Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oscar Peterson - Meets Roy Hargrove and Ralph Moore

Ne-o-clas-si-cism: A revival of classical aesthetics and forms, especially, characterized by a regard for the classical ideals of reason, form, and restraint, by order, symmetry, and simplicity of style. Neo-classicism and Roy Hargrove have become synonymous in jazz circles. His style and focus are now completely his own. Roy possesses a hard driving spirit to excel. Volumes have been written about the virtuosity of Oscar Peterson, his competitive spirit and drive. Together you have the makings of an exciting jam session that's well worth the price of admission. In this case the cost of the CD, that finds these two jazz poets working with a strong cast of players including Peterson's long time associate, Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass.In 1993, Oscar Peterson suffered a stroke that limited the use of his left hand, though there is little evidence to prove that poses a problem on this recording. The CD includes seven original compositions written by Oscar Peterson. "Rob Roy" written for Roy Hargove and "She Has Gone" written in memory of Ella Fitzgerald are captivating. I especially enjoy "Ecstasy," where an introspective emotional reading is heard from Peterson, Hargrove and Moore. This quintet setting gives all the players ample room to stretch and have fun. This CD is highly recommended listening pleasure. - by Jeff Duperon, All About

Artist: Oscar Peterson
Album: Oscar Peterson Meets Roy Hargrove and Ralph Moore
Year: 1996
Label: Telarc Jazz (20-bit digital)
Runtime: 61:34

1.  Tin Tin Deo (Walter Fuller) 5:48
2.  Rob Roy (Oscar Peterson) 6:46
3.  Blues For Stephane (Oscar Peterson) 4:58
4.  My Foolish Heart (Ned Washington/Victor Young) 7:40
5.  Cool Walk (Oscar Peterson) 7:21
6.  Ecstasy (Oscar Peterson) 6:35
7.  Just Friends (Samuel M. Lewis) 5:52
8.  Truffles (Oscar Peterson) 6:30
9.  She Has Gone (Oscar Peterson) 5:36
10.  North York (Oscar Peterson) 4:28

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Niels Henning Oersted-Pedersen (Double Bass)
Lewis Nash (Drums)
Roy Hargrove (Trumpet)
Ralph Moore (Tenor Saxophone)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Stan Getz & Bob Brookmeyer - Recorded Fall 1961

In spite of its rather bland album title, Recorded Fall 1961 is an overlooked masterpiece within the extensive discography of Stan Getz, not only because of his playing, but especially that of valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, along with Brookmeyer's excellent charts, which have stood the test of time very well. Rounding out the quintet is pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves and drummer Roy Haynes. The trombonist contributed three originals to the sessions, highlighted by the loping waltz "Minuet Circa '61," an extended piece with a catchy theme and superb solos. The humorous interpretation of "Nice Work If You Can Get It" avoids the typical banal approaches. Getz and Brookmeyer blend well together and excel in their use of counterpoint, while the rhythm section is superb. Long unavailable, this highly recommended recording was finally reissued as a CD in 2002. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Stan Getz & Bob Brookmeyer
Album: Recorded Fall 1961
Year: 1961
Label: Verve (Master Edition, 24-bit digital transfer, 2002)
Runtime: 43:03

1.  Minuet Circa '61 (Bob Brookmeyer) 10:38
2.  Who Could Care (Bob Brookmeyer) 4:46
3.  Nice Work If You Can Get It (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 5:58
4.  Thump, Thump, Thump (Bob Brookmeyer) 6:52
5.  A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square (Manning Sherwin/Eric Mashwitz) 6:59
6.  Love Jumped Out (Buck Clayton) 7:46

Stan Getz (Tenor Saxophone)
Bob Brookmeyer (Trombone)
Steve Kuhn (Piano)
John Neves (Double Bass)
Roy Haynes (Drums)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sadao Watanabe - Sadao 2000

Making this new recording with Richard Bona, at the beginning of the year 2000, has been a blessing. It is my 61st album since 1961 and I have never before been so impressed with an artist's ease and natural ability creating music, as I've been witnessing Bona's work in this session. I have been searching for this kind of universal sound and rhythm since I first visited Africa in 1972. Bona is someone who we can truly call GIFTED. Thank you, Bona. - by Sadao Watanabe

Richard Bona and Sadao Watanabe make a great musical team. This is the first of two recorded collaborations (so far). Watanabe is a very melodic improviser with the song always first and foremost. Bona is an outstanding bassist, singer, and writer in his own right. However, many of the songs on this effort fail to really catch fire. Both the playing and production is a little "safe" and close to smooth jazz for my taste. That being said, the faster tempoed songs that utilize Bona's singing and afro-jazz bass playing come across very well. They expanded on this approach for the utterly outstanding "Wheel of Life" CD. That one is essential for fans of Sadao Watanabe and/or Richard Bona. - by It's Me, Really,

Artist: Sadao Watanabe
Album: Sadao 2000
Year: 2000
Label: Verve
Runtime: 46:54

1.  Matahari Terbenam (Sunrise) (Sadao Watanabe) 2:15
2.  Te Misseya (Richard Bona) 5:08
3.  Sa So Ngando (Step in and Dance) (Sadao Watanabe) 6:18
4.  I Thought of You (Sadao Watanabe) 6:25
5.  Nostalgia (Sadao Watanabe) 5:04
6.  Hana no Shima (Richard Bona) 3:29
7.  Life is All Like That (For Snoopy & His Friends) (Sadao Watanabe) 5:09
8.  Back Yard Suite (Sadao Watanabe) 5:19
9.  One in the Same (Sadao Watanabe/Richard Bona) 4:44
10.  Por Toda a Minha Vida (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes) 2:59

Sadao Watanabe (Alto, Sopranino Saxophone)
Richard Bona (Bass Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar) - 1-9
George Whitty (Piano, Keyboards)
Jonathan Joseph (Drums) - 1-9
Mike Stern (Guitar) - 7
Café (Surdo) - 9

Monday, July 25, 2011

John McLaughlin - Time Remembered

John McLaughlin has always been a huge fan of the late jazz pianist Bill Evans. He tells fondly of attending a show with Dave Liebman in which Evans went beyond brilliant. He also sadly relates the story that Evans had invited him to his house to play, but the pianist died before it could happen. Evans brought a classical touch to the keys. He created a sound that was pure and strong, but delicate as well. Although he went on to work in solo and trio formats, he remains best known for his collaborations with Miles Davis. He co-wrote, although this is often in dispute, the classic "Blue in Green" from Davis’ classic quintet recording Kind of Blue. But he also composed, without dispute, two of the most beautiful melodies ever written, “Very Early” and “Waltz for Debby”. Evans remains one of the most influential jazz piano players of the last 50 years. (Be sure to check out pianist Mitchel Forman’s Then and Now: A Tribute to Bill Evans for a pianist’s take on the master's music.)
John McLaughlin recorded this tribute to Bill Evans in 1993, with his acoustic guitar backed by the acoustic guitars of the Aighetta Quartet and the acoustic bass of Yan Maresz. McLaughlin plays the head arrangements of Evans’ tunes, adding his own improvisational approach during solos. He wrote out the pieces for the Quartet and Marasz, and the highly reverberant results sound more like a European classical lullaby than jazz. But, as always, it's impossible to box McLaughlin’s music in with an oversimplification. No ordinary lullabies can contain the energy of some of these guitar runs. But the overall effect of the music is gentle and soothing, no matter how intricate or powerful it may be at times. Time Remembered is by far McLaughlin’s most romantic record. Many critics did not like McLaughlin's choice to honor Evans in this way. They expressed dissatisfaction with the high reverb he used on the recording. On another front, some were disappointed simply with his style of playing. There was the question of whether the guitar was an appropriate instrument with which to honor Evans. Others believed McLaughlin had strayed too far from the jazz world in interpreting Bill Evans, an unorthodox jazz player who fashioned a style that contained a somewhat fragile classicism. But as we all know, the critics sometimes miss the point. A bit of time spent reading the liner notes might have helped out. McLaughlin did see Evans' compositions as classical. He approached them in that manner and had every intention of making a truly romantic album. McLaughlin has always defied labels. He does fit most comfortably in the jazz idiom, but that placement is only out of convenience. You would think by now that most people would understand that he plays what he wants to play, when he wants to play it. Time Remembered is a beautiful and fully realized tribute. The sound is full and rich, and the playing is strong and forthright all around. McLaughlin’s soloing is fluid, occasionally too dense, but never misdirected. All of the pieces are worthwhile, but two tunes are especially memorable. “Very Early,” also covered by McLaughlin using overdubs on Belo Horizonte , is simply timeless. I do favor the Time Remembered version. The most outstanding performance on the album is “Waltz for Debby,” which deserves repeated play. It is a wondrous composition, and McLaughlin and crew squeeze every little bit of emotion from it. This performance belongs in a very expensive music box. (Yes, I know. You can't put McLaughlin's music in a box.) So what if your mother or girlfriend likes this album. That doesn’t diminish the complexity of the music or the skill of the musicians interpreting it. It was a challenge and a great risk for McLaughlin to tackle Evans' music in this way. In the process, he created a testament that will stand the test of time and changing fancies. This same group is slated to appear on McLaughlin's next release, which is being recorded as I speak. I assume that once again the group will do justice to jazz standards. Sometimes beauty just for beauty’s sake is all that's needed to sate the appetite. - by Walter Kolosky,

Artist: John McLaughlin & The Aighetta Quartet
Album: Time Remembered - John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans
Year: 1993
Label: Verve
Runtime: 40:10

1.  Prologue 2:14 
2.  Very Early 4:20 
3.  Only Child 5:06 
4.  Waltz for Debby 4:55 
5.  Homage (John McLaughlin) 2:17
6.  My Bells 3:22 
7.  Time Remembered 3:59 
8.  Song for Helen 1:54 
9.  Turn Out the Stars 6:25 
10.  We Will Meet Again 4:20 
11.  Epilogue 1:13 
All composition written by Bill Evans, except 5th

John McLaughlin (Acoustic Guitar)
Francois Szonyi (Acoustic Guitar)
Pascal Rabatti (Acoustic Guitar)
Alexandre del Fa (Acoustic Guitar)
Philippe Loli (Acoustic Guitar)
Yan Maresz (Acoustic Bass Guitar)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Howard McGhee - Dusty Blue

I am not a musician and not technically literate when it comes to music, but I do know what kind of jazz I like and I like this CD a great deal. I sampled other McGhee CD's here on Amazon and oddly enough, I preferred "Dusty Blue." This was my first introduction to Howard McGhee. I had heard the title cut recently on a local jazz sation and liked it so much I pulled over until the song ended and I could make a note of who the musician was. This is one of my most played jazz CD's in my collection. The music is not obtrusive. It's is very listenable straight ahead jazz with may familiar standards played. I made a copy for the car and my office. Of course, everyone's musical taste is different. If your taste is total abstract Miles Davis, then this may not be your cup of tea. - by Daniel J. Filice,

The 1950s had largely been a waste for Howard McGhee, as drug addiction had taken its toll on his playing. But he is in good form for this 1961 studio session for Bethlehem, leading a septet with baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, trombonist Bennie Green, and tenor saxophonist Roland Alexander, with a top-notch rhythm section of Tommy Flanagan, Ron Carter, and Walter Bolden an added bonus. His delicious muted horn is the centerpiece of the lightly swinging take of "The Sound of Music" and strolling rendition of the normally bittersweet "Cottage for Sale," while he's on open horn for a snappy take of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You." McGhee's explosive side comes out in bop favorites like "Groovin' High," yet he is just as powerful playing long notes in the lush ballad "With Malice Toward None." McGhee's originals are all enjoyable, though none caught on with other jazz musicians. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Howard McGhee
Album: Dusty Blue
Year: 1961 (Bethlehem)
Label: Avenue Jazz (1999)
Runtime: 35:32

1.  Dusty Blue (Howard McGhee) 2:53
2.  Sound of Music (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein) 3:22
3.  I Concentrate on You (Cole Porter) 4:06
4.  Sleep Talk (Howard McGhee) 2:55
5.  Park Avenue Petite (Benny Golson) 3:32
6.  Flyin' Colors (Howard McGhee) 5:52
7.  With Malice Towards None (Tom Macintosh) 4:02
8.  Groovin' High (Dizzy Gillespie) 4:19
9.  Cottage for Sale (Larry Conley/Willard Robison) 4:28

Howard McGhee (Trumpet)
Bennie Green (Trombone)
Pepper Adams (Baritone Saxophone)
Roland Alexander (Tenor Saxophone)
Tommy Flanagan (Piano)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Walter Bolden (Drums)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blossom Dearie - Blossom Time at the Ronnie Scott's

"Blossom Time At Ronnie's is my favourite recording". - Blossom Dearie, June 1998

From the audience's reaction, Blossom Dearie held London in the palm of her hand during her stand at Ronnie Scott's. They clapped and shouted and, sometimes, to the surprised joy of Dearie herself, sang along. The ten-track set, recorded with Dearie on piano and vocals with drummer Johnny Butts and bassist Jeff Clyne, alternates between comic numbers and ballads, although it's clear which Dearie prefers. Although she has the capability of summoning melancholy and loss as readily as glee, she prefaces the somber "When the World Was Young" by deadpanning to a few audience guffaws, "I feel that I must warn you right now that...there's a very dramatic ending." She's simply bewitching in either mode, mastering the intimacy and confidence that allowed cabaret or jazz singers to hold an audience spellbound, but best when using her girlish voice and comic's timing to skewer romance ("Everything I've Got Belongs to You") or hipness ("I'm Hip"). Compared to her studio sides, her voice becomes yet warmer and more personable in person, with just a rub of vibrato at the end of her lines. Blossom Time at Ronnie Scott's is a splendid complement to her two or three best Verve LPs. - by John Bush, AMG

Artist: Blossom Dearie
Album: Blossom Time at the Ronnie Scott's
Year: 1966
Label: Redial/Universal (1998)
Runtime: 41:24

1.  On Broadway (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller) 3:55
2.  When The World Was Young (Philippe Gerard/Angele Vannier) 4:20
3.  When In Rome (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh) 4:45
4.  The Shadow Of Your Smile (Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster) 4:13
5.  Everything I've Got Belongs To You (Richard Rogers/Lorenz Hart) 4:29
6.  Once Upon A Summertime (Michel Legrand/Eddy Marnay/Eddie Barclay) 3:51
7.  I'm Hip (Dave Fishberg/Bob Dorough) 2:48
8.  Mad About The Boy (Noel Coward) 5:05
9.  The Shape Of Things (Sheldon Harnick) 2:42
10.  Satin Doll (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) 5:13

Blossom Dearie (Vocals, Piano)
Jeff Clyne (Double Bass)
Johnny Butts (Drums)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jack McDuff - Screamin'

Great 'Duff quartet session circa '62 is anything but laid back. Opens with a great hot blowing session type blues in which the Captain launches out some of the slickest and most funky lines you'll ever hear on a B-3, backed by his trademark heavy swinging Basie'istic Basslines. - - Throughout the tune I'm impressed by the "coherence" and linearity of his lines... sharp as a knife, even as those slick changes blow by. Kenny Burrell is nice 'n bluesy... then Leo Wright, fresh from The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet comes at ya blowing with a virtuoistic Charlie Parker bebopistic calliber you don't necessarilly associated with the Blue Note sound of that era. Actually it takes a while to get used. Next comes SOULFUL DRUMS, a laid back Night Train-istic blues which gives Dukes and opportunity to show off and heat things up, followed by a sharp pianistic Shirley Scottish "take me down yonder, and bartender poor me another one while I go slow dance with my lady" type blues. SCREAM, the title track is hard to describe... a gospelly up tempo carribean boogaloo "Its Alright" type thing with some excellent work by Joe Dukes. After that, its time for a change of pace as Dukes gets out the brushes, Burell strums lighfully, and McDuff "Squabbles" A.K.A. the ol' time Leslie on fast 800008888 sound of Eroll and Jimmy Smith... Duff is tasty and soulful on this one, and hits some nice changes. - - and the final cut of the night is One O'Clock Jump, a fine 12 bar blues wrap up to a great screamin' session by the late Brother Jack's true idol, the original Captain... or should I say "Count", Mr. Basie himself. I love Brother Jack's comping and immaculate basslines behind Kenny Burell's slick soloing... and again, the Bird-istic Leo Wright has a purrrrrty good time on this one too featuring a really cute vamp section that really conjures up the Count!
Overall, this is a great, bluesy heavy swinging toe tapping McDuff session well worth digging - by Eddie Landsberg,

Organist Jack McDuff teams up with his regular drummer Joe Dukes, altoist Leo Wright, and guitarist Kenny Burrell for a spirited blues-oriented set that has been reissued on CD via the OJC imprint. "Soulful Drums," featuring Dukes' drum breaks, was a minor hit. Other selections on this generally fine organ date include spirited versions of "He's a Real Gone Guy," "After Hours," and "One O'Clock Jump," even if the title cut does not quite live up to its name. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: "Brother" Jack McDuff
Album: Screamin'
Year: 1962
Label: OJC (1996)
Runtime: 31:15

1.  He's A Real Gone Guy (Nellie Lutcher) 6:04
2.  Soulful Drums (Jack McDuff/Joseph Thomas) 4:16
3.  After Hours (Erskine Hawkins/Avery Parrish) 4:31
4.  Screamin' (Jack McDuff) 7:23
5.  I Cover The Waterfront (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman) 3:13
6.  One O'Clock Jump (Count Basie) 5:48

Jack McDuff (Organ)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Leo Wright (Alto Saxophone)
Joe Dukes (Drums)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Márcio Faraco - Ciranda

Márcio Faraco is a welcome addition to the ranks of contemporary bossa nova performers with a smooth, pleasant singing voice and excellent guitar skills. It is striking that he has had to exile himself from his native Brazil and spend years of apprenticeship in France with Didier Sustrac (who contributes background vocals and takes a co-writing credit on "Nostalgia") before being able to make this, his debut album, still based thousands of miles away from home. Those apparent disadvantages notwithstanding, Ciranda manages to evoke bossa nova masters like Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto while being somewhat more accessible to North American ears, if only because his music is less introspective and the frequent horn arrangements (by Faraco) and string charts (by producer Wagner Tiso) give the tracks a broader appeal. Chico Buarque steps in as a guest duet partner on the album-opening title track, which is a stamp of approval from Faraco's predecessors for an approach seemingly intended to open Brazilian music out to the world. - by William Ruhlmann, AMG

Too often, the brilliance and popularity of bossa nova by its creators João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim have overshadowed contemporary developments in Brazilian music. This excellent CD by guitarist-vocalist-composer Márcio Faraco should bring listeners up to date on what's happening in that festive and folkloric country. Faraco, born in Algrete in southern Brazil and based in France, sings in the whispering canto faldo/spoken-song style of Gilberto, with the influences of Milton Nascimento and Caetano Veloso. In settings ranging from solo guitar and voice to ensembles with horns and strings coarranged by the underrated keyboardist-arranger Wagner Tiso, Faraco serves up a spicy sonic soup full of Brazil's Indian, European, and African flavors. The midtempo title track is an easygoing duet with Chico Buarque, and the haunting "Baile de Mascaras" features African percussionist Doudou N'Diaye Rose, while "Virtine Carioca" displays a zesty, Wes Montgomery-like jazz-guitar line. All told, Marcio Faraco's lovely CD shows us what the bossa nova will sound like in the 21st century. - Eugene Holley Jr.,

Artist: Márcio Faraco
Album: Ciranda
Year: 1997-99
Label: EmArcy/Universal (2000)
Runtime: 45:36

1.  Ciranda (Márcio Faraco/Pedrin Gomes) 3:35
2.  Na casa o seu Humberto (Márcio Faraco) 4:43
3.  Flores pra lemanjá (Márcio Faraco) 3:48
4.  Meu juramento (Márcio Faraco) 4:13
5.  Aguas passadas (Márcio Faraco) 4:47
6.  Baile de máscaras (Márcio Faraco) 4:36
7.  A dor na escala Richter (Márcio Faraco) 3:30
8.  Nostalgia (Márcio Faraco/Didier Sustrac) 4:10
9.  Vitrine Carioca (Márcio Faraco/Ronaldo Lima) 3:45
10.  Nos braços do redentor (Márcio Faraco) 4:10
11.  Vida ou game (Márcio Faraco) 4:14

Márcio Faraco (Guitar and Vocals)
Carlos Werneck (Electric Bass) - 1,2,4,6,8-11
Wagner Tiso (Piano) - 1,2,7,8,10
Julio Goncalves (Percussion) - 1,2,4,8,10,11
Ney de Oliveira (Drums) - 1,4,6,8-11
David Chew (Cello) - 1,5,7,8
Claudio de Queiroz (Clarinet, Flute) - 2,4
Francis Varis (Accordion) - 3,11
Zé Luis Nascimento (Percussion) - 3,6
Nicolas Dautricourt (Violin) - 5,8
Didier Sustrack (Backing Vocals) - 6,8
Floriane Bonanni (Viola) - 5,8
Chico Buarque (Vocal) - 1
Dadá Viana (Percussion) - 1
Philippe Slominski (Trumpet and Flugelhorn) - 4
Jacques Bolognesi (Trombone) - 4
Tarcísio Gondim (Cavaquinho) - 4
Glaucus de Oliveira (Saxophone) - 6
Doudou N'diaye Rose Jr (Sabar) - 6
Vincent Aucante (Viola) - 8

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Donald Byrd - Black Byrd

Purists howled with indignation when Donald Byrd released Black Byrd, a full-fledged foray into R&B that erupted into a popular phenomenon. Byrd was branded a sellout and a traitor to his hard bop credentials, especially after Black Byrd became the biggest-selling album in Blue Note history. What the elitists missed, though, was that Black Byrd was the moment when Byrd's brand of fusion finally stepped out from under the shadow of his chief influence, Miles Davis, and found a distinctive voice of its own. Never before had a jazz musician embraced the celebratory sound and style of contemporary funk as fully as Byrd did here -- not even Davis, whose dark, chaotic jungle-funk stood in sharp contrast to the bright, breezy, danceable music on Black Byrd. Byrd gives free rein to producer/arranger/composer Larry Mizell, who crafts a series of tightly focused, melodic pieces often indebted to the lengthier orchestrations of Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield. They're built on the most straightforward funk rhythms Byrd had yet tackled, and if the structures aren't as loose or complex as his earlier fusion material, they make up for it with a funky sense of groove that's damn near irresistible. Byrd's solos are mostly melodic and in-the-pocket, but that allows the funk to take center stage. Sure, maybe the electric piano, sound effects, and Roger Glenn's ubiquitous flute date the music somewhat, but that's really part of its charm. Black Byrd was state-of-the-art for its time, and it set a new standard for all future jazz/R&B/funk fusions -- of which there were many. Byrd would continue to refine this sound on equally essential albums like Street Lady and the fantastic Places and Spaces, but Black Byrd stands as his groundbreaking signature statement. - by Steve Huey, AMG

When this recording was first introdused critics laughed and downplayed this album, Just to prove and show that some critics are sometime way OFF. This was the best selling album on "Blue Note" and is a NOW criticly aclaimed masterpiece. - by Michael Clarke,

Artist: Donald Byrd
Album: Black Byrd
Year: 1973
Label: Blue Note
Total time: 43:15

1.  Flight Time (Larry Mizell) 8:31
2.  Black Byrd (Larry Mizell) 7:21
3.  Love's So Far Away (Larry Mizell) 6:03
4.  Mr. Thomas (Warren Jordan/Larry Mizell) 5:04
5.  Sky High (Larry Mizell) 5:58
6.  Slop Jar Blues (Larry Mizell) 5:41
7.  Where Are We Going? (Edward Gordon/Larry Mizell) 4:37

Donald Byrd (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Electric Trumpet and Vocals)
Fonce Mizell (Trumpet and Vocals)
Roger Glenn (Flutes and Saxophones)
Joe Sample (Piano and Electric Piano)
Fred Perren (Electric Piano, Synthesizers and Vocals)
Dean Parks (Guitar) - 1,4
Wilton Felder (Bass Guitar) - 1,4
Harvey Mason (Drums)
Bobby Porter Hall (Percussion) - 1,4
Larry Mizell (Vocals)
David T. Walker (Guitar) - 2,3,5-7
Chuck Rainey (Bass Guitar) - 2,3,5-7
Stephanie Spruill (Percussion) - 2,3,5-7

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Didier Lockwood & Raghunath Manet - Omkara

In this live performance, French violinist Didier Lockwood teams up with Raghunath Manet, an Indian-born master of the veena (a sitar-like stringed instrument). Together with Murugan on Indian percussion, Lockwood and Manet make eclectic music somewhat similar to that of John McLaughlin's Shakti. In addition, listeners are told that Manet, when not playing veena, improvised dance movements to the music. Listeners can't see this, of course -- pity that the CD doesn't come with enhanced video. Soprano Caroline Casadesus sings on the title track, but this isn't the only vocal performance: Indian rhythmic chanting is heard on many of the tracks, although no one is credited for it. Presumably listeners are hearing Manet and Murugan at various junctures, giving the music a fervent, emotional quality. Lockwood, in addition to his mournful violin, plays a bit of flute and trumpet. - by David R. Adler, AMG

Artist: Didier Lockwood & Raghunath Manet
Album: Omkara
Year: 2001

Label: Dreyfus Jazz
Total playing: 53:49

1.  First Blow 2:34
2.  Di mi ta 2:03
3.  Burst of Spring 3:12
4.  Black Flute 4:57
5.  Barbizon Ragas 16:06
6.  An Indian in Dublin 4:42
7.  Golden Eagle Dance 7:09
8.  Omkara 4:28
9.  Hymn 0:49
10.  Last Wind 7:49
All compositions - by Didier Lockwood & Raghunath Manet

Didier Lockwood (Violin, Keyboards and Trumpet)
Raghunath Manet (Veena)
Caroline Casadeus (Vocal)
Murugan (Indian Percussion)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

John Patton - Boogaloo

Rare work by Hammond organ giant Big John Patton -- recorded in 1968, but never issued until 1995, and even then, only briefly! The record features Patton at his finest -- stretching out from his basic soul jazz roots, into a more searching use of the organ that's undoubtedly influenced by Larry Young's work at the same time. The record features great work by Harold Alexander on flute and tenor, plus trumpet by Vincent McEwan, drums by George Brown, and added conga by Richard Landrum. The groove is somewhere between 60s soul jazz and modal -- and the tracks are long, with that heavy Patton swing! Title sinclude "B&J", "Boogaloo Boogie", "Milk & Honey", "Shoutin But No Poutin", and "Spirit". - from

The main reason to purchase this previously unissued set from the declining years of Blue Note is not for the trivial rhythmic themes (which use fairly basic chord sequences) or even the solos of organist John Patton (who never does escape entirely from the shadow of Jimmy Smith) but for the somewhat out-of-place avant-garde outbursts by Harold Alexander (on tenor and flute) who often takes improvisations that go completely outside; his squeals on "Boogaloo Boogie" are a real surprise and he may very well be the reason that this music was not put out at the time. Otherwise this is a routine and now-dated set of commercial late-'60s jazz/funk. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: John Patton
Album: Boogaloo
Year: 1968
Label: Blue Note (1995)
Total time: 41:39

1.  Boogaloo Boogie (John Patton) 5:25
2.  Milk & Honey (John Patton) 8:20
3.  Barefootin' (Robert Parker) 7:07
4.  Shoutin' But No Puotin' (John Patton) 7:43
5.  Spirit (John Patton) 5:52
6.  B&J (Two Sisters) (John Patton) 7:12

John Patton (Organ)
Vincent McEwan (Trumpet)
Harold Alexander (Flute and Tenor Saxophone)
George Edward Brown (Drums)
Richie Landrum (Conga)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Radio Tarifa - Cruzando el Río

This, the third disc from Spain's leading roots ensemble, features a mixture of old and new. It continues to offer up the group's time-machine stew of delectable bits and pieces of Spanish musical history. It still uses an extraordinary collection of instruments, modern and medieval, Spanish and Moslem. What's new is the album's foray into Japanese music, "Gujo Bushi," and the occasional use of electric guitar. Though it's harder to pin down, the group seems to have dug deeper into music of the modern Spanish countryside. This new -- or newly deepened -- exploration of folk music results in two of the album's most intriguing tunes: First is "Ramo Verde," a Castillian folk song with great atmosphere, featuring a woman vocalist for the first time in the group's history. Second is the title track, which is a primitive tango and which most lamentably ends just when it's getting going. The brevity of the songs is a serious concern on "Cruzando el Rio": The 11 tracks total just 36 minutes, allowing too little time for development and no time for the epic grandeur of "Nu Alrest" off of the group's first album, Rumba Argelina. Still, this group never fails to be interesting. - by Kurt Keefner, AMG

Artist: Radio Tarifa
Album: Cruzando el Rio
Year: 2000
Label: Nonesuch
Runtime: 36:10

1.  Osu (Fain S. Duenas) 2:39
2.  Sin palabras (Fain S. Duenas) 4:32
3.  El viaje de Lea (Traditional) 4:03
4.  Ramo Verde (Traditional) 2:48
5.  La molinera (Traditional) 3:56
6.  Cruzando el Rio (Traditional) 2:15
7.  Patas negras (Fain S. Duenas) 4:03
8.  Gujo bushi (Traditional) 3:11
9.  Alab (Free intro)  2:08
10.  El quinto (Traditional) 3:55
11.  Si j 'ai perdu mon ami (Josquin Desprez) 2:35

Benjamin Escoriza (Vocals)
Vincent Molino (Wind Istruments, Keyboards)
Fain S. Duenas (Guitar, Strins, Bass and Percussion)
Guest muscians:
Merche Trujillo (Vocals, Gaita) - 2
Joaquin Ruiz (Tap Percussion) - 4
Caridad Alcazar Gutierrez (Backing Vocals) - 7
Juncal Fernandez (Vocals) - 10
Cristina Godoy (Backing Vocals) - 10
Gema Quesada (Backing Vocals) - 10

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ornette Coleman - Tomorrow Is the Question

On his second outing for the Contemporary label, Ornette dusted the piano from the bandstand and focused instead on a quartet. For some unexplained reason, Billy Higgins was replaced by Shelly Manne; the only constants remain Coleman and Don Cherry. The focus, then, is on the interplay between the altoist and trumpeter in executing Ornette's tunes, which were, more than on the preceding album (Something Else!, recorded a year earlier), knottier and tighter in their arrangement style. The odd-syncopation style of the front line on numbers such as "Tears Inside," which comes out of the box wailing and then simmers down into a moody, swinging blues, was a rough transition for the rhythm section. And the more Ornette and Cherry try to open it up into something more free and less attached to the tune's form, the more Manne and especially bassist Percy Heath hang on. Still, there are great moments here: for example, the celebratory freedom of "Giggin'," with its wonderful trumpet solo, and "Rejoicing," which has become one of Coleman's classics for its elongated melody line and simple obbligato phrasing, which become part of a wonderfully complex solo that keeps the blues firmly intact. The final track, "Endless," is pure magic. After Manne carries it in 6/8, Coleman uses a nursery rhyme to move to the solo terrain and, when he does, the solo itself becomes a part of that rhyme as even Don Cherry feels his way through it in his break. And, if anything, this is one of the things that came to define Ornette -- his willingness to let simplicity and its bright colors and textures confound not only other players and listeners, but also him too. In those days, Coleman's musical system -- although worked out in detail -- always left room for the unexpected and, in fact, was played as if his life depended on it. As a result, Tomorrow Is the Question! was a very literal title; who could have guessed the expansive, world-widening direction that Coleman's system would head into next? - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Now this is more like it! After a mediocre debut on "Somethin' Else," Ornette gets down to business on his second album for the Contemporary label, "Tomorrow Is The Question." Smartly Ornette has adopted a pianoless quartet for this recording, the lineup he became famous with on Atlantic. The songwriting is beginning to come together too, particularly on "Rejoicing." My reason for withholding a fifth star for this CD is twofold. First, if his Atlantic Recordings "The Shape of Jazz to Come," "This Is Our Music" and "Free Jazz" are five-starrers, this is clearly a notch below. Second, and more importantly, the personnel here are not quite on par with his Atlantic group. Don Cherry is here, but he is joined by Red Mitchell and Percy Heath alternating on bass, and Shelly Manne on drums. While these three are giants of jazz, they are certainly not monumental figures of the "new jazz" for a reason. They do not bring to Ornette's music what Charlie Haden, Scott LaFaro, Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell will later. Still, this is a great buy and not to be overlooked. - by Michael B. Richman,

Artist: Ornette Coleman
Album: Tomorrow Is the Question
Year: 1959 (Contemporary)
Label: OJC (1988)
Runtime: 42:45

1.  Tomorrow Is The Question! 3:12 
2.  Tears Inside 5:04 
3.  Mind And Time 3:11 
4.  Compassion 4:39 
5.  Giggin' 3:22 
6.  Rejoicing 4:03 
7.  Lorraine 5:59 
8.  Turnabout 7:58 
9.  Endless 5:17 
All compositions by Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman (Alto Saxophone)
Don Cherry (Trumpet)
Percy Heath (Double Bass) - 1-6
Red Mitchell (Double Bass) - 7-9
Shelly Manne (Drums)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chuck and Gap Mangione - Spring Fever

The mode of expression for The Jazz Brothers is a modern, hard-swinging one, tempered by softer (but no less swinging) performances. The former vein is exemplified by Chuck Mangiones Brooks Brothers (a punning reference to an up-state New York disc jockey) and Spring Fever, and by Frank Pullaras Not Too Serious. The quietest moments are found on the celebrated standard ballad, What's New?, which contains a long, expressive Nestico solo, sandwiched by some sensitive muted work by Chuck.- by Ira Gitler

The third and final recording (originally released as "the Jazz Brothers" and now reissued on CD in the OJC series) features trumpeter Chuck Mangione, pianist Gap Mangione and tenor-saxophonist Sal Nistico in a 1961 hard bop quintet. The music is strictly straightahead with four group originals and versions of "What's New" and "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" being given winning treatments. Even if the overall results are not all that memorable (none of the musicians had distinctive voices yet), the music should please fans of 1950s jazz. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Chuck and Gap Mangione Quintet (The Jazz Brothers)
Album: Spring Fever
Year: 1961
Label: OJC (Remastered, 1992)
Runtime: 40:44

1.  First Waltz (Frank Pullara) 7:12
2.  What's New? (Johnny Burke/Bob Haggart) 5:50
3.  Spring Fever (Chuck Mangione) 7:04
4.  Brooks' Brothers (Chuck Mangione) 5:22
5.  Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise (Oscar Hammerstein II/Sigmund Romberg) 9:16
6.  Not Too Serious 6:00 (Frank Pullara)

Chuck Mangione (Trumpet)
Gap Mangione (Piano)
Sal Nastico (Tenor Saxophone)
Frank Pullara (Double Bass)
Vinnie Ruggieri (Drums)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jai Uttal - Monkey

On Monkey, young Jai Uttal continued to fuse Indian spiritual music and American pop with generally pleasing results. Once again, he demonstrates his mastery of acoustic Indian instruments like the harmonium and the dotar while using electronic synthesizers in a very human and soulful fashion. Though some of the material bears some resemblance to secular Indian pop of the '90s, which also unites synthesizers and traditional instruments, Uttal's overall approach is far from secular. While Uttal's own songs (both instrumental and with vocals) are dominant, "Govinda" is a moving version of the time-honored Hindu prayer. Jazz improviser Peter Apfelbaum is heard on both tenor sax and drums, and a fair amount of jazz influence asserts itself on "The Hooded Serpent" and the title song. - by Alex Henderson, AMG

I was in a restaurant in Santa Fe and became aware of a strange sound coming from the sound system... that sound of Jai Uttal. I immediately purchased the album and have since purchased all that have been released by Uttal. I'm amazed at his blending of East and West sounds. But most of all, I enjoy the heart-opening sounds produced by the Pagan Love Orchestra. Buy every album! You won't regret it! - by Doug Lee,

Artist: Jai Uttal
Album: Monkey
Year: 1992
Label: Triloka
Runtime: 62:22

1.  Monkey (Jai Uttal) 7:34
2.  Soldiers (Jai Uttal/Batteau) 4:49
3.  The Hooded Serpent (Jai Uttal) 6:36
4.  I Won't Ask For More (Jai Uttal/Kagel/Bruce Linde) 5:14
5.  Govinda (Traditional) 5:11
6.  Ayodhya (Court of the King) (Jai Uttal) 7:25
7.  A Distant Episode (Jai Uttal) 6:01
8.  Heaven, part 1&2 (Jai Uttal/Bruce Linde) 6:21
9.  Petition To Ram (Jai Uttal) 7:03
10.  Watching The Signs (Jai Uttal) 6:02

Jai Uttal (Dotar, Harmonium, Kartals, Gubgubbi, Sampling, Vocals, Gopichand, Guitar Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Mandolin, Sarod)
Will Bernard (Electric Guitar, Sampling, Mandolin) - 1-6,8-10
Bruce Linde (Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Sampling) - 1,3,5,6,8,9
Peck Allmond (Cornet, Soprano Saxophone, Trumpet,) - 1,3-7,10
Steve Gorn (Bansuri, ) - 1,2,6,9,10
Peter Apfelbaum (Drums and Percussion, Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,5-8
Geoffrey Gordon (Dholak, Dumbek, Frame Drum, Bongo) - 1,2,4-10
Daniel Paul Karp (Tabla) - 1-3,6,7,9,10
Rob Vlack (Piano, Hammond Organ, Accordian, Synthesizer) - 3,5,8,9
Charlie Burnham (Violin) - 2,9
Tanya Lynn (Backing Vocals) - 2,6
Tom Brechtlein (Drums) - 2
Mala Ganguly (Vocals) - 5

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sarah Vaughan - After Hours

From 1961-1962, Sarah Vaughan recorded two albums while accompanied by just guitar and bass. Her 1962 outing for the obscure Reactivation label (with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Joe Comfort) remains out of print, but her earlier set with guitarist Mundell Lowe and bassist George Duvivier was finally reissued in 1997, along with one previously unreleased selection ("Through the Years") taken from a slightly earlier exploratory session with the same players. Surprisingly, Lowe only has one solo, so the emphasis throughout is exclusively on Sassy's magnificent voice. The program mostly sticks to ballads, with a couple of exceptions (most notably "Great Day"), and is a quiet and intimate affair, with Vaughan more subtle than she sometimes was. Despite a lightweight version of "My Favorite Things" that will not remind listeners of John Coltrane, this is an excellent if brief set (34-and-a-half minutes) with some fine jazz singing. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Newly remixed for greatly improved sound, this intimate 1961 session with Sarah backed only by Mundell Lowe's guitar and George Duvivier's bass is one of the finest musical statements of her career.- Product info

Artist: Sarah Vaughan
Album: After Hours
Year: 1961
Label: Roulette (1997)
Runtime: 34:56

1.  My Favorite Things (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein) 2:46
2.  Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter) 2:26
3.  Wonder Why (Sammy Cahn/Nicholas Brodszky) 4:21
4.  Easy To Love (Cole Porter) 2:12
5.  Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Mitchell Parish) 3:52
6.  Great Day (Edward Eliscu/Billy Rose /Vincent Youmans) 2:18
7.  Ill Wind (Ted Koehler/Harold Arlen) 3:13
8.  If Love is Good to Me (Ray Evans/Fred Spielman) 2:12
9.  In a Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Manny Kurtz) 4:06
10.  Vanity (Bernard Bierman/J. Manus/Guy Wood) 4:19
11.  Through the Years 3:09 (Edward Heyman/Vincent Youmans)

Sarah Vaughan (Vocals)
Mundell Love (Guitar)
George Duvivier (Double Bass)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ramsey Lewis - Plays the Beatles Songbook

The Great Performances/Great Songs series by Verve is a new attempt to get prospective buyers interested in its vast jazz catalog; introducing them to large-scale hits by artists who appeared either on its label proper or on one of its licensees'. In the case of Ramsey Lewis, it’s his famous Beatles covers that were cut for Cadet with producer Esmond Edwards. There are eight tracks here clocking at just under 36 minutes, including the live versions of "A Hard Day's Night" and "And I Love Her," from Hang on Ramsey, featuring the original trio with the rhythm section of Redd Holt and Eldee Young, and "Day Tripper" with Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White from Wade in the Water (both 1966). The remainder of these cuts were taken from an ambitious, all Beatles album released by Lewis in 1968 called Mother Nature’s Son on Chess. This was the first album on which he played Fender Rhodes piano, as well as acoustic and Hammond B-3 (check “Back in the U.S.S.R.”), and is backed by his own group and an orchestra arranged and conducted (brilliantly) by Charles Stepney. There is a stark contrast between the trio cuts and the orchestrated ones, but they all simply groove -- even the ballads “Dear Prudence” and “Julia.” For the super-budget price tag, this is a collection worth picking up. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Ramsey Lewis
Album: Plays the Beatles Songbook
Year: 1966-68
Label: Verve (2010)
Runtime: 35:59

1.  A Hard Day's Night (Live) 5:01 
2.  And I Love Her (Live) 5:49 
3.  Blackbird 4:32 
4.  Day Tripper 3:10 
5.  Julia 4:21 
6.  Back in the U.S.S.R. 3:15 
7.  Dear Prudence 4:54 
8.  Mother Nature's Son 4:54 
All compositions by John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Ramsey Lewis (Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond Organ)
Red Holt (Drums) - 1,2
Eldee Young (Double Bass) - 1,2
Cleveland Eaton (Double Bass) - 3-8
Maurice White (Drums) - 3-8
Charles Stepney (conductor) - 5-8

Gerry Mulligan - Lonesome Boulevard

The 1989 Gerry Mulligan Quartet (with pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Richie De Rosa) is well featured on this enjoyable set, performing "Splendor in the Grass" and nine recent Gerry Mulligan compositions including "Lonesome Boulevard," "The Flying Scotsman" and "Good Neighbor Thelonious." Baritonist Mulligan deserves great credit for the consistency of his recordings during the previous 40 years. This CD is easily recommended for the leader remained very much in his prime. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Originally released on A&M in 1990, 6 years before his passing, this album shows Mulligan still playing well as he enters his twilight years. The LP starts out with a trip to Brazil with the samba-favored opener. Other upbeat tunes include "Ring Around a Bright Star" & "The Flying Scotsman." The rest of the tracks are either mid tempo like "Good Neighbor Thelonious" (obviously named after jazz pianist/composer Monk), or the laid back easy-listening jazz that he's been known for since his cool jazz days of the 1950s like the title track, "Splendor in the Grass" (the only tune in the LP not written by Mulligan), "Wallflower" (which sounds like it could have been written by either Ellington, Strayhorn or both) or the closer which has a Baroque feel to it.
Also of note is the fact that Mulligan has a pianist here. While he rarely has one in his bands, he uses one regularly in his later years. The pianist here, Bill Charlap does a great job being behind Mulligan, not grabbing the spotlight too much while at the same time adding great chord changes & providing some good solos. - by dwood78,

Artist: Gerry Mulligan
Album: Lonesome Boulevard
Year: 1989
Label: A&M (1990)
Total playing: 49:15

1.  Rico Apollo 3:36 
2.  I Heard the Shadows Dancing 5:19 
3.  Lonesome Boulevard 4:19 
4.  Curtains 8:06 
5.  Ring Around a Bright Star 4:30 
6.  Splendor in the Grass 4:48 
7.  Good Neighbor Thelonious 4:58 
8.  Wallflower 5:35 
9.  The flying Scotsman 5:29 
10.  Etude for Franca 2:30 
All compositions - by Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Saxophone)
Bill Charlap (Piano)
Dean Johnson (Double Bass)
Richie De Rosa (Drums)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...