Friday, October 31, 2008

Oscar Peterson and Freddie Hubbard - Face To Face (20bit K2)

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard met the Pablo All-Stars for this unique and frequently exciting set. Inspired by the presence of pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Martin Drew, Hubbard stretches out on five numbers which include "All Blues," his own "Thermo" and "Portrait Of Jenny." A combative player, Hubbard both challenges and is challenged by the remarkable pianist; pity they did not record together more often. This stimulating CD is a reissue of the original LP. ~ Scott Yanow

Freddie Hubbard matches his talent with that of the legendary pianist Oscar Peterson on this Pablo recording from 1982. Hubbard, who returned to the straight-ahead jazz fold after a long flirtation with the funk-fusion crossover market, plays as bright and brave as ever. Above Joe Pass on guitar, Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, and Martin Drew on bass, Hubbard and Peterson trade blistering improvisations that ebb and flow with the confidence of two gifted elder statesmen.

There are just five tracks here--the longest of which is a nearly 14-minute take on Miles Davis's "All Blues"--giving the set the loose flavor of a well-polished jam session. The energy never flags however, and each tune is peppered with a playful sense of fun. On Hubbard's "Thermo," Peterson lets loose a solo break with an almost ragtime feel. Hubbard responds with a beautiful airy counterpoint before the two trade their way back to the theme. Face To Face closes with Peterson's full-throttle "Tippin," in which each member of the quintet demonstrates his undeniable credentials. This is a good time shared by some real giants.

Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Joe Pass (guitar)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Martin Drew (drums)

1. All Blues
2. Thermo
3. Weaver Of Dreams
4. Portrait Of Jennie
5. Tippin'

Recorded at Group IV Studios, Hollywood, California on May 24, 1982

Bennie Maupin - The Jewel In The Lotus (1974)

More Friday Fusion........

Jazz -funk fans must have been taken aback when multi-instrumentalist and composer Bennie Maupin's Jewel in the Lotus was released by Manfred Eicher's ECM imprint in 1974. For starters, it sounded nothing like Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters recording, which had been released the year before to massive sales and of which Maupin had been such an integral part. Head Hunters has remained one of the most reliable sales entries in Columbia's jazz catalog into the 21st century. By contrast, Jewel in the Lotus sounded like an avant-garde jazz record, but it stood outside that hard-line camp, too, because of its open and purposeful melodies that favored composition and structured improvising over free blowing. Jazz after 1970 began to move in so many directions simultaneously it must have felt like it was tearing itself apart rather than giving birth to so many new and exciting musics. Considered carefully, however, Jewel in the Lotus was the perfect realization of the skills acquired by Maupin from the mid-'60s on, when he had played in bands led by Marion Brown, McCoy Tyner, and Pharoah Sanders. He'd even recorded an album under his own name in 1967 entitled Almanac. Maupin was first heard by the masses, however, when he played bass clarinet on the landmark Bitches Brew session by Miles Davis, and as a member of Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi and Sextant groups. He was the lone holdover when Hancock formed the Headhunters, who blasted their way onto FM radio and into the ears of fans who also dug Earth, Wind & Fire and P-Funk.

Maupin's band for this set contained close friends and musical allies encountered over the years. For starters, fellow Headhunter Bill Summers and Hancock himself are on this date, with drummer Billy Hart and versatile electric and acoustic bassist Buster Williams, who were both members of the earlier Hancock group. The other drummer on the set (there was one in the right and one in the left channel), the criminally under-recorded Frederick Waits, was a former skin man for Motown and John Lee Hooker who Maupin knew from his hometown in Detroit. Charles Sullivan, who plays trumpet on two cuts, was someone Maupin encountered in his travels in New York and jammed with. Jewel in the Lotus is not exactly a "lost" jazz classic. ECM kept it in print for many years on vinyl, but 2007 saw its first official CD release. That said, it has been traded widely on the Internet and vinyl copies of any edition command major dollars in record stores and in online auctions. There is good reason for this: it is a classic of 1970s spiritual jazz, and as much as any recording on Strata East or Black Jazz, Maupin's ECM offering is a wonder of arrangement and composition with gorgeous ensemble play, long yet sparse passages, space, and genuine strangeness. Maupin plays all of his reeds and flute in addition to glockenspiel here; Summers' percussion effects include a water-filled garbage can. The two drummers swirling around in different channels don't ever play the same thing, but counter and complement one another. And Hancock plays some of the most truly Spartan and lyrically modal piano in his career here.

From the six seconds of silence that introduce the percussive beginnings of "Ensenada," with Williams' acoustic bass on a pulse line, Waits' marimba inside a tight scale, Summers' bells, and Hancock's ghostly piano, you know you are on a journey. It doesn't matter whether that music is jazz, classical, or avant-garde. It's a journey into sound and silence. When Maupin on flute fronts the rest of the group as they enter with long-held notes and Hart begins flitting around the top with sticks playing the rims of his tom-toms, the magic is already transpiring. The music is somewhere in the twilight, perhaps better yet in the first emerging pink of a new day, where everything seems transparent because it is partially hidden from view. The ringing ostinato Hancock introduces about halfway through in the middle register is rhythmic, not melodic. The melody is so restrained it only engages one note at a time, held almost interminably but seductively. The beginning of "Mappo," by contrast, is almost startling: as both drummers move through and around the front line, Williams bows his bass at the lower end of its register, and Hancock begins to dramatically play his bottom register keys, Maupin's saxophone enters -- masculine, definitive, and pronounced -- before it gives way to space and his flute. Rhythms and themes shift and more notes are introduced, but they are still skeletally structured. Themes give way to the return of others, and everything becomes circular. The entire track -- regardless of the frenetic but taut percussion and the intense bowing of Williams -- remains in the realm of absolute crystalline beauty.

The elemental concerns of journey and transformation are paramount on the first half of the recording, all the way through the brief ostinato tune "Past + Present = Future." The primordial moment has been revisited; one listens in the moment and heads toward the sum of the two parts, which becomes almost uncomfortably clear with the introduction of electric piano sounds (think of the score from Tarkovsky's Solaris), slow deep modal lines from Williams, and Maupin's muscular tenor -- but these two give way to brave new sound worlds in the title track. The fact that the vibe remains on the border between light and dark (and nowhere more so than with the bass clarinet lines and flutes in "Winds of Change") doesn't make it a difficult record to listen to. Quite the opposite. Maupin's harmonic explorations may be unfamiliar, even downright strange at times, but they are inviting. The beckon gently; they never assault. Edges are rounded and seductive. "Song for Tracie Dixon Summers" is one of the most haunting and beautiful modal ballads ever written in the modernist jazz literature. The interplay between Williams, Summers, Maupin's saxophone, and Hancock is symbiotic. Sometimes these moments are so dramatic that what the listener hears is the sound of a new world opening up, so that by the time "Past Is Past" closes the set, with its contrapuntal piano and open-key melody, the listener has been taken completely out of the day-to-day, out of the moment and into a new one, where time is formless, free-floating, a stream. Coming back into everyday life with its business can be a bit jarring.

The true worth of Jewel in the Lotus is that perhaps no other bandleader at the time could bring together players from such different backgrounds and relationships to his own musical development and make them interact with one another with material that is scored so closely and whose dynamics and tensions are so pronounced and steady. Maupin was so utterly accomplished as a composer as well as a soloist by this time it comes as a shock that he hadn't been making records regularly -- and even more so that he has only recorded very sporadically as a leader since (only a handful of recordings bear his name on top but they are all as fine as they are different from one another). Jewel in the Lotus is a true jazz classic because only jazz was big enough in the early '70s to hold music like this, with all its seeming paradoxes, and recognize it as its own. This album sounds as timeless and adventurous in the present as the day it was released. Amen. ~ Thom Jurek

Bennie Maupin (reeds, voice, glockenspiel)
Herbie Hancock (piano, electric piano)
Buster Williams (bass)
Fredrick Waits (drums, marimba)
Billy Hart (drums)
Bill Summers (percussion)
Charles Sullivan (trumpet)

1. Ensenada
2. Mappo
3. Excursion
4. Past + Present = Future
5. The Jewel In The Lotus
6. Winds Of Change
7. Song For Tracie Dixon Summers
8. Past Is Past

Cannonball Adderley - Sophisticated Swing: The EmArcy Small Group Sessions

Reissued in this two-CD set are all of the recordings from the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet, a group that despite its talents failed commercially. With Cannonball on alto, cornetist Nat Adderley, pianist Junior Mance, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, it is surprising that the group did not make it, but the Adderleys were fairly unknown at the time. The music is quite bop-oriented, bluesy but not as soulful as it would be when Cannonball put together a new group in 1959. This set reissues all of the music originally included on Nat Adderley's To the Ivy League From Nat, and Cannonball's Sophisticated Swing, Cannonball Enroute, and Sharpshooters (except for one trio feature without the horns) plus a few cuts not released until the CD era. The generous reissue not only gives one a fine sampling of the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet but everything they recorded. Highly recommended to bop fans. ~ Scott Yanow

This two-disc compilation of material recorded in the mid-'50s for New York's EmArcy Records covers Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's earliest years as a bandleader on New York's hard-bop scene. Sophisticated Swing shows that although the alto saxophonist was a hard-bop star, he never limited himself to that hard-edged, bluesy style.

Heavily influenced by the Miles Davis/Gil Evans "Birth of the Cool" band and by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Adderley essays a number of ballads here. He favors a lush, rounded tone not unlike Benny Carter's. Adderley's band features renowned bassist Sam Jones and the saxophonist's cornetist brother, Nat. Jones plays cello on several of the ballads, giving them an unusual sound that prefigures third stream, a jazz/classical hybrid style popular later in the decade. The aptly titled Sophisticated Swing features all of Adderley's EmArcy recordings, with remastered sound.

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Junior Mance (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
Specs Wright (drums)

Earl Hines - Blues In Thirds

Yes, he was my Granda.

Earl Hines's solo piano sessions were always a joy. Freed from having to keep a steady rhythm to accommodate a bassist and a drummer, Hines was able to take wild chances with time, with his left hand playing broken patterns rather than sticking to a steady stride. [This Black Lion CD augments the eight selections originally released on an LP with two alternate takes and "Black Lion Blues.."] Hines made many exciting recordings during 1964-77; this set is a good place to start in exploring his frequently dazzling playing. ~ Scott Yanow

Unlike some early jazz performers, he continued to embrace new music over his 50-year career, and his personal style continued to grow in complexity. Even at the late stage of his career, Hines constantly took chances and came up with surprising and consistently fresh ideas.

1. Blues in Thirds
2. Velvet Moon (take 1)
3. Stan Dance
4. Sweet Lorraine (take 3)
5. Black Lion Blues
6. Tea for Two
7. When I Dream of You
8. Blues After Midnight
9. Shiny Stockings
10. Sweet Lorraine (take 2)
11. Velvet Moon (take 2)

Brad Mehldau - 1995 Introducing Brad Mehldau FLAC

When this young pianist burst onto the '90s jazz scene, he created quite a stir. Outside of free/avant-garde jazz, there hadn't been a piano player this strikingly distinctive for a long time. Mehldau's obvious forebears are people like Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Like them, he edges closer to the style of French impressionists such as Debussy than to any blues-based tradition.
On such standards as "My Romance and "It Might as Well be Spring," Mehldau spins out gauzy harmonies and elegant melodic lines that venture far from the musical language used to construct the tunes. Mehldau's interaction with his trio is an integral aspect of his work; drummer Jorge Rossy's endlessly percolating rhythms, based around intricate ride cymbal work, interlock seamlessly with Mehldau's panoramic playing and Larry Grenadier's knotty, forceful bass lines. INTRODUCING unleashed on the world the kind of artist that comes along only once per generation.

1. It Might As Well Be Spring 7:45 (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II)
2. Countdown 4:11 (John Coltrane)
3. My Romance 6:25 (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
4. Angst 6:11 (Brad Mehldau)
5. Young Werther 7:13 (Brad Mehldau)
6. Prelude To A Kiss 10:00 (Irving Mills, Duke Ellington, Irving Gordon)
7. London Blues 7:02 (Brad Mehldau)
8. From This Moment On 6:34 (Cole Porter)
9. Say Goodbye 9:25 (Brad Mehldau)

Recorded at Power Station, New York on March 12 & April 3, 1995

Brad Mehldau (piano)
Christian McBride, Larry Grenadier (bass)
Brian Blade, Jorge Rossy (drums)

Mehldau & Rossy Trio - 1993 When I Fall In Love

A young Brad Mehldau, influenced by Bill Evans, in trio format with The Rossy Brothers. This live performance, recorded at La Cova Del Drac (Barcelona) in October 1993, is one of his first recordings ( "New York - Barcelona Crossing" was recorded, also live, in May 1993)

Recorded way back in 1993 in Barcelona, pianist Brad Mehldau was a kid just beginning to explore the deep science of the jazz piano trio with Mario and Jordi Rossy. He was also commencing his stint with Josh Redman and backing cats like Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Cobb, and others. His working with this trio reveals a young musician (Meldau was born in 1970) in solid command of the language he is attempting to simultaneously master and deepen. This is a club date and kicks off with an ambitious and wholly successful read of Charlie Parker's "Anthropology." The steaming rhythm leaves Meldau no choice but to careen through the melody as recklessly as a saxophonist. He inks it note for note and then begins to move through the lower register for sevenths and ninths, playing 16th and even 32nd notes to corral the rhythm section as he moves the scale over first a half, then a whole, and then two and a half steps. A ballad follows, Meldau's own "At a Loss," a bit of melodramatic glissando playing that nonetheless has at its heart an interesting harmonic series of shifts in timbre, moving from a light blue to a darker, richer chromatic that digs into the blues for a stuttering turn at swing before re-entering a balladic frame. The most exciting track on the set is Coltrane's "Countdown," with its rhythmic and mode changes occurring just before the end of each interval, blurring them somewhat and making the solos belled through. This may not be as great as some of Meldau's later trio work, but it is very impressive for such an early date.
Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

1. Anthropology 8:51
2. At A Loss 6:40
3. When I Fall In Love 14:42
4. Countdown 8:19
5. Convalescent 8:35
6. I Fall In Love Too Easily 10:28
7. I Didn't Know What Time It Was 9:38

Recorded in Barcelona, October 9-10, 1993

Brad Mehldau Piano
Jordi Rossy Drums
Mario Rossy Bass

Jay McShann - 1944-1946 (Chronological 966)

Also with Efferge Ware whose teaching of theory to Bird was acknowledged by Parker as a debt; and Edmond Gregory before he became Sahib Shihab.

Jay McShann played a pivotal role in the evolution of Kansas City swing, bebop, and R&B. The material presented in this segment of the McShann chronology is mostly based in the blues, with heavy emphasis on vocal talent. A session that took place in Kansas City on November 1, 1944 -- with the great Walter Page handling the bass -- resulted in four sides that were issued on the Capitol label. "Moten Swing" is mighty fine, and an elegant "Sunny Side of the Street" served as the flip side. Julia Lee hadn't recorded for 15 years when she sat in with McShann on this date. "Come on Over to My House" and "Trouble in Mind" turned out well enough that Capitol responded with a recording contract and her career took off anew. The rest of the music heard on this disc was recorded in Los Angeles in 1945 and 1946. Out of 19 tracks, only four of these -- all boogies -- are instrumental. A fifth boogie, bearing McShann's nickname, "Hootie," is nearly instrumental except for a bit of shouting done by someone in or near the band who remains unidentified. The vocalists who figured so prominently in McShann's Philo, Premiere, and Mercury recordings sang the blues exclusively. Numa Lee Moore sounds like a downsized Big Maybelle and Crown Prince Waterford has a bit of a rowdy bite in his voice. Jimmy Witherspoon, featured on no less than nine tracks, sounded something like Joe Turner at this stage of his career. McShann's sax and trumpet players interacted wonderfully with the vocalists, and present on the Mercury sessions was legendary Kansas City drummer Jesse Price. ~ arwulf arwulf

Jay McShann (piano)
Sahib Shihab (alto sax)
Efferge Ware (guitar)
Julia Lee (vocals)
Jimmy Witherspoon (vocals)
Walter Page (bass)
Jesse Price (drums)

1. Moten Swing
2. Come On Over To My House
3. Trouble In My Mind
4. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
5. Confessing The Blues
6. Walking
7. When I've Been Drinking
8. Hard-Working Man's Blues
9. Merry-Go-Round-Blues
10. Bad Tale Boogie
11. McShann's Boogie-Blue
12. Hootie Boogie
13. Garfield Avenue Blues
14. Shipyard Woman Blues
15. Crown Prince Boogie
16. Ernstine
17. Buckletown Boogie
18. Roll On, Katy
19. Voodoo Woman Blues
20. I Want A Little Girl
21. Jimtown Boogie
22. Have You Ever Loved A Woman?
23. Gone With The Blues

Friday Fusion

Steve Marcus - Count's Rock Band
Sometime Other Than Now (1976) [LP > FLAC]

A long out-of-print Flying Dutchman LP from saxophonist Steve Marcus and his Count's Rock Band. Possibly one of the best '70s fusion albums you've never heard. Last week I posted a Steve Khan album. He not only plays guitar on this LP but composed all of the tunes. This album has never been released on CD.

Tenor saxophonist Steve "The Count" Marcus was a pioneering force behind the emergence of what would eventually become known as fusion. Born in New York City on September 18, 1939, Marcus initially desired to play guitar, but when he couldn't find a teacher, he adopted the clarinet instead and finally moved to saxophone at age 15. He was a student at the Berklee School of Music in 1962 when Stan Kenton came to Boston for a gig. When Kenton's tenor saxophonist, Charlie Mariano, skipped rehearsal to visit his family, Marcus sat in and six weeks later was given the gig full time. Kenton dissolved the band in late 1963 and from there Marcus worked with Woody Herman and Gary Burton, additionally fronting his own bands. In 1966 Marcus teamed with Herbie Mann at the beginning of the flautist's experiments with rock rhythms and ethnic music. A year later, he partnered with guitarist Larry Coryell in the Count's Rock Band and cut the 1968 Mann-produced, jazz-rock landmark Tomorrow Never Knows. Deemed a sellout in many quarters upon its release, the record is today a cult classic that represents one of the first and most successful marriages of jazz and psychedelia. In 1969, Marcus and Coryell reunited in Foreplay, a precursor to their subsequent fusion project Eleventh House, and in 1970 Marcus toured Japan with the experimental guitarist Sonny Sharrock. He joined the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1975, and served alongside Rich until the drummer's 1987 death. At Marcus' urging, Rich embraced rock and electronics, a progression that helped the group remain relevant at a time when most big bands were forced to dissolve. After Rich's death, Marcus took the reins of the band, and in 1999, teamed with fellow alumni to record the LP Buddy's Buddies. The following year, he and Coryell joined yet again, this time as the Count's Jam Band. Marcus died in New Hope, Pennsylvania on September 25, 2005. - Jason Ankeny

Steve Marcus (soprano sax)
Steve Khan (guitar)
Don Grolnick (keyboards)
Will Lee (bass)
Steve Gadd (drums)
  1. Sometime Other Than Now
  2. The New Sado-Masochism Tango (As Opposed to the Old...Which We All Know and Loved So Well
  3. The Rites of Darkness
  4. The Brown Rice Ooze
  5. Nazca
  6. Candles

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dexter Gordon - Billie's Bounce

Dexter Gordon and his 1964 Quartet (with pianist Tete Montoliu, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Alex Riel) broadcast from the Montmartre Club in Copenhagen on six occasions and all of the music has been issued on SteepleChase CDs. This particular set finds the group playing a fairly brief "Night in Tunisia" and long versions of "Billie's Bounce" (over 17 minutes), "Satin Doll" and Gordon's "Soul Sister." The well-recorded performances feature the great bop tenor in peak form and are easily recommended as is this entire Dexter in Radioland series. ~ Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Tete Montoliu (piano)
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)

1. Introduction
2. Billie's Bounce
3. Satin Doll
4. Soul Sister
5. A Night in Tunisia

Hugo Fattoruso - Ciencia Fictiona (2004)

Hugo Fattoruso, a composer and arranger, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, has had a profound effect on music that has touched upon shores far and wide. Endeavors such as Los Shakers, Opa, Grupo Del Cuareim, Los Pusilanimes, Trio Fattoruso, and his solo works, are endeared by those fortunate to know of his talent. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, began his musical career as a prodigious and somewhat reluctant piano student at the age of four. By the time he was nine his father Antonio formed "El Trio Fattoruso" by drafting Hugo's younger brother Jorge on drums, with Hugo on accordion and Antonio on "inverted bucket bass" (using a broom as the neck, and a cord as the instrument's single string). This trio performed in street festivals, covering the variety of styles used in Uruguay's carnivals (boleros, murgas, tangos, etc.) and giving Hugo an education in the rich harmonic stuff of disparate musical styles.

At the age of 16 Hugo moved to the upright bass and began his tenure as the under-aged member of The Hot Blowers, a swing band that toured throughout Latin America in the late 1950s. This period could be seen as a second important milestone in Hugo's harmonic education, hammering home the concepts of improvisation and musical interplay. By the early 1960s, rock 'n' roll began to shake the world's foundation, and Hugo set out to express himself in that medium by forming Los Shakers, where he and his brother shared song writing, singing and guitar responsibilities. Los Shakers, Hugo Fattoruso (guitar, voice), Jorge Osvaldo Fattoruso (guitar, voice), Roberto "Pelin" Capobianco (bass, voice), Carlos "Caio" Vila (drums, voice), were a huge success throughout Latin America, as they were able to mold the complexities of bossa's harmonies, Uruguay's urban song style, candombe rhythms and the backbeat of rock into a new and contagious form.

By the late 1960s the influence of jazz, and of the Afro-Uruguayan rhythm of candombe, took Hugo to New York City, where he formed the group Opa. In Opa Hugo played keyboards and sang, while his brother played drums, and childhood friend Ringo Thielmann played bass. Opa's mixture of jazz, rock, Brazilian harmonies and rhythms, and Uruguay's African-flavored music (candombe) gave this band a distinctive voice, and garnered them recognition among musicians in the then growing "Latin jazz" scene. From that point on Hugo travelled the U.S. and worked with a variety of artists, ranging from Hermeto Pascoal to Ron Carter to The Dixie Dregs. Hugo spent several years living in Rio de Janeiro, where he worked with several prominent Brazilian artists including Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque de Holanda, Djavan, Geraldo Azevedo, Nana Vasconcelos and Toninho Horta.

Hugo Fattoruso (piano, voice, accordion)
Osvaldo Fattoruso (drums on #8)

1 Vila Belmiro Carrilho, Santo 5:33
2 Ruby My Dear Monk 4:43
3 Trenzinho Caopira/El Saltarín Laguna, Villalobos 4:32
4 Vivir Contento Fattoruso 5:36
5 Trapaças DeHolanda 4:04
6 Your Star Fattoruso 3:48
7 Aquello Roos 3:03
8 Omnibus Fattoruso, Fattoruso 3:59
9 Voce Ja Foi a Bahia Nega? Caymmi 3:05
10 27 de Marzo Fattoruso 4:09
11 Estrellas Fattoruso 2:13
12 Song for Neena Fattoruso 3:41
13 Nueva Fattoruso 4:12

Recorded July 13-14, 2004 at Circo Beat, Buenos Aires, Argentina except #8, recorded July 12, 2004 at Sondor, Montevideo, Uruguay

Happy Birthday

Clifford Brown also. Same day, same year.

Booker Ervin - The Blues Book

For this CD reissue in his series of Books, Ervin and his quintet (with trumpeter Carmell Jones, pianist Gildo Mahones, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Alan Dawson) perform four very different blues: the speedy "One for Mort," a low-down "No Booze Blooze," the modal "True Blue," and the minor-toned "Eerie Dearie." The consistently passionate Ervin makes each of the fairly basic originals sound fresh and the performances are frequently exciting inside/outside music. ~ Scott Yanow

Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Carmell Jones (trumpet)
Gildo Mahones (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Alan Dawson (drums)

1. Eerie Dearie
2. One For Mort
3. No Booze Blooze
4. True Blue

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: June 30, 1964

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Art Blakey and the Giants Of Jazz - Monterey 1972

Impresario George Wein organized the Giants of Jazz as an all-star band consisting of Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding, Sonny Stitt (doubling on alto and tenor saxes), Thelonious Monk, Al McKibbon, and Art Blakey. The group ended up touring three continents between 1971 and 1972, playing 42 concerts before Gillespie left to honor earlier contractual commitments of his own. Monterey Jazz Festival impresario Jimmy Lyons decided to seek two trumpeters to replace Dizzy, and his selection of Clark Terry (who plays bother trumpet and flugelhorn) and elder statesmen Roy Eldridge added a new spark to the group. "'Round Midnight" puts the spotlight on its composer, while Stitt's extended tenor feature in "Perdido" starts out awkwardly with the hackneyed quote of "Stranger in Paradise" before turning into a solid affair, with Eldridge following him with a searing, occasionally raspy solo. The brief rendition of "Stardust" individually showcases Terry's conversational flugelhorn with thoughtful backing by Monk, while "Lover Man" puts the spotlight on Winding, "I Can't Get Started" features Stitt's rhapsodic alto sax, and "The Man I Love" Eldridge's still-exciting trumpet. The set wraps with a fun-filled group workout of "A Night in Tunisia," with Terry stealing the show with his bubbly flugelhorn. Since only a few of the earlier Giants of Jazz concerts have been released in any form, this Monterey set adds an important chapter to the band's all too brief documented existence. ~ Ken Dryden

Swing, swing and swing-hard might have been the mission statement for this all-star aggregation recorded live during the 1972 Monterey Jazz Festival. Ultimately, this group was concocted by legendary promoter George Wein and featured trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie during its 1971 inception: Dizzy eventually left the group due to obligations with his quartet. And per the album notes: “The Giants of Jazz was the greatest touring jam session since the heyday of Jazz at the Philharmonic.”

Drummer Art Blakey kicks it off with a big bang when the septet blasts into “Blue ‘N’Boogie.” Moreover, pianist Thelonious Monk garners a rousing applause from the audience upon festival lead Jimmy Lyons’ introduction. The pianist also takes center stage during the rendering of his now classic ballad, “’Round Midnight.”

It’s a spirited old-fashioned jam session, indeed. At times, trumpeter Roy Eldridge enters the spotlight via a string of soaring extended notes. While saxophonist Sonny Stitt gives Bunny Berrigan’s fabled ballad “I Can’t Get Started,” an endearing and fluently executed bop overhaul. The band closes out the set by surging into bop nirvana during Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia.” Overall, this album adds credence to the adage that jazz is a timeless art-form. – Glenn Astarita

Art Blakey (drums)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Sonny Stitt (alto and tenor sax)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Al McKibbon (bass)

1. Introduction by Jimmy Lyons
2. Blue N Boogie
3. 'Round Midnight
4. Perdido
5. Stardust
6. Lover Man
7. I Can't Get Started With You
8. The Man I Love
9. A Night In Tunisia

Jaki Byard - Sunshine of My Soul: Live at the Keystone Korner (1978)

This High Note Jaki Byard date titled Sunshine of My Soul is not a reissue of the 1967 issue by Prestige. In fact, it was recorded by Todd Barkan in 1978 at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco and produced for release on compact disc by Joe Fields. This is Byard solo, working magic as few other pianists have ever been able to and embodying most of the jazz tradition in his set. From the beautiful, ragged "Tribute to the Ticklers" that opens the set through his medley of Charles Mingus' "Fables of Faubus" and "Peggy's Blue Skylight," to the "Boogie Woogie In and Out" and "Besame Mucho," Byard was an encyclopedia who could effortlessly invoke anything he wanted to -- and here he does. Effortlessly winding blues figures and stride epistles around modal interludes, angular meditations on pop tunes (the Blood, Sweat & Tears' hit "Spinning Wheel") and fiery, bop-drenched left-handed runs, he makes it all swing with the elegance of a master and the funkiness of a barroom pianist more often than not, especially in compositions of his own creation (check "Sunshine"). Byard was a true giant of jazz and this set, in excellent sound, displays all of the reasons. - Thom Jurek

Jaki Byard (solo piano)
  1. Tribute to the Ticklers
  2. Charles Mingus Medley: Fables of Faubus/Peggy's Blue Skylight
  3. Hazy Eve
  4. Spinning Wheel
  5. Excerpts from "Songs of Proverbs"
  6. Boogie Woogie In and Out
  7. Emil (from "Family Suite")
  8. Besame Mucho
  9. Sunshine
  10. Two Different Worlds
  11. European Episodes
Recorded at the Keystone Korner, San Francisco, June 1978

Tal Farlow - Tal

The perfect setting for the brilliant guitarist Tal Farlow is the format heard on this classic LP, a drumless trio. Farlow, pianist Eddie Costa and bassist Vinnie Burke made for an exciting team, really romping on the up-empo pieces. Highlights of the often heated set include "There Is No Greater Love," "Anything Goes," "Yesterdays" and "Broadway," but all eight numbers are quite enjoyable. ~ Scott Yanow

Nearly as famous for his reluctance to play as for his outstanding abilities, guitarist Tal Farlow did not take up the instrument until he was already 21, but within a year was playing professionally and in 1948 was with Marjorie Hyams' band. While with the Red Norvo Trio (which originally included Charles Mingus) from 1949-1953, Farlow became famous in the jazz world. His huge hands and ability to play rapid yet light lines made him one of the top guitarists of the era. After six months with Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five in 1953, Farlow put together his own group, which for a time included pianist Eddie Costa. Late in 1958, Farlow settled on the East Coast, became a sign painter, and just played locally. He only made one record as a leader during 1960-1975, but emerged a bit more often during 1976-1984, recording for Concord fairly regularly before largely disappearing again ...~ Scott Yanow

Tal Farlow (guitar)
Eddie Costa (piano)
Vinnie Burke (bass)

1. Isn't It Romantic?
2. There Is No Greater Love
3. How About You
4. Anything Goes
5. Yesterdays
6. You Don't Know What Love Is
7. Chuckles
8. Broadway

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Poll Winners - Poll Winners Three! (20bit K2)

From 1956-59, it seemed as if guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne won just about every jazz poll. For their third joint recording, which has been reissued on CD, the musicians contributed an original apiece and also performed seven standards. Highlights of the fairly typical but swinging straightahead set include "Soft Winds," "It's All Right With Me," "Mack the Knife" and "I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is Over." Scott Yanow

Ray Brown (bass)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. Soft Winds
2. Crisis
3. The Little Rhumba
4. Easy Living
5. It's Alright With Me
6. Mack The Knife
7. Raincheck
8. Minor Mystery
9. I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over
10. I Hear Music

Recorded at Contemporary Studios, Los Angeles, California on November 2, 1959

Jesus Alemany - Cubanismo (1995)

The traditional rhythms of Cuba's horn-driven bands of the '50s is brought up to date by trumpet player Jesús Alemañy and his 15-piece band ¡Cubanismo!. The group's 1996 self-titled debut album reached the Top Ten lists of Billboard, Latin Beat and Afropop Worldwide and made ¡Cubanismo! one of the hottest bands to come out of Havana in nearly fifty years.

¡Cubanismo! is a rollicking, entertaining collection of Cuban-inspired jazz recorded with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and a host of Havana musicians. Jesús Alemañy sounds vigorous throughout the album, spurring his team of supporting musicians to great performances. It's an album that emphasizes the Latin rhythms of Latin jazz, not the jazz and it is all the stronger for it. - Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Jesus Alemany, Luis Alemany, Luis Alemany, Jr. (trumpet)
Carlos Alvarez (trombone)
Yosvany Terry Cabrera (alto sax)
Leonardo Castellini (tenor sax)
Javier Zalva (baritone sax)
Orlando Valle (flute)
Alfredo Rodriguez (piano)
Carlos Puerto, Jr. (bass)
Efraim Rios (tres)
Emilio del Monte, Miguel Aurelio Diaz, Tata Guines, Carlos Godines (percussion)
Jorge Luis Rojas (vocals)
  1. Descarga de Hoy
  2. Meta Y Guaguanco
  3. Tumbao de Coqueta
  4. Aprovecha
  5. Pa' Que Gozen
  6. Ni Pa'Ca Ni Pa'Lla
  7. Homanaje a Arcano
  8. La Rumba Y El Tumbador
  9. Cicuta Tibia
  10. Ahora Me Voy
Recorded at Egrem Studios, Havana, Cuba, May 1995

Ahmad Jamal - 1980 Live At Bubba's: Autumn In New York FLAC

When listening to an artist such as Ahmad Jamal, you must try to understand the many facets of the individual, and then further understand what is going on inside his head and heart at the time of the given performance. Only then can you appreciate the emotional content that finds its way from an artist, through the music, to the audience. When we decided to record Ahmad Jamal Live at Bubba's on March 20, 1980, Ahmad was reluctant to do so due to some personal problems. At it turned out, whatever it was that was on his mind, added a dimension to his music never before captured on record.
Ahmad performed an evening of emotions instilled into some of the most beautiful music ever recorded by any pianist. In "People" and "Folks Who Live on the Hill" his feelings come through with a diversity of technique, exposing the inner Jamal. When he performs the Bill Evans tune, "Waltz for Debbie," you feel the love and respect Ahmad had for Bill. He treats the song as a tribute to an artist and expresses a multitude of feelings for the man.
After hearing the album, you will have shared a side of Ahmad Jamal that very few have heard, and become one of the privileged few who can say, "I heard Ahmad Jamal."

1. Waltz for Debby (Evans) 6:25
2. The Folks Who Live on the Hill (Hammerstein/Kern) 5:42
3. People (Armatrading) 5:24
4. Baia (Barroso/Gilbert) 8:34
5. The Good Life (Distel/Reardon) 4:41
6. Autumn in New York (Duke) 5:19
7. I've Never Been in Love Before (Altman/Leveen) 2:40

Recorded live at Bubba's Restaurant, Ft. Lauderdale (Florida) on May 20, 1980

Ahmad Jamal, Piano
Payton Crossley, Drums
Sabu Adeyola, Bas

Chet Baker - She Was Too Good To Me (1974)

Baker began his comeback after five years of musical inactivity with this excellent CTI date. Highlights include "Autumn Leaves," "Tangerine," and "With a Song in My Heart." Altoist Paul Desmond is a major asset on two songs and the occasional strings give variety to this fine session. Scott Yanow

According to the liner notes, this 1974 album is "Chet's first major recording since the night in San Francisco in '68 when five junkies relieved him of his dope money and his teeth and made him decide he'd have to give up heroin or die." Very dramatic picture, but the fact of the matter is this album is superlative. It's different from the Chet Baker I'm familiar with -- the slow, languid player from albums like Grey December or Baby Breeze. Some of that is here too, but the tempo is a bit faster and the tunes are more upbeat. His playing is precise, the arrangements are nice, and his vocal delivery is beautiful. By 1974 he'd already put himself through the proverbial wringer, but this album is proof that there was still greatness in him. The AVI

Trumpet, Vocals - Chet Baker
Arranged By - Don Sebesky
Bass - Ron Carter
Clarinet - Romeo Penque
Drums - Jack DeJohnette (5-7)
Drums - Steve Gadd (all, except 5-7)
Electric Piano - Bob James
Flute - George Marge , Hubert Laws
Saxophone [Alt] - Paul Desmond
Vibraphone - Dave Friedman

1 Autumn Leaves (Kosma, Mercer, Prevert) 7:02
2 She Was Too Good to Me (Hart, Rodgers) 4:40
3 Funk in Deep Freeze (Mobley) 6:06
4 Tangerine (Mercer, Schertzinger) 5:27
5 With a Song in My Heart (Hart, Rodgers) 4:04
6 What'll I Do? (Berlin) 3:55
7 It's You or No One (Cahn, Styne) 4:28
8 My Future Just Passed (Marion, Whiting) 4:46

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood, NJ USA on July 17, October 31, and November 1, 1974

Charles Mingus - Mingus Dynasty

Mingus Ah Um catapulted Charles Mingus from a much-discussed semi-underground figure to a near-universally accepted and acclaimed leader in modern jazz. Perhaps that's why his Columbia follow-up, Mingus Dynasty, is often overlooked in his canon -- it's lost in the shadow of its legendary predecessor, both because of that album's achievement and the fact that it's just a notch below the uppermost echelon of Mingus' work. Having said that, Mingus Dynasty is still an excellent album -- in fact, it's a testament to just how high a level Mingus was working on that an album of this caliber could have gotten lost in the shuffle. There's a definite soundtrack quality to a great deal of the music here, and indeed the majority of Mingus' originals here were composed for film and television scores and an expanded, nine- to ten-piece group. On some pieces, Mingus refines and reworks territory he'd previously hit upon. "Slop," for example, is another gospel-inflected 6/8 stormer, composed for a TV production that requested a piece similar to "Better Get It in Your Soul." The ferocious "Gunslinging Bird" follows a similar pattern, and it's the same piece whose full title -- "If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats" -- is given elsewhere. There are a couple of numbers from the Ellington songbook that both feature cellos -- "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" and a fantastic, eight-minute "Mood Indigo" -- and a couple of pieces that rely on the even more tightly orchestrated approach of Mingus' pre-Pithecanthropus Erectus days -- "Far Wells, Mill Valley" and the atonal but surprisingly tender and melodic "Diane." The CD reissue of Mingus Dynasty -- like that of its predecessor -- restores the full-length versions of some songs that had portions of solos edited for time on the original LP release. ~ Steve Huey

Charles Mingus (bass)
Teddy Charles (vibraphone)
Don Ellis (trumpet)
Booker Ervin (tenor sax)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
John Handy (alto sax)
Richard Williams (trumpet)
Sir Roland Hanna (piano)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Jerome Richardson (baritone sax)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Slop
2. Diane
3. Song With Orange
4. Gunslinging Bird
5. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
6. Far Wells, Mill Valley
7. New Now Know How
8. Mood Indigo
9. Put Me In That Dungeon
10. Strollin'

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nat Adderley - "That's Nat" Adderley

Early material from Nat Adderley. His pithy, pungent trumpet and cornet work is effective in a hard bop context, although his own work outside his brother's group has never seemed quite as effective. His backing group included Kenny Clarke in a non-Modern Jazz Quartet role, plus pianist Hank Jones, bassist Wendell Marshall, and Jerome Richardson on tenor sax and flute, playing with more punch than on either his Quincy Jones or Oliver Nelson large group dates. ~ Ron Wynn

"...when he returned in the following year he joined his brother on an impromptu excursion to New York City where one of the legendary moments of jazz awaited them upon their arrival. Before the end of their first evening in New York, the two brothers were performing at Café Bohemia in Greenwich Village with featured stars Kenny Clark, Horace Silver, and Oscar Pettiford. Nat Adderley, who left Florida with his brother on a whim and with only tentative plans to explore the big city jazz scene, was heard on three separate recordings within weeks of his arrival in New York."

Nat Adderley (cornet)
Hank Jones (piano)
Jerome Richardson (flute, tenor sax)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. Porky
2. I Married An Angel
3. Big "E"
4. Kuzzin's Buzzin'
5. Ann Springs
6. You Better Go Now

New York: July 26, 1955

VIDEO: Jammin' the Blues

Another short video, Lester Young & Co in a classic video clip from yesteryear. An mpeg-2 file.

VIDEO: Roy Hargrove Quintet Live in Paris

Roy Hargrove leads a quintet of up-and-coming youngsters at the New Morning Jazz Club in Paris, in 2007. Not to be missed!
Roy Hargrove - trumpet & fluegelhorn
Gerald Clayton - piano
Montez Coleman - drums
Justin Robinson - alto sax
Danton Boller - bass

The Dizzy Gillespie Story (1950/1946)

Originally released as an LP on Savoy Records in 1950, this set features eight tracks of famed trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie sitting in with Johnny Richards' orchestra at a session that was recorded for the West Coast label Discovery Records (and released under the title Dizzy Gillespie Plays, Johnny Richards Conducts) and four tracks cut with the so-called BeBop Boys from a session held in 1946. Savoy combined the tracks for its 1950 LP release titled The Dizzy Gillespie Story). - Steve Leggett

1-4, 7-10
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Johnny Richards Orchestra

5-6, 11-12
Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Burns (trumpet)
John Brown (alto sax)
James Moody (tenor sax)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
Hank Jones (piano)
Ray Brown (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)
  1. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  2. Alone Together
  3. These Are the Things I Love
  4. Lullaby of the Leaves
  5. Boppin' the Blues
  6. Smoky Hollow Jump
  7. On the Alamo
  8. I Found a Million Dollar Baby
  9. What Is There to Say
  10. Interlude in C
  11. Moody Speaks
  12. For Hecklers Only
Recorded October 31, November 1, 1950 and September 25, 1946

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sessions, Live (Calliope LP 3014, 1976)

During the mid-'70s, the short-lived Calliope label issued a series of poorly packaged and badly labeled LP anthologies of live jazz, which contained a lot of great performances taken from television broadcasts of the latter half of the 1950s. Composer credits and supporting musicians, as always, aren't mentioned, though most of the participants on the nine tracks heard on this album are identifiable. Side one is mostly taken up by Cannonball Adderley's fine quintet. The alto saxophonist had just made his recording debut as a leader the previous year; he's joined by brother Nat on cornet, pianist Junior Mance, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Adderley's "Spectacular" is an uptempo bop vehicle based on the chord changes to "(Back Home Again In) Indiana," while he unleashes a cascade of notes in an otherwise subdued take of "Willow Weep for Me." Singer Sylvia Syms is joined by an unidentified rhythm section for a brisk rendition of "The Man I Love" and the warm "Then I'll Be Tired of You," though the latter song is marred by some brief feedback. The second side is a 1956 broadcast with Buddy Collette, heard on both alto sax and flute, accompanied by pianist Dick Shreve, bassist John Goodman, and drummer Bill Dolney. Collette's lighter style of playing alto sax hardly keeps "Makin' Whoopee" from swinging, though he does emit a couple of inadvertent reed squeaks. Collette's exotic "Fall Winds" features his haunting flute, though the piece became better known under its later title of "Desert Sands." Annie Maloney, also with an unknown rhythm section, sings "The Lady Is a Tramp" in what may be her only known recorded appearance. This long unavailable record is one of the best titles in the Sessions: Live series. -Ken Dryden

Joachim Kühn - Dynamics (CMP CD 49, 1990)

Kühn grew up in East Germany as a classically trained pianist who was performing at an early age. In his late teens he became more interested in jazz and started writing his own compositions. Kühn was inspired by Ornette Coleman records given to him by his brother Rolf to take his music to a new direction of freedom being forged by the Americans. He was the first musician to help break free of the conventional jazz played in East Germany, around 1962. A move which ignited a new and powerful force of free improvisation players, a music which Kühn considers the height of Western tradition. He remains tied to the tradition of German Baroque music and has contempt for unschooled musicians, claiming this foundation is very important if one is to play freely.

The performance on this CD is a good one, Kühn uses a mixture of composition and improvisation in a sensitive and informed style. Shame about the cover.

Milt Jackson - Reverence and Compassion (1993)

Vibraphonist Milt Jackson is joined by a top-notch rhythm section (pianist Cedar Walton, bassist John Clatyon and drummer Billy Higgins), a six-piece horn section and a large string section on various selections but, despite the potential distractions and competition, Bags' vibes are the stars throughout. The music on this CD is mostly standards along with four Jackson bluish originals and a song apiece from Clayton and Walton. Milt Jackson's style has not changed since the 1950s but he has retained his enthusiasm and creativity and remained a potent force in jazz. - Scott Yanow

Milt Jackson (vibes)
Cedar Walton (piano)
John Clayton (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
George Bohanon (trombone)
Jeff Clayton (alto sax)
Gary Foster (tenor sax, flute)
Ronald Brown (tenor sax)
Jack Nimitz (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
  1. Reverence
  2. Young and Foolish
  3. Little Girl Blue
  4. This Masquerade
  5. J.C.
  6. Cedar Lane
  7. How Do You Keep the Music Playing
  8. Newest Blues
  9. It Never Entered My Mind
  10. Bullet Bag
  11. Compassion
  12. Here's That Rainy Day

Saturday, October 25, 2008

André Mehmari & Célio Barros (1998)

André Mehmari is a new name in Brazilian music. This is his first CD, recorded in 1998, when he was 21 years old and had just won, along with bassist Célio Barros, a prize as winner of a contest of best instrumental players. Mehmari has a formation in classical music since the infancy, but discovered jazz in his adolescence. Since then, he has crossed the ways between classical and other musical expressions and worked with great names of Brazilian music, like Ná Ozetti, Hamilton de Holanda, Ivan Lins, Naná Vasconcelos, Dori Caymmi and others.

Célio de Barros was 24 years old when this record was made. He plays since he was 16 and, like Mehmari, goes through classical music, jazz and contemporary MPB (Brazilian Popular Music).

In this CD we have a mix of Brazilian standards, contemporary authors and their own music. In most of the tracks, they act as a duo, but are also solo versions and now and then guest musicians.
André Mehmari is a name to be keeped.

1- Prólogo (Mehmari-Barros)
2- A paz (João Donato - Gilberto Gil)
3- Folhas secas (Nelson Cavaquinho-Guilherme de Brito)
4- Retrospecto (Mehmari)
5- Corcovado (Tom Jobim)
6- Duas horas da manhã (Nelson Cavaquinho-Guilherme de Brito)
7- Uma valsa em forma de árvore (Mehmari)
8- Joanna Francesa (Chico Buarque)
9- Chorando mas se divertindo (Mehmari)
10- Loro (Egberto Gismonti)
11- Ponta de Areia (Milton Nascimento-Fernando Brant)
12- Paulicéia (Mehmari)
13- Desafinado (Tom Jobim-Newton Mendonça)
14- De frente pro crime (João Bosco-Aldir Blanc)
15- Luz do Sol (Caetano Veloso)
16- Tico-tico no fubá (Zequinha de Abreu)
17- San Vicente (Milton Nascimento-Fernando Brant)
18- Manhã de Carnaval (Luiz Bonfá-Antonio Maria)
19- Pirão de leite (Mehmari)
20- Noturno (Mehmari)
21- Passaredo (Francis Hime-Chico Buarque)
22- Epílogo (Mehmari-Barros)

Personnel -
André Mehmari - Piano (also flute, acoustic guitar, viola, accordion, synths in 7; Mandolin, Clarinet, Acoustic and Electric Piano, Matchbox in 9, Clarinets in 12; Synthesizers in 20)
Célio Barros - Bass (Bass acoustic guitar in 7,9)
Sergio Reze - Drums in 2,4,8,13,16,21
Luca Raele - Clarinet in 7
Renato Martins - Percussion in 9
Jorge Marciano - Plates in 11

Friday, October 24, 2008

Billy Cobham - Spectrum (1973)

More Friday Fusion......

This is not exactly an obscure example of early '70's fusion and many if not most of you have already heard it. Nonetheless, it remains one of my favorites, so here it is.

Drummer Billy Cobham was fresh from his success with the Mahavishnu Orchestra when he recorded his debut album, which is still his best. Most of the selections showcase Cobham in a quartet with keyboardist Jan Hammer, guitarist Tommy Bolin, and electric bassist Lee Sklar. Two other numbers include Joe Farrell on flute and soprano and trumpeter Jimmy Owens with guitarist John Tropea, Hammer, bassist Ron Carter, and Ray Barretto on congas. The generally high-quality compositions (which include "Red Baron") make this fusion set a standout, a strong mixture of rock-ish rhythms and jazz improvising. ~ Scott Yanow

1. Quadrant 4
2. Searching for the Right Door/Spectrum
3. Anxiety/Taurian Matador
4. Stratus
5. To the Women in My Life/Le Lis
6. Snoopy's Search/Red Baron

Herb Ellis - Charlie Byrd - Guitar, Guitar

Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd - Guitar Guitar 196?
Two guitars, two beautifully expressive players - one using the classical technique of Sor and Tarrega, the other employing the classical technique of Reinhardt and Christian. The end product of the collaboration is an offering of heart lifting Jazz. Ellis on electric and Byrd on acoustic, bass and percussion. Long out of print.

Friday Fusion

Steve Khan - Public Access (1989)

Steve Khan is a bit of an enigma in jazz guitar circles, as he neither clearly succeeds nor fails in any of his efforts. This is an exception, however, as the presence of Dave Weckl makes for one of the best GRP releases of the '90s. Khan's sound is still a bit weak, but his compositions are strong, as is the amazing percussion of Manolo Badrena. A longtime collaborator with Khan, Badrena seems to have every type of percussion ever made and uses them all effectively. Weckl thrives on the Latin rhythms and both players are complementary to each other. As with his other recordings, Khan's solos are not very interesting, and like Larry Coryell, he tries to play too fast. Despite this, they all seem to be having a great time. "Kamarica" is one of the happiest tunes here and contains some phenomenal soloing by Weckl. "Botero People" has a nice relaxed feel and a great bassline, proving that the tunes here are well written with a focus on rhythm rather than just improvisation. Although Badrena's singing is in Spanish, it is pleasant and an integral part of the music even if most of us don't know what he's saying. "Mama Chola" is the most intense piece here and features more great soloing by Weckl, who not only helps hold the band together, but actually manages to carry it for the majority of the session. - Robert Taylor

Steve Khan (guitar)
Anthony Jackson (bass)
Dave Weckl (drums)
Manolo Badrena (percussion, vocals)
  1. Sisé
  2. Blue Zone 41
  3. Kamarica
  4. Silent Screen
  5. Mambosa
  6. Butane Elvin
  7. Botero People
  8. Dedicated to You
  9. Mama Chola
Recorded January, 1989

Chico Hamilton Quintet - 1956-57 Complete Studio Sessions FLAC

Late in the summer of 1956, Chico Hamilton’s quintet was the hottest new combo in the country following a successful eastern tour which included their appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Shortly after returning to Los Angeles, reedman Paul Horn and guitarist John Pisano joined, replacing Buddy Collette and Jim Hall. That Chico’s quintet caught the flavour of the time was underlined by his high-profile appearance in the film Sweet Smell of Success. The new quintet maintained the high standard set by the original formation. “I like the size of the group just as it is,” Hamilton said. “We can play just as funky as can be, then turn around and be dainty and petite. There’s nothing pretentious about it. We’re just trying to play good and in tune. I don’t care if people call it jazz or whatever they want to. We just want to play good music.”

01 I Know (theme)
02 Chanel #5
03 Beanstalk
04 September Song
05 Siete-Cuatro
06 Mr. Jo Jones
07 I Know (theme)
08 Satin Doll
09 Lillian
10 Reflections
11 Soft Winds
12 Caravan
13 Mr. Smith Goes To Town
14 I Know (theme)
15 The Morning After
16 Blue Sands
17 The Ghost
18 Goodbye Baby
19 Cheek To Chico
20 Susan
21 Sidney’s Theme
22 Jonalah
23 Show Me
24 I’m A Funny Dame

Recorded in Los Angeles, on October 21 & 24, 1956 (1-14), December 24, 1956 (15-17), June 3, 1957 (18-22) and August 12, 1957 (23-24)

Tracks 1-12 & 14 from 12" album "Chico Hamilton Quintet" Pacific Jazz PJ-1225
Track 13 from 12" album "Jazz West Coast vol. III" World Pacific JWC-507
Tracks 15-17 from 'Stars Of Jazz' TV show
Tracks 18-22 from 12" album "Sweet Smell Of Success" Decca DL 8614
Tracks 23-24 from 12" album "Jazz Swings Broadway" World Pacific PJM-404

Paul Horn (flute, clarinet, alto & tenor sax)
John Pisano (guitar)
Fred Katz (cello)
Carson Smith (bass)
Chico Hamilton (drums)

Dave McKenna - Blues Up


This Fresh Sound CD contains two Dave McKenna piano solo performings, with a difference of 8 years between them. 'Piano Solo' from 1955 was Dave's debut, whereas 'Lullabies in Jazz' was recorded in 1963.

In case you haven't heard, Dave McKenna is one of the most remarkable jazz pianists in the history of the music, further evidenced by this wonderful solo recording, taken from the original 1955 ABC-Paramount LP Solo Piano and the 1963 Realm release Lullabies in Jazz. McKenna's expertise in mixing the stride style into any jazz standard cannot be more fully demonstrated. The first 15 tracks are from the 1955 date, where his ability to swing and stretch out would be hard for anyone to match, much less exceed. There's only one original, the jazz-blues-bop jam "Blues Up." McKenna waxes serene on three selections, is atypically delicate during "My Shining Hour," and mixes patient to animated tempos for "Limehouse Blues." On the rest, he plays consistent rhythms, especially effective on the bouncy "S'posin'," the dramatic intro before digging in for "'S Wonderful," and the uppity "Let's Get Away from It All." McKenna's consistency in playing deft, accurate melodies and effortless stride is evident with every note and phrase. The remaining tracks are indeed lullabies and are lower key, ranging from the childlike "Brahms' Lullaby" to the darker "Deep Night," the somnambulant "Deep in a Dream," and the cute "Japanese Sandman." The anomalies are the bright, not at all weary original of McKenna's "Sleepy Waltz" and the jaunty back-and-forth finale, "Sleep." While Lullabies is thematic and stylized, it is far from reticent or boring. This is truly a beautiful document of a master at work, and is highly recommended, whether you are a staunch fan of McKenna or hopefully a new convert.

Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

01. Why Was I Born? 2:16
02. Some Gets In Your Eyes 3:15
03. Blues Up 2:26
04. Walking By The River 3:03
05. S’posin 2:43
06. If I Had My Way 3:44
07. ‘S Wonderful 2:50
08. My Shining Hour 3:07
09. ‘Deed I Do 2:26
10. Like Someone In Love 3:47
11. Let’s Get Away From It All 2:13
12. I’m Glad I Waited For You 2:03
13. For All We Know 2:43
14. Warm Valley 2:45
15. Limehouse Blues 2:02
16. Sleepy Waltz 2:48
17. Dream 3:17
18. Lullaby Of The Leaves 2:48
19. Lullaby 2.38
20. Close Your Eyes 1:48
21. Brahm’s Lullaby 1:53
22. Deep Night 3:05
23. Deep In A Dream 3:57
24. Lullaby In Blue 2:36
25. Japanese Sandman 2:29
26. Lullaby In Rhythm 2:40
27. Sleep 1:38

Recorded in New York City, October 31, 1955 (#1-15), and 1963 (#16-27)

Dave McKenna piano

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fletcher Henderson - 1923 (Chronological 697)

The latest comment in the Discussion section speaks at length about Fletcher Henderson. By coincidence, I have ripped the Study In Frustration boxed set, and just need to scan about 10 pages before it gets posted. So, I thought I'd start off with this Chrono, to be followed by the Chrono covering 1924. Don't worry, there is very little overlap between the Chronos and the box set. ArwulfX2 makes his usual trenchant observations below. Speaking of which, you always hear the word underrated with Dorham et al. You know who is criminally underrated? Don Redman, that's who. You can see for yourself when the boxed set gets here.

Coleman Hawkins once said that Fletcher Henderson's band came across better when heard live than replayed off of old records. Hawkins insisted that Henderson's recordings sounded "like cats and dogs fighting." But this was Hawkins in 1956, consistently in denial about his age and the primal nature of the early sides he'd helped to wax more than thirty years earlier. Safely removed from personal responsibility or temporal proximity to the artifacts in question, the rest of us might be able to enjoy these rickety old sides for what they are: evidence of experimentation in a new musical genre, utilizing what was at the time relatively new technology. There's no question about it: these guys probably sounded a lot looser and hotter in a nightclub than they ever could have while trapped together in the stuffy little rooms designated as recording studios. Here's where a passion for the medium itself comes in handy. Today we can get our kicks from listening to old records because the records themselves are old and we like them that way. We can also enjoy hearing what Coleman Hawkins did with tenor or even bass saxophone behind a raggedy-sounding spasm band working up no less than three versions of "Dicty Blues" with its patented "descending chimes" lick, so specific to the early 1920s. Fats Waller, in fact, used a similar device on his player piano roll, "Your Time Now," also issued in 1923. Today we can marvel at the names of those old time record labels: Ajax, Puritan, Paramount, Vocalion and Pathe Actuelle. Or those four Edison recordings from November 1923 and April 1924 (making the title of this CD a misnomer), each containing more than four minutes' worth of vintage music, offering a full extra minute of entertainment per side. Here, Henderson's group sounds less like a jazz band, closer to a society dance orchestra. It was a calculated attempt to appeal to wider (whiter?) audiences. Most jazz musicians throughout several generations have made similar moves in order to succeed. It's a fact of life, yet jazz critics have always bitched about "commercialism" while ignoring both economic necessity and artistic liberty. Regarding this particular bundle of early Fletcher Henderson performances: they all fit into a larger panorama made up of every jazz record ever made, pressed, purchased, played and heard since the very beginnings of the tradition. None of these Henderson sides are irrelevant. Don Redman is on all but two of them. Americans and people all over the world listened to them in 1923 and have been listening ever since. A French label called Classics thought enough of them to restore and reissue them on this remarkable chronological series. You should probably immerse yourself in this music. Don't be shy. It's just a parcel of dance tunes embellished with hot solos. ~ arwulf arwulf

Fletcher Henderson (piano)
Don Redman (clarinet, alto sax)
Coleman Hawkins (clarinet, tenor sax, baritone sax)
Elmer Chambers (cornet)
Billy Fowler (alto sax)
Charlie Dixon (banjo)
Joseph "Kaiser" Marshall (drums)

Dos Pianistas Argentinos

Adrián Iaies - Una Módica Plenitud (FLAC/Scans/1999)

"Una módica plenitud" is a solo piano album produced by Carlos Melero, noted producer and sound engineer of the largest jazz concerts in Argentina. For this work, Adrián Iaies, leverages his full mastery of the instrument, improvising and enjoying the music, be it tango or jazz. Such is the case of the album’s title piece which was born of an improvisation during the recording session. Selected as “CD of the year, 2000" by the CLARIN (Buenos Aires daily newspaper).

Argentinean pianist, arranger, and composer Adrián Iaies got involved in the jazz fusion scene in the mid-'80s when the talented musician formed a band called Touch, recording Ventanilla 16, released by Cirse Records in 1989, and La Lluvia es Sagrada, made in one session on May 26, 1993. That same year, Adrián Iaies created a project called Adrián Iaies Trío, issuing Nostalgias y Otros Vicios in 1998 and Grammy-nominated Las Tardecitas de Minton's in 1999. Later, concentrating on a solo piano record called Una Modica Plenitud. In the year 2000, after performing at New York's Brazilian-Argentinean Jazz Festival, Adrián Iaies moved to Barcelona, Spain, to make Tango Reflections. Drago Bonacich

Adrián Iaies (piano)

1 Una Módica Plenitud (Iaies) 4:51
2 El Día Que Me Quieras (Gardel) 6:00
3 Soledad (Gardel) 7:05
4 Amores de Estudiante (Gardel) 3:54
5 Volver (Gardel) 6:08
6 Serenata Para La Tierra de Uno (Walsh) 6:52
7 I Mean You (Monk) 4:11
8 La Casita de Mis Viejos (Cobian) 7:43
9 In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 8:07
10 El Choclo (Villoldo) 8:33
11 Chiquilín de Bachín (Piazzolla) 8:12
12 Adrián Speech 0:52
13 Las Tardecitas de Minton's (Iaies) 2:03
Recorded June 20, 1999 at Antonio Berni's studio at STAC, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Manuel Ochoa - Rudias (FLAC/Scans/2005)

"Rudias", solo CD by Manuel Ochoa, is a rundown of the pianist’s own compositions, a piece by Gismonti, the "Milonga del Angel" by the master Astor Piazzolla and jazz standards by writers such as Bud Powell, Henderson-Dixon and others. Hernán Merlo y Fats Fernández appear as special guests. Rudias by Ochoa: "Recording a solo piano CD was very important to me. I learned a lot during the process. I had to listen to myself with a lot of determination, something I do not usually do!"

Born in La Plata, he was educated in the School of Contemporary Music and was awared a scholarship by the Berklee College of Music (Boston). He studied in Buenos Aires with the pianists Quique Roca, Emma Botas y Ernesto Jodos and in New York with the pianists Fred Hersch, Bruce Barth y and profesor Sophia Rosoff.

He has performed with artists such as Fats Fernández, Susana Rinaldi, Hernán Merlo, Marcelo Torres, Ligia Piro, Javier Malosetti, Walter Malosetti, Oscar Giunta, among others.

In addition to performances in theaters in the interior of Argentina and in Jazz festivals, he has performed in various Buenos Aires venues such as the National Library, Notorious bar, Thelonious bar, La Trastienda Club, Clásica y Moderna , Teatro N/D Ateneo, Teatro Maipo, and TMGSM.
Manuel Ochoa (piano)
Hernán Merlo (bass on #4,8)
Roberto “Fats” Fernández (trumpet on #10)

1 Intro 1 (Ochoa)
2 Ciudad Campana / (Manuel Ochoa)
3 There is no greater love (M. Symes - I.Jones)
4 Softly as in a morning sunrise (S.Romberg)
5 Intro 2 (Ochoa)
6 Feng shui (Manuel Ochoa)
7 Someday my prince will come (F.Churchil-L.Morey)
8 Bye bye blackbird (R. Henderson-M.Dixon)
9 Payaso (E. Gismonti)
10 Milonga del angel (A. Piazzolla)
11 Willow grove (B. Powell)

Recorded on June 15&17, 2005 at La Casita de mis viejos, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Clarence Williams - 1934-1937 (Chronological 918)

Classics' 13th Clarence Williams CD has his final studio recordings with the exception of five slightly later numbers. Although not quite on the same level as Williams' earlier sides, there are some spirited performances to be heard on these five sessions. Cornetist Ed Allen, Cecil Scott (on clarinet and tenor) and clarinetist Buster Bailey (on the six selections from 1937) are the key soloists; most numbers have a washboard in the ensembles, and vocals are taken by Chick Bullock (forgettable in his three appearances), Eva Taylor, William Cooley and Williams himself. Classics deserves congratulations for persevering with this important series, for Clarence Williams led some of the hottest small groups dates of the '20s and '30s; all of the discs are recommended to pre-bop collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

" But as late as the final Vocalion session ... the group are still playing disciplined, impeccable small-group jazz in the manner of a decade earlier." ~ Penguin Guide

Clarence Williams (piano)
Louis Jordan (alto sax)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Roy Smeck (guitar)
Ed Allen (cornet)

1. 'Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do
2. I Can't Think Of Anything But You
3. Sugar Blues
4. Jungle Crawl
5. I Can See You All Over The Place
6. Savin' Up My Baby
7. Milk Cow Blues
8. Black Gal
9. A Foolish Little Girl Like You
10. There's Gonna Be The Devil To Pay
11. This Is My Sunday Off
12. Yama Yama Blues
13. Let Every Day Be Mother's Day
14. Lady Luck Blues
15. Cryin' Mood
16. Top Of The Town
17. Turn Off The Moon
18. More Than That
19. Jammin'
20. Wanted

Art Pepper - The Trip

Art Pepper made a name for himself around Los Angeles in the '50s as a leading light in the style then known as West Coast jazz -- a cool alternative to the hot hard bop being made in East Coast cities like New York and Philadelphia. Pepper never really fit the cool stereotype, however; he was too incendiary a soloist (influenced by Lester Young perhaps and Bird certainly), more inclined to inject overt anger and passion into his playing than contemporaries like Getz or Mulligan. By the time these sides were made in 1976, any residual coolness had been displaced by hot emotionalism and an almost manic intensity. The lessons of John Coltrane had clearly been absorbed, harmonically and otherwise; not only was Pepper more assertive than ever, but he also took more chances. Polish is for shoes and fingernails: By the late '70s, Pepper was rough, raw, and nakedly vulnerable. Every solo this late in his career was an adventure. On this record the adventure is joined by ex-Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones, who doesn't interact with Pepper as much as one might expect, but nevertheless puts down the hard grooves the altoist needed to be at his best. There's a bit of a tentative cast to much of this record, almost as if the musicians were not yet completely comfortable with one another. Pepper's playing is first-rate, however: His interpretation of Michel Legrand's melody "The Summer Knows" is by itself worth the price of the album. Given that he would not live many years longer after its recording, this one is a keeper. ~ Chris Kelsey

Art Pepper (alto sax)
George Cables (piano)
David Williams (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. The Trip
2. The Trip (alt)
3. A Song For Richard
4. Sweet Love Of Mine
5. Junior Cat
6. The Summer Knows
7. Red Car

Johnny Otis - Vintage 1950's Broadcasts From Los Angeles

In Central Avenue Sounds (the book which was released with the boxed set of the same name - and if you haven't checked that out already, then you're missing a treat) one of the people that kept being mentioned was Johnny Otis, who I always thought was on the fringes of the scene. Turns out he was right in the middle, and was mostly to be found at Central Avenue's Ground Zero - Club Alabam. His band was said to be very Basie-esque, but he - like others - started evolving more to the R&B side. Note, though, that two of his interlude pieces here are by Basie and Erskine Hawkins.

This is another of those releases that you can put on and transport yourself back to yesteryear - including ads for places to get your fly vines and to get your hair gassed. Listening to these, no doubt, was a young Frank Zappa, who greatly admired Otis, his musicians (Sugarcane Harris not the least), and his facial hair - Zappa's trademark was admittedly copped from Mr. Veliotes. Note also the presence of jazzers Dootsie Williams and Curtis Counce among others.

First things first: this isn't exactly a Johnny Otis record, even though some of the tracks are by him or the Johnny Otis Band. It's actually a compilation based around air checks and live broadcasts from 1950s radio and television shows in which Otis was the radio DJ, host, and/or one of the performers. It's confusing, indeed, to try to describe as a soundbite sentence in a record review, particularly as it also includes actual records (taken from the masters, not from the tapes of the broadcasts) that Otis played on his shows by the likes of Billy Ward & the Dominoes, Kip Tyler & the Flips, Don & Dewey, and Larry Williams -- not to mention ads, too, and even a 30-second radio spot from the early '60s by Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills endorsing Otis' candidacy for California state assembly. The liner notes aptly describe it as an "audio-verite collage" and if you're willing to listen to such an unconventionally structured compilation, it's a pretty fun spin for dedicated 1950s R&B/rock & roll fans. That's not really because of the music, which is decent (and sometimes quite rare), but not great. It's more because it captures the humor, spontaneity, and slightly mad flavor of how the music was presented to the public back when R&B and rock & roll were new, when ads for barbershops, off-the-cuff artist interviews (jazzbo Slim Gaillard somehow shows up for one here), and generally outrageous DJ shenanigans went shoulder-to-shoulder with the actual music. It's not totally lacking in musical rewards either, with some previously unissued live broadcasts featuring Otis (including a version of his hit "Willie & the Hand Jive"), the Penguins, and far more obscure singers Marie Adams and Little Arthur Matthews, all in okay sound quality considering the age of the broadcasts. Some of the records played between the chatter are pretty hot too, like Don & Dewey's frantic, Little Richard-like "Justine" and Kip Tyler & the Flips' Bo Diddley-ish novelty "Jungle Hop." ~ Richie Unterberger

1. Johnny Otis Signature - Johnny Otis
2. Bump on a Log - Lula Reed
3. Coiffeur Ad (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
4. I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town - Billy Ward
5. Charles Ltd. Ad/Outro (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
6. Maury Wills Spot (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
7. Ktla-TV Intro/Soft - Johnny Otis Band
8. Metropolitan Ford Ad (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
9. Sweet Love - The Penguins
10. Willie and the Hand Jive - Johnny Otis
11. Monte/Laguna Park Ad (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
12. One Sweet Letter - Marie Adams
13. Harlem Nocturne/Bye Bye Baby (Until We Meet Again) - Johnny Otis Band
14. House Party Pa (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
15. One O'Clock Jump - Johnny Otis Band
16. Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean - Marie Adams
17. Midnight at the Barrelhouse - Johnny Otis Band
18. All Night Long - Johnny Otis Band
19. I Don't Know
20. Baby Don't Do It - Marie Adams
21. Outro/Flyin' Home - Johnny Otis Band
22. New Johnny Otis Show Spot - Johnny Otis
23. Tough Enough - Johnny Otis
24. Jungle Hop - Johnny Otis
25. Slim Gaillard/Kingfish Skit (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
26. Justine - Johnny Otis
27. Thunderbird Club/Duttons Records Ads (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
28. Dirty Dishes - Jeani Mack
29. Not Too Young
30. Sulphur 8 Ad (Spoken Word) - Johnny Otis
31. Dummy - Larry Williams

Clarence Williams - 1927-1928 (Chronological 752)

3 or 4 more will be posted. Check this out.

The fifth CD in Classics' "complete" Clarence Williams program (all are highly recommended to collectors of 1920s jazz) has 22 selections from 11 separate recording sessions, all of the pianist/bandleader's dates for a ten-month period. There are a pair of piano solos, two numbers in which Williams's vocals (including an eccentric "Farm Hand Papa") are backed by the great pianist James P. Johnson, and band performances featuring cornetists Ed Allen and King Oliver, clarinetists Buster Bailey and Arville Harris, trombonist Ed Cuffee, Coleman Hawkins and Benny Waters on tenors, Cyrus St. Clair on tuba, and the washboard of Floyd Casey. Highlights include "Jingles," "Church Street Sobbin' Blues," "Sweet Emmalina," and "Mountain City Blues." - Scott Yanow

Clarence Williams (piano, vocals)
James P. Johnson (piano)
King Oliver (cornet)
Coleman Hawkins (clarinet, tenor sax)
Albert Socarras (clarinet, alto and tenor sax)

1. Shake Em Up
2. Jingles
3. Yama Yama Blues
4. (Norfolk) Church Street Sobbin' Blues
5. Dreaming The Hours Away
6. Close Fit Blues
7. Sweet Emmalina
8. Any Time
9. Sweet Emmalina
10. Log Cabin Blues
11. Shake It Down
12. Red River Blues
13. Red River Blues
14. I Need You
15. Lazy Mama
16. Mountain City Blues
17. Organ Grinder Blues
18. Wildflower Rag
19. My Woman Done Me Wrong (As Far As I Am Concerned)
20. Farm Hand Papa
21. The Keyboard Express
22. Walk That Broad

The Six Tenor Giants-live at Berlin jazz days 29/10/65

Heres another mpeg 2 video ,which can be burnt as a straight audio cd..the sound is exellent ,and the music is amazing.
Particularly notable is Booker Ervin’s 27 minute blowout “blues for you” .
Ervin,Rollins And Gordon , jamming on ‘scrapple from the apple’ niiiice
Thanks to the tapers/traders/seeders, and B.
This broadcast's sound track (layer=320kbs mp3)

The 6 Tenor Giants @Berliner Jazztage, Philharmonie Berlin/Germany, 29th October 1965 (MP2)

Ben Webster (1 Don Byas, ts (2) Brew Moore (3)
Booker Ervin (4, 7)Sonny Rollins (6, 7) Dexter Gordon (7)
Kenny Drew, p,Niels-Henning Oersted Pedersen, b,Alan Dawson, dr

01 How Long Has This Been Going On 08:57
02 I Remember Clifford 07:35
03 Jumpin' With Symphony Sid 05:15
04 Blues For You 27:27
05 announcements by Goetz Kronburger 01:07
06 St Thomas 02:53
07 Scrapple From The Apple 21:11
TT: 1:14:25

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jazz West Coast Live/Hollywood Jazz, Vol. 2

The 1947 musical battle-cum-duet that followed two nights of Independence Day celebrations have become a deliverance moment for that ubiquitous postwar jazz style, bebop. That the concert has become enshrined should be no surprise, though, given the quality of the playing, the mythic quality of the venue, and the stature of the other players who were on hand that night.

The historic Elks Club Concert from 1947 has been excerpted countless times on 78s, 10" LPs, 12" long-players, and even on CDs both officially issued and pirated. The significance of the concert can hardly be overstated, since it features a sheer who's who of the Los Angeles Central Avenue jam scene at the dawn of the bebop era. While Dexter Gordon is a prominent figure in this collection, he is by no means the only one. Gordon was a featured soloist with the Howard McGhee Orchestra in 1947, and the other players in this illustrious outfit include Wardell Gray, Sonny Criss, Hampton Hawes, Barney Kessel, McGhee (of course), Trummy Young, and others .... the loose, one-night-only collective the Bopland Boys was an amalgam of the McGhee group and the rhythm section from the Killian orchestra.

Here are stretched-out blowing sessions, woolly blues, and stridently played standards -- all with top-notch soloing ... Add to this the startlingly brutal "Bopland" (aka "Byas-A-Drink"), the slippery "Bop After Hours," and the beautiful and swinging "What Is This Thing Called Love," (this will appear on Volume 3).

Given the venue and the different cutting lathes (these were cut straight to 16"discs from the inside out), there are some quality problems; the overall fidelity is decent but certainly not more than that ...

Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Wardell Gray (tenor sax)
Sonny Criss (alto sax)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. Tune-Up/Announcement
2. Byas-A-Drink
3. Cherokee

Elks Ballroom, Los Angeles: July 6, 1947


Lester Young - Volume 3: 1943

Although titled 1943, the tracks here are from the month of December, at which time Lester had re-joined the Basie band after spending time in Los Angeles in an outfit with his brother Lee. Other tracks here are from Pres' Keynote recordings with his own quartet.

If one considers Lester Young's first real gig to be his work with Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1930, then his 29-year career was all too brief. Still, the tenor giant recorded prolifically, and luckily, some fine recordings of his work have been preserved; this compilation includes many of them.

Highlights on Volume 3: 1943 include the uptempo "I Got Rhythm" with trombonist Dicky Wells' group, and the gorgeously slow swing "Sometimes I'm Happy" as performed by his own quartet. The latter showcases Young's cool-toned, behind the beat phrasing that became his inimitable trademark in the 1950s. From this recording, it's easy to see how much such icons as Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Warne Marsh, and others owe to Young.

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Count Basie (piano)
Bill Coleman (trumpet)
Johnny Guarnieri (piano)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Slam Stewart (bass)
Jo Jones (drums)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)

1. Jumpin' at the Woodside
2. I Got Rhythm
3. I'm Fer It, Too
4. I'm Fer It, Too
5. Hello Babe
6. Hello Babe
7. Linger Awhile
8. Just You, Just Me
9. Just You, Just Me
10. I Never Knew
11. I Never Knew
12. Afternoon of a Basie-Ite
13. Afternoon of a Basie-Ite
14. Sometimes I'm Happy
15. Sometimes I'm Happy

Clark Terry - Angyumaluma Bongliddleany Nannyany Awhan Yi! (1966) [LP > FLAC]

Another out-of-print album from the Mainstream archives, originally released as Mumbles in 1966. Some of the arrangements are a bit campy but Clark Terry has always had a knack for making lemonade out of lemons. This LP reissue is a bit on the short side so I can't imagine why they left off two numbers from the original release.

"As per the weird title, the music within this LP is among the happiest and most lighthearted (perhaps even occasionally light-headed) of Clark Terry's long, happy career. As you might have guessed, the accent is on Terry's hilariously swinging vocal blues parodies; no less than three titles contain the word "mumbles." The best of them is the Latin-accented "Rum and Mumbles," where Terry plays verbal tag with Jerome Richardson's dancing piccolo, while the remake of the original "Mumbles" is laced with Frank Anderson's streaking organ. Yes, Clark plays trumpet and flugelhorn, too -- and very fluently, but not at much length on these airplay-aimed tracks. With occasional rock overtones in the electric guitar backing, lots of Latin percussion (courtesy of Willie Bobo and Jose Mangual), the presence of "The Shadow of Your Smile," and unbuttoned spirits high even for Terry, Mainstream undoubtedly hoped to hook viewers who knew Terry from the Tonight Show at the time. But it'll hook you too, even without the presence of Johnny Carson." - Richard S. Ginell

"Clark Terry launched his "Mumbles" routine (where he delivered semi-coherent vocals interspersed with scat) with two numbers on a studio date for Verve led by Oscar Peterson; this Mainstream LP finds him expanding the concept to album length, with mixed success. Unfortunately, the effort becomes a little too commercial, not only de-emphasizing the jazz element to focus on the vocals, but adding lackluster songs like "Big Spender." Although multi-reed player Jerome Richardson, bassists George Duvivier or Richard Davis, and drummer Grady Tate are on hand, the arrangements by Joe Cain (who also composed three forgettable originals and co-wrote "Rum and Mumbles" with the leader) don't really give the musicians a chance to shine. Although Terry has continued his now familiar routine into his eighties, it is better heard in small doses, so this long unavailable record is likely to be of more interest to the most fanatical collectors of Clark Terry's music." - Ken Dryden

Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals)
Jerome Richardson (tenor, baritone, soprano sax, alto flute, piccolo)
Frank Anderson (piano, organ)
Eric Gale, Vinnie Bell (guitar)
Richard Davis, George Duvivier (bass)
Grady Tate (drums)
Willie Bobo (congas)
Jose Mangual (bongos)
Phil Kraus (percussion)
  1. The Mumbler Strikes Again
  2. Big Spender
  3. Rum and Mumbles
  4. The Shadow of Your Smile
  5. Mumbles
  6. Grand Dad's Blues
  7. The Cat from Cadiz
  8. Never
  9. El Blues Latino

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Art Pepper - The Artistry Of Pepper

This CD starts off with four selections from a date led by tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins that features altoist Art Pepper; the remainder of the quintet is comprised of pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Ben Tucker and Mel Lewis. While they perform boppish versions of two standards and a pair of Pepper originals, the remainder of the CD has a particularly strong set that showcases Pepper in a nonet arranged by Shorty Rogers. The music in the latter date are all Rogers originals and there are alternate takes of "Diablo's Dance" and "Popo" to round out the program. The other soloists include trumpeter Don Fagerquist, Bill Holman on tenor, baritonist Bud Shank, valve trombonist Stu Williamson and pianist Russ Freeman. Highly recommended to fans of Art Pepper and West Coast jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Alto saxophonist Art Pepper came to prominence during the 1940s as a member of the Stan Kenton orchestra. His exacting technique, rhythmic sophistication, and melodic invention added up to a distinctive sound, albeit under the inevitable influence of bop master Charlie Parker. Pepper's early career was plagued with heroin addiction and imprisonment. Artistry was made in 1956 and 1957 following Pepper's rehabilitation. The album collects two sessions, one a quintet in which Pepper shares the featured role with tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins, the other a "cool" nonet performing arrangements by Shorty Rogers. The CD reissue includes alternate takes not on the original release. ~ John Swenson

Art Pepper (alto sax)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Bill Holman (tenor sax)
Bill Perkins (tenor sax)
Bud Shank (baritone sax)
Monty Budwig (bass)
Red Callender (tuba)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Shelly Manne (drums)

1. What Is This Thing Called Love?
2. A Foggy Day
3. Diane-A-Flow
4. Zenobia
5. Didi
6. Powder Puff
7. Bunny
8. Diablo's Dance
9. Diablo's Dance (alt take)
10. Popo
11. Popo (alt take)

Miff Mole - 1928-1937 (Chronological 1298)

Less jaunty than Kid Ory and not as funky as Charlie Irvis, Miff Mole's trombone had a sound all its own. His calm, assertive presence transformed any ensemble, and the bands he led were usually dependable and solid. If you're not yet a devoted follower, this excellent package might grab you for keeps. The opening session features an inspired Frank Teschemacher, who really shines on "Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble." The rest of the material from 1928 is delightful, sounding a lot like fully arranged small band swing from the mid-'30s. The piano lineup is marvelous throughout: Joe Sullivan, Arthur Schutt, and Frank Signorelli, composer of "I'll Never Be The Same" and "A Blues Serenade." Tuba legend Joe Tarto anchors three different ensembles and sounds particularly comfortable behind the trombone solos. Because they wisely chose not to feature any vocalists on the 1928-1929 sides, the magical interaction between instrumentalists proceeds without interruption. We get a good taste of Jimmy Dorsey's clarinet while Matt Malneck saws away on a hot violin. Dick McDonough's guitar solo on "Playing the Blues" is dazzling. Eddie Lang, however, plays hardly audible straight rhythm guitar on the April 19, 1929, session, restraining himself while the horns bubble and smoke out front. "That's a Plenty" is a prime example of how hot these guys could blow, and Dorsey is joined by tenor man Babe Russin for a wild version of "After You've Gone."

Those 14 hot sides are followed by a session from 1930. It's amazing how ensembles began to congeal and sweeten once the new decade (and the Great Depression) was on. Mole does some stuffy work with a mute and Scrappy Lambert's vocals are a bit fluffy, but the exciting presence of Adrian Rollini's bass saxophone is consoling, much as it was on the Venuti/Lang recordings from this same period. Luckily, we are given the option of skipping the vocal selections and choosing instrumental alternates, which were originally issued on Odeon instead of Okeh. These are as worthy as any of the other instrumental numbers included here.

The material from 1937 is thicker and more heavily arranged, with vocals by Midge Williams, who could be charming, and Chick Bullock, who wasn't. This is an entirely different world from the earlier sides. The presence of Glenn Miller constitutes a manifestation of mainstream big band music ready at that point to seize the market. Mole sounds great once Bullock runs out of lyrics, and even six marginally appealing vocal episodes cannot detract from the simple majesty of this chronologically stacked retrospective. Mole deserves to be remembered and Classics is to be commended for having the gumption to issue his music in this manner. ~ arwulf arwulf

Miff Mole (trombone)
Harry James (trumpet)
Red Nichols (trumpet)
Glenn Miller (trombone)
Joe Sullivan (piano)
Frank Teschemacher (clarinet)
Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax)
Eddie Condon (banjo)
Carl Kress (guitar)
Dick McDonough (guitar)
Adrian Rollini (baritone sax)
Joe Tarto (bass tuba)
Gene Krupa (drums)

1. One Step To Heaven (Windy City Stomp)
2. Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble
3. Crazy Rhythm
4. You Took Advantage Of Me
5. You're The Cream in My Coffee
6. Wild Oat Joe
7. Red Head
8. Playing the Blues
9. I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling
10. That's A Plenty
11. Birmingham Bertha
12. Moanin' Low
13. You Made Me Love You
14. After You've Gone
15. Navy Blues
16. Lucky Little Devil
17. Navy Blues
18. Lucky Little Devil
19. On A Little Bamboo Bridge
20. How Could You?
21. I Can't Break The Habit Of You
22. Love And Learn

Contributions 6

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Jaki Byard - Sunshine Of My Soul

" A strong-voiced trio that sounds like no other group. Izenson's unusual take on jazz bass is a key element, as is - inevitably - Elvin's patented polyrhythmic approach, but it's Byard who stars on this recently re-issued set, stamping his considerable authority on 'St Louis Blues' as well as on a number of thoughtful originals. The transfers are expertly done and the record adds another important date to the Byard discography. " ~ Penguin Guide

In 1967, Jaki Byard turned 45. At that age, some musicians are very set in their ways -- they have a niche, cater to it, and stick with whatever it is they do best. But Byard wasn't becoming complacent; the restless pianist was continuing to experiment and take chances, which is exactly what he does on Sunshine of My Soul. Recorded on Halloween 1967, this unpredictable post-bop/avant-garde effort finds Byard being influenced by a wide variety of pianists. One minute, his lyricism is acknowledging Erroll Garner and Dave Brubeck -- the next minute, he takes it outside and shows his appreciation of Cecil Taylor's free jazz. McCoy Tyner is an influence on original pieces like "Sunshine" and "Cast Away," while W.C. Handy's often-recorded "St. Louis Blues" (the only tune on the album that Byard didn't write) becomes an unlikely mixture of free jazz and stride -- sort of Taylor by way of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. Taylor's influence is especially strong on the very stream-of-consciousness "Trendsition Zildjian," which is among the most abstract pieces that Byard has recorded. And whoever might be influencing Byard at a particular moment -- Taylor, Brubeck, Tyner, Garner, Bud Powell, or someone else -- the Bostonian always sounds like himself. Of course, a musician who is that broad-minded and eclectic needs musicians who are capable of keeping up with him and, thankfully, Byard has that in drummer Elvin Jones and bassist David Izenzon (known for his work with Ornette Coleman in the 1960s). Neither of them have a problem keeping up with Byard on this superb Prestige date, which Fantasy reissued on CD in 2001 under its Original Jazz Classics imprint. ~ Alex Henderson

Jaki Byard (piano, guitar)
David Izenzon (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

1. Sunshine
2. Cast Away
3. Chandra
4. St. Louis Blues
5. Diane's Melody
6. Trendsition Zildjian

Charles McPherson (1971) [LP > FLAC]

Charles McPherson is in fine form on this self-titled out-of-print Mainstream LP as is ex-Mingus sideman Lonnie Hillyer on trumpet. Barry Harris and Ron Carter offer their usual strong support as well. McPherson offers up two originals, "Serenity" and "Another Kind of Blues" as well as two standards, "My Funny Valentine" and an up-tempo version of Alec Wilder's "While We're Young". Charlie Parker is also represented with "Bird Feathers". The only throw away track is "What's Goin' On" which sounds dated and is marred by poorly engineered sound. Thankfully, this is the shortest track on the record.

Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet)
Barry Harris, Niko Bunink (piano)
Gene Bertoncini, Carl Lynch (guitar)
Ron Carter (bass)
Leroy Williams (drums)
  1. What's Goin' On
  2. Serenity
  3. My Funny Valentine
  4. Another Kind of Blues
  5. While We're Young
  6. Bird Feathers
Recorded June 16-17, 1971

Jazz West Coast Live/Hollywood Jazz, Vol. 1

Chosen as one of his Fifty Representative West Coast Recordings 1945-1960:

The sound quality is poor, and the songs stretch on for twenty minutes each - but few live jazz recordings of the postwar years can match the same excitement of this July 6, 1947, encounter between Gordon and Gray - Ted Gioia, West Coast Jazz

"When asked by Leonard Feather who the best player of the post-war generation was, Lester Young "gave a blanket endorsement of Wardell Gray." Having been quoted more than once on his distaste for bop, Benny Goodman heard the Thin Man firsthand at a California concert and admitted to a Metronome interviewer, "If Wardell Gray plays bop, it's great. Because he's wonderful." Within months, Goodman formed a new septet featuring Gray. Even after being chosen by the King of Swing, Gray's sense of "who he was" was so strong that when people were congratulating him for being with Goodman, he told his wife he wished somebody would talk about how Goodman was playing with him.

On those Central Avenue nights when they had people standing on tables and chairs cheering them on, Dexter and Wardell were so deep in tenor heaven they left the rest of the band behind. In Central Avenue Sounds, an oral history of L.A. jazz, pianist Gerry Wiggins reports that he and Charlie Mingus simply gave up and left the stage one night after the two tenors had been through 20 or 30 choruses "and they didn't stop. They went right on with the drummer. Didn't miss us at all." Stuart Mitchner

"It comes as little surprise that Jack Kerouac selected this particular recording as one of the favorites of Dean Moriarty, his protagonist in On The Road" Ted Gioia, West Coast Jazz

Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray (tenor sax)
Howard McGhee (ttrumpet)
Sonny Criss (alto sax)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Trummy Young (ttrombone)
possibly Leroy Gray (bass)
Ken Kennedy (drums)

1. Announcement
2. Bopera (Disorder At The Border)
3. The Hunt (Rock' N' Shoals)

Elks Auditorium, Los Angeles, July 6, 1947

Unsolicited plug: Gioia's book, West Coast Jazz, is excellent and rewards purchase. Ditto for his The History Of Jazz. Well written, and damn near exhaustive.

Chico Hamilton Quintet - 1955-56 Complete Studio Recordings FLAC

It is doubtful that any other combo leader in jazz has made the jump from sideman to maestro more rapidly or more successfully than Chico Hamilton.
The Los Angeles-born drummer, a sideman with name bands throughout the 1940s and subsequently member of Lena Horne’s accompanying trio for several years, did not really get into action as a leader until 1955, when he formed his quintet. Their initial impact undoubtedly was helped by the quintet’s instrumentation. With Chico on drums, Buddy Collette on flute, clarinet and saxes, Fred Katz, cello, Jim Hall, guitar, and Carson Smith, bass, they presented an innovative sound. Never did they overpower, or use high decibels as a substitute for inventiveness. In a little more than a year on the road Chico’s quintet established itself as one of the best-drawing small jazz units in the field.
CD liner notes

01 A Nice Day
02 My Funny Valentine
03 Blue Sands
04 The Sage
05 The Morning After
06 Jonalah
07 Chrissie
08 The Wind
09 Gone Lover (When Your Lover Has Gone)
10 The Ghost
11 Sleepy Slept Here (Santa Monica)
12 Takin’ A Chance On Love
13 The Squimp
14 Topsy
15 Sleep

Recorded in Hollywood on August 23, 1955 (1-5), January 4, 1956 (6-10) and February 10 & 13, 1956 (11-15)

Tracks 1-5 from the 12" Pacific Jazz album "Chico Hamilton Quintet" PJ-1209
Tracks 6-15 from the 12" Pacific Jazz album "Chico Hamilton Quintet in Hi-Fi" PJ-1216

Buddy Collette Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)
Fred Katz Cello
Jim Hall Guitar
Carson Smith Bass
Chico Hamilton Drums

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Debut Records Story

Debut Records was a United States jazz record label, which was founded in 1952 by bassist Charles Mingus, his then-wife Celia and drummer Max Roach. This short-lived label was an attempt to avoid the compromises of working for major companies. Intended to showcase work by new musicians (Thad Jones and Paul Bley made their first recordings on the label), only two dozen or so albums were issued before the company was wound up in 1957. Debut was the label on which the celebrated Jazz at Massey Hall concert album was first issued; recorded in Toronto, this features Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Mingus and Roach, and was the last recorded meeting of the first two participants.

The Debut catalog was eventually given to Saul Zaentz, then of Fantasy Records, by Mingus as a wedding present when Zaentz married the former Celia Mingus.

In its brief history, Debut Records managed to record a galaxy of bop and progressive-minded jazzers of the time, and this four-CD box set is a great way to get a taste of almost all of the label's releases. A handful of tracks predate the label; they are mostly poorly recorded live snapshots of Charlie Parker, but the sound quality picks up considerably thereafter. The selections go through some quirky Charles Mingus and Max Roach-led sessions that simply reek of the hip early-'50s bop underground, before sampling the famous 1953 Massey Hall concert with Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Parker, Mingus, and Roach, the records that put Debut on the map. Some of the exciting four-trombone bop sessions with J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Bennie Green, and Willie Dennis are here, as are three downcast excerpts from Miles Davis' sole Debut LP Blue Moods. Besides Roach, we hear trumpeters Kenny Dorham and Thad Jones, pianists Paul Bley and Alonzo Levister, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, singer Ada Moore, clarinetist Sam Most, and saxophonist John LaPorta in their debuts as leaders. In a curious jumping-of-the-gun, a description of some Teo Macero Quintet tracks is left in the booklet, even though Fantasy couldn't obtain the rights to the music. By and large, the set is dominated by first-rate bebop, with sprinklings of avant-garde experiments like some really odd, dissonant stuff from the Mingus Octet & Orchestra and LaPorta's offbeat group concepts. Ultimately, The Debut Records Story paints a compelling picture of a quirky yet courageously uncompromising label that catered to what amounted to a small dissident sect in a conformist decade. ~ Richard S. Ginell

CD 1
1. Dizzy Atmosphere - Charlie Parker/Miles Davis/Max Roach/Duke Jordan/Tommy Potter
2. The Way You Look Tonight - Charlie Parker/Miles Davis/Max Roach/Duke Jordan/Tommy Potter
3. Ornithology - Charlie Parker/Red Rodney/Al Haig/Tommy Potter/Roy Haynes
4. Hot House - Charlie Parker/Red Rodney/Al Haig/Tommy Potter/Roy Haynes
5. Confirmation - Charlie Parker/Red Rodney/Al Haig/Tommy Potter/Roy Haynes
6. Body And Soul - Spaulding Givens/Charles Mingus
7. Blue Moon - Spaulding Givens/Charles Mingus
8. Extrasensory Perception - Charles Mingus Quintet
9. Portrait (Take 2) - Charles Mingus Quintet
10. Paris In Blue - Charles Mingus Quintet
11. Sfax - Max Roach Septet
12. Orientation - Max Roach Septet
13. Just One Of Those Things - Max Roach Quartet
14. Bebopper - The Gordons/The Hank Jones Trio
15. You And Me - The Gordons/The Hank Jones Trio
16. Embraceable You - Bud Powell Trio
17. Cherokee - Bud Powell Trio
18. Lullaby Of Birdland - Bud Powell Trio
19. Perdido - Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker/Bud Powell/Charles Mingus/Max Roach

CD 2
1. Salt Peanuts - Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker/Bud Powell/Charles Mingus/Max Roach
2. A Night In Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker/Bud Powell/Charles Mingus/Max Roach
3. Bass-ically Speaking - Billy Taylor/Charles Mingus
4. I'll Remember April - J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding/Bennie Green/Willie Dennis
5. Move - J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding/Bennie Green/Willie Dennis
6. Kai's Day (Kai's Kid) - J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding/Bennie Green/Willie Dennis
7. Lonesome Lover Blues - Kenny Dorham Quintet
8. An Oscar For Oscar (Take 1) - Kenny Dorham Quintet
9. Eclipse - Charles Mingus Octet
10. Miss Bliss - Charles Mingus Octet
11. Spontaneous Combustion - Paul Bley Trio
12. (Teapot) Walkin' - Paul Bley Trio
13. Darn That Dream (Take 2) - Kenny Dorham Quartet

CD 3
1. Notes To You - Sam Most Quartet
2. The Pendulum At Falcon's Lair - Oscar Pettiford Sextet
3. Stockholm Sweetnin' - Oscar Pettiford Sextet
4. Fluid Drive - John LaPorta Quintet
5. Right Around Home - John LaPorta Quintet
6. The Man I Love - Ada Moore
7. You Came A Long Way From St. Louis - Ada Moore
8. Bitty Ditty - Thad Jones Quintet
9. You Don't Know What Love Is - Thad Jones Quintet
10. A Foggy Day - Hazel Scott Trio
11. Mountain Greenery - Hazel Scott Trio
12. Ensenada - John Dennis Trio
13. Get Out Of Town - Thad Jones Quartet
14. I Can't Get Started - Thad Jones Quartet
15. All The Things You Are - John LaPorta Quartet
16. Two Party Campaign - John LaPorta Trio

CD 4
1. Nature Boy - Miles Davis Quintet
2. Alone Together - Miles Davis Quintet
3. Easy Living - Miles Davis Quintet
4. Portrait - Thad Jones/The Charles Mingus Orchestra
5. Variegations - John Dennis
6. Jump Monk (Alternate Take) - Charles Mingus Quintet
7. Work Song - Charles Mingus Quintet
8. A Foggy Day - Charles Mingus Quintet
9. Black Swan - Alonzo Levister Orchestra
10. Latter Day Saint - Jimmy Knepper Quintet
11. The Jumpin' Blues (Jump The Blues Away) - Jimmy Knepper Quintet
12. Autumn In New York (Take 1) - Shafi Hadi Sextet
13. Joldi (Take 4) - Shafi Hadi Sextet

Earl Hines-Classic trio sessions 1964-6

"Earl Hines is the ONLY one of us capable of creating real jazz and real swing when playing all alone"
Lennie Tristano
"I always challenge myself.
I get out in deep water and i always try to get back.
But i get hung up.The audience never knows, but thats when i smile the most, when i show the most ivory."
Earl Hines
" A blues?, he queried with distaste. a blues aint nothin'but a blues i never considered myself a blues player.
Saint louis was just an accident".
Earl Hines as related to Stanley Dance.
Here's another great little lone hill boot of two classic earl Hines sessions ..
some months ago I posted "fatha" in an elementary form ripped from the budget cbs red hot release ,which contained next to no info ...
It seems that bootleggers are now doing a better job than a major label (in this case).
The first session here is a real beauty..Elvin Jones and Richard Davis don’t hold back in fact they push Hines to his very limits.
The only online review I could find

"Elvin Jones was not the most obvious accompanist to choose for a recording by the veteran pianist Earl Hines. They belong in completely different chapters of jazz history.
Jones was best known as the percussionist who unleashed thunder at the drums in the classic John Coltrane Quartet. Hines made his most celebrated recordings with Louis Armstrong in 1928.
But together in 1966, they sounded tremendous. Hines, nicknamed "Fatha", bounds youthfully up and down the keyboard; Jones is a whirlwind of energy; Richard Davis - also a member of the 60s avant-garde - plays marvelously stentorian bass.
The second recording date on this compilation, with Oliver Jackson on drums, is also full of good stuff. But the first one really sparkles: champagne for the ears".
Martin Gaylord

Happy Birthday, Jelly Roll Morton

Happy Birthday, Great One.

The Joe Wilder Quartet - Jazz From Peter Gunn

The Joe Wilder Quartet - Peter Gunn
Columbia Records
CL 1319

Wilder was born into a musical family led by his father Curtis, a bassist and bandleader in Philadelphia. Wilder's first performances took place on the radio program, "Parisian Tailor's Colored Kiddies (sic) of the Air." He and the other young musicians were backed up by such illustrious bands as Duke Ellington's and Louis Armstrong's that were also then playing at the Lincoln Theater. Wilder studied at the Mastbaum School of Music in Philadelphia, but turned to jazz when he felt that there was little future for an African American classical musician. At age 19, Wilder joined his first touring big band, Les Hite's band.

Wilder was one of the first thousand African Americans to serve in the Marines during World War II. He worked first in Special Weapons and eventually became Assistant Bandmaster at the headquarters' band. Following the war during the 1940 and early 1950s, he played in the orchestras of Jimmie Lunceford, Herbie Fields, Sam Donahue, Lucky Millinder, Noble Sissle, Dizzy Gillespie, and finally with the Count Basie Orchestra. From 1957 to 1974, Wilder did studio work for ABC-TV, New York, and in the pit orchestras for Broadway musicals, while building his reputation as a soloist with his albums for Savoy (1956) and Columbia (1959). His Jazz from Peter Gunn (1959), features ten song from Henry Mancini ("Peter Gunn") television score in melodic and swinging fashion with a quartet. He was also a regular sideman with such musicians as NEA Jazz Masters Hank Jones, Gil Evans, and Benny Goodman. He became a favorite with vocalists and played for Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte, Eileen Farrell, Tony Bennett, and many others. Wilder returned to school in the 1960s, earning a bachelor's degree at the Manhattan School of Music where he was also principal trumpet with the school's symphony orchestra under conductor Jonel Perlea. At that time, he performed on several occasions with the New York Philharmonic under Andre Kostelanetz and Pierre Boulez. Wilder played lead for the Symphony Of The New World from 1965 to 1971.

He appeared on The Cosby Show 1986, episode "Play It Again, Russell", is a reference to "Play it again, Sam", a quote from Casablanca (1942). played the trumpet in the Malcolm X Orchestra in Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" (1992). Since 1991 he returned as a leader and recorded three albums for Evening Star.
Source: Wikipedia

Blue Mitchell - Out Of The Blue

Blue Mitchell, as a trumpeter and leader, produces jazz that is ultimately infectious, fully flavored with "funk," "soul" and "swing," but devoid of all pretentiousness. His ability to establish an immediate rapport with those on the other side of the stage is understandable when his background is considered.

Since he pulled out from his native Florida, as a member of the Paul Williams aggregation, Blue has learned the "ins" and "outs" of pleasing people by working with a wide variety of musical outfits. Certainly the three years he spent as a stalwart of Earl Bostic's band, back in the early fifties, had a profound influence on the formation of his style. This earthy approach was enhanced by a stint on the road with a show headlined by Arthur Prysock, Sarah Vaughan and Al Hibbler. And in between he payed his dues by playing virtually everything from rock 'n' roll to hard bop.

Blue's first actual jazz recording date came back in 1952 when he was called into a set led by Lou Donaldson, featuring Art Blakey, Percy Heath and Horace Silver. Just about everyone knows what happened after that. Blue spent seven solid, highly productive years with Silver in what became one of the swingingest combos of all time. It was then that he developed strong musical ties with the group's tenor saxophonist, Junior Cook, bassist, Gene Taylor, and drummer, Roy Brooks. When Silver disbanded his quintet in early 1964, to form another, Blue stepped up to lead his own group. It was a natural, since he, Cook, Taylor and Brooks had been making their own gigs on offnights, even while working with Silver. Shortly afterwards, Brooks became ill, and a fine replacement was found in the person of Al Foster, a young drummer who had been making the scene with several of the more promising performers of the coming generation.

This early recording by Blue Mitchell finds the distinctive trumpeter in excellent form in a quintet also featuring tenor saxophonist Benny Golson (who contributed "Blues on My Mind"), either Wynton Kelly or Cedar Walton on piano, Paul Chambers or Sam Jones on bass and drummer Art Blakey. The consistently swinging repertoire includes a surprisingly effective version of "When the Saints Go Marching In." "Studio B," recorded in the same period but formerly available only in a sampler, has been added to the program. It's an enjoyable date of high-quality hard bop.

Blue Mitchell (trumpet)
Benny Golson (tenor saxophone)
Wynton Kelly(piano)
Cedar Walton (piano - 7)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Sam Jones (bass - 1,3,4)
Art Blakey (drums)

1. Blues On My Mind
2. It Could Happen To You
3. Boomerang
4. Sweet-Cakes
5. Missing You
6. When The Saints Go Marching In
7. Studio B

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York in December 1958

David Matthews - Big Band Recorded Live at the Five Spot (1975) [LP > FLAC]

A "little" big band put together by arranger/pianist David Matthews that unlike the usual big band fare, has the feel of a small group with extended space for improvisation. The emphasis is on the funky/fusion side of things with "Nardis" and "Round Midnight" being the more jazz-flavored pieces on the album.

If you're interested in other out-of-print Muse albums, check out this new site:

Dave Tofani (alto sax, soprano sax, flute)
Frank Vicari (tenor sax, flute)
Kenny Berger (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Joe Shepley, Burt Collins (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Michael Gibson (trombone)
Fred Griffen (F horn)
Tony Price (tuba)
Dave Matthews (piano)
Sam Brown (guitar)
Harvie Swartz (bass)
Jimmy Madison (drums)

  1. Three on the Stairs
  2. Prayer
  3. Joyce from the Bronx
  4. Nardis
  5. 'Round Midnight
  6. Dance of the Wind Chimes
  7. Penny Arcade
Recorded May 5 & June 2, 1975

John Kirby - 1939-1941 (Chronological 770)

John Kirby's outfit is one of the most interesting groups I've come across in the past number of years. Very high quality musicianship, and one of the few older groups that I find has fans amongst - you'll excuse the term - 'free jazz' aficionados..

"The second of three Classics John Kirby CDs has 23 more titles in the history of Kirby's unique sextet. The band, comprised of trumpeter Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Buster Bailey, altoist Russell Procope, pianist Billy Kyle, drummer O'Neil Spencer, and the bassist/leader, performed cool-toned chamber jazz more than a decade before it became popular, and carved out its own unusual niche during the big-band era. The tight ensembles and brief solos brought out the best in each of the players. Highlights of this highly recommended disc include "Humoresque," "Jumpin' in the Pump Room," "Chloe," "Sextet From 'Lucia,'" and "Zooming at the Zombie."" ~ Scott Yanow

John Kirby (bass)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Buster Bailey (clarinet)
Russell Procope (alto sax)
Billy Kyle (piano)
Neil Spencer (drums)

1. One Alone
2. Humoresque
3. Serenade
4. Jumpin' In The Pump Room
5. Milumbu
6. You Go Your Way
7. 20th Century Closet
8. Temptation
9. Blues Petite
10. On A Little Street in Singapore
11. Chloe
12. Andiology
13. Can't We Be Friends?
14. Then I'll Be Happy
15. I Love You Truly
16. Frasquita Serenade
17. Sextet From 'Lucia'
18. Coquette
19. Zooming At The Zombie
20. Bounce Of The Sugar Plum Fairy
21. Beethoven Riffs On
22. Double Talk
23. Cuttin' The Campus

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Charles Mingus - Mingus Quintet Meets Cat Anderson

An oddity in the Mingus canon. The CD comes with minimal critical apparatus, and is from 1972; a year which was given to extensive touring and no studio sessions. The year began with Charles Mingus And Friends In Concert (to be posted shortly) and the studio album prior was Let My Children Hear Music. His next studio release would be Mingus Moves almost a full year after this date.

"(Cat Anderson)... quickly became a central part...Ellington's sound. Anderson was capable of playing in a number of jazz styles, but is best remembered as a high-note trumpeter. He had a big sound in all registers, but could play in the extreme high register (up to triple C) with great power (videos exist showing him playing high-note solos without a microphone, clearly audible over an entire big band with all the members individually miked). Wynton Marsalis has called him "one of the best ever" high note trumpeters. More than just a high-note trumpeter, though, Anderson was also a master of half-valve and plunger-mute playing."

Charles Mingus (bass)
Cat Anderson (trumpet)
Joe Gardner (trumpet)
Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax, flute)
John Foster (piano)
Roy Brooks (drums

1. Celia
2. Perdido

"Berliner Jazztage", "Philharmonie", Berlin, Germany, November 5, 1972

Bobby Shew - Playing With Fire (1986)

The two trumpets of Bobby Shew and Tom Harrell compliment each other quite nicely on this 1986 session. Instead of a battle to see who can play higher, louder and faster, the focus is on fluid, harmonically advanced improvisation. And the rhythm section ain't too shabby either!

Bobby Shew, Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Kei Akagi (piano)
John Patitucci (bass)
Roy McCurdy (drums)

  1. Prelude and Blues
  2. Cloud Dance
  3. Spiral Dreams
  4. Playing With Fire
  5. April Mist
  6. Broadway Manor Mayhem
Recorded September 17, 1986

Jazz Soundie: Lionel Hampton Orchestra

The Lionel Hampton Orchestra of yesteryear playing 'Cobb's Idea'. Check out the (literally) rockin' Milt Buckner on piano. (I'm sure you'll agree that in this case 'on piano' is more descriptive than 'at the piano'!) An mpeg2 DVD-quality file (natually the source wasn't 'DVD quality' at all, but at least nothing important was lost in the compression)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Art Blakey - Alamode

The legendary Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers took several forms throughout its long life. Many young musicians were nurtured in Blakey's band before going on to greatness themselves. One of the most prolific versions of this group existed in the period of the late-'50s and early-'60s, and included Wayne Shorter (before his work with Miles Davis), Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Jymie Merritt and Bobby Timmons. This unusual album on Impulse (the group recorded many great records for Blue Note) catches the Messengers at a pivotal moment just before Morgan and Timmons' departure and at the beginning of Fuller's tenure.

Beginning with the hard swinging "Alamode," Blakey drives the three-man horn section forcefully as Timmons provides spicy punches underneath the weaving melody. The classic "Invitation" is given a slow and slinky treatment with Morgan's muted trumpet providing the perfect blue coloration. The disc's centerpiece is the lively "Circus," a perfect vehicle for the dexterous horns and dynamic rhythm section. The bluesy ballad "You Don't Know What Love Is," the ebullient "I Hear a Rhapsody" and the slow-grooving "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You" finish out this excellent document of a stirring group of jazz legends.

Art Blakey (drums)
Wayne Shorter (tenor sax)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Bobby Timmons (piano)
Jymie Merritt (bass)

1. Alamode
2. Invitation
3. Circus
4. You Don't Know What Love Is
5. I Hear A Rhapsody
6. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 13-14, 1961

Wes Montgomery - Movin' Along

Because it was recorded between two of Wes Montgomery's best-known albums (Incredible Jazz Guitar and So Much Guitar), this particular CD is a bit underrated. The great guitarist is teamed with flutist James Clay (who switches to tenor on Wes's "So Do It"), pianist Victor Feldman, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes for four standards (highlighted by Clifford Brown's "Sandull" and "Body and Soul"), Sam Jones's "Says You" and two Montgomery originals. The reissue also adds a pair of alternate takes to the fine program. Wes Montgomery made many of his finest jazz recordings originally for Riverside and this is an often-overlooked gem. ~ Scott Yanow

Movin' Along finds Wes Montgomery, still in the early days of his discovery by the jazz community, recording on the West Coast with Cannonball Adderley's rhythm section. The ensemble also includes James Clay, primarily on flute, and Montgomery is credited with bass guitar on four of the tracks--actually a six-string electric bass, which he uses for melodies and solos rather than replacing Sam Jones' upright bass on any of the tunes. The repertoire is Montgomery's usual balance of originals, jazz compositions, and standards.

"So Do It" is a stop-time bebop line, while the title cut is a reflective blues in the hard bop vein, with a patient, low-flame groove. Flute and brushes lend Clifford Brown's extroverted blues "Sandu" an intimate feel, even when Jones and Montgomery are trading acoustic and electric bass lines.

Wes Montgomery (guitar)
James Clay (flute, tenor sax)
Victor Feldman (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Movin' Along
2. Tune-Up
3. Tune-Up (take 9)
4. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
5. Sandu
6. Body And Soul
7. Body And Soul (take 2)
8. So Do It!
9. Says You

Recorded at United Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California on October 12, 1960

Joe Pass - Songs For Ellen

This posthumous CD is novel because it features Joe Pass exclusively on acoustic guitar, and it is obvious that he enjoyed every minute of these sessions. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is no longer easy listening fodder, as Pass turns it into a miniature master class in swing. "Star Eyes" is accented by the soft squeaks of Pass' fingers gently weaving their intricate magic. Most of the works of Joe Pass tended to be improvised blues, so the title track is an exception -- a simple yet elegant ballad written for his wife. "Blues for Angel" highlights his matchless mastery of slow blues. The boppish blues "Satellite Village" is a perfect closer. The good news is that there are several more unreleased sessions by Joe Pass that will follow this superb collection. ~ Ken Dryden

Joe Pass (acoustic guitar)

1. The Shadow Of Your Smile
2. Song For Ellen
3. I Only Have Eyes For You
4. Stars Fell On Alabama
5. That Old Feeling
6. Star Eyes
7. Robbins Nest
8. Someone To Watch Over Me
9. Blues For Angel
10. There's A Small Hotel
11. How Deep Is The Ocean?
12. Stormy Weather
13. Just Friends
14. Blue Moon
15. Satellite Village

Recorded at Group IV Recording Studio, Hollywood, California in August, 1992

Cal Tjader - Several Shades Of Jade/Breeze From The East (1963) [CD > FLAC]

One of the most unique albums of Cal Tjader's career, 1963's Several Shades of Jade is a collaboration with composer and arranger Lalo Schifrin that transposes the vibraphonist's musical travels from Latin America to the Far East. This is no more traditional Asian music than Tjader's similar albums from this period are traditional Latin American music, but the pair wisely avoids the standard clichés of Asian music (no smashing gongs after every musical phrase or melodies that sound like rejects from The Mikado). Instead, Schifrin frames Tjader's meditative vibraphone solos in arrangements that strike a cool balance between western kitsch and eastern exotica, never tipping too far in either direction. Although the follow-up album, Breeze From the East, is rightfully panned by just about everyone whose idea of Asian music doesn't begin and end with the Vapors' "Turning Japanese," Several Shades of Jade is actually an interesting experiment that succeeds more often than it fails. ~ Stewart Mason

1. The Fakir
2. Cherry Blossom
3. Borneo
4. Tokyo Blues
5. Song of the Yellow River
6. Sahib
7. China Nights (Shina No Yoru)
8. Almond Tree
9. Hot Sake

Cal Tjader's Breeze from the East combined the vibist's Latin lounge style with kitschy Asian touches. In lieu of the Asian-born material and Lalo Schifrin's airy arrangements found on its predecessor Several Shades of Jade, though, Tjader opted here for Stan Applebaum's self-penned go-go charts. On "Sake and Greens," "Cha," and "Shoji," mod-rock guitar lines shadow Tjader's solos on pat-sounding Oriental scales, while pianist Lonnie Hewitt keeps up a soul-jazz rhythm -- picture '60s-era James Bond on a wild chase through the heart of Tokyo. Tjader's traditionally light, Latin combo approach -- sans much of the Eastern ornamentation -- is still used on standards like "Stardust" and "East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)" and even worked to somewhat sublime heights on "Fuji" and "Black Orchid." The ultra-smooth Latin jazz sound Tjader favored has always been more infectious than demanding and Breeze from the East's commercialized mod/eastern elements only end up expanding the pop exotica mix. Breeze from the East is only available on a double CD with Several Shades of Jade, but considering the comparable quality of both discs, it's not a bad deal or a kitsch overload. ~ Stephen Cook

10. Sake And Greens
11. Cha
12. Leyte
13. Shoji
14. China Nights (Shina No Yoru)
15. Fuji
16. Black Orchid
17. Theme From Burke's Law
18. Star Dust
19. Poincana
20. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
21. Cha (alternate take)
22. Star Dust (alternate take)

Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca - Tenors Head On

Two of Lester's boys.

Among the "coolest" of the West Coast tenor players of the 1950s, Bill Perkins in later years became a bit influenced by John Coltrane and modernized his style in a personal way. A flexible and versatile musician who also played baritone, alto, soprano, and flute, Perkins was best-known for his work on tenor. Born in San Francisco, he grew up in Chile, moved to Santa Barbara, and served in the military in World War II. After studying music and engineering, he played in the big bands of Jerry Wald, Woody Herman (1951-1953 and 1954), and Stan Kenton (1953-1954 and 1955-1958). "Perk" started recording as a leader in 1956 (most notably Grand Encounter with John Lewis), including sets with Art Pepper and Richie Kamuca. During the 1960s he had a dual career as a studio musician and a recording engineer, and during 1970-1992 he was a member of the Tonight Show Band. Since then, Perkins played baritone and tenor with the Lighthouse All-Stars and was a member of the Bud Shank Sextet, in addition to heading his own sessions for a variety of labels. He died on August 9, 2003 of cancer at the age of 79. ~ Scott Yanow

An excellent cool-toned tenor who found his own voice in the Lester Young-influenced Four Brothers sound, Richie Kamuca tended to be overshadowed by those who came first (such as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Al Cohn) but musicians knew how good he was. Kamuca was a soloist with the orchestras of Stan Kenton (1952-1953) and Woody Herman (1954-1956), and then worked steadily on the West Coast with such groups as those led by Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, the Lighthouse All-Stars (1957-1958), Shorty Rogers, and Shelly Manne (1959-1961). He recorded one album apiece as a leader for Liberty, Mode, and Hi Fi (1956-1957); the latter two have been reissued by V.S.O.P. Moving to New York in 1962, Kamuca worked with Gerry Mulligan, Gary McFarland, and Roy Eldridge (1966-1971), but was fairly obscure. In 1972, he moved back to Los Angeles to work in the studios, but he also played jazz locally with small groups and with Bill Berry's L.A. Big Band. In his later years (1977) before his death from cancer (the day before his 47th birthday), Richie Kamuca recorded three wonderful albums for Concord. ~ Scott Yanow

Richie Kamuca (tenor sax)
Bill Perkins (tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute)
Hampton Hawes (piano)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Stan Levey (drums)

1. Cotton Tail
2. I Want a Little Girl
3. Blues for Two
4. Indian Summer
5. Don't Be That Way
6. Oh! Look at Me Now
7. Spain
8. Pick a Dilly
9. Solid de Sylva
10. Just Friends
11. All of Me
12. Limehouse Blues
13. Sweet and Lovely

Jazz Soundie: Meade Lux Lewis - Boogie Woogie

In case you enjoyed the Meade Lux Lewis posts here awhile back, here's a little music video to get acquainted with him in person.

mpeg-2 DVD quality file. Biographical notes in comments.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Secret Museum Of Mankind Vol. 1

From a time when the Camden, New Jersey studios would record Jimmie Rodgers, a Sardinian triple pipe player (an amazing musician, by the way) and Bix Beiderbecke in the same year. This was (is?) a weekly radio show on WFMU.

Of all the recent excavation projects inspired by our voracious musical culture, none is more fascinating than Pat Conte's Secret Museum series for Yazoo. Till now, a Western listener's familiarity with ethnic music from the distant past has depended on unsexy field recordings of relatively recent vintage, produced in a spirit of near-scientific inquiry by anthropologically minded musicologists. When the commercial record business really began to expand in the late '20s however, just about every national style of music was sought out and captured for a growing marketplace. This was true "world music," dressed in its Sunday best perhaps as performed by ambitious locals, but still more vital than the academic, folklorist approach that followed.

Just as Harry Smith compiled early commercial blues and country records for his monumentally influential Anthology Of American Folk Music, so Conte has gathered even rarer 78s from all over the globe. Thanks to excellent remastering, we can hear vividly how an ensemble sounded in India or Japan more than a half-century ago or a klezmer orchestra right before the Nazis destroyed that bit of local culture. It's like owning your own time machine.

1. Jubilee Anthem - Eleja Choir (Nigeria)
2. Fiorassio - Effisio Melis (Sardinia)
3. Techudo Techudiessa - Savelli Walevitch (Russia)
4. Kapirigna - Fonseka & Party (Ceylon)
5. Jat Song - Bhoora Singh & Party (Rajahstan)
6. Oye Mi Coro - Septeto Matamoros (Cuba)
7. Dance Song - (Romania)
8. Lo'i Song Nui - Hoang-Vuy (Vietnam)
9. Selska Ratschentitza - Sephanya Penchevya (Macedonia)
10. UPA-UPA - Les Tamaru (Society Islands)
11. Ma Thama Zinek - Raoul Journo (Morocco)
12. Angihambe - Zwabesho Sibisi (South Africa)
13. Ise-No-Umi - Imperial Houshold Orchestra (Japan)
14. Gungru Tarang - Master Manahar Barve (India)
15. Te Quiero Bilbaina - Triki-Triki (The Basque)
16. Byggnan - Eric Sahlstrom (Sweden)
17. A Europaische Kolomyka - Raderman-Beckerman Orchestra (Yiddish)
18. Nie Smuccie Sie Tatry - Goralska Orkiestra (Poland)
19. Hill and Gully Ride/Mandeville Road - Lord Composer (Jamaica)
20. Medina - Haile, Ighigou (Abyssinia)
21. Alegrias - La Nina De Los Peines (Andalucia)
22. Naidasay Toy Pusoc - Duetto Pamolinao (Visayan Islands)
23. Isa Lei - Andi Thakambau (Fiji)

Wayfaring Strangers: Guitar Soli (Numero 018)

Now all dust from the recent explosion of solo guitar albums has settled somewhat, the Numero Group barge their way into this most saturated of markets with their customarily keen eye for unearthing largely unknown talents. The liner notes go through the motions of presenting a potted history of the form, inevitably paying tribute to John Fahey and the Takoma school, but this is only contextual information, provided to gently introduce newcomers to the format. According to Rob Sevier's introduction, that's the sort of audience this compilation is aimed at: the new and casual listener, who isn't necessarily versed in the American Primitive lineage. You'll find a great deal of text bundled into this release, with several of the performers offering their musings and reflections on their relationship with the instrument, and as you thumb through these accounts you might notice a few recognisable album sleeves: Stephen Cohen's 'No More School' comes from The Tree People album, reissued not long ago by Japanese imprint Tiliqua, and the William Eaton contribution resurfaced as part of a solo full-length only last week thanks to the EM label. Arguably the most exciting piece on the disc is Daniel Hecht's 'Baba Dream Songs', showcasing a formidably dextrous technique and a fiery, impassioned picking style. Nowadays Hecht is best known as a novelist, but his instrumental talents were immense if this recording is anything to go by. In all fairness, the other contributors aren't exactly shabby either, and this compilation is bound to prompt an interest in these lost artists' obscure back catalogues. Thankfully, with this beautifully assembled collection Numero leave the guitar solo obsessive with plenty of fresh leads to chase up if you're willing to do the crate digging. Lovely stuff - highly recommended.

1. Beginning - Dana Westover
2. Raga In 'D' - Ted Lucas
3. Sailor's Dream - Scott Witte
4. Flight - George Cromarty
5. Diagonal - Richard Crandell
6. Baba Dream Songs - Daniel Hecht
7. Delta Freeze - Jim Ohlschmidt
8. No More School - Stephen Cohen
9. Untitled - William Eaton
10. Strawberry Man - Mark Lang
11. Quidate Quierda - Tom Smith
12. Charley Town - Dan Lambert
13. Warm River - Brad Chequer
14. One Forty Eight - Dwayne Cannan

The indefatigable Numero Group returns with more obscure beauty. Expanding their distinctive quality-control over the compilation racket, Rob Sevier and company resound tastefully yet again, but with a new reissue sound for a new year. Further strengthening their contention that esoteric is better, Wayfaring Strangers: Guitar Soli pulls selectively from the 15 transformative years between two guitar paradigms — American Primitive Guitar of the Sixties and New Age of the Eighties — showcasing the lesser-heard innovators who challenged the narrative depths found in a 6- or 12-string guitar.

The song selection maps fingerstyle’s frontiers from 1966-1981, suggesting Numero as a label retrospectively in discussion with John Fahey’s Takoma Records and William Ackerman’s Windham Hill Records. Likewise, the life stories painstakingly detailed in Guitar Soli’s spirited 40-page booklet affirm the authenticity of the players alongside their compositions, thereby acknowledging both the stylistic traditions and regional environments that nurtured such songwriting — idiosyncratic American locales like Northern California or rural Wisconsin. From Ted Lucas playing sitar on Motown records to Brad Chequer never making it past Windham Hill’s slush pile, these literally unsung songs — and players — had a tangible presence in their day, nevermind the ghost-like interregnum between original release and Guitar Soli. (Maybe William Eaton handcrafted your 12-string at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, or you remember the Richard Crandall composition “Rebecca” from a Leo Kotke LP.)

More than anything, Guitar Soli encapsulates a latter-day American folk aesthetic, when impressions of a changed and changing society evolved into verve and musical self-discovery. For instance, listen to this compilation’s bookends — two haunting compositions by Dana Westover and Dwayne Cannan — that function as Guitar Soli’s overtures, and yet feel just too powerful to be mere ruminations. Thriving on complementary opposites, these songs linger loudly and quietly, the players sounding out a self-determination that surely includes loneliness. The 14 voices on Guitar Soli shimmer with 14 personalized guitar stylings, each marked by an independence in composition, albeit through discipline and mastery. If only guitar cases were so unlatched today. ~ James Wells

Friday Fusion

Jaco Pastorius - The Birthday Concert (1981)

On an irregular basis in the early '80s, the innovative electric bassist Jaco Pastorius led a big band that he called Word of Mouth. This excellent CD documents Pastorius' 30th birthday party, a concert at which he was joined by the Peter Graves Orchestra (consisting of 14 horns, two steel drums, and two percussionists) plus drummer Peter Erskine, Don Alias on conga, and both Michael Brecker and Bob Mintzer on tenors. Brecker co-stars with Pastorius on a strong program that is highlighted by "The Chicken," a burning rendition of "Invitation," and "Liberty City." The music is full of spirit and joy, featuring Pastorius at the peak of his powers just before his tragic decline. - Scott Yanow

Jaco Pastorius (bass)
Michael Brecker (tenor sax)
Bob Mintzer (tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Don Alias (congas)
Brian O'Flaherty, Ken Faulk, Brett Murphey, Melton Mustafa (trumpet)
Russ Freeland, Mike Katz, Dave Bargeron, Peter Graves (trombone)
Peter Gordon (french horn)
Dan Bonsanti, Gary Lindsay, Neal Bonsanti, Randy Emerick (reeds)
Othello Molineaux, Paul Hornmuller (steel drums)
Bobby Thomas, Jr., Oscar Salas (percussion)
  1. Soul Intro/The Chicken
  2. Continuum
  3. Invitation
  4. Three Views of a Secret
  5. Liberty City
  6. Punk Jazz
  7. Happy Birthday
  8. Reza
  9. Domingo
  10. Band Intros
  11. Amerika
Recorded at Mr. Pip's, December 1, 1981

Dexter Gordon - Biting The Apple

" Prodigal comes home. In 1976, Gordon made a rare return visit to the States. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that he decided to end his exile permanently. 'Apple Jump' is a joyous homecoming and 'I'll Remember April' one of his loveliest performances. Harris, Jones and Foster fit in comfortably, and the sound is good." ~ Penguin Guide

Many of Dexter Gordon's finest recordings were cut in Europe just prior to his triumphant return to the United States. This album was recorded just weeks before and it is one of the veteran tenor's best. With strong assistance from pianist Barry Harris, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Al Foster, Dexter plays exciting solos on "I'll Remember April," a warm version of "Skylark" and his two originals, "Apple Jump" and "A La Modal." It is highly recommended, as are all of Dexter Gordon's SteepleChase recordings from this period. ~ Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Barry Harris (piano)
Sam Jones (bass)
Al Foster (drums)

1. Apple Jump
2. I'll Remember April
3. Georgia on My Mind
4. Blue Bossa
5. Skylark
6. La Modal

Recorded November 9, 1976

Chico Hamilton - 1973 The Master

Although originally appeared under the name of Chico Hamilton, this Stax record was resissued as CD including the names of Lowell George and Little Feat. I suppose the reason was to widen the market and sell more records, but it's also a recognition of the labour of the group in the final result. Was recorded in 1973 when Little Feat was in the peak of their career, each time more orientated towards funk, jazz and improvisation.

01 - One Day Five Months Ago 8:06
02 - Feels Good 5:35
03 - Fancy 3:13
04 - Stu 4:00
05 - Gengis 4:10
06 - Conquistadores '74 3:37
07 - Stacy 4:23
08 - I Can Hear The Grass Grow 4:10

Chico Hamilton Drums
Bill Payne Piano
Simon Nava Conga Drums
Lowell George Slide Guitar
Kenny Gradney Bass
Paul Barrere Guitar
Stu Gardner Organ
Sam Clayton Conga Drums
Jerry Aiello Organ (1 & 2)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wes Montgomery - Down Here On The Ground

"...during 1964-1966 he recorded an interesting series of mostly orchestral dates with arranger Don Sebesky and producer Creed Taylor. These records were generally a good balance between jazz and accessibility, even if the best performances were small-group outings with either the Wynton Kelly Trio or Jimmy Smith.

In 1967 Wes signed with Creed Taylor at A&M and during 1967-1968 he recorded three best-selling albums that found him merely stating simple pop melodies while backed by strings and woodwinds. His jazz fans were upset, but Montgomery's albums were played on AM radio during the period. He helped introduce listeners to jazz, and his live performances were as freewheeling as his earlier Riverside dates."

"By the last year of his life, Montgomery was a pop star, and there is precious little jazz on these chart-oriented sessions for Herb Alpert's label. The familiar parallel octaves are there in plenty, but Montgomery does little more than register the melody, repeat it with some slight elaboration, negotiate a middle eight as straightforwardly as possible, and then on out to a faded ending." ~ Penguin Guide

Wes Montgomery (guitar)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Mike Mainieri (vibraphone)
Ron Carter (bass)
Hubert Laws (flute)
Grady Tate (drums)
Ray Barretto (percussion)
Bobby Rosengarden (percussion)

1. Wind Song
2. Georgia On My Mind
3. The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener
4. Down Here On The Ground
5. Up And At It
6. Goin' On To Detroit
7. I Say A Little Prayer For You
8. When I Look In Your Eyes
9. Know It All
10. The Fox

The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band (1995)

Formed in 1992 and disbanded in 2002, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, with musical director Jon Faddis, only released this one CD in 1996.

The Carnegie Hall band was built on the sound of the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis big band, which has since morphed into the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Carnegie Hall's ensemble was built on brass; played by some of the best big-band musicians in the city, it made witty, harmonically progressive music. It had range and an objective perch on jazz history, with an ability to sound delicate or clobbering. And of the jazz-repertory bands we've seen in New York since the 1980's, it was the Carnegie Hall group that really drove home the idea that jazz repertory needn't be anything like a strict reading of the original.

It was a brass-player's band: Jon Faddis, the group's director, is a trumpet high-note specialist and probably the most important of Dizzy Gillespie's later students, and the band usually had generous trumpet and trombone sections among its 17 members. But in another sense it was a band led by composition, because the real stars of these concerts -- and the band's lasting legacy -- were the commissioned rearrangements of old works and the composition of new ones by the likes of Michael Philip Mossman, Jim McNeely, Slide Hampton and Manny Albam, among others. - Ben Ratlif

Jon Faddis (musical director, trumpet)
Lew Soloff, Byron Stripling, Earl Gardner, Ryan Kisor (trumpet)
Dennis Wilson, Steve Turre, Slide Hampton, Douglas Purviance (trombone)
Dick Oatts, Jerry Dodgion, Ted Nash, Ralph Lalama, Gary Smulyan (reeds)
Renee Rosnes (piano)
Peter Washington (bass)
Lewis Nash (drums)
Guest Artists:
Lew Tabackin (tenor sax on Giant Steps)
Frank Wess (tenor sax on In the Mood)
  1. In the Mood
  2. It Never Entered My Mind
  3. Shiny Stockings
  4. Giant Steps
  5. Frame for the Blues
  6. Sing, Sing, Sing
  7. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
  8. South Rampart Street Parade

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cannonball Adderley - Know What I Mean? (20bit K2)

What's better than a Bill Evans Trio album? How about a Bill Evans trio album on which the bassist is Percy Heath, the drummer is Connie Kay, and the leader is not Evans but alto sax god Cannonball Adderley, making the group actually a quartet? It's a different sort of ensemble, to be sure, and the musical results are marvelous. Adderley's playing on "Waltz for Debby" is both muscular and sensitive, as it is on the other Evans composition here, a modal ballad called "Know What I Mean?" Other treats include the sprightly "Toy" and two takes of the Gershwin classic "Who Cares?" The focus here is, of course, on Adderley's excellent post-bop stylings, but it's also interesting to hear Evans playing with a rhythm section as staid and conservative as Kay and Heath (both charter members of the Modern Jazz Quartet). It's hard to imagine any fan of mainstream jazz not finding much to love on this very fine recording. ~ Rick Anderson

Possibly the best of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's many releases, 1961's Know What I Mean? finds the alto saxophonist in a different setting. Usually found ronting hard-bop combos featuring his brother Nat on cornet, Adderley is here accompanied by pianist Bill Evans, bassist Percy Heath, and Modern Jazz Quartet drummer Connie Kay. In these more placid surroundings, Adderley showcases an entirely different side to his playing.

Accompanied by Evans' impressionistic, watery piano and Kay's low-key drums, Adderley's lines are lighter and more peaceful than his usual bluesy tone. The opening "Waltz for Debby" and the moody "Who Cares" could pass for outtakes from Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue, a record on which both Adderley and Evans had played. Know What I Mean? is something of an anomaly for Adderley, but it's a delightful one. This is an under-appreciated masterwork of modern jazz. The CD includes two alternate takes.

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. Waltz For Debby
2. Goodbye
3. Who Cares?
4. Venice
5. Toy
6. Elsa
7. Nancy (With The Laughing Face)
8. Know What I Mean? (re-take 7)
9. Who Cares? (take 4)
10. Know What I Mean? (take 12)

Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York, New York on January 27, February 21 and March 13, 1961

Billie Holiday - 1940-1942 (Chronological 680)

Offering a viable alternative to Columbia's popular Quintessential series of Billie Holiday's 1933-1942 sides, Classics' multi-disc survey of the singer's early material features a handful of additional tracks per disc and oftentimes better sound. This is not to say the Columbia titles are to be overlooked, but if you come across one of these fine imports, don't hesitate in picking it up. This mix of Holiday's 1940-1942 material is especially recommended; the songs mark the end of her Columbia stay, showing the first signs of a voice mellowed and toughened by a life of nightlife dissipation. In addition to such classics as "God Bless the Child" and "Solitude," Holiday delivers often overlooked highlights like "Jim" and "I Cover the Waterfront." Maybe not the best introduction to this vocal giant's catalog (try a disc from the latter half of the '30s), but still one that will be essential to any respectable Billie Holiday collection. ~ Stephen Cook

Billie Holiday (vocals)
Lester Young (tenor sax)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Benny Carter (clarinet, alto sax)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Teddy Wilson (piano)
Georgie Auld (alto sax)
Don Redman (alto sax)
Grachan Moncur II (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

1. I'm All For you
2. I Hear Music
3. It's The Same Old Story
4. Practice makes Perfect
5. St. Louis Blues
6. Loveless Love
7. Let's Do It
8. Georgia On My Mind
9. Romance In The Dark
10. All Of Me
11. I'm In A Low-Down Groove
12. God Bless The Child
13. Am I Blue?
14. Solitude
15. Jim
16. I Cover The Waterfront
17. Love Me Or Leave Me
18. Gloomy Sunday
19. Wherever You Are
20. Mandy is Two
21. It's A Sin To Tell A Lie
22. Until The Real Thing Comes Along
23. Trav'lin Light

Tyree Glenn - 1947-1952 (Chronological 1420)

Texas-born trombonist and vibraphonist Tyree Glenn developed his chops with Benny Carter's Orchestra during the late '30s and with Cab Calloway from 1940-1946. Classics 1420 presents all of the pre-LP-era records released under his name, with the exception of "Working Eyes," a maiden effort originally issued on the flip side of "Gloria," a Don Byas performance issued on the 78-rpm Swing label in 1946 and found on Classics 1009. During this time, both Byas and Glenn made records in Europe with members of Don Redman's touring band and the cream of the local jazz talent. The opening six tracks, recorded for Blue Star in Paris on January 13, 1947, mingle modern bop creations like Billy Taylor's "Mad Monk" and Charlie Parker's "Billie's Bounce" with pleasantly updated jazz standards. Although the enclosed discography fails to mention his presence on this first session, master tenor saxophonist Don Byas is present and in fine form throughout the entire date. The other front-liners were trumpeter Herbert "Peanuts" Holland and alto saxophonist Hubert Rostaing, himself a mainstay in the Parisian jazz scene that revolved around Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de France during the late '30s and 1940s. Tyree Glenn was a versatile musician whose adventures as both leader and sideman fit perfectly into the postwar transatlantic transition from swing to bop. On February 17, 1947, Tyree Glenn, Don Byas, and their orchestra cut four sides for the Decca label in Hilversum, Holland. This was the same ensemble as the previous date, with second trombonist Nat Peck replacing Rostaing. The music is superb -- Dvorák's Humoresque rolls along effortlessly, their version of Irving Berlin's "Always" sounds as modern as Dizzy Gillespie's (thanks especially to pianist Billy Taylor's sweeping arpeggios), and Glenn demonstrates his mastery of the vibraphone during "My Melancholy Baby." On March 28 and April 1, 1947, Glenn cut a series of recordings in Stockholm for the Musica and Swedish HMV labels with ensembles led by bassist Simon Brehm and pianist Charles Norman. The Brehm Kvintett rendition of "My Melancholy Baby" feels like something cooked up by Benny Goodman's bop band, largely because of agile clarinetist Ake "Stan" Hasselgård. Glenn's next session as a leader took place in New York on May 12, 1949, when he led a seven-piece band that was a scaled-down version of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, with Billy Strayhorn at the piano. This exciting compilation closes with a series of Roost recordings from 1951 and 1952. Here Glenn teams up first with organist Bill Doggett and finally with the rock-solid rhythm section of Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, and Jo Jones. ~ arwulf arwulf

This first volume includes all the sessions made under Glenn Tyree's own name before the LP era. Incidentally, "Working Eyes," from December 1946, was issued on the flip side of a 78 r.p.m. by Don Byas. A few weeks later, Glenn was in charge of a band composed of members from Don Redman's touring band and local French players. The seemingly odd combination of standards and modern bop tunes shows that the new style had reached Europe as well - not least because of Redman's orchestra. Glenn and Don Byas next recorded with a slightly changed outfit in the Netherlands. These tracks have rarely been reissued and include magnificent solos by the great Byas who recorded so abundantly and always played immaculately.

Tyree Glenn (trombone, vibraphone)
Don Byas (tenor sax)
Johnny Hodges (alto sax)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Billy Taylor (piano)
Harry Carney (baritone sax)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet)
Herbert LeRoy "Peanuts" Holland (trumpet, vocals)
Sonny Greer (drums)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Stan Hasselgard (clarinet)
Hank Jones (piano)
Jo Jones (drums)

1. Mad Monk
2. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
3. Hour of Parting
4. I Can't Get Started
5. Billie's Bounce
6. I Surrender, Dear
7. Humoresque
8. Always
9. Poor Butterfly
10. My Melancholy Baby
11. My Melancholy Baby
12. Sweet Lorraine
13. Limehouse Blues
14. Always
15. Sultry Serenade
16. Dusty Serenade
17. Tell Me Why
18. Little White Cloud That Cried
19. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)
20. Sugar
21. Sidewalks of New York
22. How Could You Do a Thing Like That

Wardell Gray - Volume 4: 1947

The version here of "Blue Lou" is the unedited performance, in contrast to the version found on Chronological 1109 (Erroll Garner), and the version of "Hot House" is said to be the only recorded example of Dodo Marmarosa's solo work.

Wardell Gray was one of the top tenors to emerge during the bop era (along with Dexter Gordon and Teddy Edwards). His Lester Young-influenced tone made his playing attractive to swing musicians as well as younger modernists. He grew up in Detroit, playing in local bands as a teenager. Gray was with Earl Hines during 1943-1945, recording with him (1945). That same year, he moved to Los Angeles and he became a major part of the Central Avenue scene, having nightly tenor battles with Dexter Gordon; their recording of "The Chase" was popular. Gray recorded with Charlie Parker in 1947 and yet his style appealed to Benny Goodman, with whom he played the following year. Among his own sessions, his solos on "Twisted" (1949) and "Farmer's Market" (1952) were turned into memorable vocalese by Annie Ross a few years later. Back in New York, Gray played and recorded with Tadd Dameron and the Count Basie septet and big band (1950-1951); "Little Pony," his showcase with the Basie orchestra, is a classic. Gray was featured on some Norman Granz jam sessions ("Apple Jam" has a particularly heated solo) and recorded with Louie Bellson (1952-1953). Ironically, Wardell Gray, who in the late '40s was an inspiration to some younger musicians due to his opposition to drug use, himself became involved in drugs and died mysteriously in Las Vegas on May 25, 1955, when he was just 34. ~ Scott Yanow

Howard McGhee (trumpet)
Sonny Criss (alto sax)
Wardell Gray (tenor sax)
Dodo Marmarosa (piano)
Erroll Garner (piano)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Red Callender (bass)
Jackie Mills (drums)

1. Be Bop
2. Groovin' High
3. Hot House
4. Blue Lou
5. Blue Lou
6. One O'Clock Jump
7. Chase
8. Chase

Benny Carter And His Orchestra - 1940-1941 (Chronological 631)

"Most of the selections on the sixth and final Classics' CD to reissue all of Benny Carter's pre-war recordings as a leader feature the altoist's commercially unsuccessful big band. With such major soloists as the leader, trumpeter Jonah Jones and Sidney DeParis, trombonists Benny Morton and Jimmy Archey and pianist Sonny White, it is surprising that this orchestra did not make it. The October 23, 1940 recording session (which has three vocals by Roy Felton including one in which he is joined by the Mills Brothers) is quite rare while the opening set from eight days earlier is a small group date with Bill Coleman and Benny Morton that features a pair of W.C. Handy blues sung by Big Joe Turner. Excellent swing music overall." ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (alto sax, trumpet, clarinet, piano)
Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
Joe Turner, Ron Felton, Mills Brothers, Maxine Sullivan (vocals)
Roy Eldridge, Doc Cheatham (trumpet)
Vic Dickenson (trombone)
John Kirby (bass)

1. I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me
2. Joe Turner Blues
3. Beale Street Blues
4. By The Watermelon Vine, Lindy Lou
5. The Last Kiss You Gave Me
6. Boogie Woogie Sugar Blues
7. I've Been In Love Before
8. All Of Me
9. The Very Thought Of You
10. Cocktails For Two
11. Takin' My Time
12. Cuddle Up, Huddle Up
13. Ev'ry Goodbye Ain't Gone
14. Babalu
15. There, I've Said It Again
16. Midnight
17. My Favorite Blues
18. Lullaby To A Dream
19. What A Difference A Day Made
20. Sunday
21. Ill Wind
22. Back Bay Boogie
23. Tree Of Hope

Benny Carter - 1952-1954 (Chronological 1400)

This CD features 3 sessions for RCA that should have been included on Classics 1297 because both dates precede Carter's first studio outing for Norman Granz mid-September 1952. For these RCA dates, Carter had written charts with strings in a manner that further popularized him among the producers at Hollywood's movie and TV Studios. In early Oct., Benny Carter led a star studded orchestra including many musicians who had previously worked with his regular big band. Strangely enough, this date was made after he had signed with Verve records! 2 months later, Norman Granz used his star Oscar Peterson to back Benny Carter on four tremendous tracks. More than a year later, the alto saxophonist recorded once again with strings.

Volume ten in the complete chronological recordings of Benny Carter, as compiled and presented on compact disc in 2006 by the Classics label, contains most of the originally issued master takes from his Verve and Victor sessions which transpired in New York and Los Angeles during the period between July 26, 1952 and January 4, 1954. What didn't make it onto this disc was a chunk of the Carter discography dating from August and October 1952, including the material released as the Alone Together album by "Benny Carter with the Oscar Peterson Trio and Buddy Rich" and a couple of tunes by Benny Carter's Orchestra with vocals by Savannah Churchill. Tracks one-three are performed by a solid little octet, while tracks four and six exhibit all the traits of polished early-'50s studio production, laying it on thickly using a large studio orchestra glazed with strings, a harp, and neatly harmonized group vocals. Even so, Carter sounds marvelous out in front with his creamy alto sax. Tracks five, seven, and eight are even better examples of Benny Carter's early-'50s sound. Tracks nine-twelve, played by Carter and a quartet led by pianist Oscar Peterson, were issued on a 10" long-playing Verve record with the word "Cosmopolite" on the cover. The remaining selections on this disc feature the Benny Carter Quartet augmented by a string and wind ensemble arranged and conducted by Joe Glover. At no point during this portion of his career did Carter sound like he was selling out or succumbing to convention. True, the addition of strings, beefed up orchestral charts, and especially the oozy vocals on "I Wanna Go Home" signal a momentary concession to perceived notions of popular taste, but in the larger scheme of things, and especially when placed into context as a relatively brief chapter in the remarkably long life and career of Benny Carter, this is pleasant enough stuff and it's precisely what Carter thought he needed to do during the early 1950s. arwulf arwulf

Lucky Thompson (tenor sax)
Doc Cheatham (trumpet)
Manny Klein (trumpet)
Gerald Wiggins (piano)
Billy Taylor (piano)
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Curtis Counce (bass)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Rene Hall (guitar)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Rubin Zarchy (trumpet)
Ray Brown (bass)

1. Lullaby in Blue
2. Rockin' Along (Rock Alone)
3. Cruisin'
4. I Wanna Go Home
5. Georgia On My Mind
6. You Belong To Me
8. Sunday Afternoon
9. Street Scene
10. Imagination
11. Pick Yourself Up
12. I Get A Kick Out Of You
13. I'll Be Around
14. Beautiful Love
15. Blue Star
16. Flamingo
17. With A Song In My Heart
18. Can't We Be Friends?
19. Symphony
20. Sorry

Sidney Bechet - 1940 (Chronological 619)

Classics' chronological reissue of Bechet's recordings (at least the regular takes) continues with a pair of songs made with blues singer Josh White, eight very enjoyable performances cut with a quartet consisting of cornetist Muggsy Spanier, guitarist Carmen Mastren and bassist Wellman Braud, and a pair of Bechet's Victor sessions. This is one of the strongest entries in this valuable series. ~ Scott Yanow

Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano sax)
Josh White (guitar, vocals)
Sidney DeParis (trumpet)
Muggsy Spanier (cornet)
Teddy Bunn (guitar)
Wellman Braud (bass)
Pops Foster (bass)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)

1. Careless Love
2. Milk Cow Blues
3. Lonesome Blues
4. Dear Old Southland
5. Bechet's Steady Rider
6. Saturday Night Blues
7. Four Or Five Times
8. Sweet Lorraine
9. Lazy River
10. China Boy
11. If I Could Be With You
12. That's A Plenty
13. Squeeze Me
14. Sweet Sue, Just You
15. Shake It And Break It
16. Old Man Blues
17. Wild Man Blues
18. Nobody Knows The Way I Feel Dis Mornin'
19. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor

Tommy Dorsey - 1937-1938 (Chronological 1078)

Tommy Dorsey presided over no less than 22 recording sessions during the year 1937. His records were popular among both jazz heads and pop music fans who expected to hear singers in front of the band. This eighth installment in the Dorsey chronology offers predominately vocal tracks garnished with three pleasant instrumentals, "Just a Simple Melody," "Little White Lies," and "Oh, Promise Me." The leader wisely bolstered his trombone's famous tonality with such capable players as Pee Wee Erwin, Bud Freeman, and Johnny Mince. Gifted percussionist Dave Tough, a troubled individual who was eventually slain by his addiction to alcohol, lasted a remarkably long time with Dorsey, finally bailing after the session of December 6th. Syrupy-voiced Jack Leonard made off with eight ballads in addition to Kern/Hammerstein's "Who?," which was given the same group vocal treatment as Dorsey's hit record, "Marie." Edythe Wright, capable of singing prettily, was at her best with humorous upbeat numbers like Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen's anti-romantic "Down with Love." The nadir of her career was reached with the incredibly racist Rodgers & Hart tune "There's a Boy in Harlem." This nasty little air paints an archaic Jim Crow portrait of a musically gifted but sloppily dressed Afro-American composer who never leaves the 'hood but whose influence pervades the music industry. With Lorenz Hart's lyrics containing a thinly veiled reference to "this person in the woodpile," the song belongs in Tin Pan Alley's sociological chamber of horrors. Its appearance in the Dorsey discography casts a sickly light upon his periodically flawed ethical sensibilities. ~ arwulf arwulf

Tommy Dorsey (trombone)
Bud Freeman (tenor sax)
Pee Wee Erwin (trumpet)
Johnny Mince (clarinet, alto sax)
Edythe Wright (vocals)
Lee Castle (trumpet)
Carmen Mastren (guitar)
Dave Tough (drums)

1. Gettin' Some Fun Out Of Life
2. In A Mission By The Sea
3. Nice Work If You Can Get It
4. You're A Sweetheart
5. Moanin' In The Mornin'
6. Down With Love
7. Who?
8. The Dipsy Doodle
9. I Can Dream, Can't I?
10. A Little White Lighthouse
11. The One I Love
12. Just A Simple Melody
13. I'm The One Who Loves You
14. Little White Lies
15. You Couldn't Be Cuter
16. Just Let Me Look At You
17. Smoke From A Chimney
18. The Big Dipper
19. How Can You Forget?
20. More Than Ever
21. There's A Boy In Harlem
22. Annie Laurie
23. Oh, Promise Me

Tania Maria - Alive & Cooking (1993)

This out-of-print West Wind CD features a live performance from Brazilian pianist/vocalist Tania Maria in a trio setting that includes Eddie Gomez on bass and Don Alias on drums and percussion. Unlike most of her studio recordings, the group gets a chance to stretch out on four long numbers.

I couldn't come up with a review, but this one from another of her live recordings will do.

If Tania Maria Live At The Blue Note is the first Tania Maria album you hear I guarantee that less than eight bars into it you'll be wondering what took you so long. You will also discover that Tania Maria is a unique, wonderfully alive, mega talent who cannot really be put in any single jazz pigeon hole. This native of Brazil treats her listeners to Brazilian Samba and bossa nova, but it doesn't end there. Tania Maria blends funk, pop, and jazz.

Tania Maria's vocals are a combination of rich earthy tones, depth and feeling and technical excellence. Decades of performing have honed her talent to a fine edge. She reaches out and draws her audience into the magic. And Tania Maria plays piano with excitement and imagination. In short, she is the complete package. - Barbara White

Tania Maria (piano, vocals, synth)
Eddie Gomez (bass)
Don Alias (drums, percussion)
  1. Dear D.V.
  2. E Carnaval
  3. I Can Do It
  4. Bom, Bom, Bom
Recorded in New York, 1993

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oscar Pettiford - 1953 The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet

Pettiford and Mingus together, reason enough alone to rush out and purchase this disc. A chance to hear these two string giants on the same session is a rare occasion and should not be passed up. Previously only available in part on the exhaustive Complete Mingus Debut Recordings box set these recordings have been long overdue for reissue in their original form. The fact that the rest of the players along with the music they tackle are of equally high caliber makes this release indispensable.
Arguably the first bassist to successfully adapt the cello to jazz-based improvisation Pettiford is in top form throughout the eleven tracks collected on the disc. He divides his time almost evenly between cello and bass over the course of the disc, which features work by two of his most renowned ensembles. The first seven compositions (actually, only five: 1,2,3,5,6) revolve around a sextet fueled by the flexible front line of Urso and Watkins. Both men shape a complimentary sound particularly on the lopingly morose ballad “Tamalpais Love Song” and Urso repeatedly exhibits his ability to blow both hot and cool without compromising an ounce of swing. For their parts, Mingus and Pettiford take the space afforded by the flexible drums of Brice and Bishop’s unobtrusive piano to converse in numerous exchanges. Pettiford consistently vouches for his pizzicato command of the lighter bodied cello while Mingus maintains a steady pulse underneath. The mentor and pupil make a winning team.
All-star distinction definitely fits the bill on the second session too where Pettiford gathers together a nonet (actually an octect) comprised of some of the finest players of the late 40s. Unfortunately the group is only featured on the final four tunes but they still manage to fly out of the gates exhorting an agile swinging group sound that belies their size. The fidelity is a little rougher with some surface noise and the rhythm section further back in the mix, but Pettiford’s speedy plucks are always audible laying down a firm anchor for the group. Chaloff’s foghorn baritone is an especially welcome addition to the group sound particularly on his own “Bop Scotch” where he trades phrases with a youthful Al Cohn. Anyone on the lookout for expertly rendered, hard swinging jazz need search no further than this historic album for a generous slice of the kind of magic that was Pettiford’s regular day’s work.
Derek Taylor, All About Jazz

01. Pendulum At Falcon's Lair [4:47]
02. Tamalpais Love Song [3:57]
03. Jack, The Fieldstalker [4:37]
04. Fru Bruel [5:23]
05. Stockholm Sweetnin' [4:16]
06. Low And Behold [3:31]
07. I Succumb To Temptation [5:38]
08. Chickasaw [2:55]
09. Bop Scotch [3:16]
10. The Most [2:54]
11. Chasin' The Bass [2:31]

Recorded in New York, on March 10, 1949 and December 29, 1953.
1-3, 5, 6 originally released as Debut 10" DLP-8.

1-3, 5, 6
Oscar Pettiford, cello (bass on 2)
Phil Urso, tenor sax
Julius Watkins, French horn
Walter Bishop, piano
Charles Mingus, bass
Percy Brice, drums
Recorded in New York City, December 29, 1953

4, 7
Oscar Pettiford, bass
Louis Hjulmand, vibes
Jan Johansson, piano
Recorded in Copenhagen, August 22, 1959

Oscar Pettiford, bass
Red Rodney, trumpet
Earl Swope, trombone
Al Cohn, tenor sax
Serge Chaloff, baritone sax
Barbara Carroll, piano
Terry Gibbs, vibes
Denzil Best, drums
Recorded in New York City, March 10, 1949

Yusef Lateef - 1959 Cry! Tender

In 1959, Yusef Lateef began using the oboe in his recording sessions and on live dates. This album marks that occasion, and is thus a turning point in an amazingly long and varied career. Accompanied by Lonnie Hillyer on trumpet, Hugh Lawson on piano, bassist Herman Wright, and drummer Frank Gant, Lateef was digging deeply into a new lyricism that was Eastern-tinged (the full flavor of that obsession would be issued two years later on Eastern Sounds and had been touched upon two years earlier on Other Sounds, released on New Jazz, where Lateef had used an argol as well as his sax and flute), modally informed, and distinctly light in texture — with the exception of the deep, dark, arco work at the beginning of "Dopolous," by Wright. Lateef was already moving away from what most people would call jazz by this time, yet, as evidenced here, his music remained challenging and very accessible. This is meditative music with a stunningly rich rhythmic palette for how muted and edgeless it is. And, like John Cage or Morton Feldman, the absence of those edges was written in; it's not random. On tunes like the aforementioned, "Butter's Blues," or even "If You Could See Me Now," Lateef could take the blues and move it into shadowy territory, pulling out of the intervals and changes certain harmonic concepts to turn the music back on itself. If restraint got practiced in the dynamic range, the drama in the music would be all the greater because of the wider harmonic palette — because it could be heard, not just felt. The result is a seamless, velvety, yet poignant take on the blues that echoed the tears referenced in the title of the album. And yet, the beauty, such a tender beauty, was so unspeakably fragile that the brass and reed instruments seemed to hover over the rhythm section and cut holes in the air like fine razors that can only be praised for the fineness of their slash. This was the beginning of Lateef's change in direction and, as a result, it deserves to be noted for that. However, it needs to be doubly noted for its truly magnificent sound, texture, playing, composition, and choice of tunes.
Thom Jurek

01 Sea Breeze (Hoffman, Manning) 3:09
02 Dopolous (Lateef) 3:15
03 Cry! -Tender (Lateef) 5:57
04 Butter's Blues (Lateef) 5:41
05 Yesterdays (Harbach, Kern) 4:20
06 The Snow Is Green (Lateef) 3:10
07 If You Could See Me Now (Dameron, Sigman) 4:46
08 Ecaps (Lateef) 6:29

Recorded in Englewoods Cliffs, New Jersey on October 16, 1959

Yusef Lateef - saxophone [tenor], flute, oboe
Lonnie Hillyer - trumpet
Hugh Lawson - piano
Herman Wright - bass
Frank Gant - drums

Only in song 8
Yusef Lateef - saxophone [tenor]
Wilbur Harden - flugelhorn
Ernie Farrow - bass
Oliver Jackson – drums

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gary McFarland & Clark Terry - Tijuana Jazz (1965) [LP > FLAC]

Because of the brief tracks and limited solo space, this was a lesser effort from McFarland and Terry. But the playing is good and the charts are typical McFarland. This LP has yet to be released on CD.

Gary McFarland (marimba, electric piano)
Clark Terry, Joe Newman (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Toots Thielemans (guitar, harmonica)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Bob Bushnell (bass)
Grady Tate, Mel Lewis (drums)
Willie Bobo (percussion)

  1. South of the Border
  2. Acapulco at Night
  3. Fantastic, That's You
  4. Limehouse Blues
  5. Tijuana
  6. Marcheta
  7. Granny's Samba
  8. Soul Bird (Tin Tin Deo)
  9. Mexicali Rose
  10. Ira Schwartz's Golden Dream
  11. Mary Jane
  12. Sweet Georgia Brown
Recorded December 3-7, 1965

Grant Green - Reaching Out

Yanow mentions the "contributions" of Frank Haynes, but this was initially a Haynes-led date.

Although it's not up to par with Grant Green's Blue Note records of the period, 1961's Reaching Out, released on the Black Lion label, is a solid piece in the guitarist's puzzle. Primarily a jam session date organized by drummer Dave Bailey, Green shines as usual alongside tenor saxophonist Frank Haynes, pianist Billy Gardner, bassist Ben Tucker, and Bailey on drums. The sound quality is not up to Rudy Van Gelder's standard on Green's more well-known discs, but spirited performances like the opening title track and the soaring "One For Elena" will assuage all doubts. Likewise, Green's playful read of Rodgers and Hart's "Falling In Love With Love" is a priceless performance that demonstrates yet another dimension to his range as an artist.

" Reaching Out is a bit of an oddity and certainly no more than a footnote to the Grant Green story. It was originally available on Black Lion and is only interesting for a brief insight into the forgotten Frank Haynes, a strong-voiced tenor who never seemed to make it to the A-list." ~ Penguin Guide

Grant Green is in fine form as is pianist Billy Gardner (better known as an organist), but the album is perhaps most valuable for the contributions of the obscure tenorman Frank Haynes who died in 1965; his sound will remind some a little of Stanley Turrentine. ~ Scott Yanow

Grant Green (guitar)
Frank Haynes (tenor sax)
Billy Gardner (piano)
Ben Tucker (bass)
Dave Bailey (drums)

1. Reaching Out
2. Our Miss Brooks
3. A Flick Of A Trick
4. One For Elena
5. Baby, You Should Know It
6. Falling In Love With You
7. Reaching Out
8. Our Miss Brooks
9. One For Elena

Nola Penthouse Studio, New York: March 15, 1961

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bill Henderson - His Complete Vee-Jay Recordings Volume 1

The first of two CDs that reissue all of singer Bill Henderson's output for Vee-Jay, this set finds Henderson (at the ages of 29-31) virtually at the beginning of his recording career; only a few singles preceded the Vee-Jay sessions. Henderson, a straightforward singer who developed his own sound while being in the tradition of Joe Williams, is heard on this CD in several settings. He is backed by the Ramsey Lewis trio on seven numbers, accompanied by a notable all-star sextet (with trumpeter Booker Little, tenorman Yusef Lateef, and arrangements by Benny Golson), joined by a Count Basie-oriented octet arranged by Frank Wess, has the assistance of the MJT + 3 on one number, and is backed by an orchestra on the final two songs. One of the most often overlooked jazz singers of the past 35 years, Bill Henderson is heard throughout the definitive set in top form, particularly on such numbers as "Bye Bye Blackbird," "It Never Entered My Mind," "Moanin'," and "Sleeping Bee." Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Bill Henderson (vocals)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Booker Little (trumpet)
Frank Strozier (alto sax)
Yusef Lateef (tenor sax)
Billy Mitchell (tenor sax)
Harold Mabern (piano)
Ramsey Lewis (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

1. Bye Bye Blackbird
2. Joey, Joey, Joey
3. Free Spirits
4. Sweet Pumpkin
5. Love Locked Out
6. It Never Entered My Mind
7. My Funny Valentine
8. Moanin'
9. Bad Luck
10. The Song Is You
11. This Little Girl Of Mine
12. You Make Me Feel So Young
13. Without You
14. Sleepy
15. I Go For That
16. Sleepy
17. Never Kiss And Run
18. Sleeping Bee

Stan Getz, Luiz Bonfa - Jazz Samba Encore! (1963)

Here's some more bossa nova from Stan Getz when the bloom was still on the first Brazilian boom. This time, however, on his third such album, Getz relies mostly upon native Brazilians for his backing. Thus, the soft-focused grooves are considerably more attuned to what was actually coming out of Brazil at the time. Two bona fide giants, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá (who gets co-billing), provide the guitars and all of the material, and Maria Toledo contributes an occasional throaty vocal. Getz injects more high-wailing passages into his intuitive affinity for the groove, even going for some fast bop on "Un Abraco No Getz," and Bonfá takes adept care of the guitar solos against Jobim's rock-steady rhythm. Clearly Jobim's songwriting contributions -- "So Danco Samba," "How Insensitive," and "O Morro Nao Tem Vez" -- would have the longest shelf life, and though the album didn't sell as well as its two predecessors, it certainly helped break these tunes into the permanent jazz repertoire. Avid bossa nova fans will certainly treasure this album for the lesser-known Bonfá tunes. ~ Richard S. Ginell

1. Sambalero
2. So Danco Samba (I Only Dance Samba)
3. I O Morro Nao Tem Vez
5. Samba De Duas Notas (Two Note Samba)
6. Menina Flor
7. Mania De Maria
8. Saudade Vem Correndo
9. Um Abraco No Getz
10. Ebony Samba (second version)
11. Ebony Samba (first version, bonus track)

Miles Davis- live at birdland 1950,( bootleg)

Here's an exiting quite well recorded Miles broadcast , which purports to be from a concert in birdland recorded in april 1950.
the personnel info is listed as
Miles Davis Sextet
Miles Davis (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Stan Getz (ts) Tadd Dameron (p) Gene Ramey (b) Art Blakey (d)
track list
1. Conception
2. Ray's Idea
3. That Old Black Magic
4. Max (Is) Making Wax
5. Woody 'N You
6. Move
7. Half Nelson
8. Down
9. Move
10. Squirrel
11. Lady Bird
12. Confirmation
13. Out of the Blue

But its clear that stan getz only plays on 4 or five tracks..
The miles online discography at lists ...
Miles Davis Sextet
Miles Davis (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Stan Getz (ts) Tadd Dameron (p) Gene Ramey (b) Art Blakey (d)
WNYC radio broadcast, "Birdland", NYC, February 18, 1950
Conception Ozone 1; Kings Of Jazz [It] KLJ 20013; Fresh Sound [Sp] FSR 124
Which leaves the problem of identifying the other 6 or 7 tracks..
its clear that on some there are more than 1 saxophone.
the other birdland broacast(FROM THE SAME YEAR) listed at jazzdisco is...
Miles Davis' Birdland All Stars
Miles Davis (tp) Fats Navarro (tp -4/7,9,10) J.J. Johnson (tb -1/5,8/10) Charlie Parker (as -6) Brew Moore (ts -1/5,7/10) Tadd Dameron (p -1/5,7,8) Walter Bishop Jr. (p -6,9,10) Curly Russell (b) Art Blakey (d)
"Birdland", NYC, June 30, 1950
But then again the tracklistings are significantly different.
apparently freshsound has released a 2 volume set of "birdland sessions" perhaps someone who has that may be able to clarify the matter.

Scott Hamilton & Bucky Pizzarelli ...remember Zoot Sims - The Red Door (1995)

As of 1998, when this CD was released, Scott Hamilton had recorded over 30 albums as a leader for Concord. Although all are quite worthwhile, the swing tenor's consistency and unchanged style since the 1970s have resulted in a certain sameness and predictability to his recordings. This release, however, definitely stands apart from the crowd, for it is a set of tenor/guitar duets that Hamilton performs with Bucky Pizzarelli. A tribute to Zoot Sims (one of Hamilton's early influences), this is a very successful outing. Pizzarelli's mastery of the seven-string guitar allows him to play basslines behind solos, so one never misses the other instruments. Although the duo performs a variety of standards, there are also some lesser-known pieces among the highlights including the title cut, Al Cohn's "Two Funky People," the Sims/Cohn collaboration "Morning Fun," and the obscure "In the Middle of a Kiss." Both Hamilton and Pizzarelli sound inspired in this format, stretching themselves while always swinging. Pizz had recorded a duo album with Sims back in 1973, and Zoot also cut a full set with guitarist Joe Pass a couple years later. This excellent, slightly offbeat outing is on the same level as those two and is highly recommended to fans of swinging mainstream jazz. - Scott Yanow

Scott Hamilton (tenor sax)
Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar)
  1. It Had to Be You
  2. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You
  3. The Red Door
  4. Dream of You
  5. Jitterbug Waltz
  6. Two Funky People
  7. Just You, Just Me
  8. In the Middle of a Kiss
  9. Morning Fun
  10. It's All Right With Me
Recorded March 22, 1995

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jack McDuff - Tough 'Duff

" 'Brother' Jack McDuff managed to shake loose from a basic Jimmy Smith influence to explore a subtler and less heavy-handed approach to organ jazz....(this disc) will be welcomed into the library of any collector who feels they have sufficient Smith albumsby now." ~ Penguin Guide

Organist Jack McDuff's second set as a leader teams him with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest, vibraphonist Lem Winchester (an unusual addition for this type of soul-jazz set), and drummer Bill Elliott. This CD reissue finds the group playing fairly basic material, including a pair of McDuff originals, "Smooth Sailing" and "Autumn Leaves." McDuff, Forrest, and Winchester have no difficulty chewing up the chord changes, and although no real surprises occur, the results are typically swingin' and groovin'. ~ Scott Yanow

Jack McDuff (organ)
Jimmy Forrest (tenor sax)
Lem Winchester (vibraphone)
Bill Elliot (drums)

1. Smooth Sailing
2. Mean To Me
3. Tippin' In
4. Yeah, Baby
5. Autumn Leaves
6. Tough 'Duff

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: July 12, 1960

Don Menza - Burnin' (1981)

The only recording by Don Menza's big band of the early 1980s features many of the top Los Angeles-based, jazz-oriented session players of the era. Menza contributed four of the six selections and all of the swinging arrangements; best are "Burnin' (Blues for Bird)," "Tonawanda Fats" and the memorable "Dizzyland." With such soloists as altoist Joe Romano, baritonist Jack Nimitz, pianist Frank Strazzeri, trombonist Bill Reichenbach, Menza's intense tenor, and trumpeters Chuck Findley, Ron King, Don Rader, Bobby Shew and Frank Szabo (all of the trumpeters are featured on "Dizzyland"), the Don Menza Big Band was a mighty if now forgotten orchestra. This album features Menza at the peak of his powers. - Scott Yanow

Digital recording was still relatively new at the time of this 1981 release, and most big bands had yet to employ it for their studio sessions. Always the innovator, Menza gathered together a bunch of his talented friends and laid down these six digital tracks in one evening, requiring just one or two takes each (according to Leonard Feather's liner notes).

Menza is masterful on tenor saxophonist and as composer/arranger. He solos on only three of the tracks, most notably his ballad feature "Don't You Know I Care," and lets his sidemen demonstrate that they're up to his challenging charts both as an ensemble and as soloists. The selections showcase trumpet more than sax, with a feature number for Don Rader ("New Spanish Boots"), solo work on other tracks for Bobby Shew and Chuck Findley, plus a feature for the whole trumpet section called "Dizzyland." Other tracks include the energetic "Burnin'" and "Tonawanda Fats" and a great swinger called "Relaxin'." Considering the caliber of the charts and the performances, this album rates five stars and will be enjoyed by all who derive pleasure from big band jazz. - James A. Vedda

Don Menza (leader, arranger, tenor sax)
Chuck Findley, Bobby Shew, Frank Szabo, Don Rader, Ron King (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Charlie Loper, Bill Moffett, Bill Reichenbach, Mayo Tiana, Dana Hughes (trombone)
Joe Romano, Ray Reed, Larry Covelli, Gary Herbig, Jay Migliori, Jack Nimitz (reeds)
Frank Strazzeri (piano)
Frank De La Rosa (bass)
Nick Ceroli (drums)
  1. Burnin' (Blues for Bird)
  2. Don't You Know I Care (Or Don't You Care to Know)
  3. New Spanish Boots
  4. Tonawanda Fats
  5. Relaxin'
  6. Dizzyland

Luciano Berio- Coro 1975-6, Ekphrasis 1996

Biography by Joseph Stevenson

“Luciano Berio was one of the most important Italian composers of the second half of the twentieth century, a leader of the international avant-garde who has managed to write music that is communicative and pleasing to audiences. He received musical instruction from his father and grandfather, organists in Oneglia, and continued musical training through his school years. After World War II he went to Milan to study law but also became a composition pupil with Ghedini, a composer known for his interest in many styles. He passed that interest on to Berio, who started his career as a neo-Classicist.

While in school Berio met met a remarkable American singer, Cathy Berberian. They married and went to the U.S. on their honeymoon. At Tanglewood, he met his famous countryman Luigi Dallapiccola, who was teaching there. From him, Berio learned to work with the 12-tone system and also absorbed an interest in working with sound as a musical parameter. He met the electronic music pioneers Ussachevsky and Luening, which furthered his interest in sound. This led him, on his return to Europe, to seek out Bruno Maderna, Henri Pousseur, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, leaders of the European avant-garde who were also interested in electronic music.

In 1955 Berio and Bruno Maderna founded a Studio di Fonologia at a Milan radio station; it was the first electronic music studio in Italy. Berio became very active there, organizing concerts and also publishing a new music journal, both under the name Incontri musicali. He resigned his position with the studio in 1961, worn out by overwork, red tape, and political infighting.

Berio explored the frontiers of sound, particularly vocal sound, thanks to his association with Berberian. She was willing and able to produce a remarkable variety of extended techniques with her voice, which she did with the utmost musicianship. But Berberian was also able to win audiences with her superior showmanship. Representative of Berio's vocal writing is Sequenza III for solo voice, which portrays 44 emotional states in seven and a half minutes and includes conventional singing, coughs, sighs, sobs, and a sound Berio called "girl-bird." The work Omaggio a Joyce used Berberian's voice as the source sounds for a tape music piece. The more traditional Folk Songs was a display piece for her facility with languages. Berio's noteworthy, ongoing series of solo instrumental works — many in theSequenza series — have often explored the timbral possbilities of a particular instrument.

Biography continued in comments....

performance info
Frankfurt radio symphony orchestra and chorus
conducted by Luciano Berio
recorded live oct 29 1998 (coro)
feb 13/14 1997 (Ekphrasis)

Friday, October 10, 2008


We begin a little PresFest, beginning with Volume 2. That is because I do not have Volume 1. I do, however, have 3, 4, 5, and 6.

While similar collections on the Classics and Verve labels provide the best first-disc option for Lester Young's vintage sides, this estimable disc offers a nice array of the tenor giant's output from his prime 1939-1942 stretch. The 18-track set includes gems featuring the Count Basie-heavy Kansas City Six ("Pagin' the Devil," "Good Morning Blues") and combos graced by both jump blues-esque pianist Sammy Price and the golden Nat King Cole. And for classic jazz and blues vocal fans, the lovely Una Mae Carlisle breaks up the instrumental booty with a handful of rousing performances. What about Young's solos, you may ask? Well, from chestnuts like "Body and Soul" to such novelties as "Blitzkrieg Baby (You Can't Bomb Me)," he delivers a consistent flow of sensuous, bittersweet lines and seraphic tenor atmospherics. Maybe not a bad place to start after all. ~ Stephen Cook

Lester Young (tenor sax)
Charlie Christian (guitar)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Nat King Cole (piano)
Buck Clayton (trumpet)
Una Mae Carlisle (vocals)
Lee Young (drums)

1. Pagin' the Devil
2. Good Morning Blues
3. 'Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
4. Tickle Toe
5. Taxi War Dance
6. Blitzkrieg Baby (You Can't Bomb Me)
7. Beautiful Eyes
8. There'll Be Some Changes Made
9. It's Sad But True
10. Goon Drag
11. Things About Coming My Way
12. Just Jivin' Around
13. Benny's Bugle/Sign Off
14. Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina
15. Indiana
16. I Can't Get Started
17. Tea for Two
18. Body and Soul

Friday Fusion

Barry Miles - Sky Train (1976)

This week we're digging into the vinyl archives for an out-of-print album from keyboardist Barry Miles.

Barry Miles was considered a child prodigy: he began playing drums when he was three, piano at five and joined the Musicians Union when he was nine. Miles played drums professionally from the age of ten, including sitting in with the Woody Herman Orchestra. At age 12, he recorded his first album as a leader on drums, leading a sextet that included pianist Duke Jordan. As a teenager, he studied classical piano and soon switched instruments. Originally a bop-oriented player, Miles leaned towards fusion by the late 1960s, often playing electric piano and synthesizer. He led Silverlight for several years (his sidemen at various times included Woody Shaw, John Abercrombie and Al DiMeola), worked as Roberta Flack's musical director in the early 1980s, and became a studio musician in New York. Although he periodically pops up on records, Miles has not yet lived up to his great potential as a major jazz improviser. Miles has led albums for the Charlie Parker label (1959-60), Venture (1967), Poppy (1970), Mainstream (1972), London (1974) and Gryphon (1977).

"Much of my 'fusion' concept developed not from the Mahavishnu Orchestra and other fusion groups of the seventies, but from thoughts and music I had been thinking about in 1964 and 1965. The original concept was what I chose to call 'syncretic music,' which is basically a fusion of diverse musical styles and elements. I have nothing against the term 'fusion music' except that it has unfortunately become synonymous with loud, electronic, rock-oriented jazz which turns a number of people off. In reality, 'fusion music' can encompass just about everything: from mellow to intense, acoustic to electronic, jazz to folk, rock, classical, oriental, or what have you. The trick, obviously, is to utilize diverse elements, styles and methods and make a piece work as an entity in itself." - Barry Miles

Barry Miles (keyboards)
Eric Kloss (alto sax)
Vic Juris (guitar)
Jeff Mironov (guitar on 2)
Anthony Jackson (bass)
Eddie Gomez (bass on 6)
Terry Silverlight (drums)
Rubens Bassini, Erroll "Crusher" Bennett (percussion)
Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, Joe Shepley, Burt Collins (trumpet)
Sam Burtis, Tony Studd, Tom Malone, David Taylor (trombone)
Jim Buffington, Brooks Tillotson (french horn)
Tony Price (tuba)
  1. Sky Train
  2. Old Man Jack
  3. Relay
  4. This Is Our Night
  5. Big A
  6. A Waltz for You
  7. Cityscape (The Fusion Suite)
Recorded November, 1976

Steve Lacy and Joelle leandre-one more time (2005)

As requested by Zebtron...
very beautiful!
Review by François Couture
This album was recorded live in July 2002, as part of Steve Lacy's "farewell" tour of Belgium, before he moved back to the United States. Joëlle Léandre was among the few musicians the saxophonist selected as partners for this ten-date event, and One More Time should provide all the proofs necessary to those who still don't understand why. Yes, the soprano sax and double bass form an unlikely pair, and yes, Lacy and Léandre come from very different backgrounds and approach free improvisation from separate paths, but why should any of that matter? In fact, the unusual instrumentation opens up a wide range of colors and expressions — and these two sure know how to draw the best from such an opportunity — and different approaches translate to a wider common vocabulary whenever the participating musicians know each other's work. And the result is One More Time, a daring, stimulating roller coaster of a performance, with a high content of raw beauty and very few moments of hesitation. Exchanges are lively, seductive, and often pretty (Lacy's flexible jazzy licks literally hug Léandre's rougher, less idiomatic forms). The set consists of three improvisations. The first one is over half an hour long, but sounds like it could have continued for another two hours — it appears as if Lacy picked a random spot to stop. The second piece, 12 minutes in duration, highlights the contagious pleasure of playing. To kick off the third piece (ten minutes), the two musicians engage in a vocal pantomime, the saxophonist begging the bassist for "one more time." The performance is slightly less focused, but still a welcome addition. The concert was recorded in a café and audience chatter and clinking glasses can be heard throughout. The noise is generally not too intrusive (except early in the first piece and during the bass solo in the last one), but might annoy a few listeners. As a postlude, Léandre has added a phone message left by Lacy on her answering machine, giving his approval for releasing the recording.

Herbie Hancock - Thrust (1974)

The follow-up to the breakthrough Headhunters album was virtually as good as its wildly successful predecessor: an earthy, funky, yet often harmonically and rhythmically sophisticated tour de force. There is only one change in the Headhunters lineup -- swapping drummer Harvey Mason for Mike Clark -- and the switch results in grooves that are even more complex. Hancock continues to reach into the rapidly changing high-tech world for new sounds, most notably the metallic sheen of the then-new ARP string synthesizer which was already becoming a staple item on pop and jazz-rock records. Again, there are only four long tracks, three of which ("Palm Grease," "Actual Proof," "Spank-A-Lee") concentrate on the funk, with plenty of Hancock's wah-wah clavinet, synthesizer textures and effects, and electric piano ruminations that still venture beyond the outer limits of post-bop. The change-of-pace is one of Hancock's loveliest electric pieces, "Butterfly," a match for any tune he's written before or since, with shimmering synth textures and Bennie Maupin soaring on soprano (Hancock would re-record it 20 years later on Dis Is Da Drum, but this is the one to hear). This supertight jazz-funk quintet album still sounds invigorating a quarter of a century later. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Herbie Hancock (Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Hohner D-6 Clavinet, Arp Odyssey Synthesizer, Arp Soloist Synthesizer, Arp 2600 Synthesizer, Arp String Synthesizer)
Bennie Maupin (Soprano & Tenor Saxophone, Sazello, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute)
Paul Jackson (Electric Bass)
Mike Clark (drums)
Bill Summers (Percussion)

1. Palm Grease
2. Actual Proof
3. Butterfly
4. Spank-A-Lee

The Jazztet - Moment To Moment

Can't say that I agree with the Penguin Guide; although they don't really say anything. This is, after all, Art Farmer; he never did anything substandard on any record I ever heard him play on. Plus there's Golson, Heath, Fuller, and Mickey Tucker is a pleasant surprise. Just like critics; they say nothing or are wishy-washy, and after the guy kicks off, he becomes "underappreciated".

"The occasionally re-formed Jazztet was rather more of a showcase for Golson - both as a composer and performer - than it was for Farmer. Their Soul Note session is a somewhat perfunctory return, with the six themes passing in prescribed fashion..." ~ Penguin Guide

Art Farmer (flugelhorn)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Mickey Tucker (piano)
Ray Drummond (bass)
Albert Heath (drums)

1. Moment To Moment
2. Along Came Betty
3. Farmer's Market
4. Fair Weather
5. Yesterday's Thoughts
6. Ease Away Walk

JATP In Tokyo 1953

This two-CD set (originally out as three LPs) features the contents of a single Jazz at the Philharmonic concert held in Tokyo. There are mini-sets by the Oscar Peterson Trio, with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown (which is highlighted by "Tenderly" and "Swingin' Till the Girls Come Home"), and Gene Krupa (in a trio with altoist Benny Carter and Peterson), along with ten numbers that feature Ella Fitgerald (who scats wildly on "Lady Be Good," "How High the Moon," and the closing "Perdido"). But the real reason to get this set is for the Jazz at the Philharmonic All-Stars (trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Charlie Shavers; trombonist Bill Harris; altoists Willie Smith and Benny Carter; tenors Ben Webster and Flip Phillips; the Oscar Peterson Trio; and drummer J.C. Heard) who, in addition to a seven-song ballad medley and a drum feature, stretch out on "Tokyo Blues" and "Cotton Tail." The latter has a witty and explosive trumpet battle by Shavers and Eldridge; Shavers comes out on top. This reissue is highly recommended as a fine example of the excitement of Jazz at the Philharmonic in the mid-'50s. ~ Scott Yanow

JATP All Stars
Ben Webster (tenor sax)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Bill Harris (trombone)
Flip Phillips (tenor sax)
Willie Smith (alto sax)
Charlie Shavers (trumpet)
Oscar Peterson (piano)

Gene Krupa Trio
Gene Krupa (drums)
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Oscar Peterson (piano)

Oscar Peterson Trio
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Ray Brown (bass)

Ella Fitzgerald Quartet
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Ray Tunia (piano)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
J.C. Heard (drums)

Lee Konitz / Warne Marsh Quintet -The Corner House, Whitley Bay, England - 22 December 1975

Heres a legendary konitz and marsh boot…
Good sound for the mid 70’s..
To those using the freeware Burrrn program I recommend using the replay gain feature on the default auto detect setting before burning.
Thanks to the original taper(s)


Lee Konitz / Warne Marsh Quintet
The Corner House, Whitley Bay, England - 22 December 1975

Lee Konitz (as), Warne Marsh (ts) Dave Cliff (g), Peter Ind (b), Al Levitt (d)

CD 1
01 Wow 10:50.23
02 Subconscious-lee 7:14.09
03 The night has a thousand eyes 10:36.08
04 Lover Man (Marsh out) 4:07.48
05 Background Music 9:46.65
06 Sound-lee 9:43.60
07 April 8:33.59

08 Star Eyes 9:01.67
09 God bless the child (Konitz out) 6:26.35
10 Chi Chi 9:40.70
11 Two Not One 8:37.09
12 Back Home / Donna Lee (start omitted) 6:53.13

Lee Konitz, as;
Warne Marsh, ts;
Dave Cliff, g;
Peter Ind, b;
Al Levitt, d.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Art Tatum - God Is In The House

When he came to New York, Charlie Parker worked as a dishwasher for $9 a week at Jimmie's Chicken Shack so that he could hear Tatum every night. This is what he would be hearing.

This Art Tatum album is the result of recordings made by Jerry Newman, a college student who taped jam sessions in the 1940s. (Newman's tapes are now regarded by jazz historians as musical treasures.) Recorded in '40 and '41, God Is In The House is a fascinating record for the discerning Tatum fan, and features the piano legend playing informally at late-night house parties in Harlem, New York.

Playing at after-hours gatherings was a favorite activity for Tatum, since he enjoyed the impromptu and casual nature of this environment. Accordingly, Tatum plays with a more relaxed feel in this setting than he does in concert-hall settings or even in club atmospheres. The recording locations and personnel on this disc vary. Solo piano tracks "Georgia on My Mind" and "Laughing at Life" are wonderful, but Tatum's collaborations with trumpeter Frank Newton and bassist Ebenezer Paul are even more spirited and musically compelling. The highlights of the record, for historical reasons, are probably "Toledo Blues" and "Knockin' Myself Out." These tracks feature Tatum singing, which is a rarity indeed.

This 1998 HighNote CD reissues a long-out-of-print Art Tatum LP that was put out by the defunct Onyx label in 1973. The live performances are from the Jerry Newman collection of acetate discs and are fortunately in better technical quality than most of the music from Newman's archives. The remarkable Art Tatum is heard playing three brief, unaccompanied piano solos in 1940, three other numbers in which he is accompanied by Reuben Harris (beating out some quiet rhythms with whiskbrooms on a suitcase), and four duets with bassist-vocalist Chocolate Williams; Tatum has a brief vocal on "Knockin' Myself Out" and a more extensive one on "Toledo Blues," the only times he ever sang on record. In addition, Tatum and Williams back Ollie Potter (a pretty good if completely unknown singer) on "There'll Be Some Changes Made." Best of all are a pair of exciting trio numbers ("Lady Be Good" and a very memorable "Sweet Georgia Brown") in which Tatum stretches out with bassist Ebenezer Paul and the great, underrated trumpeter Frankie Newton. It is fascinating to hear Newton's playing on "Sweet Georgia Brown," which is fairly simple and calm, while Tatum sounds like a volcano behind him. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Art Tatum (piano, vocals)
Frankie Newton (trumpet)
Chocolate Williams (bass, vocals)
Ollie Potter (vocals)
Ebenezer Paul (bass)

1. Georgia On My Mind
2. Beautiful Love
3. Laughing At Life
4. Sweet Lorraine
5. Fine And Dandy
6. Begine The Beguine
7. Mighty Lak A Rose
8. Knockin' Myself Out
9. Toledo Blues
10. Body And Soul
11. There'll Be Some Changes Made
12. Lady Be Good
13. Sweet Georgia Brown

String Trio Of New York- Rebirth Of a Feeling ,1983

Another beautiful bassist led album...for more check out the contributions by zebtron.

Review by Ron Wynn
The String Trio of New York's strongest lineup was arguably the edition that included violinist Billy Bang, guitarist James Emery and bassist John Lindberg. That unit was at its best here; the threesome played adventurous unison lines and offered wide-ranging solos. The best example of their interactive/reactive mode was the 14-minute "Utility Grey," with its array of textures, colors, moods and voicings. Emery wrote two selections, Bang a pair, and Lindberg the finale, but this was a unified effort. The String Trio of New York ranks as a premier outside group of the 1970s and '80s.

Reggie Workman Ensemble- Synthesis 1987

If consistently high rotation is any indicator this must be one of my favourite records.
truly one of the marvels of "post free' , "post modern jazz", i never tire of listening to this an commend it to you as one of the great albums of its time.
everyone knows Workman's work with the Jazz Messengers, and Coltrane among others, a pity though that his late oeuvre isn't better known... the tunes often develop from simple motifs..and they aren't necessarily the primary focus ,nor do they seem particularly distinctive.
its the group interplay and the development of the thematic material in solos and collective improvisations which stunned me ,when i first heard this (and continues to astound).

heres the amg spiel, by Jurek
The recordings on Synthesis were a live date in 1986 where Workman was performing with reedman Oliver Lake, pianist Marilyn Crispell, and drummer Andrew Cyrille. At this time, Crispell was still very much a part of the Anthony Braxton Quartet, and her playing here reveals that influence: many of her solos incorporate long phrases from his compositions. As a quartet, this band has some interesting things to say. There is fire in the group interplay andLake's playing in particular is very inspired. But there are some weak links in the chain, and unfortunately the weakest is Workman himself. This is difficult to say about a musician of his caliber, but as a leader here, he is far behind his band members to pick up the intuitive cues they set out, sometimes especially for him to follow. Perhaps it was a bad night, perhaps there was something wrong with the acoustics in the room, but as Crispell opens her heart into the mix where it is greeted warmly by Lake and Cyrille, Workman is dragging, playing through cues and line changes we have heard from him many, many times before. His playing is flat and unimaginative. It is a blessing, however, to have the remaining trio — Crispell in particular — work ever harder to make the proceedings come off as well as they do. It becomes ever clearer as the set goes on that Lake is listening to Crispell for rhythmic cues and key changes; she is playing both parts and does so without sacrificing anything. Her soloing on this night was particularly lyrical and full of a kind of space she doesn't often express. Lake's flute improvising here moves his own experience of the instrument into new realms as he counters both Cyrille's percussion and the melodic invention of Crispell's harmonic palette. This is a good album that could have been a great one with another bassist, as hard as it is to say, but at least Workman gets considerable credit for putting this ensemble together.

John Lewis - The Golden Striker/John Lewis Presents Jazz Abstractions

This 71-minute coupling of two early 1960s recordings by Modern Jazz Quartet pianist John Lewis is without doubt a musical feast. But, as with a gourmet banquet, one is advised to savor each course before moving on to the next serving, for there are some deliciously rich dishes on the menu. The opening program, Golden Striker, consists of 10 Lewis compositions, most inspired by the commedia dell'arte, a traditional form of improvised Italian comedy. Stately and cinematic in nature (indeed, the title track and "Odds Against Tomorrow" were both composed for films), these performances demonstrate Lewis's comfort outside the intimate chamber-jazz setting where the MJQ flourished and in an expansive orchestral milieu. The second half of the disc is more fascinating still. Largely created for a 1960 Jazz Profiles performance in New York, it consists of three compositions by Third Stream spearhead Gunther Schuller--"Abstractions," "Variants on a Theme of John Lewis (Django)," and "Variants on a Theme by Thelonious Monk (Criss-Cross)"--plus Jim Hall's "Piece for Guitar and Strings." With Hall, Ornette Coleman, and Eric Dolphy among the featured players, these pieces set then-nascent free-jazz intensity in a more formal setting. Dig in! ~ Steven Stolder

" Golden Striker indulges his baroque leanings with a set of Lewis tunes arranged for piano and a large brass ensemble; the tone colours are delightful, and 'Piazza Navona' and the reworked 'Odds Against Tomorrow' are gravely beautiful. But the point of this disc is the reissued Jazz Abstractions. Lewis doesn't play on this set (he is credited as 'presenter') but it does offer 'new music' by Jim Hall and Gunther Schuller - prime examples of what was once called third stream. Ornette Coleman is set to wail over the four minutes of 'Abstraction' for strings, and there are variations on Lewis's 'Django' and Monk's 'Criss Cross', as well as Hall's 'Piece For Guitar And Strings'. In the past the music recieved plenty of stick as merely pretentious fusion of a kind, but at this distance it now seems like precious examples of, for example, Coleman, Dolphy, and Scott LaFaro playing on the same sessions." ~ Penguin Guide

John Lewis (piano)
George Duvivier (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)
Gunther Schuller (French horn)

Eric Dolphy (flute, bass clarinet, alto sax)
Ornette Coleman (alto sax)
Eddie Costa (vibraphone)
Bill Evans (piano)
Jim Hall (guitar)
Scott LaFaro (bass)

1. Fanfare I
2. Piazza Navona
3. Odds Against Tomorrow
4. Fanfare II
5. Pulcinella
6. Fanfare II
7. The Golden Striker
8. Piazza Di Spagna
9. Fanfare I
10. La Cantatrice

11. Abstraction
12. Piece For Guitar/Strings
13. A. Variant I
14. B. Variant II
15. C. Variant III
16. A. Variant I
17. B. Variant II
18. C. Variant III
19. D. Variant IV

Video: Chucho Valdes at Marciac JF 2008

More than just a tinge of latin here at the Marciac Jazz Fest in France, 2008, with a guest appearance by Paquito D'Rivera. DivX at 1400k and audio at 48kHz 320k, quite close to DVD quality even on a large screen.

Art Ensemble Of Chicago- live in Paris 1969

Heres an old Favourite , one of their best albums.. the sound is a huge improvement on the old double lp.
there is though(still) some minor distortion on the peaks in the low register.

Review by Thom Jurek
Recorded in 1969, Live in Paris follows two studio albums that the Art Ensemble cut for BYG/Actuel during the same year — A Jackson in Your House and Message to Our Folks. What Parisian audiences must have made of the band with its wild makeup and costumes can only be debated, but the music contained on this double-CD reissue of the original double album is stellar (the LP was issued on the Arista Freedom label in the United States in 1974 and this set was originally issued by Charly in the United Kingdom in 2002). Each CD features one composition, divided into two parts, in keeping with the LP releases. "Oh, Strange," by Joseph Jarman and Lester Bowie, begins with a very short, bluesy jazz theme that is augmented almost immediately with all manner of percussion instruments, which multiply until they literally take over, leaving Jarman and Mitchell, who knottily play a folk song variation on the opening theme that is articulated over moans, groans, and droning baritone and tenor saxophones. Dynamics and tension begin to gradually shift as notions of tempo, and even striated harmonics, are laid waste in the din. But this far from unlistenable noise; in fact, perhaps now in the 21st century more than ever before, the freewheeling improvisations of the Art Ensemble make a kind of syntagmatic sense. On the other monolithic piece here, "Bon Voyage," written by Bowie, the Art Ensemble is accompanied by the composer's then-wife, singer Fontella Bass, who recorded "Les Stances à Sophie" with them later (Famoudou Don Moye was not yet a member of the ensemble). Bass uses her rhythm and blues grit and gospel dynamics and control to improvise alongside the bandmembers, who have to make plenty of room for her contribution. There is a wondrous tension at play in the oppositional fields of male and female energies here. Bass swoops, glides, hollers, moans, and sings her way into the maelstrom of space. This is the finest live recording by the Art Ensemble, and documents the first tour of a legendary band that created new standards not only for improvisation but for performance as well. Now that Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors Maghostus have left this world, reissues like this help listeners to remember how enormous their accomplishments were.

1. Oh, Strange - (Part 1)
2. Oh, Strange - (Part 2)
1. Bon Voyage - (Part 1)
2. Bon Voyage - (Part 2)

Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Joseph Jarman (soprano & alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe, vibraphone, marimba, guitar, drums, congas, bells);
Roscoe Mitchell (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, congas, steel drums, cymbals);
Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn, horns, drums); Malachi Favors (banjo, bass, percussion). Additional personnel: Fontella Bass (vocals). Recorded live on October 5, 1969. Originally released on BYG Records. Includes liner notes by Edwin Pouncey. This is part of "Masters Of The Avant-Garde" series


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gerry Mulligan - Re-Birth of the Cool (1992)

In the summer of 1991 Gerry Mulligan decided to revisit Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool recordings. He discussed it with Miles Davis himself who said he might be interested in participating but sadly Davis died a few months later. With Wallace Roney (the perfect sound-alike) in the trumpeter's place, baritonist Mulligan got the band's original pianist and tuba player (John Lewis and Bill Barber), used his own bassist (Dean Johnson) and drummer (Ron Vincent), and found able substitutes in altoist Phil Woods (unfortunately Lee Konitz was unavailable to play his old parts), trombonist Dave Bargeron and John Clark on French horn. This GRP CD brings back the dozen Birth of the Cool recordings of 1949-50 with Mel Torme taking Pancho Hagood's vocal on "Darn That Dream." Although the charts are the same (and it is a particular pleasure to listen to them with the improved recording quality), the solos are all different and in many cases have been lengthened; no need to stick to only three minutes apiece. This fascinating disc is most highly recommended to veteran jazz collectors who know the original Birth of the Cool records. - Scott Yanow

Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax)
Phil Woods (alto sax)
Wallace Roney (trumpet)
Dave Bargeron (trombone)
John Clark (french horn)
Bill Barber (tuba)
John Lewis (piano)
Dean Johnson (bass)
Ron Vincent (drums)
Mel Torme (vocals)
Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, Gil Evans, John Carisi (arrangers)
  1. Israel
  2. Deception
  3. Move
  4. Rouge
  5. Rocker
  6. Godchild
  7. Moon Dreams
  8. Venus De Milo
  9. Budo
  10. Boplicity
  11. Darn That Dream
  12. Jeru
Recorded January 29-30, 1992

Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history. Charles Mingus consciously designed the six-part ballet as his magnum opus, and -- implied in his famous inclusion of liner notes by his psychologist -- it's as much an examination of his own tortured psyche as it is a conceptual piece about love and struggle. It veers between so many emotions that it defies easy encapsulation; for that matter, it can be difficult just to assimilate in the first place. Yet the work soon reveals itself as a masterpiece of rich, multi-layered texture and swirling tonal colors, manipulated with a painter's attention to detail. There are a few stylistic reference points -- Ellington, the contemporary avant-garde, several flamenco guitar breaks -- but the totality is quite unlike what came before it. Mingus relies heavily on the timbral contrasts between expressively vocal-like muted brass, a rumbling mass of low voices (including tuba and baritone sax), and achingly lyrical upper woodwinds, highlighted by altoist Charlie Mariano. Within that framework, Mingus plays shifting rhythms, moaning dissonances, and multiple lines off one another in the most complex, interlaced fashion he'd ever attempted. Mingus was sometimes pigeonholed as a firebrand, but the personal exorcism of Black Saint deserves the reputation -- one needn't be able to follow the story line to hear the suffering, mourning, frustration, and caged fury pouring out of the music. The 11-piece group rehearsed the original score during a Village Vanguard engagement, where Mingus allowed the players to mold the music further; in the studio, however, his exacting perfectionism made The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady the first jazz album to rely on overdubbing technology. The result is one of the high-water marks for avant-garde jazz in the '60s and arguably Mingus' most brilliant moment. ~ Steve Huey

Like his idol Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus wrote ambitious, complex works using the jazz ensemble with the exactitude and tonal sensitivity of a classical composer, while keeping the rhythmic vibrancy and improvisational heart of jazz beating fiercely. The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady is the apotheosis of Mingus's vision as a composer, and stands so far beyond the mainstream jazz of the day--in scope and execution--that it deserves its own category. A six-part self-described ballet, the album is packed with themes, motifs, and a polyphony of instrumental voices that weave an expressionistic narrative of intricacy, force, and elegance.

The story of the album is undoubtedly one of struggle; the allegory suggested by the two figures of the title seems to include Mingus's personal demons as well as universal themes of love and identity. There are great shifts in feeling as the 11-piece group enacts tonal contrasts, rhythmic change-ups (often signaled by a lone flamenco guitar), and alternately dissonant and lyrical passages. It is said that Mingus himself considered The Black Saint his finest achievement. A great masterwork in jazz, it is an essential purchase for anyone interested in the possibilities of the genre.

Charles Mingus (bass, piano)
Jaki Byard (piano)
Jerome Richardson (soprano and baritone sax, flute)
Charlie Mariano (alto sax)
Dick Hafer (tenor sax, flute)
Rolf Ericson (trumpet)
Richard Williams (trumpet)
Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Don Butterfield (tuba)
Jay Berliner (acoustic guitar)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Track A- Solo Dancer
2. Track B- Duet Solo Dancers
3. Track C-Group Dancers
4. Medley:
Mode D-Trio and Group Dancers
Mode E- Single solos and Group Dance
ModeF-Group and Solo Dance

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Compliments of the Mysterious Phantom

For those who believed Bright Moments was "it" when it came to Rahsaan Roland Kirk live recordings -- meaning that Joel Dorn's various live Kirk packages have been substandard in comparison, though not without considerable interest -- Christmas came early in 2003. Compliments of the Mysterious Phantom (the "phantom" believed to be producer Victor Sheldrake and his henchmen, Kirk biographer John Kruth and Kevin Calabro) is an performance of the Roland Kirk band on the final night of a western tour, recorded in November of 1974 in San Diego. First: sound quality. Excellent. Next question: editing. Very little. Already interested, eh? Even though this has been released on Dorn's Hyena Records label, which has put out some dodgy stuff in the past -- including the infamously substandard Man Who Cried Fire -- fans can be assured this is uncharacteristic. It was recorded just a couple of weeks after the sets that became Bright Moments. The band is Kirk, Hilton Ruiz on piano, Henry Pearson on bass, drummer John Goldsmith and a percussionist dubbed "Samson Verge."

The set starts out with a smoking, completely in your face, blowing version of McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance." It's all fire as Kirk takes the stage and goes head to head with Ruiz. But just as quickly, the band drifts with very little pause into an absolutely heartbreaking rendition of "My One and Only Love," until Kirk begins his unaccompanied circular breathing solo that nonetheless stays in the same harmonic range as the main body of the tune -- and the solo is one of his best on record. Thankfully, none of Kirk's speech is edited out of this gig, and when he speaks for the first time, and talks of bringing "bright moments and we bring you 'miraclized music'," the great tenderness and brilliance of the man and artist is borne out. Jumping directly into "Fly Town Nose Blues," on which he jams on the nose flute, Kirk moves through the history of the evolution of blues with a funky Latin backbeat. From there the recording moves into "Volunteered Slavery" and another monologue, and then to a pair of excerpts from "Old Rugged Cross" and "Bright Moments," before the most amazing rendition of blacknuss ever released to the public. The musical part of the set closes with "Freaks for the Festival," with unbelievable left-hand work by Ruiz. This is groove jazz from outer space, and should have been playing in the barroom seen in the very first Star Wars movie. Kirk sends it out, talking about how he is not afraid of death and is ready to die -- "Bring it on," bring it on" -- the last sound heard is his laughter and then silence. Silence until you let your breath out because you now notice you've been holding it in suspense and awe for a very long time. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

1. Passion Dance
2. My One and Only Love
3. Rahspeak #1
4. Fly Town Nose Blues
5. Volunteered Slavery
6. Rahspeak #2
7. Bright Moments
8. Old Rugged Cross
9. Blacknuss
10. Freaks at the Festival
11. Rahspeak #3

Recorded live in San Diego, November 5th, 1974

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Domino

The expanding musical universe of Rahsaan Roland Kirk continues its orbit on Domino. While always true to his exceptional talents, Kirk's previous efforts are somewhat derivative when compared to his later and more aggressive sound. On Domino, the genesis of his more assertive presence is thoroughly evident. Additionally, this disc features several impressive originals, as well as the most distinctly branded cover tunes to date, including the intense bop of the title track. As evidenced throughout the album, Kirk's compositions are becoming denser and more involved. "Meeting on Termini's Corner" -- an ode to the legendary Five Spot club -- mimics the off-kilter rhythms of Thelonious Monk. The tenor sax solo that rises through his multi-instrumentation is stunning. The contrast between the lilting flute work, which bookends "Domino," and the stirring tenor sax solo at the center is yet again indicative of the boundaries Kirk would be approaching. However, it's the Latin-tinged "Rolando" that might best display the unmistakably singular sound that comes from the stritch -- a Kirk modified second generation B flat soprano sax -- and the tenor sax, when performed simultaneously. The warmth and clarity are at once unique and hypnotic. Another prime example of the multiplicity in Kirk's performance styles can be heard on "I Believe in You." The juxtaposition of the husky tenor with the spry manzello provides a false sense of balance as Kirk delays combining the two until the final chorus. This produces a surprising and memorable effect, as Kirk's arrangement does not anticipate the finale. The 2000 CD reissue contains both recording dates for the original album as well as a previously undocumented session that includes Herbie Hancock(piano), Roy Haynes (drums), and Vernon Martin (bass). Additionally, Domino was the first album to feature Kirk's live band of Haynes, Andrew Hill (celeste/piano), and Henry Duncan (percussion) on several tracks. ~ Lindsay Planer

Rahsaan Roland Kirk (flute, tenor sax, stritch, blifzorp, manzello)
Andrew Hill (Piano, celeste)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Vernon Martin (bass)
Henry Duncan (drums)
Roy Haynes (drums)

1. Domino
2. Meeting on Termini's Corner
3. Time
4. Lament
5. Stritch in Time
6. 3-In-1 Without the Oil
7. Get Out of Town
8. Rolando
9. I Believe in You
10. E.D.
11. Where Monk and Mingus Live/Let's Call This
12. Domino [Alternate Version]
13. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
14. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
15. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
16. Someone to Watch over Me
17. Someone to Watch over Me
18. Termini's Corner
19. Termini's Corner
20. Termini's Corner
21. Termini's Corner
22. When the Sun Comes Out
23. When the Sun Comes Out
24. When the Sun Comes Out
25. Time Races With Emit

Milt Jackson - Bags' Opus

Vibraphonist Milt Jackson welcomes the two future co-leaders of The Jazztet (trumpeter Art Farmer and tenor-saxophonist Benny Golson) along with a fine rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Connie Kay) on this CD reissue. The repertoire (which includes early versions of Golson's "Whisper Not" and "I Remember Clifford" in addition to two standards, a Milt Jackson blues and John Lewis's "Afternoon in Paris") is very much in The Jazztet hard bop vein and Jackson fits in very well with the two lyrical horn soloists. A successful outing by some of the greats. ~ Scott Yanow

Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. Ill Wind
2. Blues for Diahann
3. Afternoon in Paris
4. I Remember Clifford
5. Thinking of You
6. Whisper Not

Nola Penthouse Studios, New York: December 28-29, 1958

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Jamerson!

When talking about the recently posted Motown set, somebody mentioned the Funk Brothers, Motown's studio band . The bassist of that band was a guy named James Jamerson. I admit not having known about him until now. But that name will pop up, along with Jaco Pastorius, as one of the world's greatest bassists.
Like Jaco, Jamerson died alone and without having got any recognition during his lifetime. This was 1983 and just a few days before his death, somebody stole his 1962 Fender Precision Bass right from his house. The bass (he called it "The Funk Machine") never resurfaced again, not to this day - there's even Youtube videos with people pleading for it to be returned.
Jamerson played all the big Motown hits you could imagine. If you listen closely you will notice how intricate yet very melodic his bass lines are. He used to be a jazz upright bass player and carried his technique over to the electric bass. He only used only one finger on his right hand to play and he reportedly never changed his bass strings.
In 1987, both a documentary film and a book (Standing in the Shadows of Motown) got him the attention he deserved — posthumously.
After having read so much about him, I decided to post this Four Tops anthology, The Ultimate Collection. It's with the Four Tops that Jamerson did some of his best work.
What makes this collection special among the dozens of compilations that Motown continually issues is that is has as its sources the mono single masters and also contains some of the rarer stuff. rated it 5 stars and it's their recommended Four Tops album.


Update: Levi Stubbs, the front singer of the 4 Tops, has just died yesterday, October 17th, 2008. R.I.P.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paul McCartney - CHOBA b CCCP: The Russian Album

Many years ago I was talking to a knowledgeable friend in a warehouse near Brighton in Brooklyn. A little guy came by with a bunch of these (in LP form) under his arm, and my friend told me to buy one. I reminded him that I'm not that crazy about Paul McCartney, and my pal said "Buy one". He was never wrong about music, and he was right about this too. Be they good, bad, or indifferent towards McCartney, nobody would deny that he is at his best doing the stuff he grew up with. Mick Green is the real thing also; Wilko Johnson is a big fan of his.

This album of rock & roll oldies -- "Lucille," "Twenty Flight Rock," and others -- was recorded in two days in July, 1987, and released exclusively in the Soviet Union in 1988. It finally saw release in the U.S. in 1991 with one extra track, "I'm in Love Again," added. McCartney gives a spirited reading to the songs, which, it may be noted, are in some cases ("Ain't That a Shame," "Just Because") the same ones chosen by John Lennon for his similar Rock 'N' Roll album. But McCartney is characteristically more eclectic, including such ringers as "Summertime" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." ~ William Ruhlmann

Paul McCartney (bass, vocals)
Mick Gallagher (piano)
Mick Green (guitar)
Chris Whitten (drums)

1. Kansas City
2. Twenty Flight Rock
3. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
4. I'm In Love Again
5. Bring It On Home To Me
6. Lucille
7. Don'y Get Around Much Anymore
8. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
9. That's All Right Mama
10. Summertime
11. Ain't That A Shame
12. Crackin' Up
13. Just Because
14. Midnight Special

Plas Johnson - Positively

Plas Johnson - Positively
Concord Jazz - CJ 24

Plas Johnson is most well known for his ultra-famous sax solo on Henry Mancini's Pink Panther movie theme song. He also plays the sax solo for Neil Hefti's signature music for The Odd Couple TV series. He has recorded with countless musicians including: Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and many others. Positively is one of his best recordings and features Ray Brown on bass, Herb Ellis on guitar, Jake Hanna and Jimmy Smith on drums and others.

Sonny Stitt - Moonlight In Vermont

Sonny Stitt, doubling on alto and tenor, is in fine form on this quartet session (a Japanese import CD) with either Barry Harris or Walter Davis on piano, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Tony Williams. The repertoire (bop standards, blues and ballads) is fairly typical and nothing too unusual occurs, but fans of straightahead jazz in general and Sonny Stitt in particular will be satisfied with this above-average effort, highlighted by "It Might as Well Be Spring" and "Constellation." ~ Scott Yanow

Sonny Stitt (alto and tenor sax)
Barry Harris (piano)
Walter Davis, Jr. (piano)
Reggie Workman (bass)
Tony Williams (drums)

1. West 48th Street
2. Who Can I Turn To
3. Moonlight In Vermont
4. Flight Cap Blues
5. It Might As Well Be Spring
6. Constellation
7. Blues For PCM

Phil Woods - Three For All

This is a bit of an unusual outing for Phil Woods, as Tommy Flanagan and Red Mitchell are his only musical partners for these 1981 sessions. The lack of drums enables the musicians to take a few extra liberties as they respond to one another. Woods is in top form, engaging his partners in a three-way conversation that seems effortless. His robust "Reet's Neet" benefits from Flanagan's fluid lines and Mitchell's potent bass, while Woods' touching ballad "Goodbye Mr. Evans," a tribute to the late pianist Bill Evans (who died a few months prior to these sessions), begins with a hauntingly beautiful piano solo, with Mitchell making a delayed entrance just prior to his solo and the composer waiting until just past the five-minute mark to add his emotional statement, which conveys his admiration for Evans' music. Flanagan's driving "Three for All" has a Latin undercurrent, with plenty of sparks flying among the players. Mitchell contributed three originals, including the loping ballad "It's Time to Emulate the Japanese," the lyrical "Talking," and the upbeat "You're Me," which features Woods on clarinet, though the CD credits fail to mention the instrument. ~ Ken Dryden

Phil Woods (clarinet, alto sax)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)

1 Reets Neet
2 It's Time To Emulate The Japanese
3 Talking
4 Three For All
5 You're Me
6 Goodbye Mr. Evans

Sarah Vaughan & Woody Herman - 1963 Live Guard Sessions

In the early '60s, the U.S. government came up with the idea to tape jazz instrumentalists and vocalists for special programs aimed at recruiting young men for the National Guard. While it seems puzzling that male teenagers of the era would be drawn to the likes of Sarah Vaughan and Woody Herman, both of whom are heard in this program, the music is superb. Vaughan's vocals are on the money throughout, especially in the lush treatment of "On Green Dolphin Street" (with Herman's clarinet in the background), along with one of her most requested numbers, "Poor Butterfly." Herman's instrumentals include a swing version of "Muskrat Ramble," along with oft-requested numbers like "Woodchopper's Ball" and "Four Brothers." Herman even chances a vocal (a passable "Don't Go to Strangers"), a brave act with Vaughan in the studio. The only annoying aspect of the program is the ridiculous scripted banter between host Martin Block (who keeps introducing nearly every song with the irritating comment "This is take one") and the clearly uncomfortable Vaughan and Herman. In any case, this music more than makes up for the inane jabber. - Ken Dryden

I don't mind the talking so much - it can be easily skipped over. I just wish that Sarah would have sung a few numbers with the big band.

Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Woody Herman (clarinet, vocals)
Bill Chase, Gerry Lamy, Paul Fontaine, Dave Gale, Ziggy Harrell (trumpet)
Phil Wilson, Eddie Morgan, Jack Gale or Henry Southall (trombone)
Sal Nistico, Larry Cavelli, Gordon Brisker or Bobby Jones, Bill Perkins (tenor sax)
Frank Hittner or Gene Allen (baritone sax)
Nat Pierce (piano)
Chuck Andrus (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)
  1. Introduction
  2. Day In Day Out
  3. Advert & Talk
  4. Midnight Sun
  5. But Not for Me
  6. Muskrat Ramble
  7. Introduction
  8. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  9. The More I See You
  10. Green Dolphin Street
  11. Woodchopper's Ball
  12. Just One of Those Things
  13. Don't Go With Strangers
  14. I'll Be Seeing You
  15. Four Brothers
  16. Molassas
  17. I Cried for You
  18. Poor Butterfly
  19. The Preacher

Hal McKusick - Now's The Time (Flac)

Well. I don't have any of the originals, so I'll differ from Scotty this time and say it's just recommended, period. It is not a failure of art but of capitalism that this (and dates like it) aren't as readily available as every sneeze of Coltrane's that was caught on tape. But then again, it's the same capitalism that let me find this unopened for two bucks.

"The decision to include just seven of the twelve numbers from Hal McKusick's Isn't It Romantic recording and eight of the ten from Cross Section Saxes on this CD reissue is unfortunate, making this a so-called "best of" set; why not reissue three McKusick dates (including Jazz & the Academy) complete on two CDs so valuable music is not lost? McKusick, a fine cool-toned altoist who sometimes recalls Paul Desmond a bit, also plays some floating atmospheric bass clarinet on these performances. Four of the titles feature a four-sax septet on two arrangements apiece by George Handy and Ernie Wilkins; the latter's interpretation of "Now's the Time" harmonizes Charlie Parker's original recorded solo a la Supersax. Otherwise McKusick is matched with trumpeter Art Farmer in a quintet/sextet with either Eddie Costa or Bill Evans on piano, The arrangements (by Farmer, Al Cohn, Manny Albam, Jimmy Giuffre or George Russell) are sometimes complex but always lightly swinging, leaving plenty of space for the horns to solo. Recommended to those listeners who do not already have the more complete LPs." ~ Scott Yanow

Hal McKusick (alto sax)
Bill Evans (piano)
Eddie Costa (piano)
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)

1. Whisper Not
2. You're My Thrill
3. It Never Entered My Mind
4. Stratusphunk
5. The Last Day Of Fall
6. Now's The Time
7. The End Of A Love Affair
8. LaRue
9. Down and Dirty
10. Alone Together
11. Gone With The Wind
12. Ponsu
13. Isn't It Romantic
14. For Art's Sake
15. Old Devil Moon

Red Callender - Speak Low

Striking jazz tuba work from Red Callender -- a full CD devoted to his 50s efforts on the instrument, with an album and a half's worth of music! First up is Callender Speaks Low -- one of the few albums ever recorded by Callender -- a player who certainly speaks "low", given that his instrument here is the tuba! Red's got a rumbling, bassy sound that's surprisingly un-corny -- an approach to the tuba that's also informed by Callender's many years playing bass on other jazz dates -- and in a way, he uses the instrument almost like a bass on this set -- working out lower rhythmic lines that almost remind us of a bowed bass at times! Other players on the date include Buddy Collette on flute and clarinet, Vince De Rosa and Irving Rosenthal on French horns, Bob Bain on guitar, Red Mitchell on bass, and Bill Douglass on drums. The absence of a piano makes for a mighty nice sound -- one that's lighter than you might think for a tuba-related date -- and which steps along with almost a Chico Hamilton Quintet sort of feel. Titles include "Cris", "A Foggy Day", "Nice Day", "Speak Low", and "Darn That Dream". The remaining tracks on the set were recorded as part of Callender's Lowest album for MGM -- a set of both bass and tuba work. Tracks included here feature Callender on tuba only, with Gerald Wilson on trumpet and Collette again on flute and tenor. Titles include "The Lowest", "Dedicated To The Blues", "I'll Be Around", and "Autumn In New York".

Dusty Groove

01. Speak Low (Weill-Nash) 7:31
02. Nice Day (Buddy Collette) 4:15
03. In A Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington) 3:30
04. Foggy Day (G. & I. Gershwin) 5:17
05. Cris (Red Callender) 4:00
06. Darn That Dream (Van Heusen-DeLange) 2:46
07. Gone With The Wind (Wrubel-Magidson) 4:03
08. Autumn In New York (Vernon Duke) 3:03
09. The Lowest (Red Callender) 3:12
10. I’ll Be Around (Alec Wilder) 2:45
11. Dedicated To The Blues (Red Callender) 3:26

#1-7: Red Callender, tuba; Buddy Collette, flute & clarinet; Vince DeRosa, Irving Rosenthal (2,7), French horn; Bob Bain, guitar; Rd Mitchell, bass; Bill Douglass, drums. Hollywood, October 28, 1956.

#8-11: Gerard Wilson, trumpet; Red Callender, tuba; Buddy Collette, flute; Billy Bean, guitar; Gerald Wiggins, piano; Red Mitchell, bass; Bill Douglass, drums. Hollywood, April 30, 1958.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Richard Cheese - Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese

America's foremost lounge stylist now that Torme and Old Dead Eyes are gone. Nice to see the torch(song) has been passed on to a new (de)generation. Just keepin' it unreal.

America's loudest lounge singer Richard Cheese performs swingin' Vegas versions of rock, rap, and Top40 hits, "swankifying" contemporary songs into traditional pop vocal standards.....his albums include Lounge Against The Machine, Tuxicity, I'd Like A Virgin, Aperitif For Destruction, The Sunny Side Of The Moon, his Christmas album Silent Nightclub, and his all-new TV Themes album Dick At Nite.

Richard Cheese (vocals)
Herman Muenster (saxophone)
Guy Roblechon (bugle)
Boney Provalone (trombone)
Bobby Ricotta (piano)
Gordon Brie (bass)
Frank Feta (drums)

1. Rape Me (Nirvana cover)
2. People = Shit (Slipknot cover)
3. Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-A-Lot cover)
4. Girls, Girls, Girls (Motley Crue cover)
5. Closer (Nine Inch Nails cover)
6. Bust A Move (Young MC cover)
7. Down With The Sickness (Disturbed cover)
8. Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2 cover)
9. Freak On A Leash (Korn cover)
10. Nookie (Limp Bizkit cover)
11. Another Brick In The Wall (Pink Floyd cover)
12. Rock The Casbah (The Clash cover)
13. Fight For Your Right (Beastie Boys cover)
14. Hot For Teacher (Van Halen cover)
15. Gin & Juice (Snoop Doggy Dogg cover)
16. Come Out & Play (The Offspring cover)
17. Badd (Ying Yang Twins cover)
18. Creep (Radiohead cover)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tommy Dorsey - 1936 (Chronological 878)

Fans of legendary Chicago drummer Dave Tough will want to listen in on this third installment in the complete recordings of Tommy Dorsey presented in chronological order by Classics. Occurring between sentimental and novelty vocals by sugary Jack Leonard or snappy Edythe Wright, the Dorsey instrumentals of 1936 positively glow with a traditional jazz infusion worthy of Eddie Condon. Indeed, with Dave Tough, trumpeter Max Kaminsky, and tenor sax troubadour Bud Freeman in both the big band and the Clambake Seven, Dorsey was wise to record nice instrumental versions of "Ja-Da," "Royal Garden Blues," "That's a Plenty," "After You've Gone," "Maple Leaf Rag," and "Sleep," a sugary, soporific waltz from the 1920s that by 1936 was taking on new life as an upbeat jazz standard. Spunky Edythe Wright could sing just about anything, even material commonly associated with Shirley Temple. After cordially introducing Bud Freeman, she launches "At the Codfish Ball," a melody lifted directly from an earlier opus, Sam Coslow's "When Erastus Plays His Old Kazoo." As for "You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby," Wright sings the lyrics with gusto and the band cooks the tune to perfection. ~ arwulf arwulf

Tommy Dorsey (trombone)
Bud Freeman (clarinet, tenor sax)
Max Kaminsky (trumpet)
Carmen Mastren (guitar)
Edythe Wright (vocals)
Joe Dixon (clarinet, alto sax)
Dave Tough (drums)

1. Stardust
2. Royal Garden Blues
3. At the Codfish Ball
4. Ja-Da
5. Where Is My Heart?
6. Long Ago and Far Away
7. Mary Had a Little Lamb
8. Did I Remember?
9. You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby
10. On the Beach at Bali-Bali
11. No Regrets
12. San Francisco
13. That's a Plenty
14. After You've Gone
15. For Sentimental Reasons
16. Head Over Heels in Love
17. High Hat, a Piccolo and a Cane
18. Close to Me
19. May I Have the Next Romance with You?
20. Sleep
21. Another Perfect Night Is Ending
22. Maple Leaf Rag

Jimmy Raney and Sonny Clark - Together!

We looked at the Scandijazz scene somewhat with the Sonet label releases, and will be looking at some others soon. This release was seen, in part, at one of the old sites as a Vogue Jimmy Raney release, but two tracks are from a Scandinavian session. I really have to rip that Randi Hulton home recording disc. Maybe with some of the forthcoming posts.

"The music on this Xanadu LP includes seven selections from a quartet date featuring guitarist Jimmy Raney, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Bobby White. That particular session has been reissued on CD by Vogue along with five "new" alternate takes, so this album has dropped in value. However, completists will be interested to know that, in addition to that excellent session, Raney and Clark are teamed together with tenorman Gosta Theselius on two other numbers ("Jumping for Jane" and "Invention") that have not yet reappeared. The Raney-Clark partnership did not survive this European tour, which found them mostly backing Billie Holiday; a pity it did not, because the communication between the two masterful players was quite impressive." ~ Scott Yanow

Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Sonny Clark (piano)
Gosta Theselius (tenor sax)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Simon Brehm(bass)
Booby White (drums)
Elaine Leighton (drums)

1. Once in a While
2. Pennies from Heaven
3. Yesterdays
4. There Will Never Be Another You
5. Body and Soul
6. Stella by Starlight
7. You Go to My Head
8. Jumpin' for Jane
9. Invention

Joe Henderson - Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (1991)

With the release of this CD, the executives at Verve and their marketing staff proved that yes, indeed, jazz can sell. The veteran tenor Joe Henderson has had a distinctive sound and style of his own ever since he first entered the jazz major leagues yet he has spent long periods in relative obscurity before reaching his current status as a jazz superstar. As for the music on his "comeback" disc, it does deserve all of the hype. Henderson performs ten of Billy Strayhorn's most enduring compositions in a variety of settings ranging from a full quintet with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and duets with pianist Stephen Scott, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson to an unaccompanied solo exploration of "Lush Life." This memorable outing succeeded both artistically and commercially and is highly recommended. - Scott Yanow

Billy Strayhorn was one of the greatest composers in jazz history. It's no wonder Duke Ellington, his longtime collaborator, considered Strayhorn to be his alter ego. The beauty of Strayhorn's music lies in the fact that his tunes need no embellishment, yet at the same time, they are great vehicles for improvisation. For the performer, his music requires sensitivity, but it also invites daring interpretations.

Both reverent and playful, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson strikes a perfect balance on Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis contributes tremendously to this album with blistering solos on "Johnny Come Lately" and "U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group)." However, other musicians are featured throughout, as well--the three duo tracks, "Isfahan," "Lotus Blossom," and "Take the 'A' Train," illustrate the greatness of bassist Christian McBride, pianist Stephen Scott, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, respectively. Henderson himself displays tremendous improvisational prowess on all the tracks, particularly shining on his solo rendition of "Lush Life."

Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)
Stephen Scott (piano)
Christian McBride (bass)
Gregory Hutchinson (drums)
  1. Isfahan
  2. Johnny Come Lately
  3. Blood Count
  4. Rain Check
  5. Lotus Blossom
  6. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing
  7. Take the 'A' Train
  8. Drawing Room Blues
  9. U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group)
  10. Lush Life
Recorded September 3, 6, 8, 1991

The Complete Motown Singles Volume 7: 1967

Just got this limited CD set recently and wanted to share it here, in remembrance of those funky fridays. The box set is nothing short of astounding. There is the booklet: 111 pages with detailed information on every song, rare colour photos and promo material. Then there is the music: 5 CDs containing every 1967 Motown A-side, B-side, every planned single and every alternate pressing, perfectly mastered from the original mono tapes — even a 7-inch disc is included in the package. Hip-o Select seem to be the Mosaic Records of soul. It's worth taking a look at their website.

Presented in FLAC with complete scans.
Enjoy, Crispi

Review by Joe Tangari

In many ways, 1967 was year zero for the world we live in today. From Detroit to Nigeria to Jerusalem to Paris to Southeast Asia, it was a year of cataclysms and upheaval. Dozens of American cities burned that summer, the United States of America lost more than 11,000 soldiers in Vietnam, the draft was in full force, and protestors showed up at the Pentagon in October, chanting "Hey, hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?" Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights in the Six Days' War, and we're still reading the consequences in headlines every day.

It was the year that most fully embodied what we think of today when we say "the 60s." It can be represented by a photo of a hippie dancing to the music in his head on the San Francisco Presidio during the Summer of Love, or a photo of an F-105 Thunderchief unloading bombs on North Vietnam, of Hendrix kneeling over a burning guitar at Monterey Pop, of race riots and fire hoses, of corpses in Biafra, of flowers in gun barrels, of the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper's costumes. It could be a lithographed swirl of color that on closer inspection informs you that the Grateful Dead and five other bands will be playing at the Fillmore West on Saturday. Pop music changed that year, the trickle of new ideas that cropped up in the mid-60s growing to a flood. 1967 saw Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Doors, Velvet Underground & Nico, Are You Experienced?, "Cold Sweat", and dozens of other records that were filled with sounds no one had heard or even imagined before.

Funny, I didn't mention Motown or anything affiliated with it there, did I? The label was in some ways unequipped for 1967 when the year came along. The world was exploding around it-- in July of that year, 2,000 buildings burned to the ground in Detroit during the 12th Street riot. Forty-three people died and more than 7,000 were arrested. The National Guard and the 82nd Airborne were sent in to bring some semblance of order back to the city. The 82nd Airborne kept its weapons unloaded, but the Guard units didn't, with predictable results. For the first time since 1959, Hitsville, U.S.A., was quiet.

[...continued in comments...]

Thelonius Monk - Thelonius Alone In San Francisco (1959)

With the robust ambience of Fugazi Hall in San Francisco at his disposal, Thelonious Monk recorded ten unaccompanied tracks over two days to create a long-awaited sequel to his immensely endearing Thelonious Himself long-player. As had become somewhat customary for Monk, he brought with him a healthy sampling from his voluminous back catalog, cover tunes, as well as a few new compositions. What is most immediately striking about these recordings is the rich and accurate sound stage at Fugazi Hall. The overtones are rich and thoughtful in their ability to animate Monk's recreations of some of his most endearing works, such as the pair that opens this set. "Blue Monk" still retains the proud stride and walking blues heritage of previous renderings. Adding a bit of off-tempo improvisation, Monk propels and emphasizes the rhythmic swing even harder. He is obviously also enjoying what he is hearing. The audible maturity guiding Monk through the familiar, albeit offbeat, chord progressions of "Ruby, My Dear" is striking. His nimble reflexes and split-second timing render this version superior. Again, the sound of the hall offers even more to enjoy from this performance. It is unfortunate that the playful solitude of "Round Lights" was never revisited. This freeform composition is framed within a blues structure, yet reveals all of the slightly askew freedom of a Monk original. The recreation of an old 1920s hit, "There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie," is another of the highlights from Thelonious Alone in San Francisco that was never recorded again by Monk. The noir qualities are immeasurably enhanced by Monk's oblique phrasings as well as the eerie resonance of the Fugazi. Both the CD reissue and the mammoth Complete Riverside Recordings box set luckily include two unique passes of the track. This is an absolute must-own recording -- Monk enthusiast or not. ~ Lindsay Planer

1. Blue Monk
2. Ruby, My Dear
3. Round Lights
4. Everything Happens To Me
5. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Heart
6. Bluehawk
7. Pannonica
8. Remember
9. There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie (Take 2)
10. There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie (Take 1)
11. Reflections

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thelonious Monk - Big Band And Quartet In Concert

This is one of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk's greatest recordings and represents a high point in his career. Performing at Philharmonic Hall in New York, Monk is heard taking an unaccompanied solo on "Darkness on the Delta" and jamming with his quartet (which had Charlie Rouse on tenor, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Frank Dunlop) on fine versions of "Played Twice" and a previously unreleased rendition of "Misterioso." However, this two-CD set has its most memorable moments during the six full-length performances by a ten-piece group. Monk's quartet was joined by cornetist Thad Jones, trumpeter Nick Travis, Steve Lacy on soprano, altoist Phil Woods, baritonist Gene Allen, and trombonist Eddie Bert. Jones and Woods have plenty of solos and, although Lacy surprisingly does not have any individual spots, his soprano is a major part of some of the ensembles. Most remarkable is "Four in One," which after one of Monk's happiest (and very rhythmic) solos features the orchestra playing a Hal Overton transcription of a complex and rather exuberant Monk solo taken from his original record. This two-CD set is a gem and can be considered essential for all jazz collections. ~ Scott Yanow

Arranger Hall Overton did a brilliant job of translating Thelonious Monk's distinctive compositions (and even a piano transcription) to a big band, both for an earlier Town Hall concert and for these 1963 recordings at Philharmonic Hall. Monk was at the peak of his belated celebrity, and he and the other musicians tear into this demanding music with a mix of authority and joyous abandon. Cornetist Thad Jones and altoist Phil Woods are among the big band's fine soloists, while Monk's regular drummer, Frankie Dunlop, is outstanding, a genuinely melodic player who could inspire the big band as well as the working quartet. ~ Stuart Broomer

Thelonious Monk (Piano)
Thad Jones (cornet)
Charlie Rouse (tenor sax)
Phil Woods (clarinet, alto sax)
Steve Lacy (soprano sax)
Gene Allen (baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Nick Travis (trumpet)
Butch Warren (bass)
Frankie Dunlop (drums)

CD 1
1. Bye-Ya
2. I Mean You
3. Evidence
4. Epistrophy
5. (When It's) Darkness On The Delta
6. Played Twice

CD 2
1. Misterioso
2. Epistrophy
3. Light Blue
4. Oska T.
5. Four in One
6. Epistrophy

Benny Carter - New Jazz Sounds: The Urbane Sessions

Only a couple of these are duplicated from recent Chrono posts; but what the hell, it's Benny Carter.

The remarkable Benny Carter, who had first recorded 25 years earlier, was not even halfway through with his career when he started making sessions for Verve. This double CD wraps up the complete reissuance of all of his Verve albums. The distinctive and lyrical altoist is backed by strings throughout the first disc (16 songs plus ten alternate takes), but there is nothing sleepy about the music. The string arrangements (half by Joe Glover and half by Carter himself) are tasteful and provide a cushion for Carter's melodic but unpredictable horn; this is far from mere mood music. Most of the second disc matches the ageless altoist with trumpeter Roy Eldridge and a rhythm section. Some heat is generated, and most unusual are four unique numbers on which Eldridge duets with drummer Alvin Stoller (one has Roy overdubbing some basic piano), although Roy mostly follows the chord changes. In addition, there is a leftover alternate take from a Carter session with the Oscar Peterson quartet and two exciting selections in a sextet with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and trombonist Bill Harris. Easily recommended, this is a perfectly conceived series. ~ Scott Yanow

Benny Carter (alto sax)
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Roy Eldridge (trumpet, flugelhorn, piano)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Gerry Wiggins (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Bill Harris (Trombone)
Ray Brown (bass)
Red Callender (bass)
Buddy Rich (drums)

Charles Mingus - Let My Children Hear Music

On the original LP issued by Columbia, Mingus thanked producer Teo Macero for "his untiring efforts in producing the best album I have ever made." From his deathbed in Mexico in 1979 he sent a message to Sy Johnson (who was responsible for many of the arrangements on the album), saying that Let My Children Hear Music was the record he liked most from his career. Although Mingus' small-group recordings are the ones most often cited as his premier works, this album does, in fact, rank at the top of his oeuvre and compares favorably with the finest large-ensemble jazz recordings by anyone, including Ellington. The pieces had been brewing over the years, one from as far back as 1939, and had been given more or less threadbare performances on occasion, but this was his first chance to record them with a sizable, well-rehearsed orchestra. Still, there were difficulties, both in the recording and afterward. The exact personnel is sketchy, largely due to contractual issues, several arrangers were imported to paste things together, making the true authorship of some passages questionable, and Macero (as he did with various Miles Davis projects) edited freely and sometimes noticeably. The listener will happily put aside all quibbles, however, when the music is heard. From the opening, irresistible swing of "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jiveass Slippers" to the swirling depths of "The I of Hurricane Sue," these songs are some of the most glorious, imaginative, and full of life ever recorded. Each piece has its own strengths, but special mention should be made of two. "Adagio Ma Non Troppo" is based entirely on a piano improvisation played by Mingus in 1964 and issued on Mingus Plays Piano. Its logical structure, playful nature, and crystalline moments of beauty would be astounding in a polished composition; the fact that it was originally improvised is almost unbelievable. "Hobo Ho," a holy-roller powerhouse featuring the impassioned tenor of James Moody, reaches an incredible fever pitch, the backing horns volleying riff after riff at the soloists, the entire composition teetering right on the edge of total chaos. Let My Children Hear Music is a towering achievement and a must for any serious jazz fan. The CD issue includes one track, "Taurus in the Arena of Life," not on the original LP, but unfortunately gives only snippets from the Mingus essay that accompanied the album. That essay, covering enormous territory, reads like an inspired Mingus bass solo and should be sought out by interested listeners. One can't recommend this album highly enough. ~ Brian Olewnick

Ambitious is perhaps the best way to sum up this 1971 large-ensemble recording. It hearkens back to Black Saint and the Sinner Lady in some important respects--chiefly the sense of vertical sprawl in the tunes, the sheer presence of so many instruments doing so much at the same time. It also importantly pointed to the omnipresence of Duke Ellington as an orchestral influence. Mingus scores the baritone sax the way Ellington had done, as part rhythm, part road marker, and part stir stick for the swirls of energy generated on tracks like "Hobo Ho." The sessions for Let My Children remain blurred as far as detail goes, but it's clear that James Moody and Bobby Jones do spectacular jobs soloing amid a dense crowd of ensemble movements and passages. And the version of "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife" is so heartfelt and moving that you almost miss the monumental complexity of the piece. ~ Andrew Bartlett

Charles Mingus (bass)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Charles McPherson (alto sax)
Eddie Bert (trombone)
Hal McKusick (tenor sax)
James Moody (tenor sax)
Jaki Byard (piano)
Sir Roland Hanna (piano)
Julius Watkins (French horn)
Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet)
Ron Carter (bass)
Richard Davis (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

1. Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers
2. Adagio ma Non Troppo
3. Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too
4. Taurus in the Arena of Life [#]
5. Hobo Ho
6. Chill of Death
7. I of Hurricane Sue

Harry James - 1939 (Chronological 936)

Here is Old Dead Eyes early in his career.

" In early 1939, he left Goodman and launched his own orchestra, premiering it in Philadelphia in February. That spring, he heard the then-unknown Frank Sinatra on a radio broadcast and hired him. The band struggled, however, and when the more successful bandleader Tommy Dorsey made Sinatra an offer at the end of 1939, James did not stand in his way. "

The second Harry James CD put out by the Classics label, this set traces the trumpeter's recording career during a six-month period when his big band was struggling financially. It is surprising that James did not catch on immediately, considering how popular he had been with Benny Goodman and since his band at the time was pretty good. Other than the leader, there were no major soloists in the orchestra (altoist Dave Matthews was perhaps best-known), but the arrangements for the instrumentals (including "Indiana," "I Found a New Baby," a surprisingly cooking "Willow Weep for Me" and "Feet Draggin' Blues") were excellent. A little over half of the 23 selections on this reissue have vocals (eight are Frank Sinatra's first appearances on record, including the minor hit "All or Nothing at All"), but the high points are an interesting, unreleased version of "Flash" and "Sleepy Time Gal," which showcases James with just the rhythm section. Recommended for swing fans bored with the usual Harry James greatest-hits sets. ~ Scott Yanow

Harry James (trumpet)
Frank Sinatra (vocals)
Al Sears (tenor sax)
Connie Haines (vocals)
David Matthews (alto sax)

1. And The Angels Sing
2. Indiana
3. Got No Time
4. King Porter Stomp
5. Comes Love
6. I Can't Afford To Dream
7. I Found A New Baby
8. Fannie-May
9. From The Bottom Of My Heart
10. Sugar Daddy
11. Melancholy Mood
12. Avalon
13. My Buddy
14. Vol Vistu Gaily Star
15. Flash
16. It's Funny To Everyone But Me
17. Here Comes The Night
18. Willow, Weep For Me
19. Feet Draggin' Blues
20. All Or Nothing At All
21. On A Little Street In Singapore
22. Who Told You I Cared?
23. Sleepy Time Gal

Dexter Gordon - Love For Sale

Dexter Gordon and his Quartet of 1964 (pianist Tete Montoliu, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Alex Riel) had a three-month engagement at the Montmartre Club in Copenhagen, broadcasting on the radio every other Thursday. SteepleChase has released these consistently exciting (and well-recorded) performances on six CDs. Love for Sale features the impressive group jamming on the title cut, "Cherokee," two Gordon originals (including "Big Fat Butterfly" which has the tenor taking a brief vocal) and an emotional rendition of "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears out to Dry." It's recommended, as are all of the releases in this valuable Dexter in Radioland series. ~ Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax)
Tete Montoliu (piano)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)

1. Introduction
2. Love For Sale
3. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
4. Big Fat Butterfly
5. Soul Sister
6. Cherokee

Betty Carter - I Can't Help It

This single-CD reissues the second batch of Betty Carter recordings, her Peacock and ABC-Paramount dates which followed her Epic/Columbia titles by two years. Formerly available as a two-LP set (What a Little Moonlight Can Do), the 24 selections find the already-distinctive vocalist carving out her own sound from the bebop tradition; her more innovative work was in the future. Quite a few of the renditions are memorable including "I Can't Help It" (which is somewhat autobiographical), "You're Driving Me Crazy," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Jazz (Ain't Nothin' but Soul)" and "Don't Weep for the Lady." While the second half of the CD has Carter accompnied by an orchestra arranged by Richard Wess, the first 12 numbers feature such top players as trumpeters Ray Copeland and Kenny Dorham, either Jerome Richardson or Benny Golson on tenor and pianist Wynton Kelly. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

The first half of I Can't Help It consists of tracks from Betty Carter's second record date, recorded in New York City in 1958 and originally released on Peacock Records. Highlights include the offbeat title tune, which is a Carter original and a lyrical proclamation of her individuality, as well as a poignant version of the standard ballad "Something Wonderful" arranged by Melba Liston.

The second half was recorded in New York City in 1960 with a big band orchestra. The big, playful production meshes surprisingly well with Carter's unique vocal stylings, and features such gems as an uptempo, partly scat-sung version of the classic standard "Remember," as well as a cooking Norman Mapp tune, "Jazz," which was especially written for Carter. Every track on this CD is a winner.

Recorded in New York in February 1958 and August 18, 29-30, 1960

Betty Carter (vocals)
Gigi Gryce (alto sax)
Benny Golson (tenor sax)
Sahib Shihab (baritone sax)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Melba Liston (trombone)
Jerome Richardson (tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet)
Sam Jones (bass)
Specs Wright (drums)

1. I Can't Help It
2. By The Bend Of The River
3. Babe's Blue
4. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me
5. But Beautiful
6. All I've Got
7. You're Driving Me Crazy
8. Foul Play
9. On The Isle Of May
10. Make It Last
11. The Bluebird Of Happiness
12. Something Wonderful
13. For You
14. What A Little Moonlight Can Do
15. Remember
16. At Sundown
17. Mean To Me
18. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire
19. On The Alamo
20. Jazz (Ain't Nothing But Soul)
21. There's No You
22. Stormy Weather
23. My Reverie
24. Don't Weep For The Lady

Dizzy Gillespie - Dizzy Goes to College, Vol. 1 & 2 (1947) [LP > FLAC]

Recorded at Cornell University just weeks after their historical Carnegie Hall Concert, these two LPs provide us with the entire concert by the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. The recording quality is pretty typical of a 1940's live concert but it is still refreshing to hear the energy and excitement provided by the powerhouse bebop big band.

Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Burns, Elmon Wright, Ray Orr, Matthew McKay (trumpet)
Bill Shepherd, Ted Kelly (trombone)
Howard Johnson, John Brown (alto sax)
James Moody, Joe Gayles (tenor sax)
Cecil Payne (baritone sax)
Milt Jackson (vibes)
John Lewis (piano)
Al McKibbon (bass)
Joe Harris (drums)
Chano Pozo (congas)
Kenny "Pancho" Hagood (vocals)

Volume One
  1. Cool Breeze
  2. I Can't Get Started
  3. Relaxin' at Camarillo
  4. Yesterdays
  5. One Bass Hit
  6. Salt Peanuts
  7. Night in Tunisia
  8. I Didn't Know What Time It Was/Time After Time
  9. Groovin' High
Volume Two
  1. Anthropology
  2. Lover Man
  3. Toccata for Trumpet
  4. Nearness
  5. Things to Come
  6. Hot House
  7. Mam'selle
  8. Oop-Pop-a-Da

Niels Lan Doky - Close Encounter

I haven't seen anything here by this much appreciated but seemingly much-ignored pianist, so by way of introduction,
Review by Scott Yanow
The fine Danish pianist Niels Lan Doky is featured on his sixth of many sets as a leader, teaming up with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Alex Riel. Lan Doky performs six of his originals (including "Seeds," "The Ditty" and "The Blues") plus a thoughtful version of "Secret Love." The interplay between the musicians on this fairly explorative postbop date is impressive as are Lan Doky's fresh ideas. None of the originals were destined to become standards but the improvising is at a consistently high level, making this a worthwhile effort.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stan Getz - And The Rare Dawn Sessions

While we have this listed under Stan Getz's name, this disc is made up of sides of cut for the tiny Dawn label in the 1940s by four major West Coast (then up and coming) acts: Getz and his quartet, Paul Quinichette, Wardell Gray, and Zoot Sims. Hopefully that puts the tune selection in some kind of sensible order for serious jazz fans. To be truthful, all of this material has been licensed from, and was originally issued by, Biograph Records. Given that the source tapes were not preserved, the sound quality here is a bit dodgy because the material was taken form the most pristine sounding 78s. ~ Thom Jurek

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

Stan Getz Group
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Al Haig (piano)
Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Gene Ramey (bass)
Charlie Perry (drums)
Carlos Vidal (congas)
Recorded in New York: May 12, 1949

Wardell Gray Group
Wardell Gray (tenor sax)
Al Haig (piano)
Jimmy Raney (guitar)
Tommy Porter (bass)
Charlie Perry (drums)
Recorded in New York: April 1949

Paul Quinichette Group
Paul Quinichette (tenor sax)
Gene Roland (trumpet)
Nat Pierce (piano)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Sonny Payne (drums)
Recorded in New York: October 1956

Zoot Sims Group
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Jerry Lloyd (trumpet)
John Williams (piano)
Bill Anthony (bass)
Knobby Totah (bass)
Gus Johnson (drums)
Recorded in New York: August and September 1956

1. Skull Buster
2. Ante Room
3. Pennies From Heaven
4. Poop Deck
5. It's The Talk Of The Town
6. In A Pinch
7. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
8. Along About This Time Of The Year
9. Blues For The Month Of May
10. I Should Care
11. The Big Stampede
12. Too Close For Comfort
13. Jerry's Jaunt
14. How Now Blues

Wes Montgomery - Far Wes

This historical CD contains some of guitarist Wes Montgomery's first recordings; in fact only three small-group songs predate these performances. The then-obscure guitarist is heard in two different quintets, both of which include his brothers Buddy (on piano) and Monk (playing electric bass). The earlier set has Harold Land's tenor as a lead voice while altoist Pony Poindexter takes his place on the later date, Wes's sound was already quite recognizable and he contributes six originals which alternate with Harold Land's "Hymn for Carl" and four standards. ~ Scott Yanow

" A welcome reissue (of the better 1958 sessions particularly). Montgomery plays fluently if a trifle dispassionately but emerges here as a composer of some substance. The title-track is in relatively conventional bop idiom but has an attractive melodic contour (which Land largely ignores) and a well-judged 'turn' towards the end of the main statement. The later sessions are a trifle disappointing, though the great Louis Hayes weighs in at the drum kit with characteristic confidence. It's worth buying for the first half-dozen tracks alone." ~ Penguin Guide

Wes Montgomery (guitar)
Harold Land (tenor sax)
Pony Poindexter (alto sax)
Buddy Montgomery (piano)
Monk Montgomery (bass)
Tony Bazley (drums)
Louis Hayes (drums)

1. Far Wes
2. Leila
3. Old Folks
4. Wes' Tune
5. Hymn For Carl
6. Montgomeryland Funk
7. Stompin' At The Savoy
8. Monk's Shop
9. Summertime
10. Falling In Love With Love
11. Renie

Thelonious Monk - The Unique Thelonious Monk

The seven-song Unique Thelonious Monk (1956) platter was the pianist's second during his remarkable five-year tenure on Riverside. His debut for the label was the aptly titled Plays Duke Ellington (1955) and once again, on this disc, Monk's song selection did not feature any original compositions. Rather, the well-chosen standards included exemplify and help further establish the pianist and bandleader within the context of familiar melodies at the head of a trio -- consisting of Oscar Pettiford (bass) and Art Blakey (drums). Regarding the personnel, while Pettiford had also accompanied Monk on the Ellington sides, Blakey replaces Kenny Clarke. The pairing of Monk and Blakey cannot be overstated. Immediately, evidence of their uncanny instrumental interaction is the rhythmic focal point of "Liza, All the Clouds'll Roll Away" as the two play musical cat-and-mouse. They cajole and wheedle atop Pettiford's undulating undercurrent as it sonically corals their skilled syncopation and otherwise inspired mile-a-minute interjections. This is starkly contrast to the haunting, lyrical piano solo on "Memories of You." Monk infuses the piece with such profound ingenuity and integrity that his re-evaluation and innovative arrangement are singularly and undeniably his own. Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose" reels with a frolicking and ever-so-slightly inebriated gate. It is likewise highlighted by Monk's dreamlike single-note runs up and down the keyboard and the stride piano-style chord progressions that preserves a fluidity within the tune. The advanced score maintains a guise of almost goofy abandon within Monk's highly logical and well-sculpted musical structure. The juxtaposition of "Darn That Dream" is another study in the vacillating moods of The Unique Thelonious Monk. The sophisticated performance is understated, yet remains loose and limber and perfectly in keeping with the album's leitmotif of exploring Monk's skills as an arranger and musician. As if he were testing his audience, the manic and atonal opening to "Tea for Two" -- briefly featuring Pettiford on bowed upright bass -- rollicks with a youthful visage, rather than being a simple reworking of this well-established classic. This LP concludes with one of Monk's most memorable pieces on the fun and freewheeling "Just You, Just Me." The trio struts and glides as Monk's intricate fingering simultaneously displays his physical dexterity as well as his ability to play so deftly in the moment. Both attributes would resurface ten-fold once Monk began to animate his own compositions on the genre-defining Brilliant Corners (1956). ~ Lindsay Planer

Thelonious Monk (piano)
Oscar Pettiford (bass)
Art Blakey (drums)

1. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)
2. Memories Of You
3. Honeysuckle Rose
4. Darn That Dream
5. Tea For Two
6. You Are Too Beautiful
7. Just You, Just Me

Hackensack: March 17 and April 3, 1956

The West Montgomery Trio

While even label executive Orrin Keepnews admits that The Wes Montgomery Trio may have fallen short of representing Montgomery's talent, he still felt that this debut captured a large portion of it. Recorded on October 5 and 6 in 1959, guitarist Montgomery is joined by organist Melvin Rhyne and drummer Paul Parker. Montgomery's style, block chords and octaves, is already firmly in place, and he delivers lovely solos on "'Round Midnight," "Whisper Not," and "Satin Doll." The choice of material, in fact, from classics like "Yesterdays" to originals like Montgomery's "Jingles," never falters. The only drawback is that the accompaniment, which though solid, doesn't seem to perfectly match his guitar style. One gets the impression that Montgomery's forceful, deliberate style would be better-served by beefier arrangements. Having said this, Montgomery's performance -- coming at the end of a decade represented by guitarists like Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel -- was a revolution in technique and execution. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a 36-year-old guitarist re-imagines the jazz guitar solo. There are two bonus tracks on The Wes Montgomery Trio: extra takes of "Satin Doll" and "Missile Blues." Although later Riverside recordings of Montgomery are more fully realized, fans will enjoy returning to the moment when he first burst upon the jazz scene.

Wes Montgomery (guitar)
Melvin Rhyne (organ)
Paul Parker (drums)

1. 'Round Midnight
2. Yesterdays
3. The End Of A Love Affair
4. Whisper Not
5. Ecaroh
6. Satin Doll
7. Satin Doll
8. Missile Blues
9. Missile Blues
10. Too Late Now
11. Jingles

Passport - Second Passport (1972)

I'd like to be putting out more variety for Friday Fusion, but I clearly don't have the depth of music that alpax is pulling from.....I'll soon have to start posting my Herbie Hancock and Stanley Clarke stuff. Anyway, this early Passport is more gritty and rock-oriented than the later releases.

Couldn't locate a review.

Klaus Doldinger (soprano & tenor saxes, electric piano, synthesizer)
John Mealing (elelectric piano, organ)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass guitar)
Bryan Spring (drums)

1. Mandragora (3:46)
2. Nexus (5:23)
3. Fairy Tale (7:32)
4. Get Yourself A Second Passport (4:03)
5. Registration O (9:24)
6. Horizon Beyond (6:46)
7. The Cat From Katmandu (4:38)

Friday Fusion

Randy Bernsen - Mo' Wasabi (1986)

Like the cover all-star cast of thousands!

South Florida guitarist Randy Bernsen started his recording career in an unorthodox way, calling a collection of jazz/fusion luminaries who, even to his surprise, agreed to be a part of his 1986 debut album Music for People, Planets & Washing Machines. After recruiting fretless bass giant and fellow South Florida resident Jaco Pastorius and getting a return call of interest from keyboard virtuoso Herbie Hancock, it was easier to interest keyboardist Bob James and drummer Peter Erskine. Released on MCA's Zebra label, the album earned Bernsen write-ups in Down Beat and Guitar Player magazines and appeared to start a flourishing career. Bernsen's follow-up, 1987's Mo' Wasabi, was even better, as his initial all-stars were joined by saxophonists Wayne Shorter and Michael Brecker, bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Steve Gadd, and harmonica legend Toots Thielemans. More positive press from JAZZIZ and USA Today followed, but when the 1988 album Paradise Citizens didn't attract the same attention despite the same dazzling roster, Bernsen's tenure with Zebra was finished. No one knew at the time that the guitarist -- who excelled whether playing clean-toned lines or mimicking keyboards, saxophone, or steel drums on his guitar synthesizer -- would never release a major-label solo album again. Part of it seemed purposeful, as Bernsen played in South Florida and toured through Japan and Malaysia while earning his commercial pilot's license and writing music for TV and (eventually) the Internet. A stint with former Weather Report leader Joe Zawinul (replacing fellow South Florida guitarist Scott Henderson) resulted in some fine work on Zawinul's 1992 Lost Tribes CD, and Bernsen's independently released CD Calling Me Back Home featured another all-star roster the next year. His house gig at a Fort Lauderdale club resulted in Bernsen's next CD, 1997's Live at Tavern 213, and featured excellent improvisation by the guitarist, bassist Pete Sebastian, and drummer John Yarling. A Mexico tour in 1998 with violinist/vocalist Nicole Yarling, saxophonist Richard Brookens, bassist Javier Carrion, and drummer Archie Pena yielded Bernsen's 2001 CD Live in San Miguel de Allande, available through Bernsen's website at Whether as a pilot or guitarist/bandleader, Bernsen's career continues to fly as high as he sees fit. ~ Bill Meredith, All Music Guide

Randy Bernsen (guitars, synth)
Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter (saxophones)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller (bass)
Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Bobby Economou, Danny Gottlieb (drums)
Othello (steel drums)
(many) others
  1. Expo
  2. E Phlat Major 7
  3. Mo' Wasabi
  4. Hey Michael!
  5. Swing Thing
  6. The Stomp
  7. What Once Was
  8. Jac Attack/Dover Days
  9. Califoric
  10. The Flow
  11. Opening Jam

Rance Allen - The Best Of The Rance Allen Group

Infusing traditional gospel music with Memphis soul, Detroit-based singer Rance Allen helped pave the way for the secularized gospel sound of the '80s and '90s. After signing with Stax in 1969, Allen and his group proceeded to bring their hip brand of gospel to the masses by scoring several chart hits and opening concerts for the likes of Isaac Hayes. This hits package covers the group's successful run in the '70s, spotlighting Allen's incredibly flexible and powerful voice (one listens to cuts like "Ain't No Need of Crying" and "Gonna Make It Alright" and it's easy to figure out where Prince picked up his misty falsetto from). The selections include Allen's biggest Stax hit, "I Got to Be Myself," the spiritually reconfigured cover "Just My Imagination (Just My Salvation)," and modern gospel pioneer James Cleveland's "That Will Be Enough for Me." Allen contributes a handful of slick and spirited groovers, like "I Give My All To You" and "I Belong to You," and even goes in for a little disco on another original, "Smile" (considering Allen's devout nature, it's hard to tell if the more commercial elements in the music came from him or hit-minded producers). A bit of unintentional humor also finds its way into the set, with the raucous cut "Hot Line to Jesus." This spirited collection makes Allen's love of the music plain and offers a fine introduction to both his work and to the "new," yet (historically speaking) ancient mix of religious and secular black music. ~ Stephen Cook

Rance Allen (vocals, guitar)
Steve Allen (vocals, bass)
Tom Allen (vocals, drums)

1. Ain't No Need Of Crying
2. Just My Imagination (Just My Salvation)
3. There's Gonna Be a Showdown
4. That Will Be Good Enough For Me
5. Hot Line To Jesus
6. Gonna Make It Alright
7. I Belong To You
8. I Give My All To You
9. Heaven Is Where The Heart Is
10. Smile
11. I Got To Be Myself
12. I Know A Man Who

Woody Herman - 1939 (Chronological 1128)

Joe Bishop has played with Ten Years After and Lawrence Welk.

Woody Herman had a breakthrough during the period of time covered by Classics' third Herman CD. The Apr. 12, 1939, session yielded "Woodchopper's Ball," Herman's first hit, and it also featured "Dallas Blues," "Blues Downstairs," and "Blues Upstairs." From then on, Herman's first group would be known as "The Band That Plays the Blues." Other highlights of this enjoyable CD include four titles featuring singer Connie Boswell, the Andrews Sisters guesting on "Begin the Beguine," some vocals by Mary Ann McCall, and the tracks "The Sheik of Araby" and "Farewell Blues." Despite the lack of any major soloists (beyond the leader), things were definitely looking up by August 1939 for Herman. ~ Scott Yanow

Woody Herman (clarinet)
The Andrews Sisters (vocal)
The Boswell Sisters (vocal)
Joe Bishop (flugelhorn)
Frank Carlson (drums)

1. Thanks For Ev'rything
2. The Umbrella Man
3. They Say
4. Deep In A Dream
5. Les Filles De Cadix (The Girls From Cadiz)
6. Il Bacio
7. Begin The Beguine
8. Woodchopper's Ball
9. Big-Wig In The Wigwam
10. Dallas Blues
11. Blues Downstairs
12. Blues Upstairs
13. Paleface
14. The Sheik Of Araby
15. Casbah Blues
16. Farewell Blues
17. East Side Kick
18. Midnight Echoes
19. Jumpin' Blues
20. Big Morning
21. Love With A Capitol 'You'
22. Still The Bluebird Sings
23. Love Me
24. Rosetta

Hank Jones - 1975 Hanky Panky

This trio album led by pianist Hank Jones features Ron Carter on bass and Grady Tate on drums. Song selection and arrangement were done by Hank Jones. The original concept of the LP was to feature songs by relatively new composers (at the time) that Hank liked on Side 1. These tracks include two compositions by Sara Cassey, “Warm Blue Stream” and “Wind Flower.” Also included on “Side 1” is Hank’s original composition, “Minor Contention.” On Side 2, Hank selected popular jazz standards, which include “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” a well-known Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the play Oklahoma! and “As Long As I Live,” a song written for a Cotton Club revue called “Parade” by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and later made famous by Lena Horne. The title track is a funky bop number by Gary McFarland arranged with a Latin flavor. This album features the superb combination of elite musicians by any standard and one reason it has withstood the test of time.

01 Nothin' Beats an Evil Woman (3:45)
02 Warm Blue Stream (4:36)
03 Confidence (3:37)
04 Wind Flower (5:28)
05 Minor Contention (3:51)
06 Favors (6:32)
07 As Long as I Love (5:44)
08 Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (5:43)
09 Hanky Panky (4:37)

Recorded at Vanguard Studios, New York on July 14 & 15, 1975

Hank Jones: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Grady Tate: drums

Lester Young - 1959 Lester Young in Paris (a.k.a. Le Dernier Message de Lester Young)

Some weeks before his death (March 15, 1959) in a New York hotel by a heart attack, Lester Young was playing in Paris in a 8 weeks contract at the Blue Note rue d'Artois. On March 4, the group (except Pierre Michelot, substituted by Jamil Nasser on bass) recorded in the studio Hoche the last musical message of Lester Young. Initially was published as Lester Young in Paris and later has been re-issued by Vervé in its Jazz in Paris series as Le Dernier Message de Lester Young.

"Young's tone is amazing and has touches of his classic sound, but is also filled with a somber sense that's really great" Dusty Groove

"The group cuts an archetypically Young-ian laid-back swath through such standards 'Oh Lady Be Good' and 'I Cover the Waterfront'." Matt Collar

"Lester Young, on the verge of sinking, still sings loud and clear its tenderness". Pierre de Chocqueuse

01 I Didn't Know What Time It Was ..... Hart, Rodgers 4:19
02 Oh, Lady Be Good ..... Gershwin, Gershwin 3:36
03 Almost Like Being in Love ..... Lerner, Loewe 3:59
04 Three Little Words ..... Kalmar, Ruby 4:17
05 I Cover the Waterfront ..... Green, Heyman 3:48
06 I Can't Get Started ..... Duke, Gershwin 3:13
07 (Back Home Again In) Indiana ..... Hanley, MacDonald 2:46
08 Pennies from Heaven ..... Burke, Johnston 3:19
09 New D.B. Blues ..... Young 3:13
10 Lullaby of Birdland ..... Shearing, Weiss 3:40
11 There Will Never Be Another You ..... Gordon, Warren 3:37
12 Tea for Two ..... Caesar, Youmans 3:29

Recorded at Studio Hoche, Paris on March 4, 1959

Kenny Clarke Drums
Jimmy Gourley Guitar
Jamil Nasser Double Bass
René Urtreger Piano
Lester Young Sax (Tenor)

Jazz Soundie : Duke Ellington - Solitude

Another 'music video' - they were called soundies way back when. Here is 'Solitude' with a triple-trombone solo and a vocal. I have to admit I've only the foggiest notion who the musicians are, maybe a Duke fan can fill us in. An mpeg-2 DVD type file with 320k 48kHz sound track.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

John Lewis

John Lewis - Grand Encounter

Also reissued as 2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West and occasionally listed under tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins' name, this classic session is the ultimate in cool jazz. Perkins' mellow tone matches quite well with the quiet but inwardly passionate playing of pianist John Lewis, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Chico Hamilton. Lewis is featured with the rhythm section on "I Can't Get Started," Hall is added for "Skylark," and the full group plays three standards plus Lewis' memorable (and atmospheric) "2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West." ~ Scott Yanow

John Lewis (piano)
Jim Hall (guitar)
Bill Perkins (tenor sax)
Percy Heath (bass)
Chico Hamilton (drums)

1. Love Me Or Leave Me
2. I Can't Get Started
3. Easy Living
4. Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West
5. Skylark
6. Almost Like Being In Love

John Lewis - evolution II

On May 3, 2000, John Lewis turned 80 -- and almost half a century after the formation of the Modern Jazz Quartet, he could still inspire a variety of reactions. Over the years, Lewis' detractors have insisted that his piano playing is too polite and overly mannered; his admirers, however, have exalted him as the epitome of class and sophistication. To be sure, Lewis' pianism is quite sophisticated, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't swing or that he isn't soulful. Recorded in 2000 and released in early 2001, Evolution II isn't going to convert anyone who isn't already an admirer of the pianist's cool jazz/third stream approach. Anyone who has claimed that Lewis' playing is too polite won't have a change of heart after hearing this CD, but for Lewis' admirers, the rewards are great. Evolution II is the second installment of his Evolution trilogy; while the first Evolution was an unaccompanied solo piano recording, Evolution II finds him leading quartets that include Howard Alden or Howard Collins on guitar, George Mraz or Marc Johnson on upright bass, and Lewis Nash on drums. Except for the standards "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "What Is This Thing Called Love?," all of the songs are Lewis originals (including new compositions as well as familiar pieces like "Django" and "Trieste"). True to form, Lewis is elegant and swinging at the same time -- contrary to what his detractors have claimed, Lewis swings, but he does so on his own terms. For Lewis, there is no reason why jazz cannot be classical-influenced yet maintain the feelings of the blues. Although Evolution II falls short of essential, it is an enjoyable addition to the veteran pianist's catalog and demonstrates that his chops have held up well over the years. ~ Alex Henderson

John Lewis (piano)
Howard Collins (guitar)
Howard Alden (guitar)
Marc Johnson (bass)
George Mraz (bass)
Lewis Nash (drums)

1. The Festivals
2. One! Of Parker's Moods
3. December, Remember
4. That! Afternoon In Paris
5. Cain And Abel
6. Come Rain Or Come Shine
7. Trieste
8. Django
9. Sammy
10. What Is This Thing Called Love?

John Bunch & Bucky Pizzarelli - NY Swing (1991)

Another good CD from budget label LRC, NY Swing is a quartet led by pianist John Bunch and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli that takes on mostly standards. After this debut they have released a number of CDs featuring the music of American composers such as Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington and Jimmy Van Heusen. Nothing earth shattering here, just good swing from seasoned pros.

John Bunch (piano)
Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar)
Jay Leonhart (bass)
Joe Cocuzzo (drums)

  1. Lady Be Good
  2. Hi Fly
  3. Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me
  4. Dot's Cheesecake
  5. Stompin' at the Savoy
  6. How am I to Know?
  7. Sleepin' Bee
  8. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
  9. Jitterbug Waltz
  10. Sunday
  11. In a Sentimental Mood

Jack Sheldon - The Quartet and the Quintet

There is a lot of music on this 1998 CD which has trumpeter Jack Sheldon's first two LP's as a leader plus three selections originally put out on various samplers. Although not as distinctive a soloist as he would become, at this early stage Sheldon was already a technically skilled and creative bop soloist. Sheldon is well-featured on three songs in a quintet with altoist Joe Maini, on eight numbers with a quartet that co-stars pianist Walter Norris and on the remaining eight tunes in a quintet with tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims and pianist Norris. The music is purely straightahead and fairly spontaneous yet generally concise and serves as an excellent example of both early Jack Sheldon and mid-50's L.A. bop. ~ Scott Yanow

Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Zoot Sims (tenor sax)
Kenny Drew (piano)
Joe Maini (alto sax)
Walter Norris (piano)
Ralph Pena (bass)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass)
Gene Gammage (drums)
Larance Marable (drums)

1. Contour
2. It's Only A Paper Moon
3. Leroy's Blues
4. Cheek To Cheek
5. Streets Of Madashi
6. Get Out Of Town
7. Ah Moore
8. Dozo (Let's Go)
9. Mad About The Boy
10. Toot Sweet
11. Jack Departs
12. What Is There To Say
13. Groovus Mentus
14. Beach-Wise
15. Palermo Walk
16. Blues
17. Irresistible You
18. Guatemala
19. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nat King Cole - 1946-1947 (Chronological 1005)

Volume Eight in the Classics Nat King Cole chronology follows his career from August 19, 1946 to July 2, 1947. By the summer of 1946 Cole was an exclusive Capitol recording artist and would remain so until his cigarette-induced death in 1965. As the postwar entertainment industry became increasingly obsessed with star vocalists, Nat King Cole's marvelously mellow voice proved to be intensely marketable. Echoes of Artie Shaw's sweet arrangements and a premonition of '50s production values occurred on what was actually Nat King Cole's second rendition of Mel Tormé's "Christmas Song" (recorded during a blistering August heat wave) with a string quartet plus harp added to a "trio" already enlarged to a quartet by the presence of drummer Jack "The Bear" Parker. Everything else on this compilation is played by the King Cole Trio, now serving more than ever as a backdrop for the voice of the leader. The only instrumentals are Cole's own "In the Cool of the Evening" (which sounds like a cousin to "Poinciana"), a gorgeous rumination on Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and a thrilling jam on Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," presented as a sequel to the King Cole Trio's earlier version recorded for Decca on December 6, 1940. ~ arwulf arwulf

Nat King Cole (piano)
Oscar Moore (guitar)
Johnny Miller (bass)
Jack Parker (drums)

1. The Best Man
2. The Christmas Song
3. You Should Have Told Me
4. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
5. In The Cool Of The Evening
6. That's The Beginning Of The End
7. If You Dont' Like My Apples
8. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
9. I Want To Thank You Folks
10. You're The Cream In My Coffee
11. Come In Out Of The Rain
12. You Don't Learn That In School
13. You Be You (But Let Me Be Me)
14. Can You Look Me In The Eyes
15. Give Me Twenty Nickels
16. Meet Me At No Special Place
17. If You Don't Like My Apples
18. Naughty Angeline
19. I Miss You So
20. That's What
21. Honeysuckle Rose
22. Thanks For You
23. It's Kind Of Lonesome Out Tonight
24. For Once In Your Life

Teddy Charles- Tentet 1956

Im not really a believer in advancement in art in the sense that the old is improved upon or superceded, made obsolete by the new.
Although i do believe in the value of perpetual renewal.

doctrinaire modernists must have loved this one back in the day.
in terms of complexity this is breathtakingly kaleidoscopic for 1956.

ive always loved this (since chancing upon it in a flee market stall )i have scratchy old atlantic vinyl......but have never heard the bonus tracks which were apparently included with atlantics reissue of a few years ago ,can anyone share those tracks?

Most of this CD features vibraphonist Teddy Charles heading an advanced tentet in 1956, a unit including the likes of trumpeter Art Farmer, altoist Gigi Gryce, tenor saxophonist J.R. Monterose, pianist Mal Waldron, and guitarist Jimmy Raney. The arrangements of George Russell ("Lydian M-1"), Gil Evans (a year before Miles Ahead), Jimmy Giuffre, Mal Waldron, and Charles are quite advanced but often leave room for some swinging spots. The final three selections on the CD are actually taken from a slightly later album. Of these, "Blue Greens" is a change of pace, a quartet outing for Charles, pianist Hall Overton, bassist Charles Mingus, and drummer Ed Shaughnessy. All in all, this CD is pretty definitive of Teddy Charles' more adventurous music of the 1950s and it grows in interest with each listening. [The 2001 reissue on Collectables strips away the three bonus tracks that were appended to the original album when first released on CD by Atlantic.] ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide