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 


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