30 January 2007

JU - PAR UNIVERSAL ORCHESTRA - MOODS AND GROOVES























One for the beatheads with this fantastic jazz/funk/soul/disco monster from the 70s.

Johnny Trunk had this to say about it:
It's been a long while since I listened to funk, and this is the first funky LP I've come across in ages that I really dig baby. It's late '74 and comes from the Detroit 8 mile district. It grooves beautifully in a slightly kitsch pre-disco fashion which I do like, it has a BIG LOVE number, a heavy funk number and best of all a killer McNair style cut called Flute Salad which I wish I'd thought of as a name for a track.

And here's a review from Dusty Groove:
One of THE indie soul treasures of the 70s -- a wickedly funky record that blends together jazz, soul, and club -- and which stands out with a sound that's all its own! You may well know the tag "moods and grooves" -- as the record's had an influence on countless scenes, and has been referenced by many artists over the years. But nothing beats this original set, a sublime batch of electric grooves performed by a core combo of electric keys, bass, and congas -- augmented by sweetened strings and some occasional chorus vocals -- bad-stepping around the grooves in a mostly-instrumental mode that rivals (if not betters) some of the best funky soundtrack work of the decade!

Thanks to Sheldon for tipping me off about this during a top curry and wine rinse out - NICE !

28 January 2007

CHARLY ANTOLINI - DRUM BEAT














<


Charly Antolini with another MPS session this time from 1966 and this line up:
Dieter Reith-Organ;Peter Witte-Bass;Bernd Fischer-Alto;Joki Freund-Tenor;Johnny Feigl-Baritone;Conny Jackel-Trumpet;Gerhard Lachmann-Trombone.
Swiss born drummer Antolini became famous for his clockwork-like precision and dynamic power.This is his famous debut for MPS as a leader,featuring a set of tight ensemble pieces which work as a compact frame for his vigorous drum solos.
Ripped at 320 from the MPS remastered CD reissue.

27 January 2007

DON MENZA - MORNING SONG























Most Perfect Sound for Don Menza's MPS 1966 modal swinger.Dusty Groove on the case with another review:

Pure genius from the glory days of the Saba/MPS scene! Don Menza was an American player who'd blown some great solos in big band records in the US, but who never got a chance to cut an album like this until he hipped on over to the MPS studios in Germany. The set's got a magically dancing feel -- with Menza on tenor, blowing in front of a tight septet that swings with a hard, tight, and rhythmic sound! Menza's tone is incredible -- like hearing a player that you know should be famous, and being amazed at the tightness, economy, and imagination he manages to pack into such a small space. Great stuff throughout -- with tracks that include "Devil's Disciples", "New Spanish Boots", "Oliver's Twist", "Morning Song", and the great modal groover "Cinderella's Waltz".
DON MENZA-TENOR;RICK KIEFER-TRUMPET;RUDI FUESERS-TROMBONE;DICK SPENCER-ALTO;FRITZ PAUER-PIANO;GUNTER LENZ-BASS;PIERRE FAVRE-DRUMS
Ripped at 320 from the cd reissue.

26 January 2007

ALICE COLTRANE - UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS


















Recorded between April and June of 1971, Alice Coltrane's Universal Consciousness stands as her classic work. As a testament to the articulation of her spiritual principles, Universal Consciousness stands even above World Galaxy as a recording where the medium of music, both composed and improvised, perfectly united the realms of body (in performance), speech (in the utterance of individual instrumentalists and group interplay), and mind (absolute focus) for the listener to take into her or his own experience. While many regard Universal Consciousness as a "jazz" album, it transcends even free jazz by its reliance on deeply thematic harmonic material and the closely controlled sonic dynamics in its richly hued chromatic palette. The set opens with the title track, where strings engage large washes of Coltrane's harp as Jack DeJohnette's drums careen in a spirit dance around the outer edge of the maelstrom. On first listen, the string section and the harp are in counter-dictum, moving against each other in a modal cascade of sounds, but this soon proves erroneous as Coltrane's harp actually embellishes the timbral glissandos pouring forth. Likewise, Jimmy Garrison's bass seeks to ground the proceedings to DeJohnette's singing rhythms, and finally Coltrane moves the entire engagement to another dimension with her organ. Leroy Jenkins' violin and Garrison's bottom two strings entwine one another in Ornette Coleman's transcription as Coltrane and the other strings offer a middling bridge for exploration. It's breathtaking. On "Battle at Armageddon," the violence depicted is internal; contrapuntal rhythmic impulses whirl around each other as Coltrane's organ and harp go head to head with Rashied Ali's drums. "Oh Allah" rounds out side one with a gorgeously droning, awe-inspiring modal approach to whole-tone music that enfolds itself into the lines of organic polyphony as the strings color each present theme intervalically. DeJohnette's brushwork lisps the edges and Garrison's bass underscores each chord and key change in Coltrane's constant flow of thought.

On side two, "Hare Krishna" is a chant-like piece that is birthed from minor-key ascendancy with a loping string figure transcribed by Coleman from Coltrane's composition on the organ. She lays deep in the cut, offering large shimmering chords that twirl -- eventually -- around high-register ostinatos and pedal work. It's easily the most beautiful and accessible track in the set, in that it sings with a devotion that has at its base the full complement of Coltrane's compositional palette. "Sita Ram" is a piece that echoes "Hare Krishna" in that it employs Garrison and drummer Clifford Jarvis, but replaces the strings with a tamboura player. Everything here moves very slowly, harp and organ drift into and out of one another like breath, and the rhythm section -- informed by the tamboura's drone -- lilts on Coltrane's every line. As the single-fingered lines engage the rhythm section more fully toward the end of the tune, it feels like a soloist improvising over a chanting choir. Finally, the album ends with another duet between Ali and Coltrane. Ali uses wind chimes as well as his trap kit, and what transpires between the two is an organically erected modal architecture, where texture and timbre offer the faces of varying intervals: Dynamic, improvisational logic and tonal exploration become elemental figures in an intimate yet universal conversation that has the search itself and the uncertain nature of arrival, either musically or spiritually, at its root. This ambiguity is the only way a recording like this could possibly end, with spiritual questioning and yearning in such a musically sophisticated and unpretentious way. The answers to those questions can perhaps be found in the heart of the music itself, but more than likely they can, just as they are articulated here, only be found in the recesses of the human heart. This is art of the highest order, conceived by a brilliant mind, poetically presented in exquisite collaboration by divinely inspired musicians and humbly offered as a gift to listeners. It is a true masterpiece. The CD reissue by Universal comes with a handsome Japanese-style five-by-five-inch paper sleeve with liner notes reprinted inside and devastatingly gorgeous 24-bit remastering. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
320 RIP FROM CD

23 January 2007

CRABBIT AND DAFT











Heads Up Everybody - Introducing Crabbit and Daft.
There's a new (or maybe not so new to some of you!)blog on the block and it's superb.Featuring Jazz in all its forms and genres from Ellington to The Griot Galaxy,Dave Douglas to King Oliver,Art Hodes to Andrew Hill,Art Pepper to Greg Osby this blog covers all the bases.
Whether it's on Blue Note,ECM,Criss Cross,Verve,Mosaic,Black Saint - the list seems endless - if on an independant or a major label -if it's released in Japan,Europe or the USA - Crabbit and Daft has it in hand.
Great write ups with artwork and cover info all included and top quality(320)full album rips with a variety of file types( flac,ogg or mp3)are the order of the day here.
Interested-you should be!
It's one of the best jazz blogs on the web-No contest!






JOE FARRELL - CANNED FUNK






















Joe Farrell with a bangin' CTI date from 1975 featuring yet another monster break- driven title tune.Bit of a biggie for those who like their fusion.Never re-issued as far as I know-or did one sneak thru on cd in Japan?

Joe Farrell's final of six CTI dates has fairly lengthy versions of four of his originals. Farrell, who adds baritone to his usual trio of instruments (tenor, soprano and flute), once again welcomes guitarist Joe Beck as his co-star, along with bassist Herb Bushler, drummer Jim Madison and percussionist Ray Mantilla. The music is melodic, sometimes funky, and enjoyable if not essential, but all of Joe Farrell's CTI sets are worth acquiring.Scott Yanow.

Ripped from original vinyl at 320.Many thanks to Rui in Okinawa for another great cover photo-top work my friend!

TUBBY HAYES - TUBBS' TOURS






















More fantastic British Jazz from Tubby and the boys cut for Fontana in 1964.One of my favourite Tubby lps along with "Mexican Green" and"Equation in Rhythm"(a previous vinyl rip post from the early days of this blog - before the Tubby cd reissues fell from heaven!)this album really is a killer from W1.
To see a Youtube clip of Tubby in action live pay a visit to the acerbic dry wit of Alastairs Heart Monitor .This is a very funny and interesting blog encompassing a wide range of topics written by"Alastair" whose subjects stretch from Scotland to curry to politics to poets to football to jazz and much more besides-it's highly recommended reading.

Dusty Groove had this to say about it-and their superlatives are totally justified on this occasion! :
A stunning set from British tenor giant Tubby Hayes -- and the kind of record that shows that he had a vision and depth of playing that stretched far beyond his incredible ability to solo! The set's got Tubby leading a large ensemble, filled with some of the leading lights of the British scene of the time -- including Alan Branscombe, Peter King, Allan Ganley, Jimmie Deuchar, and Ronnie Ross. The players come together like magic -- hard-swinging with the rhythmic intensity of some of the best Saba/MPS sessions of this type, yet also breaking out with their own extremely strong voices. Tracks are all originals, filled with exotic twists and turns that make for plenty of modally-informed rhythms -- and titles include "Raga", "The Killers Of W1", "Sasa-Hivi", "Israel Nights", and "Pedro's Walk". Great stuff throughout, and more proof that the Brit jazz scene of the 60s was a lot more swingin' than anyone over here ever gave it credit!

Ripped at 320 from the current Impressed reissue-so it's still available.

MICHAEL GARRICK - TROPPO






















A great bit of British Jazz from 1973 from Michael Garrick on Argo.
2 to get-HERE & HERE.
Have a read of the sleeve notes by Alun Morgan:
Michael Garrick's music is a masterly synthesis of head and heart. It possesses sufficient freedom in the general structure to allow for spur-of-the-moment extensions but at the same time the compositions have strong individualities. "These are the not 'definitive' performances" maintains Garrick. "The passages of collective improvisation, for example, are entirely open." It is symptomatic of jazz, which grew up alongside the development of the gramophone, that audiences are frequently disappointed if their idols fail to produce "live" performances identical to a version on record. The stories are legion; the late Coleman Hawkins went through life trying to ward off repeated requests for Body And Soul while Flip Phillips actually had to learn his own Perdido solo from a Jazz At The Philharmonic record in order to satisfy the customers.
But jazz music has moved on. In the days of the Don Rendell-Ian Carr Quintet I must have heard a dozen versions of Michael's Dusk Fire, all different in length and degrees of intensity. All, however, retained the strongly individual essence of a Garrick composition. Over the years his own band has built up an impressive library which centres around his writing, writing which is frequently challenging but never needlessly complex. If a work uses an unusual time signature it has not been adopted just for the sake of being clever but because it is integral with the melodic line or conjures up the right kind of atmosphere. Garrick's band is made up of perfectionists. He first heard Norma Winstone with the New Jazz Orchestra in 1966 and her sheer musicianship moved him to add words to melodies he had already written. Norma liked the results and sang them. "Since then" says Garrick "she has coped with my most outrageous pieces with marvellous patience and sympathy. She brings dignity to whatever she does." Clearly Norma has a tremendous amount of music to offer and it is an experience to see her singing a complex line as part of a theme statement, reading from a score and flanked by Lowther and Themen. She has elevated the status of jazz singer to new heights.
Henry Lowther is, quite simply, one of the very finest trumpeters Europe has produced for years; he has a mellow tone and can always be relied upon to produce the most apt and melodic turn of phrase at the most telling moments. His violin playing is equally impressive and his work here on Overtones Of A Forgotten Music is masterly. Art Themen has steadily developed into a readily identifiable soloist capable of bringing his own musical personality to bear on Garrick's writing. The books tell us that thew tenor saxophone has a range which extends up to D, a ninth above middle C, but Art has always been a "high harmonics" man, capable of extending the top register with beautifully controlled "off-the-instrument" notes. Listen to his superlative solo on Sons Of Art where he cruises around note clusters normally the prerogative of alto saxophonists or clarinettists.
The rest of the Michael Garrick Band comprises men previously associated with the Rendell-Carr Quintet, including Don himself; Rendell is far more than just a father figure; he is a great musician who has justly earned the respect of all who have heard him. Dave Green and Trevor Tomkins make up one of the most cohesive bass/drums teams and form the backbone of Garrick's working units. Trevor is a highly creative drummer who listens intently to the work of his colleagues and shades the volume of his contribution accordingly. Dave Green plays a big part in Michael's music: apart from providing the reliable fulcrum in the rhythm section he has also been responsible for important secondary themes or first lines to several Garrick compositions. Coleridge Goode, who solos on Fellow Feeling, has long been associated with Garrick's and Joe Harriott's music. He was a founder member of the musicianly Ray Ellington Quartet back in 1947, a unit which mixed comedy with bop tunes such as Swedish Pastry.
Troppo!, which opens the album, is in 13/8 and 13/4. Dave Green wrote both the slow and fast bass figures plus the opening melody and chose the title. "Non troppo" is frequently to be found on classical music scores as part of a warning; it means "not too much." Dave Green dropped the negative to make it mean "too much" and the 1944-vintage New Cab Calloway's Hepster Dictionary defined "too much" in the jazz sense as a "term of the highest praise." Dave dedicated the tune to Norma. To Henry A Son was written for the birth of Boris Lowther in August 1972. Lowther Senior plays the flugelhorn solo. Garrick wrote Lime Blossom in the long, hot summer of 1973; Norma Winstone added the words and Michael completed the ethereal effect by borrowing a Fender piano for this performance.
Sons Of Art is in 15/4 and is dedicated to Themen's two sons. On the day of the session Art was over an hour late getting to the studio due to his duties on the staff of a Reading Hospital. It says a great deal for Themen's composure under pressure and all-round musicianship that he created this solo in just one take, packed up his tenor and returned to the operating theatre. His friend and frequent musical companion Dave Gelly describes him as "Art Themen, the man who does everything the other way!" I know what Dave means for this is a unique solo, full of unexpected turns of phrase.
Fellow Feeling is probably the most moving piece of music-making on the LP. It is dedicated to the late Joe Harriott, the brilliant alto saxophonist who joined Michael Garrick's group for "Poetry And Jazz In Concert" in 1963 and stayed for four years. I remember hearing Joe playing at one of his very first London dates in 1951. He had just arrived in Britain from Jamaica, and appeared with trumpeter Pete Pitterson's band at a concert held in the Kingsway Hall. He went on to become one of the best, and best-known, jazz saxophonists in the country with an enquiring mind which took him into all manner of musical surroundings. In 1959 he began working on what he called "Free Form" jazz but he never closed his ears to other forms of his music. He frequently sat in with Chris Barber's band, and thoroughly enjoyed it. In August 1972 he collapsed in Southampton and was rushed into hospital with cancer. Themen and Garrick went to visit him and were shocked by his appearance but Joe had plans for when he recovered, even if he felt that he was already something of a forgotten figure. Sadly, he died in January 1973 and for this musical valediction his friend Coleridge Goode takes the bass solo following Don Rendell's beautiful flute passage. Garrick plays Hohner piano on this track. The closing Overtones Of A Forgotten Music, principally in 7/8 but with slower passages in common time, features Henry Lowther (violin) and Norma Winstone improvising a melody to words taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The titles is actually a line from a poem of John Smith's and Garrick describes the piece as "a kind of hymn to the sort of world those words of Shakespeare's describe."ALUN MORGAN1973 : liner notes to TROPPO [Michael Garrick, October 1973]
Ripped at 320 from the impressed cd re-issue.

DUKE PEARSON - IT COULD ONLY HAPPEN WITH YOU
























Duke goes back down south of the border with Flora Purim,Airto and Hermeto Pascoal for Blue Note in 1970.
A breezy bossa groove permeates through this lp which was obviously cut with a commercial market in mind-very much a product of the time.Stand out cut for me is a great reading of "Book's Bossa" which had previously appeared on Donald Byrd's "Slow Drag".Otherwise there's a nice version of Milton Nascimento 's "Girou,Girou" and an old jazz dance favourite in "Stormy" to keep your toes tappin'.
Ripped at 320 from Mosaic Select box set.
Here's a review of the Mosaic Set to give an overview about the context of this post:

The Mosaic Select series continues -- having released eight impressive volumes n the calendar year 2003 -- this being the last, it's a provocative set in that it compiles five Duke Pearson albums from 1968-1970, all of them centered around his "exotic period: The Phantom, Merry Ole Sole, How Insensitive, It Could Only Happen With You, and I Don't Care Who Knows It. In addition, it places all of those recording sessions in their proper chronological order and includes two completely unreleased tracks.What these sessions -- completely immersed in Brazilian and Latin rhythms and melodies -- all have in common is drummer Mickey Roker. The most common rhythm section here is Roker with bassist Bob Cranshaw, who plays on all but two of these sessions. Around this catalyst, Pearson's albums recruited a number of soloists and ensemble players from Bobby Hutcherson and flutists Jerry Dodgion and Hermeto Pascoal, guitarist Ralph Towner, vocalists Flora Purim and Andy Bey, and percussionists from Airto to Potato Valdes. The size of the ensembles varies from quintet to nonet with a chorus of no less than 17 voices on How Insensitive. The material here reflects Pearson's complete abandonment of hard bop tempos, but not the blues. Here, blues, soul, and bossa entwine on each album with different colors and textures and play out not against one another, but in concert. Given the close proximity of these sessions to one another and Pearson's increasing focus on rhythm, the album that stands out here is The Phantom -- for being the hinge between his past and his present. The Phantom is more like a classic soul-jazz date with Brazilian and Latin flavors, rather than a set of tunes that delves deeply into the polyrhythmic complexities of south-of-the-equator jazz. It acts as a cornerstone for Pearson's trademark harmonic sensibilities, and puts forth the notion that he was always looking for the exotic in his tonal studies and in his melodic excursions into folk music and Brazilian pop. Simply put, there is nothing here that is remotely substandard or lacking. Indeed, given some of Pearson's other soul-jazz experiments, and his often unpredictable compositions, these five recordings represent one of the most successful melds of modern jazz with exotica and pop. The music is blindingly sophisticated and original, and is played with verve, grace, and passion, making this an indispensable set. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

22 January 2007

ERWIN LEHN - COLOR IN JAZZ














Erwin Lehn hits it with his big band for MPS from 1974 -a killing swinging session with the wipe out tune "Color".Have a read of the review at Music Direct:

As they say: «Wonders never cease»! Who’d have believed that the disco kids of today would dance to a radio dance orchestra performing big band jazz? The excerpt “Color” on the “Talkin’ Loud” sampler certainly wets one’s appetite for the full eleven minutes with the Erwin Lehn Orchestra. The album’s motto is “Color In Jazz” and all seven titles of this re-issue are as colourful as a painter’s palette: spicy rhythms in the winds, varied rock and sweet beats, a touch of Latin, lyrical melodies on the flugelhorn, and powerful tuttis are the ingredients mixed together to produce the sound colouring of these compositions by Bernd Rabe (who unfortunately died last year) and Erwin Lehn (an extremely active pensioner).
It would be too simple to simply attach the label “commercial” to this particular area of big band jazz. “Popular” would be more appropriate – an epithet which never troubled swing bands in the USA. Hopefully this re-release will attract new fans to the area of big band swing. Just listen to this album, which can easily hold its own against anything coming from America as far as musical and technical quality are concerned, and you’ll be thrilled!

Exactly-it's fantastic!!!This made a 200g reissue in Europe on vinyl-this post is from the long deleted Japanese cd issue on Polydor.

20 January 2007

ARCHIE SHEPP - FOR LOSERS





















New thing collides with funky r&b on this 1969 release by Mr.Shepp for Impulse.
Here's a great review from Craig over at the excellent Daily Jazz Blogspot:

"This 1971 release brings together material from three sessions spread across 1968-9 featuring three different bands. After the full-on sonic assault of the previous years' 'Pitchin Can' and 'Coral Rock' I can imagine Shepp fans picking this one up and saying "Woah! What's all this about?". For while there is free jazz here, it's hidden beneath an accessible surface that takes the form of funky soul-jazz ('Stick 'em Up', 'Abstract'), sweet balladry ('I Got It Bad', 'What Would It Be...') and a Yasmina style funky freak-out.
'Stick 'em Up' stands out as being unlike anything else in Shepp's discography. Over a funky backbeat worthy of James Brown, Leon Thomas provides a R&B vocal (unlike anything else I've heard him do, either) and the band play tight, well arranged parts. Archie pops up with short solos all over the place, applying his abrasive tone to straightahead material where it actually fits quite well. 'Abstract' is almost, but not quite, more of the same - while it's still tight and funky there's more of a jazz feel in the solos and overall structure of the piece. In fact, it's very much in a soul-jazz style, and would fit nicely on a Cannonball Adderley LP were it not for the unhinged soloing of Shepp.
The ballads provide a nice change of pace and another early example of Shepp playing it sweet, something he would do more and more throughout the 1970s. 'I Got It Bad', in particular, has nary a challenging harmony in sight - unthinkable for a Shepp recording of the period! 'Normal' service is resumed with the closing 'Un Croque Monsieur'. Shepp sets up an insistent, funky theme counterpointed nicely by Payne's baritone (note - this theme was lifted, in it's entirety, and used to great effect in Stereolab's 'Outer Bongolia' from 2000's 'First Of The Microbe Hunters' mini-LP. Not jazz in the slightest, but still worth a listen). Once he's set it up, Shepp wanders off on soprano and explores every possibility that the theme suggests, as well as a few more besides. Chambers sounds increasingly dissastisfied with this and around the 7-minute mark leads the group into a collective free-improvisation that'll have the hardcore Shepp fans feeling right at home. This fades into the 'For Losers' poem, but is rescued by Walton's huge piano riff that drives the band through the remaining choruses."

On 'Un Croque Monsieur', 'I Got It Bad', 'What Would It Be Without You' (26.08.1969)
ARCHIE SHEPP; tenor sax, soprano sax WOODY SHAW; trumpet MATTHEW GEE; trombone CLARENCE SHARPE; alto sax CECIL PAYNE; baritone sax CEDAR WALTON; piano
WILBUR WARE; bass JOE CHAMBERS; drums CHINA-LIN SHARPE; vocals
On 'Stick 'em Up' (09.09.1968)
ARCHIE SHEPP; tenor sax MARTIN BANKS; trumpet & flugelhorn GRACHAN MONCUR III;trombone MARTIN KENYATTA; alto sax ANDREW BEY; piano ALBERT WINSTON; fender bass
BERT PAYNE; guitar BEAVER HARRIS; drums LEON THOMAS; vocals DORIS TROY; vocals
TASHA THOMAS; vocals
On 'Abstract' (17.02.1969)
ARCHIE SHEPP; tenor sax JIMMY OWENS; trumpet & flugelhorn GRACHAN MONCUR III; trombone JAMES SPAULDING; alto sax CHARLES DAVIS; baritone sax DAVE BURRELL; organ
WALLY RICHARDSON; guitar BOB BUSHNELL; fender bass BERNARD PURDIE; drums

The album made a reissue in Japan on cd but otherwise it's an original if you want one.
This post is ripped from the original Impulse vinyl at 320.

DIZZY REECE - STAR BRIGHT
























Dizzy Reece with a superb hard bop session for Blue Note from 1959.
Born and raised in Jamaica, trumpeter Dizzy Reece first made a name for himself on the London jazz scene where he, Victor Feldman and Tubby Hayes played on each other’s albums for Tempo in the mid fifties. His big, brilliant tone, personal way of phrasing and highly original modern compositions immediately attracted the attention of American artists like Miles Davis who became an early champion.
When Alfred Lion heard his work, he commissioned British producer Tony Hall to record a Reece album for Blue Note. Blues In Trinity featured two American guests (Donald Byrd and Art Taylor) to Reece’s London band with Tubby Hayes. The results were so positive that Lion invited Reece to New York where he recorded Star Bright with the first-rate Blue Note cast of Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Taylor.
The standout track on this strong album is ‘Groovesville’ a fast paced ad-libbed blues that brings the best solos of the album from Reece, Mobley and Kelly. The take on ‘I Wished Upon The Moon’ a number made popular by Billie Holiday 25 years before this recording, sees a slower pace and the chance for Reece to stretch out. He does this with aplomb and is followed by a lovely solo from Mobley both players then being eclipsed by Kelly’s rolling, melodic improvisations around the theme. The set closes with ‘Variations on Monk’, which demonstrates a subtle hint of Monk’s work with to quote the sleeve notes ‘a grace-notes a sixth lower effect at the end of each eight measures’. This number also features, at its very end, the only solo of the album from Art Taylor, a fittingly dynamic close to a fine, relaxed and highly enjoyable set of hard bop.

Just reissued on an expensive 200g bit of vinyl or buy the Mosaic Select Box Set in which its included.This rip is at 320 from the Toshiba EMI CD reissue which is now deleted-I believe its now come out on a mini lp sleeve cd issue.

18 January 2007

JACK MCDUFF - SOPHISTICATED FUNK
























Jack McDuff
on Chess from 1976 with this funky platter which features one of the worst covers I have ever seen(god knows where Grand Royal are coming from -a good cover ???).However,this features one of my perennial favourites from my early days of jazz funk "Juju" (what a bass line!) and the rest of it's grooves along really nicely especially "Electric Surf Board" and "Dit Da Dit".Anyway read what the Dusty Groove have to say on the subject:

A lost electric groover from Brother Jack McDuff! Although this album got a bad rap in an early issue of Grand Royal as one of the "10 Most Disappointing Albums with Good Covers of All Time" (or something like that), it's actually a pretty groovy album that has Brother Jack playing electric keyboards amidst uptempo arrangements by Billy Jones of Brother To Brother (who were sharing the All Platinum umbrella label at the time with McDuff). Sure, the record's got a groovy cover of a nude model with a "digital" chastity belt over her cleanly-shaved privates (which might imply to some that the record would be a total funk LP), and the sound is a bit more like uptempo club jazz. But even if the cover and music don't match, the record's a nice groover that has Jack trying to hit the same sort of style that Johnny Hammond was getting with Larry Mizell.
Bass - Frank Prescod
Congas, Percussion - Craig Derry (2) , Scott Saunders (tracks: A2, B1)
Drums - Arnold Ramsey (tracks: B2) , Clarence Oliver (tracks: A2, A3) , Joe Corsello (tracks: B3) , Scott Schoer (tracks: A1) , Ted McKinsey (tracks: A4, B4)
Guitar - Billy Jones (tracks: A2-A4, B1-B3) , Robert Banks (tracks: A1, B4) , Walter Morris (tracks: A1)
Mixed By - Richard Corcello
Percussion - Billy Jones (tracks: A2)
Piano - Brian Cuomo (tracks: B1)
Producer - Billy Jones
Saxophone, Flute - Joe Farrell (tracks: A1-A4, B3)

Ripped from the original vinyl at 320.
Thanks a lot to Rui from Okinawa for the cover photo-more McDuff soon !

17 January 2007

RAY BRYANT - IN THE CUT























Ray Bryant joins forces with Charles Stepney for this 1974 release from Cadet Records.Ray plays both electric and acoustic piano and Charles plays moog and handles the string and horn arrangements.There's a big sound on this produced by a large ensemble including Ron Carter,Stanley Clarke,Montego Joe,Jimmy Ponder,John Tropea and Jimmy Johnson among others.Ray knocks out a couple of blinding tunes "Cool Struttin"and "In the Cut" while Esmonde Edwards contributes "Andalusian Nights" and handles production duties.The rest of the lp is made up of covers with a great latin hooked "Land of Make Believe" a thumping "Watermelon Man" and a couple of warmed over soul tunes I'll let you discover for yourself !
Here's a review from Dusty Groove who had it in stock as a pricey Japanese cd issue:

A wild one from Ray Bryant -very different than a lot of his other work, especially his late 60s sides for Cadet! This album features string and horn arrangements by Charles Stepney -very tripped out and soulful , mellow at times, but with that majestically soulful approach that's always made Stepney one of our favorite arrangers ever. Ray also plays electric piano on a number of cuts -not really Fender Rhodes, but still with that harder tone of his acoustic work, which provides a nice contrast to Stepney's orchestrations. Some tracks have a really great feel almost soundtracky, in a style that makes us wish that Bryant had gotten the chance to score some films during the time.

This recently made a cd reissue in Japan-This post is ripped from the original vinyl at 320.

16 January 2007

STEPS - STEP BY STEP











More sad news from this weekend when Michael Brecker passed away.A few years ago, Brecker was diagnosed with the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). His family led a worldwide search to find a matching stem cell donor but to no avail. In May 2006, he was the recipient of an experimental partial matching stem cell transplant which was unsuccessful. The syndrome then led to leukemia from which he died.
Brecker was one of the reasons I first got into jazz.Fusion was the word in the late 70s and I bought lp after lp - from Weather Report to The Crusaders to Freddie Hubbard from Tappan Zee to Inner City to CTI.So how could you ever avoid the unmistakable voice of Mike Brecker? Heavy Metal Bebop was the first for me and from then on it was a case of: pick up lp study the line up check for Mike Brecker...yes...BUY IT.
So much great music -my favourites being the two Harris Simon albums released in Japan -Swish and New York Connection- on which Brecker was the featured Tenor.(I posted both of these in the early days of this blog).Steps/Steps Ahead followed which really blew me away and then the recordings and tours with the great Mike Mainieri.
In 1987 he released his first solo album on Impulse which was great and continued touring with Mike Stern(I lost count how many times I saw the Brecker/Stern band live in England and Europe ).Over time I gradually drifted away from Breckers music but still checked it out when the opportunity arose.
So instead of posting something easily available I have ripped the first Steps lp which came out on Better Days in Japan in 1981.Brecker is on firing form on tenor and joined by Eddie Gomez/Bass;Don Grolnick/Piano;Steve Gadd/Drums;Mike Mainieri/Vibes.
Ripped at 320 from the original vinyl.

15 January 2007

JOE HENDERSON FEATURING ALICE COLTRANE - THE ELEMENTS






















Heard the sad news at the weekend that Alice Coltrane passed away on Friday 12 January of respiratory failure at the age of 69.You can read her obituary from Jazz News here.
So rather than post one of her solo lps here (which are fairly liberally dotted around Blogland- make sure you check out the great Pharoahs Dance blogspot for her hard to find "Lord of Lords" and "Huntington Ashram Monastery" - there's also a link to a recent live performance) I thought I would share this wonderful lp from Joe Henderson featuring Ms Coltrane on piano,harp,tamboura and harmonium.

Have a read of this from Ralphcat at Rateyourmusic.com:
Joe Henderson was a true genius and a unique musical visionary. "Elements" is a testament to both of those attributes for it really is in a league all its own. Spritual jazz-fusion.......yes, absolutely.....but it's more than that. It's celestial, cosmic, and trance inducing for it takes the listener on a musical excursion.....dark and mysterious.....unlike any other. Alice Coltrane undoubtedly cotributed alot to this, for the sublime sound of her harp and piano playing is very much an integral component of this awesome work of art. Joe does things on this album that are unlike anything else he ever did as far as the sound and tone of his sax are concerned. One example of this is the effects he uses on the third cut "Water". He was able to "treat" his sax to make it sound as if it were eminating from the far depths of the ocean, that's how I perceive it anyway. It also includes eastern Indian percussion and citar atop a hypnotic groove that really has to be heard to be appreciated. The last track, "Earth" is 13 minutes of spacy aural stimulation that features amazing violin work from Michael White atop another tripped out hypnotic groove. The first two tracks, "Fire" and "Air" are also phenomenal and of course feature instrumentation of the loftiest order from all participants. The former includes one of my all time favourite sax riffs and the latter is a free-form meltdown. This is a gift of extraordinary magnitude.

Here's the line up:
Personnel: Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute, piano); Alice Coltrane (harp, piano, harmonium, tamboura); Kenneth Nash (spoken vocals, wood flute, congas, sakara drum, bells, gongs, percussion); Michael White (violin); Charlie Haden (bass); Ndugu Chancler (drums); Baba Daru Oshun (tabla, percussion). Recorded at Village Recorders, Los Angeles, California from October 15-17, 1973. Originally released on Milstone (9053).

This album has been re-issued by OJC on CD and is still available-I've ripped this post from the original vinyl.

14 January 2007

JOE HENDERSON - BLACK IS THE COLOUR



























Joe Henderson from 1972 on Milestone records-here's the line up and Joe's original sleeve notes:
Bass - Dave Holland
Bass [Electric] - Ron Carter (tracks: A1, B3)
Congas - Airto Moreira (tracks: B1) , Ralph MacDonald (tracks: A1)
Drums - Jack DeJohnette
Engineer - Elvin Campbell
Flute - Joe Henderson (tracks: A1, B2)
Flute [Alto] - Joe Henderson (tracks: A1, B1, B2)
Guitar - Georg Wadenius (tracks: A1, B1, B2, B3)
Mastered By - Ray Hagerty
Percussion - Airto Moreira (tracks: B1, B2) , Joe Henderson (tracks: A1, B1) , Ralph MacDonald (tracks: A1, B3)
Piano - George Cables (tracks: B2)
Piano [Electric] - George Cables (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B3) , Jack DeJohnette (tracks: B2)
Producer - Orrin Keepnews
Saxophone [Soprano] - Joe Henderson (tracks: B1, B2)
Saxophone [Tenor] - Joe Henderson
Synthesizer - David Horowitz (tracks: A1, B1, B3)
Notes: The original idea for this album was to approach it entirely from the standpoint of having no pre-conceived ideas (i.e., melodies, themes, bar lines, etc.) for the musicians to relate to.
However, after listening to a tape copy of one segment of the original session, I became aware of further possibilities. Making full use of 16-track tape, we could add to and improve upon what had allready been recorded by multiple overdubbing of new parts, by myself and others, that would become permanent additions to the track. So I proceeded, after the fact (hence its title Foregone Conclusion), to create a continuous pattern that would effectively support what had allready been laid down.
As for the other numbers here, with the exception of Vis-A-Vis (which somehow managed not to defect from the original non-framework idea), the track concept was used extensively throughout.

Now here's a review from Jason Witherspoon -he's obviously a big fan of Henderson's 70s output for Milestone-check out the rest of his musings at Kosmigroove.

Black is the Color (of My True Love's Mind): the holy effin' grail of this era. Core tracks recorded by Cables, Holland, & DeJohnette, then extensively overdubbing, including David Horowitz' synthesizer, George Wadenius' electric guitar, Airto's percussion, & even a turn from DeJohnette on electric piano. From the opening cut, the 12 minute "Terra Firma", you know you've died & gone to Kozmigroov heaven. Very similar to Miles of this era in terms of sonic overload, but more intricate & complex overall. But it grooves like a motherfucker, too! Great beyond words. "Vis-a-Vis" is the only straight cut (no overdubs), but it just serves to nicely link to the past & show what a smoking session they had to play w/in the studio! "Foregone Conclusion" is a nice hard funk cut, intensely soulful, that quickly heads out into the stratosphere w/distorto-sax & electrobleepage aplenty. "Black is the Color" is a pretty, layered ballad w/plenty of intense peaks; but proves to be the calm before the storm that is "Current Events". It starts w/some spooky electronic atmospherics & rain jungle percussion, some excellent quizzical bass soloing from Holland plays against the increasingly wild analog synth washes & pans, then Henderson comes in echoing & raging & everyone plays beautifully off of each other up to several stunningly wild finales. One of the peak musical events of my life.

Big thanks to Sheldon for cropping the lp cover photo for me.This is ripped from the original vinyl but I believe it made a reissue on cd some years ago coupled with In Pursuit Of Blackness.

10 January 2007

YUSEF LATEEF - YUSEF LATEEF'S DETROIT


















Yusef goes back to Deroit with a bangin' back beat on this Atlantic lp from 1969.Here's an excellent write up from Tonevendor :
After issuing the spiritually compelling and contemplatively swinging Complete Yusef Lateef in 1967, Dr. Yusef Lateef's sophomore effort for Atlantic shifted gears entirely. Lateef chose his old stomping grounds of Detroit for an evocative musical study of the landscape, people, and spirit and terrain. Lateef spent the late-'50s in the city recording for Savoy, and this recording captures the memory of a great city before it was torn apart by racial strife and economic inequality in 1967. There is no way to make a record that suggests Detroit without rhythm, and Lateef employs plenty of it here in his choice of musicians: conga players Ray Barretto and Norman Pride; Tootie Heath on percussion; Cecil McBee, Roy Brooks, and Bernard Purdie; electric bassist Chuck Rainey; electric guitarist Eric Gale; pianist Hugh Lawson; and a string quartet that included Kermit Moore. In other words, the same band from the Complete Yusef Lateef with some funky additions. The string section, as heard on the opener "Bishop School," "Belle Isle," "Eastern Market," and "Raymond Winchester" is far from the pastoral or classically seeking group of recordings past, but another rhythmic and melodic construct that delves deep into the beat and the almighty riff that this recording is so full of. For all of the soul-jazz pouring forth from the Blue Note and Prestige labels at the time, this album stood apart for its Eastern-tinged melodies on "Eastern Market"; the "Black Bottom," gutbucket, moaning bluesiness on "Russell and Elliot," with Gale and Lateef on tenor trading fours in a slowhanded, low-end groove; and the solid, Motown-glazed, rocking Latin soul of "Belle Isle." The album ends curiously with the nugget "That Lucky Old Sun," played with a back porch feeling, as if the urban-ness of the set, with all of its polyrhytmic intensity and raw soul, had to be tempered at the end of the day with a good-old fashioned sit in the yard as the city's energy swirled around beyond the borders of the fenced lot. Lateef blows a beautiful tenor here, uing a motif from Sonny Rollins' version of the tune and slides it all the way over to Benny Carter in its sheer lyricism. It's the perfect way to close one of Lateef's most misunderstood recordings.
This made a cd re-issue by Collectables Jazz Classics which is still floating around on the net or its ebay for an original-this is ripped from the cd.

8 January 2007

THE TUBBY HAYES QUINTET - DOWN IN THE VILLAGE






















Scorching piece of British jazz from Tubby Hayes recorded in 1962 for Fontana (2 files-320 rip here and here)
Here's a heartfelt review from Steve Newman's Spot at Jazz Groove:

Jazz of the 20th century is as much about recordings as it is about musicians, and when a particular musician, or group of musicians record something exceptional that recording instantly becomes a bench mark of excellence, and an inspiration for future musicians ( think of Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue for instance) and something of a friend and companion for the jazz fan. I’ve had one such friend for over forty years.
Back in the early 1960s there was an arts magazine called The Scene which, in their first issue, had a feature on the British saxophonist and vibes player Edward Brian ‘Tubby’ Hayes explaining that this 28 year old jazz musician was going to conquer the world, and that we should all buy his latest (his first I think) LP, called Down In The Village because those privileged few (Steve Race had been one of the few and couldn’t stop talking about the forthcoming LP on his BBC Light Programme show) who had been lucky enough to witness the recording session at the Ronnie Scott Club in London’s Soho said it was exceptional and a bench mark of excellence. They were right. They are still right.
Well, I saved my paper-round money and bought the LP. I was knocked out, I mean knocked out. This was jazz I’d never heard before. It was a complete and utter revelation, as if, just for a moment, I’d been let into a secret world. Which I had of course - the secret world of modern jazz where every note, every beat, every nuance of phrasing is layered to create something the brain can hardly take in at first listening but, just before the end of a piece your heart gives you a good kick and you realise that something rather special has just happened. Better listen to that piece (track) again you think, and then again and again.
And the track I listened to again ( and I’m listening to it again as I write this), is the title track ‘Down In The Village’ which is an original composition by Hayes to commemorate his visit to New York in 1961 where he played at the Village Vanguard ( the home turf of John Coltrane of course) and became something of a sensation, and rightly so because the professionalism and sheer brilliance of his playing states from the outset of this wonderful recording that this young Londoner is without a doubt one of the worlds finest jazz musicians. On tenor sax alone the likes of Sonny Rollins and the aforementioned Coltrane would have had a job just keeping up let alone competing in the creativity stakes. Tubby Hayes was a phenomenon, and not only on the tenor and soprano saxes, but also on the vibraphone, which is his chosen instrument for ‘Down In The Village’ and with which he creates a sumptuous mood and a gloriously deep propulsive swing that spurs the other musicians on to create something quite spectacular of their own, most notably Jimmy Deucher on trumpet who gets into a groove that at times almost breaks your heart with the delicacy of the phrasing and the sheer genius of his inventiveness, as does the piano playing of Gordon Beck whose improvisational skills and back-leaning swing is almost too much to bear. Add to this the rock solid support of Freddy Logan on bass, and the ‘wonderful’ Allan Ganley on drums, and you have a jazz record that changed British modern jazz forever, and not just here but around the world. It really is that good.

This was re-issued on cd in the UK by Redial in 1998 but has now been deleted.The only option to purchase now is a pricey Japanese mini lp sleeve cd or a very pricey original vinyl copy!!!

4 January 2007

MARK WEINSTEIN - CUBAN ROOTS




















Well,what can you say about this that hasn't been said before.Probably the hardest,heaviest and certainly the rarest afro cuban jazz lp ever made.Recorded in a 3 hour session for the Musicor label in 1967 who decided it wasnt commercial enough and pressed just 500 copies.Check the band:
Mark Weinstein - trombone Arnie Lawrence - alto sax Mario Rivera - baritone sax
Chick Corea - piano Bobby Valentin - bass Kako - bell and palito Julito Collazo - conga and bass drum Tommy Lopez - conga drum Papaito - conga drum
Now read on:
Originally released in 1967 on Musicor, Mark Weinstein's classic "Cuban Roots" with his Cosa Nueva Orchestra has at long last been re-issued on CD by Catalogue Music [this was written about 2004-however its just made a reissue in Japan] laboriously restored and remastered from the best available vinyl discs as the original master was long lost.
The entire album had been recorded in a single three hour session in a tiny studio, and all tracks are first complete takes. Even the original Musicor release was not of the greatest technical quality and in fact rather harsh-sounding, and an early re-release on Ariola suffered from a flawed pressing and fuzzy sound. With the current CD re-issue, "Cuban Roots" can be heard far better and far more cleanly than ever before. Don't expect the perfection of a modern digital recording, or even of a remaster from an original analogue high quality master, though. This would be plainly impossible to achieve. But the quality is still very, very good indeed and a real joy, especially if you've ever heard the vinyl releases
Dedicated Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz aficionados will not need reminding what a momentous event the release of Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" was back in 1967 and why it almost instantly acquired legendary and even cult status. "Cuban Roots" represented an epic revelation. Never before had Cuban folk and especially Santeria rhythms been heard outside the boundaries of Cuban folk music. The complexity and sophistication of these rhythms came almost as a shock in the jazz world. Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" was - is! - as mind-blowing as few albums before or since. Despite a distinct lack of critical acclaim at the time, the reputation of "Cuban Roots" spread rapidly through the ranks of Afro-Cuban jazz devotees on both sides of the Atlantic. As the album was never widely available (at any rate on this side of the pond), musicians and connoisseurs alike would often gather around whomever was fortunate enough to have a copy to listen to this amazing revolutionary recording. The popular excitement "Cuban Roots" generated was quite extraordinary. The original release quickly became a prized collectible and today probably is one of the most collectible vinyls on the planet, while even the Ariola re-release is quite sought-after and you'd probably have to be incredibly lucky to find one.
In addition to the sophisticated complex Afro-Cuban rhythms, the equal complexity of the ensemble writing and playing on Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" also stands out. The great spontaneity of this recording is given a further edge by the fact that it was based on a single full band rehearsal. Weinstein's crisp hard-edged trombone hardly stops playing, alternating between improvs and playing the second voice in the arranged responses mainly owing to the lack of a second trombonist. In addition to Weinstein, the band is comprised of a formidable array of luminaries. Mario Rivera on bari, then with Tito Puente, held the horns together. Arnie Lawrence on alto was picked on the strength of his prowess as a mambo dancer and his innate timing. A young Chick Corea, apparently somewhat bewildered at the rehearsal, on the cusp of his stint with Miles Davis shows much of the panache and style for which he was soon to become renowned. Julito Callazo, Tommy Lopez and Papaito from Sonora Matencera, already giants, here played together for the first time, and Papiro played conga on at least two of the tracks. Congas substituted for bata drums as the latter's use in a secular setting was at the time considered sacrilegious. Bassist Bobby Valentin, known for his great musical open-mindedness, and Kako on bell and palitos completed the line-up.
The opener of Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots", "Malanga", kicks the album off with an instantly riveting beat and complex and almost fierce improvs from Weinstein's edgy trombone and Lawrence's alto. Lennon and McCartney's "Michelle" is a brilliant arrangement that must have served as the template for many a subsequent horn-based version, though the driving as well as driven percussion here has never been approached elsewhere. "Ochosi-Om-Mi" is lyrical, an irresistible groove, with tasty as-if-in-a-dream like improvs. Things approach fever-pitch with "Chango", the hypnotic beats of the percussion driving on the horns, the improvs soaring to ever greater heights of invention. "Ochun" is perhaps the most light-hearted of the pieces, a happy, irresistible groove that practically forces you to jump up and dance - after all, this music, these rhythms, are meant to be danced to. Mark Weinstein's trombone and Chick Corea's ivories are especially driving and provide fine improvs - this is young Corea at his finest, rising to the challenge thrown up by Weinstein. An original Weinstein composition, "Just Another Guajira" continues in a happy vein, like a mambo on steroids. "El Desenganado de los Roncos" is at once very lyrical and incredibly complex, the ensemble playing is out of this world, as indeed are the improvs. "Cuban Roots" closes with "El Barracon", a driving piece, feverish, ecstatic. Even after nearly forty years, Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" still sounds fresh and exciting and still delights and surprises. I still discover something new with every listen, and not only because of the cleaned-up nature of this re-issue.

This superb article was lifted from rainlore.com .
There's also an excellent interview with Mark Weinstein here
The post is a rip of the cd @320 -I have been outbid for a vinyl copy on ebay the few times it has appeared...but one day,one day !!!

1 January 2007

RONNIE ROSS - CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLE























Welcome to 2007 and a real rarity from Ronnie Ross to get the new year rolling in true Orgy in Rhythm style.
Recorded in 1968 for Fontana with Les Condon (tp), Art Ellefson (ts), Bill le Sage (p, vib), Spike Heatley (b), Ronnie Stephenson (ds), and Tony Carr (ds). This features eight compositions all of which are originals;here's some more info from the sleeve notes.

Ronnie Ross wrote three of them:"Dolphin Square",dedicated to a party at which Zoot Sims was present,once held in a flat there("It must have been a good one,because I don't remember it"):"Cleopatra's Needle"which he describes as an old fashioned 20 bar blues:and the quintet number "Smiling Jack"which he reluctantly confessed is a nickname for Zoot Sims-reluctantly because Zoot doesn't like being called by it.
Bill Le Sage contributed two titles "Stand By"and"Two Castles"."Tibufa"intricately derived by assembling syllables taken from certain parts of the human anatomy is by Art Elefsen.Spike Heatley wrote the very intriguing"Eucalyptus Kid"while Les Condon provided "U69".

This remains a very expensive lp and has never made it to cd so I was dead chuffed to pick up a mint Japanese 180g reissue at a very reasonable price from disquesdessinee in Hyogo,Japan.I ripped it on first play at 320 so the sound is excellent -Happy New Year!!!