22 September 2010

IMPRESSED 3
















If you trawled the comments on Stan Tracey's Latin American Caper you will no doubt have been intrigued to see this from Ramu:

Hi, I tried to get Windmill Tilter reissued years ago as part of the Impressed Re-pressed series (I helped compile the Impressed comps with Gilles P). Manged to get a first batch of reissues out (Mike Taylor, Neil Ardely, Amancio D'Silva etc..) but Universal, as ever lost faith, let it all slip iaway to labels like BGO and Vocalion. Had a killer hitlist of all the Lansdowne stuff - Rendell Carr, Hum Dono etc... they couldn't care less. Treat their catalogue - and music fans - with contempt. Impressed 3 has been ready to go for about 6 years - and Universal??? What do you think, not awhiff of interest. Shame, as it has top stuff from Dick Morrissey, Kenny Wheeler, Quincicasm, Don Rendell etc on it. Don even wrote an introductory piece for my notes... maybe you could post it on here!!

True to his word Ramu has sent over what would have been track listing for the shelved "Impressed 3" and included Don Rendell's sleeve notes.
What a tragedy that this will never be issued..and good luck to anybody trying to track 'em ALL down!

Collin Bates Trio - Brew
London Jazz Four - Song For Hilary
Tubby Hayes Quartet - Finky Minky
Don Rendell - Euphrates
Vic Lewis - Last Minute Bossa Nova
Kenny Wheeler - Don the Dreamer
Ralph Dollimore - Spikey
Dick Morrissey - Sunday Lunch
Quincicasm - Trent Park Song
Ronnie Stephenson / Kenny Clare - Caravan
Johnny Hawksworth feat. Hampton Hawes - Jazz Rule
Dick Morrissey - Storm Warning

Don Rendell's sleeve notes:

I knew and played with many of the musicians on this album. The jazz scene in those years seemed very sure of itself and was moving progressively forward into new creative areas almost day by day. Through my resolve to be a jazz musician, I left the touring big bands I played with - Oscar Rabin, Ted Heath, Cyril Stapleton - and, in 1950, became a founder member of the Johnny Dankworth Seven. Back then, on a gig at a club in Acton, the sound from a young tenor player in the interval group caused us to return from the bar to hear him. That was our first introduction to Tubby Hayes, who, in an all too short career, achieved international acclaim. A second tenor saxophonist featured on this album is Dick Morrissey. He also maintained a consistent level of creative improvisation in his playing and gained worldwide recognition. Sadly, both of these musicians have long left us - but for sure you can hear their music living on through these and many other recordings. Sometime around 1953, I left the Johnny Dankworth Seven and formed a small group with Ronnie Ross (baritone), Damien Robinson (piano), Don Lawson (drums) and, for a few weeks, a new arrival from Canada - Kenny Wheeler. A few years later Kenny appeared on an album I made for Denis Preston's Pye Nixa label. His contribution to this compilation is 'Don the Dreamer', a title relating to his musical interpretation of Don Quixote's fanciful exploits. Pianist/composer Ralph Dollimore was everywhere on the London Jazz scene. I recall a recording session with him, put together by Mike Nevard of the Melody Maker, that introduced us to the Belgian pianist and band-leader Francy Boland. That session also included Jimmy Skidmore, Phil Seaman, Keith Christie, Jimmy Deuchar, Jo Hunter, Allan Ganley and Dill Jones. Vic Lewis led a big band in those years. A much more jazz oriented group than most, he recognised the genius of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and this was reflected in Vic's charts for his own band. In 1956 I was deputising, together with Harry Klein (baritone), on Kenton's European tour. Vic Lewis came to the Paris concerts and was suddenly also a dep - filling in for a trombone player who, as Ronnie Scott used to say, 'was suddenly taken drunk.'Three other outstanding British jazz musicians playing in different groups on this compilation are Peter King (alto), Stan Tracey (piano) and Harry South (piano). My own track 'Euphrates' is an original piece in 3/4 that relates to the floating feeling of a river - sometimes calm, then strong winds raise the waves and then it subsides again. It was recorded in a Manchester record store, the Avgarde Gallery, in 1973. However, none of us knew this at the time, so it is a genuinely 'live' piece With excellent piano from Joe Palin, Ian Taylor on bass and Gordon Beckett on drums. A further fact is that none of the Joe Palin Trio had heard of or seen a chart of 'Euphrates' until that moment - it was true instant jazz improvisation. Ten years later Tony Williams from Spotlite Records got hold of the 'unknown' recording and released the LP 'Live at the Avgarde Gallery'. In conclusion I sincerely commend Tony Higgins & Gilles Peterson for making this and the previous two volumes of Impressed available so a younger generation can hear home grown jazz in progress. Don Rendell, London, March 2007

6 September 2010

STAN TRACEY - THE LATIN AMERICAN CAPER




















Stan Tracey, his Piano, Big Brass & Woodwinds for Columbia UK from 1969.
Stan Tracey - Piano & Musical Director ;Kenny Baker, Derek Watkins, Eddie Blair, Les Condon - Trumpets ;Keith Christie, Maurice Pratt, Bobby Lambe - Trombones ;Chris Taylor, Roy Willox, Ray Swinfield - Flutes ;Ronnie Chamberlain, Don Rendell, Derek Collins - Clarinets ;Barry Morgan - Drums & LA Percussion ;Dennis Lopez, Stuart Gordon - LA Percussion ;Lennie Bush or Dave Green - Bass ;Alan Branscombe -Vibraphone & Marimba
Recorded at Lansdowne Studios in London on July 16/17 1968
Supervision - Denis Preston;Sleevenote - Peter Clayton;Engineer - Adrian Kerridge

Here's Peter Clayton's excellent sleeve notes :
Stan Tracey is one of those people who could go to a fancy dress ball in full klu klux clan regalia and still be instantly recognisable. I'm speaking figuratively, of course: for him to appear physically outlandish is unthinkable. You could set him down on London Bridge Station any weekday afternoon around 5.30 and lose him in the crowd. It is in the artistic sense that Stan's craggy, positive personality breaks through any attempt to disguise it.
Not that any too deliberate attempt has been made in the case of this, at first sight, uncharacteristic album, The sombrero and poncho were not intended as camouflage but as a stimulating splash of specialised colour to help Stan think himself into an unusual and indeed unlikely situation. the idea, in fact, was not to produce a Latin-American album by Stan Tracey, but a Stan Tracey album with Latin-American overtones. And since the whole project was in a sense an adventure the avuncular title of LATIN-AMERICAN CAPER at once suggested itself.
At the core of the music thus created is the Stan Tracey Trio - Stan on piano, Lennie Bush on bass and Barry Morgan, drums. With the addition of sundry Latin-American percussive noises and Alan Branscombe on vibes or marimba this is the small group which performs Because I Tell You So, Ouida and Obiah.
Another of the groups involved is the Stan Tracey Big Brass - a variant of the ten piece brass choir already heard on the Tracey-Bilk collaboration BLUE ACKER (Columbia TWO 230) and Stan's Ellingtonian tribute, WE LOVE YOU MADLY (Columbia SCX 6320). The Big Brass is featured on Capullito De Aleli, on One For Bo Bo and on What Else Can You Do With A Drum?
The third and perhaps most intriguing ensemble is what in score-readers' parlance is simply referred to as "WW" - or woodwind. From a front line of three flutes and three clarinets this combination produces the most satisfying of sounds, quite unlike anything that Stan has written before. If I say, for instance, that it has something of Gil Evans about it (especially on Come Out And Meet Me Tonight) it is only to convey an idea of its atmosphere. It is not like the writing of Gil Evans, but it's nearer than anything else. One For Sass and Bakiff are the other two titles by this particular group, which is also notable for having Don rendell amongst its clarinetists and solist on One For Sass, and Chris Taylor of the Philharmonia among the flutes. It is Chris who plays the opening theme of Come Out And Meet Me Tonight.
Stories go with some of the titles. What Else Can You Do With a Drum? is from Duke Ellington's least played suite - A Drum Is A Woman. (If Stan were the sort of man to believe in deification there's no doubt his musical diety would be Ellington!). Because I Tell You So is a Tracey original (even his titles bear his hallmark) and was once intended as a part of the WITH LOVE FROM JAZZ suite (Columbia SCX 6205) but somehow got left out. The Sass of One For Sass is Stan's daughter, Sarah. The woodwinds handle this one with the kind of forcefulness one doesn't normally associate with flutes and clarinets. Ouida is not a further excursion into English literature. (I doubt the novels of that curious Victorian authoress would stimulate even Stan's quirky musical mind into activity!). Capullito De Aleli, for Big Brass, shakers, bangers and scrapers, is the classic Noro Morales speciality.
Stan first came across Come Out And Meet Me Tonight on an Art Blakey album. There's fascinating voicing for woodwinds on this one. Obiah is something to do with black magic. I don't know what exactly, but it's a word much connected with the occult arts in Caribbean society. Bakiff is the old Juan Tizol number associated, like Tizol himself, with the Ellington orchestra. One For Bo Bo is the brother of One For Sass, Bo Bo being Stan's code name for his young son, Clark.
Despite protestations that he's not really a Latin-American man, Stan does seem to have been affected by the percussive nature of the music. I've seldom heard him so crisply reminding us that the piano is, after all, a percussion instrument. Obiah is probably the track that points it up most, but the driving effect is there even on a ballad like Because I Tell You So. For me it's the quality that makes the jazz piano the exciting thing it is. Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor and Thelonius Monk have all been aware of little levers working little hammers and haven't wasted their time trying to turn the instrument into a sort of keyboard trombone. It is this kind of attack, moreover, which helps generate the swing without which the whole point of jazz, Latin-tinged or otherwise, is lost.

First time out in blogland for this lp which has never made a reissue in any form. Even though Mr Tracey regards it as his "least favourite session of all time" it's still(for me if nobody else!).....
All killer no filler !

1 September 2010

MAL WALDRON - SPANISH BITCH

















Mal Waldron for JVC/ECM Japan from 1971.
Mal Waldron (p) Isla Eckinger (b) Fred Brasful (d)
Ludwigsburg, West Germany, September 18, 1970

This has been on my "most wanted" list for some time so I was bowled over to receive the actual LP through the post last week purchased from Japan (at considerable cost it should be said) and sent as a thankyou gift from one of the followers of this blog.
So stand up and take a bow Munnnnnph !!! Thanks a million - what a guy!

Recorded and produced by Manfred Eicher this is only the second recording for ECM (the first being Waldron's Free At Last).Recorded prior to Eicher setting up his own label both albums were picked up and issued only for the Japanese market by JVC's Globe subsidiary . Despite it's historic importance "Spanish Bitch" has never seen a reissue in either cd or vinyl format thus making it extremely hard to track down.
So here it is - 3 long Waldron compositions plus a comprehensive shredding of "Eleanor Rigby" through Mal's mangle. Waldron's wall of sound soloing is in full effect throughout the lp complete with his banging keys in the lower registers and usual dissonant chords-"Black Chant" and "All That Funk" are just immense!
Fred Braceful's intricate drumming drives the music forward sounding like a proto-breakbeat blueprint with it's meticulously placed accents and beats while Isla Eckinger anchors the whole thing down before it spirals off the planet!
All Killer No Filler ....and don't forget to say thanks to Munnnnnph.