28 February, 2012


Ornette Coleman - Ornette! (1962)

Ornette Coleman - Ornette! (1962)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 380MB
Recorded a little over a month after his groundbreaking work Free Jazz, this album found Coleman perhaps retrenching from that idea conceptually, but nonetheless plumbing his quartet music to ever greater heights of richness and creativity. Ornette! was the first time bassist Scott LaFaro recorded with Coleman, and the difference in approach between LaFaro and Charlie Haden is apparent from the opening notes of "W.R.U." There is a more direct propulsion and limberness to his playing, and he can be heard driving Coleman and Don Cherry actively and more aggressively than Haden's warm, languid phrasing. The cuts, with titles derived from the works of Sigmund Freud, are all gems and serve as wonderful launching pads for the musicians' improvisations. Coleman, by this time, was very comfortable in extended pieces, and he and his partners have no trouble filling in the time, never coming close to running out of ideas. Special mention should be made of Ed Blackwell, with one of his finest performances. Ornette! is a superb release and a must for all fans of Coleman and creative improvised music in general.

-1. "W.R.U." — 16:25 (Coleman)
-2. "T.&T." — 4:35 (Coleman)
-3. "C.&D." — 13:10 (Coleman)
-4. "R.P.D.D." — 9:39 (Coleman)

* Ornette Coleman — alto saxophone
* Scott LaFaro — bass
* Don Cherry — trumpet
* Ed Blackwell — drums


Fred Frith - Prints (1987–2001)

Fred Frith - Prints: Snapshots, Postcards, Messages and Miniatures (1987–2001)
rock, avantgarde | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 230MB
Fred Records 2002
The short story: Prints is Fred Frith's first album of songs in 20 years. The long story: it is actually a collection of compilation tracks and unreleased studio sessions recorded between 1987 and 2001. No matter if you already own a few of these, a pop album by this man is a rarity -- and that is truly a shame. Of course, as a respected improviser, serious composer, and educator, anything lighter from this pillar of modern music will meet with severe criticism from people who take themselves too seriously. Lighten up! Cheap at Half the Price was the best tongue-in-cheek take at the New Wave. If Prints lacks its thematic focus, it still makes a very fine album, much friendlier to the listener, and truly enjoyable. The known material includes two cover songs for Tzadik tribute CDs to Burt Bacharach and Serge Gainsbourg, "Life of a Detective" recorded with 5uu's in 1990, and "True Love" released in 1987 on a Shimmydisc comp (and later included as a bonus track on RecRec's reissue of Cheap at Half the Price). The new material consists of seven pieces recorded for the WDR (German radio) in 1997. These multi-tracked songs were written and recorded spontaneously. Frith derives his lyrics from the newspapers of the day, uses samples to provide rhythm tracks, and pulls off a couple of excellent songs ("I Want It To Be Over," quoting Bill Clinton in an interview related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, is a highlight) and instrumental pieces. "Reduce Me" was recorded in 2001 using the same method. The album has been carefully constructed to tone down its "collection" nature and it works well, thanks of course to Frith's humor and pop sensibility. Come on, surely you can live with that! Highly recommended.

-01. "Trains & Boats & Planes" (Bacharach, David) – 5:07
---From Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach (1997, Tzadik)
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, 1996

-02. "Stones" (Frith) – 2:02
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
---Text: International Herald Tribune, 27/01/97, "Palestinian independence celebrations in Hebron"
---Sample: "Ligueyou Ndeye" by Doudou N'Diaye Rose

-03. "Fingerprints" (Frith) – 3:50
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
-04. "Life of a Detective" (Frith, Brookings) – 3:13
---From Place of General Happiness (1993, Modern Variety Music)
---Recorded at Triple Helix, Denver, Colorado, 1990 (engineer: Bob Drake)

-05. "The Ballad of Melody Nelson" (Gainsbourg) – 2:01
---From Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg (1997, Tzadik)
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, 1997

-06. "Trocosi" (Frith) – 4:36
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
---Text: International Herald Tribune, 28/01/97, "Enslavement of women in Ghana"
---Sample: "Where Do You Want to Go" by Kahil El'Zabar

-07. "Reduce Me" (Frith) – 5:48
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, 2001
---Text: The Guardian, July 2001, "Afghan woman returns home after ten years of exile"

-08. "Levity" (Frith) – 2:36
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
---Sample: "Kattajait" from Inuit Games and Songs (UNESCO Collection)
---Sample: applause for Helmut Kohl speech, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

-09. "True Love" (Frith) – 2:56
---From The 20th Anniversary of the Summer of Love (1987, Shimmy Disc)
---Recorded at Noise, New York City, 1987 (engineer: Mark Kramer)

-10. "I Want it to be Over" (Frith) – 3:01
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
--- Text: International Herald Tribune, 27/01/97, "Bill Clinton interviewed about Monica Lewinsky"
---Samples: Escher-loop, broken glass

-11. "Spot" (Frith) – 4:38
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, July 2001
-12. "In the Winter of '64" (Frith) – 1:48
---Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997

* Fred Frith – all instruments (except those listed below), voice
* Bernd "Lönsch" Lehmann (2,3) – clarinet, tenor saxophone
* Mike Johnson (4) – principal voice
* Dave Kerman (4) – backup voice
* Sebastian Gramms (6) – acoustic bass
* Alexandra Schulz (7) – additional voice
* Sheena Dupuis (9) – backing vocal


Ahmad Jamal - Live At Bubba's (Autumn In New York) (1980)

Ahmad Jamal - Live At Bubba's (Autumn In New York) (1980)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 260MB
TIM 2001
Although Ahmad Jamal's recording career was erratic at this period, his live performances were as good as his earlier work. Teamed up with bassist Sabu Adeyola and drummer Payton Crossley, Jamal interprets a diverse program highlighted by "Waltz for Debbie" and "I've Never Been In Love Before," although recording "People" was probably a mistake.

-1. "Waltz for Debby" - Evans, Lees - 6:24
-2. "Folks Who Live on the Hill" - Hammerstein, Kern - 5:42
-3. "People" - Merrill, Styne - 5:33
-4. "Baia" - Barroso, Gilbert - 8:39
-5. "The Good Life" - Distel, Distel, Reardon - 4:41
-6. "Autumn in New York" - Duke - 5:18
-7. "I've Never Been in Love Before" - Loesser - 2:50

* Ahmad Jamal- piano
* Payton Crossley - drums
* Sabu Adeyola - Bass

22 February, 2012


Dexter Gordon - Dexter Calling... (1961) (RVG)

Dexter Gordon - Dexter Calling... (1961)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 335MB
Blue Note | RVG 24-bit remaster
Dexter Gordon's second recording for the Blue Note label is a solidly swinging affair, yet constantly full of surprises. It's not unexpected that Gordon's tenor at this time -- 1961 -- is one of the most enjoyable in mainstream jazz, but his transition from the cool California scene to the hotter music environs of New York City had energized his sound and attitude. A first-time pairing with bassist Paul Chambers has something to do with this, but it also inspires pianist Kenny Drew to a great extent, while drummer Philly Joe Jones is his reliable, energetic self, and always works well with Gordon. This SACD edition features a broad range of jazz that Gordon mastered with wisdom and a bit of mad abandon on his solos. Where Gordon's fluent melodic sense is perfectly demonstrated during the simple-as-pie groove waltz "Soul Sister," the steady, steamy bopper "I Want More," and the familiar Charlie Chaplin evergreen "Smile," his sense of expanding the specific line upon soloing is truly remarkable. He constantly keeps the song form in mind, riffing on and on without violating the basic note structures, constantly reharmonizing, shuffling the chords like a card dealer and updating the song form. "The End of a Love Affair" takes this concept into an area where his deep, subtle voice is translated directly into the low-slung voicings of his horn. The remarkable "Modal Mood" combines hard bop with Drew's three-chord piano repetitions and Gordon's soulful, simplified sax, while the equally impressive "Clear the Dex" steamrolls the competition as the band -- cued by Jones -- skillfully pushes or pull tension and release elements, then busts loose into joyous swinging in a true signature tune that is immediately recognizable as only the long, tall tenor man. The sad ballad "Ernie's Tune" is based on a yin/yang theme via Freddie Redd's stage play The Connection and the crazy character that ran wild or tame. There's a previously unissued track, "Landslide," which sounds slightly like a knock-off of one of his other tunes -- perhaps "Cheesecake" -- but considering the time frame, it could be a prelude to one of his most famous songs of all time. The excellent band, solid musicianship, and memorable music on every track make this one of the more essential recordings of Gordon's career, enhanced by the improved audio quality.

-1. "Soul Sister" - 7:45
-2. "Modal Mood" (Kenny Drew) - 5:23
-3. "I Want More" - 5:20
-4. "The End of a Love Affair" (Edward Redding) - 6:53
-5. "Clear the Dex" (Drew) - 4:54
-6. "Ernie's Tune" - 4:16
-7. "Smile" (Charlie Chaplin) - 3:23
-8. "Landslide" - 5:15 Bonus track
All compositions by Dexter Gordon except as indicated

* Dexter Gordon - tenor saxophone
* Kenny Drew - piano
* Paul Chambers - bass
* Philly Joe Jones - drums


RCA Living Stereo: Beethoven - Symphony Nos. 5 & 6 (1955)

RCA Living Stereo: Beethoven - Symphony Nos. 5 & 6 (1955)
Charles Munch & Boston S O
classical | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 390MB
RCA | SACD | rel.: 2005
Charles Munch is not the first conductor one associates with Beethoven’s symphonies, but excellent, privately issued French broadcast recordings from the 1960s show him to have been a strong, vigorous Beethovenian. So, too, do a few commercial recordings for RCA during his Boston Symphony years, although these haven’t circulated very widely in the post-LP era. Indeed, RCA skipped over Munch’s Beethoven Fifth and Sixth during its Living Stereo reissue go-round in the 1990s, but here they are making a welcome addition to the new Living Stereo SACD catalog. The two-channel sound here is vibrant but hardly astonishing; the main point of interest remains the performances.
The Fifth benefits from fleet tempos, tight ensemble, and punchy attacks, with the woodwinds nicely cutting through the string-centered sonority. Munch tends to set a course and push through without offering any of the telling details of phrasing and pacing provided by, say, Carlos Kleiber and the Vienna Philharmonic (on a distant-sounding two-channel SACD reissue from DG, coupled with the Seventh), to say nothing of the splendid recent Vänskä/Minnesota surround version on BIS (coupled with the Fourth). Still, it’s a fine performance comparable to the early 1960s Karajan (also on SACD), but with greater textural variety.
The “Pastoral” Symphony is even better. My favorite recording is the genial Monteux/London Symphony on Decca (not reissued in a DSD version, alas); Munch comes very close to this standard, burbling along with gentle delight in the first two movements, and then pulling out all the stops in the symphony’s second half, with superb wind solos in the third movement, a powerful storm sequence, and a concluding hymn that’s managed so well that for once it doesn’t wear out its welcome. Again, Munch is stingy with repeats, but that’s not really critical in this symphony. A very good Fifth and an outstanding “Pastoral” gain a well-deserved new lease on life.

-1. Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor: Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 05/02/1955
Venue: Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts

-2. Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor: Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 08/16/1955
Venue: Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts


Art Blakey - Kyoto (1964)

Art Blakey - Kyoto (1964)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 210MB
Reissued on Fantasy's OJC series, this album finds Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers paying tribute to Japan (where they had toured to great acclaim) on two selections, featuring Art Blakey's cousin as a vocalist on "Wellington's Blues" (a real rarity in The Jazz Messengers' discography) and debuting Curtis Fuller's "The High Priest." With trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, tenorman Wayne Shorter and trombonist Fuller in fine form, this is one of literally dozens of recommended Jazz Messengers recordings.

-1. "The High Priest" - Fuller - 5:55
-2. "Never Never Land" - Comden, Green, Styne - 5:50
-3. "Wellington's Blues" - Blakey - 5:03
-4. "Nihon Bashi" - Watanabe - 8:30
-5. "Kyoto" - Hubbard - 7:03

* Bass – Reggie Workman
* Drums – Art Blakey
* Piano – Cedar Walton
* Tenor Saxophone – Wayne Shorter
* Trombone – Curtis Fuller
* Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
* Vocals – Wellington Blakey (tracks: 3)

17 February, 2012


London, Sklamberg, Caine - Nigunim (1998)

London, Sklamberg, Caine - Nigunim (1998)
jazz, avantgarde, klezmer | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 285MB
An excellent album of nigunim -- Hasidic melodies traditionally composed by Jewish spiritual leaders for Sabbath and holidays -- from the Gerer, Lubavitch, and Belzer (all European) traditions. The musicians here are not only klezmer revivalists, but also accomplished jazz and classical musicians. The trio consists of trumpeter Frank London, pianist Uri Caine, and the classic Hasidic stylings of vocalist Lorin Sklamberg, with a guest appearance by organist Brian Mitchell, and all present add keyboard work at some point on harmonium, Fender Rhodes, etc. Nigunim opens with "Eyli Ato," a nostalgic, classically sung rendition of a melody composed by an Alter Lubavitcher Rebbe (a Lubavitch Elder Rabbi) for singing Psalms 118:28. Other tunes from the Lubavitch tradition: the longing-filled, nearly melancholic "Esn Est Zikh," during which Uri Caine's piano at times brings to mind Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"; and "Tsomo Lekho Nafshi," which opens with a warm trumpet solo filled with promise for the song that's about to unfold, after which the piano and accordion come in with a simple looping melody as London uses his mute, the piano solos over the top, then Sklamberg belts out in Middle Eastern-like bending moans. The "Gerer Medley" is a festive and upbeat tune composed for the meal following the Havdalah, or night service marking the end of Sabbath. Nigunim have long drawn from secular, as well as religious, sources, incorporating them into the Jewish tradition by giving them distinctly Jewish musical traits. Thus, the soul gospel stylings of the closing track, "Tayere Brider," during which Mitchell adds the anointed handclaps of his Hammond B-3. Nigunim is an excellent album for those who already know and own nigunim recordings, and for those who don't yet, but are open to enjoying incredible Jewish music from inspired musicians.

-01. "Eyli Ato" - 3:59
-02. "Belzer Medley" - 6:14
-03. "Mipney Ma / Peysakh Nign" - 6:24
-04. "Gerer Medley" - 5:19
-05. "Esn Est Zikh" - 3:38
-06. "Nign Leshabes Veyontev" - 9:23
-07. "Tsomo Lekho Nafshi" - 7:09
-08. "Zkhor Dovor" - 3:04
-09. "Avrom Ben Shmuel" - 4:40
-10. "Tayere Brider" - 4:14

* Frank London - Trumpet, Harmonium, Organ, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes]
* Uri Caine - Piano, Harmonium, Organ [Hammond B3], Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes]
* Lorin Sklamberg - vocals, accordion, harmonium


Roy Haynes with Booker Evin - Cracklin' (1963)

Roy Haynes with Booker Evin - Cracklin' (1963)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 255MB
Most of drummer Roy Haynes' dates as a leader put the focus on a star soloist. For this CD reissue, Haynes is joined by pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Larry Ridley, and the great tenor Booker Ervin. Ervin's unique sound, soulful yet very advanced, is well showcased on "Under Paris Skies" and originals by Mathews, Haynes, and Randy Weston ("Sketch of Melba"), along with his own "Scoochie."

-1. "Scoochie" - 5:49
-2. "Dorian" - 6:45
-3. "Sketch of Melba" - 7:35
-4. "Honeydew" - 3:42
-5. "Under Paris Skies" - 7:36
-6. "Bad News Blues" - 6:50
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 10, 1963. Originally released on Prestige/New Jazz (8286). Includes liner notes by Ira Gitler.

* Roy Haynes (drums)
* Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
* Ronnie Mathews (piano)
* Larry Ridley (bass)


Bill Frisell - Sign Of Life: Music For 858 Quartet (2011)

Bill Frisell - Sign Of Life: Music For 858 Quartet (2011)
jazz, avantgarde | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 285MB
After a five-year hiatus, Bill Frisell's 858 Quartet recorded their second offering. Their elliptical debut, Richter 858, was produced by poet David Breskin (who also helmed the sessions for Nels Cline's Dirty Baby), and accompanied an exhibition by German artist Gerhard Richter. The music on Sign of Life: Music for 858 Quartet was loosely composed by Frisell, and took shape in group rehearsals. 858's other members include violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang, and cellist Hank Roberts. Recorded at Fantasy Studios in San Francisco and produced by Lee Townsend, the 17 selections on this set feel very organic. The album opens with Americana-tinged themes in the two-part "It's a Long Story" that nod to country, folk, and even Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" in its melody. "Old Times" hints at bluegrass, blues, and ragtime, but because of the complex interplay between the four players, reaches far past them into a music that is 858's own. "Friend of Mine" is another two-part tune; that said, where a pastoral theme is suggested in part one, a more mischievous one responds in the second some eight tracks later. Elsewhere, improvised classical motifs, jazz modes, and folk and other roots musics shimmer through these compositions, sometimes simultaneously and often spontaneously. The haunted yet restrained "Painter," which clocks in at under two minutes, is a modal sketch immediately followed by an equally brief, slightly dissonant pointillistic exercise in counterpoint called "Teacher." "All the People, All the Time" returns to more accessible and resonant territory but, as gentle as it is, it's full of quiet surprises and unexpected twists. For all of its space and economical phrasing, "Village" is downright cartoon spooky, and "Suitcase in My Hand," which jaunts along in a striding, near reel, is transformed by Scheinman playing country-style fiddle, though the rhythmic signature never changes. "Sixty Four," with its pulsing time and repetitive, slightly shifting harmonic line, feels -- but not quite sounds -- like something Philip Glass might have written if he had a sense of humor, and is the only place on the record where Frisell lets somewhat ragged sonic edges into his playing. Sign of Life is a curious, quirky, and deceptively low-key affair that is musically labyrinthine and ambitious; it's full of gorgeous spaces, textures, utterly instinctive interplay, and unexpected delight.

-01. "I'ts a Long Story, Pt. 1" - 2:40
-02. "Old Times" - 4:59
-03. "Sign of Life" - 2:49
-04. "Friend of Mine, Pt. 1" - 5:48
-05. "Wonderland" - 3:18
-06. "It's a Long Story, Pt. 2" - 6:32
-07. "Mother Daughter" - 2:20
-08. "Youngster" - 3:01
-09. "Recollection" - 2:54
-10. "Suitcase in My Hand" - 2:22
-11. "Sixty Four" - 3:52
-12. "Friend of Mine, Pt. 2" - 1:49
-13. "Painter" - 1:14
-14. "Teacher" - 1:28
-15. "All the People, All the Time" - 2:05
-16. "Village" - 4:20
-17. "As It Should Be" - 1:52
all compositions by Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell: - guitar
Jenny Scheinman - violin
Eyvind Kang -  viola
Hank Roberts - cello

10 February, 2012


John Surman - Free and Equal (2001)

John Surman - Free and Equal (2001)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 355MB
ECM 2003
Free and Equal finds its place somewhere between John Surman's past collaborations with Jack DeJohnette and his Brass Project with composer Peter Warren. Less atmospheric than the duos with the drummer and less jazzy than the latter, it still bears the inimitable stamp of the British reed player. It harks back to his pastoral and even medieval leanings and his arranging skills certainly capture the spotlight, his lyrical and often fragile compositions soaring with incredible grace. Compared to his Warren collaboration, Surman chooses a different approach, since his brass section is not comprised of seasoned jazz musicians. London Brass are primarily a classical chamber music ensemble, although some of the group's members clearly show an understanding of the jazz idiom and improvisation. As a result, the leader goes for a more collective and cohesive sound. The brass ensemble often serves the same purpose as a choir, and Surman's beautiful voicings for its various sections surely benefit from that. DeJohnette appears comfortable in this setting. He is allowed on some occasions to turn up the heat, although his main role remains as a colorist. Ultimately, the album does a fine job of documenting another facet of Surman's writing for brass instruments and provides for a beautiful aural experience.

-1. "Preamble" - 4:11
-2. "Groundwork" - 9:33
-3. "Sea Change" - 10:14
-4. "Back and Forth" - 11:51
-5. "Fire" - 6:47
-6. "Debased Line" - 5:02
-7. "In the Shadow" - 6:56
-8. "Free and Equal" - 8:47
-9. "Epilogue" - 3:42
All compositions by John Surman
Recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London in June 2001.

* John Surman — soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
* Jack DeJohnette — drums, piano
* London Brass — trumpet, flugelhorn, horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba


James Moody - Return From Overbrook (1956 & 58)

James Moody - Return From Overbrook  (1956 & 58)
Last Train from Overbrook (1958) & Flute 'n the Blues (1956)
jazz | 2lp on 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 310MB
Chess GRD-810
Two of James Moody's better albums from the 1950's are reissued in full on this single Chess CD: Last Train From Overbrook and Flute 'N The Blues. The former session features Moody (on tenor, alto and flute) backed by ten horns and a four-piece rhythm section on a variety of strong straightahead material (including the title cut, "What's New," "Tico-Tico" and "The Moody One") while the latter is a septet outing that also has solos by trumpeter Johnny Coles, trombonist William Shepherd and baritonist Pee Wee Moore along with three memorable vocals from Eddie Jefferson. Recommended.

-01. "Last Train from Overbrook" - Moody - 3:03
-02. "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" - Bloom, Koehler - 2:31
-03. "Why Don't You?" - Pate - 2:23
-04. "I'm Free (A.K.A. What's New?)" - Haggart - 3:28
-05. "Tico-Tico" - Abreu, Drake, Oliveira - 1:41
-06. "There She Goes" - Gilmore, Moody - 2:22
-07. "All the Things You Are" - Hammerstein, Kern - 2:05
-08. "Brother Yusef" - Pate - 3:07
-09. "Yvonne" - Pate - 3:41
-10. "The Moody One" - Pate - 3:26
-11. "Flute 'n the Blues" - Boyd, Moody - 4:06
-12. "Birdland Story" - Jefferson, Moody - 2:31
-13. "It Could Happen to You" - Burke, VanHeusen - 2:41
-14. "I Cover the Waterfront" - Green, Heyman - 2:42
-15. "Body and Soul" - Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour - 4:22
-16. "Breaking the Blues" - Acea - 3:19
-17. "Parker's Mood" - Jefferson, Parker - 3:21
-18. "Easy Living" - Rainger, Robin - 3:51
-19. "Boo's Tune" - Pleasant - 3:43
-20. "Richard's Blues" - Moody, Newboldt, Torres - 4:38


Hampton Hawes - I'm All Smiles (1966)

Hampton Hawes - I'm All Smiles (1966)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 255MB
Pianist Hampton Hawes led a trio during the 1960s and '70s that remained popular without compromising its sound or musical integrity. His phrasing and voicings could entice or amaze, and he displays great range, rhythmic vitality, and harmonic excellence during the five selections featured on this 1966 live date now reissued on CD. Hawes moves from the Afro-Latin feel of "Manha de Carnaval" to the brilliant chordal exposition on "Spring Is Here" and "The Shadow of Your Smile," before concluding with a flourish on "Searchin." Hawes is backed by wonderful bassist Red Mitchell and steady drummer Donald Bailey, who had both been with him for over a decade. They are not just a cohesive unit, but an intuitive team, maintaining a communication with him that is amazing even within a genre that demands it.

-1. "I'm All Smiles" - Leonard, Martin - 7:25
-2. "Manha de Carnaval" - Bonfa, Maria - 5:25
-3. "Spring Is Here" - Hart, Rodgers - 5:04
-4. "The Shadow of Your Smile" - Mandel, Webster - 9:55
-5. "Searchin'" - Collins, Hawes, Leiber, Stoller… - 10:22

* Hampton Hawes - piano
* Red Mitchell - bass
* Donald Bayley - drums

07 February, 2012


Cracow Klezmer Band (John Zorn) - Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass: A Tribute to Bruno Schulz (2005)

Cracow Klezmer Band (John Zorn) - Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass: A Tribute to Bruno Schulz (2005)
avantgarde, klezmer, jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 395MB

John Zorn's Masada songbooks have surrendered themselves to many modern genres and styles—free jazz with the original Masada Quartet, contemporary improvised music with the Masada String Trio and the duo of Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier, 1970s electric fusion meets today's electronica with Electric Masada, power rock with Rashanim, and a dozen others in the various tributes to the first Masada songbook (Masada Guitars; Voices in the Wilderness; and The Unknown Masada, all Tzadik, 2003). But only now, with the release of the Polish Cracow Klezmer Band's fourth disc on Tzadik, are they interpreted in the Old World Eastern European klezmer form. Many Masada interpretations have referenced, abstracted, or suggested new readings of this genre which is so identified with Jewish music.
The four members of the Cracow Klezmer Band—leader, arranger, and bayan (accordion) player Jaroslaw Bester; violinist Jaroslaw Tyrala; bayan player, clarinetist, and percussionist Oleg Dyyak; and violinist Jaroslaw Tyrala—are augmented by singer Grazyna Auguscik, who has collaborated with them before, not only to tackle John Zorn's Masada Songbooks One and Two, but also to use these tunes to paint a heartfelt tribute to the Polish-Jewish writer and artist Bruno Schultz (1892-1942), whose character still inspires contemporary writers like the Israeli author David Grossman (See Under: Love) and Americans Cynthia Ozick (The Messiah of Stockholm) and Phillip Roth (The Prague Orgy). This release is named after Schultz's second collection of short stories, published in 1936, and its official title is The Cracow Klezmer Band plays the music of John Zorn—Sanatorium Under Sign of the Hourglass: A Tribute to Bruno Schultz.
The Cracow Klezmer Band's beautiful arrangements are faithful to the original versions. In the opening track, "Meshakh," and on "Regalim," these four musicians even manage to capture the same dynamic telepathic coordination that is so identified with the original Masada quartet. But soon as Tyrala begins his magnificent solo on "Galgalim," you realize that their music is more faithful to the klezmer tradition than any other Masada incarnations or interpretations: klezmer music as a high art concert music that must be performed with subtlety, finesse, and great passion.
"Tirzah," with Auguscik's dreamy wordless vocals, and "Hamadah" both succeed in capturing the sensual atmosphere of Schulz's fantastical stories. Tyrala introduces "Adithaim" with a virtuosic, lyrical violin solo, slowly turning the piece into a gentle dance tune. "Pagiel" is the only tune from Zorn's second Masada songbook, Book of Angels, and is performed as a passionate Astor Piazzolla tune. "Meholalot" is interpreted slightly differently than the version the Cracow Klezmer Band did on Voices in the Wilderness, this time stressing its driving rhythms, as its Hebrew title suggests, and highlighting the captivating vocals of Grazyna Auguscik.
A brilliant release that blends Old World with New World, an almost vanished culture with a vital resurrecting one, by one of the world's most extraordinary new klezmer outfits.

-01. "Meshakh" - 4:55
-02. "Galgalim" - 5:14
-03. "Tirzah" - 10:40
-04. "Yesod" - 4:45
-05. "Pagiel" - 7:34
-06. "Adithaim" - 6:45
-07. "Hamadah" - 6:17
-08. "Regalim" - 4:45
-09. "Demai" - 9:08
-10. "Meholalot" - 5:39
All compositions by John Zorn.

* Jaroslaw Bester – bayan
* Oleg Dyyak – bayan, clarinet, percussion
* Wojciech Front – double bass
* Jaroslaw Tyrala – violin
* Grazyna Auguscik – vocals


Boris Vian - Boris Vian (1956)

Boris Vian - Boris Vian  (1956)
aka: Le Déserteur 
chanson | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 255MB
Mercury 536 164-2
Named after his controversial anti-war protest song, released during the The Battle of Dien Bien Phu, Le Deserteur is a best-of collection from the multi-talented poet, actor, and singer Boris Vian. Released in 2006, this 17-track collection showcases the politically conscious and satirical songs which made him a hugely influential figure on the '40s and '50s French avant-garde scene. Alongside the title track, which has been covered by countless artists including Joan Baez, there are songs influenced by rock & roll (his original version of Magali Noel's "Fais-Moi Mal Johnny") Java ("La Java des Bombes Atomiques"), and French chansons ("Les Joyeux Bouchers").

-01. "Les Joyeux Bouchers" - 02:09
-02. "Cinématographe" - 02:38
-03. "Fais-Moi Mal, Johnny !" - 02:23
-04. "Java des Bombes Atomiques" - 02:33
-05. "La Java des Bombes Atomiques" - 02:35
-06. "Je Bois" - 03:32
-07. "Le Temps de Vivre (Juste le Temps de Vivre)" - 01:31
-08. "Le Déserteur" - 03:29
-09. "Le Petit Commerce" - 03:05
-10. "Je Suis Snob" - 02:51
-11. "Java Martienne" - 03:05
-12. "Complainte du Progres" - 02:44
-13. "On N'Est Pas La Pour Se Faire Engueuler" - 03:01
-14. "Bourrée de Complexes" - 02:13


Tony Williams Lifetime - Turn It Over (1970)

Tony Williams Lifetime - Turn It Over  (1970)
jazz, jazz-rock | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 255MB
Verve/Polygram 1997
The better of the two albums the Tony Williams Lifetime recorded in 1970, Turn It Over, is a far more focused and powerful album than the loose, experimental Ego, and one of the more intense pieces of early jazz-rock fusion around. In parts, it's like Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys with much better chops. It's more rock-oriented and darker-hued than their debut, 1969's Emergency!, and the temporary addition of ex-Cream member Jack Bruce on bass and vocals alongside stalwart guitarist John McLaughlin makes this something of a milestone of British progressive jazz. The album's primary flaw is that unlike the expansive double album Emergency!, these ten songs are tightly constricted into pop-song forms -- only a swinging cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Once I Loved" breaks the five-minute mark, and then only barely -- which reins in these marvelous soloists too much. This is particularly frustrating since pieces like the two-part "To Whom It May Concern" feature some outstanding solos (especially from McLaughlin and organist Larry Young, the group's secret weapon) that are frustratingly, tantalizingly short. Expanded to a double album, Turn It Over would probably surpass Emergency! as a pioneering jazz-rock fusion release; as it is, it's an exciting but mildly maddening session.

-01. "To Whom It May Concern - Them" - 4:20
-02. "To Whom It May Concern - Us" - 2:55
-03. "This Night This Song" - 3:44
-04. "Big Nick" - 2:43
-05. "Right On" - 1:49
-06. "Once I Loved" - 5:08
-07. "Vuelta Abajo" - 4:57
-08. "A Famous Blues" - 4:10
-09. "Allah Be Praised" - 4:36
-10. "One Word" - 3:45
total time 38:35

* Tony Williams, drums, vocals
* John McLaughlin, guitars, vocals
* Larry Young, organ
* Jack Bruce, bass, vocals

03 February, 2012


Thelonious Monk - Monkism (1954)

Thelonious Monk - Monkism (1954)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 85MB
MONKISM offers a fine array of recordings made by the pianist at a solo session in Paris, 1954. While audiophiles may be disappointed by the sound quality, these tracks will be of interest to Monk neophytes and connoisseurs alike. The material consists of both originals and standards, both rendered without the support of a band and therefore allowing Monk's lovely, oddball compositional style to emerge more prominently alongside his improvisations.
"Off Minor" is stuttering and jagged, abounding with close intervals and informed by a halted sense of phrasing that fills one's mind with all manner of strange visual abstractions. The Kern and Harbach oldie, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," is always fun at Thelonious' fingers. Dreamy chromatic rolls follow the occasional interjection of biting dissonance, expressing both genuine reverie and playful irony. MONKISM makes for a keen looking-glass perspective into Monk's personality. Here we see the blazing futurist and the goofy romantic walking hand in hand.
The music on this 1999 Laserlight CD has been reissued many times. On June 7, 1954, Thelonious Monk (who was ending his period with Prestige and had not yet signed with Riverside) recorded nine piano solos while in Paris, less than 32 minutes of music, which made for a brief LP. Among the numbers are "'Round Midnight," "Evidence," "Off Minor" and the lone non-Monk standard, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The Laserlight release only has eight of the performances, which makes for a very skimpy CD! When one considers that the original nine numbers are available on a BMG/Vogue disc, along with 13 unrelated solos from pianist Joe Turner, there really is no reason to buy this half-CD despite the quality of the music.

-01. 'Round Midnight [0:05:22.47]
-02. Evidence [0:03:09.53]
-03. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes [0:03:28.20]
-04. Well You Needn't [0:03:28.72]
-05. Reflections [0:05:06.45]
-06. Wee See [0:02:38.42]
-07. Eronel [0:02:35.56]
-08. Off Minor [0:02:34.55]
Recorded in Paris, France on June 7, 1954.

* Thelonious Monk (piano)


Mark Dresser & Ray Andersson - Nine Songs Together (2003)

Mark Dresser & Ray Andersson - Nine Songs Together (2003)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 320MB
Despite a long association, bassist Mark Dresser and trombonist Ray Anderson make an unusual pair. The quintessentially New York Dresser is known for his deep, soul-stirring improvisations (his suite “The Five Outer Planets” here hints at his enormity of scale); Anderson, despite being born in Chicago and an early tenure in Anthony Braxton’s quartet, is more a southern boy with a love for New Orleans jazz. The pair began playing as a duo nearly thirty years ago, however, and Dresser appears on four of Anderson’s previous recordings. Nine Songs Together is their first disc of duets, and it finds them able to share a wide terrain of material and some themes laden enough with emotion that only a long-standing partnership such as theirs could save it from becoming maudlin on the one hand or sloppy on the other.
The disc was recorded on Dresser’s 51st birthday (in September of last year) and marked Anderson’s first session since the death of his wife of 22 years, dancer and poet Jackie Raven, in 2002. Furthering the emotive import, there are tracks dedicated both to Raven and to Anderson’s new fiancée. There was, no doubt, a lot on the players’ minds during the sessions.
As a result, the nine songs truly are together. Four of the pieces are penned by Dresser and three by Anderson (with their arrangements of “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” and “I’m Confessin’ That I Love You” rounding out the set). But selective tracking could have convinced you that there were at least twice as many songs on the program. The pair move seamlessly between resonant explorations and swinging jaunts, often within the same piece, and it’s a joy to hear each move into the territory more associated with the other. Anderson sputters, accentuates and holds low tones through the thicker passages, and Dresser’s familiar slapping, strumming and register-hopping provides a sweet, unusual setting for Anderson’s Dixie hops. A slide trombone and a contrabass hold the potential of being as slippery as an oiled-down willow tree, but they play simply and solidly. If there were a canon of trombone/bass duos, they would surely rank among the best. The fact that there isn’t, yet Dresser and Anderson sound so natural doing it, speaks volumes.

-01. One Plate (13:24)
-02. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free (7:55)
-03. Ekoneni (3:46)
-04. Taps for Jackie (10:54)
-05. Slipinstyle (6:03)
The Five Outer Planets:
--08. Jupiter (2:02)
--07. Saturn (:57)
--08. Uranus (2:10)
--09. Neptune (2:12)
--10. Pluto (2:26)
-11. The Feast of Love (6:12)
-12. Insistent (4:29)
-13. I'm Confessin' That I Love You (6:19)

* Mark Dresser- bass
* Ray Anderson- trombone

01 February, 2012


Kenny Burrell - Bluesin' Around (1961)

Kenny Burrell - Bluesin' Around (1961)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 240MB
Released for the first time on this 1983 LP, the music on the set features guitarist Kenny Burrell in quartet/quintets with either tenor great Illinois Jacquet, trombonist Eddie Bert or altoist Leo Wright and either pianist Hank Jones or organist Jack McDuff. It is odd that Columbia did not issue any of the straightahead music at the time, considering McDuff's popularity, for the results, even with a few dated numbers such as "Mambo Twist," are excellent. After a short while, this LP went out of print and it took many years to appear on CD.

-1. "Mambo Twist" - Burrell - 5:06
-2. "The Switch" - Burrell - 3:04
-3. "The Squeeze" - Burrell - 4:17
-4. "Bluesin' Around" - Burrell - 3:42
-5. "Bye and Bye" - Traditional - 2:50
-6. "Moten Swing" - Moten" - 6:20
-7. "People Will Say We're in Love" - Hammerstein, Rodgers - 3:41
-8. "One Mint Julep" - Toombs - 3:25
-9. "Mood Indigo" - Bigard, Ellington, Mills - 4:40

* Double Bass [Acoustic Bass] – George Duvivier, Major Holley
* Drums – Jimmy Crawford, Joe Dukes, Louis Hayes, Osie Johnson
* Electric Guitar – Kenny Burrell
* Organ – Jack McDuff
* Piano [Acoustic] – Hank Jones
* Saxophone [Alto] – Leo Wright
* Saxophone [Tenor] – Illinois Jacquet
* Trombone – Eddie Bert


Madredeus - Os Dias da MadreDeus (1987)

Madredeus - Os Dias da MadreDeus (1987)
world | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 350MB
Os Dias da Madredeus, Madredeus' debut album on the Portuguese market, offered for the first time the group's appealing and remarkable compositions. The record exposed the sole musical mission of the Portuguese ensemble. Providing sole compositions, Madredeus settled their musical course in between the original Portuguese fado and influences ranging from Brazilian music to classical musical inflections. Leaded by the voice of Teresa Salgueiro and by the delicate and melodious creations of Pedro Ayres Magalhães, Gabriel Gomes, and Rodrigo Leão, the ensemble started gaining their legion of followers precisely after the record originally hit the record stores in 1987. "A Vaca de Fogo," the record's third track, swiftly became the group's most recognizable theme due to its joyful rhythmic features and exclusive arrangements. Still, the whole of the work expressed through the album mostly reveals Madredeus' nostalgic musical endeavors, strengthened by way of their gloomy musical direction and enlightened by the sorrow and hurtful lyrics unveiled by Salgueiro's unique vocalizations. "Fado do Mindelo," "Maldito Dia Aziago," and "Amanhã" are just three of the album's most noted tracks, again sustaining the unique character of Madredeus' conceptions, initiating a musical path that eventually conquered fans all over the world.

-01. "As Montanhas" - Gomes - 2:25
-02. "A Sombra" - Magalhaes - 5:31
-03. "A Vaca de Fogo" - Gomes, Magalhaes - 5:01
-04. "Os Passaros Quando Morrem Caem No Ceu - 02:24
-05. "Adeus... E Nem Voltei" - Magalhaes - 5:50
-06. "A Peninsula" - Gomes, Leao, Magalhaes - 4:05
-07. "A Cantiga Do Campo" - Leal, Leao, Magalhaes - 6:28
-08. "Fado Do Mindelo" - Leao, Magalhaes, Pacheco - 5:06
-09. "A Marcha da Oriental - 05:58
-10. "A Cidade" - Leao, Magalhaes, Menezes - 6:00
-11. "Maldito Dia Aziago" - Leao, Magalhaes - 5:09
-12. "A Andorinha" - Magalhaes - 4:43
-13. "O Brasil" - Leao, Magalhaes - 5:34
-14. "O Meu Amor Vai Embora" - Leao, Magalhaes - 3:20
-15. "Amanha" - Gomez, Leao, Magalhaes - 4:52


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