Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stan Getz - Prezervation

In 1949 and 1950, when these performances were recorded, Al Haig, Tommy Potter, and Roy Haynes were the premier rhythm section in jazz. They worked clubs with both the master Charlie Parker and the young tenor sax star Stan Getz, and also backed other players and singers in the studios. This excellent anthology contains their only trio session and a Haig sextet date (with Getz, Kai Winding, and Jimmy Raney) in their entirety, plus four tracks that complete two famous sessions documented on Stan Getz Quartets (OJC-121). There are also samples of two jazz vocal styles, as Blossom Dearie and Raney bop and Junior Parker croons.

1 - Prezervation
2 - Pinch Bottle
3 - Earless Engineering
4 - Be Still, TV
5 - Short P, Not LP
6 - Stardust
7 - Goodnight My Love
8 - Intoit
9 - Liza
10 - Stars Fell on Alabama
11 - Stairway to the Stars
12 - Opus Caprice

Stan Getz (ts), Al Haig (p), Kai Winding (tb), Jimmy Raney (g), Tommy Potter (b), Roy Haynes and Stan Levey (dr), Blossom Dearie and Junior Parker (voc).

Recorded in New York, New York between June 21, 1949 and February 27, 1950

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Belmondo, Yusef Lateef - Influence (2005)


I saw this band on stage at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2006. The Belmondo brothers performed the music from this very album with Yusef Lateef. It was a very special evening. Yusef Lateef has a highly spiritual approach to music. It was very obvious to me, as I listened to the live music in a very intimate concert hall setting. I find that same emotion intact when I listen to the album. If you are touched by Lateef's music the way you are, let's say, by Coltrane's spirituality, then this double album should appeal to you. Review by Jean Francois.

Belmondo Yusef Lateef Influence

Every work of art is part form, part substance and part emotion. The double CD Influence, by Yusef Lateef and the Belmondo brothers, has the beauty of form of an impressionist canvas, the depth and the complexity of a mathematical equation, but the emotional sterility of a doctor's office.

The music is a blend of complex and precise improvisations and melodies from around the world, including 19th Century Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and Africa, all peppered with a jazz sensibility. The three multi-instrumentalist virtuosos in the front line forge their individual voices into a sound sculpture without losing their individuality. The rhythm section not only keeps up with the horns, but also builds a solid foundation for them.

While the recording mostly lacks emotion, it's not completely devoid of passion. The beginning drum solo of the title track rumbles with the kind of excitement that one feels in the pit of one's stomach, but the feeling fades away completely after a few minutes as the drums fade into their supportive role. The last part of the suite that takes up most of disc two also starts off laden with a charge reminiscent of the finest hard bop recordings of the 1950s, and it's more or less able to maintain momentum throughout its fourteen-minute duration.

This is a beautiful, complex and interesting recording, but with only a few surprises and a few passionate shreds of jazzy excitement. The multicultural style of the music and its beautiful complexity fits well with the great Yusef Lateef's legacy and the Belmondo brothers' body of work. Review by Hrayar Attarian.

Belmondo Yusef Lateef Influence

Track Listing

  1. Shafaa
  2. Si tout ceci n'est qu'un pauvre rêve
  3. Après le jeu
  4. Influence
  5. Orgatique
  6. An Afternoon In Chatanooga
  7. Suite Overtime Part I Morning
  8. Suite Overtime Part II Metaphor
  9. Suite Overtime Part III Iqbal
  10. Suite Overtime Part IV Brother John
  11. Le Jardin


Yusef Lateef: reeds

Lionel Belmondo: reeds, percussion

Stephane Belmondo: trumpet, flugelhorn, shell, percussion

Laurent Fickelson: piano

Paul Imm: bass

Dré Pallemaert: drums

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brad Mehldau Live at the Village Vanguard

Brad Mehldau
The Art of the Trio - V2
Live at the Village Vanguard

Criticism has, and always will, maintain a strained relationship with music. Once it speculates beyond this non-essence, into music's true nature, criticism unwittingly finds itself under a Cloud of Unknowing with everyone else, alas, 'at a loss for words.' Let the critics deem you honor-worthy (or short of) any so-called 'Renaissance.' (A fool's pilgrimage, that—informed by a nostalgic atavism, sort of endearing in the collegiate fervor it displays as it falls short of the mark again and again, patriotism for the obsolete....)"
— Brad Mehldau 1997

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walter Norris - Drifting

A '92 reissue of an excellent mid-'70s session by pianist Walter Norris, who's made few records, all of which are worth having. He's a slashing, more unorthodox player with both free and hard bop ties. His patterns, solos, and phrases aren't among the easiest to follow, but bassists George Mraz and Aladar Pege manage to find a comfort zone after some early problems. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide

Recorded in Munich, Germany on August 18, 1974.

01. Drifting
02. A Child is Born
03. Nota Cambiata
04. Spacemaker
05. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
06. Rose Waltz
07. Thumbs Up
08. Synchronicity
09. Spacemaker
10. Drifting

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brian Lynch - Tribute To The Trumpet Masters

I had the real pleasure of seeing Mr. Lynch perform with Eddie Palmieri recently, and let me tell you .... Brian Lynch is a baaaaad motherfucker. I strongly urge you all to go out and buy something by him, or better yet, see him when he plays at a theater near you.

From stints with Horace Silver and Art Blakey to those with such Latin luminaries as Hector LaVoe and Eddie Palmieri, trumpeter Brian Lynch has learned his lessons well. First turning a few heads with his solid series of dates as a leader for Criss Cross, Lynch made the move to the fledgling Sharp Nine label in 1995. There he would record his first volume of quartet recordings, Keep Your Circle Small, to be followed two years later with the multifaceted Spheres of Influence.

Spheres would prove to be a hard act to follow, owing to its elaborate and far-ranging implications, yet Lynch’s second set of quartet recordings as documented on the newly issued Tribute to the Trumpet Masters is far from being any kind of letdown. In fact, it not only acts as a solid homage but also testifies to Lynch’s talent as a lead voice. There have been relatively few records in the jazz annals sporting just a trumpeter with rhythmic backing (standouts for this reviewer would have to include Kenny Dorham’s Quiet Kenny and Ted Curson’s Fire Down Below ). The instrument is a demanding one and it’s often easier to include a saxophone in the front line to balance out the leadership chores. But as he did on Keep Your Circle Small, Lynch once again proves that the quartet setting can be a viable one for trumpet.

Lynch has also shrewdly avoided just picking out tunes by the trumpeters he’s chosen to spotlight. Out of the nine cuts on the disc, over half of them are Lynch originals and each one sports a title that lays claim to the artist being feted. The most impressive of these are the sprightly “Woody Shaw” and the propulsive bossa of “Tom Harrell,” which recalls such Harrell compositions as “Moon Alley” and “Sail Away.” Freddie Hubbard’s “Eclipse” provides a magnificent ballad forum for Lynch and both Booker Little’s “Opening Statement” and Lee Morgan’s “Search For the New Land” are valuable pieces seldom if ever done by modern day players.

Lynch is extraordinary throughout in both lead and solo statements, with motivated backing coming from pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Carl Allen. In fact, this may be Miller’s finest work of recent vintage; he absolutely tears it up on the aforementioned “Woody Shaw.” So while there may be a few years of delay between releases from Lynch, they’re always worth the wait and his recent Sharp Nine dates have yet to disappoint. ~ C. Andrew Hovan

Brian Lynch has slowly built an impressive discography, proving that he is one of the leading hard bop trumpeters of his generation. His "Tribute to the Trumpet Masters" includes tunes by Freddie Hubbard, Thad Jones, Lee Morgan, and Booker Little, plus five originals by Lynch that pay homage to Woody Shaw, Kenny Dorham, Blue Mitchell, Charles Tolliver, and Tom Harrell. With strong backing from a rhythm section that includes pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Carl Allen, the trumpeter solos confidently as he launches lengthy lines with a cracked tone sometimes reminiscent of Clifford Brown, who somehow escaped a tribute. One of the most impressive attributes of his playing is his ability to sustain protracted, fiery solos without repeating himself. While the compositions are hit or miss, his "Woody Shaw" attractively captures the essence of the late trumpeter. This album is billed as Volume 2 of the Brian Lynch Quartet, although the players (other than Lynch) are entirely different than on Volume 1. ~ Steven Loewy

Brian Lynch (trumpet)
Mulgrew Miller (piano)
Essiet Essiet (bass)
Carl Allen (drums)

1. Woody Shaw
2. Eclipse
3. Bus Stop Serenade (For K.D.)
4. Tom Harrell
5. Elusive
6. Search For The New Land
7. Tribute To Blue (Mitchell)
8. Charles Tolliver
9. Opening Statement

Red Rodney - Quintets 1955-59. Borrowed Times (2CD)

Red Rodney was a brash young trumpeter who had the mark of greatness before narcotics cut short his career. His lowest point came in January 1953, when a judge in Chicago sentenced him to Leavenworth for five years. Rodney was released on parole in March 1955, having served two years of his sentence, and shortly thereafter he recorded an album for Fantasy (tracks #1-12).
His luck ran out again in November 1955, and he was sentenced to serve the remainder of his term at the Lexington, Ky., federal narcotics hospital. His release on June 5, 1957 was something of an event among aficionados, and the results of his recording contract with Signal (tracks #13-15 on CD-1, and #1-3 on CD-2), are proof of just how much he still had to offer to jazz. He got hooked again for a while after that, until early 1959, when he made a new and brief—but successful—comeback to the scene, cutting a new LP, this time for Argo.
Remarkably, the three stunning albums included in this set were made while Red was living on borrowed time, between one incarceration and the next. “I can only repeat what Bird said” he once explained about addiction. “‘Don’t do as I do, do as I say.’”

CD 1
01. I Love The Rhythm In A Riff (Eckstine-Valentine) 3:10
02. Taking A Chance On Love (Duke-Fetter-Latouche) 3:11
03. Dig This (Norman Simmons) 3:14
04. Red Is Blue (Norman Simmons) 5:49
05. Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie (Rose-McDonald-Meyer) 2:54
06. On Mike (N.Simmons-R.Rodney) 4:11
07. The Song Is You (J.Kern-O.Hammerstein II) 3:56
08. You And The Night And The Music (H.Dietz-W.Schwartz) 4:18
09. Laura (D.Raksin-J.Mercer) 4:40
10. Daddy-O (Norman Simmons) 3:45
11. Hail To Dale (Ira Sullivan) 3:39
12. Jeffie (Norman Simmons) 3:39
13. Star Eyes (G.DePaul-D.Raye) 10:49
14. You Better Go Now (B.Reichner-R.Graham) 5:31
15. Stella By Starlight (R.Rodgers-L.Hart) 6:04

CD 2
01. Red Arrow (Frank Wess) 5:11
02. Box 2000 (Frank Wess) 5:58
03. Ubas (Henry Coker) 4:52
04. Shaw Nuff (Dizzy Gillespie) 6:34
05. Red Hot And Blue (Danny Kent) 6:03
06. I Remember You (V.Schertzinger-J.Mercer) 6:06
07. 5709 (Danny Kent) 4:20
08. Whirlwind (Danny Kent) 5:41
09. Jordu (Duke Jordan) 6:11
10. Shelley (Danny Kent) 5:29
11. Two By Two (Jay Cave) 4:30

CD 1, tracks #1-12 from "Modern Music From Chicago" (Fantasy 3-208).
CD 1, tracks #13-15 & CD 2, tracks #1-3 from "Red Rodney: 1957" (Signal S 1206).
CD 2, tracks #4-11 from "Red Rodney Returns" (Argo LP 643).

Personnel on "Modern Music From Chicago": Red Rodney (tp, vcl on #1), Ira Sullivan (ts on #1-5, 7, 8, 10-12, tp only on #6), Norman Simmons (p), Victor Sproles (b), Roy Haynes (d). Recorded at Universal Studios, Chicagi, IL, June 8 [#1-10] and 27 [#11-12].

Personnel on "Red Rodney: 1957": Red Rodney (tp), Ira Sullivan (ts, tp), Tommy Flanagan (p), Oscar Pettiford (b), Philly Joe Jones (d on CD 1, #13-15), Elvin Jones (d on CD 2, #1-3). Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Hackenshack, New Jersey, on November 22, 1957 [CD 1, #13-15] and November 24, 1957 [CD 2, #1-3].

Personnel on "Red Rodney Returns": Red Rodney (tp), Billy Root (ts), Danny Kent (p), Jay Cave (b), Frank Young (d). Recorded at Reco-Art Studios, Philadelphia, Pa, February 16 & 17, 1959.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Michael Marcus Meets Jaki Byard - This Happening

1 Earth Beings / 3=4
2 This Happening
3 Kelso Tracks South
4 Giant Steps / Naima
5 Steppin' Down With Jaki
6 The Cry For Peace
7 The Continuum
8 Kelso Tracks North
9 Darn That Dream

Michael Marcus: bass clarinet, saxello and strich
Jaki Byard: piano

Label: Justin Time (Canada)
Year: 1997

This is an interesting duo set by Michael Marcus and pianist Jaki Byard that does not quite live up to its potential. A fine technician, Marcus (heard mostly on saxello and stritch) has a lyrical, searching style, along with the ability to be both exploratory and relaxed simultaneously. With the exception of a John Coltrane medley of "Giant Steps" and "Naima" (which has his only appearance on bass clarinet) and the closing "Darn That Dream," Marcus contributed all of the selections. The problem with the recording is that Byard, who can play brilliantly in any jazz style, sticks mostly to being an accompanist. Most of his playing is quite laid-back, and he seems content to function as a supporting player; even his solos sound as if he is waiting for Marcus to return. So, although this CD will probably be quite important in the discography of Michael Marcus, it is just a footnote, a lost opportunity, in Jaki Byard's career. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Steeplechase Jam Session Volume 2

(from the album notes)
Take five Steeplechase leaders (three of them bri 11 iant modern exponents of the electric guitar), have them bring some tunes they dig into the studio, roll the tapes, sit back and listen to a creative hour of spontaneous combustion. That's what producer Nils Wintherdidwhen he laid on a rendezvous for a trio of the label's top plectrists - Vic Juris, Dave Stryker and Tony Purrone.
To give this formidable "string section" the appropriate drive, two fellow Steeplechasers, drummer Keith Copeland and bassist Scott Col ley, both leaders in their own right, were pressed into service.
It turned out to be a convivial congress. The agenda was not to present perfectly-rehearsed interpretations, but free-wheeling, open-ended performances, capturing the essence of "music made in the moment". Here the fellows were obliged to react instantly to the immediate ad-libbing taking place
around them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The L.A. 4 - Watch What Happens [1978]

Not my personal 'cup of tea' ... I have to admit, but it's out of print, I believe, hasn't been here before, I hope, and 'Scotty-don't-stop-me-now-I'm-writing-a-critique' finds it unusual, tasteful & lightly swinging and however else you can describe a set of standards when you get paid for it ... and that's all that matters ...

For their third recording, the L.A. Four had drummer Jeff Hamilton permanently taking Shelly Manne's place but otherwise utilized their original players (altoist-flutist Bud Shank, guitarist Laurindo Almeida, and bassist Ray Brown). Most unusual in their repertoire on this set is Chuck Mangione's "Land of Make Believe," which was a current pop hit. Otherwise, the tunes are the usual mixtures of bossas, classical numbers, and standards, including "Summertime," "Mona Lisa," and "Nuages." Tasteful and lightly swinging music. Scott Yanow.

Bud Shank (alto saxophone, flute)

Laurindo Almeida (guitar)

Ray Brown (bass)

Jeff Hamilton (drums)

01 Watch What Happens (Demy, Gimbel, Legrand) 5:24

02 Summertime (Gershwin, Heyward) 5:14

03 Mona Lisa (Evans, Livingston) 4:55

04 Williwaw (Almeida, Shank) 5:26

05 Land of Make Believe (Mangione) 6:55

06 Nuages (Reinhardt, Williams) 5:48

07 Misty (Burke, Garner) 7:42

Recorded at Sunset Recording Studios, Hollywood, California on May 5, 1978 | Concord Jazz CCD 4063

Sunday, October 17, 2010

George Coleman - Playing Changes

George Coleman - Playing Changes - Live at Ronnie Scott's, 1979

George Coleman - Tenor Saxophone
Hilton Ruiz - Piano
Ray Drummond - Bass
Billy Higgins - Drums

01 - Laura
02 - Sierra
03 - Moment's Notice

Excellent blowing on them changes!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Steeplechase Jam Session Vol 17

Brad Goode (trumpet)
Ryan Kisor (trumpet)
Steve LaSpina (bass)
Andy LaVerne (piano)
John McNeil (trumpet)
Matt Wilson (drums)

Ballad Medley: Never Let Me Go, Deep In A Dream, Lovely
The Other Night
Demented Blues
Oddball Compliments

Since producer Norman Granz sold Pablo in the mid-'80s, regular recordings of jam sessions by any one label have been infrequent. One happy exception has been the European-based Steeplechase, which has regularly gathered musicians together to play off one another's strengths. This volume features trumpeters Ryan Kisor and Brad Goode with veteran John McNeil, accompanied by Andy LaVerne (practically a house pianist for the label), bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Matt Wilson, the latter one of the most in-demand drummers of his generation. Egos are set aside as the men work to complement one another's contributions to the date. LaVerne leads things off with a pair of medium tempo originals, followed by a mini-medley of ballads with each song showcasing an individual trumpeter with the rhythm section. Goode also contributed several tunes, including the well-named "Demented Blues," which sounds like a mariachi band with evil plans during some of the ensemble passages. The jam session is still quite a viable project, especially when players of such high caliber are gathered together with the tapes rolling. ~ Ken Dryden, Rovi All Music Guide

Friday, October 15, 2010

Roger Kellaway & Red Mitchell - Life's a Take (1993) (EAC-FLAC-Covers)

Review by Richard S. Ginell (AMG)

To inaugurate Concord's duo series at the Maybeck Recital Hall, Carl Jefferson got the idea of pairing Roger Kellaway with Red Mitchell, who had played together now and then since the 1960s. The fascinating thing about the two is that Kellaway started his career as a bassist and Mitchell started his as a pianist, so naturally there is total empathy at work here, with Mitchell intertwining his instrument with Kellaway's piano as an equal melodic partner instead of a mere time keeper. With a bass player, and a rambunctious one at that, feeding him lines, Kellaway is looser and more apt to flash streaks of wit -- which "It's a Wonderful World" does in spades -- than on his Maybeck solo recital. His technique, as always, is dazzling, erudite, and all over the keyboard. Although of course no one suspected it at the time, this turned out to be Mitchell's last recording -- he died of a stroke less than six months later -- and his ironic musings about his jaunty self-penned title track, "Life's a take, and you only get one of them," make this session a bittersweet one.


01 - If I were a bell
02 - Spoken introduction
03 - Mean to me
04 - I've the feeling I've been here before
05 - Spoken introduction
06 - Life's a take
07 - Lover man
08 - It's a wonderful world
09 - Take the 'A' train
10 - Spoken introduction
11 - Have you met Miss Jones

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trio X - Live On Tour 2008

In 2008, Trio X conducted a tenth anniversary tour, all of it recorded by the master engineer, Marc Rusch. And now the music from that tour is preserved in a magnificent 5-CD set: Trio X Live on Tour 2008.

Those who have followed Trio X over the years will find this both familiar and fresh and will rejoice in the pleasures of this new release. Program notes for the complete set are written by Producer Bob Rusch, and address the music and each venue (Colgate University; Edgefest [Ann Arbor, MI]; University of Illinois at Urbana [Champaign, IL]; Waukee, Iowa; Davenport, Iowa [PolyRhythms]; Bowling Green State University [Bowling Green, OH]; and Hamilton College).

Great music, state of the art audio, photos, and insights all wrapped up in one delicious package.

Joe McPhee (flugelhorn, trumpet, tenor and soprano sax)
Dominic Duval (bass)
Jay Rosen (drums)

CD 1: Colgate University
1. Colgate Afternoon
2. Spring Was Here
3. A Secret Love
4. Take A Walk Through The Woods
5. Motherless Child

CD 2: Ann Arbor, MI
1. The Ebb Of Sorrow
2. Brownskin Funk
3. Motherless Child
4. Brass Blast
5. Rainy Reference
6. Secret Love, The Sequel

CD 3: Champaign, IL
1. Krannert Welcome
2. Midwest Mallets
3. Prairie Fire
4. Brownskin Arts
5. Old Man River
6. You Need You Need Not
7. Brown Skin Girl
8. Secret Love

CD 4: Waukee and Davenport, IA
1. Waukee Hello Naima
2. People Get Ready,Change
3. Old River Man
4. 4 - silence, change of venue
5. PolyRhythm Valentine
6. Davenport Brownskin
7. Going Home

CD 5: University of Bowling Green (OH) and Hamilton College (NY)
1. The River, Old Man
2. Pig Knuckles & Rice
3. For Max & Clifford
4. Traffic
5. Secret Love Secret
6. silence
7. Brownskin Power
8. Joe's Song For The Child
9. Fragmonks

Recorded October 14 - 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sophie Alour - Uncaged (2007)


I could not find anything on the web in english about Sophie Alour, so I'll do my best to give you a little heads up about this talented young saxophonist from France! In 2001, she formed a sextet with Stephane Belmondo and recorded the album Ouverture. In 2004 she worked with Rhoda Scott and later the same year with the Wynton Marsalis Big Band. She recorded her first album as leader, Insulaire, in 2005, well received by critics. Uncaged is her second album, published in 2007. On this album, she is accompanied by Laurent Coq (piano / fender rhodes), Karl Jannuska (drums), Yoni Zelnik (bass) and rock guitarist Sébastien Martel. The album is very comtemporary and modern, with a distinctive rock "attitude". Songs can swing from brute energy to a softer tone, showcasing Alour's wide array of emotions. Her own sound at the sax is very deep and grainy. One also has to remember that Alour played with the great organist Rhoda Scott for many years and she certainly knows how to groove. In short, Alour rocks! And the sound recording is superb! Review by Jean Francois.

Sophie Alour Uncaged


  1. Uncaged
  2. Comptine
  3. Haunted (Part 1)
  4. Haunted (Part 2)
  5. Sparkling water
  6. Snow in may
  7. Sadrak
  8. Nos cendres
  9. Guerrier
  10. Addict
  11. Goodbye


Laurent Coq (piano / fender rhodes)

Karl Jannuska (drums)

Yoni Zelnik (bass)

Sébastien Martel (guitar)

Sophie Alour (tenor saxophone)

Sophie Alour

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roger Kellaway - Cello Quartet (1970)

Review by Richard S. Ginell
Roger Kellaway launched his reputation as a consummate iconoclastic musician with this album, which was considered an elegant breakthrough in its time. He assembled a novel quartet featuring his piano, the late Edgar Lustgarten's classical cello (Kellaway's favorite instrument), Chuck Domanico on bass, and Emil Richards on marimba and percussion, writing pieces using chord symbols and notes without stems to allow for improvisation. The resulting album falls ever so neatly between the cracks of classical music and jazz, sometimes leaning in the latter direction (e.g., the Latinized groove of "Jorjana #2"), but mostly occupying a never-never land of Kellaway's own invention. Lustgarten's lush, dark tone establishes a haunting classical ambience, which creates weird stylistic juxtapositions in pieces like the boogie-based "Esque"; on a few tracks, there is some truly quirky writing for a full studio symphony orchestra conducted by Kellaway. The most memorable composition of the lot is the instantly winning, deceptively simple "Morning Song" (later published in a version for tuba and piano!), where Kellaway throws in more than a hint of barrelhouse piano. This album became a cult favorite, in and out of print on LP and CD, but never too difficult to locate.


01 - Saturnia
02 - Sunrise
03 - Morning Song
04 - Jorjana 2
05 - Esque
06 - On Your Mark Get Set Blues
07 - Invasion of the Forest
08 - Jorjana 8

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hubert Laws - 1964-66 The Laws of Jazz & Flute by Laws

This two-fer from Collectables features a pair of out-of-print LPs by jazz flutist Hubert Laws: The Laws of Jazz and Flute By-Laws, both were originally released on Atlantic in 1966. Among the 14 cuts are "Bessie's Blues," "Bloodshot," "No You'd Better Not," "Strange Girl" and "Baila Cinderella." These albums are worth acquiring for any fan of straight-ahead jazz.
Al Campbell

The Laws of Jazz

A great little set of Latin jazz! At the time of this recording, Hubert Laws was playing with Mongo Santamaria's group – and for this second solo outing, Laws borrows a lot of grooves from Mongo's bag, and also hits a few tasty lines of his own. There's some killer tight Latin numbers with a groovy 60s feel – like "Bloodshot", "Let Her Go", "Baila Cinderella", and "No You'd Better Not" – plus some other tasty jazz numbers like "Mean Lene" and "Strange Girl". Players include a host of Latin jazz crossover talents like Chick Corea, Jimmy Owens, Garnett Brown, and Ray Lucas – as well as strict Latin players like Cachao and Victor Pantoja – and the album's one of Laws' best ever!
Dusty Groove

Flute by Laws

Although Hubert Laws went on to cut some smooth fusion-y records in later years, this early Atlantic album finds him playing in a great soul jazz vein, laying down nice slightly-funky flute solos with a very good groove. The group on the record includes a young Chick (then called "Armando") Corea on piano, then a much more Latin-tinged player – and the rest of the group includes Richard Davis on bass and Bobby Thomas on drums. Laws' flute is the main solo vehicle – and tracks include "Bimbe Blue", "Miss Thing", "All Soul", and "Black Eyed Peas & Rice".
Dusty Groove

01 Miss Thing (Thomas) 3:47
02 All Soul (Lewis) 3:39
03 Black Eyed Peas and Rice (Laws) 3:25
04 Bessie's Blues (Laws) 6:12
05 And Don't You Forget It (Thomas) 2:59
06 Bimbe Blue (Laws) 7:51
07 Capers (McIntosh) 5:36
08 Bloodshot (Laws) 4:40
09 Miedo (Grand) 5:10
10 Mean Lene (Laws) 5:15
11 No You'd Better Not (Laws) 3:32
12 Let Her Go (Laws) 3:25
13 Strange Girl (Laws) 8:20
14 Baila Cinderella (Laws) 4:26

The Laws of Jazz (tracks 1-7) recorded in New York on April 2 & 22, 1964. Originally released on Atlantic (1432)

Hubert Laws (flute, piccolo)
Armando "Chick" Corea (piano)
Richard Davis (bass)
Jimmy Cobb, Bobby Thomas (drums)

Flute by Laws (tracks 8-14) recorded in New York on August 25 & September 13, 1965 and February 24, 1966. Originally released on Atlantic (1452)

Hubert Laws (flute, piccolo)
Marty Banks, Jimmy Owens (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Garnett Brown, Tom McIntosh (trombone)
Benny Powell (trombone, bass)
Chick Corea, Rodgers Grant (piano)
Sam Brown (guitar)
Richard Davis, Chris White, Israel "Cachao" Lopez (bass)
Bobby Thomas, Ray Lucas (drums)
Bill Fitch (percussion)
Carmelo Garcia (timbales)
Victor Pantoja, Raymond Orchart (congas)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Himself

Our friend bhowani ask for this record and I owed him a courtesy.

On each of his first three recordings for Riverside Thelonious Monk included a solo piano presentation, and for many listeners these were the highlights of each recital. And so it was decided that Monk's fourth Riverside recording, Thelonious Himself, would be composed entirely of solo interpretations...well, almost.
Those accustomed to the effusive stylings of keyboard masters such as Art Tatum might be baffled by Monk's approach. Monk is essentially a minimalist, a virtuoso of color, accent and space, who relinquished the technical trappings of his craft in pursuit of a specific aesthetic vision. Strip away the more extravagant aspects of Tatum's art--the showy runs, the ornate grace notes, the profuse modulations and asides--and you're left with an advance harmonic thinker, firmly rooted in the rhythmic pulsation of stride, not unlike Monk's "Functional." The main difference being that where Tatum compulsively fills space, Monk (like Basie) establishes a masterful sense of implication, so that listeners finish phrases in their own minds.
Like a great actor finding heretofore obscure layers of meaning in a familiar soliloquy, Monk takes familiar themes such as "April In Paris," "I Should Care" and "Almost Alone" and distills them down to a singing essence. Where most pianists would simply expand upon the tune (or employ the chord changes as a showcase for their own variations), Monk keeps everything focused on thematic materials. You can hear Monk working towards this goal on the work-in-progress CD bonus track of his own classic theme, "'Round Midnight," and on the conclusive master take. For his final selection, "Monk's Mood," the pianist insisted on adding bassist Wilbur Ware and an up-and-coming tenor saxophonist named John Coltrane. By allowing them to italicize and expand upon his bass lines and lead melody, Monk enabled listeners to zero in on the essence of his solo and ensemble styles.

Thelonious Himself is a mostly solo set by pianist Thelonious Monk. Monk's hesitant stride and thoughtful yet very unpredictable flights are always a joy to hear. He performs a variety of swing standards (including "April in Paris" and "I'm Getting Sentimental over You"), his blues "Functional" and as a bonus track, there is an alternate take of "'Round Midnight" from the earlier date. The one non-solo track is "Monk's Mood," a ballad that finds Monk joined by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Wilbur Ware. The overall results are not quite essential but they should greatly interest Thelonious Monk fans who do not have his huge Riverside box set. *Scott Yanow*

1 - April in Paris
2 - (I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance With You
3 - Functional
4 - I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
5 - I Should Care
6 - 'Round Midnight (in progress)
7 - 'Round Midnight
8 - All Alone
9 - Monk's Mood

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, on April 5 & 16, 1957.
Thelonious Monk (piano); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Wilbur Ware (bass).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Pepper - Live At The Jazz Showcase

Overwhelmed by curiosity, I bought it today at CDBaby.
The copy is in mp3 and includes only the cover and a poor note.
Will welcome the release of Disconforme Records (Dis-123894) that including a 20 page booklet and promises an "excellent sound quality throughout".

This CD contains Art Pepper’s live performance at Chicago’s celebrated Jazz Showcase club on July 16, 1977, presented here for the first time ever in any format. Much like his legendary Village Vanguard
recordings that would be made two weeks later (during the same East Coast tour), this performance showcases Pepper in a quartet setting at the height of his ability. He is backed here by an outsatnding group of Chicago musicians. The band’s chemistry is exceptional as they perform material including tunes the saxophonist hand’t recorded in over 20 years !
A radio interview with Pepper was taped immediately prior to this concert. It has been added at the end of this CD. Being a professional soundbroad recording, the sound quality, is pristine throughout.

Laurie Pepper is one smart cookie. When I interviewed her for my Wall Street Journal article on business-minded spouses of deceased jazz greats (Laurie is Art Pepper's widow), she told me the secret of her success: Making friends with worldwide collectors of bootleg recordings and releasing the material they send her on her Widow's Taste label. It's a brilliant move when you think about it. Why hate when you can love and make money?

Now Laurie has outdone herself—and has likely started a reactive trend. Recently, Disconforme, a Spanish label, released an album featuring Art Pepper performing at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago in 1977. It was issued under the Sunburn label. Somehow the label obtained the tapes Laurie had in her possession but had never released. The Spanish label issued the material in Europe.

As most people know, European copyright laws allow labels there to issue anything recorded more than 50 years ago without asking permission or paying royalties. This law has created a hornet's nest of opposition here, where labels routinely find that their remastering efforts are cloned and resold by European labels for less.

But rather than get mad, Laurie last week got even. Here's what she told me yesterday:

"I bought a copy of the album, transferred it into my iTunes library, uploaded the recording to my label (Widow's Taste), registered the album at CD Baby and now I'm offering it as a $4.75 download. I even scanned the photo used on their cover as well as the liner notes. All in all, I spent $150 to get all of this done and promote its availability. If I make back my $150, I'll make a profit."
If you can't beat 'em, plunder 'em.

1 - Introduction
2 - Pepper pot
3 - My Laurie
4 - My Funny Valentine
5 - Imagination
6 - The Trip
7 - Interview

Art Pepper, as & cl; Willie Pickens, p; Steve Rodby, b; Wilbur Campbell, ds
Live at the Jazz Showcase, Chicago, July 16, 1977