Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kip Hanrahan - Coup de Tete

"A record which will begin an epoch ... Remember the name: Kip Hanrahan, filled with talent, ambition, ideas..." - Le Monde, Paris

Fittingly enough, the first sound heard on Kip Hanrahan's premier release is that of the conga and the first word sung is "sex," two leitmotifs that would appear consistently in his ensuing work. Coup de Tete burst on the scene in the early '80s as an entirely fresh, invigorating amalgam of Cuban percussion (much of it Santeria-based), free jazz, funk, and intimate, confrontational lyrics. Hanrahan had worked at New Music Distribution Service, a project run by Carla Bley and Michael Mantler (both of whom appear on this album), and had established contacts with numerous musicians from varied fields who he threw together in a glorious New York City melting pot. With the percussion and electric bass laying down thick and delicious grooves, the cream of the younger avant saxophonists in New York at the time wail over the top, accompanying some of the most brutally uncomfortable lyrics ever put to wax. The relationships Hanrahan details are turbulent to say the least, often intertwined with economic concerns as well as a general sense of the impossibility of understanding one's mate. After asking him for abuse and being refused, his lover (sung wonderfully by Lisa Herman) taunts, "When you could only sulk/I had more contempt for you than I ever thought I could have." Interspersed among the bitter love harangues and ecstatic percussion-driven numbers are two stunningly lovely pieces, Marguerite Duras' "India Song" and Teo Macero's "Heart on My Sleeve," both aching with romanticism. Coup de Tete is a superb record, an impressive debut, and, arguably, one of the finest moments in Hanrahan's career along with the following release, Desire Develops an Edge. Highly recommended. - by Brian Olewnick, AMG

Artist: Kip Hanrahan
Album: Coup de Tete
Year: 1979-81
Label: American Clavé (1981)
Total time: 44:43

1.  Whatever I Want (Kip Hanrahan) 5:44
2.  At The Moment Of The Serve (Kip Hanrahan) 5:24
3.  This Night Comes Out Of Both Of Us (Kip Hanrahan) 5:42
4.  India Song (Marguerite Duras/Carlos d'Alessio) 4:16
5.  A Lover Divides Time (To Hear How It Sounds) (Kip Hanrahan) 3:16
6.  No One Gets To Transcend Anything (No One Except Oil Company Executives) (Kip Hanrahan) 3:43
7.  Shadow To Shadow (Kip Hanrahan) 7:07
8.  Sketch From Two Cubas (Kip Hanrahan) 4:08
9.  Heart On My Sleeve (Teo Macero) 5:19

Kip Hanrahan (Voice and Percussion, Quinto) - 1-3,5-9
Jerry Gonzalez (Congas and Percussion) - 1-3,5-8
Arto Lindsay (Electric Guitar) - 1-3,5-8
Anton Fier (Trap Drums) - 1-3,5-8
Daniel Ponce (Congas and Iya) - 1-3,5,7
Chico Freeman (Tenor Saxophone and Clarinet) - 1,2,4,9
Carlos Ward (Alto Saxophone) - 2,4,7,9
Bill Laswell (Bass Guitar) - 1,3,4,7
Lisa Herman (Voice) - 3,5,7
George Cartwright (Alto Saxophone, Flute and Piccolo) - 1,3,4
Ignacio Berroa (Trap Drums) - 2,5,6
Jamaaladen Tacuma (Electric Bass) - 2,5,6
Nicky Marrero (Bongos and Okonkolo) - 1,3
Byard Lancaster (Tenor Saxophone, Flute) - 1,3
George Naha (Electric Guitar) - 2,3
Orlando Digirolamo (Accordion) - 4,9
Gene Golden (Chekere and Congas) - 6,8 
Carla Bley (Piano and Voice) - 4
Billy Bang (Violin) - 4
John Clark (French Horn) - 4
Angel Perez (Congas) - 6
John Stubblefield (Tenor Saxophone) - 6
Bern Nix (Electric Guitar) - 6
Dom Um Romao (Surdo Grande and Agogo) - 7
Fred Firth (Electric Guitar) - 7
Carlos Mestre (Congas) - 8
Michael Mantler (Trumpet) - 8
Cecil McBee (Double Bass) - 9
Teo Macero (Tenor Saxophone) - 9
David Liebman (Soprano Saxophone) - 9
Victor Lewis (Drums) - 9

Monday, November 29, 2010

Legendary Pink Dots - 9 Lives to Wonder

Broken funk, twisted humor, and some of the finest lyrics on the planet come together all too rarely, but they do it here with a rare panache. Ka-Spel and co. are firing on all cylinders with this release, ranging from the blatantly silly ("Crumbs on the Carpet") to the sweet ("The Angel Trail") to the relentlessly ominous ("Nine Shades to a Circle"). In the wonderful world of appliances that is the Dotsography, this ranks close to the top. Recommended for all who have never heard the world's finest pop band, and absolutely essential for even the most casual fan. - by Robert P. Beveridge, Amazon.com

Artist: The Legendary Pink Dots
Album: 9 Lives To Wonder
Year: 1994
Label: Play It Again Sam
Runtime: 58:28

1.  Madame Guillotine 5:32 
2.  On Another Shore 6:22 
3.  Softly Softly 2:05 
4.  Crumbs On The Carpet 4:55 
5.  Hotel Z 7:46 
6.  Oasis Malade 2:57 
7.  A Crack In Melancholy Time 5:36 
8.  Siren 5:30 
9.  The Angel Trail 2:00 
10.  Nine Shades To A Circle 10:22 
11.  Terra Firma Welcome 5:16 
All compositions by LPD

Edward Ka-Spel (Vocals, Keyboards)
Phil Knight (Keyboards)
Ryan Moore (Bass Guitar, Double Bass, Drums)
Martijn de Kleer (Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Tympani)
Niels van Hoornblower (Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet)
Cevin Key (Drums)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Herbie Mann - Returns to the Village Gate

By 1961, flutist Herbie Mann was really starting to catch on with the general public. This release, a follow-up to his hit At the Village Gate (two songs are from the same gig while three others actually date from seven months earlier), features Mann in an ideal group with either Hagood Hardy or Dave Pike on vibes, Ahmed Abdul-Malik or Nabil Totah on bass, drummer Rudy Collins and two percussionists. Mann really cooks on four of his own originals, plus "Bags' Groove," blending in the influence of African, Afro-Cuban and even Brazilian jazz. Worth searching for. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

The first side is much the same group as the wonderful 1961 "At the Village Gate" session: Herbie Mann (flute), Hagood Hardy (vibraharp), Ahmet Abdul-Malik (bass), Rudy Collins (drums), Chief Bey and Ray Mantilla (African percussion). On side two it's a slightly different group: Herbie Mann (flute), Dave Pike (vibraharp and marimba), Nabil Totah (bass), Rudy Collins (drums), Ray Barreto and Ray Mantilla (percussion). I'm not sure of the original session dates, but the original LP cover I have is copyright 1963. The earlier sessions were important steps in world music/jazz fusion, and Herbie hit the nail on the head with his mixture of African percussion stylings, jazz instrumentation, and jazz standard tunes (Comin' Home Baby, Summertime, It Ain't Necessarily So). On "Herbie Mann Returns to the Village Gate", he carries on with Milt Jackson's "Bag's Groove" and four titles written by Herbie. For those who've longed for more "At the Village Gate", this is it. Side one especially sounds like an extension of the earlier recordings. Side two is a bit different, with even more of an African percussion feel, but also a middle eastern flavor in places, credited by Herbie to Nabil Totah's bowed bass playing. Great rhythmic and lyrical playing throughout, and a complete joy. It's impossible to pick highlights for me as I like the entire album. The follow-up 1966 "Monday Night at the Village Gate" swings too, and has a cover by the same artist, but it's a different sound with a lot of brass. This is the only recording I've found that really belongs with "At the Village Gate", a recording I've been in love with for forty years now. It's not hard bop, or swing, or straight African, or jazz-rock; strongly jazz though, it has also elements of modern world music, ambient, and fusion. Herbie was way ahead of his time in some respects, and this is really just a wonderful groove that I don't think anyone else ever did better.If you liked "At the Village Gate", you'll also thoroughly enjoy this one--a forgotten gem overshadowed by the earlier 1961 recording. I give it five stars because it's just a natural groove, and it's hard to imagine anyone not liking this. If you haven't heard "At the Village Gate", get both, unplug the phone and the computer, sit back and enjoy. They don't make music like this anymore. - by Paul Franklin, Amazon.com

Artist: Herbie Mann
Album: Return to the Village Gate
Year: 1961
Label: Wounded Bird (2001)
Runtime: 36:28

1.  Bag's Groove (Milt Jackson) 8:34
2.  New York Is a Jungle Festival (Herbie Mann) 9:53
3.  Candle Dance (Herbie Mann) 5:30
4.  Bedouin (Herbie Mann) 7:48
5.  Ekunda (Herbie Mann) 4:43

Herbie Mann (Flutes)
Rudy Collins (Drums)
Chief Bey (Percussion)
Ray Mantilla (Percussion)
Hagood Hardy (Vibraharp) - 1,2
Ahmed Abdul-Malik (Double Bass) - 1,2
Dave Pike (Vibraharp or Marimba) - 3-5
Nabil Totah (Double Bass) - 3-5

Gerry Mulligan - The Jazz Soundtracks

The Subterraneans:
Here is an album that showcases the many talents of Andre Previn, composer-conductor-arranger-andpianist. His versatility further extends into the performance fields where he is just as much at home with jazz, the blues, popular music and with the classics. One week, Andre may be heard playing jazz in a swank night club; the following week, he will be performing with one of the great symphony orchestras; and a little later on, you will find him conducting for a top Hollywood motionpicture score. He is familiar to television viewers because of his guest appearances with Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, Steve Allen, Ernie Ford, Ernie Kovacs, Rosemary Clooney and others. Andre has won Motion Picture Academy Awards for "GIGI" and for "PORGY AND BESS." He also won a Grammy Award for his work with David Rose on the M-G-M record, "LIKE YOUNG," a song which Mr. Previn composed.Another award-winner spotlighted in the album is Gerry Mulligan who has won the International Jazz Critics Award as the best baritone saxophone player for 1957, 1958 and 1959. Gerry also plays a feature acting role in "The Subterraneans." This long-playing record is a collection of Previn's original compositions (except for "COFFEE TIME" and for "SHOULD I") from the sound track of Arthur Freed's Production "THE SUBTERRANEANS" played by small, medium and large orchestras with solos by some of the foremost jazz artists in the country. - from gerrymulligan.info

I Want to Live:
Baritonist Gerry Mulligan and a group of West Coast all-stars were heard throughout the soundtrack of the Susan Hayward movie I Want to Live. Although not a soundtrack, this LP features six themes from the movie (all composed by Johnny Mandel) performed by the same musicians, who this time around get an opportunity to really stretch out. Since the band is comprised of Mulligan, trumpeter Art Farmer, altoist Bud Shank, trombonist Frank Rossolino, pianist Pete Jolly, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Shelly Manne, virtually all of the music is quite interesting with plenty of fine solos and hard-swinging. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Gerry Mulligan
Album: The Jazz Soundtracks (The Subterraneans/I Want to Live)
Year: 1958-59
Label: Gambit (2007)
Total time: 67:04

1.  Why Are We Afraid? (Andre Previn) 1:57
2.  Guido's Blackhawk (Andre Previn) 3:05
3.  Two by Two (Andre Previn) 3:57
4.  Bread and Wine (Andre Previn) 4:10
5.  Cofee Time (Andre Previn) 2:42
6.  A Rose and the End (Andre Previn) 3:24
7.  Should I? (Andre Previn) 2:27
8.  Look Ma, No Clothes (Andre Previn) 1:33
9.  Things Are Looking Down (Andre Previn) 5:36
10.  Analyst (Andre Previn) 4:16
11.  Like Blue (Andre Previn) 1:57
12.  Raising Caen (Andre Previn) 3:04
13.  Black Nightgown (Johnny Mandel) 3:32
14.  Theme from "I Want to Live!" (Johnny Mandel) 6:52
15.  Night Watch (Johnny Mandel) 3:53
16.  Frisco Club (Johnny Mandel) 4:41
17.  Barbara's Theme (Johnny Mandel) 4:37
18.  Life's a Funny Thing (Johnny Mandel) 5:12

Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Saxophone)
Art Pepper (Alto Saxophone) - 1,3,4,6,8-10,12
Red Mitchell (Double Bass) - 1,3,6,8,10,12-18
Shelly Manne (Drums) - 1-3,5-8,10-18
Andre Previn (Piano, Arranger) - 1-11
Jack Sheldon (Trumpet) - 1,3,6,8,10,12
Bob Enevoldsen (Trombone) - 1,3,4,6,8-10
Bill Perkins (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,6,8,10
Art Farmer (Trumpet) - 4,9,13-18
Carmen McRae (Vocals) - 2,5,7,11
Bud Shank (Alto Saxophone) - 13-18
Frank Rosolino (Trombone) - 13-18
Pete Jolly (Piano) - 13-18
Johnny Mandel (Arranger) - 13-18
Buddy Clark (Double Bass) - 4,9
Dave Bailey (Drums) - 4,9
Russ Freeman (Piano) - 4,9,12

Friday, November 26, 2010

Larry Goldings - Caminhos Cruzados

Listening to this CD, it is surprising to note that few bossa nova records up to now have featured organs. Larry Goldings's subtle style (a laid-back Jimmy Smith) perfectly fits the idiom and some of the selections performed on his set are given straight-ahead sections for variety. The music is mostly easy listening with an appealing ensemble sound, consistently excellent concise solos from Goldings and guitarist Peter Bernstein, and tasteful backup from drummer Bill Stewart and percussionist Guilherme Franco. The three guest appearances by Joshua Redman make one wish that he were on more tracks for his tenor fits very comfortably into this setting. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

With the Walther Wanderley bossa nova organ records from the 60's in mind (uff), this excellent CD from Larry Goldings take the "latin B3" to the next level with no comparison to Wanderley. Goldings plays the organ in a laid-back Jimmy Smith style and that suits this excellent trio with Bernstein (guitar), Stewart (drums) and guest Joshua Redman (tenor on a few tracks). Musically this CD is not challenging for the listener, it's just very well played memorable bossa tunes from Jobim and Gilberto among others, in a laid-back mood. The only drawback for Goldings fans is that this CD is currently out-of-print.- by Terje Biringvad, Amazon.com

Artist: Larry Goldings
Album: Caminhos Crusados
Year: 1994
Label: BMG
Total time: 60:42

1.  So Danco Samba (Jazz Samba) (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes) 5:44
2.  Caminhos Cruzados (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 7:22
3.  Ho-Ba-La-La-La (Joao Gilberto) 3:59
4.  O Amor Em Paz (Once I Loved) (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes) 4:40
5.  Where or When (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 6:23
6.  Manine (Larry Goldings) 5:56
7.  Avarandado (Caetano Veloso) 4:04
8.  Serenata (Leroy Anderson/Mitchell Parish) 5:02
9.  Menina Moca (Luiz Antonio) 5:20
10.  Words (Larry Goldings) 5:50
11.  Una Mas (Kenny Dorham) 6:22

Larry Goldings (Hammond Organ)
Peter Bernstein (Guitar)
Bill Stewart (Drums)
Guilherme Franco (Percussion)
Joshua Redman (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,5,10

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grant Green - Am I Blue

"Am I Blue" features the classic Green/Patton/Dixon ensemble plus Johnny Cole and Joe Henderson on horns in a delightful yet unusually laid back vain. The gospel influence in John's playing is particularly evident on this recording, as is his minimalist philosophy. (If you don't have to play it, don't) Ironically, in his latter years, due to a strange accident with a car jack which would injure a tendon in his hand he would not have use of his pinky and fourth finger, yet could still create some of the richest and most amazing connections on the organ as well as develop very rich and lucid solo ideas ! The showstopper on the CD is the light and bouncy For All We Know... Of course, Johnny Coles and a then newcomer and relatively unknown Joe Henderson definitely get their word in, but it is amazing to hear John's passing chords behind them. Grant Green typically lays out, listening, listening, listening, listening (which is what a soloist needs to be doing when his other bandmates are playing... not playing over them, or holding coversations, but listening and taking in the dialogue). Finally, Grant comes in and is as crisp, melodious and swinging and used expect him to be... throwing in a few surprise left hooks as well! - - Last word goes to John... who in turn not only takes a well crafted single note solo, but digs down with a real nifty shout chorus as well (though admittedly I will ever have to admit that Johnny Hammond Smith and Wild Bill will ever have him beat on that.) With Ben Dixon in his corner, however, he does take it home quite masterfully ! of note: That's the one thing that distinguishes a Grant Green session from one of those sessions where people are trying to copy such a session - - you can really tell the players are listening to each other, providing a lot of space and responding to one another's ideas! True Jazz masters are at their best not when they're showing off what they know... but when they're really listening and responding to what's going on around them. Then magic occurs, as was the historical case of John Coltrane's layer of sound discovery. - by Eddie Landsberg, Amazon.com

Artist: Grant Green
Album: Am I Blue
Year: 1963
Label: Blue Note (RVG Remastered, 2002)
Runtime: 42:08

1.  Am I Blue (Harry Akst/Grant Clarke) 6:57
2.  Take These Chains From My Heart (Hy Heath/Fred Rose) 6:13
3.  I Wanna Be Loved (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Billy Rose) 7:39
4.  Sweet Slumber (Lucky Millinder/Al J. Neiburg/Henri Woode) 7:17
5.  For All We Know (J. Fred Coots/Sam M. Lewis) 14:00

Grant Green (Guitar)
Joe Henderson (Tenor Saxophone)
Johnny Coles (Trumpet)
John Patton (Organ)
Ben Dixon (Drums) 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bosambo Trio - Tongue-tied

Given the formation (two acoustic guitars, percussion) the trio's sound calls to mind modern Latin music in the listener. The harmonic world of the themes and the musical forms are perhaps closest to the jazz music of the '90s. The continuously changing mode of playing from accompaniment to solos and back lends variety to the sound of the ensemble, the most distinctive feature of which is its clarity, which makes it easy to follow. - from www.bmcrecords.hu

Artist: Bosambo Trio
Album: Tongue-tied
Year: 1999
Label: BMC
Runtime: 53:39

1.  D Song (Istvan Toth) 9:18
2.  Ivy (Janos Kormos) 6:17
3.  Zeuo (Istvan Toth) 6:46
4.  Silent Tango (Peter Erdelyi) 6:54
5.  Sifrad (Istvan Toth) 8:52
6.  Good Morning Anna (Janos Kormos) 4:54
7.  Tongue-Tied (Istvan Toth) 6:09
8.  On The Road (Istvan Toth) 4:25

István Tóth (Acoustic Guitar)
János Kormos (Acoustic Guitar)
András Dés (Percussion)
Gábor Winand (Vocals, Tenor Saxophone) - 1,7
László Gõz (Trombone) - 1,4
Kornél Fekete Kovács (Flugelhorn) - 4
Andrea Molnár (Vocals) - 1
Péter Szendõfi (Brushes on a carboard box) - 4
György Müller (Percussion effectd) - 3

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marián Varga - Solo in Concert

He has played piano since the age of six. He studied piano and composition at the conservatory in Bratislava. He left the conservatory after three years to become a member of the group Prúdy, and contributed to the legendary album Zvoňte zvonky. He left Prúdy as suddenly as he had left conservatory only to establish the first Czechoslovak art rock band Collegium Musicum. The repertoire of Collegium Musicum, comprising mostly instrumental pieces, included reinterpretations of the themes of classics such as Joseph Haydn, Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky, complemented by original compositions. Already at this stage his work bore signs of postmodernism (Eufónia of the album Konvergencie), which later became the basic principle of his work. When Collegium Musicum disbanded in 1979, Varga started a solo career. Among other achievements, he became a pioneer of absolute improvisation (real-time composition) in Slovakia. In the meantime he continued to contribute to popular music. His ongoing collaboration with Pavol Hammel led to five successful albums and to the first rock musical in Slovakia. - from Wikipedia.org 

Artist: Marián Varga
Album: Solo Concert
Year: 2003
Label: Ars Nova
Runtime: 58:16

1.  Vezova hudba II 6:51
2.  Canzona 6:46
3.  Nechtiac 1:33
4.  Melodia z Preludia a fugy As dur A. Sostakovica 3:16
5.  Zlta lalia 4:36
6.  Bukolika 3:23
7.  Ticho sveta pred Bachom 3:25
8.  Scherzino zo Suity semplice 1:20
9.  Naozaj budem musiet ist 2:01
10.  Posledna jesen 3:50
11.  Dve Brahmsove variacie na Handelovu temu 2:38
12.  Spomienka na Vivaldiho 1:35
13.  Nesmierny smutok hotelovej izby 3:46
14.  Mobile 1:04
15.  Viragom (improvizacia na uhorsku ludovu temu) 3:14
16.  Zagajduj, gajdose (slovenska ludova) 1:37
17.  Sonatina pre klavir, 2.cast 3:20
18.  Sequenza 0:50
19.  Tema z Beethovenovych variacii na rusku temu A dur 0:57
20.  Talianska baletna hudba z opery J.Cikkera Juro Janosik 2:05

Marián Varga - keyboards

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Erik Truffaz - The Dawn

The French have had a love affair with Miles Davis going back to his score for the 1957 film Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud. But Swiss native and popular trumpeter-composer Eric Truffaz takes admiration to new levels on his U.S. debut, a compilation of tracks from his Blue Note France albums Out of a Dream, The Dawn, and Bending New Corners. Using familiar components of Miles's hotly debated 1970s sound (Agharta, Big Fun, On the Corner)--including muted trumpet, graceful figures, cerebral melodies, and atmospheric electric piano--Truffaz appears as a talented clone. But his music is redeemed by its very assimilation of Miles's style and elegance. Truffaz and his expressive quintet write evocative compositions rife with darkly gorgeous melodies, performed in a variety of contemporary styles. Quasi drum and bass fills "Bending New Corners" and "Betty"; whisper-funk imbues "The Dawn"; a springy groove straight from Sorcerer supports the elastic "Arroyo"; free-form noodling fills "Less"; and drum and bass noodling fills "More." Truffaz plays sumptuously on the eerie ballads "Wet in Paris" and "And." Many American acts sound flat and stiff when attempting this Milesian hipster style, but Truffaz and Co. pull it off with deft twirls. - by Ken Micallef, The French have had a love affair with Miles Davis going back to his score for the 1957 film Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud. But French native and popular trumpeter-composer Eric Truffaz takes admiration to new levels on his U.S. debut, a compilation of tracks from his Blue Note France albums Out of a Dream, The Dawn, and Bending New Corners. Using familiar components of Miles's hotly debated 1970s sound (Agharta, Big Fun, On the Corner)--including muted trumpet, graceful figures, cerebral melodies, and atmospheric electric piano--Truffaz appears as a talented clone. But his music is redeemed by its very assimilation of Miles's style and elegance. Truffaz and his expressive quintet write evocative compositions rife with darkly gorgeous melodies, performed in a variety of contemporary styles. Quasi drum and bass fills "Bending New Corners" and "Betty"; whisper-funk imbues "The Dawn"; a springy groove straight from Sorcerer supports the elastic "Arroyo"; free-form noodling fills "Less"; and drum and bass noodling fills "More." Truffaz plays sumptuously on the eerie ballads "Wet in Paris" and "And." Many American acts sound flat and stiff when attempting this Milesian hipster style, but Truffaz and Co. pull it off with deft twirls. - by Ken Micallef, Amazon.com

Artist: Erik Truffaz
Album: The Dawn
Year: 1998
Label: Blue Note
Runtime: 31:22

1.  Bukowsky-Chapter 1 (Erik Truffaz/Nya) 1:49
2.  Yuri's Choice (Marcello Giuliani/Nya) 4:48
3.  The Dawn (Erik Truffaz/Marcello Giuliani/Marc Erbetta/Patrick Muller) 5:45
4.  Wet in Paris (Erik Truffaz/Nya) 4:44
5.  Slim Pickings (Nya) 1:04
6.  Round-Trip (Erik Truffaz/Marcello Giuliani/Marc Erbetta/Patrick Muller) 4:34
7.  The Mask (Erik Truffaz/Marcello Giuliani/Marc Erbetta/Patrick Muller/Nya) 5:03
8.  Free Stylin' (Erik Truffaz/Marcello Giuliani/Marc Erbetta/Patrick Muller/Nya) 3:33

Erik Truffaz (Trumpet)
Patrick Muller (Piano and Fender Rhodes)
Marcello Giuliani (Double Bass and Electro-Acoustic Bass)
Marc Erbetta (Drums)
Nya (Vocals)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nicola Conte - Jet Sounds

I was at the end of my rope playing my old Piero Piccioni Easy Tempo CDs to bits (ha) when the great internet radio station Luxuria.Com started playing this KICK BUTT song called 'Futura 2000' by this Italian dude named Nicola Conte. I didn't ask questions: I called the local record store in Durham, drove down that same day and shelled out the sixteen bucks and my life hasn't been the same since! Talk about 'Spring is Here' Music! What is it like? Hmmmm. It's lounge, but it's not that tiresome camp variety. This guy ROCKS, and his outfit is solid; it's not just a bunch of turntables and sequencers. He clearly has a deep love for the spirit of La Dolce Vita, and respects it, and moreover, has absorbed it. Everything here is uptempo and breezy, samba-based, with some nods to later sixties psychedelia and pre-Shaft horn clusters. "Il Cerchio Rosso" is my favorite song of the year thus far. Little snippets of everything from Claudine Longet to Brasil '66 to Piero Piccioni to Nino Rota to Morricone to Francis Lai to Traviolji seep in here and there, but somehow it's all fresh and new. Someone suggested it was 'tres Esquivel', but I beg to differ. It's much hipper, and a great dance album. I can't wait for more Nicola! Buy this super disc now! You'll be dancing. - by L.S. Slaughter, Amazon.com

Nicola Conte is an Italian DJ, producer and guitar player known for introducing an innovative style of acid jazz that incorporates bossa nova themes, melodies drawn from Italian film scores of the 1960s, easy listening themes, and ethnic Indian music Conte, a classically-trained musician, is mastermind of a collective of acid jazz revivalists, "The Fez Collective," based in the Italian town of Bari, and the Idizioni-Ishatr / Schema label, their record label for promoting their distinctly Italian approach to acid jazz Conte's first album was Jet Sounds of 2000. The single "Bossa Per Due" gained nternational recognition and was an underground hit. It was used almost immediately for a prime-time commercial for Acura automobiles. The album was licensed for American distribution by Thievery Corporation's Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label in the summer of 2001 as Bossa Per Due, and was a slightly reconfigured version of the Italian Jet Sounds album.

Artist: Nicola Conte
Album: Jet Sounds
Year: 2000
Label: Schema
Runtime: 62:18

1.  Arabesque (Nicola Conte) 3:34
2.  Bossa per due (Gianni Lenoci/Nicola Conte) 5:52
3.  Dossier Omega (Pippo D'Ambrosio/Nicola Conte) 6:32
4.  Il cerchio rosso (Nicola Conte) 4:21
5.  Fuoco fatuo (Nicola Conte) 3:37
6.  Forma 2000 (Lo Greco, V/Nicola Conte) 6:00
7.  Missione a Bombay (Nicola Conte) 4:43
8.  Jazz pour Dadine (Nicola Conte) 3:51
9.  The in Samba (Gianni Lenoci/Nicola Conte) 5:54
10.  La coda del diavolo (Mirko Signorile/Nicola Conte/Pasquale Bardaro) 4:22
11.  Mambo de los dandies (Marco Magno/Nicola Conte) 4:37
12.  Jet Sounds (Nicola Conte) 5:19
13.  Trappola mortale (Nicola Conte) 3:36

Nicola Conte (Arranger)
Paola Arnesano (Vocals) - 2,9
Gabriella Schiavone (Vocals) - 3
Stefania Di Pierro (Vocals) - 10
Manuela Ravaglioli (Vocals) - 6
Gianni Lenoci (Piano and Organ) - 2,9,13
Mirko Signorile (Piano and Organ) - 4,10
Marco Magno (Organ) - 11
Gaetano Partipilo (Alto Saxophone and Flute) - 6,8,9
Bruno Marini (Baritone Saxophone and Flute) - 5,12
Francesco Lomangino (Tenor Saxophone) - 11
Pasquale Bardaro (Vibraphone) - 1,5,10
Nicola Nesta (Sitar) - 3,7
Guido Di Leone (Guitar) - 3,9,12
Mauro Gargano (Double Bass) - 4,8
Stefano Valenzano (Bass Guitar) - 9,12
Pierluigi Balducci (Bass Guitar) - 7
Pippo D'Ambrozio (Tabla, Tampura) - 3,7
Fabio Accardi (Drums) - 7

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Abdullah Ibrahim - African Marketplace

This is one of Abdullah Ibrahim's most colorful band recordings. With a 12-piece group that includes altoist Carlos Ward, trombonist Craig Harris and bassist Cecil McBee along with some lesser-known names, Ibrahim performs eight folklike originals that pay tribute to his life growing up in South Africa. "The Homecoming Song," "Anthem for the New Nation" and especially "The Wedding" (a beautiful hymn) are particularly memorable. - by Scott Yanow

There are not too many albums in any genre that paint a consistent picture from the first note to the last. There are even fewer that do this in a hybrid style that is really something new and different. I bless Duke Ellington for bringing Abdullah Ibrahim to our attention, and I thank Mr. Ibrahim for giving us this joyous and colorful recording. The title describes the flavor aptly: the songs are alternately festive and languid, with slightly altered themes recurring throughout. When you play it, don't skip any cuts! - by Steve Leach, Amazon.com
Artist: Dollar Brand (aka Abdullah Ibrahim)

Album: African Marketplace
Year: 1979
Label: Discovery (1980)
Runtime: 35:55

1.  Whoza Mtwana 6:03
2.  The Homecoming Song 3:45
3.  The Wedding 3:49
4.  Moniebah 3:20
5.  African Marketplace 7:04
6.  Mamma 3:46
7.  Anthem for the New Nation 4:30
8.  Ubu-Suku 3:33
All songs written by Abdullah Ibrahim

Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibrahim (Keyboards, Soprano Saxophone and Conga)
Carlos Ward (Alto and Soprano Saxophone)
Jeff Jawarrah King (Tenor Saxophone)
Dwayne Armstrong (Tenor Saxophone)
Kenny Rogers (Baritone Saxophone)
Malindi Blyth Mbityana (Trombone)
Craig Harris (Trombone)
Gary Chandler (Trumpet)
Cecil McBee (Double Bass)
Andre Strobert (Drums and Percussion)
Miguel Pomier (Percussion) - 2,5
Lawrence Lucie (Banjo) - 5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grant Green - Born To Be Blue

Although Grant Green provided his share of groove-oriented soul-jazz and modal post-bop, his roots were hard bop, and it is in a bop-oriented setting that the guitarist excels on Born to Be Blue. Most of the material on this five-star album was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio on December 11, 1961, when Green was joined by tenor titan Ike Quebec, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes. Tragically, Quebec was near the end of his life -- the distinctive saxman died of lung cancer at the age of 44 on January 16, 1963 -- but there is no evidence of Quebec's declining health on Born to Be Blue. He was playing as authoritatively as ever well into 1962, and the saxman is in fine form on hard-swinging interpretations of "Someday My Prince Will Come" and Al Jolson's "Back in Your Own Back Yard." It's interesting to hear Quebec playing bop, for his big, breathy tone was right out of swing and was greatly influenced by Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. Although Quebec and Green (who was 14 years younger) had very different musical backgrounds, they were always quite compatible musically. They clearly enjoyed a strong rapport on the uptempo selections as well as ballads like "My One and Only Love" and Mel Torme's "Born to Be Blue." Originally a vinyl LP, this album was reissued on CD in 1989, when Blue Note added an alternate take of the title song and a previously unreleased version of Charlie Parker's "Cool Blues." - by Alex Henderson, AMG

Artist: Grant Green
Album: Born to Be Blue
Year: 1962
Label: Blue Note (1989)
Total time: 59:05

1.  Someday My Prince Will Come (Frank Churchill/Larry Morey) 6:30
2.  Born To Be Blue (Mel Tormé/Robert Wells) 4:54
3.  Born To Be Blue (Alternate Take) (Mel Tormé/Robert Wells) 4:41
4.  If I Should Lose You (Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin) 6:05
5.  Back In Your Own Back Yard (Dave Dreyer/Al Jolson/Billy Rose) 8:04
6.  My One And Only Love (Robert Mellin/Guy Wood) 5:50
7.  Count Every Star (Bruno Coquatrix/Sammy Gallop) 6:21
8.  Cool Blues (Charlie Parker) 7:57
9.  Outer Space (Grant Green) 8:43

Grant Green (Guitar)
Ike Quebec (Tenor Saxophone)
Sonny Clark (Piano)
Sam Jones (Double Bass)
Louis Hayes (Drums)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Joao Gilberto - Joao

Recent but classic jazz-bossa is played by one of its defining spirits. Vocally, Gilberto is in fine muttering form, communicating intensely with somebody in his breast pocket, and his guitar is as delicate as ever. This recording expresses the close links of bossa nova and jazz. Joao has Clare Fisher arranging and on some cuts playing keyboards, along with one of those saccharin string-sections even the most avant-garde Brazilians love. - by John Storm Roberts, AMG

It should not suprise me that this CD is relatively uncovered by reviewers. In the best sense of the term, I would suggest that this is the definitive "Joao With Strings" recording of his later career. The recording of Joao's vocals and guitar are really well done, and Joao is singing perhaps as good as he ever has (has he ever not?). The real surprise here are the string arrangements done by Clare Fischer, who also handles the keyboard work. For the most part, the arrangements are complimentary and done much in the style of Jobim's early arranging work. Recorded in 1991, there are a few 'synth' tracks done by Fischer that work very well. One is a 'classical guitar' patch which serves as an intro, and it took a few seconds (and an audible 'attack' on the keyboard) before I realized that it was not Joao. My only regret about this CD is that the strings were added in L.A. after Joao had recorded his vocal and guitar in Rio. No, it isn't a sin and still works well, but truly working with an orchestra - the way Sinatra did - HAS to bring out the best of even the best. One of my favorite tracks is "Una Mujer", also. - by Douglas Negley, Amazon.com

Artist: Joao Gilberto
Album: Joao
Year: 1991
Label: Philips (1991)
Total time: 50:26

1. I Really Samba (Eu Sambo Mesmo) (Janet de Almeida) 4:09
2. Go On (Siga) (Fernando Lobo/Helio Guimares) 4:14
3. Little Rose (Rosinha) (Jonas Silva) 3:52
4. Malaga (Fred Bongusto) 5:02
5. A Woman (Una Mujer) (Paul Misraki/S. Pontal Rio/C. Olivari) 3:43
6. My Heart And I (Eu E Meu Coracao) (Inaldo Vilarinho/Antonio Botelho) 5:12
7. You Do Something To Me (Cole Porter) 2:42
8. Unhappy Remark (Palpite Infeliz) (Noel Rosa) 3:56
9. Ave Maria on the Hill (Ave Maria No Morro) (Herivelto Martins) 4:16
10. Sampa (Caetano Veloso) 5:03
11. Smiled at Me (Sorriu Para Mim) (Caroto/Luiz Claudio) 3:08
12. I Wish You Love (Que Reste-T-Il De Nos Amours) (Charles Trenet/Leon Chauliac) 5:02

Joao Gilberto (Acoustic Guitar and Vocals)
Clare Fischer (Keyboards)
Joe Correro (Drums)
Jim Hughart (Double Bass)
Michito Sanchez (Percussion)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Huschke - Diabolica

Never would Wolfram Huschke presume to bore his audience. Probably he isn’t even able to do so because Huschke is everything else than a boring person. - Lift Stuttgart July 1995

"The touch of my hands on the strings with all the experience of tradition and thrill of experimentation at the same time is the risk of my performance, every day, every moment, for the music, the audience and myself. Energy runs through my whole body and bursts into the universal strenght of emotions. But beside all these things I go through the long work of innovation, together with Hannes and Gianni in the Studio and alone in my rehearsal chamber, mostly isolated from everybody and everything." - by Wolfram Huschke

Artist: Wolfram Huschke
Album: Diabolica
Year: 1995
Label: BMG
Runtime: 58:12

1.  Whale Killers (Wolfram Huschke) 3:37
2.  Soaring (Wolfram Huschke) 3:38
3.  Diabolica (Wolfram Huschke) 5:03
4.  Dino (Wolfram Huschke) 4:52
5.  Lent (Claude Debussy) 3:08
6.  Animé (Claude Debussy) 4:07
7.  Erectus (Wolfram Huschke) 3:39
8.  Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix) 2:39
9.  Libido (Wolfram Huschke) 3:40
10.  Eclipse (Wolfram Huschke) 3:50
11.  Orgasm (Wolfram Huschke) 1:56
12.  June (Wolfram Huschke) 3:03
13.  Bach 1 (Johann Sebastian Bach) 4:00
14.  Bach 2 (Johann Sebastian Bach) 3:29
15.  Vocalise (Sergey Rachmaninov) 4:34
16.  Moto Perpetuo (Niccolo Paganini/Wolfram Huschke) 2:51

Wolfram Huschke (Cello, Electric Cello, Cello FX)
Thomas Reif (Electric and Acoustic Guitar)
Gianni Stiletto (Keyboards, Programming)
Susanne Reinl (Grand Piano, Keyboards) - 5,6,13,14,16
Hannes M. Schalle (Drums) - 8
Dieter Huschke (Grand Piano) - 15

Friday, November 12, 2010

Freddie Hubbard - First Light

Never one to take lyricism for granted, trumpeter and composer Freddie Hubbard entered Creed Taylor's studio for the third time in 1974 with the express purpose of making a record radically different from anything he'd cut before; he was looking for it to use electricity and to be out of the soul-jazz mold, but was also more ambitious and wanted to push that envelope and himself. Taylor and Hubbard assembled a band that included Herbie Hancock on Rhodes, guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette on drums, Airto Moreira on percussion, and Richard Wyands on acoustic piano to back him. The band was also supported by the truly ethereal and adventurous string arrangements of Don Sebesky (a first for Hubbard). The result is a masterpiece of textured sound, gorgeously far-flung charts, sweet, tight grooves, a subtle mystic feel, and some of Hubbard's most exciting playing ever. The title track and Hubbard's ingenious read of Paul and Linda McCartney's "Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey," as well as Leonard Bernstein's "Lonely Town," are so in the pocket that they bleed soul. Benson's uncharacteristically edgy guitar playing juxtaposed against Hubbard's warm tone, and Hancock's beautifully modal Rhodes lines that are drenched with big, open, minor chord voicings, are simply made more illustrious and graceful by Sebesky's strings. While Red Clay and Straight Life are both fine albums, First Light is the one that connects on all levels -- and it did with the jazz-buying public as well. A masterpiece. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Freddie Hubbard
Album: Fisrt Light
Year: 1971 (CTI)
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Label: CBS (Digitally remastered, 1987)
Runtime: 43:07

1.  First Light (Freddie Hubbard) 11:08
2.  Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney) 8:19
3.  Moment to Moment (Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) 5:45
4.  Yesterday's Dreams (Don Sebesky/Norman Martin) 3:58
5.  Lonely Town (From 'On The Town') (Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green) 7:02
6.  Fantasy In D (Cedar Walton) 6:55

Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Jack DeJohnette (Drums)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Richard Wyands (Piano)
George Benson (Guitar)
Airto Moreira (Percussion)
Phil Kraus (Vibraphone)
Wally Kane (Flute)
Hubert Laws (Flute)
George Marge (Flute and Bassoon)
Romeo Penque (Flute, English Horn and Oboe)
Jane Taylor (Bassoon)
Ray Alonge (French Horn)
James Buffington (French Horn)
Margaret Ross (Harp)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oscar Peterson - The Trio - Live from Chicago

The Oscar Peterson Trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen lacked the competitiveness of his earlier group with Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, and the later daring of his solo performances, but the pianist was generally in peak form during this era. He sticks to standards on this live CD (a good example of the Trio's playing), stretching out "Sometimes I'm Happy" creatively for over 11 minutes and uplifting such songs as "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Chicago" and "The Night We Called It a Day." Few surprises occur, but Peterson plays at such a consistently high level that one doesn't mind. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Ed Thigpen
Album: The Trio - Live from Chicago
Year: 1961
Label: Verve (Master Edition, 20-bit dig. transfer, 1997)
Runtime: 76:17

1.  I've Never Been in Love Before (Frank Henry Loesser) 5:38
2.  In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (Bob Hilliard/David Mann) 8:06
3.  Chicago (Fred Fisher) 8:57
4.  The Night We Called It a Day (Matt Dennis/Tom Adair) 4:46
5.  Sometimes I'm Happy (Vincent Youmans/Irving Caesar) 11:41
6.  Whisper Not (Benny Golson) 5:46
7.  Billy Boy (Traditional) 1:56
8.  The Lonesome One (Oscar Peterson) 5:31
9.  The Gravy Waltz (Ray Brown) 4:54
10.  Woody 'n' You (Dizzy Gillespie) 3:49
11.  Soon (Richard Rodgers/Lorentz Hart) 9:21
12.  Daahoud (Clifford Brown) 5:52

Oscar Peterson - Piano
Ray Brown - Double Bass
Ed Thigpen - Drums

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Erroll Garner - Overture to Dawn

The "Appartment Sessions" are important in a number of ways, not the least being the fact that Timme's sixteen-inch acetates gave playing times of over ten minutes. Overture to Dawn gives a clue to the time of the sessions. At this period Garner was active at a number of locations, sometimes racing from one club to the next in order to fulfil engagements. 'There was one time when I had three jobs on The Street' he told Arnold Shaw, author of '52nd Street'. 'Iwas working at Tondelayo's, doubled at the Dueces and accompanied Billy Daniels when he played the Spotlite. And one night when the pianist didn't show at the Onyx, I lpayed there too. Four jobs. And thet was just about making a good week's salary. The clubs sure didn't pay. They were making money hand over fist. But the musicians couldn't get money out of them'. - by Alun Morgan (from the  liner notes)

Artist: Erroll Garner
Album: Overture to Dawn (The Apparment Sessions, vol. 1)
Year: 1944
Label: Charly (Digitally Remastered, 1995)
Runtime:  71:07

1.  I Hear a Rhapsody (Jack Baker/George Fragos/Dick Gasparre) 8:21
2.  You Were Born to Be Kissed (Erroll Garner) 5:16
3.  Overture to Dawn (Erroll Garner) 8:53
4.  Autumn Mood (Erroll Garner) 7:23
5.  Erroll's Concerto (Erroll Garner) 5:34
6.  Floating on a Cloud (Erroll Garner) 10:12
7.  I Surrender Dear (Harry Barris/Gordon Clifford) 2:26
8.  I Got Rhythm (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 9:23
9.  On the Sunny Side of the Street (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) 3:49
10.  Yesterdays (Otto Harbach/Jerome Kern) 9:44

Erroll Garner - Solo Piano

Monday, November 8, 2010

Benny Golson - Stardust

This obscure CD, released by Japanese Denon but for a time made available in the U.S., has tenor saxophonist Benny Golson welcoming trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith to his quintet set. Hubbard was in prime form during this period, and the repertoire (three Golson tunes, an original apiece by Carter and the trumpeter, "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" and "Stardust") provides inspiration for some excellent hard bop-oriented solos. Worth searching for. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Benny Golson
Album: Stradust
Year: 1987
Label: Nippon Columbia
Total time: 67:09

1.  Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael/Mitchell Parish) 9:10
2.  Double Bass (Ron Carter) 9:23
3.  Gipsy Jingle-Jangle (Benny Golson) 4:43
4.  Povo (Freddie Hubbard) 12:15
5.  Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster) 7:30
6.  Sad To Say (Benny Golson) 10:18
7.  Far Away (Freddie Hubbard) 13:46

Benny Golson (Tenor Saxophone)
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Marvin "Smitty" Smith (Drums)
Mulgrew Miller (Piano)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ramsey Lewis - Another Voyage

Issued in September 1969, Another Voyage is one of the Ramsey Lewis Trio's best efforts, during its initial release making it into the R&B Top 35. With the lineup of Lewis, drummer Maurice White, and bassist Cleveland Eaton, the LP serves as a prime example of the muscular Chicago sound while preserving the pianist's trademark elegance. In addition to such throbbing, kinetic workouts as Eddie Harris' "Bold and Black" and "If You've Got It Flaunt It, Pts. 1-2," there's a nice mid-groovin' cover of Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," Harris' contemplative "How Beautiful Is Spring," and the sumptuous "Opus V," written by Charles Stepney. Of special note is future Earth, Wind & Fire leader White's use of the kalimba on "Uhuru." The pumping "Do What You Wanna" became a post-release favorite during the late '90s and was included on the two-LP set Inside Ramsey Lewis. - by Ed Hogan, AMG

Artist: The Ramsey Lewis Trio
Album: Another Voyage
Year: 1969
Label: Cadet (2004, Original recording remastered)
Runtime: 36:24

1.  If You've Got It Flaunt It (Part 1) (Ramsey Lewis/Cleveland Eaton/Maurice White) 2:49
2.  Wanderin' Rose (Neal Creque) 4:55
3.  How Beautiful Is Spring (Eddie Harris) 4:33
4.  Do What You Wanna (Ramsey Lewis) 2:45
5.  My Cherie Amour (Bill Cosby/Kerry Moy/Stevie Wonder) 3:49
6.  Bold And Black (Eddie Harris) 4:07
7.  Opus #5 (Charles Stepney) 5:38
8.  Uhuru (Maurice White) 2:20
9.  Cecile (Cleveland Eaton) 3:04
10.  If You've Got It, Flaunt It (Part 2) (Ramsey Lewis/Cleveland Eaton/Maurice White) 2:18

Ramsey Lewis (Piano and Electric Piano)
Cleveland Eaton (Double Bass, Bass Guitar)
Maurice White (Drums, Kalimba)
Phil Upchurch (Guitar) - 2,5,6

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sonny Clark - Blues Mambo

This lesser-known Sonny Clark session (his only studio album not made for Blue Note) is sometimes issued under drummer Max Roach's name too. They are joined by bassist George Duvivier for a set of generally obscure Clark originals including "Minor Meeting," "Blues Mambo," and "My Conception" (which is taken as an unaccompanied piano solo). Although not obvious while listening to his recording, Clark's life was on the decline and this would be his penultimate date as a leader. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Sonny Clark Trio
Album: Blues Mambo
Year: 1960
Label: West Wind (1997)
Runtime: 41:56

1.  Minor Meeting 3:46
2.  Nica 6:16
3.  Sonny's Crip 6:18
4.  Blues Mambo 5:08
5.  Blues Blue 4:24
6.  Junka 6:16
7.  My Conception 4:31
8.  Sonja 5:14
All compositions by Sonny Clark

Sonny Clark (Piano)
Max Roach (Drums)
George Duvivier (Double Bass)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Donald Byrd - Kofi

Kofi was extracted from some of last Blue Note sessions of the 1960s before Byrd's ventures into soul fusion territory. The playing here is no less than stellar, with seasoned veterans such as Ron Carter and Airto Moreira giving Byrd more than ample support to stretch out and soulfully foreshadow elements of future recordings. Lew Tabackin easily shares the spotlight with his beautiful flute passages on the title track, while Frank Foster and the rest of the supporting group complement Byrd's playing with a grace that emulates the early chemistry between the early Miles Davis groups of the early '60s. The subtle relaxed tones of this album make it truly one of the essential releases in Byrd's catalog, not only from a historical standpoint (his future collaborations with the Mizell brothers would take him to an entirely different plane of thought), but from a casual listening standpoint as well. - by Rob Theakston, AMG

Artist: Donald Byrd
Album: Kofi
Year: 1969
Label: Blue Note (1995)
Runtime: 43:38

1.  Kofi (Donald Byrd) 7:46
2.  Fufu (Donald Byrd) 9:39
3.  Perpetual Love (Donald Byrd) 7:38
4.  Elmina (Donald Byrd) 8:37
5.  The Loud Minority (Frank Foster) 9:56

Donald Byrd (Trumpet)
William Campbell (Trombone) - 1,2
Lew Tabakin (Tenor Saxophone and Flute) - 1,2
Frank Foster (Tenor Saxophone)
Duke Pearson (Electric Piano)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Bob Cranshaw (Bass Guitar) - 1,2
Airto Moreira (Drums and Percussion)
Wally Richardson (Guitar) - 3-5
Mickey Roker (Drums) - 3-5
Dom Um Romao (Percussion) - 3-5

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wayne Shorter -The All Seeing Eye

With such titles as "The All Seeing Eye," "Genesis," "Chaos," "Face of the Deep," and "Mephistopheles," it is clear from the start that the music on this CD reissue is not basic bop and blues. Wayne Shorter (who composed four of the five originals) picked an all-star cast (trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, altoist James Spaulding, trombonist Grachan Moncur III, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Joe Chambers, along with brother Alan Shorter on flügelhorn for the final song) to perform and interpret the dramatic selections, and their brand of controlled freedom has plenty of subtle surprises. This is stimulating music that still sounds fresh over three decades later. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Wayne Shorter
Album: The All Seeing Eye
Year: 1965
Label: Blue Note (1999)
Total time: 44:21

1.  The All Seeing Eye (Wayne Shorter) 10:32
2.  Genesis (Wayne Shorter) 11:44
3.  Chaos (Wayne Shorter) 6:55
4.  Face Of The Deep (Wayne Shorter) 5:29
5.  Mephistopheles (Alan Shorter) 9:38

Wayne Shorter (Tenor Saxophone)
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Grachan Moncur III (Trombone)
James Spaulding (Alto Saxophone)
Herbie Hancock (Piano)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Joe Chambers (Drums)
Alan Shorter (Flugelhorn) - 5

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tony Levin - World Diary

Fans know Tony Levin primarily as the bassist for King Crimson and Peter Gabriel, but his career has always been far more complex than that -- he's played all over the world with musicians from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and given his status as both a bass virtuoso and as one of the very few players of the Chapman Stick (a 12-stringed instrument designed to be played simultaneously as a bass and as a guitar), he's constantly in demand. This album was the first release on his own Papa Bear label, and it documents a number of privately recorded collaborations and experimental jam sessions with various musicians recorded during his travels around the world. The results vary significantly in style and tone, but the quality is consistently high. The album opens with a lovely duo improvisation between Levin (on Stick) and Indian violinist L.Shankar (on his trademark double-necked electric violin) and proceeds through similar collaborations with the Kenyan musician Ayub Ogada, koto player Brian Yamakoshi, duduk player Levon Minassian and others. Perhaps the most lovely piece is "We Stand in Sapphire Silence," an improvisation between Levin, Yamakoshi and drummer Jerry Marotta, on which Levin and Yamakoshi take turns setting the mood. There's an overall sweetness of spirit in evidence here that is, ultimately, almost as rewarding as the music itself. Wonderful. - by Rick Anderson, AMG

Artist: Tony Levin
Album: World Diary
Year: 1995
Label: Papa Bear
Total playing: 57:06

1.  Chasms (Tony Levin/L. Shankar) 5:21
2.  The Train (Tony Levin/Ayun Ogada) 4:44
3.  We Stand in Sapphire Silence (Tony Levin/Brian Yamakoshi) 5:45
4.  Smoke (Tony Levin/Bendik Hofseth) 0:49
5.  Etude in the Key of Guildford (Tony Levin/Bill Bruford) 3:13
6.  Espresso & the Bed of Nails (Tony Levin/Nexus) 4:46
7.  Mingled Roots (Tony Levin/Levon Minassian) 3:49
8.  Nyatiti (Tony Levin/Ayun Ogada) 4:19
9.  Jewels (Tony Levin/Bill Bruford) 3:48
10.  La Tristesse Amoureuse de la Nuit (Tony Levin/Levon Minassian/Manu Katche) 4:58
11.  Heat (Tony Levin/Nexus) 6:33
12.  I Cry to the Dolphined Sea Tony Levin/Bendik Hofseth) 5:41
13.  The Sound of Goodbye (Tony Levin/Brian Yamakoshi) 3:13

Tony Levin (Stick and Bass, Backing Vocals)
L. Shankar (Double Violin and Vocal) - 1
Ayub Ogada (Nyatiti and Vocal) - 2,8
Brian Yamakoshi (Koto) - 3,13
Jerry Marotta (Taos Drums) - 3,12
Bendik Hofseth (Tenor and Soprano Saxophone) - 4,12
Bill Bruford (Electronic Drums) - 5,9
Nexus Percussion Ensemble (Percussion) - 6,11
Levon Minassian (Doudouk) - 7,10
Manu Katche (Drums) - 10

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bugge Wesseltoft - Moving

Bugge Wesseltoft's "Moving" is a inspirational journey into the realms of nu-jazz, it's a logical progression of sublime recorded at Bugge's legendary downtown Oslo studio "Bugge's room". Including an all-star cast of Norway's most finest progressive jazz artists, this music captures the very essence of their compellingly eclectic and acoustic "New conceptions of Jazz" performances. The album starts off with "Change" and sets you up for a journey of surreality. The third track "Yellow Is The Colour" has the most increadible brush groove on snare that reminds you of a peaceful rain shower that is way beyond chill-out, with Bugge's soft piano, it's truly mesmerizing. The original 2001 Jazzland (REC 013 534-2) release on CD is mastered to audiophile perfection and nicly packaged in a digipak of great design. Bugge's European concert performances are described as a ride in to the realm of space, a hypnotic experience into the realms of ambient, electronic, brushed with the acoustic, being one foot on the dance floor, the other in the stratosphere. - by Audiostar, Amazon.com

Artist: Bugge Wesseltoft
Album: Moving
Year: 2001
Label: Jazzland
Runtime: 64:54

1.  Change (Bugge Wesseltoft) 10:25
2.  Gare du Nord (Bugge Wesseltoft/Anders Engen/Ingebrigt Flaten/Jonas Lönna/Paolo Vinaccia) 12:40
3.  Yellow Is The Colour (Bugge Wesseltoft) 10:40
4.  Lone (Bugge Wesseltoft) 10:05
5.  Moving (Bugge Wesseltoft/Anders Engen/Ingebrigt Flaten/Jonas Lönna/Paolo Vinaccia) 12:58
6.  South (Bugge Wesseltoft) 8:06

Bugge Wesseltoft (Piano, Fender Rhodes, Synthesizers, Samples, Programming and Voice)
Anders Engen (Drums)
Jonas Lönna (Drum Programming)
Paolo Vinaccia (Percussion)
Ingebrigt Flaten (Double Bass) - 2,6
Marius Reksjo (Double Bass) - 1
Hakon Kornstad (Tenor Saxophone) - 3


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