Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eric Burdon & War - Love Is All Around

An odd collection of live tracks and what sound like cuts from the two Eric Burdon and War albums released at the turn of the '70s, 1976's LOVE IS ALL AROUND was probably a contractual obligation album. That said, it's a pretty terrific collection of long, loose War jams, which sound marvelous. Limber rhythms and dead-on horn and harmonica accents made this L.A. band one of the premier funk outfits of the '70s. Unfortunately, as was usually the case with Eric Burdon and War, their free-flowing funkiness and his more constricted, blues-based singing style don't always mesh as well as they might, as on the slightly awkward verses of the title track. But when War opens up and lets loose, it's hard to imagine a better band. -

The album opens with a funky (War exists, of course, as one of the most naturally funky collections of instrumental artists on the planet) rock track originally laid down in 1970, 'Love Is All Around'... not to be confused with the 1960's Troggs hit that prevented the latter from being a one-trick pony. Two other tracks are also drawn from 1970, 'Magic Mountain', which premiered as the flip side of the band's sole hit single, 'Spill the Wine', which rose to #3 on the national charts in July of that year. It's also one of the more interesting tracks, producing a unique psychedelic sound by mixing slow-tempo horns with a fast tempo piano melody and rhythm track. The lyrics continue 'Spill the Wine's' theme, offering such high-minded considerations as, "We're goin' high, high, high... never comin' down". 'A Day In the Life' follows, a daring eleven minute plus cover of The Beatle's epic finish to their most epic album. An organ replaces the piano foundation for the song, and while some horn and electric lead guitar add some unique flourishes, the song comes off a bit "lounge-y" in comparison to the original. A studio version of the cover is also offered on 'Black Man's Burdon'. The closing track, a ten minute plus rendition of The Rolling Stone's 'Paint It Black' comes off much stronger, featuring a driving beat, an unbelievably rocking bridge, and those familiar lyrics over an unfamiliar instrumental construct. The track was recorded live in 1969 in L.A., and offers an interesting contrast to versions by The Stones and West, Bruce and Laing. Two other tracks sum up the disc, a six and one-half minute take on the oft-covered classic 'Tobacco Road', given (of course) a funk/jazz treatment, and an eleven minute plus, Eric Burdon composed blues track titled 'Home Dream', spiced up with a jazzy sax and conga bridge. - by Don Schmittdiel,

Artist: Eric Burdon & War
Album: Love Is All Around
Year: 1976 (recorded 1969-1970)
Label: Avenue Records (1993)
Runtime: 43:46

1.  Love Is All Around (Papa Dee Allen/Harold Brown/B.B. Dickerson/Lonnie Jordan/Charles Miller/Howard Scott) 4:14
2.  Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) 6:36
3.  Home Dream (Eric Burdon) 7:15
4.  Magic Mountain (Papa Dee Allen/Harold Brown/B.B. Dickerson/Lonnie Jordan/Charles Miller/Howard Scott) 4:22
5.  A Day In The Life (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) 11:06
6.  Medley: Paint It Black - Black On Black In Black - Paint It Black - Laurel & Hardy - Black Bird (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) 10:10

Eric Burdon (Vocals, Percussion)
Papa Dee Allen (Conga, Bongos, Percussion, Backing Vocals)
Harold Brown (Drums, Percussion,Backing Vocals)
B.B. Dickerson (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Lonnie Jordan (Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals)
Charles Miller (Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophones, Percussion, Flute, Backing Vocals)
Howard Scott (Guitar, Backing Vocals)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Eddie Harris - E.H. In The U.K.

Following the hip strategy of the time, Eddie Harris flew to London to mix it up with some of Britain's most in-demand rockers -- including guitarists Jeff Beck and Albert Lee, pianist Stevie Winwood and drummer Alan White -- on this LP. Truthfully, though, most of the results aren't too different from what Harris had been recording at home at the time, with only a hint of a rock edge. If anything, the workmanlike Brits are too much on their best behavior -- Beck plays with restraint and taste while Lee is jazzier and a bit flashier -- making Harris seem like a wild man by comparison. The most entertaining tune is an EH-patented funkster "Wait a Little Longer," which develops a head of steam and escalates into a freeform brawl, but the designated free workout "Conversations of Everything and Nothing," give or take a few stimulating passages, wanders uncontrollably. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Eddie Harris
Album. E.H. in the U.K.
Year: 1973
Label: Atlantic Records (24bit remastered, 2013)
Runtime: 43:17

1.  Baby (Eddie Harris) 6:45
2.  Wait A Little Longer (Eddie Harris) 4:12
3.  He's Island Man (Eddie Harris) 2:25
4.  I've Tried Everything (Eddie Harris) 8:13
5.  I Waited For You (Charles Stepney) 5:48
6.  Conversations Of Everything And Nothing (Eddie Harris) 15:54

Eddie Harris (Electric Saxophone, Electric Trumpet, Vocals, Piano)
Albert Lee (Guitar)
Alan White (Drums) - 1,2,5,6
Stevie Winwood (Electric Piano) - 3-6
Raymond Burrell (Bass Guitar) - 1-3
Zoot Money (Piano, Electric Piano) - 1,2
Neil Hubbard (Guitar) - 1,2
Lofty Amao (Congas) - 3,4
Ian Pace (Drums) - 3,4
Jeff Beck (Guitar) - 3,4
Rick Grech (Bass Guitar) - 4
Chris Squire (Bass Guitar) - 5,6
Tony Kaye (Synthesizer) - 5,6

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hank Crawford - True Blue

This lesser-known Hank Crawford set has plenty of enjoyable numbers that fit into the R&Bish soul/jazz idiom. Crawford, who plays piano on two of the ten songs but otherwise sticks to his distinctive alto, is the main soloist other than three short spots for either John Hunt or Phil Guilbeau on trumpet. Most of the selections on this out-of-print LP are quite catchy with the highlights including "Shake A-Plenty," a passionate "Merry Christmas Baby," "Save Your Love for Me" and "Two Years of Torture." - by Scott Yanow, AMG

A cool cooker from altoist Hank Crawford – cut in a tightly-grooving ensemble mode that really reflects his roots with Ray Charles! The tunes are mostly short, but have a great sense of personality – a vibrant approach that comes not just from Hank's lead solos, but also from the group backing by players who include James Clay and Wilbur Brown on tenor, Charlie Patterson on trumpet, and Sonny Forriest on guitar. Hank plays a bit of piano at times, and both John Hunt and Phil Guilbeau get in some trumpet solos too – and titles include "Mellow Down", "Shake-A-Plenty", "Shooby", "Blues In Bloom", and "Skunky Green". - Dusty Groove, Inc.

Artist: Hank Crawford
Album: True Blue
Year: 1964
Label: Atlantic Records (Japanese remaster, 2013)
Runtime: 35:33

1.  Shake-A-Plenty (Hank Crawford) 2:36
2.  Mellow Down (Hank Crawford) 3:01
3.  Read 'em And Weep (Hank Crawford) 3:15
4.  Merry Christmas Baby (Lou Baxter/Johnny Moore) 3:50
5.  Save Your Love For Me (Buddy Johnson) 3:57
6.  Skunky Green (Hank Crawford) 2:37
7.  Two Years Of Torture (Percy Mayfield/Charles Morris) 4:27
8.  Blues In Bloom (Norman Mapp) 4:14
9.  Got You On My Mind (Howard Biggs/Joe Thomas) 3:12
10.  Shooby (Hank Crawford) 4:24

Hank Crawford (Alto Saxophone)
Julius Brooks (Trumpet) - 2,4,8
Phil Guilbeau (Trumpet) - 3,5-7
John Hunt (Trumpet) - 1,9,10
Charlie Patterson (Trumpet) - 1,9,10
Wilbur Brown (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,2,4,8-10
James Clay (Tenor Saxophone) - 3,5-7
Leroy Cooper (Baritone Saxophone) - 2-8
Alexander Nelson (Baritone Saxophone) - 1,9,10
Sonny Forriest (Guitar) - 3,5-7
Charles Green (Double Bass) - 2,4,8
Edgar Willis (Double Bass) - 3,5-7
Lewis Worrell (Double Bass) - 1,9,10
Bruno Carr (Drums) - 3,5-7
Carl Lott (Drums) - 1,9,10
Milt Turner (Drums) - 2,4,8

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Herbie Mann - Stone Flute

The 1970 record buyer who came across Stone Flute expecting a typical Herbie Mann album in the Memphis Underground vein was in for a big surprise. Instead of funk, there was moodiness. Instead of a groove, there were violins, viola and cello. The feeling was one of floating in space, with the flute sailing freely over the William Fischer arrangements, like a Miles Davis trumpet solo of this, the Bitches Brew era. This is a totally atypical Herbie Mann recording, but one which rewards repeated listening. - by Jim Newsom, AMG.

Artists often fall short when they step out of their trademark sound, but not Herbie Mann, best known for his soulful jazz. Here on Stone Flute, Mann slides into an atmospheric and spacious sound, much as Miles Davis did on Bitches Brew, developing sparse string arrangements that are inter-laced with his magical flute, creating insightfully light exotic and airy washes of psychedelic blissful wonder. Opening the album with “In Tangier,” and a sly nod and reference to the original version laid out by the legendary 60’s troubadour Donovan, with Mann creating an intoxicating stoned out celestial flight across the galaxie. Locked in tight with the mind-bending heyday of the mid 60’s swirling from his flute, he moves into “Flying,” a profound influential Beatles instrumental from The Magical Mystery Tour, creating a vibe that is equally as hallucinatory. The rest of the tracks are top shelf straight forward thinking jazz that grooves along at a steady pace, exhibiting Mann’s unmistakable restraint to allow things to flower, and then moves on in a contained, yet free spirited manner. Stone Flute is a unique body of work from the Herbie Mann catalog, with minor hints at late 60’s and early 70’s experiments into the realm of fusion and sound exploration … though not quiet, because it is very accessible. Nevertheless, this is not an album you’re gonna want to miss, as it goes down easy, holding your attention, without demanding it. - by Jenell Kesler,

Artist: Herbie Mann
Album: Stone Flute
Year: 1970 (Embryo)
Label: WEA Japan (2013, 24bit remastered)
Runtime: 40:57

1.  In Tangier (David Mills) / Flying (Herbie Mann) 10:39
2.  Flying (George Harrison / John Lennon / Paul McCartney / Ringo Starr) 5:21
3.  Don't You Know The Way (How I Feel About You) (Herbie Mann) 5:17
4.  Miss Free Spirit (Herbie Mann) 12:40
5.  Waltz For My Son (Herbie Mann) 4:20
6.  Pendulum (William Fischer) 2:40

Herbie Mann (Flute)
Sonny Sharrock (Guitar)
Roy Ayers (Vibraphone)
Selwart Clarke (Violin, Viola)
Miroslav Vitous (Double Bass) - 3-5
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 1,2,6
Bruno Carr (Drums) - 1,2,6
Mickey Roker (Drums) - 3-5
George Ricci (Cello) - 1,2,6
Kermit Moore (Cello) - 3-5
Al Brown (Viola) - 3-5
Emanuel Green (Violin) - 1,2,6
Gene Orloff (Violin) - 1,2,6
Peter Dimitriades (Violin) - 3-5

Friday, February 8, 2019

Eddie Harris - Live At Newport

Eddie Harris hit the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival head on with his satchel of electronic sax gear, funky soul/jazz track record, and a quartet with Jodie Christian now anchored on electric piano. Naturally there would be some funk on display ("Carry on Brother") and guest vocalist Eugene McDaniels, composer of "Compared to What," comes up with a lame, hectoring sequel, "Silent Majority." Yet a good deal of this truncated edition of Harris' Newport set is pitched at a more abstract level. "Don't You Know the Future's in Space," with its tumbling drums and outbreaks of near freeform reed trumpet (a Harris invention), is already in progress when we fade into the track, and "South Side" is a rough-and-tumble jazz sprint, with Harris delivering a complex cerebral solo. These advanced tracks didn't win him any points with the critics of the time but hindsight reveals that harmonically as well as electronically, Harris was ahead of most of the pack. As a bonus, the LP includes a short post-set speech in which Harris prophesizes that his reed trumpet will be a godsend for brass players (who, alas, completely ignored it). - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Eddie Harris
Album: Live At Newport
Year: 1970 (Atlantic Records)
Label: WEA Japan, 2013 - 24bit ResolutionCD)
Runtime: 38:31
Recorded live at Newport Jazz Festival

1.  Children's Song (Eddie Harris) 6:13
2.  Carry On Brother (Eddie Harris) 5:12
3.  Don't You Know Your Future's In Space (Eddie Harris) 8:06
4.  Silent Majority (Gene McDaniels) 5:47
5.  Walk Soft (Eddie Harris) 4:15
6.  South Side (Eddie Harris) 8:55

Eddie Harris (Tenor Saxophone, Varitone)
Jodie Christian (Piano, Electric Piano)
Louis Spears (Double Bass)
Robert Crowder (Drums)
Eugene McDaniels (Vocals) - 4

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Maceo Parker - Life on Planet Groove

A scorching album of funky grooves from Maceo Parker, assisted by the rest of the JB's on backing horns. The album was recorded in concert at a club called Stadtgarten in Cologne, Germany, and the crowd seems just as responsive in most ways as any Atlanta mob. Along with the JB horns, Vincent Henry accompanies on bass throughout the album/concert. The album starts out with an original Maceo composition, then moves into a pair from his old boss James Brown. After that, there's another Maceo number, a cover of "Addictive Love," a rendition of "Georgia on My Mind," and a composition undertaken by a veritable army of funk veterans. This is probably just about the best solo Maceo Parker album there is, at least until the release of Funkoverload. If you're a funk fan, or a soul-jazz fan, this album might just provide what you need. Maceo on his own always provides a nice collection of soul and funk, and this one is no exception. - by Adam Greenberg, AMG

Artist: Maceo Parker
Album: Life on Planet Groove
Year: 1992
Label: Minor Music
Runtime: 74:10

1.  Shake Everything You've Got (Maceo Parker) 16:15
2.  Pass The Peas (Charles Bobbit/James Brown/John Starks) 11:12
3.  I Got You (I Feel Good) (James Brown) 3:38
4.  Got To Get U (Maceo Parker)6:56
5.  Addictive Love (Love/Keith Thomas/The Winans) 8:37
6.  Children's World (Maceo Parker) 6:07
7.  Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell) 7:12
8.  Soul Power (James Brown/Byrd/Bootsy Collins/Maceo Parker/Troutman) 14:13
Recorded live at the Stadgarten Restaurant, Cologne, Germany

Maceo Parker (Alto Saxophone and Vocals)
Fred Wesley (Trombone and Vocals)
Pee Wee Ellis (Tenor Saxophone, Flute and Vocals)
Rodney Jones (Guitar)
Larry Goldings (Hammond Organ)
Kenwood Dennard (Drums)
Vincent Henry (Bass Guitar and Alto Saxophone)
Kym Mazelle (Vocals) - 3,4,8
Candy Dulfer (Alto Saxophone) - 5,8

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Pee Wee Ellis - Yellin' Blue

A versatile composer, arranger, saxophonist and keyboard player, a musician whose repertoire encompasses all manner of music from jazz through soul and funk to stadium rock, Alfred Pee Wee Ellis stands distinctive in any company...
A second trio album from Koln was recorded live during a Pee Wee Ellis Assembly Trio tour of Europe in the spring of '94. Called “Yellin' Blue,” it attracted much critical acclaim in Europe. - from All About

Artist: Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis
Album: Yellin' Blue
Year: 1995
Label: Minor Music
Runtime: 65:00

1.  Lazy Bird (John Coltrane) 4:17
2.  Do Dee Dum Diddy (Pee Wee Ellis) 8:31
3.  Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills) 9:52
4.  Like Sonny (John Coltrane) 6:58
5.  Yellin' Blue (Pee Wee Ellis) 9:42
6.  Groovin' High (Dizzy Gillespie) 6:10
7.  In A Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington/Milt Gabler) 11:24
8.  Tag Alone (Pee Wee Ellis) 8:02

Pee Wee Ellis (Tenor Saxophone)
Dwayne Dolphin (Double Bass)
Bruce Cox (Drums)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Diana Krall - Live in Paris

Recorded "live" at the Paris Olympia, Live in Paris offers listeners Diana Krall's understanding of the musical techniques of composition, piano, and vocal improvisation on 12 songs from the Great American Songbooks of Cole Porter,Harold Arlen, George and Ira Gershwin, and contemporary artists Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel. Accompanied by the award-winning Anthony Wilson on guitar, John Pisano on acoustic guitar, John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums, and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion as well as the Orchestra Symphonies European on "Let's Fall in Love" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," the lovely vocalist heightens your listening pleasures with distinctive phrasings and tangible pathways to inside the creative imagination by getting inside harmony, the changes, and melodic structures. On Joel's "Just the Way You Are," Krall is accompanied by Christian McBride on bass, Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone, Lewis Nash on drums, and Wilson on guitar, among others. This song also resides on the soundtrack to the film The Guru and is probably one of the best ballads on the set due to the great solo from Brecker. His powerful but sensitive playing adds the ultimate expression and approach to the melody -- one with attitudinal preparation, which is always necessary for a song that has such familiarity and association with another musician. For those who may not have heard Krall perform "live," this recording will give you a firsthand account of the ambience and excitement of a musical evening with her. - by Paula Edelstein, AMG

Artist: Diana Krall
Album: Live in Paris
Year: 2002
Label: Verve Records
Runtime: 70:02

1.  I Love Being Here With You (Peggy Lee / Bill Schluger) 5:12
2.  Let's Fall In Love (Harold Arlen / Ted Koehler) 4:34
3.  'Deed I Do (Walter Hirsch / Fred Rose) 5:18
4.  The Look Of Love (Burt Bacharach / Hal David) 5:00
5.  East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon) (Brooks Bowman) 5:58
6.  I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter) 7:24
7.  Devil May Care (Bob Dorough / Terrell Kirk / Joe South) 6:52
8.  Maybe You'll Be There (Rube Bloom / Sammy Gallop) 5:48
9.  'S Wonderful (George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin) 6:00
10.  Fly Me To The Moon (Bart Howard) 6:06
11.  A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell) 6:50
12.  Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel) 5:00

John Clayton (Bass)
Jeff Hamilton (Drums)
Anthony Wilson (Guitar)
Paulinho Da Costa (Percussion)


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