27 January, 2012


Gabor Szabo - 1969 (1969)

Gabor Szabo - 1969 (1969)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 190MB
In the late '60s, many jazz artists were ignoring the rock and soul hits of the day -- when called upon to interpret popular songs, they stuck to their favorite Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin standards and didn't see Beatles or Marvin Gaye hits as vehicles for jazz improvisation. But there were some jazz artists who didn't feel that way; Grant Green, Herbie Mann, and Charles Earland -- just to give three examples -- saw no reason why rock and soul tunes couldn't receive instrumental jazz makeovers. And on 1969, Gazor Szabo puts a jazz spin on popular songs of the 1960s, including "Walk Away Renee" (a major hit for the Left Banke), the Beatles' "In My Life," and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." Again, there were many jazz artists who wouldn't have touched these songs in 1969 -- they would have insisted on providing yet another version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" or "My Funny Valentine." But Szabo acknowledges that worthwhile popular music didn't die with George Gershwin. The Hungarian guitarist doesn't always stretch out as much as he could on this album; at times, he ends a solo that probably should have lasted a few more minutes. But Szabo still deserves credit for bringing a jazz perspective to songs that so many other improvisers were ignoring. Produced by Gary McFarland, this 1969 date originally came out on vinyl and was finally reissued on CD in 1998.

-01. "Dear Prudence" - Lennon, McCartney - 2:37
-02. "Sealed With a Kiss" - Gela, Geld, Udell - 2:41
-03. "Both Sides Now" - Mitchell - 2:54
-04. "Walk Away Renee" - Brown, Calilli, Sansone - 2:42
-05. "You Won't See Me" - Lennon, McCartney - 3:31
-06. "Michael from Mountains" - Mitchell - 3:56
-07. "Stormy" - Buie, Cobb, Cobb - 3:12
-08. "In My Life" - Lennon, McCartney - 2:25
-09. "I've Just Seen a Face" - Lennon, McCartney - 4:30
-10. "Until It's Time for You to Go" - Sainte-Marie, St. Marie - 2:18
-11. "Somewhere I Belong" - Szabo - 3:33

Gabor Szabo - guitar
Frabcois Vaz - guitar
Randy Cierly - bass
Mike Melvoin - organ
Jim Keltner - percussion
George Ricci - cello



Shelly Manne - Alive in London (1970)

Shelly Manne - Alive in London (1970)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 285MB
This CD reissue is taken from drummer Shelly Manne's brief avant-garde period. Actually Manne does not play much different than usual but his sextet (trumpeter Gary Barone, John Gross on tenor, keyboardist Mike Wofford, guitarist John Morell and bassist Roland Haynes) was open to much freer improvising than one would have heard in Manne's more famous groups of the 1950s. John Gross is easily the most impressive soloist but in general the well-intentioned music is not all that memorable.

-1. "Three on a Match" - Morell - 10:14
-2. "Once Again" - Bohannon - 9:05
-3. "Big Oak Basin" - Barone - 9:20
-4. "Illusion" - Jones - 6:27
-5. "Don't Know" - Morell - 6:48

* Shelly Manne (drums)
* Gary Barone (trumpet, flugelhorn)
* John Gross (tenor saxophone)
* Mike Wofford (electric piano)
* John Morell (guitar)
* Roland Haynes (bass)



Can - Monster Movie (1969)

Can - Monster Movie (1969)
rock | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 240MB
SACD 2004
Can's debut is the only full-length, proper release to feature original vocalist Malcolm Mooney, whose free-form ranting is matched by a raw, aggressive dynamic unlike anything else in the group's canon; driving, dissonant songs like the extraordinary "Father Cannot Yell" and "Outside My Door" even owe a rather surprising debt to psychedelia and garage rock. More indicative of things to come is the closer, "Yoo Doo Right," a 20-minute epic built on the kinds of hypnotic motifs and minimal rhythms that quickly became Can trademarks.

-1. "Father Cannot Yell" 7:06
-2. "Mary, Mary So Contrary" 6:21
-3. "Outside My Door" 4:11
-4. "Yoo Doo Right" 20:27

* Irmin Schmidt – keyboards
* Jaki Liebezeit – drums
* Holger Czukay – bass
* Michael Karoli – guitar
* Malcolm Mooney – vocals


20 January, 2012


Roy Haynes - Cymbalism (1963)

Roy Haynes - Cymbalism (1963)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 265MB
In the '60s, Roy Haynes had no problem keeping busy as a sideman/accompanist, but the drummer didn't record an abundance of albums as a leader. Cymbalism, which was recorded in Rudy Van Gelder's legendary New Jersey studio in 1963, is among the albums that Haynes provided for Prestige's New Jazz subsidiary. This session finds the drummer leading an acoustic quartet that includes Frank Strozier on alto sax and flute, Ronnie Mathews on piano, and Larry Ridley on bass -- and together, the musicians provide a hard bop/post-bop album that is fairly unpredictable. Cymbalism gets off to a modal, somewhat John Coltrane-ish start with Strozier's "Modette," one of the tunes that features Strozier on flute instead of alto sax (his main instrument). But a more Charlie Parker-minded approach prevails on the standard "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," which isn't surprising because Bird was among Strozier's primary influences (as was Jackie McLean). Meanwhile, the exuberant "Go 'n' Git It!" doesn't sound like either "Modette" or "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You"; this Mathews number has a funky soul-jazz/boogaloo outlook and wouldn't have been out of place on an organ combo date -- the tune would have been perfect for Richard "Groove" Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, or "Brother" Jack McDuff. And after "Go 'n' Git It!," Cymbalism changes moods once again with "La Palomeinding," a melancholy Strozier piece that finds him on flute once again. Cymbalism, which Fantasy reissued on CD in 2002 on its Original Jazz Classics imprint, falls short of essential. Nonetheless, it's a pleasing, well-rounded effort that deserves credit for diversity.

-1. "Modette" - Haynes, Strozier - 9:47
-2. "I'm Getting Sentimental overYou" - Bassman, Washington - 5:36
-3. "Go 'n' Git It!" - Mathews - 3:52
-4. "La Palomeinding" - Strozier - 6:40
-5. "Medley: Hag/Cymbalism/Oleo" - Haynes, Rollins, Strozier, Wyands - 11:05

* Roy Haynes - drums
* Frank Strozier - sax, flute
* Ronnie Mathews - piano
* Larry Ridley - bass



Madredeus - Existir (1990)

Madredeus - Existir (1990)
world | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 255MB
Madredeus is a Portuguese band. Their music combines traditional Portuguese music (many times erroneously associated with the subgenre of Fado) with influences of modern folk music. The lyrics are often melancholic and related to the sea or travelling or absence, continuing a tradition of songs that dates back to Medieval times (with obvious relations to cantigas de amigo among others).
Existir (translated from both Spanish and Portuguese; means "To exist"), was the second full-length studio disc from Portuguese band Madredeus. The group gained a better sound and production this time around, as it recorded in an actual studio, rather than below a tram railway (as was their first disc). The music maintains the same sextet format as its predecessor; the classical guitars, the keyboards, the accordion, the cello, and vocalist Teresa Salgueiro; yet it finds them forming a bond between their original music and Portuguese folk, together with the atmosphere created by the use of keyboards & synthesizers. The festive/traditional "O Pastor (The Shepherd)" became a national hit.

-01. "Matinal (Vocal Version)" – 3:24
-02. "O Pastor" – 3:42
-03. "O Navio" – 3:36
-04. "Tardes De Bolonha (Instrumental)" – 3:05
-05. "O Ladrão" – 2:50
-06. "Confissão" – 2:48
-07. "O Pomar Das Laranjeiras" – 4:20
-08. "Cuidado" – 4:12
-09. "As Ilhas Dos Açores" – 5:04
-10. "O Menino" – 3:56
-11. "Solstício" – 4:14
-12. "A Vontade De Mudar " – 2:19



John Surman, Jack DeJohnette - Invisible Nature (2000)

John Surman, Jack DeJohnette - Invisible Nature (2000)
(Live in Tampere and Berlin) 
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 480MB
John Surman (on baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, and synthesizers) and Jack DeJohnette (playing drums, electronic percussion, and piano) make for a very intriguing duo on these seven originals taken from a pair of live concerts. Other than "Song for World Forgiveness" (a ballad mostly by DeJohnette), the music is primarily freely improvised yet manages to be melodic, diverse, and logical. The performances are atmospheric, with both players utilizing electronics in spots while retaining their own musical personalities. Surman has long been a very flexible and mostly laid-back player, while DeJohnette also has the ability to fit in almost anywhere. Rather than individual melodies or solos, this CD is most notable for its overall feel and the blend between these two unique musicians.

-1. "Mysterium" - 15:57
-2. "Rising Tide" - 9:32
-3. "Outback Spirits" - 12:30
-4. "Underground Movement" - 9:45
-5. "Ganges Groove" - 6:36
-6. "Fair Trade" - 11:21
-7. "Song for World Forgiveness" - 9:29
All compositions by John Surman and Jack DeJohnette
Recorded at the Tampere Jazz Happening and JazzFest Berlin in November 1999.

* John Surman — soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, synthesizer
* Jack DeJohnette — drums, electronic percussion, piano


17 January, 2012


James Moody - Moody's Mood For Blues (1955)

James Moody - Moody's Mood For Blues (1955)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 280MB
OJC ltd
In the mid-'50s James Moody led a four-horn septet that played music falling somewhere between bop and rhythm & blues. The danceable rhythms and riffing made its recordings somewhat accessible but the solos of Moody (on tenor and alto) and trumpeter Dave Burns also held listener's interests. Vocalese master Eddie Jefferson has two guest appearances (on "Workshop" and "I Got the Blues") and Iona Wade sings "That Man O' Mine" in a Dinah Washington-influenced style but the emphasis is on Moody's solos and the ensembles; the leader's two versions of "It Might as Well Be Spring" (one on tenor, the other on alto) are highlights of this enjoyable CD reissue.

-01. "I'm Gone" - Jones - 3:19
-02. "A Hundred Years from Today" - Washington, Young, Young - 2:45
-03. "Keepin' Up with Jonesy" - Jones - 3:14
-04. "Workshop" - Fuller - 3:08
-05. "That Man O' Mine" - Jones - 2:58
-06. "Over the Rainbow" - Arlen, Harburg - 3:03
-07. "Jack Raggs" - 2:40
-08. "Mambo with Moody" - Jones" - 4:07
-09. "It Might as Well Be Spring [Take 1]" - Hammerstein, Rodgers - 3:51
-10. "It Might as Well Be Spring [Take 2]" - Hammerstein, Rodgers - 3:46
-11. "Blues in the Closet" - Pettiford - 3:53
-12. "Moody's Mood for Blues" - Jones - 5:35
-13. "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" - Traditional - 2:51
-14. "I Got the Blues" - Jefferson - 2:43
-15. "Blues Walk" - Golson - 3:14
-16. "Faster James" - Jones - 3:40

James Moody - sax
Dave Burns - trumpet
William Shepherd - trombone
Numa "Pee Wee" Moore - baritone saxophone
Sadik Hakim, Jimmy Boyd - piano
John Lathan - bass
Joe Harris, Clarence Johnson - drums
Eddie Jefferson, Iona Wade - vocals



Fred Frith - Quartets (1994)

Fred Frith - Quartets (1994)
contemporary, avantgarde | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 230MB
RecRec 44
Quartets is a 1994 studio album by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith. It consists of two compositions by Frith, "Lelekovice, String Quartet #1", performed by the Violet Wires String Quartet, and "The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not", performed by an electric guitar quartet. Frith performs with the guitar quartet, but not with the string quartet.
"Lelekovice, String Quartet #1" was composed by Frith in 1990 and was dedicated to Iva Bittová, Lelekovice being the name of the village near Brno in the Czech Republic where Bittová lives. It was first performed in July 1991 by the Edison Quartet at the Nieuwe Musiek Festival, in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and was used by the United States choreographer Amanda Miller in her dance piece, My Father's Vertigo in 1991. The recording on this album was made in December 1992 by the Violet Wires String Quartet at Angel Studios, London. "Lelekovice" was recorded again in June 2003 by the Arditti Quartet and appeared on Frith's 2005 album, Eleventh Hour.
"The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not" was commissioned by Roulette, New York City and composed by Frith in 1989. It was first performed in February 1989 by Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar at The Kitchen, New York City, and recorded by the same group in February 1989 at Studio Victor, Montreal. An album of this piece and other recordings by the group were released on Fin de Siecle (1989). Only sections A and C of this composition appear on the album.
Frith did not play on "The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not" with Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar, and when he wanted to perform this piece himself, he assembled an electric guitar quartet in 1992, comprising René Lussier, Nick Didkovsky, Mark Howell and himself. The quartet recorded the complete piece in April 1992 at Sorcerer Sound, New York, releasing it on Quartets. Later Mark Stewart replaced Howell and the new quartet became known as the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, touring internationally and recording two albums, Ayaya Moses (1997) and Upbeat (1999).
Parts of "The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not" also appear in the documentary film, Step Across the Border (1990), and its soundtrack, Step Across the Border (1990), performed by an electric guitar quartet which Frith conducts.

-1. "Lelekovice, String Quartet #1 (for Iva Bittová)" (Frith) – 24:12
-2. "The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not" (Frith) – 28:35

"Lelekovice, String Quartet #1" performed by Violet Wires String Quartet:
* Ann Morfee – violin
* Abigail Brown – violin
* Phil D'Arcy – viola
* Liz Parker – cello
"The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not" performed by Electric Guitar Quartet:
* Fred Frith – guitar
* René Lussier – guitar
* Nick Didkovsky – guitar
* Mark Howell – guitar



George Russell - At The Five Spot (1960)

George Russell - At The Five Spot (1960)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 330MB
Verve 2000
This limited-edition CD reissue covers six tracks recorded in the studio (since they obviously omit any of the background noise, and the usual out-of-tune piano heard on live dates recorded at the long defunct New York City nightclub is missing). The band includes trumpeter Al Kiger, trombonist David Baker, tenor saxophonist Dave Young, bassist Chuck Israels, and drummer Joe Hunt, along with Russell's sparse piano. Things kick off with a driving take of Miles Davis' "Sippin' at Bells," which features great interaction among the horns. Carla Bley's "Dance Class" is choppy, dissonant, and very humorous; she also wrote "Beast Blues," which features Kiger's muted horn, an energetic solo by Young, and a very understated solo by Baker. Baker contributed "121 Bank Street," a roller coaster post-bop vehicle. John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," which had only been recorded three years earlier by its composer, is re-scored with a very spacious Russell arrangement that provides minimal accompaniment for the soloists. Unlike many of Russell's releases, this one has only one of his originals, "Swingdom Come," with a jagged angular theme that defies predictable paths. Although Russell plays more of a composer/arranger style of piano, his very challenging arrangements are very attractive. Anyone who enjoys his releases for RCA, Riverside, and Decca from around this period in his career should definitely acquire this sure-to-be-collectable CD.

-1. "Sippin' at Bells" (Miles Davis) - 7:19
-2. "Dance Class" (Carla Bley) - 6:17
-3. "Swingdom Come" (Russell) - 7:30
-4. "121 Bank Street" (David Baker) - 5:58
-5. "Beast Blues" (Bley) - 8:56
-6. "Moment's Notice" (John Coltrane) - 8:02
Recorded September 20, 1960 in NYC

* George Russell: piano, arranger, conductor
* Al Kiger: trumpet
* David Baker: trombone
* Dave Young: tenor saxophone
* Chuck Israels: bass
* Joe Hunt: drums


10 January, 2012


Classical Jazz Quartet - Play Bach (2002)

Classical Jazz Quartet - Play Bach (2002)
jazz, classical | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 325MB
Kind Of Blue
The Classical Jazz Quartet -- with pianist Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris (vibes and marimba), bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Lewis Nash -- interpret the music of Johann Sebastian Bach as arranged by Bob Belden. One of the strengths of this date is the wealth of solo opportunities for each musician, instead of focusing the spotlight excessively on any one or two musicians. Beginning with the brisk treatment of the normally legato choral prelude "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," it's clear that the quartet is ready to swing. Less familiar to the casual fan of Baroque music is Bach's "Oboe Concerto in A major, 2nd Movement," a piece recast by Belden with a samba-like flavor. The group turns on the afterburners in a boppish romp through the normally laid-back "Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F Major, 2nd Movement," as Harris literally wails along with his vibes. It's not surprising that these four superb musicians finished their work on this CD during just one session; it's obvious that they enjoyed themselves immensely.

-1. "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" - Bach - 8:37
-2. "2nd Movement" - Bach - 5:43
-3. "Allegro" - Bach - 8:10
-4. "Two-Part Invention, for keyboard No. 4 in D minor, BWV 775 (BC L45)" - Bach - 8:01
-5. "Allegro assai" - Bach - 5:55
-6. "2. Air" - Bach - 7:55

* Kenny Barron - piano
* Ron Carter - bass
* Stefon Harris - vibes & marimba
* Lewis Nash - drums



Julian Cope - The Unruly Imagination (2009)

Julian Cope - The Unruly Imagination (2009)
rock, alternative | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 320MB
This commemorative CD contains 50 minutes of music, including two songs from the unreleased E.P. DIGGERS, RANTERS, LEVELLERS, several brand new pieces especially recorded for this project, and songs from Cope’s vinyl-only 7” PREACHING REVOLUTION E.P. The CD features the same sumptuous packaging as Head Heritage’s Urthona album, replete with two poems printed on individual cards. This delightful package is a highly limited edition that will enjoy only this sole pressing.

-01. Preaching Revolution [7m12s]
-02. Militant Feminist Dream [3m12s]
-03. Mother, Where Is My Father? [2m34s]
-04. I Wanna Know What's In It For Me [2m20s]
-05. Fuck Me U.S.A. [2m13s]
-06. Gang Of Four (At Home He Feels Like A Tourist [4m6s]
-07. Alexei Sayle Driver Improvement Course [2m35s]
-08. Creedist Blues [3m51s]
-09. James Naylor Enters Bristol On A Donkey: 1656 [5m2s]
-10. Chairman Mao [14m4s]
-11. Spitfire Boys (British Refugee [3m19s]


Miles Davis / Jimmy Forrest - Our Delight (1952)

Miles Davis / Jimmy Forrest - Our Delight (1952)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 280MB
In 1992, Prestige/Fantasy combined both of Miles Davis' Live at the Barrel LPs on a 74-minute CD titled Our Delight. For hardcore collectors, the release of Our Delight was very good news. However, there are various reasons why this CD can hardly be called essential. The performances, which find Davis and tenor saxman Jimmy Forrest joining forces in a St. Louis club called the Barrel, are competent and likable but not mind-blowing. And the sound quality, although listenable, is not great (by early-'50s hi-fi standards). So when you add those things up, there is no way that Our Delight should be recommended to anyone who isn't a serious collector. Nonetheless, these performances are not without historic value. Davis and Forrest (who are joined by a St. Louis rhythm section that consists of pianist Charles Fox, bassist John Mixon, drummer Oscar Oldham, and an unknown percussionist) did not play together very much, and Our Delight gives listeners a rare chance to hear them playing side by side on familiar standards like "All the Things You Are," Tadd Dameron's "Our Delight," and Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia." The CD also contains a dusky performance of the ballad "What's New," although ballads are not a high priority. And the type of funky, groove-oriented soul-jazz and honker music that Forrest was famous for is excluded; the musicians don't perform "Night Train" (the saxman's biggest hit), and they stick to a bop/standards program. Our Delight certainly isn't bad, but it doesn't deserve five-star praise either (unlike much of the bop and cool work that Davis offered in the '50s). Even so, collectors will find Our Delight to be interesting -- shortcomings, flaws, and all.

-1. "Ray's Idea" - Brown, Fuller, Fuller - 8:39
-2. "A Night in Tunisia" - Gillespie, Paparelli - 8:25
-3. "Wee Dot" - Johnson - 10:52
-4. "What's New?" - Burke, Haggart - 7:30
-5. "Perdido" - Drake, Lengsfelder, Tizol - 9:27
-6. "All the Things You Are" - Hammerstein, Kern - 10:08
-7. "Our Delight" - Dameron - 7:25
-8. "Lady Bird" - Dameron - 6:45
-9. "Oh, Lady Be Good" - Gershwin, Gershwin - 4:17

* Miles Davis (trumpet)
* Jimmy Forrest (tenor saxophone
* Charles Fox (piano)
* Johnny Mixon (bass)
* Oscar Oldham (drums)


06 January, 2012


New Klezmer Trio - Short For Something (2000)

New Klezmer Trio - Short For Something (2000)
jazz, klezmer | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 375MB
From the first track which saunters along like a solitary man on a rain-slicked street, the New Klezmer Trio's Short for Something is an evocative masterpiece of musical alchemy. Clarinetist Ben Goldberg often floats above the more corporeal shimmers and rumblings of his collaborators Dan Seamans and Kenny Wollesen, but never steals the show or breaks away -- this is truly a group effort. Their music is fully embedded in modern creative avant-garde jazz, yet still manages to nod its head to the sounds of old Cracow, creating a cauldron of spiritual yearnings, sadness, chaos, visions, and grace. On "Sequential," the theme crashes and burns through chaotic nests of percussion, followed by "Obsessive" where the bassline carries the theme through a much calmer and more hypnotic percussive structure. But nowhere is the Trio's magic more evident than on the title track, where Wollesen's drumming spins a web around the heartbeat murmurs of Seamans' bass and Goldberg's reed nostalgia, creating a vision that flows in ribbons of images, each beautiful and a little terrible.

-01. "The Because Of" - Goldberg - 7:10
-02. "Short for Something" - Goldberg - 3:56
-03. "Fast" - Goldberg - 10:47
-04. "Sequential" - Goldberg - 0:50
-05. "Obsessive" - Goldberg - 2:35
-06. "All Chords Stand for Other Chords" - Goldberg - 5:41
-07. "Fomus Homus" - Goldberg - 5:42
-08. "Seven Phrases" - Goldberg - 4:27
-09. "Complicated" - Goldberg - 3:42
-10. "LBD" - Goldberg - 2:41
-11. "Halves" - Goldberg - 6:02
-12. "Fly in the Ointment - Goldberg - 3:08
-13. "Freylekhas Fun Der Khupe" - Goldberg - 9:00

* Bass – Dan Seamans
* Clarinet, Clarinet [Bass] – Ben Goldberg
* Drums – Kenny Wollesen



John Surman - Way Back When (1969)

John Surman - Way Back When (1969)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 320MB
Cuneiform 2005
In October 1969, John Surman left his native England to join bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Stu Martin in a new group in Belgium. Right before he left, he appeared at a recorded jam session in England. The tapes were then lost until 2003 and made their first appearance on record on this 2005 CD. The music is particularly interesting for two reasons. Surman, who is best known for his baritone playing, is mostly heard on soprano. And the performances are reminiscent of a slightly more accessible and gentler version of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, although the Davis set was just in the process of being released. These renditions show that some jazz musicians in the United Kingdom were going through a parallel evolution as their American counterparts. Surman is showcased with the rhythm section during the four-part "Way Back When," and the ensemble is joined by altoist Mike Osborne on the final two selections. This is an important set in the history of fusion, showing that not only the biggest names were exploring the new music in 1969.

-1. "Way Back When, Pt. 1" - Surman - 7:30
-2. "Way Back When, Pt. 2" - Surman - 5:39
-3. "Way Back When, Pt. 3" - Surman - 4:49
-4. "Way Back When, Pt. 4" - Surman - 3:43
-5. "Owlshead" - Warren - 13:56
-6. "Out and About" - Surman - 8:21

* John Surman (soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone)
* Mike Osborne (alto saxophone)
* Brian Odgers (electric bass, bass guitar)
* John Taylor (electric piano)
* John Marshall (drums)


Art Blakey - At The Cafe Bohemia v1-2 (1955) (RVG)

Art Blakey - At The Cafe Bohemia v1-2 (1955)
jazz | 1+1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 330+335MB
Blue Note | RVG 24-bit remaster 2001
The third edition of Art Blakey's early period Jazz Messengers, after the departure of Donald Byrd and briefly Clifford Brown, welcomed trumpeter Kenny Dorham to the fray, and he was an important component matched with tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, bassist Doug Watkins, and pianist Horace Silver. This first volume of live performance from the Cafe Bohemia in New York City circa late 1955 is a rousing set of hard bop by the masters that signified its sound, and expanded on the language of modern jazz. There are three bonus CD tracks not on the original LP that further emphasize not only the inherent power of Blakey's band and drumming, but demarcate the simplicity of melodic statements that were a springboard for the fantastic soloing by these individuals that would follow those tuneful lines. Dorham is responsible for this edict, as he contributes three of the selections, including the staccato-accented melody of "Minor's Holiday" primed by a thumping intro via Blakey, "Prince Albert" with its by now classic and clever reharmonization of "All the Things You Are," and the perennial closer of every set "The Theme," with its brief repeat melody and powerhouse triple-time bop break. Mobley wrote the scattered melody of "Deciphering the Message," heard here at length for the first time, although it was later available in its original shortened studio form on the reissued Columbia CD Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers. The tenor man gets his feature on the quarter-speed slowed ballad version of "Alone Together," which altogether sounds pining and blue to the nth degree. Standards like Fletcher Henderson's "Soft Winds" seemed merely a simple and lengthy warmup tune, but Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird" is an absolute workout, with variations abounding on the intro, first and second run-throughs of the melody, and some harmonic twists. Watkins is featured on the lead line of "What's New?" which again combines melancholy with that slightest spark of hope. If this is indeed in chronological order as a first set from the November 13, 1955 performances, it whets the whistle and leaves the listener wanting more, knowing the best is yet to come.
Volume deux of the 1955 Cafe Bohemia sessions from Art Blakey's second edition Jazz Messengers is better than the first. The music is more energetic, cohesive, and pushes the hard bop farther. Where the first volume featured compositions of newly recruited trumpeter Kenny Dorham, it is tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley asserting himself on the bandstand with his set pieces that formed the foundation of the first studio edition of the quintet that included Donald Byrd. Here, Mobley does not defer to Dorham, pushing his sound forward without compromising his vision. "Sportin' Crowd" is definitely an ear opener, a straight-ahead, hard bop gem based on the changes of the Sonny Rollins' classic "Tenor Madness." A live version of "Hank's Symphony" -- recapitulated from the studio version on the original Jazz Messengers' LP for the Columbia label -- has an Asian and calypso flair with many accented notes and a secondary melody. The killer track is Mobley's "Avila & Tequila," drenched in Blakey's churning Afro-Cuban beats, filled with multiple modal devices especially from Horace Silver, and charges ahead as if there was no tomorrow -- a truly memorable and vital performance. The other tracks may seem to pale by comparison, but the easy, bluesy "Like Someone in Love," a short ballad version of "Yesterdays" finally featuring trumpeter Dorham, and Mobley's luscious tenor during the ultimate tearjerker "I Waited for You" offer stark contrast while losing no internal intensity. It is on "Just One of Those Things" where the band really straightens up and convenes in tandem, a solid cohesion where Dorham and Mobley work like an effortless, major league shortstop and second base double-play combination. "Gone with the Wind" finishes this set in soulful, legato, dispassionate refrains. This is a more consistent effort than the first volume, with a much anticipated, late-night set still on the horizon.

-1. Announcement by Art Blakey 1:32
-2. "Soft Winds" 12:34
-3. "The Theme" 6:11
-4. "Minor's Holiday" 9:11
-5. "Alone Together" 4:15
-6. "Prince Albert" 8:51
-7. "Lady Bird" (reissue bonus track) 7:30
-8. "What's New?" (reissue bonus track) 4:31
-9. "Deciphering the Message" (reissue bonus track) 10:13
-1. Announcement by Art Blakey 0:37
-2. "Sportin' Crowd" 6:53
-3. "Like Someone in Love" 9:15
-4. "Yesterdays"  4:18
-5. "Avila and Tequila" 12:46
-6. ""I Waited for You"  9:47
-7. "Just One Of Those Things" -9:27
-8. "Hank's Symphony" 4:43
-9. "Gone with the Wind" 7:27

* Art Blakey — drums
* Horace Silver — piano
* Kenny Dorham — trumpet
* Hank Mobley — saxophone (tenor)
* Doug Watkins — bass

02 January, 2012


Jackie McLean - Demon's Dance (1967) (RVG)

Jackie McLean - Demon's Dance (1967)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 265MB
Blue Note | RVG 24-bit remaster 2006
Demon's Dance was Jackie McLean's final album for Blue Note, closing out an amazing streak of creativity that's among the more underappreciated in jazz history. The record retreats a bit from McLean's nearly free playing on New and Old Gospel and 'Bout Soul, instead concentrating on angular, modal avant bop with more structured chord progressions. The whole session actually swings pretty hard, thanks to drummer Jack DeJohnette, who manages that feat while maintaining the busy, kinetic style McLean had favored since Tony Williams' appearance on One Step Beyond. Pianist Lamont Johnson and bassist Scott Holt both return from New and Old Gospel, and trumpeter Woody Shaw is in especially fiery, muscular form, rivaling the leader in terms of soloing impact and contributing two of the six compositions. McLean's originals tend to be the most intriguing, though; there's the angular title track, the bright, up-tempo "Floogeh," and the spacious ballad "Toyland," a warm, soft piece anchored by Johnson that runs counter to typical descriptions of the impressions McLean's tone creates. While Demon's Dance didn't quite push McLean's sound the way its two predecessors had, there was no sign that the altoist was beginning to run out of creative steam. Unfortunately, Blue Note's ownership change and resulting commercial direction meant the end of McLean's tenure with the label, and ultimately the prime of his career; he would resume recording five years later, often with rewarding results, but nonetheless, Demon's Dance marks the end of an era.

-1. "Demon's Dance" - 7:09
-2. "Toyland" (Cal Massey) - 5:24
-3. "Boo Ann's Grand" (Woody Shaw) - 6:57
-4. "Sweet Love of Mine" (Shaw) - 6:04
-5. "Floogeh" - 5:23
-6. "Message From Trane" (Massey) - 5:29

* Jackie McLean - alto saxophone
* Woody Shaw - trumpet, flugelhorn
* LaMont Johnson - piano
* Scott Holt - bass
* Jack DeJohnette - drums


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