Monday, November 30, 2015

Pierre Michelot - Round About a Bass

Pierre Michelot was one of the very best jazz bassists in Europe, though few fans think of him as a bandleader, composer, or arranger. This reissue of an LP made for Mercury dates from 1963, where Michelot is joined by some of the top players on the continent. In addition to fresh arrangements of standard fare like "Cherokee" and "Bye, Bye Blackbird," the leader penned five compositions, including the tasty blues "Akkilino," which is an extended feature for his bass and Roger Guerin's muted trumpet. "Elephant Green" showcases flutist Raymond Guiot and Pierre Gossez's robust baritone saxophone in a melancholy ballad setting. Like many of Verve's Jazz in Paris CD reissues, this recording is a sleeper that is well worth acquiring, even if its running time is a tad miserly at around 32 minutes. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Pierre Michelot
Album. Round About A Bass
Year: 1963 (Mercury)
Label: Gitanes Jazz (24-bit remastered, 2000)
Runtime: 32:47

1.  Cherokee (Ray Noble) 3:19
2.  Gavotte (Roger Guérin) 3:26
3.  Akkilino (Pierre Michelot) 3:17
4.  Elephant Green (Pierre Michelot) 3:59
5.  Sous Les Ponts de Paris (Jean Rodor/Vincent Scotto)3:05
6.  Chet (Pierre Michelot) 3:50
7.  Bye Bye Blackbird (Mort Dixon/Ray Henderson) 3:50
8.  Sweet Feeling (Pierre Michelot) 4:00
9.  Klook's Shadow (Pierre Michelot) 4:01

Pierre Michelot (Double Bass)
Maurice Vander (Piano)
Christian Garros (Drums)
Roger Guerin (Trumpet) - 1,3,4,7,9
Maurice Thomas (Trumpet) - 1,3,4,7,9
Fred Gerard (Trumpet) - 1,3,4,7,9
Charles Verstraete (Trombone) - 1,3,4,7,9
Raymond Kataczynski (Trombone) - 1,9
Benny Vasseaur (Trombone) - 3,4,7,8
Raymond Guiot (Flute, Piccolo) - 1,3,4,7-9
Georges Grenu (Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone) - 4
Michel Portal (Alto Saxophone) - 1,3,4,7-9
Pierre Gossez (Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,4,7-9
Armand Migiani (Baritone Saxophone) - 1,3,4,7-9

Monday, November 23, 2015

Medeski, Martin & Wood - Combustication

As the only jazz band to be accepted by the neo-hippies of the HORDE '90s, Medeski, Martin & Wood pulled off the strange coup of being embraced by rock and jazz audiences, who both loved their endless improvisations. They managed to walk the fine line dividing between the two camps, as their funkified soul-jazz was self-referential and cerebral, not earthy and instinctual. That's part of the reason why some soul-jazz diehards didn't embrace MMW -- the ingredients may be there, but it just didn't taste like a real Jimmy Smith record. Perhaps conscious of this, MMW make no excuses about their heritage on their fifth album, Combustication. Perhaps because it is their first effort for a real jazz label (Blue Note), Combustication happens to be their most adventurous effort yet. Ironically, it's because the group embraces alt-rock and hip-hop conventions like turntable scratching. That ultimately turns out to be just window-dressing, however -- beneath it all, MMW's music remains essentially the same, but the handful of curve balls makes Combustication worth close listening for those already on their side. - by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG

Artist: Medeski, Martin & Wood
Album: Combustication
Year: 1998
Label: Blue Note
Runtime: 68:44

1.  Sugar Craft (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 3:22
2.  Just Like I Pictured It (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 3:27
3.  Start-Stop (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 6:38
4.  Nocturne (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 4:02
5.  Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 3:14
6.  Whatever Happened to Gus (Steve Cannon / Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 4:25
7.  Latin Shuffle (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 9:04
8.  Everyday People (Sylvester Stewart) 5:26
9.  Coconut Boogaloo (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 3:57
10.  Church of Logic (Jason Kibler / Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 6:38
11.  No Ke Ano Ahiahi (Traditional) 4:47
12.  Hypnotized (Billy Martin / John Medeski / Chris Wood) 13:37

John Medeski (Keyboards)
Billy Martin (Drums, Percussion)
Chris Wood (Bass Guitar, Double Bass, Bass Drum)

DJ Logic (Turntable) - 1,3,10
Steve Cannon (Voice) - 6

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chuck Mangione - Everything for Love

Chuck Mangione, the famed flugelhornist and trumpeter fills his first recording of the 21st century with some wonderfully subdued love songs whose subtle, intimate qualities may surprise those of his fans who best know his boisterous pop hits. More than simply expressing a romantic boy-girl kind of love, Mangione is playing gentle, atmospheric jazz for a wide variety of special people, real and animated. And there is no doubt that the truest love here is that between the artist and some of his old bandmates; saxman Gerry Niewood played with Mangione from 1968 through the mid-'70s, while guitarist Grant Geissman (showing a rich, traditional jazz depth only hinted at on most of his smooth jazz efforts) and bassist Charles Meeks were there during Mangione's late '70s pop heyday. "Slo Ro," dedicated to Mangione's wife, is a moody reflection piece led by a drifting muted trumpet and the bluesy duality of Niewood's smoky tenor and Allen's keys. A seven-minute meditative version of "Amazing Grace" begins as a quiet, prayer-like duet between Mangione and Geissman, who switches partway through from the Wes sound to an electric rock axe for an edgy solo; then, Allen's organ solo takes this very spiritual rendition to church before Niewood chimes in with a sweet flute solo. Within each song, there are moments when Pellegrini's drums kick the softness up a few notches, and the peppery horn playing on "Fox Hunt" and clapping percussion on the Latin-spiced "I Do Everything for Love" show a more playful side than Mangione displays elsewhere. Fans who know Mangione's whole career will see this as a fine addition to his jazz catalog; those who want more pop hits will be surprised at the low-key nature of the project. - by Jonathan Widran, AMG

Artist: Chuck Mangione
Album: Everything for Love
Year: 2000
Label: Chesky
Runtime: 64:42

1.  Peggy Hill (Chuck Mangione) 6:11
2.  Slo Ro (Chuck Mangione) 7:08
3.  Amazing Grace (Traditional) 7:03
4.  Seoul Sister (Chuck Mangione) 6:18
5.  Viola (Chuck Mangione) 7:48
6.  Fox Hunt (Jack Stevens/Chuck Mangione) 4:13
7.  Annalise (Chuck Mangione) 6:33
8.  I Do Everything For Love (Chuck Mangione) 6:00
9.  Papa Mangione (Chuck Mangione) 6:29
10.  Freddie's Walkin' (Chuck Mangione) 6:59

Chuck Mangione (Muted Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Gerry Niewood (Soprano and Tenor Saxophones, Flute)
Grant Greissman (Guitars)
Charles Meeks (Bass Guitar and Vocals)
Corey Allen (Keyboards)
Darryl Pellegrini (Drums)
Tim Regusis (Keyboards)
Emidin Rivera (Percussion)
Paulette McWilliams (Backing Vocals) - 10
Cindy Mizelle (Backing Vocals) - 10

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hugh Masekela - Grrr

The South African-born trumpeter Hugh Masekela was playing world music before it had a name. On this album, recorded shortly after he moved to the United States and shortly after he became a worldwide star, he seamlessly fuses jazz ideas with the emotionally direct, rhythmically complex South African music known as mbaqanga. - from the CD cover

Artist: Hugh Masekela
Album: Grrr
Year: 1965
Label: Verve Japan (Remastered, 2006)
Runtime: 32:44

1.  U. Dwi (Hugh Masekela) 3:14
2.  Zulu and the Mexican (Hugh Masekela) 3:22
3.  Emavungweni (Ndikho Xaba) 3:08
4.  Ntjilo-Ntjilo (Miriam Makeba) 4:12
5.  Sharpville (Hugh Masekela) 3:29
6.  Umaningi Bona (Zack Nkabinde) 3:17
7.  Sipho (Gwigwi Mrwebi) 3:44
8.  Kwa-Blaney (Jonas Gwangwa) 2:12
9.  Mra (Christopher Mra) 3:08
10.  Phatsha-Phatsha (Lemmy Mabaso) 2:54

Hugh Masekela (Trumpet)
others unknown


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