30 March, 2012


Herbie Hancock - Quartet (1981)

Herbie Hancock - Quartet (1981)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 385MB
This is an extremely symbolic album, for Herbie Hancock and the V.S.O.P. rhythm section essentially pass the torch of the '80s acoustic jazz revival to the younger generation, as personified by then 19-year-old Wynton Marsalis. Recorded during a break on a tour of Japan, a month before Marsalis made his first Columbia album, the technically fearless teenaged trumpeter mostly plays the eager student, imitating Miles, Freddie Hubbard, and Brownie McGhee, obviously relishing the challenge of keeping up with his world-class cohorts. Things start out conventionally enough with a couple of Monk standards, and then they progress into the mid-'60s Miles Davis post-bop zone, with Ron Carter and Tony Williams driving Marsalis and Hancock relentlessly forward. Several staples from the Miles/V.S.O.P. repertoire turn up ("The Eye of the Hurricane," "The Sorcerer," "Pee Wee"), and there is one wistful ballad, "I Fall In Love Too Easily," where Marsalis sounds a bit callow, not yet the master colorist. Hancock remains a complex, stimulating acoustic pianist, the years of disco having taken no toll whatsoever on his musicianship. This looked like it would be a Japan-only release, but since the buzz on Marsalis was so loud, CBS put it out in the U.S. in 1982, fanning the flames even more.

-1 "Well You Needn't" (Thelonious Monk) - 6:29
-2 "'Round Midnight" (Bernie Hanighen, Cootie Williams, Monk) - 6:41
-3 "Clear Ways" (Williams) - 5:00
-4 "A Quick Sketch" (Ron Carter) - 16:27
-5 "The Eye of the Hurricane" (Hancock) - 8:05
-6 "Parade" (Carter) - 7:58
-7 "The Sorcerer" (Hancock) - 7:19
-8 "Pee Wee" (Williams) - 4:34
-9 "I Fall In Love Too Easily" (Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn) - 5:52

* Herbie Hancock - Piano
* Ron Carter - Bass
* Wynton Marsalis - Trumpet
* Tony Williams - Drums


David Krakauer - Klezmer Madness! (1995)

David Krakauer - Klezmer Madness! (1995)
klezmer | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 295MB
David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness sits on the edge of the Klezmer tradition and is always jabbing at its boundaries. The music is always a little bit more unbridled, a bit more passionate, and a tad more discordant than your bubbe's klezmer records, which is not to say that it falls into the same camp as other punk, pop, or jazz-oriented groups that treat klezmer like a quaint novelty. Krakauer, with his virtuoso clarinet playing and incredibly tight and talented backing band, always shows respect for the heart of klezmer music -- these songs orbit around a pure core. The only tune which truly journeys out into left field is "Living With the H," which deconstructs and reassembles the ubiquitous classic "Hava Nagila," a song which almost begs to be messed with. The effect is not unlike a jazz band who can tip their hats to tradition without having to hash out another tired version of "My Foolish Heart." Krakauer has accepted that klezmer has never been a static form of music and has no problem imbuing his own sense of creativity into Klezmer Madness within the constraints of this classic style.

-01. "Africa Bulgar" - Traditional - 3:43
-02. "Bogota Bulgar" - Traditional - 4:06
-03. "A Few Bowls Terkish" - Traditional - 4:37
-04. "At the Rabbit's Table" - Traditional - 5:14
-05. "Doina/Death March Suite" - Traditional - 10:32
-06. "Funky Dave" - Traditional - 5:53
-07. "The Ballad of Chernobyl" - Traditional - 5:19
-08. "Gong Doina" - Traditional - 2:19
-09. "Living With the H Tune" - Traditional - 6:03
-10. "Rachab" - Zorn - 1:27

* David Krakauer (clarinet, bass clarinet)
* Michael Alpert (vocals, accordion)
* David Licht (percussion)
* & guests



Conte Candoli - Powerhouse Trumpet (1955)

Conte Candoli - Powerhouse Trumpet (1955)
(aka: Groovin' Higher)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 125MB
Betlehem archives |  R275828
Secondo "Conte" Candoli (July 12, 1927–December 14, 2001) was an American jazz trumpeter based on the West Coast. He played in the big bands of Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman, and Dizzy Gillespie, and in Doc Severinsen's NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show. He played with Gerry Mulligan, and on Frank Sinatra's TV specials. He also recorded with Supersax, a Charlie Parker tribute band that consisted of a saxophone quintet, the rhythm section, and either a trumpet or trombone.
Powerhouse Trumpet, which was also previously issued under the title Groovin' Higher, is an immaculately performed set of straight-ahead bop finding trumpeter Conte Candoli in fine form. The 1999 Rhino reissue has been digitally remastered from the original tapes.

-1. "Toots Sweet" - Homan - 5:26
-2. "Jazz City Blues" - Holman - 4:12
-3. "My Old Flame" - Coslow, Johnston - 5:43
-4. "Full Count" - Candoli - 6:25
-5. "I'm Getting Sentimental overYou" - Bassman, Washington - 3:09
-6. "Four" - Davis - 3:58
-7. "Groovin' Higher" - Candoli - 5:11

* Conte Candoli (trumpet)
* Bill Holman (tenor saxophone)
* Lou Levy (piano)
* Larance Marable (drums)


28 March, 2012


Red Norvo - Music To Listen To Red Norvo By (1957)

Red Norvo - Music To Listen To Red Norvo By (1957)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 285MB
Although vibraphonist Red Norvo is the leader of this sextet date, clarinetist Bill Smith (who contributed the 20-minute four-movement "Divertimento") often sets the tone for the music. His work has classical elements to it, but the five shorter pieces (by Jack Montrose, Barney Kessel, Lennie Niehaus, Duane Tatro, and Norvo) are much more jazz oriented. Norvo's light-toned sextet (which consists of his vibes, flutist Buddy Collette, clarinetist Bill Smith, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Shelly Manne) was not a regularly working unit, but it sounds well-integrated and tight during the complex, but generally swinging, music.

-1. "Poeme" - Montrose - 5:53
-2. "Red Sails" - Kessel - 3:51
-3. "The Red Broom" - Norvo - 4:37
-4. "Rubricity" - Tatro - 3:54
-5. "Paying the Dues Blues" - Niehaus - 4:53
-6. "Divertimento: 1st Movement" - Smith - 4:18
-7. "Divertimento: 2nd Movement" - Smith - 6:42
-8. "Divertimento: 3rd Movement" - Smith - 4:43
-9. "Divertimento: 4th Movement" - Smith - 4:18

* Red Norvo (vibraphone)
* Bill Smith (clarinet)
* Buddy Collette (flute)
* Barney Kessel (guitar)
* Red Mitchell (bass)
* Shelly Manne (drums)


Master Musicians of Jajouka feat Bachir Attar 2000 - MMOJ with Talvin Singh (2000)

Master Musicians of Jajouka feat Bachir Attar 2000 - MMOJ with Talvin Singh (2000)
world | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 225MB
Point Music
Talvin Singh was reportedly pleased and amazed to win the Technics Mercury Prize in the U.K. in 1999, a highly commendable trade achievement, for his eclectic CD OK. His instant reaction to receiving the award was to disappear off the European club and concert circuit to jam for months with the famed Master Musicians of Jajouka, heroes of the Rif mountains in a less than easily accessible region of Morocco. Beat author William Burroughs once described the Master Musicians as "the World's Only 4,000-year-old band," and Brian Jones recorded a tremendous album with them in 1969 shortly before he died. The outfit of long, strange, and wonderful renown achieves something heretofore unexplored in the company of Singh. Here the guest introduces a hallucinogenic, soulfully high-tech texture to the primordial rhythms and riffs of the masters, creating one of those rare syntheses of past and present, a gorgeous (of loosely hooked) carpet of colors and shapes. There is a whiff of the controlled jam here, not as fresh or far from the studio as one might expect from the high Rif, but this may be due to the production hand of Singh himself in the elaborate remix. A heartfelt and utterly noncommercial collaboration, probably meaning that winning the Mercury doesn't mean that everything, stylistically, must be cast in stone.

-01. "Up to the Sky, Down to the Earth" - Attar, Singh - 6:29
-02. "The Truth Forever" - Attar - 10:23
-03. "Searching for Passion" - Attar, Singh - 3:37
-04. "Taksim" - Attar - 2:51
-05. "You Can Find the Feeling" - Attar, Singh, Somatik - 5:46
-06. "The Blessing for the World from God Only" - Attar - 6:46
-07. "Jammin in London" - Attar, Singh - 4:10
-08. "The House of Baraka" - Attar - 7:39
-09. "Above the Moo" - Attar, Singh - 4:30
-10. "The Magic of Peace" - Attar, Singh, Somatik - 5:47
-11. "The Magic of Peace [Remix]" - Attar, Singh, Somatik - 8:48


Modern Jazz Quartet - Dedicated To Connie (1960)

Modern Jazz Quartet - Dedicated To Connie (1960)
jazz | 2cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 595MB
After drummer Connie Kay passed away, this previously unreleased concert, recorded in Slovenia in 1960, was issued on a double CD and dedicated to him. The Modern Jazz Quartet (which also includes pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson and bassist Percy Heath) is heard in surprisingly inspired form playing their usual repertoire of the time. Highlights include a 23-minute medley of John Lewis compositions, "Bag's Groove," "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Django," "How High the Moon" and "Skating in Central Park." Lewis has stated that the group never played better than during this concert. Although that statement is debatable, the MJQ certainly sounds in prime form throughout the easily recommended release.

-1. "The Little Comedy/La Cantatrice/Harlequin/Fontessa" - Lewis - 23:05
-2. "'Round Midnight" - Hanighen, Monk, Williams - 4:09
-3. "The Cylinder" - Jackson - 6:02
-4. "Bags' Groove" - Jackson - 5:28
-5. "Odds Against Tomorrow" - Lewis - 8:12
-6. "It Don't Mean a Thing (If ItAin't Got That Swing)" - Ellington, Mills - 5:13
-7. "A Social Call" - Lewis - 4:52
-1. "Django" - Lewis - 4:40
-2. "I Should Care" - Cahn, Stordahl, Weston - 6:14
-3. "How High the Moon" - Hamilton, Lewis - 7:51
-4. "Colombine/Pulcinella" - Lewis - 9:22
-5. "Spanish Steps" - Lewis - 4:08
-6. "Pyramid (Blues for Junior)" - Brown - 10:41
-7. "Milt Meets Sid" - Jackson - 3:40
-8. "I Remember Clifford" - Golson, Hendricks - 6:03
-9. "Vendome" - Lewis - 2:42
-10. "Skating in Central Park" - Lewis - 6:10
Recorded live in Ljubljana, Slovenia on May 27, 1960.

* John Lewis (piano)
* Milt Jackson (vibraharp)
* Percy Heath (bass)
* Connie Kay (drums)

23 March, 2012


Louis Smith - Here Comes Louis Smith (1957) (20b SBM)

Louis Smith - Here Comes Louis Smith (1957)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 250MB
Blue Note | Connoisseur Edition 20-bit SBM
Louis Smith had a brilliant debut on this Blue Note album, his first of two before becoming a full-time teacher. The opener (Duke Pearson's "Tribute to Brownie") was a perfect piece for Smith to interpret, since his style was heavily influenced by Clifford Brown (who had died the previous year). He is also in excellent form on four of his basic originals and takes a particularly memorable solo on a haunting rendition of "Stardust." Altoist Cannonball Adderley (who used the pseudonym of "Buckshot La Funke" on this set, a name later used by Branford Marsalis), Duke Jordan or Tommy Flanagan on piano, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor make for a potent supporting cast, but the focus is mostly on the criminally obscure Louis Smith. After cutting his second Blue Note set and switching to teaching, Smith would not record again as a leader until 1978. All bop and '50s jazz fans are strongly advised to pick up this CD reissue before it disappears.

-1. "Tribute to Brownie" (Duke Pearson) - 6:38
-2. "Brill's Blues" - 8:22
-3. "Ande" - 6:42
-4. "Stardust" (Hoagy Carmichael) - 5:20
-5. "South Side" - 8:38
-6. "Val's Blues" - 6:37
All compositions by Louis Smith except as indicated
Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on February 4 (tracks 1, 2 & 5) and February 9 (tracks 3, 4 & 6), 1957.


* Louis Smith - trumpet
* Cannonball Adderley (credited as "Buckshot LeFonque") - alto saxophone (tracks 1-3, 5 & 6)
* Tommy Flanagan (tracks 3, 4 & 6), Duke Jordan (tracks 1, 2 & 5) - piano
* Doug Watkins - bass
* Art Taylor - drums



Big Satan - Live in Cognito (2006)

Big Satan - Live in Cognito (2006)
jazz | 2cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 960MB
Some bands are best experienced live. There's simply no denying the energy and element of surprise that occurs when playing in front of an audience. In recent years, advances in technology and a corresponding reduction in costs have closed the gap between studio and concert recordings to the point where an increasing number of artists now favor live recordings—some, like pianist Keith Jarrett, exclusively so. Livein Cognito isn't Big Satan's first live recording, but given that this trio has convened at irregular intervals for a over decade, it's undeniably its best.
Unlike Tim Berne's other groups—Science Friction, Hard Cell and the wholly improvisational Paraphrase—Big Satan is a more democratic collective which splits compositional duties between the saxophonist and guitarist Marc Ducret. Ducret is a charter member of Science Friction, as well as two earlier Berne groups, Bloodcount and Caos Totale, so there's plenty of shared history that gives both writers an equally shared vision in providing material for Big Satan. Tom Rainey has been Berne's exclusive drummer of choice for ten years, and while he may not contribute formal composition, he's an equal partner when it comes to shaping the trio's sound.
It's a surprisingly big sound for a group that has nothing anchoring the bottom end. Bass-less groups are hardly unique these days, but Big Satan has always differentiated itself through its complete avoidance of apportioning out what might be considered a bassist's role amongst its members. Rainey often anchors the trio rhythmically when the emphasis is on form; but regardless of the composer, it's usually so idiosyncratic that one may feel a pulse, but most will be challenged to actually define it.
Even given the opportunity to watch the group, its ability to navigate between spontaneity and tight structure is remarkable. This is not music for the faint at heart, but it's far removed from a style that some consider disconnected navel-gazing. If the abstruseness of the writing and improvisation seems to mask a greater purpose on first glance, repeated listens reveal a responsive unit that, while no doubt capable of surprising itself at times, remains unequivocally intentioned.
As much focused on texture as phrasing, Berne, Ducret and Rainey are all capable of extending the sonic capabilities of their instruments beyond the expected. And while there's little here that could be called beautiful, the trio uses dynamics to create music that's emotionally far-reaching, with its own ebb and flow.
Dark and spacious in places, visceral, dense and penetrating in others, the impact of Livein Cognito can be heard in the audience's response. They may not always know how they're getting where they're going, but Big Satan fans can always be assured an intriguing trip.

-1. "Deadpan" - 10:59
-2. "L'Ombra di Verdi" - 11:48
-3. "Untitled" - 14:13
-4. "Ce Sont les Noms des Mots" - 17:05
-5. "Un Peu d'Histoire" - 9:36
-1. "Mechanicals Failure" - 10:30
-2. "Mr. Subliminal" - 12:32
-3. "Untitled" - 16:19
-4. "The Mini-Bar Incident" - 11:00
-5. "Cause and Reflect" - 11:27
-6. "BG... uh-oh" - 9:14

* Marc Ducret: guitar
* Tom Rainey: drums
* Tim Berne: saxophone


Dexter Gordon - Daddy Plays The Horn (1955)

Dexter Gordon - Daddy Plays The Horn (1955)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 190MB
During a period of Dexter Gordon's (tenor sax) life -- when he was deep in the throws of chronic drug addiction -- the artist was miraculously able to reignite his career during the latter part of 1955. After several years of being out of the spotlight, Gordon resurfaced on the Big Apple-based indie Bethlehem imprint with the half-dozen sides that comprise Daddy Plays the Horn (1956). Joining him as key constituents of the credited Dexter Gordon Quartet are Kenny Drew (piano), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), and Larry Marable (drums). While the support team provides Gordon top-notch contributions throughout, it is unquestionably Drew who offers the most in terms of active interaction and his prominence can not be overstated. Nowhere is that as noticeable as the good-natured interaction heard on the disc's opener, the Gordon-penned title composition "Daddy Plays the Horn." In fact it could be argued that Drew enhances the tenor to the point of practically being a co-leader. The update of Charlie "Bird" Parker's bop standard "Confirmation" is taken at a steady mid-tempo pace, allowing plenty of room for the participants to have their say and not get in the way of the melody. Gordon seems considerably more relaxed and comfortable as he spreads line upon line of inspired improvisation. Drew is once again a real treat to hear briefly taking charge of the rhythm section. The pair of ballads on Daddy Plays the Horn are nothing short of stellar and stand as simple, emotive expressions unto themselves. "Darn That Dream" embraces the warmth of Gordon's tenor as his sensual phrasing leaves just enough space for Drew to sonically bridge the gap with his own unhurried and stylish chords. The generically monikered "Number Four" is anything but ordinary. The Gordon original jumps right from the opening and the ensemble lets loose with equally solid licks beneath his cool tone. Drew gets in the driver's seat missing nary a measure to reveal what could easily be his most tasteful contributions to date. The same can be said of bassist Vinnegar, who is briefly spotlighted on an efficient (if not somewhat sparse) solo. "Autumn in New York" -- the album's other essential ballad -- is proof that despite Gordon's addiction, he had retained his singular and precious sense of lyricism. Indeed, the Great American Songbook entry has rarely been permeated in such a meaningful way. The seamless transitions between Gordon and Drew are further evidence of their undeniable bond. Saving what may be the best example of the gathered instrumentalists flexing their respective be-bop muscle, "You Can Depend on Me" rounds out the platter with a bang. Each bandmember gets a final opportunity to shine -- which they individually take full advantage of. In 2005, the Shout! Factory label reissued Daddy Plays the Horn, placing the six selections in the correct running order, and the digital remastering by Randy Perry has the classic sounding better than ever.

-1. "Number Four" (9:08)
-2. "Autumn in New York" (7:50)
-3. "You Can Depend On Me" (4:21)
-4. "Daddy Plays the Horn" (4:51)
-5. "Confirmation" (6:30)
-6. "Darn That Dream" (8:59)

* Dexter Gordon — tenor saxophone
* Kenny Drew — Piano
* Leroy Vinnegar — Bass
* Lawrence Marable — Drums

19 March, 2012


Rempis Percussion Quartet - Hunter-Gatherers (2007)

Rempis Percussion Quartet - Hunter-Gatherers (2007)
jazz | 2cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 355MB
482 Music
Recorded live on tour at the Hunter-Gatherer club in Columbia, South Carolina, this double CD is the third release from saxophonist Dave Rempis' The Rempis Percussion Quartet, and a logical progression for what has been called one of the best live bands in Chicago.
Rempis' most high profile gig is providing the improvisational firepower to the frontline of the Vandermark 5, but his saxophones are increasingly featured in a range of bands on the fertile Chicago scene. The Percussion Quartet reunites him with Vandermark 5 drummer, Tim Daisy, Frank Rosaly, also behind the trapset, and Anton Hatwich on bass—all regular collaborators in each others projects.
The sleeve notes state that all the music is fully improvised—a necessary disclosure as a cursory listen could easily impute compositional intent to several of the lengthy extemporizations. Such group cohesion is evident in the often steady pulse, either upfront or implied, from the tandem percussionists.
Rempis' fluent outpourings frequently turn lyrical, which when allied with his use of repetition to provide structure, often suggests the preconceived. While at his most freewheeling on alto saxophone, Rempis covers all the bases, getting down and dirty on baritone, preaching on tenor, but still skronking and squealing as the moment demands. Hatwich's bass alternates between roles as a free agent—providing commentary—and the anchoring to freer flights of fancy. When drums, bass and saxophone lock onto a riff, they don't let go, constituting a unit of fearsome power. The two drummers largely operate in close proximity, playing around and through each others patterns, and while there are moments of delicacy and calm, it is the rhythmic attack which sticks in memory.
The band stretches out in the live setting with three of the cuts clocking in at between eighteen and twenty seven minutes, and it is to their credit that they sustain the interest over the longer pieces, which evolve through multiple sections. The compelling opener "A Night At The Ranch Part 1 sets out the bands stall, pitching driving alto against bustling polyrhythms. By contrast, "The Bus and the Canyon starts out soulful before a bass solo leads into a dark riff. Each piece encompasses several moods, defying simple characterization. Of the shorter pieces, "Black Book quickly gets into a stomping groove and stays there, while the closing "Larks and Loons is a playful alto jaunt over restrained, but nonetheless buoyant percussion and bass.
While the sound is a perfectly acceptable for a live recording, I wish there was some stereo separation between the two percussionists. Jazz is all about interaction, and when it you can't tell who plays what or when, then there is a dimension missing. That gripe aside this is an exciting set and a fascinating take on the art of long form free jazz improvisation.

-1. "A Night At The Ranch pt1" - 18:29
-2. "The Bus And The Canyon" - 27:28
-1. "More Green Than Giraffe" - 23:25
-2. "Black Book" - 11:17
-3. "A Night At The Ranch pt2" - 8:47
-4. "Larks And Loons" - 6:58

* Dave Rempis: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones
* Anton Hatwich: bass
* Frank Rosaly: percussion
* Tim Daisy: percussion



Hampton Hawes - All Night Session! vol 1-3

Hampton Hawes - All Night Session! vol 1-3
jazz | 3cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 225+230+225MB
vol 1: On the night of November 12 and into the morning of November 13, 1956, a quartet led by pianist Hampton Hawes recorded enough material to fill three long-playing phonograph record albums. This studio session contained many elements associated with a live gig: the work took place during regular nightclub performing hours, the improvisations were mostly extended, and there were no alternate takes. A remarkable freshness and spontaneity prevailed throughout the session. Although controversy continues regarding the original sequence of titles, Duke Jordan's "Jordu" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High" are superb openers for this first of three volumes. In addition to an invigorating run down "Broadway," Hawes improvised two original themes: "Takin' Care" and a bluesy walk entitled "Hampton's Pulpit" that stretched out for more than 11 minutes, making it the longest track of the entire all-night session. Collaborating with the pianist on this historic date were guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Eldridge "Bruz" Freeman. The interplay between these four men is marvelous, particularly when heard with headphones or through a sound system allowing for a full appreciation of the stereophonic balance achieved by the recording engineers.
vol 2: This is the second of three albums that came about as the result of an all-night recording session that took place in Los Angeles on November 12 and 13, 1956. Although Hampton Hawes spontaneously created five original tunes at this extraordinarily inspired date, everything on Vol. 2 comes directly out of the standard bop musician's working repertoire. The quartet, with bassist Red Mitchell, guitarist Jim Hall, and drummer Eldridge "Bruz" Freeman, collectively improvise their way through four attractive standards ("I Should Care" turned out to be the only slow ballad of the entire session) and three of Dizzy Gillespie's most refreshing creations. In 1958 Hawes was quoted as saying "It's hard to put into words how good it feels to play jazz when it's really swinging...I've reached a point where the music fills you up so much emotionally that you feel like shouting hallelujah -- like people do in church when they're converted to God. That's the way I was feeling the night we recorded All Night Session!"
vol 3 of the Hampton Hawes Quartet's All Night Session contains three spontaneously improvised variations on the blues, one very cool extended rendition of Duke Ellington's "Do Nothin' 'Till You Hear from Me" and a strikingly handsome treatment of Harold Arlen's "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea." The briskly paced "Blues #4" is especially progressive and exciting. Apparently "Blues of a Sort" was a warm-up performance, as voices are audible (discussing a football game!) in the background during the bass solo. For this one-take marathon late-night session of November 12 and 13, 1956, Hawes chose to share the studio with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Eldridge "Bruz" Freeman, who had replaced Chuck Thompson following that musician's sudden inability to continue touring with the group earlier that year. "We gave Chuck what money we could and left him sitting on a hospital cot in a white bathrobe." This grim image, like much of Hawes' autobiography Raise Up Off Me, paints a stark picture of the narcotics epidemic among jazz musicians during the '50s. Although this was the first peak of his career, Hawes later admitted that "during the fall of 1956 I was messing up consistently -- showing late on gigs or missing them altogether." He had lots of offers for work, including the possibility of providing music for a film soundtrack: "Wanted to do it, would have paid good, but at the time I didn't even have the bread to get high enough to get to the studio to see what they had in mind." One of the great incongruities of bop is the fact that Charlie Parker and the musicians who were most directly influenced by him were able to be so creative and prolific while grappling with addictions that confounded, immobilized, and eventually slew them. All of these insights quietly swarm beneath the surface of what added up to more than two hours of exceptionally fine quartet jazz.

-1. "Jordu" - Jordan - 7:07
-2. "Groovin' High" - Coburn, Gillespie, Parker, Rose… - 5:48
-3. "Takin' Care" - Hawes - 8:09
-4. "Broadway" - Bird, Henderson, McRae, Wood - 6:54
-5. "Hampton's Pulpit" - Hawes - 11:14
-1. "I'll Remember April" - DePaul, Johnston, Raye - 7:02
-2. "I Should Care" - Cahn, Stordahl, Weston - 4:23
-3. "Woody 'n You" - Gillespie - 5:41
-4. "Two Bass Hit" - Gillespie, Lewis - 2:50
-5. "Will You Still Be Mine?" - Adair, Dennis - 6:55
-6. "April in Paris" - Duke, Harburg - 7:30
-7. "Blue 'n' Boogie" - Gillespie, Paparelli - 8:11
-1. "Do Nothin' Till You Hear fromMe" - Ellington, Russell - 11:03
-2. "Blues, No. 3" - Hawes - 7:38
-3. "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" - Arlen, Koehler - 11:00
-4. "Blues, No. 4" - Hawes - 6:17
-5. "Blues of a Sort" - Hawes - 5:37

* Hampton Hawes - piano
* Jim Hall - guitar
* Red Mitchell - bass
* Bruz Freeman - drums


13 March, 2012


Ketil Bjornstad - The Sea II (1998)

Ketil Bjornstad - The Sea II (1998)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 255MB
Pianist Ketil Bjørnstad's quartet set with cellist David Darling, guitarist Terje Rypdal, and drummer Jon Christensen is almost a stereotype of an ECM release. His ten originals all set an introspective and mostly somber mood, their themes are less important than the atmosphere that they form, and the individual solos of the musicians are less significant than the ensemble sound. The general mood is a bit sleepy and the development from song to song is quite slow, although there are a few fiery and rockish solos from guitarist Rypdal. But overall, there is little on this well-played set that rises above the level of stimulating background music.

-01. "Laila" - 5:26
-02. "Outward Bound" - 4:52
-03. "Brand" - 5:46
-04. "The Mother" - 4:24
-05. "Song for a Planet" - 4:04
-06. "Consequences" ( Darling, Jon Christensen, K Bjørnstad, Terje Rypdal) - 6:28
-07. "Agnes" - 4:26
-08. "Mime" - 4:22
-09. "December" - 3:18
-10. "South" - 4:49
All compositions by Ketil Bjørnstad except as indicated

* Ketil Bjørnstad - piano
* Terje Rypdal - guitar
* David Darling - cello
* Jon Christensen - drums


Ketil Bjornstad - The Sea (1995)

Ketil Bjornstad - The Sea (1995)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 335MB
This CD from pianist Ketil Bjornstad fits the ECM stereotype. The music is generally mournful, full of space, floating and very much a soundtrack for one's thoughts. The 12 parts of "The Sea," which find Bjornstad joined by cellist David Darling, guitarist Terje Rypdal and drummer Jon Christensen, set somber moods rather than introduce memorable themes and the only real excitement is supplied by Rypdal's rockish guitar. Some listeners may enjoy its introspective and peaceful nature of these performances but most will find this a bit of a bore.

- "I" - 6:58
- "II" - 7:28
- "III" - 4:40
- "IV" - 8:49
- "V" - 6:39
- "VI" - 9:19
- "VII" - 5:15
- "VIII" - 2:39
- "IX" - 5:47
- "X" - 4:31
- "XI" - 7:26
- "XII" - 3:39
All compositions by Ketil Bjørnstad

* Ketil Bjørnstad - piano
* Terje Rypdal - guitar
* David Darling - cello
* Jon Christensen - drums


John Coltrane - One Down, One Up: Live At The Half Note (1965)

John Coltrane - One Down, One Up: Live At The Half Note (1965)
jazz | 2cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 645MB
2005 was a watershed year for unreleased music by John Coltrane. First there was the unbelievable Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane Live at Carnegie Hall. Now Impulse offers this double CD of radio broadcasts in One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note. It was recorded in March and May of 1965 by DJ Alan Grant for radio broadcast; while recording for broadcast, many hosts would usually just drop in on a session and tape the band for under an hour and take no note of catching a performance from the beginning. That rule applies here. The first disc was recorded on March 26. Grant's introduction begins during Jimmy Garrison's solo. The band had already been playing the title cut for 35 minutes. Coltrane steps in a couple of minutes in and blows hard for nearly 28 minutes. Trane had already released A Love Supreme and was seeking to expand the harmonic reaches of his sound, exploring every avenue available to him. The band astonishes too. Here McCoy Tyner, Garrison, and Elvin Jones push the limit, swinging hard and fast (Jones' playing is especially outrageous). Tyner's big block chords play toward ascending Coltrane's scales, not trying to keep up but expanding the chromatic palette with a fury. He drops out around the ten-minute mark and it's Trane and Jones forcing each other into unknown corners before breaking out of them into new dimensions. Garrison's attack is not content to try to keep it grounded but provide enough of an anchor for the intervallic exploration to be limitless. Garrison drops out as well and it's a duet near the end of the track, Jones matching Coltrane measure for measure with a breathless intensity before Tyner and Garrison reenter to take it out with the modal head coming back in a completely different form. What's remarkable is that Trane avoided his sheets-of-sound approach entirely here. His solo is focused and the restraint is harmonic, but it results in a performance of expansive force and muscular taste. And it nearly is. Despite a few near washouts in the sound, Trane's capability to continue to build a solo is simply astonishing. After a minute of announcements, the band kicks into "Afro Blue." This cut, a mere 12 minutes, is a tour de force for the band (Tyner's solo in particular).
Disc two, from May 7, thankfully, begins at the beginning, so to speak. The band is introduced before they start paying "Songs of Praise," an abstract workout more dissonant than the earlier show. But here again, the band locks into Coltrane's solo from the jump. Here it's Tyner shining a light from the stand. His ascending and descending chords offer large foundations for Trane to lift off from. Jones' accents after nearly every phrase propel Garrison and Coltrane to step out and move their own scalar investigations to more complex territory. The final track, "My Favorite Things," is nearly 23 minutes here. Coltrane uniquely uses the tenor to introduce the tune before switching to the soprano. Tyner uses a skeletal frame on the theme and it goes off almost immediately with Coltrane soloing all around the melody. He returns often enough for the tune to keep its body, but his Eastern modal progressions go far afield. Tyner's solo is a flurry of assonance and dissonance with his right hand. Unfortunately, just as another mode asserts itself, Grant fades the band out, just as they hit the stratosphere. Unfortunate, yes, but it takes nothing away from the absolute necessity of this set for Coltrane fans. The sound is wonderful -- except in the dropout patches that last no more than a second or two. This is a release of historic importance and one that, now that it's off the bootleg market, will be talked about by jazz fans and Coltrane aficionados for the foreseeable future.

Disc 1
-1. "Introduction and Announcements" – 1:36
-2. "One Down, One Up" – 27:39
-3. "Announcement" – 0:51
-4. "Afro-Blue" – 12:44
Disc 2
-1. "Introduction and Announcements" – 0:43
-2. "Song of Praise" – 19:38
-3. "Announcements" – 0:43
-4. "My Favorite Things" – 22:37

* John Coltrane – tenor saxophone/soprano saxophone
* Jimmy Garrison – double bass
* Elvin Jones – drums
* McCoy Tyner – piano

08 March, 2012


Assif Tsahar - 'ein sof' (1997)

Assif Tsahar - 'ein sof' (1997)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 465MB
With William Parker and Susie Ibarra as his trio cohorts, Assif Tsahar is keeping major league company on this disc and Ein Sof shows he's up to the challenge. The tenor saxophonist is fond of jumping to Albert Ayler-like cries but he doesn't really develop solos out of those tonal wails like Ayler did. He's probably closer to Charles Gayle's stream of notes pouring forth overall but Tsahar is more measured and economical, allowing the pieces to trail off when the collective energy is exhausted and ideas drained. Ein Sof features half-a-dozen full pieces broken up by six short snippets of "Ephemeral Symbiosis." The latter segments range from hard-charging freedom pulse and ballads to ethereal pieces cued by Parker's bowed bass or Ibarra's percussive clatter, so it's hard to know if it's one continuous piece done cut-up style or short bits of distinct improvisations given the same title. Tsahar hits the ground running with "Is Here Tomorrow Will" while "Through Forgotton Ancestors" starts up more melodic and meditative, with a tart opening theme and freedom pulse feel with Ibarra focused on her percussive click repertoire. "Sun Drops" finds Tsahar blowing almost subliminal harmonics behind Parker's bowed strokes and Ibarra's bells and the more intense, Ayleresque title track returns to exploring the tonal similarity of broad tenor smears against Parker's bowed bottom. "Shadow Puppets" angularly probes a relatively spare rhythm pulse that ebbs and flows in intensity before bleeding into "Internal Dialogue" so smoothly you might mistake it for the same track until the latter's more robust, brawny character comes through. Tsahar goes for his Ayler shriek repertoire with Parker's potent bowed strum and the busy clatter of Ibarra's percussion and trademark light touch -- it always sounds like she's surrounding the center of the music more than establishing it. Ein Sof is a strong debut and one that should appeal to David S. Ware fans, although Tsahar's tone isn't as full and his lines tend to be shorter and more fragmented. But this music passes the fundamental test of collective improvisation -- it takes the listener on a voyage, unfolding organically though swirls and eddies, ebbing and flowing with the inspiration of the improvisers.

-01. "Is Here Tomorrow Will" - Tsahar - 10:32
-02. "Ephemeral Symbiosis (Pt. 3)" - Tsahar - 1:59
-03. "Ephemeral Symbiosis (Pt. 2)" - Tsahar - 1:34
-04. "Through Forgotton Ancestors" - Tsahar - 12:31
-05. "Sun Drops" - Tsahar - 7:56
-06. "Ein Sof" - Tsahar - 7:12
-07. "Ephemeral Symbiosis (Pt. 5)" - Tsahar - 2:37
-08. "Ephemeral Symbiosis (Pt. 1)" - Tsahar - 1:34
-09. "Shadow Puppets" - Tsahar - 10:36
-10. "Internal Dialogue" - Tsahar - 11:38
-11. "Ephemeral Symbiosis (Pt. 4)" - Tsahar - 1:53
-12. "Ephemeral Symbiosis, Pt. 6" - Tsahar - 1:43

* Assif Tsahar - tenor sax
* William Parker - bass
* Susie Ibarra - druns


Coleman Hawkins - Sirius (1966)

Coleman Hawkins - Sirius (1966)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 235MB
Hawkins's final studio session is rather sad. Due to an excess of drink and his unwillingness to eat, the great tenor-saxophonist went steadily downhill between 1965 and his death four years later. Recorded in late 1966, this quartet set finds Hawk constantly short of breath and unable to play long phrases. He is able to get away with this deficiency on the faster pieces but the ballads are rather painful to hear. Even at this late stage Hawkins still had his majestic tone but this recording is only of historical interest.

-1. "The Man I Love" - Gershwin, Gershwin - 5:09
-2. "Don't Blame Me" - Fields, McHugh - 4:38
-3. "Just a Gigolo" - Brammer, Caesar, Casucci - 2:56
-4. "The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)" - Jones, Kahn - 3:53
-5. "Time on My Hands" - Adamson, Gordon, Youmans - 4:03
-6. "Sweet and Lovely" - Arnheim, LeMare, Tobias - 4:24
-7. "Exactly Like You" - Fields, McHugh - 6:52
-8. "Street of Dreams" - Lewis, Young - 4:12
-9. "Sugar" - Alexander, Mitchell, Pinkard - 5:13

* Coleman Hawkins - tenor sax
* Barry Harris - piano
* Bob Cranshaw - bass
* Eddie Locke - drums


Hampton Hawes - At The Piano (1976)

Hampton Hawes - At The Piano (1976)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 215MB
Hampton Hawes' final recording found him returning not only to the acoustic piano after having dabbled in electric keyboards from 1972-74, but to producer Lester Koenig and his Contemporary label, where Hawes recorded most of his classic gems of the 1950s. Teamed up with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, Hawes shows that he was still in prime form. The trio plays two of Hawes' originals, some current and worthwhile pop tunes ("Killing Me Softly With His Song" and "Sunny"), and "Blue In Green" and "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." The CD, also has in its liner notes a very interesting conversation between Hawes and Koenig from January 20, 1977; both would pass away before the year ended.

-1. "Killing Me Softly With His Song - Fox, Gimbel" - 6:04
-2. "Soul Sign Eight" - Hawes - 8:11
-3. "Sunny" - Hebb, Kern - 5:00
-4. "Morning" - Hawes - 7:28
-5. "Blue and Green" - Davis, Evans - 5:25
-6. "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" - Hammerstein, Romberg - 6:42

* Hampton Hawes - piano
* Ray Brown - bass
* Shelly Manne - drums

05 March, 2012


Gabor Szabo - The Sorcerer (1967)

Gabor Szabo - The Sorcerer (1967)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 405MB
Impulse! | 20bit SBM
Gabor Szabo's quintet featuring Jimmy Stewart was one of the guitarist's very best units. Live performances like this, recorded at Boston's Jazz Workshop, document some of the excitement the group stirred in 1967-1968. Included in the 1997 CD reissue are three excellent tracks ("Los Matadoros," "People," and "Corcovado") recorded at the same concert, which originally appeared on More Sorcery. The playing seems inspired, and the interplay within the group is something to behold -- even when performing lightweight tunes like "The Beat Goes On."

-01. "The Beat Goes On" (Sonny Bono) - 4:52
-02. "Little Boat (O Barquinho)" (Ronaldo Bôscoli, Roberto Menescal) - 4:23
-03. "Lou-Ise" (Jimmy Stewart) - 4:17
-04. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" (Cole Porter) - 5:18
-05. "Space" - 6:40
-06. "Stronger Than Us" (Francis Lai, Pierre Barough) - 4:13
-07. "Mizrab" - 6:58
-08. "Comin' Back" (Clyde Otis, Szabó) 1:56
-09. "Los Matadoros" - 12:09 Bonus track on CD reissue
-10. "People" (Bob Merrill, Jule Styne) - 5:18 Bonus track on CD reissue
-11. "Corcovado" (Antonio Carlos Jobim) - 3:22 Bonus track on CD reissue
All compositions by Gábor Szabó except as indicated
Recorded at The Jazz Workshop in Boston, Massachusetts on April 14 & 15, 1967

* Gábor Szabó - guitar
* Jimmy Stewart - guitar
* Lajos "Louis" Kabok - bass
* Marty Morell – drums
* Hal Gordon - percussion


Material - Seven Souls (1989)

Material - Seven Souls (1989)
rock | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 430MB
Triloka 1997
This release of Seven Souls should not be confused with the original issue, which came out on the Virgin label in 1989 and is now out of print. The Triloka reissue improves on the original by adding four remixed versions to the regular album tracks (placing them, strangely, at the head of the program instead of at the end) and by printing the William Burroughs' texts which function as the album's focal point. Those texts are fascinating and disturbing: on the title track, Burroughs explains ancient Egyptian beliefs about the gradual process of death, while Sly Dunbar delivers a modified dancehall beat underneath. On "Soul Killer," he speculates on whether the soul can survive nuclear assault, while the band attempts, apparently, to simulate nuclear devastation musically (the result is much more musically interesting in its remixed version). "The Western Lands" is the album's masterpiece, a travel guide for the soul with an eerily funky accompaniment of melodic eight-string bass and one-drop drumming. The remix is even better. In its original version, this was only a pretty good Material album; in this reissue, it's among the band's best.

-01 "The Western Lands" [a Dangerous Road Mix] (Laswell, Burroughs) – 8:31
-02 "Seven Souls" [Tim Simenon Mix] (Tim Simenon, Burroughs) – 7:06
-03 "Soul Killer" [Remote Control Mix by Terre Thaemlitz] (T Thaemlitz, Burroughs) – 8:15
-04 "Ineffect" (Bill Laswell, Nicky Skopelitis, William S. Burroughs, Simon Shaheen) – 7:34
-05 "Seven Souls" (Laswell, Burroughs) – 5:42
-06 "Soul Killer" (Laswell, Burroughs) – 4:32
-07 "The Western Lands" (Laswell, Skopelitis, Burroughs) – 6:54
-08 "Deliver" (Laswell, Skopelitis, Foday Musa Suso) – 5:48
-09 "Equation" (Laswell, Skopelitis, Rammellzee) – 5:06
-10 "The End of Words" (Laswell, Burroughs) – 5:06

* William S. Burroughs – voice
* Rammellzee – voice ("Equation")
* Foday Musa Suso – voice ("Deliver")
* Fahiem Dandan – voice ("Ineffect")
* Nicky Skopelitis – 6 and 12 string guitars, baglama, coral sitar, saz, Fairlight
* Simon Shaheen – violin
* L. Shankar – violin
* Bill Laswell – 4, 6 and 8-string basses, acoustic guitar, tapes, percussion
* Jeff Bova – electronic keyboards
* Sly Dunbar – drums, Fairlight
* Aïyb Dieng – percussion.
"The Western Lands" [a Dangerous Road Mix]
* Jah Wobble – bass
* Bill Laswell – bass samples
* Nicky Skopelitis – guitar
* Tetsu Inoue – electronics
* DJ Spooky – noise
"The Seven Souls" [The Secret Name]
* Alicia Renee aka Blue Eyes: vocals
* Nicky Skopelitis: guitar
* Bill Laswell: bass, keyboards, turntable


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