30 September 2006

CANDIDO - BEAUTIFUL
























Five in a row from the mighty Blue Note Lable!
Review from the ever excellent Soul Strut
Candido was known as the "Man with a thousand fingers". On Beautiful Candido did nothing to dispel that image. The first side is all covers that get thorough rearrangements and the funky infusion of Candido's excellent conga playing. First up is Richie Havens? I'm On My Way, an upbeat number with Candido's pounding percussion highlighted in a series of breaks and breakdowns in the middle and some sharp horn work. Booker T's Tic Tac Toe is slow and catchy with a Latin influenced middle bridge and some nice organ work. Gamble and Huff's Hey, Western Union Man also has a series of conga breaks. Serenade To A Savage is a darker piece that focuses around the interplay between Richard Davis' bass and Candido's percussion. New World In The Morning sounds like a 60s Pop tune but again has a series of conga breaks towards the end. The second side, which consists mostly of originals, continues on where the first left off. Beautiful and Money Man and all have tight musicianship and a series of breakdowns to highlight the congas. Ghana Spice (Part One and Two) are slower numbers with an African influence and more play between Davis and Can dido. If you like Mongo Santamaria or b-boy breaks, you'll like Candido.

GRANT GREEN - LIVE AT CLUB MOZAMBIQUE




















If you enjoyed the last lot of organ posts I ran you will love this!!!

A previously unreleased live session, Live At Club Mozambique captures Grant Green at the start of his final, groove-driven decade.
By this time, fame and dope had taken a heavy toll on the guitarist, who'd downsized to Detroit, where Club Mozambique hosted one of his regular gigs. Blue Note, now without Alfred Lion, pulled out several stops for this recording. Producer Francis Wolff flew in from New York, as did tenor saxophone soul star Houston Person and groove-centric drummer Idris Muhammad. Clarence Thomas (saxophones) and Ronnie Foster (organ) were members of Green's regular band at the Mozambique, where the performances on January 6 and 7, 1971 were recorded.
The music is simple and straightforward, equal parts jazz and funk. The set list is dominated by covers of contemporary black urban radio hits—Clarence Carter's “Patches,” Dionne Warwick's “Walk On By” and the Jackson 5's “One More Chance” were all charting at the time. Green was playing for his regular Mozambique audience, which was there for an uncomplicated good time. There's only one original on the record, Thomas' “Farid.”
On these relatively unambitious terms, the music works well. It's astonishingly simple—”Bottom Of The Barrel,” for instance, is a jam played on one chord, and lasts nine and half minutes—but it's played with commitment and taste. Houston Person, who takes most of the saxophone solos, is a wailing pleasure, blowing hot soul-jazz on “Jan Jan” and ”Bottom Of The Barrel,” cool seduction on “Walk On By.” Foster and Muhammad seem to have bonded on sight, and they keep the backbeat fat. When he has a chance to shine, as on ”Farid,” Thomas' Coltrane-influenced tenor makes for a nice contrast to Person.
Green plays immaculately, if not adventurously, throughout. His tone is clean, his phrasing is masterful, and his lines cook. He could do this stuff in his sleep—but he didn't. He plays like he means it, and from time to time he touches the spirit. So long as you're not expecting the intricate rhapsodies of his 1963 magnum opus, Idle Moments, you'll enjoy the ride.

Personnel: Clarence Thomas: soprano and tenor saxophone; Houston Person: tenor saxophone; Grant Green: guitar; Ronnie Foster; organ; Idris Muhammad: drums.

Recently issued for the first time on cd.

BOBBY HUTCHERSON - TOTAL ECLIPSE























Total Eclipse was Bobby Hutcherson's first recording session with tenor saxophonist Harold Land, who became one of his major collaborators (and a quintet co-leader) during the late '60s. Land's rounded, echoing tone is a nice contrast for the coolly cerebral post-bop that fills Total Eclipse. Hutcherson contributes four of the five compositions (the other, "Matrix," is by pianist Chick Corea), and he's in a mood to intellectually challenge himself and the rest of the quintet, which also includes bassist Reggie Johnson and longtime drummer Joe Chambers. The results are full of the sort of skillful musicianship one would naturally expect of Hutcherson's '60s-era Blue Notes. Land's solo lines are fluid and lengthy, assimilating some of Coltrane's innovations while remaining accessibly soulful. Though they're all pretty strong, "Pompeian" is the most ambitious piece; it opens with a happy-go-lucky, waltz-time flute melody, and after a bit of foreboding, Hutcherson expands upon it with a tinkling bell solo. Toward the end of the piece, the whole group builds to a chaotic eruption, with Hutcherson switching to marimba (as he often did when he wanted a darker tone and high-tempo articulation); the pretty flute theme is then repeated as the dust settles and the piece ends. Overall, though, the album foreshadows Hutcherson's move away from his explicit avant-garde leanings and into a still-advanced but more structured modernist framework. For some reason, Total Eclipse was the only post-bop-styled album Hutcherson and Land recorded together that was released at the time; though they're all high-quality, this remains perhaps the best of the lot. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

Francis Wolff Producer
Michael Cuscuna Producer
Bobby Hutcherson Vibes
Reggie Johnson Bass
Duke Pearson Producer
Chick Corea Piano
Harold Land Flute, Sax
Joe Chambers Drums

Vinyl rip-never made a re-issue on cd.

DONALD BYRD - THE CREEPER























This LP was trumpeter Donald Byrd's final album in the hard bop idiom and it went unissued until 1981. For the last time, Byrd was heard in prime form in an acoustic format. His notable sextet also included altoist Sonny Red, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Miroslav Vitous, and drummer Mickey Roker. With the exception of Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You," all of the songs were composed by either Byrd, Red, or Corea and, although none of the originals caught on as standards (or have been performed since), together as a whole they give one a lot of variety in the then-modern hard bop field. Pity that this album has been out of print since the mid-'80s. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Big cut on this lp is the full steam ahead "Samba Yantra"with its urgent,raw head arrangement that blasts off into a 100mph latin flyer.
This is ripped from the original vinyl-it's never made a re-issue apart from as part of the Mosaic Box Set of The Complete Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Sessions for Blue Note which has long since sold out.

HORACE SILVER - SILVER 'N WOOD

























The second of five LPs that find Horace Silver's Quintet which by 1976 featured trumpeter Tom Harrell and tenor-saxophonist Bob Berg augmented by a group of other players, this set has six reeds and two trombones, giving Silver more tone colors to work with than usual. The two sidelong works -"The Tranquilizer Suite" and "The Process of Creation Suite"- are not that memorable but the music overall (helped out by strong solos) is typical Silver hard bop. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Check out the intense "Time and Effort"-relentless piano riff ,driving horns and Al Foster in thumping form-What a tune !

Lanny Morgan Sax (Alto), Saxophone
Ron Carter Bass
Bill Gree Flute, Sax (Bass)
Bill Green Flute, Sax (Baritone)
Dr. George Butler Producer
Bob Berg Sax (Tenor)
Tom Harrell Trumpet
Garnett Brown Trombone
Horace Silver Main Performer, Piano
Fred Jackson, Jr. Flute, Piccolo
Al Foster Drums
Frank Rosolino Trombone
Jack Nimitz Flute, Sax (Baritone)
Buddy Collette Flute, Piccolo
Wade Marcus Orchestra, Orchestration
Jerome Richardson Sax (Soprano)

28 September 2006

SALAH RAGAB AND THE CAIRO JAZZ BAND PRESENT EGYPTIAN JAZZ - RAMADAN IN SPACE TIME






















Salah Ragab formed the first jazz big band in Egypt in 1968, and was also the leader of the Military Music Departments in Heliopolis. On this recording the band consists of five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums and percussion. Western jazz musicians have been fascinated with the world of Islam for many years, and it was therefore inevitable that musicians of the Arabian North African area would be equally influenced by western music. This record represents The Cairo Jazz Band responding to the American jazz scene of the 60s and 70s with influences from Mongo Santamaria, Yusef Lateef and Ahmud Abdul-Malik to Randy Weston and Sun Ra. This release marks the first time Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band's definitive works are presented to the west.
This has to be one of the best re-issues of the year-fantastic music!!!

27 September 2006

THE MOOD IS MODAL























WHAT IS MODAL JAZZ-A COUPLE OF DESCRIPTIONS:
An approach to jazz in which the chord changes (harmonic rhythm) move at a much slower rate than is usually heard in bebop, swing, or hot jazz. Often, modal jazz performances move back and forth between only two chords based on a mode, or on a drone or pedal point.
Modal jazz often has an impressionistic, meditative feeling. Its use of slow chord changes can free musicians to experiment with melody and rhythm
OR
The term 'modal jazz' - whilst not adhering strictly to the correct rules laid down by musicologists and jazz purists-has come to define a certain type of jazz record.
Tracks labeled as being 'Modal' generally have an exotic, eastern feel and/or have an unusual time signature or are in waltz time.

So here's my compilation of modal jazz tunes-I played free and easy with this as a genre (so you may not agree with my inclusions) and tried to keep it to music that's not quite so obvious and a little harder to find.Only Half and Half has been posted here before as part of my Impulse series.
If you need any more info on the tracks leave a comment in the box.

1.NAOSUKE MIYAMOTO-ONE FOR TRANE 2.WALT DICKERSON-DEATH AND TAXES 3.PAVANNE-JAMES CLAY 4.PETERS WALTZ-SAHIB SHIHAB 5.CYCLES-PAUL HORN 6.LOVE THEME FROM SPARTACUS-YUSEF LATEEF 7.25 1/2 DAZE-JOHNNY GRIFFIN 8.HALF AND HALF-ELVIN JONES 9.THE FAKIR-DUKE PEARSON 10.MODE FOR JOE-JOE HENDERSON 11.EPISTLE TO TRANE-SONNY SIMMONDS/PRINCE LASHA 12.DUDLEY MOORE-AMALGAM

This is a big file as my latest posts are now ripped @ 256.

26 September 2006

HORACE SILVER - SILVER 'N PERCUSSION






















Percussion and voices are the focus of these six cuts, which act as two three-part suites - one devoted to African tribes, the other to Native Indians of South and North America. Silver is joined by the potent horns of tenor saxophonist Larry Schneider and trumpeter Tom Harrell. Bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster expertly set the rhythmic pace; percussionists M. Babatunde Olatunji, Ladji Camara, and Omar Clay swap places on the suites; and a seven-piece vocal choir sings throughout. "African Ascension" starts with a definitive "The Gods of the Yoruba," which features popping 5/4 percussion that serves as a bed for heavy modal piano chords, dense chanting, Schneider's delightfully animated solo, and a neat unison staccato coda. A 6/8 mix of driving soul-jazz and chanted vocals punctuates "The Sun Gods of the Yoruba," while a similar but darker rhythm and heavier chants bolster the hip unison chart of "The Spirit of the Zulu," which features lengthy solos by Silver and Carter. "The Great American Indian Uprising" begins with "The Idols of the Incas," which is highlighted by staccato horns and ostinato bass. "The Aztec Sun God," with its repeated chant, is counterpointed with horns, heavy tambourine, and a trumpet solo from the ever-potent Harrell, as Silver quotes "Mr. P.C." in his final statement. "The Mohican & the Great Spirit" closes the set with a 9/8 ostinato in a more breezy context, with vocals wafting over the sailing horns. Silver's best work came prior to this recording, but this may be his best work of the '70s. ~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide
Ripped from origial vinyl @ 256-never re-issued on vinyl or cd

Babatunde Olatunji Percussion
Ron Carter Bass
Peter Oliver Vocals, Voices
Tom Harrell Flugelhorn, Trumpet
Bobby Clay Vocals, Voices
Ladji Camara Percussion
Horace Silver Main Performer, Piano
Rob Barnes Vocals
Fred Gripper Vocals, Voices
Al Foster Drums
Lee C. Thomas Vocals, Voices
Bob Barnes Vocals, Voices
Chapman Roberts Vocals, Voices
Omar Clay Percussion
Fred Hardy Voices, Vocals
Larry Schneider Sax (Tenor)

THE HAR-YOU PERCUSSION GROUP





















This super-rare legendary Latin funk release originally came out on ESP in 1969/1970. Although the title says Percussion Group, this is actually a Latin soul group led by master conga player Montego Joe as part of the Harlem Youth program of the 60's. (Alto legend Jackie McLean worked with the group at one point earlier). A fantastic raw mix of funky bass, heavy drums, burning horn lines and soulful vocals, this is quite simply one of the great Latin releases of all-time. Includes the monster tracks "Welcome to the Party," "Feed Me Good," and "Oua-Train."
ORIGINAL LINER NOTES BY MONTEGO JOE:

If you will recall, several years ago there were the Harlem riots, and problems with youth. It was necessary to come up with a plan for organizing the youth of Harlem in such a way that they would receive training, respect and the living conditions which are essential for creative lives. It was at this time that a carefully planned program came into existence. Its name was "Harlem Youth Opportunities, Unlimited", HARYOU ACT.
I came into this program in 1965 rather reluctantly. I had been asked by Mr. Julien Euell who was then Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Division of HARYOU ACT. Mr. Euell felt that with my professional experience I would be a great help to the black youth of Harlem, especially those who were deeply interested in music. My assignment was to teach percussion, both Afro and Jazz. I decided to combine both. After three or four years of training and trying to develop these young men for the outside commercial world, I suddenly decided that they were ready to record an album, one they would be really proud of. It would be a great musical experience. It would bring long range satisfactions.
The present Executive Director of HARYOU Arts & Culture, Mr. Leonard Parker, and I approached Mr. Bernard Stollman about the idea of recording these young men. He felt it was an excellent idea. And of course it was agreed that the monies earned as royalties would go into a scholarship fund.
In this album there is a great variety of music, most of it based on Afro-Cuban Blues, and Jazz themes. Most listeners would never imagine that the young black boys and Puerto Ricans were teenagers, and here is another surprise. Those of you who are used to hearing the type of music in this album, (Afro-Cuban and Latin), would be astonished by the fact that most of the young men on this album are Afro-Americans. Through my guidance and playing experience in this area of music, we were able to come up with what I consider a very exciting and colorful musical album.
The ages of these young men range from 16 to 19 years.
Vitality, versatility, depth, excitement, color and shading. . . all of these are in the music. It will be a great musical experience for those of you who will buy and listen to this album. Most of the tunes were written by Nick Quirks and David (Mousie) Edmead.
Although we are a group, I the instructor, and the eleven young men on this album-Puerto Rican and Afro-American- I consider all of us a spiritual family. They have a tremendous love and respect for each other, a closeness that is just there and is expressed most fully when they play together. I would like to go on record as saying that even though these young men have taken themes form Latin, Afro-Cuban Jazz and Blues, it's their music. Almost all the tunes were created by them. They set the rhythms and sounds and melodies, and when they recorded, it happened. When there's that interaction (and there always is) it's their music.

This is ripped from the re-issue vinyl on Luv n' Haight-the notes are taken from the great Ubiquity web site which is a gold mine of great music and information

24 September 2006

WILFREDO STEPHENSON - AN ENSEMBLE OF SALSA PERCUSSION
























Keeping the Percussion theme here's a great piece of wax from Europe-Sweden to be precise-recorded in 1981 for Amigo Records.Those of you who are on the case will know that Wilfredo Stephenson was the percussion wiz behind Hot Salsa but for this outing he recorded under his own name ,wrote all bar two of the compositions and used some of the Hot Salsa line up as well as Tobjorn Langborn,Carlos Leon,Per Cussion etc.
This is a pretty rare lp that has many great tunes but the standout tune is "Aire para respirar" that starts like a massive batucada but goes into a lovely uplifting, vocal fusion tune -big out on the floor back in the day.It's a terrific album and it proves shows the Swedish CAN play great latin music.Actually thinking about it I'm pretty sure I read some where that Wilfredo was a student of Sabu who saw the final years of his life out in Sweden whilst putting together some incredible music(Afro Temple for starters!!!)
This has never made it to a re-issue of any description - this share is ripped from the original vinyl at 256.
Many thanks to Killer Groove Music Library for the cover photo.

23 September 2006

FAMILY OF PERCUSSION & ARCHIE SHEPP - HERE COMES THE FAMILY












The Family of Percussion (Peter Giger,Trilok Gurtu,Doug Hammond and Tom Nicholas)are joined by Archie Shepp on this hard to find 1980 release from Nagara in Germany.
On "Here Comes the Family"the Family establish the basic form of the piece with their rhythmic and vocal opening with Shepp's flute fluttering above it all.Then he lets rip with what the liner notes call 'Poetic Recitation'but would probably be called rapping these days over a funky percussive backdrop .This tune is why the lp remains in such demand - a big play list favourite of djs world wide.
Next up is Shepp's "Street Song" the best cut on the lp for me,on which he blows his tenor freely over the drums,congas,bells and gongs.The piece ends in a crescendo of percussion culminating in a gong crash which fades into silence."Euterpe's Favorit"has Shepp back on flute with the family weaving a mystical feel behind him on bells,whistles,water pipes,gongs,rattles and drums.
"Ardopetori"starts side 2 with a mid tempo infectious rhythm established by shakers and log drum which builds slowly with Shepp soloing freely again on tenor.
"For Ti Roro"wraps it up and begins with the gentle,caribean sounds of steel drums until Shepp's soprano bursts in with a frenzy of excitement.This is the most free track with all the musicians reacting to each otherboth collectively and singularly until it finishes fittingly with the sound of the congas.
This came out on lp and cd but quickly dissapeared without trace.Whilst researching this release I found a vinyl copy for sale for £90-I haven't seen it on ebay for ages!So you will have to look hard if you want a copy-and have deep pockets!

22 September 2006

CECIL MCBEE - MUTIMA



















Here is my last post on Strata East for the moment and it's the great Cecil McBee - I have so many albums with him as a sideman I thought it was fitting that this solo album by him should be posted.This features the terrific "Tulsa Black" track that was compiled by Soul Jazz some years ago for their Strata East cd.
I have lifted this review from the always excellent and eminently readable Daily Jazz Blogspot-Jazz reviews and comment from one man with an unfeasibly large record collection.


The bass has always been an essential component of the jazz rhythm section, simultaneously holding down the groove while marking out the changes. Bassists of the hard-bop era often got little in the way of solo space (they were too important to be allowed to wander off by themselves) but throughout the 1960s and 70s, perhaps thanks to the gargantuan presence of Charles Mingus, they began to take a more prominent role. Several highly influential figures appeared, like Ron Carter and Dave Holland along with many others. Cecil McBee is perhaps less well-known, but equally talented, having played on seminal works by the likes of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders.
This album finds him firmly placed as leader of an avant-garde group with a distinctly spiritual edge. Mutima is the key to the spirit and culture of black Africa, according to the sleevenote; McBee's compositions certainly evoke that spirit. The music is at times inspirational. The opening "From Within" is a bass solo with McBee playing two acoustic basses simultaneously. The idea of an 11-plus minute bass solo may terrify some, but this is riveting. Not only does he play the basses, but for a section he plays the feedback created by the amplification of both instruments. The sounds he creates are otherworldly and exciting, and not always easy to identify as being produced by an upright bass. "Life Waves" is an ensemble piece, but with McBee taking a prominent melodic role, and demonstrating enormous technical skill with some very fast lines.
The other standout track is "Mutima" itself, which is virtually indistinguishable from some of the work McBee undertook with Pharoah Sanders a few years earlier. Most Strata East recordings are pretty hard to come by, but thankfully this one has been made available as a reissue in recent years (although only on vinyl) so should be pretty easy to track down.

CECIL McBEE; bass
JIMMY HOPPS; drums
ONAJE ALLEN GUMBS; acoustic and electric piano
LAWRENCE KILLIAN; conga
DEEDEE BRIDGEWATER; vocal
GEORGE ADAMS; tenor and soprano sax
CECIL McBEE Jr; electric bass
MICHAEL CARVIN; gong and misc. percussion
JABOLI BILLY HART; cymbals and misc. percussion
TEX ALLEN; trumpet & flugelhorn
ALLEN BRAUFMAN; alto sax
ART WEBB; flute
ALLEN NELSON; drums

SHAMEK FARRAH - FIRST IMPRESSIONS


















As Strata East got rolling one of the admirable things it was able to do was offer a platform to some more obscure artists who weren’t being heard elsewise, folks like Billy Parker’s Fourth World (including DeeDee, Ronald, and Cecil Bridgewater); the Washington, DC ensemble Juju (who evolved
from an Art Ensemble knock-off into the great jazz-funk band Oneness of Juju by the mid-70s); and alto sax player Shamek Farrah. I don’t really know too much about Shamek except that he made two great albums of spiritual jazz for Strata in 1974 and ’77 (the second and half of the first in collaboration with pianist Sonelius Smith). Both are way cool, but my favorite is probably this one, recorded with 2 slightly different ensembles but consistent in style: largely dark, minor-mode pieces w/a drone implied or explicit and executed w/plenty of edge. The playing is chunky, heavy, and group-minded; Farrah emits a glorious wail on alto sax that takes the lead on most cuts but still leaves plenty of elbow room for everybody else. The most “out” cut is the opener, Meterologically Tuned (titled perhaps for the bracingly out-of-tune trumpet & sax on the intro & outro unison melodies), skirling horns and percussive piano and a rhythm that moves in and out of focus throughout; while the album closer, First Impressions, hovers like fog above a loping bassline digging a moody jazz-funk furrow so deep it’s hard to see up over the edge (no surprise it was sampled by Tribe Called Quest some years back). One of those obscure gems that dot the catalog and are really deserving of proper CD reissue (there are relatively inexpensive vinyl copies making the LP-reissue rounds periodically; I am uncertain as to legality of parentage on those & so will resist exhorting their purchase).
Kevin Moist on the case again for this review.
Alto Sax: - Shamek Farrah
Bass: - Milton Suggs
Conga: - Calvert "Bo" Satter-White
Drums: - Ron Warwell
Percussion: - Kenny Harper
Piano: - Sonelius Smith
Trumpet: - Norman Person

MUSIC INC & BIG BAND













This was the first release from Strata-East Records, the label created in 1971 by Music Inc.'s co-leaders, Charles Tolliver and Stanley Cowell. For the debut, the two lead an advanced, hard bop session of their own compositions arranged for a quartet augmented by a 13-member brass and wind orchestra. The writing has an affinity with McCoy Tyner's modal hard bop from this same period, e.g Tyner's Extensions (Blue Note). Similarly, Cowell's playing shares with Tyner's a powerful technique, effective use of rippling two-handed arpeggios, and an ability to make its presence felt in a large group. Jimmy Hopps (drums) and Cecil McBee (bass) round out the core quartet. Hopps' blend of muscular drive and nuance is akin to Louis Hayes or Freddie Waits. McBee's technical command and slabs of fat, earthy tone are captured wonderfully. The orchestra includes trumpeters Richard Williams and Virgil Jones, reed players Jimmy Heath and Clifford Jordan, and trombonists Garnett Brown and Curtis Fuller. The music moves seamlessly from trio and quartet configurations to full orchestration. The centerpiece is Tolliver's "On the Nile," which evokes a majestic procession of ancient Egyptian nobility sailing the broad Nile, the blue and silver waters sprayed with sunlight. Like one of the pharoah's prized falcons, the pure tone of Tolliver's flugel horn soars overhead buoyed by the orchestra's rich chords. Cowell's "Brilliant Corners" is equal to "On the Nile" in elegance and class, while his "Departure" and "Abscretions" are in a more funky vein. Tolliver's "Ruthie's Heart" alternates stripped-down statements from the quartet with sections of full on punch from the horns. His "Household of Saud" is the most purely hard bop of the six tracks. As the launch release for a new label, this was a bold debut. Tolliver and Cowell were presenting vital new pieces that had a direct lineage with the large-scale works of Ellington, Monk, and Mingus.

21 September 2006

CHARLES ROUSE - TWO IS ONE


















The album "Two is One" was recorded in 1974 for Strata East and was Charlie Rouse's first date as both producer and leader.He pulled an interesting mix of players together for this date-Airto-Percussion,Azzedin Weston-Congas,Calo Scott-Cello,David Lee-Drums,Stanley Clarke-Bass, Paul Mitzki and George Davis on Guitars.
"Bitchin'" opens the lp on a cool funky groove which flows along and then gets blown out of the window by the savage break beat battery of "Hopscotch".Joe Chambers wrote it-had to be a drummer,didn't it-and David Lee's funky drum patterns combine with Stan the Mans rumbling bottom end bass lock down to produce a monstrous proto-broken beat tour de force.This is followed by"In a Funky Way"which does exactly what it says in the title.
"Two is One"is divided into two parts-one is two?- and is an incredible sucession of different rhythms.In the first part Rouse plays in 3/4 and is accompanied by Clarke's bass which plays in 9/8 while the drums go 3/4.In the second part he improvises in 4/4 backed by cello while the rhythm section hits it at 7/8.The album wraps up with the fragmented yet building "In his Presence Searching"which leaves Rouse(on bass clarinet as well as tenor) free to improvise without the same harmonic safety net he was used to with Monk.
This was re-issued by Charly in the 90s but seems to have disappeared again-there was also a vinyl re-issue floating around a few years ago which surfaces from time to time-seek and you will find!

SHAMEK FARRAH & SONELIUS SMITH - THE WORLD OF THE CHILDREN

















Another great session of spiritual soul jazz and one of the rarest albums on Strata East from 1976. Shamek Farrah's soulful alto is matched with the free spiritual piano of Sonelius Smith, for a totally memorable session that virtually defines the essence of the Strata East sound. The music is free, but not too free; lyrical, but never indulgent; and always turning over with a fresh sense of imagination, and a strident groove that's very much in the classic Strata East mode.The highlight of this lp is the latin romp of the 10 minute title tune a real banger of the first order.(David Murray also cut a fantastic version of this with his big band on "South of the Border" which i will post some day).
This rip is from the original vinyl but it did actually make a cd release in Japan on Bomba which I think is now deleted.

CLIFFORD JORDAN - GLASS BEAD GAMES

















"In all beginnings...a mystical,magic force,
What course ,what destiny...determined in time"

Strata East in full effect on this fabulous spiritual modal opus from Clifford Jordan with a double quartet line up from 1974.
Here's a great write up about this classic double lp by Kevin Moist from the superb
www.dreamgeo.com/Strata-East.

One of the coolest things about Strata-East was how it provided a space for previous-generation players often considered “too mainstream” by the freejazzers and “too weird” by the mainstreamers to move and grow in personalized ways. In the late ’50s and early ’60s Clifford Jordan was generally heard as a “Coltranesque” player, in his earlier classic style; but most of this Hesse-monickered double LP finds Jordan sailing beyond straight-ahead into deeper skies much more open and spacious. The homage to the inspiration of using swinging hard bop as a base for spiritual exploration is explicit on the tune John Coltrane, with its chant of “…Black Spirit… first newborn…”. While Jordan proves periodically here that he can wail whenever he wants to, mostly his tone and attitude are much less anguished than ’Trane’s often were, instead fountaining forth with a bountiful and dignified good-ness of nature that is at times almost buttery rich in its glow. Seemingly entirely recorded on “Stormy Monday, October 29, 1973”, there’s a loose but charged feel about the proceedings, probably accentuated by the session’s setup: Jordan and drummer Billy Higgins are constant on all tracks, but the bass and piano roles are divided between edgier cuts featuring Stanley Cowell and bassist Bill Lee (Spike’s dad), and more classicist numbers with pianist Cedar Walton and Sam Jones on bass. It’s easy to imagine everyone hanging around the studio egging each other on and feeding off the vibe of great musicians playing for themselves; much good spirit and positive energy radiate from this record.

18 September 2006

LEON THOMAS - BLUES AND THE SOULFUL TRUTH


















The late Leon Thomas was a vocalist who has proven to be influential among jazz and blues saxophonists, guitarists, and pianists, who've admitted their debt to his innovation. However, though there are many jazz and blues vocalists who have benefited from his style as well, he is seldom acknowledged for his highly original - and idiosyncratic - contribution to them. One can only speculate as to why, though Thomas' full-throated style which employed everything from yodels and Joe Turner-ish growls and shouts may have been too wide for anyone to grasp in its entirety without overtly sounding as if they were aping him. At the time of this reissue (2001), the only other Leon Thomas titles available under his own leadership were a European best-of collection and the inferior live album (badly edited), Sunrise on Gold Mountain. Blues and the Soulful Truth is among the artist's most enduring performances, either as a leader or sideman. There is his trademark, otherworldly modal improvisation on Gabor Szabo's exotica classic "Gypsy Queen," the deep, greasy gutbucket, funky blues of "Let's Go Down to Lucy" and "L-O-V-E," and the traditional tune "C.C. Rider" -- though Thomas' arrangement is anything but -- among a lengthy, eight-song set. Perhaps the most revealing examples of his singularity is his ability to interpret a song like John Lee Hooker's "Boom, Boom" as funky, jazzed-out, angular R&B -- enabled mightily by the saxophone stylings of Pee Wee Ellis and the criminally under-appreciated pianism of Neal Creque and the wild violin of John Blair -- after coming out of a pop-oriented soul tune such as "Love Each Other," written with a groove prevalent among commercial jazz and R&B recordings of the time, both sounding sincere, authentic, and completely full of the singer's presence. Indeed, on the aforementioned "Gypsy Queen" or his own "Shape Your Mind to Die," Thomas inhabits his material fully, as if nobody ever had ever sung or heard these songs and would ever sing them again. Also, the production innovation and percussive touches many of these tunes have yet to be repeated (Pharoah Sanders, Thomas' previous employer who introduced the singer to the world, adopted some of the artist's percussive techniques permanently), like the firecrackers raining against Airto Moreira's drums and Larry Coryell's ethereal guitar riffs, or the use of a "prepared" vibraphone and coat hangers in "China Doll," as they slip against the singer's wail and moan, and the elegant stick and brushwork of Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. In sum, Blues and the Soulful Truth (Which does echo Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth in vision as well as title), is a tour through the depth and dimension of Thomas' mind-blowing abilities as a singer in a wide range of African American musical traditions, proving at the time, and now again, that he was far more than a free jazz singer. Indeed, the artist not only was a stylist of originality, but a composer, arranger, ethnomusicologist, and a singer of startling beauty and power -- no matter the song. This album is a singular achievement, even among the fine recordings in Thomas' own catalogue, and should be considered first by those curious enough to look into his work -- you won't be disappointed no matter what you find, but this one will take you places you never anticipated going. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

DONALD BYRD / BRASS WITH VOICES - I'M TRYIN' TO GET HOME
























Keepin' it sanctified..keepin' it soulful..keepin' it swinging - who else but the great Donald Byrd assisted on this occasion by eight voices and brass under the direction of Coleridge Perkinson.Byrd splits the compositional duties with the super-hip Duke Pearson and the line up is a belter:Herbie Hancock-Piano ;Freddie Roach-Organ ;Stanley Turrentine-Tenor;Bob Cranshaw-Bass;Grady Tate-Drums plus the choir and brass.This was recorded as the follow up to "A New Perspective"and released on Blue Note in 1964.Long out of print this made a brief re appearance as part of the French Pathe Marconi Blue Note re issue programme in the 80s but has now been given a 24 bit makeover on cd by Toshiba EMI Japan (from which this rip is taken).Suffice to say if you enjoyed "A New Perspective" then you'll love these gospel grooves.

13 September 2006

DON WILKERSON - PREACH BROTHER!























The Texas Tenor
keeps it on the soulful side with this 1962 set for Blue Note. Preach, Brother! find him in top form, running through a set of hard-driving soul-jazz, R&B, swing, hard bop and blues.The big tune here is that swinging soul jazz shouter'Dem Tambourines'but its run a close second by the wildly infectious R and B groove of 'Camp Meeting'. Supported by pianist Sonny Clark, guitarist Grant Green, bassist Butch Warren and drummer Billy Higgins, Wilkerson works up a hot groove on each of these six songs, which are mainly instrumental. His playing is vigorous and aggressive on the uptempo blues and shuffles, and surprisingly nimble on the ballads. Clark and Green match their leader with alternately forceful and sensitive accompaniment and solos, and the rhythm section keeps a steady, attractive groove. The result is another fine record that proves Wilkerson was one of the best, hardest-hitting soul-jazz saxophonists of the early '60s. AMEN to that!!!

12 September 2006

WILLIS JACKSON - MORE GRAVY

















"Saturday Night Partying Music" is how Joel Dorn describes this on the liner notes and he ain't wrong.
Right out of the gate, tenor man Willis Jackson signals that 'Pool Shark' is going to be about the kind of hip boss shoutin' that was part and parcel of the Chitlins Circuit back in the day. With a Charleston beat that sets up a static background, Jackson tells his story with gusto right up to a Basie-like ending. By contrast, 'Somewhere Along the Way' gets its bravado from Carl Wilson's rich organ sonorities and then Jackson goes for the heart with a ballad performance of 'Jug' like proportions.
Side 2 is kick started by the whopping 'Nuther'n like Thuther'n' THE classic jazz dancer which starts with a subtly shifty rim shot beat until the bass comes in and ties it all together. The guitar and horns groove away for a good six minutes, their improvisations punctuated by an instantly recognisable refrain. Buddy Rich lifted the groove wholesale for his version of "The Beat Goes On"- this is the kind of sound that rocked Jamaican sound systems in the days before ska, and still gets feet movin today.'More Gravy' is a blues of the low down genre and show cases Willis in his best blues bag.'Fiddlin' wraps it up with a nice bit of bop.
Interesting to note that this album features a young Pat Martino working under the name Pat Azzara.

JOHN DANKWORTH - MODESTY BLAISE
























Here's a rip of the Harkit re-issue of this great Johnny Dankworth soundtrack from the film Modesty Blaise.Have a read of the review from the super bad Blaxploitation.com
British jazz giant John Dankworth was responsible for several strong jazz-influenced 1960s scores, and this album should be numbered amongst the best. Groovy and kitsch in places (in keeping with the wacky film), dark and menacing in others, it's entertaining and stimulating listening. Jazz and pop are blended in equal measure. Look out for the fabulous organ-driven instrumental version of the theme - shagadelic!

11 September 2006

THE CABILDO'S THREE - YUXTAPOSICION






















More library business on a latin tip this time from The Cabildo's Three which was originally released in the 70's on the Thuban Six label and recorded in Miami.
This is ripped from Schema's Easy and Busy series put together by the multi-talented Gerardo Frisina.


This is what Doug Payne had to say about it at his excellent site www.dougpayne.com
Yuxtaposición is a recently unearthed treasure recorded by a tight Italian trio in Miami during the early seventies. Until now, this music has only been heard in office backgrounds, TV commercials and movie soundtracks. But the perseverance of an admirer brought about its first-ever release on the Italian Schema label. Imagine hearing a 1972-era Cal Tjader quartet without Cal Tjader and you get an idea of what to expect. It’s slightly Latin, lightly funky and truly enjoyable. Yuxtaposición offers enough to interest a jazz listener. But the sounds heard in these 35 minutes are really better appreciated as mood music. Lead man, Cabildo, composer of all ten tunes here, has a knack for writing jazzy little hooks that launch his tasty, well-crafted keyboard solos. Often alternating Fender Rhodes and piano within the same song, his playing maintains a hypnotic command that recalls Bob James’ CTI style. Electric bassist Bobby Fares and percussionist Max Ronnie make subtle, supportive contributions that serve only to enhance Cabildo’s sound. There’s a funny thing about Yuxtaposición too. It’s kind of like developing an addiction. You may not pay much attention to it at first. But before you know it, you’re hooked. You need to hear it to be satisfied. A very nice surprise.

Tracks: Yuxtaposición; Don’t Put Me In The Shade; Collection Samba; Two Types Of Complexion; Hierro Forjado; Jesus Maria District; African Penta Song; El Sonido Azul; Castenada Drive; Akorin.

Players: Cabildo: Keyboards; Bobby Fares: Bass; Max Ronnie: Percussion.

10 September 2006

STEFANO TOROSSI - FEELINGS



















Whenever I listen to this it makes me realise that when library lps are good they can be totally awesome.Another one of my top 10 spins this is ripped from the Easy Tempo vinyl re-issue - the original on Carosello under the pseudonym of Jay Richford and Gary Stevan was issued in the 70s and still goes for a major wedge if you can find one.It also has a better cover than the re-issue (check it out in Johny Trunks superb "The Music Library" book which is well worth forking out for with a great cd to boot).
Every cut on this is a winner with beautiful strings meeting breaks and beats combined with moody atmospheric tunes throughout - all killer no filler without a doubt!Highly recommended.

Here's the track listing:
1. flying high
2. walking in the dark
3. fighting for life
4. feeling tense
5. running fast
6. being friendly
7. fearing much
8. having fun
9. loving tenderly
10. going home

DAVE PIKE PLAYS THE MUSIC OF JOAO DONATO - BOSSA NOVA CARNIVAL























One of Dave Pike's finest accomplishments came in September 1962, when the vibist/marimba player recorded the Brazilian-oriented Bossa Nova Carnival for Prestige's New Jazz label. Thanks to the innovations of Stan Getz and João Gilberto, bossa nova was huge at the time and many musicians were jumping on the bossa bandwagon in the hope of making a quick buck. But for Pike, Bossa Nova Carnival wasn't an exercise in knee-jerk, insincere bandwagon jumping. Pike wanted to make a meaningful, individualistic contribution to Brazilian jazz. So instead of doing exactly what Getz, Gilberto, and Charlie Byrd were doing and performing a lot of Jobim songs, he enlisted Brazilian composer João Donato. Everything on this excellent vinyl LP was written by Donato, who provides sensuous, caressing melodies that Pike and his sidemen (who include Kenny Burrell on guitar and Clark Terry on flügelhorn) bring a lot of warmth and sensitivity to. The music swings, but it does so in a subtle, mellow, consistently melodic fashion. Undeniably one of Pike's most essential albums, Bossa Nova Carnival had been out of print for many years when, in 2000, Fantasy reissued it on Carnavals, a CD that also contains his Limbo Carnival session of December 1962.Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

Dave Pike (Vibes), Kenny Burrell (Guitar), Clark Terry (Flugelhorn), Rudy Collins (Drums), Jose Paulo (Bandero and Cabasa),Chris White (Bass),Rudy Van Gelder (Mastering), Elliot Mazer (Producer).

VIVA BRASIL

















A killer album from 1980 of breezy bossa-fied jazz from the West Coast! Viva Brasil worked for many years as part of the underground Brazilian scene in San Francisco - home to smaller combos similar to themseves, and bigger names who often recorded on Fantasy Records.
This album features the massive club tracks "Skindo-Le-Le" along with Bosco and Blanc's brilliant "Ronco Da Cuica" but there's a full album's worth of great cuts, all with the cool breezy west coast Brazilian feel that was the group's trademark style.
Whilst partly electric, the core sound is like a floating acoustic one with jazzy influences, often with Ruben Moura's vocals to the fore. Joe Henderson guest stars on the track "Iemanja", and the LP includes the tracks "O Bode", Jocafi's evergreen "Voce Abusou",and "Menina Danada".
This is pretty hard to find these days especially on vinyl as its never made a re-issue and came out on the San Rafael based independant Sugerloaf records.It made a one off cd issue -again I thought these would be tough to track down but I have found the excellent Whatmusic.com have dug some copies up which are now on their website.

6 September 2006

MARY LOU WILLIAMS - BLACK CHRIST OF THE ANDES

















Something a little different today with this beautiful,spritual jazz lp by Mary Lou Williams which also features Grant Green and Percy Heath .I have posted the stunning artwork from the original Mary lable LP release although this rip is from the re-issue cd from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings which also features 4 extra tracks.

Here's a review from AllAboutJazz by Bob Jacobson:

Calling this album mainstream is a bit misleading, since it includes four pieces of choral/sacred music and one avant garde cut. In a way, it's the perfect mirror of where Mary Lou Williams was in the early 1960's, coming out of a nearly ten year absence from performance. At the beginning of that period she had devoted herself solely to religion and charitable work. Jazz-loving priests within the Catholic church convinced her to convey her religious feelings through what she did best: performing, composing, and arranging. Here we have some of the beautiful results.
The hymn “St. Martin de Porres” celebrates the life of a recently-canonized Peruvian patron saint of interracial justice, complete with modern jazz harmonies and rhythm patterns, ascending and descending chromatics and falls, with a brief, simple Latin piano interlude. The very hip jazz waltz ”Anima Christi” has the usual strong bass line of a Mary Lou Williams tune, here doubled by Budd Johnson on bass clarinet.
Vocal soloist Jimmy Mitchell reminds me of a higher-pitched Lou Rawls. Grant Green's clean, hip, tasty blues licks flavor the piece throughout. “Praise the Lord” brings together inspired gospel and the feeling of a great jam session, with swing era vet Budd Johnson wailing on tenor sax. Jimmy Mitchell quietly raps. By the time he sings “Everybody clap your hands now,” you'll be doing that or moving your body in some fashion.
Exploration was the hallmark of Mary Lou's career. Here she takes the journey into rhythms and deeply into the blues. At times her playing is very spare but deeply felt. “A Fungus A Mungus” takes the listener in a polytonal direction, hinting at her later interest in Cecil Taylor.

4 September 2006

NICO GOMEZ AND HIS AFRO PERCUSSION INC - RITUAL



















Bottom end booty business and a real heavy bit of funk from this obscure European group.Recorded in the early 70s in Belgium its a tasty batch of Latin funk grooves, with a deep Afro-soul sound thrown into the mix, and some slight Chicano rock touches, like fuzzy guitar and heavy organ.The conga sound is right up front, and the tracks roll along with a nice heavy funk beat that cuts across from a lounge/library groove to a killing super deep percussion battering vibe.It includes fantastic funk versions of two Perez Prado groovers "Caballo Negro" and "Lupita"the latter of which is the monster dance floor mash up but the whole album really rocks - 'Ritual' also kills and was heavily sampled by Liquid People for their track 'The Dragon'.Crank the sound up and you will hear what I mean by bottom end -the groove is DEEP!!!

3 September 2006

SABU MARTINEZ - AFRO TEMPLE


















This is up there in my top 3 lps of all time and it truly is everything it's cracked up to be.Wether you are into jazz,latin,afro,funk,hip hop or even just the breaks this has it all-one of the toughest lps ever to ignite a turn table.
Incredibly hard to find before it was re-issued this was recorded in Sweden in 1973 and was Sabu's last date as a leader before he died at 49 of an ulcer-what a tragedy.
Here's a great review from All Things Deep:

Sabu Martinez, regarded as one of the greatest percussionists in jazz history, was as known for his combustible personality as his ability to make the drums speak. Despite recording with Art Blakey and Dizzy Gillespie, stories about Martinez's various entanglements with women and musicians tend to overshadow his early solo albums, which are often grouped in the lounge/exotica category. He made sure to rectify that situation with Afro Temple, his final album. Recorded after Sabu had moved to Sweden, Afro Temple was originally designed to showcase the proficiency of his drum students. Instead of a teaching tool, Sabu left us with an outrageously creative record, one that has earned cult status over the years.
Consisting of nine short tracks, Temple wastes no time in announcing its intention to present drumming as a way to celebrate life. "My Cristina," "Para ti, Tito Rodriguez" and "My Son Johnny and Me" are seemingly dedicated to relatives or close friends, and the band responds with overwhelming amounts of energy. The title cut, perhaps the most famous song here, places a wailing saxophone line atop a loping bass-and-percussion base, sounding like something you'd expect to find on a rare groove compilation. The other famous sample here is "All Camels Hump," a madly rhythmic Latin jam that makes nice use of flute, giving the song a balance of the gentle and forceful until it concludes in an explosion of crashing drums. On "Wounded Knee" the rage articulated in the drums is voiced by a narrator who calls out the historical mistreatment of Native Americans, comparing the failure to abide by treaties to genocide.
Finally, "Hotel Alyssa-Soussie, Tunisia" is the most revelatory moment on the album. Piling layer upon layer of djembe, conga, bass and bongo, the band reaches a crescendo where you can hear elements of house and hip-hop, the future being predicted in 1973.
Uniting funk, jazz, and Latin music like no other album before it or since, Afro Temple is a blinding set that represents the inclusive vision of Sabu at the peak of his artistic powers. That nobody has come close to replicating its impact speaks to the clarity of his vision.

And here's some more info about the great man himself from AllMusic Guide:

Louis "Sabu" Martinez was one of the most prolific conga players in the history of Afro-Cuban music. In addition to his own albums, Martinez recorded with such influential jazz musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Buddy de Franco, J.J. Johnson, Louis Bellson, Art Farmer, and Art Blakey, and jazz vocalists including Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. Emigrating to Sweden in 1967, he continued to apply his highly melodic rhythms to a lengthy list of recordings by top-notch Swedish performers.
Played by Martinez, the conga became much more than a rhythmic instrument. As he explained, "You can express yourself on the conga drum in jazz as you would on a horn. I felt it as part of the group, like any other instrument, not just as a time keeper."
A native of New York's Spanish Harlem, Martinez spent his childhood beating rhythms on tin cans on 111th Street. By the age of 11, he was performing every third night on 125th Street for 25 cents a night. He was still in his early teens when he began playing with Latin bands including those led by Marcelino Guerra and Catalino Rolon. In 1944, he spent an extended period living in Puerto Rico.
After serving a year in the military, at the age of 17, Martinez resumed his musical career as a member of mambo originator Joe Loco's Trio. Within a few months, his playing attracted the attention of jazz musicians. In 1946, he began a long association with drummer Art Blakey. Martinez and Blakey continued to periodically work together until 1959. In addition to leading the rhythm section on Blakey's groundbreaking album, Orgy in Rhythm, in 1954, he was featured on the Jazz Messengers' albums, Cu-Bop and Messages, in 1957.
Martinez continued to be a much-in-demand session player. In addition to playing traditional Latin music with the Lecuono Cuban Boys, he collaborated with Charlie Parker and Max Roach during a 13-week stint at the New York club The Three Deuces. In April, 1949, he performed with swing clarinetist Benny Goodman.
The high point of Martinez's career came in 1948 when he joined izzy Gillespie's band, following the murder of influential conga player Chano Pozo. During the nine months that he performed with the group, he played on five albums -- Dizzy, Dizzier & Dizzier, 16 Rare Performances, When Be-Bop Met the Big Band, and Diz. In return, Gillespie nicknamed Martinez "Sabu" when he noticed a resemblance to popular Indian actor, Sabu, the "Elephant Boy."
Despite his fame, Martinez struggled with heroin addiction. In the mid-'50s, he briefly left music to run a strip joint in Baltimore. Although he overcame his addiction in 1956, it took several years for him to become "psychologically free" from the grasp of the drug. Forming his own quintet, Martinez recorded three memorable albums -- the Afro-Cuban masterpiece Palo Congo in 1957, and two albums, Safari and Sorcery, in 1958, that have been described as "the wildest exotica records ever."
In 1960, Martinez collaborated with Louis Ramirez to record the history-making Latin jazz album, Jazz Espagnole. Four years later, he relocated temporarily to Puerto Rico where he performed with several bands including the Johnny Conquest Orchestra and met his future wife, Agneta. In 1967, they were married and moved to Agneta's homeland in Sweden. Martinez remained there for the rest of his life. Shortly after moving to Sweden, Martinez took a gig with Lill Lindfor's Musical Revue. This began a long involvement with Swedish musicians. In addition to sharing his knowledge of music and the conga as a teacher, he performed and recorded with such artists as Cornelius Vreeswick, Merit Hemmingson, Radiojazzgruppen, Björbobandet, the Eero Koisvistoinen Music Society, the Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination and Brass, Gugge Hedrenius' Big Band, and Ivan Oscarsson. While in Sweden, he occasionally collaborated with American musicians including Kenny Clarke, Art Farmer, and George Russell. In 1973, he formed his own band, New Burnt Sugar, and released a book of conga exercises. His final recording sessions came while working on Debbie Cameron's and Richard Boone's album, Brief Encounter, in 1978. Martinez died on January 13, 1979, of a gastric ulcer. ~ Craig Harris, All Music Guide

This is a rip from the vinyl re issue - great to see this lp has now finally made it to a cd re issue in Italy and (I think)Japan.You can also find more Sabu shares in my archives.