Monday, May 23, 2016

Hughes de Courson - Mozart In Egypt

Hughes de Courson, member of the vintage French folk group Malicorne, has launched a new career as a musical fusionist on a grand scale. First he gave us Lambarena: Bach to Africa, which, in tribute to Albert Schweitzer, combined the religious music of J.S. Bach with the music of the Gabonese peoples of Africa. On Mozart l'égyptien, Courson unites the (mostly secular) music of W.A. Mozart with the traditional music of Egypt. - by Kurt Keefner, AMG

Artist: Hughes de Courson
Album: Mozart in Egypt
Year: 1997
Label: Virgin Classics
Runtime: 67:56

1.  Ikhtitaf Fi Assaraya [Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail] 6:39
2.  Double Quartet In F, K. 496 5:32
3.  Lamma Bada Yatathenna/Symphony No. 40 4:48
4.  Mahdiyat [Lullabies] 2:10
5.  Concerto For Oud & Piano No. 23 7:21
6.  Hamilu Lhawa Tahibou/Papageno's Aria 3:25
7.  Yaman Hawa/Thamos, King Of Egypt 4:49
8.  Mawwall 5:04
9.  Double Quartet In E Flat, K. 374 7:23
10.  Ouazat Al Kahira [L'Oca Del Cairo] 3:01
11.  Egyptian Symphony No. 25 6:42
12.  Dhikr/Requiem/Golgotha 11:02

Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra) - 1,3,5-7,10,11
Mostafa Abd el Aziz (Arghul) - 1,2,8,9,11
Mohammed Mostafa (Rabab) - 1,8,9,11
Ibrahim Shahin (Kawal) - 1,2,8,9,11
Nabil Diab (Tabla) - 1,2,8,9,11
Ragab Sadek (Daff, Sagat) - 1,2,8,9,11
Abdou Dagher (Violin) - 3,6,7
Mostafa Abdel Naby (Violin) - 3,6,7
Mamdouh el Gibally (Oud) - 3,6,7
Maged Sourour (Qanun) - 3,6,7
Mohammed Fouda (Ney) - 3,6,7
Safwat Sourour (Tabla) - 3,6,7
Ashraf Essam (Riq) - 3,6,7
Alain Aubin (Vocals) - 4,10
May (Vocals) - 3,7
Rabah Dalil (Darbouka) - 3,7
Ivan Peev (Violin) - 2,9
Dimiter Stankov (Viola) - 2,9
Elka Zacharieva (Cello) - 2,9
Nasredine Dalil (Flute, Vocals) - 1,6
Samira Donya (Vocals) - 4
Henri Agnel (Oud) - 5
Mario Angelov (Piano) - 5
Azzedine Alaoui (Voice) - 6
Hassan el Meghannawaty (Vocals) - 1
Reda Shina (Vocals) - 8
Rosen Ovtcharov (Clarinet) - 9
Jim Cuomo (Clainet) - 1
Mahmoud Osman (Viola) - 9
Giorgi (Godulka) - 10
Aly El Helbany (Vocals) - 12
Maher El Helbany (Vocals) - 12
Mohammed El Helbany (Vocals) - 12
George Kyrillos (Oud) - 12
Radio Sofia Sinfonic Orchestra (Choir [Chidren]) - 12

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Oregon - Distant Hills

Distant Hills, Oregon's 1973 follow-up to Music From Another Present Era, is as eclectic, genre-bending, and pleasurable as its predecessor. The unique talents of multi-instrumentalists Collin Walcott, Glen Moore, Ralph Towner, and Paul McCandless work together in a fashion that recalls the collective precision of 20th-century classical chamber music, yet with the range and improvisatory flair of jazz. Like most of Oregon's output, Distant Hills is marked by forays into trans-global sounds. The sitar-fueled "Dark Spirit," for example, conjures uneasy, snake-charmer dreams, and the bongos-and-violin duet of "Mi Chinita Suite" sounds like an avant-garde recital in the Amazon. The high, reedy keen of "Confession" and the dramatic shape-shifting of "Canyon Song" testify to the fact that although Oregon's music is quite accessible, at its root it is dedicated to vital experimentation. - AMG

Artist: Oregon
Album: Distant Hills
Year: 1974
Label: Vanguard (1987)
Runtime: 43:40

1.  Aurora (Ralph Towner) 7:42
2.  Dark Spirit (Ralph Towner) 5:50
3.  Mi Chinita (Ralph Towner / Collin Walcott / Glen Moore / Paul McCandless) 6:57
4.  Distant Hills (Ralph Towner) 6:30
5.  Canyon Song (Ralph Towner) 4:59
6.  Song For A Friend (Ralph Towner) 5:19
7.  Confession (Ralph Towner / Collin Walcott / Glen Moore / Paul McCandless) 6:23

Glen Moore (Double Bass, Violin, Bass Guitar, Piano, Flute)
Ralph Towner (Guitar, Trumpet, Mellophone, Piano)
Paul McCandless (Oboe, English Horn, )
Collin Walcott (Sitar, Tabla, Tambura, Piano, Marimba, Drums, Guitar, Congas, Clarinet)

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)


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