:::Too Much Sugar for a Dime:::

Posted: Saturday, 21 November 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Imagine writing for an instrumentation of two electric guitars, two tubas, French horn, drums and Henry Threadgill's alto. Threadgill was up to the challenge and his four avant-garde originals utilize the odd combination of tones to great advantage. Two additional songs feature Threadgill, just one tuba, drums, a
few exotic instruments and three strings to create some particularly unusual music. It's for the open-eared listener only.


Henry Threadgill - Too Much Sugar for a Dime (1993)

1. Little Pocket Size Demons 10:48
2. In Touch 8:48
3. Paper Toilet 5:38
4. Better Wrapped, Better Unwrapped 13:04
5. Too Much Sugar 2:59
6. Try Some Ammonia 12:22

Credits
Composed By - Henry Threadgill
Drums - Gene Lake (tracks: 1 to 4, 6) , Larry Bright (tracks: 2, 4)
French Horn - Mark Taylor 
Guitar - Brandon Ross , Masujaa
Oud - Simon Shaheen (tracks: 2, 4)
Percussion [Fulia, Culo'e Puya] - Johnny Rudas (tracks: 2, 4) , Miguel Urvina (tracks: 2, 4, 5)
Producer - Bill Laswell , Henry Threadgill
Saxophone [Alto] - Henry Threadgill
Tuba - Dorian L. Parreott II (tracks: 2, 4, 6) , Edwin Rodriguez , Marcus Rojas
Violin - Jason Hwang (tracks: 2, 4) , Leroy Jenkins (tracks: 2, 4) , Simon Shaheen (tracks: 2, 4)

:::Stellar Regions:::

Posted: Tuesday, 17 November 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,
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This is a major set, "new" music from John Coltrane that was recorded February 15, 1967, (five months before his death) but not released for the first time until 1995. One of several "lost" sessions that were stored by Alice Coltrane for decades, only one selection ("Offering" which was on Expression) among the eight numbers and three alternates was ever out before. The music, although well worth releasing, offers no real hints as to what Coltrane might have been playing had he lived into the 1970s. The performances by the quartet (with pianist Alice Coltrane, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Rashied Ali) are briefer (from two-and-a-half to five-plus minutes) than Coltrane's recordings of the previous year, but that might have been due to the fact that this music was played in the studio (as opposed to the marathon live blowouts with Pharoah Sanders) or to Coltrane's worsening health. Actually 'Trane (who sticks exclusively to tenor here) is as powerful as usual, showing no compromise in his intense flights, and indulging in sound explorations that are as free (but with purpose) as any he had ever done. Coltrane's true fans will want to go out of their way to acquire this intriguing CD.
:::Review by Scott Yanow:::

John Coltrane - Stellar Regions (1967)

1. Seraphic Light 8:54
2. Sun Star 6:05
3. Stellar Regions 3:31
4. Iris 3:50
5. Offering 8:20
6. Configuration 4:01
7. Jimmy's Mode 5:58
8. Tranesonic 4:14
9. Stellar Regions (Alternate Take) 4:37
10. Sun Star (Alternate Take) 8:05
11. Tranesonic (Alternate Take) 2:48

Credits
Bass - Jimmy Garrison
Drums - Rashied Ali
Piano - Alice Coltrane
Producer, Composed By, Saxophone [Tenor] - John Coltrane

:::Expansions:::

Posted: Friday, 13 November 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , ,
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Of pianist McCoy Tyner's seven Blue Note albums of the 1967-1970 period, Expansions is the most definitive. Tyner's group (comprised of trumpeter Woody Shaw, altoist Gary Bartz, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter on cello, bassist Herbie Lewis, and drummer Freddie Waits) is particularly strong, the compositions (four Tyner originals plus Calvin Massey's "I Thought I'd Let You Know") are challenging, and the musicians seem quite inspired by each other's presence. The stimulating music falls between advanced hard bop and the avant-garde, pushing and pulling at the boundaries of modern mainstream jazz.
:::Review by Scott Yanow:::

McCoy Tyner – Expansions (1968)

1. Vision 12:15
2. Song of Happiness 11:55
3. Smitty's Place 5:20
4. Peresina 10:20
5. I Thought I'd Let You Know 6:25

Credits
Bass - Herbie Lewis
Cello - Ron Carter
Drums - Freddie Waits
Piano - McCoy Tyner
Producer - Duke Pearson
Recorded By - Rudy Van Gelder
Saxophone [Alto], Flute [Wooden] - Gary Bartz
Saxophone [Tenor], Clarinet - Wayne Shorter
Trumpet - Woody Shaw

:::Passing Ships:::

Posted: Thursday, 12 November 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , , ,
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Now this is more like it. In its Connoisseur Series, Blue Note is making available a completely unreleased Andrew Hill date from 1969. Passing Ships wasn't even included in the Mosaic box because the master tape wasn't found until 2001. The band Hill employed on this session was a nonet, featuring Woody Shaw and Dizzy Reece on trumpets, Joe Farrell on reeds, woodwinds, and English horn, Howard Johnson on tuba and bass clarinet, Ron Carter on bass, Lenny White (on only his second recording date) playing drums, trombonist Julian Priester, and French horn player Bob Northern. The music here is ambitious. Hill's scoring for one reed, two trumpets, and low brass is remarkable for the time. In fact, it isn't until his big-band album of 2002 that he ever ventured into these waters again. The title cut, with its bass clarinet and English horn counterpoint, is almost classical in structure but nearly Malian in melody. While the cut's dynamics are restrained, its color palette -- especially with the lilting muted trumpets playing a mysterious harmonic line -- is flush and royal.
"Plantation Bag" is a showcase for Farrell's tough, grooved-out soloing as he blows blue and free in response to Hill's funky, large-spread chord voicings. The trumpets layer one another in the middle of the tune, alternately soloing and punching comp lines through the middle. The Asian melodic figures at the heart of "Noon Tide" add exoticism to one of the most adventurous tunes ever written by Hill. Rhythmically it turns on pulse rhythms that shift and slide methodically as Priester takes the tune's first solo, playing against Hill's left-hand stridency. Of the remaining three selections, "Cascade," with its staggered harmonic architecture that goes against all common wisdom for big-band harmony, is remarkable for its precision and rhythmic invention. Why this isn't going to be out there for the general public for all time is beyond reason. Why punish the artist that way? Conventional wisdom would suggest that something that has been unearthed for the first time in 34 years deserves to be a part of the general catalog. Get it quick.
:::Review by Thom Jurek:::

Andrew Hill - Passing Ships (1969)

1. Sideways 4:09
2. Passing Ships 7:08
3. Plantation Bag 8:32
4. Noon Tide 9:49
5. The Brown Queen 6:22
6. Cascade 6:27
7. Yesterday's Tomorrow 5:11

Credits
Bass - Ron Carter
Clarinet [Bass Clarinet] - Howard Johnson , Joe Farrell
Drums - Lenny White
English Horn - Joe Farrell
Flute [Alto] - Joe Farrell
French Horn - Bob Northern
Piano - Andrew Hill
Producer - Francis Wolff
Saxophone [Soprano Sax] - Joe Farrell
Saxophone [Tenor Sax] - Joe Farrell
Trombone - Julian Priester
Trumpet - Dizzy Reece , Woody Shaw
Tuba - Howard Johnson

:::Soft Heap:::

Posted: Tuesday, 10 November 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety:
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After leaving Soft Machine after their fifth album (in 72), Elton dean returned to the jazz scene for a few years and created his own groups and projects like Just Us, Elton Dean Quartet and big band Ninesense. Around Jan 78, Soft Heap was created by him with ex- Hatfield and Gligamesh members Pip Pyle and Alan Gowan, and Elton thought of inviting his old buddy and ex-Machinist Hugh Hopper. Thus the name of the band being a bit of revenge, using the Soft part of the Machine, the Heap being their respective forename's first letter. (Thus Soft Head was the same, when Pyle was unavailable and they called upon Dave Shean). Sadly Esoteric Record did not find any extra tracks lying around for this album's only second reissue, but deliver some neat liner notes.
Starting slowly , as if from a Tery riley album, the gorgeous Circle Line is the only Hopper- penned track, but certainly the most poignant on this album, in no small part due to Elton's impression of Coltrane. The collective jamming AWOL is a much more furious affair, breathing Elton's intentions with Phil Howard's short tenure of the drum stool in Soft Machine. Demented and sometimes spacey, but never really totally dissonant either. Gowen's Petit 3's is a much quieter affair with the dominating electric piano, but the slow groove is evolving a bit in an early Nucleus lava stream, pouring down a volcano's cone. Cool yet torrid, but not reaching the apex you'd wish it had.
The flipside starts on the Terra Nova were the Softs would be meeting Coltrane on the way to Ascenscion, but not reaching the summit either, even though this is the album's best track. The other Dean composition Fara is a slow jazz, close to standard granddaddy jazz and it sticks out a bit from the rest of the album. Not even old Tippettt mate Mark Charig can bring much excitement to this crooning jazz track that's only missing Louis or Ella's vocals. The closing short Hand is a free-form jazz piece written by Gowan, and sticks out just as muchas its predecessor, but in the opposite direction. True enough, Soft Heap has the inevitable Soft machine traits, but you won't catch this writer to say that they were trying to revive a spirit, even though by now, the SM mothership had folded after much more line-up changes.
A very worthy one shot album from a group that would go on to record under this name but with different personnel, their debut remaining their best. Both owan and Pyle woud go on in National Health (this album was a bit delayed to that group's schedule), but today as I write this review, Soft Heap is the first prog group (let's put aside Jimi Hendrix Experience), with Hugh Hopper's death, this group is the first to extinct by all of its members, something I'd have rather not seen or known.
:::Review by Sean Trane :::

Soft Heap - Soft Heap (1979)

1. Circle Line (6:54)
2. A.W.O.L. (9:35)
3. Petit 3's (6:17)
4. Terra Nova (10:03)
5. Fara (6:42)
6. Short Hand (3:11)

Credits
- Hugh Hopper / bass
- Elton Dean / saxes
- Alan Gowen / keyboards
- Pip Pyle / drums and percussion
- Mark Charig / cornet and trumpet
- Radu Malfatti / trombone