little Taste/Our Love Rolls On/Your Are There/My Swan Song/Listen Here/I'm Hip/Z's

The Frank and Joe Show 33 1/3 and 66 2/3

I like this band a lot. Put these on while driving the Interstate, Autobahn or'll love 'em. They're fun! Best of can see their live shows and buy their CD's. This will be my one of my last sitx posts as I've now gone rar. There are a few items already uploaded so I'll be posting those as stx files but everything new will be rar.

The Frank & Joe Show is an irresistible melting pot of musical styles and persuasions. There’s gypsy swing crossed with breezy island grooves; the American high lonesome sound infused with modern jazz; classic pop standards filtered through acoustic roots improvisation—all the while propelled by delectable rhythms that would bring pause to 1970s’ Latin rock bands like Santana and War. Comprised of virtuoso guitarist Frank Vignola and master percussionist Joe Ascione, the group follows in the great tradition of stellar duos including Steely Dan, The Everly Brothers and Hall & Oates. This was modified slightly from the Hyena Records promotional blurb by the doc.

33 1/3
Track listing: 1. Begin the Beguine 2. Don't Fence Me In 3. Tico Tico 4. Mozart Jam 5. Sheik of Araby 6. Sweet Rhythm 7. Besame Mucho 8. Spiderman 9. Paper Moon 10. Long Train Runnin' 11. Alone Again Naturally 12. Flight of the Bumblebee 13. Stardust.

Personnel: Frank Vignola - guitar; Joe Ascione - percussion; Sean Smith, Joel Forbes, Gary Mazzaroppi - bass; Steven Bernstein - trumpet; Charles Burnham - violin; Mac Rebennack - piano; Chuck Ferruggia - tambourine holder. Guest Vocalists: Dr. John on #5; Jane Monheit on #7; Janis Siegel on #2.

66 2/3
Track listing: It Might As Well Be Spring; My Prayer; Manhattan; Quizas; Sway; Hungarian Dance No. 5; After Hours; Let It Happen; City Samba; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans; Bach Partitia No. 2 For Solo Violin > Mozart Jam; That's All; Glow Worm.

Personnel: Joe Ascione: percussion; Frank Vignola: guitar, bass; Mark Egan: bass; Joel Forbes: bass; Dave Valentin: flute; Jane Monheit: vocals; Janis Siegel: vocals; Rich Zukor: percussion; Gary Mazzaroppi: bass; Ken Smith: rhythm guitar; Chuck Ferruggia: percussion.

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - The Swingers (1958-59)

One of the lesser-known sets by the classic jazz vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, this LP holds its own with their more famous recordings. Assisted by tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims, pianist Russ Freeman, and guitarist Jim Hall, among others, Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross sound at their best on such numbers as "Airegin," "Jackie" (a feature for Ross), "Swingin' 'Til the Girls Come Home," "Four," and "Now's the Time." This album is recommended to fans of this unique and influential vocal trio. Scott Yanow

1 Airegin
2 Babe's Blues
3 Dark Cloud
4 Jackie
5 Swingin' Till the Girls Come Home
6 Four
7 Little Niles
8 Where
9 Now's the Time
10 Love Makes the World Go 'Round
11 Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

the jazz scene - produced by Norman Granz

In 1949 producer Norman Granz released a remarkable album of 78s that consisted of a dozen selections (many of them specially recorded for the occasion) that perfectly summed up the modern jazz scene of the time. The deluxe set consisted of two Duke Ellington features for baritonist Harry Carney with strings, a pair of complex Neal Hefti arrangements, small-group sides by Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and altoist Willie Smith, Machito's "Tanga," major works by arrangers Ralph Burns and George Handy and, as the piece-de-resistance, Coleman Hawkins's pioneering unaccompanied tenor solo "Picasso." Now all of this music has been reissued on a very attractive double-CD set that also contains five alternate takes plus three previously unknown Billy Strayhorn piano solos, further examples of Lester Young and Willie Smith, an obscure Hawkins session with J.J. Johnson from 1949, a few numbers from a forgotten Flip Phillips session and three selections by Ralph Burns in 1955, two of which feature explosive trumpet work from Roy Eldridge. The new packaging is magnificent with many Gjon Mili photographs of the top jazzmen of the era and extensive liner notes. This was one of the top reissues of 1994 and is essential for all serious historical jazz collections. ~ Scott Yanow

Look at the personnel and tracklist in comments. I think this is one of the top 3 things we've ever posted.

The Hoops McCann Band Plays the Music of Steely Dan (1988)

Here's something for the Steely Dan fans.

Named after the coke-sniffing basketball player from Glamour Profession, the Hoops McCann Band was originally formed in the summer of 1982 to play at the three-day First Annual Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz at Gresham, Oregon. One afternoon was set aside specifically as a tribute to Steely Dan. Most of the musicians who comprised the band on this recording were part of the original lineup, including Jerome Richardson, Slyde Hyde, Chuck Findley, Mitch Holder and Paul Humphrey.

The album contains seven arrangements of tracks from various Steely Dan albums, plus a version of the Fagen-Becker song, Rapunzel, which they composed for an album they produced for Pete Christlieb and Warne Marsh called Apogee. All of the arrangements are by Joe Roccisano with the exception of Glamour Profession which was arranged by Gene Esposito and Babylon Sisters, arranged by Victor Feldman.

Joe Roccisano (conductor, arranger)
Chuck Findley (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Slyde Hyde (trombone, tuba)
Bill Perkins (baritone sax, soprano sax)
Jerome Richardson (alto sax, soprano sax, flute)
Jim Coile (tenor sax, soprano sax)
Mike Lang (piano)
Mitch Holder (guitar)
Chuck Berghofer (bass)
Paul Humphrey (drums)
  1. Black Cow
  2. Babylon Sisters
  3. Rapunzel
  4. Glamour Profession
  5. Throw Back the Little Ones
  6. Deacon Blues
  7. Green Earrings
  8. Three by Wally and Donald

Miles Davis - The Kind of Blue Sessions

The "Kind of Blue" Studio Sessions & Outtakes (including try-outs)

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto sax)
John Coltrane (tenor sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

1. Freddie Freeloader Session (13'38)
2. So What Session (12'53)
3. Blue in Green Session (11'13)
4. Flamenco Sketches Session (24'10)
5. All Blues Session (11'53)

Tracks 1,2,3: March 2, 1959 (2:30 - 5:30pm and 7:00pm - 10:00pm)
Tracks 5,6: April 22, 1959 (2:30pm - 5:30pm)
Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York

Benny Carter - 1929-1933 (Chronological 522)

One of the issues with this series is that sometimes 9 or 10 titles by the same artist can be overkill - the example I gave formerly is Harry James: only a James fanatic needs 10 or 12 CDs of his work. But in the case of Benny Carter a dozen wouldn't be enough; and this Chronological series is the best representation of his work available, in my opinion. And this particular volume is one of the best in the entire series.

"The European Classics series has been reissuing on CD the complete output of many top jazz artists of the '20s and '30s. Benny Carter's music at last receives the treatment it deserves in this program. His first volume features the great altoist with a pickup group (the Chocolate Dandies) from 1929-30 that showcases sidemen from Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, with his own orchestra in 1932-33 (three of the five numbers have rare vocals from Carter) and on 11 sides with Spikes Hughes's all-star band, an orchestra that also features trumpeter Red Allen, trombonist Dicky Wells, Wayman Carver on flute and the tenors of Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry. This is wonderful and, in many cases, formerly rare music." ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (trumpet, alto sax, clarinet)
Fats Waller (piano)
Henry "Red" Allen (trumpet)
Coleman Hawkins (clarinet, tenor sax)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Rex Stewart (trumpet)
Horace Henderson (piano)
John Kirby (bass, tuba)
Spike Hughes (arranger)
Frankie Newton (trumpet)
J.C. Higginbotham (trombone)

1-7 The Chocolate Dandies
8-12 Benny Carter And His Orchestra
13-23 Spike Hughes And His Negro Orchestra

1. That's How I Feel Today
2. Six or Seven Times
3. Goodbye Blues
4. Cloudy Skies
5. Got Another Sweetie Now
6. Bugle Call Rag
7. Dee Blues
8. Tell All Your Day Dreams to Me
9. Swing It
10. Synthetic Love
11. Six Bells Stampede
12. Love, You're Not the One for Me
13. Nocturne
14. Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn
15. Pastorale
16. Bugle Call Rag
17. Arabesque
18. Fanfare
19. Sweet Sorrow Blues
20. Music at Midnight
21. Sweet Sue, Just You
22. Air in D Flat
23. Donegal Cradle Song

Sonny Stitt - Personal Appearance

Bobby Timmons y'all.

While the comparisons to Charlie Parker were inevitable throughout a good part of his career, Sonny Stitt was very much his own man. He is in top form throughout this 1957 session made for Verve, featuring a very young Bobby Timmons on piano, bassist Edgar Willis, and drummer Kenny Dennis. Alternating between alto and tenor saxophone in a program consisting mostly of standards, Stitt is equally at home on each horn. His soulful tenor shines in "Easy Living," while the loping "Autumn in New York" showcases his exuberant alto. Timmons, who had just made his recording debut as a sideman with Kenny Burrell the previous year, hints at his potential with a blues-drenched solo in "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." Long out of print and one of Stitt's best recordings at this point in his career, Personal Appearance was digitally remastered and reissued in a slim-line CD mini-record jacket as a limited edition; it is available until June 2007. Ken Dryden

Sonny Stitt (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Bobby Timmons (piano)
Edgar Willis (bass guitar)
Kenny Dennis (drums)

1. Easy To Love
2. Easy Living
3. Autumn In New York
4. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
5. For Some Friends
6. I Never Knew
7. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
8. East Of The sun (And West Of The Moon)
9. Original?
10. Avalon
11. Blues Greasy

Fine Sound, New York, New York May 12, 1957

Shelly Manne & His Men ~ Checkmate

Written by John Williams for the TV series "Checkmate", this is a foray into modal writing. Two of the numbers here are featured in the Jazz Scene USA show which was posted yesterday (The King Swings, Isolated Pawn) Chuck Berghofer replaces Monty Budwig for this recording, Budwig rejoins the group for the JS show. Rec. Los Angeles, october 17 & 24, 1961

Shelly Manne ~ Drums

Conte Candoli ~ Trumpet

Richie Kamuca ~ Tenor Sax

Russ Freeman ~ Piano

Chuck Berghofer ~ Bass

Checkmate/The Isolated Pawn/Cyanide Touch/The King Swings/En Passant/Fireside Eyes/The Black Knight

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Complete Roulette Sarah Vaughan Studio Sessions CD 1 (Mosaic)

Anytime. Anywhere. That's how I feel about listening to Sassy. I'm not a big vocal fan, but I jumped when I had the chance to acquire this recently.

It features the track "Ain't No Use", which was my first exposure to Ms. Vaughan. It was one of two tracks chosen to represent her on the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz: the vinyl version, that is. It was replaced by other tracks on the CD re-issues, and the closest I've been able to get to it - apart from the original Smithsonian set - was a vinyl copy of the original album I was able to pick up at a collector store in the Village.

I think her version of "Ain't No Use" is the best jazz vocal I know of.

1 - Dreamy
2 - Hands Across The Table
3 - The More I See You
4 - I'll Be Seeing You
5 - Star Eyes
6 - You've Changed
7 - Trees
8 - Why Was I Born
9 - My Ideal
10 - Crazy He Calls Me
11 - Stormy Weather
12 - Moon Over Miami
13 - Have You Met Miss Jones
14 - Ain't No Use
15 - Every Time I See You
16 - You Stepped Out Of A Dream
17 - Gloomy Sunday
18 - What Do You See In Her
19 - Jump For Joy
20 - When Your Lover Has Gone
21 - I'm Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life
22 - Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
23 - Somebody Else's Dream
24 - Trouble Is A Man

Duke Ellington - Great Times! Piano Duets with Billy Strayhorn

According to the liner notes, Leonard Feather got the idea for this recording from an elegant piece of party schtick in which Ellington and Strayhorn would play four-handed on a single piano. As recorded here, that piece, "Tonk," and seven others are not strictly duets, in that the pair of composers (presumably playing two separate pianos in the studio) are joined by a bassist. Still, one can see why Feather was charmed into preserving the idea on tape. "Tonk" is, in fact, an exquisite miniature, by turns stormy and whimsical, as if Rimsky-Korsakov and Rumpelstiltskin sat down to play "Chopsticks" for a silent movie.

Elsewhere, the two pianists evoke a kind of relaxed, swinging telepathy, as on the rolling, four-to-the-bar "Bang-Up Blues," which exudes both ease and confidence. On "Johnny Come Lately" the duo conjures up the reeds and brass they would ordinarily have at their disposal. Four additional tunes round out this reissue; they are of a similar vintage but include Jo Jones on drums and feature Oscar Pettiford on the cello. Strayhorn plays celeste on two of these cuts.

Duke Ellington (piano)
Billy Strayhorn (piano, celeste)
Oscar Pettiford (cello)
Wendell Marshall, Joe Shulman, Lloyd Trotman (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)

1. Cottontail
2. C Jam Blues
3. Flamingo
4. Bang-Up Blues
5. Tonk
6. Johnny Come Lately
7. In A Blue Summer Garden
8. Great Times
9. Perdido
10. Take The 'A' Train
11. Oscalypso
12. Blues For Blanton

Cootie Williams And His Orchestra - 1941-1944 (Chronological 827)

After a decade with Duke Ellington and a year with Benny Goodman, Williams fronted his own outfit. Among a number of excellent and seminal sides, we have the first recording appearance of Earl - let's call him Bud - Powell. One of the tunes Bud performs is 'Round Midnight, which was written by his pal Thelonious Monk - and "co-written" by Mr. Cootie. Check out, also, Fly Right, an early version of Epistrophy. It isn't performed by Monk, but his bandmate from Minton's, Joe Guy, is on trumpet.

"In addition to serving as a primal ingredient in the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Charles "Cootie" Williams led a series of outstanding small groups and big bands during the 1940s, employing and encouraging young, innovative musicians at a time when other bandleaders resisted the inevitable evolution of swing to bop. This collection assembles eight sessions' worth of rare recordings made over a relatively short period of time. Vocalists are Pearl Bailey, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and Williams himself. Four superb septet sides from May 1941 feature the trumpeter bolstered by a well-oiled front line of trombone and alto and baritone saxophones driven by drummer Jo Jones, pianist Johnny Guarnieri, and bassist Artie Bernstein. "West End Blues" and "Blues in My Condition" are without question two of Williams' greatest achievements on record. Two recordings dating from April 1942 are emblematic of major stylistic movements that were evolving rapidly among Afro-American musicians. Cleanhead Vinson established himself as a modern blues vocalist with "When My Baby Left Me" and the Cootie Williams Orchestra served up what was without question the most advanced piece of music on the scene at that time: "Fly Right," also known as "Epistrophy," is credited to Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and Cootie Williams. What the senior members of this band -- Louis Bacon, Charlie Holmes, and John Williams, musicians whose careers reached back to the 1920s -- thought of this futuristic opus is food for thought. Beginning with "Floogie Boo," the remaining 19 tracks all date from the year 1944, and illustrate Cootie Williams' position near the eye of the hurricane of modern jazz. For now he had begun to employ remarkably imaginative musicians, taking the young Bud Powell under his wing and welcoming into the pack such fiery personalities as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Charlie Parker. The most exciting record of all is saved for the last track, as Cootie Williams demonstrates his uncanny ability to talk through his trumpet using the mute in a mysterious manner with a facility equaled only by Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton. This rare recording of "Blue Garden Blues," a gloriously modern big-band treatment of the old "Royal Garden Blues," is an astonishing, startling, mind-blowing treat, one of the greatest accomplishments in all of recorded jazz. " ~ arwulf arwulf

Cootie Williams (trumpet)
Bud Powell (piano)
Pearl Bailey (vocal)
Joe Guy (trumpet)
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (alto sax)
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Jo Jones (drums)

1. West End Blues
2. Ain't Misbehavin'
3. Blues in My Condition
4. G-Men
5. Sleepy Valley
6. Marcheta
7. When My Baby Left Me
8. Fly Right (Epistrophy)
9. You Talk a Little Trash
10. Floogie Boo
11. I Don't Know
12. Do Some War Work, Baby
13. My Old Flame
14. Sweet Lorraine
15. Echoes of Harlem
16. Honeysuckle Rose
17. Now I Know
18. Tess's Torch Song (I Had a Man)
19. Cherry Red Blues
20. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
21. Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?
22. Somebody's Gotta Go
23. 'Round Midnight
24. Blue Garden Blues (Royal Garden Blues)

Mary Lou Williams - 1945-1947 (Chronological Classics 1050)

Most of the musicians heard on this fourth volume in the Classics Mary Lou Williams chronology are women. During the second half of the 1940s, this was considered unusual and innovative. Female musicians, with the exception of carefully coiffed vocalists and the occasional pianist, were generally regarded by the public, the entertainment industry and by most male musicians as curious anomalies and were not taken very seriously. Mary Lou Williams always preferred to surrounded herself with musical minds possessing artistic acumen commensurate with her own highly developed musical intellect. The first four tracks were recorded for the Continental label in 1945 with guitarist Mary Osborne, bassist Bea Taylor and percussionists Margie Hyams and Bridget O'Flynn, a fascinating duo who took turns either handling the vibraphone or the drums. This little group sounds perfectly up to date, pleasantly newfangled on "Rumba Rebop", a reference to that new style which in 1945 was already becoming known instead as Bebop. "D.D.T." fairly bristles with angular modern changes. There is also a sweet vocal by Mary Osborne on "He's Funny That Way". Mary Lou Williams recorded six delightful piano solos for the Disc label on February 16th 1946. Taken in sequential order, they form a sort of selfportrait containing most every aspect of this artist's musical identity; her background as an indispensable component in Kansas City's thriving jazz scene, her genius as arranger for Andy Kirk, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington, her vital participation in the emergence of early modern jazzall of this is reflected in her personal piano reveries. Nine titles recorded for Victor during the summer and autumn of 1946 constitute bopinflected chamber jazz of the highest order. Included here are three fascinating experiments on boogie themes, a structure based on a theme by Dvorak, several original inventions and another sentimental vocal from Mary Osborne. In 1947 ten males known as the Milton OrentFrank Roth Orchestra recorded two very boppish sides for the Disc label under the direction of Mary Lou Williams, a big band arrangement of her "Lonely Moments" and the catchy "Whistle Blues". Another session for Disc featured trumpeter Kenny Dorham, bassist Grachan Moncur (II) and guitarist John H. Smith, Jr. On "Mary Lou" the men sing in unison: "Mary Louwe love youwe thank you". The flip side, a harmonically advanced study entitled "Kool" is an example of Williams composing in a marvelously eccentric bop style worthy of Thelonious Monk. What a treat to hear Kenny Dorham in an intimate small group setting at this stage of his career. This fascinating compilation closes with two sides recorded by an allfemale quartet for the Mercury label late in 1947 but left unissued for some reason until many years later. Here then is an excellent survey of Mary Lou Williams' innovative musical accomplishments in the years immediately following the Second World War. - arwulf arwulf

Mary Lou Williams (piano)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Margie Hyams (vibes)
Grachan Moncur (bass)

1. Rumba Rebop
2. Blues at Mary Lou's
3. D.D.T.
4. (She's) He's Funny That Way
5. How High the Moon
6. The Man I Love
7. Cloudy/What's Your Story Morning Glory
8. Blue Skies
9. These Foolish Things
10. Lonely Moments
11. Fifth Dimension
12. Harmony Gifts
13. It Must Be True
14. Boogie Mysterioso
15. Conversation (Jump Caprice)
16. Humoresque
17. Waltz Boogie
18. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
19. Hesitation Boogie
20. Lonely Moments
21. Whistle Blues
22. Mary Lou
23. Kool
24. Just an Idea
25. Just You, Just Me

Fats Navarro - 1947-1949 (Chronological Classics 1108)

So, just to be clear; this is - although not noted - in Flac format. It was only two files in any case.

"Dizzy Gillespie left my band in Washington, D.C. He told me to go over to hear Andy Kirk, because there was a fellow with Kirk named Fats Navarro. 'Take a listen to him,' said Dizzy, 'he's wonderful!' So I went out to the club, and the only thing Fats had to blow (because Howard McGhee was the feature trumpet player) was behind a chorus number. But he was wailing behind this number, and I said to myself, 'This is good enough; this'll fit.' So I got Fats to come by and talk it over, and about two weeks after that he took Dizzy's chair, and take it from me, he came right in ... Great as Diz is ... Fats played his book and you would hardly know that Diz had left the band. 'Fat Girl' played Dizzy's solos, not note for note, but his ideas on Dizzy's parts and the feeling was the same and there was just as much swing." Billy Eckstine

The man was always hot, but after this gig everybody knew it. He was sought and used by Kenny Clarke, Coleman Hawkins , Dexter Gordon, Benny Goodman, Bud Powell, and Tadd Dameron. His leader dates ranged from '47 to '49, with 1948 seeing only one session because of the disastrous union ban on recording. This CD holds all his leader sessions; it is sometimes said that he preferred having the steady paycheck from being a hired gun because of his jones; in any case, he was steadily and frequently employed during this period. The last date here was from September 1949. Less than a year later he was gone. 26 years old.

Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Tadd Dameron (piano)
Allen Eager (tenor sax)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)
Leo Parker (baritone, alto sax)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Art Blakey (drums)
Max Roach (drums)

Howard McGhee - 1948 (Chronological Classics 1058)

Four sessions for four labels this time, ranging from February to October of '48. By this time he had returned from California (he was on the Dial "Lover Man" session that ended with Bird's relaxation at Camarillo) and was working with JATP. It was during an engagement at The Argyle Lounge in Chicago that he was given the chance to record his outfit, which included Milt Jackson, Jimmy Heath (back when he was still on alto) and Billy Eckstine (when he was still playing trombone) and Hank Jones.

The following sessions were done during their subsequent tour of Europe, for the Vogue and Blue Star labels; the musicians were all American, and had all, or mostly all, worked with McGhee before. The last session is one of the prime bop sessions, with an all-star combo that had McGhee and Navarro playing together. Navarro would be dead less than two years later.

Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Jimmy Heath (alto sax)
Ernie Henry (alto sax)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
Billy Eckstine (valve trombone)
Hank Jones (piano)
Ray Brown (bass)
Percy Heath (bass)
J.C. Heard (drums)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Sweet And Lovely
2. Fiesta
3. I'm In The Mood For Love
4. Flip Lip
5. Belle From Bunnycock
6. The Last Word
7. The Man I Love
8. Al's Tune
9. How High The Moon - Part 1
10. How High The Moon - Part 2
11. Dimitar
12. Bop En Vogue
13. Swiss Vounce
14. Denise
15. Nicole
16. Etoile
17. Punkins
18. Donalee
19. Big Will
20. Prelude To Nicole
21. The Skunk
22. Boperation
23. Double Talk - Parts 1 & 2

Ludwig van Beethoven - The Piano Sonatas Vol. 3: András Schiff

Part of the ECM New Series, this is Volume 3, for no other reason than this is the one I was listening to today. The others - 4 more - will appear at some point or other. Granny says: " He wisnae bad for an auld deef bugger. They didnae huv they pastelate interval cracks back then either, did they? Magic."

"Much like serial novels of the past, pianist Andras Schiff is releasing his complete Beethoven cycle one piece at a time, with the complete cycle not scheduled to be finished until 2008. Also like a good serial novel, once you get a hold of a good one, you just can't wait for that next issue to come out. In this, the third volume, Schiff is again proving to his listeners that his performances and interpretations are worthy of standing alongside other legendary recordings by the likes of Serkin, Goode, and Kempff. Everything about the recordings is well thought out, from the order of performance (chronological rather than by opus number) to the variety of pianos used to the informative liner notes. This forethought is not lost on listeners as it prepares them for the experience before the play button is even pushed.

Volume III contains Opp. 49, 14, and 22, composed between 1797 and 1800. Schiff's approach to them is light and sensitive, which is not to say unsubstantial. His technique is considerable and it is employed to more clearly demonstrate his well-thought-out concept of the works he is performing. Already worthwhile on its own, this offering promises to be part of an impressive complete cycle." Mike D. Brownell

Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49/1
Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49/2
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14/1
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14/2
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22

91punch aka glidernyc presents pinky winters "lonely one"

91punch says:

From my jazz LP collection. Here’s an original mono pressing of Pinky Winters – Lonely One – on Creative/Argo (LP 604) (1956).
Someone else’s opinion -- The zenith of the slim Pinky Winters catalog, Lonely One remains a lost classic of the West Coast jazz idiom. Buoyed by the contributions of drummer Chico Hamilton, pianist Gerald Wiggins, and guitarist Howard Roberts, its lithe and lively approach proves the perfect complement for Winters' intimate vocals. Despite its melancholy title cut (one of four originals composed by the team of Dick Grove and Jack Smalley), Lonely One for the most part favors up-tempo material well matched to Hamilton's spirited rhythms. Winters may not redefine standards like Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" and Johnny Mercer's "Jeepers Creepers," but she nevertheless invests the lyrics with uncommon intelligence and care, clearly savoring the give-and-take with her crack supporting unit.
My opinion – really good.

FLAC and uploading guide for Mac users

If you've tried to encode and upload FLACs as a Mac user, you might have encountered some problems along the way, since there are no obvious program choices. 

Here's a little how-to guide. Read on in the comments.

Richie Kamuca ~ Drop Me Off In Harlem

Honestly, this plays like a great old stack of choice '78's--like one of the Chronogical's, if you will--the selection of songs is amazing: Drop Me Off In Harlem, I Didn't Know About You (both Ellington) All Alone (done fast--you never hear this as anything but a ballad) Dear Bix (a Frishberg tune--one of the best songwriters; he wrote this before age 40--Kamuca sings on it!) Side two is four more 'sides' that come straight out of Tin Pan Alley: Three Little Words (a rocking duet with Frishberg), It Must Be True (balladocious!) With The Wind and the Rain In Your Hair (how's that for a crusty ol' big band hit) and Harlem Butterfly. The album alternates between duets with Richie and Dave Frishberg, or Richie with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis (playing a very minimally amped guitar. Hold on now---NO DRUMMER!! It was more than likely inspired by the fact that Herbie served as O.P's rhythmmaster for so many years-- I had forgotten how great this album was.

Zoot Sims | Choice

This stunningly swinging Japanese re-issue of Zoot's 1954 Pacific Jazz sessions - featuring such luminaries as Bob Brookmeyer, Red Mitchell, Larry Bunker, Gerry Mulligan, Billy Bean, Jim Hall, Mel Lewis, and Russ Freeman - can't fail to please...and it won't.

Throughout his career, Zoot Sims was famous for epitomizing the swinging musician, never playing an inappropriate phrase. He always sounded inspired, and although his style did not change much after the early 1950s, Zoot's enthusiasm and creativity never wavered. Zoot's family was involved in vaudeville, and he played drums and clarinet as a youth. His older brother Ray Sims developed into a fine trombonist who sounded like Bill Harris. At age 13, Sims switched permanently to the tenor, and his initial inspiration was Lester Young, although he soon developed his own cool-toned sound. Sims was a professional by the age of 15, landing his first important job with Bobby Sherwood's Orchestra, and joined Benny Goodman's big band for the first time in 1943; he would be one of BG's favorite tenormen for the next 30 years. He recorded with Joe Bushkin in 1944, and even at that early stage, his style was largely set. After a period in the Army, Sims was with Goodman from 1946-47. He gained his initial fame as one of Woody Herman's "Four Brothers" during his time with the Second Herd (1947-49). Zoot had brief stints with Buddy Rich's short-lived big band, Artie Shaw, Goodman (1950), Chubby Jackson and Elliot Lawrence. He toured and recorded with Stan Kenton (1953) and Gerry Mulligan (1954-56). Sims was also a star soloist with Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band of the early 1960s and visited the Soviet Union with Benny Goodman in 1962. A freelancer throughout most of his career, Sims often led his own combos or co-led bands with his friend Al Cohn; the two tenors had very similar sounds and styles. Zoot started doubling on soprano quite effectively in the 1970s. Through the years, he appeared in countless situations, and always seemed to come out ahead. Fortunately, Zoot Sims recorded frequently, leading sessions for Prestige, Metronome, Vogue, Dawn, Storyville, Argo, ABC-Paramount, Riverside, United Artists, Pacific Jazz, Bethlehem, Colpix, Impulse, Groove Merchant, Famous Door, Choice, Sonet, and a wonderful series for Pablo.
— Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Oscar Moore Quartet with Carl Perkins

This 1954 recording for Tampa is a classic. The combination of Moore and Carl Perkins is fantastic. If you like jazz guitar you'll like this recording.

Oscar Moore (1916 - 1981), and his brother Johnny Moore, began studying the guitar in Texas as grade schoolers and by the time they were teenagers they were both playing professionally. The Moore brothers played rhythm and blues together until Oscar was drawn to jazz by another Texas guitar player, Charlie Christian. Johnny Moore continued to pursue R & B.

Oscar Moore moved to Los Angeles in the 1930's and by that time he was already an accomplished jazz musician. In Los Angeles he played with both the Lionel Hampton and Art Tatum groups and was later picked up by Nat Cole for a job at a Los Angeles night club. The legend goes that the drummer didn't show up for the group's first show and the trio was born.
Oscar Moore's work with the Nat King Cole Trio lasted 10 years and brought him to the forefront of jazz guitarists. Many of his contemporaries and guitarists who came later have acknowledged a huge debt to Oscar Moore. First, Barney Kessel has said, Oscar Moore almost single handedly created the role of the jazz guitar in small combos. And, Kenny Burrell has acknowledged Oscar Moore as the first guitarist he knew of who used the modern jazz chord formations so common today. Oscar Moore's influence is also heard in the playing of young guitarists like Joshua Breakstone.

Oscar Moore won several awards for his playing, most notably from Downbeat, Metronome and Esquire in the early forties. When the King Cole Trio broke up in the late forties, Moore went to work as a session guitarist in Los Angeles and he began playing again with his brother. He appears as a guest on a number of recordings by Johnny Moore's Three Blazers. Eventually he left music altogether except for a brief period in the 1960's.

He settled in Los Angeles as a bricklayer and passed away in 1981. Classic Jazz Guitar

Oscar Moore: Forgotten jazz guitar hero of the 1940s
Oscar Moore’s guitar licks are among the most memorable in Americana, though his name may not draw knowing nods from the listeners of today.

Moore is perhaps best known for his impeccable contributions to Nat “King” Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts)” – a tune which is among the most standard of great American standards and a staple of the holiday season.

The momentous track, recorded in 1946 by the original King Cole Trio, represents a high-water mark in the productive career of the famed bandleader and was one of a select handful of pop hits in the era to feature beautiful jazz-tinged post-Charlie Christian guitar playing.

Moore’s decade-long tenure with Cole’s group began in 1937. During this period he also recorded with notable jazz artists like Art Tatum, Lionel Hampton, and Lester Young. By the mid 1940s, Moore was the music’s newest star and was rated Number One Guitarist in the prestigious Down Beat magazine Reader’s Poll and the Metronome poll every year from 1945 to ’48. He also received the coveted Esquire silver and gold awards in these years. Moore left the Nat King Cole Trio in ’47 when the leader opted for simpler pop vocal songs and lush string arrangements over the drummer-less jazz trio he had established in the ’40s.

In the ensuing years, Moore relocated in Los Angeles and recorded all too infrequently. During this period he is best remembered for an R&B stint from 1947 to ’54 with his brother, guitarist Johnny Moore, in the Three Blazers, and his jazz work in a quartet with pianist Carl Perkins from ’54 to ’55.

Initially overshadowed by the appearance of Charlie Christian in the late ’30s, Moore was recognized as a harmonically-advanced and highly accomplished player in the following decade. As such, he is an important “missing link” in the evolution of the electric guitar during the swing era, the subsequent rise of bebop and birth of modern jazz.

Moore’s innovations fill the gap in the crucial period beginning with the death of Christian in 1942 and the emergence of new players like Barney Kessel, Johnny Smith, and Tal Farlow in the late ’40s and early ’50s, though he was not part of that particular stream. In fact, in many ways his rhythmic, bop and blues-inflected lines presage more modern stylists like Grant Green and Wes Montgomery. By Wolf Marshall, Vintage Guitar Magazine

• Oscar Moore - guitar
• Carl Perkins - piano
• Joe Comfort - bass
• Mike Pacheco - bongos

Walt Dickerson & Richard Davis - Tenderness (1977)

Recorded at the same session that resulted in Divine Gemini, this set of duets by vibraphonist Walt Dickerson and bassist Richard Davis features five Dickerson originals. Although the music is often complex and a touch esoteric, the attractive sound of the intimate duo makes the performances much more accessible than they would normally be. Both Walt Dickerson (who had recently come back from a long absence from the jazz scene) and Richard Davis have long been underrated greats and their interplay throughout the program is of a consistently high quality. ~Yanow

Richard Kamuca: 1976

The Richie Kamuca convergence: Credit worldbflat’s posting of the Lee Konitz-Jimmy Rowles Tenorlee, the musical elegy for Kamuca who had died July 22, 1977, two days before the session. I was goaded to transfer this analog vinyl to digital.
Back in ’76 the record guy at Discount Books and Records on Connecticut Avenue, he of impeccable jazz taste and infinite smarts, told me the record of the year was Richard Kamuca: 1976 on the minuscule West Coast Jazzz label, and he had put one of the store’s six copies aside for me. It was (and is) a treasure and merits better representation than my “rip.” Someone tell me there exists a Japanese 20bit CD release.

This album is me—truly me. It’s the first time I could ever admit or say that.
I put it all together and picked all the tunes and selected all the musicians and we didn’t make any edits or intercuts. What you hear is just the way it all went down.
And I can listen to it and not once wish that we could do some things over again, the way I have in the past about records I was on. I guess it’s because I now realize that is the kind of thing you do when you’re young and trying to make the world better than it truly is. In ten years, if I live that long, I’ll be playing better than I am now. It’s a good feeling to know that, and to be emotionally mature enough now to usually accept myself just as I am rather than to wish I were something more.
---Richie Kamuca

Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone;
Vocal on “‘Tis Autumn”)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Monty Budwig (bass)
Nick Ceroli (drums)

1 I Concentrate on You (Cole Porter)
2 If I Love Again (Jack Murray-Ben Oakland)
3 Some Other Spring (Arthur Herzog)
4 Say It Isn’t So (Irving Berlin)
5 Symphony (Alex Alstone)
6 Flying Down to Rio (Youmanns-Kahn-Eliscu)
7 When Day Is Done (Katscher-DeSylva)
8 ‘Tis Autum (Henry Nemo)

After Kamuca’s death in 1977 Carl E. Jefferson of Concord Jazz Records, a small label then but not so small as Jazzz, re-issued Richard Kamuca: 1976 as Richie.

boyd raeburn -- man with the horns

jean lafite says: you guys have been hot lately, some great material upped in the last few days. thanks.

i have seen boyd here and there over the last few weeks at our various spots and thought i would throw one down for you cats. didn't know too much about the man but it seems his good rep as a forward thinker was well deserved. mostly george handy arrangements and deep bands with too many players for me to type out but including fowler, babasin, albright zetner, mckusick, green, socolow, rizzi and on and on. tight stuff. some vocals in here so don't get mad conductor, let me know what you'se think if you are so inclined.

harry babasin -- the jazz pickers

jean lafite says: not your everyday assortment. check it out

with babasin on cello, terry gibbs, dempsey wright on guitar, ben tucker on bass and bill douglas on drums. from july 1957 in hollywood

Paul Dunmall & Paul Rogers - Folks

This is a CD I picked up in Mole Jazz once when my brother was busking on the penny whistle and it happened to be one of the instruments listed on the sleeve. It turned out to be a very fine harmony of jazz improv and trad Irish music that I think should be heard by all who have ears. Protocol demands a review so here's the only one I can find by someone who doesn't even like the flipping thing:

"Folks, I have to admit, left me cold. I feel that the folk idiom has been mined in jazz with much greater conviction by John Surman or Jan Garbarek, to name just two. The short pieces on this album (mostly compositions by either Dunmall or Rogers, with an enjoyable but brief performance by singer Polly Bolton on one track) generally seem studied, even in the 'free' passages. The recordings also sound a little on the dull side. They move around between jazz and folk without convincing me, at least, what direction the disc finally is moving in. Only in the Paul Rogers composition 'Lament 4' does the folk territory spring to life, with enough harmonic interest and enough ambiguity to make this a very moving piece, though all too brief. Both Dunmall and Rogers are inspirational players - it's a shame to hear them reining themselves in with limited material". (Nick Couldry)

Here's my review:
Folks, I have to admit, I don't have enough CDs to be able to reference this album to Gjork Babbletroff or his seminal unrecorded session 'Humming in the Bathtub' but this CD has has tickled my fancy since the day I bought it blind, 10 years or so ago. It's got a bit of life and a bit of Irish and as for being studied, how well can you study a penny whistle?? It's an elaborated pencil for God's sake. Have a listen. It might make you smile.

Paul Dunmall, soprano, C Melody, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinets, penny whistle; Paul Rogers, 4 and 5 string double bass; Polly Bolton, voice [track 9].

1. Dingle at Leigh (04.11)
2. Malvern hills (02.51)
3. S-round (02.05)
4. Pete's reel (02.15)
5. Himalayan balsam (on the River Teme) (02.41)
6. Lament 4 (03.36)
7. Nan (02.35)
8. Grandad (02.21)
9. Francis Thompson (03.32)
10. St Edburga (01.30)
11. Alfricks swan (02.31)
12. Hornpipe (04.37)
13. Cruck barn (03.23)
14. Lucky Oscar (03.29)
15. Lament (04.06)
16. Hairy fox (06.01)
17. Grassnake (02.09)
18. Nu (03.55)
19. Nibly Point (03.53)
20. Bank Farm (03.47)
21. Two dogs at Pigeonhouse (04.41)

Tracks 1-14 recorded in Battersea, London in December 1989; tracks 15-21 recorded at Miracle Sound, Bath, in September 1993.

Front cover wood engraving (reproduced above) by Paul Dunmall.

Primitive Cats | Cy Touff and Richie Kamuca

Let's stay on the Kamuca kick for a bit......

Few know of Cy Touff. I'd never heard of him either, but I stumbled across him when researching Richie Kamuca, so I decided to check out this reissue CD. Overall, it's very pleasing with nice swinging arrangements, ensemble playing, and innovative solos, especially on the Quintet date. Nothing earth-shattering; but overall...sabrosa!

One of the very few bass trumpet specialists in jazz history, Cy Touff, although closely associated with West Coast Jazz, has actually been a fixture in Chicago for decades. Touff played piano (starting when he was six), Cmelody sax and xylophone before temporarily settling on trumpet. He was in the Army during 1944-46 but was fortunate enough to get a chance to play trombone reguarly with an Army band. After his discharge, Touff returned to Chicago, studied with Lennie Tristano and gigged with Jimmy Dale, Jay Burkhardt, Bill Russo, Charlie Ventura, Shorty Sherock, Ray McKinley and Boyd Raeburn among others. In the late 1940's he switched to the bass trumpet, an instrument that sounds close to a valve trombone. Touff was a member of the Woody Herman Orchestra during 1953-56; he recorded during this era as a member of the Herdsman, with the Nat Pierce-Dick Collins nonet and as a leader of his own Pacific Jazz album (1955) which in 1997 was reissued on CD. Touff later recorded twice as a leader for Argo (a dixieland date from 1956-57 and a 1958 cool session). After his Herman years, Cy Touff moved back to Chicago, worked in the studios, performed jazz in local clubs and recorded with Chubby Jackson and Lorez Alexandria in 1957, with Fred Wacker in 1965 and with the group Hyde Park After Dark in 1981. Scott Yanow

Touff-Kamuca Quintet (1-5, 10): Cy Touff, bass tpt; Richie Kamuca, tenor; Pete Jolly, pno; Leroy Vinnegar, bass; Chuck Flores, dr. December 4, 1955 @ Forum Theater

Touff-Kamuca Octet (6-9): add Harry Edison & Conrad Gozzo, tpt; Matt Utal, alto & baritone; Russ Freeman, pno. Arrangements by Johnny Mandel & Ernie Wilkins. December 4, 1955 @ Forum Theater

Benny Carter - 1937-1939 (Chronological 552)

Many fine and less than famous musicians appear here. Take Freddy Johnson, for example; an excellent pianist who worked with Elmer Snowden, the banjo player that we've seen recently. He also worked with Garvin Bushell, who was a member of Fats Waller's and Coltrane's Village Vanguard ensembles. This release is full of fine and interesting players, not the least of which is the sublime Django Reinhardt, eight years before his stint with Ellington. Yes, I said stint.

"The fourth CD in Classics' complete chronological reissue of Benny Carter's early recordings as a leader finds Carter (on alto, trumpet, clarinet, tenor and even one vocal) leading orchestras in London, Laren, the Hague, Paris and (for the final three selections) New York. Highpoints include "Nagasaki," "I'm in the Mood for Swing," "Blues in My Heart," "I'm Coming Virginia" (from a three-song session that also features Django Reinhardt) and "Melancholy Lullaby." In addition, the great tenor Coleman Hawkins plays a prominent role on four of the performances. Carter is in top form throughout these often formerly rare but very vital swing recordings. His fans should quickly acquire all of these invaluable Classics releases." ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (clarinet, trumpet, alto and tenor sax, vocals)
Django Reinhardt (guitar)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Buddy Featherstonhaugh (tenor sax)
Alix Combelle (tenor sax)
Tyree Glenn (trombone, vibraphone)
Joe Thomas (trumpet)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
Freddy Johnson (piano)
York De Souza (piano)

1. Gin and Give
2. Nagasaki
3. There's A Small Hotel (vocal)
4. There's A Small Hotel (instr.)
5. I'm In The Mood For Swing
6. Ramblin' in C
7. Black Bottom
8. Rambler's Rhythm
9. New Street Swing
10. I'll Never Give In
11. Skip It
12. Lazy Afternoon
13. I Ain't Got Nobody
14. Blues In My Heart
15. Somebody Loves Me
16. Mighty Like The Blues
17. Pardon Me, Pretty Baby
18. My Buddy
19. I'm Coming, Virginia
20. Farewell Blues
21. Blue Light Blues
22. Plymouth Rock
23. Savoy Stampede
24. Melancholy Lullaby

Richie Kamuca Quartet

by Scott Yanow
Considering his talent, it is very surprising that tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca led so few record dates throughout his career — just three during 1956-58 and three for Concord in 1977. This quartet set (a MOD LP reissued by V.S.O.P. on CD) features the excellent cool-toned tenor in a quartet with pianist Carl Perkins, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Stan Levey. Only the brief playing time (just over 30 minutes) keeps this set from getting a higher rating, for Kamuca is in prime form. Highlights include "Just Friends," "What's New" and "Cherokee."

Hal Russell - Hal's Bells

As it says in the liner notes to this recording, "He [Russell] looks like Charles Ives, sounds like Albert Ayler." A succinct and accurate summary of what you're in for on this, Russell's first solo record made at the age of 65. Although Russell died soon after recording this, there's no sense of desperation on this record; instead there is pure joy, the silly seriousness that Russell brought to all of his recordings. There's even a track (a good one no less) entitled "Kenny G," meant for the banal saxophonist of the same name. Granted, this is a little more abstract than other Russell recordings; in fact, it's very much a product of Ayler and Ornette-influenced free playing, but it has a firm rhythmic foot (Russell was primarily a drummer in the early part of his career) and, as out as it gets, never simply noodles off into the stratosphere. John Dougan

Hal Russell (percussion, trumpet, conga, drums, gong, marimba, tenor and soprano sax, vocals, bells, vibraphone)

1. Buddhi
2. Millard Mottker
3. Portrait of Benny
4. Strangest Kiss
5. Susanna
6. Carolina Moon
7. Kenny G
8. I Need You Now
9. For Free
10. Moon of Manakoora

Sonny Rollins - The Sound Of Sonny (20bit K2)

1957 heralded a new phase in Sonny Rollins' (tenor sax) career. He began -- what was at the time -- an almost blasphemous trend of recording for a number of different labels. His pioneering spirit yielded a few genre-defining albums, including this disc. His performances were also at a peak during 1957 as Down Beat magazine proclaimed him the Critics' Poll winner under the category of "New Star" of the tenor saxophone. This newfound freedom can be heard throughout the innovations on Sound of Sonny. Not only are Rollins' fluid solos reaching newly obtained zeniths of melodic brilliance, but he has also begun experimenting with alterations in the personnel from tune to tune. Most evident on this platter is "The Last Time I Saw Paris" -- which is piano-less -- and most stunning of all is Rollins' unaccompanied tenor solo performance on "It Could Happen to You." Indeed, this rendering of the Jimmy Van Heusen standard is the highlight of the disc. That isn't to say that the interaction between Sonny Clark (piano), Roy Haynes (drums), and bassists Percy Heath and Paul Chambers -- who is featured on "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and "What Is There to Say" -- is not top shelf. Arguably, it is Rollins and Heath -- the latter, incidentally, makes his East Coast debut on this album -- that set the ambience for Sound of Sonny. There is an instinctually pervasive nature as they weave into and back out of each others' melody lines only to emerge with a solo that liberates the structure of the mostly pop standards. This is a key component in understanding the multiplicities beginning to surface in Rollins' highly underappreciated smooth bop style. ~ Lindsay Planer

Sonny Rollins (tenor sax)
Sonny Clark (piano)
Percy Heath, Paul Chambers (bass)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. The Last Time I Saw Paris
2. Just In Time
3. Toot, Toot, Tootsie
4. What Is There To Say
5. Dearly Beloved
6. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
7. Cutie
8. It Could Happen To You
9. Mangoes
10. Funky Hotel Blues

West Coast Jazz in Hifi

I love this little album, recorded in 1959, but then I'm partial to West Coast Jazz in all it's boppish forms. The line-up is fantastic and you'll love the solos and arrangements.

Originally recorded for the Hi Fi label, this CD reissue features tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca as the main soloist on a variety of standards and basic material arranged by Bill Holman, who plays baritone with the octet. Also heard from are trumpeters Conte Candoli and Ed Leddy, trombonist Frank Rosolino, pianist Vince Guaraldi, bassist Monty Budwig, and drummer Stan Levey. The music, although based on the West Coast, is not as cool-toned or as laid-back as one might expect. High points of the consistently swinging session include "Blue Jazz" (a Kamuca blues), "Star Eyes," "Linger Awhile," and "(Back Home Again In) Indiana." Scott Yanow

Coleman Hawkins ~ Hawkins Alive ! at the Village Gate Japanese CD

Well, it wasn't until this morning when searching for album info that I discovered that this has been re-released with bonus tracks. At any rate, I will post this now, as it is a very listenable date with Tommy Flanagan and Major Holly (also featured on the 'Bean's Bag Lp I posted shortly ago) and Ed Locke on drums. The set opens with All The Things You Are with Parker's Bird of Paradise intoduction (which by this time had become standard issue) Hawk, even passed his prime in influence and stature, never bowed out--he pushed into newer territories and would'nt let anyone or anything knock him out of the box. Even the version of Joshua Fit the Battle becomes a foray into modal playing (dorian)--which is more of a tip of the cap to Coltrane & Miles. And of course, Mack the Knife is an obvious nod to Rollins. Rec. August 13 & 15, 1962 at Art D'Lugoff's Village Gate, New York City

Ben Webster ~ At the Renaissance

For Ben Webster, his Los Angeles years of the late 1950's and early 1960's held massive frustration that was relieved by only a few high points. Jobs were scarce, and the lack of recognition and appreciation must have been heartbreaking for this tenor saxophone giant who felt things deeply. A bright spot for Webster was that when he worked, it was often with the splendid band in this album. In Jimmy Rowles, Jim Hall, Red Mitchell and Frank Butler, he had sympathetic and inspirational colleagues. This live recording captures their remarkable empathy.

Track Listings
1. Caravan
2. Georgia on My Mind
3. Ole Miss Blues
4. What is This Thing Called Love?
5. Stardust
6. Gone With the Wind
7. Rennaissance Blues
8. Mop Mop

Lester Young ~ The Lester Young Trio Nat "King" Cole Buddy Rich

One of Lester Young's most memorable post-World War II dates came in 1946, when he entered a Los Angeles studio and formed a trio that employed Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums. In 1994, the results of that classic encounter, which Norman Granz produced for his Clef label, were reissued on the CD Lester Young Trio. Unfortunately, the sound is pretty scratchy, and one wishes that Verve had used digital remastering to reduce the noise. But the performances themselves are outstanding. From the blues "Back to the Land" to the soulful ballad statements of "The Man I Love" and "I Cover the Waterfront," Lester Young Trio explodes the absurd myth that Young's postwar output is of little or no value — a myth that many jazz critics have been all too happy to promote. The CD's four bonus tracks (which include "Sweet Lorraine," "Rosetta" and "I've Found a New Baby") come from a 1943 or 1944 session that didn't employ Young at all, but rather, was led by tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon and features trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison and Cole, among others. Listeners might ask what that session, which was Gordon's first as a leader, has to do with Young, and the answer is that it illustrates Young's tremendous influence on Gordon. At that point, Gordon still sounded a lot like Young, was still playing swing rather than bebop and had yet to develop a recognizable sound of his own, although by 1945, Gordon would become quite distinctive and influential himself. Highly recommended. by Alex Henderson

Joe Henderson - 1991 The Standard Joe

Review by Scott Yanow
For at least his fourth recording in six years heading a pianoless trio, the great tenor Joe Henderson (along with bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Al Foster) is heard on his own "Inner Urge," an original blues, two lengthy versions of "Body and Soul" and three other jazz standards. This Italian import is particularly recommended to listeners not that familiar with Henderson's playing, for he brings new life to these often overplayed compositions.

1 Blue Bossa (Dorham) 9:16
2 Inner Urge (Henderson) 9:35
3 Body and Soul [Take 1] (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour) 12:45
4 Take the "A" Train (Strayhorn) 8:48
5 'Round Midnight (Hanighen, Monk, Williams) 8:42
6 Blues in F (In'n Out) (Henderson) 5:20
7 Body and Soul [Take 2] (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour) 13:26

Al Foster Drums
Joe Henderson Sax (Tenor)
Rufus Reid Bass

Recorded at Sear Sound, New York on March 26, 1991

Joe Henderson - 1979 Relaxin' at Camarillo

Review by Scott Yanow
Originally on Contemporary, this CD reissue teams the great tenor Joe Henderson with pianist Chick Corea, either Tony Dumas or Richard Davis on bass, and Peter Erskine or Tony Williams on drums. The repertoire includes two songs by Corea, Henderson's "Y Todavia la Quiero," the standard ballad "My One and Only Love," and Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo." This informal session has plenty of fine solos from the two principals and is recommended to fans of advanced hard bop.

1 Y Todavia la Quiero (Henderson) 11:42
2 My One and Only Love (Mellin, Wood) 9:59
3 Crimson Lake (Corea) 5:26
4 Yes, My Dear (Corea) 8:44
5 Relaxin' at Camarillo (Parker) 9:21

Recorded at Contemporary Record Studio, Los Angeles, August 20 and December 29, 1979

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jack Montrose Sextet

This is one of my favorite recent acquisitions. The players are wonderfully innovative, and really together. The edition ripped here is a Japanese issue CD.

Dusty Groove: A beautiful example of why the west coast scene was great when it was working at its finest! Jack Montrose cut a rare few albums in the 50s, but this one's a gem -- done with help from frequent partner Bob Gordon on baritone sax, and with other players that include Conte Candoli, Shelly Manne, and Joe Mondragon. The style is tightly arranged, but not too tightly that the band doesn't have room to swing -- and the mix of Montrose's tenor and Gordon's baritone is sublime together! Titles include "Listen Hear", "Some Good Fun Blues", "Fools Rush In", "Speakeasy", "Pretty", "Credo", and "That Old Feeling".

Largely forgotten in the 1990s and living in the Las Vegas area, tenor saxophonist Jack Montrose was one of the most skillful of the cool jazz arranger/composers of the 1950s. This 1998 CD combines together two dates: arguably Montrose's finest album as a leader (a 1955 outing with baritonist Bob Gordon, trumpeter Conte Candoli, pianist Paul Moer, bassist Ralph Pena, and drummer Shelly Manne), plus a quintet set that was actually headed by the short-lived Gordon (who died in a car accident on August 28, 1955). Montrose's own date has five of his originals plus three reworked standards, while Gordon's album is comprised of six Montrose songs (including two versions of "Two Can Play") and three other standards. Even on the latter album, Montrose's charts (which are full of unexpected surprises while always swinging and leaving room for plenty of solos) are quite notable and show that, despite the restrained tones, there was plenty of excitement to be found in West Coast jazz. In addition, this CD acts as a perfect memorial for the talented Gerry Mulligan-influenced baritonist Bob Gordon. Highly recommended. Scott Yanow

Jack Montrose, arranger & tenor; Bob Gordon, baritone; Conte Candoli, trumpet; Shelly Manne, drums; Paul Moer, pno; and Ralph Pena, bass

The Essential Keynote Collection 3: Early Bebop

A compilation featuring Keynote's first and second bebop sessions and a jazz in transition (from Swing to Bop), all from original Keynote recordings.

Not quite what I would call "early" bebop but these rather obscure sessions were recorded at a time when bop was becoming increasingly popular with musicians and everyone was trying to emulate what the pioneers had started. In the wonderful liner notes by Dan Morgenstern he likens the musicians in these sessions to the young white Chicagoans who "sat at the feet of Armstrong, Hines et al. some 20 years before. Enraptured and inspired by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and their foremost followers, they absorbed the new language by playing alongside their idols, and soon became equals of the better black disciples of bop".

1 - 7
Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart with Red Rodney's Be-Boppers

Dave Lambert, Buddy Stewart (vocals), Red Rodney (trumpet), Al Haig (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Stan Levey (drums), Neal Hefti (arranger)

8 - 13
Neal Hefti and His Orchestra

Neal Hefti (trumpet, arranger), Francis Wayne (vocals), Charlie Ventura (tenor saxophone), Kai Winding (trombone), Tony Aless (piano), Billy Bauer (guitar), Chubby Jackson (bass), Alvin Stoller (drums)

14 - 20
Red Rodney's Be-Boppers

Red Rodney (trumpet), Allen Eager (tenor saxophone), Serge Chaloff (baritone saxophone), Al Haig (piano), Chubby Jackson (bass), Tiny Kahn (drums)

Track list in comments

Recorded in New York between November, 1946 and January, 1947

Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (20bit K2)

When Monk finally got his cabaret card back in the summer of 1957, he began a six-month engagement on the lower east side of Manhattan. This stand heralded his return, thrilled the media and garnered him a modicum of respect and recognition. Recorded the following spring, THELONIOUS MONK WITH JOHN COLTRANE is an all-too fleeting recreation of the pianist's legendary Five Spot Quartet (plus a solo piano version of "Functional," and a powerful four-horn rendition of "Off Minor" from a June '57 session featuring Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins and Art Blakey).

In many ways, Coltrane's stint with Monk marked his artistic breakthrough from a gifted technician, to a top musical innovator. Joining him in this remarkable quartet were Shadow Wilson, a drummer of rare musicality and restraint (listen to his sweeping brushwork on "Ruby, My Dear"), and Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware, whose lower register punctuations and sophisticated harmonic sensibility helped anchor the group. "Ruby, My Dear" is landmark for Coltrane the ballad player. Monk's repeated chordal figures function as a thematic entity, and Trane feels compelled to dig deeper into the melody, rather than simply gallop through the changes--his lyric ardor is compelling. Monk treats the melody with even greater restraint, saving his most rhapsodic flourishes for the tune's coda.

"Trinkle, Tinkle" is a jittery Monk masterpiece that quickly separates the men from the boys. It features a rhythmically complex six-bar theme, with a tricky two-bar turnaround for the drummer, and a complex inversion of the theme in the bridge. The saxophonist's opening figures echo Monk's complex trills and runs, as the pianist reprises the theme during the first chorus, then Trane is off to the races in a sneak preview of the'60s, concluding with a bluesy flourish. Then there's "Nutty," with its sardonic bass asides--one of Monk's most engaging blues themes. Even when Monk drops away, the specter of his lines and chords inspire Trane's rapid-fire arpeggios, and Monk's solo is a witty chordal abstraction of the theme, shot through with unexpected accents and rhythmic hesitations.

Thelonious Monk (piano)
John Coltrane (tenor sax)
Gigi Gryce (alto sax)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone)
Ray Copeland (trumpet)
Wilbur Ware (bass)
Shadow Wilson, Art Blakey (drums)

1. Ruby, My Dear
2. Trinkle, Tinkle
3. Off Minor
4. Nutty
5. Epistrophy
6. Functional

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York in 1957 and 1958

Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra - 1937-1938 (Chronological 548)

This Classics CD traces pianist Teddy Wilson's recordings during a seven-month period. He backs singer Billie Holiday on eight memorable performances (including "My Man," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "When You're Smiling" and "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me"), is showcased on a pair of piano solos, accompanies singer Sally Gooding on four songs that were not initially released until the 1980s, and is heard on four almost-as-rare numbers with vocalist Nan Wynn. Most significant among the occasional instrumentals are a few tunes (including the two part "Just a Mood" and "Honeysuckle Rose") that Wilson performs in an exquisite quartet with trumpeter Harry James, xylophonist Red Norvo and bassist John Simmons. Among the other sidemen heard on this valuable CD are trumpeters Buck Clayton, Hot Lips Page and Bobby Hackett, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, the tenors of Chu Berry and Lester Young and altoist Tab Smith. ~ Scott Yanow

Teddy Wilson (piano)
Lester Young (tenor sax)
Billie Holiday (vocals)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Johnny Hodges(alto sax)
Harry James (trumpet)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Red Norvo (xylophone)
Pee Wee Russell (clarinet)
Tab Smith(alto sax)
Jo Jones (drums)
Nan Wynn (vocals)
Buster Bailey (alto sax)
Hot Lips Page (trumpet)
Benny Morton (trombone)
Vido Musso (tenor sax)

1. Ain't Misbehavin'
2. Just A Mood (Blue Mood) Part I
3. Just A Mood (Blue Mood) Part II
4. Honeysuckle Rose
5. Nice Work If You Can Get It
6. Things Are Looking Up
7. My Man
8. Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
9. Don't Blame Me
10. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
11. My First Impression Of You
12. With A Smile And A Song
13. When You're Smiling
14. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
15. My First Impression Of You
16. When You're Smiling
17. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
18. If Dreams Come True
19. Moments Like This
20. I Can't Face The Music
21. Don't Be That Way
22. If I Were You
23. You Go To My Head

Teddy Wilson - 1935-1936 (Chronological 511)

The second CD in Classics' Teddy Wilson series features the definitive swing pianist on two piano solos and leading all-star groups. There are seven generally familiar Billie Holiday vocals (including classic renditions of "I Cried for You" and "These Foolish Things"), a pair from Ella Fitzgerald (her first recordings outside of the Chick Webb Orchestra), two rare ones from Helen Ward, a vocal by Roy Eldridge on a heated "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and seven instrumentals. The strong supporting cast includes such players as altoist Johnny Hodges, trumpeters Frankie Newton, Jonah Jones and Eldridge, trombonist Benny Morton, clarinetist Buster Bailey, tenorman Chu Berry and baritonist Harry Carney; Benny Goodman makes guest appearances on the two Helen Ward titles. Classic music although most of it is also easily available elsewhere. ~ Scott Yanow

Billie Holiday (vocal)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocal)
Johnny Hodges (alto sax)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Harry Goodman (bass)
Chu Berry (tenor sax)
Harry Carney (clarinet, baritone sax)
Vido Musso (tenor sax)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Jonah Jones (trumpet)
Lionel Hampton (vibes)
Grachan Moncur (bass)
John Kirby (bass)
Gene Krupa (drums)
Cozy Cole (drums)
Roy Eldridge (vocal)
Helen Ward (vocal)
Sid Catlett (drums)

1. These 'N' That 'N' Those
2. Sugar Plum
3. You Let Me Down
4. Spreadin Rhythm Around
5. I Feel Like A Feather In The Breeze
6. Breaking In A Pair Of Shoes
7. Life Begins When You're In Love
8. (If I Had) Rhythm In My Nursery Rhymes
9. Christopher Columbus
10. My Melancholy Baby
11. All My Life
12. Mary Had A Little Lamb
13. Too Good To Be True
14. Warmin Up
15. Blues In C Sharp Minor
16. It's Like Reaching For The Moon
17. These Foolish Things
18. Why Do I Lie To Myself About You
19. I Cried For You
20. Guess Who
21. You Came To My Rescue
22. Here's Love In Your Eyes

The Very Best of Ethiopiques

Compared to the high profile that West Africa has on the world music scene, East Africa has remained very much in the shadows. In the case of Ethiopia, there are political reasons for this. A golden age of Ethiopian music was brought to an end by the Mengistu dictatorship (1974-1991), during which many musicians emigrated, and the current scene in Ethiopia is as a result little-known outside the country. What we do know is largely thanks to the energetic and selfless work of Francis Falceto and his hugely admired Éthiopiques series for Buda. Since we first covered it back in Songlines #3 (when a series of 15 CDs was projected), this has proved a lifeline for fans of Ethiopian music. But with the series now at 21 CDs and counting, there’s clearly a need for this budget-priced two CD overview.

The soulful sound of saxophonist Tesfa-Maryam Kidané takes you straight into the glorious, laidback sound of swinging Addis in the late 60s and early 70s with its distinctive pentatonic melodies curling around themselves. It’s a seductive opener, and the saxophone is the predominant siren call throughout these tracks, even the vocal ones. There are echoes of Glen Miller and James Brown behind this music.

The two discs feature tracks by the star vocalists Mahmoud Ahmed (his famous ‘Erè Mèla Mèla’), and Tlahoun Gèssèssè (the awesome ‘Sema’), both still little-known in the West. There are also gems by many others and brief notes by Francis Falceto to introduce them. The selection was made by Iain Scott who played his own part in the story of Ethiopian music, releasing the albums of Aster Aweke from the late 80s. Inevitably, the selection favours the urban and commercial aspects of the Éthiopiques series, so more traditional performers such as Asnaqètch Wèrqu, and azmari nightclub musicians, don’t get in. However, an other-worldly ‘Pater Noster’ from Alèmu Aga, played on the begena – or ‘Harp of King David’ – rounds the selection off. The essential introduction to Ethiopian music. Simon Broughton

Houston Person - Goodness!

A ferocious swinger, background music my ass.

Tenor saxophonist Houston Person was still a relatively new name at the time he recorded this set, his sixth session for Prestige. The funky music (which includes the hit title song) emphasizes boogaloos, danceable rhythms and repetitious vamps set down by the rhythm section (organist Sonny Phillips, guitarist Billy Butler, electric bassist Bob Bushnell, drummer Frankie Jones and Buddy Caldwell on congas), but it is primarily Person's passionate tenor solos that will come the closest to holding on to the attention of jazz listeners. The music is generally quite commercial and is certainly not recommended to bebop purists, although it has some strong moments. But overall these performances succeed more as background music than as creative jazz. -Yawnow

Stan Getz - The Complete Roost Recordings

Requested by Scoredaddy.

The Complete Roost Recordings is a three-disc, 59-track box set that contains all of the recordings Stan Getz made for the Roost Record label in the '50s. The set includes all of his officially released sessions -- including the date led by guitarist Johnny Smith, the live performances with Count Basie, and a full disc of live performances with his quintet -- as well as many unreleased and alternate takes. Roost was the first label Getz recorded for as a leader, and what's surprising about these sessions is how mature he sounds here. He had already arrived at his full, rich tone and was able to improvise with skill and grace. That's what makes this box set so rewarding -- it's not only historically important, but it offers a wealth of excellent music. ~ Leo Stanley, All Music Guide

Dexter Gordon ~ Dester Blows Hot and Cool

by Scott Yanow
Little was heard of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon on-record during the 1950s; in fact this somewhat obscure LP @Savoy, in one of their reissue programs, also released these performances) was one of Gordon's only three appearances on record (two as a leader) during 1953-1959. He fronts a quintet with pianist Carl Perkins, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, drummer Chuck Thompson, and the forgotten trumpeter Jim Robinson, and sounds pretty strong on the straight-ahead material. Few surprises occur but this collector's item from a dark period in Dexter Gordon's life has its share of fine music.

Monday, October 22, 2007

This Day In Jazz

Johnny Griffin - The Congregation (RVG)

The Rudy Van Gelder-helmed reissue of 1957's The Congregation improves on what is already a classic Johnny Griffin date. Backed by Paul Chambers on bass, Kenny Dennis on drums, and Sonny Clark on piano, Griffin demonstrates his usual dazzling dexterity on the tenor sax. The mode is straightforward bop, with a balance of uptempo numbers and ballads, and plenty of stretching out all around. This set comes highly recommended--especially given the improved sound of the reissue--to fans of the style. Congregation was the last of three albums Johnny recorded for Blue Note (Introducing and Blowing Session were the other two.) This was also one of three covers by Andy Warhol commisioned by BN.

Johnny Griffin Tenor Sax
Sonny Clark Piano
Paul Chambers Bass
Kenny Dennis Drums

1. The Congregation
2. Latin Quarter
3. I'm Glad There Is You
4. Main Spring
5. It's You or No One
6. I Remember You

Recorded on October 23, 1957 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey

The Newport Youth Band - At The Newport Jazz Festival (1959)

After the success of the International Youth Band at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival producer George Wein and educator Marshall Brown decided to form another big band from the greater New York area. Designed for musicians with ages between 14 and 18, over 600 showed up for the auditions.

The Newport Youth Band made its debut at Carnegie Hall on March 15, 1959 and proceeded to record an album for Coral Records in the studio before their appearance at the '59 festival from which this album was recorded. They did one more album in 1960, Dance Tonight, also on the Coral label.

Many of these young musicians went on to have careers in music. Trumpeters Nat Pavone and Harry Hall spent several years with Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman. Alan Rubin became a first call player in the studios and was an original member of the Saturday Night Live band. Trombonist Benny Jacobs-El soon was playing in Slide Hampton's band. Ronnie Cuber, who switched from tenor to baritone sax to play with this band, has been one of the premier players on that instrument over the last 40 years. Pianist Mike Abene went on to play and write for Maynard Ferguson's band among others and drummer Larry Rosen, along with Dave Grusin, founded GRP Records. And let's not forget about the youngest member of the band at age 14, Eddie Gomez, who has had a brilliant career highlighted by his years with Bill Evans.

Any other players you recognize? Near the top of my list of "where are they now?" musicians is lead alto Andy Marsala who also made a guest appearance with the International Youth Band a year earlier.
  1. Tiny's Blues
  2. Cinnamon Kisses
  3. Power Glide
  4. Copley Square
  5. Solid Blue
  6. The Most Minor
  7. Down for Double
  8. She's Funny That Way
  9. Lemon Drop
Recorded on Saturday, July 4, 1959 at the Newport Jazz Festival

Don Byas Meets Dizzy Gillespie - Yesterdays (1952)

Before Rab's post yesterday it had never occurred to me that Byas and Diz shared the same birthday (just five years apart). Here's a little something to honor the memory of these two giants.

This pair of 1952 concerts in Milan led by Dizzy Gillespie feature him with expatriate tenor saxophonist Don Byas, as he fronts a predominately European band, including pianist Raymond Fol, alto saxophonist Hubert Fol, bassist Pierre Michelot, trombonist Bill Tamper, and drummer Pierre Lemarchand. Gillespie is in great form throughout on trumpet, and sings on several numbers, including "Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo Bee," a funny interpretation of "Oh, Lady be Good," his jive blues "School Days" (which features Raymond Fol extensively), and the rapid fire closer "Oop-Pop-A-Da" (which incorporates an opening riff similar to Lionel Hampton's "Flyin' Home") that showcases his matchless scatting. Byas is particularly enjoyable on the classic standard "Yesterdays" and a pair of Gillespie's best known songs, "Birks' Works" (which is plagued with several imperfections in its sound source) and "Groovin' High." The defunct label Moon is up to its usual tricks, with no liner notes and an anonymous glamour photo on the cover; the CD sounds as if it was dubbed from an earlier bootleg record likely released by an earlier European pirate label. Although it is not an essential acquisition, it is recommended to Gillespie fans. - Ken Dryden

Tracks 6 & 7 are labeled wrong in the liner notes. "Groovin' High" comes before "Birks' Works".

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocals)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Hubert Fol (alto sax)
Bill Tamper (trombone)
Raymond Fol (piano)
Pierre Michelot (bass)
Pierre Lemarchand (drums)
  1. Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee
  2. I Can't Get Started
  3. Yesterdays
  4. School Days
  5. Lady Be Good
  6. Groovin' High
  7. Birks' Works
  8. Oop-Pop-A-Da
Recorded live in Milan, April 7-8, 1952 at the Teatro Nuovo

Warne Marsh Quartet: Live in Berlin 1980

Tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh first played professionally in the early 40s with the Hollywood Canteen Kids, later working with Hoagy Carmichael's Teenagers. By the end of the decade, he had spent time in Buddy Rich's band and had also begun an important association as student and sideman of Lennie Tristano. In the late 40s and early 50s, he made a number of milestone recordings with temporary musical partners such as Lee Konitz, among them "Wow", "Crosscurrent" and "Marshmallow". The 50s and 60s saw Marsh active mainly in teaching and there were only occasional forays into playing and recording with, among others, Art Pepper and Joe Albany.

In the 70s he became rather more prominent, working with Supersax, Lew Tabackin and Konitz. He also toured overseas, attracting considerable attention from the more discerning members of his audiences as well as from among his fellow musicians who held him in highest regard. Also in the 70s, he recorded rather more extensively, including material from an especially successful engagement in London with Konitz. A meticulously accurate yet free-flowing improviser, Marsh was comfortable in most bebop-orientated settings. His ballad playing was especially attractive, replete with clean and highly individual phrasing which constantly and consistently demonstrated his total command of instrument and genre. He died onstage at Donte's, a Los Angeles jazz club, in December 1987, while playing "Out of Nowhere". Encyclopedia of Popular Music

His novelized biography is appropriately entitled Out of Nowhere: the musical life of Warne Marsh. Mawson 2002. 306 p.

This recording contains 10 tracks, the first 6 of which feature Marsh with Sal Mosca (p), Eddie Gomez (b) and Kenny Clarke (d). Tracks 7-8 are Marsh, Sal Mosca, Sam Jones, and Roy Haynes; and tracks 9-10 are duets with Sal Mosca.

Lennie Tristano Quartet Live at the Confucius Restaurant 1955

According to AMG, the history of jazz is written as a recounting of the lives of its most famous (and presumably, most influential) artists. Reality is not so simple, however. Certainly the very most important of the music's innovators are those whose names are known by all -- Armstrong, Parker, Young, Coltrane. Unfortunately, the jazz critic's tendency to inflate the major figures' status often comes at the expense of other musicians' reputations -- men and women who have made significant, even essential, contributions of their own, are, for whatever reason, overlooked in the mad rush to canonize a select few. Lennie Tristano is one of those who have not yet received their critical due. In the mid-'40s, the Chicago-born pianist arrived on the scene with a concept that genuinely expanded the prevailing bop aesthetic. Tristano brought to the music of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell a harmonic language that adapted the practices of contemporary classical music; his use of polytonal effects in tunes like "Out on a Limb" was almost Stravinsky-esque, and his extensive use of counterpoint was (whether or not he was conscious of it at the time) in keeping with the trends being set in mid-century art music. Until relatively recently, it had seldom been acknowledged that Tristano had been the first to perform and record a type of music that came to be called "free jazz." In 1949 -- almost a decade before the making of Ornette Coleman's first records -- Tristano's group (which included Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, and Billy Bauer) cut the first recorded example of freely improvised music in the history of jazz. The two cuts, "Intuition" and "Digression," were created spontaneously, without any pre-ordained reference to time, tonality, or melody. The resultant work was an outgrowth of Tristano's preoccupation with feeling and spontaneity in the creation of music. It influenced, among others, Charles Mingus, whose earliest records sound eerily similar to those of Tristano in terms of style and compositional technique. Mingus came by the influence honestly; he studied with the pianist for a period in the early '50s, as did many other well-known jazz musicians, such as Sal Mosca, Phil Woods, and the aforementioned Konitz and Marsh.

Tristano was stricken permanently blind as an infant. He first studied music with his mother, an avocational pianist and opera singer. From 1928-38, he attended a school for the blind in Chicago, where he learned music theory and developed proficiency on several wind instruments. Later, he attended Chicago's American Conservatory of Music, from which he received a bachelor's degree in 1943. During his early years as a professional performer and teacher, Tristano worked in and around Chicago, achieving his first measure of critical attention and attracting his first important students, Konitz and composer/arranger Bill Russo.

In 1946, Tristano moved to New York, where he made something of a big splash, performing with many of the leading musicians of the day, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The influential critic Barry Ulanov took an extreme liking to Tristano's music and championed his work in the pages of Metronome magazine; Tristano was named the publication's Musician of the Year for 1947. Tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh began studies with Tristano in 1948, and when Bauer and Konitz came back aboard, he had the core of his great sextet. In 1949 -- with the addition of bassist Arnold Fishkin and alternating drummers Harold Granowsky and Denzil Best -- Tristano, Bauer, Konitz, and Marsh recorded what was to become the basis of the band's collective legacy, the Capitol album Crosscurrents. The Capitol sessions spawned many of Tristano's best-known works, including the title track, and of course, the freely improvised cuts "Digression" and "Intuition" (these latter recorded without a drummer). The recordings synthesized the Tristano approach: long, rhythmically and harmonically elaborate melodies were played over a smooth, almost uninflected swing time maintained by the bassist and drummer. Counterpoint, which had been mostly abandoned by post-New Orleans/Chicago players, made a comeback in Tristano's music. Tristano's written lines were a great deal more involved than the already complex melodies typical of bebop; he subdivided and multiplied the beat in odd groupings, and his harmonies did not always behave in a manner consistent with functional tonality. The complexity of his constructs demanded that his rhythm section provide little more than a solid foundation. Tristano's bassists and drummers were not expected to interact in the manner of a bop rhythm section, but to support the music's melodic and harmonic substance. Such restraint lent Tristano's music an emotionally detached air, which to this day has been used by unsympathetic critics as a sledgehammer to pound him.

In 1951, Tristano founded a school of jazz in New York, the first of its kind. Its faculty consisted of many of his most prominent students, including Konitz, Bauer, Marsh, and pianist Sal Mosca. His public performances became fewer and farther between; for the rest of his life, Tristano was to concentrate on teaching, mostly to the exclusion of everything else. He shut down his school in 1956, and began teaching out of his home on Long Island. Thereafter he would play occasionally at the Half Note in New York City. Recordings became scarce. He made two albums for Atlantic, Lennie Tristano and The New Tristano. A compilation of odds and ends entitled Descent Into the Maelstrom was released on Inner City; its title track documents Tristano's experiments in multi-track recording of the piano. He toured Europe in 1965; his last public performance in the U.S. was in 1968.

Until his death in 1978, Tristano continued to teach. A later generation of his adherents continues to work and thrive in New York to this day. Musicians like pianist Connie Crothers, saxophonists Lennie Popkin and Richard Tabnik, and drummer Carol Tristano -- the pianist's daughter -- carry on his work into the next century.

This recording, for the most part made live in the Sing Song Room at the Confucius Restaurant in New York City during 1955, is superb and I offer it as my first contribution to this blog. The final four tunes were recorded in Tristano's home studio during 1954-55.

The quartet: Lennie Tristano, piano; Lee Konitz, alto; Gene Ramey, bass; and Art Taylor, drums. The final four tracks have Tristano, Peter Ind (bass), and Jeff Morton (drums).

Note that these are 320 Stereo MP3's not FLACs. If someone can help me understand how to rip FLACs on a Mac, I'd be real appreciative...

Gene Ammons - Blue Gene

The final of his series of jam sessions for Prestige features an excellent septet (the leader on tenor, trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins, drummer Art Taylor and Ray Barretto on congas) stretching out on three original blues and the ballad "Hip Tip"; all four pieces were written by Waldron. Few surprises occur but everyone plays up to their usual high level. This enjoyable straightahead CD is a reissue of the original LP. Scott Yanow

Gene Ammons (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Doug Watkins (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)
Ray Barretto (congas)

1. Blue Gene
2. Scamperin'
3. Blue Greens And Beans
4. Hip Tip

Recorded in New York on May 2, 1958

The West Coast 50: Number 4

Clifford Brown - Clifford Brown And Max Roach

Many a young musician has been sabotaged by his own considerable abilities. So caught up are they in technical execution that they give elements such as emotion and taste short shrift. Trumpeter Clifford Brown was a musical dynamo, a man who was capable of playing many instruments well and who possessed supreme natural instincts and boundless energy. Brown painstakingly practiced and perfected his technique, but when practice time gave way to playing time--there was no other time for him--Brown's command was so deeply ingrained that he was free to concentrate on those other elements: emotion and taste. This reissue of the 1954 recorded debut of the Brown-Roach quintet stands as one of the most exciting works in all of jazz, and it plays as if the ensemble knew it at the time. Brown's trumpet work is fiery, confident, and nimble, tempered slightly by Miles Davis's lyricism; his tone is bright and bold, but the icing on the cake is the joy and tenderness that surface. Drummer Max Roach was already a bop veteran when he formed this groundbreaking hard-bop band and he prances like a dancer throughout. Harold Land's grounded, relaxed, grainy tenor is the perfect yin to Brown's yang. Brown emerges here as the crucial link between Dizzy Gillespie and basically all hot trumpeters to follow, even though he was not yet 24 when he made these recordings. Among the four extra cuts on this remastered reissue are alternate versions of "Daahoud" and "Joy Spring," two Brown compositions that have become hard-bop cornerstones. -- Marc Greilsamer

Clifford Brown (trumpet)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Richie Powell (piano)
George Morrow (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

1. Delilah
2. Parisian Thoroughfare
3. The Blues Walk
4. Daahoud
5. Joy Spring
6. Jordu
7. What Am I Here For

Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, August 2, 1954
Capitol Studio, NYC, February 24, 1955
Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, August 6, 1954
Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, August 3, 1954
Capitol Studio, NYC, February 25, 1955

Marcos Valle for Café Après-midi

In my opinion Marcos Valle is one of the top Brazilian composers but unfortunately not as widely known as Jobim for instance.
I find myself listening to this record very often. Valle's songs are very melodious and easy to remember (especially with English lyrics as in his album Samba '68). Still, the more I listen to them, the more I realize how complex they are and how little I know them actually.
This is an excellent Japanese compilation with no less than 30 tracks (!) featuring Valle's output for Brazilian labels between 1964-1974. The sound is beautifully remastered and I think all of the albums are now available as imports.

Marcos Valle for Café Après-midi
(released in 2001)

"The Japanese collection Café Après-midi, coordinated with the long-awaited (by a few) reissue of several Marcos Valle albums from the '70s, packs in no less than 30 of Valle's evergreens from the mid-'60s through the mid-'70s. With no wide-issue compilation yet available, this one becomes the pick, with clear digital-era sound and a track listing that unfortunately skirts the late '60s (and one of his best albums, Samba '68), but does hit most of the highlights from the '70s: "Êle e Ela," "Os Grilos," "Com Mais de 30," "Mentira," and "Não Tem Nada Não." Albums like Samba '68, Garra, and Previsão do Tempo are still nearly essential listening for Brazilian fans, but Café Après-midi is an excellent first choice." ~ John Bush, All Music Guide


Ben Webster - 1946-1951 (Chronological 1253)

This volume in the Chronological Classics Ben Webster series is a fascinating slice during a wildly transitional period for the saxophonist. In the years between 1946-1951, Webster made numerous jumps as evidenced by these tracks, from the glorious jumping big swing of "The Jeep Is Jumpin'" while he was with Bill De Arango to the searing bebop of "Dark Corners" (with some blazing guitar work by De Arango) to the small-combo hard bop of "Randle's Island" to the bluesy, near soul-jazz balladry of "You're My Thrill." In Webster's company are some masters to be sure, including Maynard Ferguson, Al Haig, Big Sid Catlett, Bill Coleman, Benny Carter, Tony Scott, Buster Moten, and Gerald Wiggins, to name a few. This is varied set in terms of style, but these performances (and sound) are consistently fine. ~ Thom Jurek

Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Tony Scott (clarinet)
Bill Coleman (trumpet)
Maynard Ferguson (trumpet)
Idries Suleiman (trumpet)
Al Haig (piano)
John Kirby (bass)
Bill DeArango (guitar)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Denzil Best (drums)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
Gerry Wiggins (piano)

1. Jeep Is Jumpin'
2. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
3. Dark Corners
4. Mister Brim
5. Frog and Mule - Ben Webster Quartet
6. Spang - Ben Webster Quartet
7. Doctor Keets - Ben Webster Quartet
8. Park and Tilford Blues - Ben Webster Quartet
9. As Long As I Live
10. All Alone
11. Blue Belles of Harlem
12. Turn It Over
13. That Dit It
14. Best Friend Blues
15. Baby You Messed Up
16. Randle's Island
17. Old Folks
18. King's Riff
19. You're My Thrill

Ray Brown ~ Bassics The Best of the Ray Brown Trio 1977-2000 2CD

This is a pretty ambitious set--culled from the Contemporary, Concord and Telarc catalogues. I'm sure many of us are familiar with a lot of these trio albums--and that there are many unforgettable gems on each one. For me (and I would bet this is true for a lot of us here) my favorites are those which I heard him play live. And his shows were always a great time. He played for the people; the music was always accessible and entertaining, yet even the most seasoned or jaded listener could go away with a sense of satisfaction. As Blakey said, "We're not here to educate people--they've come for a good time." That's what Ray was all about, first and last. I think this set will leave you wanting more, as it should. You might have to pull out some of the old (or I can) stuff to remind yourselves of certain tunes that they really wailed on. But start out with this one. The participants: Ray Brown, Piano: Gene Harris, Monty Alexander, Benny Green, Cedar Walton, Geoff Keezer, Drums: Jeff Hamilton, Elvin Jones, Gerryk King, Mickey Roker, Gregory Hutchinson, Karriem Riggins. Also Red Holloway, Emily Remler, Ralph Moore, Ulf Wakenius, Stanley Turrentine, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Herb Ellis
1.Sister Sadie
2.Blue Bossa
3.Exactly Like You
4.Mistreated But Undefeated Blues [Alternate Take]
5.Have You Met Miss Jones?
6.That's All
9.Buhaina Buhaina
10.Real Blues
11.Bye Bye Blackbird
12.Gumbo Hump
13.Phineas Can Be
14.Don't Get Sassy
15.Seven Steps to Heaven
16.Port of Rico
17.You're My Everything
18.Freddie Freeloader
19.It's Only a Paper Moon
23.I Want to Be Happy
24.Lined with a Groove

Charlie Ventura - 1945-1946 (Chronological 1044)

I have a number of Ventura things scattered around, and the Mosaic, but these Chronological releases make this stuff so easy to listen to. The Ventura '47-'49 is coming too.

Philadelphia native Charlie Ventura was born Charles Venturo in 1916. Following in his father's footsteps, he worked at first for the Stetson hat company. Inspired by tenor saxophonist Leon "Chu" Berry, he took up the sax on his own and eventually made his first appearance on records as a member of Berry's ensemble. After extensive nocturnal gigging while working at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Venturo sat in with Roy Eldridge and soon began recording with Gene Krupa's orchestra. It was Krupa who first brought Venturo to Los Angeles. This wonderful compilation presents a wealth of precious material recorded between March 1945 and March 1946 in both L.A. and New York. These are the first records that Venturo issued under his own name, and they all used the original spelling. He wasn't presented on records as "Charlie Ventura" until September of 1946. Teamed at first with Howard McGhee and then with Buck Clayton, Venturo cut eight sides for the small-time Sunset and Black & White labels. These were followed by five episodes for tenor and rhythm section recorded in New York for the rapidly rising Savoy label. While Chu Berry was his prime influence, Venturo's progress paralleled that of Coleman Hawkins as swing evolved rapidly into bop. Here Venturo demonstrates his remarkable prowess as both balladeer and front burner. The drumming of Gordon "Specs" Powell enhances and fortifies the two sessions from August of 1945. A loose-limbed live "Jam Session Honoring Charlie Venturo" resulted in extended versions of "The Man I Love" and "Stompin' at the Savoy," and were brought out on the Lamplighter and Crystalette labels by producer Ted Yerxa. The omission of Ventura's famous performance at Town Hall in 1945 -- issued on Commodore and reissued by Atlantic -- is puzzling and somewhat disappointing, but the rest of the material is so rare and excellent as to compensate for the gap. Back with Black & White in March of 1946, Venturo led a sextet including trumpeter Red Rodney and Jimmie Lunceford's star alto saxophonist, Willie Smith. There are several contenders for "best Charlie Ventura compilation," but this one, documenting his first year as leader of his own recording ensembles, rates among the very best. ~ arwulf arwulf

Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)
Arnold Ross (piano)
Dave Barbour (guitar)
Art Shapiro (bass)
Nick Fatool (drums)
Los Angeles, March 1, 1945

Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)
Billy Rowland (piano)
Ed Yance (guitar)
Al Hall (bass)
Specs Powell (drums)
NYC, August 17, 1945

Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)
Arnold Ross (piano)
John Levy (bass)
Specs Powell (drums)
NYC, August 28, 1945

Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Ray De Geer (alto sax)
Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)
Harry Fields (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Red Callender (bass)
Nick Fatool or Gene Krupa (drums)
Los Angeles, January 27, 1946

Red Rodney (trumpet)
Willie Smith (alto sax)
Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)
Arnold Ross (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Billy Hadnott (bass)
Nick Fatool (drums)
Los Angeles, March 1946

Kenny Burrell & Jimmy Raney - 2 Guitars

This early Kenny Burrell release leans less towards the blues than his other Prestige albums from the same period (KENNY BURRELL, for instance, was cut a month earlier). However, it finds him in familiar company, with Doug Watkins on bass, Arthur Taylor on drums and Donald Byrd on trumpet (all three appear on the Byrd/Burrell date ALL DAY LONG, recorded on January 4). Pianist Mal Waldron contributes three of the tunes ("Blue Duke," "Dead Heat," and "Pivot"), and lends a forward-leaning sound to the proceedings with his angular improvisations.

On the Waldron themes, Burrell and Raney are arranged in parallel with the horns or play in call-and-response with them, but beyond that, this is a fairly straightforward blowing date, 1957-style. Each guitarist takes one standard with just piano, bass, and drums (Burrell's is "Close Your Eyes," Raney does "Out of Nowhere"). The full ensemble stretches out on Jackie McLean's "Little Melonae" and Watkins' "This Way," which simply opens with Burrell soloing full tilt over an equally fleet rhythm section.

1 Blue Duke (Waldron) 8:50
2 Dead Heat (Waldron) 4:07
3 Pivot (Waldron) 5:13
4 Close Your Eyes (Petkere) 4:50
5 Little Melonae (McLean) 9:29
6 This Way (Watkins) 12:25
7 Out of Nowhere (Green, Heyman) 4:31

Kenny Burrell Guitar
Donald Byrd Trumpet
Jackie McLean Sax (Alto)
Jimmy Raney Guitar
Art Taylor Drums
Mal Waldron Piano
Doug Watkins Bass

Recorded on March 5, 1957 in Hackensack, NJ

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hank Jones ~ Tiptoe Tapdance 1976 Solo

Solo piano, there's nothing else quite like it. It seems even the humblest, rudimentary player can, at times, play a song or even a phrase in such a way that it captures one's attention and imagination in an instant--some players may go all night and only have fleeting moments of brilliance. To put another way, a diamond of almost any quality will give off even a slight glint of fire-- Jones has these moments in every single bar!! The entire spectrum of Jazz, Blues, Stride, Gospel, hints of classical, the Romantic piano music of Chopin and Liszt, impressionistic harmonies of Debussy and Ravel--essentially a lifetime of study and reflection have found it's way into what you get here. As Miles may have said, "He gets a helluva lot up in there" (he actually may have put it more colorfully than that). I found it astounding to hear, for instance, within the Evans/McPartland interview--BE's statement that he did not feel totally equipped to play solo. Hard to imagine. I am almost certain, and you will be too, that Hank Jones has it all together--and in every bar. WBF (10/21)
1.I Didn't Know What Time It Was
3.Sweet Lorraine
4.Two Sleepy People
5.I'll Be Around
6.It's Me Oh Lord
7.Love Divine, All Loves Surpassing
8.Memories of You
9.Lord, I Want To Be A Christian

Charlie Ventura - 1947-1949 (Chronological 1149)

The main reasons to investigate the recordings of Charlie Ventura are of course his wonderful handling of the tenor saxophone and the excellent ensembles he led. Ventura's recordings were predominately instrumental in 1945 and 1946. As the decade drew to a close, singers dominated the recording industry and many bandleaders chose to feature more and more of them. The third volume of the complete recordings of Charlie Ventura illustrates this process in high relief. Four sides recorded for the National label in September of 1947 spotlight the vocal talents of Buddy Stewart, an able crooner who sounded best when bop scatting like a third horn alongside Ventura and trombonist Kai Winding on "East of Suez" and the dynamic "Eleven Sixty," a masterpiece of high-energy bop that Ventura had recorded in March of 1947 as "Stop and Go." A stack of sides recorded in Chicago during October of 1948 packs a few surprises. Ventura switches to baritone sax on "If I Had You" and begins to feature vocalist Jackie Cain as a lone balladeer and in bop scat tandem with pianist Roy Kral. Their cutely hip, wordless passages closely emulate a widely imitated style of singing perfected by Babs Gonzales. As nice as the vocals are, one begins to relish the sax and trombone breaks, while the increasingly rare instrumental tracks ("Oh, Lady Be Good," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and a gorgeous treatment of "Once in a While") begin to feel like precious nuggets of unaffected inspiration. Three of the four titles recorded for Victor on January 6, 1949, showcase the increasingly popular Jackie & Roy in highly charged bop scat mode. The instrumental "Body and Soul" was Ventura's second recorded outing on baritone sax. A smoky, apparently live nightclub recording of "Fine and Dandy" captures the sound of Ventura's sextet at its most unrestrained and inspired, including fine solos by Bennie Green and trumpeter Conte Candoli. Contrary to what the enclosed discography says, Jackie & Roy do not sing on "Fine and Dandy." By April of 1949, Ventura's act had practically become the Jackie & Roy show, albeit with excellent instrumentation behind the singers. "Flamingo" achieves an interesting balance as the vocalists are mainly heard in the background during the introduction, as if to pave the way for the leader's passionate, sophisticated saxophone. ~arwulf arwulf

Charlie Ventura (tenor, baritone sax)
Jackie Cain (vocal)
Conti Condoli (trumpet)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Benny Green (trombone)
Buddy Stewart (vibraphone)
Roy Kral (piano)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)
Chubby Jackson (bass)

Happy Birthday, Gentlemen

This Day In Jazz

Frank Lowe - The Flam

Frank Lowe's "The Flam" is one of the best avant-garde/modern jazz albums of the 1970s. For this 1975 session, a fiery, three-horn frontline of Lowe on tenor sax, Joseph Bowie (yup, Lester's brother) on trombone, and Leo Smith on trumpet (and flugelhorn and woodflute on two tracks) join the pianoless rhythm duo of Alex Blake on bass and Charles Bobo Shaw on drums. All members of this group contributed creative, original tunes for this recording -- Bowie wrote the raucous "Sun Voyage," Lowe penned the title track, Shaw the wild, free "Be-Bo-Bo-Be," Smith the brief concluding "U.B.P.," and the whole quintet is credited with the romping "Third Street Stomp." Lowe's full, abrasive tone and music are not for everyone, but fans of Dave Holland's "Conference for the Birds," Sam Rivers' 70s Impulse albums or even the more out there David Murray sessions will be right at home with "The Flam." With his fine ESP disc "Black Beeings" now out of print, and his other titles on Black Saint/Soul Note generally hard to find, interested parties should act quickly.

On this free jazz date the powerful tenor Frank Lowe teams up with trumpeter Leo Smith, trombonist Joseph Bowie, bassist Alex Blake and drummer Charles Bobo Shaw for five group originals including the collaboration "Third St. Stomp." The very explorative and rather emotional music holds one's interest throughout. These often heated performances are better heard than described. Scott Yanow

Alex Blake (bass)
Joseph Bowie (trombone)
Frank Lowe (tenor sax)
Charles Bobo Shaw (drums)
Leo Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn, woodflute)

1. Sun Voyage
2. Flam
3. Be-Bo-Bo-Be
4. Third St. Stomp
5. U. B. P.

Barry Galbraith - Guitar and The Wind

I had never heard of him before, but a friend turned me on to him and he's a beautiful player.

There are some great tunes here, including the seldom-heard Ellington chestnut, What Am I Here For?

Bull market
Portrait of jennie
Judy's jaunt
Nina never knew
A gal in calico
I like to recognize the tune (105kb)
Any place i hang my hat
Love is for the very young
You gotta' have rhythm
What am i here for

Joe Williams ~ Jump For Joy Vinyl Rip

Williams' first album for RCA Victor recorded early 1963. Arrangements by Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Jones. Participants: Clark Terry, Thad Jones, Snooky Young, Bernie Glow, Urbie Green, Quentin Jackson, Milt Hinton, Osie Johnson, Kenny Burrell, Hank Jones, Willie Rodriguez. Joe was out there trying to get his solo career off and rolling after leaving Basie--and what a great career he had. So great at singing the blues--this helped to establish him as a superb all-around singer--I'm sure those here would agree that he was one of the all time greats. Topkapi, if you're out there, I appreciated the Peggy Lee's you posted--and yes, you should leave your comments open. We need a few more singers up here. Anyway, here's some really good Webster Hall sounds coming your way.
1.Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
2.I Went Out of My Way
3.The Great City
4.Your Perfect Stranger
5.A Good Thing
6.It's a Wonderful World
7.Sounds of the Night
8.Just a Sittin' and a Rockin'
9.My Last Affair
10.More Than Likely
11.She Doesn't Know
12.Jump For Joy

Red Rodney - The Red Tornado (1975)

After a promising start playing with the likes of Woody Herman and Charlie Parker, Red Rodney disappeared from the scene due to drug addiction and subsequent busts. After spending most of the '50s in and out of jail, Rodney retreated to the life of playing in Las Vegas show bands. During this time he went through some major dental work after being struck in the face by a policeman and suffered from a stroke in 1972.

Red's first album in 15 years, Bird Lives!, showed the trumpeter determined to get his chops back together and commit himself once more to playing jazz. The saga continues with The Red Tornado.

"Red Rodney's string of Muse recordings in the 1970s found the trumpeter getting stronger album by album. For this date, he plays in the hard bop genre with trombonist Bill Watrous, George Young (doubling on tenor and flute), pianist Roland Hanna (who also plays some electric piano), bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins. Although they perform four group originals and an obscurity, with Red's feature on "I Can't Get Started" being the only standard, most of the tunes are based either on blues or on earlier songs (including "originals" close to "So What" and "Cherokee"). Rodney sounds strong, and the highlights include "For Dizzy," "The Red Tornado" and "The Red Blues." As with Red Rodney's other Muse recordings, this one has not yet been reissued on CD." - Scott Yanow

Red Rodney (trumpet)
Bill Watrous (trombone)
George Young (tenor sax, flute)
Roland Hanna (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
  1. For Dizzy
  2. I Can't Get Started
  3. Red Bird
  4. The Red Tornado
  5. Nos Duis Ga Tarde
  6. The Red Blues
Recorded on September 30 and October 2, 1975

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Red Garland Trio At The Prelude

. I was looking for a Garland 20bitK2 release and, seeing this, became quite vexed at myself for forgetting to post it sooner.

"Following the success of Bill Evans: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961, the Concord Music Group has slated for release several historically complete thematic sets. Among these is The Red Garland Trio At The Prelude. The some 135 minutes of music comprising three sets on the evening of October 2, 1959 at Harlem’s Prelude Club, has characteristically been released haphazardly. Finally compiled in a single set is music that had previously been spread over four separate releases:

Red Garland at the Prelude (Prestige 7170, 1959)
Red Garland: ‘Lil Darlin (Prestige/NewJazz 8314, 1959)
Red Garland: Live (Prestige/NewJazz 8314, 1959)
Red Garland: Satin Doll (Prestige 7859, 1959)

The significance of this recording is the fact that Red Garland was pianist in Miles Davis’ first great quintet (consisting of Davis, Garland, John Coltrane, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones) from 1955 to 1958, the last recording being made with Davis at the Spotlight Lounge in Washington DC, November 1, 1958, during the transition period between the classic quintet and Miles’ famous sextet of Milestones and Kind of Blue . Garland left Davis’ band in late 1958. Garland’s Prelude sides followed the completion of Kind of Blue by eight months.

Also of considerable importance is the fact that this was Prestige Records’ first remote live recording. Sonny Rollins initiated the live recording with the Blue Note label at the Village Vanguard two years prior to Garland’s Prelude recordings.

Red Garland (piano)
Jimmy Rowser (bass)
Charles "Specs" Wright (drums)

CD 1

1. M-Squad Theme
2. There Will Never Be Another You
3. Let Me See
4. We Kiss In A Shadow
5. Blues In The Closet
6. Satin Doll
7. Lil' Darlin
8. One O'Clock Jump
9. Perdido
10. Bye Bye Blackbird
11. Like Someone In Love - (with Red Garland)

CD 2

1. It's A Blue World
2. Marie
3. Bohemian Blues
4. One O'Clock Jump
5. A Foggy Day
6. Satin Doll
7. Mr. Wonderful
8. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)
9. Prelude Blues
10. Cherokee
11. One O'Clock Jump

Don Byas - 1945 Vol. 2 (Chronological 959 )

"Carlos Wesley "Don" Byas openly claimed to represent a third stream of tenor sax, somewhere between Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. In truth, he sounded most like the mature Hawkins, also sharing stylistic traits with Pres, Budd Johnson, Lucky Thompson and Ben Webster. Most importantly, he sounded like himself. Four sides recorded for the "Jamboree" label in October 1945 feature the extraordinary piano of Johnny Guarnieri. "Once in a While" comes across like a lullaby compared to the rip-snorting "Avalon," notable for J.C. Heard's fiery drumming. "Blue and Sentimental," forever associated with Count Basie's star tenor saxophonist Herschel Evans, is soulfully rendered here. "Melancholy Baby" sounds a lot like the kind of records Hawkins was making for the Keynote label in 1945 -- this recording, in fact, could effectively be used to stump jazz experts during blindfold tests. In a remarkable follow-up, the next session turns Erroll Garner loose in the company of Slam Stewart and Harold "Doc" West. The Savoy session (after Byas stretches out with "Candy" all to himself) features trumpeter Benny Harris. "How High the Moon" bristles with be bop changes, and "Donby" is recognizable as Byas' extension of Juan Tizol's "Perdido." "Byas a Drink" is a sort of be bop rhumba. In a strange chronology defying maneuver -- and without altering the title of the CD -- Classics has tacked on two sessions from 1944. Throughout his career, trumpeter Emmett Berry was almost never designated as a leader. On August 31 1944, the quintet bearing his name was graced with a rhythm section consisting of Dave Rivera, Milt Hinton and J.C. Heard. The music speaks of new ideas in the making, even if Berry swings rather than bops. Recorded on 12 " 78 rpm records allowing for nearly four minutes per side, the Cyril Haynes Sextet, starring Byas and the nearly forgotten trumpeter Dick Vance, featured electrified guitar solos by Al Casey with strong rhythmic support from -- once again -- Harold "Doc" West. Here, then, is a fat parcel of solid sessions from the life of Don Byas, well-worth hearing again and again." ~arwulf arwulf

Don Byas (tenor sax)
Emmett Berry, Dick Vance, Benny Harris (trumpet)
Erroll Garner, Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Slam Stewart (bass)
J.C. Heard (drums)

1. Once In A While
2. Avalon
3. Blue And Sentimental
4. My Melancholy Baby
5. Humoresque
6. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
7. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
8. Slamboree
9. Candy
10. How High The Moon
11. Donby
12. Byas-A-Drink
13. Sweet And Lovely
14. White Rose Kick
15. Deep Blue Dream
16. Byas'd Opinion
17. Morning Madness
18. One Sad Thursday
19. Across The Road
20. Cedar Manor

Roy Eldridge - 1945-1947 (Chronological 983)

As far as Roy Eldridge's big bands go, this was the peak. With arrangements by Buster Harding and a stable of powerful young players, the Roy Eldridge Orchestra must have been formidable in live performance. Most of the recordings they made for the Decca label represent the ultimate in extroverted big-band swing. The explosive "Little Jazz Boogie" is one of the hottest records Roy Eldridge ever made. The flip side, "Embraceable You," bears witness to his profound abilities as an interpreter of ballads. Three sides by the Roy Eldridge Little Jazz Band recorded for V-Disc on November 14, 1945, allow for more intimate interplay. "Roy Meets Horn" -- the title is a takeoff on "Boy Meets Horn," Ellington's feature for Rex Stewart -- and "Old Rob Roy" are late-period swing or "prebop" numbers, anticipating stylistic changes that were in the wind at the time. With Nick Caiazza blowing tenor sax, Ernie Caceres wielding a clarinet, and Trigger Alpert and Specs Powell in the rhythm section, this was one exciting little jam band. "I've Found a New Baby" is a full-blown stomp employing traditional swing polyphony. Contrary to what the discography claims, there is no spoken introduction by Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Back in the Decca studios on January 31, 1946, the big band generated huge gusts of sound, employing lots of in-your-face brass. "Ain't That a Shame" is a fine cool blues graced with one of Eldridge's hippest vocals. The session of May 7, 1946, opened with the rowdy "Hi Ho Trailus Boot Whip" and eased into "Tippin' Out" -- the apparent obverse of "Tippin' In," a big hit for Erskine Hawkins. During his solo on "Yard Dog," tenor saxophonist Tom Archia quotes from Fats Waller's hit record "There's Honey on the Moon Tonight." On the other hand, "Les Bounce" is not a very inventive melody. The band compensates by blowing hard and Eldridge tries using a portion of the melodic line from his famous "Little Jazz." The material recorded on September 24, 1946, signals a return to dependable jazz standards of the day. This band had alto saxophonists Sahib Shihab and Joe Eldridge, Cecil Payne on baritone, and pianist Duke Jordan. The disc closes with the WNEW Saturday Night Swing Session broadcast live on May 31, 1947. "Honeysuckle Rose" is played by just the rhythm section of Al Casey, Eddie Safranski, and Specs Powell. "Flip and Jazz" is nearly nine minutes of hot jamming in the company of tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips. "How High the Moon" is, well, a visit to bop city as Eldridge brings in the melody known as "Ornithology." "Lover" is played bright and fast with lots of block chords hammered out by pianist Mike Coluchio's right hand. "Buck Still Jumps," played once again just by the rhythm section, is Al Casey's sequel to "Buck Jumpin'," his famous feature number from Fats Waller days. ~ arwulf arwulf

Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Sahib Shihab (alto sax)
Flip Phillips (tenor sax)
Joe Eldridge (alto sax)
Duke Jordan (piano)
Specs Powell (drums)

1. Little Jazz Boogie
2. Embraceable You
3. Roy Meets Horn
4. Old Rob Roy
5. I've Found a New Baby
6. Baby, That'll Be the Day
7. All the Cats Join In
8. Poor John
9. Ain't That a Shame
10. Hi Ho Trailus Boot Whip
11. Tippin' Out
12. Yard Dog
13. Les Bounce
14. Lover, Come Back to Me
15. Rockin' Chair
16. It's the Talk of the Town
17. I Surrender, Dear
18. Honeysuckle Rose
19. Flip and Jazz, Pt. 1
20. Flip and Jazz, Pt. 2
21. Flip and Jazz, Pt. 3
22. How High the Moon
23. Lover
24. Buck Still Jumps

Benny Carter - 1946-1948 (Chronological 1043)

Benny Carter was a major player in the jazz world, and a man widely respected by his fellow musicians and critics. So why do we hear so little about him relative to his importance? The man was playing before Louis Armstrong recorded, and was recording himself well into the '90's. He was adept at several instruments, and if we knew nothing of him but his arrangements, he'd still be a monster; no less a person than Duke Ellington would defer to him, and he wrote charts for Henderson, Webb, Goodman (before he got big), Miller, and Basie. His band was an incubator for the likes of Teddy Wilson, Chu Berry, J. C. Higginbotham, Sid Catlett, J. J. Johnson, Al Grey, Miles Davis and Max Roach. He was a formidable man.

But he hasn't been well served, in my opinion, in terms of releases and available CDs. Much of his later stuff is readily available because of Norman Granz, but there is so much than just is not easily found. However, the Chronological Classics are excellent for the middle period that is so sadly deficient otherwise. His work from 1929 - 1952 (!!) is covered in 9 CDs in the series. This particular volume covers sessions done for V-Disc, which was a quasi-governmental project for the War effort, for Harry Lim's Keynote label, the French Swing label, and two other small labels. Also included are two tunes recorded for Capitol. Miles Davis, here only 20 years old, was working with Bird, Mingus and Billy Eckstine at this period. And he's just one of many. The truly under-rated Kay Starr even has a cameo here.

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Al Grey (trombone)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Leonard "Idries Suleiman" Graham (trumpet)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Gerald Wilson (trumpet)
Max Roach (drums)

1 - Melodrama In A V-Disc Record Room (Jump Call)
2 - I Can't Get Started
3 - He's Funny That Way
4 - Moonglow
5 - Give Me Something To Remember You By
6 - Lady Be Good
7 - Deep Purple
8 - Back Bay Boogie
9 - Prelude To A Kiss
10 - Re-Bop Boogie
11 - Twelve O'Clock Jump
12 - Your Conscience Tells You So
13 - Mexican Hat Dance
14 - Sweet Georgia Brown
15 - Out Of My Way
16 - What'll Be
17 - Cadillac Slim
18 - Baby You're Mine For Keeps
19 - You'll Never Break My Heart Again
20 - Chilpanicingo
21 - An Old Love Story
22 - Reina (My Lovely Queen)
23 - Let Us Drink A Toast Together
24 - June Comes Around Every Year
25 - Forever Blue

Roscoe Mitchell - Composition/ Improvisation Nos 1, 2 & 3

In Composition/Improvisation Nos. 1, 2 & 3, notated material is juxtaposed with improvised dialogue in a way that is both intellectually interesting and musically satisfying on many levels. Like Boulez’ structures of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Mitchell’s nine-part suite (three multi-section pieces) are sequenced out of order, putting a stranglehold on any conventional grasp of temporality. The music itself bolsters the illusion, long passages of post-Webern pointillism superimposed over Varèse-ian shocks and bursts, all underpinned by the pulsing shadow of Ligeti. Yet, these are simply comparisons, the voice being Mitchell’s own, just as his saxophone playing is definitive. Mitchell, in tandem with the equally venerable Evan Parker, has assembled a cast of 14 of the US and Europe’s finest improvisers, each given a beautifully reverberant atmosphere by ECM’s recording team. Ensemble passages of intensity and grit are never detrimentally softened and the 80-minute suite is a triumph of stunning solo work and monumental group interplay that crosses and recrosses boundaries as it proceeds. With Mitchell exploring such fertile avenues, any guess at future plans would be folly. May he continue in whatever direction his muse leads him.

Roscoe Mitchell (soprano sax)
Evan Parker (soprano, tenor sax)
Anders Svanoe (alto, baritone sax)
John Rangecroft (clarinet)
Neil Metcalfe (flute)
Corey Wilkes (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Craig Taborn (piano)
Jaribu Shahid (bass)
Tani Tabbal (drums, percussion)
Paul Lytton (drums, percussion)

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6. VI
7. VII
9. IX

Pee Wee Russell ~ Portrait Of Pee Wee

From 1958, this set matches the great clarinetist Pee Wee Pussell with an all-star horn section (trumpeter Ruby Braff, trombonist Vic Dickenson and tenor-saxophonist Bud Freeman) on a program of swing standards along with "Pee Wee Blues." Russell, a bit weary of playing Dixieland by this time, was starting to look toward more modern eras of music, although in reality his own playing was always beyond categorization.
Note: This is not the Dunhill reissue, it is from DCC Jazz, who used the original master tapes from the Counterpoint Label. Sensational sound quality. Even non-trad fans should like this one.
1.That Old Feeling
2.World On A String
3.Exactly Like You
4.It All Depends On You
5.If I Had You
6.Out Of Nowhere
7.Pee Wee Blues
8.I Used To Love You
9.Oh No!
Pee Wee Russell: Clarinet
Ruby Braff: Trumpet
Bud Freeman: Tenor Sax
Vic Dickenson: Trombone
Karl Kiffe: Drums
Charles Potter: Bass
Nat Pierce: Piano, arrangements
Recorded for Esoteric/Counterpoint Records at Beltone Studios, NY on Feb 18 &19, 1958

The Complete Joe Newman RCA Victor Recordings (1955-1956) "The Basie Days"

Trumpeter Joe Newman, best-known for his playing with Count Basie's Orchestra, led four albums for RCA during 1955-1956. This generous two-CD set reissues all the music from these dates, and has plenty of swinging performances. The first disc puts the focus on Newman and tenor saxophonist Al Cohn in a pair of octets with arrangements by Ernie Wilkins, Manny Albam, and Cohn. The second disc starts out with a tribute to Louis Armstrong, a dozen of Satch's songs modernized for a big band; Newman takes a few rare vocals. The final session matches Newman with flutist Frank Wess in a two-guitar septet arranged by Wilkins. While most of the other two-fers in this French RCA Jazz Tribune series are reissues of earlier two-LP sets, this one was newly compiled and has 48 splendid examples of Basie-ish swing. Highly recommended. - Scott Yanow

Collective Personnel

Joe Newman, Conte Candoli, Joe Ferrante, Bernie Glow, Nick Travis, Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Frank Rehak, Urbie Green, Jimmy Cleveland, Tommy Mitchell, Chauncey Welsch, Benny Powell (trombone)
Frank Wess, Ernie Wilkins, Al Cohn, Gene Quill, Phil Woods, Sam Marowitz, Eddie Wasserman, Al Epstein (reeds)
Nat Pierce, Dick Katz, Hank Jones (piano)
Freddie Green, Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Milt Hinton, Eddie Jones, Buddy Jones (bass)
Shadow Wilson, Gus Johnson, Osie Johnson (drums)
Manny Albam, Al Cohn, Ernie Wilkins (arrangements)

Track list in comments

Peggy Lee - Latin ala Lee! & Olé a la Lee (1960)

Peggy is a 'Jazz' vocalist likened to the female Sinatra ... not quite but close in a way

But she has something.. other than being damn cute and quite a looker
up to her demise. But thats really irrelevant (though a nice-to-have LOL!)

I came to hear her - initially - thru the 'Black Coffee' and 'Fever' well
known hits she had. But I actually took a real interest in her via the film
'Pete Kelly's Blues' (fantastic jazz film!). From then on, she's an unashamed
fave of mine.

The review I prefer for these albums is the following non AMG, but Amazon one - as I agree
they are a type of album to be listened to in an uncritical 'latin' way...

"These two albums were recorded in 1960 and feature Peggy singing to a Latin-styled musical backing. Despite the music, Peggy sings the same way she always did, and the songs selected here are also typical although the second album on this twofer contains some Latin songs - Fantastico, Non dimenticar and Ole..

Many of the songs will therefore be familiar to fans of the Great American Songbook and Broadway show tunes, right from the opening Heart (if that title doesn't mean anything, you may remember the chorus line You gotta have heart). On the street where you live, Surrey with the fringe on top, Hey there, I could have danced all night, The party's over, I enjoy being a girl, Come dance with me, Love and marriage, You stepped out of a dream - these are just some of the classic songs here. Peggy's covers are always distinctive, but the Latin style makes them even more so.

Two bonus tracks - Till there was you (which has never sounded better than when sung here by Peggy) and Together wherever we go - make this even more desirable than it would have been anyway.

These albums, while typical in many ways of Peggy's music, are distinctive simply because of the Latin style. For that reason, this twofer is one of the most important among the many released."

Latin ala Lee!
1. Heart
2. On The Street Where You Live
3. I Am In Love
4. Hey There
5. I Could Have Danced All Night
6. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
7. The Party's Over
8. Dance Only With Me
9. Wish You Were Here
10. C'est Magnifique
11. I Enjoy Being A Girl
12. 'Till There Was You

Olé a la Lee
1. Come Dance With Me
2. By Myself
3. You're So Right For Me
4. Just Squeeze Me
5. Fantastico
6. Love & Marriage
7. Non Dimenticar
8. From Now On
9. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
10. Ole
11. I Can't Resist You
12. Together Wherever We

Peggy's cool.....and I say so...

Coleman Hawkins Clark Terry ~ Back In Bean's Bag

This is a cover that only a mother could love. It's like they brought the two of them down to a carnival to have these drawings done. Columbia relegated it to their "Special Products" division. Someone can challenge me on this, but I contend that this has never (outside of the Mosaic Columbia small groups box set) been released on CD. Yeah, it's probably been available in upper Siberia for 11 years--shot down again! Anyway, this came out at relatively the same time as the Ben Webster/Harry Edison album--great album. So is this. You would think that an album with this line up (Coleman, Clark, Tommy Flanagan, Major Holly, and Dave Bailey) would by itself merit more attention. Apparently not. The tracks: A Tune for the Tutor. Don't Worry 'Bout Me, (a gorgeous solo by Terry), Just Squeeze Me, (features Major Holly's comical singing/bowing thing), a rocking rendition of Feedin' the Bean (Terry's solo illustrates his great sense of humor also), Michelle (not the Beatles version--beautiful Hawkins solo) and rounding out with Fats Waller's Squeeze Me. Hard to imagine why this is treated like the ugly stepchild to the Webster/Edison. The only review I could find was from the review of the mosaic set. The claim was that Hawkins put out 'better' material at this time. All I can say is, listen to it and be your own judge--if for no other reason than to get a great chuckle at CT's Feedin' the Bean solo at first. It's a beautiful album, you can't judge it by the cover.

Harold Vick - Straight Up (1966)

One of my older posts, in OGG. I've been enjoying it lately and the links are still active.

The superb Straight Up captures Harold Vick's shift away from the lithe tenor/organ sessions of his previous work toward the bold soul-jazz of his finest recordings. Supported by an unusual but effective lineup featuring guitarist Everett Barksdale, vibist Warren Chiasson, bassist Walter Booker, and drummer Hugh Walker, Vick alternates between tenor, soprano, and flute, greatly expanding the parameters of his sound while maintaining the simplicity that is his hallmark. Above all, he remains a remarkably expressive player, communicating more in one or two notes than most reedists say over the span of an entire song. ~Jason Ankeny

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blue Mitchell

Blue Mitchell - Blue Soul

Usually thought of as a quintessential Blue Note artist, Mitchell worked for other jazz-oriented labels as well, notably Riverside. This session from 1959 was actually his third as a leader for Riverside, and features arrangements by Heath and Benny Golson with two original tunes each by Heath, Mitchell and Golson. Mitchell had a varied career, and has worked not only with artists as diverse as Bill Holman, Richie Kamuca, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, and John Mayall.

Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Minor Vamp
2. The Head
3. The Way You Look Tonight
4. Park Avenue Petite
5. Top Shelf
6. Waverley Street
7. Blue Soul
8. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
9. Nica's Dream

NYC, September 28, 1959

Harold Land/Blue Mitchell Quintet - Mapenzi

"This Concord release was tenor saxophonist Harold Land's first as a leader in a decade, although he had co-led many sessions in the interim with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Starting in 1975, Land and trumpeter Blue Mitchell worked regularly in a quintet up until Mitchell's death in 1979, but this album was just about their only joint recording. With keyboardist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Reggie Johnson, and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath offering solid support, the group performs four originals by Land (including the title cut and "Rapture"), two songs by Lightsey, and Mitchell's "Blue Silver." Fusion may have been the dominant force at the time, but despite Lightsey doubling on electric piano, this is an excellent example of 1977 hard bop."

"This fine fine session was made in the mid-seventies when most bop stars had sold out and crossed over to fusion with a lot of new toys: synthesizers, Fender basses, wired saxes and weird electric trumpets. The black-gold years of bebop faded away: the locus of the recording industry shifted from Rudy Van Gelders studio in Englewood, N.J. to L.A. But there were one or two of the great tenors who kept playing real jazz: Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, and Harold Land. They tended the flame through a pretty dark and tasteless period until the hard bop revival of the 80's. That's why this rare piece of true (and all acoustic) jazz in not only fine, but twice fine for its heroism. "

Harold Land (tenor sax)
Blue Mitchell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Kirk Lightsey (piano)
Reggie Johnson (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. Mapenzi
2. Rapture
3. Habiba
4. Blue Silver
5. Everything's Changed
6. Inner Voice
7. Tres Senderos

Recorded April 14, 1977 in Hollywood, California

Blue Mitchell - Bantu Village (Flac vinyl rip)

This was Blue Mitchell's last Blue Note album before signing with Mainstream, and one of two (the other being 1968's Collision In Black) not represented by the Mosaic Blue Note box.

Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Dee Ervin, Monk Higgins (piano, percussion)
Bobby Bryant (trumpet)
Charlie Loper (trombone)
Plas Johnson (tenor sax)
Bill Green (alto sax, flute)
Buddy Collette (flute)
Fred Robinson, Al Vescovo (guitar)
Wilton Felder (bass)
Bob West (bass)
Paul Humphrey (drums)
John Guerin (drums)
King Ellison (conga)
Alan Estes (conga)

1. H.N.I.C.
2. Flat Backing
3. Na Ta Ka
4. Heads Down
5. Bantu Village
6. Blue Dashiki
7. Bush Girl (Ervin, Pea) 3:01[/size][/b]

Recorded May 22-23, 1969 at RPM Studios, Los Angeles

Teddy Edwards Howard McGhee Phineas Newborn ~ Together Again

by Scott Yanow
Tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards and trumpeter Howard McGhee had played together regularly during 1945-47. For their recorded reunion, they are assisted by the masterful pianist Phineas Newborn, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. Edwards, McGhee and Brown contributed one new song apiece which alternates with a trio of standards ("You Stepped Out of a Dream," "Misty" and Charlie Parker's "Perhaps"). The trumpeter was having a short-lived comeback at the time and he had largely regained his earlier form. Edwards sounds as strong as ever and Newborn was an up-and-coming talent. Their collaboration for this boppish date (reissued on CD) is generally quite memorable.

Cecil Taylor - Garden: Parts 1 & 2

I wish Jurek had pointed out which spots were barrelhouse and which spots were gagaku. I always get them confused.

" Recorded in 1981, the original double-LP release of Garden provided non-European followers of Cecil Taylor their first glimpse at two very distinct changes. Given that he was using a Bösendorfer grand piano, the sound quality of his recordings improved greatly; it was finally possible to hear the fickle sonances and subtle timbres his lightning clusters produced. Secondly, his deeply percussive style was opening to other influences. The first volume opened -- as do all of his solo performances now -- with vocal extemporization and poetry, and on into the slowly evolving gradually revealing performance itself. On the second disc there is nothing but meat. Taylor is in full heat, flailing, banging, slashing out chords and high register trills with studied abandon and a careful attention to detail. Here is where Taylor shows his secret persona: the dancer. Rooted in blues and barrelhouse in some spots and in gagaku and kabuki theater in others, while in still others the classical ballet, Taylor's playing style opens itself to embrace all of the above and spit them back out as part of his own musical iconography. Because whether it's the Jelly Roll Morton blues stomp in the secret heart of "Stepping on Stars," traversed by Merce Cunningham's defiance of gravity or Min Tanaka's influenced movement of rearranging space and time, or in the Ellingtonian transmuted swing of "Driver Says," where Baryshnikov's movements through Balanchine (literally) informs the stride work along the middle register, it's all clearly part of Taylor's idiomatic manner of creating language from the air. And that language -- if you've ever seen him play -- includes physical movement. That he can translate it so effortlessly here -- as its freshness and newness envelope him -- is a profound change, if not in direction (since his restlessness is legendary), then in approach. This is a new music by Cecil Taylor, one that invites listeners in and gives them room to move around. This mature phase of Taylor's music is still blooming almost 20 years later, and continues to influence, inspire, and provoke. Garden, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 is the post-'70s Cecil solo date to have." Thom "Somebody stop me!" Jurek

Garden Part 1

1 - Elell
2 - Garden II

Garden Part 2

1 - Garden 1
2 - Stepping on Stars
3 - Introduction to Z
4 - Driver Says
5 - Pemmican
6 - Points

Phineas Newborn Jr.

Phineas Newborn - Fabulous Phineas

Although Mr. Newborn was not a celebrity, he was highly regarded by jazz aficionados, especially in the 1950's and 60's. ''In his prime, he was one of the three greatest jazz pianists of all time, right up there with Bud Powell and Art Tatum,'' said Leonard Feather, a jazz critic for Downbeat magazine and The Los Angeles Times.

"One of the most technically skilled and brilliant pianists in jazz during his prime, Phineas Newborn remains a bit of a mystery. Plagued by mental and physical problems of unknown origin, Newborn faded from the scene in the mid-1960s, only to re-emerge at irregular intervals throughout his life. Newborn could be compared to Oscar Peterson in that his bop-based style was largely unclassifiable, his technique was phenomenal, and he was very capable of enthralling an audience playing a full song with just his left hand.

He started out working in Memphis R&B bands with his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn, and recorded with local players including B.B. King in the early 1950s. Brief stints with Lionel Hampton and Willis Jackson preceded a period in the military (1952-54). After moving to New York in 1956, Newborn astounded fans and critics alike. Although he worked briefly with Charles Mingus (1958) and Roy Haynes, Newborn usually performed at the head of a trio or quartet. His early recordings for Atlantic (1956), Victor, Roulette and Contemporary are quite outstanding. Unfortunately, after the mid-'60s, Newborn's profile dropped sharply, and although there were further recordings for Contemporary (1969), Atlantic (1969), Pablo (1976) and the Japanese Philips (1977) label, and although he still sounded strong when appearing in public, the pianist was in danger of being forgotten by most of the jazz world during his last decade. Spending most of his time in Memphis, he was an inspiration to many younger pianists including James Williams, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown and Geoff Keezer, who after Newborn's death would dedicate their work as the Contemporary Piano Ensemble to Phineas. "

Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano)
Calvin Newborn (guitar)
George Joyner (bass)
Denzil Best (drums)

1 Sugar Ray
2 What's New?
3 Pamela
4 Forty-Five Degree Angle
5 No Moon at All
6 I'll Remember April
7 Cherokee
8 Back Home

NYC, March 28, 1958
NYC, April 3, 1958

Phineas Newborn - Phineas' Rainbow

One of the most technically skilled and brilliant pianists in jazz during his prime, Phineas Newborn remains a bit of a mystery. Plagued by mental and physical problems of unknown origin, Newborn faded from the scene in the mid-1960s, only to re-emerge at irregular intervals throughout his life. Newborn could be compared to Oscar Peterson in that his bop-based style was largely unclassifiable, his technique was phenomenal, and he was very capable of enthralling an audience playing a full song with just his left hand.

He started out working in Memphis RB bands with his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn, and recorded with local players including B.B. King in the early 1950s. Brief stints with Lionel Hampton and Willis Jackson preceded a period in the military (1952-54). After moving to New York in 1956, Newborn astounded fans and critics alike. Although he worked briefly with Charles Mingus (1958) and Roy Haynes, Newborn usually performed at the head of a trio or quartet. His early recordings for Atlantic (1956), Victor, Roulette and Contemporary are quite outstanding. - Scott Yanow

Phineas Newborn, Jr. (piano)
Calvin Newborn (guitar)
George Joyner (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Overtime
2. Angel Eyes
3. Come To Baby, Do
4. Stairway To The Stars
5. Lands End
6. Clarisse
7. She (She Means Everything To Me)
8. Tin Tin Deo
9. Autumn In New York
10. What Is This Thing Called Love?

Recorded between October 16 and 22, 1956

Paul Smith - Liquid Sounds (1954)

Paul Smith has long been a technically skilled pianist who technique-wise can play on Oscar Peterson's level. This 10" album features him near the beginning of his career, leading a quintet also including clarinetist Abe Most, Julius Kinsler on flutes, guitarist Tony Rizzi, bassist Sam Cheifetz, and either Alvin Stoller or Irv Cottler on drums. The music alternates between easy listening and small-group swing, with Smith mostly in the forefront throughout. Among the better performances are "My Heart Stood Still," "The Blue Room," "The Lady Is a Tramp," and "Mountain Greenery." ~Yanow

Actually this is the 12 track CD. Skip this if you want a serious listen.

Hank Mobley - A Slice Of The Top

Obviously, this has been issued on CD; in the Connoisseur series.

This is one of tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley's more intriguing sessions, for the talented composer had an opportunity to have four of his originals, plus the standard "There's a Lull in My Life," performed by an octet in the cool-toned style of Miles Davis's "Birth of the Cool" nonet, arranged by Duke Pearson. Although recorded in 1966, this date was not released until 1979 and unfortunately has not yet been reissued on CD. Mobley, who continued to evolve into a more advanced player throughout the 1960s, fits right in with such adventurous players as altoist James Spaulding, trumpeter Lee Morgan (with whom Mobley recorded frequently), pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Billy Higgins. The inclusion of Kiane Zawadi on euphonium and Howard Johnson on tuba adds a lot of color to this memorable outing. Scott Yanow

Hank Mobley (tenor sax)
James Spaulding (alto sax)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Kiane Zawadi (euphonium)
Howard Johnson (tuba)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Bob Cranshaw (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Arranged By Duke Pearson

1. Hank's Other Bag
2. There's A Lull In My Life
3. Cute 'N Pretty
4. A Touch Of The Blues
5. A Slice Of The Top

Recorded On March 18, 1966 At The Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Thad Jones-Pepper Adams Quintet - Mean What You Say

A classic set recorded for Milestone and reissued in the OJC series, this date is co-led by Thad Jones (heard throughout on flugelhorn) and baritonist Pepper Adams; pianist Duke Pearson, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Mel Lewis complete the band. The high-quality hard bop unit performs four of Jones' originals, a song apiece by Carter and Pearson, and Burt Bacharach's "Wives and Lovers" and "Yes Sir, That's My Baby." Jones and Adams always made for a potent team, but the rise of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra meant that this particular quintet only lasted a short time. - Scott Yanow

Thad Jones (flugelhorn)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Duke Pearson (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)

1 Mean What You Say
2 H And T Blues
3 Wives And Lovers
4 Bossa Nova Ova
5 No Refill
6 Little Waltz
7 Chant
8 Yes Sir, That's My Baby

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stan Getz - East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)

"The mainstream came to know this remarkable tenor sax player via bossa nova -- his unforgettable, breathy solo on "The Girl from Ipanema" propelled the song to number five in 1964 and to continued popularity to this very day, every bit as much as Astrud Gilberto's equally stunning, spare voice. But Stan Getz's involvement in this populist '60s craze actually displeased many a serious jazz enthusiast who'd admired his work in that field for more than two decades. After all, this 17-time winner of the Down Beat poll for top tenor saxophonist had already staked out a remarkable reputation, playing in the bands of such vaunted names as Stan Kenton, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Woody Herman from 1944-1949, and then leading his own bands thereafter. This three-CD box, then, finds Getz in top form as a jazz soloist and bandleader. Recorded, as so much jazz was, in various off-the-cuff sessions from 1955-1957 -- although this box culls from different LPs such as West Coast Jazz, Stan Getz and the Cool Sounds, and The Steamer -- it still all fits together as one long, languid, bop-to-bluesy session. Fusion beckoned to many a talent of the time, but Getz nicely held his ground, insisting that long, wide-stretching solos always serve a well-grounded song, be it a composition by George and Ira Gershwin, Miles Davis, Jimmy Van Heusen, or himself. With an almost unparalleled sense of time and space, Getz fills it in no particular hurry, and his piano, trumpet, bass, and drums likewise seem inclined to be tasteful rather than showoff-ish virtuosity. The slow, quiet-afternoon melancholic stuff, such as "A Handful of Stars," are the real favorites. Like "Girl from Ipanema," these allow Getz to blow like the gentle lull before a storm or, as original pianist Lou Levy writes in the notes here 40 years later, like "a sound of an angel." But the man is a master of all the styles presented, and an overriding cool, calm, pleasant air nicely defines these spontaneous yet well-organized sessions. This box is a fitting legacy and a thorough overview of an inspired period in his prolific career (37 CDs and counting by Getz are available on Verve)."

Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Conte Candoli (trumpet)
Lou Levy (piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Stan Levey (drums)

Al Cohn, Joe Newman & Freddie Green - Mosaic Select 27

This Mosaic compilation draws from material that comprised five separate RCA Victor LPs of the 1950: Al Cohn's The Natural Seven and The Jazz Workshop: Four Brass, One Tenor - Al Cohn, Freddie Green's Mr. Rhythm, plus two Joe Newman records, All I Wanna Do is Swing and I'm Still Swinging. Cohn, Green and Newman are the common element to all of the recording sessions, leading bands ranging from septets to nonets.The Natural Seven was inspired by the Kansas City Seven drawn from the Count Basie band of the 1930s and while the arrangements by Cohn and Manny Albam swing lightly in the style of Basie's septet, the focus is more on originals written for the session rather than simply recreating earlier recordings. Joining them are pianist Nat Pierce, trombonist Frank Rehak, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Osie Johnson, highlighted by the upbeat unison horn line in Cohn's "Pick a Dilly" and Albam's swinging "Jump the Blues Away." Johnson even adds a vocal on his fun-filled "Osie's Blues." Cohn's other session as a leader includes Thad Jones with either Joe Wilder, Bernie Glow or Phil Sunkel on third trumpet, with Dick Katz doubling on valve trombone and trumpet, pianist Dick Katz and bassist Buddy Jones subbing for the previous personnel. Once more, Cohn and Albam split up the arrangements, with the tenor saxophonist benefiting from the quartet of brass players accompanying him. "Rosetta and the leader's "Cohn Not Cohen" are among the highlights. Freddie Green was known for his superb timekeeping in the Basie band, a tenure which lasted a half-century until his passing in 1987, just a few years after the leader. Mr. Rhythm marked the first issued under his own name, plus eight of the dozen songs are Green's compositions, with Green sticking to playing rhythm throughout the date. Cohn, Albam and Ernie Wilkins provide the swinging arrangements of the mostly blues-oriented material, while Cohn doubles on both clarinet and bass clarinet in addition to playing tenor sax. Two dates led by Newman in 1955 also fit in nicely, with either Frank Rhak or Urbie Green on trombone, Wilkins or Gene Quill on alto sax, and Pierce or Dick Katz on piano. Newman, who tended to be overshadowed by many of the other swing and bop trumpeters active at the time, shines on both open and muted horn, while featuring his musicians prominently throughout both dates. Green's "Corner Pocket" and a buoyant treatment of the standard "Exactly Like You" especially stand out. Most of this music was reissued on CD during the 1980s and 1990s, though none of it remained in print for long. This Mosaic limited edition set is an affordable way to collect this rare material, ...Ken Dryden

Phineas Newborn ~ While My Lady Sleeps

While My Lady Sleeps primarily showcases Newborn's artistry with a large group of strings under the direction of Dennis Farnon, who wrote the arrangements. The orchestrations provide an ideal setting for Phineas's magnificent excursions. Conceptually, these selections are ballads, but in each case Newborn projects in addition a kind of energetic spirit, sometimes daring, provocative, or even uplifting in a way that few soloists in the history of jazz have been able to deliver with such consistency. The selections that make up this reissue consist of a curious and interesting mixture of familiar standards and obscure popular songs, a traditional folk song, and a blues. --James Williams
While My Lady Sleeps/ It's Easy To Remember/ Bali Ha'i/ If I Should Lose You/ Moonlight In Vermont/ Don't You Know I Care (Or Don't You Care To Know)/ (Love's Got Me In A) Lazy Mood/ I'm Old Fashioned/ Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair. Phineas Newborn and Trio: What's New/ No Moon At All/ Back Home/ I'll Remember April Rec 1957

Lee Konitz - Round & Round (1988)

The most unusual aspect to this outing by altoist Lee Konitz is that all nine selections are performed in 3/4 time. "Someday My Prince Will Come" and Sonny Rollins' "Valse Hot" were originally waltzes but "Lover Man," "Bluesette" and particularly "Giant Steps" were never recorded in that time signature before. With the assistance of pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Mike Richmond and drummer Adam Nussbaum, Konitz manages to uplift this session above the level of a potential gimmick and finds unexpected beauty in these standards and originals. - Scott Yanow

Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Fred Hersch (piano)
Mike Richmond (bass)
Adam Nussbaum (drums)

  1. Round and Round and Round
  2. Someday My Prince Will Come
  3. Luv
  4. Nancy
  5. Boo Doo
  6. Valse Hot
  7. Lover Man
  8. Bluesette
  9. Giant Steps

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The International Youth Band - Newport 1958

Many of you have probably read about this band but have not had the opportunity to actually hear them......until now.

Some of the more recognizable names in the band were Dusko Goykovich and Roger Guerin on trumpet, Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, George Gruntz on piano, and guitarist Gabor Szabo. Perhaps the star of the show however, was guest soloist Andy Marsala, a young alto saxophonist from the U.S. who was only 16 years old at the time.

The idea of creating an international jazz band for the Newport Jazz Festival was George Wein's. The task of bringing it to reality fell largely on the shoulders of Marshall Brown, whose Farmingdale High School Band was the surprise hit of the 1957 festival.

Wein and Brown traveled all over Europe auditioning hundreds of musicians and when they returned to the United States, Brown started to build the band. He notified the new members by cable and made travel arrangements to start rehearsing the band in New York.

Communication was difficult and at the first rehearsal Brown spent 20 minutes getting across to the members that he wanted them to go back to letter "B" in one of the arrangements. Dusko Goykovich became a key player not only for his great trumpet work but he also spoke seven languages and became the band translator as well!

After less than a week of rehearsals the band made its debut on the Arthur Godfrey TV show. One more week of rehearsals and they were ready for their appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. They did two sets, Friday afternoon and Sunday evening from which the selections on this record were taken.

After the festival they did another TV show and then a tour of one-nighters in Europe ending with a week at the U.S. Pavilion in Brussels.

"The band dramatized the fact that jazz is an international language and a common denominator for musicians of all nationalities." - Marshall Brown

Palle Bolvig, Roger Guerin, Dusko Gojkovic, Jose Magalhais (tp); Christian Kellens, Kurt Jarnberg, Erich Kleinschuster, Albert Mangelsdorff (tb); Hans Salomon, Wladimiro Bas Zabache (as); Bernt Rosengren, Jan Wroblewski (ts); Ronnie Ross (bs); George Gruntz (p); Gabor Szabo (g); Rudolph Jacobs (b); Gilberto Cuppini (d); Andy Marsala (as); Marshall Brown (dir)
  1. Don't Wait for Henry
  2. Don't Blame Me
  3. Jazz Concerto for Alto Sax
  4. Too Marvelous for Words
  5. Swingin' the Blues
  6. Imagination
  7. Newport Suite, Opus 24

Duke Ellington - Newport 1958

Two years after his major success at the Newport Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington returned for another excellent if somewhat overlooked performance. Ellington's set is highlighted by an exciting trumpet feature ("El Gato"), "Jazz Festival Jazz" (which has cool and hot section with impressions of both modern and New Orleans jazz), "Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool" and a showcase for Clark Terry on fluegelhorn ("Juniflip"). A special treat is baritonist Gerry Mulligan's only recording with Ellington, "Prima Bara Dubla," in which he duets with the other great master of the baritone sax, Harry Carney. Scott Yanow

Duke Ellington (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet, fluegelhorn)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Cat Anderson, Shorty Baker, Cootie Williams (trumpet)
Britt Woodman, John Sanders, Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope (alto sax)
Jimmy Hamilton (tenor sax, clarinet)
Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax)
Harry Carney (baritone sax)
Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax on 14)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Sam Woodyard (drums)

Studio session:
1. El Gato
2. Happy Reunion
3. Multicolored Blue
4. Princess Blue
5. Jazz Festival Jazz
6. Mr. Gentle And Mr. Cool
7. Juniflip
8. Hi Fi Fo Fum

Live at Newport:
9. Just Scratchin' The Surface
10. Happy Reunion
11. Mr. Gentle And Mr. Cool
12. Jazz Festival Jazz
13. Feet Bone
14 Prima Bara Dubla

Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City on July 21, 1958 and live at the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island on July 3, 1958

Benny Carter & His Orchestra - Further Definitions

These are from some time ago; I'm guessing that they are in Ogg format.

This essential single-CD combines altoist/arranger Benny Carter's classic Further Definitions with the related Additions to Further Definitions. The former set was a revisit, instrumentation-wise, to the famous 1937 session that Carter and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins made in France with two top European saxophonists (Andre Ekyan and Alix Combelle) and guitarist Django Reinhardt.
The all-star group (which also includes Hawkins, altoist Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse on second tenor, pianist Dick Katz, guitarist John Collins, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Jo Jones) performs a particularly inspired repertoire. Carter's charts, which allow Hawkins to stretch out on "Body and Soul," give everyone a chance to shine. "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Crazy Rhythm" hold their own with the 1937 versions, and "Blue Star" and "Doozy" prove to be two of Carter's finest originals. The second date does not quite reach the same heights, but is enjoyable in its own right. This time, Carter contributed six of the eight selections (including a remake of "Doozy"), and the band was gathered from jazzmen then working in the L.A. studios, including Carter and Bud Shank on altos, and tenors Teddy Edwards and either Buddy Collette or Bill Perkins. Although Benny Carter was not actively playing much at the time (this was his only small-group recording during 1963-1975), he is heard in typically prime form. Very highly recommended. Scott Yanow

Benny Carter, Phil Woods (alto sax)
Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
John Collins (guitar)
Dick Katz (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)

Benny Carter, Bud Shank (alto sax)
Buddy Collette (tenor sax) 9,10,12,13
Bill Perkins (tenor sax) 11, 14-16
Teddy Edwards (tenor sax)
Bill Hood (baritone sax)
Don Abney (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar) 9,10,12,13
Mundell Lowe (guitar) 11, 14-16
Ray Brown (bass)
Alvin Stoller (drums)

1 Honeysuckle Rose
2 The Midnight Sun Will Never Set
3 Crazy Rhythm
4 Blue Star
5 Cotton Tail
6 Body and Soul
7 Cherry
8 Doozy
9 Fantastic, That's You
10 Come on Back
11 We Were in Love
12 If Dreams Come True
13 Prohibido
14 Doozy
15 Rock Bottom
16 Titmouse

Wynton Kelly Blues On Purpose

by Scott Yanow
Pianist Wynton Kelly is heard on these formerly private tapes from the Half Note (where his trio usually accompanied Wes Montgomery) jamming with bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Released for the initial time as a 1983 Xanadu LP, the recording quality is only so-so, but Kelly's consistently creative ideas on three standards, plus "Blues On Purpose," "Somebody's Blues" and "Another Blues," are enjoyable and swinging.
1.Blues On Purpose
2.If You Could See Me Now
3.Somebody's Blues
4.Another Blues
5.Old Folks
Rec: August 12, 1965

Phineas Newborn Jr. with Ray Brown & Elvin Jones Harlem Blues Japanese CD

By Stuart Editorial Reviews
From his emergence in the mid-1950s, Phineas Newborn was one of the most technically brilliant two-handed pianists who ever played jazz. Belonging to a virtuoso lineage that included Art Tatum and Bud Powell, he regularly inspired comparison with Oscar Peterson. Newborn would readily tear off runs in octaves with an ease that would be impressive with single notes, improvise complex solos with his left hand against right-hand trills, and crush complex explosions of notes between the phrases of a ballad. His playing seemed tautly suspended between sheer technical excess and manic creative fire, but he also had an ingrained feeling for the blues, honed in the Memphis bands of his youth. Harlem Blues was recorded in 1969, when Newborn had been out of the studios for some years, and he's joined by the dynamic team of Ray Brown on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, stellar accompanists who stoke Newborn's singular fire on the title tune, a brash up-date of stride and boogie-woogie, and on a hard-swinging version of Horace Silver's "Cookin' at the Continental." Probably the most potent rhythm section that Newborn was ever matched with, Brown and Jones are also wise enough to let the pianist follow his own shifting paths on such standards as "Sweet and Lovely" and "Stella by Starlight." More than two decades after his death, Newborn's explosive piano approach continues to be felt in succeeding generations of fellow-Memphis pianists like Harold Mabern and Geoff Keezer.
Harlem Blues/ Sweet And Lovely/ Little Girl Blue/ Ray's Idea/ Stella By Starlight/ Tenderly/Cookin' At The Continental rec:2/12 & 20 1969, Los Angeles

Simon Nabatov/Han Bennink - Chat Room

On paper, this duo should not work out. The soft bopping romanticism of pianist Simon Nabatov should have been blown to smithereens by the runaway train that is Han Bennink. Well, lo and behold, Chat Room turns out to be both civilized and exciting. It would be too easy to say that Nabatov has managed to tame the wild horse (come on, even Misha Mengelberg is not able to do that even after trying for four decades). No, the reason why it works is simply because each improviser meets the other halfway. Nabatov loosens up and pumps childlike energy in tracks like "Foaming" and "Es Läuft!," which are miles away from his previous Leo outing, the piano solo set Perpetuum Immobile. And he can swing. And Bennink loves to swing. The drummer will not be cooling down because of age any time soon. And he is not doing that here either. More disciplined, yes; leaving more space to the other player, yes; but cooling down? Hardly. His hands are as busy as ever, they simply hit quieter, using more brushes than sticks. In fact, Bennink sounds happy to follow Nabatov's lead. And in such beautiful instant pieces as "The Lost One" and "Sorrow," who wouldn't? Chat Room is a surprise session, quickly breaking down your expectations and building them back up as the freshness of the music wins you over. Recommended. - Francois Couture

This ain't bad once they stop bullshittin' - Rab Hines

Simon Nabatov - piano
Han Bennink - drums

1. Chat Room
2. Foaming
3. Don't Bother
4. Prediction
5. Es Lauft!
6. Unperturbed (for Paul)
7. Slightly Off
8. Sorrow
9. Sync
10. The Lost One
11. Together

Zoot Sims - East Coast Sounds

This is kind of an orphan release. Initially, it was leader date of the bass player (note the word 'Trigger' in two of the titles); and if he wasn't remarkable, neither was he disappointing. It has been released as a Sims/Cohn/Scott session ever since, and has everything that makes for a solid session: excellent sidemen, creative and diverse arrangements, and a mix of standard and lesser known tunes. Particularly interesting is Tony Scott's clarinet work; he has a distinctive style that is less "articulate" than some, but excellent nonetheless. You could pick him out in a blindfold test anytime.

"Zoot Sims and Al Cohn made many records together in small-group settings, but this isn't one of their better-known dates, though it is a rewarding one. These 1956 sessions recorded for the Jazzland label and reissued under Fantasy's limited-edition OJC imprint feature tenor saxophonist Sims (who doubles on alto sax) and Cohn (playing baritone sax on most of the selections) with clarinetist Tony Scott (who doubles on tenor), trumpeter Joe Wilder, and trombonist Urbie Green rounding out the front line. Either Marty Paich or Dick Hyman (neither of whom play on these pianoless charts) contributed the arrangements, all of which fall into the cool category. Though they include quite a few pieces by well-known composers, most of them are lesser-known works, such as George Gershwin's "Treat Me Rough," Vernon Duke's "I Like the Likes of You," and Richard Rodgers' "Where's That Rainbow?" Bassist Trigger Alpert gets some solo time as well and contributed one original, the loping "Trigger Fantasy." Recommended." Ken Dryden

Zoot Sims (alto, tenor sax)
Tony Scott (clarinet)
Al Cohn (tenor, baritone sax)
Joe Wilder (trumpet)
Urbie Green (trombone)
Trigger Alpert (bass)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)

1. Treat Me Rough
2. Looking At You
3. Love Me Tomorrow (But Leave Me Alone Today)
4. Trigger Happy
5. Tranquilizer
6. I Like The Likes Of You
7. I Wish I Were In Love Again
8. I Don't Want To Be Alone Again
9. Trigger Fantasy
10. Where's That Rainbow?

Arrangements by Dick Hyman, Marty Paich, and Tony Scott

Reeves Sound Studios, NYC: October 29, November 23 and 30, 1956

Stan Kenton And His Orchestra - Kenton '76

This reasonably enjoyable LP features the Stan Kenton Orchestra during its final period. The ensemble sound remained impressive but among the sidemen only trumpeter Tim Hagans (and to a lesser extent bassist Dave Stone) would go on to greater heights, although baritonist Greg Smith is impressive on his feature, "A Smith Named Greg." Hank Levy contributed three of the charts, "Tiburon" is Bill Holman's, and Kenton's piano is featured on the two ballads "Send in the Clowns" and "My Funny Valentine." This is not one of the major Stan Kenton albums, but the set will be enjoyed by fans of college stage bands.

Yeah, the review is boring and the post is fairly boring but I like the cover and the music is quite good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

two for tuesday -- red norvo

amg says: Review by Scott Yanow
Although vibraphonist Red Norvo is the leader of this sextet date, clarinetist Bill Smith (who contributed the 20-minute four-movement "Divertimento") often sets the tone for the music. His work has classical elements to it, but the five shorter pieces (by Jack Montrose, Barney Kessel, Lennie Niehaus, Duane Tatro, and Norvo) are much more jazz oriented. Norvo's light-toned sextet (which consists of his vibes, flutist Buddy Collette, clarinetist Bill Smith, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Shelly Manne) was not a regularly working unit, but it sounds well-integrated and tight during the complex, but generally swinging, music.

jean lafite says: this guy was involved in some important sides over his carreer. nice record here with some first rate players. dig into it.

red norvo trio

jean lafite says: cool.

J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding - Trombone For Two

The J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding quintet became one of the more unlikely successes of the mid-'50s, recording nine albums during their two years of steady collaborations. Their first Columbia LP (there would be five) has such likable songs as "Give Me the Simple Life," "Trombone for Two," "It's Sand Man," "Let's Get Away from It All" and "This Can't Be Love." With pianist Dick Katz, bassist Paul Chambers (who would soon join Miles Davis) and drummer Osie Johnson, the focus is almost entirely on the competitive but complementary trombonists. The results are bop-based but full of surprises, tasteful but not always predictable. All of this group's albums deserve to be reissued in coherent fashion on CD. Scott Yanow

J. J. Johnson (trombone)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Dick Katz (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Bill Crow (bass)
Candido Camero (bongos)
Osie Johnson (drums)
Shadow Wilson (drums)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. The Whiffenpoof Song
2. Give Me The Simple Life
3. Close As Pages In A Book
4. Turnabout
5. Trombone for Two
6. It's Sand, Man
7. We Two
8. Let's Get Away From It All
9. Goodbye
10. This Can't Be Love
11. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
12. Caribe
13. Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe
14. The Song Is You
15. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
16. Tromboniums In Motion
17. How High The Moon
18. Violets For Your Furs
19. Too Close For Comfort
20. 'S Wonderful

Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio on June 23-24, 1955 , November 17, 1955 and July 18, 1956

Horace Silver - The Hardbop Grandpop (1996)

My favorite post-Blue Note Horace Silver album. You can't go wrong with Silver's tunes and this lineup of soloists.

"A Chicago newspaper music reviewer wrote a favorable review of our performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 1994. In his review he referred to me as 'The Hardbop Grandpop.' My musicians and I got a chuckle out of this. I later thought that this would be a good title for a tune so I sat down and wrote one and titled it: The Hardbop Grandpop.

In planning my first release for the Impulse label it occurred to me that this might be a good title for the CD. Although my influences and inspirations go back to the swing era, the major part of me has its roots deeply planted in be-bop. I have been blessed to have been born at a period of time in jazz history in which I could walk among and perform with some of the great geniuses of the swing and be-bop era. I truly am a be-bopper and I do play hard. I am also a senior citizen so I guess I am qualified to assume this title." - Horace Silver

Claudio Roditi (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Michael Brecker (tenor sax)
Steve Turre (trombone)
Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)
Horace Silver (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Lewis Nash (drums)
  1. I Want You
  2. The Hippest Cat in Hollywood
  3. Gratitude
  4. Hawkin'
  5. I Got the Blues in Santa Cruz
  6. We've Got Silver at Six
  7. The Hardbop Grandpop
  8. The Lady from Johannesburg
  9. Serenade to a Teakettle
  10. Diggin' on Dexter

Louis Jordan And His Tympani Five - 1940-1941 (Chronological 663)

Jordan was one of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, ranking fifth in the list of the all-time most successful black recording artists according to Billboard magazine's chart methodology. Though comprehensive sales figures are not available, he scored at least four million-selling hits during his career. Jordan regularly topped the R&B "race" charts, and was one of the first black recording artists to achieve a significant "crossover" in popularity into the mainstream (predominantly white) American audience, scoring simultaneous Top Ten hits on the white pop charts on several occasions. After Duke Ellington and Count Basie, Louis Jordan was probably the most popular and successful black bandleader of his day. But in contrast to almost all of his colleagues of all races, he was a major personality in his own right, an all-round entertainer of enormous and diverse accomplishments.

Jordan was a talented singer with great comedic flair, and he fronted his own band for more than twenty years. He duetted with some of the biggest solo singing stars of his day, including Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald. Jordan was also an actor and a major black film personality, appearing in dozens of "soundies" (promotional film clips), making numerous cameos in mainstream features and short films, and starring in two musical feature films made especially for him. He was an instrumentalist who specialised in the alto saxophone but played all forms of the instrument, as well as piano and clarinet. A productive songwriter, many of the songs he wrote or co-wrote became influential classics of 20th-century popular music.

Although Jordan began his career in big band swing jazz in the 1930s, he became famous as one of the leading practitioners, innovators and popularisers of "jump blues", a swinging, up-tempo, dance-oriented hybrid of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie. Typically performed by smaller bands (typically five or six players), jump music featured shouted, highly syncopated vocals and earthy, comedic lyrics on contemporary urban themes. It strongly emphasized the rhythm section of piano, bass and drums; after the mid-1940s, this mix was often augmented by electric guitar. Jordan's band also pioneered the use of electronic organ.

With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock'n'roll genres with a series of hugely influential 78 rpm discs for the Decca label. These recordings presaged many of the styles of black popular music in the 1950s and 1960s, and exerted a huge influence on many leading performers in these genres. Many of his records were produced by Milt Gabler, who went on to refine and develop the qualities of Jordan's recordings in his later production work with Bill Haley, including "Rock Around The Clock".

1. You've Got To Go When The Wagon Comes
2. Lovie Joe
3. Somebody Done Hoodooed The Hoodoo Man
4. Bounce The Ball (Do Da Ditle Um Day)
5. Penthouse In The Basement
6. After School Swing Session (Swinging With Symphony Sid)
7. Oh Boy, I'm In The Groove
8. Never Let Your Left Hand Know What Your Right Hand's Doin'
9. Don't Come Crying On My Shoulder
10. Waltin' For The Robert E. Lee
11. A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird
12. Pompton Turnpike
13. Do You Call That A Buddy?
14. I Know You (I Know What You Wanna Do)
15. Pinetop's Boogle Woogle
16. The Two Little Squirrels (Nuts To You)
17. T-Bone Blues
18. Pan-Pan
19. St. Vitus Dance
20. Saxa-Woogle
21. Brotherly Love (Wrong Ideas)
22. De Laff's On You
23. Boogie Woogle Came To Town
24. John, Stop Teasing Me
25. How 'Bout That?
26. Teacher (How I Love My Teacher)

Shorty Rogers And His Giants - Portrait Of Shorty

Shorty Rogers just might be one of the most underrated contributors to classic jazz ever. A vetern trumpeter of the Woody Herman band in the late 40's, Rogers was one of the innovators and instigators of the West Coast sound in the 1950's. This is one of his landmark recordings that feautures the cream of the West Coast studio jocks from that era swinging on mostly original compositions and arrangements. The band couldn't be tighter and the sound couldn't be cooler. Start with this one and the work your way through the Rogers library of 1950's recordings. You won't be sorry. And listen for the Basie influence here; It's well disguised but definitely there. William Faust

Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Conte Candoli, Pete Candoli, Don Fagerquist (trumpet)
Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet)
Herb Geller (alto, tenor sax)
Bill Holman, Jack Montrose (tenor sax)
Richie Kamuca (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Frank Rosolino, Bob Enevoldsen (trombone)
Lou Levy (piano)
Monte Budwig (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)

1. Saturnian Sleigh Ride
2. Martians Lullaby
3. Line Backer
4. Grand Slam
5. Play! Boy
6. Geophysical Ear
7. Red Dog Play
8. Bluezies

Jaki Byard - The Jaki Byard Experience

Byard and Kirk were two avant players who were as likely to talk between numbers about Jelly Roll Morton as they were Coltrane. More likely, in fact. Mingus is another of that fellowship that were so grounded in what came before them that they were able to look quite beyond what was around them.

"Pianist Jaki Byard and the wondrous Roland Kirk (here switching between tenor, clarinet, and manzello) were two of the few jazz musicians who could play in literally every jazz style, from New Orleans to bop and free form. If only they had recorded a history-of-jazz album. Fortunately, they did meet up on a few occasions, including this brilliant quartet session with bassist Richard Davis and drummer Alan Dawson. They romp on Bud Powell's "Parisian Thoroughfare," Thelonious Monk's "Evidence," "Shine on Me," and "Teach Me Tonight." Byard duets with Davis on his own "Hazy Eve," but best of all is the pianist's duet with Kirk on "Memories of You." This set was also reissued as half of the Roland Kirk two-LP set Pre-Rahsaan." Scott Yanow

Jaki Byard (piano)
Roland Kirk (tenorsax, clarinet, whistle, manzello, kirkbam)
Richard Davis (bass)
Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Parisian Thoroughfare
2. Hazy Eve
3. Shine on Me
4. Evidence
5. Memories of You
6. Teach Me Tonight

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 17, 1968

Monday, October 15, 2007

This Day In Jazz

Thanks once again to Webbcity.

Phineas Newborn, Jr. - World of Piano!

Two sessions about a month apart feature Newborn with the rhythm sections of the Miles Davis and Adderley bands, respectively.

"Phineas Newborn's Contemporary debut (he would record six albums over a 15 year period for the label) was made just before physical problems began to interrupt his career. This CD reissue has two trio sessions, and finds Newborn joined by either bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones or bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. Actually, the accompaniment is not that significant, for the virtuosic Newborn is essentially the whole show anyway. He performs five jazz standards and three obscurities by jazz composers on this superb recital; highlights include "Cheryl," "Manteca," "Daahoud," and "Oleo.""

Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Cheryl
2. Manteca
3. Lush Life
4. Daahoud
5. Oleo
6. Juicy Lucy
7. For Carl
8. Cabu

Contemporary Records' Studio, Los Angeles, California, October 16, 1961
Same location, November 21, 1961

Jimmy Heath - Really Big!

Let's see: all three Heath brothers (apparently, this is the first time they recorded together), the Adderley brothers, Clark Terry, and either Tommy Flanagan or Cedar Walton on piano.
Throw in some solid players on trombone, baritone sax, and French horn, and you've got a winner.

...this album features Jimmy Heath, a wonderful tenor saxophonist who has been unjustly forgotten and neglected in the recent past. Unfortunately, Heath’s relative obscurity (even compared to his brothers Tootie and Percy) may be due to Heath himself. A brilliant arranger and composer, his work in those fields has overshadowed his often-brilliant saxophone playing.

Originally starting out on alto sax and playing with Dizzy Gillespie and others in the mid-to-late 40s, Heath switched to tenor in the early 50s as he was tired of being compared to Charlie Parker and wanted to forge his own sound. Towards the middle of the decade Heath had to take an extended leave of absence from performing but continued to write melodies for the likes of Chet Baker and Art Blakey during this sabbatical. He eventually returned to performing near the end of the decade and spent some time in Miles Davis’ band which he did concurrently to working with Kenny Dorham and recording some albums for Riverside. The 60s saw him working as a freelance arranger as well as with jazzmen Milt Jackson and Art Farmer. Heath also did some teaching during this time. From the mid 70s to the mid 80s he teamed up with his brothers Percy and Tootie as part of the Heath Brothers act and has been a fixture on the jazz scene in some was or another since.

This album documents Jimmy Heath’s first chance to lead a fairly large group. He finds himself leading a ten-piece all-star band featuring such strong players as cornetist Nat Adderley, flugelhornist Clark Terry, altoist Cannonball Adderley, and either Cedar Walton or Tommy Flanagan on piano. Avant-garde jazzman Sun Ra’s favorite baritone sax player Pat Patrick is also on board for this wonderful set. Heath manages to include a passel of originals (including “Big ‘P’” and “A Picture of Heath”) and covers jazz standards such as “Green Dolphin Street,” “Dat Dere,” and “My Ideal,” among others. Heath and his band are at the top of their game, working together to create a well-contructed album full of great jazz moments. Heath blows his ass off here and it’s a crime more people don’t know who he is. Hopefully this reissue will work to change that.

Fans of sublime saxophone playing are going to want to own this disc. Not only is Heath one of the most neglected saxophone players in jazz, this is one of the most neglected jazz albums in the genre. Thank God someone has decided to reissue this fine disc.

Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto sax)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Pat Patrick (baritone sax)
Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton (piano)
Dick Berg (French horn)
Tom McIntosh (trombone)
Percy Heath (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. Big 'P'
2. Old Fashioned Fun
3. Mona's Mood
4. Dat Dere
5. Nails
6. On Green Dolphin Street
7. My Ideal
8. The Picture Of Heath

Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York, New York on June 24 and 28, 1960

Happy Birthday, Mr. Charlap

Go buy this and/or another of his albums. Go see him, and/or another, perform.

Support working musicians. And..

Happy Birthday, Bill!!

Dusko Goykovich - Samba Do Mar

On "Samba Do Mar" Dusko Goykovich shows a fresh and sparkling approach to Brazilian music. Ranging from one of Villa-Lobos' Baroque-influenced compositions and a pair of Antonio Carlos Jobim's legendary bossa nova tunes to some wonderful originals by Argentinian artist Sergio Mihanovich and trumpeter Dusko Goykovich himself, the program opens up new spaces for his and his band's ever-soulful imagination. This album displays a rare kind of Brazilness – natural and relaxed but at the same time sophisticated and original.
Goykovich's counterpart on this album is Hungarian guitar virtuoso Ferenc Snétberger who possesses one of the very few truly distinctive voices in the field of improvised classical guitar playing. Educated in jazz as well as classical music, Snétberger has integrated authentic Brazilian and Spanish techniques into his personal style. On this album he delivers great sounds and solos that radiate Brazilian moods touched by a free genius. Bassist Martin Gjakonovski is among Europe's best jazz bassists and previously recorded with such as Bob Berg and Michael Brecker. His dark and heavy tone brings a solid, earthy groove to this music. The youngster in the band, American drummer Jarrod Cagwin, is known for his extended studies in exotic drum languages. This time he mostly plays hand drums thus adding a taste of Afro-Brazilian heat.

From the record company website.

Tracks list
01. Samba Do Mar 06:38
02. Jim's Ballad 05:40
03. Chega De Saudade 06:04
04. Insensatez 08:00
05. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 06:01
06. The Fish 03:48
07. Quo Vadis 06:37
08. Love And Deception 05:06
09. Danca Comigo 05:33
10. Sunset 06:42

Dusko Goykovich trumpet, fluegelhorn
Ferenc Snétberger acoustic guitar
Martin Gjakonovski bass
Jarrod Cagwin drums

Recorded on August 25-26, 2003 at Bauer Studios, Ludwidsburg, Germany.

Bill Evans - Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland

McPartland has had a radio show for many years, and this is the broadcast she did with Bill Evans; it is a remarkable document, not only for the fine playing, but for the commentary by Evans on his own work and the incisive questioning on McPartland's part.

"The CD opens with Bill Evans playing his best-known composition, "Waltz for Debbie," which he wrote when he was about twenty-four years old. The interview begins with the influential pianist saying that his left hand "is a little more confident." He then goes on to explain his approach to playing jazz.

Marian McPartland does a good job of coaxing Evans out of his quiet shell but is wise enough to steer clear of him when he starts to improvise. On Cole Porter's "All of You," Evans illustrates his approach, particularly the 'displacement of notes and phrases.' After the exhilarating solos, McPartland quips, "That was wild! You displaced it so much I couldn't find a place to come in... I was afraid, if I come in wrong, I'm gonna throw this whole thing off!" Evans laughs humbly to McPartland's reaction.

To anyone who plays even passable jazz piano, Evans' step-by-step demonstration of his approach on the Ray Noble composition, "The Touch Of Your Lips" is a rare, hands-on lesson. He explains in detail his use of the pedal point on 'G', the chord progressions, the modulation to E Major, and other nuances of his interpretation. At one point, McPartland exclaims, "Whew!" as Evans twists and turns the song....Evan's producer Helen Keane considers this album the best interview that Bill ever did."

Marian McPartland, Bill Evans (piano)

1. Waltz For Debbie - Bill Evans
2. Conversation - Bill Evans
3. All Of You
4. Conversation
5. All Of You
6. Conversation
7. In Your Own Sweet Way
8. Conversation/Demonstration - Bill Evans
9. Touch Of Your Lips
10. Conversation
11. Reflections In D
12. Conversation
13. Day Of Wine And Roses
14. Conversation
15. This Is All I Ask
16. Conversation
17. While We're Young - Marian McPartland
18. Conversation
19. I Love You

Recorded on November 6, 1978

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Woody Herman - Live In Antibes (1965)

A complete concert from one of Woody's finest bands on July 28, 1965 at the Antibes Jazz Festival. This was just after recording the albums Woody's Winners and My Kind of Broadway for Columbia.

Highlights include Sal Nistico's solos on "Hallelujah Time" and "Northwest Passage", Bill Chase's feature on "Somewhere", the trumpet section on "23 Red", Dusko Goykovich on "I Remember Clifford" and another rousing version of "Caldonia".

Great charts and great soloists make for one helluva band!

Woody Herman (cl, as); Bill Chase, Don Rader, Gerald Lamy, Dusko Goykovich, Bobby Shew (tp); Ron Myers, Don Doane, Henry Southall (tb); Sal Nistico, Andy McGhee, Gary Klein (ts); Tom Anastas (bs); Nat Pierce (p); Anthony Leonardi (b); Ronnie Zito (d)

  1. Blue Flame - Theme
  2. The Preacher
  3. Wailing in the Woodshed
  4. Hallelujah Time
  5. Satin Doll
  6. Somewhere
  7. Four Brothers
  8. Early Autumn
  9. Medley: Rose Room/In a Mellotone/Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  10. 23 Red
  11. Northwest Passage
  12. Watermelon Man
  13. I Remember Clifford
  14. Caldonia
  15. Blue Flame

Blue Mitchell - A Sure Thing

Trumpeter Blue Mitchell is well featured on this CD reissue with a nonet arranged by Jimmy Heath. The music is straightahead but, thanks to Heath's arrangements, sometimes unpredictable. Best is Mitchell's solo on "I Can't Get Started," "Hootie's Blues" and a quintet workout (with Heath, pianist Wynton Kelly bassist Sam Jones and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath) on "Gone with the Wind."

Blue Mitchell was born March 13, 1930 in Miami, Florida. He took up trumpet in high school where he acquired his nickname. After high school, he toured with R&B bands led by Paul Williams, Earl Bostic, and Chuck Willis. After returning to Miami, he was heard by Cannonball Adderly, who took him to New York to record for Riverside in 1958. Mitchell gained a reputation working with Horace Silver’s quintet from 1958 to March of 1964, where his lyrical playing and beautiful tone perfectly complemented Silver’s simplified, soulful brand of bop. When Silver disbanded in 1963, Mitchell formed his own group, employing most of his fellow musicians, with Silver's place being taken by Chick Corea. This band continued until the end of the decade, at which time Mitchell joined the band that was backing Ray Charles. During the early 70s, Mitchell played with a number of artists in fields outside jazz, notably bluesman John Mayall and popular singers such as Tony Bennett and Lena Horne.

Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Clark Terry (flugelhorn, trumpet)
Pepper Adams, Pat Patrick (baritone sax)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Jerome Richardson (alto sax, flute)
Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. West Coast Blues
2. I Can't Get Started With You
3. Blue On Blue
4. A Sure Thing
5. Hootie Blues
6. Hip To It
7. Gone With The Wind

Plaza Sound Studios NYC, March 7, 8, and 28, 1962

Steely Dan Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Defiantly charting their own musical course, Steely Dan's music is marked by clever, sardonic lyrics that offer sometimes-dark stories and portraits of life "in the city."
Keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen and guitarist/bassist Walter Becker grew up in the suburbs of New York City listening to their musical idols: Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Fagen was born in Passaic, New Jersey on January 10, 1948. Becker was born on February 20, 1950 in New York City. The two met at Bard College and found a common musical ground, not to mention a sardonic sense of humor. They forged a songwriting partnership, which has lasted more than four decades-- financial and critical success has followed. Becker and Fagen share their affinity toward jazz, literature and humor, and reveal some of the processes behind their work (just what do the lyrics to Steely Dan songs mean?) as well as some thoughtful readings of a couple of relatively obscure Ellington tunes (Hesitation Blues, Limbo Jazz and the far better known Mood Indigo and Things Ain't What They Used To Be) A very nice impromptu arrangement of Star Eyes and Dan classics Josie, Chain Lightning and Black Friday.

Bud Shank Plays Tenor

Continuing the Bud Shank theme, he really does play a nice tenor.

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

Requests welcome.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Carmell Jones - Mosaic Select

From the Mosaic website:


For musicians, jazz is traditionally so much about where you live. You could be East Coast, West Coast, Chicago, New Orleans. You inhabit a place and you inhabit an attitude. And that’s home for you.

When you talk about the jazz that came out of Kansas City, you are talking about a style that’s extremely pure and identifiable. It’s riff-driven, hard-swinging dance music. Kansas City jazz gets its hooks into you and doesn’t let you go. What it lacks in harmonic sophistication, it more than makes up for with the complexity of its rhythmic riffs and its high regard for spirited soloing. Think about the driving arrangements of Count Basie of Big Joe Turner’s tuneful boom over Pete Johnson’s boogie piano. By the time Charlie Parker hit the road with Jay McShann, Kansas City was no longer an incubator for exciting blues-drenched jazz.

A generation later, trumpeter Carmell Jones -- steeped in all that Kansas City could offer him, including an undeniable mastery of technique – heard the call of Clifford Brown and had to follow. He was the first significant hard bop musician to emerge from Kansas City.

A Clifford Brown disciple.

In one way, it’s a pleasure that these recordings on Pacific Jazz from the early 1960s are so obscure and unavailable. To listen to them today – fresh -- is to hear what audiences and musicians heard then: a remarkable musician. Great dexterity. Fun and playful.

Like Brownie, there was a sweetness in his sound, and modesty, despite his power and drive. Robust yet sensitive, technically dazzling without being selfish and showy, a soloist almost without peer. . . He could literally do it all.

These newly remastered Los Angeles recordings from 1961 to 1963 document Carmell’s dates as a leader and prominent sideman for Pacific Jazz. The material was originally recorded for his LPs entitled “The Remarkable Carmell Jones” and “Business Meetin’.” In addition, you’ll find his work alongside trombonist Lawrence “Tricky” Lofton for Lofton’s “Brass Bag” LP, and with frequent collaborator Harold Land on Land’s Imperial LP “Jazz Impressions of Folk Music,” which is a terrific surprise if it’s unfamiliar to you. Rounding out the package is a completely unreleased session from pianist Frank Strazzeri, one of Carmell’s best friends and his pianist of choice.

If Carmell Jones isn’t exactly a household name in the jazz world (although he was featured on such important recordings as Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father“), blame his move in 1965 to Germany, where he lived and worked for the next 15 years. But before his move these recordings clearly demonstrate that Carmell was a musician who never disappointed. Trust us -- he’s not about to start now.

Roy Haynes Phineas Newborn Paul Chambers We Three

New Jazz (RVG)

We Three, recorded in a single session on November 14, 1958, was the first American studio date as a bandleader for the diminutive and legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, although with pianist Phineas Newborn on board (along with bassist Paul Chambers), it really is a set dominated by Newborn, whose busy, two-handed technique here works in tandem balance with Haynes' cool refinement. Newborn was all about amazing and dazzling piano runs that on some dates created simply too much flash and clutter to allow pieces to flow and breathe properly, but Haynes has always been about grace and flow throughout his career (if a drummer's style can said to be elegant, Haynes fits the bill), and here he rubs off on Newborn, who exercises just enough restraint to keep him in the proper orbit, resulting in a fine album. Highlights include the easy, pure swing of the opener, a version of Ray Bryant's "Reflection," a wonderful and bluesy rendition of Avery Parrish's "After Hours" (which finds Newborn in perfect balance between explosive ornamentation and smooth functionality), and a jaunty, fun spin through Newborn's own "Sugar Ray," a tribute to boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. This trio had a brief recording career together, but as this solid set shows, they made the best of it. Steve Leggett
Reflection/Sugar Ray/Solitaire/After Hours/Sneakin' Around/Our Delight
Rec: November 14, 1958

Louis Prima - Capital Collectors Series (1991)

I have been listening to this CD at work for the past week pretty regularly. I really enjoy the rhythms, melodies, lyrics and the interplay between Prima & Smith, and Prima & Butera. So I figured I’d share it with you all. Wickedly funny, wickedly talented, and just plain wicked! This collection of Prima’s work is well worth the loading my friends. The liner notes provide all the players, not least of which is Keely Smith on vocals. The only stinker in this lot is “Beep! Beep!,” for some reason I just don’t dig it. In the almost-a-stinker role is “Twist all Night,” it is not bad or nothin’…it just is not the Prima I have come to know and love. The other 24 tracks are great, so again, well worth the DL. This collection also features some unreleased stereo versions, and sounds sharp and clean.

I know that you will recognize a lot of the tunes, whether covered by David Lee Roth (Just a Gigolo/I Aint Got Nobody), Benny Goodman (Sing Sing Sing), or Brian Setzer (Jump Jive and Wail) Prima’s versions stand out. Known for his off-color humor and use of innuendo, Prima was a popular act in New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe. These tracks—as the liner notes say—really give you the feeling of his act. This CD is full of fun, upbeat, swingin’ jazz that will re-energize you when you are feelin’ low. You can almost smell the smoke filled room and hear the ice tinkling in glasses…ahh, days gone by.

Oh, and the Disney animated classic Jungle Book’s monkey song “I wanna be like you” is not here. I got it if ya want it, but not included in this set.

1-Just a Gigolo/I Aint Got Nobody
2-Oh Marie
3-Buona Sera
4-Jump, Jive, an’ Wail
5-Basin Street Blues/When It’s Sleepy Time Down South
6-The Lip
7-Whistle Stop
8-5 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days
9-Banana Split For My Baby
10-There’ll Be No Next Time
11-When You’re Smiling/The Sheik of Araby
12-Baby, Wont You Please Come Home
13-I’ve Got The World On A String
14-Pennies From Heaven
15-Angelina/Zooma Zooma
16-Beep! Beep!
17-Embraceable You/I’ve Got It Bad and That Aint Good
18-Sing, Sing, Sing
19-That Old Black Magic
20-The Music Goes Round and Around
21-Hey Boy! Hey Girl!
22-Lazy River
23-I’ve Got You Under My Skin
24-You’re Just In Love
25-Twist All Night
26-St. Louis blues

Lionel Hampton - Mostly Blues (1989)

While Milt Jackson is great on the vibes, Hamp is who you wanna hear. I don’t think that I have seen any posts of his work, course my mind is going too. So here he is at 80+ years young really working out. As for any discussion about Hamp, I’ll let any of the hundreds of websites about him speak…plus they probably have better grammar and stuff.

Don’t remember where I picked this up at, but it was in the used CD section of a local music store about 10 years ago. I remember looking at it and thinking, “gee wasn’t Hampton in Benny Goodman’s group for awhile? Can’t be THAT bad…” So for $2 or so I got it. And damnhell! I really think that this is a great CD! Don’t let the “Someday My Prince Will Come” track scare ya off---it is really worth listening to. These recordings are from 1988, but released in 1989; total time 60:04.

One note on the label: MHS is the Music Heritage Society, check their webpage for info. It is one of those buy 7 for 99 cents-each memberships. They have a “Classical Music” section and a “Jazz;” they might have more, I don’t know— ( The idea of this place is to preserve high quality music and have scholars of the genre provide new liner notes (these are also included in the set offered here). Also, they bill themselves as housing/selling rare and hard to find artists, tracks, etc.
1- Bye Bye Blues
2- Someday My Price Will Come
3- Take the A Train
4- Blues For Jazz Beaux
5- Walkin Uptown
6- Honeysuckle Rose
7- Mostly Blues
8- Limehouse Blues
9- Gone with the wind

Jimmy Smith - Sum Serious Blues

1993's SUM SERIOUS BLUES finds Smith a seasoned soul veteran with almost 40 years of performing under his belt. As is abundantly clear here, he is still able to swing as hard as ever. Backed with a full band including two trombones, three saxes, trumpet, guitar, harmonica and rhythm section, Smith is no less dextrous than in his Blue Note and Verve years. The ensemble work, thanks to conductor/arranger Johnny Pate, provides powerful, large-scale color to the organist's manipulations.

Hard-swinging blues is still Smith's forte, and he delivers in cuts like the title track, "Round The Corner" and "Moof's Blues." Surprises like the Smith favorite "The Sermon," a vocal duet between Bernard Ighner and Marlena Shaw on "(I'd Rather) Drink Muddy Water" and Smith's own vocal on "Hurry Change, If You're Comin'," add variety. SUM SERIOUS BLUES proves Smith to be no less a force of nature in the '90s than he was in earlier incarnations.

Jimmy Smith (vocals, organ)
Marlena Shaw, Benard Ighner (vocals)
Buddy Collette (alto sax)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
Philip Upchurch (guitar)
Herman Riley (tenor saxo)
Ernie Fields Jr. (baritone sax)
George Bohanon (trombone)
Maurice Spears (bass trombone)
Mick Martin (harmonica)
Andy Simpkins (bass)
Michael Baker (drums)

1. Sum Serious Blues
2. Round The Corner
3. Hurry Change, If You're Comin'
4. The Sermon
5. You've Changed
6. Moof's Blues
7. Open For Business
8. (I'd Rather) Drink Muddy Water,

Recorded at A&M Studios, Hollywood, California from January 12-14, 1993

Lee Konitz Jimmy Rowles - Tenorlee

I'm planning on at least one vinyl rip per week. Hope they are well received.
According to the liners, this was Konitz' first recordings on Tenor. Recorded two days after the death of Richie Kamuca, it became a homage to the great tenorman--all of the tunes are associated with him. Rowles and bassist Michael Moore had played frequently with Kamuca. Rowles is, as always, the master of understatement--a bottomless well of rhytmic and harmonic invention. Konitz' playing is rather spare even when improvising. The highlight for me is the last track: Tenorlee/Lady Be Good-- the first being an unaccompanied solo which segues into an almost exact transcription of the famous Basie/Young tenor solo--which Rowles doubles. All tenor fans should get a piece of this one.

Tony Fruscella 1955

"What about that guy Tony Fruscella who sits crosslegged on the rug and plays Bach on his trumpet, by ear, and later on at night there he is blowing with the guys at a session, modern jazz."
-Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveller

"Short marriages, short stays in hospitals and jails, and he invented the crash pad. He walked the streets, an orphan of the world but with incredible dignity. He never accepted anything for free. He would cook and clean and play music if you put him up."-Robert Reisner

1955 was probably the peak year in Fruscella' s short career and he was featured on a couple of recordings by Stan Getz and was also invited to make an LP under his own name for the Atlantic label, a well-established company. Fruscella chose Bill Triglia to accompany him on piano and he added tenor-saxophonist Allen Eager, a musician who had been highly thought of in the 1940s, when he was amongst the leading bop players, but who was, by 1955, slipping into a shadowy world of occasional public appearances and even fewer recording dates. With Phil Sunkel, another little-known trumpeter, acting as composer-arranger, Fruscella came up with some of his finest work, especially on "I'll Be Seeing You" and the attractive "His Master's Voice," on which he uses some of his classical background to fashion an engaging Bach-like series of variations. Fruscella and those who admired him no doubt imagined that this album would help him widen his reputation, but it soon slid from sight and was remembered by only a few enthusiasts..
-John Dunton, “The Names of the Forgotten”
The Penniless Press”Issue 4, Spring, 1997

From the opening notes on Tony’s total improvisation on “I’ll Be Seeing You," one’s ear is arrested and heart taken captive. If you ever see Red Mitchell in a club, get him to sing his lyrics to this solo. It’s Tony’s life in microcosm and one of the most moving pieces of vocalese ever conceived. But for Red to write it, Tony had to play it.
-Ira Gitler's
notes, 1985 LP re-issue

Tony Fruscella (trumpet)
Allen Eager (tenor sax)
Danny Bank (baritone sax)
Chauncey Welsch (trombone)
Bill Triglia (piano)
Bill Anthony (bass)
Junior Bradley (drums)
arrangements: Phil Sunkel

1. I'll Be Seeing You (Sammy Fain-Irving Kahal)
2. Muy (Phil Sunkel)
3. Metropolitan Blues (Phil Sunkel)
4. Raintree County (Phil Sunkel)
5. Salt (Phil Sunkel)
6. His Majesty's Voice (Phil Sunkel)
7. Old Hat (Phil Sunkel)
8. Blue Serenade (Burton Lane-Harold Adamson)
9. Let's Play the Blues (Phil Sunkel)
10. I'll Be Seeing You-vocalese by Red Mitchell (1989)
recorded March 29 and April 1, 1955

Jimmy Forrest - Forrest Fire

Forrest was an interesting guy. Working here with a young Larry Young (sorry), and we not too long ago posted Grant Green's first recordings - also with Forrest - , the man dated back to working on steamboats with Fate Marable back in '35. Jay McShann, Ellington and Basie all used him for a while.

"During 1961, Jimmy Forrest recorded four albums for Prestige and its subsidiary New Jazz, all of which have been reissued on CD in the Original Jazz Classics series. The appealing tenor is matched up with 20-year-old organist Larry Young, guitarist Thornel Schwartz and drummer Jimmie Smith. They perform two jump tunes ("Dexter's Deck" and Doug Watkins' "Help"), a pair of blues, a swinging version of Irving Berlin's "Remember," and a lone ballad ("When Your Lover Has Gone"). Excellent music that is also quite accessible." Scott Yanow

Jimmy Forrest (tenor sax)
Larry Young (organ)
Thornel Schwartz (guitar)
Jimmie Smith (drums)

1. Remember
2. Dexter's Deck
3. Jim's Jams
4. Bags' Groove
5. When Your Lover Has Gone
6. Help!

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, August 9, 1960

Archie Shepp - Live In San Francisco

Archie Shepp's dynamic, Ben Webster-derived tenor sound greatly benefits from the added presence new remastering technology makes possible. This is especially apparent while listening to this great live set from Shepp's regular group from 1966. One can hear in fine detail every sinewy twist and turn as he tears into an Ellington ballad like "In A Sentimental Mood," or ferociously sustains a long, fiery ramble through one of his own bluesy originals.

There is enough variety in the featured material--the aforementioned Ellington cover, a lush piano exploration from Shepp called "Sylvia," even a short original poem read by the leader--that listener interest should never flag. Special mention should go to drummer Beaver Harris, who keeps a tight, funky hold on the proceedings, and to the great free-jazz cum Dixieland trombonist Roswell Rudd. Extra bonus on this CD reissue: another Ellington composition, "Things Ain't What They Used To Be," plus the complete album Three For A Quarter, One For A Dime, 30 minutes plus of gritty polyphony from the Shepp ensemble, dedicated to none other than James Brown.

Although two pieces (Shepp's workout on piano on the ballad "Sylvia" and his recitation on "The Wedding") are departures, the quintet sounds particularly strong on Herbie Nichols' "The Lady Sings the Blues" and "Wherever June Bugs Go" while Shepp's ballad statement on "In a Sentimental Mood" is both reverential and eccentric.

Archie Shepp (tenor sax, piano)
Roswell Rudd (trombone)
Donald Garrett (bass)
Lewis Worrell (bass)
Beaver Harris (drums)

1. Keep Your Heart Right
2. Lady Sings The Blues
3. Sylvia
4. The Wedding
5. Wherever June Bugs Go
6. In A Sentimental Mood
7. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
8. Three For A Quarter, One For A Dime

Recorded on February 19, 1966 at the Both/And Club in San Francisco, California

Benny Carter Jazz Giant

“Jazz giant” is a term immediately greeted with skepticism, yet Benny Carter fills the role better than most. Perhaps the greatest of the big band leaders that most people have never heard of, Carter finally settled down in Hollywood in the fifties and began to record the full-length albums that eventually cemented his reputation. Jazz Giant is an excellent piece of work that serves as a relic from a bygone era when Kansas City swing was in its prime.
In addition to Carter, Ben Webster – another “giant” who had a rebirth as an artist in the fifties – huffs his way through a few choruses on each tune, which is reason enough for some to seek out this record. A cadre of West Coast jazz musicians, who most likely devoured Carter’s earlier sides when they came out, provide enthusiastic accompaniment. The group strolls through a selection of songs that either come from the early part of the century, or originals that might as well have been.
Although Rowles, Kessel, and Rosolino acquit themselves nicely, nothing approaches the treat of hearing Webster and Carter go at it. Carter solos with gentlemanly elegance and darting phrases, finding rich harmonic avenues in chestnuts like “Ain’t She Sweet.” Webster, on the other hand, ambles through the changes, patiently employing a lovely tone with just enough edge to keep from sounding too sentimental. As a bonus, Carter shows his skill on the trumpet on two numbers, both of which demonstrate that he could have had quite a career on his second instrument.
The running time is brief – barely forty minutes – but there’s enough classic swing here to remind the listener of a time when jazz was more about keeping good company than introspective exploration. David Rickert
Rec: 1957-58
Track listing: 1. Old Fashioned Love 2. I'm Coming Virginia 3. A Walkin' Thing 4. Blue Lou 5. Ain't She Sweet 6. How Can You Lose 7. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me.
Personnel: Benny Carter-alto sax, trumpet; Ben Webster-tenor sax; Frank Rosolino-trombone; Andre Previn, Jimmy Rowles-piano; Barney Kessel-guitar; Leroy Vinnegar-bass; Shelly Manne-drums.

Friday, October 12, 2007

This Day In Jazz

Keith Jarrett Trio - Bye Bye Blackbird

Recorded within two weeks of Miles Davis's death, this CD is a direct emotional response to the trumpeter's passing from a long-established trio of his former sidemen: pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. "For Miles," a collective improvisation that lasts for over 18 minutes, is both the literal and figurative centerpiece of the CD, a performance that seems to struggle toward a profound and somber expression. Otherwise it's a varied program, as much celebration of Davis's inspiration as lament, as it moves from the title standard, closely associated with Davis, to Oliver Nelson's seldom-played "Butch and Butch." Jarrett's playing is tightly focused, whether laconic and melodic or swinging with gusto, but it's very much a trio of equals, with DeJohnette offering constantly shifting accents and cymbal color and Peacock providing an original melodic voice as well as fluid and authoritative propulsion. - Stuart Broomer

Keith Jarrett (piano)
Gary Peacock (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)

1. Bye Bye Blackbird
2. You Won't for Get Me
3. Butch and Butch
4. Summer Night
5. For Miles
6. Straight No Chaser
7. I Thought About You
8. Blackbird, Bye Bye

NYC, October 12, 1991

Slide Hampton - Somethin' Sanctified (1960)

Slide Hampton has been a fine trombonist and arranger since the mid-'50s, helping to keep the tradition of bop alive in both his playing and his writing. After working with Buddy Johnson (1955-1956) and Lionel Hampton, he became an important force in Maynard Ferguson's excellent big band of 1957-1959. He led octets in the 1960s with such sidemen as Freddie Hubbard and George Coleman. After traveling with Woody Herman to Europe in 1968, Hampton settled overseas where he stayed very active. Since returning to the U.S. in 1977, he led his World of Trombones (which features nine trombonists), played in a co-op quintet called Continuum, and been involved in several Dizzy Gillespie tribute projects, recording in the 1990s for Telarc.

Somethin' Sanctified was Slide Hampton's second octet album for Atlantic, the first being Sister Salvation. The piano-less band, with all but one of the arrangements by Hampton, sounds more like a "little big band" during a lot of the ensemble passages. Maynard's band only had 13 pieces so Slide learned early on how to make a small band sound "large".

Dusty Groove's usual "over the top" review (but it is indeed a very good record):

Some of the hardest swingin' stuff ever recorded by a band led by a trombone player! This LP, like most of Slide's still gets loads of play here on the South Side of Chicago -- and it's a hard wailing batch of soulful tracks that never stops grooving. The record's got 6 great tracks, played by a firey octet that includes Hobart Dotson, George Coleman, Larry Ridley, Charles Greenlee, and Richard Williams. Cuts include "El Sino", "Ow", "Milestones", and the stormin' title cut!

Slide Hampton, Charlie Greenlee (trombone, euphonium)
Richard Williams, Hobart Dotson (trumpet)
George Coleman (tenor sax)
Jay Cameron (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Larry Ridley (bass)
Pete (LaRoca) Sims (drums)
  1. On the Street Where You Live
  2. The Thrill Is Gone
  3. Ow
  4. Milestones
  5. El Sino
  6. Somethin' Sanctified
Recorded October 17, 1960

Shelly Manne & His Men Blackhawk Vol 1

The whole group collectively and individually were at a peak. There's very little drop off if any on all five of these albums, but perhaps the creme de la creme is right here. This features soaring versions of Our Delight and Poinciana, a poignant reading of Summertime, and one of the best covers of Rosolino's Blue Daniel (with an alternate). The Blackhawk hosted some of the best live jazz recordings ever--THIS is in the same league as anything that bears the name " Live at the Blackhawk" WBF

Shelly Manne: Drums
Victor Feldman: Piano
Monty Budwig: Bass
Richie Kamuca: Tenor
Joe Gordon: Trumpet

2.Our Delight
4.Blue Daniel
5.Blue Daniel (alt.)
6.Theme: A Gem From Tiffany

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Red Rodney - Bird Lives! (1973)

Born Robert Chudnick in Philadelphia on September 27, 1927, Red Rodney first came into prominence in Woody Herman's Second Herd in 1948-49 and then worked and recorded with Charlie Parker for the next several years. While on tour with Parker in the South, he was billed as "Albino Red" due to the Jim Crow attitudes that did not allow for integrated bands.

"This was trumpeter Red Rodney's first jazz date as a leader in 14 years. In the interim, he had spent a lot of time playing in show bands in Las Vegas, and both his chops and his jazz abilities were a bit out of practice, but making a gradual comeback. Before he would begin teaming up with Ira Sullivan in 1980, Rodney was mostly cast as a bebop revivalist, although he kept an open mind toward later styles. This LP (last reissued in 1989) finds Rodney, altoist Charles McPherson, pianist Barry Harris, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Roy Brooks paying tribute to Charlie Parker. They perform spirited renditions of six bop classics, including "I'll Remember April," "Donna Lee" and "'Round Midnight." Although Rodney was not yet back in top form, McPherson and Harris are quite consistent, and the overall date has its share of strong moments." - Scott Yanow

Red Rodney (trumpet)
Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Barry Harris (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Roy Brooks (drums)
  1. Big Foot
  2. I'll Remember April
  3. Donna Lee
  4. Chasing the Bird
  5. 'Round Midnight
  6. 52nd Street Theme
Recorded July 9, 1973

Cannonball Adderley - Presenting Cannonball Adderley

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto sax)
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Hank Jones (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1 - Spontaneous Combustion
2 - Still Talkin' To Ya
3 - A Little Taste
4 - Caribbean Cutie
5 - Flamingo

NYC, July 14, 1955

Today In Jazz

Andrew Hill - Dance With Death

Andrew Hill's Dance of Death, recorded in 1968 with a stellar band, was not issued until 1980. In the late 1960s, Blue Note was no longer the most adventurous of jazz labels. While certain titles managed to scrape through — Eddie Gale's Ghetto Music did but only because Francis Wollf personally financed it — many didn't. The label was firmly in the soul-jazz groove by then, and Hill's music, always on the edge, was deemed too outside for the label's roster. Musically, this is Hill at his most visionary. From hard- and post bop frames come modal and tonal inquiries of staggering complexity. Accompanied by trumpeter Charles Tolliver, saxophonist Joe Farrell, drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Victor Sproles, Hill engages, seemingly, all of his muses at once. Check out the sinister modal blues that is "Fish 'N' Rice" with its loping Eastern-tinged blues and loping horn lines around Hill's knotty fills in the head and choruses. In "Partitions" the steaming head is so rigorously tangled it's only the counterpoint of Hill's piano that makes an exit possible, with deep blues underpinnings and strident swinging soul. The title cut dances Afro-Cuban in the head, but Hill's piano is in a minor modal groove, with Higgins playing a textural, syncopated four-four as Sproles' punches on the two and four as the solos begin winding through the modes, bringing back the blues on tags. Dance of Death is a phenomenal record, one that wears its adventure and authority well. Thom Jurek

Andrew Hill (piano)
Charles Tolliver (trumpet)
Joe Farrell (soprano and tenor sax)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Victor Sproles (bass)

1 Yellow Violet
2 Partitions
3 Fish 'n Rice
4 Dance With Death
5 Love Nocturne
6 Black Sabbath

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studios on October 11, 1968

Roland Kirk & Ira Sullivan - Introducing Roland Kirk 1960

This record has been also published as Soul Station in 1991 by Charlie Records (CD AFF 781)

Although the title suggests otherwise, Introducing Roland Kirk is actally Kirk's second long player. Poor distribution kept his debut, Triple Threat, from receiving the attention it deserved until subsequent reissues of the album in the early '70s. On these sides, Kirk is accompanied by a quartet including: Ira Sullivan (trumpet/tenor sax), William Burton (keyboards), Don Garrett (bass), and Sonny Brown (drums). Kirk leads the ensemble with his "triple threat" -- consisting of a variation of the soprano sax called a manzello; a stritch, which is a variant of the straight alto saxophone; and a slightly modified tenor sax -- all of which he could maneuver simultaneously. Although Kirk's performances are exceedingly reserved on this album, there is little doubt of his technical proficiencies. The three sides penned by Kirk are among the most interesting as they allow for a certain degree of openness that is essential when spotlighting his unique talents. This autonomy yields some exceptional interplay between Kirk and Ira Sullivan -- highlighted on "The Call" and "Soul Station." One of the motifs evident throughout Kirk's career involved his ability to personalize pop standards into his very distinctive mold as "Our Love Is Here to Stay" aptly exemplifies. Although some free jazz and avant-garde purists may find Introducing Roland Kirk not challenging enough, it provides a solid basis for his increasingly bombastic post-bop experiments throughout the remainder of the '60s and '70s. ~ Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide

Tracks List
01 The Call (Roland Kirk) 8:42
02 Soul Station (Roland Kirk) 5:57
03 Our Waltz (David Rose) 4:51
04 Our Love Is Here To Stay (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) 4:50
05 Spirit Girl (Roland Kirk) 5:33
06 Jack The Ripper (William Burton) 7:32

Kirk Roland (Tenor sax, Stritch, manzello, siren, whistle)
Ira Sullivan (trumpet, tenor on Soul Station)
Ron Burton (piano, organ on The Call)
Don Garrett (bass)
Sonny Brown (drums).

Recorded June 9, 1960 in Chicago, IL.

Art Blakey - Paris 1958

Paris, 1958 was recorded on December 21, at Club St. Germain, Paris, two months after the recording of Moanin' by the same line-up. The philadelphian Jazz Messengers (Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt) can be considered one of the best bands of that time. As Golson explains in the liner notes, a recording van was parked in front of the club but nobody had discussed about the payment, so Golson decided to put his horn in its case and the rest of the band followed him, except Blakey who stayed sitting behind his drums. They didn't return to perform until the record producer pay them cash in american dollars.
By the way, along the record you can hear the voice (very clearly in Moanin') of pianist Hazel Scott who was in the club every night the band played there. In fact, when the record was first issued, the song was identified as "Moanin' with Hazel".

1 Blues March (Golson) 11:15
2 Moanin' (Timmons) 14:07
3 Whisper Not (Golson) 7:13
4 Now's the Time (Parker) 13:39
5 Out of the Past (Golson) 11:04
6 Evidence (Monk) 6:48
7 The Theme (Traditional) 0:28

Art Blakey Drums
Benny Golson Sax (Tenor)
Jymie Merritt Bass
Lee Morgan Trumpet
Bobby Timmons Piano

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Art Blakey!

The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Art Blakey's 1960 Jazz Messengers (Mosaic)

Drummer Art Blakey led many great editions of the Jazz Messengers from the inaugural mid-'50s sessions until his death in the '90s. While arguments rage regarding which was his best, there is no doubt that the 1960-1961 unit figures in the debate. This wonderful six-disc set, notated with care and painstaking detail by Bob Blumenthal, covers studio and live sessions from March 6, 1960, to May 27, 1961, with the same personnel on all but two songs. Producer Michael Cuscuna used only first issue dates, and while he included some alternate takes, he did not litter the discs with second-rate vault material. They smoothly detail the band's evolution, cohesion, and maturation. This set, as with all Mosaic boxes, goes beyond essential. Get it post haste. - Ron Wynn

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sonny Stitt - Just In Case You Forgot How Bad He Really Was (1981) [flac]

The title pretty much says it all, y'all.

Recorded live at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco in September of 1981, this was a "saxophone summit" session with Stitt leading a rhythm section of Cedar Walton on piano, Herbie Lewis on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Guesting on a few of the songs were saxophonists Richie Cole and John Handy along with master vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Sonny is featured on most of the CD but Cole, Handy, Hutcherson and Walton get in some good licks and each is featured on the Ballad Medley. Highlights include lengthy versions of "Lover Man" and "Wee" along with the opening original "Dig Dr. Woody". Stitt is in great form, even at this late stage in his career. He would die from a heart attack less than a year later.

Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax)
Richie Cole (alto sax)
John Handy (tenor, alto sax)
Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Herbie Lewis (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
  1. Dig Dr. Woody
  2. Star Eyes
  3. Everything Happens to Me
  4. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
  5. Ballad Medley: How Deep Is the Ocean/Smoke Gets in Your Eyes/My Foolish Heart/Over the Rainbow/Serenade in Blue
  6. Solo Excerpt
  7. Lover Man
  8. Laura
  9. Wee
  10. Outro

Monday, October 8, 2007

This Day In Jazz

Thanks once again to Webbcity.

Sunny Murray - Perles Noires Vol. 1

"Sunny Murray is widely credited with being the first drummer to fully liberate the kit, developing a form of omni-directional accompaniment that dissolved the distinction between supporting and leading and helped spark the free jazz revolution that took place in the early 60s. Indeed, Murray spent time with most of the new music’s major theorists, including both Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler. But in recent years he hasn’t seemed like quite the drummer he was, lacking the focus and (perhaps more inevitably) some of the power of his earlier performances. Both volumes of Perles Noires, then, come as a real slap around the head. Both discs document the core duo of Murray and saxophonist Sabir Mateen, best known as a member of NY guerrilla jazz outfit Test, alone and in the company of various guests, including pianists Dave Burrell and John Blum, saxophonist Louis Belogenis and bassist Alan Silva. Murray is on fierce, articulate form and he makes with some wild solo statements, building compulsive tattoos from associative percussive strategies, as well as moments of pure, straight-ahead thump. Mateen’s formulations are just as spontaneously charged, roaring out of the gate with a screaming, vocalised sound before dropping to moonbeams of late-night melody. A beauty." David Kennan, Scotland Sunday Herald

Sunny Murray (drums)
Sabir Mateen (alto clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Louie Belogenis (tenor saxophone)
Dave Burrell (piano)
Alan Silva (double bass)

1. Fox Hunting In Manhattan I
2. Fox Hunting In Manhattan II
3. Fox Hunting In Manhattan III (08:11)
4. Three Is A Crowd
5. Top Dogs Boogie
6. Lonely Woman
7. Trail Of Tears

University of Massachusetts, Amherst October 9, 2004
Tonic, New York, New York October 10, 2004

Michel Colombier - Wings (1971)

"With the Tijuana Brass mostly on hold at the time, Herb Alpert commissioned what was immediately touted as a landmark project from French musical polymath Michel Colombier -- a pop symphony with the positively Mahlerian ambition to encompass the entire world in about 37 minutes. Alpert produced it, the gnomelike Paul Williams contributed lyrics, and Colombier composed the music and recorded it mostly in Paris, with additional big-band tracks and voices added at A&M Studios in Los Angeles. In a nutshell, Wings is a journey from darkness to light, with the hellfire of opening song "Freedom and Fear" -- powered by the anguished voice of Bill Medley (of the Righteous Brothers) -- eventually giving way to the redemption of love (Colombier might disagree that there's any storyline, but the evolution seems quite clear). The ensemble is huge -- a French symphony orchestra and a smaller so-called "pop" orchestra, an American big band, and voices, as well as electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty providing occasional slithering, edgy commentary. At first, you wonder where all of this rampant eclecticism is headed; the music thrashes about from combo jazz to soft rock to big-band wailings to film music to atonal classical music, without much coherence. Then, all of a sudden, about two-thirds of the way through, the piece comes together -- and from here on,Wings takes off, inspired to the finish. A grand flourish worthy of a Biblical film epic ushers in "We Could Be Flying," a beautiful song in the Sergio Mendes idiom of that time, sung delicately by Mendes' most celebrated vocalist, Lani Hall. A classical intermezzo, "Emmanuel," follows -- re-recorded, sweetened, and lengthened on the 1977 reissue of the album -- and the final paean to the power of love, "All in All," becomes a vehicle for Alpert's plaintive voice. Upon first release, Wings was lauded to the skies by the press -- especially those who weren't sold on rock -- and received three Grammy nominations and a Grand Prix du Disque but was relegated to cult status in sales, and the re-release in 1977 attracted hardly any attention at all. In hindsight, Wings is an artifact of its time, but one with passages of genuine beauty that ought not be relegated to oblivion." - Richard S. Ginell

Michel Colombier (composer, arranger)
Paul Williams (lyrics)
Bill Medley, Paul Williams, Vermettya Royster, Lani Hall, Herb Alpert (vocals)
with Symphony Orchestra, Pop Orchestra, Chorus and Big Band

1. Freedom and Fear
2. Earth
3. Thalassa
4. Doesn't Anybody Know?
5. Pourquoi Pas?
6. Morning Is Come Again
7. For Those Who Cannot Hear
8. We Could Be Flying
9. Emmanuel
10. All in All

Mose Allison - 'The Transfiguration of Hiram Brown' (1960)

Lets have a wiki entry for a change instead of AMG

"Mose John Allison, Jr. (born November 11, 1927) is an American jazz pianist and singer. He was born in Tallahatchie County, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. He played piano in grammar school and trumpet in high school. He went to college at the University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University. He received a BA in English. After serving in the U.S. Army, he moved to New York City and launched his jazz career. He is often called "the William Faulkner of Jazz." His music has influenced many blues and rock artists, including The Rolling Stones, John Mayall, JJ Cale and The Who, who made "Young Man Blues" a staple of their live performances. Blue Cheer also recorded a version of his song "Parchman Farm" on their debut album. The Yardbirds and The Misunderstood both recorded versions of his song "I'm Not Talking".

His song "Look Here" was covered by The Clash on their album Sandinista!. Van Morrison released an album of his songs entitled Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison, and Elvis Costello recorded "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy" on his album Kojak Variety. He is the father of country songwriter Amy Allison. Mose Allison was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006"

So now you have some background...some notes on this album...

Having played with the likes of Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and many others as a young artist in the 1950's, Mose Allison debuted on Columbia Records with this album, originally issued in 1960. Here, for the first time on CD, is TRANSFIGURATION OF HIRAM BROWN in its entirety with one bonus track from the original recording session

1. Barefoot - Dirt Road
2. City Home
3. Cuttin' Out
4. Gotham Day
5. Gotham Night
6. Echo
7. The River
8. Finale

9. How Little We Know
10. Baby, Pleasr Don't Go
11. Make Yourself Comfortable
12. 'Deed I Do
13. Love for Sale
14. Barefoot - Dirt Road (Prev Unissued)

'S Marvellous I sayz!

oliver lake- holding together 1976

heres a great ,early lake album, his 3rd probably one of his thornier more abstract sessions not too texturally dense though, and at times almost funky in a fractured sought of way.

this features michael g. jackson, who later became a minor singer songwriter type who wanted to write hits but somehow never quite managed the required degree of blandness, here he plays up up a storm slashing his way through the thickets of FRED HOPKINS arco, and lakes broilingly intense squalls.
a good chewy listen!!!

lake- alto flutemichael jackson- guitarfred hopkins- dbpaul maddox- drums

Kenny Burrell - 1964 Soul Call

Review by Dave Glackin

Kenny Burrell is widely recognized as one of the handful of top guitarists of all time, and Rudy Van Gelder, the recording engineer on this album, is justifiably famous for his gorgeous sounding recordings of jazz from the "golden era". Kenny Burrell's Soul Call is an album of swinging jazz featuring Kenny's fluid, nimble, and mellow electric jazz guitar. Kenny is accompanied here by a combo consisting of piano, bass, drums and conga, and most of the players get their chance to shine in this album. The up-tempo number "Mark One" showcases the incredible combination of musicality, tonal purity, and fluid dexterity which defines Kenny Burrell's playing, and it gives Will Davis, the pianist and author of this piece, a chance to show what he can do. The riffs that Burrell seems to toss off here are amazing, and Davis provides a good pianistic foil for the guitar.
The title piece, "Soul Call," is a lazily swinging piece that evokes a slow, sultry summer afternoon, leaving a peaceful feeling after the fade. That reverie is broken by my favorite cut, "Kenny's Theme," which may get you up and dancin'. This piece really gives the opportunity for the players to show off their chops, and for the first time we get to hear what the bassist and the conga player can do (although I'd be pissed if I were the conga player, for mostly just being buried in the mix on this album). "Here's That Rainy Day" gets things slowed back down again, making me want to pop the top off a Negra Modelo (a great dark Mexican ale, by the way), sit back, and relax. The bonus track "O Henry" picks things back up, with Kenny's fingers really flying across the strings.
If you're a jazz fan but have never heard Kenny Burrell, this album provides a great introduction to his prodigious talents. If you already like Kenny Burrell but do not have this album, I think you'll enjoy it immensely.

1 I'm Just a Lucky So and So (David, Ellington) 5:15
2 Mark One (Davis) 7:11
3 A Sleepin' Bee (Arlen, Capote) 4:26
4 Soul Call (Burrell) 7:22
5 Kenny's Theme (Burrell) 5:00
6 Here's That Rainy Day (Burke, Van Heusen) 4:16
7 Oh Henry [*] (Fuller, Henry) 3:03
* Bonus track

Ray Barretto Conga
Kenny Burrell Guitar
Will Davis Piano
Billy Gene English Drums
Martin Rivera Bass

Recording Date Apr 7, 1964

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Jimmy Heath - The Quota

Jimmy Heath's considerable talents are very evident on this fine hard bop title. His supple, Dexter Gordon-inspired tenor work shines throughout the album's seven tracks, which range from the challenging yet fleet originals "Funny Time" and "The Quota" to attractive covers like "When Sunny Gets Blue" and Milt Jackson's "Bells and Horns." Heath also mixes it up stylistically with elements of both East Coast jazz (Philly native, vigorous ensemble work) and West Coast jazz (spry, vaporous arrangements), showing his flexibility amidst the music's healthy, bi-coastal rivalry of the late-'50s and early-'60s California stars Art Pepper and Chet Baker would cover several Heath numbers on their excellent 1956 collaboration Playboys. The Quota also benefits from stellar solo contributions by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, French horn player Julius Watkins, and pianist Cedar Walton; brothers Percy and Albert Heath handle the bass and drums chores admirably, and they make a family reunion of it. The Quota's strong material, tight arrangements, and thoughtful solos help make this Heath title one of the better hard bop releases available and a must for any jazz collection. ~ Stephen Cook

Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

1. The Quota
2. Lowland Lullaby
3. Thinking Of You
4. Bells And Horns
5. Down Shift
6. When Sunny Gets Blue
7. Funny Time

Plaza Sound Studios, NYC: April 14 and 20, 1961

Miles Davis & Sonny Stitt Olympia October 11, 1960 disk two

Perhaps the thing that most annoyed Miles about Stitt, (and Mobley) was that his initials weren't J.C. (speaking of the one who played tenor, of course, not the one who played on the "Bethlehem" label) It's certainly difficult to gain any sort of perspective from his book; like how could he disdain players like Mobley, Stitt and George Coleman? One theory comes to mind: These players were infused in the bop/hard bop idiom. So was J.C. However, it can certainly be argued that Coltrane pushed it way beyond, which undoubtedly stimulated Miles in the same way the 65-68 trio would do--and after all, that's what Miles was all about. He had already spent years on the bandstand with Parker and heard all of Rollins' tricks, so he was ready to move on. It's difficult for us mere mortals to understand this, when Mobley is only now receiving his full due, and Stitt left a legacy that won't quit. I go away from these wanting more, as I do after hearing the Mobley stuff (The Blackhawk set in particular) These are enormously entertaining sets and I'm sure that I could pick them up years from now and enjoy them as much as the first time I heard them. Davis' account makes it sound like this was merely putting a warm body on the front line. Difficult to understand--- may have something to do with the mortality thing.
Miles: Trumpet
Sonny Stitt: Tenor Sax
Wynton Kelly: Piano
Paul Chambers: Bass
Jimmy Cobb: Drums
Walkin'/ If I Were a Bell/ Fran Dance/ Two Bass Hit/ All of You/ So What/ The Theme

Bill Evans Trio - Everybody Digs Bill Evans (20bit K2 )

The superb pianist recorded this album, his second as a leader, in December 1958, more than two years after his debut. In between, of course, he was an integral part of Miles Davis's legendary sextet. Spurred by a rhythm section of bassist Sam Jones and drummer Philly Joe Jones, Bill Evans shows amazing versatility on these sides: his playing on "Minority," "Night and Day," and "Oleo" is surprisingly robust and even bluesy at times--certainly not adjectives usually associated with the cool pianist. He's delightfully playful on the midtempo "Tenderly." Then there are the slow, meditative numbers for which he's known, including three unaccompanied showcases. "Peace Piece," which was actually conceived merely as an introduction to Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time," is the most famous, but his reading of another Bernstein song, "Lucky to Be Me," is equally mesmerizing. Although the original record dropped it, the CD reissue does include a version of "Some Other Time," complete with the "Peace Piece" intro. --Marc Greilsamer

Bill Evans (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

1. Minority
2. Young & Foolish
3. Lucky To Be Me
4. Night & Day
5. Epilogue
6. Tenderly
7. Peace Piece
8. What Is There To Say?
9. Oleo
10. Epilogue
11. Some Other Time

Dizzy Gillespie In Paris (1952-53)

Volume 1

This CD fully (except for a saxophone feature) documents a Paris concert by Dizzy Gillespie and his quintet, with baritonist Bill Graham (the liners mistakenly list him as playing alto and tenor), pianist Wade Legge, bassist Lou Hackney, and drummer Al Jones. Actually, singer Joe Carroll (whose overly enthusiastic vocals are an acquired taste) co-stars with Gillespie on many of the selections. There is plenty of joking around, but the trumpeter is in consistently inventive form before a very appreciative crowd during a well-rounded show. Highlights include "The Champ," "Good Bait," Sarah Vaughan's guest vocal on "Embraceable You," and "Ooh-Shoo-Bee-Doo-Be." - Scott Yanow

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet,vocals, congas)
Bill Graham (baritone sax)
Wade Legge (piano)
Lou Hackney (bass)
Al Jones (drums)
Joe Carroll (vocals)
Sarah Vaughan (vocal on 13)

Track list in comments

Volume 2

The second of two CD volumes of Dizzy Gillespie performances put out by Vogue has the full contents from three of his Paris studio sessions. The great trumpeter heads a quintet that includes tenor saxophonist Don Byas and pianist Arnold Ross on four songs (plus three alternate takes); highlights include Gillespie's playing on "I Cover the Waterfront," and his vocal on the two versions of "Say Eh." The most rewarding of the sets finds him leading a septet on such numbers as "Cripple Crapple Crutch" (which has his classic blues vocal), "Somebody Loves Me," and two versions of "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams." The final eight selections feature Dizzy Gillespie's regular band of 1953 (with trombonist Nat Peck in baritonist Bill Graham's place). Vocalist Joe Carroll helps out on a couple of the numbers, and Gillespie is in particularly memorable form on "My Man" and "'S Wonderful." This highly enjoyable music is easily recommended. - Scott Yanow

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocals)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Hubert Fol (alto sax)
Nat Peck, Bill Tamper (trombone)
Arnold Ross, Raymond Fol, Wade Legge (piano)
Joe Benjamin, Pierre Michelot, Lou Hackney (bass)
Bill Clark, Pierre Lemarchand, Al Jones (drums)
Joe Carroll (vocals)

Track list in comments

Zoot Sims - Down Home

I'm a big fan of certain small labels, Bethlehem being one of them. The history of the company has been discussed around here in the past, but I really should mention that these re-issues are as good as I've seen anywhere: expanded selections, solid notes, nice production.

"1960, when this album was recorded, was one of Zoot Sims' most productive years. The performances here are recognised as being the masterpieces of Sims' middle period. Supported by a rhythm section comprising Dave McKenna (piano), George Tucker (bass) and Dannie Richmond (drums). 6 bonus alternate takes included.

Downbeat Magazine at the time wrote: "A marvellous example of Sims' ability to swing - The best of all possible arguments for blowing sessions." Leading British jazz critic Alun Morgan has called this album "one of the most enjoyable examples of jazz tenor irrespective of style" and Sims' talents as "one of the most persuasive artists in jazz, whose ability to swing on every occasion is never in doubt".

Yeah, man, I'm dig.

Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Dave McKenna (piano)
George Tucker (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1 - Jazz at Five
2 - Doggin Around
3 - Avalon
4 - I Cried For You
5 - Bill Bailey
6 - Good Night Sweetheart
7 - There'll Be Some Changes Made
8 - I've Heard That Blues Before
9 - There'll Be Some Changes Made
10 - Jive at Five
11 - Doggin Around
12 - Avalon
13 - Good Night Sweetheart
14 - Bill Bailey

New York: June 7, 1960

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt - Olympia, October 11, 1960: Part 1

Well, here's part 1. The second will be upped by worldbflat.

Coltrane had not wanted to make this tour and announced his intention of leaving. (This is all detailed in Miles' autobiography.) Wayne Shorter was in the wings, but wanted to remain with Blakey for a while longer, so who to get? One of the best players on the scene. And if Miles had complaints to make of Stitt, they were the minor bitchings of one master being angry at what he perceives another master's imperfections to be. I don't notice any imperfection. This configuration of Miles' line-up was long thought to be undocumented, until these tapes surfaced.

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Sonny Stitt (tenor sax)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

Vol. 1
1. Walkin'
2. Autumn Leaves
3. Four
4. Unidentified
5. Round About Midnight
6. No Blues
7. The Theme

"So now we know what Miles was talking about. Sonny's musical style--about melodic "formulas" and rhythmic/harmonic "closure"--is clearly "wrong" for Miles, but not necessarily for Sonny. On all of the tunes, including the modal "So What," Sonny "locks" into the time, much like a Coleman Hawkins, and plays "within" the harmonies of the tune, coming back to the tonic note at every opportunity. Miles if anything overplays, as though he's determined to rub Sonny's nose in the new music until he gets it. Sonny will have none of it. He counter-punches with his very best shots, exhausting the melodic/harmonic vocabulary inherited from Bird and Diz. The result is a dazzling display of disparate pyrotechnics--perhaps the last time Miles would play this aggressively on record."

Clare Fischer Thesaurus (aka Twas Only Yesterday)

For those who haven't heard this one and go for that massive, built from the ground-up sound like the Mulligan CJB or Thad Jones/Mel Lewis bands, or even the Pat Williams Threshold offering of a week ago, this is an absolute must-hear. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest large ensemble modern jazz recordings ever. But for all of it's great writing and arranging, it leaves plenty of space for some very potent work of players like Bill Perkins on Bari, Gary Foster on alto, Warne Marsh on tenor, and a cast of ringers from L.A. Highlights include an unbelievably difficult chart of Lennie Tristano's "Lennie's Pennies" with some very interesting counterpoint between the brass, woodwinds and rhythm sections. Fischer achieves an almost double ensemble effect at times--as though each section is self-contained--the sax section plays the out-chorus written out in what sounds alternately polytonal, quartal, and in short passages in the lydian mode. It's like Supersax on steroids! Also, this features what I would say, without hesitation, is the definitive recording of Strayhorn's "Upper Manhatten Medical Group" . Although this has been available on CD (Koch Jazz, no less) I'm pretty sure that it was taken from the tapes that Atlantic used for the original pressing--which were extremely lackluster. Fischer wrote in the liner notes for this Discovery re-release that the vinyl remastering was far superior to the Atlantic version-- the bottom end is EQ'd quite well (the Bass Sax and Bass Trombone sound is fierce!). Discovery had a very limited release on the CD, I've never seen a copy of it anywhere. Since the Discovery LP's are fabulous anyway, I opted for the Vinyl. I have included scans of both the CD booklet, Discovery LP info and artwork, and the original Atlantic liner notes written by Billy Taylor. Dig in.

Jimmy Heath

Jimmy Heath - The Thumper

Jimmy Heath at age 33 made his recording debut as a leader on this Riverside session which has been reissued on CD in the OJC series. The hard bop tenor-saxophonist is in superior form, contributing five originals (of which "For Minors Only" is best known), jamming with an all-star sextet (including cornetist Nat Adderley, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath) and taking two standards as ballad features. The excellent session of late '50s straightahead jazz is uplifted above the normal level by Heath's writing. Scott Yanow

The Thumper was his debut recording. Unlike most of his peers, Heath had not hurried into the studio. He was already in his thirties and writing with great maturity; the session kicks off with "For Minors Only," the first of his tunes to achieve near-classic standing. He also includes "Nice People."

Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath - (drums)

1. For Minors Only
2. Who Needs It?
3. Don't You Know I Care
4. Two Tees
5. The Thumper
6. New Keep
7. For All We Know
8. I Can Make You Love Me
9. Nice People

Recorded in New York, September 1959

Jimmy Heath - Swamp Seed

This is a delightful if underrated set that was reissued on CD in 1997. The multi-talented Jimmy Heath has many consistently rewarding and distinctive tenor saxophone solos; he also contributed three of the seven pieces and arranged all of them for a group also including trumpeter Donald Byrd, two French horns, Don Butterfield's tuba and a rhythm section that has bassist Percy Heath and (on three numbers) drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The music is straight-ahead but contains some unpredictable moments. Highlights include Heath's versions of Thelonious Monk's "Nutty" and "More Than You Know." ~ Scott Yanow

In his arranging, Jimmy Heath has always been able to get the most out of the resources at hand. In the case of Swamp Seed, he works the harmonic magic of expanding an eight-piece band into the sound of a much larger unit. He is aided in his sleight-of-hand by virtuoso horn players: Jim Buffington and Julius Watkins on French horns, the legendary Don Butterfield on tuba, Donald Byrd on trumpet, and himself on tenor saxophone. The rhythm section is anchored by Heath's brother Percy on bass. On various tracks, piano is by Herbie Hancock and Harold Mabern. The drummers are Connie Kay and the third Heath brother, Albert. The principal soloist, of course, is Jimmy Heath, rooted in blues and the bebop that nurtured him, but harmonically sophisticated. With his expansive tone and conception, Heath sounded in 1963 as he always has — completely up to date.

Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Julius Watkins, Jim Buffington (French horns)
Jimmy Heath (tenor sax)
Don Butterfield (tuba)
Herbie Hancock, Harold Mabern (1,2,4) (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Albert "Tootie" Heath (1,2,4), Connie Ray - (drums)

1. Six Steps
2. Nutty
3. More Than You Know
4. Swamp Seed
5. D. Waltz
6. Just In Time
7. Wall To Wall

Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City; March 11, 1963

Jimmy Heath - The Time And The Place

"Although this 1994 CD looks like a reissue, the music was actually released for the first time 20 years after it was recorded. Jimmy Heath, who is heard here on tenor, alto, soprano and flute, played at his prime throughout the 1970's although he tended to be somewhat overlooked in popularity polls. Heath was stretching himself during the era as can be heard on these obscure pieces; five of his originals plus Kenny Dorham's "No End." Although essentially bop-based, Heath was open to the influences of the avant-garde and fusion and, with a flexible group also including trombonist Curtis Fuller, guitarist Pat Martino, pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Sam Jones, drummer Billy Higgins and percussionist Mtume, Jimmy Heath consistently takes adventurous yet logical solos. Worth checking out. "

Jimmy Heath (alto, soprano & tenor saxes, flute)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Stanley Cowell (piano, African thumb piano)
Pat Martino (guitar)
Sam Jones (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Mtume (congas, percussion)

1 - The Time And The Place
2 - The Voice Of The Saxophone
3 - No End
4 - The 13th House
5 - Fau-Lu
6 - Studio Style

RCA Studios NYC June 24 1974

Bobby Hutcherson - Vibe Wise

Good Bait
For the debut of Orrin Keepnews' Landmark label, the producer teamed vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson with pianist George Cables, bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Philly Joe Jones and (as a wild card) Branford Marsalis (who doubles on tenor and soprano). Interpreting tunes by McCoy Tyner ("Love Samba"), Tadd Dameron, Thelonious Monk ("In Walked Bud"), Rodgers & Hart and John Carisi plus two of his better originals ("Highway One" and "Montgomery"), Hutcherson performs a strong set of solid advanced hard bop.

On Color Schemes, Bobby Hutcherson (vibes) is backed by a top-notch rhythm section for a set of jazz standards and originals. Every selection has its worthwhile points, with the standouts being a bossa nova-flavored version of Joe Henderson's "Recorda-Me." The leader dueted with pianist Mulgrew Miller (who continued to move forward as an impressive soloist, gradually discarding the McCoy Tyner influence) on his ballad "Rosemary, Rosemary," an uptempo rendition of "Remember" and on a colorful overdubbed duet with percussionist Airto Moreira ("Color Scheme") that found Hutcherson blending together vibes, marimba and orchestra bells. This is an easily recommended album of high-quality, if conservative, music. Scott Yanow

CD 1 Good Bait
Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)
Branford Marsalis (soprano, tenor sax)
George Cables (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)
Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California on August 9 and 19, 1984

1. Love Samba
2. Good Bait
3. Highway One
4. In Walked Bud
5. Montgomery
6. Spring Is Here
7. Israel

CD 2 Color Schemes
Bobby Hutcherson (vibes, marimba)
Mulgrew Miller (piano)
John Heard (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Airto Moreira (percussion)
Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California on October 8-10, 1985

1. Recorda-Me
2. Bemsha Swing
3. Rosemary, Rosemary
4. Second Hand Brown
5. Whisper Not
6. Color Scheme
7. Remember
8. Never Let Me Go

Friday, October 5, 2007

glidernyc presents johnny hodges and strings

jean lafite says: this is compliments of my boy glidernyc. an old cohort of mine with a fancy ass record collection. many fine originals, so many and so fine in fact that sometimes i get mads at him. he has been in the weeds for some time now, reluctant to partake of the many fine links until he could return in kind. that day has arrived. a few days back he got him one of those new fangled record ripping machines at the stereo shop. this is his first effort, and a fine one it is. i like to think he picked it because he knows how much i like mr hodges, but he may have done it just on account of it's good. when i first heard this i was a bit put off by the cheesiness of the first wave of strings, but then i came to realize that it is not cheesy, it is beautiful. be nice to glidernyc, he is a good man who has some trick rekkids that will hopefully find their way our way.

Gerry Mulligan - Complete Verve Concert Band Sessions

This four disc-set contains all of the existing Concert Band Sessions from May 1960 to December 1962, and makes available for the first time five previously unreleased performances. Some seven others, whose original tapes are either missing or lost, are notated here for the sake of discography. This was, arguably — after and aside from Mulligan's piano-less quartet with Chet Baker — the most visionary music he ever made. It eclipses his nonet recordings of the 1950s because of the sophisticated charts written by trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, and the writing Mulligan was doing formed the strength of this band — though this is not immediately apparent at the outset of Disc One. The set commences with a version of the band that included six brass, four reeds, Mulligan on baritone (and piano occasionally), bass, and drums. This band included Dave Bailey on drums, and Bill Takas on bass. Eight selections are issued here, one, a two-part 45, plus three previously unissued tracks. Some real nuggets were recorded here, including new Brookmeyer charts for "My Funny Valentine," and "Out Of This World." On the band's second outing, Mel Lewis replaced Bailey on drums, Buddy Clark replaced Takas on bass, and Nick Travis and Conte Candoli entered on trumpets, replacing Danny Stiles and Phil Sunkel on trumpets. The band's first album in this incarnation is one of most momentous, with stunning remakes of "Django's Castle," "Bweebida Bobbida," and "Sweet And Slow." Zoot Sims entered the band late in the year, and those cuts include stellar and memorable readings of "Come Rain Or Come Shine," "Young Blood," and the preciously unreleased "As Catch Can." Lewis remained with the band all the way until 1962, when he was replaced by Gus Johnson. More importantly, after the concert recordings of October 1960, Clark was replaced by the unsung Bill Crow on bass, and the big band really began its finest period, as evidenced by the Village Vanguard tapings from December 1960. Here, "Body And Soul," "Come Rain Or Come Shine," and "Walkin' Shoes" sound like brand new compositions because of the elegant counterpoint scripted by Brookmeyer and Mulligan. The reliance on these independently played lines in the backdrop of a solo was a trademark for this band, allowing for the most individual improvisations inside a tightly structured group. And given these sides, it's so easy to hear this as a band, and not just a collection of star soloists. The final disc is made up of Webster Hall performances form July 1961, which were the final sets played by the Lewis edition of the band. Mulligan's big band was fleshed out in 1962 with the addition of Jim Hall's textural richness on guitar at the end of 1962. From these two concerts "Israel," "Chuggin,'" "All About Rosie, Pt. 3," "Big City Blues," "My Kinda Love," and "Bridgehampton Strut," are the most memorable, and offer the view of Brookmeyer as having already emerged and eclipsed the confines of the band. In all, this is an essential document and certainly comes in handy now that the Mosaic sets of Mulligan's quartet and nonet recordings are out of print . While Mulligan never really exhausted his creativity, these particular sessions, coming after the revolutionary big bands of Kenton in the 1950s, and before the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra recordings of the mid-'60s, offer a stunning view of progressive big band music during the era. Thom Jurek

OP and...

Oscar Peterson and Clark Terry

Pianist Oscar Peterson and flugelhornist Clark Terry always made for a perfect matchup. Their duet set (one of five Peterson made during this period) is quite friendly, witty and hard-swinging. C.T. generally sets the joyous mood and on numbers such as "On a Slow Boat to China," "Shaw 'Nuff," "No Flugel Blues" and "Mack the Knife," the warm-toned flugelhornist shows that he was one of the few who could truly keep up with the remarkable pianist. Scott Yanow

Oscar Peterson (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet)

1. On A Slow Boat To China
2. But Beautiful
3. Shaw 'Nuff
4. Satin Doll
5. Chops
6. Makin' Whoopee
7. No Flugel Blues
8. Mack The Knife

Recorded at Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, California on May 18, 1975

Oscar Peterson and Harry Edison

The third of Oscar Peterson's five duet albums with great trumpeters (the other encounters feature Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry, and Jon Faddis) teams the masterful pianist with the great swing stylist Harry "Sweets" Edison. The trumpeter, who uses repetition to great degree and had pared his style down to a relatively few notes, matches well with the virtuosic Peterson on these seven standards and their two simple originals, "Basie" and "Signify." Together Edison and O.P. give the impression that their chance-taking improvisations are completely logical and a lot easier to play than they really are. Scott Yanow

Oscar Peterson (piano)
Sweets Edison (trumpet)

1. Easy Living
2. Days of Wine and Roses
3. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You
4. Basie
5. Mean to Me
6. Signify
7. Willow Weep for Me
8. The Man I Love
9. You Go to My Head

Matt Monro - The Best of (EMI)

Scoredaddy's Bennett posts have me delving into my Classic Male Singer CD's......(sorry Rab!)

"The Singing Bus Driver" he was first known..

How fortunes change! One of my personal favourite singers,a brit, and as a
brit probably one of our finest male of this mould - if not the......

Now, no Sinatra/Bennett comparisons please..I like them all aswell!!
and he maybe isnt quite in their league (granted) .. some of his phrasing is
abit 'de riguer' and not as exciting as those mentioned
He IS though close..

But with Matt, I think the UK public never gave him his full credit, and one
of the reasons why he carved a successful overseas career and with non-English
songs to boot..a rare feat for a male brit..(yes the UK females were much more
successful in this respect - especially in France)

This is one of the numerous compilations for this artist, I don't have any single
albums but a few box sets. My Recommendation is "Memphis in June"

Not much more to add..He had A voice without a doubt!!!

1. My Kind Of Girl
2. Portrait Of My Love
3. From Russia With Love
4. Who Can I Turn To
5. Let's Face The Music And Dance
6. Jeannie
7. April Fool
8. Cheek To Cheek
9. Softly As I Leave You
10. Here And Now
11. Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing
12. How Little We Know
13. Stardust
14. Small Fry
15. Skylark
16. One Morning In May
17. I Get Along Without You Very Well
18. Memphis In June
19. Blue Orchids
20. I Have Dreamed

AH! Forgot the scans in original post! apologies

Tony Bennett with Count Basie Orchestra - In Person!

Another in my series of Tony Bennett posts, here is a disc with an interesting story (see review below). It's one of those "fake" live albums, finally reissued from the original untampered tapes, removing the phantom audience. This rip is from a CBS Gold Mastersound CD released in the early 1990's and, today, OOP and ridiculously expensive. Bennett and Basie recorded their more widely-known Basie Swings, Bennett Sings album (for Roulette) only a few days after this one.

In Person!, part of a series of 1958 collaborations between Tony Bennett and Count Basie, has an unusually convoluted history. Bennett and Basie appeared together at the Latin Casino in Philadelphia in late November of 1958 in a performance that was recorded for commercial release — but when that tape proved unusable for technical reasons, producer Mitch Miller decided to bring the singer and the band back together in the studio in a pair of sessions a month later to re-create the concert program. For the original LP release, the producers also dubbed on applause, seeking to fake the ambience of an actual live performance, hence the title of the album. But the fake was obvious to all concerned, and when the album was re-released in 1994 as part of Sony Music's Mastersound series of audiophile CDs, the makers went back to the original session tapes and left off the applause. The result is a state-of-the-art reissue of what was also, as near as one can tell, the first of Bennett's albums to get a stereo release. As this was also the first reissue the album had apparently ever received, the tapes were in impeccable condition — the result is an extraordinary listening experience, even 40-plus years later. The original album, even with the tampering at the time, had a healthy swing to it, courtesy of the Basie band, and with the richness of tone and the close sound available to the makers of the CD, the album works even better. Bennett's sensitively nuanced intonation in the opening of "Pennies from Heaven" is now up close and personal, while the band's beat in the second half of the song is now crisper and more solid than ever. Ralph Sharon, Bennett's usual accompanist, is handling the piano chores (while Basie himself is credited as leader), and his finely articulated playing is also brought out crisply on "Lost in the Stars" and other tracks. It's all worth hearing, and more often than just once — it was records like this, as reconstituted properly for CD, that constituted the absolute golden end of the pop legacy of the late '50s. Bruce Eder

Count Basie (ldr), Ralph Sharon (a, p), Billy Mitchell, Frank Wess (r), Marshall Royal (as, cl), Frank Foster (ts), Charles Fowlkes (bar), Wendell Culley, Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Snooky Young (t), Henry Coker, Al Grey, Benny Powell (tb), Freddie Green (g), Eddie Jones (b), Sonny Payne (d), Candido (cng), Tony Bennett (v)

1 Just in Time (Comden, Green, Styne) 1:41
2 When I Fall in Love (Heyman, Young) 2:17
3 Taking a Chance on Love (Duke, Fetter, LaTouche) 1:55
4 Without a Song (Eliscu, Rose, Youmans) 3:05
5 Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin, Gershwin) 1:27
6 Solitude (DeLange, Ellington, Mills) 3:33
7 Pennies from Heaven (Burke, Johnston) 2:32
8 Lost in the Stars (Anderson, Weill) 3:59
9 Firefly (Coleman, Leigh) 1:37
10 There Will Never Be Another You (Gordon, Warren) 3:14
11 Lullaby of Broadway (Dubin, Warren) 3:11
12 Ol' Man River (Hammerstein, Kern) 5:02

Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio, NYC on December 22, 1958 (tracks 1,4,5,8,9,11) and December 30, 1958 (tracks 2,3,6,7,10,12)

Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown - The Very Tall Band

Very Tall, the first session on records of pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Roy Brown and vibraphonist Milt Jackson, was recorded in December 1961. The collaboration followed during a very fertile period and then separated. 37 years later, as young as the first time, they were together again, playin' at The Blue Note in New York. These live performances have appeared in two different records: "The Very Tall Band" and "What's Up?: The Very Tall Band".

Review by Al Merritt, UK Jazz
There is no question of doubt here, the three giants joined by a highly capable drummer to lay down some vital sounds, as would be expected from such a classy line-up. Oscar is amazing as usual, Ray is the very core of time, and Milt swings mightily while Riggins keeps it neat. What more is there to say? This is solid, straight-ahead Jazz played by the absolute masters of their instruments.

Review by Richard S. Ginell
This is one of the best post-stroke Oscar Peterson sessions in the catalogue, thanks in great part to the distinguished company with whom he keeps (Ray Brown and Milt Jackson), and the stimulating atmosphere of the live setting (New York's Blue Note club). Right from the first track, "Ja-Da," you can tell that this is going to be a fun session, for the slippery, swinging, totally interlocked, totally assured way in which these vets react to each other kicks in immediately. Peterson's right hand is fleet, feathery in touch and bluesy in feel; the left providing just enough punctuation, and at 75, Jackson's bluesy eloquence had not diminished in the least. Ray Brown's time and placement of notes is, as usual, impeccable, and the very talented drummer in his group at the time, Karriem Riggins, provides a swinging kick for the quartet. In the spirit of democracy, each star gets a solo number — Peterson plays his ballad "When Summer Comes," Jackson pours out a doleful "Nature Boy," and Brown's stream-of-consciousness medley eventually attracts the funky brushes of Riggins. But it's always better to hear them together.

1 Ja-Da (Carleton) 7:29
2 SKJ (Jackson) 8:17
3 I Remember Clifford (Golson) 8:21
4 When Summer Comes (Peterson) 4:32
5 Blues for Jr (Brown) 11:04
6 Nature Boy (Ahbez) 5:51
7 Sometimes I'm Happy (Youman) 8:50
8 Bass Solo Medley: Full Moon and Empty Arms/The Very Thought of You/The Work Song (Kaye, Mossman, Noble, Adderley) 7:43
9 Caravan (Ellington, Tizol) 9:13

Oscar Peterson Piano
Ray Brown Bass
Milt Jackson Vibraphone
Karriem Riggins Drums

Recorded live at The Blue Note, NYC on November 24-26, 1998

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall

Thelonious Monk (piano)
Donald Byrd (trumpet)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Bob Northern (French horn)
Jay McAllister (tuba)
Sam Jones (bass)
Art Taylor (drums)

1 Thelonious (complete version)
2 Friday the 13th
3 Monk's Mood
4 Little Rootie Tootie
5 Off Minor
6 Crepuscule with Nellie
7 Little Rootie Tootie (encore)
8 In Walked Bud
9 Blue Monk
10 Rhythm-A-Ning

"Town Hall", NYC, February 28, 1959

Jimmy Rushing - The You and Me That Used to Be (1971)

He was known as "Mister Five-By-Five" -- an affectionate reference to his height and girth -- a blues shouter who defined and then transcended the form. The owner of a booming voice that radiated sheer joy in whatever material he sang, Jimmy Rushing could swing with anyone and dominate even the loudest of big bands. Rushing achieved his greatest fame in front of the Count Basie band from 1935 to 1950, yet unlike many band singers closely associated with one organization, he was able to carry on afterwards with a series of solo recordings that further enhanced his reputation as a first-class jazz singer. - Richard S. Ginell

On this straight CD reissue of Jimmy Rushing's final recording sessions [now o.o.p.], the singer is in spirited form despite being little more than a year from his death. On the ten swing standards and a lone blues ("Fine and Mellow"), Rushing is joined by pianist Dave Frishberg (also responsible for the arrangements), bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Mel Lewis, plus either Ray Nance on cornet and violin and tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims, or Budd Johnson (on soprano) and Al Cohn (on tenor). Touching renditions of "I Surrender Dear" and "More Than You Know" find Rushing backed only by Frishberg's very able piano. This recommended CD is proof that "Mr. Five by Five" (whose career spanned more than 40 years) went out on top. - Scott Yanow

Jimmy Rushing (vocals)
Ray Nance (cornet, violin)
Budd Johnson (soprano sax)
Zoot Sims, Al Cohn (tenor sax)
Dave Frishberg (piano)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
  1. The You and Me That Used to Be
  2. Fine and Mellow
  3. When I Grow Too Old to Dream
  4. I Surrender Dear
  5. Linger Awhile
  6. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
  7. My Last Affair
  8. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
  9. More Than You Know
  10. Home
  11. Thanks a Million
Recorded April 29 & 30, 1971

Jimmy Heath Triple Threat Japanese CD Album (K20 flac)

And a solid triple threat at that. There's no drop off in his abilities--the arrangements are integral and very well written, and not merely pick up parts--particularly Gemini and Gordon Jenkins' Goodbye (those following the Sinatra series should bookmark this version of Goodbye, it comes up on the "Only The Lonely" LP) Heath's playing is almost liquid like--unforced. His musical ideas seem to flow easily--a very sneaky player, in my opinion. His sound reminds me a bit of Hank Mobley's (and I'm sure Heath was around before Mobley). Anyway, I'll let Scotty fill in the rest. WBF

Jimmy Heath has long been at least a triple threat as a musician (tenor, flute and soprano), arranger and composer. On this 1998 CD reissue, Heath sticks to tenor, performing "Make Someone Happy" and "The More I See You' while joined by pianist Cedar Walton and his two brothers, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The other five numbers consist of four of his originals (best-known is "Gemini") plus a reworking of the ballad "Goodbye." For these selections, the quartet is augmented by young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (who takes a few fiery solos) and Julius Watkins on French horn. The arrangements of Heath uplift the straightahead music and make each selection seem a bit special. ~Scott Yanow

Grant Green - First Session

Grant Green's discography has grown immensely since his death in 1979, with recent additions such as The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark, Standards, and Blues for Lou providing more of the guitarist's early '60s Blue Note recordings. He's emerged anew as one of the greatest jazz guitarists, a lyrical player whose hornlike lines could convey rare depths on bop, blues, and modal tunes. This CD goes deeper into the Blue Note vaults to present Green's first session as a leader. It's a quartet date from November 1960, recorded two months before Grant's First Stand, his first session to be released, and it places Green in the stellar company of pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers, then members of Miles Davis's band, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, another Davis veteran.

That it's taken over 40 years to surface might take listeners aback. Blue Note head Alfred Lion apparently thought the session below par, and that stellar rhythm section may have made Green slightly nervous. There are definitely a few ragged edges, with Green sometimes hesitant or slipping into licks that come too readily to hand, but his strengths are also apparent. His singing tone and soulful inflections are well in place, and there's already crystalline clarity and supple swing in his lines. The support is superb, however intimidating. There's a feeling of real rapport on the long slow blues of "Seepin'" and the contrasting grooves of the R&B-sourced "He's a Real Gone Guy" and the medium swing tempos of "Just Friends" and "Grant's First Stand." Often the tunes sound like they're one take from being masterful. The CD is rounded out with two previously unreleased versions of Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You" recorded a year later with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins. First Session is an intriguing addition to Green's body of work, complementing his masterpieces such as Idle Moments and Feelin' the Spirit. --Stuart Broomer

Grant Green (guitar)
Sonny Clark, Wynton Kelly (piano)
Paul Chambers, Butch Warren (bass)
Philly Joe Jones, Billy Higgins (drums)

1. He's A Real Gone Guy
2. Seepin'
3. Just Friends
4. Grant's First Stand
5. Sonnymoon For Two
6. Woody 'N You
7. Woody 'N You

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on November 16, 1960 and October 27, 1961

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section (20bit K2)

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is a mythic recording. The circumstances surrounding its genesis were first revealed in Pepper's steely autobiography Straight Life and reproduced countless times in articles and liner notes. Here it goes, one more time. On the morning of the recording session, January 19, 1957, Pepper's then-wife Diane informed him that she had secured an afternoon recording session with the Miles Davis rhythm section who were in Los Angeles appearing with Davis. Unhappily surprised and with a horn in bad need of repair, Pepper fixed an extra large amount of heroin and was off to the session. The music produced from this chaos has been described as “a diamond of recorded jazz history.”

The material for the session previously selected by the artists. After some discussion, drummer Philly Joe Jones suggested Cole Porter's “You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To” and the historic session was off and running. The date gradually began to take shape. Red Garland provided an original “Red Pepper Blues.” The Burke/Van Heusen ballad “Imagination” was included. The quartet mixed things up with the New Orleans classic “Jazz Me Blues” played against Chano Pozo's Afro-Cubano credo “Tin Tin Deo” (featuring some solid drumming by Jones) A pair of blues juxtaposes as well. “Waltz Me Blues” was a session original composed by Pepper and bassist Paul Chambers. It is lilting and light. It stands in great contrast to John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie's smoky minor blues “Birks' Works.” Perhaps central to the recording was the Pepper original “Straight Life.” This Pepper classic is a complex and fast paced piece of West Coast Be Bop. It, along with “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” would become his signature song. A brisk “Star Eyes” and bonus track “The Man I Love” round out the collection.

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is one of those singular events that can only occur in a blaze like reading King Lear by a lightning flash. C. Michael Bailey

Jon Faddis - Youngblood (1976)

Jon Faddis learned his first Dizzy Gillespie solo at the age of 13 and by the time he was 18 was making his recording debut as a soloist and playing lead trumpet with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. A month later he was on stage with Charles Mingus filling in for an ailing Roy Eldridge as a featured soloist on "Little Royal Suite".

After I heard him on the Mingus album I thought he was destined to become the next trumpet superstar. Alas, although he has had a very successful career, he's always been under the shadow of Dizzy, relied too heavily on his upper register, and his recordings as a leader have been inconsistent with some rather questionable material at times.

Youngblood, recorded when Faddis was just 22, was his debut as a leader and featured a stellar rhythm section. One of his better sessions, it has never been reissued on CD.

Jon Faddis (trumpet)
Kenny Barron (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Mickey Roker (drums)
  1. Here 'Tis
  2. Gershwin Prelude #2
  3. 'Round Midnight
  4. Be Bop (Dizzy's Fingers)
  5. Samba de Orpheus (Carnival)
Recorded January 8 & 9, 1976

Frank Sinatra - The Capitol Years CD 1

Well, it's no secret that I'm not a big vocals fan, but this set came so ridiculously cheap, and is really arranged quite well. Each CD is a discrete Sinatra release, so it lends itself to being an intermittent and ongoing series. Here we go...

Frank Sinatra - Songs For Young Lovers (1954)

1. The Girl Next Door
2. They Can't Take That Away From Me
3. Violets For Your Furs
4. Someone To Watch Over Me
5. My One And Only Love
6. Little Girl Blue
7. Like Someone In Love
8. A Foggy Day
9. It Worries Me
10. I Can Read Between The Lines
11. I Get A Kick Out Of You
12. My Funny Valentine

André Previn (with David Finck) Plays Gershwin & Ellington

Here are two excellent Previn recordings from the late 1990's:

We Got Rythm - A Gershwin Songbook

Andre Previn moves seamlessly from the world of classical music to jazz and film, but on this occasion, the pianist covers fourteen gems from the vast repertoire of George Gerswhin. Well accompanied by bassist David Finck, the duo face the same challenge every jazz musician must address: finding new paths through Gershwin's frequently recorded masterpieces. Previn uses a train-like bass line substitution to open and close a rollicking take of "They All Laughed," while the pianist is more laid back in the bluesy treatment of "Lady Be Good" to better feature Finck initially. Previn's modification of "I Got Rhythm" provides some added dissonance. The haunting setting of the ballad "The Man I Love" suggests an added degree of melancholy. While this session was released on a classical label Deutsche Grammophon, something that always seems to confuse record label marketing departments, music store personnel and consumers as well, it is very much a jazz date and a fine effort by Andre Previn and David Finck. Ken Dryden

André Previn (piano)
David Finck (double bass)

1 The All Laughed 3:19
2 Someone to Watch over Me 5:03
3 Oh, Lady Be Good 4:20
4 A Foggy Day 5:51
5 Soon/Do It Again! 5:37
6 I Got Rhythm 5:14
7 Embraceable You 4:56
8 He Loves and She Loves/Love Is Here to Stay 6:54
9 Fascinating Rhythm 3:35
10 Isn't It a Pity? 4:44
11 Boy! What Love Has Done to Me!/I've Got a Crush on You 4:27
12 Love Walked in 6:05
13 The Man I Love [From Strike Up the Band] 5:27
14 'S Wonderful 6:22

Recorded at Florence Gould Auditorium, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood, Lenox, MA, USA in August, 1997

We Got It Good, and That Ain't Bad - An Ellington Songbook

Previn has always been an adept, if not brilliant, pianist whose jazz leanings have belied his classical training. Here he interprets the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn lovingly and as well as any legit jazzster could, with help from the fine bassist David Finck. While this music can easily stand on its own, Previn's technical ability and heartfelt stretching of the original blueprints urge these well-worn tunes to carry new meaning and substance. If there are any stock treatments here, it's because the pianist tends to lay back and let the melodies come to him, as evidenced on the steady-paced "Isfahan," the easy "Serenade to Sweden," and the even easier swung "I Didn't Know About You." Previn wrings every emotional drop out of "In a Sentimental Mood," dismisses a time frame for the pristine "I Got It Bad" and "Come Sunday," while Finck is in late for the pensive "Chelsea Bridge." Melody is more implied with tempos at half and full speed on "It Don't Mean a Thing," Previn uses an off-minor change-up on the good swinger "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," and swaps 4/4 in the bridge for a waltzing 3/4 head and tail on "Take the A Train." Obviously an admirer of Oscar Peterson, Previn takes liberties and risks on the easy swing take of "In a Mellow Tone," trades ripped-up lines with the capable Finck, counter-punching during "Do Nothin' 'Til You Here From Me," and fervently digs into the up-tempo "Squatty Roo." Perhaps Previn's voracity is not well known, or as regarded in the modern jazz world as it should be, but on this recording it's clear how great he can be. This second CD with Finck, the previous being a Gershwin songbook "We Got Rhythm," signifies a step up for the veteran pianist, and is perhaps his shining recorded hour. Recommended. Michael G. Nastos

André Previn (piano)
David Finck (double bass)

1 Take the "A" Train 5:37
2 Isfahan 4:43
3 I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) 3:49
4 Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me 6:09
5 Chelsea Bridge 6:29
6 Things Ain't What They Used to Be 6:51
7 In a Sentimental Mood 5:19
8 Squatty Roo 4:37
9 Come Sunday 4:32
10 Serenade to Sweden 6:36
11 I Didn't Know About You 6:09
12 In a Mellow Tone 7:44
13 It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) 3:57

Recorded at Florence Gould Auditorium, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood, Lenox, MA, USA in August, 1999

Bill Evans A Simple Matter of Conviction Japanese CD album

by Bob Rusch, Cadence
What separated this from the average good Bill Evans date was the inclusion of Shelly Manne on drums, who inventively pushed and took unexpected chances. This was, I believe, Eddie Gomez' (bass) debut release with Evans (piano) and it was quite impressive. There were numerous takes at this session and judging from Chuck Briefer 's liners it might be interesting to hear them released.

Note to Bob Rusch: It sounds rather silly to use the appellation "Average good Bill Evans" Evans was incapable of producing anything less than brilliant. It also seems that you are dangerously close to insinuating that Manne was the only one here who inventively pushed and took unexpected chances--I'm sure that came out all wrong. Average good indeed! Try listening to the music first and write your review afterwards. WBF

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Miles Davis/Lennie Tristano - Why Do I Love You? (Rare Broadcasts 1947-48)

These recordings from the short-lived Royal Roost gig comprise the only live broadcasts that have ever surfaced by this most influential Davis combo. Since this two-week stint in September 1948 was their only appearance before a live audience, there is little chance of any other live material turning up now.

Their twelve recordings for Capitol have never been out of print since their initial issue; contrarily, this live material (which predates the first Capitol session by four months) has only appeared briefly on obscure European releases.

Fortunately for posterity, these broadcasts include two selections that Davis didn't record for Capitol: Why Do I Love You and S'il Vous Plait. Several others are much longer than their commercial counterparts: Godchild, Darn That Dream, Move and Budo (announced here under its original tide, Hallucinations). Of course, all the music heard here provides welcome alternative readings of the classic Capitol arrangements. Since all the other instrumentals are originals, Moon Dreams seemed a strange choice for this group to record- this offbeat pop tune was written in 1943 by Chummy MacGregor, pianist of the Glenn Miller civilian band. Presumably the connection to Miles was Addison Collins, French hornman with the Miller AAF Band, which played the tune often during the war years.

An interesting sidelight is the presence in the personnel of trombonist Mike Zwerin, who has in recent years become one of our most astute jazz writers. He was replaced by J.J. Johnson for the Capitol sessions.

The Lennie Tristano material comes from a series of broadcasts that pitted groups of modern jazzmen against more traditional players.

An amazing number of great musicians are on these tracks; unfortunately, the short playing time of the selections reduces the solo space to a minimum.

Aside from the welcome glimpses of Parker, Gillespie and Navarro (and a bit more of Sarah Vaughan and John LaPorta), Tristano is the one constant on these tracks, playing throughout in his most determinedly modern manner- I Surrender Dear being a good example.

The sound quality of some of these broadcasts may be slightly subpar, but the rarity and excellence of this material should more than compensate. Would that there were ten more CDs of similar live material by Davis & Tristano! - David Weiner

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax)
Addison "Junior" Collins (french horn)
Mike Zwerin (trombone)
Bill Barber (tuba)
John Lewis (piano)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Max Roach (drums)

Lennie Tristano (piano)
Billy Bauer (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
John LaPorta (clarinet)
Max Roach (drums)
Fats Navarro (trumpet)
Allan Eager (tenor sax)
Tommy Potter (bass)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Sarah Vaughan (vocal)
  1. Why Do I Love You?
  2. Godchild
  3. S'il Vous Plait
  4. Moon Dreams #1
  5. Hallucinations (Budo) #1
  6. Darn That Dream
  7. Move
  8. Moon Dreams #2
  9. Hallucinations (Budo) #2
  10. I Surrender Dear
  11. How Deep Is The Ocean
  12. 52nd Street Theme
  13. Everything I Have Is Yours
  14. Tea for Two
  15. Don't Blame Me

Grant Green - Grantstand

Grant Green (guitar)
Yusef Lateef (tenor saxophone, flute)
Jack McDuff (organ)
Al Harewood (drums)

1. Grantstand
2. My Funny Valentine
3. Blues In Maude's Flat
4. Old Folks
5. Green's Greenery

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 1, 1961

The Hampton Hawes Trio - Volume 1 (20bit K2)

West Coast jazz of the 1950s was known for "cool school" textures and less rhythmic drive than its East Coast counterpart, but Hampton Hawes represented a different side of California jazz, playing intense hard bop with as much focused energy as any resident New Yorker. This 1955 recording was the first and the most potent of Hawes's series of trio recordings with Red Mitchell on bass and Chuck Thompson on drums, revealing the pianist as one of the finest musicians working in the bop idiom. He could reel off choruses of flying single-note lines with technique and invention that would rival Bud Powell's, or switch to extended passages in forceful block chords. Hawes is equally at home here on standards, ballads, and his original bop blues tunes, pushing harmonic extension to the limits. In the process, he develops a personal weave of joy and passion that represents one of the high points of jazz piano in the era. Stuart Broomer

Hampton Hawes (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Chuck Thompson (drums)

1. I Got Rhythm
2. What Is This Thing Called Love
3. Blues The Most
4. So In Love
5. Feelin' Fine
6. Hamp's Blues
7. Easy Living
8. All The Things You Are
9. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
10. Carioca

Recorded in Los Angeles on June 28, 1955

George Braith - The Complete Blue Note Sessions

George Braith is a little-known name in jazz history. The saxophonist, who played fairly advanced hard bop, performed on soprano, alto, tenor, and stritch. In addition to being one of the few jazz musicians, other than Rahsaan Roland Kirk, to play stritch, Braith also occasionally played two horns at once (one less than Kirk), getting a rather eerie sound. He recorded three albums for Blue Note during 1963-1964; all of the music has been reissued on this two-CD set. Braith's repertoire (which includes originals, "Poinciana," "Boop Bop Bing Bash," and "Mary Had a Little Lamb") is sometimes unusual, but he managed to uplift most of the pieces. Braith is joined by the great guitarist Grant Green, organist Billy Gardner, and one of three drummers on these formerly rare performances, which are nearly his entire recorded legacy. After this, there would be just two albums for Prestige during 1966-1967, then nothing as a leader until a 1992 set for the Japanese Paddywheel label. Worth checking out. Scott Yanow

George Braith (soprano, alto, tenor sax, stritch)
Grant Green (guitar)
Billy Gardner (organ)
Donald Bailey (drums)
Hugh Walker (drums)
Clarence Johnston (drums)

CD 1
1. Mary Ann
2. Home Street
3. Poinciana
4. Mary Had A Little Lamb
5. Braith-a-way
6. The Man I Love
7. Outside Around The Corner
8. Soul Stream

CD 2
1. Boop Bop Bing Bash
2. Billy Told
3. Jo Anne
4. Nut City
5. Ethlyn's Love
6. Out Here
7. Extension
8. Sweetville
9. Every Time We Say Goodbye

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tony Bennett - Sings A String Of Harold Arlen

Someone requested this nice album in my last Tony Bennett post of Alone Together. Available only briefly on CD in 1995 when it was issued in the USA by CBS/Sony in a rather shabby edition, the current post is from the 1990 Japanese issue which is also LONG out of print.

The work of Harold Arlen has always been a favorite of Tony Bennett, and except for Bennett’s two albums of Rodgers & Hart songs, this is the only album I know of that Bennett devoted to a single composer or songwriting team (Note: Scoredaddy went a bit brain dead: As Progress Hornsby has pointed out, Bennett/Berlin and Hot & Cool: Bennett Sings Ellington are two more... sorry folks). Bennett’s singing is spectacular as usual and the song selection (mostly ballads) brings the listener a good representation of the best of Arlen's catalog.
Standout tracks include Right as The Rain (the only superior version I have heard was by Jack Jones), Fun To Be Fooled, and the lesser-known but fabulous House Of Flowers and What Good Does It Do. The arrangements by Glenn Osser are adequate, nothing special. Osser had the tendency to utilize high-pitched string squeals which I don’t find particularly interesting. Tony Bennett Sings A String of Arlen is another album that does NOT deserve to be out-of-print. Enjoy (more Bennett to come). Scoredaddy

Tony Bennett (vocals)
Glenn Osser (arranger/conductor)

1. When The Sun Comes Out
2. Over The Rainbow
3. House Of Flowers
4. Come Rain Or Come Shine
5. For Every Man There’s A Woman
6. Let’s Fall In Love
7. Right As The Rain
8. It Was Written In The Stars
9. What Good Does It Do
10. Fun To Be Fooled
11. This Time The Dream’s On Me
12. I’ve Got The World On A String

Tracks 2-4,6 recorded August 15, 1960, 1,5,7,8,12 on August 17, 1960, and 9-11 on August 18, 1960 at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio, New York City, NY

Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers - Ugetsu (20bit K2)

This live set from the original Birdland finds Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers at the peak of their powers with one of their strongest lineups. The group primarily recorded sessions for Alfred Lion's Blue Note label, but this Riverside date is as strong as any of their previous outings. Having acquired the services of trombonist Curtis Fuller in 1961, the Messengers' front line was its most robust ever, with Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard consistently turning in some of their best performances. Rounding out the rhythm section with Blakey are the equally powerful Reggie Workman and Cedar Walton.

The Messengers' set list finds the majority of tunes written by musical director Wayne Shorter, as well as a few choice numbers from Curtis Fuller and Cedar Walton's title cut. The group is spurred on by a very receptive crowd, tempos and solos are spirited for the most part, and Blakey seems exceptionally energetic despite not performing a single extended solo himself. His between-song banter is equally entertaining. Overall, the group is precise, expressive, and swinging hard, delivering its message from the grandest platform of the time.

Art Blakey (drums)
Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)

1. One By One
2. Ugetsu
3. Time off
4. Ping-Pong
5. I Didn't Know What Time it Was
6. On The Ginza
7. Eva (Bonus Track)
8. The High Priest (Bonus Track)
9. The Theme (Bonus Track)

Recorded live at Birdland, New York City, June 16, 1963