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)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gerry Mulligan - The Complete Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster Sessions

lthough an earlier CD added five previously unissued tracks to the original LP Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, this Verve Master Edition two-CD set adds just about everything else recorded during the two sessions that produced the original record, and also features 20-bit sound. Even though Gerry Mulligan was outspoken against issuing material omitted from his original recordings, it is a treat to hear how the songs evolved in the studio. Webster and Mulligan seem mutually inspired throughout the sessions, and strong performances by pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis are of considerable help. The music is presented in the order in which it was recorded, with each CD devoted to a separate session. In both cases it is clear that the initial takes of music from the Ellington songbook ("In a Mellotone" and "Chelsea Bridge") are more focused than the follow-up versions. They only needed one try to nail "What Is This Thing Called Love?" (also left off the LP), in an understated setting that shows off their beautiful interplay. Their barely disguised reworking of "I Got Rhythm," called "Who's Got Rhythm," was likely an effortless performance, though Webster seems to briefly laugh in the middle of his solo. Webster's swinging "Fajista" opens the second date, followed by two takes of Mulligan's beautiful ballad "Tell Me When." Webster's "Blues in B-Flat" is another fine swinger inexplicably left off the LP, and Rowles kicks off the oldie "Sunday" with a brief stride piano introduction (something Webster played himself but rarely in a recording studio). Fans on a budget can probably make due with the earlier CD reissue but serious fans of Mulligan and/or Webster should invest in this very rewarding set instead. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Gerry Mulligan
Album: The Complete Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster Sessions
Year: 1959
Label: Verve Master Edition (1997)
Runtime: 141:46

CD1 tracks:
1.  In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington / Milt Gabler) 7:21
2.  In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington / Milt Gabler) 5:44
3.  What Is This Thing Called Love? (Cole Porter) 7:22
4.  Chelsie Bridge (Billy Strayhorn) 7:39
5.  Chelsie Bridge (Billy Strayhorn) 5:03
6.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 10:01
7.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 6:54
8.  Who's Got Rhythm? (Gerry Mulligan) 7:26
9.  For Bessie (Ben Webster) 5:38
10.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 1:44
11.  Go Home (Gerry Mulligan/Ben Webster) 1:30

CD2 tracks:
1.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 1:34
2.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 6:21
3.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 1:37
4.  Fajista (Ben Webster) 5:58
5.  Tell Me When (Gerry Mulligan) 5:02
6.  Tell Me When (Gerry Mulligan) 5:29
7.  Blues In B Flat (Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster) 2:46
8.  Blues In B Flat (Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster) 8:38
9.  Blues In B Flat (Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster) 7:23
10.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 3:26
11.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 5:45
12.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 2:13
13.  The Cat Walk (Gerry Mulligan) 6:19
14.  Sunday (Chester Conn / Benny Krueger / Ned Miller / Jule Styne) 5:32
15.  Sunday (Chester Conn / Benny Krueger / Ned Miller / Jule Styne) 7:21

Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Saxophone)
Ben Webster (Tenor Saxophone)
Jimmie Rowles (Piano)
Leroy Vinnegar (Double Bass)
Mel Lewis (Drums)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Michael Philip Mossman - The Orisha Suite

Trumpet master Michael Philip Mossman has extended himself on this outing, reaching out into all of the various places he has visited in his jazz career in the vanguard with Anthony Braxton, in the hard bop university with Art Blakey, and in his long association with the Latin jazz world where he has studied with Machito, Tito Puente, Chico O'Farrill, Daniel Ponce, Mario Bauza, Michel Camilo, and Ray Barretto. He has brought all of this to bear on a work that is at once ambitious, wonderfully expansive, exotic, and thoroughly accessible. The Orisha Suite is a call from the modern to the ancient to the unknown. It seeks to express a musical longing that can only be answered by more questions and mysteries. The band assembled on this gorgeously lush Afro-Cuban exercise is tasteful, innovative, and literally mind-blowing; composing, arranging, and chops are all stellar as Paquito D'Rivera, Barretto, Patato Valdes, Arturo O'Farrill, Todd Williams, John Benítez, and Adam Rogers log in to realize Mossman's tour de force. The compositions on The Orisha Suite are varied by all in the sense that they reflect different sides of the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz experience, philosophically, rhythmically, and dynamically. The arrangements are tight, punchy, and full of dreamy escapes into harmony and polyrhythmic complexities. But given that these works are so precisely composed, the spaces for solos and improvisations are even more profound -- check out Mossman's trumpet break at the end of "The Mountain at the Edge of Time." The loping front-line harmony on "The Lepered Lover," fraught with contrapuntal accents, is romantic and edgy. Likewise, the clean hard bop statements from the front line on "The Lord of Thunder," with it's funky backbeats, Cuban twists, and elongated soloing, are delightfully savvy. The smoking, funk-driven "Iron and Blood," with its son feel, salsa and rhumba time signatures, and knotty ensemble engagement before Williams' solo, is nothing short of breathtaking. This is an album that deserves to be at the forefront of the new jazz revolution. It is the finest moment of Mossman's career -- and for a composer and New York edge trumpet player, that's saying plenty. This is a necessary addition to the collection of any serious jazz fan, and a welcome, accessible, and phenomenally executed example of the genre in the modern day for anyone curious enough to check it out. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Michael Philip Mossman
Album: The Orisha Suite
Year: 2000
Label: Connector Music
Runtime: 63:45

1.  Mambanita 6:49
2.  The Mountain at the Edge of Time 5:50
3.  Divine Hunter 5:20
4.  The Lepered Lover 6:26
5.  In the Land of Ile' Ife' 6:20
6.  Copper...Then Gold 6:49
7.  The Lord of Thunder 7:52
8.  The Moon and the Sea 5:54
9.  Iron and Blood 6:13
10.  The Guardian of the Crossroad 6:12
All compositions by Michael Philip Mossman  

Michael Philip Mossman (Trumpet)
Todd Williams (Tenor Saxophone, Flute)
Arturo O'Farrill (Piano, Organ)
Adam Rogers (Guitar)
John Benitez (Double Bass)
Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez (Drums)
Joe Gonzalez (Congas, Guiro)
Paquito D'Rivera (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet) - 1,5,10
Carlos "Patato" Valdes (Congas) - 2,5
Ray Barreto (Congas) - 3-6


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