Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stacey Kent - The Tender Trap

Stacey Kent has an attractive voice and a lightly swinging style. For Love Is...The Tender Trap -- her debut as a leader -- she is joined by tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson (who recalls Scott Hamilton and Stan Getz in spots), guitarist Colin Oxley, pianist David Newton, bassist David Green, and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Kent uplifts each of the familiar tunes slightly but does not add much of herself to the material. Certainly these versions of "I Didn't Know About You," "Comes Love," "East of the Sun," and "They All Laughed" would not qualify as definitive, or dwarf one's memory of earlier renditions. But Stacey Kent has potential for the future once she grows a bit more. A pleasing if insubstantial effort. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Stacey Kent
Album: The Tender Trap
Year: 1998
Label: Candid
Runtime: 56:54

1.  The Tender Trap (Jimmy van Heusen/Sammy Cahn) 4:42
2.  I Didn't Know About You (Duke Ellington/Bob Russell) 4:43
3.  Comes Love (Lew Brown/Charlie Tobias/Sam Stept) 4:04
4.  In The Still Of The Night (Cole Porter) 5:08
5.  Fools Rush In (Rube Bloom/Johnny Mercer) 4:43
6.  East Of The Sun (Brooks Bowman) 6:36
7.  Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (James F. Hanley) 4:14
8.  They Say It's Wonderful (Irving Berlin) 4:57
9.  Don't Be That Way (Edgar Sampson/Benny Goodman/Mitchell Parish) 4:22
10.  They All Laughed (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 4:01
11.  In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (David Mann/Bob Hilliard) 4:59
12.  It's A Wonderful World (Leo Watson/Jan Savitt/Harold Adamson) 4:20

Stacey Kent (Vocals)
Jim Tomlinson (Tenor Saxophone)
Colin Oxley (Guitar)
David Newton (Piano)
Dave Green (Double Bass)
Jeff Hamilton (Drums)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jiri Stivín - Reduta Live

Jirí Stivín has been interpreting pre-Classical music on the recorder since 1975. After graduating from the cinematography department of the Prague Film Academy (FAMU), he devoted himself exclusively to music. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music as well as at the Prague Academy of Music, where he studied composition. His flute teachers were Milan Muncingler (Ars Revidiva) and Jirí Válek (Czech Philharmonic). Stivin performs music from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Baroque periods. He has recorded flute concertos (Telemann and Vivaldi on 4 CDs) and has mastered all kinds of flutes and recorders. He has also been intensely involved in jazz, composition, and in the improvisational New Music, using saxophone, clarinet, flute, recorder, and several kinds of folk pipes. As a soloist, he works with renowned musical ensembles and institutions (Virtuosi di Praga, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Madrigalists, Due Boemi, Suk Chamber Orchestra, Talich Quartet, etc.). He fronts his own Collegium Quodlibet and leads the jazz quartet Jirí Stivín & Co. He gives solo recitals with harpsichord, organ, or guitar, and sometimes performs with the sole aid of a tape recorder. For the last ten years, as part of the Prague Symphony Orchestra's concert subscription series, he has been giving a series of performances called 'All Manner of Flutes' and has written a large corpus of film, theatre and concert music. Jirí Stivín teaches at the Prague Conservatoire, at the annual jazz workshops in Frýdlant and is frequently involved in many other projects, including educational concerts for children. - from Stivin's website

Artist: Jirí Stivin & Co.
Album: Reduta Live
Year: 1992
Label: Lotos (1996)
Runtime: 74:18

1. The Blazing Ravines of Earth (Jiri Stivin) 10:59
2. Lover Man (Jimmy Davis/Roger "Ram" Ramirez/Jimmy Sherman) 13:57
3. St. Thomas (Sonny Rollins) 10:53
4. Collage (Traditional/Lidová) 11:27
5. Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Jimmy Van Heusen) 12:06
6. Sombrero Sam (Charles Lloyd) 11:34
7. Lover Man (Jimmy Davis/Roger "Ram" Ramirez/Jimmy Sherman) 3:20

Jiri Stivín (Flutes, Soprano Saxophone, Sopranino and Recorder)
Alex Dusa (Bass Guitar) - 1-6
Jiri Stivin Jr. (Drums) - 1-6
Jaroslav Sindler (Guitar) - 1-4
Zdenek Fiser (Guitar) - 4-6
Emil Viklicky (Piano) - 2-6
Rudolf Rokl (Piano) - 4
Laco Trop (Drums) - 4
Zuzana Stivinova (Vocals) - 4,7
Vladimir Zizka (Drums) - 7

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trio Ivoire - Trio Ivoire

Born in 1969 in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and raised in Mali, balafon player Aly Keita comes from a Malinké family that has been keeping to the musical tradition of the "Griots." Keita discovered jazz in the eighties and soon started to adapt his self-constructed diatonic instruments to diverse modern styles. He and his brothers also built the biggest balafon of the world. Virtuoso Keita has performed in Africa, Europe and the USA with players like Pharoah Sanders, Paco Sery and Lukas Ligeti. In 1999 he met well-known German jazz pianist Hans Lüdemann who toured West Africa in commission of the Goethe Institutes and the German Foreign Office. A jazz professor in Cologne, Lüdemann has worked with Jan Garbarek, Mark Feldman, Paul Bley and many others and released several CDs with his band Rism. The black and white keys of his piano and the wooden bars of Keita's balafon connected immediately and the first concert together became a great success. So Lüdemann prepared some new music and he and Keita decided to add Steve Argüelles as the third man in this project. An experimental musician and composer, Argüelles is an important part of the London jazz scene but also very active in France where he has been living since 1992. A rather bizarre ensemble, Trio Ivoire gives us a new transcontinental vision far beyond the stereotypes of world music.
Trio Ivoire was finally founded in Germany with the support of the WDR radio who co-produced this recording. During the studio sessions kora master Tata Dindin from Gambia came by and joined the trio on two pieces. He is best known for exploring contemporary music on the kora and for leading the Gambian electric band "Salam." The music on this CD is an original mixture of polyrhythmic textures and motivic improvisation displaying the virtues of West African tradition, American jazz, European classical and minimal music. Some tunes keep within the limits of harmonic traditions, others go into polytonality and throw a totally new light on the balafon. In turn, the African instrument adds a dark and earthy timbre to the piano. The percussionist completes the colors with his rhythmic fire and strange ideas. Trio Ivoire made its live debuts in 2000 in Abidjan upon the 30th anniversary of the Goethe Institute and in Hannover at the EXPO 2000. And that was only the beginning. - from

Artist: Trio Ivoire
Album: Trio Ivoire
Year: 1999
Label: Enja (2000)
Runtime: 58:11

1.  Ella est la (Hans Lüdemann) 7:09
2.  Kano (Hans Lüdemann/Jobarteh Kunda) 5:14
3.  I Ivory (Suite Africaine) (Steve Argüelles) 1:08
4.  II Malingakan (Suite Africaine) (Aly Keita) 4:09
5.  III Trio Ivoire (Suite Africaine) (Steve Argüelles/Aly Keita/Hans Lüdemann) 3:54
6.  Le signal (Hans Lüdemann) 7:46
7.  L'arrivée (Hans Lüdemann) 5:07
8.  Le mystere (Hans Lüdemann) 5:03
9.  The Touch (Hans Lüdemann) 4:13
10.  Les adieux (Hans Lüdemann) 5:50
11.  The virtual piano I (Hans Lüdemann) 3:14
12.  Le balafon blanc et noir (Hans Lüdemann) 5:24

Aly Keita (Balafon)
Hans Lüdemann (Piano, Prepared Piano, Whistling)
Steve Argüelles (Drums, Electronics)
Tata Dindin (Kora, Voice) - 2,10

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pharoah Sanders - A Prayer Before Dawn

Recorded in 1987, A Prayer Before Dawn is one of Pharoah Sanders' gentle, reflective dates. Some jazz fans may cringe at his versions of "Christmas Song" and Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All," but the music displays a heartfelt spirituality as opposed to financial slickness. It is the opposite of Sanders' characteristic fire-breathing tenor of his Impulse days, but there is nobility in taking this tranquil direction; Sanders refuses to repeat himself. He demands you listen with open ears, dropping preconceived notions. For instance, unlike the adult contemporary direction taken by one-time free jazz tenor titan Gato Barbieri, this date doesn't sound like a polished commercial venture as much as a quiet, meditative one. The use of tabla, sarod, and chandrasarang adds to the session's spiritual nature. - by Al Campbell, AMG

This is a Sanders'cd I would recommend to all those who have heard of Sanders as a wild musician,shrieking through the saxophone. Here,he is in a very mellow, ,not to say soft ,mood. Religiosity or more accurately, spirituality permeates all the numbers on this cd. He reminds us of an evening service in a protestant church. Even those who are not fanatic jazz fans but like music with rythm should enjoy this cd which is definitely,one of the best this African-American Griot has produced. - by A Customer,

Artist: Pharoah Sanders
Album: A Prayer Before Dawn
Year: 1987
Label: Evidence (1993)
Total time: 56:00

1.  The Light At The Edge Of The World (Piero Piccioni) 5:11
2.  Dedication To James W. Clark (Pharoah Sanders) 5:18
3.  Softly For Shyla (William Henderson) 5:22
4.  The Greatest Love Of All (Linda Creed/Michael Masser) 8:27
5.  Midnight At Yoshi's (Pharoah Sanders) 5:57
6.  Living Space (John Coltrane) 4:35
7.  After The Rain (John Coltrane) 6:37
8.  In Your Own Sweet Way (Dave Brubeck) 7:09
9.  Christmas Song (Mel Tormé/Robert Wells) 7:24

Pharoah Sanders (Tenor Saxophone)
William Henderson (Piano and Synthesizer)
John Hicks (Piano) - 7
Brian McLaughlin (Tabla) - 5
Lynn Tausig (Sarod and Chandrasarang) - 5
Alvin Queen (Drums) - 5

Friday, March 25, 2011

Suns of Arqa - Shabda

Since 1979, Suns of Arqa have materialised as a musical collective, combining the ancient Hindustani raga systems with Piobaireachd and Nyabinghi roots drumming. They appear intermittently at the seasonal festivals and sacred ritual spaces, where they are a vehicle for the positive raising of vibration, connecting with both the sensory and infinite worlds, for the ongoing evolution of all sentient beings...
Shabda a superb album featuring the 1995 Suns of Arqa lineup - Johar Ali from New Delhi on violin, John Snelson on highland bagpipes, Sticksman on drums, tabla maestros Kalu and Sandeep, Wayne Worm on bass, Country Rankin, Angel -Eye and Wadada on vocals, and special guest Dhrupad musicians Reba and Sumit, amongst others. This is the some of the most interesting dub/world/raga/reggae/dance music in the world. - from

Artist: Suns of Arqa
Album: Shabda
Year: 1996
Label: Arka Sound (1999)
Runtime: 79:15

1.  Tomorrow Never Knows (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) 3:44
2.  There Is No Danger Here (Wadada/Johar Ali) 7:33
3.  Bhairavi Alap (Johar Ali) 2:05
4.  Through The Gate We Go (Angel/Wadada/Johar Ali) 11:01
5.  Bhairavi Live (Dhevdas Nair/John Snelson/ Wadada/SticksWayne Worm) 3:26
6.  Pure Reality (Country Rankin/Angel/Wadada/Sticks/Wayne Worm) 12:03
7.  The Greatest Invocation (Alice Bailey/Johar Ali/Turner) 5:12
8.  Basant Alap (Reba Bhaduri) 4:34
9.  Basant Dhrupad (Reba Bhaduri) 7:02
10.  Beyond The Beyond (Dion Fortune/Wadada/Johar Ali) 5:18
11.  The Great Unique (Wadada/John Snelson) 3:45
12.  Waterloo (John Snelson/Sticks) 3:24
13.  Fire Of Life (Wadada/Johar Ali/Turner) 6:41
14.  Hear The Call (Angel/Johar Ali) 3:23

Wadada (Bass Guitar, Sitar, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals)
Johar Ali (Violin)
John Snelson (Highland Bagpipes, Bombard)
Doctor Q (Hurdy Gurdy)
Gabri Armi (Didgeridoo)
Dhevdhas Nair (Santoor)
Sticks (Drums)
Sumit Bhaduri (Pakhawaj)
Strirangam S. Kannan (Morsing)
Kwasi Asante (Repeater Drum)
Kalu Zeria (Tabla)
Angel (Vocal, Tanpura) - 2,4,6-8,10,11,13,14
Rick the Switch (Guitar, Keyboards) - 7,13
Wayne Worm (Bass Guitar) - 5,6,9
Roly (Bass Guitar) - 5
Sandeep Popatkar (Tabla) - 5
Reba Bhaduri (Vocals, Tanpura) - 8,9
Country Rankin (Vocals) - 6

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Toufic Farroukh - Little Secrets

The saxophone player and composer Toufic Farroukh has chosen jazz as his favourite idiom - a jazz with the colours of the Orient, to reflect his career as an artist with his roots in two cultures, and one who is open to all the different forms of artistic expression in contemporary society, particularly dance, theatre and the cinema. A saxophonist since an early age, Toufic studied music at the Ecole Normale Supérieur in Paris, and today he collaborates regularly as a composer with the department of modern dance at the Paris Conservatory (CNR). Although resident in Paris, he keeps a watchful eye on everything happening on the cultural scene in the Lebanon. Toufic has also composed the music for several films and documentaries about his homeland, and has appeared as saxophonist on several albums of well -known artists. For his own albums, he leaves all theoretical dogma aside, assuming instead the various influences at work in his life, and from there going on to create in a strikingly tranquil manner his own utterly authentic universe. - from

Artist: Toufic Farroukh
Album: Little Secrets
Year: 1998
Label: Auvidis
Total time: 51:26

1.  Dance for my Father 5:31 
2.  What of It(intro) 0:33 
3.  What of It 4:11 
4.  Short Story 0:44 
5.  Paco's Mood 5:10 
6.  Ali au Pays des Merveilles 3:06 
7.  Maissa's Look 1:16 
8.  Daily Life 3:51 
9.  St Elias 4:24 
10.  Fayrouz Blues 3:37 
11.  Green Orange 4:12 
12.  Sugar Dissolvent 5:14 
13.  Don't Worry Baby 4:57 
14.  Take One for Radwan 1:50 
15.  Long Short Story 2:42 
All compositions by T. Farroukh

Toufic Farroukh (Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Percussion and Bouzouki) - 1,3,5-15
Charbel Rouhana (Oud) - 1,5,6,9-12
Bassam Saba (Nay, Flute) - 1,3,6,10,12,13
Etienne Brachet (Drums) - 1,3,5-13,15
Jean Wellers (Double Bass and Acoustic Guitar) - 1,3,5-13,15
Daniel Casimir (Trombone) - 1,5,8,9,11
Serge Adam (Trumpet and Flugelhorn) - 1,5,8,9,11,12
Cécile Daroux (Flute) - 1,3,5,9-13
Vincent Limousin (Vibraphone) - 1,5,9-11,15
Sidney Thiam (Percussion) - 1,5,6,9
Adel Chamss (Percussion) - 1,3,5,6,12
David Venitucci (Accordion) - 2,3,5,8,10,15
Leandro Acouncha (Piano) - 3-5,7-10,12,13,15
Jean-Jacques Sage (Percussion) - 10
Frederic Deville (Cello) - 13

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quincy Jones - Big Band Bossa Nova

This record his become much more than just a soundtrack. As pursuit7 already stated it is a symbol of a lifestyle and an era. It might be cooler than any music you have heard. How many records can be played in the trendiest Lounge bars and most conservative country clubs at the same time? at lest we have one here. Soul Bossa Nova takes a special position mostly because it has been used in so many occasion everybody recognises it, it is to say the pop-music from this record, but this track is definately not the (only) reason to buy BBBN. So this all means that how good or bad it is is almost irrelevant since it is sort of a reference itself. A must have. - by Nine-Oh-Nine Tommy,

A byproduct of the bossa nova fad that followed the success of "Desafinado" (and preceded the famous recording Getz/Gilberto), this set finds Quincy Jones utilizing and exploiting bossa nova rhythms in his arrangements for a big band. The personnel includes flügelhornist Clark Terry, altoist Phil Woods, pianist Lalo Schifrin, guitarist Jim Hall, and (on "Soul Bossa Nova") the remarkable Rahsaan Roland Kirk. However, since the selections are all quite brief, and some of the charts are a bit cheesy and inappropriate for the gentle rhythms, this disc (although pleasant enough) is of lesser interest. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Quincy Jones
Album: Big Band Bossa Nova
Year: 1962
Label: Verve (24bit remastered, 1998)
Runtime: 35:39

1.  Soul Bossa Nova (Quincy Jones) 2:47
2.  Boogie Stop Shuffle (Issued As 'Boogie Bossa Nova') (Charles Mingus) 2:44
3.  Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Newton Mendonca) 2:57
4.  Mahna de Carnaval (Luiz Bonfa) 2:57
5.  Se E Tarde Me Pardoa (Forgive Me If I'm Late) (Carlos Eduardo Lyra/Ronaldo Boscoli) 4:25
6.  On The Street Where You Live (Frederick Loewe/Alan Jay Lerner) 2:36
7.  One Note Samba (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 2:04
8.  Lalo Bossa Nova (Lalo Schifrin) 3:13
9.  Serenata (Leroy Anderson)  3:21
10.  Chega De Saudade (No More Blues) (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes) 5:39
11.  A Taste Of Honey (Ric Marlow/William R. Scott) 2:56

Quincy Jones (Arrenger, Conductor)
Jerome Richardson (Flutes and Woodwinds)
Lalo Schifrin (Piano)
Chris White (Double Bass)
Rudy Collins (Drums)
Jack Del Rio (Percussion)
Carlos Gomez (Percussion)
Jose Paula (Percussion)
Roland Kirk (Flute) - 1
Paul Gonsalves (Tenor Saxophone) - 2,4,7
Clark Terry (Trumpet and Flugelhorn) - 2,10
Jim Hall (Guitar) - 3,8-10
Phil Woods (Alto Saxophone) - 6,8,9

Monday, March 21, 2011

Antonio Carlos Jobim - The Girl from Ipanema

It has been said that Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim was the George Gershwin of Brazil, and there is a solid ring of truth in that, for both contributed large bodies of songs to the jazz repertoire, both expanded their reach into the concert hall, and both tend to symbolize their countries in the eyes of the rest of the world. With their gracefully urbane, sensuously aching melodies and harmonies, Jobim's songs gave jazz musicians in the 1960s a quiet, strikingly original alternative to their traditional Tin Pan Alley source.
Jobim's roots were always planted firmly in jazz; the records of Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Barney Kessel, and other West Coast jazz musicians made an enormous impact upon him in the 1950s. But he also claimed that the French impressionist composer Claude Debussy had a decisive influence upon his harmonies, and the Brazilian samba gave his music a uniquely exotic rhythmic underpinning. As a pianist, he usually kept things simple and melodically to the point with a touch that reminds some of Claude Thornhill, but some of his records show that he could also stretch out when given room. His guitar was limited mostly to gentle strumming of the syncopated rhythms, and he sang in a modest, slightly hoarse yet often hauntingly emotional manner.
Born in the Tijuca neighborhood of Rio, Jobim originally was headed for a career as an architect. Yet by the time he turned 20, the lure of music was too powerful, and so he started playing piano in nightclubs and working in recording studios. He made his first record in 1954 backing singer Bill Farr as the leader of "Tom and His Band" (Tom was Jobim's lifelong nickname), and he first found fame in 1956 when he teamed up with poet Vinícius de Moraes to provide part of the score for a play called Orfeo do Carnaval (later made into the famous film Black Orpheus). In 1958, the then-unknown Brazilian singer João Gilberto recorded some of Jobim's songs, which had the effect of launching the phenomenon known as bossa nova. Jobim's breakthrough outside Brazil occurred in 1962 when Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd scored a surprise hit with his tune "Desafinado" -- and later that year, he and several other Brazilian musicians were invited to participate in a Carnegie Hall showcase. Fueled by Jobim's songs, the bossa nova became an international fad, and jazz musicians jumped on the bandwagon, recording album after album of bossa novas until the trend ran out of commercial steam in the late '60s.
Jobim himself preferred the recording studios to touring, making several lovely albums of his music as a pianist, guitarist, and singer for Verve, Warner Bros., Discovery, A&M, CTI, and MCA in the '60s and '70s, and Verve again in the last decade of his life. Early on, he started collaborating with arranger/conductor Claus Ogerman, whose subtle, caressing, occasionally moody charts gave his records a haunting ambience. When Brazilian music was in its American eclipse after the '60s, a victim of overexposure and the burgeoning rock revolution, Jobim retreated more into the background, concentrating much energy upon film and TV scores in Brazil. But by 1985, as the idea of world music and a second Brazilian wave gathered steam, Jobim started touring again with a group containing his second wife Ana Lontra, his son Paulo, daughter Elizabeth, and various musician friends. At the time of his final concerts in Brazil in September 1993 and at Carnegie Hall in April 1994 (both available on Verve), Jobim at last was receiving the universal recognition he deserved, and a plethora of tribute albums and concerts followed in the wake of his sudden death in New York City of heart failure. Jobim's reputation as one of the great songwriters of the century is now secure, nowhere more so than on the jazz scene, where every other set seems to contain at least one bossa nova. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Antonio Carlos Jobim
Album: The Girl from Ipanema (A Retrospective of AC Jobim)
Year: 1967-70
Label: A&M (1996)
Runtime: 66:06

1.  The Girl From Ipanema 4:46 
2.  Look To The Sky 2:18 
3.  Antigua 3:08 
4.  Tema Jazz 4:35 
5.  Caribe 2:44 
6.  The Red Blouse 5:02 
7.  Lamento 2:41 
8.  Carinhoso 2:48 
9.  Takatanga 4:32 
10.  Batidinha 3:12 
11.  Tide 3:44 
12.  Rockanalia 4:45 
13.  Mojave 2:21 
14.  Triste 2:03 
15.  Sue Ann 3:05 
16.  Captain Bacardi 4:29 
17.  Diálogo 2:51 
18.  Wave 2:53 
19.  Remember 3:58 
All compositions - by Antonio Carlos Jobim

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paul Horn - A Special Edition

"The music in these album is special for me because it was recorded live. I have recorded live performances at concerts before but never at a club. This was the end of a concert tour for us and we had settled down to on week engagement in Gastown, Vancouver, B.C. These recordings were taken from the last two nights and we were ready for them - what a relief not moving to a different town each night after having traveled all day to face different acoustical situations.
We were rested and totally familiar and comfortable with the sound of the club. The place was packed every night with warm and enthusiastic audiences which inspered us. You know, audiences are an integral part of a performance. For music to really happen there must be a communication not only among members of the band but between the band and the auidence..." - by Paul Horn

Artist: Paul Horn
Album: A Special Edition
Year: 1976
Label: Black Sun (1989)
Runtime: 72:47


1.  Prelude (Paul Horn) 3:40
2.  Freedom Jazz Dance (Eddie Harris) 4:23
3.  Summertime (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 8:29
4.  Tribute To Jobim (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 5:16
5.  Just Because We're Kids (Dr. Seuss/Frederick Hollander) 4:09
6.  Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell) 5:43
7.  Rain (Lynn Blessing) 5:35
8.  Dusk (Paul Horn) 18:59
9.  Dawn (Paul Horn) 8:46
10.  Forms (Paul Horn) 7:42

Paul Horn (Flutes, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Electric Piano)
Lynn Blessing (Vibraphone)
Art Johnson (Electric Guitar)
Dave Parlato (Bass Guitar)
Bart Hall (Drums)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Donald Byrd & Kenny Burrell - All Night Long

Two of guitarist Kenny Burrell's best sessions from the 1950s were this release and its companion, All Day Long. Burrell is teamed with an impressive group of young all-stars, including trumpeter Donald Byrd, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, Jerome Richardson on flute and tenor, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor. In addition to the lengthy "All Night Long" and three group originals (two by Mobley and one from Waldron), the original LP program has been augmented by a medley of "Body and Soul" and "Tune Up" from the same session. Jam sessions such as this one are only as good as the solos; fortunately, all of the musicians sound quite inspired, making this an easily recommended set. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

A dynamite album all around, recorded a week after its companion disc All Day Long, with a different personnel. The title track opens the CD - it's a blues with an 8-bar bridge and sails on at medium-up tempo for over 17 minutes. Everybody gets in on the proceedings: Jerome Richardson is on flute and tenor (his only appearance on tenor on the date), and the tune goes out with characteristic 4-bar exchanges. Two minor-keyed tunes by Hank Mobley (Boo-Lu and Lil' Hank) are handled nicely, both of them taken up, and Byrd's muted solo on Boo-Lu is particularly fine. Two bonus tracks appear, Miles's Tune Up and a slow, introspective version of Body and Soul. There's not a dull moment on this outing; I even find it a tad better than All Day Long, but both albums are near perfect.- by Bomojaz,

Artist: Donald Byrd & Kenny Burrell
Album: All Night Long
Year: 1956
Label: OJC (1990)
Runtime:: 54:34

1.  All Night Long (Kenny Burrell) 17:12
2.  Boo-Lu (Hank Mobley) 6:48
3.  Flickers (Mal Waldron) 6:13
4.  Li'l Hankie (Hank Mobley) 8:23
5.  Body And Soul (Edward Heyman/Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Robert Sour) 10:22
6.  Tune Up (Miles Davis) 5:36

Donald Byrd (Trumpet)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Jerome Richardson (Flute and Tenor Saxophone)
Hank Mobley (Tenor Saxophone)
Mal Waldron (Piano)
Doug Watkins (Double Bass)
Art Taylor (Drums)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mari Boine - Eight Seasons

Eight Seasons is Mari Boine's first effort for the Minneapolis-based Scandinavian music label Northside. The album was issued in conjunction with Remixed, which features notables like Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell interpreting her work. Boine seems to have been inspired, collaborating with producer Bugge Wesseltoft for a collection of pieces weaving her alternately supple and intimate, angry and otherworldly vocals into moody arrangements tinged with jazz influence and electronic programming. It's been a cliché or a curse of the so-called world music community ever since the days of Deep Forest, but capable people can still integrate traditional melodies and voices with modern electronics for a seamless and relentlessly interesting sound. That's mostly what happens on Eight Seasons. Here, Boine's drifts between languages, using both traditional vocalizing techniques as well as modern singing in an effortless, captivating dance. She wavers in a cappella like the fingers of a chilly wind over the expanse of "Mu Váibmu Vádjul Doppe," before a quiet acoustic guitar joins in; while Boine's vocals are of an entirely different tradition, there's a commonality of strident emotion between she and someone like Sinéad O'Connor. Initially, "Boadan Nuppi Bealde" is one of the more straightforwardly down-tempo affairs here, as Boine's vocals share time, far-away keyboards, and the throbbing bass groove typical of chill compilations everywhere. But when Jan Garbarek's sax joins in, and her vocals become something wordless and amazing, the track has settled in a land unknown to most. "Guovssahasaid Ájagáttis" and "Sáráhka Viina" balance voice and accompaniment perfectly, each element contributing equally to the overall energy that permeates Eight Seasons. It's in the background, or in the darkness, or around a bend. But it's there, the warmth, in every wandering electronic program or expressive vocal trill from Boine, a sliver of flame on the grassland's horizon, snaking into the sky. After the soaring vocal and subtle, almost bluesy grooves of "Duottar Rássi," the nearly eight-minute "Silba Várjala" feels like the emotional heart of Seasons, its most penetrating gaze. It begins with what sounds like a looped field recording, yelping dogs, and footsteps. Boine's voice, filtered at first behind the halting notes of a guitar, builds in strength over the brooding electronic rhythm, until her Joik overtakes the electronics completely, becoming fully responsible for the song's deep, chilly atmosphere. Let's see a keyboard's hard drive do that. - by Johnny Loftus, AMG

Artist: Mari Boine
Album: Eight Seasons
Year: 2001
Label: Universal
Runtime: 63:13

1.  I Come From The Other Side (Mari Boine/Svein Schultz) 5:37
2.  Song For The Unborn (Mari Boine/Roger Ludvigsen/Inga R. Eira) 6:33
3.  Sárákha's Wine (Mari Boine/Roger Ludvigsen/Risten Sokki) 4:40
4.  By The Source Of Aurora B (Mari Boine/Roger Ludvigsen/Risten Sokki) 6:02
5.  Soul Medicine (Age Anthi/Nils Viktor Holmberg) 5:06
6.  Hymn (Traditional) 4:23
7.  Butterfly (Mari Boine/Roger Ludvigsen/Merle Collins) 4:21
8.  In A Blanket Of Warmth (Mari Boine/Kirsti Paltto) 5:46
9.  You Never Know (Mari Boine/Synnove Persen) 4:40
10. Tundra Flower (Mari Boine/Roger Ludvigsen/Nils Johan Heatta) 4:32
11.  Let Silver Protect (Mari Boine/Roger Ludvigsen/Kirsti Paltto) 7:55
12.  Give Me A Break (Mari Boine) 3:33

Mari Boine (Vocals)
Bugge Wesseltoft (Synthesizer, Programming, Percussion) - 1,4,5,7,8,11
Svein Schultz (Bass Guitar) - 1,2,4,5,8,9,11
Roger Ludvigsen (Guitar, Loops) - 1-11
Kenneth Ekornes (Drums, Percussion, Sounds) - 1-5,8-11
Richard Thomas (Soprano Saxophone, Flute) - 4,5,9
Carlos Z. Quispe (Flute, Charango) - 2,4,5,7,8,10-12
Jan Garbarek (Tenor Saxophone) - 1

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jimmy Forrest - Night Train

Jimmy Forrest had a tremendous hit in 1951 with "Night Train," a simple blues riff he lifted from Duke Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local." Although the tenorman was not able to duplicate that song's appeal with any other recording, he was a popular performer in the R&B circuit throughout the 1950s. Virtually all of his records from the era (originally made for the United label) are on this CD reissue, including five selections not previously released. The tough-toned Forrest was not really a screamer or a honker, and the 17 numbers on the set should be of interest both to early R&B and jazz collectors. Recorded in Chicago, Forrest fronts a rhythm section that includes either Charles Fox or Bunky Parker on piano and sometimes trumpeter Chauncey Locke or trombonist Bert Dabney. The music is very enjoyable and highly recommended. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Jimmy Forrest
Album: Night Train
Year: 1953
Label: Delmark (1990)
Runtime: 49:10

1.  Night Train (Jimmy Forrest) 2:59
2.  Calling Dr. Jazz (Eddie Davis) 3:05
3.  Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington) 2:41
4.  Swingin' and Rockin' (Jimmy Forrest) 2:37
5.  Bolo Blues (Jimmy Forrest) 3:16
6.  Mister Goodbeat (Marion Charles Miller) 2:43
7.  Flight 3-D (Jimmy Forrest) 3:11
8.  Hey Mrs. Jones (Marion Charles Miller) 2:57
9.  My Buddy (Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn) 3:11
10.  Song of the Wanderer (Neil Moret) 2:15
11.  Blue Groove (Nat Adderley) 3:11
12.  Big Dip (Jimmy Forrest) 2:46
13.  Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter) 2:58
14.  There Will Never Be Another You (Harry Warren) 3:09
15.  Coach 13 (Jimmy Forrest) 2:24
16.  Dig Those Feet (Jimmy Forrest) 2:49
17.  Mrs. Jones' Daughter (Jimmy Forrest) 2:51

Jimmy Forrest (Tenor Saxophone)
Chauncey Locke (Trumpet)
Bart Dabney (Trombone)
Bunky Parker (Piano)
Charles Fox (Piano)
Johnny Mixon (Double Bass)
Oscar Oldham (Drums)
Percy James (Conga and Bongos)
Bob Reagen (Conga and Bongos)

Elek Bacsik - Guitar Conceptions

Hungarian guitarist Elek Bacsik is a cousin of Django Reinhardt, and has continued his tradition of blending swing and gypsy elements into a coherent, expressive jazz mode. Bacisk initially studied classical violin and played gypsy songs in Budapest, then switched to jazz guitar. As a teen, he recorded in a band with alto saxophonist Geza Szabo and trumpeter Jozsef Quitter, then later toured Europe with Mihaly Tabanyi's band. Bacsik moved to Paris in 1959, and through the early and mid-'60s recorded and played with visiting American musicians, among them Art Simmons, Quentin Jackson, Lou Bennett and Dizzy Gillespie. He also did sessions heading his own bands. Bacsik came to America in 1966, and worked from 1967-1974 with Teresa Brewer before cutting his own sessions. He appeared at the 1974 Newport Jazz Festival and 1984 Olympic Games Jazz Festival in Los Angeles. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

Artist: Elek Bacsik
Album: Guitar Conceptions
Year: 1963
Label: Universal (2010)
Runtime: 40:27

1.  Conception (George Shering) 3:17
2.  Tenderly (Jack Lawrence/Walter Gross) 3:48
3.  Work Song (Nat Adderley) 3:31
4.  Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg) 2:28
5.  Loin du Brésil (Jacques Chaumelle/Valto Latinen) 3:37
6.  La saison des pluies (Serge Gainsburg/Elek Bacsik) 3:58
7.  Three to Get Ready (Dave Brubeck) 2:00
8.  The Midnight Sun Will Never Set (Henri Salvador/Quincy Jones) 3:23
9.  Gemini (Jimmy Heath) 4:08
10.  So What (Miles Davis) 3:54
11.  Goodbye (Gordon Jenkins) 3:57
12.  Room 608 (Horace Silver) 2:21

Elek Bacsik (Guitar)
Guy Pedersen (Double Bass)
Daniel Humair (Drums)
Maurice Vander (Organ) - 2,6,9
Pepito Riestra (Percussion) - 5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ryuichi Sakamoto - BTTB

In a departure from his more electronically amplified works, composer and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto's BTTB stands as a sometimes contemplative, a periodically nostalgic, and an often new age-sounding acoustic piano album. At the time that Sakamoto began composing for BTTB, he thought that a CD of piano music felt right, though he was not sure of what kind of styles he wanted to play around with. Instead of settling on one or two styles, the renowned pianist and composer experimented with several. For instance, on BTTB, Sakamoto delves into avant-garde piano techniques, playing a prepared piano on the gently circular "Prelude" and "Uetax." With his song "Bachata," Sakamoto interprets folkloric music from the Dominican Republic. Sakamoto's two choral-inspired pieces, "Choral No. 1" and "Choral No. 2," were born out of his fascination with Bach's "St. Mathew Passion" and medieval-esque Gregorian chants. On BTTB, Sakamoto also plays with a variety of themes. On the CD's first two tracks, "Energy Flow" and "Put Your Hands Up - Piano Version," Sakamoto is concerned with issues of healing and therapy. With "Railroad Man," the CD's third track, the pianist and composer attempts to depict the ambience of steam locomotives. All in all, BTTB is a mellifluous CD that highlights Sakamoto's heartfelt dedication to the piano and fascination with various musical traditions. - by John Vallier, AMG

It's somewhat difficult to describe the impression "BTTB" made when I first listened to the album nearly two years ago, but in the very least I can say this: it was, at the time, my single inspiration for learning the piano and proved an accessible gateway into the music of Romantic and Contemporary Classical. For this reason alone I'm deeply indebted to Sakamoto. Yet rather than persuade with articulated opinions....
"BTTB" is nearly a tribute album to Sakamoto's classical influences. Erik Satie, perhaps the single most influential composer on Sakamoto's piano style, can be heard all over the album. Most noticeably on the very French-like "Opus," "Lorenz and Watson," "Chanson," and the nearly Bach-like Chorales. John Cage is also emulated more conspicuously on the album's prepared piano pieces (particularly "Sonata," which sounds very much like Cage's fifth sonata for prepared piano which, as coincidence would also have it, was sampled on David Sylvian's "Pollen Path" from "Dead Bees on a Cake" featuring Sakamoto). But two Romantic composers seem to be more carefully hinted at: a tilt of the hat to Brahms on the beautiful "Intermezzo" and towards Ravel on the challenging "Sonatine" and "Bachata." Yet Sakamoto draws no more heavily from his classical influences than his own output. "Energy Flow," "Put Your Hands Up," and "Railroad Man" are new piano arrangements of recent commercial compositions and are all uniquely Sakamoto, except perhaps for "Aqua," a simple piece originally composed for his daughter Miu's album, but no less beautiful than the more sophisticated compositions. "Snake Eyes," the main theme for the film of the same title, was also recorded as bonus material along with the playful YMO fanfare "Tong Poo," here in a new two-handed piano four-hands arrangement courtesy of a little computer processing. And the too often over-looked "Reversing," a unique track to the otherwise castrated international release, is in my opinion a hidden gym. It's also worth mentioning a little more clearly the differences between the numerous versions of "BTTB." The album was originally released in Japan sans "Energy Flow," "Put Your Hands Up," and "Railroad Man" (which were released separately on the enormously successful EP "ura-BTTB") and featured several tracks not included on the international release: "Distant Echo," "Do Bacteria Sleep?", which features, oddly enough for a piano album, a Mongolian mouth harp, and the prepared piano piece "Sonata." "Snake Eyes" and "Tong Poo" were later included as bonus tracks on the Japanese reissue. For fans of Sakamoto's music, I would recommend buying the import "BTTB" featuring the bonus tracks along with "Ura-BTTB," but you very well might want the international release for "Reversing" alone. Yes, that is how they get you.... Oh, and "Choral No. 3" can be heard in Sakamoto's opera, so I also recommend any of the many, many releases of "Life." Otherwise, the international release provides a decent "best of" from the wealth of piano music either originally composed or arranged for the album. - by A. Rue,

Artist: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Album: BTTB
Year: 1999
Label: Sony Classical
Runtime: 64:50

1.  Opus 4:25 
2.  Sonatine 3:38 
3.  Intermezzo 3:44 
4.  Lorenz and Watson 3:56 
5.  Choral No1 2:27 
6.  Choral No2 2:04 
7.  Do Bacteria Sleep? 4:17 
8.  Bachata 8:14 
9.  Chanson 2:23 
10.  Distant Echo 5:53 
11.  Prelude 4:08 
12.  Sonata 3:30 
13.  Uetax 0:26 
14.  Aqua 4:28 
15.  Snake Eyes 6:06 
16.  Tong Poo 5:03 
All compositions by R. Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto (Piano)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Archie Shepp - Yasmina, A Black Woman

Archie Shepp is in the running as one of my favorite jazz recording artists, due to his creative control and his strong easily discernable political message, not to mention his deeply emotive and not-yet-successfully-emulated tone. It's very easy to get what's left in print of Shepp's Impulse catalogue and call it a day, and although not all of his efforts on other labels are necessities, this is. These obscure French sessions feature some of the very best Shepp has ever played with, a bold statement considering previous company like Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, Reggie Workman, Cedar Walton, Woody Shaw, Marion Brow, Grachan Moncur, and his other impulse fellows. For example the first track features Phillie Joe Jones on set, Arthur Taylor on Rhythm Logs, and Sunny Murray on African Percussion. Three of the best drummers of the era are all playing at once. Needless to say it's a monster of a groove, with a proto-hip hop baseline, and some avant-funky soloing from Shepp who blasts into the song just befor the 4 minute mark with a tone that sounds like its electrically distorted, but it's all acoustic here, no worries. Some of the sections where the band drops out leaving Archie with just the rhythm section sound about 20 years ahead of their time in funkiness, just listen at 9:50. Dave Burrell also does some killer piano work. I have yet to hear improvisation from Shepp this crazy, intense, funky, and varied anywhere else. The second track is a wonderfully unique occurrence. Shepp has what amounts to a Sonny Rollins style piano-less blues duel with hard bop giant Hank Mobley. You will never hear this meeting anywhere else, and while this 14 minute blues out is less varied than the first track, at his heart, Shepp says he's a bluesman and it shows here. The composition incidentally is one of Grachan Moncur's first, making its first appearance on record here. Phillie is still on set here, and this track could easily be issued under his name too, absolutely insane drumming. The last track on the first LP reissued here is a great and highly emotive reading of Body and Soul by Shepp, and this track really rounds out the album with a bit of Shepp's Ben Webster balladry, making these three tracks a great summation of Shepp's best skills- afro percussive jazz and funk, expressionist blues, and new twists on old standards/ballads. At this price I can fully recommend this disc for the first LP alone, as Yasmina a Black Woman is an absolute 5 star album from Shepp. - by Gerrit R. Hatcher,

There is some intriguing music on this Affinity recording. Tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp met up with members of the Chicago avant-garde school for the first time, including Art Ensemble of Chicago members Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Favors, on the lengthy "Yasmina," a track that also includes drummers Philly Joe Jones, Art Taylor and Sunny Murray. On "Sonny's Back," there is an unlikely tenor tradeoff between Shepp and Hank Mobley, while "Body and Soul" gives Shepp a showcase opportunity. Although this set is not essential, it is unique enough to be recommended to avant-garde collectors. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Archie Shepp
Album: Yasmina, A Black Woman
Year: 1969
Label: Charly (1995)
Runtime: 40:43

1.  Yasmina, A Black Woman (Archie Shepp) 20:12
2.  Sonny's Back (Grachan Moncur III) 14:07
3.  Body and Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 6:23

Archie Shepp (Tenor Saxophone, Vocals)
Dave Burrell (Piano)
Malachi Favors (Double Bass)
Philly Joe Jones (Drums)
Clifford Thornton (Clarinet) - 1
Lester Bowie (Trumpet) - 1
Arthur Jones (Alto Saxophone) - 1
Roscoe Mitchell (Bass Saxophone) - 1
Earl Freeman (Double Bass) - 1
Sunny Murray (Drums and Percussion) - 1
Art Taylor (Rhythm Logs) - 1
Laurence Devereaux (Balafon) - 1
Hank Mobley (Tenor Saxophone) - 2

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House - At Montreux

Guitarist Larry Coryell's Eleventh House was a particularly interesting fusion group of the mid-1970's for, in addition to the leader, keyboardist Mike Mandel, bassist Danny Trifan and the dynamic drummer Alphonse Mouzon, the unit featured trumpeter Michael Lawrence. Their appearance at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival makes for a rather brief CD (under 34 minutes) but has its moments of interest. Coryell starts the proceedings by playing his unaccompanied acoustic guitar on a classical piece, that number is followed by four passionate group originals full of fire and dated electronics, and the set finishes with the strongest piece, "The Eleventh House Blues." Although the music is not essential nor particularly innovative, the mixture of straightahead elements with prime period fusion is often stimulating. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House
Album: At Montreux
Year: 1974
Label: Vanguard (1979)
Runtime: 36:14

1.  Intro 0:31 
2.  Improvisation on Villa-Lobos (Larry Coryell) 3:18
3.  Tamari (Alphonse Mouzon) 4:45
4.  Joyride (Mike Mandel) 9:42
5.  Rasputin (Mike Mandel) 4:23
6.  Song for a New York Rainmaker (Danny Trifan) 4:42
7.  The 11th House Blues (Larry Coryell) 8:50

Larry Coryell (Guitar)
Mike Mandel (Keyboards)
Alphonse Mouzon (Drums)
Michael Lawrence (Trumpet)
Danny Trifan (Bass)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Woven Hand - Woven Hand

David Eugene Edwards, the long-time front man for those remarkable gothabilly rockers Sixteen Horsepower, has taken his loyal fans on a thoughtful side trip in "Woven Hand." The curious but colorful album art may give one a hint that this project is of a slightly different breed than previous efforts. This work features a keyboard-oriented sound that lends the songs a lighter touch to complement the underlying drone. The lyrics are at times David's most spiritual and even sentimental, but what a distressing sentimentality. Yes there is a romantic element here, but this is not a picnic free of dark and threatening skies. David, as always, has taken this chance to do some soul searching, but here it seems focused and thematic. "Blue Pail Fever" is a travelogue of sorts, taking us with him to the uttermost parts of his own journey as an artist, contemplating the sacrifice and confidence of his savior. The inspiration is clear, even in the darkness of his despair. "Arrowhead" is an immediate favorite, asking questions and telling the story of a young pilgrim's progress, reminding us how mistakes often have consequences. Similarly, "Glass Eye" laments human frailty and hubris in the presence of grace. Even more compelling is "Wooden Brother" with its bright but haunting melody, driving this brooding memoir to an intensity that is hard to deny. "Story and Pictures" sounds like the song David Edwards has been working on his whole career long. Boys growing up too soon, repentance coming far too slow, grace burning it all away. "The Good Hand" is similar in its tale of persistent mercy and loving-kindness in the face of death, decay and corruption. The bookends of "My Russia" and "Your Russia" recount personal conviction and promise ultimate sanctification with an intensity and plain sincerity only David Edwards might be capable of producing. The slip and the grip of grace. The project itself is woven together by the recurrent sounds and sonic themes, one of which might be described as locusts on a warm summer's night that take on different moods and intensities as the album progresses. Some songs simply blend together (a technique that drives DJs crazy) an effect that lends the work a continuity that would otherwise be lost. A curious addition here is the cover of "Ain't No Sunshine," one that would make Bill Withers sit up and take note. But the melody line is there and so is the intention. I guess hillbillies can get lonely too. - by Daniel S. Russell,

Woven Hand is former 16 Horsepower man David Eugene Edwards, who plays almost everything on a disc that could sometimes be called bluegrass gothic. Dark and portentous, Edwards broods over his songs, ensuring that the shadows are dark and long. The mood isn't a million miles from a lot of Nick Cave's work, although the acoustic textures (electric guitar occurs sparingly on a few tracks) tend to diminish the impact a little. What's certainly outstanding is his feel throughout, especially on a cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" where the golden orb rarely gets a peek in. "Arrow Head" starts with an Appalachian nod to a Celtic past before heading through as white gospel church, then down the holler to the graveyard, and the striking opener, "The Good Hand," lays out Edwards' musical manifesto with an almost funereal grace. It's good, often very good, but it could have been better if Edwards had been willing to let a few more chinks of light into the hermetic world -- and also a greater variety of instruments. He's a strong mandolin player, but it often doesn't suit the mood he's trying to convey. Still, it's worth repeated hearings. - by Chris Nickson, AMG

Artist: Woven Hand (David Eugene Edwards)
Album: Woven Hand
Year: 2003
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Runtime: 40:42

1.  The Good Hand 4:10 
2.  My Russia 3:43 
3.  Blue Pail Fever 4:58 
4.  Glass Eye 3:00 
5.  Wooden Brother 5:06 
6.  Ain't No Sunshine 2:54  (Bill Withers)
7.  Story And Pictures 4:54 
8.  Arrowhead 3:26 
9.  Your Russia 4:15  (D.E.Edwards/Stephen Taylor)
10.  Last Fist 4:12 
All compostions by D.E. Edwards, except 6,9

David Eugene Edwards (Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Drums, Keyboards)
Stephen Taylor (Electric Guitar) - 1,2,7-9
David McMahon (Piano, Vocal, Organ) - 5,8

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Duke Ellington - Blues in Orbit

The atmospheric, floating quality (see title) of the production and the mysterious, airy, and sparse arrangements make this album an overlooked gem in the Ellington catalog. Two of the tracks were cut in 1958 utilizing the full 15-piece orchestra: the slow-moving blues of the title track, where the leader's eerie piano fills answer the statements of the full band, and "Track 360," a dramatic aural representation of a train wreck. The remainder of the CD (minus one other track) was recorded with slightly smaller configurations at two midnight sessions in December of the following year. Ray Nance (the only trumpet because of band restructuring) and especially Johnny Hodges offer the most rewarding solo contributions of the date, many of which stand alongside their best ever. Hodges's magnificently fragile and seductive alto graces "Brown Penny" and handles both delicate and driving passages with aplomb on Billy Strayhorn's "Smada" (with the composer in the piano chair) while Nance belts out the bridge. The band also revisits earlier classics from the Ellington songbook: Nance shows his violin prowess on "C Jam Blues" before growling through "In a Mellotone"; "Sentimental Lady" is in Hodges's capable caress. - by Marc Greilsamer, AMG

Artist: Duke Ellington and His Award Winners
Album: Blues in Orbit
Year: 1958
Label: Columbia (2009)
Runtime: 61:34

1.  Three J's Blues (Jimmy Hamilton) 2:54
2.  Smada (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) 2:38
3.  Pie Eye's Blues (Duke Ellington) 3:27
4.  Sweet & Pungent (Billy Strayhorn) 4:03
5.  C Jam Blues (Duke Ellington) 4:52
6.  In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington) 2:43
7.  Blues in Blueprint (Duke Ellington) 3:43
8.  The Swingers Get the Blues, too (Duke Ellington/Matthew Gee) 3:09
9.  The Swinger's Jump (Duke Ellington) 3:53
10.  Blues in Orbit (Billy Strayhorn) 2:29
11.  Villes Ville Is the Place, Man (Duke Ellington) 2:33
12.  Track 360 [Bonus] (Duke Ellington) 2:03
13.  Sentimental Lady [Bonus] (Duke Ellington) 4:02
14.  Brown Penny [Bonus] (Duke Ellington) 3:02
15.  Pie eEye's Blues [Alternate take] [Bonus] (Duke Ellington) 3:32
16.  Sweet & Pungent [Alternate take] [Bonus] (Billy Strayhorn) 3:52
17.  The Swinger's Jump [Alternate take] [Bonus] (Duke Ellington) 3:51
18.  Blues in Orbit [Alternate take] [Bonus] (Billy Strayhorn) 2:39
19.  Track 360 [Alternate take] [Bonus] (Duke Ellington) 2:01

Duke Ellington (Piano)
Clark Terry (Trumpet) - 10,12,18,19
Cat Anderson (Trumpet) - 10,12,18,19
Shorty Baker (Trumpet) - 10,12,18,19
Ray Nance (Trumpet, Violin)
Quentin Jackson (Trombone) - 10-12,17-19
Britt Woodman (Trombone)
John Sanders (Trombone) - 10-12,17-19
Bill Graham (Alto Saxophone) - 10-12,17-19
Harry Carney (Alto and Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Jimmy Hamilton (Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet) - 1-10,12-19
Paul Gonsalves (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3-5,10,12-16,18,19
Jimmy Woode (Double Bass)
Sam Woodyard (Drums) - 10-12,18,19
Johnny Hodges (Alto Saxophone) - 1-9,11,13-17
Booty Wood (Trombone) - 1-9,13-17
Matthew Gee (Trombone) - 1-9,13-17
Russell Procope (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet) - 1-9,13-17
Jimmy Johnson (Drums) - 1-9,13-17
Billy Strayhorn (Piano) - 2,7

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kalman Balogh & The Gypsy Cimbalom Band

Kalman Balogh is one the foremost Hungarian players of the cimbalom, a type of hammer dulcimer played with mallets like a vibraphone. Gypsy jazz continues a fabled European musical tradition harking back to the collaboration of masters such as gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, connecting the ancient folk music traditions to Central and Eastern Europe with the chord progressions and swing of jazz.Balogh's cimbalom becomes a new and compelling voice centering a band that also includes acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet and violins.- from the Rounder records group's website

Artist: Kalman Balogh & The Gypsy Cimbalom Band
Album: Kalman Balogh & The Gypsy Cimbalom Band
Year: 1997
Label: Fonó Records
Runtime: 53:49

1. Gipsy Colours 4:36
2. Calusul Dance 4:55
3. Transylvanian Suite 5:55
4. Hora (F minor) 2:04
5. Klezmer Tunes 4:41
6. Hora de la Bim-Bim 4:37
7. Suite for Trumpet 6:18
8. A csitári hegyek alatt 4:53
9. Madedon Tunes 5:32
10. The Lark 3:48
11. Bulgarian Gipsy Horo 6:30
All music is traditional and arranged by Kálmán Balogh & Gipsy Cimbalom Band

Kálmán Balogh (Cimbalom)
Sándor Kuti (Guitar and Bass)
Ferenc Kovács (Trumpet, Violin and Vocal)
Sándor Budai (Violin) - 1,3,8,11
Csaba Novák (Double Bass)
László Major (Violin)
Géza Orczy (Derbouka) - 9,11

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grant Green - Live at the Lighthouse

Some of Grant Green's hottest moments as a jazz-funk bandleader came on his live records of the era, which were filled with extended, smoking grooves and gritty ensemble interplay. Live at the Lighthouse makes a fine companion piece to the excellent Alive!, though there are some subtle differences which give the album its own distinct flavor. For starters, the average track length is even greater, with four of the six jams clocking in at over 12 minutes. That makes it easy to get lost in the grooves as the musicians ride and work them over. What's more, the rhythmic foundation of the group is noticeably altered. Live at the Lighthouse is one of the few Green albums of the period not to feature loose-limbed funky drummer Idris Muhammad, and his spare, booming sound and direct James Brown inspiration give way to the busy, bubbling, frequently up-tempo polyrhythms of drummer Greg Williams and extra percussionist Bobbye Porter Hall. They push the rest of the group to cook up a storm on tracks like "Windjammer" (which is taken at a madly up-tempo pace compared to the version on Green Is Beautiful), Donald Byrd's modal piece "Fancy Free" (which features some of Green's best soloing of the date), and organist Shelton Laster's soulful original "Flood in Franklin Park." Laster winds up as probably the most impassioned soloist, breaking out of the pocket for some spiralling, hard-swinging flights. For his part, Green works the grooves with the ease of a soul-jazz veteran used to the concept. The results make Live at the Lighthouse one of his best, most organic jazz-funk outings. [The CD reissue excises four spoken DJ intros from the original double LP in order to fit all the music on one disc.] - by Steve Huey, AMG

Artist: Grant Green
Album: Live at the Lighthouse
Year: 1972
Label: Blue Note (20-bit SBM, 1998)
Runtime: 71:08

1.  Introduction by Hank Stewart 2:30 
2.  Windjammer (Neal Qreque) 12:15
3.  Betcha by Golly, Wow (Thom Bell / Linda Creed) 7:41
4.  Fancy Free (Donald Byrd) 14:44
5.  Flood in Franklin Park (Shelton Laster) 15:00
6.  Jan Jan (Miles Davis) 12:18
7.  Walk in the Night (Johnny Bristol / Marilyn McLeod) 6:37

Grant Green (Guitar)
Claude Bartee (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone)
Gary Coleman (Vibraphone)
Shelton Laster (Organ)
Wilton Felder (Bass Guitar)
Greg Williams (Drums)
Bobbye Porter Hall (Congas, Percussion)


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