Wednesday, March 31, 2010

David BENOIT - Jazz for Peanuts 2008

David BENOIT - Jazz for Peanuts 2008

Jazz

2008's Jazz For Peanuts is the brainchild of five-time Grammy nominated musician, composer and arranger David Benoit, ,who has been composing music for Peanuts TV specials for over 15 years Features Vince Guaraldi's 'Linus & Lucy', which has become popularly known as the Peanuts franchise theme. Most of the tracks from various Peanuts specials were re-recorded by Benoit while a few, most notably 'Linus and Lucy', were remastered from the original tapes. 10 tracks.
**
This review is from: Jazz For Peanuts - Charlie Brown TV Themes (Audio CD)
Jazz pianist David Benoit has made no secret of his love for Charles Schultz's famous comic strip, Peanuts, and the piano music that accompanies its animated adaptations.
It began in the mid-1980s with Benoit's popular cover of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy," the ever-present theme in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Benoit added to the tours and appearances he's made as a tribute to Schultz, and to 2000's Here's to You, Charlie Brown!: 50 Great Years!, by releasing "CHARLIE BROWN TV THEMES", a nod to Vince Guaraldi, the composer of the original Peanuts piano music.
Most of the tracks from various Peanuts specials were re-recorded by Benoit while a few, most notably 'Linus and Lucy', were remastered from the original tapes.
Benoit adds some flair, mixing in jazz and classical influences in his own inimitable fashion.
He has selected 10 of the most compelling pieces used in the series. Four songs are classic Guaraldi, including two that previously had not been made public. He also does fresh renditions of three of his own compositions. The other songs are by Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck and Dave Grusin, the latter performed by Kenny G.
You don't have to be a fan of Charlie Brown to appreciate these songs. The basis for their uses serves as an intertwining influence and provides a sense of nostalgia to the classic cartoon.
The jazz is hopping with its stunning riffs and accentuated assortments laced with a staunch injection of charisma.
"The Wynton Marsalis Septet's performance of "The Buggy Ride" easily ranks among the highlights: a trumpet-riffing delight. (It was composed by Marsalis for "The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk," part of the "This Is America, Charlie Brown" miniseries.) The song provides a bop-ish prelude to the Dave Brubeck Quartet's cheery rendering of "Benjamin".- Mike Joyce
Fittingly, the album concludes with the Guaraldi trio's rumbling rendition of "Linus and Lucy."
There's a certain symphonic quality to the album as it works together forming a nice build.
This is an unusual, diverse Christmas gift for your friends who love smooth and straight-ahead jazz.
Enjoy!
1. You're in Love, Charlie Brown [from the TV Special "You're in Love, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit and Christian Scott
2. The Buggy Ride [from the TV Mini -Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown"] featuring the Wynton Marsalis Septet
3. Benjamin [from the TV Mini-Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown:] featuring Dave Brubeck
4. The Great Pumpkin Waltz [from the TV Special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit
5. Wild Kids [from the Mini-Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit, Joe Sample and Taylor Eigsti
6. Breadline Blues [from the TV Mini-Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit, Dave Grusin and Kenny G
7. Be My Valentine [from the TV Specia l"Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit and Vince Guaraldi
8. Rollerblading [from the TV Special "It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit, Joe Sample and Christian Scott
9. Re-Run's Theme [from "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit and Joe Sample
10. Linus and Lucy [from the TV Special "A Charlie Brown Christmas"]featuring David Benoit and Vince Guaraldi
By  Mr. R. J. Davidson.
**
David Benoit- Piano (1, 4, 5, 7-9);
John Robinson- Drums (1, 4-9);
Dave Carpenter- Bass (1, 4, 5, 7-9);
Christian Scott- Trumpet (1, 8);
Andy Suzuki- Tenor Sax (1, 8), Flute (9);
Pat Kelley- Guitar (1, 5, 8, 9);
Wynton Marsalis- Trumpet (2);
Eric Reed- Piano (2);
Benjamin Wolfe- Stand-up Bass (2);
Wessell Anderson- alto and Soprano Sax (2);
Victor Goines- Tenor Sax and clarinet (2);
Wycliffe Gordon- Trombone (2);
Herlin Riley- Drums (2);
Dave Brubeck- Piano (3);
Bob Militello- Flute (3);
Chris Brubeck- Electric Bass (3);
Randy Jones- Drums (3);
Taylor Eigsti- Piano (5);
Kenny G soprano- Sax (6);
Walter Afanasieff- Keyboards (6);
Vail Johnson- Electric Bass (6);
Vince Guaraldi- Piano (10);
Fred Marshall- Bass (10);
Jerry Granelli- Drums (10).
**
01. You're In Love, Charlie Brown David Benoit 4:05
02. The Buggy Ride, Wynton Marsalis 4:36
03. Benjamin, Dave Brubeck 3:48
04. The Great Pumpkin Waltz, David Benoit 4:18
05. Wild Kids, David Benoit 4:09
06. Breadline Blues, Kenny G 4:10
07. Be My Valentine, David Benoit 4:36
08. Rollerblading, David Benoit 3:53
09. Re-Run's Theme, David Benoit 3:47
10. Linus And Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio 3:04
**

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Paul MOTIAN - I Have the Room Above Her 2005

Paul MOTIAN - I Have the Room Above Her 2005

Jazz

To put drummer Paul Motian, guitarist Bill Frisell, and saxophonist Joe Lovano in a room together is to court majesty and genius; even if the three were playing hackneyed standards half-asleep, the results would likely be brilliant. I HAVE THE ROOM ABOVE HER is filled with the kind of technical mastery and scintillating chemistry one would expect from a trio this accomplished and advanced. Frisell's electric guitar spins choral color and spiraling, reverbed embellishments. Lovano's tenor is full-toned, and he plays with tremendous sensitivity and nuance, often holding down the melodic center while Frisell and Motian create rhythmic and harmonic frames.

The delicate imbrication of parts lends these compositions the feel of fragile, shifting houses suspended in air. Motian's drumming is crucial to this aesthetic--light years beyond standard beat-keeping, his approach to time is all suggestion and evocative accent. Aside from the Hammerstein/Kern title track and a sweet, ethereal take on Thelonious Monk's "Dreamland," all the tunes were written by Motian, his rich imagination informed by classic jazz, post-bop, avant-garde, and ambient music alike. The silent partner here is producer Manfred Eicher, whose ear for warm, resonant tones and expansive atmospheres is the perfect match for the inventiveness, lyricism, and exquisite beauty of this session.
**
Paul Motian is a sterling example of a musician reaching new heights in their later years. Nearing 75, the drummer and composer continues to explore the innerworkings of the small combo. Frisell and Lovano have worked with him since the beginnings of their careers, decades ago. The interplay of this bass-less trio is remarkably sympathetic, as Frisell's guitar alternates between rhythmic underpinnings and atmospheric flights. There is a buoyancy to the music, whether it's on the gospel structure of "The Bag Man" or the bird-like "Dance" (a piece Motian recorded in the seventies for his album of the same name). The title track is the gorgeous ballad by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, and underscores the traditional idioms which have contributed to Motian's unique voice.
By David Greenberger. AMG.
**
Paul Motian- Drums
Bill Frisell- Guitar
Joe Lovano- Tenor Saxophone
**
01. Osmosis Part III 5:55
02. Sketches 2:32
03. Odd Man Out 4:13
04. Shadows 3:28
05. I Have The Room Above Her 5:31
06. Osmosis Part I 3:28
07. Dance 4:02
08. Harmony 7:03
09. The Riot Act 4:41
10. The Bag Man 5:33
11. One In Three 7:07
12. Dreamland 5:50
**

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Steve HOWELL - Since I saw You 2009

Steve HOWELL - Since I saw You 2009

Blues

Singer/guitarist Steve Howell has been honing his craft for well over forty years as one of the finest interpreters of the American roots music songbook, and his dedication to and deep understanding of the music becomes more evident with each release. Since I Last Saw You is the latest and best testament yet of his exceptional talent.
**
Steve Howell is one of those rare musicians who has taken his roots -- which just happen to be deep in the heart of Texas blues -- and turned them into a style all his own.
He's been doing that for many years, with his elegant finger-picking guitar, and he continues in fine style on his new CD, "Since I Saw You Last' (Out of the Past Music).
Steve covers, but in in his own way, classic music from some fine singer-songwriters, including Frank Stokes, Mance Lipscomb, Jim Mize and Buddy Johnson. This is definitely roots music, with more than a hint of the blues in all its subtle picking and playing.
The songs include a host of little gems: "Downtown Blues," "Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache," "Farmer John,"  and " "Little Red Hen." And then there are a couple of real chestnuts like "Easy Rider" and "Crawlin' King Snake."
Howell doesn't work alone here. He's assembled some excellent musicians -- Joe Osborn (bass and guitar), Arnie Cottrell (mandolin and guitar), Darren Osborn (drums), Chris Michaels (guitar), Dave Hoffpauir (drums) and Brian Basco (keyboards). These meager descriptions don't do justice to the variations they play on their instruments. You have to read the liner notes to get the full effect. I'll just say that there's a blend of music and musicians here that elevates their music to almost sublime levels.
In addition, Howell has a nice warm voice that envelops the music he picks (the tracks, some obscure, some not, all flow almost too effortlessly). He says they are all songs he's played for years, and the knowledge and affection are obvious.  If you like rootsy, folky acoustic blues styles, Stevel Howell and this CD should be music to your ears.
**
It would seem superfluous to mention at this late date that the great strength and vitality of indigenous American music stems from its remarkable “melting pot” of influences. European, African, Northern, Southern, Anglo, black, white and brown, urban and rural. Equally remarkable is the number of contemporary recording artists who choose to work far outside the current commercial system and draw upon this vast treasure trove of music. Singer/guitarist Steve Howell has been honing his craft for well over forty years as one of the finest interpreters of the American roots music songbook, and his dedication to and deep understanding of the music becomes more evident with each release. Since I Last Saw You is the latest and best testament yet of his exceptional talent.
Howell was born on October 24, 1952 in Marshall, Texas, in the culturally historic eastern part of the Lone Star State. As a lad he strummed folk songs, but hearing Mississippi John Hurt at 13 turned him around towards becoming a master blues fingerpicker. A move with his family to Shreveport, Louisiana when he was 17 would expose him to the rhythmic dexterity found in the region and a tour of duty in the Navy beginning in 1973 would take him to South Wales where he played regularly with British guitarist and mandolinist Arnie Cottrell. When he returned home to Shreveport he rambled on the local scene in the late 1970s and 80s in a succession of blues and rock bands, as well as the duo Howell & Caskey that has opened for a variety of national acts including Country Joe and the Fish, Anson Funderburg and Bugs Henderson and shared the stage with Brownie McGee. The 90s and into the new millennium found him gigging in northwest Louisiana, northeast Texas and a bit in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Howell struck out on his own in 2006 with the appropriately-titled Out of the Past featuring country blues and traditional prewar jazz, followed by the equally evocative My Mind Gets to Ramblin’ in 2008 containing even more lowdown country blues classics. Both records were hailed for their authenticity, easygoing expressiveness and instrumental excellence. It was during this period that Howell first met in Shreveport Sandbox Recording Studio owner and drummer Darren Osborn and his bassist father Joe. The resulting ongoing relationship involving co-production and backup continues with the new release. Stretching his chops, Howell was executive producer and sang for Buddy Flett on Mississippi Sea in 2007.
Since I Saw You Last presents Howell in his most eclectic mood with 12 tracks that include country blues, rockabilly, folk and R&B with a mostly acoustic bent. “Downtown Blues” is old time, good time Memphis blues by the legendary Frank Stokes that spotlights a great ensemble groove. “Acadian Lullaby” is likewise the kind of timeless “Americana” that could have come from the Band, but was actually penned by Howell’s friend Jim Mize. Warren Smith, one of Sun Record’s most talented singers and most under appreciated artists, originally cut “Red Cadillac & a Black Moustache” that Howell turns into a wistful lament containing a tasty, twangy, electric guitar solo by Chris Michaels. “Farmer John,” by the rock and R&B duo Don and Dewey, is one of the highlights of the set. Rocking with attitude, sexy slide guitar from Cottrell and a suitably raunchy lead guitar break from Michaels, it is also one of his best and most insouciant vocals. On a roll, Howell turns Texas songster Mance Lipscomb’s “Charley James” into a magical, mystical, hypnotic meditation on loss and survival. The portent line, “Since I Saw You Last,” appears in the lyric and inspired the CD title.
“I Won’t Cry” from the acclaimed singer Johnny Adams catalog has classic chord changes that meet at the intersection of R&B and doo wop, also allows Howell to croon with deep emotion. The traditional country blues of “Wild About My Lovin’” has a melody that sounds like it may have influenced Johnny Cash on “Folsom Prison” as Howell takes it at a chugging pace and embroiders it with delicate fingerstyle and with Cottrell’s slide guitar while maintaining a respectful nod to the jug band version by the Kweskin outfit. “Since I Fell for You” is an early classic of R&B from the pioneers Buddy and Ella Johnson. Howell performs it masterfully on solo guitar complemented by the Osborn rhythm section, letting the gorgeous melody and unabashedly romantic lyric shine through.
The blues come in for another good shaking out in the next two selections. “Easy Rider Blues” from the legendary Blind Lemon Jefferson, like “Wild About My Lovin’,” is so damned authentic that it sounds like it could have been performed on a street corner in the deep South during the Depression. Deceptively light and jaunty, it provides an excellent counterpoint to the John Lee Hooker classic “Crawlin’ King Snake” that follows with a dark and menacing vibe that Howell sings and plays with obvious relish. “Picking” on a modern master, Howell next does justice to Taj Mahal’s “Little Red Hen,” a playful acknowledgement of the Willie Dixon classic “Little Red Rooster” that contains a brief, understated electric guitar solos by Howell and Michaels. Closing the set is Gus Kahn’s “Ready for the River” from the 1920s that shows equal parts vaudeville and blues influences. Fittingly, it is a delicate acoustic solo that sends the listener off into the night warm and satisfied.
Howell has noted that his mother always taught him that, “You shall be known by the company you keep” and his fellow musicians do him proud. The crackerjack combo of Joe Osborn (bass, 12-string guitar), Darren Osborn (drums, percussion and keyboards,), Chris Michaels (electric guitar and bass), Dave Hoffpauir (drums and vocals) and Brian Basco (keyboard strings) are joined by Arnie Cottrell (acoustic and slide guitars, mandolin, vocals) in perfect symbiosis with Howell. And, taking the sentiment a step further, fans shall be known by the artists they favor. Close acquaintance with the music of Steve Howell will only shed enlightenment and joy.
**
01.Downtown Blues 3:00
02.Acadian Lullaby 4:13
03.Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache 3:16
04.Farmer John 3:28
05.Charlie James 4:49
06.I Won't Cry 4:07
07.Wild About My Lovin' 4:53
08.Since I Fell For You 4:55
09.Easy Rider Blues 4:17
10.Crawlin' King Snake MP3
11.Little Red Hen 3:35
12.Ready For the River 3:18
**

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The Groundhogs - Back Against The Wall 1987

The Groundhogs - Back Against The Wall 1987
DMLP 1014

Blues

The British Blues/Rock/Prog outfit fronted by guitarist/vocalist Tony McPhee, Released in 1987. Emerging in the early '60s as a Blues band, The Groundhogs were noted for backing visiting American Blues artists such as John Lee Hooker. The band evolved in the latter part of the '60s into a heavy rock group scoring a hit with their fourth and possibly most popular album Split. Through the '70s the band continued to record and play live as a trio with changing band members. The Groundhogs continued through to 2004 when they were finally laid to rest by McPhee. Eight tracks.
**
The grungsters of Seattle refer to Neil Young as a founding father, but Tony McPhee has more in common with them than anyone else. This album is a bargain and gives the listener a taste of what made the Groundhogs groundbreakers. The only problem is the live material doesn't really cover some of their best stuff off of what I think is the best album, Hogwash, or anything off Who will save the World, as well as Crosscut Saw. Some one in the popular alternative scene needs to step up and acknowledge the greatness of T.S. McPhee. He's earned it.
By Peter W. Hall.
**
I have had the pleasure of enjoying this remarkable piece of work by Tony McPhee for 14 years. And on a vinyl release at that. When this LP came out in 1986, I thought for sure that the accessibility of this album might propel the Groundhogs into the North American musical mindset and accomplish a spot on the top 100 list for the year. It would have been long overdue and much deserved. Alas, this work went mostly unnoticed except by Groundhog fans.
If you like blues and rock, you will not be disappointed by this release. The album is strongly rooted in blues and rock traditions but achieves a level of originality not all too common. These are finely crafted tunes played with style by a master rock/blues guitarist. As I sit here listening to Waiting in Shadows while writing this review, I feel the same sense of excitement created by such rock classics as Jumpin' Jack Flash. The lead break on Ain't No Slayer brings immediate attention to the song as any classic should. The lyrics are far beyond the usual base sentiment expressed by rock artists. This is a man who has used his music to try and truly touch the souls of his audience and he has succeeded for those who take a listen.

If you have never experienced the Groundhogs before, I recommend that this be your first purchase. Fans of the band may argue the merits of past works of genius by McPhee such as Black Diamond, but Back Against the Wall is an easier introduction to the band. Once acquainted with the Groundhogs, the listener can move on to the heavier style of this band in earlier and later releases.

The final cut on the album is called 54146. This is a reference to the serial number of the Gibson SG guitar stolen from Tony. if you find it, do an artist a favour and return the instrument he loved and lost.
By  Kirk Shorting.
**
Bass- Dave Anderson
Drums, Percussion- Mick Jones 
Guitar, Vocals- Tony McPhee
**
A1. Back Against The Wall 5:26 
A2. No To Submission 4:38 
A3. Blue Boar Blues 3:14  
A4. Waiting In The Shadows 6:17 
B1. Ain't No Slaver 4:37 
B2. Stick To Your Guns 5:56  
B3. In The Meantime 5:15 
B4. 54146 3:29
**

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Peter GREEN - Blues For Dhyâna 1998

Peter GREEN - Blues For Dhyâna 1998

Blues

If you're unfamiliar with Peter's post-Mac work, this is a pretty nice place to start, as it compiles some of the finest tracks from his typically hard-to-find late '70s and early '80s albums. Throughout, this compilation presents a consistency in tone, mood and quality.... so that it actually feels like it was recorded at one session. Get this disc. If you like high-quality, moving blues-rock, you will not be disappointed.
**
Collection of 12 great blues numbers recorded between 1978-1983. Includes 'Born Under A Bad Sign', 'I Could Not Ask ForMore' & 'Liquor And You'. 1998 Culture Press release.
**
This is a recent release but does not contain any new material. It's another compilation of songs from Peter Green's 80s solo albums. Hardcore Green fans will likely have these tracks on the original albums; those who are interested will be better served by the vastly superior "Green and Guitar" compilation. (Note: both of these collections chicken out and use a "young" picture of Peter when he was still in Fleetwood Mac. At the time these songs were recorded he already looked older and was starting to lose his hair. So much for truth in advertising...)
**
Dave Mattacks- Drums
Godfrey McLean- Drums
Morris Pert- Percussion
Roy Shipston- Keyboards
Larry Steele- Guitar (Bass), Bass
Paul Westwood- Guitar (Bass), Bass
Jeff Whittaker- Percussion
David Wilkie- Piano
Reg Isidore- Drums
Ronnie Johnson- Guitar
Mike Green- Vocals
Snowy White- Guitar
Daniel Boone- Keyboards, Vocals
Pete Bardens- Keyboards
Bob Bowman- Guitar
Pam Douglas- Vocals (Background)
Rick FennGuitar
Peter GreenGuitar, Producer, Vocals
Kuma Harada- Guitar (Bass), Bass
Webster Johnson- Keyboards
Peter Vernon KellProducer
Mo Foster- Guitar (Bass), Bass
**
01.Fool No More (7:42)
02.Born Under a Bad Sign (2:53)
03.I Could Not Ask for More (4:56)
04.Walkin' the Road (3:48)
05.Last Train to San Antone (5:30)
06.Lost My Love (5:22)
07.Just Another Guy (6:01)
08.What Am I Doing Here (3:24)
09.Pan y Queso (3:42)
10.Liquor and You (3:47)
11.Six String Guitar (4:30)
12.One Woman Love (5:27)
**

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Percy MAYFIELD - His Tangerine And Atlantic Sides 1962-1974

Percy MAYFIELD - His Tangerine And Atlantic Sides  1962-1974
2003 Issue. RHM2 7828

Blues

The songwriter behind ''Hit the Road Jack'' was Percy Mayfield (1920-1984). In 1952, while he was on the charts, he had a disfiguring automobile accident. ''His Tangerine and Atlantic Sides'' (Rhino Handmade) collects songs Mayfield began recording a decade later, between 1962 and 1974. As he sings in an understated drawl, these songs turn blues phrases about lost love into confessions of loneliness, alcholism and suicidal misery. The music looks back to suave 1950's R & B, but it's no shield against the desolation of ''You Don't Exist No More'' or ''My Bottle Is My Companion.''
**
If Percy Mayfield had done no more than compose Please Send Me Someone to Love, he would merit a decent footnote in the history of popular music. A classically proportioned 32-bar blues-ballad with a deceptively simple melody and a lyric that subtly links an individual's yearning for affection with the troubled state of the world, Mayfield's song has been a favourite of saloon-bar singers for the past half-century, and exists in recorded versions by singers and instrumentalists ranging from Dinah Washington, Jimmy Witherspoon, Etta James, BB King, Jimmy Smith and Peggy Lee to Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple and Sade, who recorded it for the soundtrack of the film Philadelphia.

The definitive version, however, was created by Mayfield himself in 1950, and it gave him the first success of what proved to be a sadly brief career as a hit-maker. His soft-edged baritone voice, tender but virile, unassuming but authoritative, was the perfect expression of the song's ruminative eloquence. With Please Send Me Someone to Love, he found a way to make a kind of sophisticated big-city blues that retained the directness and emotional honesty of the music's origins.

Mayfield was one of a group of singers who bridged the gap between the blues and jazz in the 1940s and early 1950s. Others were Roy Milton, Joe Liggins and Charles Brown; the best known by far would be Ray Charles, who added the call-and-response fervour of gospel music to the formula and thus speeded the metamorphosis of rhythm and blues into soul music. And it was in collaboration with Charles, for whom he wrote Hit the Road, Jack, a worldwide hit in 1961, that Mayfield found success in the second part of his sometimes troubled career.

He was born in 1920 in Minden, Louisiana, and a certain southern stoicism never left his voice. After developing a fondness for writing poetry in high school, he moved to Los Angeles in 1941 and worked at various occupations - driving a taxi, working a laundry press - while trying to establish himself as a songwriter. His break came, in the time-honoured way, when he pitched a song he thought suitable for Jimmy Witherspoon and was instead offered the chance to record it himself.

Those first efforts led to an offer from Art Rupe, the boss of Specialty Records. After selling a quarter of a million copies of Please Send Me Someone to Love and respectable amounts of such follow-ups as Lost Love and Cry Baby, Mayfield was travelling home to Los Angeles from a gig in Las Vegas one night in 1953 when a car accident almost killed him. He survived, but at the cost of a disfigured face which radically altered the prospects of a man who had shown the potential to rival Billy Eckstine and Slim Gaillard as a black matinee idol.

Disheartened, he went back to Minden. But his return was not a happy one, to judge by the tone of Stranger in My Own Home Town, which he admitted had an autobiographical basis (and which was later recorded by Elvis Presley). Other songs, such as My Jug and I and My Bottle is My Companion, reflected his problems with alcohol. Towards the end of the decade, however, he made it back to Los Angeles, where he became a staff writer for Charles's Tangerine label and resumed his own recording career, which continued sporadically for the next 20 years.

Pain and desolation were Mayfield's special subjects, and few songwriters have explored them with greater insight and delicacy. His lightness of touch keep Memory Pain, Life Is Suicide, Nightless Lover and The River's Invitation from being engulfed by their own gloom. And in the great Danger Zone, which prompted one of Charles's finest performances, he created the most heartfelt and unhysterical of protest songs.

When Mayfield died in 1984, aged 64, he had fallen back into obscurity. His early recordings are now relatively well known, thanks to a pair of wonderful CDs, Poet of the Blues and Memory Pain, released by Ace Records several years ago. Some of the best of the post-accident recordings are collected on His Tangerine and Atlantic Sides, available over the internet on Rhino's limited-edition Handmade series (www.rhinohandmade.com). Recorded between 1961 and 1974, most of these 28 tracks feature razor-sharp arrangements performed by a small band drawn from Charles's own crack troops, including the saxophonists Hank Crawford and Fathead Newman, with Charles himself making a significant contribution on piano and organ.

By this time Mayfield's voice has traded some of its smooth patina for a greater emotional depth, rather as Frank Sinatra's did when he entered middle age. These versions of Memory Pain and The River's Invitation are arguably superior to the Specialty originals, which means that - like the whole set - they represent a certain era of the blues at its most poetic and persuasive
Richard Williams
**
Percy Mayfield- Piano, Vocals
Marcus Belgrave- Trumpet 
Hank Crawford- Sax (Alto) 
Teddy Edwards- Sax (Tenor) 
Sonny Forriest- Guitar 
Al McKibbon- Guitar (Bass) 
David "Fathead" Newman- Sax (Tenor) 
Chuck Norris- Guitar 
Billy Preston- Organ 
Howard Roberts- Guitar 
Milt Turner- Drums 
Johnny "Guitar" Watson- Guitar
Edgar Willis- Guitar (Bass) 
**
01. Ha Ha in the Daytime   3:00
02. Never No More   2:02
03. I Reached for a Tear   2:28
04. Memory Pain   2:27
05. Never Say Naw   2:56
06. Life Is Suicide   2:20
07. Baby Please (Lost Love)   3:03
08. River's Invitation   2:21
09. Cookin' in Style   1:59
10. The Hunt Is On   2:01
11. You Don't Exist No More   2:43
12. My Jug and I   3:02
13. Stranger in My Own Home Town   2:41
14. Way Down Home on the Farm   2:18
15. Maybe It's Because of Love   3:23
16. Stand By   2:16
17. Fading Love   2:19
18. Give Me Time to Explain   1:45
19. My Bottle Is My Companion   2:49
20. It's Time to Make a Change   2:46
21. We Both Must Cry   2:43
22. My Love   2:21
23. Don't Start Lying to Me   3:13
24. Long as You're Mine   2:55
25. Ha Ha in the Daytime   3:06
26. Pretty-Eyed Baby   2:53
27. I Don't Want to Be President   3:15
28. Nothin' Stays the Same Forever   4:29
**

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Pat TRAVERS - Travelin' Blues 2009

Pat TRAVERS - Travelin' Blues 2009

Blues

From a marketing standpoint, Blues Bureau International could have come up with a much better title for this 2009 release than simply Travelin' Blues. Ideally, the title should have been something along the lines of Travelin' Blues: The Best of the Blues Bureau Years, Vol. 1, because this 61-minute CD is, in fact, a best-of collection focusing on hard rock and blues-rock that Pat Travers recorded for Blue Bureau in the 1990s and 2000s. Many of Travers' longtime fans will agree that the Canadian singer/guitarist recorded his most essential work in the 1970s and early '80s, but his Blues Bureau discs are nothing to be ashamed of -- and this collection finds him in fine form on solid originals (including "Time Out," "Too Cool Woman Blues," and the title track) as well as ballsy performances of Willie Dixon's "Built for Comfort" (a Chess Records gem closely identified with Howlin' Wolf), Muddy Waters' "Rock Me, Baby," the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post," and Buddy Miles' "Them Changes." Travers turned 40 in 1994, 50 in 2004, and 55 in 2009, but thankfully, these recordings demonstrate that he hasn't mellowed at all since the 1970s; Travers hasn't lost his grit as a singer, and his guitar playing is as aggressive as ever. Why Blues Bureau simply called this collection Travelin' Blues instead of coming up with a title drawing attention to the fact that it is a best-of collection is anyone's guess, but that doesn't make these 1990s and 2000s performances any less exciting. Travelin' Blues is an appropriate starting point if one is exploring Travers' Blues Bureau output for the first time.
By Alex Henderson. AMG.
**
Pat Travers- Guitar, Vocals, Slide Guitar
Mike Varney- Guitar
Tommy Calton- Guitar
Steve Fister- Slide Guitar
Doug Bare- Keyboards, Vocals
Michael Amico- Bass
Peter Mars Cowling- Bass
Steve Evans- Bass
Tim Franklin- Bass
Larry Jacoby- Bass
Gunter Nezhod- Bass
Kevin Rian- Bass
Brad Russell- Bass
Liberty DeVitto- Drums
Aynsley Dunbar- Drums
Jeff Martin- Drums
Joe Nevolo- Drums
Ernie Peghiny- Drums
Chris Logan- Vocals (Bckgr)
Monica Travers- Vocals (Bckgr)
**
01. Free Man 5:28
02. Too Cool Woman Blues 4:53
03. Rock Me Baby 6:05
04. Travelin' Blues 4:51
05. Inside Looking Out 6:15
06. Time Out 3:53
07. I've Got News For You 3:29
08. Whippin' Post 5:42
09. Them Changes 4:39
10. I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know 6:11
11. Green Eyed Lady 6:45
12. Built For Comfort 3:15
**

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Little MILTON - Live At Westfille Prison 1995

Little MILTON - Live At Westfille Prison 1995

Blues

You're gonna wish you had been there after listening to this scorching live set from the '80s. It features the blues singing of Little Milton superbly accompanied by Lucky Peterson, who distinguishes himself on the organ, and the Tony Brown Band. This CD is a combination of two concerts recorded separately in a single day -- one for men, one for women, in 1983. Milton does none of his big hits, which doesn't seem to bother the captive crowd, most of whom probably didn't know them anyway. Highlights include an emotional reworking of O. V. Wright's "Eight Men, Four Women," a 16-minute medley of soul and blues songs, and the deep soul classic "That's How Strong My Love Is." Milton really gets into it for the women. He coughs up two smoldering original compositions "Friend of Mine," and "Loving You Is the Best Thing That Happened to Me." The most surprising thing about Live at Westville Prison is why it took so long to surface on CD.
By Andrew Hamilton.
**
He may not be a household name, but die-hard blues fans know Little Milton as a superb all-around electric bluesman -- a soulful singer, an evocative guitarist, an accomplished songwriter, and a skillful bandleader. He's often compared to the legendary B.B. King -- as well as Bobby "Blue" Bland -- for the way his signature style combines soul, blues, and R&B, a mixture that helped make him one of the biggest-selling bluesmen of the '60s (even if he's not as well-remembered as King). As time progressed, his music grew more and more orchestrated, with strings and horns galore. He maintained a steadily active recording career all the way from his 1953 debut on Sam Phillips' legendary Sun label, with his stunning longevity including notable stints at Chess (where he found his greatest commercial success), Stax, and Malaco.

James Milton Campbell was born September 7, 1934, in the small Delta town of Inverness, MS, and grew up in Greenville. (He would later legally drop the "James" after learning of a half-brother with the same name.) His father Big Milton, a farmer, was a local blues musician, and Milton also grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry radio program. At age 12, he began playing the guitar and saved up money from odd jobs to buy his own instrument from a mail-order catalog. By 15, he was performing for pay in local clubs and bars, influenced chiefly by T-Bone Walker but also by proto-rock & roll jump blues shouters. He made a substantial impression on other area musicians, even getting a chance to back Sonny Boy Williamson II, and caught the attention of R&B great Ike Turner, who was doubling as a talent scout for Sam Phillips at Sun. Turner introduced the still-teenaged Little Milton to Phillips, who signed him to a contract in 1953. With Turner's band backing him, Milton's Sun sides tried a little bit of everything -- he hadn't developed a signature style as of yet, but he did have a boundless youthful energy that made these early recordings some of his most exciting and rewarding. Unfortunately, none of them were hits, and Milton's association with Sun was over by the end of 1954. He set about forming his own band, which waxed one single for the small Meteor label in 1957, before picking up and moving to St. Louis in 1958.

In St. Louis, Milton befriended DJ Bob Lyons, who helped him record a demo in a bid to land a deal on Mercury. The label passed, and the two set up their own label, christened Bobbin. Little Milton's Bobbin singles finally started to attract some more widespread attention, particularly "I'm a Lonely Man," which sold 60,000 copies despite being the very first release on a small label. As head of A&R, Milton brought artists like Albert King and Fontella Bass into the Bobbin fold, and with such a high roster caliber, the label soon struck a distribution arrangement with the legendary Chess Records. Milton himself switched over to the Chess subsidiary Checker in 1961, and it was there that he would settle on his trademark soul-inflected, B.B. King-influenced style. Initially a moderate success, Milton had his big breakthrough with 1965's "We're Gonna Make It," which hit number one on the R&B charts thanks to its resonance with the civil rights movement. "We're Gonna Make It" kicked off a successful string of R&B chart singles that occasionally reached the Top Ten, highlighted by "Who's Cheating Who?," "Grits Ain't Groceries," "If Walls Could Talk," "Baby I Love You," and "Feel So Bad," among others.

The death of Leonard Chess in 1969 threw his label into disarray, and Little Milton eventually left Checker in 1971 and signed with the Memphis-based soul label Stax (also the home of his former protégé Albert King). At Stax, Milton began expanding his studio sound, adding bigger horn and string sections and spotlighting his soulful vocals more than traditional blues. Further hits followed in songs like "Annie Mae's Cafe," "Little Bluebird," "That's What Love Will Make You Do," and "Walkin' the Back Streets and Cryin'," but generally not with the same magnitude of old. Stax went bankrupt in 1975, upon which point Little Milton moved to the TK/Glades label, which was better known for its funk and disco acts. His recordings there were full-blown crossover affairs, which made "Friend of Mine" a minor success, but that label soon went out of business as well. Milton spent some time in limbo; he recorded one album for MCA in 1983 called Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number, and the following year found a home with Malaco, which sustained the careers of quite a few old-school Southern soul and blues artists. During his tenure at Malaco, Milton debuted the song that would become his latter-day anthem, the bar band staple "The Blues Is Alright," which was also widely popular with European blues fans. Milton recorded frequently and steadily for Malaco, issuing 13 albums under their aegis by the end of the millennium. In 1988, he won the W.C. Handy Award for Blues Entertainer of the Year, and was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
By Steve Huey, All Music Guide.
**
Little Milton- (Vocals, Guitar);
Ricky Earl- (Guitar);
Lucky Peterson- (Keyboards);
Tony Brown- (Drums).
**
01. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water 4:30
02. Eight Men, Four Women 9:59
03. Friend of Mine 3:44
04. Medley: How Could You Do It to Me/Part...: How Could You Do It To Me / Part Time Love / Somebody's Sleeping     In My Bed / I Got To Love Somebody's Baby / Walking The Back Streets And Crying / Little Bluebird / Drowning     On Dry Land 16:21
05. Bad Luck 7:00
06. You're the One 3:33
07. Loving You (Is the Best Thing That Happened to Me) 4:13
08. That's How Strong My Love Is 8:03
**

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Luther "Guitar Jr." JOHNSON - Slammin' On The West Side 1996

Luther "Guitar Jr." JOHNSON - Slammin' On The West Side 1996

Blues

What you'll really love about this CD is the many styles of Blues that Johnson explores in less than twenty songs; you'll get the famous West Side (Chicago) Electric Blues, Acoustic Blues, well done Blues covers, pseudo-jump blues and songs that will make your speakers start dancing. This CD is a must have for fans of Electric Blues. Play this CD at your next party all the way through......twice, and then some.
**
Lousy album title, great album. Johnson hasn't been based out of Chicago in years, but that sound remains at the heart of his approach -- even when he's recording in Louisiana with a funky New Orleans rhythm section (bassist George Porter, Jr. and drummer Herman Ernest). Jump blues in the form of Buddy Johnson's "A Pretty Girl (A Cadillac and Some Money)," athe Magic Sam tribute "Hard Times (Have Surely Come)," the solo acoustic "Get Up Aand Go," a soul-slanted "Every Woman Needs to Be Loved", Johnson smokes 'em all.
By Bill Dahl, All Music Guide.
**
Luther "Guitar Jr." JOHNSON- Vocals & Guitar
Gordon Beadle- Tenor Sax
Eric Moore- Piano
Dave Torkanowsky- Organ
George Porter Jr- Bass
Herman Ernest- Drums
**
01. A Pretty Girl (A Cadillac and Some Money) 3:12
02. She's Lookin' Good 3:56
03. Hey Little Girl 5:00
04. I Ain't Doin' Too Bad 4:56
05. It's Good To Me 3:28
06. Sittin' on The Back Seat of a Greyhound 6:27
07. Every Woman Needs To Be Loved 4:00
08. Stranded 3:22
09. Early in The Mornin' Blues 5:00
10. Another Man 2:19
11. Hard Times (Have Surely Come) 4:30
12. The Woman I Love 3:49
13. Get up and Go 2:03
14. Why (Am I Treated So Bad) 2:58
15. Waiting at The Station 5:47
16. Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On 3:52
**

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Corey HARRIS - Fish Ain't Bitin' 1997

Corey HARRIS - Fish Ain't Bitin' 1997

Blues

Corey Harris' second outing for Alligator shows that he's no one-album flash in the pan, with this sophomore effort moving his modern-day acoustic Delta blues vision into even broader territory with delightful results. While his debut effort illustrated Harris' absolute mastery of older Delta styles, both instrumentally and vocally, Fish Ain't Bitin' charts new terrain using that first album as a stylistic building block. The big news here is that over half of the 17 songs are from Corey's own pen and compositions like "High Fever Blues" (heard here in two versions), "5-0 Blues," "Berry Owen Blues," and "If You Leave Me" show that he's more than adept in wedding contemporary influences to his down-home country sound. Adding to that are his takes on Son House's "Preaching Blues," Memphis Minnie's "Bumble Bee Blues," Big Maceo's "Worried Life Blues" and Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Jack O'Diamonds," all of them rendered in the proper spirit and context and all of them sounding nothing like the originals -- a tough feat to pull off, but one that Harris does with consummate ease, imbuing these warhorses with the stamp of his personality. Several tracks also feature a trombone and tuba or string bass working in tandem with Corey's National steel-bodied guitar, making a Mississippi-New Orleans musical connection that sounds perfectly natural. No sophomore jinx here, as Corey Harris has turned in one great little album that examines the music's past while looking forward to the future for more input.
By Cub Koda, All Music Guide.
**
Performing the old standard "Frankie and Johnnie" with an acoustic guitar is hardly a radical step in blues, but this young singer-songwriter is much more than a revivalist. Using tuba accompaniment on the opening "High Fever Blues" and covering obscurities like Memphis Minnie's "Bumble Bee Blues," the Denver-born Harris finds new spirit in traditional blues on his second album. He has the sort of effortless bluesman's voice that gave forebears Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Muddy Waters their depth and spirit, so we can feel the worry in "Mama Got Worried" and the fear in "If You Leave Me."
By Steve Knopper.
**
While Harris's first album, BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAY was strong but unsurprising, FISH AIN'T BITIN' finds Harris moving into uncharted waters. The addition of a New Orleans-style horn section (two trombones and a tuba) and a percussionist provide striking contrast to the acoustic-based approach of Harris's debut, and complement his country blues fingerpicking perfectly. While a traditional Delta flavor is maintained throughout, the cuts where Harris is joined by the horns create a new paradigm that's solidly roots-minded but still wholly original. Instead of sounding like a self-conscious addition, the horns mesh with the guitar, sharing phrases and providing organic counterpoint.

Percussionist Harry "Point Man" M. Dennis, Jr. rounds out the sound nicely with his minimalist approach to timekeeping--he often sounds like he's just tapping along on a piece of metal or wood. Like any bluesman worth his salt, Harris has got religion too, as evidenced by intense readings of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "You Got to Move" and Son House's classic "Preaching Blues." The perfect mix of traditionalism and innovation, FISH AIN'T BITIN' is one of the finest acoustic blues albums of the '90s.
**
Charles Johnson- (Trombone), 
Anthony Lacen- (Tuba),
Chris Severin- (Bass),
Corey Harris- (Guitar, Vocals).
**
01. High Fever Blues 3:11
02. Frankie And Johnnie 2:54
03. Berry Owens Blues 2:49
04. Take Me Back 2:19
05. Fish Ain't Bitin' 3:28
06. Preaching Blues 4:57
07. Bumble Bee Blues 4:01
08. God Don't Ever Change 2:10
09. 50 Blues 4:52
10. Mama Got Worried 2:59
11. Worried Life Blues 2:59
12. High Fever Blues (solo) 4:06
13. Jack O'Diamonds 2:38
14. If You Leave Me 2:20
15. Moosemilk Blues 3:17
16. You've Got To Move 3:48
17. Clean Rag 2:21
**

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Nusrat Fateh Ali KHAN - Intoxicated Spirit 1996

Nusrat Fateh Ali KHAN - Intoxicated Spirit 1996

Jazz

INTOXICATED SPIRIT was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is a dazzlingly, lavishly gifted vocalist. On this album, he is intense and passionate, and the effect is hypnotic and otherworldly. I've listened to this CD countless times in the past two years, and yet I never tire of it...I'm always discovering something new every time I listen to it. "Ruk pe Rehmat Ka" (a devotional qawaali) is my current favorite song, although in the past I've liked "Yeh Jo Halka Halka..." (a romantic qawaali) better. Both these songs go through these incredible cyclic rhythms and build to a dazzling crescendo. I've recommended this album to many friends who like world music, and it's been a hit with all of them as well.
**
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his party of singers are heard here performing the ancient ritualistic style of music known as qawwali, which comes from the poetry of ancient Sufi masters. Nusrat, up until his death in the late 1990s, was its key torch-bearer.

His inimitable voice glides effortlessly over the tabla drums and harmonium. His vocal range is impressive, and the passion with which he sings is always immediately apparent and moving. Few artists truly capture the essence of humanity and divinity in their music as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan does with every composition here. Highlights include "Yeh Jo Halka Halka," and "Meri Saqi Saqi Yeh."
**
01. Yeh Jo Halka Halka 23:17
02. Ruk Pe Rehmat Ka 23:37
03. Be Wafa 11:53
04. Meri Saqi Saqi Yeh 13:48
**

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Peter KOWALD - Principle Life 1990

Peter KOWALD - Principle Life 1990
Karlsruhe (Germany)
Jubez – SWF-Jazz-Session
19900521 – May 21, 1990
This is a remastered version of an original DIME upload.
Thx To *inconstant*

Jazz

A leading avant-garde musician, German bassist and occasional tuba player Peter Kowald was a long-time member of Globe Unity Orchestra, and has performed and recorded with many other major improvisers, European and American alike. Kowald picked up the bass in 1960, and two years later, started neglecting his other studies and hanging around Peter Brotzmann's studio. The two played Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and more with various drummers, and listened to modern composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Over the years, the two would record together off and on in duos, and as the Cooperative Trio with Andrew Cyrille, among other line-ups. But Kowald was first picked up professionally by Carla Bley and Michael Mantler's band for their 1966 European tour (which also included Brotzmann). After this, Kowald began collaborating with other German musicians and joined the Globe Unity Orchestra, which he would remain a member of for 12 years and 10 albums, composing, conducting and sometimes leading along with Alexander von Schlippenbach. Not long after joining, Kowald was invited to play in the Pierre Favre/Irene Schweizer quartet while on a visit to London, ultimately leading to more involvement with other European and German musicians. From 1973 until the end of his involvement in the Globe Unity Orchestra in 1978, Kowald also played regularly with the Schlippenbach Trio, Evan Parker, and Paul Lovens. Two years after leaving the Globe Unity Orchestra, Kowald became a member of the London Jazz Composer's Orchestra until 1985. The great bassist has participated in a wide variety of projects, working with dancers, poets and artists, in addition to other musicians. Kowald has recorded many duos with European, Japanese and U.S. musicians, including bass duets with Barre Phillips, Joëlle Léandre and Barry Guy. While living in Greece, he recorded in groups with Greek musicians Floros Floridis and Ilias Papadopoulos. He also made a number of solo bass recordings, the most recent being Was Da Ist, the result of a self-proclaimed year at home, which ended in May 1995. Kowald also performed in various groups with Fred Anderson, Wadada Leo Smith, and Gunter Sommer, among others. He enjoyed driving and in 2000, went on a solo tour of the U.S., traveling by station wagon. After this tour, he relocated to NYC where he became very involved in the creative music scene. In late September, 2002, the hearts of free music fans everywhere were saddened as news spread that, after a gig in Brooklyn, Peter Kowald died at the age of 58 of a heart attack at the home of his friend and fellow bassist William Parker.
Singer Jeanne Lee died in 2000 at the age of 61.
**
Jeanne Lee- Vocal
Klaus Hovman- Bass
Peter Kowald- Tuba
Marilyn Mazur- Drums
**
01. The Star (M. Mazur) 9:44
02. Piece Choral (Jay Clayton) 10:36
03. Gate, Gate Paragate (LeeKowald) 14:44
04. Subway Couple (J. Lee) 6:33
05. Stupid Fresh (P. Kowald) 15:42
06. Fire Music (Peter Kowald) 12:10
**

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Dexter GORDON & Wardell GRAY - The Hunt 1947

Dexter GORDON & Wardell GRAY - The Hunt 1947
1977 Reissue. SJL 2222. 2 x Vinyl, LP.
Recorded at the Elks Auditorium in Los Angeles, on July 6, 1947

Jazz

By 1945, Gordon had left the Eckstine band and was resident in New York, where he was performing and recording with Charlie Parker, as well as recording under his own name. Gordon was a virtuoso particularly famous for his titanic saxophone duels with fellow tenorman Wardell Gray, that were a popular live attraction and that were documented in several albums including **The Hunt** between 1947 and 1952.
**
This really should have been released when recorded! Wow! Several of the best musicians in the 40s is on this record, led by the two sax giants Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray. On their own these two giant has made legendary records, such as Gordon’s Go!, Our Man In Paris and One Flight Up. Wardell Gray’s discography, though not very big, includes brilliant records The Chase And The Steeplechase, Memorial Vol. I and II. Well, fuck. You know what? I ain’t gonna write anymore than that. This is a fucking great record and all should try to get a hold of it. It’s quite rare but I don’t care if you have to download it or anything! It is life altering.
By Peter Svendsen.
**
Bass- Harry Babison (tracks: A, D) , Red Callender (tracks: B, C)
Drums- Connie Kay (tracks: B to D) , Ken Kennedy (tracks: A)
Guitar- Barney Kessel
Piano- Hampton Hawes
Saxophone [Alto]- Sonny Criss
Saxophone [Tenor]- Dexter Gordon , Wardell Gray
Trombone- Trummy Young
Trumpet- Howard McGhee
**
A. Disorder At The Border 19:20
   Written-By - C. Hawkins
B. Cherokee 21:12
   Written-By - R. Noble
C. Byas-A-Drink 19:15
   Written-By - D. Byas
D. The Hunt (A/K/A Rocks 'N Shoals) 18:05
   Written-By - O. Cadena
**

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Don CHERRY & The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Relativity Suite 1973

Don CHERRY & The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Relativity Suite 1973
JCOA LP 1006

Jazz

Don Cherry appeared on the first two releases by JCOA, albums under the leadership of label founders Carla Bley and Michael Mantler, so their decision to commission him for the third album seemed a wise move, as indeed it was. Using many of the same musicians who contributed to those records and were then established as the loose collective called the Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Cherry molded into a suite a string of the pieces he'd been composing and performing in the previous few years. Under the tutelage of Pandit Pran Nath, Cherry had been studying and increasingly using Indian karnatic singing in his recordings and concerts; he begins this album with a similarly derived chant. As the energy heats up, the orchestra launches into the captivating Mali Doussn'gouni, featuring a raging tenor solo by Frank Lowe and delightful vocal acrobatics by Cherry. When it slowly dissolves into his achingly beautiful Desireless, the first half of the album comes to an extremely satisfying conclusion. The remainder of the session is somewhat more of a mixed bag, succeeding off and on. Highlights include Selene Fung's lovely work on the ching, a Chinese koto-like instrument, and Ed Blackwell's exuberant New Orleans marching patterns on the concluding number. While not as breathtaking or cohesive as his Eternal Rhythm, Relativity Suite almost matches that release in its first half and contains many a worthwhile joy. Recommended. By Brian Olemnick. AMG.
**
Trumpet, Woodwind [Conch], Voice, Percussion- Don Cherry
Bass- Charlie Haden
Drums- Ed Blackwell
Piano- Carla Bley
Alto Sax, Voice- Carlos Ward
Tenor Sax, Voice- Dewey Redman , Frank Lowe
Tuba- Jack Jeffers
French Horn- Sharon Freeman
Percussion- Paul Motian
Percussion [Ching]- Selene Fung (tracks B1)
Tambura- Moki Cherry (tracks B2)
Trombone- Brian Trentham
Cello- Jane Robertson , Pat Dixon
Viola - Joan Kalisch , Nan Newton
Violin- Leroy Jenkins
**
A1. Tantra   8:00
A2. Mali doussn'gouni   5:40
A3. Desireless   1:22
B1. The Queen of Tung-Ting Lake   4:30
B2. Trans-Love Airways   6:50
B3. Infinite Gentleness   3:22
B4. March of the Hobbits   3:38
**

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Hiromi UEHARA - Hiromi’s SonicBloom Newport Jazz Festival 2009

Hiromi UEHARA - Hiromi’s SonicBloom Newport Jazz Festival 2009
Bootleg
Fm Broadcast

Jazz

Hiromi started learning classical piano at age 5. She was introduced to jazz by her piano teacher Noriko Hakita when she was 8. At age 14, she played with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. When she was 17, she met Chick Corea by chance in Tokyo, and was invited to play with him at his concert the next day. After being a jingle writer for a few years for Japanese companies such as Nissan, she enrolled to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts [1] . There, she was mentored by Ahmad Jamal and had already signed with jazz label Telarc before her graduation.

Since her debut in 2003, Hiromi has toured the world and appeared in numerous jazz festivals. She performed live at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 8, 2009.
**
Hiromi Uehara-  Piano, keyboards
Tony Grey- Bass
Mauricio Zottarelli- Drums
John Shannon- Guitar
**
01. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise 10:27
02. Led Boots 9:11
03. Claire de Lune 9:19
04. Unknown 12:28
05. Piano Solo 6:38
06. Caravan 15:25
07. Unknown 9:45
**

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Eric DOLPHY - Out There 1960

Eric DOLPHY - Out There 1960
NJLP 8252

Jazz

The follow-up album to Outward Bound, Eric Dolphy's second effort for the Prestige/New Jazz label (and later remastered by Rudy Van Gelder) was equally praised and vilified for many reasons. At a time when the "anti-jazz" tag was being tossed around, Dolphy's nonlinear, harshly harmonic music gave some critics grist for the grinding mill. A second or third listen to Dolphy's music reveals an unrepentant shadowy side, but also depth and purpose that were unprecedented and remain singularly unique. The usage of bassist George Duvivier and cellist Ron Carter (an idea borrowed from Dolphy's days with Chico Hamilton) gives the music its overcast color base, in many ways equally stunning and uninviting. Dolphy's ideas must be fully embraced, taken to heart, and accepted before listening. The music reveals the depth of his thought processes while also expressing his bare-bones sensitive and kind nature. The bluesy "Serene," led by Carter alongside Dolphy's bass clarinet, and the wondrous ballad "Sketch of Melba" provide the sweetest moments, the latter tune identified by the fluttery introspective flute of the leader, clearly indicating where latter-period musicians like James Newton initially heard what would form their concept. Three pieces owe alms to Charles Mingus: his dark, moody, doleful, melodic, and reluctant composition "Eclipse"; the co-written (with Dolphy) craggy and scattered title track featuring Dolphy's emblematic alto held together by the unflappable swing of drummer Roy Haynes; and "The Baron," the leader's dark and dirty, wise and willful tribute to his former boss, accented by a choppy and chatty solo from Carter. "17 West," almost a post-bop standard, is briefly tonal with a patented flute solo and questioning cello inserts, while the unexpected closer written by Hale Smith, "Feathers," is a haunting, soulful ballad of regret where Dolphy's alto is more immediately heard in the foreground. A somber and unusual album by the standards of any style of music, Out There explores Dolphy's vision in approaching the concept of tonality in a way few others -- before, concurrent, or after -- have ever envisioned.
By Michael G. Nastos.
**
Eric Dolphy- Alto Sax, Flute, B-flat and Bass Clarinets
Ron Carter- Cello
George Duvivier- Bass
Roy Haynes- Drums
**
A1. Out There   6:55
A2. Serene   7:01
A3. The Baron   2:57
B1. Eclipse   2:45
B2. 17 West   4:50
B3. Sketches of Melba   4:40
B4. Feathers   5:00
**

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Clifford BROWN and Max ROACH - At Basin Street 1956

Clifford BROWN and Max ROACH - At Basin Street 1956
Recorded in New York, New York on January 4 and February 16, 1956.
1990 Issue. 814 648-2

Jazz

Recorded mere months before Clifford Brown died in a car crash, 1956's AT BASIN STREET finds the revered trumpeter in top form, co-leading an ensemble with drummer Max Roach that included saxophonist Sonny Rollins and pianist Richie Powell (who was also killed in the accident). Morbid associations aside, this record is a vibrant hard-bop outing with Brown's amazingly agile horn lines always commanding attention even when compared to Rollins's robust sax work. Standout tracks include a swift, swinging rendition of "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" and the bright, uplifting take on "I'll Remember April."

When Clifford Brown and Max Roach passed through Chicago in the latter part of 1955, a pregnant Mrs. Harold Land wired her husband to come back home to Los Angeles; so Sonny Rollins filled the tenor chair. The rest would have been history, except that Clifford Brown and pianist Richie Powell perished in an auto accident the following summer. But AT BASIN STREET remains, marking Rollins' debut and documenting the emergence of the decade's most innovative small combo and three of its greatest solo voices.

Still, much of this band's enduring grace emanates from the charts and accompaniments of their underrated pianist, Richie Powell--Bud Powell's kid brother. He transforms a sappy popular standard such as "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" through the use of multiple meters, rhythm changes and radical harmonic plumbing, while the witty intro to his own "Gertrude's Bounce" parodies "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" before breaking into a spirited bebop line. Elsewhere, his punctilious phrasing is a studied contrast to the Olympian effusions of Brown, Roach and Rollins, and his varied vamps and shifting backgrounds give each piece big-band depth.

Given all the Clifford Brown compilations that have saturated the market, it's nice to hear a full original album by the lauded trumpeter. On this 1954 release, Brown--who died in a '56 car wreck at age 25--teams up with drummer Max Roach, and the result is a classic set of bebop. Standards "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" and "Stompin' at the Savoy" are played with mastery, and originals "Sweet Clifford" and "Mildama" by Brown and Roach respectively, highlight the two virtuosos' technical and conceptual abilities; breathtaking trumpet and drum solos are heard on both cuts. However, it is the wistful "Darn That Dream" that steals the show on this record. A gorgeous ballad in the hands of any professional.
**
Bass- George Morrow
Drums- Max Roach
Mastered By- Jeff Willens
Photography- Chuck Stewart
Piano- Richie Powell
Producer- Bob Shad
Tenor Sax- Sonny Rollins
Trumpet- Clifford Brown
**
01. What Is This Thing Called Love   7:38
02. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing   4:17
03. I'll Remember April   9:17
04. Powell's Prances   3:31
05. Time   5:08
06. The Scene Is Clean   6:09
07. Gertrude's Bounce   4:12
**

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Alan SKIDMORE Quintet - Once Upon A Time 1970


Alan SKIDMORE Quintet - Once Upon A Time 1970
SDN 11

Jazz

Spiralling, soaring work from the Alan Skidmore Quintet -- a group led by one of the greatest British tenor talents at the end of the 60s! Skidmore's name turns up often in some of the larger ensemble sessions from the period, but this album's one of his few smaller group outings -- and it's a real treasure that we'd rank with the most free-thinking jazz on Deram as the time. Skidmore's joined in the group by an all-star lineup that includes Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn, John Taylor on piano, Harry Miller on bass, and Tony Oxley on drums -- and all players are working here in a cohesive, vibrant style that's quite different than some of the freer, more "out" work of later years. There's a real love of color and tone on the session -- and the tunes unfold with a soaring quality that's really tremendous -- one that's rarely too free, and which explores the shades and hues that were showing up in some of the best British jazz of the time. For one point of reference, we might compare the record to the depth of the best Michael Garrick sessions of the late 60s -- but there's also a bit more straightforward quality here that we really love. Titles include "Old San Juan", "Once Upon A Time", "The Yolk", "Free For Al", and "Image". 
From Dusty Groove.
**
Once Upon a Time is one of an amazing 20 albums tenor saxophonist Alan Skidmore appeared on in 1969 and 1970 (including several veritable classics of British jazz, Mike Gibbs' Tanglewood 63, John Surman's How Many Clouds Can You See?, Stan Tracey's Seven Ages of Man, and Graham Collier's Songs for My Father). The lineup of this particular quintet, which represented Britain at the 1969 Montreux Jazz Festival, is truly stellar: in addition to Skidmore there's Canadian trumpeter/flügelhorn virtuoso Kenny Wheeler, pianist John Taylor, bassist Harry Miller, and percussionist Tony Oxley. Two of the six tracks are credited to John Surman, and one, the sultry "Old San Juan," is penned by John Warren, Surman's collaborator on Tales of the Algonquin, another classic release from the same year. If the Surman material reveals the discreet influence of the late-'60s Miles Davis quintet, Oxley's "Majaera" begins to explore the more dangerous territory of free playing he would return to the following year on his Four Compositions for Sextet. Elsewhere, John Taylor's "The Yolk" is a boisterous, brilliant piece of hard bop, and the last three tracks, segued together as a suite, explore a similarly wide range of styles. So much so that Skidmore aficionados tend to prefer the greater coherence of the following year's septet release on Philips, TCB, but Once Upon a Time remains one of the landmark albums of British jazz.
By Dan Warburton.
**
Bass- Harry Miller
Drums- Tony Oxley
Flugelhorn- Kenny Wheeler
Piano- John Taylor  
Tenor Sax- Alan Skidmore
**
A1. Once Upon A Time  
A2. Majaera  
A3. The Yolk  
B1. Old San Juan  
B2. Free For Al  
B3. Image  
**

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Charles MINGUS - Changes One and Two 1974

Charles MINGUS - Changes One and Two 1974
SD 1677,SD 1678
NYC, December 27, 1974
(PS: This albums has nothing to do with Bremen Concert,as they were saying >>> Source: Soundboard or radio?
I BELIEVE it is pure FICTION).

Jazz

Although I like these Changes records, I won't deny that this fails to match the ambition and grand scope of most of his 60s works. Both Changes One and Two feature a small combo (a quintet consisting of Mingus, Don Pullen [piano], Dannie Richmond [drums], George Adams [sax] and Jack Walrath [trumpet]) stretching themselves out occasionally, but more embedded in traditional jazz structure than usual for Mingus. All four tunes here all follow the head/solo/solo/solo/head format. "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" is a lovely ballad with a fairly restrained Pullen solo, unfortunately it just doesn't have that characteristic Mingus stamp of composition to it. Having a melody ascend while the chords descend has been around forever. "Devil Blues" has some gritty singing and hollering with some pained trumpet in the background, but after a few verses, it's business as usual. Sax and trumpet get some cool phrases in the middle, and then again at the end they squeal out of their range, but it ends just as it seems like all hell could break loose.

"Sue's Changes" is the obvious standout here, lasting 17 minutes and changing often through different moods, tempos, and structures. It starts off slow, then picks up to a march feel, then gets faster and brighter, then vamps on the coolest two bars of the song, then builds to an insane climax before it breaks down. For the choruses, everyone follows this EXACT SAME STRUCTURE. So even though it's still head/solo/head, a crazy head makes for more interesting soloing. Of course, this is why it takes 17 minutes, but it's worth it to hear this talented group playing what so few are capable of doing.
**
CHANGES ONE (and its companion disc CHANGES TWO, both recorded in a single session) features outstanding performances of Mingus's intense, expressive compositions and is considered, even by the bassist himself, to be among his finest work. This group of intelligent, technically superior musicians, consisting of tenor sax, trumpet, piano and drums, had been playing together for two years at the time of recording and were at the peak of their collaborative powers. The tracks are as diverse as they are engaging-- ranging from the mind-boggling complexity of "Sue's Changes (with shifts of tempo, theme and mood, showered over by Don Pullen's keyboard flurries) to the straightahead rock of "Devil Blues" (with a spirited, shouting blues vocal by saxophonist George Adams). Emotions run high through the album as well, particularly in the passionate, swelling tenderness of "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love," an elegy to one of Mingus's heroes. Supported throughout by the artist's fat, elastic bass tone and the protean, articulate musical personalities of his band, the compositions are textural, challenging and multi-faceted, while still managing to remain accessible. Highly recommended, CHANGES ONE (particularly in conjunction with TWO) acts as an excellent introduction to the music of this jazz pioneer.
**
Charles Mingus- (Bass);
George Adams- (Vocals, Tenor Sax);
Marcus Belgrave, Jack Walrath- (Trumpet);
Don Pullen- (Piano);
Dannie Richmond- (Drums).
**
Changes One

A1. Remember Rockefeller at Attica  5:56
A2. Sue's Changes   17:04
B1. Devil Blues   9:24
B2. Duke Ellington's Sound of Love  12:04
**
Changes Two

A1. Free Cell Block F, 'Tis Nazi U.S.A.   6:52
A2 Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blue   17:31
B1 Black Bats and Poles   6:20
B2 Duke Ellington's Sound of Love (with Jackie Paris)   4:13
B3 For Harry Carney   7:57
**

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Maleem Mahmoud GHANIA with Pharoah SANDERS - The Trance of Seven Colors 1994

Maleem Mahmoud GHANIA with Pharoah SANDERS - The Trance of Seven Colors 1994

Jazz

To call this outing "authentic" would be an understatement, given that Bill Laswell and Pharoah Sanders took only some digital recording equipment and Sanders' saxophone to Morocco to record it. The CD sleeve photos show the informal nature of the proceedings, revealing that the recording took place in someone's home with a large cast of musicians, many of whom are Ghania's family members. The recording did not suffer at all from the mobile equipment, and The Trance of Seven Colors lives up to its title, giving the listener first-hand access to Gnawa healing ceremonial music. Ghania's Guimbri (an African instrument) unravels masterful, off-kilter, bass-like lines over chanting and various percussion instruments. Pharoah Sanders sounds inspired in the setting also, making this a worthwhile recording for Sanders fans who heard intimations of world music in his '60s dates.
By Wilson McCloy. AMG.
**
Although it might seem surprising, jazz and Arabic music have quite a bit in common. In particular, both emphasis a strong tradition of improvisation. Perhaps that is why this CD works so well... a collaboration between Pharaoh Sanders on saxophone and the intense driving beats and rhythms of Morocco's Gnawa Sufi brotherhood. As others have noted, the result is a strange spiritual experience, but it works. It takes a certain amount of talent and sensitivity to be able to pull something like this off, but the musicians managed to do so on this album, and quite successfully I might add. Listening to it, one can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer powerful of this music - it is beautiful, devotional and innovative all at the same time. It is especially interesting to see how both traditions manage to complement each other without either overwhelming the other. All in all, a very well done effort. Perhaps those interested in this CD will also do further exploration of Sufi music, of which there are no shortage of commercially available recordings on the market today.
**
This is more than music...it's a ritual, a healing event. And this is some of the fiercest and most inspired blowing that Pharoah has done in a long time...reminicent of the old days actually.
This disc reproduces a meeting between Sanders and the master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania. Gnawa people are Morrocan descendents of black African slaves, who have maintained a spiritual and musical tradition that is an amalgam of Sufi mysticism and elements of West African spirit religion. The music is haunting. It is a vocal music, driven by an instrument called the guimbri...a bass lute with gut stings and a head made out of camel hide. The musician plucks the strings and slaps the head to create a sound somewhere between a bass guitar and a drum. The rest of the ensemble consists of a responding chorus who accompany the music with hand claps and Krkaba, loudly resounding hand cymbals. The music is equal parts Sufi ceremonial music and West African drum ritual. On it's own the music is compelling.

But over top of this on many of the tracks on the album, Pharoah Sanders let's loose on some of the most firey, spirit filled improvisation that he's done since the late 60s. Not all of this is out...some is quite beautiful and very melodic. His ballad Peace in Essaouira is deeply moving. But even when he maintains tonal structures and specific pitches in his improvising, there is a spirit here which is bracing. And when he goes out....watch out! It's a true meeting of the two groups, not a gimmick.

This is an album that will give you energy and literally raise the spirits. I find that I can't keep still while listening to it. It is true trance music.
By Christopher Forbes.
**
Abdellatif Abdellaoui- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba
Mohamed Abdellaoui- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba
Abdellahkrkaba Ahkaraz- Vocals, Handclapping
Maleem Mahmoud Ankaraz- Trombone
Mohamed Boujmia- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba
El Moktar Ghania- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba
Maleem Abdellah Ghania- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba
Maleem Boubker Ghania- Guimbri
Maleem Mahmoud Ghania- Trombone, Vocals, Guimbri
Zaida Ghania- Vocals
Abdelmalak Ben Hamou- Ghaita
Abdellah Lamsouger- Handclapping  
Hassan Machoure- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba 
Abderrahman Nimini- Trombone
Mohamed Outanine- Vocals, Handclapping, Krkaba 
Pharoah Sanders- Tenor Sax
**
01. La Allah Dayim Moulenah (PS,MMG) 11:10;
02. Bala Moussaka (Trad.) 3:54;
03. Hamdouchi (Trad.) 9:07;
04. Peace In Essaouira (For Sonny Sharrock) (PS) 7:23;
05. Boulandi Samawi (Trad.) 13:56;
06. Moussa Berkiyo / Koubaliy Beriah La'Foh (Trad.) 4:34;
07. Salat Anbi (Trad.) 8:17;
08. Casa Casa Atougra (Trad.) 5:05;
09. Mahraba (Trad.) 7:48.
**

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thad JONES, Mel LEWIS - Consummation 1970

Thad JONES, Mel LEWIS - Consummation 1970
BST-84346

Jazz

One of the greatest records ever cut by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra way way more than a big band jazz session, and a fantastically hip batch of grooves that encompasses a wealth of styles! The Jones/Lewis group could sometimes sound a bit clunky and overhashed but on this set, they've got a surprisingly lyrical approach free-thinking and easily grooving, but with room for complicated solos and complex rhythms. All tracks are originals by Thad Jones and players include Roland Hanna on electric piano, David Spinozza on guitar, and a host of great talents on reeds and brass. Titles include the sweetly funky cuts "Us" and "Ahunk Ahunk", plus the tracks "Dedication", "Consummation", "Tiptoe", and "Fingers".
From Dusty Groove.
**
The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis big band was the harmonic and natural successor to the Count Basie band. With some of the best players of their era, its members included Joe Farrell, Jerome Richardson, Dee Dee Bridgewater (who often sang because her husband played sax in the band), Pepper Adams, Snooky Young...need I continue? Yes! How about Sir Roland Hanna, one of the great piano player/composers? I consider this album one of the best and most overlooked jazz albums of all time. As a sax player, all I can say is if you like big band jazz or Count Basie, you will love this album. It is a musicians' and audience favorite.
PS-One of the most beautiful jazz ballads ever written and covered by many jazz players is on this album: A Child Is Born.
**
Of the many albums recorded by the Thad JonesMel Lewis Orchestra, this was the greatest. This set introduced Jones' best-known composition, A Child Is Born, and also has a colorful rendition of his sly Tiptoe, and finds the big band ripping the roof off during the lengthy and very exciting Fingers. The all-star cast (which includes flugelhornist Jones, drummer Lewis, trumpeter Marvin Stamm, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, tenor great Billy Harper, the reeds of Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion and Eddie Daniels, keyboardist Roland Hanna, and bassist Richard Davis, among others) is well served by Thad Jones' inventive and swinging arrangements. A classic.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
**
Thad Jones- (Flugelhorn);
David Spinozza- (Guitar on 5, 6);
Eddie Daniels- (Flute, Clarinet, Tenor Sax);
Jerome Richardson- (Flute, Soprano Sax, Alto Sax);
Billy Harper- (Flute, Tenor Sax);
Joe Farrell, Pepper Adams, Richie Kamuca- (Clarinet, Baritone Sax);
Al Porcino, Marvin Stamm, Snooky Young- (Trumpet);
Dick Berg, Julius Watkins, James Buffington, Earl Chapin- (French Horn on 1, 8);
Eddie Bert, Jimmy Knepper, Benny Powell- (Trombone);
Cliff Heather- (Bass Trombone);
Howard Johnson- (Tuba on 1, 8);
Roland Hanna- (Piano, Electric Piano);
Mel Lewis- (Drums);
Richard Davis- (Electric Bass).
**
A1. Dedication   5:09
A2. It Only Happens Every Time   3:03
A3. Tiptoe   6:38
A4. A Child Is Born   4:04
A5. Us   3:33
B1. Ahunk Ahunk   7:54
B2. Fingers   10:35
B3. Consummation  5:08
**

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David "Fathead" NEWMAN - Blue Head 1990

David "Fathead" NEWMAN - Blue Head 1990
CCD-79041
Recording Date Sep 3, 1989

Jazz

Newman often worked with his own quartet and he undertook European tours. His albums included Blue Head (1989) ,with the tenor player Clifford Jordan, and a tribute to Duke Ellington, Mr Gentle, Mr Cool (1994). In 1990, he, Art Blakey and Dr John were nominated for a Grammy with their album, Bluesiana Triangle, and in 1996 he appeared as a musician at the Hey-Hey Club in Robert Altman's film Kansas City.
When Newman moved from New York to the country, he made the idyllic Under a Woodstock Moon (1996), which featured such songs as "Nature Boy" and "Skylark". He released a tribute album to Ray Charles, I Remember Brother Ray, to coincide with the film in 2005. He also worked with his son, the vocalist and drummer, Cadino Newman.
By Spencer Leigh.
**
The distinctive tenors David Newman and Clifford Jordan make for a potent team on this live jam session set which finds Jordan sitting in with Newman's quartet (which includes guitarist Ted Dunbar, pianist Buddy Montgomery, bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith). The six performances each clock in between 11 and 15 minutes with plenty of stretching out for the two veteran saxophonists, guitarist Dunbar and pianist Montgomery. "Fathead" mostly alternates between tenor and alto while Jordan switches to his rarely heard soprano on "Blues For David." The good-natured tenor tradeoffs on "Strike Up The Band" are in the tradition of Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons, Newman's "Blue Head" is strongly reminiscent of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and his alto playing on a medium-tempo "Willow Weep For Me" takes solo honors. Of the other cuts, "What's New" is a tasteful feature for Dunbar's guitar and Jordan's "Eyewitness Blues" wraps up the fine performance with a 32-bar romp. Easily recommended to straightahead jazz fans.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
**
David "Fathead" Newman- (Saxophones, Flute)
Clifford Jordan- (Saxophones)
Ted Dunbar- (Guitar)
Charles "Buddy" Montgomery- (Piano)
Todd Coolman- (Bass)
Marvin "Smitty" Smith- (Drums)
**
01. Strike Up The Band  11:09
02. Blue Head  14:10
03. Willow Weep For Me 12:58
04. Blues For David  12:05
05. What's New?  11:49
06. Eye Witness Blues  11:14
**

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Chick COREA & Hiromi UEHARA - Duet Chick & Hiromi 2007

Chick COREA & Hiromi UEHARA - Duet Chick & Hiromi 2007

Jazz

Chick Corea is not only a highly imaginative and prolific recording artist, but the world-renowned pianist also loves to walk the tight wire without a net. His latest project of jazz daring-so is Duet, a two-CD live performance with up-and-coming pianist Hiromi, recorded live in 2007 at the Blue Note in Tokyo.

Duet is a masterwork of remarkable pianists of two different generations and cultures who transcend all boundaries to converse with each other with an exuberance and passion. The first CD features an original by each pianist (Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty” treated to a new rowdy rendering of skips, scrambles and nimble tumbles, and Hiromi’s “Déja Vu” brought to a higher tier with the duo imagining new twists and turns) as well as four covers, including tunes by Bill Evans (“Very Early”), Thelonious Monk (“Bolivar Blues”), Antonio Carlos Jobim (“How Insensitive”) and Lennon-McCartney (“Fool on the Hill”). On CD No. 2, each pianist brings to the set two originals (Corea: “Windows” and “Do Mo: Children’s Song #12”; Hiromi Uehara: “Place to Be” and “Old Castle”). They also cover “Summertime” with a reharmonized beauty and adventurously meld Joaquin Vidre Rodrigo’s classic “Concierto de Aranjuez” with one of Corea’s best-known tunes, “Spain.” The performance is so exhilaratingly rhythmic that the crowd claps in glee while the two pianists captivate on the keys. The music features pockets of spiraling dance and torrid zigzagging as well as teems with gentle lyricism and sublime wonderment. It’s no wonder that Duet, originally released in Japan in 2007 on Universal, became the top-selling jazz album of the year there. It also marked for Corea his first acoustic-piano duo performance since he and Herbie Hancock recorded their classic In Concert 1978 album live at Tokyo’s Budokan.

Because Duet soared in popularity, Corea and Hiromi decided to meet again—this time not in the intimate confines of a club, but at the outdoor Budokan stadium. Writing on his website, Corea said, “It was wild to see 5,500 people in attendance for the piano duet with Hiromi, the brilliant, young Japanese pianist and composer. Our three days at the Tokyo Blue Note became the double CD…and the interest [in it] seemed to warrant a try at a larger audience.” Corea continued: “I wasn’t sure how an audience that large in a venue that sprawling would receive our duet, which was conceived as an intimacy, largely improvised and for a jazz-wise public. Well, what a surprise when the audience calmly and appreciatively took in the almost two-hour concert with great interest and standing-ovation approval. I was so happy to see that this could happen in this day and age, and then thought, ‘Well, the Japanese have such an artistic culture.’”
**
Combined with his abilities as a soloist, Chick Corea's uncanny accompanist's instinct for supporting and focusing the spotlight on another player's efforts has produced celebrated duets with everyone from Gary Burton and Herbie Hancock to John McLaughlin and Bela Fleck. With Hiromi Uehara he has done it again.

Duet captures the two pianists in an engagement at Tokyo's Blue Note club in September of 2007, and finds them repeatedly achieving ecstatic heights of ingenuity and inventiveness. At first blush the opening tracks might feel too quiet as an introduction to the Sturm und Drang of this dynamic pairing, but if the anticipated energy, the bounding, rampaging, red-eyed thunder-and-lightning this partnership promises to deliver is not immediately evident as the first of two discs opens with Bill Evans' "Very Early" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive," don't touch that dial...

Once these two get their hands warm on "Déjà Vu," the first of Hiromi's contributed compositions, they ignite things with a respectfully deconstructed version of "Fool on the Hill" that hews neatly to the lilting Lennon/McCartney melody line and harmonies right up until the closing three bars, when Corea unexpectedly plucks a few portentous notes inside the piano. The cubist conflagration long-time Corea fans perennially yearn for then flares dramatically on a joyful, abstracted version of his enduring "Humpty Dumpty," ending with his throwing down fistfuls of Cecil Taylor-esque tennis-ball chords, and his protégé enthusiastically throwing them right back. When he next engages Hiromi in some gravity-defying rhythmning on Thelonious Monk's "Bolivar Blues," the first disc's final track, it is plain she's in a mood to play.

A meandering "Windows" opens the second disc, but then it's off again on a stunning steeplechase of a composition, Hiromi's "Old Castle, by the River, in the Middle of a Forest," featuring some vintage unison dressage. By the time the last notes are sounded they are both energized and ready for a quirkily non-traditional distillation of "Summertime," using the Gershwin standard to continue widening the degree of abstraction as they travel through a sublimely ordered track sequence (a good argument in favor of albums, and against selective MP3 downloads). Musically, the end of "Summertime" dovetails into Hiromi's evanescent "Place to Be," which manages to slow the heart rate a few more beats per second before the disc concludes with a free-playing romp on Corea's "Children's Song #12," re-titled "Do Mo," and finally, an off-kilter rendition of "Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain" to provide an insouciantly perfect coda.
**
Every once in a while, a CD comes across my desk that I dig, and I just can't put into words why. (I like to believe that it's more about some mystical quality of the music and less about vocabulary limitations.) Chick Corea and Hiromi's Duet is one such CD. Recorded by two masterful, rather flexible jazz pianists, it's somewhat of an old guard meets new guard. Chick Corea, of course, has been around since the late 60s and has had a hand in the development of several jazz genres and helped bring electric pianos and synthesizers into the jazz mainstream. I'd never heard of Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara until hearing this duet album, but this and videos of her various solo compositions have definitely caught my attention.

Part of the issue with phrasing my opinion of the CD is: how can you write about something like two pianists in a live setting bouncing off of each other? Unlike Corea's 2007 duet with Bela Fleck, The Enchantment, this double-album was recorded live at the Tokyo Blue Note. In a studio jazz setting, even if all of the takes are recorded with all instruments at once, it's still possible to pick the best take for an album; in the live setting, there's no way to bring it back, and there's also a lot more energy from the crowd and from the musicians playing off each other.

With that in mind, and comparing it to the difference between The Enchantment and Corea and Fleck's live performance, Duet is relatively restrained. The pieces go on for long times--the shortest piece, "The Fool on the Hill," clocks in at just under 7 minutes, and the longest is barely shy of 15--but in there are very few places that feel self-indulgent. The end of "Humpty-Dumpty," for instance, has a section which is basically a flurry of notes from both pianists with little semblance of harmonic structure, and on "Summertime," the melody is only followed closely enough to remind the listener what the song is. There are a few songs which are attention-grabbing, such as "The Fool on the Hill" with a percussive groove (my first reaction was "pianos can make a sound like that?"), or the funky "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are (Bolivar Blues)."

Put simply, this is an excellent piano jazz CD. The two show run the gamut from majestic flowing chords as can only be played on piano to saloon blues plinking, and all points between. If you're a fan of either pianist, pick it up, and if you're like me and had never heard of Hiromi before, make sure to check out some of her solo works as well.
By Dan Upton.
**
Cd 1  
01. Very Early 9:13
02. How Insensitive 7:37
03. Déja Vu 9:01
04. Fool on the Hill 6:47
05. Humpty Dumpty 7:50
06. Bolivar Blues 8:46

Cd 2 
07. Windows 7:45
08. Old Castle 14:57
09. Summertime 8:50
10. Place To Be 8:12
11. Do Mo -Children's Song #12 13:02
12. Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain 12:12
**

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Art PEPPER - The Art Pepper Quartet 1956

Art PEPPER - The Art Pepper Quartet 1956
(No Alternate Takes)

Jazz

Originally released on the defunct Tampa label and then on CD by the small V.S.O.P. label, this album features the great altoist Art Pepper with pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Gary Frommer. Despite the inclusion of five alternate takes, there is still only around 41 minutes of music but the quality is high; even with his erratic lifestyle, Pepper never made a bad record. Highlights include Art's original "Diane," "Besame Mucho" and "Pepper Pot." Fine music, but not essential when one considers how many gems Art Pepper recorded during his rather hectic life.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
**
"The Art Pepper Quartet," originally recorded for the Tampa label and reissued on CD by OJC, is one of the alto-saxophonist's best early albums. The session was recorded on November 25, 1956 and features Russ Freeman on piano, Ben Tucker on bass, and Gary Frommer on drums. "The Tampa Quartet," as it is affectionately referred to by collectors, along with the three volumes of the Complete Aladdin Recordings on Blue Note (two of which are currently out-of-print), are without a doubt his best work from the early to mid-1950s, and should be preferred hands down to titles like "Surf Ride" (see my review). With that being said, this disc gets four stars for two reasons. Even with five alternate takes the CD logs in at less than 45 minutes, and there are just so many other classic Pepper CDs available from OJC, including "Smack Up," "Intensity," "Meets the Rhythm Section" and "Gettin' Together" (see my review of the latter) that interested parties should start elsewhere and work their way to "Tampa."
By  Michael B. Richman.
**
Art Pepper- (Alto Sax, Clarnet);
Russ Freeman- (Piano);
Ben Tucker- (Bass);
Gary Frommer- (Drums).

01. Art's Opus 5:48
02. I Surrender, Dear Barris, 5:31
03. Diane Pepper 3:35
04. Pepper Pot Pepper 5:03
05. Besame Mucho Skylar, Velazquez 4:00
06. Blues at Twilight Pepper 3:58
07. Val's Pal Pepper 2:03
**

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