Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Duke Ellington - Afro Bossa + Concert In The Virgin Islands

Afro Bossa:
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn combined old and new compositions to create the album Afro-Bossa, a suite consisting of a dozen pieces that was never performed in its entirety in concert, though several of the works remained in the band's repertoire. The title cut is a new work, though the "Bossa" does not refer to Brazilian music; instead, it is a mix of African and Latin influences that slowly builds with insistent percussion to a blazing finale of brass and reeds. "Purple Gazelle" (which was also recorded as "Angelica" in Ellington's small group session with John Coltrane, was described by the pianist as a "ragtime cha-cha." Cootie Williams (on muted trumpet), Ray Nance, Paul Gonsalves, and the composer are all featured soloists. Ellington returns to the jungle sound with the exotic "Moonbow," showcasing a trio of dissonant clarinets and Nance's effective plunger mute work on trumpet, along with the matchless altoist Johnny Hodges. Strayhorn's "Tigress" puts the spotlight on Gonsalves, Williams, and clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton in an infectious Latin setting. "Pyramid" dates from 1938, written by Ellington with Juan Tizol, but it is trombonist Lawrence Brown who takes over Tizol's role, along with contributions by baritonist Harry Carney and Williams. This is easily one of Duke Ellington's essential studio recordings of the 1960s, though it isn't as widely recognized as it ought to be. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Concert in the Virgin Islands:
Although in his mid-60s, Duke Ellington proves on this program of mostly new music that he never declined nor lost his creativity. Four of the pieces comprise "The Virgin Islands Suite," and there are new versions of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" and "Chelsea Bridge," and also a variety of miniature classics. In 1965 the Ellington orchestra had 11 very distinctive soloists; eight are heard from during this memorable set. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Duke Ellington and His Orchestra
Album: Afro-Bossa + Concert in the Virgin Islands
Year: 1963, 1965 (Warner Bros.)
Label: Reprise (2000)
Runtime: 72:25

1.  Afro-Bossa (Duke Ellington) 4:17 sam
2.  Purple Gazelle (Duke Ellington) 2:45
3.  Absinthe (Billy Strayhorn) 3:20
4.  Moonbow (Duke Ellington) 2:30
5.  Sempre Amore (Duke Ellington) 3:11
6.  Silk Lace (Duke Ellington) 2:30
7.  Tigress (Billy Strayhorn) 3:03
8.  Angu (Duke Ellington) 2:37
9.  Volupté (Duke Ellington) 2:42
10.  Bonga (Duke Ellington) 2:45
11.  Pyramid (Duke Ellington / Irving Mills) 3:00
12.  Eighth Veil (Billy Strayhorn) 2:48
13.  Island Virgin (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 4:20
14.  Virgin Jungle (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 3:45
15.  Fiddler on the Diddle (Duke Ellington) 3:13
16.  Jungle Kitty (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 2:55
17.  Things Ain't What They Used To Be (Duke Ellington / Ted Persons) 2:56
18.  Big Fat Alice's Blues (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 3:48
19.  Chelsie Bridge (Billy Strayhorn) 3:40
20.  The Opener (Cootie Williams / Duke Ellington) 2:45
21.  Mysterious Chick (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 3:11
22.  Barefoot Stomper (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 2:48
23.  Fade Up (Jimmy Hamilton / Duke Ellington) 3:36

Duke Ellington (Piano, Conductor, Arramger)
Cat Anderson (Trumpet, Percussion)
Roy Burrowes (Trumpet, Percussion)
Cootie Williams (Trumpet, Percussion)
Ray Nance (Cornet, Violin)
Lawrence Brown (Trombone)
Buster Cooper (Trombone)
Chuck Connors (Bass Trombone)
Russell Procope (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet)
Johnny Hodges (Alto Saxophone)
Jimmy Hamilton (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone)
Paul Gonsalves (Tenor Saxophone)
Harry Carney (Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
Billy Strayhorn (Piano, Percussion)
Ernie Shepherd (Double Bass)
Sam Woodyard (Drums)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Babatunde Olatunji - Drums of Passion: The Beat

Percussionist Olatunji was championing African music long before anyone devised the worldbeat marketing strategy. His 1989 recording Drums of Passion: The Beat updated his classic Drums of Passion concept, adding rock and pop energy and instrumentalists to the wall of multiple rhythms. The idea clicks, and Olatunji's African beats are contrasted by Airto Moreira's Latin percussion, Mickey Hart's bombastic presence, and such special guests as Carlos Santana and Bobby Vega. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

Artist: Babatunde Olatunji
Album: Drums of Passion: The Beat
Year: 1989
Label: Rykodisc
Runtime: 40:08

1.  The Beat of My Drum 7:09
2.  Loyin Loyin 7:32
3.  Ife L'oju L'aiye 6:49
4.  Akiwowo (a capella) 1:40
5.  Akiwowo 7:45
6.  Se Eni A Fe L'amo - Kere Kere 9:13
All compositions by Babatunje Olatunji 

Babatunde Olatunji (Lead Vocals, Drums and Ngoma Drums)
Carlos Santana (Guitar and Guitar Synthesizer)
Sarah Abakusta (Vocals)
Sikiru Adepoju (Talking Drum)
Rotimi Byrd (Ojembe Drum)
Frank Ekeh (Guitar, Agogo and Vocals)
Marijah Especialze (Agogo, Shekere and Vocals)
Sanga Francis (Djembe)
C.K. Ganyo (Bembe)
Ade Harris (Djembe)
Sundiata Keita (Djembe)
Joseph Bruce Langhorne (Guitar, Agogo, Vocals)
Airto Moreira (Caxixi)
Babafunmi Ohene (Djembe, Log Drum)
Iyalu Okanbi (Vocals)
Soji Randolph (Vocals)
Alfred C. Redwine (Guitar)
Gordy Ryan (Junjun, Toke Bell and Vocals)
Carolyn Sebron (Vocals)
Ayisha Shabaaz (Vocals)
Taiwo Duvall Shabaaz (Ashiko Drum)
Yao Tamakloe (Vocals)
Bobby Vega (Bass Guitar)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Anita O'Day - Sings the Winners

For this CD, which is greatly expanded from the original LP, Anita O'Day sings standards associated with other musicians, including "Four" (Miles Davis), "Early Autumn" (Stan Getz), "Four Brothers" (Woody Herman), "Sing, Sing, Sing" (Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa) and "Peanut Vendor" (Stan Kenton). Some of the material is unusual for a singer to interpret, but O'Day, one of the top jazz vocalists of the decade, improvises when the lyrics are not that strong (or barely exist). The backup by the Russ Garcia Orchestra is not all that memorable, but the focus is entirely on the vocalist, and O'Day really comes through. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Anita O'Day
Album: Sings the Winners
Year: 1958
Label: Verve (1990)
Runtime: 56:28

1. Take the "A" Train (Billy Strayhorn) 2:53 
2.  Tenderly (Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence) 2:41 
3.  Interlude A Night in Tunisia) (Dizzy Gillespie/Raymond Leveen/Frank Paparelli) 2:36 
4.  Four (Miles Davis) 2:52 
5.  Early Autumn (Ralph Burns/Woody Herman/Johnny Mercer) 3:11 
6.  Four Brothers (Jimmy Giuffre) 2:27 
7.  Sing, Sing Sing (With a Swing) (Louis Prima) 3:34 
8.  My Funny Valentine (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 3:37 
9.  Frenesi (Alberto Dominguez/Leonard Whitcup) 3:05 
10.  Body and Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 3:24 
11.  What's Your Story, Morning Glory? (Jack Lawrence/Paul Francis Webster/Mary Lou Williams) 3:50 
12.  Penaut Vendor (L. Wolfe Gilbert/Moisés Simóns/Marion Sunshine) 2:42 
13.  Whisper Not (Leonard Feather/Benny Golson) 2:58 
14.  Blue Champagne (Taps Miller) 2:37 
15.  Stompin' At the Savoy (Benny Goodman/Andy Razaf/Edgar Sampson/Chick Webb) 3:21 
16.  Hershey Bar (Johnny Mandel) 2:08 
17.  Don't Be That Away (Benny Goodman/Mitchell Parish/Edgar Sampson) 2:35 
18.  Peel Me a Grape (Dave Frishberg) 3:06 
19.  Star Eyes (Gene DePaul/Don Raye) 2:51 

Anita O'Day (Vocals) 
Marty Paich (Piano, Arranger, Conductor) - 1-12 
Bill Catalano (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Jules Chaiken (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Phil Gilbert (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Lee Katzman (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Sam Noto (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Bob Enevoldsen (Trombone) - 1-12 
Jim Amlotte (Trombone) - 1-12 
Kent Larsen (Trombone) - 1-12 
Archie LeCoque (Trombone) - 1-12 
Ken Shroyer (Trombone) - 1-12 
Lennie Niehaus (Alto Saxophone) - 1-12 
Bud Shank (Alto Saxophone) - 1-12,15 
Richie Kamuca (Tenor Saxophone) - 1-12 
Bill Perkins (Tenor Saxophone) - 1-12 
Jack DuLong (Baritone Saxophone) - 1-12 
Red Kelly (Double Bass) - 1-12 
Mel Lewis (Drums) - 1-12 
Russ Garcia (Conductor, Arranger) - 7-12 
Gene Harris (Piano) - 13 
Andy Simpkins (Double Bass) - 13 
Bill Dowdy (Drums) - 13 
Conte Candoli (Trumpet) - 15 
Conrad Gozzo (Trumpet) - 15 
Ray Linn (Trumpet) - 15 
Milt Bernhardt (Trombone) - 15 
Lloyd Elliott (Trombone) - 15 
Frank Rosolino (Trombone) - 15 
George Roberts (Trombone) - 15 
Herb Geller (Alto Saxophone) - 15 
George Auld (Tenor Saxophone) - 15 
Bob Cooper (Tenor Saxophone) - 15 
Jimmy Giuffre (Baritone Saxophone) - 15 
Paul Smith (Piano) - 15,17 
Al Hendrickson (Guitar) - 15 
Joe Mondragon (Double Bass) - 15,17 
Alvin Stoller (Drums) - 15,17 
Harry "Sweets" Edison (Trumpet) - 17 
Larry Bunker (Vibraphone) - 17 
Barney Kessel (Guitar) - 17 
Cal Tjader (Vibraphone) - 18 
Lonnie Hewitt (Piano) - 18 
Freddy Schreiber (Double Bass) - 18 
Johnny Rae (Drums) - 18 
Joe Masters (Trumpet) - 19 
Larry Woods (Double Bass) - 19 
John Poole (Drums) - 19 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Isabel Ventura Jazz Quarteto - Jazz

In life there are many coincidences, and precisely on the day that David Bowie has left us, I witnessed one. It is that this day has come to my hands the second Isabel Ventura disc - "To Jazz ...". In which, oddly enough, the opening track is a version of Space Oddity, well known theme and released in July 1969. This album the singer of Porto, is much more light than the first disc. Has ten themes pop / rock universe with jazzy arrangements of pianist Marco Figueiredo and bassist José Carlos Barbosa. They include topics such as "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles or "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd, that among other indelible marks of the musical universe. Quartet Isabel Ventura, as well as in his own voice, has Marco Figueiredo on piano, José Carlos Barbosa on Bass and Michel Marques on drums. For the record still had the special participation of Gileno Santana on flugelhorn. This album is a beautiful company for a homecoming, an end of a long day ... Even though for me dubbed "light" is a good album that takes the classification of very good! - by Miguel Estima,

Artist: Isabel Ventura Jazz Quarteto
Album: Jazz
Year: 2014
Label: O Mercador Estrangeiro
Runtime: 51:40
Recorded 2013 - 2014 at Estudios Quinta da Musica (Porto, Portugal)

1. Space Oddity (David Bowie) 4:59
2. Us and Them (Richard Wright / Roger Waters) 6:15
3. Eleanor Rigby (Paul McCartney / John Lennon) 3:59
4. At Last (Mack Gordon / Harry Warren) 4:48
5. These Arms of Mine (Otis Redding) 4:06
6. Close to You (Hald David / Burt Bacharach) 5:22
7. Roxanne (Sting) 7:21
8. Hounds of Winter (Sting) 4:17
9. Cry me a River (Arthur Hamilton) 5:07
10. I Wish I Knew How It Would Be to Be Free (William Taylor / Richard Lamb) 5:26

Isabel Ventura - Vocals
Marco Figueiredo - Piano
Jose Carlos Barbosa - Double Bass
Michel Marques - Drums
+ Gileno Santana - Flugelhorn (2,9)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Silje Nergaard - Port Of Call

If you're like me and tire of the so-called diva's who express emotions by screeching endlessly up and down the scales then Silje is the ideal antidote. It's great to hear a voice which can convey sentiments with subtlety. This is particularly impressive when one considers Silje's first language is Norwegian. She obviously has a deep understanding and feel for this music genre. All of the tracks sound very polished in keeping with her beautifully clear voice. From the little I know of her it is obvious she has spent some time developing her style and direction. After buying this CD I immediately bought her latest 'At First Light'. This is also a triumph as Silje combines well with lyricist Mike McGurk to compose all but one of the tracks on this CD. Defiitely a must-play when you have some friends around for dinner. - by

Her highly successful previous album, "Port of Call" (Universal Music), returned Silje Nergaard to recording after a four-year absence, during which she spent time reconsidering the direction of her career. Released in March of 2000, the album presented Silje firmly as a jazz vocalist, reflecting her passion for the genre, which has always been the underlying basis of her music. Although initially meant as an homage to the art of the jazz standard that has so much influenced her, the album met with immediate success, receiving the highest critical praise from critics throughout the world. In the first week of its release, the album entered the Norwegian sales charts at no. 7, and remained in the top-twenty for 12 weeks. Such success is notably unusual for a jazz album, and especially for an artist who had not been active for the preceding four years. A single from the album, "Shame on You", landed the no. 1 spot for the summer's most requested radio play on the state-run Norwegian Broadcast Radio (NRK). Clearly, Silje Nergaard was not only back with unprecedented force, but also established herself as one of the few jazz performers to achieve critical as well as commercial success. -

Artist: Silje Nergaard
Album: Port of Call
Year: 2000
Label: EmArcy
Runtime: 47:08

1.  Me Oh My (Silje Nergaard / Mike McGurk) 3:04
2.  Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) 5:25
3.  Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me (Duke Ellington / Bob Russell) 3:13
4.  If You Love Somebody (Sting) 4:05
5.  What's New (Johnny Burke / Bob Haggart) 2:25
6.  The Waltz (Silje Nergaard / Mike McGurk) 4:11
7.  You're Kind (Paul Simon)  3:39
8.  For All We Know (Fred Coots / Sam M. Lewis) 3:06
9.  Shame On You (Silje Nergaard / Mike McGurk) 4:45
10.  Every Time We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter) 5:20
11.  Dream A Little Dream (Wilbur Schwartz / Fabian Andre / Gus Kahn) 3:14
12.  Don't Explain (Arthur Herczog Jr. / Billie Holiday) 4:37

Silje Nergaard (Vocals)
Tord Gustavsen (Piano)
Jarle Vespestad (Drums)
Harald Johnsen (Double Bass)
Magnus Lindgren (Saxophone)
Putte Wickmann (Clarinet)
Georg Wadenius (Acoustic Guitar)
Heine Totland (Vocals) - 11

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Miki N'Doye - Tuki

N’Doye composes on the iron-tongued kalimba thumb piano, his hypnotic variations throbbing and buzzing into a vast and numinous sound field across which Per Jörgensens’s searing trumpet lines cut a plangent counter-swathe. If N’Doyes drumming and verbal extemporisations are often unremarkable in themselves, the sheer severity of the album’s sonic conception, with its discordant incursion of John Cage-style prepared piano, creates an entrancing Afro-minimalist feel that you certainly won’t be encountering anywhere else. - by Mark Hudson, Daily Telegraph

Artist: Mamadou N'Doye (aka Miki N'Doye)
Album: Tuki
Year: 2006
Label: ECM
Runtime: 62:33

1.  Intro 3:45  Jon
2.  Jahlena 4:20
3.  Loharbye 6:16
4.  Kokonum 8:31
5.  Rubato 6:23
6.  Dunya 6:06
7.  Tuki 3:27
8.  Kalimba 3:41
9.  Tonya 4:02
10.  Osa Yambe 4:11
11.  Box 4:29
12.  Me 4:11
13.  Ending 3:11
All compositions by Miki N'Doye

Mamadou "Miki" N'Doye (Kalimba, Tamma, M'balax, Bongo and Vocals)
Jon Balke (Keyboards and Prepared Piano)
Per Jorgensen (Trumpet)
Helge Andreas Norbakken (Percussion)
Aulay Sosseh (Vocals)
Lie Yallow (Vocals)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Gabor Szabo - Mizrab

Gabor Szabo, who always had an original sound on the guitar (displaying his Hungarian heritage), is backed by a string section, horns and a rhythm section (including bassist Ron Carter and either Billy Cobham or Jack DeJohnette on drums) on this Bob James production. For the program which has not yet reissued on CD, Szabo performs two originals, a pair of pop tunes and an adaptation of a Shostakovich classical concerto. The music is well played but not particularly memorable. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Guitarist Gabor Szabo began his apprenticeship with Creed Taylor’s profitable but often critically-slighted CTI Records with this above-average collection of fusion and pop/jazz. The long Szabo compositions on side one, "Mizrab" and "Thirteen," are excellent showcases for the alluring, hypnotic and surprising chemistry between the guitarist and the electric keyboards of Bob James. Shostakovich, Carole King and Seals & Crofts get workouts here too. Szabo is in top-form on MIZRAB, well-supported by the excellent contributions of bassist Ron Carter and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Billy Cobham. Deserves to be reissued on CD. -

Artist: Gabor Szabo
Album: Mizrab
Year: 1972 (CTI)
Label: King Records (Japan, 2002)
Runtime: 36:33

1.  Mizrab (Gabor Szabo) 9:35
2.  Thirteen (Gabor Szabo) 9:16
3.  It's Going To Take Some Time (Carole King)4:14
4.  Concerto (Dimitri Shostakovitch) 7:20
5.  Summer Breeze (Darrell Crofts/Jim Seals) 6:06

Gabor Szabo (Guitar)
Bob James (Piano, Organ)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Billy Cobham (Drums) - 1,3
Jack DeJohnette (Drums) - 2,4,5
Ralph MacDonald (Percussion)
Margaret Ross (Harp)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Wayne Andre (Trombone)
James Buffington (French Horn)
Brooks Tillotson (French Horn)
John Campo (Bassoon, Bass Clarinet)
Sidney Weinberg (Oboe, English Horn)
Hubert Laws (Flute)
George Marge (Oboe, Clarinet, Recorder)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gerry Mulligan - The Complete Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster Sessions

lthough an earlier CD added five previously unissued tracks to the original LP Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, this Verve Master Edition two-CD set adds just about everything else recorded during the two sessions that produced the original record, and also features 20-bit sound. Even though Gerry Mulligan was outspoken against issuing material omitted from his original recordings, it is a treat to hear how the songs evolved in the studio. Webster and Mulligan seem mutually inspired throughout the sessions, and strong performances by pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis are of considerable help. The music is presented in the order in which it was recorded, with each CD devoted to a separate session. In both cases it is clear that the initial takes of music from the Ellington songbook ("In a Mellotone" and "Chelsea Bridge") are more focused than the follow-up versions. They only needed one try to nail "What Is This Thing Called Love?" (also left off the LP), in an understated setting that shows off their beautiful interplay. Their barely disguised reworking of "I Got Rhythm," called "Who's Got Rhythm," was likely an effortless performance, though Webster seems to briefly laugh in the middle of his solo. Webster's swinging "Fajista" opens the second date, followed by two takes of Mulligan's beautiful ballad "Tell Me When." Webster's "Blues in B-Flat" is another fine swinger inexplicably left off the LP, and Rowles kicks off the oldie "Sunday" with a brief stride piano introduction (something Webster played himself but rarely in a recording studio). Fans on a budget can probably make due with the earlier CD reissue but serious fans of Mulligan and/or Webster should invest in this very rewarding set instead. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Gerry Mulligan
Album: The Complete Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster Sessions
Year: 1959
Label: Verve Master Edition (1997)
Runtime: 141:46

CD1 tracks:
1.  In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington / Milt Gabler) 7:21
2.  In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington / Milt Gabler) 5:44
3.  What Is This Thing Called Love? (Cole Porter) 7:22
4.  Chelsie Bridge (Billy Strayhorn) 7:39
5.  Chelsie Bridge (Billy Strayhorn) 5:03
6.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 10:01
7.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 6:54
8.  Who's Got Rhythm? (Gerry Mulligan) 7:26
9.  For Bessie (Ben Webster) 5:38
10.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 1:44
11.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 1:30

CD2 tracks:
1.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 1:34
2.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 6:21
3.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 1:37
4.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 5:58
5.  Tell Me When (Gerry Mulligan) 5:02
6.  Tell Me When (Gerry Mulligan) 5:29
7.  Blues In B Flat (Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster) 2:46
8.  Blues In B Flat (Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster) 8:38
9.  Blues In B Flat (Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster) 7:23
10.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 3:26
11.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 5:45
12.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 2:13
13.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 6:19
14.  Sunday (Chester Conn / Benny Krueger / Ned Miller / Jule Styne) 5:32
15.  Sunday (Chester Conn / Benny Krueger / Ned Miller / Jule Styne) 7:21

Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Saxophone)
Ben Webster (Tenor Saxophone)
Jimmie Rowles (Piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (Double Bass)
Mel Lewis (Drums)


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