30 September 2007


Don Sebesky for CTI from 1973.

I avoided this like the plague for 30 years imagining it to be all that was bloated and bland from CTI which sure churned out some shite in it's time.Then I saw it posted last year at Le Blog de Pekis ripped @128 from the jap cd.And I downloaded it to see if my preconceptions were right.They were not.It was fantastic!Absolutely fucking fantastic!!
From the Axelrod sounding "Psalm 150" and "Semi-Tough" ,the gorgeous "Song to a Seagull" to the banging fusion of "Firebird/Birds of Fire"(Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Stravinsky head on)this really is....All Killer,No Filler.
So I finally picked up the double vinyl set in Berlin last week for 7 euros and ripped it @320 for a sonically improved download for all of you CTI lovers out there.
Two files-Disc 1 and Disc 2.
(I have edited the first 20 seconds of side 1 as there is a bad pressing fault on my copy which I didn't spot when buying-still what can you expect at 7 euros?You can hear it bump on the intro of side 2 as well)
Thanks Pekis for opening my ears.
AMG on the case:
This may have been Creed Taylor's most ambitious single project. As the cash was flowing in the wake of Deodato's massive "2001" hit, Taylor rounded up almost every headliner on CTI's roster, had house-arranger Don Sebesky write big-thinking charts for them, and gave Sebesky top billing and two LPs of space. Two decades later, the lineup reads almost like a gathering of the gods -- Freddie Hubbard, Randy Brecker, Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond, Joe Farrell, Grover Washington, Jr., Milt Jackson, George Benson, Bob James, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral, all on one album. Thankfully the musicmaking lives up to the billing. Everything that gave CTI its distinctive sound and identity is here -- the classical adaptations (Stravinsky's Firebird is merged shotgun-style with John McLaughlin's "Birds of Fire"), elaborate orchestrations and structuring, pop-tune covers, plenty of room for the star soloists to stretch out in a combo format. The stars all come out to shine; Desmond sounds especially inspired in a shimmering "Song to a Seagull" and Hubbard and Washington burn furiously on the appropriately-titled "Free as a Bird." And Sebesky was given a flyer to experiment; hence the wild extended swarms of freeform strings on "Firebird" and Laws' fancy Echoplexed winds on "Fly." The two original LPs were gathered in a classical-style box, complete with a booklet of photos and an interview with Sebesky, but the austere CBS CD reissue condenses everything onto a generic single disc. However less ostentatious, Giant Box still ranks as a sensational coup and a reminder of how potent CTI was at its peak. ~ Richard S. Ginell, All Music Guide
Piano/Electric Piano/Organ/Accordion/Clavinet: Don Sebesky (piano on "Semi-Tough" electric piano on "Firebird/Birds of Fire", "Song To A Seagull, "Free As A Bird" organ on "Semi-Tough" accordian on "Free As a Bird", "Circles" clavinet on "Semi-Tough")Piano/Organ: Bob James (piano on "Vocalise" piano solo on "Free as a Bird", "Circles" organ solo on "Psalm 150", "Semi-Tough")Bass/Electric Bass/Piccolo Bass: Ron CarterDrums: Billy Cobham (on "Firebird/Birds of Fire", "Psalm 150", "Semi-Tough") Jack DeJohnette (on "Song to a Seagull", "Free as a Bird", "Vocalise", "Fly", "Circles")Vocal: Jackie Cain and Roy Kral (on "Psalm 150") Don Sebesky (on Introduction to "Psalm 150", vocal solo on "Fly")Horns and Woodwinds: 16 in all including Randy Brecker, trumpet and flugelhorn Garnett Brown, trombone 3 trumpets, 5 trombones, 2 French horns, five sax/flutes, one tubaGuitar: George Benson (solo on "Semi-Tough") Harry Leahey (on "Firebird/Birds of Fire")Percussion: Airto (on "Firebird/Birds of Fire", "Circles", "Semi-Tough") Rubens Bassini (conga on "Psalm 150") Dave Friedman Phil Kraus Ralph McDonald (on "Psalm 150")Saxophone: Paul Desmond (alto solo on "Song to a Seagull", "Vocalise") Joe Farrell (soprano solo on "Circles") Grover Washington, Jr. (alto solo on "Semi-Tough" soprano solo on "Free As A Bird")Vibraphone: Milt Jackson (solo on "Vocalise")Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet solo on "Firebird/Birds Of Fire", "Psalm 150" flugelhorn solo on "Free As A Bird")Flute/Soprano Saxophone: Hubert Laws (flute solo on "Firebird/Birds Of Fire", "Fly", "Circles")Violin: 14Cello: 4Harp: Margaret RossConcert string bass: Homer MenschVocal background: Lani Groves, Carl Caldwell, Tasha Thomas
The interlude between "Fly" and "Circles" is performed by Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, Joe Farrell, and Hubert Laws.
Reissued in Japan on cd but tough to find-no vinyl reissues.


Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

I have the vinyl for this but am greatful to have the rip! Thanks! Reminded me I gotta get back onto chopping this one up.

crispi said...

Hi bacoso,
Are there any particular record stores in Berlin you'd recommend?

Thanks in advance.

Jeremy said...


Who's that with the headphones? Herbie Hancock?

I would love to get hold of that image - he looks so cool.

if you feel like it, email please to tubegeek at earthlink dot net

bacoso said...

jeremy-here it is and more:

bacoso said...

cripi-try DE CAPO and THE RECORD SHOP which is about 1km down the road.COVER is probably the best over the road from the Zooological Garden ubahn exit.Check the addresses in the phone book.
Pretty poor overall altho I did get a mint copy of Volker Kriegel-Missing Link for 12 euros.

Payola said...

Great share - I'll keep my eyes open for this one in the future!

Jeremy said...

Thanks so much, bacoso!

I'm glad i was right with my ID . . . Herbie it is!

J Thyme...kind said...

I'm a CTI fan. Thanks good buddy!

thebeathunters said...

hi bacoso
great herbie layout!
i'd like your advice on the boland-clarke lp called "all blues" on mps, is it any good?
thanks for your answer

Brother John said...

This one is great, like many other CTI LP posted here and on many blogs.
Bacoso, may you help me with your knowledge ? Visit my blog :
Thank you

bacoso said...

beathunters-had it sold it dont rate it not my bag.

thebeathunters said...

thanks for your advice

Rekked said...

Hi Bacoso, I passed this record over several times during my crate-digging days... for the same reasons you did. Now I'm disappointed that I let the vinyl slip through my fingers because of the corny cover and fear that it would be a collection of CTI disasters. Thanks for the great post!

Ghost said...

nice choice! CTI Summer Jazz @ the Hollywood Bowl? you heard of that one? I love CTI!

dylanfan said...

Thanks for this great share!

Regarding the record stores in Berlin: I've been to Cover a couple of times and did not really like it. But I'll try the DaCapo.

By the way: there is an interesting magazine on the German market - in German obviously. It is called "LP" and besides equipment reviews it includes a section with advertisement and reviews of record stores. Easy to recommend, despite their sometimes odd music reviews.

Again, thanks a lot for the share.

bacoso said...

Dylanfan-I'm interested to hear how you quantify your comments on record stores.For me it's purely on the available stock so Cover a boring second hand store had by far the most interesting and realistically priced vinyl.Likewise the hanger that is Amoeba in LA-dull place but fucking awesome stock and proper pricing.De Capo is overpriced by the way but its a nice little shop-"the record store" in brunnestrasse is a better bet and a short walk away(it has a surfboard above the door)

Carlos said...

Yeah, Don Sebesky´s Giant Box. I actually hace the double LP box I bought perhaps in 1978-79. For some reason or another NEVER even played the albums. RTF had me totally obnubilated I guess!!!! Probably, mine has fewer scratches than yours, he he he.

rico1970 said...

I really dig the tracks on this site man.I notice that you also posted Jackie Cain & Roy Kral's (Time And Love) also.Would you mind Re-Loading that one for we fans?
check out my site
I don't have a lot but what I've got is Good Stuff !

Gejzirke said...

Thank you for this amazing album! xxx :-)

Baby Breeze said...

I misplaced my burned copy and had to download it again. This is one of those jewels I didn't even know existed. Now it's a true treasure. Merci bien.

Obsidian Blue said...

I can't remember if I downloaded this joint from here (great album), but the one I have, the songs are mis-labeled. The song labeled Psalms 150 should be "Free as a bird" and Firebird should be labeled "Semi-Tough". I'm sure the rest of the songs are labeled wrong as well.