Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Coleman Hawkins - Soul

This is a decent but not very exciting outing. Then 52, Hawkins uses a typically young rhythm section (including guitarist Kenny Burrell and pianist Ray Bryant) and plays melodically on a variety of originals and standards. This insipid version of "Greensleeves" is difficult to sit through but the rest of this CD is enjoyable if not overly inspiring. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Coleman Hawkins may not have been the Godfather of "Soul" but he certainly was the Godfather of the Jazz Saxophone. After kick starting his second career with "The Hawk Flies High" and "The Genius of Coleman Hawkins" in 1957, Hawk recorded the first of several successful sessions for the Prestige label on November 7, 1958, and the album was called "Soul." That session featured the talents of a young Kenny Burrell on guitar, Ray Bryant on piano, Wendell Marshall on bass and Osie Johnson on drums. The group smoothly glides through three standards (including the traditional
"Greensleeves"), two Burrell originals ("Groovin'" and "Sunday Mornin'") and two Hawkins originals ("Soul Blues" and Sweetnin'"). "Soul" probably only deserves 4 1/2 stars, as it is not quite as masterful as "The Hawk Flies High," but I have no problem rounding up to five stars. In fact, all of Hawk's half-dozen OJC discs are well worth purchasing. - by Michael Brad Richman, Amazon.com

Artist: Coleman Hawkins
Album: Soul
Year: 1958 (Prestige Records)
Label: OJC (1984)
Runtime: 41:21
Recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Recording Studios, Hackensack, New Jersey, November 7, 1958

Tracks:
1.  Soul Blues (Coleman Hawkins) 9:52
2.  I Hadn't Anyone Till You (Ray Noble) 4:34
3.  Groovin' (Kenny Burrell) 5:43
4.  Greensleeves (Traditional) 3:12
5.  Sunday Mornin' (Kenny Burrell) 6:29
6.  Until the Real Thing Comes Along (Sammy Cahn/Saul Chaplin/L.E. Freeman/Mann Holiner/Alberta Nichols)  4:42
7.  Sweetnin' (Coleman Hawkins) 6:49

Personnel:
Coleman Hawkins (Tenor Saxophone)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Ray Bryant (Piano)
Wendell Marshall (Double Bass)

Osie Johnson (Drums)

Friday, June 30, 2017

United Future Organization - No Sounds Is Too Taboo

Featured on 1994's Red Hot and Cool compilation, the Japanese production trio UFO heads a loose collective of musicians and vocalists present here. Jazz, R&B, trip-hop, Spanish, Caribbean, and Brazilian rhythms all appear in one form or another; surprisingly, these disparate elements flow well through the course of ten songs. - by John Bush, AMG

UFO's creatively bizarre mixing of styles produced some of the best mid 90's funky, acid-jazz and "No Sounds too Taboo" is arguably their best album. Despite the typically odd arrangements that permeate most of its tracks - a mixture of off-the-wall vocals, weird instrumentation and "lounge-lizard" backbeats - there's nothing too challenging here other than a set of ingenious, well produced workouts that are ideally suited for a lazy afternoon's listening. Sounds negative?... well making genuinely interesting laid-back music is no easy task and on "Stolen Moments", "Mistress of Dance" and most of the other tracks on this album UFO hit the button perfectly. Arty, clever and fun... the cover says it all ! - by nicjaytee, Amazon.com

This album is simply excellent. It's funky, groovy and quite sophisticated. You can't prevent from dancing around when you hear it and at the same time, it's enough elaborated to be appealing for a demanding audience... As I was saying, also check out the brand new heavies' releases (especially shelter and brother sister or the best of, "trunk funk")" - by Simone Oltolina, Swapacd.com

Artist: United Future Organization
Album: No Sounds Is Too Taboo
Year: 1994
Label: Bronswood Recordings
Runtime: 53:57

Tracks:
1.  United Future Airlines (Toshio Matsuura / Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 4:48
2.  Magic Wand Of Love (Earl DeRoun) 6:22
3.  Stolen Moments (Oliver Nelson) 5:21
4.  Future Light (Toshio Matsuura / Mark Murphy / Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 5:58
5.  Make It Better (Cleveland Watkiss) 5:33
6.  Sunday Folk Tale (Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 6:17
7.  Mistress Of Dance (Toshio Matsuura / Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 4:25
8.  Bar-F-Out! (Toshio Matsuura / Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 5:00
9.  Doopsylalolic (Derek Delves / Toshio Matsuura / Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 4:38
10.  Tears Of Gratitude (Toshio Matsuura / Raphael Sebbag / Tadashi Yabe) 5:35

Personnel:
Tadashi Yabe (Keyboards, Programming)
Toshio Matsuura (Programming, Mixing)
Raphael Sebbag (Programming, Mixing, Voice)
Simon Richmond (Percussion) - 1
Linda Muriel (Vocals) - 2
Noriyoshi Sasanuma (Bass) - 2
Gemi Taylor (Guitar) - 2
Jessica Lauren (Piano) - 2
Time Five (Choir) - 3
Yae Nishikawa (Violin) - 3
Mike Emenau (Vibraphone) - 3
Mike Murphy (Vocals) - 4
Gill Manly (Backing Vocals) - 4
Mikiko Sakai (Scratch) - 4
Cleveland Watkiss (Vocals) - 5
Shinichi Osawa (Bass) - 5
Hiroyuki Komagata (Guitar) - 5
Francis Silva (Vocals) - 6
Snowboy (Percussion) - 6
Steve Williamson (Soprano Saxophone) - 7
Nishikawa Quartet (Strings) - 7
Urban Poets Society (Vocals) - 8
DJ Krush (Scratch) - 8
Derek Delves (Vocals) - 9
Talin Chamber Choir (Choir) - 10
Junichi Iwabuchi (Piano) - 10

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Michael Shrieve - Twoo Dors "In Palace Of Dreams"

Former Santana drummer Michael Shrieve's 1995 release Two Doors is appropriately titled, for it is really two albums in one, with two different trios providing the music. The first half of the record, subtitled "Deep Umbra," features Shrieve with guitarist Shawn Lane and bassist Jonas Hellborg performing eight jazz-rock compositions full of catchy themes and fiery improvisations. Lane is, simply put, one of the most technically gifted guitarists ever to pick up the instrument, and he records far too obscurely and infrequently. It is to his great credit that he never displays his abilities
gratuitously, but instead carefully measures them out for maximum impact. He is a consummate musician. The same could be said about Hellborg, who not only holds down the bottom end with his sensitive yet powerful bass, but also shares co-writing credits for seven of the eight songs that he appears on. The second half of the record, subtitled "Flying Polly," features Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz. This half of the record is jazzier and more avant-garde than the first half, and frankly doesn't work nearly as well. There are moments where some of the rockabilly jazz elements that Frisell and Horvitz explored in John Zorn's Naked City come to the foreground, but, besides that, most of this portion of the record sounds flat and uninspired. It is a shame that this had to be the case, especially considering how good the Lane-Hellborg trio is. However, Shrieve's drums are very nicely recorded, and he always plays the most appropriate thing for any given song, never showboating or otherwise distracting from the integrity of the composition. There is much merit in this frustratingly inconsistent album, and for fusion fans it is worth searching out. - by Daniel Gioffre, AMG

Artist: Michael Shrieve
Album: Two Doors "In The Palace Of Dreams"
Year: 1993-95
Label: CMP Records (1995)
Runtime: 76:31

Tracks:
Deep Umbra (1995)
1.  Stellar Rays (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane) 3:21
2.  Deep Umbra (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane) 4:39
3.  Sorcerer (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane / Michael Shrieve) 3:29
4.  Baraji (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane) 6:04
5.  Caress Of Lillith (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane) 4:18
6.  The Smiling Tarshishm (Michael Shrieve) 3:59
7.  Juvalamu (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane) 5:15
8.  Palace Of Dreams (Jonas Hellborg / Shawn Lane) 5:57

Personnel:
Michael Shrieve - Drums
Jonas Hellborg - Bass Guitar
Shawn Lane - Guitar, Voice

Flying Polly (1993)
9.  Locomotion (Michael Shrieve) 1:55
10.  Data Trash (Bill Frisell / Michael Shrieve) 0:55
11.  Stella (Bill Frisell / Wayne Horvitz / Michael Shrieve) 7:17
12.  Your Saviour (Chris Cornell) 1:48
13.  Pipeline (Bill Frisell / Michael Shrieve) 0:46
14.  Crocodile (Bill Frisell / Wayne Horvitz / Michael Shrieve) 4:21
15.  Lincoln Logs (Bill Frisell / Wayne Horvitz / Michael Shrieve) 2:53
16.  First Train (Bill Frisell / Michael Shrieve) 0:37
17.  Queen Bee (Bill Frisell / Wayne Horvitz / Michael Shrieve) 12:04
18.  Flying Polly (Bill Frisell / Wayne Horvitz / Michael Shrieve) 1:51
19.  Stella (Bill Frisell / Wayne Horvitz / Michael Shrieve) 5:02

Personnel:
Michael Shrieve - Drums
Bill Frisell - Guitar
Wayne Horwitz - Organ

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Archie Shepp - I Know About the Life

Recorded in 1981 in a quartet setting featuring the great drummer John Betsch, bassist Santi Debriano, and pianist Ken Werner, I Know About the Life doesn't so much explore these standards as re-contextualize them in the canon. Opening with Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't," Shepp does to Monk's tune what Monk did regularly with pop tunes: he smears the melody all around a different harmonic context, adds a boatload of blues feel and a smattering of soul. His double times
with Betsch in the middle of the cut are stunning and humorous, and in spite of his solo honks and squeals, he never loses sight of Monk's tune. On his own "I Know About the Life," one can hear Lockjaw Davis, Ben Webster, and John Coltrane in his playing as Shepp builds on the deep soul and blues roots of his 1970s records like Cry of My People. The other two cuts here, a steaming muscular and frenetic read of Coltrane's "Giant Steps," and a nearly heartbreaking version of "'Round Midnight," reveal that the tradition for Shepp was not as it was for the coming reign of neo-trad revisionists who would re-imagine it in their own images: for Shepp here, as on many of his 1980s recordings (check "I Feel Like Going Home" with Horace Parlan), the tradition was an open-ended conversation to be annotated in the ballroom and on the back porch anytime one wished to step into it. Shepp's perception of the language of Ellington was -- and remains -- no less profound than Ellington's understanding of the language of Mingus, or Mingus' of Eric Dolphy's. The whispering sweetness tinged with crackling blues feel in "'Round Midnight" is one of the most important reads of this tune because it gives back to Monk what so many generic players tried to take away: the blood that lies at the heart of the ballad. Hearing Shepp in this light makes any serious jazz fan completely reconsider his contribution after the 1970s. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Archie Shepp
Album: I Know About the Life
Year: 1981 (Sackville Records)
Label: Hatology Records (2003, Remastered)
Runtime: 42:47

Tracks:
1.  Well, You Needn't (Thelonious Monk) 8:46
2.  I Know About The Life (Archie Shepp) 13:48
3.  Giant Steps (John Coltrane) 8:04
4.  'Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk) 12:09

Personnel:
Archie Shepp (Tenor Saxophone)
Kenny Werner (Piano)
Santi Debriano (Double Bass)
John Betsch (Drums)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Shakti With John McLaughlin

For his next act, the decibel champion of electric jazz shocked the world by unplugging and returning to South Indian music before an excitable audience at South Hampton College. Yet the alert John McLaughlin follower will note that beyond the reliance upon South Indian instruments and scales, there are unbroken links to records like My Goal's Beyond and the high-speed electric music that McLaughlin was casting aside at the moment. McLaughlin called his new quintet Shakti, which
means "creative intelligence and beauty and power" and the music here has all of that and something else, a ferocious streak inherited from the Mahavishnu days. McLaughlin ignites "Joy" by playing at a blazing speed, his cohorts Lakshminarayana Shankar (violin), Ramnad V. Raghavan and T.H. Vinayakram (mridangam), and Zakir Hussain (tabla) keeping up with the furious unison tempos with great dexterity and discipline, while a reworking of "Lotus Feet" forms a meditative interlude. Side two is taken up by a single, lengthy raga-like track in which McLaughlin combines his rapid-fire Western manner with note-bending techniques clearly emulating a sitar, and the Indians get plenty of dueling room. In its way, this fire-eating acoustic music is just as energizing as the most electrified Mahavishnu flights. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: John McLaughlin & Shakti
Album: Shakti with John McLaughlin
Year: 1975 (Columbia Records)
Label: Sony Music (1991, Digitally Remastered)
Runtime: 52:06
Recorded live at the South Hampton College, Lond Island, New York City; 06.05.1975

Tracks:
1.  Joy (John McLaughlin / Lakshmirayana Shankar) 18:15
2.  Lotus Feet (John McLaughlin) 4:47
3.  What Need Have I For This - What Need Have I For That - I Am Dancing At The Feet Of My Lord - All Is Bliss - All Is Bliss (John McLaughlin / Lakshmirayana Shankar) 29:04

Personnel:
John McLaughlin (Guitar)
Lakshmirayana Shankar (Violin)
Ramnad Raghavan (Mridangam)
Zakir Hussain (Tabla)
Vikku Vinayakram (Ghatam, Mridangam)

Monday, May 22, 2017

John Scofield - Quiet

Ironically, Quiet finds guitarist John Scofield using a much larger group of musicians than usual. The basic band has Scofield (who sticks to acoustic guitar), Wayne Shorter on tenor, bassist Steve Swallow, and either Bill Stewart or Duduka Da Fonseca on drums. They are joined by trumpeter Randy Brecker, two French horns, two woodwinds, Roger Rosenberg on bass clarinet, and Howard Johnson on tuba and baritone. Since Scofield is mostly in the lead, the music -- eight originals by
the leader and a song by producer Swallow -- is indeed mostly at a lower volume, although there is plenty of heat, too. However, since the guitarist is less distinctive than usual due to his playing acoustically, this set is not quite as significant as his other Blue Note releases. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: John Scofield
Album: Quiet
Year: 1996
Label: Verve
Runtime: 50:46
Recorded: Power Station Studios, New York City, April 3-6, 1996

Tracks:
1.  After The Fact (John Scofield) 5:26
2.  Tulle (John Scofield) 5:00
3.  Away With Words (John Scofield) 6:49
4.  Hold That Thought (John Scofield) 6:23
5.  Door #3 (John Scofield) 5:48
6.  Bedside Manner (John Scofield) 6:46
7.  Rolf And The Gang (John Scofield) 5:23
8.  But For Love (John Scofield) 5:37
9.  Away (Steve Swallow) 3:34

Personnel:
John Scofield (Acoustic Guitar)
Steve Swallow (Double Bass)
Randy Brecker (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Charles Pillow (Tenor Saxophone, Alto Flute, English Horn)
Lawrence Feldman (Flute, Tenor Saxophone)
Fred Griffin (French Horn)
John Clark (French Horn)
Roger Rosenberg (Bass Clarinet) - 1,3,4,7-9
Bill Stewart (Drums) - 1,3,4,7-9
Duduka da Fonseca (Drums) - 2,5,6
Wayne Shorter (Tenor Saxophone) - 3,5,8
Howard Johnson (Baritone Saxophone, Tuba) - 2,5,6

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pharoah Sanders - Moon Child

By this point in his career, Sanders had largely withdrawn from the kind of screeching avant-gardism on which he at first staked his reputation. The opening "Moon Child," with its attractively spacy vocals, is reminiscent of the days of "The Creator Has a Master Plan," but this version sounds too contrived to rival the classic earlier recording. The mood is subdued throughout and the choice of tunes definitely on the conservative side ("All or Nothing at All" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," among the six tracks). William Henderson is lovely on piano, while the drummer (Eddie Moore) and percussionist (Cheikh Tidiane Fale) keep to the quiet side. The results may have originally disappointed some of Sanders' fans, but with time the saxophonist clearly reinvented himself as a more traditional improviser capable of thoughtful and pensive deliberations. - by Steven Loewy, AMG

Artist: Pharoah Sanders
Album: Moon Child
Year: 1990
Label: Timeless Records
Runtime: 52:09
Recorded at Studio Davut, Paris, France, 12- 13. October 1989

Tracks:
1.  Moon Child (Pharoah Sanders) 8:07
2.  Moon Rays (Horace Silver) 6:10
3.  The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (Buddy Bermien/Jerry Brainin) 12:17
4.  All Or Nothing At All (Arthur Altman/Jack Lawrence) 9:23
5.  Soon (George Gerschwin) 5:29
6.  Moniebah (Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand)) 10:43

Personnel:
Pharoah Sanders (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone, Vocals)
William Henderson (Piano)
Stafford James (Double Bass)
Eddie Moore (Drums)
Cheikh Tidiane Fale (Percussion)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jan Garbarek, Miroslav Vitous, Peter Eerskine - Star

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Peter Erskine have been making records for ECM for a long time, both as leaders and as sidemen. They know each other's styles well, they're familiar with ECM label head Manfred Eicher's echo-drenched production tendencies, and they know how to turn jazz formulas into hip, lyrical romanticism. On this leaderless trio album, as with most ECM releases, you get the feeling of music emerging from a vast and echoey space; Erskine's Morse-code drum accents, Vitous' thrumming basslines and the plaintive cry of Garbarek's soprano and alto saxophones are far removed from what some would consider "jazz," but that's not the point. The tunes may be somewhat interchangeable, but the music is virtuosic, thoughtful and thoroughly lovely, at times heart-tugging. Makes you wish these three would get together more often. - by Rick Anderson, AMG

Artist: Jan Garbarek, Miroslav Vitous, Peter Eerskine
Album: Star
Year: 1991
Label: ECM
Runtime: 42:23

Tracks:
1.  Star (Jan Garbarek) 6:15
2.  Jumper (Miroslav Vitous) 4:21
3.  Lamenting (Miroslav Vitous) 6:08
4.  Anthem (Peter Erskine) 6:16
5.  Roses for You (Miroslav Vitous) 5:39
6.  Clouds in the Mountain (Miroslav Vitous) 4:38
7.  Snowman (Jan Garbarek/Miroslav Vitous/Peter Erskine) 5:21
8.  The music of my People (Peter Erskine) 3:41

Personnel:
Jan Garbarek (Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone)
Miroslav Vitous (Double Bass)
Peter Erskine (Drums)

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