29 November 2008


Wilfredo Stephenson for Amigo from 1982.
I think this has had more requests for a repost than any other album at O.I.R. since I last posted it in September 06.So I've ripped it again but at 320 this time.

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


Cal Tjader for Fantasy from 1977.
Bass - Rob Fisher Congas - Poncho Sanchez Drums - Pete Riso Electric Piano - Lonnie Hewitt Vibraphone, Timbales - Cal Tjader

Review lifted from allaboutjazz:
Tjader's The Grace Cathedral Concert (released on LP as Fantasy 9521) is much more of a jazz performance than Guaraldi's. It's a typical mid 70s program for the virbraphonist featuring such staples as "I Showed Them," Milt Jackson's "Bluesology" (with "Bag's Groove" quotes), a Black Orpheus medley dedicated to former Tjader pianist Vince Guaraldi, the standard "Body and Soul" and Tjader's "Theme" (based on "Freddie Freeloader"). The quintet works well together. Hewitt's subtle use of the electric piano is a nice foil to Tjader's vibes and doesn't sound nearly as dated as one might expect. Tjader puts his heart and swing into the performance, sustaining tones almost on que. Each member of the quintet is also recorded much more effectively here in the large Cathedral setting (which, unfortunately, wasn't the case for Guaraldi's bassist and drummer). That's due to the engineering finesse of Phil Edwards, who went on to record for Concord Records.


Bobby Paunetto for Mardi Gras from late 60s.
Dusty Groove:
One of our favorite Latin jazz albums ever -- and a truly amazing record! Bobby Pauntteo, aka Bobby Vince Paunetto, is probably best known for his groundbreaking Latin fusion albums of the NuYorican era -- but this rare gem from the 60s shows that he was a really forward thinker, even at a younger age! The sound is incredibly hard to define -- a blend of modal jazz, Latin rhythms, and a uniquely lyrical approach to the percussion that makes the record take off to places you'd never expect. Bobby's conception is mindblowing from start to finish -- and the record's even got some wonderful tracks that feature English vocals on top of the hip vibes-driven sound of the instrumentation. A gem throughout -- and the kind of record we'll take to the grave!

27 November 2008


Guanabara for Baystate Japan from 1984.
This one's for Greg.
Steve Sacks-Saxes,Flute;Cyro Baptiste-Percussion;Alfredo Cardim-Rhodes,Piano;Duduca Fonseca-Drums;Dennis Irwin-Bass;Claudio Roditi-Trumpet,Trombone;David Sacks-Trombone.

From the sleeve notes:
Great Music has the power to make us forget the places where we are and where we come from.We of Guanabara feel the power in the music of Charlie Parker,Antonio Carlos Jobim and the others who inspire us.At the same time there are special places which themselves have the power to move us to make music.We dedicate this record to the music and mystery of these places in both of our native countries-Brazil and America.
Dusty Groove(used copy-out of stock):
A sweet set of Brazilian jazz tunes played by a warmly soulful group that includes Claudio Roditi on trumpet, Steve Sacks on saxes, Cyro Baptista on percussion, and Alfredo Cardim on acoustic and electric piano. The feel is very nice- nicer even than the group's first album with warm acoustic jazz numbers that are sort of an update of the Brazilian jazz sound of the 70s, and which nicely avoid the pitfalls of other 80s Brazilian fusion albums.

No reissues-vinyl issue only in Japan.

23 November 2008


Frank Hernandez for Souvenir Venezuela from 1965.
Another banging latin session this time from Venezuela and bursting with mambos and descargas fit to set the wax on fire.Nearest comparison would be Tito's 60s Tico sessions which is high praise indeed!
All Killer No Filler!!!!


Super All Star for Caiman from 1984.
Paquito Pastor Piano/Juan Márquez Guitarra/Tito Puente Timbales y vibrafono/Paquito D'Rivera Saxofones altos y flauta/Mario Rivera Saxofones tenores, Baritones y piccolo/"Chocolate" Armenteros Trompeta/Valery Ponomorev Trompeta/Spanky Davis Trompeta/José Rodrigues Trombones/Claudio Roditi Trombones/Steve Turre Trombones/Andy Gonzalez Bajo/Daniel Ponce Conga/Ignacio Berroa Bateria/Adalberto Santiago Coro/Felo Barrios Coro/Leo Gonzalez Coro

Super All Star indeed-check that line up!!!
Slamming salsa one-off big band session from a group that comfortably straddled both latin and jazz genres to produce this explosive set.The brass charts are phenomenal harking back to the days of Rene Hernandes' work with Machito's Orchestra, and seem set to blow the speakers out at some points.Rock solid rhythm section (with congacero virtuoso Daniel Ponce fresh out of Cuba)featuring such luminaries as Tito Puente,Ignacio Berroa and Andy Gonzalez who mesh perfectly to produce a dense rhythmic backdrop of gaujiras,descargas and montunos over which the soloists blow long and hard.
So many good tracks on this lp it's hard to know where to begin-"Ban Con Tim" was a monster back in the day but for my money "El Sopon","La Cascara" and "Alto Songo" are just as good.
Let's face it-this one is just All Killer No Filler!
Very Highly Recommended.

22 November 2008


Conrad Herwig for Astor Place from 1996.
Keeping it latin but coming from a different angle.
Features the mighty Eddie Palmieri on three cuts.Check out neverenoughrhodes for a terrific overview of Eddie's recording career.

Here's a great write up from the wonderful Doug Payne-check his excellent soundinsites here
A great idea beautifully executed by New York trombonist Conrad Herwig. The trombonist/arranger/musical director chooses Coltrane's most accessible material from a period that arguably spawned his best, most memorable work (1958-1964), devised simple, exploratory frameworks for each (recalling veteran Chico O'Farrill), then assembled an outstanding collection of musicians. In addition to Herwig's sinewy trombone, there's Brian Lynch on trumpet, Dave Valentin on flutes, Ronnie Cuber on baritone, Richie Beirach (who contributed to some of the arrangements), Danilo Perez and Eddie Palmeri on piano, Andy Gonzalez (from the Fort Apache Band) on bass and Milton Cardona on vocals and percussion. Selections are outstanding: "A Love Supreme," "Blue Train," (where Lynch trades fours with Herwig), "Afro Blue" (great flute solo by Valentine), "Naima" (beautifully featuring Beirach), "After The Rain," "Impressions" and "India."
Throughout, Herwig solos flawlessly, with a sensitivity and fire that's reminiscent of the source of his tribute. Herwig's record, more than Joe Henderson's recent big-band event, sounds like a natural conclusion. The arrangements and performances work well together and the Latin environment seems a logical foundation for Coltrane's passions. One last note: Astor Place has done a beautiful job packaging The Latin Side of John Coltrane , sparing no expense for trendy art direction that recalls some of the very expensive covers Limelight Records put out in the mid 60s. Recommended.

16 November 2008


Francisco Aguabella for Epsilon from 1977.
Super tough latin business featuring the 500mph destruction of Edu Lobo's "Casa Fuerte" - murder!!!

Review half inched from Latin Beat:
As a sworn "olu batá" drummer, Francisco Aguabella is revered asa Santería drum priest, a master of tradition. But in the '60s he was also Peggy Lee's favorite conga drummer and toured the country with her band. Since coming to the U.S. in 1957, the Matanzas-born Cuban drummer has been a pivotal force, incorporating traditional Afro-Cuban folkloric sounds into American pop and jazz.
A former member of the Latin rock band Malo, Aguabella is in his prime on this reissue of his 1977 Epsilon Records album (his second asa leader). Hitting Hard is street-style rare groove fusing Brazilian, salsa, Latin jazz, and funk flavors with a cast that includes San Francisco vibist Nerio De Gracia, the dynamic Cedric Deon Bi on vocals, and percussion great Armando Peraza.
Ramón's Desire kicks it off featuring the rich voice of Deon Bi, whose expressive articulation and soulful delivery are impressive throughout.
Afro-Nue, co-written by Aguabella and Peraza, is a traditional piece that has Francisco chanting, asa lone flute plays over drums and marimba in an intriguing kaleidoscopic counterpoint. The Edu Lobo composition, Casa Fuerte, is awe-inspiring due to Aguabella's drumming virtuosity, but Anna Maria is a dancehall reminder of his salsa days with César's Latin All-Stars in the Mission District.
Aguabella's been with everybody - Gillespie, Palmieri, Puente, Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Santana, Cal Tjader, Mongo, Katherine Dunham, and Malo. Les Blank produced a film on his life, Sworn To The Drum, but this reissue projects his creative side at a fruitful point in his career. Thanks to the British jazz dance scene and fans like Japanese DJ and Latin Jazz aficionado Raphael Sebbag, of the United Future Organisation, there's an Aguabella revival underway and it's "Hitting Hard!" (JV)


Eddie Palmieri for Tico from 1972
More essential listening-very highly recommended.
Eddie Palmieri - Piano* Charlie Palmieri - Organ*Ronnie Cuber - Saxophone*Cornell Dupree - Guitar* Joe Gaines - M.C.* Andy Gonzalez - Bass* Ismael Quintana - Vocals, Choir, Chorus* Raymond Maldonado - Trumpet* Nicky Marrero - Bongos* Charlie Santiago - Timbales* Ray Romero - Conga* Felipe Luciano - Voice* Jimmy Norman - Vocals* Harlem River Drive Singers with Lorene Hanchard - Vocals* Alvin Taylor - Vocals* Harry Viggiano - Guitar* Jerry González - Percussion* Hank Anderson - Guitar (Bass)* José Papo Rodríguez - Trombone* Arturo Campa - Vocals *Arturo Franquiz - Vocals

Review nicked from musthear.com:
Before the heyday of Salsa, Eddie Palmieri functioned as a path-breaking phenomena from Puerto Rico. His lingering influence on Latin music cannot be overstated. This album perfectly combines Palmieri’s experimentalism with the heavy rhythms that kept him ahead on the street. Playing for the toughest of crowds imaginable–the inmates of New York’s notorious Sing-Sing prison–Palmieri and band tore through an ambitious and aggressive set of funky salsa tunes that had the guards dancing in their towers. The prisoners responded with riotous enthusiasm to the music, whose gritty sound came out of the poverty of the Barrio, in South East Harlem, in the Bronx, and other places where bad breaks abounded. This, after all, was THEIR music, and anybody familiar with the condition of America and its prisons in the early 70s (remember Attica!) can understand why the aggressive rhythms of Palmieri resonated so deeply with the incarcerated audience at Sing-Sing.
After a no-nonsense introduction by M.C. Joe Gaines, the concert kicks off with a high-energy salsa, “Pa La Ocha Tambo.” The drummer plays funky, the percussionists throw in handfuls of Latin spice, the horns storm through rhythmic melody lines, the singers soulfully belt out Spanish lyrics, and finally, with great fanfare, Palmieri steps out. He launches into a fiery solo loaded with flourishes of McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk, and Latino America. The brass section and singers lock into a heated call and response exchange that gets mesmerizing by the time the song hits the 10-minute mark. The song ends, the prison yard erupts with joy, and the band responds with “V.P. Blues.” This is a heavy early 70s salsa, the exact kind of thing that Santana was busy popularizing with mainstream audiences outside the penal system. The electrifying guitar solo even has a hard Santana blues edge.
The crowd is thoroughly warmed up by the time street poet Felipe Luciano takes to the stage. Luciano stirs the crowd deeply with his spoken word piece, “Jibaro / My Pretty Nigger.” Reciting his poetry with the skill of a ghetto-corner preacher (think the young Malcolm-X), Luciano brings the crowd to its feet with his politically charged words, which read like the lyrics of a classic Gil Scott-Heron or Last Poets song. The album closes out with Eddie Palmieri’s supergroup Harlem River Drive joining in on the album’s funkiest track, “Azucar.” Harlem River Drive was the first group to really merge black and Latin styles and musicians, resulting in a freewheeling fusion of salsa, funk, soul, and jazz. Just when it seems impossible, this song takes things higher, bringing the set to a powerful climactic close.
If this music could–for an afternoon–liberate the inmates of Sing-Sing prison, imagine what it can do for you.

15 November 2008


Eddie Palmieri for Mango from 1973.
Bass - Andy Gonzalez,Bongos - Nicky Marrero , Tommy Lopez,Congas - Frankie Malabe , Jerry González,Coro - Arturo Campa , Jimmy Sabater , Willie Torres,Drums - Paul Alicea , Rick Marotta,Flute, Saxophone - Mario Rivera, Piano - Eddie Palmieri,Timbales,Percussion - Nicky Marrero,Tres, Guitar - Harry Viggiano,Trombone - Barry Rogers , Jose Rodriguez,Trumpet - Vitin Paz
Vocals - Ismael Quintana

Essential listening-Very Highly Recommended.

For the last 40 years Eddie Palmieri has enriched Latin music with his imagination. It is difficult to say he had one good year above all others because Palmieri has improved with each recording, an indication that he hasn't reached his peak. I'm not surprised that others are envious of him. Many dancers say that he is the best. Many say that he is the sun of Latin music, the most powerful in the world. He is reverentially referred to as the Messiah but I see him as Latin music's leading astronaut gliding in a spaceship over the musical heavens, searching, listening, imagining new ideas and sounds that will enable Latin music to branch out unto another dimension and perhaps make it universally accepted. --Max Salazar

In 1973, Mango Records released Eddie Palmieri's Sentido. It was produced by Harvey Averne and Eddie Palmieri, and recorded in a small town called Blauvelt, New York. Palmieri packed a ferocious punch. Sentido contained Puerto Rico and Adoración: both composed by Eddie and his lead singer Ismael Quintana. Condiciones Que Existen (written by Palmieri) showed again the power of Latin rock and featured Harry Viggiano on electric guitar and studio musician Rick Marotta on drums.
"We were playing at a dance up on Boston Post Road (Bronx) and I was going through some financial situations at that time. I hadn't been recording and sure enough, Harvey Averne came to the dance that night. I had trouble making the payroll and he said, `Can I help you with some money?' I couldn't believe it. Wow! I was able to pay the band and everything. He told me, `Look, I'm starting a new company, I'd like to know if you're interested in signing with me to record,' and I said, "Sure! A brand new company, I like challenges like that." But I explained to him my situation with Tico and he said, `Well, let me have a partner talk to Tico and Morris Levy.' They made a monetary arrangement for my first two recordings for Mango Records (which became Coco Records). They compensated Morris Levy with a certain amount of money and bought me out of my contract for approximately thirty five thousand dollars. So, it was agreed upon and I signed with Mango."
The song Puerto Rico unquestionably became a modern-day classic that's been re-recorded but never duplicated. The late Barry Rogers' arranging skills were his best and the trumpet virtuosity of Victor Paz was unheralded. Palmieri's orchestra was obviously up for this one.Latin Beat Magazine,August 2002 by Louis Laffitte.

Sentido may offer a better portrait of Eddie Palmieri than any of the compilations. "Puerto Rico" is typical of his anthemic, crowd-rousing capability. "No Pienses Asi" is an affecting ballad that rivals those of musicians considered more as singers than Palmieri. "Condiciones Que Existen" is just funky enough to sound like an outtake from the great Harlem River Drive album. "Adoracion" begins spacily but soon becomes, over the course of nine delicious minutes, a hefty jam. "Cosas del Alma" is another ballad. It may be only a half hour of music, but no one will miss the filler. The liners credit Palmieri's fasting as an ingredient in his success; clearly he understands the importance of "leaving them hungry for more." ~ Tony Wilds, All Music Guide


John Thomas & Life Force for Nabel from 1981.
Bass - Gunnar Plümer Drums - Garcia Morales Guitar - John Thomas Percussion - Eddy Veldmann , Ponda O'Bryan Piano - Andy Lumpp Vocal(Like a Samba)-Monika Linges

Hard to track down piece of kraut latin fusion best known for the storming dance floor filler "Like A Samba" which was comped on the first Glucklich compilation from Rainer Truby.Check out "Promontory" - speed samba for the nifty of foot!
Here's a bit more about Mr Thomas from jazz.com

Appearing with some of the greatest names in jazz, his professional gigs since 1972 include the AACM Big Band, Stanton Davis, Carter Jefferson, Andrew Cyrille, Kenny Drew, John Lewis, Harold Ousley, and Chet Baker. Additionally, he has performed as a regular sideman with Jimmy McGriff and Joe Henderson here in the United States. Although only 19 at the time, both Henderson and McGriff enlisted his services as a sideman on recordings and concerts.
After his 1977 move to Europe, he toured the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East performing extensively with Charles Tolliver, Joe Henderson, Art Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Malachi Thompson, Sonny Stitt, Tony Scott and many others. He joined the Art Taylor (Coltrane's first drummer) Quartet in 1978, and performed with it until 1984. He was tapped by Charles Tolliver in 1980, with whom he continued his relationship as a sideman until 1990. "Birth of the Cool" trombonist Mike Zwerin enlisted John for two tours in Africa in 1980 and 81 respectively. Mike is also well known as a journalist for the "Village Voice" and music editor for the "Herald Tribune". He has also toured and performed with his own bands, "John Thomas and Lifeforce", "Serious Business", "John Thomas Quartet", and "Extremely Serious Business" at festivals, concerts, and clubs throughout Europe and Africa.
In 1980 he received the endorsement from the National Endowments "Arts America" program on whose active list he remained for ten years. In 1986 his group "Extremely Serious Business" traveled to sub Saharan Africa under the auspices of this US State Department program. Since his return to the United States in 1991, he has appeared with his own quartet, trio, and an updated version of "Extremely Serious Business" which performs his own compositions. It was also at this time that he began a two year relationship with organist Charles Earland. He came to Boston in 1994 where he performs regularly with his different formations. In summer 2002, drummer Kenwood Dennard asked John to join him in his "Real Thing" group, which has made TV, radio, and club dates.
In addition to his activities as a performing artist and composer, he is a veteran clinician, having done workshops throughout Europe. John is currently on the faculty at Berklee College in Boston where he holds the rank of associate professor. His teaching activities go back to 1977 when he was first engaged by the University of Duisburg's Jazz Department, where he taught until 1990. He was also an instructor at the famous "Robert Schumann Hochschule fur die Kunst" in Dusseldorf from 1979 to 1990. His teaching skills were also in demand at the "German Army School of Music" in Hilden from 1981 to 1991 where he taught jazz guitar and electric bass to students for their different big band and concert/gala band formations.

9 November 2008


Henry Butler for Impulse from 1987.
This one's for Greg and his Orange and Black Spines.
Henry Butler-Piano;Ron Carter-Bass;Jack DeJohnette-Drums;John Purcell-Soprano,Flute,Oboe,English Horn;Alvin Batiste-Clarinet;Bob Stuart-Tuba

Henry Butler's second Impulse recording is essentially a post-bop performance. The influence of the pianist's New Orleans heritage (which is partly felt on his version of Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer") and gospel music would be explored more fully in the future. Butler is joined by bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette and occasionally by clarinetist Alvin Batiste, John Purcell (on soprano, flute, oboe and English horn) and (for "The Entertainer") Bob Stewart on tuba. Butler sings "Music Came," but essentially this is an advanced trio set that shows how fine a pianist he is. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Check out Butler's first for Impulse "Fivin' Around" at the excellent blackclassical .


Giorgi Azzolini for Ciao!Ragazzi from 1964.
Franco Ambrosetti - trumpet Gato Barbieri - tenor sax Dino Piana - trombone Pocho Gatti - piano Renato Sellani - piano Lionello Bionda - drums Giorgio Azzolini - acoustic bass.
What better way to start a Sunday than this great serving of pasta jazz from Italy!
From the liner notes:
A record that is not like many others. In recent times there have been quite a few jazz recordings in Italy, but each of theme is the result of a great amount of work and very careful selection. Maybe that is the reason why every new jazz record may be considered different from the others. This one , which I'm proud to present, is the result of the desire, the planning and the direction of Giorgio Azzolini, a well-known Italian double-bass jazz player and one of the most passionate supporters of this kind of music. Born in La Spezia on 29-3-28, Giorgio Azzolini studied in Florence with maestro Antonio Godoli and built up his profile within the jazz circuit thanks to a long period in the Basso Valdambrini Quintet and to many performances in various jazz festivals. Throughout his career he performed has with innumerous artist like: Buddy Collette, Stephan Grapelly, Bobby Jaspar, Chet Baker, Hellen Merrill, Gerry Mulligan, Lars Gullin and Herb Geller. In regards to this album, important contributions were made by great musicians like Franco Ambrosetti on trumpet, "Gato" Barbieri on tenor sax, Dino Piana on trombone, Renato Sellani and Pocho Gatti on piano and Lionello Bionda on drums. This international line up conferring to the album's sound a creative musical variety for different scenarios. Technically, this is also achieved by different line ups: "Tribute To Someone" is performed by sextet, "So What" and "Too Blue" by a trio, "Sometime Ago", "The Stroller" and "Hiroshima" by a quintet.

1 November 2008


The Afro Latin Soultet featuring Phil Moore for Tower from 196?
A frenetic latin banger with the emphasis on heavy percussion.Check "The Sheik" for a latin-modal romp through a thinly disguised "Impressions".
Liner Notes:
Wild it´s called and wild they are! And so was everyone in San Juan where they made these recordings. Mardi Gras was swinging and everyone was swaying with the mood. But that spirit is with PHIL MOORE, III and the five other members of THE AFRO-LATIN SOULTET whenever and wherever they play. And there are MOISES OBLIGACION, conga drummer and ex-member of The Afro Blues Quintet; CHAUNCY LOCKE, trumpeter who stretches back to days with the famed Charlie Parker; VANCE MATLOCK, bass player formerly with Aretha Franklin; LEROY BROOKS, drummer of Curtis Amy fame; and JACK FULKS, the alto sax and flute man who played with Chico Hamilton and the Afro Blues Quintet and who co-composed three of the tunes in this album. Leader PHIL MOORE is, of course, the pianist. He led his own Latino group when in high school, but it was a long time later, after he had attended the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music and the Burklee School Of Music in Boston, that he visited Puerto Rico and renewed his old acquaintance with Latin music. He decided there to incorporate its feelings and rhythms with elements of soulful jazz, and so formed THE AFRO-LATIN SOULTET.
Dusty Groove have a copy for $45:
Madly romping Latin from this obscure group led by pianist Phil Moore III a combo who effortlessly groove through a blend of boogaloo, Latin jazz, and plenty of percussion-heavy exotica -- all in a style that's very much their own! There's a loose and free feel here that's far different than most of the other pop Latin combos of the time a style that's even quite different from the New York scene of the time, and which rings out more with tones from the hipper groups of the LA soul jazz underground of the mid 60s -- such as the Harold Johnson Sextet.


Joe Bonner for Theresa from 1981.
Personnel: Joseph Bonner (piano, chimes), Eddie Shu (trumpet), Gary Olson (trombone), Holly Hoffman (flute), Carol Michalowski, Peggy Sullivan (violin), Carol Garrett (viola), Beverly Woolery (cello), Paul Warburton (bass),J. Thomas Tilton (drums).

Originally released by Theresa and reissued on CD by Evidence in 1992, this frequently exquisite set features the McCoy Tyner-inspired piano of Joe Bonner on four originals, Cal Massey's "Quiet Dawn," and (released for the first time on the CD) "Lush Life." Bonner and a rhythm section are joined by a string quartet, trumpet, trombone, and flutist Holly Hofmann (the leader provided the arrangements) for music that is both lyrical and often passionate. Bonner is an underrated talent, and this is one of his finest recordings.
- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide