Monday, December 31, 2012

Mark Isham - Mark Isham

Mark Isham returns to the basics on this self-named album, blowing a sweet horn, arranging both classics ("Blue Moon") and his own tunes, and using the fine voice of Tanita Tikaram, with whom he'd earlier worked on an album released under her name. Highly recommended. - by Chris Noto,

Isham continues his ensemble-style collaborations with guests Tanita Tikaram, Chick Corea, John Patitucci and John Novello, and the contributions of sidemen David Torn, Peter Maunu, and Peter Van Hooke. The pleasing group work provides a nice complement to the two vocal tracks. If you like these, try Isham's soundtrack recording for Trouble in Mind with Marianne Faithfull. - by Scott Bultman, AMG

Artist: Mark Isham
Album: Mark Isham
Year: 1990
Label: Virgin
Runtime: 45:41

1.  Honeymoon Nights (Mark Isham) 5:22
2.  I Never Will Know (Tanita Tikaram) 6:03
3.  Marionette (Mark Isham) 5:56
4.  An Eye on the World (Mark Isham) 3:56
5.  Blue Moon (Richard Rodgers/Lorentz Hart) 4:25
6.  Ashes and Diamonds (Mark Isham) 3:12
7.  Toward the Infinite White (Mark Isham) 5:20
8.  Songs of the Flying Fish (Mark Isham/David Torn) 4:38
9.  Turkish Delight (Mark Isham) 6:44

Mark Isham (Trumpet, Keyboards and Electronics)
Terry Bozzio (Drums) - 1,3,7,9
Doug Lunn (Bass Guitar) - 1,3,5,7-9
Ed Mann (Vibraphone) - 1
David Torn (Guitar) - 1,3,4,6-9
Peter Maunu (Acoustic Guitar) - 2
John Patitucci (Double Bass) - 2,3
Tanita Tikaram (Vocals) - 2,5
Peter Van Hooke (Drums) - 2,5
John Novello (Organ) - 3,4,6,7,9
Alex Acuna (Drums and Percussion) - 4,8,9
Chick Corea (Piano) - 6

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mad Sheer Khan - 1001 Nights

An Algerian native living in France who's best known in the West for his work with Nico and Sting, Mad Sheer Khan enlisted an impressive range of female vocalists from around the world to interpret songs based on poems from the book 1001 Tales of the Arabian Nights in their own native tongues. Native America, Tibet, Israel/Palestine, Algeria, Africa, Pakistan, and India are all represented here, with the artist's expressed goal to "convey the diversity of the world through a common spirit." The concept works well, with Khan and a stellar multicultural lineup of musicians tailoring each song to its singer. Fela Ababsa lends her captivating voice to "Night of Algerian," which segues seamlessly into "Algerian Sunrise," a gorgeous instrumental passage featuring the strings of Bulgaria's Plovdiv Chamber Orchestra. Morocco's Mamani Kei"ta's passionate wail drives the fiery "Night of the Gnawas" to a dynamic crescendo, with wickedly syncopated rhythms and strings helping to sell the drama. Only on the insistent "Night of Navajos" does Khan make a misstep, his synthesized sounds taking the listener out of the timeless mood the previous songs create. Still, this is a bold, experimental record that shows it really is a small world after all. - by Bret Love, AMG

Artist: Mad Sheer Khan
Album: 1001 Nights
Year: 1999
Label: Erato
Runtime: 63:06

1.  Night of Algeria 5:34
2.  Night of Gnawas 9:44
3.  Night of Hebrews 8:34
4.  Night of Navajos 8:55
5.  Night of Tibet 7:43
6.  Night of India 11:20
7.  Night of Persia 11:13
All compositions by Mad Sheer Khan 

Mad Sheer Khan (Oud, Sitar, Rebab, Santur, Keyboards, Percussion and Programming)
Ahmed Dhemai (Percussion)
Subramaniam (Violin)
Plovdiv Chamber Orchestra (Strings)
Nasser (Percussion)
Jean-Pierre Arnaud (Oboe and English Horn)
Bruno Caillat (Zarb)
Fela Ababsa (Vocals) - 1
Mamani Keita (Vocals) - 2
Nourith (Vocals) - 3
Mary Redhouse (Vocals) - 4
Kunchock Lama (Vocals) - 5
Sharmila Roy (Vocals) - 6
Parvin Javdan (Vocals) - 7

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ella Fitzgerald - At The Opera House

Taken from a Jazz at the Philharmonic tour, Ella Fitzgerald is backed by pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Jo Jones on two well-rounded sets. Actually, the two dates are quite similar, with eight of the nine songs being repeated (although the second "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Oh, Lady Be Good" find her backed by a riffing eight-horn all-star group), so this album is mostly recommended to her greatest fans. However, the music is wonderful, there are variations between the different versions, and her voice was at its prime. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

This album contains live tracks from two 1958 JATP concerts recorded a few weeks apart. Originally released on LP, it had a Chicago concert on one side and a Los Angeles concert on the other. Many of the same tunes are repeated, and it is interesting to hear how Ella sang in concert night after night. As per usual, Ella ends her set with an extended scat (Stompin' at the Savoy). In the LA concert, however, we get to hear an encore number -- Lady Be Good -- which is the highlight of the album. This is an excellent CD for both the casual and avid fan. - by a customer,

Artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Album: At the Opera House
Year: 1957
Label: Verve (1986)
Runtime: 59:17

1.  It's All Right With Me (Cole Porter) 2:31
2.  Don'cha Go 'Way Mad (Jimmy Mundy/Illinois Jacquet/Al Stillman) 2:42
3.  Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 3:01
4.  These Foolish Things (Jack Strachey/Harry Link/Holt Marvell) 3:45
5.  Ill Wind (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 2:47
6.  Goody Goody (Johnny Mercer/Matt Malneck) 1:54
7.  Moonlight In Vermont (Karl Suessdorf/John Blackburn) 3:05
8.  Them There Eyes (Maceo Pinkard/Doris Tauber/William Tracey) 2:08
9.  Stompin' At The Savoy (Benny Goodman/Edgar Sampson/Chick Webb/Andy Razaf) 5:14
10.  It's All Right With Me (Cole Porter) 2:45
11.  Don'cha Go 'Way Mad (Jimmy Mundy/Illinois Jacquet/Al Stillman) 2:31
12.  Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 3:22
13.  These Foolish Things (Jack Strachey/Harry Link/Holt Marvell) 3:49
14.  Ill Wind (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 2:53
15.  Goody Goody (Johnny Mercer/Matt Malneck) 1:55
16.  Moonlight In Vermont (Karl Suessdorf/John Blackburn) 3:16
17.  Stompin' At The Savoy (Benny Goodman/Edgar Sampson/Chick Webb/Andy Razaf) 7:15
18.  Oh, Lady Be Good (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 4:24

Ella Fitzgerald (Vocals)
Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Herb Ellis (Guitar)
Jo Jones (Drums) - 1-16
Roy Eldridge (Trumpet) - 17,18
J.J. Johnson (Trombone) - 17,18
Sonny Stitt (Alto Saxophone) - 17,18
Lester Young (Tenor Saxophone) - 17,18
Illinois Jacquet (Tenor Saxophone) - 17,18
Coleman Hawkins (Tenor Saxophone) - 17,18
Stan Getz (Tenor Saxophone) - 17,18
Flip Phillips (Tenor Saxophone) - 17,18
Connie Kay (Drums) - 17,18

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Abdullah Ibrahim - Good News From Africa

The extraordinary South African pianist meets his countryman, the late, very great bassist Johnny Dyani, and the result is one of the single most beautiful recordings of the '70s. The duo mix in traditional African and Islamic songs and perform with a fervor and depth of feeling rarely heard in or outside of jazz. From the opening traditional Xhosa song, "Ntsikana's Bell," the rich, sonorous approach of these two musicians is evident, both singing in stirring fashion, Ibrahim guttural and serious, Dyani as free and light as a swallow. Ibrahim treats the listener to some of his all-too-rarely heard flute work on the following track, using Kirk-ian techniques of sung overtones in a gorgeous original. Dyani's bass playing is simply astonishing, never indulging in mere virtuosic displays but always probing, always deep -- what Mingus might have sounded like had he been born in South Africa. His whipsaw arco work on "Good News" provides an incredibly roiling yet solid framework for some inspired piano from Ibrahim. The Islamic prayer-song "Adhan/Allah-O-Akbar" is sung with such heartfelt intensity so as to melt the heart of the unbeliever and lay waste to countless quasi-spiritual attempts by lesser talents. The final two pieces are a fascinating pair. "The Pilgrim" is an Ibrahim special, based on a slow, irresistible loping groove, one that reaches its end lingering for a second or two before repeating, on and on like a luxurious desert caravan. The musicians embroider it exquisitely before reluctantly letting it go on its way after ten minutes. The next composition, Ibrahim's "Moniebah," begins in a stately manner, proceeding along for a minute or two until, as if drawn in by its ineluctable gravity, they return to "The Pilgrim," unable to resist its pull. It's an amazing, joyful moment that sends chills down one's spine. Good News From Africa was the shining, transcendent release by both of these great musicians and one that should grace every listener's collection. - by Brian Olewnick, AMG

Artist: Dollar Brand Duo (Dollar Brand & Johnny Dyani)
Album: Good News from Africa
Year: 1973
Label: Enja (1990)
Runtime: 44:18

1.  Ntsikana's Bell (Traditional) 6:10
2.  Msunduza (Abdullah Ibrahim) 4:42
3.  Good News/Swazi/Waya-Wa-Egoli (Abdullah Ibrahim) 7:30
4.  Adhan & Allah-O-Akbar (Traditional) 4:14
5.  The Pilgrim (Abdullah Ibrahim) 9:47
6.  Moniebah (Abdullah Ibrahim) 11:55

Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) (Piano, Vocals, Flute)
Johnny Dyani (Double Bass, Vocals, Bells)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kip Hanrahan - At Home in Anger

Kip Hanrahan s first new recording in many years! The renowned composer, bandleader, visionary producer, and creative instigator has long been known for intensely passionate music that is both tender and hard-driving, with a deep poetic edge. Fans of forward-thinking, outernational music will no doubt be thrilled to hear that Hanrahan is back! Kip Hanrahan has experienced a lot. He was an assistant with Nouvelle Vague director Jean-Luc Godard, the video artist Nam June Paik and the innovative composer Carla Bley, made from the early eighties wonderful records like "Coup de Tete", "Desire Develops An Edge" and "Exotica "for which he formed fantastic, exciting all-star bands with Jack Bruce, Milton Cardona, Charles Neville, Henry Threadgill, David Murray, Arto Lindsay, Billy Bang, Taj Mahal, Astor Piazzolla and even Sting. Today Kip Hanrahan moves between Rio de Janeiro and Reston, Virginia, swinging cross boundaries acts as a catalyst again, less as a jazz musician in the usual sense. The seventeen pieces on “Anger…” are subtle, rhythmically powerful and more focused and balanced than the previous CD. On his thirteenth album percussionist and producer, poet and visionary Kip Hanrahan compensates his vivid anger about oppression and exclusion: "At Home In Anger" - a fascination with excitement, relaxation, warmth and magic. - from

The music of Hanrahan, and of the American Clavé label which he runs, is rich beyond compare. - by Phil Johnson, Independent (London) 

Artist: Kip Hanrahan
Album: At Home in Anger Which Could Also Be Called Imperfect, Happily
Year: 2011
Label: Amecican Clavé
Runtime: 62:16

1.  Vida Sin Miel (Dafnis Prieto) 3:43
2.  Gift (No Woman Knows) (Kip Hanrahan/Steve Swallow/Brandon Ross) 5:26
3.  Another Autumn Forms (Kip Hanrahan/Steve Swallow) 1:18
4.  Como en Vietnam (Kip Hanrahan/Steve Swallow) 4:17
5.  The No Baby [1] (Steve Lacy) 4:20
6.  The Savage Dawn in Her Glance (Kip Hanrahan/Steve Swallow/Fernando Saunders) 5:03
7.  Suenos Da Vida Colonial (Kip Hanrahan/Steve Swallow/Roberto Poveda) 3:33
8.  Kuduro of Assassins and Laughter (Horacio Hernandez/Kip Hanrahan) 3:29
9.  Obviously Spring (Evora) (Kip Hanrahan) 3:32
10.  You Play with the Night with Your Fingertips (Kip Hanrahan/DD Jackson/Fernando Saunders) 5:11
11.  Unfinished Dawn (Kip Hanrahan) 2:12
12.  At Home in the Night (Kip Hanrahan/Fernando Saunders) 3:40
13.  War News from Inside the City (Brandon Ross/Kip Hanrahan) 3:26
14.  Shadow of the Unfinished Dawn (Kip Hanrahan) 0:33
15.  Unfinished Dusk (Kip Hanrahan) 4:19
16.  Clean Charm Amongst Evil (Yosvanni Terry/Kip Hanrahan) 2:03
17.  Need (Brandon Ross/Kip Hanrahan) 4:35
18.  No Baby [2] (Steve Lacy) 1:36

Kip Hanrahan (Percussion, Voice)
Dafnis Prieto (Drums, Voice)
Steve Swallow (Bass)
Dick Kondas (Sound)
Milton Cardona (Drums and Percussion)
Alfredo Triff (Violin)
DD Jackson (Piano)
Pedrito Martinez (Congas)
Robby Ameen (Drums and Percussion)
Yosvanni Terry (Percussion, Saxes)
Horacio Hernandez (Drums and Percussion)
John Beasley (Piano, Keyboards)
Brandon Ross (Voice, Guitar)
Bryan Carrott (Vibraphone)
Andy Gonzalez (Bass)
John Kilgore (Sound)
Fernando Saunders (Voice, Bass)
Anthony Cox (Bass)
Mike Cain (Piano)
Xiomara Laugart (Voice)
Don Byron (Clarinet)
Roberto Poveda (Voice, Guitar)
Craig Handy (Saxophone)
Lysandro Arenas (Piano)
Lucy Penebaz (Voice)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Louis Armstrong - The Essential Satchmo

From the 50's version of 'When You're Smiling' to 'That Lucky Old Sun' to 'The Sunny Side Of The Street', this collection is Louis Armstrong at his most subtle, his most mellow and his best. Sit in the dark, with a bottle of wine in the arms of someone you love. This will take you to heaven. Come on Music Club. Re-release it!!!! - by Jimbo,

Artist: Louis Armstrong
Album: The Essential Satchmo
Label: Music Club (1992)
Runtime: 57:25

1.  What A Wonderful World (Bob Thiele/George David Weiss) 2:21
2.  Blueberry Hill (Al Lewis/Vincent Rose/Larry Stock) 2:55
3.  Hello Dolly (Jerry Herman) 2:26
4.  La Vie En Rose (Mack David/Marcel Louiguy/Edith Piaf) 3:27
5.  Caberet (Fred Ebb/John Kander) 2:47
6.  Lazy River (Sidney Arodin/Hoagy Carmichael) 3:48
7.  The Whiffenpoof Song (Baa Baa Baa) (Sidney Arodin/Hoagy Carmichael) 2:56
8.  On The Sunny Side Of The Street (Sidney Arodin/Hoagy Carmichael) 5:51
9.  Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell) 3:04
10.  When You're Smiling (Mark Fisher/Joe Goodwin/Larry Shay) 4:02
11.  That Lucky Old Sun (Haven Gillespie/Harry Beasley Smith) 3:07
12.  The Home Fire (George Douglas/George David Weiss) 3:18
13.  Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Fabian Andre/Gus Kahn/Wilbur Schwandt) 3:17
14.  Give Me Your Kisses (I'll Give You My Heart) (George Douglas/Leonard Whitcup) 1:59
15.  Fantastic, That's You (George Cates/Mort Greene/Bob Thiele) 2:58
16.  Hellzapoppin' (Marian Grudeff/Ray Jessel) 2:36
17.  Hello Brother (Bob Thiele/George David Weiss) 3:32
18.  The Sunshine Of Love (George Douglas/Chet Gierlach/Leonard Whitcup) 2:54

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don Cherry - Multikulti

It's obvious right from the title that Multikulti is another of Don Cherry's trademark fusions of jazz and world music, this time around with a heavy African influence. Cherry is joined on several tracks by members of multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum's Hieroglyphics Ensemble (plus the full band on "Until the Rain Comes" and "Divinity-Tree"), and their shared affinity for African music is what produces most of the album's best moments. (Listeners who prefer Cherry in a stricter jazz context are hereby warned.) The percolating, polyrhythmic grooves of "Dedication to Thomas Mapfumo," "Until the Rain Comes" (parts of it, anyway), "Divinity-Tree," and "Rhumba Multikulti" make for an infectious celebration of pan-cultural awareness that fully lives up to the promise of the album's title. Other highlights include the spare bounce of "Birdboy" and the more traditional free bop of "Pettiford Bridge." There are a few unfortunate indulgences, however. The brief instrumental sketches that punctuate the album actually detract from the flow and consistency, and if you've never been a fan of poetry recitations over jazz backing, the ones here won't change your mind. A few cuts just don't quite go anywhere, and at 12 minutes, "Until the Rain Comes" -- despite some undeniably great sections -- just starts to meander after a while. There's definitely enough good music here to make Multikulti worthwhile for fans of Cherry's world fusion explorations, but it isn't quite consistent enough to become essential. - by Steve Huey, AMG

Don Cherry was a man of extraordinarily cosmopolitan musical tastes, and better than any other record, "Multikulti" displays this. It may not be his best work, but it is probably his most accessible, and is a highly enjoyable experience. Moving between different moods, Cherry, backed by several ensembles including such musicians as Nana Vasconcelos, Carlos Ward, Ed Blackwell, Karl Berger and Peter Apfelbaum, the record is a stirring mix of American, European, and African musical traditions, moving seemlessly between forms. Cherry is at his most entertaining on "Multikulti Soothsayer"-- spoken word over doussn'gouni (a bassy, single stringed hunter's bow), pocket trumpet, and synthesizers-- a bizarre story about coming into a shop and meeting a woman of seemingly unlimited potential, and his skills as an instrumental arranger shine on "Birdboy" (a electronics-meets-reggae piece), "Dedication to Thomas Mapfumo (Eastern European-tinged swing with blazing soloing from Ward and Apfelbaum), "Pettiford Bridge" (tuba-driven jazz with phenomenal soloing from Cherry and Ward) and "Until the Rain Comes" (a bizarre pop meets a dozezn world traditions piece with a great vocal from Ingrid Sertso). All in all, its a great record and there's quite a bit to hear on this. Dig it up, even out of print, its well worth the effort. - by Michael Stack,

Artist: Don Cherry
Album: Multikulti
Year: 1990
Label: A & M Records
Runtime: 50:54

1.  Trumpet (Don Cherry) 0:45
2.  Multikulti Soothsayer (Don Cherry) 5:26
3.  Flute (Don Cherry) 1:08
4.  Birdboy (Don Cherry) 4:37
5.  Melodica (Don Cherry) 1:24
6.  Dedication to Thomas Mapfurno (Don Cherry) 4:20
7.  Pettiford Bridge (Don Cherry) 4:44
8.  Piano/Trumpet (Don Cherry) 2:21
9.  Until the Rain Comes (Peter Apfelbaum) 12:17
10.  Divinity-Tree (Peter Apfelbaum) 5:14
11.  Rhumba Multikulti (Don Cherry/Robert Huffman/Joshua Jones) 4:10
12.  Multikulti Soothsayer Player (Don Cherry) 4:24

Don Cherry (Trumpet, Doussn' gouni, Voice, Flute, Melodica and Piano)
Peter Apfelbaum (Tenor Saxophone, Cowbell, Marimba, Bells, Gong and Piano) - 6,9-11
Bob Stewart (Tuba) - 6,7
Carlos Ward (Alto Saxophone) - 6,7
Ed Blackwell (Drums) - 6,7
Karl Berger (Marimba and Voice) - 6,11
Ingrid Sertso (Voice) - 6,9,11
Bill Ortiz (Trumpet and Voice) - 9,10
James Harvey (Trombone) - 9,10
Jeff Cressman (Trombone and Voice) - 9,10
Tony Jones (Tenor Saxophone) - 9,10
Jessica Jones (Tenor Saxophone) - 9,10
Peck Allmond (Baritone Saxophone) - 9,10
Will Bernard (Guitar) - 9,10
Stan Franks (Guitar) - 9,10
Bo Freeman (Bass) - 9,10
Joshua Jones (Drums and Percussion, Voice) - 9-11
Deszon X. Clairbone (Drums) - 9,10
Robert Huffman (Percussion and Voice) - 9-11
Frank Ekeh (Percussion and Voice) - 9,10
Allen Ginsberg (Backing Vocals) - 11
Claudia Engelhart (Backing Vocals) - 11
Karen Knight (Backing Vocals) - 11
Frank Serafine (Synthesizer) - 2
Anthony Hamilton (Voice) - 2
John L. Price (Drums Programming) - 4
Mark Loudon Sims (Bass) - 4
David Cherry (Synthesizer) - 4
Nana Vasconcelos (Percussion) - 6

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yusef Lateef - Eastern Sounds

One of multi-instrumentalist and composer Yusef Lateef's most enduring recordings, Eastern Sounds was one of the last recordings made by the band that Lateef shared with pianist Barry Harris after the band moved to New York from Detroit, where the jazz scene was already dying. Lateef had long been interested in Eastern music, long before John Coltrane had ever shown any public interest anyway, so this Moodsville session (which meant it was supposed to be a laid-back ballad-like record), recorded in 1961, was drenched in Lateef's current explorations of Eastern mode and interval, as well as tonal and polytonal improvisation. That he could do so within a context that was accessible, and even "pretty," is an accomplishment that stands today. The quartet was rounded out by the inimitable Lex Humphries on drums -- whose brushwork was among the most deft and inventive of any player in the music with the possible exception of Connie Kay from the Modern Jazz Quartet -- and bass and rabat player Ernie Farrow. The set kicks off with "The Plum Blossom," a sweet oboe and flute piece that comes from an Eastern scale and works in repetitive rhythms and a single D minor mode to move through a blues progression and into something a bit more exotic, which sets up the oboe-driven "Blues for the Orient." Never has Barry Harris' playing stood up with more restraint to such striking effect than it does here. He moves the piece along with striking ostinatos and arpeggios that hold the center of the tune rather than stretch it. Lateef moans softly on the oboe as the rhythm section doubles, then triples, then half times the beat until it all feels like a drone. There are two cinematic themes here -- he cut themes from the films Spartacus and The Robe, which are strikingly, hauntingly beautiful -- revealing just how important accessibility was to Lateef. And not in the sense of selling out, but more in terms of bringing people to this music he was not only playing, but discovering as well. (Listen to Les Baxter and to the early-'60s recordings of Lateef -- which ones are more musically enduring?) However, the themes set up the deep blues and wondrous ballad extrapolations Lateef was working on, like "Don't Blame Me" and "Purple Flower," which add such depth and dimension to the Eastern-flavored music that it is hard to imagine them coming from the same band. Awesome. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Yusef Lateef
Album: Eastern Sounds
Year: 1961 (Prestige)
Label: OJC (Digital remastering, 1991)
Runtime: 39:42

1.  The Plum Blossom (Yusef Lateef) 5:02
2.  Blues For the Orient (Yusef Lateef) 5:39
3.  Chinq Miau (Yusef Lateef) 3:19
4.  Don't Blame Me (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) 4:56
5.  Love Theme From "Spartacus" (Alex North) 4:09
6.  Snafu (Yusef Lateef) 5:40
7.  Purple Flower(Yusef Lateef)  4:30
8.  Love Theme from "The Robe" (Alfred Newman) 3:59
9.  The Three Faces of Balal (Yusef Lateef) 2:23

Yusef Lateef (Tenor Saxophone, Oboe and Flute)
Barry Harris (Piano)
Ernie Farrow (Double Bass and Rabat)
Lex Humphries (Drums)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Branford Marsalis - Bloomington

Delfeayo Marsalis said, " Branford Marsalis is the most creative and imaginative person playing music today." I strongly agree to what he said, in other word, Branford is the best saxman playing the saxophone today (I wonder how many people agree with that?). Maybe you will agree with that statement after hearing to this trio album. Hmm, how do I start? Ok, the musicians.. In this trio, we have Robert Hurst playing the bass and Jeff Watts playing drums. These 2 guys are no ordinary musicians who just only play simple jazz standards or simply just come together for some lame jamming session. Robert Hurst, is by far the best bassist I have ever heard. Many people have given a lot of acclaim to the new bassist, Eric Revis (in Branford's band) whom is also a great bassist, but I still find something is missing in Eric's bass playing, that Robert has. Robert got a deep sounding bass line filling with complex harmonic, rhythmic structures and humor, at times he would do some tension thingy like the late Jimmy Garrison, sustaining low notes, banging his bass line that would give listeners a feel of susdiminish sensibility (I don't know how to explain the sound!). And most important of all, he keeps the groove in a solid condition. Not to mention he can swing at any odd-meter vamp with great ease. A bassist with deep running power of his beat provides a very strong foundation for the band in case of any earthquakes! And by the way, where's Robert, I haven't heard anything from him since he played in the Ellis Marsalis album <Whistle Stop>- another great album. Jeff Watts is one hell of a drummer, his function as a drummer is far beyond from just timekeeper. I just love his creative thundering herd of drum patterns. He is actually one of the drummers whom have invented many drumming "idioms" to the Jazz community (I don't know how to call that!). No matter what kind of music from post-bop contemporary to Ballads, the fire and polyrhythmic conception is always there. And everybody knows it! Branford is the best sax player of his generation, his playing is so consistent that those melodic and harmonic idea flows like a stream. His command on the instrument is so complete that one almost takes it for granted. The song <Xavier's Lair> is 15:14, you can listen throughout the song, he never run out of ideas, there Tain and Robert juxtaposing different time meters, call-&-responses and man, Branford is improvising on top of that!!! This Trio is not about just playing Jazz, what there are doing here is beyond the word "Jazz". Tell me how many bands can switch on and off in so many different time meter vamps? (5/4, 7/4, 15/8). How many bands can play in 13 bar or 11 bar blues? How many bands can exhibit such a fine dynamic extreme? These are what conventional bands can't do, as they normally play in 4 and 8 bar phrases, 12-bar blues, 4/4 or 3 /4 time meter, and that AABA sequence or that 2-5-1 progressions. This album display some of the most sophisticated, innovative, contemporary Jazz todate. Very few Jazz musicians can play in this setting comfortably. <The Beautyful Ones> is a kind of music that is not very easy to categorize. On the start of the track, Branford kinda evoke Coltrane's lyricism on the soprano and Robert Hurst mimics the bass playing of Jimmy Garrison which have a strong north India flavor. And slowly they increase the musical intensity and there, you have Tain playing his drum in reminiscence to the Tabla playing of the north India classical Tabla players (I guess you can imagine how it would sound!). Branford playing with a Coltrane lyricism throughout the music, with an extreme dynamic sensibility. Then they came to a momentary pause at 12:57, Robert Hurst did a fantastic bass solo beyond the explanation of Jazz improvisation theory, as I have say before, his bass playing here got a strong north India flavor. To me, that solo reminisces Imrat Khan' s Surbahar playing (a bass sitar that got a deep and mellow tone). I think it would be appropriate to use the Indian classical terminology on this track. The things they are doing here got a little sensibility to do with Raga Alap and Raga Jor. As in the Indian Classical music terminology, the depth of imagination and creative musicality of the performer and improviser is revealed in the Alap and Jor. Alap is the first movement of the raga (raga = solo). It is a slow, serene movement acting as an invocation and gradually develops the raga (Branford did it with the Coltrane's lyricism, like the way <Alabama> was played). Jor begins with the added element of rhythm which, combining with the weaving of innumerable melodic patterns (and Tain did it!), gradually gains in tempo and leads to the final movement (the trio achieve this too!!). <Citizen Tain> a New Orleans music that is very complex and have many mathematical solo structures by Branford... This album deserve all the credits it got. Nevertheless, like many other great albums by Coltrane, <Love Supreme> or <Live at the Village Vanguard>, Bloomington will not automatically arrive at your door step inviting you for a friendly listen. To understand the essence and true meaning of it, you would require some guts and depth. Listen it with an open-mind and you shall know what real joy is. - by Bandy,

This live set (part of which was included in the performance film The Music Tells You) features Branford Marsalis and his longtime trio (bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts) really stretching out on six pieces. Most of the playing is unfortunately very long-winded and rather dull. Marsalis seems content to play the part of a chameleon, doing his impressions of late-period Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and (when he switches to soprano) Ornette Coleman. Also, the music lacks variety and Marsalis is off-mic part of the time. Although the final two selections give this set a much needed dose of humor, it is too little too late. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Branford Marsalis
Album: Bloomington
Year: 1991
Label: Columbia (1993)
Runtime: 67:00

1.  Xavier's Lair (Branford Marsalis) 15:12
2.  Everything Happens To Me (Tom Adair/Matt Denis) 7:53
3.  The Beautyful Ones (Branford Marsalis) 19:02
4.  Citizen Train (Branford Marsalis) 16:18
5.  Friday the 13th (Thelonious Monk) 11:12
6.  Roused About (Robert Hurst) 7:21

Branford Marsalis (Saxophones)
Robert Hurst (Double Bass)
Jeff "Tain" Watts (Drums)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Charlie Haden - Always Say Goodbye

Always Say Goodbye is part of the continuing Quartet West project by Haden, in which the venerable bassist attempts to evoke the spirit of Hollywood circa 1930-1940. To that end, the record opens and closes with snippets from the soundtrack to The Big Sleep, one of Haden's favorite movies. After the introduction, the album seamlessly transitions to the title track, the leader's own composition and one of the high points on the record. Alan Broadbent's solo piano introduction perfectly sets the mood that is sustained throughout the entire album: one of acute nostalgia. Other devices used to inculcate this mood is the peculiar device of the dual performance, in which a recording of a song is played first by Haden's quartet and is then followed by a sampled performance of the same song by a great jazz artist of the past. The results, though at first a little bit unsettling, are quite spectacular. Particularly instructive is "Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour? (Where Are You, My Love?)," where violin legend Stephane Grappelli joins the quartet for one reading, which soon makes way to a Django Reinhardt-Grappelli version of the same song recorded in 1949. Nostalgia has never been this tangible -- this solid and real. The quartet that Haden has assembled is top-notch. The leader is as tasty as ever, his warm lines implying the beat and the pulse of each song as often as they strictly denote and delimit it. Ernie Watts' tenor sound is one of the most vocal around, and pianist Broadbent and drummer Larance Marable make up a first-rate rhythm section. Broadbent also is an extremely melodic improviser, and his solos reveal a thoughtful, complete musician. Broadbent also is responsible for the extremely elegant use of strings on "My Love and I (Love Song From Apache)" and "Everything Happens to Me." Highly recommended. -by Daniel Gioffre, AMG

Artist: Charlie Haden Quartet West
Album: ALways Say Goodbye
Year: 1993
Label: Gitanes Jazz
Runtime: 69:59

1.  Introduction 0:57
2.  Always Say Goodbye (Charlie Haden)  6:37
3.  Nice Eyes (Charlie Haden)  5:04
4.  Relaxin' At Camarillo (Charlie Parker) 3:59
5.  Sunset Afternoon (Alan Broadbent)  4:13
6.  My Love And I (Love Song From Apache) (Johnny Mercer/David Raksin) 3:21
7.  Alone Together (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 5:22
8.  Our Spanish Love Song (Charlie Haden) 6:08
9.  Background Music (Warne Marsh) 4:46
10.  Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour? (Henry Lemarchand/Emil Stern) 6:47
11.  Avenue Of Stars (Alan Broadbent)  5:53
12.  Low Key Lightly (Variation On The Theme Of Hero To Zero) (Duke Ellington) 4:53
13.  Celia (Bud Powell) 5:00
14.  Everything Happens To Me (Tom Adair/Matt Dennis) 6:24
15.  Ending 0:35

Charlie Haden (Double Bass)
Ernie Watts (Tenor Saxophone)
Alan Broadbent (Piano)
Larance Marable (Drums)
Stephane Grappelli (Violin) - 10

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Eddie Vinson - Eddie Vinson Sings

One of only two albums that altoist/singer Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson led during 1956-1966, this infectious set finds him performing some of his best known tunes. With assistance by a medium-size group that plays in a Count Basie groove (including such Basie-ites as trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonist Henry Coker, either Frank Foster or Paul Quinichette on tenor, and pianist Nat Pierce), Cleanhead makes such songs as "Kidney Stew," "Caldonia," "Cherry Red," "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby," and "Hold It Right There" sound full of joy. This CD reissue adds three alternate takes that were originally recorded in stereo. A good sampling of the great Cleanhead. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
Album: Eddie Vinson Sings (Cleanhead's Back in Town)
Year: 1957
Label: Bethlehem Company (20-bit Remastered, 1996)
Runtime: 40:09

1.  Cleanhead's Back in Town (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 3:01
2.  That's the Way to Treat Your Woman (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 2:31
3.  Trouble in Mind (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 2:28
4.  Kidney Stew (Leona Blackman/Eddie Vinson) 2:30
5.  Sweet Lovin' Baby (Chuck Darwin) 2:58
6.  Caldonia (Fleecie Moore) 2:50
7.  It Ain't Necessarily So (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 2:48
8.  Cherry Red (Pete Johnson/Big Joe Turner)  2:44
9.  Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby (Bill Austin/Louis Jordan) 2:51
10.  I Just Can't Keep the Tears from Tumblin' Down (Chuck Darwin) 3:11
11.  Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 2:26
12.  Hold It Right There (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 2:29
13.  Trouble in Mind (stereo bonus track) (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 2:26
14.  Kidney Stew (stereo bonus track) (Leona Blackman/Eddie Vinson)  2:27
15.  Hold It Right There (stereo bonus track) (William Gray/Dossie Terry/Eddie Vinson) 2:22

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (Vocals)
Joe Newman (Trumpet)
Henry Coker (Trombone)
Charles Fowlkes (Baritone Saxophone)
Nat Pierce (Piano)
Ed Jones (Double Bass)
Gus Johnson (Drums) - 1,5,10,11
Frank Foster (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,5,10,11
Freddie Green (Guitar) - 2,3,6,12
Charlie Rouse (Tenor Saxophone) - 2,3,6,12
Ed Thigpen (Drums) - 2-4,6-9,12-15
Paul Quinichette (Tenor Saxophone) - 2-4,6-9,12-15
Bill Graham (Alto Saxophone) - 1,4,5,7-11,13-15
Turk Van Lake (Guitar) - 2,3,6,12

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grant Green - Street of Dreams

Perhaps it's a bit odd that while the 1950s and 1960s threw up many notable guitarists--Montgomery, Galbraith, Puma, Hall, Ellis, Lowe, Pass, &c--they mostly tended to the quieter end of the spectrum: the guitar wasn't frequently encountered in the tough-as-nails, abrasive music known as hard bop. The only two guitarists to have made much of an impact at Blue Note, the home of hard bop, were Kenny Burrell & Grant Green. Green was a guitarist blessed with the ability to make just about anything sound good; even something as unpromising as "Moon River" (on "The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark") in his hands becomes convincing & impeccable jazz. His playing was supremely melodic, unornamented & relaxed; his sound was delicate, but surprisingly adaptable to even the toughest of hard bop contexts. He recorded in a lot of settings; at the time Blue Note seemed mostly interested in his more commercially-oriented work (gospel, blues, organ trio, Latin, pop standards), & it was only after Green's untimely death in the late 1970s that a lot of Green's most important & grittiest work was released, like a pair of albums with McCoy Tyner & Elvin Jones in the rhythm section, or a clutch of discs with Sonny Clark on piano. Unfortunately, as the 1960s wore on like many jazz musicians (& especially guitarists--think of Montgomery & Benson) Green more & more turned to commercially-oriented music; but his numerous mid-1960s discs amply document a figure who is as much a neglected master as, say, Sonny Clark or Herbie Nichols (though like them he is finally getting his due). This album was released during Green's life, fortunately, & remains one of his best. The band features Larry Young on organ, Bobby Hutcherson on vibes & Elvin Jones on drums. If at a casual glance the setlist looks more "commercial" than an album like "Idle Moments" (Green's finest album as a leader), given that it is dependent on standards rather than originals, don't let that fool you. The best of these four long, relaxed performances is a version of "Lazy Afternoon", reworked into a 5/4 groove, the theme given a tranced, elongated reading. But all four tracks are memorable, unfolding gently, with an almost mesmerizing shimmer. Despite its being on the Blue Note label, this disc is as introspective of mood as a contemporary Bill Evans trio date. The players on this disc crossed paths several times again. The Green/Young/Jones axis frequently appeared in Van Gelder's studio: they also recorded Green's "Talkin' About", Young's "Into Somethin'" (with Sam Rivers), & Green's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (with Hank Mobley; the title track is another fine instance of Green's ability to make compelling jazz out of unlikely material)--if none of these discs quite touches "Street of Dreams" they are still all rewarding listens. Bobby Hutcherson was also a key component of "Idle Moments", which stands as Green's greatest achievement on disc. - by N. Dorward,

Grant Green's second session with organist Larry Young, Street of Dreams brings back drummer Elvin Jones and adds Bobby Hutcherson on vibes for a mellow, dreamy album that lives up to its title. There are only four selections, all standards and all around eight to ten minutes long, and the musicians approach them as extended mood pieces, creating a marvelously light, cool atmosphere that's maintained throughout the record. Hutcherson is the perfect addition for this project, able to blend in with the modal advancement of the rest of the ensemble while adding his clear, shimmering tone to the overall texture of the album. All the musicians play with a delicate touch that's quite distinct from the modal soul-jazz on Talkin' About; it's not so much romantic as thoughtful and introspective, floating along as if buoyed by clouds. There aren't really any fireworks or funky grooves, as the music is all of a piece, which makes it difficult to choose the highlights from French songwriter Charles Trenet's "I Wish You Love," "Lazy Afternoon," the title track, or "Somewhere in the Night." It's another fine record in a discography filled with them, and yet another underrated Green session. - by Steve Huey, AMG

Artist: Grant Green
Album: Street of Dream
Year: 1964
Label: Blue Note (20-bit SBM, 1998)
Runtime: 33:37

1.  I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet) 8:45
2.  Lazy Afternoon (John Latouche/Jerome Moross) 7:45
3.  Street of Dreams (Sam M. Lewis/Victor Young) 9:04
4.  Somewhere in the Night (Mack Gordon/Josef Myrow) 8:01

Grant Green (Guitar)
Bobby Hutcherson (Vibraphone)
Larry Young (Organ)
Elvin Jones (Drums)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wilbur Harden & John Coltrane - Tanganyika Strut

To discuss styles on this date is to try and epitomize the entire current style of playing jazz. Each of these men represents on their instrument the most current thinking and styling in jazz. Coltrane, the most developed and authoritative voice (along with Taylor), utilizes his searing and soaring vast technical resources to heat up his conservation. Probing the extensions of the basic chords, his use of extended 32nd note and 64th note runs is cleanly executed in tune! This writer detects a particular usage heat of extended top notes that "whine" in a near-use of an old Lester Young technique, currently utilized by Yusef Lateef to give a "near East" influence to the tenor sax. Wilbur Harden approaches melody much like Miles Davis, yet weaving a more note tapestry around it. His extended used of middle range gives the "flat" sound of the flugelhorn a chance to come forth. Curiously, brass men report that this longer-tubed relative of the trumpet takes much more wind and blowing to make sound that the trumpet, yet Harden is able to "puff" effortlessly and brilliantly! Curtis Fuller still makes extended use of 32nd note staccato bursts into biting legato phrases as a trademark. Newcomer Howard Williams' developing style show an alternating pattern of lag-beat single notelines and a more florid chorded style, in contrast to the beautifully constucted and restrained work of Tommy Flanagan. - by H. Alan Stein (from original liner notes)

When listening to the many albums of John Coltrane it is easy to be unimpressed by his earlier works or else to find his later works too avant-garde and difficult to listen to. "Tanganyika Strut" is neither of these. This album seems to have captured him in his transitional phase (1958-1959) where he expresses a great amount of feel in his playing mixed with impressively fast and complicated solos which make his music easier to listen to. This is particularly true with the first two tracks on the album. To those who really get deep into their music you will find yourselves playing this album over and over again admiring the feel and technique than Coltrane possessed. For me, "Tanganyika Strut" along with "A Kind of Blue" (Coltrane and Miles Davis) and "My Favourite Things" represent the best of Coltrane. Remember that Coltrane's music is extremely deep and often difficult to get into. Personally, I place this album in my group of classics along with "Concierto" by Jim Hall, "The Last Concert" by The Modern Jazz Quartet", "A Kind of Blue" Coltrane & Davis, and "Live" by Jim Hall. - from

Artist: Wilbur Harden & John Coltrane
Album: Tanganyika Strut
Year: 1958
Label: Savoy (Nippon Columbia, 1991)
Runtime: 29:09
Audio type: Monaural

1.  Tanganyika Strut (Curtis Fuller) 10:03
2.  B.J. (Wilbur Harden) 4:30
3.  Anecdac (Wilbur Harden) 5:11
4.  Once In A While (Michael Edwards/Bud Green) 9:22

Wilbur Harden (Flugelhorn)
John Coltrane (Tenor Saxophone)
Curtis Fuller (Trombone)
Ali Jackson (Double Bass)
Art Blakey (Drums)
Howard Williams (Piano) - 2-4
Tommy Flanagan (Piano) - 1

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Larry Carlton - Playing/Singing

This is Larry Carlton's second independent recording, which has finally been reissued on CD. The trademark 'Carlton' guitar sound is evident throughout, as is his toneless singing. The tracks here have a more earthy feel, as opposed to the over-produced stylings he would later employ; however, the overall results are disappointing. The guitar playing is certainly impressive (especially the distortion-filled "Free Way"), but there is simply not enough of it. Regardless, this is an interesting part of Carlton's beginnings and there are enough moments here that foreshadow his evolvement into one of the most distinctive voices in the history of electric guitar. - by Robert Taylor, AMG

Artist: Larry Carlton
Album: Playing/Singing
Year: 1973
Label: Edsel (1995)
Runtime: 31:57

1. Easy Evil (Alan O'Day) 4:10
2. I Cry Mercy (Tim Smith/Steve Smith) 3:17
3. One More Chance (Terry Furlong) 3:15
4. With Respect To Coltrane (Tom Scott) 4:20
5. American Family (Alan O'Day) 4:05
6. Wavin' And Smilin' (Bob Siller)3:03
7. Captain, Captain (Walter Meskel) 3:29
8. Free Way (Larry Carlton) 6:15

Larry Carlton (Guitar, Vocals, Bass)
Michael Omartian (Electric Piano, Piano, Organ) - 1-3,5-7
Joe Osborne (Bass Guitar) - 2,3,6
Alan Estes (Percussion) - 3,4,6
Jim Gordon (Drums) - 2,7
Ron Tutt (Drums) - 3,6
Wilton Felder (Bass Guitar) - 4,8
Joe Sample (Electric Piano) - 4,8
Stix Hooper (Drums) - 4,8
Michael Mills (Percussion) - 1
Max Bennett (Bass) - 5
John Guerin (Drums) - 5
Reinie Press (Bass Guitar) - 7
Chris Neilson (Backing Vocals) - 7
Oma Drake (Backing Vocals) - 3
Julia Tillman Waters (Backing Vocals) - 3
Maxine Willard (Backing Vocals) - 3

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bola Sete - At the Monterey Jazz Festival

The late guitarist Djalma de Andrada gained the Portuguese nickname Bola Sete or ("seven ball" in English) for the single black ball in the game of billiards (not to be confused with the eight ball of pool) because he was the only black player in a Brazilian jazz group. Like many of his compatriots during the 1960s influx of Brazilian musicians to America, Bola Sete had roots in both Brazil’s European classical and African folk traditions. But he was also strongly influenced by jazz masters such as Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and especially Barney Kessel, and he developed a jazz-based, steely-toned acoustic guitar style. Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival captures a remarkable live set from 1966. Bola Sete’s love of jazz played a large part in shaping his career in the States. After he joined pianist Vince Guaraldi’s trio on the West Coast, he was heard by the great trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in 1962. Gillespie raved about his Brazilian Afro-jazz fusion, and by the time the concert documented here took place, Bola Sete had formed his own combo. On this set, which features a medley of songs from the movie Black Orpheus and two original compositions, including an exquisitely Brazilian "Flamenco", the players catch fire. There is brilliant interplay among the guitarist and drummer Paulinho Da Costa, virtuosic on a range of percussion instruments that create a true street-samba feel; the sensitive bassist Sebastião Neto; and the audience, whose roars of approval create an ideal, Carnival-like excitement around the music. - from the cdcover

Nine months before a certain other guitarist made a huge splash at a Monterey music festival, Brazilian acoustic guitarist Bola Sete left his own mark on an American jazz audience still feeding its voracious appetite for all things Brazilian. To be sure, Bola Sete didn't sneak up on the American public quite like Jimi Hendrix did--after all, Sete had made waves as part of Vince Guaraldi's ensemble in the years leading up to this historic 1966 performance. The classically trained Sete wowed fans with a unique style that seemed to fall somewhere between Andres Segovia's elegance and Django Reinhardt's exuberance, a space not as wide as you might think. By the summer of '66, Sete had graduated to his own trio with bassist Sebastiao Neto and percussion master Paulinho Da Costa.The centerpiece of this performance is the three-song "Black Orpheus" Medley," but Sete adds a pair of noteworthy originals. "Soul Samba" has subtle blues inflections that remind you that Barney Kessel was the first jazz guitarist to catch his ear. "Flamenco" is a simply stunning solo performance that blends challenging chording with incredibly speedy single-note runs, and offers the most overt example of his comfort with the folk traditions of his homeland. At some points, he amazingly plays his own bass accompaniment to his upper-register notes. This long-overdue 2000 CD reissue fleshes out the original LP release by adding 4 minutes to the medley as well as 2 unreleased cuts (with poorer sound quality) from the show, including a bossa nova arrangement of Ellington's "Satin Doll." - by Marc Greilsamer, AMG

Artist: Bola Sete
Album: Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival
Year: 1966
Label: Verve
Runtime: 46:23

1.  Black Orpheus Medley: Manha De Carnaval/A Felicidade (Adieu Tristesse)/Samba De Orfeu (Luiz Bonfá/Antonio Carlos Jobim) 17:28
2.  Soul Samba (Bola Sete) 6:47
3.  Flamenco (Bola Sete) 8:32
4.  Spoken Introduction 0:39
5.  Coisa Numero Um (Clovis Mello/Moacir Santos) 5:01
6.  Satin Doll (Duke Ellington/Johnny Mercer/Billy Strayhorn) 7:56

Bola Sete (Guitar)
Sebastiao Neto (Bass and Percussion)
Paulinho Da Costa (Drums)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Duke Ellington - The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse

This CD reissue brings back one of Duke Ellington's most intriguing works from his later years. "Acht O'Clock Rock" actually shows the influence of rock while some of the other selections hint at both African folk music and more advanced areas of jazz. However the familiar Ellington sound was still very much intact in 1971. The main soloists include Harold Ashby and Paul Gonsalves on tenors, baritonist Harry Carney (featured on "Didjeridoo") and altoist Norris Turney; the versatility of drummer Rufus Jones really helps the colorful music. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

One of the most powerful performances of Duke Ellington and his band in my entire collection.Shorn of such stallwarts as Jonny Hodges,Jimmy Hamilton,Ray Nance,Sam Woodyard a.o.,This album pulsates with exotic beats,deep orchestral tones and a drive that competes with his most famous recordings.This is not just a brilliant example of the 'latter' day Duke, this is a brilliant examle 'of Duke!'Paul Gonsalves,Rufus Jones,Noris Turney,Harold Ashby,Harry Carney and The Duke himself are the main protagonists,but the band as a whole are simply at their best.I think that Dukes opening speach, so cool and flavoured,sets the pace.This album is a must for any lover of good music.I love it and Im sure you will too. - by Robert Bonnici,

Artist: Duke Ellington
Album: The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse
Year: 1971
Label: OJC (Digital remastering, 1991)
Runtime: 38:00

1.  Chinoiserie 8:16
2.  Didjeridoo 3:41
3.  Afrique 5:27
4.  Acht O'Clock Rock 3:05
5.  Gong 4:49
6.  Tang 4:49
7.  True 3:40
8.  Hard Way 4:08
All compositions by Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington (Piano)
Cootie Williams (Trumpet)
Money Johnson (Trumpet)
Mercer Ellington (Trumpet)
Eddie Preston (Trumpet)
Booty Wood (Trombone)
Malcolm Taylor (Trombone)
Chuck Connors (Bass Trombone)
Russell Procope (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet)
Norris Turney (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute)
Paul Gonsalves (Tenor Saxophone)
Harold Ashby (Tenor Saxophone)
Harry Carney (Baritone Saxophone)
Joe Benjamin (Double Bass)
Rufus Jones (Drums)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paul Horn - The Altitude of the Sun

For "The Altitude of the Sun", recorded in 1976 and produced by Teo Nacero, Horn introduced to American listeners the compositions, arrangements and performances of Egberto Gismonti, a brilliant guitarist/pianist from Rio de Janeiro who later went on to record several solo albums of his own for the ECM label.
For "Paul Horn & Nexus", recorded in 1975, flutist Paul Horn joied forces with Nexus, a touring group of percussionists and musical instrument collectors who hailed from Toronto, Canada. Though inspired improvisations, Horn and his friends created an emotionally potent and stylistically diverse album that colorfully merged strong, earthy rhythms eith cultural influences from South America, Africa, India, Tibet and the U.S.A. - from the liner notes

Artist: Paul Horn Featuring Egberto Gismonti and Nexus
Album: The Altitude of the Sun
Year: 1975-76
Label: Black Sun (1989)
Runtime: 78:09

1.  Danca das Cabecas (Head Dance) (Egberto Gismonti) 7:10
2.  Bodas de Prata (Silver Wedding) (Egberto Gismonti) 8:08
3.  Altura do Sol (The Alititude of the Sun) (Egberto Gismonti) 3:23
4.  Carmo (Egberto Gismonti) 2:38
5.  Tango (Egberto Gismonti) 5:14
6.  Quarup (Worship Ceremony) (Egberto Gismonti) 4:49
7.  Parque Laje (A Park In Rio) (Egberto Gismonti) 3:33
8.  Salvador (Egberto Gismonti) 5:07
9.  Somba (Paul Horn and Nexus) 5:11
10.  Friendship (Paul Horn and Nexus) 2:07
11.  Nexus (Paul Horn and Nexus) 5:19
12.  Mbira (Paul Horn and Nexus) 3:52
13.  Latin Tala (Paul Horn and Nexus) 2:46
14.  African Funeral Song (Paul Horn and Nexus) 4:57
15.  Eastern Star (Paul Horn and Nexus) 4:37
16.  Dharma (Paul Horn and Nexus) 6:10
17.  Capetown (Paul Horn and Nexus) 2:58

Paul Horn (Flutes, Piccolo, Clarinet and Alto Saxophone)
Egberto Gismonti (Piano and Acoustic Guitar) - 1-8
Roberto Silva (Drums and Percussion) - 1-8
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 1-8
Don Salvador (Electric Piano) - 1-8
Dom Um Romao (Percussion) - 1-8
Robert Becker (Percussion) - 9-17
William Cahn (Percussion) - 9-17
Robin Engleman (Percussion) - 9-17
Russell Hartenburger (Percussion) - 9-17
John Wyre (Percussion) - 9-17
Michael Craden (Percussion) - 9-17

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ginger Baker Trio - Falling off the Roof

The second project to match drummer Ginger Baker with guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Charlie Haden does not reach the heights of the first effort. Guest appearances by banjoist Bela Fleck on three songs and guitarist Jerry Hahn on one are welcome, but the diversity and wide scope of the first Baker trio set are not reached. The music often leans toward country (Frisell was probably preparing mentally for his Nashville project), the originals are less memorable than before, and the element of danger is mostly absent. A bit of a disappointment. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

There are a whole lotta musicians who would kill for a resumé like that of peripatetic drummer Ginger Baker: member of Cream and Blind Faith, bandmate of Fela Kuti, survivor of a drum showdown with Elvin Jones, olive farmer, polo player, born-again jazzer (his '95 trio recording, Going Back Home, certified his abilities). Baker's latest record, Falling Off The Roof, is another vivid chapter in his ongoing self-reinvention. Once again backed by Bill Frisell on guitar and Charlie Haden on bass, Ginger propels the groove through a rocking/swinging melange of originals and standards that are indelibly memorable. An unselfish bandleader who gives plenty of room to his mates, Baker nonetheless looms over the proceedings with a Blakey-like persona-subtly throwing vibes by strategic drum rolls and bombs, brushing up billows of wind, shifting time and space, rocking out. Highlights-that's tough, but the gothic blues of Frisell's "Skeleton," Baker's 4-on-the-floor "Vinco Vecchio" and the bluegrassified Frisell/Béla Fleck (banjo) plecturings on Haden's "Taney County" are keepers. So is Falling Off The Roof. - by Tom Terrell,

Artist: Ginger Baker Trio
Album: Falling off the Roof
Year: 1996
Label: Atlantic HDCD
Runtime: 57:51

1.  Falling off the Roof (Ginger Baker) 4:00
2.  Amarillo, Barbados (Bill Frisell) 4:41
3.  Bemsha Swing (Thelonius Monk/Denzil Best) 4:21
4.  Sunday at the Hillcrest (Charlie Haden) 5:54
5.  Au Privave (Charlie Parker) 3:06
6.  Our Spanish Love Song (Charlie Haden) 5:21
7.  C.B.C. Mimps (Ginger Baker) 6:49
8.  Skeleton (Bill Frisell) 5:57
9.  Vino Vecchio (Ginger Baker) 3:56
10.  Day the Sun Came Out (Ginger Baker/Bill Frisell) 8:23
11.  Taney County (Charlie Haden) 5:23

Ginger Baker (Drums)
Bill Frisell (Guitar)
Charlie Haden (Double Bass)
Bela Fleck (Banjo) - 2,5,11
Jerry Hahn (Electric Guitar) - 4

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oscar Peterson Trio - West Side Story

West Side Story was a bit of an unusual session for several reasons. First, the popularity of both the Broadway musical and the film version that followed meant that there were many records being made of its music. Second, rather than woodshed on the selections prior to entering the studio, the Oscar Peterson Trio spontaneously created impressions of the musical's themes on the spot. "Something's Coming" seems like a series of vignettes, constantly shifting its mood, as if moving from one scene to the next. Ray Brown plays arco bass behind Peterson in the lovely "Somewhere," while the feeling to "Jet Song" is very hip in the trio's hands. The snappy interplay between the musicians in the brisk setting of "Tonight" turns it into a swinger. "Maria" initially has a light, dreamy quality, though it evolves into a solid groove. The romp through "I Feel Pretty" is full of humor, while the CD closes with a brief reprise of several themes from the musical to wrap the session with a flourish. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Oscar Peterson discography is so immense that it's difficult to sort through the entries. If you're looking for a first purchase, "West Side Story" is a good pick, particularly if you are a fan of the original broadway or film soundtrack. Piano playing seemed to come so easily for Peterson that at times on records I've had the feeling he's going through the paces. When he is at his best, though, he swings clean and hard and demonstrates he knows a tune inside and out. That is the case throughout this release. And he's not afraid to turn some of the tunes in different directions. For example, he steps up the tempo on "Tonight," a potentially risky move on an extremely romantic song, but the move works as Peterson, backed up by Ray Brown's steady bass and Ed Thigpen's tasteful drums, never falters. On the other hand, the pianist does not shy away from the lyricism of "Somewhere," accenting the theme with ornate chording that mines the yearning and sadness that is at the heart of "West Side Story." And he finds a relaxed, loping gait on "Jet Song," a pace that for me captures the cheerful arrogance of the play's street gang. Interpretations of "West Side Story" have been attempted before, most notably Dave Liebman's more experimental effort a few years back. For me, Peterson's approach is the more successful of the two in that I think he came closer to finding the pulse of the original work. This is a good addition to the mainstream section of your jazz piano collection. - by hyperbolium,

Artist: Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: West Side Story
Year: 1962
Label: Verve (1984)
Runtime: 35:42

1.  Something's Coming 3:56
2.  Somewhere 5:36
3.  Jet Song 7:49
4.  Tonight 4:36
5.  Maria 4:55
6.  I Feel Pretty 4:29
7.  Reprise 4:18
All compositions by Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim 

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Ed Thigpen (Drums)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Habib Koite & Bamada - Ma Ya

As vast as Africa is, it stands to reason that the continent would offer a diversity of pop music. Those who've listened to mostly soukous or zouk might think of African pop as exuberant, fast and hyper, but those whose only exposure to African music was contemporary Ethiopian pop might think of Afro-pop as moody and dusky. Reflective and folk-like, Habib Koite's Ma Ya is a far cry from African dance music. In 1998, the expressive Malian singer/guitarist enjoyed a lot of exposure in both Africa and Europe with Ma Ya, which didn't come out in the U.S. until early 1999. Backed by his band, Bamada, Koite is expressive and evocative on originals such as "Kumbin," "Wassive" and "Foro Bana." You might not understand the lyrics that Koite is singing, but it's obvious that he brings a lot of feeling and charisma to them. - by Alex Henderson, AMG

Habib Koite is the undisputed master musician of modern West African music. This is of course a value judgement, but no other contemporary performer has come so close to capturing the essence of classical instrumental musical of the Manding people alongside an undeniably accessible sensibility for Western melodic structure. By paring down the sound of his band, and using traditional arrangements, he has produced a smooth, warm sound that grooves like a python or a leopard out for a stroll. Simply put, Habib tears it up! While a former generation of West African stars (notably Youssou N'Dour from Senegal and greats such as Salif Keita and Oumou Sangare from Mali)have approached popular music from a vocal standpoint, Habib (perhaps in a similar fashion to Ali Farka Toure) has chosen to emphasize the instrumental approach and in particular the tradition of plucked stringed instruments such as the guitar-like ngoni and the 21-string kora. What seperates his music from more traditional offerings is the finesse of the arrangements (from a western musical perspective) which sacrifices none of the dynamic and rhythmic force of traditional Manding music but yet also enables a wonderfully coherent and supple melodic structure to emerge from the music. In this, he is aided by the other musicians of Bamada (virtuoso side men all), who contribute solos, riffs and solid support in an explicitly jazz-band fashion. One consequence of this is that Habib's live concerts follow a very jazz-like format with thematic statements, choruses, individual solos and corresponding applause from the audience. As an avowed traditionalist, my own personal favorites occur when sparse but judiciously placed rhythmic motifs punctuate the wonderful flow of the music. Check the tracks when the drummer switches from kit to playing a huge gourd with sticks. Beautiful. Trained as a western classical guitarist in addition to his undoubted expertise in several of the musical traditions of Mali, Habib positions his own music as a fusion of different musical forms. This has enabled him to develop a wonderful balance between rhythm, melody and harmony that has none of the overpowering sonic waves of performers like King Sunny Ade or Youssou. The wonderful understated arrangements also recall traditional griot music and the Fulani guitar traditions which Ali Farka Toure introduced to western audiences. - by Christopher Fung,

Artist: Habib Koité & Bamada
Album: Ma Ya
Year: 1998
Label: Contre-Jour
Runtime: 60:47

1.  Wassiyé 4:44
2.  Ma Ya 5:30
3.  Bitile 5:56
4.  Sirata 5:29
5.  Foro Bana 5:14
6.  Saramaya 5:05
7.  Kumbin 4:38
8.  Maraka Kaso 5:06
9.  Pula Ku 4:34
10.  Komine 4:58
11.  I Mada 5:43
12.  Mansane Cisse 3:47
All compositions by Habib Koité

Habib Koité (Guitar, Vocals)
Baba Sissoko (Tama, N'goni, Balafon, Caragnan)
Boubacar Sidibé (Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals,)
Souleymane Ann (Drums, Calebasse, Vocals)
Abdoul Wahab Berthé (Bass Guitar, Kamale n'goni)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Alban Darche - Trumpet Kingdom

Along with a number of other exciting productions, this performance also promises to be one of the great novelties of the Budapest Jazz Festival. Alban Darche, the French saxophonist whose successful forays into contemporary music have already earned him a lot of kudos, has already attempted in one of his orchestras to elicit a trumpet sound that is, at the same time, hotter and denser than that of the conventional big band trumpet sections. For that very reason, for his new project he has again approached such trumpeters whose sound transcends the barriers of brass. - from

The live performance of Trumpet Kingdom was one of the great novelties of the MOL Budapest Jazz Festival 2006 and of the Mediawave 2007 in Győr. Alban Darche, the French saxophonist whose successful forays into contemporary music have already earned him a lot of kudos, has already attempted in one of his orchestras to elicit a trumpet sound that is, at the same time, hotter and denser than that of the conventional big band trumpet sections. For that very reason, for his new project he has again approached such trumpeters whose sound transcends the barriers of brass.
“Trumpet Kingdom” paints a broad and varied canvas. The music drifts from moody, Miles Davis-like soliloquies to forays into the realm of almost free improvisation with bits of fun recalling the sounds of European fairgrounds thrown in for good measure, while parts of the album could easily be labelled as contemporary music.- by Peter Pallai

Artist: Alban Darche
Album: Trumpet Kingdom
Year: 2008
Label: BMC
Runtime: 43:01


1.  Latin Bruno (Alban Darche) 4:55
2.  Joseph & sa Maman (Alban Darche) 3:38
3.  Trumpet Kingdom 2 (Alban Darche) 6:37
4.  B.E.P. (Alban Darche) 1:53
5.  Trumpet Kingdom 3 (Alban Darche) 4:14
6.  Fanfare du Jour (Geoffroy Tamisier) 1:02
7.  Hipocoristique (Alban Darche) 6:08
8.  Novenus (Alban Darche) 8:07
9.  Alex (Alban Darche) 6:23

Alban Darche (Tenor Saxophone)
Eric Vloelmans (Trumpet)
Laurent Blondiau (Trumpet)
Geoffroy Tamisier (Trumpet)
Sylvain Rifflet (Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Gabor Gado (Guitar)
Sebastien Boisseau (Double Bass)
Emmanuel Birault (Drums)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eichinger Quartet - Respiratory Complaints

Forceful contemporary jazz, Balkan and Brazilian music, swing rhythms and groovy backgrounds together with grotesque paraphrases of dance music: these are the elements that build the music of the Quartet, which, in spite of their varied nature, reflect a consistent, clear and unique musical domain. - from

Tibor Eichinger started to play the guitar at the age of 13. At the beginning he studied classical guitar in Debrecen, then he graduated from jazz guitar department of Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. In 1994, he established his first band, their debut album, Message from the Garden came out in 1999, which was followed by What Watch? in 2001 with another outfit and called the Timeless Life project. In the same year the Eichinger Quartet also released an album entitled Respiratory Problems. The music of EQ is scored and arranged by Eichinger. The tunes include grotesque dance music paraphrases, jazz-rock, balkan, brasilian, swing and groove rhythms which - in spite of their diversity - present Eichinger's uniform, matured and unique music. Besides leading his bands, Tibor Eichinger has participated in theater performances, e.g. a production of the Krétakör Company, entitled Nexxt. He was a member of the Wertetics Orkestar and the Bop-Art Orchestra and Amorf Ördögök. He composed the title music for Gyorgy Szomjas' film, Unexpected Death; and he has also collaborated with film director Andras Szőke. He regularly give duo concerts with Gábor Gadó. With German jazz guitarist, Stefan Varga, he recorded an album in Germany, December 2004, with the title East and West" - from

Artist: Eichinger Quartet
Album: Respiratory Problems (Légúti panaszok)
Year: 2001
Label: Bahia
Runtime: 68:52

1.  Freely II 4:01
2.  Pedestrian Crossing (Gyalogos átkelő) 7:10
3.  A Sweet-Gloomy Afternoon (Egy édes-bús délután) 5:45
4.  Rocco Balcanico 6:27
5.  Loft (Tetőtér) 7:10
6.  Madrapur 7:12
7.  Pradel 6:50
8.  Tiszatrip 7:18
9.  The Brothel of Seville (Sevillai bordély) 7:42
10.  Duo (Etude) 2:05
11.  Respiratory Compalints (Légúti panaszok) 7:05
All compositions by Tibor Eichinger

Tibor Eichinger (Electric and Acoustic Guitar)
Zsombor Zrubka (Vibraphone)
Peter Nagy (Double Bass)
Csaba Gavaller (Drums)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Glen Velez - Doctrine of Signatures

Frame drummer Velez's fourth recording for CMP features two extended compositions. The title track, a 45-minute piece written for the tar, a North African frame drum, is scored for five drummers, and the drumming style is a composite of Arabic, Azerbijani, and original drumming techniques. The second piece, "White-Throated Sparrow," is scored for two tar drums and the bansuri bamboo flute (played by Steve Gorn). Velez has been a member of Steve Reich and Musicians since 1972, and has been the percussionist with The Paul Winter Consort since 1983; he is internationally recognized as one of the world's most accomplished hand drummers. - by Rovi, AMG

Artist: Glen Velez
Album. Doctrine of Signatures
Year: 1990
Label: CMP (1991)
Runtime: 57:30

1.  White-Throated Sparrow (Glen Velez) 11:42
2.  Doctrine of Signatures (Glen Velez) 45:47

Glen Velez (Tar, Riq, Shakers, Wood Drum, Voice)
Steve Gorn (Bamboo Flute)
Eva Atsalis (Tar)
Ed Brunicardi (Tar)
Randy Crafton (Tar)
Jan Hagiwara (Tar)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dél-Alföldi Saxophone Ensemble - Tótágas

Lord Palmerston, the 19th century British statesman once called the Hungarians "the Irish of the East". He didn't mean it as a compliment but I've never felt offended by the comparison. For ali that, I had no occasion to ponder its veracity until I came across lrish music for the first time. It was not some point of musical theory but the sheer emotional impact of lrish music that made me think of my homeland. Conversely, the music of the Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensemble is so intensely Hungarian that the Irish come immediately to mind. I must have tried four or five times to listen through this album painstakingly, with a 'critical' ear. Not once did I succeed in my nitpicking efforts, because the music had such a holistic impact on me, It's possible, in fact probabie that it was the musicians' deliberate intention to have that total effect. Yet, their magnificent teamwork does not exclude improvisation. At times their improvisation totally submits to the logic of Hungarian folk music - yet, on other occasions, little clusters of simultaneous free improvisation weave around the carefully planted trees of composed elements. These pre-written parts, however, are all rooted in the Hungarian tradition or, in certain cases, in the folklore of the neighbouring countries. The Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensemble was formed by three young sax-players ali born and, by and large, still living in the Southern and South-Eastern end of the Great Hungarian Plains. In fact they derive their name from the region of their birth. ("Dél-alföldi" means "of the Southern Plains"). They used to play in different folk-bands, street-bands, rock- and jazz-groups before a series of chance meetings brought them together. Their common ground is not just a matter of geography, although geography matters too because the corner of Hungary they come from practically borders on the Balkans and that is also something that you can hear in their music. The territory they really share is that curious margin where the sometimes majesticaily plaintive, sometimes violently passionate music of the Hungarian plains meets free jazz. Their musical chemistry is something special. When we Hungarians want to say ihat too many cooks spoil the broth, we come up with the proverb that "two pipers in the same inn are one too many". Yet these three pipers get on like a house on fire, They are: Béla Ágoston, Béla Burány and Balázs Szokolay. The two Bélas and Balázs listen to each other, feed ott each other and make music together. But beside the magnificent teamwork there's also room for a great deal of spontaneity. Careful compositions, head arrangements and unrestrained blowing blend effortlessly together when they play. They also have a phenomenal two-man rhythm section in the persons of Róbert Benkő, perhaps the finest bass player of the Hungarian avant-garde who combines virtuosity with mature subtlety, - and percussionist Tamás Geröly, a tremendously inventive and witty musician, both as a soloist and as an accompanist. It's not easy to fit the music of the Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensembie into a neat category but 1, for one, don't think it matters. One of the reasons I'm not too bothered by such definitions is that I agree with the late Stan Getz who considered ali jazz to be folk-music. Of course, music like this is not born in a vacuum. To be fair, the Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensemble owes a lot to that very Hungarian brand of jazz created by the brilliant saxophonist Mihály Dresch, who in turn is much indebted to the original pioneer of that school - the free improvising pianist and contemporary composer, György Szabados. No wonder then that it was one of Szabados' remarks that came to mind on hearing the three Dél-alföldis blow together. Szabados defined tonality as 'being plucked from the same string'. The Dél-alföldi musicians display staggering leveis of communication and empathy between themselves and with their audience, This tremendous rapport makes their sound both complex and totally absorbing, yet engaging and highly approachable. - by Peter Pallai

Artist: Dél-Alföldi Saxophone Ensemble
Album: Tótágas
Year: 2004
Label: BMC
Runtime: 55:50

1.  Kecske (Goat) (Balazs Szokolay) 8:05
2.  Közjáték (Interlude) 0:47
3.  Hajnalcsontok (Dawnbones) (Bela Agoston) 8:15
4.  Gyimesi nóta (Gyimes Song) (Balazs Szokolay) 4:56
5.  Jazz az Alföldrõl (Jazz from the Great Plain) (Bela Agoston) 5:47
6.  Csillagtalan sötét éjjel (Starless Dark Night) (Bela Burany) 13:23
7.  Dr. B. B. (Bela Agoston) 3:53
8.  Kislány, kislány (Little Girl, Little Girl) (Bela Burany) 5:41
9.  Búcsúzás (Farewell) (Balazs Szokolay) 5:00

Bela Agoston (Alto and Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Voice, Throat-Singing)
Bela Burany (Soprano and Baritone Saxophone)
Balazs Szokolay (Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Robert Benko (Double Bass)
Tamas Geroly Sandor (Drums)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Herbie Mann - Mellow - Hold on, I'm Comin'

This two-disc set from Collectables features a pair of out of print Herbie Mann LPs: Mellow and Hold On, I'm Coming. Originally issued in 1981 and 1972, respectively, Mellow contains a live date from 1977. These 11 jazz-pop tracks include "Cinnamon Flower," "Hold On, I'm Comin'," and two separate versions of "Memphis Underground." This is an enjoyable reissue from the Mann's massive catalog on Atlantic Records, but most listeners would be better served with one of the many compilations in print. - by Al Campbell, AMG

Mellow was released by Atlantic Records after dropping him from their roster. Made up primarily of outtakes from mid- to late-'70s recording sessions, the album sounds like the hodgepodge it is. Highlights include a take on Milton Nascimento's "Cinnamon Flower" and a lengthy version of Mann's classic "Memphis Underground," recorded at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival with guests Sonny Fortune, David Newman and the Brecker Brothers. The low point arrives with the opening track, a cover of Bob Marley's "Bend Down Low" left over from the Reggae sessions, in which Mann actually sings the lead vocal. - by Jim Newsom, AMG

This is one of the best Herbie Mann recordings and arguably his most rewarding of the 1970s. This long out of print LP features the leader/flutist, David Newman (on tenor and flute), the avant-garde guitarist Sonny Sharrock, and a fine backup rhythm section (electric pianist Pat Rebillot, bassist Andy Muson, and drummer Reggie Ferguson) stretching out on a variety of R&Bish material including "Respect Yourself," "Memphis Underground," and "Hold on, I'm Comin'." The high quality of the solos and the spirited ensembles (which were inspired by the audience at the 1972 New York Jazz Festival) make this a generally memorable session. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Herbie Mann
Album: Mellow - Hold On, I'm Coming
Year: 1981/1972
Label: Collectables (2001)
Runtime: 42:53 + 38:17

Tracks on Mellow:
1.  Bend Down Low (Bob Marley) 6:51
2.  Sir Charles Duke (Herbie Mann) 5:21
3.  Cecelia (Paul Simon) 5:34
4.  Cinnamon Flower (Milton Nascimento) 5:06
5.  Memphis Underground (Herbie Mann) 17:03
6.  Another Star (Stevie Wonder) 5:28

Herbie Mann (Flute, Alto Flute, Vocal and Tenor Saxophone)
Richard Tee (Electric Piano) - 2,5,6
Frank Gravis (Bass) - 2,4,6
Leroy Clouden (Drums) - 2,4,6
Rafael Cruz (Percussion) - 2,4-6
Gladstone Anderson (Piano) - 1,3
Jackie Jackson (Bass) - 1,3
Winston Wright (Organ) - 1,3
Michael Richard (Drums) - 1,3
Tommy Mc Cook (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3
Bobby Ellis (Trumpet) - 1,3
Rod Bryan (Guitar) - 1,3
Hux Brown (Guitar) - 1,3
Amory Tristao (Acoustic Guitar) - 2,4
Steve Jordan (Drums) - 4-6
Claudio Roditi (Trombone and Trumpet) - 4,6
Pat Rebillot (Clavinet) - 1
Cissy Houston (Backing Vocals) - 1
Whitney Houston (Backing Vocals) - 1
Dom Salvador (Piano) - 4
Larry Coryell (Guitar) - 5
Jim Mullen (Guitar) - 5
Tom Coppola (Piano) - 5
Don Pullen (Piano) - 5
Clifford Carter (Electric Piano) - 5
Jeff Berlin (Bass) - 5
Sammy Figueroa (Percussion) - 5
Sonny Fortune (Tenor Saxophone) - 5
Jaroslav Jakabovic (Soprano Saxophone) - 5
Michael Brecker (Tenor Saxophone) - 5
David Newman (Tenor Saxophone) - 5
Randy Brecker (Trumpet) - 5
Jeff Mironov (Guitar) - 6

Tracks on Hold On, I'm Comin':
1.  (Gimme Some Of That Good Old) Soul Beat Momma (Herbie Mann) 7:35
2.  Never Can Say Goodbye (Clifton Davis) 4:35
3.  Respect Yourself (Luther Ingram/Sir Mack Rice) 8:51
4.  Memphis Underground (Herbie Mann) 13:06
5.  Hold On, I'm Comin' (Isaac Hayes/David Porter) 4:07

Herbie Mann (Flute)
David Newman (Tenor Saxophone and Flute)
Sonny Sharrock (Guitar)
Pat Rebillot (Electric Piano)
Andy Muson (Bass)
Reggie Ferguson (Drums)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Roberto Correa - Guitars of Rural Brazil

The importance of Roberto Correa to Brazilian folk music derives not only from his virtuosity at the ten-string viola (unlike the bowed homonymous instrument, this one has usually five doubled/octaved strings that must be handpicked or plucked), but also from his important role as a researcher and promoter of the genre, of the caipira (hillbilly) culture, and of the instrument. Living in Brasília (Distrito Federal) since 1975, he abandoned his career as a physicist and graduated in Music at the state university of Brasília. Immediately he began to teach the instrument at the university, which was something new, given the prejudice that usually surrounds the viola in academic environments. In 1983, he gave his first concert in Brasília. That same year, he published his first book, Viola Caipira. Relaying his research on the caipira folklore, it was also the first book on viola to be published in Brazil. Also a player of the viola de cocho (a very rudimentary folkloric instrument from the region of the Pantanal of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states), he would write a book on this instrument in 1988. His first individual album came in 1989, Viola Andarilha. Since then he has been recording other noted albums, some of them shared with important stylists of folk music, like the violeiro Renato Andrade. Caipira de Fato (1997), with the participation of Inesita Barroso, was awarded with a Sharp Prize as the Best Regional Album. Correa has been playing recitals and teaching in workshops throughout Brazil and also in countries like Japan, China, Germany, having being invited to officially represent Brazil in Italy, Portugal, Mexico, and Central and South America. - by Alvaro Neder, AMG

Artist: Roberto Correa
Album: Guitars of Rural Brazil
Year: 2001
Label: Viola Correa
Runtime: 37:46

1.  Baiaodo Pe Rachado (Roberto Correa) 2:09
2.  Futrica Infinita (Roberto Correa) 4:02
3.  Peleja de Siriema com Cobra (Roberto Correa) 3:31
4.  Moreninha se eu te opedisse (Traditional) 3:02
5.  Extremosa-Rosa (Roberto Correa) 3:41
6.  Odeon (Ernesto Nazareth) 3:08
7.  Boi Tristeza (Roberto Correa) 3:12
8.  Urubu-Rei (Roberto Correa) 1:03
9.  Mazurca Pantaneira (Roberto Correa) 4:36
10.  Heranca de Acertador (Roberto Correa/Jose Canabrava) 4:37
11.  Jararaca Chateadeira (Roberto Correa) 2:21
12.  Requenquem (Roberto Correa) 2:19

Robero Correa (Guitar and Vocals)
Alex Queiroz (Double Bass) - 4,7
Siba (Brazilian Fiddle) - 4

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - At Sugar Hill

Sonny & Brownie at Sugar Hill is a live album recorded at the famous San Francisco nightclub. The two musicians were in fine form, with both getting chances to sing some of their standards, including "Sweet Woman Blues," "Born to Live the Blues," "Baby, I Knocked on Your Door," and "I Got a Little Girl." Their interplay is always a joy to hear, and while there are some better live shows available, this is thoroughly entertaining and worth the time of any of their fans.- by Thom Owens, AMG

Sugar Hill was an upscale blues joint in San Francisco, and Sonny and Brownie played it just 6 months after it opened, this CD being the results of that engagement. And it's a beauty. Often on record dates with these two giants, Brownie takes most of the vocals, with Sonny singing 2 or 3 songs; on this one, Sonny sings just as much as Brownie. (Early in their career Brownie once told Sonny that if he wanted half the money he was going to have to sing, not just play harmonica.) Sonny is an old-time blues singer, preferring older forms, traditional verses, all done in his raspy, unrefined voice. Brownie is smoother in voice and likes to experiment a bit with the blues form. For example, BORN TO LIVE, sung by Brownie, is 32-bars long, with a bridge, though it's drenched with blues feeling. WORRY, WORRY, WORRY also is slightly different, and includes a "whomp" at the end of each phrase. Sonny sings JUST ABOUT CRAZY, which sounds very much like a work song, while I FEEL ALRIGHT NOW is a secular spiritual. Both men are in excellent form here. Blues fans should find a lot to love on this CD.- by Bomojaz,

Artist: Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
Album: At Sugar Hill
Year: 1961
Label: Original Blues Classic (1991)
Runtime: 44:27

1.  Hooray, Hooray, This Woman Is Killing Me (Sonny Terry) 2:24
2.  Born To Live The Blues (Brownie McGhee) 3:53
3.  Just About Crazy (Sonny Terry) 2:59
4.  Up, Sometimes Down (Brownie McGhee) 4:02
5.  Baby, I Knocked On Your Door (Sonny Terry) 4:04
6.  Keep On Walking (Brownie McGhee) 4:39
7.  Baby, I Got My Eye On You (Sonny Terry) 3:37
8.  I Got A Little Girl (Sonny Terry) 4:16
9.  I Feel Alright Now (Brownie McGhee) 5:04
10.  Worry, Worry, Worry (Brownie McGhee) 4:55
11.  Sweet Woman Blues (Sonny Terry) 4:30

Brownie McGhee (Guitar and Vocals)
Sonny Terry (Harmonica and Vocals)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...