29 November 2006


Feels like I was after this one for ever-I first heard the title track over 20 years ago on a tape I borrowed from my friend Sheldon called The Cry-The Response which had been put together by Hugh of The Cutting Edge and A Night in Havana .That tune blew me away(as did the rest of the comp) I loved it but I could never afford the big bucks the lp went for.Time went on and then last year I finally picked one up for a paltry £25-bargain!
So this one's for Sheldon-see you soon!
And here's some more info on Nathan Davis from allaboutjazz:
Nathan Davis remembers it like it was yesterday. Sitting in his office at the University of Pittsburgh in the ‘70s reading a Downbeat magazine. “It said, ‘Dexter Gordon returned back, Woody Shaw returned back to great ovations. What ever happened to Nathan Davis?’ And boy, a big tear came to my eye,” he recalls laughing. “Because I had been playing all the time. Still playing. But people had that kind of attitude towards a musician who was teaching.”
Nathan Davis may well possess the most impressive credentials of any jazz musician to ever be almost completely overlooked by the American press. Born in Kansas City, February 15th, 1937, not far from the house Charlie Parker grew up in, he began his professional career, like Bird, playing with Jay McShann. After graduating from the University of Kansas, with a degree in music education, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Germany where he toured with a band entertaining the troops. “I started to get a taste for Europe. So when I left the Army in 1962 I decided to stay,” he says. “The truth was when I decided to stay in Europe, I did so because I wanted to work as a musician and not a school teacher. First I worked with Benny Bailey and Joe Harris in Berlin and then Joachim Berendt produced Expatriate Americans in Europe and Kenny Clarke heard me and invited me to join him in Paris at the club St. Germain des Pres. So night after night I’m playing with Kenny Clarke. Dexter Gordon would come in, Johnny Griffin would come in, Sonny Criss and then Don Byas would come in. And then Erroll Garner and the MJQ, would all come in and play with us. After a while I said, ‘Shit, what am I going back to the States for, I’m working with more people over here than I ever could in the States.’ And that’s why I stayed because if I came back to the States I would just be another cat…”
Davis stayed in Europe for nearly seven years, during which time he developed close friendships with fellow expatriates like Donald Byrd and Eric Dolphy. When Dolphy died suddenly in 1964, Davis decided to honor his last wish by bringing over trumpeter Woody Shaw to play with him. “We were working seven nights a week, and after about two or three weeks, Woody came to me and said, ‘I wanna go home, I wanna go home.’ He was right out of high school when I sent for him. I said, ‘Hey, wait a minute, man. You’ve only been here a month or so, give it time.’ So he said, ‘Then send for my boys.’ - organist Larry Young and drummer Billy Brooks. Together, with Jimmy Woode on bass, they formed the quintet that would appear on Davis’ debut recording Happy Girl (with Young on piano) in early 1965.
Later that year the saxophonist got an important call to serve as Wayne Shorter’s replacement with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers on a European tour. At the end of the gig Blakey asked him to stay. “He told me ‘Yeah Davis, I want you to stick with the band. You’ll be the musical director and whatever we play, you will write. You will be just the same as Wayne was.’ At that time my daughter was just born, I said, ‘I really appreciate this, but I can’t go back. I’m staying in Paris to be with my family.’ And that was my intent. Every time I would see his new group he would tell the story, ‘Hey this is Nathan Davis, he used to be my tenor player. I want you all to meet him. He’s the only man in America who ever turned me down.’“
Davis did come back to the U.S. in 1969. At the urging of Donald Byrd and Dave Baker he accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh, as Director of the first full curriculum jazz studies program. 35 years later, he’s still there. During that time he’s developed a model program, established a Jazz Hall of Fame, earned his doctorate in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan and recorded a half dozen or so excellent albums as a leader. In 1985 he got back together with Woody Shaw to form the Paris Reunion Band, an all-star aggregation that at times also included Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson, Nat Adderley and Slide Hampton. After Shaw’s death in ‘89 he lost interest in the group. In the ‘90s he formed the band Roots, with fellow saxophonists Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman and Sam Rivers, who was later succeeded by Benny Golson. He played the Blue Note in New York with Dizzy Gillespie and toured as The Three Tenors with Grover Washington, Jr. and James Moody. He’ll be back at the Blue Note this month with Moody as part of the saxophonist’s 80th Birthday Tribute. With an upcoming New York appearance and a just released new recording, The Other Side of the Morning - Dedicated to Eric Dolphy, on which Davis plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, it might just be time for the jazz press to take notice that Nathan Davis is back.
Recommended Listening: • Eric Dolphy - Last Recordings: Naima/Unrealized Tapes (West Wind, 1964)• Nathan Davis - Two Originals: Happy Girl and Hip Walk (Saba-MPS, 1965)• Nathan Davis - The 6th Sense in the 11th House (Segue, 1972)• Paris Reunion Band - French Cooking (Gazell, 1985)• Nathan Davis - I’m a Fool to Want You (Tomorrow International, 1994)• Nathan Davis - The Other Side of Morning (Tomorrow International, 2004)

The 6th Sense in the 11th House (1972)Segué 1002 (LP). Recorded at WRS Recording Studios, Pittsburgh.
Nathan Davis - tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, and flute; Sir Roland Hanna - piano; Richard Davis - bass; Alan Dawson - drums.
1. 6th Sense In the 11th House(Davis) 5:552. Tribute to Malcolm (Davis) 9:433. Yo Thang (Davis) 3:304. This for Richard (Davis) 6:205. C'est Pour Moi (Davis) 4:176. The Shadow of Your Smile (Johnny Mandel) 9:32
Tough one to find - no reissues - ripped from the original vinyl.
Thanks for all your positive comments about reviews etc on this site-I'll keep 'em coming then!

28 November 2006


To wrap the bossa posts up for the time being here's another rarity for you.
Som Tres were a post-bossa trio led by pianist Cesar Camargo Mariano and they grooved with a sound that started with the core piano trio sound of the bossa age, but which also expanded a lot with late 60s orchestrations.This album is from 1969 and features the dance floor bomb "Homenagem a Mongo".It's fairly similar in style to the other Som 3 lps I have posted here -brass,strings and percussion augmenting the trio with some pretty mad results including a great version of "California Soul".
This one hasn't made it to cd yet although the vinyl got bootlegged ( a dodgy repress?) some time ago.

26 November 2006


Here's a real cracker by the vertically challenged gnome from Bahia.This features the exquisite "Tunnel" and "Adeus Maria Fulo",a great version of "Ponteio" and the classic "Aint No Sunshine".This is ripped from the original vinyl but has recently made a reissue on cd.Here's some more info on him:

Noted composer, arranger, and accordionist, Sivuca has been developing a very successful international solo career after having performed with Baden Powell, Toots Thielemans, Chiquinho do Acordeon, Radamés Gnattali, Rosinha de Valença, Waldir Azevedo, Harry Belafonte, and Miriam Makeba, among many others. As a composer, Sivuca wrote the classics "Adeus, Maria Fulô" (with Humberto Teixeira), "João e Maria" (with Chico Buarque), and had hits with "Feira de Mangaio" (with his wife Glorinha Gadelha) recorded by Clara Nunes and "No Tempo dos Quintais" (with Paulo Tapajós). His partners were artists such as Paulinho Tapajós, Paulo César Pinheiro, Luís Bandeira, Armandinho, Hermeto Pascoal, and Chiquinho do Acordeon. Having taken the accordion very early, at nine Sivuca was already playing for a living in fairs and parties. Six years later, he moved to Recife (Pernambuco), where he debuted at the Rádio Guararapes. Hired by the Rádio Clube de Pernambuco, Sivuca performed in that outing for three years, both in solo acts and as a member of its regional, switching for Rádio Jornal do Comércio in 1948. There he would learn music theory (with the other musicians of the orchestra and then with its newly appointed conductor, Guerra-Peixe). Carmélia Alves, touring Recife in 1949, discovered him and brought him to São Paulo, where he backed her up in a recording that same year. In São Paulo, Sivuca was hired by the Rádio Record and in 1951, he recorded his first album with the choros "Tico-Tico no Fubá" (Zequinha de Abreu) and "Carioquinha no Flamengo" (Waldir Azevedo/Bonfiglio de Oliveira). With the international success enjoyed by the baião in the '50s and the consequent need of good Northeastern music and instrument players, Sivuca's career gathered momentum as he was the right man in the right moment and place. Still in 1951, he accompanied Carmélia Alves on the medley "No Mundo do Baião" and recorded his second solo album with the frevo "Frevo dos Vassourinhas Número 1" (Matias da Rocha) and the baião "Sivuca no Baião" (Luíz Gonzaga/Humberto Teixeira). In the next year, he started to record originals with the choros "Entardecendo" and "Choro Baixo" (with Luís Bandeira), recording in the next year his baião "Feijoada." At the same time, Sivuca realized solo performances in São Paulo backed by his regional and also by the orchestras led by Hervê Cordovil and Gabriel Migliori, while he continued to perform on the Rádio Jornal do Comércio do Recife. In 1955, he was hired by the powerful nationwide network Diários Associados to work at the Rádio and TV Tupi (Rio de Janeiro), where he stayed until four years later. In 1958, as a member of Os Brasileiros, he toured Europe in one of the Brazilian Music Caravans sponsored by the Brazilian government. The group, led by conductor Guio de Morais, performed a three-month season with the Trio Iraquitã, Abel Ferreira, Pernambuco, and Dimas. In 1959, fired by Tupi for having participated in a strike for better salaries, Sivuca moved to Europe where he performed for three months with the group Brasília Ritmos (which had Waldir Azevedo as a member). After that, he was hired by a Portuguese club and then settled in Paris, France, where he lived until 1964, recording in 1962 through Barclay the LP Rendez-Vous a Rio. Having returned to Recife in 1964, in the same year he went to the U.S. with Carmen Costa, where he was invited by Miriam Makeba's husband/manager to join her group as a guitarist. Holding that position for four years, Sivuca became the director of Makeba's group and toured Africa, Europe, Asia, and America. Returning to New York in 1969, Sivuca directed the music and performed in the musical +Joy, which opened in 1970. Having performed in San Francisco and Chicago, in live shows and on TV, in 1971 Sivuca was invited by Belafonte to join his group. Staying with Belafonte until 1975 as his guitarist, keyboardist, and arranger, Sivuca at the same time recorded solo albums in the U.S., including the praised Live at the Village Gate, where he interpreted "Adeus Maria Fulô." Returning to Brazil in 1977, he performed a live recorded show with Rosinha de Valença at the Teatro João Caetano (Rio de Janeiro), released as the LP Sivuca e Rosinha de Valença. In 1978, he had another hit with "João e Maria" in the recording realized by Chico Buarque and his sister Miúcha. Six years later, Sivuca recorded another memorable LP, this time shared with Chiquinho do Acordeon and with the participation of Radamés Gnattali, Sivuca e Chiquinho. In the next year, he recorded three albums in Sweden, with Chiko's Bar/Sivuca e Toots Thielemans deserving especial mention. In 1987, Sivuca recorded with Rildo Hora another important LP, Sanfona e Realejo. In 1997, he performed with Baden Powell in Paris, France. ~ Alvaro Neder, All Music Guide


Jaime Marques is a Spanish guitarist who has a love for all things Brasilian and on this session with the aid of his group and the great Pedro Ruy-Blas he breezes through a set of bossa grooves .The killer on this set is the monsterous 12 minute bossa to jazz burn out "Vera Cruz" which Paul Murphy cained to hell down at the Electric Ballroom back in the day.
Here's a review from good ol' Dusty Groove:

Beautiful beautiful stuff! This is the classic mid 70's LP by Spanish singer and guitarist Jayme Marques that features a stellar set of Brazilian grooves that includes his legendary 12 minute reworking of Milton Nascimento's "Veracruz". If you know the track, you know the amazing sort of vibe that Jayme gets with the track. The orchestrations are beautiful, and the track is graced by the Fender Rhodes playing of Rafael Ferro and the percussion and singing of Pedru Rui Blas. The rest of the album's great, too, and includes tracks like Ivan Lins' "Las Tres De La Manana", Caetano Veloso's "Irene", and Jayme's own tracks "So Much Feeling (Homenaje A Tete Montoliu)" and "Quem Ta Com Samba". A legendary LP, and a very tough one to find - until now!
Reissued on cd -the lp (as it says)is a hard one to dig up these days.
Ripped from the cd.

25 November 2006


In 1962, the Paul Winter Sextet became the first group to be sent abroad under the cultural exchange program sponsored by the US State Department when it was selected for a tour of Latin America for President Kennedy's Cultural Exchange Program. The six-month tour of 160 concerts in 23 countries was horizon-expanding, introducing the musicians to new music and, in particular, to the bossa nova.This was the album that resulted from the tour, the music and the musicians they had heard and met in South America.
Probably more latin jazz than bossa but what the hell - who cares about pigeon holing genres .See what you think about it.
This features an old favourite of mine "Journey to Recife" penned by the great Richard Evans.
Interesting to note that the pianist and arranger is none other than Warren Bernhardt who went on to be one of the pioneers of fusion with Brecker et al.


Quite a rare one from Deodato a lost album of instrumental tracks cut around the same time as his more famous funky work for CTI! The set was issued only in Brazil, and is a sublime extension of the complicated arranging style Deodato was famous for in the 60s a blend of jazz and strings that soars along a mellow, easy groove lightly dancing in the sky with a gentle approach that takes the experiments of the bossa years and inflects them into a more complicated soundtrack-type style. Includes an incredible version of the track "Bebe".

Reissued as part of the 100 years series for Odeon-still available on cd from Dusty Groove who i lifted the review from(again!)

24 November 2006


As leader Meirelles helmed the group that added such an incredible sound to the first couple of Jorge Ben LPs - it's his sound you hear on the original Mas Que Nada. From then on Meirelles was much in-demand both as a live player and as a key session player and arranger at the same time as recording obscure titles such as Mancini Tambem é Samba. These independent recordings provided Meirelles and his cohorts the all too brief space to expand ever further into improvisation over tight jazzy arrangements. By the late 60s the bossa craze in all its forms was pretty much dead in Brazil. True to type the major labels were resorting to releasing endless LPs by pseudonymous orchestras aimed at the easy listening crowd or the 'youngsters' who wanted to dance to international 'discotheque' music. Most of these LPs were instantly forgettable, but some, like the work of ace drummer Wilson das Neves were always interesting, even if they did contain weird covers of Mary Hopkins tunes or Beatles music in march time.
This is where the LP Tropical fits in. From the Calendar Girl cover image, to the flagrant misspelling of Meirelle's own name and the lack of musicians credits, EMI's London imprint was obviously aiming Tropical squarely at the easy listening market. Step up to the challenge Mr Meirelles. Given the chance to record with an expanded line up (now called the Copa 7 but not to be confused with the 70s funk band of the same name!), Meirelles takes on songs which, although well known standards and Broadway show tunes and the like, are songs associated with his North American heroes, liberally peppered with less obvious original tunes by the likes of Horace Silver, Charles Lloyd and Julian Adderley. Instead of the usual lush and insipid covers Meirelles does the near impossible by taking on tunes like On Green Dolphin Street and Taboo and re-presenting them as if they were new works fresh from his own pen.
This version of Horace Silver's The Gringo has long been a bootleg classic with DJs and collectors, touching as it does on the sacred image of the 60s Blue Note sound. Playing only alto flute instead of his usual sax, Meirelles achieves a tone similar to that of Hermeto Paschoal of the same era. Throaty, rasping and urgent, the solos are short but incredibly well conceived and each one hits the spot exactly before returning to the statement of the theme.
Upon release Meirelle's subversion obviously worked - the record sold so badly to its target audience and at the same time was so unhip looking for the jazz crowd, that it became truly one of the rarest Brazilian LPs of the 60s, so much so, that the legendary Brazilian music writer and critic Jose Domingos Raffaelli, (who not only accompanied the birth and blooming of samba jazz but who wrote many of the original liner notes), recently confessed that he had never heard of it!
Ed Motta has said that the only music that American jazz players have ever felt 'threatened' by is the music played by Brazilians such as these. Complicated, intricate but always harmonious and rhythmically accessible, Meirelles and his group go a long way towards explaining that comment.
So, here it is, the LP Tropical, after more than 30 years, back where it belongs in the pantheon of the great and good of samba jazz classics.

J.T. Meirelles: Alto Flute
Maurilio Santos: Trumpet
Juarez Araùjo: Tenor Sax
Dom Salvador: Piano
Sergio Barroso: Bass
Robertinho Silva: Drums
Pedro dos Santos: Percussion
Luna: Percussion
Helcio Milito: Percussion
Chico Batera: Percussion
Jorge Arena: Percussion

Ripped from the hard to find(at a sensible price!)whatmusic.com re-issue cd


More beautiful funky bossa from the great Joao Donato.

An excellent 70s electric album by Joao Donato one with a funky samba groove that sets it apart from much of his earlier work! The album's got elements of Joao's other 70s electric set -the great Quem E Quem, recorded around the same time, and which was one of Joao's first moves into spacey, fusion-influenced production but it's also got a bit more of a funky groove on some tracks, picking up from his work as an arranger for other Brazilian singers at the time. Joao handled all the arrangements, and played some nice electric keyboards and the rest of the instrumentation includes flute, sax, and percussion, plus drums by Wilson Das Neves.

Reissued on cd and available from Dusty Groove which is also where I lifted this review from.This rip is from the original vinyl.

19 November 2006


Here's a real rarity from the great George Braith which was cut for Prestige in 1967 .I knew nothing about this fantastic piece of wax until I came across this review at Waxidermy
"One of the most unique & beautiful jazz albums I've ever heard! Sounds ranging from exotica with wordless female vocals, to free jazz - often all within the same track. Worlds away from the typical one dimensional soul jazz that Prestige was cranking out at the time, and from most jazz albums that came before it, or after it on any label. For those unfamiliar with Braith, he is most well know as one of the few horn players to embrace Roland Kirks' sticking a bunch of saxophones in your mouth technique. Far from having a large body of work (3 Blue Note lp's and one other on Prestige, if I'm not mistaken) this is considered by many to be his masterpiece. But, his other records are quite good, though different and and a bit more conventional. Highly recommended."
Once I read this I was on the hunt for a copy straight away-having all the Blue Notes he recorded I knew this lp would be a killer and I wasn't wrong.This is how Braith introduces the music in the liner notes.
"My love for sounds has introduced me to improvisational music.Many players are searching for instruments with varied temperaments.The search is justifiable since a definite number of sound vibrations striking one's ears will always produce a tone of a certain pitch.In so called dissonance there is much beauty untold.Spontaneous music fires the imagination ,provokes thought,and provides a keen sense of enjoyment."
Ripped from original Prestige vinyl - this lp has not been re-issued in any format.Be aware my copy of this lp is a first press and has seen better days so there's a fair bit of snap,crackle and pop to add to your musical enjoyment.

18 November 2006


Altoist Gary Bartz's first recording as a leader is 1967's Libra which matches Bartz (then 26) with trumpeter Jimmy Owens, pianist Albert Dailey, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Billy Higgins for four diverse originals including the fantastic"Libra"and "Eastern Blues," a lyrical "Cabin in the Sky," the old hymn "Deep River" and Charlie Parker's "Bloomdido."
Very difficult to find on vinyl this rip is from the 1998 cd reissue on Milestone.

17 November 2006


At the dawn of the Reagan years, LA jazz pianist Nate Morgan recorded his first album for Nimbus West. Finally on CD, Journey Into Nigritia portrays an artist marked by the icons of his day, and striving for reinvention. Although he came from a solid jazz background, coming up through the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, Morgan found more exciting work with pop bands in the seventies, including glory years with Rufus w/Chaka Khan. On Journey into Nigritia, Morgan re-embraces jazz. Included in the band are Jeff Littleton on bass, Fritz Wise on drums, and Dadisi Komolafe on alto sax.
The collection opens with the Trane-ish ”Mrafu.” Komolafe blasts off in short order, and while the modal chording recalls Tyner, Morgan shows flashes of the nimble loquacious gift that define him. While Alice Coltrane incense perfumes “Morning Prayer,” Morgan’s devotional sincerity and personnel expression triumph.
Suitably complex with yearning minors, ”Mother” features the trio performing a memorable composition. Littleton’s deep-note sustain contrasts Wise’s shimmering cymbals, while Morgan tells heart-wrenching truth. With a somewhat solemn theme, ”He Left Us a Song” regularly bursts through into straightahead fast break sprints up and down the court. The unexpected “Study in C.T.” offers an homage to Cecil Taylor and Morgan’s musical roots with free improvisations on a dense and spiky theme. The exhilarating result has Morgan exploring his own way, with a winking slinging of jagged bass chords halfway through.
While a quarter century’s experience has nurtured Morgan’s prodigious gifts beyond this ambitious debut, Journey Into Nigritia offers enjoyable insights into his artistic evolution, while adding another precious title to the discography of one of the most woefully under-recorded greats of our time.
Rex Butters@Allaboutjazz
This made a reissue on cd last year but seems to be out of print at the moment-this rip is from the original vinyl.

Track listing: Mrafu; Morning Prayer; Mother; Journey Into Nigritia; He Left Us a Song; Study in CT

Personnel: Nate Morgan, piano; Fritz Wise, drums; Jeff Littleton, bass; Dadisi Komolafe, alto sax.

16 November 2006


On the occasion of Walt Dickerson's fourth recording session he was to document what many of those familiar with his work consider to be his magnum opus To My Queen, which included a dedicatory suite to his wife Elizabeth that effectively encapsulates his approach and resolve on his instrument. In attendance for this seminal outing is a trio of sidemen of a caliber that Dickerson would not recreate for the remainder of his career. Andrew Hill was over a year away from his legendary stay at Blue Note, but the emancipating imagination that characterized his work with that label is already on display here. Cyrille again holds down the drum duties and testifies to his continuing aspiration toward rhythmic liberation. George Tucker's presence as anchor is perhaps the most important and his voice on strings is a unifying element, particularly on the title piece.In listening to "To My Queen" it's easy to become lost in the piece's persisting flow of imagery. Dickerson sits out for almost half of its duration and Hill and Tucker are both afforded a liberal amount of space to solo. Attention can be directed toward the contributions of each of the players, but the suite seems to work on a deeper level than these individual parts. The feeling conveyed by the composition is one of heart-felt and lasting love, which surpasses the musical structures that form its foundation. The rendition of "How Deep Is the Ocean" is similarly protracted and in this standard setting the solos of the players are invested with less interdependence. An odd aspect inherent in the recording is an audible clicking noise that accompanies Dickerson's numerous solo choruses. The closing reworking of "God Bless the Child" as a duet recalls "Unknown" both in instrumentation and approach. Though Tucker's earthen bow is less trenchant than Malik's favoring a brooding resonance over swiftly deployed harmonic structures.Sadly this disc would be Dickerson's last for New Jazz. The remainder of the 60s saw him record only twice more and produce offerings that quickly went out of print. A similarly sporadic schedule marked his work in the 70s though he did find some solace and nurturing sustenance with the Dutch Steeplechase label recording a string of titles which are now also out of circulation. By the early 80s he had ceased recording altogether. His whereabouts and activities since have been unconfirmed and contested. The factors that precipitated his continuing hiatus are debatable. What endures as far less nebulous is the promise he demonstrated on his early work for New Jazz; a body of music that stands in strongest support of his place as one of the most innovative stylists ever on his instrument
From Onefinalnote.com
Re-issued on both vinyl(a couple of years ago-not so easy to find now) and remastered for cd in 1996


Reed player Shamek Farrah ranks with the great unrecorded. Two releases on Strata East in the ‘70s, some for RA, a release in ‘95. The reissue of this 1978 recording for RA by Quadraphonic Sound Module reintroduces a roomful of rarely heard musicians, along with a young Malachi Thompson. Roger Howell’s congas and Lenny King’s percussion give the music a tropical feel, while Saeed Amik’s quick luscious piano harmonies blossom all over the music.
The disc opens with the title track. Preceding the '80s African jazz boom, “La Dee La La” features a lush, easygoing composition and arrangement, not unlike Abdullah Ibrahim’s gentle Cape Town swing. After a bracing acapella chorus intro, pianist Saeed Amir introduces the chords, Lenny King and Roger Howell hit the hand drums, and Ghanniya Green sings the theme. Guitarist Harry Jenson plays silky rhythm, while Farrah’s playful soprano sax composes festive variations. Playing a vocalesque plunger mute, trumpeter Abdullah Khalid makes a soulful statement, followed by Amir’s elegant variations.
Moving into a warmer hemisphere, “Waiting for Marvin” sees Amik’s effervescent piano dance over the joyously grooving rhythm section. Farrah serves ripe alto, twisting through the changes. Thompson romps his full-toned trumpet around the festive sounds, followed by Amik’s cool, refreshing inspirations. The orchestra returns to take it out. Some shuffling on “White Lady” brings Sonelius Smith to the piano chair. Sans percussionists, the band just swings with Farrah taking the first solo. Smith plays chords blocks, as opposed to Amik’s blending shimmer. Thompson soars again, casually taking chances. Smith solos with deliberation, poking out the right handed notes.
Jenson’s limber electric guitar slyly welcomes the listener to “And Along Came Ron Rahsaan.” With King and Howell back, Farrah blows soprano, making way for Marvin Neal’s meaty trombone solo. With Vivian Chandler singing wordlessly, Amik builds a final graceful musical lattice.
Thanks to the all-inclusive reissue mania of the CD format, Shamek Farrah and Folks return to delight a new and larger audience, timelessly, almost thirty years later.
By Rex Butters@ AllAboutJazz

Track Listing: La Dee La La Song; Waiting for Marvin; the White Lady; And Along Came Ron Rahsaan.
Personnel: Shamek Farrah, alto sax, soprano sax; Grant Reed, tenor sax; Abdullah Khalid, trumpet; Malachi Thompson, trumpet; Marvin Neal, trombone; Saeed Amik, piano; Sonelius Smith, piano; Hasan Jenkins, electric bass; Kiyoto Fujiwara, acoustic bass; Ron Rahsaan, drums; Ayon Falu, drums; Roger Howell, conga; Lenny King, bongos and percussion; Harry Jenson, guitar; Ghanniya Green, vocal; Vivian Chandler, vocals


One of the great losses to jazz is that Herbie Hancock’s 1970-73 Mwandishi band could not have been as profitable as it was protean, progressive and ever too-briefly productive. Launched from the spaces that fostered Bitches Brew, Hancock introduced elements of both the avant garde and soul jazz to create a groove that was as unusual and provocative in sound as it was striking in its musical excellence.
Hancock’s young sextet was utterly prepared to traverse and unite such opposing climes too. In an era that produced stacks of mind-numbing fusion, Hancock delivered the very few notable jazz statements of the time by assembling a crack team featuring reed player Bennie Maupin, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, trombonist Julian Priester, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart.
With the exception of the drummer, each member of the sextet cut his own Mwandishi styled record. Henderson made two for Capricorn (1974-75) and Maupin (1974) and Priester (1973) each recorded one for ECM. Bassist Buster Williams made his solo recording debut for the Muse label in 1975 with this one, Pinnacle, a Mwandishi-styled recording recently reissued by 32 Jazz.
Whereas the other Mwandishi members recruited band mates like Hancock for their solo projects, Williams opts here to recreate the sound keeping only drummer Billy Hart from the original band. Onaje Allan Gumbs is especially Hancock-like on the occasionally electric eclectics (notably on the funky "The Hump") and more frequently required piano backbone (especially appealing on the gospel-ish "Noble Ego" and the more exotic "Batuki"). Reed players Earl Turbinton and Sonny Fortune share duties recreating the swagger and the sweetness of Bennie Maupin, while trumpeter Woody Shaw brings his own trademark bop sound to the title track and "Batuki." The addition of Guilherme Franco’s percussion and vocalists on "Noble Ego" and "Pinnacle" suggest that Pinnacle is a descendant of drummer Norman Connor’s Mwandishi-like records, Dance of Magic (1972) and Dark of Light (1973).
The program’s five long selections, four by Williams himself, set up interesting ostinatos that allow for thoughtful, well-considered improvisation. Williams himself is outstanding, particularly well featured in his self-designed spaces and never as out of place or obstructive as a strong rhythm player can too often be. He suggests that he had ably developed a language beyond the more familiar diction of Ron Carter and one that clearly laid the foundation for Stanley Clarke.
But even as a launch pad for often exquisite playing, the spacey, riff-based tunes engage the listener the way such later Williams compositions as "Toku Do" and "Air Dancing" would – although the waltz-like "Tayamisha" comes close. Kosmigroove listeners and Mwandishi fans will want to hear this music and it’s of more than passing interest to those interested in the wide-ranging sounds of Williams, Sonny Fortune, Woody Shaw and Onaje Allan Gumbs as well.
Tracks: The Hump; Noble Ego; Pinnacle; Tayamisha; Batuki.
Players: Buster Williams: acoustic bass, fender bass, vocal on "Pinnacle"; Earl Turbinton: soprano sax on "Pinnacle," "Tayamisha," "Batuki", bass clarinet on "The Hump," "Pinnacle;" Sonny Fortune: soprano sax on "The Hump," Pinnacle," flute on "Batuki," alto flute on "Pinnacle," "Tayamisha," Woody Shaw: trumpet on "Pinnacle" and "Batuki;" Onaje Allan Gumbs: acoustic piano, electric piano, moog synthesizer, arp string ensemble; Billy Hart: drums; Guilherme Franco: percussion; Suzanne Klewan and Marcus: vocals on "Noble Ego," "Pinnacle."

From Doug Payne.com

14 November 2006


Another spiritual jazz gem- "Live at the East" is one of the most consistently and astonishingly brilliant albums Pharoah Sanders has ever put out. This is somewhat surprising as Sanders was without both pianist Lonnie Liston Smith and vocalist Leon Thomas, both of whom contributed heavily to his previous albums and their success. In their place, Sanders had a pianist and a percussionist who would be part of his music for the next several years-- Joe Bonner and Lawrence Killian. In addition, a pair of musicians who would go on to enormous careers in other forms of music- bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Norman Connors, appear here. The result is nothing short of astounding. The three pieces have the same vibe that most of Sanders' early work does- that spiritually informed free jazz sound. But with Clarke and bassist Cecil McBee, the pieces virtually all end up as features for the bass-- it's stunning to hear just how advanced Clarke, known for his electric bass skills, is on the upright. Opener (and lengthiest track) "Healing Song" is probably the most like Sanders' early work, with the leader stating the theme passionately before moving into an extended improv that included a fantastic bass duet. "Lumkili" revolves around drones, ringing percussion, and moaned vocals, and really serves as a framing for an extended bass dialog. "Memories of J.W. Coltrane" seems to point towards the far future-a fairly conventional theme statement over a framing piano line again with just unnervingly brilliant basswork and really gives Sanders a chance to show how stunning his reed playing is. Reviewed by Michael Stack.

This was briefly available in Japan on cd in 2004 but now long gone.This post is ripped from the original vinyl on Impulse.

13 November 2006


More spiritual jazz from Billy Harper on Strata East from 1973.This great group of players are joined by a quintet of voices including Eugene McDaniels on a couple of tracks who sing behind the jazz players in an uplifting spiritual mode that cries out with the new soul jazz freedom of the 70s.
More info on this here from KFJC:
Texas-born saxophonist Billy Harper had played with many of the greats (Gil Evans, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones) before recording this first album as a leader in 1973. Influenced heavily by Coltrane, Harper was part of the “black consciousness” movement in jazz, which fueled such artist-owned labels as Strata-East in New York, Tribe Records in Detroit, and Black Jazz in Chicago. This session for Strata-East features an all-star cast, including George Cables (piano), Reggie Workman (bass), Julian Priester (trombone), Billy Cobham (drums), and more, including a special appearance by drummer Elvin Jones on the track “Sir Galahad.” One of the quintessential traits of this strain of jazz, the vocal chorus, is featured prominently on the two tracks from Side Black, linking the music to its roots in gospel. The equally-important blues influence shines through clearly, as well; just check out the track “New Breed” for evidence of that. All in all, an impressive debut from Mr. Harper. Interesting bit of trivia: Harper’s next album release was BLACK SAINT, inaugurating the label of the same name, which is still active today.

12 November 2006


Over the past few days I have managed to touch base with most of the genres which I post on this blog - latin,soundtracks,library,fusion,soul jazz....but there's one thing missing-HARD JAZZ!
So have a listento this fantastic full on slab of tough stuff from Norman Connors before he sold out to the commercial soul side of things.
Here's a review from Jason Ankeny at All Music Guide
This album is drummer Norman Connors earliest and most rewarding date as a leader. Recorded with a who's who of fusion titans including trumpeter Eddie Henderson bassist Stanley Clarke, and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, Dance of Magic channels the lessons drummer Norman Connors learned in the employ of Pharoah Sanders, Sam Rivers and Sun Ra, marshaling Latin rhythms, electronic textures, and cosmic mysticism to create nondenominational yet deeply spiritual funk-jazz. The sprawling 21-minute title cut spans the entirety of the record's first half, capturing a monumental jam session that explores the outer edges of free improvisation but never steps past the point of no return. Connors' furious drumming is like a trail of bread crumbs that leads his collaborators back home. The remaining three tracks are smaller in scale but no less epic in scope, culminating with the blistering "Give the Drummer Some."
This has been reissued on cd and vinyl both of which are still widely available.


Well lookie here - yet another album with Mr. Axelrod at the mixing desk !
After seven years with Capitol, Cannonball Adderley switched labels to Fantasy in 1973 where he reunited with Orrin Keepnews and the quality of his music immediately improved.David Axelrod shared the production credits with Cannonball on this one and it was recorded live in the studio with a small audience of friends,press,djs and Fantasy staff . With Hal Galper as the band's keyboardist (he contributed three of the seven group originals to this LP), this version of the Quintet (actually Sextet with the addition of percussionist King Errison) was more jazz-oriented than previously while remaining modern and funky.
Some great compositions on this including the break heavy "Snakin' The Grass"and"Inside Straight"the lilting latin of"Saudade" and "Inner Journey" and the terrific"Second Son".
This made a cd reissue as part of Fantasy's OJC series in 1992 and it's still in print.


Masabumi Kikuchi recorded this in 1982 with James Mason as producer and a line up of US fusion session players(listed below) for Columbia Japan. The Miles Davis electric period influences are obvious -long ,sprawling .slowly buiilding tracks often underpinned with heavy bass ostinatos,polyrhythmic patterns,chattering percussion and plenty of room for solo improvisation.Fusion is the word here - just too heavy to be jazz funk although it moves close to it at times.
This is ripped from the Sony Mastersound cd which was re-issued in 1998 and is now long gone to the great deletions bin in the sky.I've looked for the original vinyl for years and have yet to find one.
Alacalder (20:35) Masabumi Kikuchi, keyboards, synthesizer solo; Terumasa Hino, cornet solo; Steve Grossman, soprano saxophone solo; Richie Morales, drums; Victor "Yahya" Jones, drums; Hassan Jenkins, bass; James Mason, guitar; Butch Campbell, guitar; Billy Patterson, guitar; Ronald Drayton, guitar; Airto Moreira, percussion; Aiyb Dieng, percussion, congas; Sam Morrison, wind driver
Sum Dum Fun (5:58) Masabumi Kikuchi, keyboards, synthesizer solo; Steve Grossman, tenor saxophone solo; Richie Morales, drums; Hassan Jenkins, bass; James Mason, guitar; Billy Patterson, guitar; Marlon Graves, guitar; Butch Campbell, guitar; Aiyb Dieng, percussion
Madjap Express (11:20) Masabumi Kikuchi, keyboards, clavinet solo; Terumasa Hino, cornet; Steve Grossman, soprano saxophone solo; Richie Morales, drums; Victor "Yahya" Jones, drums; Hassan Jenkins, bass; James Mason, guitar; Marlon Graves, guitar; Gass Farkon, guitar; Alyrio Lima, percussion; Aiyb Dieng, congas; Sam Morrison, wind driver
Sky Talk (2:50) Masabumi Kikuchi, keyboards; Sam Morrison, wind driver


A lovely bit of bossa jazz from Italy and a key non-soundtrack album from the great Alessandro Alessandroni recorded in the 70s. The session's a bit more jazz-based than some of Alessandroni's soundtrack work from the 60s, but in a way that really opens up the tunes, and provides for some spontaneous improvisation that only deepens their spirit and sound. Edda Dell'Orso sings wordless vocals on a number of tracks scatting in a cool and groovy way that's even better than her famous soundtrack recordings. Some tracks have organ, others have acoustic piano but the whole thing's grooving all the way through with the sort of dreamy bossa sound that was coming out of Italy at the time.

Reissued by Deja Vu on cd in Italy and Japan in 2004 and now probably deleted.Ripped from the cd reissue.

11 November 2006


I thought it was about time for a soundtrack so here's another favourite of mine from a great film-Johnny Mandel's score for John Boorman's cold blooded hard boiled neo-noir thriller "Point Blank".
Lee Marvin is Walker and by whatever name he is a hard, essentially sociopathic "hero", and it's up to Johnny Mandel's score to bring what humanity there is in the tale to the fore.
In keeping with Boorman's brilliant visual style - Marvin is shot in pin-sharp Panavision, forever surrounded by glass and mirrors, endlessly reflected his true self hidden even from himself - Mandel's work is filled with ingenious touches, a work which in 1967 was as much on the cutting edge as Goldsmith's Planet of the Apes the following year. Much of the score is hard, sharp, employing the 12-tone system, as uncompromising a soundscape of alienation as can be imagined. The last thing one might expect from a master of big band and jazz orchestra arrangements, and the composer of such scores as The Sandpiper (1966).
Then comes "Nostalgic Monologue", which opens with solo flute and paints a dreamy, jazz infused portrait with considerable skill, and we realise we are not so far removed from Mandel's home territory. At the other extreme "At the Window/The Bathroom" employs experiments with electric organ, distant percussion and voice treated with extreme amounts of reverb to produce a uniquely unsettling, spacey and kaleidoscopic underwater nightmare. By way of contrast the following cue "Joy Ride" is the kind of MOR string orchestral number one more usually associates with the composer, then "Might Good Times" dives straight into a rock workout. "This Way to Heaven" offers jazz piano trio and "I'll Slip into Something Comfortable" a glass of cocktail lounge samba. The remaining cues are generally lugubrious, with low woodwinds, high pitched flutes and almost subliminal synthesiser suggesting unresolvable neurosis.

This soundtrack was issued by Film Score Monthly in a limited edition of 3000 cd copies a couple of years ago and is still available with a bit of digging.


Those lovely chaps over at The WonderfulSound Libraries have been busy putting together their November Radio Show and its now available at www.wonderfulsound.com/radio.htm
The usual eclectic eccentric mix of music is on offer as always but as an added winter warmer bonus I popped into the studio with them and pulled together a mix of tunes inspired by my recent travels in Egypt.
Who would have thought a radio show could play Jake Thackeray AND Duke Ellington;Colorama AND Ahmed Abdul Malik;Zooey AND Salah Ragab?
Get your fingers out of your ears and give The WonderfulSound Libraries a listen!

9 November 2006


Alegre go head to head with Tico on my latin mash up compiled from the 60s and early 70's output of these great labels- who will win ?
Only YOU can decide !
From The Alegre All Stars to the Brothers Palmieri - From Tito Puente to Mauricio Smith and more.
It's all killer no filler - just hard core!

If you would like any more info about the tracks leave a comment in the box as usual.

8 November 2006


Eddie Palmieri Piano
Rafael DaVila Vocals
Vincent Frisaura Trumpet
Santos Colon Vocals
Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros Trumpet
Israel "Cachao" Lopez Bass
Candido Camero Conga
Tito Puente Percussion, Vibraphone, Timbales
Bobby Rodriguez Bass
Abreu Alfred Sax (Tenor)
Pedro Boulong Trumpet
Francisco Pozo Cowbell
Bobby Porcelli Saxophone
Johnny Pacheco Flute
Charlie Palmieri Piano
Cachao Bass
Pancho Cristal Producer
Alfred Abreu Sax (Tenor)
Jimmy Sabater Timbales
Victor Paz Trumpet
Jose Rodrigues Trombone
John Rodriguez Bongos, Cowbell
José Papo Rodríguez Trombone
José Feliciano Vocals
Barry Rogers Trombone
Ray Barretto Conga Percussion

What a total mother of a line up - when they called 'em The Tico All Stars they weren't fucking about!I've posted the first two albums of the three lp set here-volume one and volume two respectively.As you would imagine these are madly freewheeling, driving,lengthy and intense descarga sessions giving plenty of time for soloing and heated percussion breakdowns.Pick of the pair for me is Volume 2 with the epic sprawling 19 minute Eddie Palmieri composition "Major and Minor"flipped with Joe Cuba's heaviest of thunderous percussion jams "Descarga en Cueros"which must have had the sweat streaming down the walls.Volume one features the banging "Cargas y Descargas", a raw version of the standard"Barquinho" and the stomping "Guajira Controversial". Awesome stuff!
All three of the lps have recently been reissued by Vampi Soul as a double vinyl set or on cd.These two posts have been ripped from the original lps.
If you enjoyed this short series on Tico and Alegre (I am pulling together a Tico Alegre go head to head mix as I write to wrap this theme)there's an excellent article on Tico Records and George Goldner here.

6 November 2006


A rarity from Alegre Records this is the Brussels born Belgian pianist Vladimir Vassilief's one and only lp.Moving to Boston after a youth spent in Canada he quickly caught latin fever and spent some tme gigging around Boston night spots playing latin standards and cha cha chas.But he wanted to play more involved Cuban and latin jazz rhythms so he packed his bags and upped to New York where he put together this great piece of latin music which moves from boogaloo to mambo to jazz.The lp features Bobby Porcelli,Bobby Rodriguez,Many Duran ,Ismail Quintana,Harry Bongo Rodriguez ,Nick Ramos and Phil Newsum along with sleeve notes from his mentor and friend Charlie Palmieri.
This made a limited vinylrelease in Japan in 1993 but no cd-this is ripped from the japanese re-issue.

5 November 2006


One of my favourite lps on Tico from one of my favourite artists-Eddie Palmieri.This one's from 1969 and featured a powerhouse line up including Andy Gonzalez,Manny Oquendo,Ismael Quintana,Chocolate and Nicky Marrero.A real split in styles here with side 1 featuring great renditions of three latin standards-La Malanga,Pa 'Huele and Bilongo.Then side 2 goes out there with three fabulous experimental latin instrumentals-Que Lindo Es,Chocolate Ice Cream and the banging 17.1.I found this biography of Eddie at musicweb-international.com-it gives a good overview of the great man's achievments.

(b 15 Dec. '36, East Harlem, NYC) Pianist, bandleader, composer, arranger, producer; a charismatic figure in Latin music, one of salsa's most innovative artists, noted for fiery piano solos. From Puerto Rican family (great-grandfather relocated from Florence, Italy, to PR in early 19th century); family moved to South Bronx '41, where he remained until '56. Began singing at age five or six accompanied by older brother pianist Charlie Palmieri; started playing piano at age eight, commenced piano lessons at age 13, but wanted to be a timbalero ('Tito Puente was my idol,' said Eddie) and drummed with his uncle's band: Chino y sus Almas Tropicales '49--51. Discouraged by having to carry the drums, he permanently returned to the piano at age 15 and organized a nine-piece group incl. vocalist/percussionist Joe Quijano (b 27 Sep. '35, Puerta De Tierra, San Juan PR) and timbalero Orlando Mar¡n (b '34, Bronx, NYC), which became Orlando Mar¡n Conjunto when Eddie turned pro '55. Following recommendations from his brother, he filled the piano chair vacated by Charlie with bands of Eddie Forestier, Johnny Segu¡ '55 (Segu¡ sacked him '56 for allegedly hitting the piano keys too hard), Vicentico Vald‚s '56--8 (where he met one of his main influences, percussionist Manny Oquendo: 'Manny is the one I learned my Cuban music from'), Tito Rodr¡guez '58--60; left the security of Rodr¡guez to form his own Conjunto La Perfecta in late '61. The craze then was violins-and-flute sound of charanga, but Palmieri initially used a four-trumpet conjunto format, one of three different instrumentations featured on his debut LP Eddie Palmieri And His Conjunto La Perfecta '62; because the budget was getting extremely high, Alegre label boss/producer Al Santiago told Eddie to come in with a smaller group, for which he used Barry Rogers (d 19 April '91) on trombone and George Castro on flute. He had met Rogers (who was infl. by Kai Winding, J. J. Johnson) mid-'61 playing with a jam session band at the Tritons social club in the Bronx; together they developed a two-trombone and flute sound (christened 'trombanga' by Charlie), which was used exclusively on Alegre follow-up El Molestoso Vol. II '63; other key members of the band were Oquendo on timbales and bongos and vocalist Ismael Quintana. Palmieri admired Luis 'Lil¡' Mart¡nez Gri¤ n (pianist with Arsenio Rodr¡guez and F‚lix Chappott¡n), Jes£s L¢pez (pianist with Arca¤o), Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk; Lo Que Traigo Es Sabroso '64 incl. major hit 'Mu¤eca': his 'modal opening, reminiscent of McCoy Tyner, to a piano solo that developed in classically Cuban patterns; above all the strangely ambiguous brass sound, at once driving and despairing, were all hints of what was to come' (John Storm Roberts). Brazilian trombonist Jose Rodrigues joined '63, stayed with Palmieri into '80s. Band switched from Alegre to Tico for Echando Pa'lante (Straight Ahead) c'64 and Azucar Pa' Ti (Sugar For You) '65 (both with hits written by Palmieri), Mozambique '65 and Molasses '66; these were the last purely trombanga LPs, eight-piece lineup incl. Tommy L¢pez on conga, bassist Dave P‚rez (later worked with Ray Barretto, T¡pica 73). La Perfecta made two LPs with Cal Tjader: El Sonido Nuevo/The New Soul Sound '66 on Verve, Bamboleate '67 on Tico, the first augmented with two trombones, the second regarded by many as among Tjader's best, La Perfecta lending harder edge to his usual work. La Perfecta disbanded '68: 'I was not taking care of business. It all fell apart ... I went into a complete mental recession there. I was really bananas by '68.' Champagne '68 coincided with boogaloo craze (which he regarded as embarrassing and symptomatic of US Latin music's slump in creativity after the Cuban embargo), incl. 'Ay Que Rico', sung by Cheo Feliciano; the band incl. Rogers, Israel 'Cachao' L¢pez on bass, Alfredo 'Chocolate' Armenteros on trumpet on some tracks; other vocalists were Quintana and Cynthia Ellis (who also wrote 'The African Twist'). His Justicia '69 reflected the mood of the civil rights era: an instrumental 'Verdict On Judge Street', an ironic vocal on Leonard Bernstein's 'Somewhere' by the late electric guitarist Bob Bianco (who introduced Palmieri to jazz harmonies and the Schillinger system of composition: 'I call him my guru, just a tremendous head'), and a rare vocal from Palmieri himself on 'Everything Is Everything'. Superimposition c'69 had one side of experimental Latin instrumentals, followed by his last studio LP on Tico, Vamonos Pa'l Monte c'71, introducing Ronnie Cuber on sax (a regular until late '70s), Palmieri on electric piano, brother Charlie guested on organ on this and Eddie's other '71 recordings issued '71--4, incl. fusion experiments with black R&B group Harlem River Drive on an eponymous LP and two vols of Live At Sing Sing, Eddie Palmieri And Friends In Concert At The University Of Puerto Rico (made on non-professional equipment, polished in the studio, incl. remakes of many hits); compilations on Tico '74--7 were Lo Mejor de Eddie Palmieri, The History Of Eddie Palmieri, Eddie's Concerto, The Music Man. He switched to Harvey Averne's Coco label for Sentido '73, the last with Quintana in '70s. His idiosyncratic amalgam of raw salsa and experimentalism brought continued success, incl. the first Grammy for a Latin LP for Sun Of Latin Music '74, mixing dance hits arr. by Ren‚ Hern ndez with avant-garde arr. by Rogers; this band had Rogers and Rodrigues on trombone, two trumpets (Victor Paz on lead), baritone sax and flute, young Puerto Rican Lalo Rodr¡guez singing lead, Alfredo de la F‚ on violin. Grammy winner Unfinished Masterpiece '76 mixed Cuban rhythms, descarga (Latin jam session) and jazz; compilations were Gold 1973--76 and Exploration '78 on Coco, Timeless -- Live Recording '81 (mid-'60s trombanga). He went to the Epic label for Grammy-nom. but commercially unsuccessful Lucumi Macumba Voodoo '78, theme of African-derived religions of Cuba, Brazil, Haiti mixed with R&B elements and diverse instrumentation. Grammy-nom. Eddie Palmieri '81 on Barbaro (label part of Fania empire, which had purchased his contract from Averne) reunited Palmieri, Feliciano, Quintana, was dedicated to arr. Hern ndez, who had died recently. He relocated to PR '83--7, formed a band and made three Grammy-winning albums there: Palo Pa' Rumba '84 with three trumpets, three trombones, Charlie on percussion; Solito '85 incl. older hits reworked; La Verdad/The Truth '87 featuring vocalist Tony Vega (instrumentals on side two): he prod. the latter himself to buy out his Fania contract. Suspicious bandleaders and promoters prevented him from entering the island's gig circuit, so he moved back to NYC: 'the more I told them that I was really there sincerely to help, the more they thought the opposite ... whatever the reason ... I personally couldn't give a shit. My only problem was that my family suffered economically.' Made Sue¤o '89 for Intuition with four reworkings of earlier hits incl. Grammy- nom. track 'Azucar'. Lleg¢ La India ... Via Eddie Palmieri '92 on RMM's Soho Latino label was a misguided collaboration with ex-hip hop singing star La India: the band cooked but her vocals stank. Appointed to NY chapter of NARAS board of governors '93, promised to crusade for greater awareness of Latin music and expansion of Grammy categories in the genre; a Latin jazz Grammy category was finally added '95 and Eddie's Palmas '94 on Electra Nonesuch received a nomination: it was his first foray into a purely instrumental form, described as 'a dynamic fusion of tropical, jazz and Bronx salsero sensibilities' by Ed Morales. Debut on RMM's Tropijazz label Arete '95 (also nom. for a Grammy) followed by Vortex '96. Palmieri also recorded with Tico All Stars '66, Fania All Stars '68, TropiJazz All-Stars '96; played on debut The Latin Side Of John Coltrane '96 on Astor Place by trombonist/arr. Conrad Herwig (a sideman on Palmieri's '92--6 albums) and Nu Yorican Soul '96 on Talkin' Loud.

3 November 2006


Tito cut this firin' blend of descargas,latin jazz,mambos,boleros and bugaloos for Tico in 1968.Although he despised the bugaloo his later 60s lps saw the funky r&b influenced sound become more evident and on this outing there are a couple of good examples - "Aqui" and "Fat Mama"(a response to Charlie Palmieri's "Fat Papa").These are balanced out with some storming mambos and descargas-"Algo Nuevo","Chan" and "Africana"and a nice latin jazz version of Nat Adderley's "Work Song".
Produced by the ever dependable Pancho Cristal this is a good example of Puente's late 60s work which fair sizzles off the wax !!!
This got a limited cd re-issue some years ago which is still available if you dig around for it.The vinyl remains scarce - it never even made it to a dodgy Venezuelan re-press.

2 November 2006


A late 60s masterpiece from Eddie Palmieri - a brilliant set of Latin tracks with a modern jazz edge that's really astounding!Its essence is an experimentalism combining a strong sense of Cuban tradition with a modal piano style thats the reult of Palmieris admiration of Mccoy Tyner. From the first note of the record, Eddie's piano makes a bold statement of difference edging into the rest of the group with slight modern touches, and a slightly off-kilter sound that marks the record as something fresh and new. Some tracks are straight ahead, with vocals by Ismael Quintana, but still have a dark undercurrent from Eddie's piano and others are much more open-ended, with a freewheeling style that shows all the freedoms to come in the 70s.

This was one of the first posts from my blog-just putting it up again as I am having problems with photos at blogger and uploads at rapidshare-some new stuff coming soon.


Straight out the gate with the Alegre All Stars leading the way for a series on the Tico and Alegre labels which were two of the three greatest latin labels of the 50s and 60s.Fania was the third but more of that in the coming months.

This is the third of the four albums recorded in the 1960s by a loose-knit group of New York Puerto Rican salseros and jazzicologists known as Alegre All-Stars. Similar in feel to Fania All Stars, though featuring instrumentalists rather than vocalists, the line-up is equally impressive: The band is co-led by Charlie Palmieri on piano and Kako on timbales (a much "realer" choice than Tito Puente); Cortijo on congas and Bobby Rodriguez on bass hold down the rhythm; "Chombo" Silva is tenor saxophonist, "Puchi" Boulong and Ray Maldonado play trumpets, and Barry Rogers is trombonist. There are assorted other percussionists and a line-up of guest vocalists including merenguero Dioris Valladares, Yayo el Indio and Cheo Feliciano.
The group was assembled by Alegre owner Al Santiago who was impressed by the spontaneity of a fifties recording titled CUBAN ALL STARS when a group of visiting Cubans were recorded jamming at a party. That album was a huge hit and he wanted to do the same for his native Puerto Rican sound. Kako was his artistic adviser & they built a stellar line-up around incendiary pianist Charlie Palmieri. Sabu Martinez was too unreliable so they got Cortijo on congas. Johnny Pacheco was too busy but recommended a classmate of his for the trombone chair. When they first got together they played ten Tuesday nights at a club in the Bronx then went into the studio. Nothing was planned: whatever they felt they played. Little bits of studio chatter between songs show how much fun they were having. It's the only album I know of that lists the bar-tender as a member of the band!
They open Volume 3 with a descarga called "Yumbambe," a surprisingly lyrical piece, especially when Chombo solos (quoting "Chicago, Chicago that toddlin' town") while behind him it sounds like half the Bronx is cooking away on assorted percussion.
The Alegre All-Stars didn't take themselves too seriously which is one reason I love them. Their chops are immaculate but between songs they deride one another and make little sly asides which, with a little grasp of Spanglish, are uproariously funny. (The liner notes on how this album was lost and hence released after Volume 4 are quite mad, involving a new cataloguing system beyond belief: "We use a code number arrived at by totalling the seconds of recorded time, dividing by the amount of musicians in the rhythm section and adding the amount of bars blown by the soloist in the third track of the 'B' side of the record." They've now added a "working knowledge of the stop-watch" to the librarian's requirements to avoid further mix-ups, they explain.)
"The William Tell Overture," better known as "the Lone Ranger" theme, is quoted in the second song, a guaguanco titled "Sono sono," which gives way to the first bolero, done in a credible imitation of Beny Moré. It's a very fifties sound. Mostly they jam on "descargas" and flare out their hottest licks while the coro finds some suitable lyric to repeat in the background. It builds and builds and when it's over you just have to start again, or put on another volume. If you haven't discovered the Alegre All-Stars you are in for a four-volume treat.
Bass - Bobby Rodriguez
Bongos - David Cortijito
Congas - Frankie Malabe
Engineer - Roy Ramirez
Guiro - Tito Jimenez
Other [Studio Chatter] - Cecilio Carmona
Piano, Other [Leader] - Charlie Palmieri
Producer - Al Santiago
Saxophone [Tenor] - Jose "Chombo" Silva
Timbales, Other [Co-leader] - Kako
Trombone - Barry Rogers
Trumpet - Pedro "Puchi" Boulong , Ray Maldonado
Vocals, Percussion - Cheo Feliciano , Dioris Valladares , Heny Alvarez , Victor Velazquez , Willie Torres , Yayo "El Indio" Pequero