Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bobby Timmons - Sweet And Soulful Sounds + Born To Be Blue

Sweet and Soulful Sounds, from 1962, is a most atypical record for Bobby Timmons. Long thought of only as a funky piano player in the style that Ramsey Lewis would later make commercially successful, Timmons could also play prettily, as he does on this ballad-heavy set. There's a little funk here; the up-tempo "Another Live One" sounds like a potential Cannonball Adderley hit (Timmons, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Roy McCurdy were all once and future Adderley accompanists). But for the most part, Timmons keeps his cool, showing a very strong Bud Powell influence throughout. (Actually, the two solo tracks, "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and a meditative "God Bless the Child," sound as if Timmons had been listening to Bill Evans' solo records, as the latter in particular has the same rhythmically loose, melodically free style.) The highlights are the three standards, Richard Rodgers' "The Sweetest Sounds," a relaxed and swinging take on Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and a version of Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's "Why Was I Born?" that turns it from a show tune into a despondent blues. This is an unusual record for Bobby Timmons, but a great one. - by Stewart Mason, AMG

Throughout his career, Bobby Timmons was typecast as a soulful and blues-oriented pianist due to his hits ("Moanin '," "This Here" and "Dis Dat"). But as he shows on this 1963 trio date (with either Sam Jones or Ron Carter on bass and drummer Connie Kay), Timmons was actually a well-rounded player when inspired. The repertoire on his CD ranges from bop to spirituals, from three diverse originals to "Born to Be Blue." This is excellent music but unfortunately Timmons would not grow much musically after this period. His CD is worth picking up. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Bobby Timmons
Album: Sweet And Soulful Sounds + Born To Be Blue
Year: 1962 + 1963 (Riverside Records)
Label: Universal (Dig. Remastered, 2012)
Runtime: 81:53

Tracks:
1.  The Sweetest Sounds (Richard Rodgers) 5:00
2.  Turn Left (Bobby Timmons) 5:30
3.  God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday/Arthur Herczog Jr.) 5:05
4.  You'd Be So Nice To Come Home (Cole Porter) To 4:39
5.  Another Live One (Bobby Timmons) 4:14
6.  Alone Together (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 6:03
7.  Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (Fran Landesman/Tommy Wolf) 3:42
8.  Why Was I Born? (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) 5:51
9.  Born To Be Blue (Mel Torme/Robert Wells) 4:27
10.  Malice Towards None (Tom McIntosh)  5:00
11.  Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (Traditional) 4:44
12.  Know Not One (Bobby Timmons) 7:57
13.  The Sit In (Bobby Timmons) 4:19
14.  Namely You (Johnny Mercer/Gene DePaul) 6:05
15.  Often Annie (Bobby Timmons) 9:17

Personnel:
Bobby Timmons (Piano)
Sam Jones (Double Bass) - 1,2,4-6,8-10,13,15
Roy McCurdy (Drums) - 1,2,4-6,8
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 11,12,14
Connie Kay (Drums) - 9-15

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lee Konitz - Another Shade of Blue

This follow up to an earlier CD (Alone Together) with Brad Mehldau and Charlie Haden took place exactly one year later at the same venue, L.A.'s Jazz Bakery. Like the first release, the trio takes their time exploring each tune, whether it's the leader's opening blues or a favorite ballad like "What's New" or "Body and Soul." This stimulating set is highly recommended! - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Lee Konitz
Album: Another Shade of Blue (Live at Jazz Bakery)
Year: 1997
Label: Blue Note (1999)
Runtime: 67:51

Tracks:
1.  Another Shade Of Blue (Lee Konitz) 10:49
2.  Everything Happens To Me (Johnny Mercer/Hoagy Carmichael) 12:17
3.  What's New (Johnny Burke/Bob Haggart) 15:49
4.  Body and Soul (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 17:30
5.  All Of Us (Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden) 11:24

Personnel:
Lee Konitz (Alto Saxophone)
Brad Mehldau (Piano)
Charlie Haden (Double Bass)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lou Donaldson - The Scorpion (Live at the Cadillac Club)


This previously unreleased live set, which has been issued on Blue Note's Rare Groove Series, will bore anyone who listens closely. The repertoire is dominated by lengthy funk grooves that are quite danceable but never develop beyond the obvious. Altoist Lou Donaldson was using a baritone horn at the time that gave him a generic and unappealing tone, the obscure trumpeter Fred Ballard does his best to no avail and the enthusiastic rhythm section (guitarist Melvin Sparks, organist Leon Spencer, Jr., and drummer Idris Muhammad) keeps the grooves repetitious. Bob Porter's liner notes (which colorfully give readers the history of Newark jazz of the past 30 years) are superlative but, even with the inclusion of a fast blues, musically nothing much happens. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Lou Donaldson
Album: The Scorpion - Live at the Cadillac Club
Year: 1970
Label: Blue Note (1995)
Runtime: 46:32

Tracks: 
1.  The Scorpion (Leon Spencer) 10:47
2.  Laura (David Raksin) 5:55
3.  Alligator Boogalooo (Lou Donaldson) 13:15
4.  The Masquerade Is Over (Herbert Magidson/Allie Wrubel) 4:15
5.  Peepin' (Lonnie Smith) 5:30
6.  Footpattin' Time (Lou Donaldson) 6:50

Personnel:
Lou Donaldson (Alto Saxophone)
Idris Muhammad (Drums)
Melvin Sparks (Guitar)
Leon Spencer (Organ)
Fred Ballard (Trumpet)

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