:::Here Comes Louis Smith:::

Posted: Monday, 29 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

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

Louis Smith - Here Comes Louis Smith (1957)

1. Tribute to Brownie6:35
2. Brill's Blues8:18
3. Ande6:39
4. Star Dust5:16
5. South Side8:35
6. Val's Blues6:17

Bass - Doug Watkins
Composed By - Louis Smith (2) (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6)
Drums - Art Taylor
Other [Original Liner Notes] - Leonard Feather
Other [Reissue Liner Notes] - Bob Blumenthal
Photography [Cover And Liner] - Francis Wolff
Piano - Duke Jordan (tracks: 1, 2, 5) , Tommy Flanagan (tracks: 3, 4, 6)
Producer - Tom Wilson (2)
Reissue Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Remastered By - Rudy Van Gelder
Saxophone [Alto] - Cannonball Adderley
Trumpet - Louis Smith (2)

:::Gil Evans' Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix:::

Posted: Saturday, 27 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

This CD reissue (which adds additional material to the original LP program) is much more successful than one might have expected. Jimi Hendrix was scheduled to record with Gil Evans' Orchestra but died before the session could take place. A few years later, Evans explored ten of Hendrix's compositions with his unique 19-piece unit, an orchestra that included two French horns, the tuba of Howard Johnson, three guitars, two basses, two percussionists and such soloists as altoist David Sanborn, trumpeter Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson, Billy Harper on tenor, and guitarists Ryo Kawasaki and John Abercrombie. Evans' arrangements uplift many of Hendrix's more blues-oriented compositions and create a memorable set that is rock-oriented but retains the improvisation and personality of jazz.
:::By Scott Yanow:::

Gil Evans - Gil Evans' Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix (1974)

1. Angel 4:07
2. Crosstown Traffic / Little Miss Lover 6:34
3. Castles Made of Sand / Foxey Lady 11:23
4. Up From the Skies 6:32
5. Up From the Skies 7:29
6. 1983 - A Merman I Should Turn to Be 7:32
7. Voodoo Chile 5:05
8. Gypsy Eyes 3:42

Bass - Don Pate  , Michael Moore
Chimes, Percussion [Latin], Vibraphone - Warren Smith, Jr.
Clarinet - Howard Johnson (3)
Congas, Drums - Susan Evans
Drums - Bruce Ditmas
Electric Guitar - John Abercrombie , Ryo Kawasaki
Electric Piano, Synthesizer - David Horowitz
Flute [Alto], Saxophone [Soprano] - David Sanborn
French Horn - Peter Gordon
Guitar - Keith Loving
Horn, Synthesizer - Peter Levin
Leader, Piano - Gil Evans
Producer - Mike Lipskin
Saxophone [Tenor], Flute - Billy Harper
Saxophone, Flute, Saxophone [Tenor] - Trevor Koehler
Synthesizer, Trombone, Flute, Bass - Tom Malone
Trumpet - Lewis Soloff
Trumpet, Vocals - Marvin C. Peterson
Written-By - Jimi Hendrix

:::Not In Our Name:::

Posted: Thursday, 25 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Charlie Haden brings back yet another incarnation of his Liberation Music Orchestra to tape. This intermittent project began at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969 and was recorded for Impulse. Carla Bley has been the only constant member of this project. She plays piano and does the arranging of these eight tunes. Other members include trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, guitarist Steve Cardenas, drummer Matt Wilson, Miguel Zenon on alto, Chris Cheek on the tenor horn, Joe Daley playing tuba, and Ahnee Sharon Freeman playing French horn. The music is a lively and diverse set of covers, except for the title track -- composed by Haden -- and "Blue Anthem" by Bley. The seamlessness with which Bley melds her aesthetic to Haden's is remarkable. The tone and timbre is warm throughout. The reggae-fueled "This Is Not America" -- written by Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, and David Bowie -- dryly quotes from "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at its end. The hinge piece of the album is the nearly-17-minute "American the Beautiful" that contains a wondrous, stately, if somewhat dissonant, read of Samuel Ward's famous tune, bursts into post-bop before a fine solo by Zenon, and then slips into Gary McFarland's jazz opus by the same name. The tune travels -- with solos by virtually everyone -- then to the African-American gospel church where it stops at "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson, and winds up at a cross between the original tune and Ornette Coleman's elegiac slipstream dream anthem "Skies of America" before returning full circle to the original theme. The Liberation Music Orchestra goes even deeper into the national consciousness with a bluesy, New Orleans brass band-inspired version of "Amazing Grace." Then they dig into the gorgeous "Goin' Home," Antonin Dvorak's largo theme from the New World Symphony -- with jazz liberties taken, of course. The set ends with the adagio from Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." Again, Bley's arrangement is stunning, understated, and finessed, yet full of dynamic reach. This is a beautiful album, one that makes a case for vision, creativity, and concern. Not in Our Name pulls together a wide range of aesthetic possibilities that all reflect the American consciousness and simultaneously mourns the passage of it while resisting with a vengeance that nadir. While a jazz recording, this album crosses the boundaries of the genre and becomes a new world music, a new folk music: one to be celebrated, perhaps even cherished.
:::By Thom Jurek:::

Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra - Not In Our Name (2005)

1. Not In Our Name (6:19) Written-By - Charlie Haden
2. This Is Not America (6:39) Written-By - David Bowie , Lyle Mays , Pat Metheny
3. Blue Anthem (7:49) Written-By - Carla Bley

America The Beautiful (Medley) (16:54)
4A. America The Beautiful Written-By - Gary McFarland , Augustus Ward*
4B. Lift Every Voice And Sing Written-By - Weldon Johnson*
4C. Skies Of America Written-By - Ornette Coleman -
5. Amazing Grace (7:12) Written-By - John Newton (2)
6. Goin' Home (From The Largo Of The New World Symphony) (7:49) Written-By - Antonín Dvořák
7. Throughout (8:55) Written-By - Bill Frisell
8. Adagio (The Adagio For Strings) (7:25) Written-By - Samuel Barber

Bass - Charlie Haden
Drums - Matt Wilson
Engineer [Assistant] - David Abbruzzese
Engineer [Assistant], Mixed By [Assistant] - Nicolas Baillard
Engineer, Mixed By - Gérard De Haro
Executive Producer - Daniel Richard
French Horn - Ahnee Sharon Freeman
Guitar - Steve Cardenas
Mastered By - Thomas Verdeaux
Other [Art Director] - Patrice Beauséjour
Photography - Thomas Dorn
Piano - Carla Bley
Producer - Charlie Haden , Ruth Cameron
Producer, Arranged By, Conductor - Carla Bley
Saxophone [Alto] - Miguel Zenon
Saxophone [Tenor] - Chris Cheek , Tony Malaby
Trombone - Curtis Fowlkes
Trumpet - Michael Rodriguez , Seneca Black
Tuba - Joe Daley

Recorded July 19-22, 2004 at Studio Forum Music Village, Rome Italy. Mixed July 27-29, 2004 and mastered October 22, 2004 at Studio La Buissonne, Pernes Les Fontaines, France.

:::Universal Conciousness:::

Posted: Tuesday, 23 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

Recorded between April and June of 1971, Alice Coltrane's Universal Consciousness stands as her classic work. As a testament to the articulation of her spiritual principles, Universal Consciousness stands even above World Galaxy as a recording where the medium of music, both composed and improvised, perfectly united the realms of body (in performance), speech (in the utterance of individual instrumentalists and group interplay), and mind (absolute focus) for the listener to take into her or his own experience. While many regard Universal Consciousness as a "jazz" album, it transcends even free jazz by its reliance on deeply thematic harmonic material and the closely controlled sonic dynamics in its richly hued chromatic palette. The set opens with the title track, where strings engage large washes of Coltrane's harp as Jack DeJohnette's drums careen in a spirit dance around the outer edge of the maelstrom. On first listen, the string section and the harp are in counter-dictum, moving against each other in a modal cascade of sounds, but this soon proves erroneous as Coltrane's harp actually embellishes the timbral glissandos pouring forth. Likewise, Jimmy Garrison's bass seeks to ground the proceedings to DeJohnette's singing rhythms, and finally Coltrane moves the entire engagement to another dimension with her organ. Leroy Jenkins' violin and Garrison's bottom two strings entwine one another in Ornette Coleman's transcription as Coltrane and the other strings offer a middling bridge for exploration. It's breathtaking. On "Battle at Armageddon," the violence depicted is internal; contrapuntal rhythmic impulses whirl around each other as Coltrane's organ and harp go head to head with Rashied Ali's drums. "Oh Allah" rounds out side one with a gorgeously droning, awe-inspiring modal approach to whole-tone music that enfolds itself into the lines of organic polyphony as the strings color each present theme intervalically. DeJohnette's brushwork lisps the edges and Garrison's bass underscores each chord and key change in Coltrane's constant flow of thought.

On side two, "Hare Krishna" is a chant-like piece that is birthed from minor-key ascendancy with a loping string figure transcribed by Coleman from Coltrane's composition on the organ. She lays deep in the cut, offering large shimmering chords that twirl -- eventually -- around high-register ostinatos and pedal work. It's easily the most beautiful and accessible track in the set, in that it sings with a devotion that has at its base the full complement of Coltrane's compositional palette. "Sita Ram" is a piece that echoes "Hare Krishna" in that it employs Garrison and drummer Clifford Jarvis, but replaces the strings with a tamboura player. Everything here moves very slowly, harp and organ drift into and out of one another like breath, and the rhythm section -- informed by the tamboura's drone -- lilts on Coltrane's every line. As the single-fingered lines engage the rhythm section more fully toward the end of the tune, it feels like a soloist improvising over a chanting choir. Finally, the album ends with another duet between Ali and Coltrane. Ali uses wind chimes as well as his trap kit, and what transpires between the two is an organically erected modal architecture, where texture and timbre offer the faces of varying intervals: Dynamic, improvisational logic and tonal exploration become elemental figures in an intimate yet universal conversation that has the search itself and the uncertain nature of arrival, either musically or spiritually, at its root. This ambiguity is the only way a recording like this could possibly end, with spiritual questioning and yearning in such a musically sophisticated and unpretentious way. The answers to those questions can perhaps be found in the heart of the music itself, but more than likely they can, just as they are articulated here, only be found in the recesses of the human heart. This is art of the highest order, conceived by a brilliant mind, poetically presented in exquisite collaboration by divinely inspired musicians and humbly offered as a gift to listeners. It is a true masterpiece.
:::By Thom Jurek:::
Alice Coltrane - Universal Conciousness (1971)

A1 Universal Consciousness (5:05)
A2 Battle At Armageddon (7:22) Drums - Rashied Ali
A3 Oh Allah (4:54)
B1 Hare Krishna (8:16) Drums - Clifford Jarvis
Tamboura - Tulsi
B2 Sita Ram (6:12) Bells - Clifford Jarvis
Drums - Clifford Jarvis
Percussion - Clifford Jarvis
Tamboura - Tulsi
B3 The Ankh Of Amen-Ra (4:48) Drums - Rashied Ali
Wind Chimes - Rashied Ali

Bass - Jimmy Garrison (tracks: A1, A3, B1, B2)
Drums - Jack DeJohnette (tracks: A1, A3, B1)
Harp - Alice Coltrane
Organ - Alice Coltrane
Producer - Ed Michel
Violin - Joan Kalisch (tracks: A1, A3, B1) , John Blair (tracks: A1, A3, B1) , Julius Brand (tracks: A1, A3, B1) , Leroy Jenkins (tracks: A1, A3, B1)

:::My Spanish Heart:::

Posted: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: ,

This 1976 release features Chick Corea in what was then, and remains, a unique musical setting. While it is truly an electric jazz fusion record, it is also the only solo recording of Corea's on which he attempted to truly explore the Latin side of his musical heritage. My Spanish Heart marks a full-scale, yet thoroughly modern, exploration in the musical lineage Corea sprang from. Making full use of synthesizer technology, a string section, and synth-linked choruses -- of two voices, his own and that of Gayle Moran -- as well as percussionist Don Alias, drummer Steve Gadd, a full brass section, and the sparse use of Jean Luc Ponty ("Armando's Rumba") and bassist Stanley Clark, Corea largely succeeded in creating a Spanish/Latin tapestry of sounds, textures, impressions, and even two suites -- "Spanish Fantasy" and "El Boro." The string quartet performs its intricate and gorgeously elegant arrangements with verve and grace on "Day Danse" and on the suites, with Corea's contrapuntal pianism creating a sharp yet warm contrast to the shifting tempos, wild interval leaps, and shimmering timbral balances that occur. The only pieces that sound dated on this double-album-length set are the fusion pieces, which are, with their production and knotty stop-and-start modulations and key signature equations -- omplete with aggressive arpeggios and scalar linguistics -- destined to be limited in expression by the voice of their use of technology. Thus, "Love Castles," "The Gardens," and "Night Streets" suffer from their rather cheesy production despite their tastefully done double fusion semantics (jazz to rock to Latin music). There is no doubt that Corea's musicianship was up to any task he chose at this point in time. Simply put, he was compositionally and intellectually at the top of his game, and this record, despite the many of his that haven't aged well, still surprises despite its production shortcomings.

:::By Thom Jurek:::

Chick Corea – My Spanish Heart (1976)

1. Love Castle (4:47)
2. The Gardens (3:11)
3. Day Danse (4:29)
4. My Spanish Heart (1:37)
5. Night Streets (6:02)
6. The Hilltop (6:15) Composed By - Stanley Clarke
7. Wind Danse (4:55)
8. Armando's Rhumba (5:19) Handclaps - Narada Michael Walden Violin - Jean-Luc Ponty
9. Prelude To El Bozo (1:36)
10. El Bozo, Part I (2:49)
11. El Bozo, Part II (2:06)
12. El Bozo, Part III (4:56)
13. Spanish Fantasy, Part I (6:07)
14. Spanish Fantasy, Part II (5:11)
15. Spanish Fantasy, Part III (3:09)
16. Spanish Fantasy, Part IV (5:04)

Arranged By, Piano [Acoustic, Fender], Synthesizer [Moog 15, Mini-moog, Arp Odessy, Polymoog], Organ [Yamaha], Handclaps - Chick Corea
Bass [Acoustic] - Stanley Clarke
Composed By - Chick Corea (tracks: 1 to 5, 7 to 19)
Drums - Steve Gadd
Engineer - Bernie Kirsh
Percussion - Don Alias
Producer - Chick Corea
Strings - Arriaga Quartet
Trombone - Ron Moss
Trumpet - John Rosenberg , Stuart Blumberg
Trumpet [Lead] - John Thomas (3)
Vocals, Choir - Gayle Moran

:::Money Jungle:::

Posted: Friday, 5 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

Duke Ellington surprised the jazz world in 1962 with his historic trio session featuring Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Not in a mood to simply rework older compositions, the bulk of the LP focused on music he wrote specifically for the session. "Money Jungle" is a thunderous opener, a blues that might be classified somewhere between post-bop and avant-garde. The gem of the date is the fragile, somewhat haunting ballad "Fleurette Africaine," where Mingus' floating bassline and Roach's understated drumming add to the mystique of an Ellington work that has slowly been gathering steam among jazz musicians as a piece worth exploring more often. "Very Special" is a jaunty upbeat blues, while the angular, descending line of "Wig Wise" also proves to be quite catchy. Ellington also revisits "Warm Valley" (a lovely ballad indelibly associated with Johnny Hodges) and an almost meditative "Solitude." Thunderous percussion and wild basslines complement a wilder-than-usual approach to "Caravan." Every jazz fan should own a copy of this sensational recording session.

:::By Ken Dryden:::

Duke Ellington - Money Jungle (1962)

1. Money Jungle 5:27
2. Fleurette Africaine 3:33
3. Very Special 4:23
4. Warm Valley 3:31
5. Wig Wise 3:17
6. Caravan 4:11
7. Solitude 5:31
8. Switch Blade 5:21
9. A Little Max (Parfait) 2:57
10. Rem Blues 4:15
11. Backward Country Boy Blues 6:30

Bonus Tracks
12. Solitude 4:42
13. Switch Blade 5:11
14. A Little Max (Parfait) 2:56
15. Rem Blues 5:44

Bass - Charles Mingus
Drums - Max Roach
Piano - Duke Ellington

Recorded at Sound Makers, New York City on September 17, 1962

:::Giant Steps:::

Posted: Wednesday, 3 September 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

History will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience. Although this was John Coltrane's debut for Atlantic, he was concurrently performing and recording with Miles Davis. Within the space of less than three weeks, Coltrane would complete his work with Davis and company on another genre-defining disc, Kind of Blue, before commencing his efforts on this one. Coltrane (tenor sax) is flanked by essentially two different trios. Recording commenced in early May of 1959 with a pair of sessions that featured Tommy Flanagan (piano) and Art Taylor (drums), as well as Paul Chambers -- who was the only band member other than Coltrane to have performed on every date. When recording resumed in December of that year, Wynton Kelly (piano) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) were instated -- replicating the lineup featured on Kind of Blue, sans Miles Davis of course. At the heart of these recordings, however, is the laser-beam focus of Coltrane's tenor solos. All seven pieces issued on the original Giant Steps are likewise Coltrane compositions. He was, in essence, beginning to rewrite the jazz canon with material that would be centered on solos -- the 180-degree antithesis of the art form up to that point. These arrangements would create a place for the solo to become infinitely more compelling. This would culminate in a frenetic performance style that noted jazz journalist Ira Gitler accurately dubbed "sheets of sound." Coltrane's polytonal torrents extricate the amicable and otherwise cordial solos that had begun decaying the very exigency of the genre -- turning it into the equivalent of easy listening. He wastes no time as the disc's title track immediately indicates a progression from which there would be no looking back. Line upon line of highly cerebral improvisation snake between the melody and solos, practically fusing the two. The resolute intensity of "Countdown" does more to modernize jazz in 141 seconds than many artists do in their entire careers. Tellingly, the contrasting and ultimately pastoral "Naima" was the last tune to be recorded, and is the only track on the original long-player to feature the Kind of Blue quartet. What is lost in tempo is more than recouped in intrinsic melodic beauty. Both Giant Steps [Deluxe Edition] and the seven-disc Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings offer more comprehensive presentations of these sessions.

:::By Lindsay Planer:::

John Coltrane - Giant Steps – Deluxe Edition (1959)

1. Giant Steps (4:43)
2. Cousin Mary (5:45)
3. Countdown (2:21)
4. Spiral (5:56)
5. Syeeda's Song Flute (7:00)
6. Naima (4:21)
7. Mr. P.C. (6:57)
8. Giant Steps (Alternate Version 1) (3:40)
9. Naima (Alternate Version 1) (4:27)
10. Cousin Mary (Alternate Take) (5:54)
11. Countdown (Alternate Take) (4:33)
12. Syeeda's Song Flute (Alternate Take) (7:02)

Bass - Paul Chambers (3)
Drums - Art Taylor (tracks: 1 to 5, 7) , Jimmy Cobb (tracks: 6)
Engineer [Recording] - Phil Iehle , Tom Dowd
Piano - Tommy Flanagan (tracks: 1 to 5, 7) , Wynton Kelly (tracks: 6)
Producer [Supervision] - Nesuhi Ertegun
Saxophone [Tenor] - John Coltrane
Written-By - John Coltrane