Saturday, December 31, 2016

Roy Rogers & Shana Morrison - Everybody's Angel

Here is a surprise pairing: Roy Rogers, one of the greatest slide guitarists in the world, John Lee Hooker producer and sometime band member, and Shana Morrison, Van Morrison's daughter and new emerging songwriter talent. Together they have released an excellent album. Sassy-voiced Shana's jazzy blues delivery and Roy's country-edged vocals work warmly together - and those arrangement, Wow! The darkly laid-back opening track 'Molly O & Dog Boy' with it's steel guitar touches and acoustic percussion leads you into an album which demonstrates the incredible versatility of Rogers' guitar and confirm what many know - that Roy is a superb producer. Previous albums from Roy can flay you alive with their slide riffs. Here he is never bludgeoning, never subservient, just scarily perfect in his discretion and appropriateness. Tight musicianship: drums and percussion from Jimmy Sanchez, accordion and keyboards from Phil Aalberg, bass from Scoop McGuire, Dana Pandey's tabla and Robert Powell's pedal steel, underpin a great collection of songs and a must-have album. What can I say? It's so good I bought it twice.- by NetRhythms,

Artist: Roy Rogers & Shana Morrison
Album: Everybody's Angel
Year: 1999
Label: Roshan Records
Runtime: 50:48

1.  Molly O & Dog Boy (David Gionfriddo / Steve Gordon / Shana Morrison / Roy Rogers) 4:32
2.  Joey (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 2:57
3.  You Choose (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 3:58
4.  Nothing Left to Lose (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 4:54
5.  Here We Go (Shana Morrison) 3:43
6.  Mate of Fate (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 3:44
7.  Hello Stranger (Barbara Lewis) 4:02
8.  Therapy (Shana Morrison) 3:50
9.  Amy Sky (David Gionfriddo / Steve Gordon / Roy Rogers) 3:57
10.  Playin' the Feel (Roy Rogers / Shana Morrison) 4:48
11.  Lover's Moon (Roy Rogers) 4:51
12.  Everybody's Angel (David Gionfriddo / Steve Gordon / Shana Morrison / Roy Rogers) 5:27

Shana Morrison (Vocals)
Roy Rogers (Vocals, Guitar, Slide Guitar, Percussion)
Scoop McGuire (Bass Guitar)
Jimmy Sanchez (Drums, Percussion)
Phil Aaberg (Keyboards, Accordion)
Dana Pandey (Tabla)
Robert Powell (Pedal Steel Guitar)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quincy Jones - Songs for Pussycats + Quincy in Rio

An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Artist: Quincy Jones
Album: Songs for Pussycats - Quincy in Rio
Year: 1962 - 1965 (Mercury Records)
Label: Verve (2012)
Runtime: 66:22

1.  What's New Pussycat? (Burt Bacharach / Hal David) 2:44
2.  A Taste Of Honey (Bobby Scott / Ric Marlow) 2:36
3.  Sermonette (Nat Adderley) 2:51
4.  A Walk In The Black Forest (Horst Jankowski) 2:52
5.  Mack The Knife (Kurt Weil / Berthold Brecht) 2:33
6.  Moon River (Henry Mancini / Johnny Mercer) 2:34
7.  Take Five (Paul Desmond) 3:31
8.  Gravy Waltz (Ray Brown / Steve Allen) 2:43
9.  I Hear A Symphony (Brian Holland / Lamont Dozier / Eddie Holland) 3:08
10.  Mr. Lucky (Henry Mancini / Jay Livingston / Ray Evans) 2:26
11.  Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Vince Guaraldi) 2:46
12.  Manha De Carnaval (Luiz Bonfa)  2:55
13.  Samba De Una Nota So (One Note Samba) (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Newton Mendonca) 2:01
14.  Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Newton Mendonca) 2:54
15.  Bossa Nova U.S.A. (Dave Brubeck) 3:13
16.  Se E Tarde Me Pardoa (Pardon Me If I'm Late) (Carlos Lyra / Ronaldo Boscoli) 4:23
17.  (I Love You) And Don't You Forget It (Henry Mancini / Al Stillman) 2:53
18.  Non-Stop To Brazil (Luiz Bonfa / Matt Dubey / Norman Gimbel) 2:41
19.  The Gentle Rain (Luiz Bonfa / Matt Dubey) 2:18
20.  Baia (Ary Barroso) 3:57
21.  Jive Samba (Nat Adderley) 2:43
22.  Chega De Saudade (No More Blues) (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Vinicius de Moraes) 5:31

Quincy Jones (Arranger, Conductor)
Snooky Young (Trumpet)
Thad Jones (Trumpet)
Joe Newman (Trumpet)
Ernie Royal (Trumpet)
Melba Liston (Trombone)
Curtis Fuller (Trombone)
Billy Byers (Trombone)
Jimmy Cleveland (Trombone)
Kai Winding (Trombone)
Urbie Green (Trombone)
Julius Watkins (Flugelhorn)
Phil Woods (Alto Saxophone)
Oliver Nelson (Tenor Saxophone)
Zoot Sims (Tenor Saxophone)
Roland Kirk (Tenor Saxophone)
Jerome Richardson (Baritone Saxophone, Flute)
Patti Brown (Piano)
Lalo Schifrin (Piano)
Gary Burton (Vibraphone)
Jim Hall (Guitar)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Toots Thielemans (Harmonica)
Milt Hinton (Double Bass)
Chris White (Drums)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thierry 'Titi' Robin & Gulabi Sepera - Rakhi

Thierry "Titi" Robin is an exceptional artist both for his personality and his artistic sensitivity. His previous musical achievements were characterised by a coherence of style, derived from his still deepening interest in Gypsy culture, which for him is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and the basis for colourful artistic marriages with Roma artists from all over the world. His first encounters with traditional Gypsy music (as well as Arabian music, which also has had an enormous influence on his artistic development) started when as a teenager he moved from the village of Rochefort Sur
Loire in the east of France, to Angers, a city crowded with immigrants, mainly Arabs and Gypsies. It was there, during his first playing sessions with peers of different cultural background, that his musical sensitivity was formed. It allowed him to treat those musical traditions as his own. In the early 80s he initiated his co-operation with Hameed Khan, a tabla player from Rajasthan, who has accompanied him for many years. His project with Breton vocalist Erik Marchand is also worth mentioning. As a trio they explored the themes of both central Brittany and the Orient. But the recording that was received with greatest acclaim from the critics and listeners was not released until 1993. On Gitans, Robin and Khan were joined by Roma musicians from Spain to Rajasthan, including 'The Gypsy Queen of Rajasthan,' Gulabi Sapera, a vocalist of unique voice timbre, who enriched this project with warmth and tenderness. His friendship with Sapera has led to their co-operations on numerous occasions, resulting in Rakhi. The opening track, "Holi Yaad," introduces the listener to the unique atmosphere of the album. Gulabi's singing is calm and nostalgic; the minimalist but balanced rhythm section and the delicate sound of Robin's guitar immerse the listener in a pleasant swing. The following tracks intensify this feeling. As it progresses, a reggae vibe appears and becomes a pervasive element of some of the tracks to follow. Gulabi's voice often converses with male voices (Bruno El Gitano, Farid, Roberto Saadna 'Yakeen,' Saway Nath 'Neem,' and 'Rumba de India'), making the music more complete. Tensions subtlely rise and fall down. Paradoxically the most ascetic track 'Bichu Rap' draws the greatest attention. It is a kind of a dialogue between a woman and a man or even a quarrel. It is overflowing with emotions: joy, anger, grief are expressed in a theatrical way, to leave no one indifferent to what is being sung. "Shadi ke badh" comes back to the mood of some previous tracks. Robin's first solo reminds us that it is their common achievement, even as he devotes it almost entirely to Sapera. In his previous work the instruments he played - oud, bouzouki or guitar - were always in the forefront. This time is different; his instrument is still important but is played consciously in the background to expose what is most valuable in this project, Gulabi Sapera's voice. Rakhi is not so directly appealing as Gitans or other earlier works. But it is uniquely successful, fully linked to the previous achievements of the artist and a continuation of his chosen path. The sense of artistry and authenticity makes the album undoubtedly worth listening. - by Piotr Pucylo,

Artist: Thierry 'Titi' Robin & Gulabi Sapera
Album: Rakhi
Year: 2002
Label: Naive Records
Runtime: 54:10

1.  Holi Yaad (Traditional) 3:45
2.  Yakeen (Gulabi Sapera / Thierry Robin) 4:16
3.  Chirmi Mala (Traditional) 4:09
4.  Chundri (Traditional) 3:09
5.  Neem (Traditional) 3:58
6.  Agni Sha Kshi (Traditional) 3:45
7.  Dhora (Traditional) 3:45
8.  Bichu Rap (Gulabi Sapera / Banwari Sapera / Thierry Robin) 4:35
9.  Shadi Ke Badh (Traditional) 3:54
10.  Pyari Pankaru (Traditional) 4:49
11.  Reggae Rajasthani (Gulabi Sapera / Thierry Robin) 3:21
12.  Judai (Traditional) 2:48
13.  Rumba De India (Thierry Robin) 4:07
14.  Rumal (Traditional) 3:49

Thierry "Titi" Robin (Guitar, Drum Programming, Lute)
Renaud Pion (Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Cor Anglais)
Gulabi Sapera (Vocals)
Pascal Stalin (Bass)
Francois Laizeau (Drums)
Jorge "Negrito" Trasante (Drums)
Amar Saadna (Rhythm Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals)
Farid Saadna (Rhythm Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals)
Saway Nath (Harmonium, Vocals)
Gabriel Levasseur (Keyboards, Accordion)
Bijan Chemirani (Daf, Cajon)
Sarwan Nath (Daf)
Banwari Nath (Daf, Dafil, Dholak)
Kishan Lal Rana (Dhol, Percussion) - 1,2,4-14
Ram Swarup (Dhol, Percussion) - 3
Banwari Sepera (Vocals) - 8

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lee Ritenour & Larry Carlton - Larry & Lee

Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour have had parallel careers, but this CD is their first joint meeting on record. The two guitarists complement each other well and there are hints of Wes Montgomery along with a tribute to Joe Pass ("Remembering J.P."), but the songs (all of them their originals) are little more than rhythmic grooves most of the time with the usual fadeouts. The consistently lightweight music is reasonably pleasing but never too stimulating. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

There is something special about two guitarists trading licks back and forth. Funny how four years after this album Larry Carlton would end up replacing Lee Ritenour in the group Foreplay. This album will not disappoint you if you're a fan of either guitarist. Both men are incredibly talented with the guitar, and play with real drive and emotion. The album starts out with a great tune in "Crosstown Kids", which prepares you for what's to come. "L.A. Underground" really steps it up with Ritenour leading the way, breaking in several places to give Carlton a place to play. On the cut, "After the Rain" they lay back and play a very smooth piece before turning it up again on "Remembering". Throughout the album, these guitarists use each other to springboard to new levels of playing. They take turns expanding on an idea, combining their styles to really bring out some fun music. There is some very good stuff on this album. Ritenour's smooth playing is counterbalanced by the bluesy edge of Carlton's. The complement is enjoyable, and it gives quite a coloring to the music. Guitar fans should find this album very impressive. It is one that I keep revisiting. - by Russell Diederich,

Artist: Lee Ritenour & Larry Carlton
Album: Larry & Lee
Year: 1995
Label: GRP Records
Runtime: 60:19

1.  Crosstown Kids (Lee Ritenour) 5:01
2.  Low Steppin' (Lee Ritenour & Larry Carlton)  6:25
3.  L.A. Underground (Lee Ritenour) 5:46
4.  Closed Door Jam (Lee Ritenour & Lee Carlton) 4:59
5.  After the Rain (Lee Ritenour) 4:44
6.  Remembering J.P. (Larry Carlton) 4:48
7.  Fun in the Dark (Lee Ritenour) 5:25
8.  Lots About Nothin' (Larry Carlton) 6:15
9.  Take That (Lee Ritenour) 4:53
10.  Up and Adam (Lee Ritenour & Lee Carlton) 6:11
11.  Reflection of a Guitar Player (Lee Ritenour & Lee Carlton) 5:52

Lee Ritenour (Guitar, Synthesizer, Sampling, Drum Programming)
Larry Carlton (Guitar, Keyboards)
Omar Hakim (Drums) - 1,4,6-9,11
Larry Williams (Synthesizer, Tenor Saxophone) - 1-3,7,9
Melvin Davis (Bass Guitar) - 1-4,6-11
Dave Witham (Keyboards) - 1-3,5,7,10
Jerry Hey (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 1,3,5,7,9
Gary Grant (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 1,3,5,7,9
Bill Reichenbach (Trombone) - 1,3,5,7,9
Greg Phillinganes (Keyboards) - 1,7,9,11
Harvey Mason (Drums) - 2,3,5,10
Cassio Duarte (Percussion) - 1-3,7
Rick Jackson (Keyboards) - 4,6,8

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gandalf - Frame By Frame

Special Soundtrack Album – A collection of picturesque pieces written and produced by Gandalf in 2013 as the music-score for various projects, mostly for the TV-documentary “Das Steinzeiträtsel” (The Stone Age Enigma) by Ronald & Roswitha Vaughan. -

As a painter of musical landscapes whose music is largely inspired by the beauty of nature as well as by the art and mythology of different cultures, Gandalf finds himself at Prudence among souls of souls. As one of the masters of his genre, the versatile musician, composer and producer has created his unique personal music style. It combines a variety of acoustic instruments (guitars, sitar, saz, charango, bouzuki, piano, balaphone, bells and percussion) with spherical keyboard sounds. It interweaves folkloric melodic arches with powerful orchestral arrangements. Gandalf is a "Magician of the Soul Sounds", his multi-colored compositions emanate peace and harmony and are balm for the soul. Many people exhausted by the hustle and bustle of modern everyday life find consolation and healing. The artist's vision of breaking the boundaries between musical categories and styles and developing a music that appeals to people regardless of mother tongue or skin color has made him one of the most successful Austrian musicians of our time. In addition to numerous CD releases, Gandalf also composed music for theater and film, worked with symphonic orchestras ( "Symphonic Landscapes", 1990) and played with international artists such as the legendary ex-genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. His CDs are played by radio stations around the planet, in the USA his music has been called "classical music of the 21st century".

Artist: Gandalf (Heinz Strobl)
Album: Frame By Frame
Year: 2013
Label: Prudence Records
Runtime: 63:40

1.  Ancient Wisdom Recalled 3:40
2.  Love Will Last 4:59
3.  Amongst Green Fields 7:42
4.  Sleeping Giants of Stone 6:21
5.  The House by the River 6:30
6.  Echoes from the Past 4:44
7.  Enchanted Garden 7:27
8.  Ancient Wisdom Recalled II 1:24
9.  March of No return 5:18
10.  Heartbridges 4:13
11.  Sea of Sorrow 2:11
12.  Beyond Fear 4:04
13.  Sea of Sorrow II 1:33
14.  Rainbow Sky 3:27
All compositions by Heinz Strobl

Heinz Strobl (aka Gandalf) (Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Percussion)
Merike Hilmar (Cello)
Karin Leitner (Flute, Whistle)
Nicky Eggl (Whistle, Bodhran)
Monika Stadler (Harp)
Vasilie Marian (Oboe, English Horn)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Joshua Redman - Beyond

In his short career, Joshua Redman has been praised for his technical abilities and criticized for his lack of innovation -- not surprising responses to the work of a talented young artist. On Beyond, his seventh album which was recorded a few months after his 30th birthday, he attempts, as the title suggests, to try some new things. Employing an all new group consisting of pianist Aaron Goldberg, bass player Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, he presents an album of original tunes to follow Timeless Tales (For Changing Times), an album of cover material. Eschewing the pat jazz formula of a head followed by improvisations, he adopts a more free-flowing structure for his compositions in which anyone can start and the tune can develop in an open-ended fashion. He also experiments with time signatures: "A Life?," the closing track, is in 5/4 time; "Stoic Revolutions" is in 6/4; "Belonging (Lopsided Lullaby)" is in 9/4; "Suspended Emanations" is in 10/4; and the lead-off track, "Courage (Asymmetric Aria)," is in 13/4. While no doubt hard to play, the tunes don' t sound all that complicated, perhaps because Redman's saxophone floats over the rhythm section, taking its time to make its statements. As the song titles imply, this is a contemplative album full of small, introspective pleasures, such as the exploratory "Leap of Faith," on which Redman and Mark Turner engage in a tenor conversation. It's not clear that the technical challenges Redman presents himself and his sidemen with ultimately force them to do anything new, but Beyond represents a gifted musician tinkering with his musical approach with often satisfying results. - by William Ruhlmann, AMG

Artist: Joshua Redman
Album: Beyond
Year: 2000
Label: Warner Bros.
Runtime: 73:18

1.  Courage (Asymmetric Aria) 7:32
2.  Belonging (Lopsided Lullaby) 5:48
3.  Neverend 4:26
4.  Leap Of Faith 9:03
5.  Balance 9:05
6.  Twilight ... And Beyond 11:00
7.  Stoic Revolutions 6:11
8.  Suspended Emanations 6:18
9.  Last Rites Of Rock 'N' Roll 7:03
10.  A Life? 6:52
All music written by Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman (Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone)
Reuben Rogers (Double Bass)
Gregory Hutchinson (Drums)
Aaron Goldberg (Piano)
Mark Turner (Tenor Saxophone) - 4

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mel Tormé - Comin' Home Baby!

Paced by his only hit of the rock era, Comin' Home Baby! is a real crossover record, balancing a few groovy dance numbers (like the title track) with early-'60s cool jazz versions of the standards "Walkin'," "Moanin'," and "On Green Dolphin Street." Though Mel Tormé never made a terrible record -- his crisp voice and ineffable delivery carried all of his dates -- this session has to count as a low point. The constant striving for some sort of jazz-hipster atmosphere relegates one of Tormé's positive attributes -- his excellent scatting -- into little more than a novelty act. Shorty Rogers, who arranged the record except for the two hit hopefuls (Claus Ogerman's "Comin' Home Baby!" and "Right Now"), attempts to equal Marty Paich's excellent arrangement on the mid-'50s records -- and doesn't quite succeed. "Moanin'" is a stale recasting of the superior Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross version, and the child noise on "Dat Dere" is just baffling. Compared to Tormé's other record for Atlantic, Sunday in New York, Comin' Home Baby! is a passé work that understandably can't get much of a reaction from the usually majestic Mel Tormé.- by John Bush, AMG

Artist: Mel Tormé
Album: Comin' Home Baby!
Year: 1962
Label: WEA Japan (24bit remastered, 2012)
Runtime: 33:12

1.  Comin' Home Baby! (Bob Dorough / Ben Tucker) 2:41
2.  Dat Dere (Oscar Brown, Jr. / Bobby Timmons) 2:58
3.  The Lady's in Love With You (Burton Lane / Frank Loesser) 3:01
4.  Hi-Fly (Jon Hendricks / Randy Weston) 3:13
5.  Puttin' on the Ritz (Irving Berlin) 2:23
6.  Walkin' (Richard Carpenter) 2:59
7.  Moanin' (Jon Hendricks / Bobby Timmons) 3:03
8.  Sing You Sinners (Sam Coslow / Frank Harling) 2:27
9.  Whisper Not (Leonard Feather / Benny Golson) 2:49
10.  On Green Dolphin Street (Bronislaw Kaper / Ned Washington) 2:56
11.  Sidney's Soliloquy (Jimmy Wisner) 2:30
12.  Right Now (Herbie Mann / Carl Sigman) 2:12

Mel Torme (Vocals)
Larry Bunker (Drums)
Milt Bernhardt (Trombone)
Harry Betts (Trombone)
Joe Burnett (Trumpet)
Buddy Colette (Woodwind)
Shorty Rogers (Arranger, Conductor)
Ollie Mitchell (Trumpet)
Al Porcino (Trumpet)
Ray Tiscari (Trumpet)
Kenny Shroyer (Trombone)
John Kitzmiller (Tuba)
Bob Cooper (Woodwind)
Bill Hood (Woodwind)
Bud Shank (Woodwind)
Gene Estes (Vibraphone)
Mike Wofford (Piano)
Joe Mondragon (Double Bass)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Radio Tarifa - Temporal

Started around 1990, Radio Tarifa is a Spanish ensemble that has come into its own as a purveyor of pan-Mediterranean musical styles from across time. With a penchant for traditional gypsy pieces from Persia, North Africa, and their homeland, Radio Tarifa provides musical proof of the continuity of gypsy music throughout the world (a fact explicated in the film Latcho Drom with equal effectiveness). For their second release, Temporal, the ensemble concentrates on traditional material from Iberia, with pieces culled from Galician, Andalucian, Castilian, and Flamenco culture.
Reflecting the distinctly Middle Eastern influence -- via Moorish culture -- in Spanish music, many of the cuts here feature such Persian, Arabic, and North African instruments, including the tar lute, ney flute, and derbouka clay drum. The group also use Greek and Indian instruments, not to mention both medieval and modern devices like the crumhorn wind instrument, organ, and electric bass. This rich mix is topped off by some excellent vocal performances. Another fine title in the group's small but stellar catalog. - by Stephen Cook, AMG

Artist: Radio Tarifa
Album: Temporal
Year: 1996
Label: BMG
Runtime: 43:52

1.  La Tarara (Traditional/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 3:22
2.  Las Cuevas (Traditional/Benjamin Escoriza/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 5:11
3.  Canción Sefardi (Traditional/Benjamin Escoriza/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 4:22
4.  Baile de Almut (Fain S. Duenas) 3:50
5.  Solea (Traditional/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 4:29
6.  Tangos de la Condición (Traditional/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 4:22
7.  Conductus (Traditional/arr. Fain S. Duenas/Vincent Molino/Ramiro Amusategui) 4:04
8.  Temporal (Traditional/Benjamin Escoriza/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 5:31
9.  El Mandil de Carolina (Traditional/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 3:56
10.  Vestido de Flores (Traditional/Benjamin Escoriza/arr. Fain S. Duenas) 4:40

Fain S. Duenas (Banjo, Bouzouki, Bass Guitar, Spanish Guitarand Percussion)
Benjamin Escoriza (Vocals) - 1,3,8-10
Peter Oteo (Bass Guitar) - 1-3,7,10
Vincent Molino (Nay, Cromornos, Oboe) - 1-3,5,7,9
Ramiro Amusategui (Oud) - 1,6,7
Wafir Sh. Gibril (Accordeon, Violin) - 1,6,10
Jaime Muela (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone) - 1,7
Sebastian Rubio (Percussion) - 1,4
Rafael Jimenez (Vocals) - 5,6
Joaquin Ruiz (Flamenco Dance) - 2
Cope Gutierrez (Hammond Organ) - 3
Javier Colina (Double Bass) - 8
Javier Paxarino (Bansuri Flute) - 8

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ike Quebec - Bossa Nova Soul Samba

This was veteran tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec's final recording as a leader. It was cut in October 1962 and produced by Alfred Lion a little more than three months before the saxophonist's death. Bossa Nova Soul Samba was recorded and released during the bossa nova craze, as Brazilian music was first brought to the attention of pop listeners via Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's smash hit with Tom Jobim's "Desafinado," on their Jazz Samba record for Verve in February. After that, seemingly everyone was making a bossa nova record. Quebec's effort is a bit unusual in that none of the musicians (guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Wendell Marshall, drummer Willie Bobo, and percussionist Garvin Masseaux) was associated with Brazilian (as opposed to Afro-Cuban) jazz before this, and that there isn't a single tune written by Jobim on the set. Quebec emphasizes warm, long tones (reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins in a romantic fashion), and his sidemen play light and appealing but nonetheless authoritative bossa rhythms. Standout tracks here include Burrell's own "Loie," which opens the disc, "Goin' Home," based on a tune by classical composer Antonin Dvorák and arranged by Quebec -- he does the same with "Liebestraum" two tunes later -- and the stunning "Favela," by the crack composing team of Joraci Camargo and Heckel Tavares. The result is high-quality melodic Brazilian dance music with Burrell shining in particular. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Ike Quebec
Album: Bossa Nova Jazz Samba
Year: 1962
Label: Blue Note (Remastered, 1996)
Runtime: 48:30

1.  Loie (Kenny Burrell) 3:12
2.  Lloro Tu Despedida (Cabral/Joraci Camargo/Lacerda) 3:06
3.  Goin' Home (Antonin Dvorák) 5:43
4.  Me 'N You (Ike Quebec) 6:01
5.  Liebestraum (Franz Liszt) 3:44
6.  Shu Shu (Antonio Almeida/Carlos Monteiro DeSouza) 3:32
7.  Blue Samba (Ike Quebec) 5:23
8.  Favela (Joraci Camargo/Heckel Tavares) 4:02
9.  Linda Flor (Henrique Vogeler) 3:28
10.  Loie (Alternate Take) (Kenny Burrell) 3:36
11.  Shu Shu (Alternate Take) (Antonio Almeida/Carlos Monteiro DeSouza) 3:21
12.  Favela (Alternate Take) (Joraci Camargo/Heckel Tavares) 3:22

Ike Quebec (Tenor Saxophone)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Wendell Marshall (Double Bass)
Willie Bobo (Drums)
Garvin Masseaux (Chekere)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Paul Desmond - First Place Again

The title of this set by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond refers to his having placed first once again in the alto chair in the Downbeat poll. Released in 1959, First Place Again is the result of an unexpected gathering of the rhythm section of the Modern Jazz Quartet: Percy Heath and Connie Kay, and Jimmy Giuffre 3 guitarist Jim Hall. The four musicians were all unexpectedly at home in New York and took full advantage of cheap, after-hours recording studio time to play out this set of standards and a pair of newer tunes, John Lewis' great blues, "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West," and "East of the Sun (and West Of The Moon)," from a Princeton University theater work. The rest, including a fine reading of "Greensleeves," which is short and tight here, Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick out of You," J. Fred Coots' "For All We Known," "You Got to My Head" -- another Coots' tune -- and Sammy Cahn's "Time After Time," are done with an airy, amiable vibe, especially the work between Hall and the rhythm section, which is full of counterpoint and sharp accents. Desmond, of course, being at that time the king of melodic improvisation on the alto -- with the possible exception of Art Pepper's ascendancy -- is in fine form. His whimsical, breathy, dry tone is sharp, on the spot, and full of ideas as he quotes from a vast number of tunes. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxed set if ultimately unmemorable. [Though the album was first released under the title First Place Again, it was reissued by the Discovery label in 1986 under the title East of the Sun. The track listing was the same, though the running oder was shuffled.] - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Paul Desmond
Album: First Place Again
Year: 1959 (Warner Bros.)
Label: Warner Japan (24bit remastered, 2014)
Runtime: 45:43

1.  I Get A Kick Out Of You (Cole Porter) 8:36 
2.  For All We Know (Fred Coots) 5:30 
3.  Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West (John Lewis) 7:25 
4.  Greensleeves (Traditional) 2:03 
5.  You Go To My Head (Fred Coots / Haven Gillespie) 6:25 
6.  East of the Sun (Euday L. Bowman) 5:42 
7.  Time After Time (Sammy Cahn / Jule Styne) 6:09 
8.  Susie (Paul Desmond) 3:50 *Bonus track

Paul Desmond (Alto Saxophone) 
Jim Hall (Guitar) 
Percy Heath (Double Bass) 
Connie Kay (Drums)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Prem Joshua - Desert Visions

The album is a wonderful blend of East Indian, Arabic, African and Western music. The instruments and rhythms weave back and forth between the various influences in a spirited and lively manner. One track may have a hint of New Orleans Jazz balanced against the romantic and haunting sounds of the desert. Another track features East Indian vocals and tabla in a spirited dance with saxophone and flute. Overall easy to listen to ranging from sprightly to ambient in texture during the course of the album. - Product info

I stumbled onto this CD one day at a listening post and was at first drawn to it because of the cover. The album is a wonderful blend of East Indian, Arabic, African and Western music. The instruments and rhythms weave back and forth between the various influences in a spirited and lively manner. One track may have a hint of New Orleans Jazz balanced against the romantic and haunting sounds of the desert. Another track features East Indian vocals and tabla in a spirited dance with saxophone and flute. Overall easy to listen to ranging from sprightly to ambient in texture during the course of the album. - by Thomas Kryton,

Prem Joshua is one of the eminent world fusion musicians of the day. Upbeat, percussion-heavy, and influenced by jazz, pop, and Indian ragas, the reeling tracks on Desert Visions provide a stimulating background for vigorous yoga practice and dance. "Pagan Dance" in particular features a compelling jazz/raga melody that stays with the listener long after the dancing is finished. - AMG

Artist: Prem Joshua
Album: Desert Vision
Year: 1996
Label: New Earth Records
Runtime: 52:13

1.  The Raja's Ride (Prem Joshua) 5:30
2.  Daia (Prem Joshua) 7:50
3.  Hot Season (Prem Joshua/Rishi Vlote) 4:12
4.  Sarang (Prem Joshua/Manish Vyas/Rishi Vlote) 8:21
5.  Pagan Dance (Prem Joshua/Rishi Vlote) 1:26
6.  Jungle (Rishi Vlote) 3:01
7.  Kirwani (Prem Joshua) 5:24
8.  Desert Moon (Prem Joshua) 3:41
9.  Flight of the Swan (Prem Joshua) 8:55
10.  From Behind The Hills (Prem Joshua) 3:49

Prem Joshua (Soprano Saxophone, Bamboo Flute, Sitar, Swarmandal, Tambura, Santoor)
Manish Vyas (Tabla, Vocals, Harmonium and Pakhawaj) - 1,4,9
Rishi Vlote (Darbouka, Shaker, Keyboards, Bass, Vocals, Drums, Clay Pot, Frame Drum, Djembe)
Chintan S. Relenberg (Bass Guitar and Tabla) - 2,10
Jo Shiro Shunyam (Acoustic Guitar) - 2,9
Nadama Novak (Keyboards) - 2
Ravi Freeman (Keyboards) - 2
Bindu (Acoustic Guitar) - 2
Neera Halls (Vocals) - 2
Anadi Raval (Vocals) - 4
Adheesh Tivari (Drums, Bass and Keyboards) - 4
Meera Bhatt (Vocals) - 4
Azeema Bharti (Vocals) - 4

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jaco Pastorius - The Birthday Concert

On an irregular basis in the early '80s, the innovative electric bassist Jaco Pastorius led a big band that he called Word of Mouth. This excellent LP documents Pastorius' 30th birthday party, a concert at which he was joined by the Peter Graves Orchestra (consisting of 14 horns, two steel drums, and two percussionists) plus drummer Peter Erskine, Don Alias on conga, and both Michael Brecker and Bob Mintzer on tenors. Brecker co-stars with Pastorius on a strong program that is highlighted by "The Chicken," a burning rendition of "Invitation," and "Liberty City." The music is full of spirit and joy, featuring Pastorius at the peak of his powers just before his tragic decline. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

This is a terrific, fun album. It's the way I wish I could have seen Jaco. A small club with a great band, featuring a terrific horn section and a drummer that is totally in sinc with Jaco's playing. This album was recorded live at Mr. Pips in Ft Lauderdale, which was a familiar place to all of us who grew up in Ft Lauderdale. Peter Yianolos did a superb job of capturing the sound of the band. Cut's on this album like The Chicken and Liberty City reflect Jaco's R&B roots more than the more jazz oriented material he came to be known for with Weather Report, although there is some of that type of material included as well. This album is a terrific way to introduce the young bassist to Jaco as well as a good way to for the seasoned Jaco fan to remember where Jaco came from musically. - by Pedro Valdes,

Artist: Jaco Pastorius
Album: The Birthday Concert
Year: 1981
Label: Warner Bros. (1995)
Runtime: 69:22

1.  Soul Intro / The Chicken (Pee Wee Ellis / Jaco Pastorius) 8:00
2.  Continuum (Jaco Pastorius) 2:34
3.  Invitation (Bronislaw Kaper) 17:43
4.  Three Views Of A Secret (Jaco Pastorius) 5:56
5.  Liberty City (Jaco Pastorius) 8:11
6.  Punk Jazz (Jaco Pastorius) 4:35
7.  Happy Birthday (Mildred Hill / Patty Smith Hill) 1:48
8.  Reza (Jaco Pastorius) 10:36
9.  Domingo (Jaco Pastorius) 5:39
10.  Band Intros 2:37
11.  Amerika (Traditional) 1:43

Jaco Pastorius (Bass)
Michael Brecker (Tenor Saxophone)
Bob Mintzer (Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Don Alias (Congas)
Peter Erskine (Drums)
Randy Emerick (Baritone Saxophone)
Robert Thomas, Jr. (Congas)
Peter Gordon (French Horn)
Oscar Salas (Percussion)
Dan Bonsanti (Saxophone, Woodwind)
Gary Lindsay (Saxophone, Woodwind)
Neal Bonsanti (Saxophone, Woodwind)
Othello Molineaux (Steel Drums)
Paul Hornmüller (Steel Drums)
Mike Katz (Trombone)
Russ Freeland (Trombone)
Peter Graves (Trombone [Bass])
Dave Bargeron (Trombone, Tuba)
Brett Murphy (Trumpet)
Brian O'Flaherty (Trumpet)
Ken Faulk (Trumpet)
Melton Mustafa (Trumpet)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Omara Portuondo - Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo

A beautifully executed and produced album by Omara Portuando, the only woman to appear on the original Buena Vista Social Club recordings. Portuando, who is one of Cuba's most acclaimed musicians and a featured performer at the Tropicana, has shown here that, at 70, she still possesses the qualities that helped develop her stardom on her native island. This recording, which covers a variety of traditional musical styles, from son to guajira to bolero, makes it easy to see why critics have called her the Edith Piaf of Cuba and "The Fiancée of Feeling." The style, especially on the second track, "He Perdido Contigo," evokes a nostalgic, old-fashioned sentiment, and the songwriting is classic. Featured performers include Rubén González on piano, Eliades Ochoa and Compay Segundo on guitar, and a full string section including Angel and Arelis Zaldivar. The performances are lively and tight, creating an album that feels nearly perfect. A full set of liner notes, including English translations of all of the lyrics, makes the album even more accessible. by Stacia Proefock, AMG

Artist: Omara Portuondo
Album: Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo
Year: 2000
Label: World Circuit
Runtime: 40:45

1.  La Sitiera (Rafael Lopez) 3:57
2.  He Perdido Contigo (Luis Cardenas / Maria Teresa Vera) 3:49
3.  Dónde Estabas Tú (Ernesto Duarte) 3:47
4.  Mariposita De Primavera (Miguel Matamoros) 2:54
5.  Canta Lo Sentimental (Y. De La Fuente / Urbano Gomez Montiel) 3:26
6.  Ella Y Yo (Oscar Hernandez) 3:24
7.  No Me Vayas A Enganar (Osvaldo Farrés) 2:53
8.  No Me Llores Más (Arsenio Rodríguez) 4:59
9.  Veinte Anos (Maria Teresa Vera) 4:43
10.  El Hombre Que Yo Amé (The Man I Love) (George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin) 3:11
11.  Siempre En Mi Corazón (Ernesto Lecuona) 3:42

Omara Portuondo (Vocals)
Panteleon Sanchez (Alto Saxophone)
Javier Zalba (Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone)
Danie Valdes (Backing Vocals)
Teresita Garcia Caturla (Backing Vocals)
Xiomara Valdes (Backing Vocals)
Ventura Gutierrez (Baritone Saxophone)
Filiberto Sanchez (Bongos)
Arelis Zaldivar (Cello)
Roy Avila Serrano (Cello)
Lazaro Villa (Claves, Backing Vocals)
Angel Terry Domech (Congas)
Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez (Double Bass)
Roberto Garcia (Guiro)
Ruben Gonzales (Keyboards)
Alberto "Virgilio" Valdes (Maracas)
Antonio Jimenez (Tenor Saxophone)
Carlos Fernandez (Tenor Saxophone)
Rafael Jenks (Tenor Saxophone)
Amadito Valdes (Timbales)
Antonio Leal (Trombone)
Jesus Ramos (Trombone, Backing Vocals)
Alejandro Pichardo (Trumpet)
Daniel Ramos (Trumpet)
Yanko Pichardo (Trumpet)
Yaure Muniz (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Eliades Ochoa (Guitar) - 1,2
Alberto Valdes (Claves) - 4
Manuel Galban (Guitar) - 5
Roger Beaujolais (Vibraphone) - 5
Haskell Armenteros (Clarinet) - 6
Rafael Lazaro Inciarte (Clarinet) - 6
Gilberto Oviedo (Tres) - 8
Ibrahim Ferrer (Vocals) - 8
Benito Suarez (Guitar) - 6
Compay Segundo (Guitar) - 6
Carlos Gonzalez (Bongos) - 11

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sonny Rollins - Falling In Love With Jazz

This average effort from Sonny Rollins and his regular sextet is most notable for two numbers ("For All We Know" and "I Should Care") that find Branford Marsalis joining Rollins in a quintet with pianist Tommy Flanagan. Unfortunately Marsalis makes the fatal error of trying to imitate Rollins (instead of playing in his own musical personality) and he gets slaughtered. Much better are Rollins's romps on "Tennessee Waltz" and "Falling in Love with Love." - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Sonny Rollins
Album: Falling In Love With Jazz
Year: 1990
Label: Milestone Records
Runtime: 46:29

1.  For All We Know (Fred Coots / Sam Lewis) 7:38
2.  Tennessee Waltz (Pee Wee King / Redd Stewart) 6:13
3.  Little Girl Blue (Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers) 7:37
4.  Falling In Love With You (Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers) 4:46
5.  I Should Care (Sammy Cahn / Axel Stordahl / Paul Weston) 7:29
6.  Sister (Sonny Rollins) 7:01
7.  Amanda (Sonny Rollins) 5:45

Sonny Rollins (Tenor Saxophone)
Jerome Harris (Bass Guitar, Guitar)
Jack DeJohnette (Drums) - 2,4,6,7
Bob Cranshaw (Bass Guitar) - 2-4,6,7
Mark Soskin (Piano, Synthesizer) - 2-4,6,7
Jeff "Tain" Watts (Drums) - 1,5
Tommy Flanagan (Piano) - 1,5
Branford Marsalis (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,5
Clifton Anderson (Trombone) - 6,7

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pharoah Sanders - Message From Home

The world music-minded producer Bill Laswell gets a hold of Pharoah Sanders here and lo, the sleeping volcano erupts with one of his most fulfilling albums in many a year. Message From Home is rooted in, but not exclusively devoted to, African idioms, as the overpowering hip-hop groove of "Our Roots (Began In Africa)" points out. But the record really develops into something special when Sanders pits his mighty tenor sound against the pan-African beats, like the ecstatically joyful rhythms of "Tomoki" and the poised, percolating fusion of American country & western drums and Nigerian juju guitar riffs on "Country Mile." In addition, "Nozipho" is a concentrated dose of the old Pharoah, heavily spiritual and painfully passionate, with a generous supply of the tenor player's famous screeching rhetoric, and kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso shows up on "Kumba" with a touch of village Gambian music. This resurrection will quicken the pulse of many an old Pharoah fan. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Pharoah Sanders
Album: Message From Home
Year: 1996
Label: Verve
Runtime: 49:10

1.  Our Roots [Began in Africa] (Pharoah Sanders) 10:21
2.  Nozipho (Pharoah Sanders) 9:42
3.  Tomoki (Pharoah Sanders) 6:25
4.  Ocean Song (Pharoah Sanders) 8:49
5.  Kumba (Pharoah Sanders / Foday Musa Suso) 7:50
6.  Country Mile (Pharoah Sanders) 6:03

Pharoah Sanders (Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Bells, Bowls, Vocals)
Michael White (Violin)
William Henderson (Piano, Electric Piano, Vocals)
Bernie Worrell (Keyboards, Vocals)
Jeff Bova (Programming, Electronics)
Foday Musa Suso (Kora, Dousongonni, Vocals)
Dominic Kanza (Guitar)
Charnett Moffett (Double Bass)
Steve Neil (Double Bass, Bass Guitar)
Hamid Drake (Drums, Tablas, Frame drums, Vocals)
Aiyb Dieng (Chatan, Congas, Bells, Gongs, Vocals)
Salie Suso (Backing Vocals)
Mariama Suso (Backing Vocals)
Fanta Mangasuba (Backing Vocals)
Fatoumata Sako (Backing Vocals)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sonny Rollins - Tour De Force

A better purchase than Sonny Boy (OJC 348) which has four of this set's six numbers plus "The House I Live In" from an earlier date. None of the Sonny Rollins' originals (which include "B. Swift," "B. Quick" and "Ee-Ah") on this release caught on. With pianist Kenny Drew, bassist George Morrow and drummer Max Roach completing the quartet, Rollins was in consistently creative form during this prime period but the overall set is not as classic as most of the tenor's other recordings from the 1950s.- by Scott Yanow, AMG 

"Tour De Force" finds Sonny Rollins playing some of his fastest and most forceful tenor saxophone. It is no surprise that Sonny is joined once again on the kit by Max Roach (with Kenny Drew and George Morrow also in the band), because few drummers could keep this pace going on the album's smokers, the aptly named "B. Swift," "B. Quick," and "Ee-ah," and the only slightly slower (normal hard bop speed) "Sonny Boy." "Tour" also features two tracks with vocals by Earl Coleman, the tender ballads "My Ideal" and "Two Different Worlds." While it's not "John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman" (even though this pre-dates 'Trane's session by five years), it's pretty good. However, the disparity between the "speed bop" and the ballads is so great, it causes "Tour De Force" to feel schizophrenic. There is great material here, but I only give it four stars because the album doesn't flow together very well. - by Michael B. Richman,

Artist: Sonny Rollins
Album: Tour De Force
Year: 1957 (Prestige Records)
Label: OJC (1984)
Runtime: 41:55
Recording: December 7, 1956 at the Van Gelder Recording Studio (Hackensack, USA) 

1.  EE-AH (Sonny Rollins) 6:57
2.  B. Quick (Sonny Rollins) 9:14
3.  Two Different Worlds (Al Frisch/Sid Wayne) 7:40
4.  B. Swift (Sonny Rollins) 5:18
5.  My Ideal (Newell Chase/Leo Robin/Richard A. Whiting) 4:23
6.  Sonny Boy (Bonus track) (Lew Brown/Buddy DeSylva/Ray Henderson/Al Jolson) 8:21

Sonny Rollins (Tenor Saxophone)
Kenny Drew (Piano)
George Morrow (Double Bass)
Max Roach (Drums)
Earl Coleman (Vocals) - 3,5

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Piirpauke - Muuttolinnut / Terra nova

By now, most people are aware of World Music and realize that it simply means the appreciation of the best tunes from all over the world. Some people saw it coming years and years ago and were playing it before anybody had thought of calling it World Music or anything. Sakari Kukko - visionary, world traveller and multi-instrumentalist from Finland - saw it coming more than 20 years ago, when he formed the first line-up of Piirpauke and was immediately awarded with a hit. Since that first success with a poignant Karelian folk tune, Sakari has guided his ever-improving line-ups on musical journeys through the delights of Balkan, Turkey, Africa, Latin America and points in between. After more than a dozen albums and many tours and concerts in Spain, Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Cuba, Soviet Union, India and Turkey the band is now ready to set their sights further afield. Sakari and his saxes, flutes and keyboards have never been content with merely polite "fusion music", but have always striven to draw the most fire and beauty from the most inspiring sources, no matter where. With his present international line-up of master musicians from Finland, Spain and Senegal, Sakari is truly an ambassador of World Music. Since attaining accolades as one Finland's top jazz saxophone players in the early seventies, Sakari has steadily added to his array of flutes and woodwinds on his world travels - and he also plays a mean keyboard and is occasionally inspired to launch into a tongue-in-cheek vocal. The countries he has roamed for exotic musical inspiration are too numerous to mention, but he has resided both in Columbia and Spain. - from

Artist: Piirpauke
Album: Muuttolinnut - Terra nova
Year: 1993
Label: RockAdillo Records
Runtime: 60:50

1.  Karavana (W.A. Mozart/arr. Sakari Kukko) 1:47
2.  Tristesa (Sorrow I) (Sakari Kukko/Cinta Hermo) 2:49
3.  Suru (Sorrow II) (Teppo Repo) 7:22
4.  Caracola (Sakari Kukko/Cinta Hermo) 4:06
5.  Secreto (Cinta Hermo) 5:13
6.  Savonmuan Hilima (Erkki Salama) 2:21
7.  Hilpeä hanuri (Jolly Accordion) (Vaino Tuominen) 2:07
8.  Raga Shostelerias (Sakari Kukko/Cinta Hermo)  6:06
9.  Wonto minima (Ismael Sane)  3:36
10.  Tuohinen sormus (Birch Bark Ring) (Matti Jurva/Traditional) 2:32
11.  Marssi (A March) (Teppo Repo) 3:12
12.  Hämäläinen kehtolaulu (Lullaby from Tavastia) (Traditional/arr. Sakari Kukko) 4:03
13.  Selestat (Traditional/Cinta Hermo/arr. Sakari Kukko) 6:08
14.  Maijan polkka (Maija's Polka) (Vili Vesterinen) 2:47
15.  Muuttolinnut (Migratory Birds) (Valto Tynnila/Martti Jappila) 1:59
16.  Terra Nova (Sakari Kukko/Cinta Hermo/Ismael Sane) 4:35

Sakari Kukko (Keyboards, Saxophones, Flute, Drum Set, Percussion and Vocals)
Cinta Hermo (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Castanets and Flamenco Dance)
Ismael Sane (Percussion and Vocals)
Outi Nieminen (Kantele) - 2,5,8,12
Auvo Z. Kaipaala (Vocal) - 6,10,15
T.T. Oksala (Electric Guitar) - 1
Babakar Faye (Darbuka) - 16

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oscar Peterson - Walking The Line / Another Day

Walking the Line:
Oscar Peterson's series of recordings for Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer during the 1960s and early '70s are one of many high points in his long career. With George "Jiri" Mraz on bass and Ray Price on drums, Peterson's flashy romp through "I Love You" (complete with a humorous detour into the opera "Pagliacci") and mid-tempo walk through "All of You" salute Cole Porter in style on Walking the Line. "Rock of Ages" isn't the old hymn but a lively, gospel-inflected Peterson original that will easily get any congregation swinging and swaying to the music. His mastery of the ballad form is heard in his sensitive interpretation of "Once Upon a Summertime," which showcases Mraz's gorgeous tone, as Price sits out this one. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Another Day:
Good '70 session from pianist Oscar Peterson, arguably the most recorded mainstream stylist ever. He's made so many albums over the years, with a great deal sounding similar, that while they're never bad, sometimes they're for keyboard freaks only. That's something of the case here, although Peterson spins some fabulous solos. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

Artist: Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: Two Originals: Walking the Line/Another Day
Year: 1971 (MPS)
Label: Motor Music (1996)
Runtime: 72:57

Walking the Line:
1.  I Love You (Cole Porter) 5:14
2.  Rock of Ages (Oscar Peterson) 5:32
3.  Once Upon a Summertime (Michel Legrand / Johnny Mercer) 5:19
4.  Teach Me Tonight (Gene DePaul / Sammy Cahn) 5:07
5.  The Windmills of Your Mind (Michel Legrand / Marilyn Bergman / Alan Bergman) 5:04
6.  I Didn't Know What Time It Was (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) 6:37
7.  All of You (Cole Porter) 5:01
Another Day
8.  Blues for Martha (Oscar Peterson) 5:10
9.  Greensleeves (Traditional)4:30
10.  All the Things You Are (Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein II) 6:13
11.  Too Close for Comfort (Jerry Bock / Larry Holofcener / Georg Weiss) 4:12
12.  The Jamfs Are Coming (Johnny Griffin) 5:40
13.  It Never Entered My Mind (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) 5:57
14.  Carolina Shout (James Johnson) 3:18

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Jiri Mraz (Double Bass)
Ray Price (Drums)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Duke Pearson - How Insensitive

Like most Blue Note artists, Duke Pearson moved toward commercial-oriented soul-jazz in the late '60s. At least, How Insensitive was supposed to be commercial. Pearson simplified his original compositions, chose standards like "Stella By Starlight," and covered contemporary pop songs like Jobim's "Lamento." He also assembled a large band with rock instrumentation like electric guitars, bass, electric pianos, and drum kits. Most importantly, he hired the New York Group Singers' Big Band -- a group of singers that are arranged like a horn section (males are the trombones, females are alto saxes, etc.) -- to sing on each song. The vocalists may be technically gifted -- in particular, Andy Bey has a rich voice -- but their presence on these arrangements is quite bizarre, especially since they take center stage. Each song on How Insensitive boasts extravagant, layered arrangements that flirt with schmaltz, but the voicings and attack are so unusual, the result is a weird variation on easy listening. There is little opportunity for Pearson to showcase his tasteful playing through improvisation, yet the arrangements are so off-kilter, the music never quite works as background music. In other words, it's a very interesting failure and one of the strangest by-products of Blue Note's late-'60s commercialization. - by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG

Artist: Duke Pearson
Album: How Insensitive
Year: 1970 (Blue Note Records)
Label: Toshiba Japan (1995)
Runtime: 33:42
Recorded at the Van Gelder Recordind Studios, Englewood Cliffs, USA (April 11, 14 & May 5, 1969)

1.  Stella By Starlight (Ned Washington / Victor Young) 4:35
2.  Clara (DuBose Heyward / George Gershwin) 2:40
3.  Give Me Your Love (Duke Pearson) 3:20
4.  Cristo Redentor (Duke Pearson) 3:50
5.  Little Song (Jack Manno)  2:50
6.  How Insensitive (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Norman Gimbel / Vinicius DeMoraes) 2:12
7.  Sandalia Dela (Luiz Claudio) 3:25
8.  My Love Waits (O Meu Amor Espera) (Duke Pearson / Jack Manno) 4:35
9.  Tears (Razao De Viva) (Eumir Deodato) 3:25
10.  Lamento (Antonio Carlos Jobim / Vinicius DeMoraes) 2:50

Duke Pearson (Piano, Electric Piano, Flugelhorn)
Mickey Roker (Drums)
Airto Moreira (Percussion)
Jack Manno (Conductor)
Al Gafa (Electric Guitar) - 1-6,8
Bob Cranshaw (Double Bass) - 1-6,8
Andy Bey (Vocals) - 2,3
Flora Purim (Vocals) - 7,9,10
Bebeto Jose Souza (Double Bass) - 7,9,10
Dorio Ferreira (Guitar) - 7,9,10
The New York Group Singers' Big Band (Choir) - 1-6,8

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Leon Parker - Awakening

There was a time when many of Leon Parker's contemporaries thought the man was several cents short of a dollar. A cursory glance at the jazz drummer's gear in the 1980s appeared to confirm the suspicion that he was a little kooky: Parker's drum kit consisted of a single cymbal. No trap drum, no tom-toms, no hi-hat, just that lone cymbal. Now, minimalism in improvisational music rhythm-keeping has a long and storied history, but this? Parker would go on to add snare and a floor tom and bass to his spartan set-up, but that's about it. Less is more is an apt description of his philosophy. Awakening, his new album on Columbia, further illuminates Parker's status as a major innovator. For this session, Parker incorporates a panoply of musical influences from the African Diaspora. The percussionist is joined by like-minded musicians whose playing enhances the album's fiercely creative force. On "All My Life," the opening track, Parker effortlessly moves from conga to clave, slapping out polyrhythms beneath poet Tracie Morris' sparse, impressionistic lyric concerning spiritual awareness. Her incantatory style meshes well with the almost hypnotic pulse of the Parker-penned composition. Whether she is lovingly shaping phrases or repeating single words, mantralike, Morris subtly draws listeners into her dreamy world. Hovering above the percussive stew is Sam Newsome's alto and soprano saxophone. His playing is richly imaginative, ululating like a bird's cry here, drawing out extended notes elsewhere. As on all the cuts on the album, rhythm predominates. Co-written by Parker and vocalist/percussionist Natalie Cushman, "Tokyo" is wonderfully exotic yet deftly manages to skirt parody. Indeed, the composition offers only a feint nod to the East, providing instead a herky-jerky pulse that summons up images of a lushly verdant South American forest. Parker's marimba is liltingly songlike, melodically hinting at Coltrane's "India." Congas add to the rhythmic depth of the piece. Wilson's soprano work both reinforces the groove and offers imaginative variations of the melody. A threesome of vocalists offers background chanting with a West African flavor. "It Is What It Is," the album's longest track, is the most fetching. Ugonna Okegwo's sonorous bass opens things. In short order, Parker's conga insinuates itself into the rhythmic flow. Still, it is Adam Cruz's ringing steel-pan drumming that captures one's attention. Whether rattling off quick bursts of high-pitched notes, reiterating the song's catchily melodic theme or commenting on Sam Newsome's flighty soprano saxophone, Cruz shines. Rarely has this instrument been employed in such an artful manner; pay particular attention to Cruz's expertly executed second solo. Although Cruz and to a lesser extent Newsome command the spotlight, Parker is content to provide rhythmic flourishes; he seems to know the difference between gratuitous showmanship and genuine leadership. As song titles like "Awakening," "Enlightenment" and "Peaceful Dream" suggest, this album conveys a sense of spirituality. Not the fire and brimstone raging of red-faced evangelicals; rather, there's a feeling of becalmed dedication to a transcendent higher force. Indeed, one can say of Awakening that it is a nondidactic sound tract expressing love and devotion to that higher force through the joyful sound of music. One thing is certain, Leon Parker is a seeker whose tireless quest for musical perfection cannot be questioned, only admired.- by Nicky Baxter,

Artist: Leon Parker
Album: Awakening
Year: 1998
Label: Sony/Columbia
Runtime: 51:17

1.  All My Life (Leon Parker) 5:54
2.  Tokyo (Leon Parker/Natalie Cushman) 4:52
3.  It is What it is (Leon Parker) 9:19
4.  Mother Earth (Lisa Parker) 5:02
5.  Cruz (Leon Parker) 6:09
6.  Axe Bahia (Leon Parker/Sam Newsome) 5:00
7.  Enlightenment (Leon Parker) 2:53
8.  Awakening (Leon Parker) 6:11
9.  Peaceful Dream (Leon Parker/Natalie Cushman) 5:52

Leon Parker (Congas, Bell, Caxixi, Marimba, Clavé, Rattle, Piano, Ashiko, Snare Drum and Gong) - 1-3,5-9
Natalie Cushman (Gourds, Shekere, Caxixi, Ashiko and Vocals) - 1-4,8,9
Steve Wilson (Alto and Soprano Saxophone, Alto Flute) - 1,2,5,8,9
Sam Newsome (Soprano Saxophone) - 3,6
Adam Cruz (Steel Pan and Bell) - 3,5,8
Rita Silva (Vocals, Clavé and Wood Block) - 3,6,8
Lisa Parker (Flute) - 4,9
Tracie Morris (Vocals) - 1
Ugonna Okegwo (Bass) - 3
Elisabeth Kontomanou (Vocals) - 4,8
Ray Cruz (Timbales) - 5

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

John Coltrane - Settin' the Pace

Tenor saxophonist John Coltrane recorded quite a few records with the rhythm section of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Taylor during 1957-1958. On this particular CD reissue, Coltrane performs "Rise and Shine," "I See Your Face Before Me," "If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You," and "Little Melonae." But more significant than the material are Coltrane's searching and passionate improvisations, which were pointing the way toward the future. This music
(along with Trane's other Prestige recordings) is also available as part of his huge Prestige Recordings box set. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: John Coltrane
Album: Settin' the Pace
Year: 1958 (Prestige)
Label: JVC Japan XRCD (2002)
Runtime: 40:46
Recording: at the Van Gelder Recording Studio, Hackensack, USA (03.26.1958)

1.  I See Your Face Before Me (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 10:00
2.  If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 7:15
3.  Little Melonae (Jackie McLean)  14:08
4.  Rise 'N' Shine (Buddy DeSylva / Vincent Youmans) 9:23

John Coltrane (Tenor Saxophone)
Red Garland (Piano)
Paul Chambers (Double Bass)
Arthur Taylor (Drums)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hughes de Courson - Mozart In Egypt

Hughes de Courson, member of the vintage French folk group Malicorne, has launched a new career as a musical fusionist on a grand scale. First he gave us Lambarena: Bach to Africa, which, in tribute to Albert Schweitzer, combined the religious music of J.S. Bach with the music of the Gabonese peoples of Africa. On Mozart l'égyptien, Courson unites the (mostly secular) music of W.A. Mozart with the traditional music of Egypt. - by Kurt Keefner, AMG

Artist: Hughes de Courson
Album: Mozart in Egypt
Year: 1997
Label: Virgin Classics
Runtime: 67:56

1.  Ikhtitaf Fi Assaraya [Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail] 6:39
2.  Double Quartet In F, K. 496 5:32
3.  Lamma Bada Yatathenna/Symphony No. 40 4:48
4.  Mahdiyat [Lullabies] 2:10
5.  Concerto For Oud & Piano No. 23 7:21
6.  Hamilu Lhawa Tahibou/Papageno's Aria 3:25
7.  Yaman Hawa/Thamos, King Of Egypt 4:49
8.  Mawwall 5:04
9.  Double Quartet In E Flat, K. 374 7:23
10.  Ouazat Al Kahira [L'Oca Del Cairo] 3:01
11.  Egyptian Symphony No. 25 6:42
12.  Dhikr/Requiem/Golgotha 11:02

Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra) - 1,3,5-7,10,11
Mostafa Abd el Aziz (Arghul) - 1,2,8,9,11
Mohammed Mostafa (Rabab) - 1,8,9,11
Ibrahim Shahin (Kawal) - 1,2,8,9,11
Nabil Diab (Tabla) - 1,2,8,9,11
Ragab Sadek (Daff, Sagat) - 1,2,8,9,11
Abdou Dagher (Violin) - 3,6,7
Mostafa Abdel Naby (Violin) - 3,6,7
Mamdouh el Gibally (Oud) - 3,6,7
Maged Sourour (Qanun) - 3,6,7
Mohammed Fouda (Ney) - 3,6,7
Safwat Sourour (Tabla) - 3,6,7
Ashraf Essam (Riq) - 3,6,7
Alain Aubin (Vocals) - 4,10
May (Vocals) - 3,7
Rabah Dalil (Darbouka) - 3,7
Ivan Peev (Violin) - 2,9
Dimiter Stankov (Viola) - 2,9
Elka Zacharieva (Cello) - 2,9
Nasredine Dalil (Flute, Vocals) - 1,6
Samira Donya (Vocals) - 4
Henri Agnel (Oud) - 5
Mario Angelov (Piano) - 5
Azzedine Alaoui (Voice) - 6
Hassan el Meghannawaty (Vocals) - 1
Reda Shina (Vocals) - 8
Rosen Ovtcharov (Clarinet) - 9
Jim Cuomo (Clainet) - 1
Mahmoud Osman (Viola) - 9
Giorgi (Godulka) - 10
Aly El Helbany (Vocals) - 12
Maher El Helbany (Vocals) - 12
Mohammed El Helbany (Vocals) - 12
George Kyrillos (Oud) - 12
Radio Sofia Sinfonic Orchestra (Choir [Chidren]) - 12

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Oregon - Distant Hills

Distant Hills, Oregon's 1973 follow-up to Music From Another Present Era, is as eclectic, genre-bending, and pleasurable as its predecessor. The unique talents of multi-instrumentalists Collin Walcott, Glen Moore, Ralph Towner, and Paul McCandless work together in a fashion that recalls the collective precision of 20th-century classical chamber music, yet with the range and improvisatory flair of jazz. Like most of Oregon's output, Distant Hills is marked by forays into trans-global sounds. The sitar-fueled "Dark Spirit," for example, conjures uneasy, snake-charmer dreams, and the bongos-and-violin duet of "Mi Chinita Suite" sounds like an avant-garde recital in the Amazon. The high, reedy keen of "Confession" and the dramatic shape-shifting of "Canyon Song" testify to the fact that although Oregon's music is quite accessible, at its root it is dedicated to vital experimentation. - AMG

Artist: Oregon
Album: Distant Hills
Year: 1974
Label: Vanguard (1987)
Runtime: 43:40

1.  Aurora (Ralph Towner) 7:42
2.  Dark Spirit (Ralph Towner) 5:50
3.  Mi Chinita (Ralph Towner / Collin Walcott / Glen Moore / Paul McCandless) 6:57
4.  Distant Hills (Ralph Towner) 6:30
5.  Canyon Song (Ralph Towner) 4:59
6.  Song For A Friend (Ralph Towner) 5:19
7.  Confession (Ralph Towner / Collin Walcott / Glen Moore / Paul McCandless) 6:23

Glen Moore (Double Bass, Violin, Bass Guitar, Piano, Flute)
Ralph Towner (Guitar, Trumpet, Mellophone, Piano)
Paul McCandless (Oboe, English Horn, )
Collin Walcott (Sitar, Tabla, Tambura, Piano, Marimba, Drums, Guitar, Congas, Clarinet)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Duke Ellington - Afro Bossa + Concert In The Virgin Islands

Afro Bossa:
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn combined old and new compositions to create the album Afro-Bossa, a suite consisting of a dozen pieces that was never performed in its entirety in concert, though several of the works remained in the band's repertoire. The title cut is a new work, though the "Bossa" does not refer to Brazilian music; instead, it is a mix of African and Latin influences that slowly builds with insistent percussion to a blazing finale of brass and reeds. "Purple Gazelle" (which was also recorded as "Angelica" in Ellington's small group session with John Coltrane, was described by the pianist as a "ragtime cha-cha." Cootie Williams (on muted trumpet), Ray Nance, Paul Gonsalves, and the composer are all featured soloists. Ellington returns to the jungle sound with the exotic "Moonbow," showcasing a trio of dissonant clarinets and Nance's effective plunger mute work on trumpet, along with the matchless altoist Johnny Hodges. Strayhorn's "Tigress" puts the spotlight on Gonsalves, Williams, and clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton in an infectious Latin setting. "Pyramid" dates from 1938, written by Ellington with Juan Tizol, but it is trombonist Lawrence Brown who takes over Tizol's role, along with contributions by baritonist Harry Carney and Williams. This is easily one of Duke Ellington's essential studio recordings of the 1960s, though it isn't as widely recognized as it ought to be. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Concert in the Virgin Islands:
Although in his mid-60s, Duke Ellington proves on this program of mostly new music that he never declined nor lost his creativity. Four of the pieces comprise "The Virgin Islands Suite," and there are new versions of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" and "Chelsea Bridge," and also a variety of miniature classics. In 1965 the Ellington orchestra had 11 very distinctive soloists; eight are heard from during this memorable set. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Duke Ellington and His Orchestra
Album: Afro-Bossa + Concert in the Virgin Islands
Year: 1963, 1965 (Warner Bros.)
Label: Reprise (2000)
Runtime: 72:25

1.  Afro-Bossa (Duke Ellington) 4:17 sam
2.  Purple Gazelle (Duke Ellington) 2:45
3.  Absinthe (Billy Strayhorn) 3:20
4.  Moonbow (Duke Ellington) 2:30
5.  Sempre Amore (Duke Ellington) 3:11
6.  Silk Lace (Duke Ellington) 2:30
7.  Tigress (Billy Strayhorn) 3:03
8.  Angu (Duke Ellington) 2:37
9.  Volupté (Duke Ellington) 2:42
10.  Bonga (Duke Ellington) 2:45
11.  Pyramid (Duke Ellington / Irving Mills) 3:00
12.  Eighth Veil (Billy Strayhorn) 2:48
13.  Island Virgin (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 4:20
14.  Virgin Jungle (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 3:45
15.  Fiddler on the Diddle (Duke Ellington) 3:13
16.  Jungle Kitty (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 2:55
17.  Things Ain't What They Used To Be (Duke Ellington / Ted Persons) 2:56
18.  Big Fat Alice's Blues (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 3:48
19.  Chelsie Bridge (Billy Strayhorn) 3:40
20.  The Opener (Cootie Williams / Duke Ellington) 2:45
21.  Mysterious Chick (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 3:11
22.  Barefoot Stomper (Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn) 2:48
23.  Fade Up (Jimmy Hamilton / Duke Ellington) 3:36

Duke Ellington (Piano, Conductor, Arramger)
Cat Anderson (Trumpet, Percussion)
Roy Burrowes (Trumpet, Percussion)
Cootie Williams (Trumpet, Percussion)
Ray Nance (Cornet, Violin)
Lawrence Brown (Trombone)
Buster Cooper (Trombone)
Chuck Connors (Bass Trombone)
Russell Procope (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet)
Johnny Hodges (Alto Saxophone)
Jimmy Hamilton (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone)
Paul Gonsalves (Tenor Saxophone)
Harry Carney (Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
Billy Strayhorn (Piano, Percussion)
Ernie Shepherd (Double Bass)
Sam Woodyard (Drums)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Babatunde Olatunji - Drums of Passion: The Beat

Percussionist Olatunji was championing African music long before anyone devised the worldbeat marketing strategy. His 1989 recording Drums of Passion: The Beat updated his classic Drums of Passion concept, adding rock and pop energy and instrumentalists to the wall of multiple rhythms. The idea clicks, and Olatunji's African beats are contrasted by Airto Moreira's Latin percussion, Mickey Hart's bombastic presence, and such special guests as Carlos Santana and Bobby Vega. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

Artist: Babatunde Olatunji
Album: Drums of Passion: The Beat
Year: 1989
Label: Rykodisc
Runtime: 40:08

1.  The Beat of My Drum 7:09
2.  Loyin Loyin 7:32
3.  Ife L'oju L'aiye 6:49
4.  Akiwowo (a capella) 1:40
5.  Akiwowo 7:45
6.  Se Eni A Fe L'amo - Kere Kere 9:13
All compositions by Babatunje Olatunji 

Babatunde Olatunji (Lead Vocals, Drums and Ngoma Drums)
Carlos Santana (Guitar and Guitar Synthesizer)
Sarah Abakusta (Vocals)
Sikiru Adepoju (Talking Drum)
Rotimi Byrd (Ojembe Drum)
Frank Ekeh (Guitar, Agogo and Vocals)
Marijah Especialze (Agogo, Shekere and Vocals)
Sanga Francis (Djembe)
C.K. Ganyo (Bembe)
Ade Harris (Djembe)
Sundiata Keita (Djembe)
Joseph Bruce Langhorne (Guitar, Agogo, Vocals)
Airto Moreira (Caxixi)
Babafunmi Ohene (Djembe, Log Drum)
Iyalu Okanbi (Vocals)
Soji Randolph (Vocals)
Alfred C. Redwine (Guitar)
Gordy Ryan (Junjun, Toke Bell and Vocals)
Carolyn Sebron (Vocals)
Ayisha Shabaaz (Vocals)
Taiwo Duvall Shabaaz (Ashiko Drum)
Yao Tamakloe (Vocals)
Bobby Vega (Bass Guitar)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Anita O'Day - Sings the Winners

For this CD, which is greatly expanded from the original LP, Anita O'Day sings standards associated with other musicians, including "Four" (Miles Davis), "Early Autumn" (Stan Getz), "Four Brothers" (Woody Herman), "Sing, Sing, Sing" (Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa) and "Peanut Vendor" (Stan Kenton). Some of the material is unusual for a singer to interpret, but O'Day, one of the top jazz vocalists of the decade, improvises when the lyrics are not that strong (or barely exist). The backup by the Russ Garcia Orchestra is not all that memorable, but the focus is entirely on the vocalist, and O'Day really comes through. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Anita O'Day
Album: Sings the Winners
Year: 1958
Label: Verve (1990)
Runtime: 56:28

1. Take the "A" Train (Billy Strayhorn) 2:53 
2.  Tenderly (Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence) 2:41 
3.  Interlude A Night in Tunisia) (Dizzy Gillespie/Raymond Leveen/Frank Paparelli) 2:36 
4.  Four (Miles Davis) 2:52 
5.  Early Autumn (Ralph Burns/Woody Herman/Johnny Mercer) 3:11 
6.  Four Brothers (Jimmy Giuffre) 2:27 
7.  Sing, Sing Sing (With a Swing) (Louis Prima) 3:34 
8.  My Funny Valentine (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 3:37 
9.  Frenesi (Alberto Dominguez/Leonard Whitcup) 3:05 
10.  Body and Soul (Frank Eyton/Johnny Green/Edward Heyman/Robert Sour) 3:24 
11.  What's Your Story, Morning Glory? (Jack Lawrence/Paul Francis Webster/Mary Lou Williams) 3:50 
12.  Penaut Vendor (L. Wolfe Gilbert/Moisés Simóns/Marion Sunshine) 2:42 
13.  Whisper Not (Leonard Feather/Benny Golson) 2:58 
14.  Blue Champagne (Taps Miller) 2:37 
15.  Stompin' At the Savoy (Benny Goodman/Andy Razaf/Edgar Sampson/Chick Webb) 3:21 
16.  Hershey Bar (Johnny Mandel) 2:08 
17.  Don't Be That Away (Benny Goodman/Mitchell Parish/Edgar Sampson) 2:35 
18.  Peel Me a Grape (Dave Frishberg) 3:06 
19.  Star Eyes (Gene DePaul/Don Raye) 2:51 

Anita O'Day (Vocals) 
Marty Paich (Piano, Arranger, Conductor) - 1-12 
Bill Catalano (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Jules Chaiken (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Phil Gilbert (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Lee Katzman (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Sam Noto (Trumpet) - 1-12 
Bob Enevoldsen (Trombone) - 1-12 
Jim Amlotte (Trombone) - 1-12 
Kent Larsen (Trombone) - 1-12 
Archie LeCoque (Trombone) - 1-12 
Ken Shroyer (Trombone) - 1-12 
Lennie Niehaus (Alto Saxophone) - 1-12 
Bud Shank (Alto Saxophone) - 1-12,15 
Richie Kamuca (Tenor Saxophone) - 1-12 
Bill Perkins (Tenor Saxophone) - 1-12 
Jack DuLong (Baritone Saxophone) - 1-12 
Red Kelly (Double Bass) - 1-12 
Mel Lewis (Drums) - 1-12 
Russ Garcia (Conductor, Arranger) - 7-12 
Gene Harris (Piano) - 13 
Andy Simpkins (Double Bass) - 13 
Bill Dowdy (Drums) - 13 
Conte Candoli (Trumpet) - 15 
Conrad Gozzo (Trumpet) - 15 
Ray Linn (Trumpet) - 15 
Milt Bernhardt (Trombone) - 15 
Lloyd Elliott (Trombone) - 15 
Frank Rosolino (Trombone) - 15 
George Roberts (Trombone) - 15 
Herb Geller (Alto Saxophone) - 15 
George Auld (Tenor Saxophone) - 15 
Bob Cooper (Tenor Saxophone) - 15 
Jimmy Giuffre (Baritone Saxophone) - 15 
Paul Smith (Piano) - 15,17 
Al Hendrickson (Guitar) - 15 
Joe Mondragon (Double Bass) - 15,17 
Alvin Stoller (Drums) - 15,17 
Harry "Sweets" Edison (Trumpet) - 17 
Larry Bunker (Vibraphone) - 17 
Barney Kessel (Guitar) - 17 
Cal Tjader (Vibraphone) - 18 
Lonnie Hewitt (Piano) - 18 
Freddy Schreiber (Double Bass) - 18 
Johnny Rae (Drums) - 18 
Joe Masters (Trumpet) - 19 
Larry Woods (Double Bass) - 19 
John Poole (Drums) - 19 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Isabel Ventura Jazz Quarteto - Jazz

In life there are many coincidences, and precisely on the day that David Bowie has left us, I witnessed one. It is that this day has come to my hands the second Isabel Ventura disc - "To Jazz ...". In which, oddly enough, the opening track is a version of Space Oddity, well known theme and released in July 1969. This album the singer of Porto, is much more light than the first disc. Has ten themes pop / rock universe with jazzy arrangements of pianist Marco Figueiredo and bassist José Carlos Barbosa. They include topics such as "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles or "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd, that among other indelible marks of the musical universe. Quartet Isabel Ventura, as well as in his own voice, has Marco Figueiredo on piano, José Carlos Barbosa on Bass and Michel Marques on drums. For the record still had the special participation of Gileno Santana on flugelhorn. This album is a beautiful company for a homecoming, an end of a long day ... Even though for me dubbed "light" is a good album that takes the classification of very good! - by Miguel Estima,

Artist: Isabel Ventura Jazz Quarteto
Album: Jazz
Year: 2014
Label: O Mercador Estrangeiro
Runtime: 51:40
Recorded 2013 - 2014 at Estudios Quinta da Musica (Porto, Portugal)

1. Space Oddity (David Bowie) 4:59
2. Us and Them (Richard Wright / Roger Waters) 6:15
3. Eleanor Rigby (Paul McCartney / John Lennon) 3:59
4. At Last (Mack Gordon / Harry Warren) 4:48
5. These Arms of Mine (Otis Redding) 4:06
6. Close to You (Hald David / Burt Bacharach) 5:22
7. Roxanne (Sting) 7:21
8. Hounds of Winter (Sting) 4:17
9. Cry me a River (Arthur Hamilton) 5:07
10. I Wish I Knew How It Would Be to Be Free (William Taylor / Richard Lamb) 5:26

Isabel Ventura - Vocals
Marco Figueiredo - Piano
Jose Carlos Barbosa - Double Bass
Michel Marques - Drums
+ Gileno Santana - Flugelhorn (2,9)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Silje Nergaard - Port Of Call

If you're like me and tire of the so-called diva's who express emotions by screeching endlessly up and down the scales then Silje is the ideal antidote. It's great to hear a voice which can convey sentiments with subtlety. This is particularly impressive when one considers Silje's first language is Norwegian. She obviously has a deep understanding and feel for this music genre. All of the tracks sound very polished in keeping with her beautifully clear voice. From the little I know of her it is obvious she has spent some time developing her style and direction. After buying this CD I immediately bought her latest 'At First Light'. This is also a triumph as Silje combines well with lyricist Mike McGurk to compose all but one of the tracks on this CD. Defiitely a must-play when you have some friends around for dinner. - by

Her highly successful previous album, "Port of Call" (Universal Music), returned Silje Nergaard to recording after a four-year absence, during which she spent time reconsidering the direction of her career. Released in March of 2000, the album presented Silje firmly as a jazz vocalist, reflecting her passion for the genre, which has always been the underlying basis of her music. Although initially meant as an homage to the art of the jazz standard that has so much influenced her, the album met with immediate success, receiving the highest critical praise from critics throughout the world. In the first week of its release, the album entered the Norwegian sales charts at no. 7, and remained in the top-twenty for 12 weeks. Such success is notably unusual for a jazz album, and especially for an artist who had not been active for the preceding four years. A single from the album, "Shame on You", landed the no. 1 spot for the summer's most requested radio play on the state-run Norwegian Broadcast Radio (NRK). Clearly, Silje Nergaard was not only back with unprecedented force, but also established herself as one of the few jazz performers to achieve critical as well as commercial success. -

Artist: Silje Nergaard
Album: Port of Call
Year: 2000
Label: EmArcy
Runtime: 47:08

1.  Me Oh My (Silje Nergaard / Mike McGurk) 3:04
2.  Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) 5:25
3.  Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me (Duke Ellington / Bob Russell) 3:13
4.  If You Love Somebody (Sting) 4:05
5.  What's New (Johnny Burke / Bob Haggart) 2:25
6.  The Waltz (Silje Nergaard / Mike McGurk) 4:11
7.  You're Kind (Paul Simon)  3:39
8.  For All We Know (Fred Coots / Sam M. Lewis) 3:06
9.  Shame On You (Silje Nergaard / Mike McGurk) 4:45
10.  Every Time We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter) 5:20
11.  Dream A Little Dream (Wilbur Schwartz / Fabian Andre / Gus Kahn) 3:14
12.  Don't Explain (Arthur Herczog Jr. / Billie Holiday) 4:37

Silje Nergaard (Vocals)
Tord Gustavsen (Piano)
Jarle Vespestad (Drums)
Harald Johnsen (Double Bass)
Magnus Lindgren (Saxophone)
Putte Wickmann (Clarinet)
Georg Wadenius (Acoustic Guitar)
Heine Totland (Vocals) - 11

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Miki N'Doye - Tuki

N’Doye composes on the iron-tongued kalimba thumb piano, his hypnotic variations throbbing and buzzing into a vast and numinous sound field across which Per Jörgensens’s searing trumpet lines cut a plangent counter-swathe. If N’Doyes drumming and verbal extemporisations are often unremarkable in themselves, the sheer severity of the album’s sonic conception, with its discordant incursion of John Cage-style prepared piano, creates an entrancing Afro-minimalist feel that you certainly won’t be encountering anywhere else. - by Mark Hudson, Daily Telegraph

Artist: Mamadou N'Doye (aka Miki N'Doye)
Album: Tuki
Year: 2006
Label: ECM
Runtime: 62:33

1.  Intro 3:45  Jon
2.  Jahlena 4:20
3.  Loharbye 6:16
4.  Kokonum 8:31
5.  Rubato 6:23
6.  Dunya 6:06
7.  Tuki 3:27
8.  Kalimba 3:41
9.  Tonya 4:02
10.  Osa Yambe 4:11
11.  Box 4:29
12.  Me 4:11
13.  Ending 3:11
All compositions by Miki N'Doye

Mamadou "Miki" N'Doye (Kalimba, Tamma, M'balax, Bongo and Vocals)
Jon Balke (Keyboards and Prepared Piano)
Per Jorgensen (Trumpet)
Helge Andreas Norbakken (Percussion)
Aulay Sosseh (Vocals)
Lie Yallow (Vocals)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Gabor Szabo - Mizrab

Gabor Szabo, who always had an original sound on the guitar (displaying his Hungarian heritage), is backed by a string section, horns and a rhythm section (including bassist Ron Carter and either Billy Cobham or Jack DeJohnette on drums) on this Bob James production. For the program which has not yet reissued on CD, Szabo performs two originals, a pair of pop tunes and an adaptation of a Shostakovich classical concerto. The music is well played but not particularly memorable. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Guitarist Gabor Szabo began his apprenticeship with Creed Taylor’s profitable but often critically-slighted CTI Records with this above-average collection of fusion and pop/jazz. The long Szabo compositions on side one, "Mizrab" and "Thirteen," are excellent showcases for the alluring, hypnotic and surprising chemistry between the guitarist and the electric keyboards of Bob James. Shostakovich, Carole King and Seals & Crofts get workouts here too. Szabo is in top-form on MIZRAB, well-supported by the excellent contributions of bassist Ron Carter and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Billy Cobham. Deserves to be reissued on CD. -

Artist: Gabor Szabo
Album: Mizrab
Year: 1972 (CTI)
Label: King Records (Japan, 2002)
Runtime: 36:33

1.  Mizrab (Gabor Szabo) 9:35
2.  Thirteen (Gabor Szabo) 9:16
3.  It's Going To Take Some Time (Carole King)4:14
4.  Concerto (Dimitri Shostakovitch) 7:20
5.  Summer Breeze (Darrell Crofts/Jim Seals) 6:06

Gabor Szabo (Guitar)
Bob James (Piano, Organ)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Billy Cobham (Drums) - 1,3
Jack DeJohnette (Drums) - 2,4,5
Ralph MacDonald (Percussion)
Margaret Ross (Harp)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Wayne Andre (Trombone)
James Buffington (French Horn)
Brooks Tillotson (French Horn)
John Campo (Bassoon, Bass Clarinet)
Sidney Weinberg (Oboe, English Horn)
Hubert Laws (Flute)
George Marge (Oboe, Clarinet, Recorder)


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