Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Abbey Lincoln - Who Used To Dance

Abbey Lincoln, 65 at the time of this recording, still had a reasonably strong voice at this point in her career, and although she showed signs of mellowing now and then, she was still capable of performing fiery musical statements. This Verve release mostly emphasizes slow tempos and melancholy moods. The nostalgic "Who Used to Dance" (featuring Savion Glover's tapdancing) is a highlight, and "Street of Dreams" works well, although "Mr. Tambourine Man" is not too essential. Six different saxophonists (five of them altoists) appear on the date (usually one on a song), and despite the diversity in styles (from Steve Coleman to Frank Morgan), their subsidiary roles and respectful playing find them all sounding fairly similar. An interesting but not overly essential outing. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Abbey Lincoln
Album: Who Used To Dance
Year: 1997
Label: Verve Records
Runtime: 61:29
Recorded at the Clinton Recording Studios, New York City, April-May, 1996

1.  Love Has Gone Away (Abbey Lincoln) 7:34
2.  Who Used To Dance (Abbey Lincoln) 9:41
3.  Love Lament (R.B. Lynch) 7:14
4.  Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) 6:55
5.  When Autumn Sings (R.B. Lynch) 4:09
6.  Love What You Doin' (Abbey Lincoln) 8:27
7.  Street Of Dreams (Sam Lewis/Victor Young) 6:36
8.  I Sing A Song (Abbey Lincoln) 5:50
9.  The River (Abbey Lincoln) 5:00

Abbey Lincoln (Vocals)
Marc Cary (Piano) - 1-8
Michael Bowie (Double Bass) - 1-8
Aaron Walker (Drums and Percussion) - 1,2,4,7,8
Alvester Garnett (Drums) - 2,5,6
Steve Coleman (Alto Saxophone) - 1,6,7
Oliver Lake (Alto Saxophone) - 6,9
Frank Morgan (Alto Saxophone) - 3,5
Riley T. Bandy (Alto Saxophone) - 6,8
Savion Glover (Tap Dance) - 2
Julien Lourau (Tenor Saxophone) - 4
Justin Robinson (Alto Saxophone) - 9
Graham Haynes (Cornet) - 9
Rodney Kendrick (Piano) - 9
John Ormond (Double Bass) - 9
Turu Alexander (Drums) - 9
Bazzi Bartholomew (Backing Vocals) - 9
Arthur Green (Backing Vocals) - 9

Monday, December 25, 2017

Erik Truffaz - Out Of A Dream

1996 : we now play in 4te, Patrick Muller has joined the band. He brings with him an undeniable colour, that of liberty. We record Out of dream in the autumn. Habib Achour proposes it to the producer of EMI, Michel Mouster. Blue Note USA decides to increase production by giving majors of each country the possibility of signing new artists. We will be the first French band to release on that mythical label in February 1997. - From Erik's website

Truffaz has experimented with electronica-tinged dance music and ensemble improvisation, but on his 1997 major label debut Out Of A Dream, he channels the spirit and sound of Miles Davis. The way Truffaz delicately and economically phrases smatterings of thin warm notes begs comparison with Miles. But Truffaz doesn’t just play parrot here, he takes that classic sound and wraps it around a bunch of elegant tunes that you’d swear were laid down decades ago. With a title like Out Of A Dream, one would expect this album to be a languid affair, and it doesn’t disappoint. Truffaz and his quintet spin one mid-tempo ballad into another, each track a strand of golden sunshine piercing through gray rainclouds. ‘Down Town’ opens with Truffaz blowing simple figures on his trumpet before the rest of the group jump in and kick the track into gear. The way Truffaz darts around his band’s interlocking groove cannot fail to bring to mind the first famous quintet of Miles Davis. But it’s the title track - a deceptively complex ballad that sounds every bit like a lazy Saturday morning in bed - that sets the pace for the entire album. Truffaz has made a game effort to deflect the depth of Miles’ influence upon his sound. Obviously, the bulls eye that comes with such a comparison is daunting enough, but any artist worth their salt strives to be original and not just some two-cent carbon copy of the real deal. So Truffaz says things like “My band sounds like itself” while the biography on his website admits that hearing Kind Of Blue as a 16 year old changed his life and sent him into a career in music. But Truffaz needn’t worry about dodging such lofty comparisons. Out Of A Dream sounds unavoidably like Miles, but it retains enough of his magic and genius - things that can’t merely be
copied rote - that it comes off like a long lost album from the great trumpeter’s archive. And that’s meant as a compliment - one of the biggest I can think of, actually. -

Artist: Erik Truffaz
Album: Out Of A Dream
Year: 1997
Label: Blue Note Records
Runtime: 49:46
Recorded at Studio Village (Montpellier, France), February, 1996

1.  Down Town 2:01
2.  Out of a Dream 7:36
3.  Beaute Bleue 5:59
4.  Wet in Paris 6:24
5.  Porta Camollia 5:21
6.  Indigo 5:49
7.  Saisir 3:55
8.  Elegie 3:23
9.  Samara 5:24
10.  Up Town 2:11
11.  Betty 1:42
All compositions by Erik Truffaz 

Erik Truffaz (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Cyrille Bugnon (Tenor and Alto Saxophone)
Patrick Muller (Piano)
Marcello Giuliani (Double Bass)
Marc Erbetta (Drums)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hugh Masakela - The Lasting Impressions Of Ooga Booga

In patching together a program of Hugh Masekela's MGM recordings onto a single overstuffed CD, Verve took the original The Americanization of Ooga Booga album, leapfrogged over its successor, Next Album, and coupled it with the third MGM LP, The Lasting Impressions of Hugh Masekela. That made good sense since the two albums originate from the same live date at the Village Gate, recorded when the trumpeter was still in the process of making an impression in the U.S. Masekela is full of wild, sputtering, high-rolling exuberance, developing some of his familiar signature trumpet riffs, freely exploring South African rhythms, harmonic sequences, and chants, and mixing them with soul-jazz at a time when hardly anyone else would bother (the mixture of township jive and jazz works especially well on "U-Dwi"). He also ties into Brazil with a fine rendition of Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada" and assimilates Coltrane into his bloodstream with a tribute called "Mixolydia." In general, the Americanization tracks are the picks of the crop (Impressions, after all, had been compiled in 1968 to cash in on Masekela's surprise number one single, "Grazing in the Grass"). With the rhythm section of Larry Willis on piano, Harold Dotson on bass, and Henry Jenkins on drums, this music still holds up marvelously today. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Hugh Masakela
Album: The Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga
Year: 1965 (MGM Records)
Label: Verve Records (1996)
Runtime: 78:43
Recorded live at the Village Gate, NYC, in 1965

1.  Bajabula Bonke (Miriam Makeba) 8:05
2.  Dzinorabiro (Miriam Makeba) 6:38
3.  Unhlanhia (Miriam Makeba) 5:22
4.  Cantelope Island (Herbie Hancock) 5:29
5.  U-dwi (Hugh Masekela) 5:25
6.  Masquenada (Jorge Ben) 7:43
7.  Abangoma (Miriam Makeba) 4:04
8.  Mixloydia (Hugh Masekela) 7:00
9.  Con Mucho Caarino (Larry Willis) 4:41
10.  Where Are You Going? (Hugh Masekela) 7:42
11.  Morolo (Hugh Masekela) 5:06
12.  Bo Masekela (Caiphus Semenya) 4:39
13.  Unohilo (Alan Salinga) 6:49

Hugh Masekela (Trumpet and Vocals)
Larry Willis (Piano)
Harold Dotson (Double Bass)
Henry Jenkins (Drums)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bob Stewart - Goin' Home

The second recording by tuba player Bob Stewart's First Line Band is even better than the first. In 1988, Stewart's group also included trumpeter James Zoller, trombonist Steve Turre, guitarist Jerome Harris and either Buddy Williams or Ed Blackwell on drums; trumpeter Earl Gardner and John Clark on French horn have guest spots on this CD. The music ranges from the straightforward swing of Don Cherry's "Art Deco" and a good-humored "Sweet Georgia Brown" to a 121-minute exploration of Billy Harper's "Priestess" and originals by Stewart, Olu Dara and Kelvyn Bell. Stimulating and often-surprising music that is generally more accessible than one might expect. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Bob Stewart
Album: Goin' Home
Year: 1989
Label: JMT Productions
Runtime: 49:43
Recorded at the RPM Studios (New York City, USA) in December, 1988

1.  Subi La Nas Alturas (Kelvyn Bell) 7:04
2.  Art Deco (Don Cherry) 6:14
3.  Bell And Ponce (Olu Dara) 6:00
4.  Tunk (Bob Stewart) 6:55
5.  Sugar Finger (Traditional)5:33
6.  Sweet Georgia Brown Sweet Medley
  - Sweet Georgia Brown (Ben Bernie / Kenneth Casey / Maceo Pinkard) 3:59
  - Windmill (Kenny Dorham) 0:39
  - Donna (Jackie McLean) 0:35
7.  Priestess (Billy Harper) 12:37

Bob Stewart (Tuba)
James Zoller (Trumpet)
Steve Turre (Trombone)
Jerome Harris (Guitar)
Buddy Williams (Drums) - 1,3,5-7
Earl Gardner (Trumpet) - 1,7
Ed Blackwell (Drums) - 2,4
Frank Colon (Percussion) - 1,5
John Clark (French Horn) - 7

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Barabás Lőrinc Eklektric - Ladal

A delight to the ears and fodder for the feet, Barabás’ mix of brassy jazz, electro-house and industrial beats was just what the doctor ordered to round-off the working week. A master of all he touches, his tools on the evening included the trumpet, keyboard/synthesiser, DJ mixing machines, sound-effect foot pedals and computer software. Single-handedly building industrial rhythms around the trumpet – his key instrument – accompanied by his other tools was more evidence of this artist’s ability to rise to a challenge. -

Artist: Barabás Lőrinc Eklektrik
Album: Ladal
Year: 2007
Label: Not On Label
Runtime: 56:37

1.  Noxville 5:15 
2.  Famous 4:15 
3.  Otto 5:47 
4.  Csak 4:29 
5.  Lomha 4:08 
6.  Coolhouse 3:07 
7.  Sunset 4:10 
8.  Ezazz 4:22 
9.  Ujdnb 4:24 
10.  Ladal 5:30 
11.  Wanna 4:00 
12.  Leon (live) 7:10 
All music by Barabás Lőrinc 

Barabás Lõrinc (Trumpet)
Bata István (Bass)
Delov Jávor (Drums)
Premecz Mátyás (Keyboards)
Élő Márton (Performer [Mpc], Scratches, Trombone)
MC Kemon (Rap)
MC Sena (Rap, Vocals)
Fábián Julianna (Vocals)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gabor Szabo - 1969

In the late '60s, many jazz artists were ignoring the rock and soul hits of the day -- when called upon to interpret popular songs, they stuck to their favorite Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin standards and didn't see Beatles or Marvin Gaye hits as vehicles for jazz improvisation. But there were some jazz artists who didn't feel that way; Grant Green, Herbie Mann, and Charles Earland -- just to give three examples -- saw no reason why rock and soul tunes couldn't receive instrumental jazz makeovers. And on 1969, Gabor Szabo puts a jazz spin on popular songs of the 1960s, including "Walk Away Renee" (a major hit for the Four Tops), the Beatles' "In My Life," and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." Again, there were many jazz artists who wouldn't have touched these songs in 1969 -- they would have insisted on providing yet another version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" or "My Funny Valentine." But Szabo acknowledges that worthwhile popular music didn't die with George Gershwin. The Hungarian guitarist doesn't always stretch out as much as he could on this album; at times, he ends a solo that probably should have lasted a few more minutes. But Szabo still deserves credit for bringing a jazz perspective to songs that so many other improvisers were ignoring. Produced by Gary McFarland, this 1969 date originally came out on vinyl and was finally reissued on CD in 1998. - by Alex Henderson, AMG

Artist: Gabor Szabo
Album: 1969
Year: 1969 (Skye Records)
Label: DCC Jazz (1998)
Runtime: 34:19
Recorded at the United Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA (January 20-23, 1969)

1. Dear Prudence (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) 2:37
2.  Sealed With a Kiss (Gary Geld / Peter Udell) 2:41
3.  Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell) 2:54
4.  Walk Away Renee (Michael Brown / Bob Calilli / Tony Sansone) 2:42
5.  You Won't See Me (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) 3:31
6.  Michael from Mountains (Gabor Szabo) 3:56
7.  Stormy (Buddy Buie / James Cobb) 3:12
8.  In My Life (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) 2:25
9.  I've Just Seen a Face (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) 4:30
10.  Until It's Time for You to Go (Buffie St. Marie) 2:18
11.  Somewhere I Belong (Gabor Szabo) 3:33

Gabor Szabo (Guitar)
Francois Vaz (Guitar)
Louis Kabok (Bass Guitar)
Randy Cierly (Fender Bass)
Mike Melvoin (Organ)
Jim Keltner (Drums and Percussion)
George Ricci (Cello)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Eddie Harris - Instant Death

This is one of Eddie Harris's stronger Atlantic albums of the 1970s. Harris jamming on "Instant Death" is one of his most satisfying statements on the reed trumpet, guitarist Ronald Muldrow's "A Little Wes" is memorable and even the briefer pieces are worthwhile. In addition to Harris (who mostly plays his electrified tenor) and Muldrow, the group consists of keyboardist Richard Abrams, bassist Rufus Reid, drummer Billy James and percussionist Henry Gibson. This long out-of-print LP is long overdue to be reissued on CD. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Eddie Harris
Album: Instant Death
Year: 1972 (Atlantic Recordings)
Label: Atlantic Masters (2004)
Runtime: 36:23

1.  Instant Death (Eddie Harris) 5:45
2.  A Little Wes (Ronald Muldrow) 7:30
3.  Zambezi Dance (Richard Abrams/Henry Gibson/Eddie Harris/Billy James/Ronald Muldrow) 4:09
4.  Summer's On Its Way (Eddie Harris) 7:46
5.  Nightcap (Eddie Harris) 5:08
6.  Superfluous (Eddie Harris) 3:18
7.  Tampion (Eddie Harris) 2:47

Eddie Harris (Saxophone [Electric Saxophone], Trumpet, Cowbell, Shaker, Voice [Horn Vocals], Effects)
Rufus Reid (Double Bass, Electric Bass)
Henry Gibson (Congas, Talking Drum)
Billy James (Drums, Kalimba)
Ronald Muldrow (Electric Guitar)
Muhal Richard Abrams (Electric Piano, Whistle [African Whistle])

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Frank Wess - Seven Classic Albums - IV

In a Minor Groovie:
With the exceptional flute sounds produced by Frank Wess, the combo plays music that is oriented via a unique sonic palate, further enhanced by the principals in the standards and originals they have chosen. Fellow Detroiter Herman Wright is here on bass, with duties split between legendary drummers Art Taylor and Roy Haynes, who place particular emphasis on subtle brushwork. Of course, the watchword of Ashby's sound is elegance, as she and Wess weave magical threads of gold and silver through standards like the circular and pristine "Moonlight in Vermont," the dramatic, slow "Yesterdays," or the sad "Alone Together." In a more Baroque or chamber setting, "Charmain" and "It's a Minor Thing" have Wess and Ashby thinking on a regal or Grecian platform. The variety on this collection is impressive, as you hear cinematic bluesy proclamations on "Autumn in Rome," striking mystery in "Taboo," mischievous and sly winks during "Rascallity," and a sexy calypso-to-swing beat as "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" unfolds. - by Michael G. Nastos, AMG

The Frank Wess Quartet:
Frank Wess has long been one of the most underrated flautists in jazz, but it's his primary instrument on this CD reissue of a Moodsville LP recorded in 1960. With fine accompaniment by piano master Tommy Flanagan, bassist Eddie Jones and drummer Bobby Donaldson, the leader's lyrical chops are evident in Alec Wilder's rarely performed ballad "It's So Peaceful in the Country." The light Latin setting of "Star Eyes" initially spotlights Flanagan's elegant piano, with the rhythm switching gears as Wess works his magic on flute. Flanagan alone introduces the dreamy interpretation of "But Beautiful," while Wess will melt any heart with his gorgeous flute solo. Wess is best known for his swinging tenor saxophone, heard on the richly textured "Gone With the Wind," a spacious "Stella by Starlight" (which will rival any saxophonist's recording for pure beauty), as well as his bluesy original "Rainy Afternoon," with Donaldson's light percussion possibly suggesting stepping in sidewalk puddles or windshield wipers clearing intermittent precipitation. Highly recommended. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Frank Wess
Album: Seven Classic Albums IV.
Year: 1958, 1960 (New Jazz; Prestige)
Label: Real Gone Jazz (Digitally Remastered, 2013)
Runtime: 77:19

In a Minor Groovy
1.  Rascallity (Dorothy Ashby) 3:54
2.  You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (Cole Porter) 3:59
3.  It's a Minor Thing (Dorothy Ashby) 3:56
4.  Yesterdays (Otto Harbach/Jerome Kern) 4:22
5.  Bohemia After Dark (Oscar Pettiford) 6:19
6.  Taboo (Margarita Lecuona) 6:15
7.  Autumn in Rome (Sammy Cahn/Paul Weston) 5:33
8.  Alone Together (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 4:58
The Frank Wess Quartet
9. It's So Peaceful in the Country (Alec Wilder) - 4:01
10. Rainy Afternoon (Frank Wess) - 8:26
11. Star Eyes (Gene de Paul / Don Raye) - 3:54
12. Stella by Starlight (Ned Washington / Victor Young) - 5:10
13. But Beautiful (Johnny Burke / Jimmy Van Heusen) - 4:36
14. Gone with the Wind (Herb Magidson / Allie Wrubel) - 5:46
15. I See Your Face Before Me (Howard Dietz / Arthur Schwartz) - 6:05

Frank Wess (Flute, Tenor Saxophone)
Dorothy Ashby (Harp) 1-8
Herman Wright (Double Bass) 1-8
Roy Haynes (Drums) 1-8
Tommy Flanagan (Piano) 9-15
Eddie Jones (Double Bass) 9-15
Bobby Donaldson (drums) 9-15


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