13 March, 2013


Charles Mingus - Let My Children Hear Music (1972)

Charles Mingus - Let My Children Hear Music (1972)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 395MB
Columbia CK48910
On the original LP issued by Columbia, Mingus thanked producer Teo Macero for "his untiring efforts in producing the best album I have ever made." From his deathbed in Mexico in 1979 he sent a message to Sy Johnson (who was responsible for many of the arrangements on the album), saying that Let My Children Hear Music was the record he liked most from his career. Although Mingus' small-group recordings are the ones most often cited as his premier works, this album does, in fact, rank at the top of his oeuvre and compares favorably with the finest large-ensemble jazz recordings by anyone, including Ellington. The pieces had been brewing over the years, one from as far back as 1939, and had been given more or less threadbare performances on occasion, but this was his first chance to record them with a sizable, well-rehearsed orchestra. Still, there were difficulties, both in the recording and afterward. The exact personnel is sketchy, largely due to contractual issues, several arrangers were imported to paste things together, making the true authorship of some passages questionable, and Macero (as he did with various Miles Davis projects) edited freely and sometimes noticeably. The listener will happily put aside all quibbles, however, when the music is heard. From the opening, irresistible swing of "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jiveass Slippers" to the swirling depths of "The I of Hurricane Sue," these songs are some of the most glorious, imaginative, and full of life ever recorded. Each piece has its own strengths, but special mention should be made of two. "Adagio Ma Non Troppo" is based entirely on a piano improvisation played by Mingus in 1964 and issued on Mingus Plays Piano. Its logical structure, playful nature, and crystalline moments of beauty would be astounding in a polished composition; the fact that it was originally improvised is almost unbelievable. "Hobo Ho," a holy-roller powerhouse featuring the impassioned tenor of James Moody, reaches an incredible fever pitch, the backing horns volleying riff after riff at the soloists, the entire composition teetering right on the edge of total chaos. Let My Children Hear Music is a towering achievement and a must for any serious jazz fan. The CD issue includes one track, "Taurus in the Arena of Life," not on the original LP, but unfortunately gives only snippets from the Mingus essay that accompanied the album. That essay, covering enormous territory, reads like an inspired Mingus bass solo and should be sought out by interested listeners. One can't recommend this album highly enough.

-1. "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jiveass Slippers" – 9:34
-2. "Adagio ma Non Troppo" – 8:22
-3. "Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too" – 9:26
-4. "Taurus in the Arena of Life" – 4:17
-5. "Hobo Ho" – 10:07
-6. "The Chill of Death" – 7:38
-7. "The I of Hurricane Sue" – 10:09


Orlando Gibbons - Complete Keyboard Works (2007)

Orlando Gibbons - Complete Keyboard Works (2007)
Daniel-Ben Pineaar - piano
classical | 2cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 320MB
Pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar, an English performer and educator of South African origin, is one of the few individuals to have played the Renaissance organ and virginal music of Orlando Gibbons on a modern piano. One of the others was Glenn Gould, from whom Pienaar takes pains to distinguish himself in his own booklet notes. He strives for a more pianistic approach in contrast to Gould's abstract (Pienaar's word is "arid") playing, with a good deal of pedal and a light, feathery treatment of the quick runs that emerge from Gibbons' basically chordal textures. In various other ways, Pienaar takes Gibbons' music merely as a creative starting point. He groups most of the music into heterogenous sets of from three to five pieces, creating suite-like configurations that Gibbons wouldn't have recognized. It may be that, on a piano, Gould (who named Gibbons, not Bach, as his favorite composer) better complements the complex, serious style of Gibbons' music; Pienaar comes off as frilly and a bit sentimental in comparison. But the real choice is between piano and the instruments for which Gibbons wrote the music. Hear the recording of a program similar to Pienaar's by John Toll, playing a small organ, on the Linn label; how the focus stays on the contrapuntal structure of the music, how the rapid runs complement that structure instead of seeming like an exotic effect, how the serious, intellectual quality of Gibbons' keyboard music, the perfect counterpart to his refined madrigals. There's no doubting the elegance and the technical facility of Pienaar's performances. The only doubt arises when one considers the question of their necessity.

01 - Fantasia MB10
02 - Pavan MB17
03 - Galliard MB24
04 - Ground MB26
05 - Mask The Fairest nymph MB43
06 - Fantasia MB14
07 - Alman MB35
08 - Galliard MB25
09 - Ground The Italian ground MB27
10 - Mask Lincoln’s Inn Mask MB44
11 - Prelude MB2
12 - Alman MB37
13 - Alman MB36
14 - Fantasia MB6
15 - Fantasia MB5
16 - Galliard Lady Hutton MB20
17 - Galliard MB23
18 - Galliard MB21
19 - Fantasia MB9
20 - Pavan MB16
21 - Ground Whoop, do me no harm, good man MB31
22 - Ground Peascod time, or, The hunt’s up MB30
01 - Fantasia MB7
02 - Alman MB33
03 - Coranto French Coranto MB38
04 - Coranto MB39
05 - Mask Welcome home MB42
06 - Prelude MB1
07 - Versus MB4
08 - Fantasia MB11
09 - Alman MB34
10 - Coranto MB40
11 - Fantasia MB13
12 - Mask The temple mask MB45
13 - Ground The Queens’s command MB28
14 - Ground The woods so wild MB29
15 - French Air MB32
16 - Prelude MB3
17 - Fantasia MB8
18 - Pavan MB15
19 - Galliard MB22
20 - Mask Nann’s mask or French Alman MB41
21 - Pavan Lord Salisbury MB18
22 - Galliard Lord Salisbury MB19
23 - Fantasia MB12


Lee Morgan - The Rajah (1966)

Lee Morgan - The Rajah (1966)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 280MB
Blue Note
This long-lost Lee Morgan session was not released for the first time until it was discovered in the Blue Note vaults by Michael Cuscuna in 1984; it has still not been reissued on CD. Originals by Cal Massey, Duke Pearson ("Is That So") and Walter Davis, in addition to a couple of surprising pop tunes ("What Not My Love" and "Once in My Lifetime") and Morgan's title cut, are well-played by the quintet (which includes the trumpeter/leader, Hank Mobley on tenor, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Billy Higgins). Much of the music is reminiscent of The Jazz Messengers and that may have been the reason that it was lost in the shuffle for Morgan was soon investigating modal-oriented tunes. Despite its neglect, this is a fine session that Lee Morgan and hard bop fans will want.

-1. "A Pilgrim's Funny Farm" (Massey) - 13:36
-2. "The Rajah" (Morgan) - 9:11
-3. "Is That So?" (Pearson) - 5:18
-4. "Davisamba" (Davis) - 6:46
-5. "What Now, My Love?" (Bécaud) - 5:22
-6. "Once in My Lifetime" (Bricusse, Newley) - 5:47

* Lee Morgan - trumpet
* Hank Mobley - tenor saxophone
* Cedar Walton - piano
* Paul Chambers - bass
* Billy Higgins - drums



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