Thursday, September 30, 2010

Michael Nyman - Sangam

Sangam is an "East meets West" collaboration that combines the talents of Hindi singing legends Rajan and Sajan Misra, mandolinist U. Shrinivas, and English minimalist composer Michael Nyman. This project was initially supported by the Asian Music Circuit and the British Council acting under the umbrella of the Arts Council of England. Nyman is no stranger to Indian classical music, having utilized it before in his String Quartet No. 2 of 1988. In this instance, Nyman traveled to India took seek out collaborators for a relevant work, ultimately settling on the Misras and Shrinivas, co-creating a score with each. The Michael Nyman Band plays a very low-key, restrained accompaniment beneath the Misras' voices on "Three Ways of Describing Rain," and likewise, Shrinivas' contribution is to be found in a half-hour-long work entitled "Compiling the Colors."  Like most "East meets West" combinations, the component artists are notably stronger on their own turf and the proceedings represent a sort of compromise. Nonetheless, this is very colorful and non-confrontational music that may appeal to music lovers on either side of the tracks.- by Dave Lewis, AMG

Artist: Michael Nyman
Album: Sangam (Michael Nyman Meets Indian Masters)
Year: 2002
Label: Warner
Runtime: 59:26

1.  Three Ways of Describing Rain, i Sawan, First Rain (Michael Nyman/Rajan Misra) 9:19
2.  Three Ways of Describing Rain, ii Rang, Colour of Nature (Michael Nyman/Rajan Misra)  11:41 (Michael Nyman/Rajan Misra)
3.  Three Ways Of Describing Rain: III. Dhyan - Meditation 7:19
4.  Compiling The Colours: Samhitha (Michael Nyman/U. Shrinivas) 31:06

Michael Nyman (Conductor)
Michael Nyman Band (Orchestra)
U. Shrinivas (Mandolin)
Rajan Misra (Vocals)
Sajan Misra (Vocals)
Ritesh Misra (Vocals)
Rajnish Misra (Vocals)
Sanju Sahai (Tabla)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mandingo Griot Society - Mandingo Griot Society

Mandingo Griot Society were a Chicago-based quartet who fused elements of African, jazz, funk, and blues musics. Jazz trumpeter Don Cherry guested on this, the band's 1978 debut album. - Product info

This, the first album by the Mandingo Griot Society, is not simply a different form of fusion music. True, it does combine traditional African instruments with a contemporary American rhythm section: electriss bass, drums set, and percussion. But is it, in fact, a reuniting, a coming together of two musical cultures with a common origin. For it should be understood that the African creative process, spiritual in its essence, has always been the root of American "fusion" musics, most significantly jazz, funk, and blues. - from the liner notes

Artist: Mandingo Griot Society
Album: Mandingo Griot Society
Year: 1978
Label: Flying Fish
Runtime: 43:17

1.  Jimbasen 8:41
2.  Sounds From The Bush 3:55
3.  Appollo-Fasubara 7:04
4.  Chedo 2:06
5.  Africa 3:39
6.  Janjungo 2:05
7.  Mamamaneh 5:41
8.  Gambia Village Sounds 1:55
9.  Musubalanto 8:07
All compositions by Foday Musa Suso, except 5th by John Coltrane/Jerald Daemyon/Foday Musa Suso

Foday  Musa Suso (Kora, Lead Vocal)
Hank Drake (Trap Drums, Tabla, Bells, Shakers, Backing Vocals)
Joseph Thomas (Bass Guitar, Shakers, Backing Vocals)
Adam Rudolph (Percussion and Backing Vocals)
Don Cherry (Trumpet)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dave Brubeck - Jazz Impressions of New York

This is simply a great record. The musicians are in their finest form and the recorded sound is magnificent. Equally significant, however, is the music. This is my favorite Brubeck Quartet record. The proceedings start with a swinging, uptempo romp, "Theme From Mr. Broadway," a catchy, "Broadway Bossa Nova" as well as several smooth ballads with their shades of Bach and highlighted by a wonderful "Broadway Romance." As stated earlier, the musicians are in great form with drummer Joe Morello driving the quartet with his usual comsummate skill and taste. Pay particular attention to underrated bassist, Eugene Wright. His bass lines are spot perfect and beautifully executed. - by Comtad,

This CD, a straight reissue of the original LP, contains 11 songs written for the soundtrack of the long-forgotten television series Mr. Broadway. It pays tribute to New York in a more abstract way than Jazz Impressions of Japan celebrated Japan for Brubeck had to concern himself with having the music fit in with the show. In general these themes and the melodic improvisations of Brubeck and altoist Paul Desmond hold their own without the show although none of the songs became standards. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Dave Brubeck Quartet
Album: Jazz Impressions of New York
Year: 1965
Label: CBS (1990)
Runtime: 44:37

1.  Theme From Mr. Broadway 2:30
2.  Broadway Bossa Nova 3:16
3.  Autumn In Washington Square 5:30
4.  Something To Sing About 3:56
5.  Sixth Sense 6:57
6.  Spring In Central Park 2:29
7.  Lonely Mr Broadway 4:20
8.  Summer On The Sound 2:43
9.  Winter Ballad 2:45
10.  Broadway Romance 5:52
11.  Upstage Rumba 4:19
All compositions by Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck (Piano)
Paul Desmond (Alto Saxophone)
Eugene Wright (Double Bass)
Joe Morello (Drums)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rusty Bryant - Rusty Bryant Returns

Rusty Bryant, a veteran R&B sax player, was somewhat forgotten at the time of his debut Prestige album, but due to the commercial success of this recording, Bryant would record seven more sessions for Prestige during the next five years. Actually, this date is a bit surprising, with Bryant sticking exclusively to alto and sometimes using an electrified model similar to what Lou Donaldson was playing at the time. The music (mostlyblues-oriented originals) is enjoyable, with plenty of boogaloos and soulful vamps. In addition to Bryant, the main soloists are guitarist Grant Green, in excellent form, and organist Sonny Phillips. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

For Rusty Bryant's first Prestige session, it was decided to utilize his alto and Multi-Vider. Among his sidemen is one man that is a standout--the formidable Grant Green. This was actually Grant's first recording session in close to two years but, as you can hear, his playing is as crisp and strong as always. Dig him bringin' it back home on "All Day Long." Roosevelt "Sonny" Phillips is, like Green, a Brooklyn resident. But unlike Grant, who came a long way from St. Louis he hails from Chicago and has spent some time in Boston. Sonny has worked with Lou Rawls and recorded with Eddie Harris and in this LP makes his first appearance on Prestige. Bob Bushnell and Herbie Lovelle are an experienced rhythm team. Herbie was last heard on Prestige, with Rusty, on That Healin' Feelin' with Richard "Groove" Holmes while Bob lends his presence on This Is Billy Butler! (Prestige 7622). The music here is simple and straightforward. The opener is a dedication by Rusty to the club where he currently appears in Columbus. Rusty is on Multi-Vider here. Jimmy Smith recorded "The Cat" but this piece features the organizing of Sonny Phillips. Grant Green and Rusty, with electronics, have some heavy things to say. "Ready Rusty?" is a burner with solos by the leader and Grant Green. No doubt about it Rusty was ready for this. Side B opens with another Rusty opus--"Streak O'Lean." It is a minor thing somewhat reminiscent of "Comin' Home Baby." The title refers to a routine Rusty does in his nightclub shows in which he declares that "Fatback is a thing of the past". I don't know about that but Rusty's heavy cooking makes one believe that he is definitely of today."Night Flight" is the Bryant answer to "Night Train." It is another burner and Sonny Phillips has some good soul-burnin' moments. "All Day Long" is Kenny Burrell's tune and the album of his featuring the original treatment is available under that title on Prestige 7277. Here Grant Green leads the troops through the groovy blues changes. Thus we come to the close of the first Rusty Bryant LP on Prestige. It is an example of  musical truth giving the lie to the feeling that "old soldiers fade away".  Some perhaps but not all of the "mighty warriors" have faded from the scene and Rusty Bryant is living proof that in a different setting and the help of a new sound, the "mighty warrior" of yesterday can become the stimulating jazzman of today. - by Bob Porter, from the liner notes 

Artist: Rusty Bryant
Album: Rusty Bryant Returns
Year: 1969 (Prestige)
Label: OJC (1995)
Runtime: 43:46

1.  Zoo Boogaloo (Rusty Bryant) 7:24
2.  The Cat (Lalo Schifrin) 7:54
3.  Ready Rusty? (Rusty Bryant) 4:49
4.  Streak O'Lean (Rusty Bryant) 5:59
5.  Night Flight (Rusty Bryant) 7:56
6.  All Day Long (Kenny Burrell) 9:41

Rusty Bryant (Alto Saxophone)
Sonny Phillips (Organ)
Grant Green (Guitar)
Bob Bushnell (Fender Bass)
Herbie Lovelle (Drums)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sonny Stitt - Sits in With the Oscar Peterson Trio

This CD combines together a complete session that Sonny Stitt (doubling on alto and tenor) did with the 1959 Oscar Peterson Trio (which includes the pianist/leader, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen) and three titles from 1957 with Peterson, Brown, guitarist Herb Ellis and drummer Stan Levey. The music very much has the feel of a jam session and, other than a themeless blues, all of the songs are veteran standards. Highlights of this fine effort include "I Can't Give You Anything but Love," "The Gypsy," "Scrapple from the Apple," "Easy Does It" and "I Remember You." Lots of cooking music. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

As college students we considered the appearance of this album a major event because, unlike so many of his recordings, Sonny was matched by a rhythm section that he could not merely steamroller over. Oscar, Ray and Ed turn up the burners a notch, not simply supporting but complementing Sonny's sense of melody and swing, and he responds with slightly more animated and extended though no less perfect solos. I memorized every note of his opening statement on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and transcribed it to piano. Twenty years later I got him to play "The Gipsy" for me in a practically deserted Greenwich Village club.- by Samuel Chell,

Artist: Sonny Stitt & Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: Sits in With the Oscar Peterson Trio
Year: 1959
Label: Verve (1991)
Runime: 51:06

1.  I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) 4:04
2.  Au Privave (Charlie Parker) 4:00
3.  The Gypsy (Billy Reid) 3:27
4.  I'll Remember April (Don Raye/Gene DePaul/Patricia Johnston) 4:43
5.  Scrapple from the Apple (Charlie Parker) 4:21
6.  Moten Swing (Bennie Moten) 7:09
7.  Blues for Pres, Sweets, Ben & All the Other Funky Ones (Sonny Stitt) 6:05
8.  Easy Does It (Trummy Young/Sy Oliver) 5:24
9.  I Didn't Know What Time It Was (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 3:27
10.  I Remember You (Johnny Mercer/Victor Schertzinger) 3:46
11.  I Know That You Know (Annie Caldwell/Vincent Youmans) 4:40

Sonny Stitt (Alto and Tenor Saxophone)
Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Ed Thigpen (Drums ) - 1-8
Herb Ellis (Guitar) - 9-11
Stan Levey (Drums) - 9-11

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Folkestra - Mamikám

Folkestra plays characteristic, particular world-music. The music presents folk music, jazz, the restriction and the improvization, the liveliness and the energy at the same time. The music based on Hungarian, Bulgarian, Turkish folk music, Balkanian, latin rhythms and jazz.

"... András Monori shatters the safe but boring musical standards, creating a fresh and strong, playful and humorous new world that also contains an element of intimacy. The instrumentation, which puts Balkan and Hungarian folk music on a Latin base and spices it up with jazz improvisation, reflects Monori's impressive talent, while leaving room for the perfect instrumental skill and creativity of the virtuoso musicians he has hand-picked to work with him. The group's new repertoire is written for two voices, male and female, making the catchy melodies richer and more nuance. It's not surprising that young and old, rebel and conservative, lovers and the unhappy, all identify with this music."

Artist: Folkestra
Album: Mamikám
Year: 2001
Label: Orpheia
Runtime: 63:05

1.  Portugál (Andras Monori/Zoltan Egressy) 5:32
2.  Dilmano (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 5:48
3.  Ajdirinda (Andras Monori/Laszlo Nagy) 5:09
4.  Szeretlek, szeretlek (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 3:37
5.  Fehér (Andras Monori/Bea Palya/Laszlo Nagy) 3:35
6.  4 Török (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 5:42
7.  Mamikám (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 4:51
8.  Mindegyre (Andras Monori/Laszlo Nagy) 4:36
9.  Szeretõm e táncba (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 5:15
10.  Török bicikli (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 5:08
11.  3 Török (Traditional/Andras Monori/Laszlo Nagy) 5:05
12.  Adjon Isten (Traditional arr. Andras Monori) 3:56
13.  Portugál Kalap (Andras Monori) 5:04

Bea Palya (Vocals)
Andras Monori (Kaval, Trumpet, Gadulka, Recorder, Tambura, Bagpipe, Kalimba)
Bela Agoston (Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Bagpipe, Bass Clarinet)
Szabolcs Arkosi (Saz, Accordeon)
Tamas Kovacs (Conga, Percussion)
Gabor Pusztai (Drums)
Peter Nagy (Double Bass)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thad Jones - The Magnificent Thad Jones

In 1956, trumpeter Thad Jones was making his way forward as a leader and apart from his important role with the Count Basie Orchestra, having recorded for the Charles Mingus  owned "Debut" and Period labels. But this release for Blue Note most firmly established him as one of the premier musicians and composers in modern jazz; it's titled "Magnificent" for many great reasons. There are several precedents set here; the initial foray out of Detroit for the young pianist and fellow Michiganian Barry Harris, the identifying of a personalized small group, as well as individual sound of Jones, and his ability to easily bring great jazz icons together as a team. With Detroit's Billy Mitchell on tenor sax, Percy Heath's bass, and stellar drummer Max Roach, this quintet makes truly great jazz music together. Starting with Heath's spooky bass lines surrounding "April in Paris" melting into the silky smooth tenor of Mitchell, you immediately know you're in for a unique listening experience. Jones' singing soul on his horn comes through best on the ballads "If Someone Had Told Me," in tandem with the pristine piano of Harris during "I've Got a Crush on You," and in duet with Kenny Burrell on "Something to Remember You By." Not forgetting to follow in the footsteps of Dizzy Gillespie/Miles Davis/Clifford Brown examples before him, Jones bops strong and proud on "If I Love Again," spurred on by Roach constantly mutating the rhythm changes, and using counter-melodies while jousting with Mitchell  on "Billie-Doo." The single, definitive, and most enduring piece is the near-11-minute "Thedia," a classic post-bop case study that everyone should know and revere. The musicianship being at such a lofty plateau, so intelligently selected and executed, this CD is a must-have for every collection, and is generally regarded as the very best work of Jones, later big-band recordings with Mel Lewis notwithstanding. [An RVG remastered version of the CD was released in 2007.] - by Michael G. Nastos, AMG

Artist: Thad Jones
Album: The Magnificent Thad Jones
Year: 1965
Label: EMI (24-bit resolution, 2007)
Runtime: 49:46

1.  April In Paris (Vernon Duke/E.Y. Harburg) 6:44
2.  Billie-Doo (Thad Jones) 7:31
3.  If I Love Again (Ben Oakland/Jack Murray) 7:31
4.  If Someone Had Told Me (Peter DeRose/Charles Tobias) 5:53
5.  Thedia (Thad Jones) 10:35
6.  I've Got a Crush on You (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 7:36
7.  Something to Remember You By (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 3:53

Thad Jones (Trumpet)
Billy Mitchell (Tenor Saxophone) - 1-6
Barry Harris (Piano) -1-6
Percy Heath (Double Bass) - 1-6
Max Roach (Drums) -1-6
Kenny Burrell (Guitar) - 7

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dexter Gordon - Blue Dex

This single-CD anthology is chock-full of the mighty Dexter Gordon (tenor sax) as leader or as primary participant in seven selections showcasing his surprisingly wide array of interpretive skills within the blues. While the majority of the contents have been culled from Gordon's late-'60s and early-'70s Prestige output, the update of Jay McShann's "The Jumpin' Blues," as well as Gordon's own "Sticky Wicket," are both alternate takes that weren't available prior to the all-inclusive 11-disc Complete Prestige Recordings (2004) box set. The latter opens the compilation as the double-sax assault of Gordon and James Moody (tenor sax) is supported by Barry Harris (piano), Buster Williams (bass), and Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums). The midtempo and minor chord changes have a menacing effect as the two tenors bounce ideas off one another. "The Panther" swings with a sinuous syncopated flow thanks to Larry Ridley (bass) and especially Alan
Dawson (drums). Tommy Flanagan (piano) is also along for the ride and lays down a few classy lines of his own, which are punctuated by a brief solo from Williams. Gordon joins forces with Junior Mace (piano) at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival for a live cover of Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk." Martin Rivera (bass) and Oliver Jackson (drums) are a solid, yet transparent rhythm section well-suited to frame Gordon's soulful and expressive sonic tug of war with Mance's refined ivories. The hot and driving "Lonesome Lover Blues" finds Gordon, Gene Ammons (tenor sax), Jodie Christian (piano), Rufus Reid (bass), and Wilbur Campbell (drums) blowing away the blues of guest vocalist Vi Redd -- daughter of drummer Alton Redd -- who was not only an alto saxophonist in her own right, but as evidenced by the contributions heard here, she was a dynamic soul shouter as well. The previously alluded to "alternate" of "The Jumpin' Blues" is from an upscale confab featuring Wynton Kelly (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Roy Brooks. "Oh! Karen O" is definitely a keeper. Thad Jones (trumpet/flugelhorn) goes head to head with Gordon as Stanley Clarke (bass), Hank Jones (piano), and Louis Hayes (drums) give them plenty of space for their winding and expressive ventures. Clarke's interchanges are interesting as they weave and entwine harmonically with Gordon. Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy" returns listeners to the stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival. It is three years later and the personnel of Hampton Hawes (keyboards), Bob Cranshaw (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums) provide a cool, laid-back groove as Gordon's sax underscores his keen and sensitive abilities as a wordless narrator who can create sonic portraits with the hues and shades of his empathetic tenor. For that reason alone Blue Dex: Dexter Gordon Plays the Blues is a worthy investment. - by Lindsay Planer, AMG

Artist: Dexter Gordon
Album: Blue Dex: Dexter Gordon Plays the Blues (Compilation)
Year: 1969-1973
Label: Prestige (Digitally Remastered, 1996)
Runtime: 71:05

1.  Sticky Wicket (Dexter Gordon) 9:41
2.  The Panther (Dexter Gordon) 6:24
3.  Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk) 10:56
4.  Lonesome Lover Blues (Billy Eckstine) 13:22
5.  The Jumpin' Blues (Jay McShann/Charlie Parker) 5:43
6.  Oh! Karen O (Dexter Gordon) 12:07
7.  Gingerbread Boy (Jimmy Heath) 12:48

Dexter Gordon (Tenor Saxophone)
James Moody (Tenor Saxophone) - 1
Barry Harris (Piano) - 1
Buster Williams (Double Bass) - 1
Albert "Tootie" Heath (Drums) - 1
Tommy Flanagan (Piano) - 2
Larry Ridley (Double Bass) - 2
Alan Dawson (Drums) - 2
Junior Mance (Piano) - 3
Martin Rivera (Double Bass) - 3
Oliver Jackson (Drums) - 3
Gene Ammons (Tenor Saxophone) - 4
Jodie Christian (Piano) - 4
Rufus Reid (Double Bass) - 4
Wilbur Campbell (Drums) - 4
Alton Redd (Vocals) - 4
Wynton Kelly (Piano) - 5
Sam Jones (Double Bass) - 5
Roy Brooks (Drums) - 5
Thad Jones (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 6
Hank Jones (Piano) - 6
Stanley Clarke (Double Bass) - 6
Louis Hayes (Drums) - 6
Hampton Hawes (Electric Piano) - 7
Bob Cranshaw (Fender Bass) - 7
Kenny Clarke (Drums) - 7

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Angelique Ionatos - Mia Thalassa

An extraordinary recording by one of the finest interpreters of Greek poetry set to music. A lovely set of poems by Dimitra Manda, which translates "A Sea Filled with Music," is exquisitely set to music by Mikis Theodorakis, in sumptuous orchestrations for cello, piano and double-bass by master arranger Christian Boissel. Theodorakis himself leaves much to be desired as an orchestrator, but in Boissel's hands, his haunting melodies are draped in velvets and silks, both in bold and discreet hues. Ionatos' unique voice is not dulcet, nor is her sound that of a classical singer. Rather, she has the grit of Piaf, with a similarly tight vibrato, and interprets her music with great subtlety, pathos, and tenderness, without every being syrupy. If you enjoy this recording, look for Sappho de Mytilene, with both Ionatos and Nena Venetsanou on vocals. The album is Ionatos' own compositions to the poetry of Sappho. - by Peter Botteas,

Artist: Angélique Ionatos
Album: Mia Thalassa
Year: 1994
Label: Auvidis
Runtime: 49:13

1.  O Kyklos Tou Nerou 2:55
2.  Mia Thalassa 1:52
3.  Vathia Sti Mou 1:40
4.  Chromata Nychterina 2:30
5.  Ospou Xanaghenithika 1:35
6.  Taxidi Sto Apiro 2:28
7.  Ghiati Isse O Anemos/Diotima 2:44
8.  Ke S'agapo 2:44
9.  Icho Thanatou 3:21
10.  Ap't'anichto Parathiro 2:15
11.  Osso Diarki I Thalassa 2:17
12.  Choris Antapokrissi 2:26
13.  Sta Vimata Tou Iliou 1:23
14.  To Prossopo Sou 2:00
15.  Ta Kymata Malia Sou/Kerinia 4:05
16.  Ekphrassi 2:10
17.  Tetia Stigmi 2:52
18.  Fthinoporino Oniro 1:52
19.  Ela Krypha 2:07
20.  Hermoupoli 3:46
All compositions by Mikis Theodorakis/Dimitra Manda

Angélique Ionatos (Vocals)
Christian Boissel (Piano)
Renaud Garcia-Fons (Double Bass)
Héléne Dautry (Violoncello)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Medeski Martin and Wood - Uninvisible

Uninvisible is further than ever from conventional jazz organ. While blues and funk influences are evident throughout the album, they float on a sea of shadows. Sound sources are obscure or exotic; on "Pappy Check" innovative scratching by turntablist DJ Olive creates an impression of African percussion more than club atmospherics. Even where the instrumentation is less ambiguous, the trio steers toward a filmic noir sensibility, with Medeski leading the way in unorthodox techniques. His pitch-bend solo on "Take Me Nowhere" suggests the creak of a rusty hinge, with Wood's acoustic bass providing the anchor for his abstractions. Wood is in fact often mixed higher than Medeski, to the effect of reducing the keyboard parts to a sideline role and the album in turn to an exercise in mood more than virtuosity -- an impression enhanced by a similarly eccentric shrinkage of the power guitar part on "The Edge of Night" to a barely audible background element. The rhythm is steady and stealthy, a slow-motion oscillation between live and looped tracks, most often with a hip-hop sensibility. More important, every musician on each cut plays with a belief that overplaying only subverts the goals of collective improvisation. If any one album can be said to pick up on the surreal funk explorations of latter-day Miles Davis, Uninvisible is it. - by Robert L. Doerschuk, AMG

Artist: Medeski, Martin & Wood
Album: Uninvisible
Year: 2002
Label: Blue Note
Total time: 50:23

1.  Uninvisible (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 3:37
2.  I Wanna Ride You (John Medeski) 3:28
3.  Your Name Is Snake Anthony (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood/Bruce Hampton) 3:12
4.  Pappy Check (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 2:46
5.  Take Me Nowhere (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 4:07
6.  Retirement Song (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 4:47
7.  Ten Dollar High (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 3:42
8.  Where Have You Been? (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 3:37
9.  Reprise (John Medeski) 0:35
10.  Nocturnal Transmission (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 6:37
11.  Smoke (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 2:48
12.  First Time Long Time (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 2:53
13.  The Edge Of Night (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 3:53
14.  Off The Table (Billy Martin/John Medeski/Chris Wood) 4:14

John Medeski (Hammon Organ, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Mellotron, Piano and Synthesizer)
Billy Martin (Drums and Percussion, Bells)
Chris Wood (Double Bass and Bass Guitar)
Scotty Hard (Nomad Rhythm, Turntables and Rhythm Guitar) - 3,5,6,12,13
DJ P Love (Turntables) - 4,6,7,13
Danny Blume (Guitars) - 4,6,14
Eddie Bobé (Congas, Bata, Shekere, Bottle and Bell) - 5,6
DJ Olive (Turntables) - 3,14
Aaron Johnson (Trombone) - 1,10
Jordan McLean (Trumpet and Flugelhorn) - 1,10
Michael Herbst (Baritone Saxophone and Bass Clarinet) - 1,10
Stuart D. Bogie (Tenor Saxophone and Contra alto Clarinet) - 1,10
Todd Simon (Trumpet and Flugelhorn) - 1,10
Bruce Hampton (Vocals) - 3
Brad Roberts (Vocals) - 8

Graham Haynes - Transition

Where Miles Davis  left off in the recording studio just before his death, cornetist Graham Haynes picks up, continuing to explore the controversial marriage between mainstream jazz and hip-hop rhythms. With the swipe of a scratch turntable, John Coltrane's "Transition" is sent reeling into the hip-hop age (who is to say that the ever-curious Coltrane  wouldn't be dabbling in hip-hop if he were still alive?), as do a number of Haynes originals. Yet Haynes also has other fusions and revivals on his mind, sometimes reaching back to Miles'  nearly forgotten mid-'70s "jungle band" for fuel. "Walidiya" throws Middle Eastern vocals and a sitar into a lengthy, mesmerizing procession, overseen by Haynes' far-off cornet and Steve Williamson's soprano sax. Haynes even successfully revives one of Miles' least-imitated experiments, the wah-wah-pedal trumpet (or in this case, cornet), on "Mars Triangle Jupiter" and "Freestylin.'" - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Graham Haynes
Album: Transition
Year: 1995
Label: The Cross With The Circle
Runtime: 57:00

1.  Transition (John Coltrane) 8:00
2.  South Node Of The Moon In Pisces (Graham Haynes) 5:28
3.  Walidiya (Check Tidiane-Seck/A. Anabi) 11:57
4.  Mars Triangle Jupiter (Graham Haynes) 7:10
5.  Harmonic Convergence (Brandon Ross) 8:36
6.  Freestylin' (Graham Haynes) 7:42
7.  Facing The East (Bheki Mseleku) 5:06
8.  Com Que Voz (L. De Camoes./A. Oulman) 2:59

Graham Haynes (Cornet)
Steve Williamson (Saxophone)
Vernon Reid (Guitar)
Jean-Paul Bourelly (Guitar)
Brandon Ross (Guitar)
DJ Logic (Turntables)
Daniel Moreno (Percussion)
Jorge Amorim (Percussion)
Lonnie Plaxico (Bass Guitar)
Fred Alias (Drums)
Marc Lindhal (Samples, Programming)
Cheick Tidiane-Seck (Keyboards) - 3
Amina Alaoui (Vocals) - 3
Daisy Paradi (Sitar) - 3
Vera Montero (Vocals) - 8

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leon Parker - Belief

Leon Parker continues to be one of the true originals of the day. Though it's doubtful if his spare less-is-more approach to the drum kit will be widely influential-it's likely to remain his exclusive territory-Parker's effectiveness is certain to give pause to aspiring drummers who take note; and it's liable to give drum manufacturers the shakes along the way. Declaring himself solely a percussionist, Parker has shed the perceived encumbrances of the full drum kit. To shape and round his muse here he employs the additional percussion of Adam Cruz and regular bandmate Natalie Cushman, who join the leader at the heart of this date. They are surrounded by bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and on several tracks the saxophones of regular bandmate Steve Wilson, plus Steve Davis' trombone, and Tom Harrell's trumpet and fluegelhorn. Further percussive color is lent by berimbau, marimba, and steel pan. The combination of berimbau and steel pan is new and bears further exploration as they work surprisingly well in tandem. The program, though short at an LP-length 43:11, varies from organic percussive originals to very spare and swinging arrangements of standards, such as "Close Your Eyes," and an irresistible "Sentimental Mood" with the berimbau/steel pan alignment. Belief elicits Parker's most insistent traps work as he delivers a convincing Blakeyesque shuffle. Thankfully, Leon Parker hasn't lost his original vision, which if anything is in keener focus here. - by Willard Jenkins,

Leon Parker has gained some fame for his ability to create a great deal of sounds out of a very small drum set. This interesting but not essential CD features intimate music ranging from quiet folk songs with influences from several cultures to a bit of straightahead jazz; "Close Your Eyes" has some fine alto work by Steve Wilson in a pianoless trio. Other voices include trumpeter Tom Harrell, trombonist Steve Davis, flutist Lisa Parker and bassist Ugonna Okegwo. Nice music which makes one look forward to Leon Parker's future projects. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Leon Parker
Album: Belief
Year: 1996
Label: Sony/Columbia
Runtime: 43:11

1.  Ray Of Light (Leon Parker) 5:47
2.  Village Song: Africa (Adam Cruz/Leon Parker) 2:51
3.  Close Your Eyes (Bernice Petkere) 5:59
4.  Calling Out (Natalie Cushman/Leon Parker) 4:57
5.  Belief (Leon Parker) 5:53
6.  Horizion Azul (Lisa Parker/Leon Parker) 5:34
7.  Wide Open (Natalie Cushman/Steve Wilson/Leon Parker) 4:10
8.  First Child (Jacky Terrasson) 2:46
9.  In A Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington) 4:40
10.  Untitled (Leon Parker) 0:29

Leon Parker (Drums and Percussion, Cymbals, Bells, Vocals)
Steve Wilson (Alto Saxophone, Flute) - 1,3,5,7-9
Steve Davis (Trombone) - 1,5,9
Ugonna Okegwo (Double Bass) - 1,3,5,8
Adam Cruz (Steel Pan, Bells, Piano) - 1,2,5-9
Natalie Cushman (Percussion, Vocals) - 1,4-7,9
Tom Harrell (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 1,5
Lisa Parker (Flute) - 6,9

Oscar Peterson - The Good Life

At Chicago's London House, in May of 1973, the trio of Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen made their public debut. How lucky the jazz world is that their performance was preserved for history in this recording, for the 3-P trio would go on to become one of the most celebrated jazz groups of the 70s. Early live performances from new jazz combos, more often than not, make for hit-and-miss records, with the musicians not yet entirely comfortable playing together. No such problems on this recording; the players are loose, the chemistry is tight, and the result is an extraordinary collection of stellar tracks, even by Peterson's own standards. Of particular interest is the song "Wheatland." This is actually a Peterson composition, the sixth part of an eight-part suite "Canadiana," which was presented as a concert work in 1964. In his jazz interpretation of his own theme, the song begins as, frankly, little more than pleasant piano noodling, perfect for background music while dining; you can actually hear the clinking of glasses and plates on the recording, as people continued to enjoy their dinner during the performance. The mellow tone continues into Peterson's solo, but within 60 seconds the trio has built the song into a driving, bluesy, hard bop tour-de-force, with Peterson unleashing his peerless chops on the unsuspecting and shell-shocked audience (sadly, the recording fails to pick up the sounds of people's jaws dropping). When Joe Pass begins his solo four minutes later, you realize that you've been holding your breath during Peterson's solo. "Wheatland" will have you reaching for the "replay" button on your CD player more than once. And it's just the first track on this excellent, essential recording. - by L. Barden,

Taken from the same live sessions that resulted in The Trio, this CD reissue of a Pablo album features three remarkable virtuosos: pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Joe Pass, and bassist Niels-Henning Oersted Pedersen. Although not quite reaching the heights of the other set, this CD features some typically extraordinary solos and interplay from these musicians. Highlights include Peterson's "Wheatland," the blues "For Count" (which is referred to in the liner notes as "Miles"), and "The Good Life." - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: The Good Life
Year: 1973
Label: OJC (1991)
Runtime: 45:28

1.  Wheatland (Oscar Peterson) 12:25
2.  Wave (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 10:51
3.  For Count (Oscar Peterson) 7:08
4.  The Good Life (Sacha Distel/Jack Reardon) 7:15
5.  On A Clear Day (Alan Jay Lerner/Burton Lane) 7:47

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Joe Pass (Guitar)
Niels Henning Oersted-Pedersen (Double Bass)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mikis Theodorakis - Phaedra

The Music for 'Phaedra' began with the song 'Agapi Mou' (My Love). I had gone to meet Melina Mercouri for the first time at her home on Academias Street. Anthony Perkins was also there. Melina said to me: 'This handsome man here plays my son in the film, that is, the son of my husband, Aegeas. And I am supposed to fall madly in love with him. That's why I want you compose the msot romantic, but also the most passionate, song about love'. Afterwards I went to watch the shooting on the island of Hydra and experienced the atmosphere of the film at first hand. My next trip was to Paris, which was also my home, and there I watched the film over and over with Dassin. I then began to compose the music, at the same time rehearsing with Melina. I think that it was she who chose to sing 'Rodostamo', because she liked it very much. The studio was in the western suburbs and I still remember those early morning drives made difficult by a heavy winter, unusual for Paris. I had a large symphony orchestra, a pianist and a Latin American band. I conducted while warching the scenes on a giant screen. I remember that during the famous love scene in front of the fireplace, Dassin wanted a romantic accelerando. As I saw that he was really inspired, I sugegsted that he conduct, while I sat at the piano. - Mikis Theodorakis

One very happy memory I have f the filming of 'Phaedra' was the moment that Mikis Theodorakis suggested that most of the music for the film should be played by just two guitars. It was a wonderful idea. Then, as a gift, he wrote that beautiful song: 'Agapi mou'. - Jules Dassin

Artist: Mikis Theodorakis
Album: Phaedra (Soundtrack)
Year: 1962
Label: FM Records (Digitally Remastered)
Runtime: 34:24

1.  Love Theme from Phaedra 3:50 
2.  Rendezvous 3:17 
3.  Ship to Shore 1:47 
4.  London's Fog 1:11 
5.  One More Time 3:10 
6.  Agapi Mou 3:50 
7.  Only You 1:22 
8.  The Fling 2:59 
9.  Candlelight 3:38 
10.  Rodostamo 3:00 
11.  Love Theme from Phaedra 3:17 
12.  Goodbye John Sebastian 3:02 

Mikis Theodorakis (Arranger, Conductor, Piano)
Melina Mercouri (Vocal) - 11
others unknown

Sunday, September 12, 2010

King Curtis - The New Scene

At first glance, this would appear to be a CD reissue well worth picking up. R&B tenor saxophonist King Curtis is heard in a rare jazz outing, holding his own with cornetist Nat Adderley (in prime form), pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Oliver Jackson on four originals and "Willow Weep for Me." But the single-CD Soul Meeting not only contains this entire session, but another related six-song set as well. Only get this particular release if it is found at a budget price. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

When most listeners think of King Curtis, jazz comes to mind. It is instrumental jazz that has strong R&B and even rock 'n' roll sensibilities. Some might even consider what King Curtis played as simply instrumental R&B. Forget about all of that. Set aside the King Curtis that you thought you knew. This is the King playing straight jazz. As one of King Curtis' first albums, this is a serious, straight jazz effort. This 1960 release is a timeless gem. Most of the tunes are originals. With a bop feel, the mood is generally relaxed. The personnel list includes jazz greats like Paul Chambers and Wynton Kelly. Having been recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, the album earns additional street cred as a jazz project. Jazz listeners are likely to instantly fall in love with "The New Scene of King Curtis." Old time Curtis fans will discover a whole new dimension to the King. Get "The New Scene of King Curtis" because it's not everyday that you get to fall in love all over again. - by The Delite Rancher,

Artist: King Curtis
Album: The New Scene of King Curtis
Year: 1960
Label: OJC (1992)
Runtime: 40:22

1.  Da Duh Dah (King Curtis) 5:11
2.  Have You Heard? (King Curtis) 10:23
3.  Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell) 5:24
4.  Little Brother Soul (King Curtis) 8:35
5.  In a Funky Groove (King Curtis) 10:48

King Curtis (Tenor Saxophone)
Nat Adderley (Trumpet) - 1,2,4,5
Wynton Kelly (Piano)
Paul Chambers (Double Bass)
Oliver Jackson (Drums)

Kazimierz Jonkisz - Tiritaka

One of the best example of a very unique Polish Jazz fusion of jazz rock's language with Coltrane Quartet's atmosphere. Featuring Kazimierz Jonkisz - Polish Elvin Jones and young Krzesimir Debski - one of the most important fixtures on Polish Jazz scene of 1980's. - from

Artist: Kazimierz Jonkisz Quintet
Album: Tiritaka
Year: 1980
Label: Polskie Nagrania (2007, 24-bit remastered)
Runtime: 40:23

1.  Tiritaka (Krzesimir Debski) 6:09
2.  We're All Waiting (Krzesimir Debski) 9:14
3.  For Slawosz (Krzesimir Debski) 5:20
4.  Tuohitorvi (Krzesimir Debski) 8:32
5.  Joewer (Krzesimir Debski) 8:02
6.  For Marc (Kazimierz Jonkisz) 3:03

Kazimierz Jonkisz (Drums)
Krzesimir Debski (Electric Violin)
Andrzej Olejniczak (Tenor and Soprano Saxophone)
Janusz Skowron (Piano)
Andrzej Lukasik (Bass)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Long John Baldry - Looking at Long John / Long John's Blues

Baldry's move from blues into pop/soul for his second album may have been viewed as something of a loss in integrity, given his purist blues stance on his debut. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea, though, given that the debut LP wasn't very good, and the British blues-rock field was crowded with many greater talents in the mid-'60s. Looking at Long John, with a sub-Righteous Brothers  sort of approach, is certainly a change in style, but the result really isn't any better. Baldry's vocal limitations are a big handicap whether applied to white-boy blues or blue-eyed soul, and the production is thin in comparison with the American soul/pop it's clearly trying to emulate. If you wanted this kind of stuff, the Righteous Brothers did it many times better. Not only that, if you were British at the time and weren't aware of the Righteous Brothers, you weren't about to turn to John Baldry; the Walker Brothers (American, but based in Britain) also did this kind of stuff much better. - by Richie Unterberger, AMG

One of the unsung jewels of the British R&B scene, Long John's Blues  is, astonishingly, the sole surviving document of what was, at one point, among the most exciting live acts on the entire circuit. Baldry himself was dynamite, with a grasp of blues singing that left his contemporaries foundering. His takes on "Got My Mojo Working," "Dimples," and "Hoochie Coochie Man" alone are worth the price of admission, no matter how many other versions you may own, while "My Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough" and, best of all, "Everyday I Have the Blues" pack a punch that reminds us just what great musicians Baldry surrounded himself with, former Cyril Davies All-Stars veterans Jeff Bradford and Cliff Barton  among them. An excellent sleeve photo, stylishly mod as only Long John could be, completed the original vinyl package, but even in the record's later incarnation, as part of a two-fer CD with the sleeve barely visible, Long John's Blues stands proud among the most essential British blues albums of them all. - by Dave Thompson, AMG

Artist: Long John Baldry
Album: Looking at Long John (1-12)/Long John's Blues (13-24)
Year: 1966/64
Label: Beat Goes On (Remastered, 1995)
Runtime: 73:07

1.  You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (Barry Mann/Phil Spector/Cynthia Weil) 3:22
2.  Only A Fool Breaks His Own Heart (Norman Bergen/Shelly Coburn) 2:44
3.  Make It Easy On Yourself (Burt Bacharach/Hal David) 2:58
4.  Let Him Go (And Let Me Love You) (Lucky Edwards Jr./Maxwell) 2:12
5.  The Drifter (Richard Gottehrer/Jerry Goldstein/Bob Feldman) 3:03
6.  Cry Me A River (Arthur Hamilton) 3:01
7.  Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S) (Albert Hamilton/Charles Hatcher/Richard Morris) 1:56
8.  Turn On Your Lovelight (Deadric Malone/Joseph Scott) 2:07
9.  I Love Paris (Cole Porter) 2:13
10.  Keep On Running (Jackie Edwards) 2:16
11.  Ain't Nothing You Can Do (Deadric Malone/Joseph Scott) 2:31
12.  Bad Luck Soul (David Gussin/Ann Martin) 2:22
13.  Got My Mojo Working (McKinley Morganfield) 3:11
14.  Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You (Andy Razaf/Don Redman) 3:56
15.  Roll 'em Pete (Pete Johnson) 3:29
16.  You're Breaking My Heart (Long John Baldry) 4:33
17.  Hoochie Coochie (Willie Dixon) 3:48
18.  Everyday (I Have The Blues) (Peter Chatman) 3:06
19.  Dimples (John Lee Hooker) 2:22
20.  Five Long Years (Eddie Boyd) 5:06
21.  My Babe (Willie Dixon) 2:34
22.  Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough (Jimmy Whiterspoon) 2:25
23.  Goin' Down Slow (James Burke Oden) 3:52
24.  Rock The Joint (Long John Baldry) 3:49

Long John Baldry (Vocals)
Ian Armitt (Keyboards)
Cliff Barton (Bass Guitar)
Jeff Bradford (Guitar and Harmonica)
Bill Law (Drums)
Rod Stewart (Banjo)
Jimmy Page (Guitar) - 1-12
Kathi McDonald (Backing Vocals) - 1-12

Roland Kirk - I Talk With the Spirits

Multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk leaves the stritch, manzello and other exotic instruments at home for this all-flute outing from his pre-"Rahsaan" days. Consisting mostly of originals, with a couple of show tunes and a swinging take on John Lewis' "Django" thrown in, I Talk to the Spirits provides the best sampling of Kirk's unique flute style. He hums along with himself as he plays, inserts pieces of lyrics when the mood hits, finds overtones and multi-part harmonies as he blows madly through the upper register and sails sweetly through the lower. Included here is the original version of "Serenade to a Cuckoo," a song later taken to rock audiences with its inclusion on the first Jethro Tull album. (In fact, for the Tull fan who wants to hear where Ian Anderson borrowed his style, I Talk to the Spirits is the place to go.) The playing on this outing is uniformly excellent, with Kirk ranging from his trademark up-tempo overblowing on "A Quote from Clifford Brown" to bluesy growling on "The Business Ain't Nothing But the Blues" to placid beauty on the ballad "Trees." He guides Kurt Weill's "My Ship" on a five-minute voyage through calm seas and turbulent double-timed storms. Kirk's sense of whimsy and musical fun is evident throughout. - by Jim Newsom, AMG

Artist: Roland Kirk
Album: I Talk With the Spirits
Year: 1964 (Limelight)
Label: Verve (Master Edition, 20-bit dig. transfer, 1998)
Runtime: 40:55

1.  Serenade to a Cuckoo (Roland Kirk) 4:33
2.  We'll Be Together Again/People (from 'Funny Face') (Carl Fisher/Frankie Laine /Bob Merrill/Jule Styne) 4:40
3.  A Quote From Clifford Brown (Roland Kirk) 4:24
4.  Trees (Roland Kirk) 6:21
5.  Fugue'n and Alludin' (Roland Kirk) 0:44
6.  The Business Ain't Nothin' but the Blues (Roland Kirk) 5:03
7.  I Talk With The Spirits (Roland Kirk) 3:56
8.  Ruined Castles (Roland Kirk) 1:20
9.  Django (John Aaron Lewis) 4:50
10.  My Ship (from 'Lady in the Dark') (Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin) 5:00

Roland Kirk (Flute, Alto Flute and African Wood Flute)
Horace Parlan (Piano and Celeste) - 1-4,6,7,9,10
Michael Fleming (Double Bass) - 1-4,6,7,9,10
Walter Perkins (Drums and Percussion) - 1-4,6,7,9,10
Crystal-Joy Albert (Vocals) - 1,7
Bobby Moses (Vibraphone) - 5,7

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cal Tjader - Soul Burst

By the mid-'60s, vibraphonist Cal Tjader was recording regularly for Verve in a wide variety of settings but with pretty consistent success. For this popular outing (reissued on CD in 1998), Tjader plays a few then-current Latin numbers (including Clare Fischer's famous "Morning"), revives "Manteca," and performs a pair of Kurt Weill standards ("My Ship" and "The Bilbao Song"). With Jerome Richardson, Seldon Powell, and/or Jerry Dodgion prominent on flutes, such sidemen as the young pianist Chick Corea, guitarist Attila Zoller, bassist Richard Davis, drummer Grady Tate, and some fine charts written by Oliver Nelson, the music is quite catchy and accessible, commercial but still creative within the genre. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Cal Tjader
Album: Soul Burst
Year: 1966
Label: Verve (22-bit remasterd, 1998)
Runtime: 39:11

1.  Cuchy Frito Man (Ray Rivera/Vin Roddie) 2:23
2.  Descarga Cubana (Delgado Miguel Angel Estivil) 2:58
3.  Soul Burst (Guajera) (Cal Tjader) 4:40
4.  The Bilbao Song (Kurt Weill/Berthold Brecht) 2:18
5.  Manteca (Walter Fuller/Luciano Pozo/Dizzy Gillespie) 6:36
6.  It Didn't End (Não Se Acabou) (Joao Donato) 3:57
7.  My Ship (Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin) 3:01
8.  Morning (Clare Fisher) 2:58
9.  Oran (Chick Corea) 4:00
10.  Curaçao (Cal Tjader) 6:15

Cal Tjader (Vibraphone, Cabasa)
Chick Corea (Piano)
Carlos "Patato" Valdes (Conga)
Jose Mangual (Timbales, Bongo)
Victor Pantoja (Percussion)
Seldon Powell (Flute) - 1-8
Bobby Rodriguez (Double Bass) - 2,3,6,8-10
Jerome Richardson (Flute) - 1,4,5,7,9,10
Jerry Dodgion (Flute) - 2,3,6,8
Attila Zoller (Guitar) - 1,4,5,7
Grady Tate (Drums) - 1,4,5,7
Oliver Nelson (Arrangement) - 1,4,5,7
Richard Davis (Double Bass) - 1,4,5,7

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sarah Vaughan - It's Man's World

Sarah Vaughan is heard in a series of ballads that are often heard in a jazz setting, but the somewhat heavy-handed arrangements by Hal Mooney, Bob James (long before smooth jazz existed as a genre), and Bob Freedman lean more toward easy listening, with frequently stiff rhythm accompaniment and often overbearing strings. The singer's lovely voice, which is in great form, is full of the adventurous spirit, as is the sole improviser on the date, stretching the boundaries of ten strong compositions, including oldies like "Danny Boy" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry," to pop songs of the day such as the huge hit "Alfie." There are also several gems by songwriters who were still active at the time, including Alec Wilder's "Trouble Is a Man," as well as a trio of timeless standards by Harold Arlen. The sound on this 24-bit limited-edition CD reissue, which is available only until May 2005, is impeccable, with a perfect mix between the singer and the orchestra, so anyone who enjoys Sarah Vaughan's vocals should pick up this CD. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Sarah Vaughan with Hal Mooney Orchestra
Album: It's a Man's World
Year: 1967
Label: Mercury (2002, Mini LP, digitally remastered)
Total time: 37:16

1.  Alfie (Burt Bacharach/Hal David) 3:33
2.  Man That Got Away (Harold Arlen, Ira Gershwin) 4:28
3.  Trouble Is a Man (Alec Wilder) 3:43
4.  Happines Is Just a Thing Called Joe (Harold Arlen/E.Y. "Yip" Harburg) 3:50
5.  For Every Man There's a Woman (Harold Arlen, Leo Robin) 3:23
6.  I Got a Man Crazy for Me (Neil Moret, Richard Whiting) 3:31
7.  My Man (Mon Homme) (Jacques Charles, Channing Pollack, Albert Willemetz, Maurice Yvain) 3:52
8.  I'm Just Wild About Harry (Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle) 2:39
9.  Jim (Caesar Petrillo, Edward Ross, Nelson Shawn) 3:42
10.  Danny Boy (Frederic E. Weatherly) 4:35

Sarah Vaughan (Vocals)
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet)
Joe Newman (Trumpet)
Clark Terry (Trumpet)
Charlie Shavers (Trumpet)
J.J. Johnson (Trombone)
Kai Winding (Trombone)
Benny Golson (Reeds)
Phil Woods (Reeds)
Bob James (Piano)
Hal Mooney (Arranger)
Bob Freedman (Arranger)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ekova - Heaven's Dust

On their debut, Ekova makes music that literally transcends language, as singer Diedre Dubois sings lyrics in English, French, and no known language -- sounds that simply feel right. It gives a strange, sometimes weightless texture to the album, as the listener keeps on edge, listening. But it's a feeling that's sustained through the music, which at times has a Celtic edge (as on "In My Prime," for example), but also seems to have roots in the Middle East, courtesy of Meddhi Haddab's oud work. As if that weren't confusing enough, the electronic touches that pepper some of the tracks continue the statelessness, and so Heaven's Dust becomes a world music album -- although you're hard pressed to say whether it's this world, or something that escaped from a parallel universe. For all the mystery, it's quite compelling, and there's an insistence to songs like "Venus and One" and "Todoism" that can't be denied, while possessing a beauty that occasionally appears unearthly. Something of a revelation as to the cross-cultural possibilities of music, in its own quiet way Heaven's Dust signals a revolution. - by Chris Nickon, AMG

Artist: Ekova
Album: Heaven's Dust
Year: 1998
Label: Six Degrees (2000)
Runtime: 73:05

1.  Starlight In Daden 5:33
2.  Chant Of Diem 1:01
3.  Todosim 3:46
4.  Temoine 5:53
5.  Ditama 2:33
6.  Sebrendita 3:48
7.  Sabura 4:42
8.  La Nef des Fous 2:42
9.  Sister 3:09
10.  In My Prime 3:36
11.  Taksim 3:17
12.  Helas and Reason 4:24
13.  Venus And One 28:41
All compositions by Ekova

Dierdre Dubois (Vocals, Cello, Guitar)
Mehdi Haddab (Oud, Guembri, Percussion, Cello, Kalimba)
Arach Khaltbari (Percussion, Vocals, Clarinet)
Cyrille Dufay (Programming)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Gabor Szabo - High Contrast

An unusually successful pairing of Gabor Szabo with R&B legend Bobby Womack. Szabo digs deep into a soulful groove, inspired by Womack's silky-smooth originals. High Contrast features "Breezin," the Womack tune written especially for Szabo, which George Benson parlayed into a huge hit in 1976, and several tunes Womack popularized in the film Across 110th Street. - by Douglas Payne, AMG

This unlikely collaboration with R&B star Bobby Womack is surprisingly successful as an instrumental smooth-jazz guitar session. Womack uncharacteristically takes no vocals, and proves himself a very competent and sympathetic rhythm guitarist. This album feature's Womack's original recording of his composition "Breezin'", which was a smash crossover hit for George Benson. Szabo interprets the melody in his staccato voice, his approach more restrained than Benson's, but captivating in it's own way. "Amazon" has a dark tropical feel. Wolfgang Melz plays solid yet interesting basslines, and his co-composition "Fingers" provides another fine vehicle for extended guitar improvisation. The finale, "I Remember When" features a well-arranged string section that serves as a fine foil for Szabo's take on the country-style melody. - by J. Levinson,

Artist: Gabor Szabo
Album: High Contrast
Year: 1971
Label: Verve (Mini Lp, 2003)
Runtime: 40:11

1.  Breezin' (Bobby Womack) 3:13
2.  Amazon (Gabor Szabo) 4:58
3.  Fingers (Wolfhang Melz/Gabor Szabo) 7:35
4.  Azure Blue (Gabor Szabo) 4:17
5.  Just A Little Communication (Bobby Womack/Gabor Szabo) 7:52
6.  If You Don't Want My Love (Bobby Womack) 4:39
7.  I Remember When (Bobby Womack) 7:33

Gabor Szabo (Electric and Acoustic Guitar)
Bobby Womack (Rhythm Electric Guitar)
Wolfgang Melz (Bass)
Jim Keltner (Drums)
Felix Falcon (Congas)
Phil Upchurch (Bass ) - 1,3,6,7
Carmelo Garcia (Percussion) - 1-3,6,7
Mark Levine (Piano) - 3

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chico Hamilton - The Dealer

Drummer Chico Hamilton introduced many top young players during his years as a bandleader, but few probably realize that Larry Coryell made his recording debut with Chico a year before joining Gary Burton's quartet. This CD reissue brings back Coryell's initial appearance on record, and at times he sounded oddly like Chuck Berry (especially on "The Dealer"). Also heard on this set are altoist Arnie Lawrence, bassist Richard Davis, organist Ernie Hayes (on two numbers), and, on his spirited boogaloo "For Mods Only," Archie Shepp making a rare appearance on piano. Most of the performances still sound surprisingly fresh, especially the explorative "A Trip," making this an underrated but worthy release. [The 1999 CD reissue contains four bonus tracks, plus 20-bit remastering.] - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Chico Hamilton
Album: The Dealer
Year: 1966
Label. Impulse (1999) (20-bit remastered)
Total playing: 55:03

Chico Hamilton (Drums and Percussion, Vocals)
Arnie Lawrence (Alto Saxophone) - 1-4,6,7
Larry Coryell (Guitar) - 1-7
Richard Davis (Double Bass) - 1-7
Ernie Hayes (Organ) - 4,5
Archie Shepp (Piano) - 2
Charles Lloyd (Tenor Saxophone and Flute) - 8,10,11
Gabor Szabo (Guitar) - 8,10,11
Jimmy Woods (Tenor Saxophone) - 8
Albert Stinson (Double Bass and Vocals) - 8-11
Willie Bobo (Maracas, Cowbells) - 8,9
George Bohanon (Trombone) - 10

1.  The Dealer (Chico Hamilton/Jimmy Cheatham) 6:21
2.  For Mods Only (Archie Shepp) 4:25
3.  A Trip (Chico Hamilton/Jimmy Cheatham) 6:35
4.  Baby, You Know (Chico Hamilton/Jimmy Cheatham) 3:56
5.  Larry of Arabia (Larry Coryell) 5:09
6.  Thoughts (Chico Hamilton) 9:20
7.  Jim-Jeannie (Chico Hamilton) 5:48
8.  Chic Chic Chico (Manny Albam) 2:49
9.  Big Noise from Winnetka (Ray Bauduc/Bob Haggart/Bob Crosby/Gil Rodin) 2:49
10.  The Second Time Around (Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn) 3:12
11.  El Toro (Chico Hamilton/Charles Lloyd/Gabor Szabo) 4:39

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jovan Maljokovic - Zauvek + Lover Man

Jovan Maljokovic is a famous Belgrade saxophone player, composer and arranger. His Balkan Salsa Band has existed for almost fifteen years, representing Serbia at many festivals throughout Europe and Cuba. In the last few years they have performed at Rottweil Jazz Festival (Germany), Festivals of Cultures in Luxembourg and Vienna, Django Reinhardt International Jazz Festival in Samois, Montreux Jazz Festival, etc. Jovan Maljokovic Balkan Salsa Band has performed in Athens, representing Serbia at the Olympic Games 2004. - from the Jovan's Website

Artist: Jovan Maljokovic Balkan Salsa Band
Album: Zauvek + Lover Man
Year: 2006
Label: PGP - Radio Televizija Serbija
Runtime: 105:50

CD 1
1.  Zauvek (Jovan Maljokovic/Miodrag Maljokovic) 3:58
2.  Strepnja (Traditional) 4:01
3.  Potrazi me u predgradju (Jovan Maljokovic/D. Britvic/Z. Runjic) 6:02
4.  Pakito (Jovan Maljokovic/Miodrag Maljokovic) 3:45
5.  Reci mi da zelis (Jovan Maljokovic/Jelena Theunisz) 4:30
6.  Con Corazon (Arturo Sandoval) 5:11
7.  Samo ti i ja (Jovan Maljokovic/Ivana Kotov/Mihailo Kristic) 4:02
8.  Pahulje (Ivana Kotov) 4:30
9.  Luka koju trazim (Jovan Maljokovic/Miodrag Maljokovic) 3:33
10.  Summer Fever (Jovan Maljokovic) 5:02
11.  Pakito Mix (Jovan Maljokovic) 4:10
1.  Lover Man (Roger Ram Ramirez/Jimmy Davis)  5:01
2.  Peter's Dream (Jovan Maljokovic) 5:46
3.  Jova Nova (Jovan Maljokovic) 7:32
4.  Svitica (Jovan Maljokovic) 9:40
5.  Serbian Groove (Jovan Maljokovic) 5:47
6.  Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma/Jacques Prévert) 7:10
7.  Kad sveci marsiraju (Traditional) 4:17
8.  Neca's Song (Jovan Maljokovic) 4:05
9.  Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma/Jacques Prévert) 3:30
10.  Blue'n Boogie (Dizzy Gillespie) 4:18

Jovan Maljokovic (Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophone) - CD1
Ivan Ilic (Trombone and Electric Piano)
Nemanja Banovic (Trumpet)
Goran Potic (Guitar)
Slavisa Pavlovic (Bass Guitar)
Miodrag Maljokovic (Drums)
Roberto Hustiz Vinales (Timbales and Conga) - CD1
Jovan Maljkovic (Tenor Saxophone) - CD2
Strahinja Banovic (Trumpet) - CD1:1,2,5 / CD2:3-5
Dragan Calina (Electric Piano) - CD1:8,9 / CD2:1-10
Andelka Simic (Vocals) - CD1:1-4
Lazaro Del Toro Vega (Conga) - CD1:1,2,4
Ivan Aleksijevic (Electric Piano) - CD1:1-4,6
Dragoslav Stanisavljevic (Trumpet) - CD1:2,4
Ivana Kotov (Vocals) - CD1:7-9
Mihailo Krstic (Programming) - CD1:7,10
Nenad Januzovic (Percussion) - CD2:8,9
Jorge Rivera Legat (Electric Piano) - CD1:5
Jelena Theunisz (Vocals) - CD1:5
Dusan Petrovic (Baritone Saxophone, Flute) - CD1:11
Boris Mladenovic (Programming) - CD1:11
Nikola Mitrovic (Trumpet) - CD2:10
Zarko Kalmic (Electric Piano) - CD2:8
Mikan Zlatkovic (Electric Piano) - CD2:9
Milos Krstic (Electric Piano) - CD2:10
Bata Bozanic (Bass Guitar) - CD2:8
Predrag Revisin (Bass Guitar) - CD2:9
Mihajlo Blam (Double Bass) - CD2:10

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Devotional Songs

Recorded in the wake of the late Khan's triumphant performance at the 1985 WOMAD festival, this collection features the lighter, folkier side of the Pakistani classical music singer's repertoire. Accompanied by his nine-member "party" on acoustic guitar, mandolin, and a full complement of tabla and harmonium, Khan unleashes typically stunning vocal phrases marked by blinding speed, cutting tone, and unearthly ornamentation. The infectious "Yaad-E-Nabi Gulshan Mehka", with lyrics in praise of Muhammed, finds the qawwali singer at his most effervescent, while the ghazal (love song) "Mast Nazroon Se Allah Bachhae" features an insistent hand-clapped rhythm and the full Party chorus singing together in unison. - by James Rotondi,

If you would like to truly experience the transcendent power of rythm, harmony and the human voice, and to explore some of the deeper recesses of the human spirit at the same time, then you really MUST listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his group. I first experienced Nusrat some 10 years or so ago on Channel 4 while late-night channel surfing. In an instant I was rooted to my chair, my remote-control hand frozen in mid-air. NEVER had I heard anything so utterly and literally entrancing. Indeed, without understanding a word of what was being sung, I involuntarily found myself on my feet, eyes closed, arms up, swaying and shuffling to the music. It was only when I fell over the coffee table that I came to my senses enough to scribble 'Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan' on a piece of paper. This was music I had been waiting my entire life to hear. So it seemed to me then, and so it does still. This really is so much more than music. Truly, truly, listening to this incredible human being is a spiritual experience. If your ears and your brain are susceptible to such things, it will enrapture you, transporting you with pleasure to another plane of experience. Which, of course, is precisely what Qawwali music has been crafted to do, over the course of eight centuries or so. This CD was the first one I acquired (a complete stab in the dark) and it turned out to be a superb choice. For me, the track highlights are Allah Hoo, Ali Maula, Ni Main Jogi and, particularly, Ali Haq, which has the most exquisite slow-building lead-in you'll ever hear. If you're looking for an introduction to the work of the great man and his group, I can think of no better choice than this CD, and for existing fans who have not yet heard these versions of the above mentioned tracks, I would urge you to try them. This music will change your life! Very very highly recommended. - by  Wilf,

Artist: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Album: Devotional Songs
Year: 1988
Label: Real World (1992)
Runtime: 45:11

1.  Allah Hoo ALlah Hoo 7:57
2.  Yaad-E-Nabi Gulshan Mehka 7:36
3.  Haq Ali Ali Haq 7:23
4.  Ali Maula Ali Maula Ali Dam Dam 7:44
5.  Mast Nazroon Se Allah Bachhae 6:21
6.  Ni Main Jogi De Naal 8:10
All compositions by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, except 6th: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan/Baba Bukka Shah

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Lead Vocals)
Rahmat Ali (Harmonium [2nd])
Maqsood Hussain (Lead Vocals)
Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan (Lead Vocals, Harmonium)
Dildar Hussain (Tabla)
Mujahid Mubarik Ali Khan (Vocals)
Rahat Ali Khan (Vocals [Pupil])
Majawar Abbas (Mandolin, Guitar)
Mohammed Iqbal Naqbi (Backing Vocals)
Asad Ali (Backing Vocals)
Ghulam Fareed (Backing Vocals)
Kaukab Ali (Backing Vocals)


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