:::Sahara:::

Posted: Thursday, 30 October 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,
2

After the death of John Coltrane, his longtime pianist McCoy Tyner was in something of a musical quandary. Keeping up with his mentor through the incredible explorations of the early '60s, he seemed to have some difficulty navigating the even further out territories explored in the two or three years before Coltrane's death in 1967. His subsequent albums as a leader were solid, enjoyable efforts but seemed oddly retrograde, as though he needed time to settle back and re-digest the information handed down to him. With Sahara, Tyner found the precise perfect "middle ground" on which to stand, more structured than late Coltrane, but exploding with a ferocity and freedom of sound that made it simply one of the greatest jazz recordings of the decade. None of the other members of his quartet ever sounded so inspired, so liberated as they do here. Sonny Fortune threatens to tear the roof off the joint on more than one occasion, Calvin Hill is more than rock-solid on bass, his roots arcing deeply into the earth, and as for Alphonse Mouzon, well, no one familiar with his later vapid meanderings in fusion would begin to recognize him here, so incendiary is his playing. And Tyner develops so much pure energy, channeled with such pinpoint precision, that one worries about the physical stability of any piano under such an assault. From the extraordinarily intense "Ebony Queen" through the ruminative solo "A Prayer for My Family, the equally intense "Rebirth," and the concluding, side-long title track, there's not a misstep to be heard. "Sahara," over the course of its 23 minutes, covers vast ground, echoing the majesty and misery of the geographical area with percussion and flute interludes to some of Tyner's very best playing on record. Even something that could have resulted in a mere exercise in exotica, his koto performance on "Valley of Life," exudes both charm and commitment to the form. Tyner would go on to create several fine albums in the mid-'70s, but never again would he scale quite these heights. Sahara is an astonishingly good record and belongs in every jazz fan's collection.
:::By Brian Olewnick:::

McCoy Tyner – Sahara (1972)

1. Ebony Queen (8:58)
2. A Prayer For My Family (4:45)
3. Valley Of Life (5:17)
4. Rebirth (5:19)
5. Sahara (23:28)

Credits
Bass, Percussion, Reeds - Calvin Hill
Drums, Percussion, Trumpet, Reeds - Alphonse Mouzon
Engineer - Elvin Campbell
Mastered By - Ray Hagerty
Piano, Koto, Flute, Percussion - McCoy Tyner
Producer - Orrin Keepnews
Saxophone [Soprano, Alto], Flute - Sonny Fortune

Notes
Recorded January 1972 at Decca Recording Studios, New York City. Remixed February 1972 at Mercury Sound Studios, New York City. All compositions by McCoy Tyner. Cover and liner photographs by Clarence Eastmond, design by Ron Warwell.

:::Accident:::

Posted: Tuesday, 28 October 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety:
2

The only review I could find on net is in polish. Sorry Folks!
"Accident" to drugi album The Hub. Jest w zasadzie kontynuacją koncepcji z "Vandalism", jednak pod wieloma względami jest to krok do przodu. Specyficzna dla zespołu stylistyka, która łączy w spójną i naturalnie brzmiącą całość wpływy gatunków takich jak jazz, metal, hardcore o wielu innych, jest tu podana w bardziej czytelnej, dojrzalszej formie. Płyta jest krótsza od swojej poprzedniczki, jednak raczej na tym zyskała, gdyż zdaje się że nie ma na niej ani jednego zbędnego dźwięku, wszystkie kompozycje są bardzo ciekawe i zapadają w pamięć. Całość jest bardziej spójna i przekonująca. Już od pierwszych taktów pierwszego utworu słychać, że będzie świetnie. Muzycy nie zmarnowali roku, który minął od wydania poprzedniego materiału, mam wrażenie, że grają jeszcze lepiej, coraz wyraźniej zaznaczając swój indywidualny styl. Dotyczy to szczególnie perkusisty, Seana Noonana, który wypracował charakterystyczną technikę, sprawiającą że jego karkołomne rytmy wciąż zaskakują nietypowymi rozwiązaniami, nieprawdopodobnymi zmianami tempa. To robi ogromne wrażenie, można by pomyśleć że mamy do czynienia z precyzyjnym robotem a nie człowiekiem. Już pierwszy utwór świetnie to obrazuje, dalej jest nie inaczej. Tim Dahl potwierdza tu swoją klasę, jest absolutnie fenomenalnym basistą, posiadającym fantastyczną technikę i zmysł innowatora. Kiedy widziałem go na koncercie wydawało mi się niemal niemożliwe, że można aż tak doskonale panować nad instrumentem. Jego ogromnym atutem jest to, że wspaniale wykorzystuje wszystkie możliwości ekspresji, jakie daje elektryczny instrument. Jego znakiem firmowym jest używanie przesteru, w którym osiągnął mistrzostwo. Tym większa szkoda, że na płycie, tym razem znacznie lepiej nagranej niż "Vandalism" i generalnie brzmiącej bardzo dobrze, właśnie przesterowany bas brzmi... źle. Chodzi mi wyłącznie o czysto techniczną kwestię realizacji nagrania - przester brzmi tak, jakby nagrywany był liniowo, bezpośrednio z wyjścia w efekcie. Sprawia to, że brzmi bardzo płasko, brak mu przestrzeni i brudu, agresji. Szkoda. Jest to szczególnie zauważalne w porównaniu z fantastycznym brzmieniem zespołu na koncercie. Trio uzupełnia Na saksofonie altowym Dan Magay, świetnie wpisując się w konwencję zespołu. I on zdaje się grać pewniej, tym razem stosując mniej efektów elektronicznych jednak szerzej wykorzystując naturalne właściwości instrumentu. Jak już wspominałem, kompozycje są wyśmienite i to bez wyjątków. Są krótsze niż na debiutanckiej płycie, za to sprawiają wrażenie lepiej przemyślanych, mają ciekawą strukturę, zaskakują ciągłymi zmianami, nie ma tu miejsca na zbytnie eksploatowanie chwytliwych motywów, których na płycie nie brakuje. Cały czas coś się dzieje, nigdy nie wiadomo, czego się spodziewać za chwilę - czy unisonalnego motywu w stylu wczesnego Ornette Colemana, czy może krótkiego deathmetalowego ataku, czy też może nagłego zwolnienia lub przyspieszenia. To wszystko sprawia, że fantastycznie słucha się tej muzyki i wciąż chce się do niej wracać. The Hub to naprawdę wschodząca "gwiazda" nowoczesnej muzyki okołojazzowej. Jeżeli ich dalsze dokonania będą równie ciekawe, to będzie świetnie. Jeśli natomiast kolejna płyta będzie o tyle lepsza od "Accident" o ile ta przewyższała debiut, to The Hub stanie się jednym z moich absolutnych faworytów. Trzymam kciuki i mam ogromną nadzieję, że następny ich album, tak jak dotychczasowe dwa, będę mógł kupić na ich kolejnym koncercie w Polsce.

:::By Wojszyca:::

The Hub – Accident (2002)

1. Big Mouth. (Noonan) - 3:08
2. Screaming Contest. (Dahl) - 2:23
3. Citris. (Dahl) - 3:22
4. Pocket Bones. (Noonan) - 6:25
5. Jimmy. (Dahl) - 0:38
6. Soiled Huggies. (Dahl) - 6:06
7. Over + Out. (Noonan) - 7:00
8. Shocked And Bruised. (Dahl) - 6:38

Credits
Dan Magay: sax
Tim Dahl: bass
Sean Noonan: drums

:::Brown Rice:::

Posted: Saturday, 25 October 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: ,
1

If Eternal Rhythm was Don Cherry's world fusion masterpiece of the '60s, then Brown Rice is its equivalent for the '70s. But where Eternal Rhythm set global influences in a free jazz framework, Brown Rice's core sound is substantially different, wedding Indian, African, and Arabic music to Miles Davis' electrified jazz-rock innovations. And although purists will likely react here the same way they did to post-Bitches Brew Davis, Brown Rice is a stunning success by any other standard. By turns hypnotic and exhilarating, the record sounds utterly otherworldly: the polyrhythmic grooves are deep and driving, the soloing spiritual and free, and the plentiful recording effects trippy and mysterious. The various ethnic influences lift the album's already mystical atmosphere to a whole new plane, plus Cherry adds mostly non-English vocals on three of the four tracks, whispering cryptic incantations that make the pieces resemble rituals of some alien shaman. The title cut has since become an acid jazz/rare-groove classic, filtering Charlie Haden's acoustic bass through a wah-wah pedal and melding it with psychedelic electric piano riffs, electric bongos, wordless female vocals, short snippets of tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe's free jazz screeching, and, of course, Cherry's whispers and trumpet. Closer "Degi-Degi" works a similarly mind-bending mixture, but the middle two pieces ("Malkauns" and "Chenrezig") are lengthy explorations where Cherry's languid trumpet solos echo off into infinity. Of all his world fusion efforts, Brown Rice is the most accessible entry point into Cherry's borderless ideal, jelling into a personal, unique, and seamless vision that's at once primitive and futuristic in the best possible senses of both words. While Cherry would record a great deal of fine work in the years to come, he would never quite reach this level of wild invention again. [Brown Rice's original title was Don Cherry, which was changed a year after its initial 1975 release.]

:::By Steve Huey:::

Don Cherry - Brown Rice (1975)

1. Brown Rice (5:14)
Bass [Acoustic] - Charlie Haden
Bongos [Electric] - Bunchie Fox
Drums - Billy Higgins
Electric Piano - Don Cherry , Ricky Cherry
Saxophone [Tenor] - Frank Lowe
Trumpet - Don Cherry
Voice - Don Cherry , Verna Gillis

2. Malkauns (13:58)
Bass [Acoustic] - Charlie Haden
Drums - Billy Higgins
Tambura - Moki Cherry
Trumpet - Don Cherry

3. Chenrezig (12:50)
Bass [Acoustic] - Hakim Jamil
Drums - Billy Higgins
Electric Piano - Ricky Cherry
Saxophone [Tenor] - Frank Lowe
Trumpet - Don Cherry
Voice - Don Cherry

4. Degi-Degi (7:06)
Bass [Acoustic] - Charlie Haden
Drums - Billy Higgins
Electric Piano - Ricky Cherry
Piano [Yamaha] - Don Cherry
Saxophone [Tenor] - Frank Lowe
Voice - Don Cherry

Credits
Co-producer - Beppe Muccioli
Mastered By [Digital] - John Snyder , Rudy Van Gelder
Mixed By - Corrado Bacchelli , Kurt Munkacsi
Producer - Corrado Bacchelli
Recorded By - Kurt Munkacsi

Notes
Originally released in 1976 by A & M Records, Inc. Los Angeles.
Recorded by Kurt Munkacsi at the Basement Recording Studios, New York.
Digitally mastered by John Snyder and Rudy Van Gelder at the Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, April 1988.

:::Bitches Brew:::

Posted: Friday, 24 October 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , , , , , ,
2

Bitches Brew is a studio double album by jazz musician Miles Davis, released in June of 1970 on Columbia Records. Recording sessions took place at Columbia's 30th Street Studio over the course of three days in August of 1969. The album continued Davis' experimentation of electric instruments previously featured on his critically acclaimed In a Silent Way album. With the use of these instruments, such as the electric piano and guitar, Davis rejected traditional jazz rhythms in favor of a looser, rock-influenced improvisational style.

Often cited as one of Davis' best-selling albums and masterpieces, Bitches Brew marked a turning point in modern jazz. Upon release, it received mixed criticism from fans and critics, alike, due to the album's unconventional style and revolutionary sound. Later on, Bitches Brew gained recognition as one of jazz's greatest albums and a progenitor of the jazz rock genre, as well as a major influence on rock and funk musicians.

In February 1969, Davis recorded In a Silent Way, a bold step into ambient funk and electric futurism that inspired the trumpeter to go further out at the sessions for Bitches Brew that August. Davis wanted, he said, "the best damn rock & roll band in the world," to connect jazz with the forward motion of Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. Davis' band was superbad (Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, etc.). But the word fusion was never big enough to describe the visceral thrill of these explosive studio explorations and the pioneering tape-edit wizardry of producer Teo Macero, arguably the original Chemical Brother.

No artist has ever reinvented themselves quite so much as Miles Davis. By 1969 he had already upended jazz by championing modal jazz (and in the process recording Kind of Blue which is almost universally acknowledged as the greatest jazz album of all time). By 1969 he was ready to upend it again, and his previous album In A Silent Way had already given hints of what was to come with its increasing shift from an acoustic to an electric sound.

Recording sessions:

As was Davis's practice, he called musicians to the recording studio on very short notice. A few pieces on Bitches Brew were rehearsed before the recording sessions, but other times the musicians had little or no idea what they were to record. Once in the recording studio, the players were typically given only a few instructions: a tempo count, a few chords or a hint of melody, and suggestions as to mood or tone. Davis liked to work this way; he thought it forced musicians to pay close attention to one another, to their own performances, or to Davis's cues, which could change at any moment. On the quieter moments of "Bitches Brew", for example, Davis's voice is audible, giving instructions to the musicians: snapping his fingers to indicate tempo, or, in his distinctive whisper, saying, "Keep it tight" or telling individuals when to solo.

Davis composed most of the music on the album. The two important exceptions were the complex "Pharaoh's Dance" (composed by Joe Zawinul) and the ballad "Sanctuary" (composed by Wayne Shorter). The latter had been recorded as a fairly straightforward ballad early in 1968, but was given a radically different interpretation on Bitches Brew. It begins with Davis and Chick Corea improvising on the standard "I Fall in Love too Easily" before Davis plays the "Sanctuary" theme. Then, not unlike Davis's recording of Shorter's "Nefertiti" two years earlier, the horns repeat the melody over and over while the rhythm section builds up the intensity. The issued "Sanctuary" is actually two consecutive takes of the piece.

Despite his reputation as a "cool", melodic improviser, much of Davis's playing on this album is aggressive and explosive, often playing fast runs and venturing into the upper register of the trumpet. His closing solo on "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" is particularly noteworthy in this regard. Davis did not perform on the short piece "John McLaughlin".

I can't really explain what Bitches Brew is all about without a bit of historical context. This was 1969 when experimentation in music was at its height. In Britain Pink Floyd were popularising psychedelia and King Crimson were about to release In The Court of the Crimson King and invent progressive rock. In America Davis, ever the restless genius and unable to stand still musically was looking for something more radical and dramatic still. Supplementing his band up to no less than 3 keyboard players and a bass clarinet, and surrounding himself as ever with musicians of the highest caliber he went into the studio for 3 days to record a double album of 6 densely layered tracks.

So what came out? Well, easy listening this ain't and I certainly wouldn't recommend this as an introduction to Jazz or to Miles Davis (Kind of Blue does very nicely for both of those - you might as well start with the best!). The first disc consists of 2 side length tracks, "Pharoah's Dance" and "Bitches Brew", both over 20 minutes. They're both wild cocktails of smoky improvisational jazz. Pharoah's Dance is famous for having no less than 19 edits within it, some as short as 1 second long, and really marks the start of using the studio and the editing booth as an instrument in its own right. I actually can't describe either of these tracks well as each time you listen to them they sound different: there's little structure to hang on to and a mellow groove can quickly dissolve into shards of dissonance with Davis's distinctive trumpet shrieking over the top.

The second disc of the album is somewhat more relaxed. "Spanish Key" actually stays on the same groove for nearly 17 minutes (but certainly isn't boring for it). This is followed by "John McLaughlin" (yep, the track is named after the famous jazz guitarist) and "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down", a menacing track that can almost sound like Led Zeppelin in parts. Finally comes "Sanctuary", a soft sad and superb close with Davis's trumpet at its most plaintive.

The effects of Bitches Brew were revolutionary. Davis had merged rock and jazz, inventing what we now call fusion (perhaps I should say remerged - after all Rock is a 50's ofshoot of Jazz). Extraordinarily for such an experimental album it was one of Davis's biggest sellers and also won him a Grammy. It's influence still permeates todays music. Thom Yorke from Radiohead admits that previous to recording their masterwork OK Computer, Bitches Brew had been lodged almost permanently in his CD player. After its release in 1970, jazz, rock, and the whole of music would never be the same.

:::From http://www.milesdavis.com/:::

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970)

CD 1
1 - Pharaoh's Dance (19:57)
2 - Bitches Brew (26:59)

CD 2
1 - Spanish Key (17:26)
2 - John Mclaughlin (4:43)
3 - Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (14:02)
4 - Sanctuary (10:53)
5 - Feio (11:49)

Credits
* Miles Davis - trumpet
* Wayne Shorter - soprano saxophone
* Bennie Maupin - bass clarinet
* Chick Corea - electric piano (solo on "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down")
* John McLaughlin - guitar
* Dave Holland - bass
* Harvey Brooks - electric bass
* Lenny White - drum set
* Jack DeJohnette - drum set
* Billy Cobham - drum set
* Don Alias - congas, drum set
* Airto Moreira - percussion
* Juma Santos (credited as "Jim Riley") - shaker, congas
* Larry Young - electric piano on "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" "John McLaughlin" "Spanish Key" and "Pharaoh's Dance"
* Joe Zawinul - electric piano on "Bitches Brew" "Sanctuary" "Spanish Key" and "Pharaoh's Dance"

:::Kwanza:::

Posted: Wednesday, 22 October 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety:
2

Kwanza is a curious Archie Shepp recording. Released in 1969 on Impulse, it features cuts recorded between September 1968 and August 1969 with an assortment of lineups. Four of the album's five cuts were produced by Bob Thiele, and one, "Slow Drag," by Ed Michel. Shepp composed three tunes here, and he is in the company of musicians such as Grachan Moncur III (who composed "New Africa"), Jimmy Owens, Dave Burrell, Wally Richardson, Bob Bushnell, Bernard Purdie and Beaver Harris, Leon Thomas, Charles Davis, Woody Shaw, Cedar Walton, Wilbur Ware, Joe Chambers, Cecil Payne, and others. As the title might suggest, Kwanza is a joyful record, full of celebration in blues and jazz. "Back Back" opens the set with a colossal funky blues that feels like an out version of the JB's with Burrell kicking it on B-3. The all-too-brief "Spoo Dee Doo," showcases Thomas' unique, and truly awesome vocal stylings along with Tasha Thomas and Doris Troy providing a swinging backing R&B chorus. "New Africa" is the most vanguard track here, with a different rhythm section than on "Back Back," and no guitar, Burrell returns to his piano. It begins in a manner that suggests anger, but not rage. It becomes an edgeless, rounded meditation on joy and gratitude, a statement of purpose at realization and transcendence with Shepp, Owens. and Davis playing alongside Moncur as a monumental choral line in timbres; textures, big harmonic reaches and ultimately resolution. "Slow Drag," is a funky blues tune, it struts a minor key line that feels like a mutated "Wade in the Water," but its Latin rhythms and the killer bass work of Wilbur Ware make the cut a standout. The set closes with Cal Massey's "Bakai," a tune that walks a fringed line on the inside and swings like mad. Kwanza may not be one of Shepp's better known recordings, but it is certainly one of his fine ones.

:::By Thom Jurek:::

Archie Shepp – Kwanza (1969)

1. Back Back Shepp 5:45
2. Spoo Dee Doo Shepp 2:38
3. New Africa Moncur 12:50
4. Slow Drag Shepp 10:09
5. Bakai Massey 9:59

Credits
Drums - Beaver Harris (tracks: 2, 3, 5)
Mastered By - Bob Irwin , Jayme Pieruzzi
Producer - Bob Thiele (tracks: 1 to 3, 5)
Reissue Producer - Bryan Koniarz
Saxophone [Baritone] - Charles Davis (2) (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Saxophone [Tenor] - Archie Shepp
Trombone - Grachan Moncur III (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Trumpet - Jimmy Owens (tracks: 1, 3, 5)

Notes
Original LP issue: Impulse AS-9262
Recorded September 1968 and February and August 1969 in New York City.