Thursday, April 25, 2013

Herbie Mann & Joao Gilberto - Recorded in Rio de Janeiro

Nice, more light than emphatic Afro-Latin and jazz mixture by flutist Herbie Mann and composer/vocalist Joao Gilberto. The two make an effective team, with Gilberto's sometimes sentimental, sometimes impressionistic works effectively supported by Mann's lithe flute solos. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

Mann's second State Department tour took him to Brazil, where in Rio de Janeiro he heard a new form of music called bossa nova, which combined Afro-Brazilian rhythms with advanced, impressionistic harmonies. Mann and his tour mate Stan Getz were among the first to bring bossa nova back to the United States.
"For me, Brazilian music is the perfect mix of melody and rhythm. It just bubbles rhythmically," Mann said in an online interview. "If I had to pick just one music style to play, it would be Brazilian. Mann's time in Brazil led to recordings with pianist and composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and guitarist Joao Gilberto. They recorded the album Herbie Mann and Joao Gilberto with Antonio Carlos Jobim, which featured Jobim's well known composition "One Note Samba" and guitarist Baden Powell's composition "Consolacao." - from

Artist: Herbie Mann & Joao Gilberto
Album: Recorded in Rio de Janeiro
Year: 1965
Label: Atlantic (1998)
Runtime: 31:20

1.  Amor Em Paz (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes) 2:36
2.  Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Newton Mendonca) 1:58
3.  Bolinha De Papel (Geraldo Pereira) 1:15
4.  Insensatez (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 3:05
5.  Maria Ninguem (Carlos Lyra) 2:20
6.  O Barquinho (Roberto Menescal/Ronaldo Boscoli) 2:27
7.  Samba Da Minha Terra (Dorival Cyammi) 2:20
8.  Rosa Morena (Dorival Cyammi) 2:02
9.  Consolacao (Baden Powell) 4:26
10.  One Note Samba (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Newton Mendonca) 3:20
11.  Bim Bom (Joao Gilberto) 1:12
12.  Deve Ser Amor (Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes) 4:19

Herbie Mann (Flute and Alto Flute)
Joao Gilberto (Guitar and Vocals)
Antonio Carlos Jobim (Arranged, Piano and Vocals)
Baden Powell (Guitar) - 12

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ray Charles - The Genius After Hours

Taken from the same three sessions as The Great Ray Charles but not duplicating any of the performances, this set casts Charles as a jazz-oriented pianist in an instrumental setting. Brother Charles has five numbers with a trio (three songs have Oscar Pettiford on bass) and jams on three other tunes ("Hornful Soul," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and "Joy Ride") with a septet arranged by Quincy Jones; solo space is given to David "Fathead" Newman on tenor and alto and trumpeter Joseph Bridgewater. Fine music -- definitely a change of pace for Ray Charles. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

This is a rare opportunity to hear Ray playing straight ahead jazz with legends Joe Harris on drums and Oscar Pettiford walking the bass. Listen to Ray bop along side Joe as he stirs the soup on the brushes during "Dawn Ray". Make no mistake this rhythm section swings hard; after all bop mastro Dizzy Gillespie hired Joe to play drums in his band during the mid 1940's. Enjoy all 38 minutes! - by Ben Bailey,

Artist: Ray Charles
Album: The Genius After Hours
Year: 1961
Label: Atlantic (2001)
Runtime: 38:33

1.  The Genius After Hours (Ray Charles) 5:24
2.  Ain't Misbehavin' (Fats Waller/Harry Brooks/Andy Razaf) 5:40
3.  Dawn Ray (Ray Charles) 5:03
4.  Joy Ride (Ray Charles) 4:39
5.  Hornful Soul (Ray Charles) 5:29
6.  The Man I Love (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 4:26
7.  Charlesville (Ray Charles) 4:55
8.  Music, Music, Music (Stephan Weiss/Bernie Baum) 2:53

Ray Charles (Piano)
Roosevelt Sheffield (Double Bass) - 1,2,4,5,7
William Peeples (Drums) - 1,2,4,5,7
Joseph Bridgewater (Trumpet) - 2,5
John Hunt (Trumpet) - 2,4,5
Dave "Fathead" Newman (Tenor and Alto Saxophone) - 2,4,5
Emmott Dennis (Baritone Saxophone) - 2,5
Oscar Pettiford (Double Bass) - 3,6,8
Joe Harris (Drums) - 3,8

Saturday, April 13, 2013

John Patton - Memphis To New York Spirit

Although it was scheduled for release two times, Memphis to New York Spirit didn't appear until 1996, over 25 years after it was recorded. The album comprises the contents of two separate sessions -- one recorded in 1970 with guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, drummer Leroy Williams and saxophonist/flautistMarvin Cabell; the other recorded in 1969 with Cabell, Williams, and saxophonist George Coleman -- that were very similiar in concept and execution. Patton leads his combo through a selection of originals and covers that range from Wayne Shorter and McCoy Tyner to the Meters. Though the group is rooted in soul-jazz, they stretch the limits of the genre on these sessions, showing a willingness to experiment, while still dipping into the more traditional blues and funk reserves. Consequently, Memphis to New York Spirit doesn't have a consistent groove like some other Patton records, but when it does click, the results are remarkable; it's worthy addition to a funky soul-jazz collection. - by Stephen Thoms Erlewine, AMG

Grab this one quick... first, if I'm not mistaken, it never was. A bunch of tracks put together from the vaults (much like my other fave of his and Grant Green's - - Blues for Lou). It seems to come and go out of print... though if I'm not mistaken, this is one of the first domestic reissues in years. The sound is both funky and off center. Don't expect in your face Reuben Wilson style fatback... and don't expect pure Larry Young... expect an evil Frankenstein-ian mix of both of 'em as only Big John could do it. Expect to hear a mix of always slightly off center and mysterious B.J. Patton grooves meets progressive Jazz (circa 1969). The groove is always there, cool, bluesy and relaxed like Big John likes it... and he never gets excited and forgets it, no matter how far on the edge he gets... One note, and he'll take you to China, another, and its down home in Birmingham Alabama - - From the Mandingo to Sissy Strut... its time to rade the vaults again... and this sure 'nuff is a real good'un !!! - by Eddie Lansberg,

Artist: John Patton
Album: Memphis to New York Spirit
Year: 1970
Label: Blue Note (1996)
Runtime: 57:47

1.  Memphis (John Patton) 5:58
2.  Footprints (Wayne Shorter) 6:26
3.  The Mandingo (Marvin Cabell) 7:50
4.  Bloodyun (John Blood Ulmer) 8:20
5.  Steno (John Patton) 9:18
6.  Man from Tanganyika (McCoy Tyner) 6:21
7.  Cissy Strut (Ziggy Modeliste/Art Neville/Leo Nocentelli/George Porter, Jr.) 6:58
8.  Dragon Slayer (Marvin Cabell) 6:36

John Patton (Organ)
Marvin Cabell (Flute, Soprano and Tenor Saxophone)
James Blood Ulmer (Guitar)
Leroy Williams (Drums)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Archie Shepp & Dollar Brand - Duet

A somewhat surprising pairing at the time, the former firebrand of the tenor sax and the wonderful South African pianist found a pleasant and relaxed meeting point. By 1978, Shepp had largely abandoned the ferocious attack that gained him renown in the '60s, settling on a rich, Ben Webster-ish tone and playing a repertoire consisting of modern standards and bluesy originals. Two such pieces, the lovely Dave Burrell/Marion Brown composition "Fortunato" and Mal Waldron's "Left Alone," are highlights of this session, Shepp's burnished tone as soft as an old shoe. Ibrahim is a fairly deferential partner here, generally preferring to play the role of accompanist, although certainly one sprinkling his work with plenty of ideas for Shepp to work off. But the prevailing sense of relaxation begins to pall after a while and one wishes for a bit more of the old rough and tumble that these two were surely capable of. Still, for those who enjoyed Shepp's mid-'70s dates for Arista/Freedom and Ibrahim's more subdued group efforts of the late '70s and early '80s, there's much good listening here. - by Brian Olewnick, AMG

I borrowed this CD from a friend a few years ago, and now have finally bought my own copy. I can't stop listening to this music! Archie Shepp and Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) create music that is sensitive and filled with lyrical intensity. It is warm and relaxed, but never boring because of the fresh musical ideas that keep appearing. This album was originally recorded in 1978, but there is nothing dated about it. The recorded sound is warm and intimate, and the music sets up a consistent mood that always makes me relaxed and happy. - by Richard B. Stare,

Artist: Archie Shepp & Dollar Bran (aka Abdullah Ibrahim)
Album: Duet
Year: 1978
Label: Denon
Runtime: 44:41

1.  Fortunato (Dave Burrell/Marion Brown) 7:41
2.  Barefoot Boy From Queens Town - To Mongezi (Archie Shepp) 7:51
3.  Left Alone (Mal Waldron) 7:54
4.  Theme From "Proof Of The Man" (Yuji Ohno) 8:17
5.  Ubu-Suku (Dollar Brand) 4:34
6.  Moniebah (Dollar Brand) 8:21

Archie Shepp (Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophones)
Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibrahim (Piano)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gerardo Nunez & Chano Dominguez - Jazzpana II

The flamenco scene in contemporary Spain has undergone tremendous expansion since Paco de Lucia first began injecting certain foreign stylistic elements and instruments into its classical milieu. Many of today's brightest flamenco guitarists and ensembles are farming the neighboring territories of Salsa and African (Ketama), Classical Indian (Amalgama), Moroccan (El Lebrijano), Rock (Pata Negra) and Jazz (Gerardo Nuňez, Juan Manual Caňizares, Rafael Riqueni). Especially the musical encounter with Jazz has precedents that predate Jazzpaňa II by decades - Sketches of Spain (Miles Davis and Gil Evans, 1959-60], Olé [John Coltrane, 1961] and My Spanish Heart [Chick Corea, 1976]. And of course there's Jazzpaňa I, the dual Grammy nomination 1993 release with Michael Brecker, Al Di Meola, Steve Khan and Peter Erskine on the Jazz side and Ramon "El Portugues", Juan Manuel Caňizares, Jorge Pardo and Carles Benavent on the Iberian side, and backed up by the West Deutsche Rundfunk Big Band.Jazzpaňa II assembles an equally stellar ensemble, with a heavier emphasis on the flamenco contingent. This is led by performer/composers Gerardo Nuňez (flamenco guitar) and Chano Dominguez (Grotrian Steinweg piano), and filled out with Esperanza Fernandez (vocals on one track), Jorge Pardo (soprano sax), Carles Benavent (electric bass), Renauld Garcia-Fons (five-string acoustic upright bass), Tino Di Geraldo (drums) and Cepillo (cajon). The Jazz counterpart is headlined by Michael Brecker (tenor sax) and Fareed Haque (electric guitar) and rounded out with Perico Sambeat (alto sax). The opening track "Calima" is from Nuňez' eponymous album [Alula Records 1007/1998] and translates appropriately as "Heat". It immediately sets the stage for what to expect. The silvery elegance of his immaculate guitar intro, properly accented by Cepillo's Peruvian cajon slapbox, spells classical flamenco puro. Benavent's simultaneous e-bass punctuations already suggest something more modern is afoot. This is quickly confirmed when the three saxes enter as a lively and heavily syncopated counter-chorus and the piano makes its appearance. Danilo Perez' piano improv -- part of the original quartet arrangement with John Patitucci on bass and Arto Tuncboyaciyan on percussion -- here gives way to Brecker's roaring tenor solo that brings to mind the hormone-crazed calls of a buck in heat. The phenomenally gifted French bass maestro Renaud Garcia-Fons has previously visited flamenco terrain. There are his collaborations with guitarist Pedro Soler and his own release [Oriental Bass, Enja 9334-2/1997]. He has adapted his seemingly unwieldy instrument, especially con arco, into a kind of singing cello on steroids, and, if thus inspired, with very Andalucian origins. "Un Amor Real" is a workout between him and Nuňez that showcases how well the seemingly impossible – flamenco on double-bass -- can be pulled off if entrusted to the right performers. On "Alma de Mujer", Chano Dominguez' piano intro segues straight into a bouncy Columbiana rhythm into which the saxophones of Sambeat and Pardo dig their jiving teeth. Fareed Haque does the honors on acoustic guitar and Dominguez' chromatic exploits venture where no traditional flamenco chord progressions would dare going. "Jerez - Chicago" celebrates another unlikely juxtaposition. Jerez is not only the Spanish birthplace of Nuňez but practically synonymous with one of the cradles of Gitano flamenco. Chicago is the home of Fareed Haque and of course the birthplace of the eponymous Blues style. Gerardo once again appropriates one of his earlier compositions and, with the help of Haque's Chicago Blues manners and special effects on electric guitar, turns it into a brilliant, surprising, playful and way-pointing amalgam of style. Two strangers meet in a strange place and find themselves having much more fun and in common than not. On "Que tambien es de Sevilla", Dominguez' piano opens with a very night-clubby ballad intro only to have the impassioned and thick Spanish voice of Gipsy vocalist Esperanza Fernandez break into an adapted sevillanas meter. By virtue of its simplicity – piano with female vocals – this track in many ways is the most straight-ahead Jazz number. While Fernandez' flamenco jondo demeanor is anything but, it's shocking how well these two worlds collide, blend and survive mutually strengthened. Rather than experimental, it comes across as natural, gracefully conceived and impressively executed. "Para Chick" is a truly rockin' groove that would find mainstream airplay in a minute if those disc jockeys knew how to find it. Anchored by piano, Jorge Pardo's overblown flute and a steady hand by Tino Di Geraldo on percussion and drums, breakout solos by Gerardo Nunez prove yet again why he's considered one of modern Flamenco's wunderkinder on guitar. The following and last track, "Bluesoléa", underscores this only further. Entirely unaccompanied, he explores the traditional – heavily emotive -- context of a flamenco soleas with higher-order Jazz chords that are utterly alien to the flamenco vocabulary but integrate to perfection. This final composition shows why, in certain circles, Flamenco is referred to as the Blues of the Gypsies. The recording quality (mastered in 24-bit super mapping at Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg/Germany) is very solid and ahead of regular mainstream fare. Still, from that perspective it isn't hi-falutin audiophile material. Never mind. With music this outside yet involving and plenty of audiophile pressings available to bore the dead, this is for the musically adventurous who long for another artistic benchmark. Jazzpaňa II proudly points to a future where cultural differences will melt away in the fiery furnace of truly global music making without any remaining frontiers. - by Srajan Ebaen,

Artist: Gerardo Nunez & Chano Dominguez
Album: Jazzpana II
Year: 2000
Label: ACT
Runtime: 57:57

1.  Calima (Gerardo Nunez) 4:45
2.  Un Amor Real (Gerardo Nunez) 3:24
3.  La Liebre/Plaza Jazzpana (Pedro Pena/Gerardo Nunez) 5:14
4.  Alma de Mujer (Chano Dominguez) 5:18
5.  Blues for Pablo (Gil Evans) 6:08
6.  Latido Loco (Renaud Garcia-Fons) 4:51
7.  Jerez - Chicago (Gerardo Nunez) 4:48
8.  Paso por El (Jorge Pardo) 4:09
9.  Mister Senor (Chano Dominguez) 3:56
10.  Que tambien es de Sevilla (Leon/Clavero/P. Obregón y Beltrán) 2:07
11.  Samaruco (Gerardo Nunez) 4:06
12.  Para Chick (Chano Dominguez) 3:52
13.  Bluesolea (Gerardo Nunez) 5:10

Gerardo Nunez (Accoustic Guitar) - 1-3,6,7,11,13
Chano Dominguez (Piano) - 1,4,5,9,10,12
Jorge Pardo (Soprano Saxophone) - 1,4-6,8,12
Fareed Haque (Electric Guitar) - 1,4,5,7,9
Perico Sambeat (Alto Saxophone) - 1,3-5,9,12
Carles Benavent (Bass Guitar) - 1,3-6,8,12
Tino Di Geraldo (Drums, Palmas) - 1,3-9,12
Cepillo (Cajon) - 1,3,11
Michael Brecker (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,5,9
Colin Towns (Conductor) - 1,4,5
Renaud Garcia-Fons (Double Bass) - 2,6
Las Corraleras (Percussion, Vocal) - 3
Patxi Vrchegvi (Trumpet) - 6
Esperanza Fernandez (Vocals) - 10


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