Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shorty Rogers - Jazz Waltz

Shorty Rogers' Jazz Waltz is exactly that, an exploration of ten compositions played in waltz settings. Only these big-band charts are hardly the waltzes heard on Lawrence Welk's long-running television series. Rogers kicks off with a swinging number ("I'm Gonna Go Fishin'") written by Duke Ellington for the soundtrack to the film Anatomy of a Murder and featuring the leader's rich flügelhorn. The lyrical take of the centuries-old folk melody "Greensleeves" alternates between the tense rhythm section and Bud Shank's gorgeous flute solo. Rogers' delightful "Be as Children" almost sounds as if it was adapted from a gospel song. The brisk treatment of Ellington's "Echoes of Harlem," featuring Paul Horn on flute, is refreshing. Only Bobby Scott's "A Taste of Honey" is the least bit disappointing, simply because this arrangement isn't quite as adventurous as the rest of the album. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Shorty Rogers
Album: Jazz Waltz
Year: 1963 (Reprise)
Label: WEA Japan (24bit remastered, 2014)
Runtime: 40:11

Tracks:
1.  I'm Gonna Go Fishin' (Duke Ellington/Peggy Lee) 4:33
2.  Greensleeves (Traditional) 5:27
3.  Walk on the Wild Side (Elmer Bernstein) 4:17
4.  Witchcraft (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh) 2:57
5.  Be as Children (Shorty Rogers) 3:35
6.  Jazz Waltz (Shorty Rogers) 4:06
7.  Echoes of Harlem (Duke Ellington) 4:41
8.  A Taste of Honey (Ric Marlowe/Bobby Scott) 2:52
9.  Terrence's Farewell (Shorty Rogers) 3:34
10.  The Streets of Laredo (Shorty Rogers) 4:05

Personnel:
Shorty Rogers (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Bud Shank (Alto Saxophone) - 1,3,5,6
Joe Maini (Alto Saxophone) - 1,3,5,6
Paul Horn (Alto Saxophone, Flute) - 2,4,7,10
Bill Hood (Baritone Saxophone) - 1,3,5,6
Joe Mondragon (Double Bass)
Mel Lewis (Drums)
Lou Levy (Piano)
Bill Perkins (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,5,6
Bob Cooper (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,5,6
Harry Betts (Trombone) - 1,3,5,6
Milt Bernhardt (Trombone) - 1,3,5,6
George Roberts (Bass Trombone) - 1,3,5,6
Kenny Shroyer (Bass Trombone)
Al Porcino (Trumpet) - 1,3,5,6
Ray Tiscari (Trumpet) - 1,3,5,6
Joe Burnett (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Ollie Mitchell (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Emil Richards (Vibraphone) - 2,4,7,10
Larry Bunker (Vibraphone) - 1,3,5,6


Monday, May 11, 2015

Bob Brookmeyer - Trombone Jazz Samba / Samba Para Dos

Trombone Jazz Samba:
Bob Brookmeyer was in the studio just a few months after Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd helped to launch the bossa nova craze in the United States with their hit LP Jazz Samba, but this extremely enjoyable LP didn't come close to matching the success of the earlier album; it may be because the valve trombone is not envisioned as a lush melodic instrument by the average jazz listener in comparison to the tenor sax. Brookmeyer's mellow solos are complemented by the presence of guitarists Jim Hall (who plays all of the solos) and Jimmy Raney, along with vibraphonist Gary McFarland and a trio of Latin percussionists, including Willie Bobo. Luiz Bonfá's "Samba de Orfeu" and "Manha de Carnaval" as well as Antonio Carlos Jobim's "A Felicidade" (all three of which have become standards within the genre) are given imaginative arrangements, but there are a few twists thrown in by the leader. Brookmeyer's catchy "Blues Bossa Nova" works very well, as do his loping bossa nova treatment of Bronislaw Kaper's theme from Mutiny on the Bounty and a hilarious brisk chart called "Colonel Bogey Bossa Nova," a reworking of the well-known song made famous by the film The Bridge on the River Kwai. Long out of print, this album deserves to be reissued by Verve -- although there are hopefully some unissued tracks, as its brevity (under 28 minutes) is a handicap.

Samba Para Dos:
This long unavailable record pairs valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer with pianist Lalo Schifrin in a light but swinging Latin-flavored studio session. Although there is a formidable supporting cast, which includes Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Jimmy Raney, the solos are primarily by the co-leaders and Leo Wright, heard on several flute solos. Following Schifrin's extended but lively "Samba Para Dos," the remainder of the date focuses on very familiar standards. Raney's solos are a highlight of "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "My Funny Valentine." The full reed section fleshes out a potent interpretation of "Just One of Those Things," which features an impressive and often humorous solo by Brookmeyer. Although this may not be considered an essential LP by the average jazz fan, it is well worth acquiring. - by Kewn Dryden, AMG

Artist: Bob Brookmeyer
Album: Trombone Jazz Samba (1-8) / Samba Para Dos (9-16)
Year: 1962, 1963 (Verve)
Label: Universal (2012)
Runtime: 59:22

Tracks:
1. Samba de Orfeu (Luiz Bonfa) 4:09
2.  Manha da Carnival (Luiz Bonfa) 4:32
3.  Blues Bossa Nova (Bob Brookmeyer) 4:12
4.  Qual E O Po (Gerson Goncalves/Joao Roberto Kelly) 3:29
5.  A Felicidade (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 3:15
6.  Mutiny on the Bounty (Bronislaw Kaper) 2:04
7.  Chara Tua Tristeza (Oscar Castro-Neves/Luvercy Florini) 4:13
8.  Colonel Bogey Bossa Nova (Kenneth J. Alford) 2:15
9.  Samba Para Dos (Lalo Schifrin) 10:06
10. What Kind Of Fool Am I (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley) 3:03
11. I Get A Kick Out of You (Cole Porter) 3:34
12. Just One Of Those Things (Cole Porter) 3:20
13. Time After Time (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) 3:29
14. It's All Right With Me (Cole Porter) 2:31
15. My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) 2:01
16. But Not For Me (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 3:06

Personnel:
Bob Brookmeyer (Trombone and Piano)
Lalo Schifrin (Piano) 9-16
Jim Hall (Guitar) 1-8
Jimmy Raney (Guitar)
Gary McFarland (Vibraphone) 1-8
Willie Bobo (Percussion) 1-8
Carmen Costa (Cabassa) 1-8
Jose Paulo (Tambourine, Percussion)
Leo Wright (Alto Saxophone, Flute) 9-16
Phil Woods (Alto Saxophone) 9-16
Jerome Richardson (Alto Saxophone) 9-16
Zoot Sims (Tenor Saxophone) 9-16
Al Cohn (Tenor Saxophone) 9-16
Romeo Penque (Bass Clarinet) 9-16
Danny Bank (Baritone Saxophone) 9-16
Frank Rehak (Trombone) 9-16
Carmelita Koehler (Cello) 9-16
Ben Tucker (Double Bass) 9-16
Dave Bailey (Drums) 9-16

Monday, May 4, 2015

Luisa Sobral - There's A Flower In My Bedroom

Portuguese music continues to enjoy an enviable health, which pleases us greatly that we are neighbors and friends yet. Born in Lisbon 25 years ago, the singer-songwriter Luisa Sobral, he surprised two years ago with his album-debut entitled "The Cherry On My Cake", which fuses jazz and pop with American performers preferably reserved for talent. On occasion, she commented that in jazz, the audience is too fixed in the instrumental aspects and little letters, so with his music,
intended to claim the role of excellent composer and writer. His tenure in New York and the School of Music Breklee, have provided a link with the world of jazz and other music, in which the references to the style divas as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington are unavoidable but always as a fulcrum and never pretentious imitation or something, because Luisa has a personality that projects in each and every one of his creations. If I had to compare it to someone you know than enough, I would go for Madeleine Peyroux. Your voice reminds me of the American singer and also something Frenchified atmosphere that both cause in some of his songs. Two years have passed since the release of their first album and Luisa Sobral released "There's A Flower In My Bedroom", confirming the expectations of the quality and originality demonstrated in his first job. Are seventeen tracks in total, in which Luisa deals with different styles, jazz, folk and pop, she connects talented. In this new album, the Portuguese singer performs in English, Spanish ("How many times") and in their own language and, for the occasion, he has chosen Jamie Cullum as a guest on "She Walked doown The Aisle" and also to pianist Mario Laginha, one of the great figures of Portuguese jazz in "The Last One", as well as the singer and guitarist Antonio Zambujo in "Agnes". All acoustic and issues especially recommend as "Mom Says," "I Was In Paris Today" and, my favorite, "As The Night Comes Along", reminiscent of Norah Jones. - from Vivejazz.net

Artist: Luisa Sobral
Album: There's A Flower In My Bedroom
Year: 2013
Label: Universal
Runtime: 49:32

Tracks:
1.  I Was In Paris Today 2:41
2.  Mom Says 3:21
3.  Sr. Vinho 3:01
4.  She Walked Down The Aisle 3:25
5.  Quando Te Vi 2:41
6.  Cuantas Veces 3:21
7.  Japanese Rose 3:02
8.  What Do You See In Lily? 1:53
9.  Rainbows 2:54
10.  As The Night Comes Along 2:55
11.  Hello Stranger 1:38
12.  The Letter I Won't Send 4:31
13.  Will You Find Me? 2:15
14.  Ines 3:36
15.  I Remember You 2:30
16.  I'll Be Waiting 3:01
17.  The Last One 2:47
All songs written by Luisa Sobral

Personnel:
Luisa Sobral (Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Glockenspiel, Harp, Vocal Trumpet)
Joao Salcedo (Piano, Harmonium, Accordion, Backing Vocals)
Joao Hasselberg (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Carlos Miguel Antunes (Drums, Backing Vocals)
Mario Barreiros (Guitalele) - 3
Jamie Cullum (Vocals) - 4
Antonio Zambujo (Vocals) - 14
Mario Laginha (Piano) - 17
Gileno Santana (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 8,10
Claudio Cesar Ribeiro (Guitar) - 5,14
Vitor Vieira (Violin)
Juan Maggiorani (Violin)
Jorge Alves (Viola)
Marco Pereira (Cello)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bobby Timmons - Sweet And Soulful Sounds + Born To Be Blue

Sweet and Soulful Sounds, from 1962, is a most atypical record for Bobby Timmons. Long thought of only as a funky piano player in the style that Ramsey Lewis would later make commercially successful, Timmons could also play prettily, as he does on this ballad-heavy set. There's a little funk here; the up-tempo "Another Live One" sounds like a potential Cannonball Adderley hit (Timmons, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Roy McCurdy were all once and future Adderley accompanists). But for the most part, Timmons keeps his cool, showing a very strong Bud Powell influence throughout. (Actually, the two solo tracks, "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and a meditative "God Bless the Child," sound as if Timmons had been listening to Bill Evans' solo records, as the latter in particular has the same rhythmically loose, melodically free style.) The highlights are the three standards, Richard Rodgers' "The Sweetest Sounds," a relaxed and swinging take on Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and a version of Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's "Why Was I Born?" that turns it from a show tune into a despondent blues. This is an unusual record for Bobby Timmons, but a great one. - by Stewart Mason, AMG

Throughout his career, Bobby Timmons was typecast as a soulful and blues-oriented pianist due to his hits ("Moanin '," "This Here" and "Dis Dat"). But as he shows on this 1963 trio date (with either Sam Jones or Ron Carter on bass and drummer Connie Kay), Timmons was actually a well-rounded player when inspired. The repertoire on his CD ranges from bop to spirituals, from three diverse originals to "Born to Be Blue." This is excellent music but unfortunately Timmons would not grow much musically after this period. His CD is worth picking up. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Bobby Timmons
Album: Sweet And Soulful Sounds + Born To Be Blue
Year: 1962 + 1963 (Riverside Records)
Label: Universal (Dig. Remastered, 2012)
Runtime: 81:53

Tracks:
1.  The Sweetest Sounds (Richard Rodgers) 5:00
2.  Turn Left (Bobby Timmons) 5:30
3.  God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday/Arthur Herczog Jr.) 5:05
4.  You'd Be So Nice To Come Home (Cole Porter) To 4:39
5.  Another Live One (Bobby Timmons) 4:14
6.  Alone Together (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 6:03
7.  Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (Fran Landesman/Tommy Wolf) 3:42
8.  Why Was I Born? (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) 5:51
9.  Born To Be Blue (Mel Torme/Robert Wells) 4:27
10.  Malice Towards None (Tom McIntosh)  5:00
11.  Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (Traditional) 4:44
12.  Know Not One (Bobby Timmons) 7:57
13.  The Sit In (Bobby Timmons) 4:19
14.  Namely You (Johnny Mercer/Gene DePaul) 6:05
15.  Often Annie (Bobby Timmons) 9:17

Personnel:
Bobby Timmons (Piano)
Sam Jones (Double Bass) - 1,2,4-6,8-10,13,15
Roy McCurdy (Drums) - 1,2,4-6,8
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 11,12,14
Connie Kay (Drums) - 9-15

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lee Konitz - Another Shade of Blue

This follow up to an earlier CD (Alone Together) with Brad Mehldau and Charlie Haden took place exactly one year later at the same venue, L.A.'s Jazz Bakery. Like the first release, the trio takes their time exploring each tune, whether it's the leader's opening blues or a favorite ballad like "What's New" or "Body and Soul." This stimulating set is highly recommended! - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Lee Konitz
Album: Another Shade of Blue (Live at Jazz Bakery)
Year: 1997
Label: Blue Note (1999)
Runtime: 67:51

Tracks:
1.  Another Shade Of Blue (Lee Konitz) 10:49
2.  Everything Happens To Me (Johnny Mercer/Hoagy Carmichael) 12:17
3.  What's New (Johnny Burke/Bob Haggart) 15:49
4.  Body and Soul (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 17:30
5.  All Of Us (Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden) 11:24

Personnel:
Lee Konitz (Alto Saxophone)
Brad Mehldau (Piano)
Charlie Haden (Double Bass)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lou Donaldson - The Scorpion (Live at the Cadillac Club)


This previously unreleased live set, which has been issued on Blue Note's Rare Groove Series, will bore anyone who listens closely. The repertoire is dominated by lengthy funk grooves that are quite danceable but never develop beyond the obvious. Altoist Lou Donaldson was using a baritone horn at the time that gave him a generic and unappealing tone, the obscure trumpeter Fred Ballard does his best to no avail and the enthusiastic rhythm section (guitarist Melvin Sparks, organist Leon Spencer, Jr., and drummer Idris Muhammad) keeps the grooves repetitious. Bob Porter's liner notes (which colorfully give readers the history of Newark jazz of the past 30 years) are superlative but, even with the inclusion of a fast blues, musically nothing much happens. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Lou Donaldson
Album: The Scorpion - Live at the Cadillac Club
Year: 1970
Label: Blue Note (1995)
Runtime: 46:32

Tracks: 
1.  The Scorpion (Leon Spencer) 10:47
2.  Laura (David Raksin) 5:55
3.  Alligator Boogalooo (Lou Donaldson) 13:15
4.  The Masquerade Is Over (Herbert Magidson/Allie Wrubel) 4:15
5.  Peepin' (Lonnie Smith) 5:30
6.  Footpattin' Time (Lou Donaldson) 6:50

Personnel:
Lou Donaldson (Alto Saxophone)
Idris Muhammad (Drums)
Melvin Sparks (Guitar)
Leon Spencer (Organ)
Fred Ballard (Trumpet)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Milt Jackson & Sonny Stitt - In the Beginning

This is a very interesting CD, particularly for bop collectors, since it contains very rare early performances by altoist Sonny Stitt and vibraphonist Milt Jackson; some of the titles were originally under trumpeter Russell Jacquet's name. There are eight songs by a quintet with Stitt, Jacquet and pianist Sir Charles Thompson, what could be considered the first Modern Jazz Quartet records (actually a quintet with Milt Jackson, pianist John Lewis, drummer Kenny Clarke, bassist Al Jackson and Chano Pozo on congas) and five songs from a septet with Jacquet, Stitt, trombonist J.J. Johnson and baritonist Leo Parker. Recorded in Detroit for the tiny Galaxy label, these performances are not essential but they do give listeners an early glimpse at the future stars. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Milt Jackson & Sonny Stitt
album: In the Beginning
Year: 1948 (Galaxy)
label: OJC (digital remastering, 1991)
Runtime: 43:30

Tracks:
1.  Body and Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 2:24
2.  3rd Song (Silver Slipper) (Sonny Stitt) 2:19
3.  Red Shoes (Sonny Stitt) 2:22
4.  Be Bop Blues (Sonny Stitt) 2:15
5.  Royal Wedding (Sonny Stitt) 2:28
6.  Fine and Dandy (Paul James/Kay Swift) 2:24
7.  Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael/Mitchell Parish) 2:18
8.  Ratio And Proportion (Sonny Stitt) 2:17
9.  Slits (Milt Jackson) 2:36
10.  Baggy Eyes (Milt Jackson) 2:27
11.  In A Beautiful Mood (Milt Jackson) 3:00
12.  Baggy's Blues (Milt Jackson) 2:44
13.  Suade Jacket (Russell Jacquet/J.J. Johnson) 2:57
14.  Suade Jacket Alt. Take (Russell Jacquet/J.J. Johnson) 2:53
15.  Lion's Roar (Russell Jacquet) 2:52
16.  Scamper Roo (Russell Jacquet/J.J. Johnson) 2:53
17.  Relaxin' (Russell Jacquet/Sonny Stitt) 2:14

Personnel:
Sonny Stitt (Alto Saxophone)
Milt Jackson (Vibraphone) - 9-12
Russell Jacquet (Trumpet) - 1-7,13-17
Charles Thompson (Piano) - 1-8,13-17
John Lewis (Piano) - 9-12
Al Jackson (Double Bass) - 9-12
Kenny Clarke (Drums) - 9-12
Chano Pozo (Conga) - 9-12

Monday, March 23, 2015

Herbie Mann - The Beat Goes On

Herbie Mann was quite unpredictable in the 1960s -- from one album to the next, you never knew if he would embrace hard bop, bossa nova, Latin jazz, soul-jazz, or whatever else he was in the mood for. He could be commercial one minute, esoteric and experimental the next. One of Mann's more commercial LPs from that period, The Beat Goes On, is a generally funky, groove-oriented soul-jazz effort with strong Latin leanings. Much of the material brings to mind Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, and comparisons to Pucho are unavoidable on cuts that range from Mann's "More Rice Than Peas, Please" to a version of Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On" and a Latin boogaloo interpretation of Joe Liggins' "The Honeydripper" (which features King Curtis on tenor sax). Afro-Cuban rhythms are a high priority, although Mann gets into more of a bossa nova groove on vibist Dave Pike's "Dream Garden." Jazz purists hated this release, but let them say what they will -- this LP is full of highly infectious grooves and makes a great party album. Regrettably, The Beat Goes On has long been out of print -- so if you're a lover of Latin-flavored soul-jazz and come across a copy somewhere, grab it immediately. - by Alex Henderson, AMG

Artist: Herbie Mann
Album: The Beat Goes On
Year: 1967 (Atlantic)
Label: WEA Japan (24bit remastered, 2014)
Runtime: 31:12

Tracks:
1.  No Matter What Shape (Granville Burland) 3:25
2.  More Rice Than Peas, Please (Herbie Mann) 3:30
3.  Hey Ho (Herbie Hancock) 2:45
4.  The Honeydripper (Joe Liggins) 2:45
5.  The Beat Goes On (Sonny Bono) 2:50
6.  Swingin´ Shepherd Blues (Kenny Jacobson/Moe Koffman/Rhoda Roberts) 3:05
7.  West African High Life (Herbie Mann) 2:40
8.  Dream Garden (Dave Pike) 4:37
9.  Soul Montuno (Rene Hernandez) 2:58
10.  Is Paris Burning? (Maurice Jarre) 2:37

Personnel:
Herbie Mann (Flute)
Reggie Workman (Bass) - 1-7,9,10
Carlos "Patato" Valdes (Congas) - 1-7,9,10
Bruno Carr (Drums) - 1-7,9,10
Jimmy Wisner (Piano) - 1-7,9,10
Roy Ayers (Vibraphone) - 1-7,9,10
Jack Six (Bass) - 8
Bobby Thomas (Drums) - 8
Attila Zoller (Guitar) - 8
Don Friedman (Piano) - 8
King Curtis (Tenor Saxophone) - 4
Clark Terry (Trumpet) - 7

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