Sunday, May 11, 2008

Why You Gotta Play Me Like That?

I'm just curious why some bloggers feel the need to be tyrannical assholes. There's a popular blog where someone posted something -- attempting to share -- that, evidently without his knowledge, had actually originated on that blog. The offending poster apologized, explaining he'd gotten the files from a friend (I've done that -- most of us have). In response, the blog host threw a profanity-laced mini-tantrum. Why be an asshole about it? The guy made a mistake. This host is one of the same folks who pisses and moans about the way people treat him as a blogger. Perhaps he reaps what he sews. I just don't understand the need people have to be this way. Those of us into this music make up about 2% of the listening population; can't we get along and not act like we're all in high school over silly shit like this? Sad, O.J.... sad.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jazz in the Media

Congratulations to Herbie Hancock on his recent Grammy... seriously. It's an achievement and I applaud his incorporation of Joni Mitchell's music... really. CBS Sunday morning just did a segment on Herbie, again congrats. Next week, they'll do yet another feature on Quincy Jones. Nothing against these guys, but they're basically the walking dead of this music (Herbie less than Quincy). Quincy has been less about Jazz than about production for years.

CBS Sunday Morning tapes in New York. New York is the home to Billy Harper, William Parker, Rob Brown, Dick Griffin -- all survivors. Or even young guns like Potter, Turner and McHenry. While not my bag, they certainly bring a fresher voice to the table than Hancock or Jones these days.

How 'bout Chicago? Ari Brown, Kahil El Z'abar, Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson, Ernest Dawkins... heck, how 'bout Von Freeman or even Eric Alexander? Point is, this music has an audience and it would be a larger one of they'd get some exposure (can you resist El Z'abar's One World Family!?!??).

So while I'll congratulate Herbie and Quincy, particularly Herbie's comment that his Grammy, "is good for Jazz," I have to give both failing marks for failing to seize the opportunity to point the world to other aspects of this great music. As Z'abar says in the lyrics to One World Family, "This generation's too busy thinking about themselves...." I don't expect Herbie to shoulder this burden on his own -- that's not his job. But many years ago, a famous, respected musician let Herbie earn his shot. It's time to pay back, Herbie.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Archie Shepp - Jazz A Confronto

By request. This is THE Shepp Quintet, from a great period. Unfortunately, this was digitized from the LP, and from the file size, I'm guessing it was mono. I'm not sure why, but if I recall, the reason was something to do with my turntable outs malfunctioning. Anyway, here it is.

It's two long tunes, one soprano, one tenor. Then tenor cut, Lybia, is simply awesome. Shepp is in top form, wailing and crying with some of his fiercest energy on record. At one point early in Shepp's 14-minute solo, Cameron Brown actually drops out -- it burns that much. All the Horos are OOP, though some of them are available from old stock. I've queried the founder of Horo about the plausibility of any of this stuff being reissued on CD. He informed me that there were no plans to do that. Hopefully, someone will buy him out and do just that!

1. Lybia
2. My Heart Cries Out To Africa

Rome, Italy, September 28, 1975

Archie Shepp - tenor sax, soprano sax
Charles Majid Greenlee - trombone
Dave Burrell - piano
Cameron Brown - bass
Beaver Harris - drums

Sunday, March 9, 2008

George Adams/Don Pullen Quartet - Earth Beams

For this generally upbeat session -- recorded in Holland --
Adams is joined by co-leader and longtime colleague pianist Don Pullen, and is backed by drummer Dannie Richmond and bassist Cameron Brown. Richmond spurs the saxophonist on, while Brown strikes hard in support, resulting in some strong solos by Adams on tenor sax. Adams seems to glide effortlessly up and down his horn, his patented licks never tiresome. Most of the original tunes are blowing vehicles, which work well with the superb talent represented here. Pullen is more pensive than usual, but always effective. The lyrical flute work by Adams is a pleasure, but it lacks the verve of his saxophone playing. Some of the best moments come from the interaction between Pullen and Adams, whose legacies left an indelible imprint on late 20th century jazz. ~ Steven Loewy, All Music Guide

1. Earth Beams
2. Magnetic Love Field
3. Dionysus
4. Saturday Nite In The Cosmos
5. More Flowers
6. Sophisticated Alice

George Adams - tenor sax, flute
Don Pullen - piano
Cameron Brown - bass
Dannie Richmond - drums

Recorded August 3-5, 1980

George Adams Quintet - Paradise Space Shuttle

This was my first George Adams record, and from the first needle drop, I hated it. I wouldn't even give it a second chance. Then my father played it on his system and I heard it for the first time. Half the record is quirky to fair; half is outstanding. Adams fiery tenor receives admirable support from the highly underrated and under appreciated Rahn Burton (credited here as Ron Burton). Don Pate is on bass, and Al Foster has the same zing he carries on Abbey Lincoln's People In Me. Azzedin Weston rounds out the band with miscellaneous percussion. The opening track is a burner, and Adams sets the tone for the rest of the record. Track 2, Send in the Clowns, is one of the prettiest ballads I've ever heard Adams do. Track 3 is the first version of this tune I ever heard, it may be the first recorded version. Adams and Foster do the Coltrane and Elvin thing. The title track aims for Interstellar Space, but misses. City of Peace is Burton's contribution, and but for a few moments, seems to fill out the album's time requirements. The album's funky closer would be okay, but just lasts too damned long.

1. Intentions
2. Send In The Clowns
3. Metamorphosis For Mingus
4. Paradise Space Shuttle
5. Invisible Funk-a-Roonie-Peacock

George Adams - tenor sax, flute, vocals
Rahn Burton - piano
Don Pate - bass, electric bass
Al Foster - drums
Azzedin Weston - percussion

Recorded December 21, 1979

Abraham Burton/Yousuke Inoue - Drifting Inward

This is OOP. If you're unfamiliar with Burton, you need to fix that. James Carter is on three cuts here and Burton acquits himself
very well. says:
In 2000 Yosuke Inoue made a second album as a leader with Abraham Burton entitled Drifting Inward for M&I Records. Together, Burton and Inoue toured the world.

There is little about this record on the web. Little is needed. It's a strong outing, heavy on the young-lion sax work. Also recommended from Burton (and still in print) are Cause and Effect with Eric McPherson and Horace Tapscott's Aiee! The Phantom.

1. Pithecanthropus Erectus
2. Rio
3. Salsamba
4. Just The Two Of Us
5. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
6. Drifting Inward
7. On A Clear Day
8. A Song For My Teacher
9. Just Friends
10. Dad

Abraham Burton - alto sax, tenor sax
James Carter - ts (4, 5, 9)
James Hurt - p
Yousuke Inoue - b
Eric McPherson - dr

Recorded February 22-23, 1998

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yusef Lateef - The Last Savoy Sessions

AMG says:

These pivotal sessions for Lateef and his Detroit-based groups comprise some of his most important music recorded for the Savoy label. This double CD set consists of complete albums The Dreamer and The Fabric of Jazz. (1959) and Jazz & The Sounds of Nature and Prayer to the East (1957) as well as a bonus cut. CD one is from the 1959 date, and contains some true Lateef classics like the slow swing of "Oboe Blues" and the bright, uppity waltz of "Valse Bouk." The 1957 dates on Disc Two show Lateef and Harden more focused and together or contrary and conversational. "8540 12th St." showcases the two horns mostly listening and spontaneously responding with some unison added on this classic hard bopper, Harden's poignant one note preludes on his solo are unique as an organist might play it. The Prayer to the East session includes the easy blues swing of the title cut, with Lateef's flute invoking Arabic inflections. Others from The Sounds of Nature are the Afro-Cuban to swing-beated "Check Blues" with unusual harmonics from overblown flute or stabbing flugelhorn notes, and the 6/8 one-note bass (or rabat) foundation for "Gypsy Arab," a flute/percussion processional with gong coda. This is a welcome reissue, as it puts the final stripe on Lateef's prolific music for Savoy prior to his more commercialized outings for Atlantic proper. It's some of his more profound, definitve work and is easily worthy of a hearty and universal high recommendation, especially a must buy for those new to Lateef's musings.

I say:

Yusef is one of the most underrated guys out there. Some of the most soulful and long-lasting ideas of the period. He had a big, bold sound, and a strut in his playing. It's a pity he's not a household name -- he deserves better. One of the reasons he's so unknown is he's still alive, thus some sort of unspoken threat to the bullshit musical establishment. No matter, check these out. You'll buy them if you do, as the sound quality here is mid-tier at best (160KPBS).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Equal Time Live at the 2007 Telluride by the Sea Film Festival

Equal Time was chosen to play the opening of the Telluride by the Sea Film Festival in Portstmouth, NH. Drummer Rob Duquette subbed for Mike Walsh, and it gave the band a different feel. Midway through the last song, one of the festival attendees walked between the band and the stanchions, kicking the recorder and ending the recorded part of the session. People are sometimes very careless.

Track List

1. Aquarian Sound
2. Greetings to Idris
3. Tell Your Ride
4. Traveler of Tomorrow
5. With a Little Help From My Friends

Tim Webb - bass
Rob Duquette - drums
Thom Keith - saxophones

Recorded at the Portsmouth Music Hall, September 21, 2007

Thursday, January 24, 2008

3/4 Time at the Barley Pub

Recorded at a show when the bassist was injured and couldn't play. The band attempted to replace him with a keyboard player the day of the show. He confirmed, but two hours before the show had come down with a powerful winter illness. So this is a, largely improvised, trombone, sax and drums set. Some of it works, some if doesn't, all of it is real and energetic.

Track List

Set 1

1. With a Little Help From My Friends
2. Sunday Song for a Swollen Wrist
3. India
4. Song For Jesus
5. Zombie

Set 2

6. My One and Only Love
7. Equinox
8. 3-D Family
9. Suite:
a. Yearning
b. Mr. Dawkins
c. Skwalkin'
d. Pursance: A Love Supreme
10. Fables of Faubus
11. African Sunshine
12. Iron Man
13. Epilogue

Mike Walsh - drums
Derek Kwong - trombone
Thom Keith - saxophones

Recorded December 2, 2007 at The Barley Pub, Dover, NH.

What Is Avant Coast?

This is the Avant Coast Sampler, music recorded at live shows in 2007. Five of the six tunes were recorded at Lotus Rising Belly Dancing Studio in Rollinsford, NH, the sixth at The Barley Pub in Dover, NH. This music features a cross-section of musicians and styles who have performed as part of the series. The disc was produced with the notion that it would distributed freely, and listeners encouraged to copy the disc and redistribute it. The jury is still out on whether or not that was successful, but this particular disc is no longer in print. So have it, and please, burn a copy and then distribute a copy, the link, whatever, but this music *has* to circulate if it is to survive. For more on Avant Coast, check the link in the links section.

The Music
1. Pangea - Langley/O'dell
Tim O'dell - soprano sax; Matt Langley - tenor sax; Jim Lyden - bass; Luther Gray - drums
Recorded March 30, 2007 at Lotus Rising

2. Lotus Risen - Tim Webb
Tim Webb - acoustic bass
Recorded May 24, 2007 at Lotus Rising

3. Yard Dog - Kohlhase/Langley/Gray
Charlie Kohlhase - alto sax; Matt Langley - tenor sax; Luther Gray - drums
Recorded February 23, 2007 at Lotus Rising

4. Set Closer: Untitled Improvisation - Effenberger/Walsh/Phaneuf
Mike Effenberger - keyboards; Mike Walsh - drums; Nick Phaneuf - guitar

5. Summer Vegetable Soup - Out Of Boundaries
Richard Gardzina - tenor sax; Matt Langley - soprano sax; Thom Keith - baritone sax; Tim Webb - bass; Rob Duquette, Luther Gray - drums
Recorded June 22, 2007 at Lotus Rising

6. The Spirit Grows From Within - Equal Time
Derek Kwong - trombone; Thom Keith - saxophones; Tim Webb - bass; Mike Walsh - drums
Recorded July 8, 2007 at the Barley Pub

Monday, January 14, 2008

Equal Time: We Wake

Equal Time's first "release"... titled "the basement tapes". The recording quality is less-than-stellar, but this is what the band sounded like prior to adding trombonist Derek Kwong.

The tunes are a combination of free improvisations and works in progress. This disc was created to be sold at live shows, and is no longer in production.

Equal Time
We Wake

1. Warm Up
2. Sound Song
3. Six Over Two
4. Road Trip

Thom Keith - saxophones
Tim Webb - bass
Mike Walsh - drums

Download here

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Clifford Jordan Quartet - Live at the Hasty Pudding Club, Cambridge, MA

Recorded October 18, 1982

Clifford let us record this; I was 12. The band was awesome and the house was full. Among those in the audience: Steve Schwarz (WGBH), Alan Dawson, and John Lockwood. This was one of the first bands I saw (prior to this I'd seen George Coleman with Terri-Lynne Carrington at this venue, and Art Farmer at a local high school). Anyway, this is a nostalgic set for me, but it's great music. I sent Clifford the tapes, but he felt the sound quality was too low to be released. When I digitized it, it was in the early days of the technology and the results were somewhat sketchy. In the interim, my tape player died and I just don't care to pay to replace it, so I haven't redone these yet. Still, the music is great.

Clifford Jordan Quartet
Live at the Hasty Pudding Club
Cambridge, MA
October 18, 1982

First Set

1. Invitation
2. Confirmation
3. Blue And Boogie
4. I'll Be Around
5. Evidence
6. Be- Bop

Second Set

1. The Way You Look Tonight*
2. Woody'n You
3. Hot House
4. Lush Life
5. Moose The Mooch
6. The Highest Mountain

Clifford Jordan - tenor sax
John Hicks - piano
Jamil Nasser - bass
Vernell Fournier - drums

*requested by John Lockwood

Download here

Louis Hayes Group: Variety Is The Spice

Dusty Groove's Review:

An incredibly soulful album -- vastly overlooked, but one of our favorites of the 70s! The set is one of the few ever cut as a leader by drummer Louis Haynes -- a wonderful player who's best known for his classic work with Horace silver -- but who's working here with a superb group of his own, one that includes Frank Strozier on flute and alto, Harold Mabern on piano, and Cecil McBee on bass. All players are completely wonderful -- especially the team of Strozier and Mabern, who work here with the soulful power of their best pairings from the time. And an added bonus to the set is vocalist Leon Thomas, who guest stars on two great tracks -- "Little Sunflower" and "Nisha" -- and delivers some of his only good work of the late 70s! The album's got a version of Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" that's worth the price of the record alone, as it's one of of Thomas' best recordings ever, and an essential chapter in his career. Other tracks include "What's Going On", "Kelly Colors", and "Nisha". (Original pressing. Cover has a large name in pen on front & back, and notes on back.)

And Scott Yanow Says:

Although best known for his work as a valuable sideman, drummer Louis Hayes has led some stimulating sessions of his own through the years. This somewhat obscure but valuable LP is most notable for featuring the unique singer Leon Thomas on "Little Sunflower" and "Nisha" and for giving ample solo space to underrated altoist Frank Strozier, who doubles here on flute. With keyboardist Harold Mabern, bassist Cecil McBee and a couple of percussionists rounding out the group, Hayes leads his band through a diverse set that includes "Stardust," "What's Goin' On," "Invitation" and "My Favorite Things." Excellent, advanced straight-ahead music.

I Say:

I bought this record for $.99 at Loony Tunes in Boston when I was a kid. I waited for it for years, finally gave up and digitized it. It was released on CD about a week later. The problem: they did the same thing I did -- digitized an LP. This isn't a great record, but half of it is very good. Strozier is in fine form and the band has an energy which I find missing in modern music. Sorry about the quality of the pictures, I used a digital camera -- hand held... it shows. If you are a fan of Mabern, McBee, Strozier or Hayes, you know exactly what to expect of this record.

The Louis Hayes Group
Variety Is The Spice

Gryphon G-787

1. Kelly Colors

2. Little Sunflower
3. Stardust

4. What's Goin' On
5. Invitation

6. Nisha

7. My Favorite Things

8. Dance With Me
9. A Hundred Million Miracles

Louis Hayes - drums

Frank Strozier - alto sax, flute

Harold Mabern - acoustic piano, electric piano
Cecil McBee - bass

Portinho - percussion

Titos Sompa - congas

Leon Thomas - vocal

Download here