30 June 2006

OFF WITH COMMENT MODERATION !!!!!!













Pleased to say I have got rid of that bloody Comment Moderation and am now using Word Verification instead which should filter out Spam type links appearing in the comments boxes.I will give it a week and see how it goes - hopefully it will do the trick.All comments that have been left during my period of "moderation" have been published anyway without exception but you can now leave your musings etc and have the pleasure of seeing your erudite script appear immediatly.Oh and it stops my email box from overflowing-11 comments in 24 hours this week -must be some kind of record for this blog!!!!

29 June 2006

A.K. SALIM - AFRO SOUL / DRUM ORGY





















This is a stunning set of African-inspired jazz percussion tracks which is similar to some of the work done by Art Blakey on his Orgy In Rhythm albums, but with a lot better horn work, and with an overall conception that's much more unified. By the time of this 1965 recording, Salim was emerging as a progressive composer with a strong talent for bringing together disparate moods and styles. This rare recording was one of his best works ever, and it's one of the most unusual sides cut by Prestige in the 60s. It features Johnny Coles, Pat Patrick, and Yusef Lateef out front on horns plus backing by a host of Latin and African percussionists including Willie Bobo,Marcellino Valdes,Oscaldo Martinez and Julio Callazo. The tracks are very long and the reed work of Lateef and Patrick makes the set especially worthwhile for jazz listeners.


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25 June 2006

ART BLAKEY - ORGY IN RHYTHM VOLUME 1



Volume 1 of this 2 lp set -volume 2 was posted some time ago but had a request for this so here it is. A whopping heavy percussion jam session, led by Art Blakey, and featuring a host of Latin percussionists that includes Sabu Martinez, Patato Valdez ,Ubaldo Nieto,Evilio Quintero and Jose Valentine plus additional jazz drummers Art Taylor, Joe Jones, and Specs Wright underpinned by Wendell Marshall on bass. Herbie Mann's flute and Ray Bryant's piano add some additional non-percussive solos.Check out the furious Split Skins which is a workout for the trio of Blakey,Art Taylor and Jo Jones all knocking seven shades of shit out of their kits.

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HENRY MANCINI - SYMPHONIC SOUL




One of Henry Mancini's grooviest LPs from the 70s one that crosses over from the lounge sound into jazz and its a mixture of tight large arrangements with a smooth funky edge, similar to some of his best soundtrack work at the time. The rhythm section is great with Harvey Mason on drums,Emil Richards on percussion and Joe Sample on keyboards, plus guitar by David T Walker and Dennis Budimir and the album also features some cool solos on instruments like African finger piano and piccolo trumpet. The whole thing bounces along with a majestic approach that's very full and complicated yet also tight and funky. Lots of groovy tunes including a great version of "Butterfly" and a nice re work of "Sun Goddess".

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24 June 2006

COMMENT MODERATION









I have had to put Comment Moderation on this Blog as I noticed tonight I am having links put on the comments to Poker rooms /other nefarious commercial sites which I really dont want and I'm sure neither do you.I did not want to take this step as I have never had any problems with feed back-if you think its rubbish its your perogative to say and its my perogative to totally ignore you !!!!But seriously all I have had has been great and so still feel free to make your point- abuse and insults will be published as well as praise and thanks.I keep this site to promote great music and make it available to a wider audience. As before if you are unhappy with the uploads provided for copyright/distribution reasons I will pull the links.Keep the comments coming in and I'll keep publishing 'em .

Fuse one was the first affected and has been deleted and re-posted-if you commented it's nothing to do with what you said!!!I am aware there's a problem with track 2 and will repost it some time tomorrow.

FUSE ONE - SILK












In keeping with the context of the Le Blog De Pekis post here's a nice bit of CTI fusion from 1981.4 long tracks make up the lp -"Silk" and "Sunwalk" are fairly average jazz funk tunes with some pretty shitty but mercifully short vocoder antics on the latter - however quite enjoyable for all that(must have my nostalgia head on today!).
It's the middle 2 cuts that kick ass and really shift that are so good."In celebration of the human spirit"(Stanley Clarke wrote it-who else with a pompous title like that?)kicks off with a typical bit of ol'big mits bass intro business sliding into a nice brass head out of which comes a 100mph latin flyer.And who's that on the first solo-yes its Wynton "Fusion is a dirty word"Marsalis!!!!!Try finding this lp on any of his discographies!God knows how Creed Taylor got him on this but he's great.Stan drives the whole thing along in fine style with some propulsive bass and Figueroa and Badrena wack the shit out of their percussion in the background.Next up is the Ndugu tune "Hot Fire"which first got aired on George Dukes Reach for It lp if I remember rightly.Again another latin based flyer with solos from Clarke,Gale,Marsalis, Valentin and a nice drum/percussion break towards the end.Great production from Creed Tylor as always and this was pretty much the end of the road for CTI with only a couple more albums coming out which were crap.Good end to a checkered catalogue whichswung wildly between MOR rubbish and some stupendously good fusion.

Wynton Marsalis (tp,flhrn); Tom Browne (tp); Stanley Turrentine (ts); Dave Valentin (f): Ronnie Foster (key,synth); Todd Cochran (synth); Eric Gale (g); Stanley Clarke (b);Marcus Miller (b); Ndugu (Leon Ndugu Chancler) (d,arr); Manolo Badrena ,Sammy Figueroa (perc).


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RAY BARRETTO - LA CUNA




















More from CTI in the final stages of the labels output.
Producer Creed Taylor has inspired everything from praise to anger among jazz fans. His work has been brilliant at times, detrimental at others (his worst flaw being a tendency to overproduce). Taylor plays a mostly positive role on La Cuna, a jazz-oriented effort uniting Ray Barretto with such first-class talent as Tito Puente (timbales) and the late Joe Farrell (tenor & soprano sax, flute). As slick as things get at times on La Cuna (this is ripped from the original vinyl but was reissued on CD in 1995 now deleted), Taylor wisely gives the players room to blow on everything from the haunting "Doloroso" and the driving "Mambotango" to a somewhat Gato Barbieri-ish take on Mussorgsky's "The Old Castle." Barretto successfully moves into soul jazz territory on a dance floor mash up version of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" featuring Willy Torres onn vocals ( rapper Coolio totally butchered this for his utterly abysmal embarrasment of "Gangsta's Paradise"). Barretto may have hated the term "Latin jazz," but make no mistake: La Cuna is one of his most memorable contributions to that genre.
Fantastic cover as well by Creed Taylor Jr.

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20 June 2006

LE BLOG DE PEKIS















Some great posts over at

http://leblogdepekis.blogspot.com/

especially if you are into CTI and that 70s fusion thang.

EDDIE RUSS - SEE THE LIGHT



















A great piece of funky fusion from 1976 this was always in demand back in the day for the latin syled jazz dancer "Zaius".Hammered by DJs like Chris Bangs in the early 80s I remember bustin' a gut to this tune on the dance floor most saturday nights down at the Exeter Bowl in Bournemouth.Over the years it slipped back into obscurity but finally got a re issue quite a few years ago(not too sure of its official status as its now on a red Columbia label instead of the original Monument - did CBS own the masters ?)but has still never made it to cd.
Kirk De Giorgio wrote this about it in a review at his superb Hall of Fame web site which has now resurfaced at

http://vlokfeest.net/mirrors/www.kirkdegiorgio.com/

A 6 track album from Detroit organ player Eddie Russ recorded at United Sound Studios - home to George Clinton's experiments at the ime and it sounds like Bernie Worrell left behind some of his key boards because it's a heavily electronic album with plenty of squelching ARP basslines and those trademark Solina strings are all over every track.Every track is a winner - even the blazenly disco fillers such a Stop It Now and the Herbie-ish Poko Nose which were even issued on a very rare and now sought-after Monument 12 inch.The laid back Salem Avenue features wonderful sax work from Detroit's Larry Nozero and that other Detroit stalwart Marcus Belgrave is also present on trumpet.The album is best known for its two jazz dance-floor classics See the Light and Zauis. See the Light is a tight and funky cover of the Earth, Wind & Fire tune which starts out in fast, epic style before easing down a gear and rolling out into a superb slice of fusion. Zauis is still a floor-filler today - its latin-style rhythm under-pinning multiple layers of synth work, horns and two astonishing rhodes and synth solo's that build and build to a climax before alternating guitar and sax solos take us home.The uplifting Tomorrow Is Another Day completes a fusion classic




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18 June 2006

TITO PUENTE - PARA LOS RUMBEROS




















Tito firing on all cylinders on this incendiary piece of vinyl from 1973.Joe Caine's at the controls and he's got Charlie Palmieri with him on keyboards and most of the crew from the later Concert Orchestra lp.
Story goes is that Tito was envious about Santana's massive success with some of his material and took the band into the studio to cash in on this.He had first recorded Para los Rumberos in the 50s on the great Cuban Carnival album which Carlos Santana had heard and loved and then covered on his first lp.So Tito ups the tempo, stokes his band up to boiling point and lets it rip for this version.Tension and release is what its all about with the horns and bass acting almost as brakes in places to build it up until the piano montuno kicks in then the whole ensemble is off again careering along like a runaway train - but with Tito at the footplate you know this train will never crash!
The whole album is superb and Palladium Days-Titos tribute to the dancers at the famous mecca for the latin greats in the 50s and 60s - runs the title tune a close second for sheer intensity and fire.Tito even throws in a Santana cover -Batuka - which for my money is better than the original!
Puente once told a group of Shoreline Community students how Oye Como Va became a sort of a trademark for Santana and himself. He recalled in the early 70s (when the Santana cover was released) how a plethora of people would come up to him pleading for that Santana tune. Tito would respond, “We don’t play Santana. We play Puente music!”That is, until the first royalty check came in the mail.
“Damn! I is a composer now,” Tito joked. “Since that day, all we play is Santana music!”
Ripped from the original vinyl-but you can go out and buy it now as its just been re-issued as part of a massive relaunch of the Fania back catalogue.

17 June 2006

MAX ROACH - MEMBERS, DON'T GIT WEARY




















Back to the hardcore business with this tough 1968 date from Max Roach- One of the finest post-bop dates he recorded during that decade which which finds the drummer leading a cohesive modal quintet that employs Gary Bartz on alto sax, Charles Tolliver on trumpet, Stanley Cowell on acoustic and electric piano, and Jymie Merritt on electric bass. Despite the use of electric instruments, this isn't an album that emphasizes rock or funk elements or predicts the fusion explosion that was just around the corner -- Members, Don't Git Weary is very much a straight-ahead effort, and the harmonic richness of modal playing is illustrated by such gems as Cowell's "Equipoise," Bartz's "Libra," and Merritt's "Absolutions." Roach's title song boasts a memorable, gospel-influenced vocal by Andy Bey, but all of the other selections are instrumental. Fantastic music with no compromises.

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FUNK INC - SUPERFUNK















Here's a nice bit of funk produced by the ever dependable David Axelrod.This share was contributed and upped by Kristof - thanks a lot Kristof.
Check out "The Hill Where The Lord Lies"which has got Axelrod written all over it.
This is the review Motown 67 wrote for SoulStrut.com
Musically speaking, Superfunk was the most diverse release put out by Funk Inc. It was recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley with David Axelrod doing production. There's a slow and bluesy version of Message From The Meters, a Soul-Jazz take of Chuck Mangione's The Hill Where The Lord Hides, as well as the straight Soul of Honey, I Love You, and the upbeat Funk of Just Don't Mean A Thing, that are originals. The best is saved for last with a pretty straightforward cover of Barry White?s I'm Going To Love You with congas added.

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16 June 2006

CLIFF MARTINEZ - SOLARIS

















Thought it was about time I posted another soundtrack and an orgy in rhythm this most certainly isn't.No funky breaks ,no shuffling beats,no low level horns,nothing to loop or sample (or maybe....) - the total antithesis of my usual soundtrack posts.
This is the Cliff Martinez soundtrack for the Steven Soderberg re make of Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris".
This is what Andrew Granade wrote about it at Soundtracknet:

"Martinez began his musical career as a drummer for The Weirdos, Lydia Lunch, Captain Beefheart, The Dickies and, most famously, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (In 1989 he left the Peppers because, as he says, "I decided I didn't really want to be wearing a sock on my weiner for the rest of my life.") His experience as a drummer is clearly evident in his instrumentation in Solaris. To the standard string orchestra with light brass and woodwinds, Martinez adds understated electronics, celesta, steel drum, and a gamelan ensemble. A Javanese gamelan is the Indonesian orchestra of bells, gongs, and drums that has captivated Western composers since Debussy first encountered it at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1889. In Solaris, its delicate, shifting tone colors in a decidedly non-equal tempered scale underlie the remoteness of the action and the sentient planet while the repetitive, cyclic nature of its music provide a comforting space from which the audience can watch the proceedings.
The overall arch of the score is fairly static, with shifting tone colors and textures providing the majority of musical propulsion and interest. This uniformity of sound serves to unify the picture emotionally but a few cues stand out for Martinez's treatment of the orchestra and their narrative impact. "Will She Come Back" opens with delicate electronics that sound almost like pure sine-tones. Then listen how he slowly undergirds and replaces those sounds with close, dissonant strings and begins to softly punctuate moments with bells. Then the full strings finally enter halfway through with an elegiac melody.
"Wear Your Seat Belt" is the antithesis of "Will She Come Back," or at least as opposite as is possible on this homogenous score. It begins with the gamelan pulsations over which strings and electronics play in a tightly woven, dissonant, and eerie cloud. The gamelan slowly takes over the foreground from the strings, moving into a higher and higher register until the bottom falls away, leaving the listener floating free."

It's for his work on Solaris that Martinez is best known, not only because it is widely regarded as his finest work but it also established Martinez's niche in soundtrack work: a combination of electronic sounds and samples with sparse orchestral arrangements which is both very ambient and wonderfully atmospheric.

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13 June 2006

ALICE COLTRANE - WORLD GALAXY




Alice Coltrane had become a musical world unto herself by the time she issued World Galaxy, recorded in late 1971. With jazz-rock fusion taking over the mainstream and the terminal avant-garde heading over to Europe, Coltrane stubbornly forged an insistent, ever-evolving brand of spiritual jazz that bore her own signature as much as it did her late husband's influence. On the two days in November when World Galaxy was recorded, Coltrane chose drummer Ben Riley, bassist Reggie Workman, violinist Leroy Jenkins, saxophonist Frank Lowe, and timpanist Elayne Jones in addition to a string orchestra of 16 to help her realize her latest vision. Coltrane herself plays piano, harp, and organ on this date, sometimes within a single track, as she does on her glorious post-modal reworking of "My Favorite Things." This was a gutsy move, considering it was one of John Coltrane's signature tunes, but Alice has it firmly in hand as she moves from organ to harp to piano and back, turning the melody inside out wide enough for the strings to whip up an atmospheric texture that simultaneously evokes heaven and hell and skewers the original nature of the tune in favor of bent polyharmonics that allow the entire world of sound inside to play. The jazz modalism Coltrane presents on "Galaxy Around Olodumare" is quickly undone by Lowe in his solo and reconstructed into polyphony by the string section; it's remarkable. The harp work on "Galaxy in Turiya" (Alice's religious name) is among her most beautiful, creating her own wash of color and dynamic for the strings to fall like water from the sky into her mix. As colors shift and change, the rhythm section responds, and focuses them in the prism of Coltrane's textured harpistry. The album closes with another John Coltrane signature, "A Love Supreme," here given an out of this world treatment by the band with Jenkins playing full force through the middle of both channels. There is a narration by Coltrane's guru inside it, a poem really, spoken by the guru Satchidananda, which no doubt would have moved John Coltrane, but the real news is Alice's killer, funky breakbeat organ solo that covers the tune top to bottom in blues, in stark contrast to Jenkins' improvisation. This set may take some getting used to for some, but it's easily one of the strongest records Alice Coltrane ever released, and one of the finest moments in jazz from the early '70s.
This LP had a limited reissue in Japan on cd some time ago but it now seems to be out of print-this one is ripped from the original vinyl.

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11 June 2006

LIBRE - CON SALSA...CON RITMO





















One of the most revolutionary salsa albums of the 1970s, Conjunto Libre eschewed formulaic patterns that were common in mainstream salsa; bebop elements are welcomed, as well as free, extended musical improvisation, without sacrificing the integrity of the basic Cuban conjunto format.
Libre, aka Manny Oquendo's Libre, was co-founded in October 1974 by Manny Oquendo (b. 1931, Brooklyn, New York, USA, of Puerto Rican parentage; leader, timbales, bongo, güiro, other percussion, chorus, arrangements) and Andy González (b. 1951, Manhattan, New York, USA; bass, claves, other percussion, chorus, arrangements). They met while working with Eddie Palmieri's band and decided to organize Libre after having "irreconcilable problems" with the bandleader(He wouldn't pay them!) Their founding principle was that Libre ("free") should be based on Afro-Cuban roots, not just copying them, but allowing a freer, jazzier, more urban sound which broke away from what they perceived as the "cold, unemotional and mechanical sound" of most recorded salsa. Libre adopted a trombones and flute "trombanga" frontline, a combination that Oquendo had helped Palmieri develop when he was a member of his group, La Perfecta, in the 60s. Oquendo literally grew up on Latin music. In the 30s his family lived above Almacenes Hernández, then one of the leading record stores in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem). As a youngster he listened to Machito's original Afro-Cubans and began collecting 78 rpm discs of Cuban music. He started playing timbales at the age of 13 and worked with various bands, including Charlie Valero (1946), Los Hermanos Mercado and El Boy. He played with the legendary Chano Pozo in 1947 and replaced Tito Puente in José Curbelo's band in 1948. During the 50s mambo era, he performed with Tito Rodríguez and Puente. He informed Eddie Palmieri about the music coming out of Cuba while they were both accompanists in the Vicentico Valdés band in the late 50s, and became a founder member of Palmieri's Conjunto La Perfecta in 1962, remaining with the group until 1967. Afterwards he continued to work with Palmieri until Libre's formation. In addition, he worked with, among others, Pupi Campo, Noro Morales, Miguelito Valdés, Johnny Pacheco's charanga band, Charlie Palmieri, Larry Harlow and Israel "Cachao" López.

González started violin tuition when he was at grade school. He switched to bass at junior high school and organized a Latin jazz quintet with his older brother, Jerry González (conga, trumpet, fluegelhorn, chorus, bandleader). He began gigging with dance bands when he was 13-years of age. In 1967, he made his recording debut with the band of Monguito Santamaría (Mongo Santamaría's son) on On Top. After two years and a further album with Santamaría, González did a stint with Ray Barretto's band between 1969 and 1971, taking six months out to work with Dizzy Gillespie. From 1971-74, he performed with Eddie Palmieri. González has sessioned with an impressive list of Latin artists, including Justo Betancourt, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Rodríguez, Willie Colón, Machito, Arturo "Chico" O'Farrill, Charlie Palmieri, Roberto Torres, Don Gonzalo Fernández, Virgilio Marti and Rubén Blades. In the jazz and fusion contexts, he has worked with Kenny Dorham, Clifford Thornton, Hank Jones, Jazz Composers Orchestra, Kip Hanrahan, Jaco Pastorius, Astor Piazzolla, J.C. Heard, Paul Simon and brother Jerry's Fort Apache Band, among others. González appeared with the latter in London in November 1990. Like Oquendo, he has steeped himself in the Afro-Cuban tradition: "I've studied the whole history of Cuban music through recordings", he explained to Larry Birnbaum in 1989, "and I've talked to quite a few people who are knowledgeable about that music and those periods . . . Afro Cuban music history has a line to it, just like jazz . . . Things change over the years, but I think you've got to keep the link to the past."

Jerry González was a founder member of Libre. He co-founded the Latin Jazz Quintet in 1964; performed with Monguito Santamaría; toured with the Beach Boys (playing trumpet), and worked with Kenny Dorham, Dizzy Gillespie (six months), Orquesta Flamboyán (two years), Clifford Thornton Quintet, Tony Williams' Lifetime, Eddie Palmieri (playing conga for two-and-a-half years), Jeremy Steig, Larry Young, George Benson, Justo Betancourt, Totico and Kip Hanrahan, among others. Jerry made his solo debut with the notable Ya Yo Me Cure in 1980. He formed his own Latin jazz outfit, the Fort Apache Band, and made his album debut with them on The River Is Deep, which was recorded at the Berlin Jazz Festival in November 1982 (Libre also appeared). He left Libre at the end of the 80s to devote his energies to band leading. In 1989, he released Obatalá and Rumba Para Monk. In November 1990, the Fort Apache Band made their UK debut with an outstanding gig at London's Empire Ballroom.

Oquendo and the González brothers all performed with the short-lived Grupo Folklorico Y Experimental Nuevayorquino on the pioneering Concepts In Unity (1975) and Lo Dice Todo (1977), both on Salsoul Records. Shortly after the first Grupo Folklorico record, Libre signed with Salsoul and released four albums on the label between 1976 and 1981.

On their debut, Con Salsa ... Con Ritmo Vol. 1, Libre gave "Bamboleate" and "No Critiques" - two songs Oquendo had originally recorded with Eddie Palmieri in the 60s - a rugged and jazzy interpretation. Also featured was a moving version of the 1929 classic "Lamento Borincano (El Jibarito)' by the great Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández (1891-1965). Another classic, 1928"s "Suavecito" by Cuban Ignacio Piñeiro (1888 -1969; composer and leader of Septeto Nacional) was given a charanga-style treatment on the band's follow-up Tiene Calidad - Con Salsa ... Con Ritmo Vol. 2 in 1978. Los Lideres De La Salsa in 1979 compiled a track each from Libre's first two albums, "La Salsa" performed by Grupo Folklorico (with lead vocals by former big band leader Marcelino Guerra), plus three new tracks, two of which featured Cuban violinist Alfredo De La Fé. Young and talented singer, Herman Olivera, made his recording debut with Libre, sharing lead vocals with Tony "Pupy Cantor" Torres (a band member since 1975) on Increible in 1981. Olivera was the replacement for Libre's other co-lead singer, Héctor "Tempo" Alomar, who also joined in 1975 and went on to record with Nestor Torres, Charanga América, Johnny "Dandy" Rodríguez and Grupo ABC. Libre switched to the Montuno label for Ritmo, Sonido Y Estilo in 1983. The album featured an outstanding version of the plena "Elena, Elena" composed by Manuel "Canario" Jiménez (b. 1895, Manatí, Puerto Rico, d. 1975), a master of Puerto Rican jibaro (country) music, and a swinging interpretation of the classic "Que Humanidad", co-written by the incredibly prolific Cuban composer Ñico Saquito. Torres departed and became a co-lead vocalist with Willie Rosario's band for a brief stint.

Olivera left in 1991 to sing with Cruz Control, a swinging new outfit co-led by percussionist Ray Cruz and pianist Sergio Rivera. He was replaced on lead vocals by Frankie Vásquez (b. 6 January 1958, Guayama, Puerto Rico), who in addition to doing stints with Fuego '77, Sonido Taibori, Orquesta Calidad, Osvaldo "Chi Hua Hua" Martínez's Orquesta Metropolitana, Wayne Gorbea (b. 22 October 1950, Manhattan, New York, USA; bandleader, pianist, percussionist, vocalist, composer, producer) and Javier Vázquez, has performed with Henry Fiol, Junior González, Frankie Morales and others. Libre's trombone section has included such luminaries as the late Barry Rogers and Jose Rodrigues (both longstanding Eddie Palmieri accompanists); Angel "Papo" Vásquez, Jimmy Bosch (a long-time Ray Barretto compatriot) and Reinaldo Jorge; and jazz musicians Ed Byrne, Dan Reagan and Steve Turre (who also plays conch shell). Jazz fusioneer Dave Valentin played flute on all but one of Libre's first five albums. New York born pianist, Oscar Hernández, performed on the band's first four releases and guested on one track of Ritmo, Sonido Y Estilo (ex-Típica 73 and Los Kimbos member, Joe Mannozzi, played on the remainder). Hernández worked with Joey Pastrana, Ismael Miranda, Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Roberto Torres, Felix "Pupi" Legaretta, Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez, Ray Barretto and Rubén Blades, among others. He worked increasingly as a producer and albums to his credit include: Azucar A Granel! (1988) by Camilo Azuquita, Twice As Good! (1988) by Rafael de Jesús and Carabalí (1988) and Carabalí II (1991) by the septet of the same name. The impact of the salsa cum Latin jazz formular of Carabalí's first release on the London Latin scene led to a five-night residency at London's Bass Clef club followed by a nine-date UK tour, returning to the Bass Clef for the final gig (all in April, 1989). Hernández was with them as keyboardist and musical director .

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10 June 2006

EDDIE PALMIERI - HARLEM RIVER DRIVE

















Eddie Palmieri's supergroup Harlem River Drive was the first group to really merge black and Latin styles and musicians, resulting in a free-form brew of salsa, funk, soul, jazz, and fusion. Though it was led by pianist Palmieri, the group also included excellent players from both the Latin community (his brother Charlie, Victor Venegas, Andy GonZalez) and the black world (Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Ronnie Cuber). Named as an ironic reference to the New York City street which allowed predominantly suburban drivers to bypass East Harlem entirely on their way to lower Manhattan, Harlem River Drive released their groundbreaking debut album in 1970 on Roulette, including Latin and underground club hits like the title track and "Seeds of Life." Unfortunately, Harlem River Drive was their only album, though the group did appear co-billed on Eddie Palmieri's two-part 1972 release, Live at Sing Sing, Vols. 1-2.
The reason this record is "legendary" is because it marks the first recorded performances, in 1970, of Eddie and Charlie Palmieri as bandleaders. The reason it should be a near mythical recording (it has never been available in the U.S. on CD, and was long out of print on LP before CDs made the scene), is for its musical quality and innovation. The Palmieris formed a band of themselves, a couple of Latinos that included Andy Gonzales, jazz-funk great -- even then -- Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, and some white guys and taught them how to play a music that was equal parts Cuban mambo, American soul via Stax/Volt, blues, Funkadelic-style rock, pop-jazz, and harmonic and instrumental arrangements every bit as sophisticated as Burt Bacharach's or Henry Mancini's or even Stan Kenton's. One can hear in "Harlem River Drive (Theme)" and "Idle Hands" a sound akin to War's on World Is a Ghetto. Guess where War got it? "If (We Had Peace)" was even a model for Lee Oskar's "City, Country, City." And as much as War modeled their later sound on this one record, as great as they were, they never reached this peak artistically. But there's so much here: the amazing vocals (Jimmy Norman was in this band), the multi-dimensional percussion section, the tight, brass-heavy horn section, and the spaced-out guitar and keyboard work (give a listen to "Broken Home") where vocal lines trade with a soprano saxophone and a guitar as snaky keyboards create their own mystical effect. One can bet that Chick Corea heard in Eddie's piano playing a stylistic possibility for Return to Forever's Light As a Feather and Romantic Warrior albums. The band seems endless, as if there are dozens of musicians playing seamlessly together live -- dig the percussion styling of Manny Oquendo on the cowbell and conga and the choral work of Marilyn Hirscher and Allan Taylor behind Norman. Harlem River Drive is a classic because after 30-plus years, it still sounds as if listeners are the ones catching up to it.
This rip is from a piece of pristine japanese vinyl from Toshiba EMI.I bit the bullet and paid top dollar for it years ago as it was still cheaper than an original but it was then bootlegged and now has had an official re-issue.Still it was worth it - see what you think!!

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TITO PUENTE AND HIS CONCERT ORCHESTRA


















Tito on top form on this banging piece of latin from 1973 featuring the late great Charlie Palmieri on organ and electric piano and Izzy Feliu on a very funky sounding Baby Ampeg.Titos on timbales ,electric piano ,drums and vibes and it was produced by Joe Cain so you know you're in for a mad old ride on this one.Moving off with the manic El Ray del Timbal it kicks up gear after gear into a maelstrom of latin fury until we hit the climax of Calling 110th and 5th Avenue - Tito's tribute to the centre of Spanish Harlem.Then when you thought it couldnt get any better its all change to the super funky Black Brothers with some mad keyboard soloing in the middle.Straight back into the hard latin groove for the rest of side 2 finishing off with a nice mash up of Picadillo .Check out the insistant hi-hat that really drives the groove of this album pre dating the impending disco explosion - Tito sure knew what the dancers wanted!Probably my favourite Tito lp along with the monstrous Para los Rumberos from the same year(a future post) All Killer -No Filler!!!


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9 June 2006

www.curved-air.com














Curved-Air has moved away from blogspot to its own web site - its now at
http://www.curved-air.com/
and continues to go from strength to strength.I was so pleased to get the fantastic 2nd Lard Free lp from here but there's lots more great stuff AND contributions are welcome!!!A fantastic range of great music from Kraut rock to mimimalism to jazz and beyond - Curved Air is the future of blogspots and its happening NOW.

4 June 2006

DAVID AXELROD - MARCHIN'
















This was recorded in 1980 and was the last album Axe would release for the thirteen years that would follow. And he went out on an interesting note. The compositions are there but the sound's not quite as expansive as usual and maybe a bit slicker .Still there are definitely some songs that are certified Axe bangers, regardless of production . There's even a couple open breakbeats that would compete with any of his previous work.The best song by far is "Wandering Star" with its great, loud, pounding drums and other great playing, which harkens back to his earlier work. One of his catchiest songs is included with "Jahil." It just jams from beginning to end. "Marchin' "hits it on the one and towards the end goes into a latin vamp which spirals off into drums and guitar breakdown. Also included is a pretty straight jazz tribute to Cannonball, "Threnody For A Brother." "Dr. T"is a nice bit of jazz funk which fairly skanks along .This is a lot harder to find than most of his other albums from this time, but it's definitely worth tracking down.
As Score Baby so succinctly put it :
"Axe is the gift that keeps on giving"

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ARTHUR VEROCAI





















In 1972 a repressive Brazilian military dictatorship frowned on artistic impression that might influence the youth of the country. However, producer, arranger and guitar player Arthur Verocai released a self-titled album on Brazilian based Continental Records that challenged the musical conventions of the day. His subtle protest experimented with new musical directions, and used figurative language to sneak under the censorship radar.
This lp was reissued by Luv n Haight Records a few years ago.It's super rare and will appeal to fans of the folksy soul and lo-fi electronic experimentations of American artists like Shuggie Otis or the orchestration of producer Charles Stepney. Closest Brazilian comparisons would be to Tim Maia and Jorge Ben. This unique recording has a touch of folk, more than a hint of funk, jazz style soloing, amazing 20 piece string arrangements, blending of electronics and keyboards with organic sounds,In 1972 a repressive Brazilian military dictatorship frowned on artistic impression that might influence the youth of the country. However, producer, arranger and guitar player Arthur Verocai released a self-titled album on Brazilian based Continental Records that challenged the musical conventions of the day. His subtle protest experimented with new musical directions, and used figurative language to sneak under the censorship radar.

Luv N'Haight records is honored to release its first full-length Brazilian album. It's super rare and will appeal to fans of the folksy soul and lo-fi electronic experimentations of American artists like Shuggie Otis or the orchestration of producer Charles Stepney. Closest Brazilian comparisons would be to Tim Maia and Jorge Ben. This unique recording has a touch of folk, more than a hint of funk, jazz style soloing, amazing 20 piece string arrangements, blending of electronics and keyboards with organic sounds and superb soundtrack style music.

"I used to listen to Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Stan Kenton, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Web, Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and Miles Davis, Milton Nascimento, Bossa Nova, among others," explains Arthur Verocai. "In Brazil we had many musical influences, and by that time there wasn't a hegemonic one in the market. In this way my album reflected a search and musical experimentation. I was in an adventurous mood on this album and that led me to explore new melodic, harmonic and rhythmic paths."

Verocai arrived at the 1972 album with a number of accomplishments under his belt. He'd produced the Ivan Lins 1971 album "Agora" which was influenced heavily by the sound of North American soul. He had contributed string arrangements to Jorge Ben releases, too. "I also produced two albums by a singer named Célia for Continental and the president of the company was delighted with the results. He invited me to produce an album using my own compositions and I agreed as long as I was able to choose the musicians to perform with me. All the strings sessions featured 12 violins, 4 violas and 4 cellos, always with one or two percussionists. The idea of mixing strings with contemporary sounds came from my desire of searching for new paths. I think this album was very rich in terms of both quantity and quality of musicians!"

Verocai wasn't messing around with his line-up of musicians, which included Brazilian legends like Robertinho Silva, Pascoal Meireles, Luiz Alves, Paulo Moura, Edson Maciel, Oberdan Magalhães (Banda Black Rio), Nivaldo Ornelas (Milton Nascimento band) and Toninho Horta.

Born Arthur Cortes Verocai in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 17/6/1945, he studied music with Léo Soares, Darci Villaverde, Nair Barbosa da Silva, Roberto Menescal and Vilma Graça. In 1966 Leny Andrade included his song "Olhando o Mar" ("Looking at the Sea") on her "We Are There" album. Two years later Verocai participated in Musicanossa an event that brought together composers, musicians and singers in presentations to play live in the Santa Rosa Theater in Rio de Janeiro, for which he wrote his first arrangements. The live recording of the event included the songs "Madrugada" and "Nova Manhã", composed in partnership with Paulinho Tapajós.

By 1968 his main gig was working in Civil Engineering in Rio de Janeiro. He still managed to perform and participate as a composer at many of Brazils famous Festivals of Music. He was working with artists like Paulinho Tapajós, Elis Regina, Creuza Maria, the Golden Boys, and Evinha. In 1969 Arthur Verocai began his professional career as musician and arranger. He scored the music for the theater show "Is The Greater", and wrote his first arrangements for orchestra. He arranged records by the Terço, Jorge Benjor, Elizeth Cardoso, Gal Costa, Quarteto em Cy, MPB 4, Célia, Guilherme Lamounier, Nélson Gonçalves, Marcos Valle, and others. His music also appeared in the musical "The Life of Braguinha", alongside Elizeth Cardoso, Quarteto em Cy, MPB4 and Sidney Magal. By 1970 he was writing for other groups and regularly composing music for multiple TV shows and incidental music for TV series.

The 1972 self-titled album allowed Verocai to take his interest in instrumental music even further. "I always wanted to compose soundtracks in great style, as in the cinema, but this wasn't possible with television work," he says. "My opportunity came when I was recording this album. I created a rhythmic cell in the acoustic guitar with the harmonic line. I added bass and the non-conventional drums and the percussion with a very smooth orchestration in blocks (four trumpets and a flute) plus the delicate touch of the strings (12 violins, 4 violas and 4 cellos). At the end of the song, Oberdan Magalhães played and sang with his flute." The resulting track is "Sílvia".

"Presente Grego" is perhaps the funkiest track on the album. "This song was influenced by American soul and funk," says Verocai. "By 1972 many of the musicians of my generation were feeling the same influences. Because of our exposure to all many musical influences, we put a distance between us and the conventional recording styles. "Presente Grego" means "Greek gift." It is an expression that comes from the horse of Troy, a gift from the Greeks that hid the warriors that defeated the Troyans. Likewise, the military dictatorship, under the appearance of a good government, practiced censorship and oppression", he explains.

In addition to the funky soul elements the album features many solos from artists obviously well schooled in Jazz. Check the soloing in "Pelas Sombras" or "Karina", where saxes blow hard and true against the backdrop of Brazilian rhythms. "My musical preferences go from J.S. Bach and Villa-Lobos, to jazz musicians like Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Wes Montgomery and Bill Evans," explains Verocai. "I remember Edson Maciel, was invited to a studio session at 9 AM and was to perform a solo on "Karina." He asked us to wait for a while because he wanted to be inspired by some "cachaça" (a Brazilian liquor made from distilled sugar cane juice). While rehearsing, he asked for a little more "cachaça" to bring on some more inspiration. This happened twice until he found his inspiration and performed a tremendous solo!" remembers Verocai.

In the years after the album release Arthur Verocai became a music advertising executive, creating and producing albums for customers like Brahma, Fanta, Petrobra's, South America, Souza Cruz and was even honored with the Colunistas Prize in Advertising. Since 1983 he is the main proprietor of Studio "V" - House of the Sound and in 2002 he released a solo album "Arthur Verocai - "Saudade Demais" featuring a collection of his work as composer, including some unreleased songs.

Arthur Verocai's musical peer Ivan Lins has this to say about his great friend, "Arthur is a very dedicated musician. He has always been. Not only dedicated but very talented also. He made this record years ago just for the fun of it without much publicity. And now will strike back. That's great!"

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3 June 2006

DOM UM ROMAO


















This lp was probably one of my first introductions to Brazilian music when I bought it in the early 80s after hearing Braun Blek Blu - it completely blew me away.I couldnt believe this could be the work of just one man ,his drum kit,a cow bell and vocals!!!
And what an lp to get-a storming version of Ponteio and each track a killer in its own right.But of course - it also features the great Joao Donato!
Read what the critic Gary Giddins had to say about it in his liner notes:
Doms Tune is a relaxed hybrid piece featuring Joe Beck.It has more than atouch of blues feeling and is coloured by exotic sounds that bespeak the wild birds and hollow echoes of the jungle.
Cinnamon Flower is an example of the cravo e canela ritma and is taken at a controlled canter.Bothe were arranged by Dom Salvador.
The cool and airy Family Talk introduces Donato's arrangement and harpsichord playing and Sivuca's fine rhythm guitar.Mauricios flute solo is a whirling dancer alternately moanining and laughing
Ponteio arranged by Sivuca Has a tantalising melody both wistful and dreamy that contrasts with the joy of the rhythm ,governed by Dom's exciting drums .
Dom goes it alone with on Braun Blek Blu and I wish I could have been there to see him record this one.It consists of a powerfully pulsating drum riff broken by recitations of the title and an extraordinary vocal that is unlike any scat you have ever heard before.There is a great bell like accompiament to the vocal and the break climaxes occuring twice before the vocal and at the terrifically rhythmic finish .
Adeus Maria Fulo has such an enchanting melody one wonders if lyrics exist.Amazonian jungle sounds serve as a prologue to the cosmopolitan theme leading into a harpsichord solo.The two saxophone solos are among the highlights of the album -Dodgians alto jolts the rhythm and Smiths searing soprano builds to the final pitch.

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1 June 2006

AZIMUTH

















Three in a row from the funky 70s of Brazil.
This is the first album from 1975 by Azimuth (known as Azymuth from later records), and it's a monster batch of grooves that mixes electronics and funk, plus lots of touches of Brazilian percussion. There's loads of moody mellow keyboards and the album's an amazing slice of funky jazz that moves from the squelchy mellow grooves of "Manha" and "Caca de Conta"to the strident super funk of"Melo Dos Dois Bicudos" onto the (almost) prog rock of "Periscopio".Essential!!

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