:::Rag Bush And All:::

Posted: Thursday, 28 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , ,

This CD from altoist Henry Threadgill is a perfect mixture of improvisation and composition, hanging onto devices of the past while creating new music. Some of the ensembles (which match Threadgill with trumpeter Ted Daniels, bass trombonist Bill Lowe, cellist Diedre Murray, bassist Fred Hopkins, and both Newman Baker and Reggie Nicholson on drums) recall Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz with the cello-bass interplay inspired by the one-time team of Scott LaFaro and Charlie Haden. The organized horn parts and the riffs behind the lead voices are quite original and sometimes more interesting than the solos themselves. Of the four songs, "Off the Rag" at first dispenses with the melody quickly but the theme constantly pops up in surprising places. "The Devil" is highlighted by Murray's double-time cello runs behind Threadgill's alto while "Gift" contrasts colorful percussion with solemn long tones from the ensemble. "Sweet Holy Rag" has several sections including a pretty classical-like melody, a danceable rumba, a drum feature, and a fairly violent trumpet solo. However, the more one describes this music, the more seems to be left out. Highly recommended to open-eared listeners.
:::Review by Scott Yanow:::

Henry Threadgill - Rag Bush And All (1989)

1. Off The Rag (12:40)
2. The Devil Is On The Loose And Dancin' With A Monkey (6:44)
3. Gift (5:44)
4. Sweet Holy Rag (13:20)

Bass - Fred Hopkins
Cello, Co-producer - Diedre Murray
Drums, Percussion - Newman Baker , Reggie Nicholson
Producer - David Stone
Saxophone [Alto], Flute [Bass] - Henry Threadgill
Trombone [Bass] - Bill Lowe
Trumpet, Flugelhorn - Ted Daniels

:::Maiden Voyage:::

Posted: Wednesday, 27 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

Less overtly adventurous than its predecessor, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage nevertheless finds Herbie Hancock at a creative peak. In fact, it's arguably his finest record of the '60s, reaching a perfect balance between accessible, lyrical jazz and chance-taking hard bop. By this point, the pianist had been with Miles Davis for two years, and it's clear that Miles' subdued yet challenging modal experiments had been fully integrated by Hancock. Not only that, but through Davis, Hancock became part of the exceptional rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, who are both featured on Maiden Voyage, along with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman. The quintet plays a selection of five Hancock originals, many of which are simply superb showcases for the group's provocative, unpredictable solos, tonal textures, and harmonies. While the quintet takes risks, the music is lovely and accessible, thanks to Hancock's understated, melodic compositions and the tasteful group interplay. All of the elements blend together to make Maiden Voyage a shimmering, beautiful album that captures Hancock at his finest as a leader, soloist, and composer.
:::Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:::

Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (1969)

1. Maiden Voyage (7:58)
2. The Eye Of The Hurricane (6:02)
3. Little One (8:50)
4. Survival Of The Fittest (10:08)
5. Dolphin Dance (9:18)

Bass - Ron Carter
Drums - Tony Williams*
Piano - Herbie Hancock
Producer - Alfred Lion
Recorded By - Rudy Van Gelder
Saxophone [Tenor] - George Coleman
Trumpet - Freddie Hubbard

:::Steig Aus:::

Posted: Tuesday, 26 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

I love this kind of music where they just seem to jam endlessly.In December 1971 as well as in March and September of 1972, EMBRYO did three studio sessions with their engineer Dieter Dierks,recording enough material for two albums.In the end the record company refused to release the recordings.Christian Burchard immediately decided to sell the rights to both works to the "Brain" label.These two albums became "Steig Aus" and "Rocksession" and were both released in 1973.There are two different bass players listed on this album because 2 of the 3 songs were recorded in December of 1971 with Jorg Evans on bass,but he left the band shortly afterwards so the third song recorded 3 months later had Dave King on bass.Interesting that on the album cover we find the words "Featuring Jimmy Jackson".Interesting because he was with the band originally in 1969 leaving before they released their first record "Opal".He came back for the "Rache" album and this one.He also played on TANGERINE DREAM's debut "Electronic Meditation" as well on AMON DUUL II's "Tanz Der Lemminge" and "Wolf City".He's all over this album with mellotron and organ. "Radio Marrakesch/Orient Express" opens with an actual recording the band had made when travelling through Morocco of a sample from "Radio Marrakesch" of someone chanting.Then we hear the sound of the saz.The tempo starts to pick up as percussion and drums arrive.We then get some mellotron after 2 minutes as a full sound comes in including some dirty organ and then guitar after 3 minutes.The organ and bass become prominant a minute later.They're just jamming at this point and it sounds great.Guitar starts to rip it up 6 minutes in. "Dreaming Girls" is dark to open with bass,vibes,drums and then violin after a minute.Very atmospheric early.Piano comes in replacing the violin 5 1/2 minutes in.The song ends much like it began with a dark atmosphere. "Call" is the side long 17 1/2 minute track to end it.It opens with a catchy beat as organ comes and goes.Violin after 1 1/2 minutes.A collage of sounds a minute later.Nice.Some great bass as they jam away.Love the sound 4 minutes in as Jackson goes crazy.Drums and percussion dominate after 9 minutes.Organ and violin are back 10 1/2 minutes in. Just a joy to listen to these jazz flavoured improvs that these amazing players create.
:::Review by sinkadotentree:::

Embryo - Steig Aus (1972)

1. Radio Marrakesch/Orient-Express (9:53)
2. Dreaming Girls (10:26)
3. Call (17:22)
- a. Call (part 1)
- b. Organ Walk
- c. Marimba Village
- d. Clouds
- e. Call (part 2)

- Roman Bunka / guitar
- Christian Burchard / drums, marimba, vibes
- Jörg Evers / bass
- Edgar Hoffmann / violin
- Jimmy Jackson / Mellotron, organ
- Dave King / bass
- Mal Waldron / electric piano


Posted: Monday, 25 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

This is the single-CD reissue of all of the music from a former two-LP set. Pianist McCoy Tyner's 1974 quintet consisted of the talented youngster Azar Lawrence on tenor and soprano, bassist Joony Booth, drummer Wilby Fletcher and percussionist Guilherme Franco. As is accurately stated in the new liner notes by Neil Tesser, Atlantis was the final recording from Tyner's last band to be based on the music of his former boss, John Coltrane. While Lawrence (who was only 20 at the time) derived his style partly from aspects of Coltrane and the rhythm section is fiery, Tyner creates some very powerful and highly original solos, really tearing into some of the more extended pieces. Recorded live at San Francisco's legendary Keystone Korner, this set has four of Tyner's modal originals played by the full group, a rendition of "My One and Only Love" performed by the leader, Lawrence and Franco as a trio, and a solo piano version of "In a Sentimental Mood." Essential music that still sounds fresh and adventurous.
:::Review by Scott Yanow:::

McCoy Tyner – Atlantis (1974)

1. Atlantis (18:02)
2. In A Sentimental Mood (5:35)
3. Makin' Out (13:04)
4. My One And Only Love (9:59)
5. Pursuit (9:20)
6. Love Samba (16:01)

Bass - Juni Booth
Drums - Wilby Fletcher
Engineer - Jim Stern
Percussion - Guilherme Franco
Producer - Orrin Keepnews
Saxophone [Tenor], Saxophone [Soprano] - Azar Lawrence


Posted: Thursday, 21 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

I have to thank SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA, because they opened more my eyes, I had the preconception that all Avant bands where extremely weird, extremely technical and with a total lack of sense of humor. Well, this band has made me travel from the late 60's inspired debut to the incredibly strange "Dear Mamma" and now is the turn o review their second release "Måltid".
If SMM is almost Psyche and "Dear Mamma" is one of the most characteristic expressions of Avant Garde, "Måltid" is a beautiful fusion of different sounds and styles that go from Fusion top the most experimental forms of Electronic.
"Dundrets Fröjder" starts with a strange intro that leads immediately to a strong passage reminiscent of EMERSON LAKE & PALMER which without even noticing morphs into a guitar oriented Jazz section, without losing their sense of humor they continue exploring this trilogy of influences for the almost eleven minute's that the song lasts. Am incredible experience that broadens the horizons of melodic fans like me, but without scaring us with almost impossible to understand experimentations. The frantic ending when they go a step back towards some form of Acid Psychedelic Jazz is simply amazing.
In "Oförutsedd F¢rlossning" they start joking with their voices, but in contrast a very sober piano makes a fantastic melody, first in the background and then takes the lead, but the vocal jokes follow, this time with a powerful guitar supporting them, at the end all the band together play some sort of ultra elaborate fusion.
"Den Återupplivade Låten" starts weirder than ever but now a very dramatic and strong section irrupts out of nowhere, somehow Symphonic with Jazzy and Hard Rock leanings, this proves how versatile this guys are. The last section blows minds, is completely unexpected, but when you are used to this band, you should expect anything. When explained with poor words may sound confusing but when you listen it, everything is in it's place.
"Folkvisa I Morse" begins Medieval oriented with a troubadouresque tune that goes for a long period of time with soft humming in the background, by moments they enter into a delightful cacophony, but just for a few seconds before they return to the main tune.
"Syster System" is hilarious, I dare anybody to listen the vocals and not to laugh, but the take the music seriously, because the piano is fantastic, even when a bit repetitive, no radical changes until the end, just screams and the constant piano.
"Tärningen" is a mixture of Rock and ...anything, SMM seems to get more adventurous as the album advances, but this time reminds me a bit of the radical changes in some of the most elaborate FOCUS tracks. But the most interesting feature is how the song evolves through different sounds and moods with no effort, as if it was something easy and natural.
"Svackorpoängen" begins with a very Classical oriented piano intro that grows in intensity as it advances, again the voices join with their high pitched tones and conversations taking us a few centuries back to the late Medieval era, but radically change into some form of Modern classical, Lasse Hollmer does a brilliant work in the piano. Can't help feeling the strong FOCUS reminiscences in "Minareten" but of course much more complex, the melody is lead by the guitar in a perfect Jan Akkerman style. For the first time in the album, the song flows gently without surprises until almost the middle, when they start with a controlled experimentation and screams, you must listen this track, because words can't describe it.
The official release ends with "Værelseds Tilbud" which starts incredibly dramatic, with a mysterious Avant (the real Avant Garde) piano which takes the central role and makes all the changes and experiments almost alone, wonderful ending.
The album has three more bonus tracks, but as always I stay with the original song list, because that's the way the author released it and how IMO should be listened.
Even when more mature than the self titled debut, I feel they lost some of the beautiful naïve sound that was so pleasant, but instead we get a more solid musical expresion.
A fantastic album for people who are willing to take the risk with more adventurous musical forms, that I can't rate with less than 5 stars.
:::Review by Ivan Melgar M:::

Samla Mammas Manna – Måltid (1973)

1. Dundrets fröjder (10:43)
2. Oförutsedd f¢rlossning (3:10)
3. Den återupplivade låten (5:53)
4. Folkvisa i morse (2:07)
5. Syster system (2:27)
6. Tärningen (3:33)
7. Svackorpoängen (3:11)
8. Minareten (8:21)
9. Værelseds tilbud (2:26)

Bonus tracks on CD:
10. Minareten II
11. Circus apparatha
12. Probably the probably

- Coste Apetrea / guitars, vocals (except song 11)
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums, percussion, backing vocals, glass
- Lasse Hollmer / acoustic & electric pianos, vocals
- Lasse Krants / bass, vocals
- Henrik Öberg / congas (11)

:::Cloud Dance:::

Posted: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

I’ve always been amazed by Collin Walcott’s expertise in instruments associated with Indian music; as I was pretty early into Ravi Shankar, (The Concert for Bangladesh was a landmark in the early ‘70’s) all those utilizations of the sitar (and occasionally the tabla too) by Rock or PopRock artists who wanted to give a Psych/Ethnic color to their sound, normally sounded only like that: coloring.
Walcott played in another league, as the only Westerner who could fool me into thinking I was listening to natives from India. And the best part is he’d do it in a setting more consentaneous with my listening horizons, than the not always easy to get into Indian Ragas.
But while I know Oregon for well over 30 years, it was only recently that I learned about his solo stuff; this is one of those examples and what a mighty one it is!
Walcott enlisted the help of John Abercrombie guitar, Dave Holland double-bass and Jack DeJohnette drums, but this is no group recording per se, as he hand picks the musicians who he feels best serve the songs.
Thus, practically all possible combinations of the featured instruments are used, making this a rich, and constantly renewed aural experience; On the other hand, and except for a very discreet tabla on “Eastern Song”, he never doubles on a 2nd instrument, thus leaving the music ready to be playable live; “Eastern Song” is one of two duos with Holland, bass and sitar parallel voices meandering trough a Raga like theme, while “Prancing” is an astonishing and vibrant bass/tabla argument.
The duos with guitar were co-written with Abercrombie, his piercing overdriven guitar fighting its way atop the frenetic tabla percussion on “Scimitar”, and speaking in a clean register against the sitar on the eerie “Padma”.
Tracks get longer when the number of players involved increase, and the trio ones are “Night Glider”, a tranquil conversation between guitar and sitar, speaking close melodies or tastefully going separate ways with sympathetically related arguments, atop sparse and gliding full bass figures, and the Holland penned “Vadana”, in a similarly meditative mood and where the bass is more prominent amidst fluid cascades of guitar and sitar sentences.
The quartet tracks open and close the album, “Margarite” introduced by two minutes of sitar setting the mood for an uplifting salute to the joys of being alive, punctuated by DeJohnette inexhaustibly inventive drum sticks, and the title track, driven by a syncopated bass pattern and an almost Funky vibe, filled with competing sitar and guitar flourishes atop counterpoint accents and subtle drum rolls, nourishing an whirlwind of exultant emotions and leaving a feeling of plenitude when the album comes to an end.
:::Review by comusduke:::

Collin Walcott - Cloud Dance (1975)

1. Margueritte (Walcott) - 8:25
2. Prancing (Walcott) - 3:23
3. Night Glider (Walcott) - 6:35
4. Scimitar (Abercrombie/Walcott) - 2:42
5. Vadana (Holland) - 6:59
6. Eastern Song (Walcott) - 2:32
7. Padma (Abercrombie/Walcott) - 2:43
8. Cloud Dance (Walcott) - 5:48

John Abercrombie - Guitar
Jack DeJohnette - Drums
Dave Holland - Bass
Collin Walcott - Sitar, Tabla

:::Naked City:::

Posted: Monday, 18 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , ,

Although officially released in 1990 as a John Zorn solo album, “Naked City” was in fact the debut of a whole new band of the same name. Although it turned out to be a short-lived formation (it lasted only a couple of years), it existed long enough to obtain a legendary status among avant-garde fanatics. With his Naked City project - which also featured Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Joey Baron, and occasionally Yamatsuka Eye - John Zorn produced a challenging mix of jazz and hardcore/metal. Zorn had already experimented with this combination on the cover album “Spy Vs. Spy” - on which Ornette Coleman tunes in the melody section were set against hardcore ‘grooves’ in the rhythm section - but with Naked City he ventured even further into rock territory. Add to this Zorn’s love for film and cartoon music, superb musicianship, and a good dose of humour, and you’ll get an idea of what “Naked City” sounds like.
The album contains both original compositions and cover songs (seven in total). The latter, however, are arranged in such a way that they fit into the style of the album perfectly and they don’t disturb the flow. The most notable covers are “The James Bond Theme” and “Lonely Woman” - a famous film tune and an early free jazz classic (Ornette Coleman). One of the best originals on the album is the unpredictable “You Will Be Shot”, but even more unpredictable - and also the most impressive - are the eight tracks that make up the center of the album. These agressive bursts of energy, all of which clock in at less than fourty-four seconds, pretty much summarize the musical language of the band. Moreover, the fragmentary character of these pieces is distinctive for John Zorn’s musical vision at the time. (According to the American musicologist Richard Taruskin, Zorn once wrote that “‘I’ve got an incredibly short attention span’, and that his music is meant for listeners who, like him, grew up with television.” *)
In my opinion, “Naked City” is a postmodern masterpiece and an artistic statement in the line of such landmark works as Ornette Coleman’s “The Shape Of Jazz To Come”, Frank Zappa’s “Freak Out!” and Captain Beefheart’s “Trout Mask Replica”. Apart from that it could be a nice introduction into Zorn’s gigantic discography. People who like wild, experimental music will certainly enjoy it, and especially fans of Mr. Bungle or Fantômas will be delighted.

* Richard Taruskin, The Oxford History Of Western Music, Volume 5: The Late Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 504
:::Review by Joren:::

John Zorn - Naked City (1990)

1. Batman (2:04)
2. The Sicilian Clan (Ennio Morricone) (3:33)
3. You Will Be Shot (1:31)
4. Latin Quarter (4:12)
5. A Shot In The Dark (Henry Mancini) (3:13)
6. Reanimator (1:43)
7. Snagglepuss (2:20)
8. I Want To Live (Johnny Mandel) (2:12)
9. Lonely Woman (Ornette Coleman) (2:45)
10. Igneous Ejaculation (0:24)
11. Blood Duster (0:17)
12. Hammerhead (0:11)
13. Demon Sanctuary (0:42)
14. Obeah Man (0:20)
15. Ujaku (0:31)
16. Fuck The Facts (0:14)
17. Speedball (0:44)
18. Chinatown (Jerry Goldsmith) (4:28)
19. Punk China Doll (3:06)
20. N.Y. Flat Top Box (0:46)
21. Saigon Pickup (4:50)
22. The James Bond Theme (John Barry) (3:06)
23. Den Of Sins (1:14)
24. Contempt (Georges Delerue) (2:54)
25. Graveyard Shift (3:32)
26. Inside Straight (4:17)

- John Zorn / alto sax
- Bill Frisell / guitar
- Wayne Horvitz / keyboards
- Fred Frith / bass
- Joey Baron / drums
special guest:
- Yamatsuka Eye / vocals


Posted: Friday, 15 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

Francois Thollot is a very talented man,who on his first album played all the instruments,the bass,drums,guitar and piano.On this one he calls in some friends to help out,namely Phillipe Bussonnet on bass(MAGMA) and Daniel Jeand'heur on drums(ONE SHOT).From the very first listen i loved this album,and the love has grown.Imagine Robert Fripp playing guitar in a Zeuhl band with a very accomplished Zeuhl bassist, and a drummer who recalls the great jazz drummers.This is dark but not sinister in any way.The piano is such a key ingredient as well.It sounds more like a keyboard to me,and it adds to the melancholic vibe found here. "Ascension" is such an amazing song.The angular guitar melodies with piano, and one of the best rhythm sections i have heard in a while.It's cool when the guitar and piano play the same notes 3 1/2 minutes in,and listen carefully to the way this guy plays drums.Impressive. "Histoire Triste" is more laid back with some beautiful guitar melodies,light drums and piano.Just a great sound.The song does speed up before reverting back to the original melody with those mournful guitar melodies. "Promenade Urgente" features some great bass lines while the drums pound away and the guitar grinds out some melodies.There is a brief calm before the magic comes back. "13e Parallele" opens with intricate guitar melodies that are joined by the piano playing the same melody.Nice.The bass is fantastic and the sound is heavy.The guitar is angular and dark,just the way i like it.Check out the bass later on as well.What a song! "Etude Plombee" made me say to myself "This guy can really play bass".Then i thought "Francois can really play guitar".You know what? They are all incredible musicians.The guitar is firing off some angular solos while the bass continues to boggle my mind.Hey the piano and drumming is wonderful as well. Great track! "Blues Du Crabe" has a jazz vibe to it,the bass is relentless, and there are lots of cymbals.As the guitar comes in the jazz flavour goes away. "Cyclopede" has more angular guitar with some great drum patterns to enjoy. "Leon Le Herisson" is an uptempo tune with Fripp like guitar and piano.The bass playing really shines late in the song. "Cabanon Oriental" features some heavy bass and drums as the guitar plays slowly over top.Nice. "Indefiniment" is the only song with synths,and they arrive 2 1/2 minutes in.The drumming is impressive as usual,as the guitar joins in to create a terrific melody.The guitar to end the song is a highlight. I had no idea what to expect with this record,but i didn't consider that it would become one of my favourite records. It has.
:::Review by sinkadotentree:::

François Thollot – Contact (2002)

1. Ascension 6:03
2. Histoire Triste 4:30
3. Promenade Urgente 4:18
4. 13e Parallèle 5:38
5. Etude Plombée 4:11
6. Blues Du Crabe 4:00
7. Cyclopède 4:39
8. Léon Le Hérisson 3:36
9. Cabanon Oriental 3:39
10. Indéfiniment 4:35

- François Thollot / guitar, keyboards
- Philippe Bussonnet / bass
- Daniel Jeand'heur / drums, keyboards


Posted: Thursday, 14 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

This is indeed one of the best bands i´ve heard from South America and maybe the whole Latin America! I had the big, big luck to see these guys playing live in march this year and it was a blast, the way they took the stage and performed like only the experimented ones do, really amazed us all. Also i had the chance to meet Julio Tobar (Sax, flute player and singer) and Cristián Larrondo (Bass & stick) and let me tell you that they are very nice, young and humble guys. It was a great experience to chat with these extremely talented musicians.
OK, to the album... I did get to know this CD and their debut at the same time because i bought both arfter the concert and i really liked their first homonym disc but this second album is just something else. You can clearly hear the improvement of the compositions and their tighter and more original sound. Althought you can still listen to the KC influence, they reached maturity and creativeness at the top. Another thing i liked about this output is that Julio doesn't sing as much as the 1st album, and that's a good sign because they focused on the instrumental part which is their real strength (keep playing sax and flute pal !).
All of these guys are very high skilled musicians, and you can hear it as the songs progress, no one really overshadows another member. It is very common to say that the guitarist or the keyboardist (here doesn't exist) or X person is the leader or the dominant player of the band, but in this case the group is quite cohesive and you can enjoy equally all instruments (BTW they have both drummer and percussionist).
Without being exactly influences, i can hear some little flashes here and there from bands like Anekdoten(and KC of course), Rush, Cabezas De Cera, Fromuz, VDGG, Porcupine Tree, Naikaku, Jethtro Tull and Flor the Loto among others.
I'm pleased to see how are emerging new great bands in all the different fields of Prog, like Fromuz in the Jazz-Rock fusion genre or Flor the Loto and Cabezas De Cera from Latin America, and the excellent Mar De Robles which fits in both categories i mentioned.
:::Review by FranMuzak:::

Mar de Robles – Indígena (2007)

1. Chúcaro (08:28)
2. X_2004 (04:19)
3. Perimontu (05:43)
4. Rancagua Nocturno (07:42)
5. Aborigen (04:58)
6. Sobreviviente (05:43)
7. Chileneos (07:37)
8. Mar De Robles (05:20)
9. Ubuntu (05:33)

- Julio Tobar / vocals, tenor saxophone, traverse flute
- Rodrigo Moris / guitars
- Cristián Larrondo / fretless bass, Chapman Stick
- Jesús Parada / drums, percussion
- Ignacio Larrondo / congas, djembé, percussion

:::The Moontrane:::

Posted: Thursday, 7 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , ,

In a genre full of tragically short-lived performers, Woody Shaw's story is exceptionally tragic. Legally blind and beset with emotional problems, he was killed in a subway accident in 1989 without ever attaining the recognition attentive listeners knew he deserved. The Mosaic box set of his Columbia recordings a few years ago placed him in a linear development of trumpet players between Hubbard and Marsalis; this was, no doubt, a highly questionable analysis (mainly because it left out Miles Davis altogether), but it indicated the high regard and influence Shaw has had — or should have had — over other trumpet players.
The Moontrane, recorded in late 1974, was Shaw's breakthrough album. It is aptly named, for although Shaw was during his lifetime routinely (and with relative inaccuracy) compared to Hubbard, he sounds more like John Coltrane. Now to replicate Coltrane's lightning runs and dense harmonic lines on trumpet is no mean feat; Shaw not only does it repeatedly, but with impeccable precision and taste. The Moontrane sports the Coltrane-ish tenor and soprano man Azar Lawrence, who was also part of McCoy Tyner's Coltrane-ish modal recordings of the early Seventies.
"Sanyas," by a young Steve Turre, who is also part of Shaw's basic quartet, is a modal workout with some intense soprano work by Lawrence, recalling the reedy Eastern feel of many of Coltrane's soprano recordings. Shaw is simply stunning here, with long clean lines to take the breath away. Then comes pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs, a Shaw favorite, playing unplugged on this track a first-rate McCoy Tyner impersonation. Cecil McBee plays bass on three tracks, Buster Williams on two. (There are also two alternates, both featuring McBee.) Victor Lewis on drums keeps things going, but doesn't light any fires. Percussionists Tony Waters and Guilherme Franco join in here and there.
"The Moontrane" became Shaw's signature tune. Here it gets a straightforward reading enlivened by the sterling trumpet of the master himself. "Tapscott's Blues" is more passionate, with Lawrence and Shaw vying intriguingly for Best Post-Coltrane Solo honors. Turre sounds throughout the disc a little less developed than the trombonist he has subsequently become, but that doesn't mean he doesn't hold up his end. Actually, as the only one of the frontmen not to be deeply influenced by the Coltrane Quartet, he adds piquancy to the sound.
"Katrina Ballerina" is a boppish tune with more stunning work from Shaw, whose fluency in the trumpet's lower register is just as striking as his speed.
Gumbs shines on his own "Are They Only Dreams," as does Turre on the opening sections of his "Sanyas." Shaw himself penned "The Moontrane" and "Katrina Ballerina," putting him in the group of great jazz performers who could write their own great tunes. Alas that he didn't write more.
:::Review by Robert Spencer:::

Woody Shaw - The Moontrane (1975)

1. The Moontrane (6:54)
2. Sanyas (13:05)
3. Tapscott´s Blues (6:41)
4. Katrina Ballerina (7:36)
5. Are They Only Dreams (9:12)
6. Tapscott´s Blues (Alt.) (6:50)
7. Katrina Ballerina (Alt.) (8:01)

Artwork By [Graphic Design] - Nancy Dwyer , Page Simon
Bass - Buster Williams (tracks: 1, 5) , Cecil McBee (tracks: 2 to 4, 6, 7)
Congas - Tony Waters (tracks: 2, 4, 5, 7)
Drums - Victor Lewis
Electric Piano - Onaje Allen Gumbs
Engineer - Eddie Korvin , Jan Rathburn
Mastered By - Gene Paul
Other [Production Coordinator] - Michael Weiner
Percussion - Guilherme Franco (tracks: 2, 4, 5, 7)
Photography [Photo Illustrations] - Oliver Wasow
Piano - Onaje Allen Gumbs
Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Producer [Series Produced By] - Joel Dorn
Saxophone [Soprano] - Azar Lawrence
Saxophone [Tenor] - Azar Lawrence
Trombone - Steve Turre
Trumpet - Woody Shaw

:::Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus:::

Posted: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

Having completed what he (and many critics) regarded as his masterwork in The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Charles Mingus' next sessions for Impulse found him looking back over a long and fruitful career. Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus is sort of a "greatest hits revisited" record, as the bassist revamps or tinkers with some of his best-known works. The titles are altered as well -- "II B.S." is basically "Haitian Fight Song" (this is the version used in the late-'90s car commercial); "Theme for Lester Young" is "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"; "Better Get Hit in Your Soul" adds a new ending, but just one letter to the title; "Hora Decubitus" is a growling overhaul of "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too"; and "I X Love" modifies "Nouroog," which was part of "Open Letter to Duke."
There's also a cover of Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo," leaving just one new composition, "Celia." Which naturally leads to the question: With the ostensible shortage of ideas, what exactly makes this a significant Mingus effort? The answer is that the 11-piece bands assembled here (slightly different for the two separate recording sessions) are among Mingus' finest, featuring some of the key personnel (Eric Dolphy, pianist Jaki Byard) that would make up the legendary quintet/sextet with which Mingus toured Europe in 1964. And they simply burn, blasting through versions that equal and often surpass the originals -- which is, of course, no small feat. This was Mingus' last major statement for quite some time, and aside from a solo piano album and a series of live recordings from the 1964 tour, also his last album until 1970. It closes out the most productive and significant chapter of his career, and one of the most fertile, inventive hot streaks of any composer in jazz history.
:::Review by Steve Huey:::

Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (1963)

1. II B.S. (4:46)
2. I X Love (7:38)
3. Celia (6:12)
4. Mood Indigo (4:43)
5. Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul (6:28)
6. Theme For Lester Young (5:50)
7. Hora Decubitus (4:41)
Bonus Track
8. Freedom (5:10)

Artwork By [Art Direction] - Hollis King
Artwork By [Graphic Design] - Jason Claiborne
Bass - Charlie Mingus
Drums - Dannie Richmond (tracks: 2, 3) , Walter Perkins (tracks: 1, 4 to 8)
Engineer - Bob Simpson
Guitar - Jay Berliner (tracks: 2, 3)
Mastered By [Remastered] - Erick Labson
Narrator - Charlie Mingus (tracks: 8)
Oboe - Dick Hafer (tracks: 2, 3)
Photography [Cover, Liner Photos] - Joe Alper
Piano - Charlie Mingus (tracks: 2, 3) , Jaki Byard
Producer - Bob Thiele
Reissue Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Saxophone [Alto] - Charles Mariano (tracks: 2, 3)
Saxophone [Alto], Flute - Eric Dolphy (tracks: 1, 4 to 8)
Saxophone [Baritone, Soprano], Flute - Jerome Richardson
Saxophone [Tenor] - Booker Ervin (tracks: 1, 4 to 8)
Saxophone [Tenor], Clarinet, Flute - Dick Hafer (tracks: 1, 4 to 8)
Trombone - Britt Woodman (tracks: 1, 4 to 8) , Quentin Jackson (tracks: 2, 3)
Trumpet - Eddie Preston (tracks: 1, 4 to 8) , Richard Williams , Rolf Ericson (tracks: 2, 3)
Tuba - Don Butterfield


Posted: Tuesday, 5 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

The Soft Machine plunged deeper into jazz and contemporary electronic music on this pivotal release, which incited the Village Voice to call it a milestone achievement when it was released. It's a double album of stunning music, with each side devoted to one composition -- two by Mike Ratledge, and one each by Hopper and Wyatt, with substantial help from a number of backup musicians, including Canterbury mainstays Elton Dean and Jimmy Hastings. The Ratledge songs come closest to fusion jazz, although this is fusion laced with tape loop effects and hypnotic, repetitive keyboard patterns. Hugh Hopper's "Facelift" recalls "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson, although it's more complex, with several quite dissimilar sections. The pulsing rhythms, chaotic horn and keyboard sounds, and dark drones on "Facelift" predate some of what Hopper did as a solo artist later (this song was actually culled from two live performances in 1970). Robert Wyatt draws on musical ideas from early 1967 demos done with producer Giorgio Gomelsky, on his capricious composition "Moon in June." Lyrically, it's a satirical alternative to the pretension displayed by a lot of rock writing of the era, and combined with the Softs' exotic instrumentation, it makes for quite a listen (the collection Triple Echo includes a BBC broadcast recording of this song, with different albeit equally fanciful lyrics). Not exactly rock, Third nonetheless pushed the boundaries of rock into areas previously unexplored, and it managed to do so without sounding self-indulgent. A better introduction to the group is either of the first two records, but once introduced, this is the place to go.
:::Review by Peter Kurtz:::

Soft Machine – Third (1970)

1. Facelift* (18:54)
2. Slightly All The Time (18:14)
3. Moon In June (19:18)
4. Out-Bloody-Rageous (19:17)

* 'Facelift' was recorded live at Fairfield Hall, Croydon, January 4, 1970 and at Mothers Club, Birmingham, January 11, 1970.

- Robert Wyatt / drums, vocals (track 3), piano (track 3), organ (track 3), bass guitar (track 3)
- Hugh Hopper / bass guitar
- Mike Ratledge / organ, piano (except track 3), electric piano (except track 3)
- Elton Dean / alto sax (except track 3), saxello (except track 3)
- Lyn Dobson / flute, soprano sax (track 1)
Guest musicians:
- Nick Evans / trombone (track 2)
- Jimmy Hastings / flute, bass clarinet (track 2)
- Rab Spall / electric violin (track 3)

:::Les Stances a Sophie:::

Posted: Monday, 4 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: ,

In 1970, the members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago were living as expatriates in Paris. The group had only recently expanded to its permanent quintet status with the addition of drummer/percussionist Don Moye when they were asked by New Wave director Moshe Misrahi to provide the soundtrack for his movie, Les Stances a Sophie. The music was never used in the film but, luckily, it was recorded. The result was one of the landmark records of the burgeoning avant-garde of the time and, simply put, one of the greatest jazz albums ever. On two of the tracks, the Art Ensemble is joined by vocalist Fontella Bass, at the time the wife of trumpeter Lester Bowie and riding the success of her pop-soul hit Rescue Me. She's featured most prominently on the opening number, Theme De Yoyo, an astounding piece that has achieved legendary status as the finest fusion of funk and avant-garde jazz ever recorded. The mix is indeed seamless, with Moye and Favors laying down a throbbing, infectious groove, Bass singing the surreally erotic lyrics with enormous soul and the horn players soloing with ecstatic abandon. The remaining pieces cover a wide range stylistically with no less beauty and imagination, including two variations on a theme by Monteverdi, intense free improvising and soft, deeply probing sonic investigations.Their extensive knowledge of prior jazz styles, love of unusual sound sources (the so-called "little instruments) and fearless exploration of the furthest reaches of both instrumental and compositional possibilities came into full flower on this record.
:::Review by Brian Olewnick:::

Art Ensemble of Chicago - Les Stances a Sophie (1970)

1. Thème de Yoyo
2. Thème de Céline
3. Variations sur un Thème de Monteverdi (I,II)
4. Thème Amour Universal
5. Proverbes (I, II, III)
6. Thème Libre

Roscoe Mitchell: soprano, alto and bass saxophones, clarinet, flute, percussion;
Joseph Jarman: tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, flut, percussion;
Lester Bowie: trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion;
Malachi Favors: acoustic bass, electric bass, percussion;
Don Moye: drums;
Fontella Bass: vocals, piano.

:::Elegant Gypsy:::

Posted: Friday, 1 May 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , , ,

Al Di Meola's second album is ultimately my favorite album of his and is one of the best jazz rock albums available. All the elements of total success are here, stellar musicianship, creative songwriting, and fun and imaginative variances in the music. From heavy hitting power riffing to soft spoken acoustic guitar interludes, it is all here. From the very first second of Flight Over Rio to the pulsating closing seconds of Elegant Gypsy Suite, one thing is clear, this is an album that will be remembered for many many years to come. Like I said with my review for Casino, this album will surely be up the alley of any fan of guitar oriented music and any fan of high velocity Spanish influenced jazz rock.
Flight Over Rio opens the album with some intuitive bass riffing from Anthony Jackson and some very smooth keyboards from Jan Hammer. There's a definite mellow mood during this introduction, but once Di Meola enters everything slowly changes. The track becomes more fast paced and high energy, with some stellar ascending riffs from Di Meola and great and precise percussion from Mingo Lewis, as well as a great keyboard/guitar duel between Di Meola and Hammer. It opens the album brilliantly, and the quality of the songs never really goes down. Midnight Tango has a very mellow atmopshere in comparison to Flight Over Rio, with some intuitive soloing from Di Meola over a steady rhythm section and some great wavy piano lines. Slowly the pace increases, although not to the pace of the first track. The well timed chord based bass guitar work is also really well conceived. Mediterranean Sundance begins with a nice drum/percussion duet between Mingo Lewis and Lenny White, but soon becomes an exceedingly complicated piece with some great acoustic work from Di Meola and Paco de Lucia.
The interplay between these two (and later along with John McLaughlin on Friday Night in San Francisco) is incredible and shows some stellar abilities for both musicians who take turns hammering out the main beat while another solos on top of it, eventually becoming a duel solo movement.
Race With Devil on Spanish Highway is probably my favorite song on this album. Beginning with a strong percussive rhythm and a cool bass line, the song soon evolves into an all out shred piece with riff after riff of powerful guitar lines that intertwine and spell out brilliance. There's a riff in this song that the group Liquid Tension Experiment would also quote in their song Acid Rain (or so I believe, they are very very similar). But besides that, there's nothing to dislike about this song, it's just high energy and very inspiring to listen to. Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil is a short interlude before the finale of the album, Elegant Gypsy Suite. It is a little acoustic ditty that has some very somber playing on the part of both Di Meola and Paco de Lucia, who create a very mellow and light atmosphere with this piece. The album ends with the song Elegant Gypsy Suite, which begins with some acoustic work from Paco de Lucia before becoming a nicely flowing piece, with a great bassline from Anthony Jackson and some great underlying percussion from Mingo Lewis. As with all the tracks on the album, Di Meola is nothing short of brilliant, who really creates some gentle yet rough riffs on this piece, as well as gentle and incredibly complicated leads that utilize a nice wah/phaser effect. Throughout the 9 minutes of the track, there is a great sense of evolution and progression, and I never really tire of this stellar piece.
In the end, Elegant Gypsy is right up there with Bill Bruford's One of a Kind as one of my favorite records in the jazz rock genre. There's a lot of excellent musicianship, killer songs, great arrangements, and an overall spectacular feel I get from this album. As I said in my opening paragraph, fans of guitar oriented music and highly technical jazz rock will probably be right at home with this album. I can't call this album anything less than a masterpiece and I am very impressed with this album. You probably won't be either. 5/5.
:::Review by Cygnus X-2:::

Al di Meola - Elegant Gypsy (1977)

1. Flight Over Rio (7:10)
2. Midnight Tango (6:14)
3. Mediterranean Sundance (5:07)
4. Race With Devil On Spanish Highway (6:15)
5. Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil (1:44)
6. Elegant Gypsy Suite (9:12)

Acoustic Guitar - Paco De Lucía (tracks: 3)
Bass - Anthony Jackson (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6)
Congas, Percussion, Keyboards - Mingo Lewis (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6)
Drums - Lenny White (tracks: 2, 4) , Steve Gadd (tracks: 1, 6)
Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion - Al Di Meola
Keyboards - Barry Miles (tracks: 2, 4) , Jan Hammer (tracks: 1, 6)
Producer, Arranged By, Composed By - Al Di Meola