Friday, October 27, 2006

Here are short reviews of couple vinyl records I've scrounged out of various used bins over the past couple of months:

Don Pullen & Don Moye - (Milano Strut, Black Saint 1978)

This is a very interesting duet recording of pianist Pullen who broke into the majors playing with Charles Mingus before forming a great collective band with George Adams and producing some excellent solo work and Fonomu Don Moye, most well know for being the drummer and percussionist for the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The first and final pieces on this LP, "Conversation" and "Curve Eleven (For Giuseppi)" are the most freely improvised with Pullen's lightning fast, highly percussive runs meshing well with Moye's fluid percussion. The middle two compositions break the mold a little but as communication is a deeply reflective ballad and the title track brings the funk with Pullen on organ and Moye breaking into a backbeat at times. It really shows that although these musicians were associated with the avant-garde, they had many tricks up their sleeves.

Stanley Turrentine - Salt Song (CTI, 1971)

Given CTI's reputation as a provider of proto smooth jazz I wasn't sure this record was really going to be my cup of tea, but considering I love Stanley's bluesy tenor (and the record only cost 99 cents!) I thought it was worth a shot. I was pleasantly surprised with the first song, "Gibraltar" which had some deeply soulful tenor as could be expected, but also some very fine guitar soloing from Eddie Gale who locks into a Grant Greenish R&B groove. The rest of the album is so-so with some nice afro-brazillian grooves on "Vera Cruz" and a rather tame slice of gospel on "I Told Jesus." Turrentine's CTI albums were quite popular and set the tone for the records he made for most of the rest of his career, playing some easy listening stuff to get radio airplay and then coming back to his blues and bop roots when performing live.

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