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)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bill Frisell - The Willies

Echoing his 1995 release, Nashville, Bill Frisell's The Willies revisits the auburn sounds of American roots music. Although he has dipped into folk music in prior efforts, these songs follow the traditional mode even more faithfully than any of his previous releases, with only minor shifts into his familiar dissonant explorations. Assisted by Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo and guitar and bassist Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple, Wayne Horvitz & Zony Mash), Frisell's quirky tonalities and sweeping soundscapes still pervade each track, but the disquieting surges found on releases like The Bill Frisell Quartet and Gone, Just Like a Train are relatively reigned in. This in no way means that The Willies sounds anything like Hot Rize or New Grass Revival -- it is most certainly a Bill Frisell album; dark and mysterious, eerily beautiful, richly textured and layered -- just sort of a kinder, gentler Bill Frisell album. Highlights include the banjo-driven Carter Family standard "Single Girl, Married Girl" and the group's stark rendition of "Sugar Baby," a song usually associated with the similarly haunting Dock Boggs. Anyone familiar with the guitarist's style will understand his choices in recording these timeworn love songs and murder ballads, and traditional folk aficionados will be intrigued to hear their old favorites in this new environment. - by Zac Johnson, AMG

Bill Frisell is a musical chameleon. Every album he makes seems to be so different than the last. "The Willies" is a wonderful album full of soulful guitar, bass, and banjo. I, personally, have 11 of Bill's albums, and this one is currently getting the heaviest rotation in the cd player. What I love about this album is not only the fact that it's bluegrass with dark overtones, but it's got a really amazing feel to it. It's a very cohesive album. In my opinion, there isn't a bad song on this album. I really love "Everybody Loves Everybody." That song alone is worth the price of the album. Some of my other favorites are "Blackberry Blossom," "Get Along," "Sittin' on Top of the World," and "John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man." But as I said, the whole album is very good. The thing that attracts me to Bill Frisell's music is it's subtlety and dark, textural beauty. This is an album that a fan of jazz, bluegrass, or rock would enjoy. Yeah, there's nothing that gets your feet or body going, but so what! This album is strictly for open-minded music lovers. If you are a patient person then this album will be very rewarding, but if you think everything has to get your feet going, then you shouldn't even bother with this album or any other Frisell album for that matter. Another thing I want to point out is that Bill Frisell is not a shredder. He's more into the textural side of guitar playing like David Torn, Andy Summers, Steve Tibbets, and King Crimson's Robert Fripp. All of these guitar players have the technical ability, but they don't feel the need to show that side of their playing too often. This album should appeal to those already familiar with Bill's work or any person who has an ear for intricately arranged music. - by J. Rich,

Artist: Bill Frisell
Album: The Willies
Year: 2002
Label: Nonesuch
Runtime: 48:45

1.  Sittin' On Top of the World (Lonnie Chatmon/Walter Vinson) 3:11
2.  Cluck Old Hen (Traditional) 2:28
3.  Everybody Love Everybody (Bill Frisell) 2:55
4.  I Want to Go Home (Bill Frisell) 3:43
5.  Single Girl, Married Girl (A.P. Carter) 3:07
6.  Get Along (Bill Frisell) 3:28
7.  John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man (A.P. Carter) 2:35
8.  Sugar Baby (Traditional) 2:59
9.  Blackberry Blossom (Traditional) 2:01
10.  If I Could I Surely Would (Bill Frisell) 3:02
11.  Cluck Old Hen reprise (Traditional) 3:55
12.  Cold Cold Heart (Hank Williams) 3:07
13.  I Know You Care (Bill Frisell) 2:55
14.  Goodnight Irene (Huddie Ledbetter/John A. Lomax) 2:36
15.  Big Shoe (Bill Frisell/Jimmy Hamilton) 2:23
16.  The Willies (Bill Frisell) 1:53
17.  Bonus (Bill Frisell) 2:21

Bill Frisell (Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Loops)
Danny Barnes (Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Harmonica and Pump Organ)
Keith Lowe (Bass)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sonny Rollins - The Sound of Sonny

A new phase in Sonny Rollins' career began in 1957. He started what was at the time an almost blasphemous trend of recording for a number of different labels. His pioneering spirit yielded a few genre-defining albums, including this disc. His performances were also at a peak during 1957 as Down Beat magazine proclaimed him the Critics' Poll winner under the category of "New Star" of the tenor saxophone. This newfound freedom can be heard throughout the innovations on The Sound of Sonny. Not only are Rollins' fluid solos reaching newly obtained zeniths of melodic brilliance, but he has also begun experimenting with alterations in the personnel from tune to tune. Most evident on this platter is "The Last Time I Saw Paris" -- which is piano-less -- and most stunning of all is Rollins' unaccompanied tenor solo performance on "It Could Happen to You." Indeed, this rendering of the Jimmy Van Heusen standard is the highlight of the disc. That isn't to say that the interaction between Sonny Clark (piano), Roy Haynes (drums), and bassists Percy Heath and Paul Chambers -- who is featured on "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and "What Is There to Say" -- is not top-shelf. Arguably, it is Rollins and Heath -- the latter, incidentally, makes his East Coast debut on this album -- who set the ambience for The Sound of Sonny. There is an instinctually pervasive nature as they weave into and back out of each others' melody lines, only to emerge with a solo that liberates the structure of the mostly pop standards. This is a key component in understanding the multiplicities beginning to surface in Rollins' highly underappreciated smooth bop style. - by Lindsay Planer, AMG

Artist: Sonny Rollins
Album: The Sound of Sonny
Year: 1957
Label: OJC (1987)
Runtime: 43:59

1.  The Last Time I Saw Paris (Oscar Hammerstein/Jerome Kern) 2:59
2.  Just In Time (Adolph Green/Jule Styne) 3:59
3.  Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Ernie Erdman/Gus Khan/Ted Rito) 4:24
4.  What Is There To Say (Vernon Duke/Yip Harburg) 4:55
5.  Dearly Beloved (Johnny Mercer/Jerome Kern) 3:05
6.  Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter) 3:24
7.  Cutie (Sonny Rollins) 5:53
8.  It Could Happen To You (Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen) 3:46
9.  Mangoes (Dale Libby/Sid Wayne) 5:33
10.  Funky Hotel Blues (Sonny Rollins) 5:57

Sonny Rollins (Tenor Saxophone)
Sonny Clark (Piano)
Percy Heath (Double Bass) - 2,3,5-10
Paul Chambers (Double Bass) - 1,4
Roy Haynes (Drums)


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