28 July 2009

SADAO WATANABE AND CHARLIE MARIANO - IBERIAN WALTZ















Sadao and Charlie for Tact Japan from 1967.
Sadao Watanabe (as) , Charlie Mariano (as) , Masabumi Kikuchi (p) , Masanaga Harada (b) , Masahiko Togashi (ds) , Fumio Watanabe (ds)
This received a “Japan Jazz Award” on release.
Some severe blowing on this double alto led sextet featuring a young band of soon to be Japanese jazz luminaries.
The fast and furious "Palisades" was comped on the Sleepwalker Shibuya Jazz Classics.However the 16 minute title cut is the stand out tune an intense modal waltz with a Spanish tinge featuring coruscating solos from Mariano and Watanabe - hard core stuff.
Recommended.

23 July 2009

JAMES MARENTIC SEXTET - NIMBUS



















James Marentic for Discovery from 1982.
James Marentic-Sax/Flute; Tom Harrell -Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Slide Hampton-Trombone; Larry Willis-Piano; Anthony Cox-Bass; Victor Lewis-Drums.

Storming post hard bop outing for Mr Marentic and his all star band. Check out the banging latin romp "Baile de las Cucharachas " which kicks off the lp in fine style and the Coltrane inspired "Nimbus". "Aphrodesia" has the inspiration of Kenny Dorham stamped all over it and no prizes for guessing who "Mr Silver I Presume" is aimed at
If you enjoyed Tom Harrell's "Aurora" post then this should be right up your street,round your corner and down your block!

10 July 2009

CARTER JEFFERSON - THE RISE OF ATLANTIS


















Carter Jefferson for Timeless from 1978.
Terrific post bop album with latin influences -All Killer No Filler!

John Hicks (Piano), Terumasa Hino (Trumpet), Woody Shaw (Producer), Clint Houston (Bass), Victor Lewis (Drums),Carter Jefferson (Sax ), Lani Groves (Vocals), Shunzo Ohno (Trumpet), Steve Thornton (Percussion), Harry Whitaker (Piano)

Here's the customary underwhelming AMG review :
Tenor saxophonist Carter Jefferson made somewhat of a name for himself when trumpeter Woody Shaw chose him as a member of his first working quintet. Shaw is the producer of this album, Jefferson's fine debut (and evidently only) recording as a leader. Taking a cue from Shaw, the saxophonist sticks essentially to a quintet of trumpet and sax backed by all-star rhythm sections. Three of the tracks include hard bop trumpeter Terumasa Hino while the other three feature little-known Japanese trumpeter Shunzo Ono. Most of the tunes are firmly in the school of hard bop, the sort of music that Woody Shaw played so well. While there is not any new ground broken, it is all performed competently enough. While not as emotionally charged as his work with Shaw, Jefferson impresses with a fluid, mobile attack that shows a solid grasp of his material. If the groups seem to be sometimes merely going through the motions, there are nonetheless enough fine moments to make this a worthwhile purchase.AMG.

A reliable and advanced soloist who spent most of his career as a sideman, Carter Jefferson is best-remembered for his association with Woody Shaw during 1977-1980. Jefferson started on clarinet and played alto before settling on tenor, going on tour early in the backup bands of the Temptations, the Supremes, and Little Richard. In 1971, he moved to New York to attend New York University and soon spent two years with Mongo Santamaria and a period in 1973 as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After his important stint with Woody Shaw (with whom he recorded several times), Jefferson worked with many top players, including Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Cedar Walton, Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache Band, Malachi Thompson, and Jack Walrath's Masters of Suspense. His premature death in Poland after emergency surgery was a major loss. Carter Jefferson only led one record, The Rise of Atlantis, on the Timeless label in 1978. AMG.

4 July 2009

JULIO GUTIERREZ - PROGRESSIVE LATIN


















Julio Gutierrez for Gema from 1960.
The title says it all for this groundbreaking heavyweight descarga session...Highly recommended.
Has anyone out there got a copy of Gutierrez's "Havana BC" they want to sell me?If so leave me a message in the comments.

Progressive Latin should be considered a classic of Latin jazz if it isn't already. "Cosa Buena" cooks, and "Closing Time" is a slower bossa nova with flute and horns that captures the mood of a good night out at its end. "Yambambe," an Afro rhythm behind mostly piano, sounds more sophisticated than its simple construction. "El Altiplano" is supposed to be an Incan melody with Afro elements. In any case, vocal interjections pave the way for a longer descarga where a variety of intriguing elements (horns, flute piano, even organ) work together in their own weird ways and combinations. The "Route 66" theme arrangement is a coup; the sax and flute are recorded gorgeously, and the piano and conga pace it ideally, with brief drum solo breaks. "Sad City" is a haunting flute piece, while "Guantanamera" has an interesting change but there is only so much one can expect from this tune. "Malaguena" is another long descarga that gets a little wild. Progressive Latin is something of a masterpiece from the great arranger Julio Gutierrez. Tony Wilds

What impressed me most about this album is Julio's use of space and the length of the tunes, considering that in the era when it was recorded, 2 1/2 minute tunes were standard. Great musicians like El Negro Vivar (trumpet) and Chombo Silva (sax) were able to beautifully stretch out over an almost post-bop/Afro-Cuban jazz setting. There is some serious blowing on this disc. This is another essential Latin jazz gem from the late 50s/early 60s.
Jose Rizo