Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jimmy Smith - The Sermon!

The seven sides on The Sermon! (1958) come from a pair of studio dates, the first of which was held August 25, 1957 and includes Jimmy Smith (organ), Lee Morgan (trumpet), George Coleman (alto sax), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Eddie McFadden (guitar), Kenny Burrell (guitar) and Donald Bailey (drums). This was followed by a second exactly six months (to the day) later on February 25, 1958. Along with Smith, present and accounted for during the session were Lou Donaldson (alto sax) replacing Coleman in addition to contributions from Tina Brooks (tenor sax) and the ubiquitous Art Blakey (drums). From the '57 confab are the popular music standards "S'Wonderful" and "Blue Room". The former is given an unhurried mid-tempo workout as Morgan banters sublime licks with McFadden. Fuller's full round tones effortlessly manoeuvre "Blue Room" with the intimate trio of Bailey and Smith in support. The real essence can be heard in the variety of styles utilized in the latter gathering. An emotive "Lover Man" is punctuated by Donaldson's fluid leads behind Smith's heartfelt changes. This is sharply distinguished by the longer jams featuring Burrell, Blakey and mighty impressive blows throughout from Morgan and Brooks. They ride hard on the Bird classics "Confirmation" and an intense "Au Privave". Brooks' solos are much of the reason why each excels with such bop finesse and are best experienced rather than simply read about. "Flamingo" is a sumptuous ballad that allows Morgan and Burrell to trade some laid back lines within the context of an unencumbered rhythm section. Whether upgrading the mid ‘80s CD or discovering the platter for the first time, The Sermon! is a prime example of Smith and company's myriad of talents. - by Lindsay Planer, AMG

Artist: Jimmy Smith
ALbum: The Sermon!
Year: 1957-58
Label: Blue Note (24-bit remastering by R. Van Gelder, 1999)
Total time: 40:13

1.  The Sermon (Jimmy Smith) 20:12
2.  J.O.S. (Jimmy Smith) 11:59
3.  Flamingo (Edmund Anderson/Ted Grouya) 8:01

Jimmy Smith (Organ)
Lee Morgan (Trumpet)
Lou Donaldson (Alto Saxophone) - 1
George Coleman (Alto Saxophone) - 2
Tina Brooks (Tenor Saxophone) - 1
Kenny Burrell (Guitar) - 1,3
Eddie McFadden (Guitar) - 2
Art Blakey (Drums) - 1,3
Donald Bailey (Drums) - 2

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rod Piazza - California Blues

I have seen Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers perform many times over the years and have listened to most of their CD's. While the band is good and always puts on a good show, I tend to lean toward the two Rod Piazza CD's that he put out as solo efforts, "California Blues" and "Harpburn". The reason is quite simple, when the band all plays together and/or record they seem to always include two or three boogie woogie numbers to accommodate the fine organ playing of wife Honey. Not a bad gesture but, if you dislike boogie woogie as I do, those songs tend to be throw away tunes and distract from the real reason that one purchases a Piazza CD in the first place, to hear the harp. Of course, if you like boogie woogie, you will want to go out and buy any of the CD's that features the Mighty Flyers and, of course, Honey Piazza. Honey, by the way does play a mean organ, I suppose that is how she got into the band in the first place having never played in a professional band prior to meeting Rod in a bar where he was performing, but that's another story. On this disc, Rod blows harder than anyone I have ever seen before (sorry Honey!). He can go from holding a single sustained note to a warbled vibrato with ease. At times Piazza makes his harp sing like an alto sax and at other times like a baritone. If there is a soft spot on the disc, it has to be Piazza' vocals. However, on the bright side, later discs show that his vocals have improved substantially. Low or high notes, fast or slow, Piazza is one of the best. If the blues harp is your thing, check this guy out you will not be disappointed. - by deepbluereview,

Artist: Rod Piazza
Album: California Blues
Year: 1997
Label: Black Top
Runtime: 45:13

1.  Chicken Shack Boogie (Lola Anne Cullum/Amos Milburn) 2:40
2.  Bad, Bad Boy (Rod Piazza) 3:31
3.  No More Pretty Presents (Rod Piazza) 4:15
4.  California Blues (Rod Piazza) 4:49
5.  One Mint Julep (Rudy Toombs) 3:38
6.  Worried Life Blues (Sam Hopkins/Big Maceo Merriweather) 4:08
7.  Deep Fried (Rod Piazza) 3:10
8.  Can't Get That Stuff No More (Traditional) 4:16
9.  4811 Wadsworth (Rod Piazza) 5:36
10.  It's Too Late Brother (Al Duncan) 4:05
11.  Low Down Dog (Big Joe Turner) 4:58

Rod Piazza (Vocals, Harmonica)
Alex Schultz (Guitar)
Bill Stuve (Bass Guitar)
Honey Alexander (Piano)
Jimi Bott (Drums)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baden Powell - The Frankfurt Opera Concert

Baden Powell, a renowned guitarist in a nation of guitarists, here plays both solo and in trio, and which you prefer will depend on whether you more value rhapsodic freedom or focused tightness. Either way this is a celebrated recording by a phenomenal artist, and long unavailable. - by John Storm Roberts, AMG

Artist: Baden Powell and Trio
Album: The Frankfurt Opera Concert
Year: 1975
Label: Tropical Music (1992)
Total time: 75:06

1.  Valsa da Euridice (Vinicius de Moraes) 4:19
2.  Preludio in E Minor (Baden Powell) 5:36
3.  Asa Branca (Luiz Gonzaga/Humberto Teixeira) 6:35
4.  A Lenda do Abaete (Dorival Caymmi) 4:32
5.  Se Todos Fossem Iguais ao Voce (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes) 3:30
6.  Samba Triste (Baden Powell) 6:38
7.  Petite Valse (Baden Powell) 3:02
8.  Imagens (Baden Powell) 9:18
9.  Pescador (Baden Powell) 9:21
10.  Valse No. 1 (Baden Powell) 3:27
11.  Berceuse (Baden Powell) 3:51
12.  Variacao sobre Canto de Ossanha (Baden Powell) 8:02
13.  Coisa No. 1 (Moacyr Santos) 3:54
14.  Marcha Escocesa (Baden Powell) 2:54

Baden Powell (Guitar)
Guy Pedersen (Bass)
Coaty de Oliveira (Drums and Percussion)
Jorge Arena (Percussion)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yansimalar - Serzenis

The idea of Yansimalar came to light at the beginning of 1990. Music was at the point we came together. Our style came into being in the course of living it, loving it, learning it. First Yansimalar were realesed, then Bab-i Esrar and now Serzenis. We met friends on this road. Some became part of the music of Yansimalar. Some enriched us with their love for our music. It's getting bigger and bigger when we share it in the name of friendship, love and rebel against existing routines.What we desire is to stop the whirlwind of life's complexity and create "a moment". - from the CD cover

Artist: Yansimalar
Album: Serzenis
Year: 2000
Label: Kalan
Total time: 60:08

1.  Mavinin Yankisi 7:33
2.  Eylül Sonu 6:25
3.  Issiz 5:51
4.  Ares 4:45
5.  Akl-u Hikmet 5:31
6.  Vuslat 4:26
7.  Devran 8:33
8.  Yagmur Sonu 5:23
9.  Yollarda 5:28
10.  Serzenis 6:13
All compostions by Birol Yayla, except Engin Gurkey's Vuslat

A. Senol Filiz (Ney)
Birol Yayla (Guitar, Tanbur and Perdesiz Luth)
Nezih Yesilnil (Double Bass)
Engin Gurkey (Percussion)
Samim Karaca (Oud) - 1,4
Hakan Sensoy (Keman) - 3,7
Muammer Ketencoglu (Accordion) - 9
Suren Asatryan (Doudouk) - 4

Richie Cole - Hank Crawford Quintet - Bossa International

Richie Cole meets up with fellow altoist Hank Crawford on a spirited concert set. With guitarist Emily Remler, bassist Marshall Hawkins and drummer Victor Jones, Cole and Crawford romp on such numbers as "Confirmation," "Fantasy Blues," "Samba De Orpheus" and "Cherokee." This jam session date has its exciting moments and is easily recommended to bebop fans. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

"Individually we were well acquainted but had had never performed together as a group. I especially enjoyed this tour since I was not expected to be the band leader. We chose a repertoire of songs we all felt comfortable playing together plus everyone had a solo spot sometime during the concert. Our schedule did not give us much time to polish our act so this record illustrates the original format of jazz, the "jam session." - Richie Cole

Artist: Richie Cole/Hank Crawford Quintet
Album: Bossa International
Year: 1987
Label: Milestone (1990)
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Runtime: 58:34

1.  Confirmation (Charlie Parker) 9:04
2.  Bossa International (Richie Cole) 11:24
3.  I Can't Get Started (Vernon Duke/Ira Gershwin) 5:53
4.  Fantasy Blues (Richie Cole/Hank Crawford) 9:21
5.  Snowfall (Claude Thornhill) 6:28
6.  Samba de Orpheus (Maria Bonfa/Luiz Bonfa) 7:55
7.  Cherokee (Ray Noble) 8:27

Richie Cole (Alto Saxophone)
Hank Crawford (Alto Saxophone)
Emily Remler (Guitar)
Marshall Hawkins (Double Bass)
Victor Jones (Drums)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yansimalar - Pervane

Yansimalar (approximately "yahn-sew-mah-lahr", Turkish for "reflections") or Yansimalar in the West is a Turkish group that compose and play contemporary ethnic music, classified as world music in the Western world. It is sometimes listed as Grup Yansimalar (formal Turkish prefix for bands). It was founded in 1990 by Birol Yayla (guitarist, tanbur lutist) and Aziz Senol Filiz (ney flutist). Their 2004 album Pervane ("Moth") was a noted world music album in Europe. - from Wikipedia

"In these songs, you can at any moment come face to face with these meetings that will create that jolt inside you. The tone of a ney, a tanbur, an oud, a kanun, a cello or a percussion instrument, can take you to some very old place of Yours. A journey awaits you. Ehit whom, and how, you will set out on this journey, is up to you. I chose to take my memories and my hopes along with me..." - by Mario Levi (introduction to Pervane)

Artist: Yansimalar
Album: Pervane [Moth]
Year: 2004
Label: Kalan
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Runtime: 57:38

1.  Beyhude 5:11
2.  Pervane 7:35
3.  Veda 3:48
4.  Atesdide 6:18
5.  Uzakta 3:44
6.  Onsekiz 2:42
7.  Divan 6:42
8.  Mehmene 5:52
9.  Atesbaz 6:16
10.  Senden Kalan 3:33
11.  Asude 3:30
12.  Gündöndü 2:20
All compositions - by Birol Yayla

Aziz Senol Filiz (Ney)
Birol Yayla (Guitar and Tanbur)
Nezih Yesilnil (Double Bass)
Engin Gurkey (Percussion)
Erkan Ogur (Fretless Guitar and Lute) - 1,2
Mehmet Kemiksiz (Vocals) - 2
Fahrettin Yarkin (Percussion) - 2,7
Ferruh Yarkin (Percussion) - 2,7
Umit Kuzer (Sound Pad) - 2,7
Pinar Duruk (Cello) - 3,5,6,10
Samim Karaca (Oud) - 4,9,12
Taner Sayacioglu (Kanun - Turkish Zither) - 11,12

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Herbie Mann - Yardbird Suite

Recorded in the great year of music and especially jazz -- 1957 -- Herbie Mann at the time was gaining momentum as a premier flute player, but was a very competent tenor saxophonist. Teamed here with the great alto saxophonist Phil Woods and criminally underrated vibraphonist Eddie Costa, Mann has found partners whose immense abilities and urbane mannerisms heighten his flights of fancy by leaps and bounds. Add to the mix the quite literate and intuitive guitarist Joe Puma, and you have the makings of an emotive, thoroughly professional ensemble. The legendary bass player Wilbur Ware, who in 1957 was shaking things up with the piano-less trio of Sonny Rollins and the group of Thelonious Monk, further enhances this grouping of virtuosos on the first two selections. Ware spins thick, sinuous cables of galvanized steel during the Mann penned swinger "Green Stamp Monsta!" with the front liners trading alert phrases, and into his down-home Chicago persona, strokes sly, sneaky blues outlines surrounding Mann's tenor and the alto of Woods in a lengthy jam "World Wide Boots." Bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Bobby Donaldson step in for the other six selections, with three originals by Puma set aside from the rest. "One for Tubby" (for Brit Tubby Hayes) has Mann's flute in a gentle tone as Woods and Costa chirp away while keeping the melody going. The midtempo bopper "Who Knew?" (P.S.; the phrase was coined long ago before its contemporary hipness) is shaded by Costa and deepened by the colorful saxes, and the excellent "Opicana," is a complex and dicey chart, showing the most inventive side of this group and Puma's fertile imagination. You also get the quintessential bop vehicle "Yardbird Suite" with the classic flute and vibes lead spurred on by the alto talkback of Woods. An early version of the enduring, neat and clean bop original "Squire's Parlor" from the book of Woods in inserted. Costa's "Here's That Mann," brims with swing and soul from the perfectly paired, harmonically balanced saxes, demonstrably delightful as the horns, especially the celebrated altoist, step up and out. This is not a complete reissue from the original Savoy LPs The Jazz We Heard Last Summer and Yardbird Suite. One wonders why more tracks could not be included as the CD clocks in at 50 1/2 minutes. As is, this is a solid document of all of the participants' burgeoning skills, and increasing cache as modern jazz masters. - by Michael G. Nastos, AMG

Artist: Herbie Mann
Album: Yardbird Suite
Year: 1957 (Savoy)
Label: Denon (Monaural, Digital Remastering, 1992)
Total time: 34:16

1.  Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker) 5:57
2.  Here's That Mann (Eddie Costa) 4:27
3.  One For Tubby (Joe Puma) 6:10
4.  Squire's Parlor (Phil Woods) 4:54
5.  Who Knew (Joe Puma) 7:17
6.  Opicana (Joe Puma) 5:27

Herbie Mann (Flute and Tenor Saxophone)
Phil Woods (Alto Saxophone)
Eddie Costa (Piano and Vibes)
Joe Puma (Guitar)
Wendell Marshall (Double Bass)
Bobby Donaldson (Drums)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dexter Gordon - At Montreux With Junior Mance

Dexter Gordon's set at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival is typically exciting with long tenor solos, fine backup (from pianist Junior Mance, bassist Martin Rivera and drummer Oliver Jackson) and a well-rounded repertoire: Gordon's "Fried Bananas," "Sophisticated Lady," Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning," an explorative "Body and Soul," "Blue Monk" and "The Panther." This excellent CD serves as a fine all-around introduction to the music of the great tenor-saxophonist. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

I can attest that there was nothing like hearing Dexter live. Even in the context of three other boss tenors--Stitt, Ammons, Moody--he could steal the show. For all of the technical wizardry of the other players, or the big tones, Dexter was the most effective "storyteller," creating non-episodic solos that kept mounting in intensity, thanks in great part to his keen harmonic sense, allowing him to go for the note that was most revelatory, based on a chord substitution or upper extension of the chord that was in place. Nevertheless, there are times when the studio sessions are preferable to the excitement of the live events, inviting repeated playings. During the same year as "At Montreux," Dexter recorded "The Panther" with Tommy Flanagan on piano. In addition to "The Christmas Song," that studio session offers, in my opinion, the best Gordon version of "Body and Soul" (I've listened to six others). Dexter had just come upon the chord substitutions and subtle moving harmonies and accompaniment patterns that would become his hallmarks on all subsequent versions of the tune. "At Montreux" is less subtle, and "The Homecoming" and "Manhattan Symphonie" increasingly less so, as the subtlety, the nuanced and the novel became more formulaic while the playing took on some gratuitous lightning and thunder. Nevertheless, this is still extraordinary playing by arguably the most extraordinary improviser in jazz following Coltrane's death in 1967. And Mance, who was frequently employed in far more prosaic musical contexts, is for once called upon to support a bona fide giant. He delivers. - by Samuel Chell,

Artist: Dexter Gordon
Album: At Montreux With Junior Mance
Year: 1970 (Prestige)
Label: OJC (1987)
Runtime: 55:32

1.  Fried Bananas (Dexter Gordon) 8:13
2.  Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Mitchell Parish) 7:56
3.  Rhythm-A-Ning (Thelonious Monk) 8:44
4.  Body and Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 10:16
5.  Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk) 10:54
6.  The Panther (Dexter Gordon) 9:27

Dexter Gordon (Tenor Saxophone)
Junior Mance (Piano)
Martin Rivera (Double Bass)
Oliver Jackson (Drums)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Duke Pearson - The Right Touch

Duke Pearson rises to the challenge of writing for an all-star octet (with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Garnett Brown, altoist James Spaulding, Jerry Dodgion on alto and flute, Stanley Turrentine on tenor, bassist Gene Taylor, drummer Grady Tate, and the leader/pianist), contributing colorful frameworks and consistently challenging compositions. The set is full of diverse melodies (the CD reissue has a previously unissued take of "Los Malos Hombres") played by a variety of distinctive soloists; many of these songs deserve to be revived. This is one of the finest recordings of Duke Pearson's career. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Duke Pearson
Album: The Right Touch
Year: 1967
Label: Blue Note (1994)
Total time: 43:00

1.  Chili Peppers 6:56
2.  Make It Good 6:43
3.  My Love Waits (O Meu Amor Espera) 5:57
4.  Los Malos Hombres 6:36
5.  Scrap Iron 5:24
6.  Rotary 6:19
7.  Lol Malos Hombres (Alternate Take) 5:01
All compositions by Duke Pearson

Duke Pearson (Piano)
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet)
Garnett Brown (Trombone)
James Spaulding (Alto Saxophone)
Jerry Dodgion (Alto Saxophone and Flute)
Stanley Turrentine (Tenor Saxophone)
Gene Taylor (Double Bass)
Grady Tate (Drums)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keith Jarrett Trio - Always Let Me Go

Recorded live in Tokyo in April 2001, Always Let Me Go is Keith Jarrett's 149th concert in Japan. Joined by his long-standing partners Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, these performances are playful, explosive, somber, and completely improvised. After 20 years of working together, they trust each other (and the audience) enough to deliver over two hours of unscripted music. DeJohnette prowls through his drums like a restless cougar: he chatters, scuffles, and pounces on the skins with agility. Likewise, Peacock spoons out a concrete foundation of bass; one that bubbles as it spreads through the cracks in Jarrett's 88 keys (which serve the pianist so very well). For listeners familiar with the trio's Inside Out CD, here is the same idea further elaborated on. "Hearts in Space" spirals out of the starting gate with geometrical tremors, as three virtuosos all start their respective engines and read each other's pulses over the course of 32 minutes. The trio effortlessly glide from mood to mood in synchronization to deliver a ballad in the eye of a hurricane, then dismount into straight-ahead swing. "The River" is a stoic hymn, a richness of melancholy in deep scarlet blue. It is Jarrett's only solo here, as brief as it is rewarding. "Paradox" rides the crest of bebop in a simmering stew to close out the first disc with a punch that stops on a dime. There are enough recurring themes here to call it a standard of sorts, and the musicians quickly assume the proper formation as they've done thousands of times before. Disc two opens with "Waves," another half-hour marathon of moods that evolves seamlessly between chromatic stillness, manic fluttering, and gunpowder bop. DeJohnette clearly sets the tone for "Facing East" -- a syncopated clockwork of beat, as Jarrett pinwheels in like-minded percussives with Peacock flipping through volumes of frets. Next comes the aptly titled "Tsunami," which swells and bursts with power before finally subsiding to fractured stillness. It is the fire in the musicians' bellies -- perhaps the darkest and most ferocious passage of the album. As is often the case, Jarrett's distant vocals pinch the air from time to time. Although purists may wince at this additional layer of seasoning, there's no denying his expression comes out of the deepest level of commitment. It is this same commitment that fuels so much of the album. With the knowledge that Always Let Me Go is live and improvised, it adds a rewarding layer of understanding and appreciation, as few musicians can deliver such diamonds with so little structure in place. Song for song, the symbiosis is a marvel to behold -- and the audience knows it. These are gods at play, and the lightning bolts they toss around are awe-inspiring. - by Glenn Swan, AMG

Artist: Keith Jarret Trio
Album: Always Let Me Go
Year: 2001 (Recorded live in Japan)
Label: ECM (2002)
Runtime: 137:21

Tracks on CD1:
1.  Hearts In Space (Keith Jarrett) 32:12
2.  The River (Keith Jarrett) 3:34
3.  Tributaries (Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette) 16:18
4.  Paradox (Keith Jarrett) 9:01

Tracks on CD2:
1.  Waves (Keith Jarrett) 34:25
2.  Facing East (Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette) 14:00
3.  Tsunami (Keith Jarrett) 14:51
4.  Relay (Keith Jarrett) 13:00

Keith Jarrett (Piano)
Gary Peacock (Double Bass)
Jack DeJohnette (Drums)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lou Donaldson - The Natural Soul

The Natural Soul finds Lou Donaldson delving deeply into soul-jazz, recording a set of funky, greasy instrumentals with only a few references to hard bop. Donaldson occasionally sounds a little awkward with the relaxed groove of The Natural Soul, as does trumpeter Tommy Turrentine, but the trio of guitarist Grant Green, organist John Patton, and drummer Ben Dixon keep things cooking. Green and Patton's solos often burn and are always invigorating, and Lou  frequently matches their heights. The original compositions -- which form the bulk of the album -- aren't much more than blues and soul vamps, but they provide an excellent foundation for the combo to work hot grooves. And, in the end, that's what The Natural Soul is about -- groove. It maintains the high standards Donaldson established with his first soul-jazz foray, Here 'Tis, and remains one of his best records in that genre. - by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG

Throughout the ‘60s, Blue Note pretty much held a monopoly on both of hard bop's children: modal jazz (of the Jackie McLean variety) and soul jazz (John Patton, Lou Donaldson  and company). Of course, the soul jazz community does not limit itself to the simple pleasures of R&B party records, the reason why clean vinyl copies of Harold Vick and Fred Jackson records aren't a dime a dozen. There is a difference between, say, the approaches of Patton and Don Wilkerson on one hand, and Jimmy Smith and Lou Donaldson on the other. The former offer a straighter, greasier format and the latter a funkiness still firmly rooted in Bud Powell and Charlie Parker. At Rudy Van Gelder's studio in 1962, the two strains of soul jazz met and The Natural Soul is the result. On this session, the second date Lou Donaldson made with an organ combo, he is joined by the cream of the crop: Patton, guitarist Grant Green, drummer Ben Dixon, and hard bop trumpeter Tommy Turrentine (yes, that Turrentine). Green, Patton, and Dixon were, like the Jimmy Smith Trio, one of the most prevalent organ trios of the period, offering a simpler, grittier R&B over Smith's far-flung virtuosity. This is not a pejorative account of the group's ability; Green is the Mal Waldron of guitar, emphatically repeating phrases with an almost minimalist intensity, and Patton's soloing is certainly not fettered by his idiom. Donaldson comes out of the post-Bird bag, with a strong affinity for the biting tone of a young Jackie McLean and a humorous lyricism that has echoes of Sonny Rollins. Turrentine might be the least familiar player here, a brassy post-Brownie player who worked regularly with his brother in the early '60s, as well as with pianist Horace Parlan and, oddly, Archie Shepp. In addition to three standards, the group hits a comfortingly steaming version of Patton's hit "Funky Mama," two Donaldson originals, and the obscure Latin jazz pianist Johnny Acea's "Nice and Greasy." Though the band's funkier tunes are, obviously, what most people come for, one is left with a clearer grasp of the jazz chops of all involved: a brief but weird and engaging statement by Patton on "Love Walked In," for example. The more time the group has to stretch out, the more interesting the solos become - "Funky Mama" and "Sow Belly Blues" each clock in at around ten minutes and, not coincidentally, Patton and Green rip, especially on the latter. If you're looking for two sides of yeh-yeh, The Natural Soul isn't quite it. But if you're looking for a rollicking jazz record with serious blowing that can double as music for the next cocktail-party bacchanal, then it certainly fits the bill. For prospective listeners less familiar with organ combos and more so with bop, this set offers a happy medium between the two - equal parts Ray Charles and Charlie Chan. - by Clifford Allen,

Artist: Lou Donaldson
Album: The Natural Soul
Year: 1962
Label: Blue Note (24-bit resolution, RVG edition, 2003)
Runtime: 49:07

1.  Funky Mama (John Patton) 9:08
2.  Love Walked In (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 5:12
3.  Spaceman Twist (Lou Donaldson) 5:38
4.  Sow Belly Blues (Lou Donaldson) 10:13
5.  That's All (Alan Brandt/Bob Haymes)  5:36
6.  Nice 'N' Greasy (Johnny Acea) 5:27
7.  People Will Say We're In Love (Oscar Hammerstein II/Richard Rodgers) 7:53

Lou Donaldson (Alto Saxophone)
Tommy Turrentine (Trumpet)
Grant Green (Guitar)
John Patton (Organ)
Ben Dixon (Drums)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tony Bennett - MTV Unplugged

Of course, Tony Bennett never was "plugged in," so the concept here is redundant, but what the hell. It's been a while since a Tony Bennett live album, and he's always terrific in concert. Certainly, he is here, singing 20 standards, including many of his hits and many other songs he's made his own. Elvis Costello and k.d. lang drop by, but they're feeding off Bennett's energy and star power, not the other way around. The album may be part of a successful marketing plan, but forget that and revel in the singing of a masterful song interpreter still, after 40 years, at the top of his game. - by William Ruhlmann, AMG

Artist: Tony Bennett
Album: MTV Unplugged
Year: 1994
Label: Columbia (2003)
Total time: 63:01

1.  Old Devil Moon (E.Y. "Yip" Harburg/Burton Lane) 2:28
2.  Speak Low (Ogden Nash/Kurt Weill) 3:09
3.  It Had Be You (Gus Kahn/Isham Jones) 3:14
4.  I Love a Piano (Irving Berlin) 1:56
5.  It Amazes Me (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh) 2:56
6.  The Girl I Love (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 4:10
7.  Fly Me To The Moon (Bart Howard) 2:58
8.  You're All The World To Me (Burton Lane/Alan Jay Lerner) 2:16
9.  Rags To Riches (Richard Adler/Jerry Ross) 1:26
10.  When Joanna Loved Me (Jack Segal/Robert Wells) 3:12
11.  The Good Life/I Wanna Be Around (Sacha Distel/Johnny Mercer/Jack Reardon/Sadie Vimmerstadt) 3:20
12.  I Left My Heart In San Francisco (George Cory/Douglass Cross) 2:28
13.  Steppin' Out With My Baby (Irving Berlin) 3:18
14.  Moonglow (Eddie DeLange/Will Hudson/Irving Mills) 4:27
15.  They Can't Take That Away From Me (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 3:33
16.  A Foggy Day (George Gershwin/Ira Gerswin) 2:14
17.  All Of You (Cole Porter) 2:35
18.  Body And Soul (Edward Heyman/Robert Sour/Frank Eyton/Johnny Green) 3:56
19.  I Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills) 3:36
20.  Autumn Leaves /Indian Summer (Al Dubin/Victor Herbert/Joseph Kosma/Johnny Mercer/Jacques Prévert) 5:40

Tony Bennett (Vocals)
Ralph Sharon (Piano)
Doug Richeson (Double Bass)
Clayton Cameron (Drums)
K.D.Lang (Vocals) - 14
Elvis Costello (Vocals) - 15

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Herbie Mann & Bobby Jaspar - Flute Soufflé

At the time of this Prestige set (reissued on CD), Herbie Mann was a flutist who occasionally played tenor and Bobby Jaspar  a tenor-saxophonist who doubled on flute. Two of the four songs find them switching back and forth while the other two are strictly flute features. With pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Joe Puma, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Bobby Donaldson  contributing quiet support, the two lead voices constantly interact and trade off during this enjoyable performance. Highpoints are the haunting "Tel Aviv" and a delightful version of "Chasing the Bird."  - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Herbie Mann & Bobby Jaspar
Album: Flute Soufflé
Year: 1957
Label: OJC (1992, Dig. Remastered)
Runtime: 36:21

1.  Tel Aviv (Herbie Mann) 14:42
2.  Somewhere Else (Joe Puma) 5:58
3.  Let's March (Herbie Mann) 7:26
4.  Chasing The Bird (Charlie Parker) 8:13

Herbie Mann (Flute and Tenor Saxophone)
Bobby Jaspar (Flute and Tenor Saxophone)
Tommy Flanagan (Piano)
Joe Puma (Guitar)
Wendell Marshall (Double Bass)
Bobby Donaldson (Drums)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Matija Dedic - Visiting Bruxeless

This CD will introduce you to an extraordinary Croatian-Belgium-Czech collaboration with one of Croatia's young lions, the pianist and gifted composer Matija Dedic: together with great Jean-Louis Rassinfosse on bass from Belgium and the gifted Marek Patrman on the drums from Czech Republic you are going to listen to a perfect sythesis of a wonderful balanced jazz trio. Dedic-Rassinfosse-Patrman introduse you to a music that is not about musical club wear, but magical sensitivity and well balanced sounding and easily swingin' story telling on the highest level. I think to hear the influence of the trios of likes as Brad Mehldau, Jacky Terrasson, Esbjörn Svenson to name the young generation, but I think to hear also greats like Bill Mays or Dave Grusin. Perfect and colourful artuculation and colourful harmonic voicings, stirring melodies a perfect balance of composition and improvisation, of melodic and harmonic progressions always keeping the formal architecture. The music is about stories that are told tastefully and never treated under attacks of narcistic virtuosity. Each tune has a strongly narrative structure keeping the melodic and harmonic progression never loosing the balance of musical form When you listen to this recording you realize the musical depth and the creative approach which Dedic and his trio express in each composition and the band's improvisations. - by Peter Polansky (original lines notes)

Artist: Matija Dedic
Album: Visiting Bruxeless
Year: 2006
Label: Dallas
Runtime: 64:56

1.  Solar (Miles Davis) 5:21
2.  On Green Dolphin Street (Ned Washington/Bronislaw Kaper) 6:25
3.  San Matina (Matija Dedic) 4:34
4.  Moment (Matija Dedic) 9:06
5.  Family (Matija Dedic) 6:10
6.  December (Matija Dedic) 12:14
7.  Razgovos s Konobarom (Matija Dedic) 5:23
8.  Dora (Matija Dedic) 7:28
9.  Last Exit (Matija Dedic) 8:15

Matija Dedic (Piano)
Jean-Louis Rassinfosse (Double Bass) - 1-3,5-7,9
Marek Patrman (Drums) - 1-3,5-7,9

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Herbaliser Band - Session One

The Herbaliser Band are a group of nine young players that joined forces with UK hip hop producers Jake Wherry and DJ Ollie Teeba. Back in 1995 at the time of the first Herbaliser LP "Remedies", Olliehad been touring as a DJ to help promote the album. Jake was quick to point that DJing was not the only (or most effective) way to maximise the potential of the record. Enter the band...hornists Lamb and Ross aka. the "The Easy Acces Orchestra" and fellow sessionisras Chris Bowden and Matt Coleman formed the brass frontline, with Kaidi 'Shocka' Tatham on classic keys. Moody and Dawes joined Wherry's brass to provide the rock solid rhythm section underpinning Teeba's scratches. And so The Herbaliser Band was born! - from the cover

Originally released in 2000 on two 10” slabs of vinyl, Session 1 is a take-home version of the Herbaliser’s live show, which means “funky” and “exciting” to anyone who has seen the usually electronic duo jam on-stage with this organic band. Jazzy, lively, and filled with breakbeats hip-hop DJs should lift, the set features songs from the duo’s first three, production-brimming studio albums, reimagined here with horns, live percussion, and very few vocals, minus a couple samples. The results are trippy songs turned soulful and free with musicians improvising at times and turning headphone numbers into jazzy party starters. You don’t have to be aware of the originals to dig this hip-shaking session, but regular Herbaliser fans will get the most out of this as they marvel at how cleverly the songs have been orchestrated. - by David Jeffries, AMG

Artis: The Herbaliser Band
Album: Session One
Year: 2000
Label: Department H.
Runtime: 42:24

1.  Who's The Realest? (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Andy Ross/Ralph Lamb) 5:25
2.  Ginger Jumps The Fence (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Trout) 5:11
3.  Shocker Zulu (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Kaidi Tatham) 4:23
4.  Shattered Soul (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Trout) 5:41
5.  The Sensual Woman (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Andy Ross) 5:13
6.  The Missing Suitcase (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Ralph Lamb) 5:08
7.  Goldrush (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Trout) 5:41
8.  Forty Winks (Jake Wherry/Ollie Teeba/Trout) 5:38

Jake Wherry (Bass Guitar)
Mickey Moody (Drums)
Chris Bowden (Alto Saxophone)
Matt Coleman (Trombone)
DJ Ollie Teeba (Turntables)
Patrick Dawes (Percussion)
Andy Ross (Flute, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone, Piccolo)
Kaidi Tatham (Keyboards)
Ralph Lamb (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Keyboards)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gandalf - Journey to an Imaginary Land

Hein Strobl  is an Austrian new age multi-instrumentalist (proficient at piano, percussion, guitar, and synthesizer), and has issued countless albums on a steady basis since 1980 under the alias of Gandalf. - AMG

Some classify Gandalf's work as progressive rock; well, there are bass, guitars and drums, but by the way the keyboards are played, I think one should rather put it in the progressive New Age genre. The main attraction is the omnipresent loaded & floating keyboards, about like on "Dogs" around the 9th-10th minute (Pink Floyd's Animals), or on the Jean Michel Jarre's early albums. Gandalf also plays an electric guitar sounding like on the Tangerine dream's "Thief" album. There are some good bass, drums, and the omnipresent acoustic guitar is rather rhythmic. He plays some moog solos in an exotic way, a bit like Kitaro. The ensemble is rather dreamy. It also may remind you the Neuschwanstein's album. - by Greenback,

Artist: Gandalf
Album: Journey to an Imaginary Land
Year: 1980
Label: WEA Music
Runtime: 45:34

1.  Departure 4:57
2.  Foreign Landscape 9:27
3.  The Peaceful Village 7:42
4.  March Across The Endless Plain 10:43
5.  The Fruitful Gardens 6:11
6.  Sunset At The Crystal Lane 6:31
All compositions by Gandalf

Gandalf (All Instruments)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

MOKAVE - Volume 2

These three masters of world music and jazz have won world wide acclaim for their seductive musical tapestries of dynamics and textures. Glen Moore is the bassist for the renowned group Oregon, Glen Velez is a frame drum master with a series of well-received albums for the CMP label and pianist Larry Karush has established his reputation with a fine series of solo albums and a duet with bassist Moore for ECM. Mokave is earthly, funky, cerebral and a lot of fun! - from Valley

Artist: MOKAVE
Album: Volume 2
Year: 1992
Label: Audioquest
Runtime: 46:30

1.  Pepe' Linque (Glen Moore) 4:27
2.  I Remember Me (Jan Hammer) 6:10
3.  Lake Baikal (Glen Velez) 4:14
4.  Ba Da Da Da Dat (Larry Karush) 3:01
5.  Fall '92 (Glen Moore) 6:48
6.  Mokave (Glen Moore/Larry Karush/Glen Velez) 6:55
7.  On Down the Road (Larry Karush) 6:55
8.  Affirmation (Larry Karush) 4:48
9.  I Wwould Do Anything for You (Glen Moore/Larry Karush/Glen Velez) 3:07

Glen Moore (Double Bass)
Larry Karush (Piano)
Glen Velez (Frame Drums and Percussion)
Junior Homrich (Percussion) - 7
Manny Ramos (Congas) - 7

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sarah Vaughan - In the Land of Hi-Fi

This single CD (whose contents are also included in the box set The Complete Sarah Vaughan on Mercury Vol. 1) has one of the great singer's best jazz dates for EmArcy. Accompanied by an all-star orchestra arranged by Ernie Wilkins and featuring altoist Cannonball Adderley (who was near the beginning of his career), Vaughan is in superior form during these concise (around three minutes apiece) performances, particularly on "Soon," "Cherokee," "I'll Never Smile Again" and "An Occasional Man." A strong session. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Sarah Vaughan and The Ernie Wilkins Orchestra
Album: In the Land of Hi-Fi
Year: 1956
Label: EmArcy (1991)
Runtime: 33:30

1.  Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg) 3:30
2.  Soon (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 2:37
3.  Cherokee (Ray Noble) 2:32
4.  I'll Never Smile Again (Ruth Lowe) 2:35
5.  Don't Be on the Outside (Sydney Wyche/Mayme Watts/George Kelly) 3:01
6.  How High the Moon (Nancy Hamilton/Morgan Lewis) 2:36
7.  It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream (Don George/Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges) 3:20
8.  Sometimes I'm Happy (Irving Caesar/Clifford Grey/Vincent Youmans) 2:57
9.  Maybe (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 2:34
10.  Occasional Man (Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane) 2:33
11.  Why Can't I? (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 2:54
12.  Oh My (Joe Greene) 2:21

Sarah Vaughan (Vocals)
Ernie Royal (Trumpet)
Jimmy Jones (Piano)
Cannonball Adderley (Alto Saxophone)
Joe Benjamin (Double Bass)
Turk Van Lake (Guitar)
Roy Haynes (Drums)
Bernie Glow (Trumpet)
J.J. Johnson (Trombone)
Kai Winding (Trombone)
Sam Marowitz (Alto Saxophone)
Jerome Richardson (Flute, Tenor Saxophone)
Ernie Wilkins (Arranger and Conductor)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Benny Carter - Montreux 77

Benny Carter is one of the greatest talents of the jazz world, yet he has never become a household name. His genius, however, as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger has always been apparent to his fellow musicians, and he remained active and in demand into his nineties. Carter began his career in the mid 1920's, and worked with such early Swing bands as McKinney's Cotton Pickers and the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, before leading his own successful swing orchestra. He then went to Europe for five years, working and recording with gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and fellow expatriate Coleman Hawkins. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1939, he successfully reconstituted his orchestra and guested with such stars as Lionel Hampton and Count Basie. After an extended period composing scores for movies and television, Carter returned to the jazz world on a full-time basis in the mid-1970's, producing some of the greatest music of his career over the next two decades, often working with musicians young enough to be his grandchildren or great-grandchildren. The alto sax was his primary instrument, and he was one of the finest practitioners of the swing-based, pre-bebop style that was popular in the 1930's and 1940's. When bebop arrived, Carter was more than capable of grasping some of its intricacies and nuances and incorporated them into his playing, without abandoning his earlier style. For this reason, his playing remained vital and exciting, even as his contemporaries fell from fashion. Carter was also an accomplished trumpeter. His greatest achievements, though, were as a composer and arranger. Only Duke Ellington surpasses Carter as a writer of innovative and sophisticated jazz compositions. His work as an arranger was similarly unique, whether for his own bands or with other artists. "Montreux '77" is one of the great unknown classics of jazz recordings. Recorded at the renowned jazz festival only a few years into his "comeback," this is an often astonishing performance with a sympathetic backing trio. Its hard to believe that Carter was already 70 when this was recorded, because he plays with the fire and intensity of a man half that age. He plays a little trumpet here as well, and if he sounds a bit weaker here, he still plays with great intelligence and beauty. The program are all familiar jazz standards that have seldom been performed better. I feel like an ingrate to state this, but would have been nice to hear a Carter original or two. The recording quality is terrific, as were all of the titles in the series of "Montreux '77" recordings that were released by Pablo Records. This is a wonderful recording, highly recommended to both serious and casual jazz fans alike. Benny Carter, who will turn 94 in 2001, is a treasure, and this is one of the best recordings in his long and accomplished career. - by Ron Frankl,

For this concert at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival, Benny Carter was in his musical prime, a condition he has thus far stayed at for over 65 years. Joined by the Ray Bryant Trio, the altoist romps through seven standards and plays some tasteful trumpet on "Body and Soul," proving once again that he is really is ageless; Carter was nearly 70 years old at the time. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Benny Carter
Album: Montreux 77
Year: 1977
Label: OJC (24 Bit remastered, 1995)
Runtime: 45:58

1.  Three Little Words (Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby) 5:45
2.  In A Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington/Milt Gabler) 8:34
3.  Wave (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 6:20
4.  Undecided (Sydney Robin/Charlie Shavers) 5:42
5.  Body And Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 7:03
6.  On Green Dolphin Street (Bronislaw Kaper/Ned Washington) 6:28
7.  Here's That Rainy Day (Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen) 6:02

Benny Carter (Alto Saxophone and Trumpet)
Ray Bryant (Piano)
Niels Henning Oersted-Pedersen (Double Bass)
Jimmie Smith (Drums)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dave Brubeck - Jazz Impressions of Japan

Thirteen years into their tenure, the Dave Brubeck Quartet was still able to mine the creative vein for new means of expression. Despite the hits and popularity on college campuses, or perhaps because of it, Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello composed a restless band with a distinctive sound. These eight tracks, all based on a tour of Japan the year before, were, in a sense, Brubeck fulfilling a dictum from his teacher, the French composer Darius Milhaud, who exhorted him to "travel the world and keep your ears open." The sketches Brubeck and Desmond created all invoke the East, particularly the folk melodies of Japan directly, while still managing to use the Debussian impressionistic approach to jazz that kept them riding the charts and creating a body of music that, while playing into the exotica craze of the moment, was still jazz composed and played with integrity. The gorgeous modal blues that uses Eastern scale whole tones with Western harmonic notions -- chromatically -- that comprise the melody and solo frameworks for Desmond in "Fujiyama" are a beautiful contrast to the relatively straight-ahead ballad style featured on "Zen Is When," with its 4/4 time sling rhythm and simple melody -- extrapolated by Brubeck in purely Japanese whole tone scale on the harmony. Also, the shimmer and whisper of "The City Is Crying," where Desmond's solo is one of the most beautiful of his career, using arpeggios as half tones to reach down into the middle of his horn's register and play harmonically a counterpoint that is as painterly as it is poignant. On "Osaka Blues," Brubeck once again reaches for an oriental scale to play a modal blues a` la Miles Davis with Wynton Kelly; Desmond responds by playing straight post-bop Bluesology with even a squeak or two in his solo. In all, Jazz Impressions of Japan is one of the great forgotten Brubeck records. Its sweetness is tempered with musical adventure and the improvisational experience only a band that had been together 13 years could provide. It's truly wonderful. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Dave Brubeck Quartet
Album: Jazz Impressions of Japan
Year: 1964
Label: Columbia (24 Bit Digitally Remastered, 2001)
Runtime: 35:03

1.  Tokyo Traffic (Dave Brubeck) 5:54
2.  Rising Sun (Dave Brubeck) 4:42
3.  Toki's Theme (Dave Brubeck) 2:10
4.  Fujiyama (Dave Brubeck) 5:06
5.  Zen Is When (Bud Freeman/Leon Pober) 2:55
6.  The City Is Crying (Dave Brubeck) 6:03
7.  Osaka Blues (Dave Brubeck) 5:12
8.  Koto Song (Dave Brubeck) 3:01

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

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Courtney Pine - To the Eyes of Creation

It certainly seems as if all of Courtney Pine's previous albums were leading up to this one, (check out his liner note, which leaves no doubt). Here, he comes up with a grandly eclectic excursion into just about everything that has interested him in the past. Sometimes the metamorphoses take place within an individual track; for example, there is a "Country Dance" that sails forth in a folk-like manner until pianist Julian Joseph sends it into straight-ahead post-bop and Pine (on tenor sax) whizzes it like a madman onto Coltrane's turf. There are whiffs of Latinized jazz, jazz-lite to a rock rhythm, an African vocal interlude, pure Jamaican ska grooving on "Eastern Standard Time," a venture into India ("The Meditation of Contemplation" -- ooh, what a giveaway title), conventional R&B balladeering by singers Juliet Roberts and Linda Muriel, a drum solo piece for Mark Mondesir, more Coltrane tributes, even a respectful, straightforward rendition of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." The changes of pace, sound and style are dizzying, and they don't come together as a whole; the disc sounds more like an anthology than a single project. Pine displays a lot of talent and a lot of curiosity but not a whole lot of organizing sense or memorable insight here. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Courtney Pine
Album: To the Eyes of Creation
Year: 1992
Label: Island
Runtime: 56:46

1.  The Healing Song (Courtney Pine) 4:58
2.  Zaire (Traditional/arr. Courtney Pine) 0:43
3.  Country Dance (Barbara Thompson) 8:06
4.  Psalm (Traditional/arr. Courtney Pine) 4:08
5.  Eastern Standard Time (Don Drummond) 4:43
6.  X-caliber (Courtney Pine) 1:45
7.  The Mediation of Contemplation (Courtney Pine) 3:48
8.  Life Goes Around (Courtney Pine/Juliet Roberts) 4:18
9.  The Ark of Mark (Mark Mondesir) 1:34
10.  Chirldren Hold On (Courtney Pine/Linda Muriel) 4:26
11.  Cleopatra 's Needle (Courtney Pine) 6:59
12.  Redemption Song (Bob Marley) 3:44
13.  The Holy Grail (Courtney Pine) 7:28

Courtney Pine (Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Keyboards, Tamboura, Alto Flute and Bells) - 1-8,10-13
Tony Remi (Acoustic Guitar) - 1-3,11
Julian Joseph (Hammond B3 Organ, Piano) - 1-3,11
Wayne Batchelor (Double Bass) - 1-4,11
Thomas Dyani (Percussion) - 1-3,8,11
Mark Mondesir (Drums) - 1-3,6,9,11
Gary Crosby (Double Bass) - 5,12,13
Cameron Pierre (Guitar) - 4,5,12
Frank Tontoh (Drums and Tamborine) - 4,10
Cleveland Watkiss (Backing Vocals) - 1
Dennis Rollins (Trombone) - 5
Juliet Roberts (Vocals) - 8
Peter Lewinson (Drums) - 8
Linda Muriel (Vocals) - 10
Brian Abrahams (Drums) - 13
Keith Waite (Wooden Flute and Shakeres) - 13
Bheki Mseleku (Piano) - 13
Mamadi Kamara (Percussion) - 13

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oscar Peterson - Oscar Peterson and the Bassist

This is an interesting CD, one of many taken from the concerts sponsored by Pablo Records at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival. Pianist Oscar Peterson is teamed in an unusual trio with both Ray Brown and Niels Pedersen  on basses. Sticking to standards and two blues on the boppish set, Peterson allows both of his sidemen plenty of solo space, permitting listeners to compare the large tone of Brown with the speedy fingers of Pedersen. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Oscar Peterson is one of the few monster speed players who can stay musical. This CD is an absolute essential for bassists esspecially. Neils Henning Orsted-Pederson is one of the first real upright burners, his lines are so fast an clean. This juxaposed to the late great Ray Browns beautifull melodies and tasty chops is a course in Everything you need to know to play upright. Rays impecible time keeps this cd moving along, leaving no desire for a drummer. Although all of them overplay and show off past the point of musicality, with three of the most advanced and inovative musicians in thier fields, this cd is a must have. - by Adam Frederick,

Artist: Oscar Peterson & The Bassist
Album: Montreux '77
Year: 1977 (Pablo)
Label: OJC (1989)
Runtime: 47:20

1.  There Is No Greater Love (Isham Jones/Marty Symes) 6:18
2.  You Look Good to Me (Seymour Lefco/Clement Wells) 7:02
3.  People (Bob Merrill/Jule Styne) 6:31
4.  Reunion Blues (Milt Jackson) 6:46
5.  Teach Me Tonight (Sammy Cahn/Gene DePaul) 9:05
6.  Sweet Georgia Brown (Ben Bernie/Kenneth Casey/Maceo Pinkard) 5:10
7.  Soft Winds (Benny Goodman) 6:26

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Niels Henning Oersted-Pedersen (Double Bass)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Martin Taylor - Nitelife

Martin Taylor has done his share of label-hopping; after recording for labels that range from Linn to Milestone/Fantasy, the guitarist joins the Columbia roster with 2001's Nitelife. Produced by Steve Buckingham and Kirk Whalum, Nitelife  is one of Taylor's more commercial efforts. Jazz is often blended with pop and R&B, and much of the CD is obviously aimed at the NAC/smooth jazz market. But Nitelife isn't without integrity. Although uneven and inconsistent -- there are a few throwaways here and there -- the album has more plusses than minuses. Nitelife's most memorable offerings range from the Celtic-influenced "Across the Pond" (a Taylor original) to sensitive interpretations of Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and Edith Piaf's "Hymne a l'Amour" (a French standard that American jazz artists have tended to overlook). Unfortunately, the producers really louse things up on Dionne Warwick's 1979 hit "Deja Vu" -- Taylor's playing is fine, but Buckingham and Whalum  make the mistake of overdubbing a programmed reggae/hip-hop beat. The end result is a major train wreck; the programmed groove might have worked on something funkier and more aggressive, but Taylor's take on "Deja Vu" is too introspective, too laid-back for that type of thing. His guitar solo is smothered by the production, and the same thing happens on an equally disappointing version of Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's the Way of the World." Instead of giving Taylor's guitar playing room to breath, Buckingham and Whalum insist on producing the tune to death. But on the whole, Nitelife isn't bad. Although far from one of Taylor's essential releases, Nitelife isn't the total disaster it might have been.- by Alex Henderson, AMG

Artist: Martin Taylor
Album: Nitelife
Year: 2001
Label: Sony/Columbia
Runtime: 58:03

1.  Chaff & Grain (Matthew Dennis McGuire) 5:48
2.  Doctor Spin (Martin Taylor/Finian Greenall) 5:29
3.  That's The Way Of The World (Charles Stepney/Maurice White/Verdine White) 5:39
4.  Deja Vu (Isaac Hayes/Adrienne Anderson) 7:17
5.  Hymne a L'Amour (Edith Piaf/Marguerite Monnot) 4:11
6.  Nitelife (Martin Taylor/Kirk Whalum) 5:35
7.  Green Lady (Martin Taylor) 4:16
8.  Beboptimism (Kirk Whalum) 5:51
9.  Across The Pond (Martin Taylor) 8:07
10.  I Get Along Without You Very Well (Hoagy Carmichael) 5:46

Martin Taylor (Guitar)
Kirk Whalum (Programming, Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,6-8
Jim Reid (Soprano Saxophone) - 1,9
Chester Thompson (Drums) - 1,4,9
John Stoddart (Keyboards) - 1,6,8
Steve Buckingham (Wah Wah Guitar) - 1,6
Kristin Wilkinson (Viola) - 1,5,6,8
David Davidson (Violin) - 1,5,6,8
David Angell (Violin) - 1,5-8
Brian D. Siewert (Keyboards) - 4,7,9
David Hungate (Bass) - 4,9
Fink (Programming) - 2
Mike Durham (Electric Guitar) - 4
Monissa Angell (Viola) - 7
Jim Horn (Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone) - 9
Michelle Anne Williams (Vocals) - 9
Viktor Krauss (Upright Bass) - 1


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