29 April, 2013


Sonny Stitt, Bud Powell, JJ Johnson (1950)

Sonny Stitt, Bud Powell, JJ Johnson (1950)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 195MB
This superb CD reissues the complete output of three classic bop sessions including five "new" alternate takes. Sonny Stitt (who plays tenor throughout) is heard in a quintet with trombonist J.J. Johnson, pianist John Lewis, bassist Nelson Boyd and drummer Max Roach (playing three Johnson compositions and the original version of John Lewis's "Afternoon in Paris") and in a quartet with the great pianist Bud Powell, bassist Curly Russell and Max Roach. The latter two sessions are highlighted by rapid versions of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm," "Strike up the Band" and "Fine and Dandy." Highly recommended music.

-1. "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" (Walter Jurmann, Gus Kahn, Bronisław Kaper) - 2:57
-2. "Sonny Side" - 2:21
-3. "Bud's Blues" - 2:32
-4. "Sunset" - 3:44
-5. "Fine and Dandy" (Paul James, Kay Swift) - 2:39
-6. "Fine and Dandy" [alternate take] (James, Swift) - 2:38 Bonus track on CD reissue
-7. "Strike Up the Band" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) - 3:26
-8. "I Want to Be Happy" (Irving Caesar, Vincent Youmans) - 3:09
-9. "Taking a Chance on Love" (Vernon Duke, Ted Fetter, John Latouche) - 2:32
-10. "Afternoon in Paris" (John Lewis) - 3:03
-11. "Afternoon in Paris" [alternate take] (Lewis) - 2:59 Bonus track on CD reissue
-12. "Elora" (J.J. Johnson) - 3:03
-13. "Elora" [alternate take] (Johnson) - 3:07
-14. "Teapot" (Johnson) - 2:43
-15. "Teapot" [alternate take] (Johnson) - 3:01
-16. "Blue Mode" (Johnson) - 3:45
-17. "Blue Mode" [alternate take] (Johnson) - 2:49
* All compositions by Sonny Stitt except as indicated
* Recorded in New York City on October 17, 1949 (tracks 10-17), December 11, 1949 (tracks 1-4) and January 26, 1950 (tracks 5-9)

* Sonny Stitt - tenor saxophone
* J. J. Johnson - trombone (tracks 10-17)
* John Lewis (tracks 10-17), Bud Powell (tracks 1-9) - piano
* Nelson Boyd (tracks 10-17), Curly Russell (tracks 1-9) - bass
* Max Roach - drums



John Carter & Bobby Bradford - Seeking (1969)

John Carter & Bobby Bradford - Seeking (1969)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 280MB
hatOLOGY 620
This CD reissue brings back clarinetist John Carter's first recording and the earliest example of his mutually beneficial teaming with trumpeter Bobby Bradford. Formerly out on Revelation, this Hat Art reissue is most surprising in that Carter mostly plays alto and tenor, with a rare appearance on flute and only one selection ("Sticks And Stones") on clarinet, the instrument that he would soon give up the others for. Less surprising is that the music is most influenced by Ornette Coleman although Carter's style was already showing individuality and the lyrical Bradford always had more technique than Don Cherry. Bassist Tom Williamson is excellent in support and drummer Bruz Freeman comes across as the most conventional player on the date. These freebop performances hold one's interest, vary moods and manage to be both free and melodic.

-1. "In The Vineyard" - 10:30
-2. "Karen On Monday" - 6:50
-3. "Sticks And Stones" - 6:17
-4. "The Village Dancers" - 8:50
-5. "Seeking" - 6:31
-6. "Song For The Unsung - 7:57

* Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute – John Carter
* Double Bass – Tom Williamson
* Drums – Bruz Freeman
* Trumpet – Bobby Bradford



Jaki Byard - Hi-Fly (1962)

Jaki Byard - Hi-Fly (1962)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 240MB
OJC limited edition
Following the success of Here's Jaki, the eclectic pianist continued his explorations in a trio format, with Pete La Roca replacing Roy Haynes on the drums. The set mixes standards with some forgotten gems, plus three originals. The "Excerpts from Yamecraw" is an updated version of the nearly forgotten James P. Johnson orchestral suite, which is complimented here by the Byard original "There Are Many Worlds," which was also written for an orchestra. "Tillie Butterball" is a fun blues romp based on a puppy and a bowling alley. Byard's distinctive approach is evident on Randy Weston's title track "Hi-Fly" and George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland," while his debt to Thelonious Monk, sprinkled throughout this session, is obvious on "'Round Midnight." What makes this session special, however, is his original "Here to Hear." His multi-influenced compositional style matched by his versatile technique is explored at length. There are certain pieces that can never be interpreted by anyone else but the composer, and that is the case here, for it would be virtually impossible, and futile, to try and duplicate the individual genius of Jaki Byard. This stands as one of his best.

-1. "Hi-Fly" (Randy Weston) - 3:58
-2. "Tillie Butterball" - 5:13
-3. "Excerpts from "Yamecraw"" - 4:36
-4. "There Are Many Worlds" - 5:27
-5. "Here to Hear" - 7:44
-6. "Lullaby of Birdland" (George Shearing, George David Weiss) - 3:22
-7. "'Round Midnight" (Thelonious Monk) - 4:56
-8. "Blues in the Closet" (Oscar Pettiford) - 4:28

* Jaki Byard - piano
* Ron Carter - bass
* Pete La Roca - drums


10 April, 2013


Harry Babasin & Bob Enevoldsen - Jazz in Hollywood (1954)

Harry Babasin & Bob Enevoldsen - Jazz in Hollywood (1954)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 135MB
OJC limited edition
The two sessions included in this 1998 CD reissue, music that is also available as part of Fresh Sound's Complete Nocturne Recordings Vol. 1 (a three-CD set), are a couple of the finest dates made for the short-lived Nocturne record company. Babasin, one of the label's founders, was one of the very first jazz cellists. He is heard on both bass and cello during the first seven selections (six standards and an original) in a quintet with vibraphonist Larry Bunker, valve trombonist Bob Enevoldsen (who switches to bass when Babasin plays cello), pianist Jimmy Rowles, and drummer Roy Harte. The second half of the CD is headed by Enevoldsen (heard on valve trombone and bass), who is joined by pianist Marty Paich, guitarist Howard Roberts, Babasin (sticking to bass) and drummer Don Heath; Paich and Bobby Troup contributed four of the seven numbers. The quiet rhythm sections and cool tones make this music the epitome of high-quality 1950s West Coast jazz, easily recommended to collectors who do not have the Fresh Sound box.

Harry Babasin Quintet
-01."La Rosita" - 4:56
-02. "Skylark" - 4:59
-03. "Tangerine" - 4:21
-04. "Easy To Remember" - 2:54
-05. "The Girl Friend" - 5:20
-06. "When You Wish Upon A Star" - 3:01
-07. "Babo-ling" - 3:16
Bob Enevoldsen Quintet
-08. "Fast Buck" - 3:12
-09. "My Old Flame" - 6:33
-10. "Danza Do Brazil" - 4:17
-11. "Lulu's Back In Town" - 2:46
-12. "Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?)" - 2:58
-13. "Where Did The Gentleman Go?" - 2:45
-14. "Snootie Little Cutie" - 2:22

Harry Babasin Quintet
* Harry Babasin - cello, bass
* Bob Enevoldsen - valve trombone, bass
* Larry Bunker - vibraphone
* Jimmy Howles - piano
* Roy Harte - drums
Bob Enevoldsen Quintet
* Bob Enevoldsen - valve trombone, saxophone
* Marty Paich - piano
* Howard Roberts - guitar
* Harry Babasin - bass
* Don Heath - drums



Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (2004)

Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (2004)
indie, alternative | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 290MB
Mute Records
Not content to be just the most challenging of the crop of groups reworking dance-punk, Liars -- now consisting of founding members Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill and new recruit Julian Gross -- redefine their radical aims on They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. Taking inspiration from the tape-loop experiments of This Heat and the finely chopped electronica of Matmos, the Liars also draw upon the legends surrounding Walpurgisnacht, the date in German folklore when witches fly to the Brocken mountain and perform rituals that coincide with spring's victory over winter. The result is an album that, from its witch-hunt alluding title to its songs, is a riveting exploration of the dangerously seductive power of fear. Making full use of the political potency of its metaphor, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned depicts the struggle between a village of Christians and the women they believe to be a coven of witches, alternating their sides of the story track by track. According to Walpurgisnacht legend, one of the main remedies against the night's evil spirits is noise; after sunset, the boys of the villages near the mountains make as much noise as possible to drive away the witches and demons that emerge after being trapped in the earth during the winter months. Liars take this part of the legend to heart: They Were Wrong, So We Drowned is sculpted from layers of digital and organic noise that create a suffocating sense of dread. "Broken Witch" starts the album with ominous drones and stuttering drums that eventually fall into a grinding, nearly industrial rhythm. It's a deeply unsettling song, and not just because the shouted refrain "blood, blood, blood" is one of its few immediate hooks. But as challenging as the track is, it's only Liars' opening salvo: as it unfolds, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned gets progressively darker, denser, and stranger. The first time through, its mix of crushing noise and eerie negative space is equally exhilarating and bewildering, and in many ways, the album is thoroughly disorienting: its juxtapositions of modern sounds and processes, centuries-old legends, and ageless emotions create a thought-provoking cognitive dissonance. Likewise, the album's electro-noise-prog hybrid is as much of a departure from They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top as that album's smart, angular rock was from most of the work of Liars' contemporaries. Aside from both having titles that tell stories from the viewpoints of the dead and defeated, the main similarity between They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top and They Were Wrong, So We Drowned comes from "This Dust Makes That Mud," the lengthy, lock groove-like track that closes the debut album and seems to have colored the intensity of the follow-up. The tribal drums that make up the album's pulse on the musique concrète-inspired "Read the Book That Wrote Itself" and the abrasive dance-punk of "There's Always Room on the Broom" have a lot to do with its relentless thrust, but the sounds surrounding the percussion are far from primitive. Co-producer David Sitek shows why he is a forward-thinking sound-shaper repeatedly on They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, particularly on "Hold Hands and It Will Happen Anyway," which pairs the prettiest melody on the album with savage guitars and more of those pagan drums. This song, along with "They Don't Want Your Corn - They Want Your Kids" and "They Took 14 for the Rest of Our Lives," injects dance-punk with some of the sense of danger that punk once had. By the time "Flow My Tears the Spider Said" turns from a brooding sea shanty into a desert island of chirping birds and mysterious clanking noises, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned proves itself to be more like a force of nature than a proper album. By not just defying but denying the expectations about what their music should be like, Liars have created one of the most fascinating, confrontational albums of the 2000s.

-01. "Broken Witch" – 6:10
-02. "Steam Rose from the Lifeless Cloak" – 2:49
-03. "There's Always Room on the Broom" – 3:05
-04. "If You're a Wizard Then Why Do You Wear Glasses?" – 2:11
-05. "We Fenced Other Gardens with the Bones of Our Own" – 5:28
-06. "They Don't Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids" – 2:38
-07. "Read the Book That Wrote Itself" – 3:09
-08. "Hold Hands and It Will Happen Anyway" – 4:51
-09. "They Took 14 for the Rest of Our Lives" – 4:09
-10. "Flow My Tears the Spider Said" – 6:12



Christian Wallumrod - No Birch (1996)

Christian Wallumrod - No Birch (1996)
jazz, | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 330MB
ECM 1628
Pianist Christian Wallumrød makes his ECM debut with No Birch, an album of uncompromising melodic integrity and further proof that ECM’s mining of Nordic jazz ore continues to yield sonic jewelry like no other. The press release places the album somewhere between Morton Feldman minimalism and Paul Bley free play, and certainly we can feel a likeminded appreciation for negative space throughout. Yet beyond this lies an active, fluttering heart that is so full of expressivity that it must pace itself in lieu of bursting.
Wallumrød is the youngest member of the group. From humble beginnings playing piano accompaniment at church (hence the reflective track “Before Church”) to intensive studies at Norway’s famous Trondheim Conservatory, where he developed an abiding interest in composition, he has found under producer Manfred Eicher’s purview the appropriate balance of space and atmosphere to open his emotional floodgates.
Freelance trumpeter Arve Henriksen has collaborated with a number of ECM stalwarts, including Jon Balke, Anders Jormin, and the great Misha Alperin, the latter of whom remains a touchstone of inspiration for this trio.
Take special note that Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen is credited as percussionist and not drummer, and you begin to imagine the group’s flavors before note one. Conservatory trained and much sought-after in contemporary jazz and classical scenes, he adds the subtlest edge, his palette elemental in the truest sense.
As a unit, these three friends have been playing since 1996, but what we hear in “She Passes The House Of Her Grandmother” implies generations of affect. Touching its feet to tundra soil as if it were the sun, it is the breath of blood and memory made manifest in the here and now. The unspoken becomes the flower of reality, plucked from the “Royal Garden.” This solo from Sørensen unravels a single cathartic and metallic cry, bowed at the edge of sibilance and time and carried across a landscape that was once pasture, since bordered and named under the banner of rule. It is the pulse of the soil, given light above ground in “Somewhere East,” a representative track that describes its directions only so that we might be aware of the center from which our perspective is realized. So locating us in the moment’s energy, the music sways, rooted. Next is “Travelling” in three parts, and which features some of the most delicate trumpet playing I’ve heard in a long while. Breathy, almost shakuhachi-like, it curls its fingers one at a time around a full glass, which is then tipped and spilled through the veins of “Ballimaran” and “Watering.” In the wake of these flowing sketches, the halting pianism of “Two Waltzing, One Square And Then” and “Fooling Around” cleanses the palette before “The Gardener,” the most somber of the set, refills with bittersweet aperitif.
Wallumrød’s “The Birch” is the album’s red thread, a four-tiered refrain that wipes its theme with the nostalgia of a hand across a foggy window. Tender and seasonally inflected, it brings liturgical wonder to the trio’s sanctity, as deferential as the day is long.

01. She Passes The House Of Her Grandmother
02. The Birch 1
03. Royal Garden
04. Somewhere East
05. Travelling
06. The Birch 2
07. Ballimaran
08. Watering
09. Before Church
10. The Birch 3
11. Two Waltzing, One Square And Then
12. Fooling Around
13. The Gardener
14. The Birch 4

* Christian Wallumrød - piano
* Arve Henriksen - trumpet
* Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen - percussion



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