30 September 2007

DON SEBESKY - GIANT BOX



















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.

JOHNNY HAMMOND - STORM WARNING


























Johnny Hammond for Milestone from 1977.
Recorded after his classic work with Larry Mizell, and produced by Johnny and Orin Keepnews, but still trying to be very much in the Mizell-sounding vein. It's still a nice batch of California funky fusion tracks.
The group includes Carol Kaye on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, Ndugu on drums,Larry Farrow on Clavinet and Bill Summers on percussion.Guests include Roger Glenn and-surprise,surprise-John Abercrombie on three tracks.
No reissues-ripped @320 from the original vinyl.

PEDRO RUY-BLAS - DOLORES























Pedro Ruy-Blas and Dolores for Polydor Spain from 1976.
Flamenco meets jazz fusion on this monster from Spain.Don't be put off by visions of men with dodgy perms,gold medallions,hairy chests and twanging guitars warbling their way through the Manitas de Plata songbook with a red rose in their gob-this is a fucking bomb!
Check out "El Jaleo" and "La Ausencia" for some latin mayhem.The rest of the lp is great just give it a few listens as it's a real grower.
The band Dolores included Jorge Pardo on Flute and featured Pedro Ruy-Blas on vocals and percussion(he was also heard in full effect on Jayme Marquez's Vera Cruz) and originated in Spain.They produced three(?)albums which are all worth trying to track down this being the second I believe.An excellent best of retrospective was also issued in Japan on cd.
I remember the record dealer who traded as Casbah Records was always bigging them up in his lists about 15 years ago and was an authority on them.I don't know much more about them myself so if anyone out there has more information please leave it in the comments.
This lp has just got a vinyl reissue by Treasure Trove in London but it seems to be virtually sold out already-I've ripped it @320 from the reissue.It also got a reissue in Spain as a double cd set of all 3 albums which is now deleted.

GARY MCFARLAND - POINT OF DEPARTURE



















Gary McFarland for Impulse from 1963.
Willie Dennis (tb) Richie Kamuca (ts, ob) Gary McFarland (vib) Jimmy Raney (g) Steve Swallow (b) Mel Lewis (d)
Here's an excellent introduction to the mighty Mr. McFarland from the wonderful Doug Payne.com -a highly recommended visit if you have an interest in some of the jazz posted here.

Assembling a stellar sextet with intriguing instrumentation, McFarland puts his chops on the line here - and succeeds. In addition to imaginative and memorable originals, McFarland reveals a flair for clever, inspired improvisation. For a studio unit, this is one tight group of complimentary and like-minded musicians. Each is in top form and seems to enjoy being part of the whole. At turns, fiery and swinging, then relaxed and sensitive. Always enjoyable, though.

Gary McFarland (b. October 23, 1933) was one of the more significant contributors to orchestral jazz during the 1960s. He had an unfortunately short career. But he was surprisingly productive in the brief decade he was captured on record (1960-70). An "adult prodigy," as Gene Lees once noted, McFarland was an ingenious composer whose music revealed shades of complex emotional subtlety and clever childlike simplicity.
While in the army, he became interested in jazz and attempted to play trumpet, trombone and piano. In 1955 he took up playing the vibes. Displaying a quick ability for interesting writing, he obtained a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music. He spent one semester there in 1959 and with the encouragement of pianist John Lewis, concentrated on large-band arrangements of his own compositions.
He attained early notoriety and success through top-drawer affiliations (Anita O'Day, Bob Brookmeyer), outstanding melodic compositions (for Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Hodges), unique arrangements (his own interpretation of Frank Loesser's Broadway musical "How to Succeed in Business...") and an early devotion and sympathetic understanding of the bossa nova (Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer).
McFarland began devoting more attention to his own career and in 1963 released what is often regarded as his most significant recording -- The Gary McFarland Orchestra/Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans -- a sublime, evocative score that revels in its simplicity. He also started recording in small-group settings which began to feature his own vibes playing (Point of Departure).
In 1964, shortly after staging his own ballet, Reflections in the Park, McFarland issued Soft Samba, a set of pop-rock covers featuring some of the earliest jazz covers of popular Beatles tunes. The controversial album featured pleasant samba-like rhythms enhanced by wordless vocals and whistling and minimal improvising. While Soft Samba attracted a sizable and appreciative audience, the jazz press and McFarland's early admirers were harshly dismissive. But McFarland experienced his first real hit and a taste of considerable popularity.
The success of Soft Samba allowed McFarland to form his first performing group. Featuring fellow Berklee alum Gabor Szabo on guitar as well as recent Berklee graduate Sadao Watanabe, young bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Joe Cocuzzo. The band toured clubs across America during the summer of 1965 and recorded an album similar -- but superior -- to Soft Samba, called The In Sound. Here, McFarland mixed his brand of pop vocalese with the substantial improvisational talents of unique accompanists, most notably Gabor Szabo.
The following year found McFarland devoting his talents to the large-scale orchestras which provided his initial notoriety. A February 6, 1966, performance at New York's Lincoln Center yielded the record Profiles, which collected New York's finest jazz musicians and soloists -- notably, Clark Terry, Bob Brookmeyer, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Gabor Szabo and Richard Davis. McFarland went on that year to record an album of blatant, Beatlesque pop with Gabor Szabo (Simpatico), a soundtrack for a David Niven film (13, eventually titled Eye of the Devil upon release) and wrote and arranged the highly regarded The October Suite for pianist Steve Kuhn, an outstanding set of lyrical and moody tone poems in a chamber jazz setting. He also recorded Zoot Sims in an orchestral ("sax with strings") setting for the lovely Impulse album Waiting Game.
McFarland then teamed with guitarist Gabor Szabo and vibist Cal Tjader in 1968 to form the Skye Recordings label under the direction of their mutual manager Norman Schwartz. McFarland recorded several titles of his own for the label; a few overtly pop-jazz endeavors (Does The Sun Really Shine on The Moon, Today), a soundtrack (Slaves) and his critically acclaimed orchestral work, America the Beautiful.
McFarland acted as "artists and repertoire" man for each Skye recording. Whether performing, arranging and/or producing, McFarland, unlike the other principals of Skye, participated in each of Skye's 20-something recordings (also including Szabo, Tjader, percussionist Armando Peraza, vocalist Grady Tate and blues singer Ruth Brown).
The Skye label lasted less than two years and McFarland, Tjader and Szabo went their separate ways - never to work together again. McFarland went on to compose another film score (Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name), record a folk-pop record with cartoonist Peter Smith (Butterscotch Rum), arrange a Steve Kuhn pop album and supervise the Broadway musical To Live Another Summer/To Pass Another Winter.
By late 1971, McFarland was working hard toward making a name for himself in Broadway and film, two areas he'd hoped to explore in greater depth. But on the afternoon of November 2, while with a friend in a New York City bar, he ingested a drink into which liquid methadone had been poured. He suffered a fatal heart attack and died instantly. He was declared dead at New York City's St. Vincent Hospital that day.
Publications were all mysterious - and vague - about what really happened:
Variety (November 10, 1971): Gary McFarland "died November 2 in St. Vincent's Hospital, New York. Cause of death was not disclosed."
Melody Maker (November 13, 1971): Gary McFarland "died in a New York hospital last week, of an undisclosed cause. He was 38."
Billboard (November 20, 1971): Gary McFarland "died November 1 in St. Vincent's Hospital of a heart attack hours after final recording sessions for the original cast album of 'To Live Another Summer (To Pass Another Winter),' for which he had served as musical director."
Down Beat (December 23, 1971): Gary McFarland "died November 3 in New York City of a heart attack. He was stricken about 4 am in a Greenwich Village bar and was dead on arrival at nearby St. Vincent's Hospital."
Today, more than three decades later, there is - sadly - not enough evidence of Gary McFarland's musical gifts available for listeners to hear. McFarland is unfairly dismissed or ignored by many critics and lack of sales prevents record companies - especially Universal Music, which owns the majority of McFarland's recordings - from returning this work into musical circulation.
Several McFarland classics, however, are available on CD and each is well worth hearing: Stan Getz's Big Band Bossa Nova, Anita O'Day's All The Sad Young Men, McFarland's own America the Beautiful and The Jazz Version of 'How to Succeed To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, and the recent compilation of McFarland's Verve pop-jazz classics, Latin Lounge, on the German Motor label.
In response to his critics, this writer would argue that Gary McFarland's "commercial" music deserves to be heard as seriously as his orchestral jazz. If, for whatever reason, one chooses to distinguish between the two, clearly substantial similarities exist. McFarland's clever, playful phrasing is relevant to both. He has a gift of a childlike wit and a knack for memorable music as well as an ability to share a deep, emotional sadness and longing.
McFarland's was a music of moods -- a happy, life-affirming joy mixed with a deep childlike sensitivity and wonder. In a culture that requires the application (and adherence to the constriction) of definitions, Gary McFarland wasn't defined by merely one way of hearing the world nor by how he expressed himself.
Before doubting or denying his talents or abilities, one must review the caliber of jazz luminaries that associated themselves with McFarland and his music. If nothing else keeps Gary McFarland's music alive, perhaps such highly regarded heroes as Stan Getz, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Zoot Sims will help the McFarland legacy survive. As one of Gary's friends once told me, anyone who ever knew or heard him could never forget Gary McFarland.
Viva Gary McFarland!
Ripped from the original vinyl @320.This made it to cd in Japan some years ago which is now long deleted otherwise no reissues

MAX ROACH - MEMBERS DONT GET WEARY























Max Roach for Atlantic from 1968 for Atlantic.
I posted this in June 06 and have had a number of requests for a repost so here it is @320 from the US Koch CD which is now deleted-there is a more recent reissue which is still easily available.

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

29 September 2007

DAVID AXELROD - THE AUCTION


















As Axelrod remains perenially popular here's another re-post from last year taken from the original vinyl-I've ripped it @320 this time for your listening pleasure.

Rather than deal with his usual religious themes, Axelrod dedicated this album to slavery with a picture of a slave auction on the front and back of the gatefold cover. The opening refrain Oh! Freedom is a Gospel tune, but then Axelrod quickly turns to probably one of his most straight head Soul-Funk songs with the title track powered by the drumming of John Guerin and the congas of King Errison. The song gets even better with a guitar, drum and bass breakdown in the middle. Eventually the guitar of David T. Walker fades out and bassist James Hughart gets to solo over the drums and congas. Sympathy is a slow Jazz song with female singing that begins with just the guitar and bass. The lyrics are based upon the poem of the same name by early African American writer and poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. The piece has the famous line “I know why the caged bird sings.” Debt and Be Proud, My Race! are in a similar vein and are also based upon Dunbar’s writing. Be Proud, My Race! comes closest to the classic Axelrod sound with the group singing, although in this case it sounds like a chorus from a Show tune rather than Axelrod’s usual Gregorian Monk stuff. The album switches back to the Funk with another laidback cut entitled Freedom, before picking the pace up with the instrumental Leading Citizen that features a drum and conga break and a drum break in between hits on the bass, and a really nice solo by Walker. Joe Sample also appears, and the album was co-produced by Cannonball Adderley.
Review from Soulstrut by Motown 67.
Released by Decca in 1972 this has never made a cd re-issue but it is supposed to be getting an "official"vinyl re-issue of 500 copies very shortly.

20 September 2007

THE INDO-BRITISH JAZZ ENSEMBLE - CURRIED JAZZ























The Indo-British Jazz Ensemble for MFP from 1969

Dev Kumar (sitar), Chris Karan (tabla), Sitara (tamboura), Ray Swinfield (fl), Kenny Wheeler (flh), Jeff Clyne (b), Bill Eyden (dr) - on tracks 3 & 4 Leon Calvert replaces Kenny Wheeler and Art Morgan replaces Bill Eyden

In 1969, the imaginative indie record producer, and jazz-lover, Mark Sutton, who owned his own recording studio in Soho, gathered together some of the finest session jazz musicians working in London together with husband and wife, Dev and Sitara Kumar to record a series of what we might today call "fusion". The result was "Curried Jazz". The producers for the sessions were the great Ken Barnes (find out more about him at the excellent Vinyl Vulture site)and Michael Hall .Victor Graham composed,arranged and conducted the pieces.

DON WILKERSON - SHOUTIN'


Don Wilkerson for Blue Note from 1963.
Last of the Blue Note posts for a while and what better way to wrap 'em up than the Texas Tenor with this dream team :John Patton:Organ /Grant Green:Guitar/Ben Dixon:Drums/Don Wilkerson:Tenor.
Don Wilkerson's final album, Shoutin', found him returning to the confines of a quartet, which actually liberated his playing. Without the competition provided from a trumpeter, Wilkerson has plenty of room to roam, and he needs it -- he was one of the most forceful and full-bodied tenor saxophonists in soul-jazz during the '60s. Throughout Shoutin', he impresses with his ability to switch between rich, graceful ballads and hard-hitting, hard-driving blues and R&B. Fortunately, he's supported by an excellent trio -- guitarist Grant Green, organist John Patton, drummer Ben Dixon -- that can play it hard and play it soft with equal aplomb. And, like on Preach, Brother!, Green and Patton not only contribute fine accompaniment, but also terrific solos that keep things cooking. The original compositions (and most of the album is comprised of original material) may not be distinctive, but they do what they were intended to do: provide launching pads for hot grooves and kinetic interplay. All through Shoutin' the quartet works soulful grooves with invigorating dexterity, and the high quality of the music on this album, as well as Wilkerson's other three records, will make most soul-jazz fans regret that this was his last record. It will also make them treasure the albums all the more. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
Ripped @320 from the highly recommended but now deleted Blue Note "Complete Don Wilkerson Blue Note Sessions".It's still available on the net for a reasonable price but how long for?

17 September 2007

BLUE MITCHELL - BRING IT HOME TO ME


Blue Mitchell for Blue Note from 1966
Blue Mitchell (tp) Junior Cook (ts) Harold Mabern (p) Gene Taylor (b) Billy Higgins (d)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 6, 1966
And another one that has yet to be awarded RVG treatment on the cd reissue front.So it's fork out for the vinyl or buy the Mosaic Complete Blue Mitchell sessions -either way it's gonna be pricey.Dusty Groove once had the vinyl in stock(sod long ago) and said this about it:
Excellent (and hard to find) Blue Mitchell session with a good modal groove, and some nice funky Blue Note playing, in the best style of the label's mid 60's output. Blue's joined here by Junior Cook on tenor, his old bandmate from Horace Silver's group, and Harold Mabern's on piano. The set's got a lot of nice rolling lyrical moments, but it also grooves with the best of them, and has a nice solid bottom.
Ripped @320 from the Mosaic Box Set.

TYRONE WASHINGTON - NATURAL ESSENCE



























Tyrone Washington for Blue Note from 1968.
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ; December 29th, 1967

Tyrone Washington - ts; Woody Shaw - tp; James Spaulding - as, fl; Kenny Barron - p; Reggie Workman - b; Joe Chambers - dr.
One of my favorite Blue Notes and one that's never got much attention.It made a reissue on cd in Japan years ago which is now deleted and has yet to be RVGd.God knows why as it's far superior to some of the albums that have benefitted from the RVG treatment.Guess it's probably not one that is thought will sell so well (although Andrew Hill's Compulsion made it so perhaps that argument will no longer wash)...who knows?It has something of a "new thing" sound about it combined with a post-Coltrane spiritual approach.
Anyway here it is in all its glory ripped @320 from the original vinyl.

15 September 2007

ART BLAKEY - HOLIDAY FOR SKINS VOLUME 2

























Art Blakey for Blue Note from 1958.
Art Blakey, drums, chants Philly Joe Jones, drums, tympani, chants Art Taylor, drums, gong Sabu Martinez, bongo, conga, chants Ray Barretto, congas Chonguito Vicente, congas Victor Gonzalez, bongo Andy Delannoy, maracas, cencerro Julio Martinez, conga, tree log Fred Pagani Jr., timbales Donald Byrd, trumpet Ray Bryant, piano Wendell Marshall, bass Austin Cromer, chants Hal Rasheed, chants

More from the perfect combination-Sabu and Blakey !

Here's a review from allaboutJazz which discusses the cd reissue of both Volume 1(vinyl rip previously posted here)and 2.This post is ripped from the original vinyl @320.


An unpleasant odour of Eurocentric condescension has hung over Art Blakey's drum choir projects ever since they were recorded in the late 1950s. Orgy In Rhythm (1957) and Holiday For Skins (1958)—both originally released as two LPs and both now packaged on single CDs, the latter newly available in this Connoisseur edition—have been viewed by some in the critical fraternity as no more than a bit of inconsequential and unchallenging fun in which Blakey crashes around, more at less at random, with a posse of unschooled, non-jazz musicians.
But Blakey was serious about these projects. He was a drummer, and he believed drums were the bedrock of jazz. And of course he was right. He also had first-hand knowledge of Latin and West African drum and percussion music, obtained by hanging with Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians since the mid-1940s and travelling in Africa for about a year in 1948-49, studying and jamming with tribal musicians. Blakey was no dilettante, and—despite its jokey title and sleeve art—Holiday For Skins is a serious disc.
Supported by two other traps drummers, Philly Joe Jones (most often heard on tympani) and Art Taylor, Blakey approaches the music much as an Ashanti or Yoruba master drummer would—dropping interjections, goads, counterpoints and cross-rhythms into the grooves laid down by the ensemble, signalling changes in rhythm or tempo, and bringing individual soloists forward. In general, he sounds more like an African musician than an American one.
The grooves themselves are a collection of Latin and West African rhythm patterns, from highlife and sakara to mambo and bolero, creatively orchestrated, cross-pollinated, shaken and stirred, with plenty of dynamic light and shade. Most of the material, including the choral chants which introduce some of the tunes, was collectively composed in the studio (all the music was recorded during a single all-night session in November, 1958).
Only three tracks make overt gestures towards the American (as it then was) jazz tradition, and hard bop in particular: “Otinde” and the two originals written by Ray Bryant, “Swingin' Kilts” and “Reflection.” Donald Byrd steps forward on these tunes only.
The sound is surprisingly good for its time—and, curiously, much better than engineer Rudy Van Gelder would achieve six years later on Solomon Ilori's African High Life, featuring a similar instrumental ensemble.
Don't believe the ignoramuses. Holiday For Skins is a great album and contains some culturally adventurous, top-dollar Blakey.






9 September 2007

JACKIE MCLEAN QUINTET - HIPNOSIS






















Jackie McLean for Blue Note from 1967.
New Thing meets funk on this rare Japanese Blue Note - Highly Recommended.
Grachan Moncur III (tb) Jackie McLean (as) Lamont Johnson (p) Scott Holt (b) Billy Higgins (d)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 3, 1967

From the sleeve notes by Ben Sidran:
The title track is a snake charmer kind of vamp that is an excellent showcase for both the rhythm section and the soloists.Of particular note is the way drummer Higgins and pianist Lamont Johnson interweave the basket out of which emerge the serpentine horn lines of Jackie and Grachan.Some might call this a super sophisticated "Sidewinder"
"Slow Poke" written by Jackie,is a soulful off the wall composition that recalls the best elements of early Ornette Colman but remains all Jackie just the same.The rhythm section comes and goes as it pleases,with pianist Johnson leaving large holes for Scotty Holt and Higgins to move about and much of the harmonic structure,like the time,is taken for granted or approached from relativly arbitary angles by the horns.The common conception is simply no longer one of grooves,but is expanded to to include dramatic movement.Bassist Holt,who was a protege of Jackie's,solos with excellent facility and covers all the bases.
"The Breakout" does just that after a brief skirmish with a cross time opening theme.The soloing employs tone rows rather than chord changes.Despite the avant garde format,the soloing is somewhat traditional in character,and after ba short series of of chord resolutions,he piece abruptly ends.
"Back Home" by Moncur,reminds the listener that Grachan put in several long seasons on the road with the Ray Charles Band.It opens with a dramatic lament,with Higgins kicking loosly on the background,and one can almost visualise a country rode,down which comes a cow-cow boogie of the pure bred variety.The groove of this tune is authentic funk,more like Archie Shepp's tributes to his roots than the artificial twist jazz that was fashionable in the 60s.
The date ends with Johnson's "The Reason Why",avery rational chord progression followed by a string of logical rhythm kicks,out of which comes Jackie,flying upside down and sideways,wonderfully free and being buoyed up by the currents being generated behind him.His offhand outside in approach is a good closer to his package,as it demonstrates the fifties,sixties and even seventies elements in his playing.
This was to be Jackie's final recording for Blue Note Records.
Ripped @320 from the original vinyl.No reissues although it is included as part of the Mosaic Select Grachan Moncur cd Box set from Mosaic.

ART BLAKEY AND HIS JAZZ MESSENGERS WITH SABU AND A BONGO - CU-BOP














Art Blakey,The Messengers plus the mighty Sabu Martinez and a bongo for Jubilee from 1957

Art Blakey's bristling Jazz Messengers consists of Johnny Griffin, tenor; Bill Hardman, trumpet; Sam Dockery, piano; "Spanky" DeBrest, bass. The addition, conga drummer "Sabu" Martinez, like Blakey, has the molten soul of a dedicated percussionist. Like Blakey, he is wholly intense; and when he begins to play, he projects a fire that at times threatens to consume his instrument and himself.
Like Blakey, Sabu too is a jazz drummer.
He is very insistent on this point. "You can't play Latin conga to jazz," he declares. "At least, you shouldn't. I play the conga drum as a jazz instrument, not as a Latin addition. Using the conga drum this way is still relatively new, and very few conga drummers can express themselves as jazz musicians yet."
Sabu was asked the primary differences between the way he plays jazz conga drum and the way he might play Latin conga drum. "I often leave more spaces in jazz, and I put more pressure on two and four. Actually, I feel jazz in two while in Latin music I have to feel the beat on all four beats pretty evenly. Another thing I do in jazz conga is to stretch my notes. I can deepen and stretch the beat by placing my hand heavier on the skin."
Sabu is proud of a recent Art Blakey award of merit and valor. "Art said that I'm the only conga drummer who doesn't interfere with his drumming and who doesn't get in the way of the musicians when they're taking solos."
This fervent conga drummer emphasizes another important aspect of his philosophy of jazz conga blowing. "You can express yourself on the conga drum in jazz as you would on a horn. I feel it as part of the group, like any other instrument, not as just a time-keeper."
Howard McGhee, the renowned trumpet player who was listening to this conversation, included his view: '"The conga drum can be like any other instrument, like another saxophone or trumpet. It adds more color, in a way, than another horn, so that it not only boosts the rhythm but colors the whole band."
Sabu is capable of becoming Toynbeeish about his beloved conga drum. "The conga drum," he assures those who will listen "is perhaps the first instrument in the world. Before the conga drum was a drum, it was a log, and logs were used to send messages." The subject has many ramifications through the eons, and we shall pursue it for the moment no farther.
Sabu does not read music. "I feel the beat. I have been in jazz since 1947 and consider myself a jazz musician so I have no problem in feeling the rhythm and knowing what to do to express what I feel and to blend with the group.''
The first major influence on Sabu was the inflammatory Chano Pozo, the Cuban bongo and conga drummer who toured with the Dizzy Gillespie big band in 1948 and electrified musicians and audiences until he was cut down by a bullet that same year in a night club brawl. "Chano, whom I knew very well," Sabu remembers, "was happy he was part of jazz and happy that he was the one to introduce into jazz the real jazz possibilities of his instruments."
Three days after Chano died, Sabu took his place with Dizzy. He has also worked with Charlie Parker, Mary Lou Williams, Blakey, Lionel Hampton, J. J. Johnson, Buddy De Franco, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, and other jazzmen. He would like to make his future in jazz, and has a quintet of trumpet, piano, bass, drums and conga drum. "I want to let people see and hear more of the conga drum as a jazz instrument."
Sabu believes that this is the first jazz date on which two conga drums have been played simultaneously. "Before, they have used one; I wanted to get a taste of how two would sound. I tuned one to A and the other an octave higher. After being slapped a while, they might have come down a little in pitch but still an octave apart. Art tuned to the piano, and I tuned to Art. I'd rather tune to a skin or to a bass because it sounds more like a drum to me..."
I have devoted this much space to Sabu because, first of all, it is his presence that differentiates this album from previous conclaves of Art Blakey and his Messengers. Secondly, Art's own background is already well and widely known, and has been detailed in a considerable number of liner notes. Very briefly, Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (his Moslem name) was born in Pittsburgh October 11, 1919. He has worked with Fletcher Henderson, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Eckstine (the honorable Eckstine 1944-47 modern jazz band), Lucky Millinder, Buddy De Franco, and has headed many units of his own. He has been a leader consistently in recent years, and this is his second Jazz Messengers unit of the '50s. (He had a big band titled the Messengers that he assembled intermittently from 1948-50.)
In a Down Beat interview with this questioner in early 1956, Art explained why he was drawn to "The Messengers" as the name for a jazz band: "When I was a kid, I went to church mainly to relieve myself of problems and hardships. We did it by singing and clapping our hands. We called this way of relieving trouble having the spirit hit you. I get that same feeling, even more powerfully, when I'm playing jazz. In jazz, you get the message when you hear the music. And when we're on the stand, and we see that there are people in the audience who aren't patting their feet and who aren't nodding their heads to our music, we know we're doing something wrong. Because when we do get our message across, those heads and feet do move."
Art's current sidemen represent a young blazing generation of jazzmen who grew up accepting the Bird-Dizzy-Monk-Bud revision of the jazz language as the natural way of speaking jazz. For many of them, it was the first jazz they heard and it made the most penetrating impact. Part of this younger generation continues to play directly within the Bird-Dizzy mainstream while at the same time trying to deepen, extend and continually re-energize the language.
Johnny Griffin, a roaring tenor from Chicago who has strikingly impressed New York musicians in recent months, goes back farther in his acknowledged influences than a number of his contemporaries. According to Joe Segal, Metronome's Chicago voice, Griffin has listed Don Byas, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Lester Young, Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Thelonious Monk as the musicians he prefers and presumably has [been] influenced by. Like Sonny Rollins, the dean of a section of young tenors, Griffin plays hard and hot and he possesses a conception that swings with compelling strength and rhythmic invention. Near 30, he is a valuable voice.
Hardman, a crackling, spearing trumpeter, was born in Cleveland April 6, 1932. According to Ira Gitler, his influences were Benny Bailey (who was with Lionel Hampton in the mid-'40s), Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. Hardman worked with Tiny Bradshaw from 1953-55, and became a member of Charlie Mingus' uncompromising Jazz Worksbop in 1956. It was while with Mingus on a lashing, rainy night at Newport, that Hardman's conviction and emotional drive first impressed a large number of the oriented. He has become increasingly recognized through his work with Blakey in the past year. "Spanky" DeBrest has worked in and around Philadelphia; and Sam Dockery is an alumnus of a Buddy Rich group, among other units.
The opening Shorty by Johnny Griffin is a virile head-shaker that sets and maintains a rolling, heated groove. Charlie Shavers' Dawn on the Desert begins with Johnny (not Griffin) stepping out of store-windows all over the oases but after that background camel-ride is happily over, the track settles down into a firmly pulsating, blues-shaded series of intent messages from the soloists. There is a conversation between Sabu and Blakey following Griffin that to his rhythm-struck listener, is an invigorating involving experience.
Dizzy Gillespie's Woodyn' You has become as familiar to the young modern jazzman as Royal Garden Blues was to some of their predecessors, and it is played with the swift assertiveness of familiarity. The final Sakeena is named after a very new Art Blakey daughter, and seems to this listener to be an invocation to the new soul to bestir herself, to become and express herself, and to live fully. At any rate, it affects the mnsicians that way. The climax is again attained during a colloquy between Art and Sabu that comes to sound like a village of voices, instead of just two.
This session not only swings; it multi-swings.

-- Nat Hentoff, co-editor, Hear Me Talkin' to Ya and Jazz Makers (Rinehart)
Ripped @320 from the original vinyl

8 September 2007

DAVID AXELROD - SERIOUSLY DEEP





















David Axelrod for Polydor from 1975.
I am reposting this with a new 320 rip from my original vinyl-the original post I did early last year was @192.

Off The Beaten Path
David Axelrod: Unknown Innovator By Dave Tompkins

In ’62, Axelrod befriended alto sax player Cannonball Adderly. "Presley had been out for two years. I didn’t have the faintest fucking idea of what he sounded like. We were too busy listening to Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Charlie Byrd." In ’66, Axelrod (an A&R at the time) initiated Capitol’s Black Music Division and produced gold hits with Lou Rawls’ Live!, David McCallum, and Adderly’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

Voice poached and ash eternal, Axe is visionary like the Diamonds and Shadows he’s influenced. Large Professor delved into Axe’s Earth Rot (1970) ecology for Common’s "Resurrection" remix. Axelrod wrote the drum flurry heart of Gang Starr’s "Place Where We Dwell." I would’ve gone to church if mass was as funky as "Holy Are You" (1969, Electric Prunes). Hip-hop exalted "Praise Be the Lord!" for its beat, and Fat Joe pitched a revival tent. Axelrod loped into a go-go cadence on "Pula Yeta" (from South African singer Lette Imbule) and turned bolero into a funky galumph on Cannonball Adderly’s "Book-Ends" (1974).

"I can’t help that there’s always R&B in my work," he shrugs. "That’s what I grew up on. I break up a melodic motif with drums and finish the phrase. That gets to hip-hop people. They said ‘breakbeats’ and I say, ‘What is a fucking breakbeat?’ Young people know more about my records than I do."

Axelrod may be hip-hop’s most coveted producer because the beat-smitten will shed cheddar for his wax until a pittance remains for sample clearance. "Since they’re sampling me so much, I know I could write a hip-hop arrangement. And they’d save money because arranging is cheaper. I would’ve taken what Dr. Dre did with ‘The Edge’ (David McCallum) and made it another trip. There’s so much that hasn’t been used in ‘Holy Thursday.’ Like any art, rap needs to take more risks. Otherwise, what good is it?"

With their subplots and breakdowns, Axe’s narratives don’t end at the beginning of (loop). The "eeeeeBS"-sounding Hammond silver at the beginning of "A Divine Image" is the desert sun’s glint to a dying man at the end of Lateef and Shadow’s "The Wreckoning." On Ras Kass’ "Soul on Ice" remix, Diamond juxtaposes two different Axe cuts ("Mental Traveler" is one) which, by their mutable nature, sound like one Axe cut. That’s the hip-hop before hip-hop.

Currently on the Mo’ Wax roster with time-lessons Divine Styler and DJ Magic Mike, Axelrod is a musical portmanteau. Here, 18th Century Aganippe (poetic method of power) translates into string stabs, horn envelopes and italicized drum breaks (late ‘60s) which are transposed into hip-hop (now). And MCs should hear each phrase before interpreting the interpretation of the interpretation. "Blake means something different at different points of my life. Maybe Blake did talk to Ezekiel. He could talk to anybody he felt like. Why not prophets? I think that’s very hip."

Though Axelrod’s strings had panorama range, they’ve yet to pierce the 40-foot screen. George Lucas considered Axe for THX-1138 and damned if Lalo Schifrin’s "Scorpio" didn’t sound like it. On Seriously Deep (1975), Axelrod dubbed a song "Ken Russell" after the director of The Devils, a blessed (and hell-bound) film score by Peter Maxwell Davies. "The Devils was made to order for Davies," says the man who loathes Kevin Bacon’s band. "Davies took medieval music and made it sound modern and satanic though the story took place in the 17th century."

Allen Ginsberg was so affected by Axelrod’s Song of Innocence exegesis that he asked him to compose for Howl. "Walking the Negro streets looking for an angry fix," Axe paraphrases. "Not all literal translations are going to fit music, so you change the wording." Axelrod’s son tragically died in ’70, so the collaboration never fleshed, now languishing in fantasy league with the Skinny Boys reunion.

Recent liners for EMI’s Axelrod Anthology insinuate that he composed while on smack though he learned how to write music in ’65 and kicked the addiction in ’53, locked in a room on a 10-day diet of chocolate milkshakes and scotch. "I’ve never written high," he snarls. "I eventually got bored with the streets – what could be hipper than my wife and I sitting here reading? I’m much bigger on streets than I am on nature. The streets are my nature. I like dawns…and I’ve seen a lot more dawns than sunsets."

This lp has never made it to a cd release - not even in Japan and nothing from it made any of the Axelrod compilations.Its on Polydor so guess it must be to do with the licensing because its one of his best albums .

DAVID AXELROD - HEAVY AXE



















David Axelrod for Fantasy from 1974.
I'm sure you dont need me to tell you this is an album with some staggeringly good wide screen sound originals (Mucho Chupar/Everything Counts/My Family)and some fucking awful covers(You're so Vain/Dont You Worry About A Thing).
Here's the notes from the inner sleeve of the original release:
David Axelrod is a composer/arranger/producer who has worked with such artists as Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley, Betty Everett, Gene Ammons, and Merl Saunders, among others. He has also produced albums on his own, including the innovative rock version of Handel’s Messiah.
Heavy Axe is Axelrod’s first Fantasy album under his own name; it’s his first “non-concept” type LP. It is also the first time Axelrod has not produced himself, turning over the producing chores here to Cannonball Adderley. “Axe” and “Cannon” work together constantly, but Axe is usually producing Cannon—not the other way around!
Axelrod grew up on the south side of Los Angeles at a time when the city was teeming with the sounds of jazz, and filled with small clubs in which to hear it. He was orphaned by the time he was 14; he and his older sister literally raised themselves on the streets of Los Angeles. He’s paid lots of nonmusical dues too: he’s dug ditches, driven trucks, been a prizefighter, a machinist, a bus boy at the Coconut Grove. He never graduated from high school.
At age 19, David met a man who changed the entire course of his life, jazz pianist Gerald Wiggins. One night Wiggins brought David home with him and David stayed for seven years! Wiggins taught David to read music, and with friends like Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson dropping by, David learned a tremendous amount at the Wiggins home. He’s had little formal musical training—a year of night classes at UCLA in harmony and composition, and private work with Mauro Bruno.
Axelrod produced his first record when he was 22; he soon became known, in the words of Down Beat, as “the best A&R man on the West Coast.”
In 1964 Axelrod signed with Capitol Records as a producer/arranger/conductor. He worked with Cannonball, Lou Rawls, and David McCallum, and headed up their R&B division, a term he loathes. David is one of those white people who always seem black. His environment as a youth was black, and David relates to the black experience totally. A person’s color is inconsequential to Axelrod; music is the only thing that matters.
In 1967 Axelrod wrote and arranged an LP for the Electric Prunes, the “Mass in F Minor,” which was the first composition to use feedback and guitar distortion as an integral part of a total orchestration. That was the “Mass” you heard in the film Easy Rider. In 1969 he arranged and composed the album “Song of Innocence,” which prompted a fan letter from the Beatles. He also did a rock interpretation of Handel’s Messiah, including in it some of his own writing.
Axelrod is a leader. He’s always out there in the musical vanguard, defying categorization. His versatility is indeed amazing. He’s not a jazz man, not necessarily “R&B,” not even a pop music man. He’s just musical. He covers the entire spectrum of music, from the most sophisticated of classicists (i.e., Handel, Ravel) on down to the funkiest black brother on the street who whistles a tune.
In the last year or so at Fantasy, Axelrod has arranged and produced Fantasy artists Cannonball Adderley, Gene Ammons, Merl Saunders, Funk, Inc., and Betty Everett. He worked with Cannonball on a double album, Big Man, a musical based on the life of John Henry, scheduled for an August release

CHARLES EARLAND - LIVING BLACK !
















Charles Earland for Prestige from 1970.
With his towering physique and monstrous chops, Charles “The Burner” Earland dominated the jazz-organ bars once scattered across the cities of the “Chitlins Circuit”. From the late-60's through the early-80's, Earland gigged heavily throughout the black urban ghettos of the North, South and Midwest, conquering tough to please crowds with the blistering inferno of his fingers on the keys. It was in these rollicking live settings that Earland’s crowd-pleasing chops burned their brightest. As former Earland reedman Roy Nathanson told me shortly after the organist’s death in 1999, “People from all different backgrounds came together and had a good time. That was the cultural experience of playing those ghetto organ bars that barley exist today. Charlie and I had a lot of good times there.” Living Black! was recorded live in 1970 at one such venue—the Key Club in gritty Newark, New Jersey. Featuring a talented band of unknowns, including the mean but green Grover Washington Jr. on tenor sax, Living Black! captures the experience of an organ-bar jam session in all its hip-shaking glory. From the impromptu funk of “Key Club Workout” to the expansive 14 and1/2 minute blues-groove of “Killer Joe”, Earland’s inspired solos and bouncy vamps hold the listener in its fiery clutches. As Nathanson recalled, “Charlie was the most transcendent musician I ever played with. They called him ‘The Burner’ because sitting in his groove was like riding the world’s most souped up Cadalliac.” Setting the pace with his funky walking-bass pedal grooves, Earland pulls the most surprising performances out of his fellow musicians, who play beyond their limitations and obscurity to shine like stars.
Review from Must Hear.com

HARRIS SIMON GROUP - SWISH










Harris Simon Group for Baybridge Japan from 1980.
A monster of an album back in the day which features some of my favourite tunes.I first heard "Wind Chant" played out by Chris Bangs at The Rio in Didcot and was straight down to Disc Empire to pick up a copy the next day.I wasn't dissapointed.Three killers "Wind Chant" by Hugo Fatturoso,"Swish" by Harris Simon and "Factory" by the great Cesar Camargo Mariano (which kicked off my love for Brazilian fusion)which I played to death.Funnily enough I wrote a short email to Harris Simon a few years ago telling him how much I had enjoyed his music and was he aware what dance floor mayhem his music had caused over the years in the jazz dance scene.I got a charming reply from him and then I found this article today at The Bottom End site which puts the albums into perspective from The Electric Ballroom/Murdah One obsessive Seymour Nurse who recently actually interviewed him !

"The feeling of playing with all those different drums and shakers just lifted me up in the air"
Harris Simon, the keyboard maestro who gave us the Jazz-Fusion epics, "Romance Of Death" and "North Station", as well as the exquisite "Wind Chant" and "Factory", talks to The Bottom End about the inspiration behind his legendary albums, "New York Connection" and "Swish".
Seymour Nurse: When did you first start to develop an interest in playing Jazz, and who were your inspirations?

HARRIS SIMON: I was a blues fanatic as a 15 year old playing boogie woogie piano, blues harmonica and slide guitar. My inspiration on piano was Otis Spann, on harmonica it was Little Walter and on slide guitar it was Robert Johnson. When I was 17 I joined a jazz group and was influenced mostly by Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly and Horace Silver.

Seymour Nurse: You made four albums with your group. Two of them ("New York Connection" and "Swish") had a huge impact on the English "Jazz-Fusion Dance Movement" in the early 80s. Were you aware that your tracks were being played to kids in these Jazz clubs?

HARRIS SIMON: I had no idea. I hadn't really thought of the music as dance music although I felt that the grooves were very strong. It was a wonderful surprise when I found out.

Seymour Nurse: Your biggest tunes were, "North Station", "Romance of Death", "Wind Chant", and "Factory". These were originally recorded on the albums "Sao Paulo" by Cesar Mariano & CIA, and "Fingers" by Airto Moreira. How did you first hear about these tracks? Were you already familiar with these records before you recorded your own versions?

HARRIS SIMON: I was a big fan of Airto Moreira from his work with Chick Corea but I had not heard of Cesar Mariano. George Klabin had met Cesar in Brazil and suggested to me that we record some of his tunes.

Seymour Nurse: What made your versions so special was that you took relatively short tracks, and 'stretched them out', creating such exciting vehicles for some incredible soloing. For me, the epic "Romance of Death" is the finest example of this. How was it working on these arrangements with Jeffrey Kaufman, Jorge Calandrelli, and George Klabin?

HARRIS SIMON: It was a collaborative effort. George was friends with Mike Brecker and wanted him on the album. Since he is such a monster improviser we wanted to open up the songs to allow a lot of solo space. We layered the strings and voices on after the original sessions. Jorge was very meticulous in the way he used my exact piano voicings in his arrangements. It was Jeffrey's idea to use the anvil sound on "Factory".

Seymour Nurse: You formed your group at quite a young age, that featured some incredible musicians (Michael Brecker, Billy Cobham, Guilherme Franco, Portinho, Mike Richmond, Claudio Roditi, Bill Washer, John Riley, Dave Valentin, Joe Farrell, Rufus Reid, Michal Urbaniak etc...) Michael Brecker was such an exceptional talent, and his recent passing away was a huge loss to the Jazz world. What was your experience working with these great artists?

HARRIS SIMON: I was a bit overwhelmed at first but once we started to play it felt so great that I forgot about anything else. Michael was amazing. He could play anything you put in front of him. I remember listening to playbacks and just being unbelievably excited at what he was doing. He's probably the most dedicated musician I ever met. Claudio with his big sound played with incredible fire on his solos. Everyone put forth their best effort.

Seymour Nurse: You have given us other great tunes to dance to, such as the wonderfully arranged Latin rollercoaster ride, "All Points South", "Don the Don", "Stonehenge", and "Swish". What inspired you to record so many up-tempo tracks for the "New York Connection" album?

HARRIS SIMON: There are a couple of ballads on the albums and some medium tempo tunes but you're right. I guess I was young and I just liked songs with a lot of energy.

Seymour Nurse: The "North Station" was such a big track on the dance floors of our jazz clubs. The voices of "Vocal Jazz Incorporated", and the strong Afro-Brazilian rhythms gave your music such a special flavour.

HARRIS SIMON: It was a great opportunity to take advantage of being in the studio by adding a lot of layers to the music. I think it was Jeffrey's idea to add the voices. Most of the gigs I was doing were with small groups. It was exciting to add all that percussion and the strings and synth sounds.

Seymour Nurse: The "Wind Chant" is an incredibly beautiful song, that has touched so many people in such a deep way. What can you remember about recording this gem?

HARRIS SIMON: I think "Wind Chant" is my favorite song from those sessions. Michael's solo is structured so perfectly. We recorded live with a large percussion group that Guilherme Franco put together. The feeling of playing with all those different drums and shakers just lifted me up in the air.

I think the idea of having the percussionists vocalize the sounds of their instruments was very effective. The piece has a lot of variety but the sections flow into each other very smoothly.

Seymour Nurse: Your albums also produced some delightful ballads such as, "Midday Dreams", "City Lights", and "Loufiana", which have the most exquisite string arrangements. The tracks, "Feel like Flying" and "New York Connection" are very soulful. This showed another side to your music.

HARRIS SIMON: "Loufiana" was dedicated to my brother Lou and his wife Fia and their daughter Anna. That was the first string arrangement I ever wrote. I thought Joe Farrell's solo on the song was very beautiful. Jorge's string introduction to "Midday Dreams" is a composition unto itself. I had done some gigs with Gail Wynters where we performed jazz standards. The producers wanted a lot of different styles on the album so it was fun to get to do a more pop oriented song like "Feel Like Flying" with her.

Seymour Nurse: You are currently performing with your Jazz Trio. What kind of material are you working on, and can we look forward to hearing a new album from you?

HARRIS SIMON: I keep myself busy with performing and teaching. My last album was mostly original material so I'm thinking about doing an album of standards that I love to play. I've been working a lot on my harmonica playing and will probably feature myself playing that instrument more than I have in the past.

Seymour Nurse: Harris, thank you so much. It has been a real privilege to finally have an insight into the music that touched and inspired us in such a special way.

HARRIS SIMON: All the best to you and my fans in England

Ripped @320 from the very hard to find and now deleted cd reissue on Four Star(which had a shitty cover) as my original Japanese pressing was nicked by some asshole (with good taste) many years ago-bastard !!!!

CAL TJADER - SOUL SAUCE




















Cal Tjader for Verve from 1964.

Soul Sauce is one of the highlights from Tjader's catalog with its appealing mixture of mambo, samba, bolero, and boogaloo styles. Tjader's core band — long-time piano player Lonnie Hewitt, drummer Johnny Rae and percussionist's Willie Bobo and Armanda Peraza — starts things off with a cooled down version of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo's latin jazz classic "Guachi Guaro (Soul Sauce)". With the help of guitarist Kenny Burrell, trumpeter Donald Byrd, and tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath they offer up a lively version of Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue." Sticking to his music's "Mambo Without a Migraine" reputation, though, Tjader's musicians keep things fairly calm, especially on Latinized ballads such as Billy May's "Somewhere In the Night" and on midtempo swingers like "Tanya." On Soul Sauce Tjader had perfected a middle ground between the brisk, collegiate mambo of his early Fantasy records and the mood-heavy sound of Asian themed albums like Breeze From the East. In the process, he dodged the "Latin lounge" label with an album full of smart arrangements, subtly provocative vibe solos, and intricate percussion backing.
Stephen Cook AMG

Creed Taylor Producer Cal Tjader Vibraphone, Main Performer Alfredo "Alfredito" Valdes, Jr. Percussion Alberto Valdes Percussion Johnny Rae Drums Willie Bobo Percussion, Vocals Donald Byrd Trumpet Kenny Burrell Guitar Bob Bushnell Bass, Bongos, Bass (Electric) June Magruder Vocals Lonnie Hewitt Piano John Hilliard Bass Richard Davis Bass Jimmy Heath Sax (Tenor) Armando Peraza Percussion Grady Tate Drums

3 September 2007

SLEEPWALKER - THE VOYAGE



















Sleepwalker for Village Again(Japan)from 2006.
Two files:Here and Here.

A great set of contemporary jazz from the Japanese Quartet Sleepwalker featuring guest appearances from none other than Pharoah Sanders(The Voyage)Bembe Segue(Into The Sun)and Yukimi Nagano(Afloat).
Here's Dusty Groove's review:
Brilliant brilliant work by Sleep Walker -- a soaring, soulful album of spiritual jazz -- one that we'd rank right up there with our favorites from the era of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders on Impulse Records! The vibe here is incredible -- jazz played live on tenor, soprano sax, piano, bass, and drums -- spinning out in modal lines that groove tremendously, but not with any tricks or gimmicks that get in the way of genuine jazz expression. Sleep Walker are easily one of the deepest and most talented combos of the current club jazz scene -- and their music never resorts to fake samples or heavy-handed rhythms to move the tunes along -- just glows in the genius of its own bright light, spreading forth in waves of soul and sound that are tremendous from the first note of the album to the last!

Highpoints for me are ball busting latin banger "Kaze",the modal swinger"Lost In Blue"and the epic title track with Pharoah in full effect.Highly Recommended.
Ripped @320 from the Japanese cd issue.

2 September 2007

JOSE MANGUAL JR - TRIBUTE TO CHANO POZO














Jose Mangual Jr for True Ventures from 1977.
Milton Cardona Conga, coro, percussion;Julio Castro Conga, ganza, coro;Salvador Cuevas Bass;José Febles Acoustic guitar, trumpet, coro;Raymond Gonzalez Jr. Lead trumpet, clave, coro;Louie Mangual Bongo, percussion;Alfredo Rodriguez Piano;
Jimmy Sabater Timbales, percussion;Jose Mangual Jr Percussion,Coro

One of the classic latin albums of the 70s this is percussionist Jose Mangual's legendary 1977 tribute to the great Cuban conguero Chano Pozo.The LP kicks off with the monsterous "Manteca 77" and it's smokin' from there on in.Every track is a blinder whether it's the swinging cowbell driven banger "Cuero Na'ma" ,the flying samba "Sambala",the salsa of "Campanero" or the gritty "Guaguanco Chano" this truly is.....All Killer No Filler!
A classic, and a must-have for every serious collector.Highly Recommended.
Ripped from the original vinyl @320