Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Otis Rush - Troubles, Troubles (Verve, 1978, 2006)

This album has a bit of a checkered history. Recorded in Sweden in the mid-70's, it limped out on a small label, and then saw wider release on the Alligator label but with overdubbed keyboards and horns, a move that was roundly criticized at the time. Now Verve is re-releasing the original album as part of its Sonet Blues Story series, restoring the original version and adding a couple of alternate takes. The music is composed of a mix of standards, including a couple of Jimmy Reed tunes and originals; uptempo and slower tunes. All songs feature Rush's wonderful guitar playing, but the uptempo songs seem to fare a little better overall. Otis's voice seems surprisingly flat and that may have led to Alligator's decision to overdub. Standout tracks include a blasting "You've Been an Angel" short and sweet at under three minutes, but with the intensity to rival some of his legendary Cobra recordings. Versions of Jimmy Reed's "Baby What Do You Want Me To Do" and "You Don't Have to Go" work well as mid-tempo grinders, and "Hold Your Train" gets him to show some of his most passionate singing of the LP. There are only a few missteps, none of them deal breakers - he doesn't quite have the strutting braggadocio in his singing to pull of Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster" and the title track "Troubles, Troubles, Troubles" is held back by some weak vocals (but buoyed by great guitar work.) Who knows, maybe he had a cold that day. Despite being recorded in Europe, this is pure Chicago blues, and it's good to have back in its original unadulterated form.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Peter Brotzmann's Die Like a Dog Quartet - Aoyama Crows (FME, 2002)

Die Like a Dog is Peter Brotzmann's tribute band to the music of Albert Ayler. This performance, recorded live at the 1999 Total Music Meeting in Berlin features Brotzmann on tenor and soprano saxophones and clarinet, Toshinori Kondo on trumpet and electronics, William Parker on bass and Hamid Drake on drums. The four un-named improvisations are fascinating, especially Kondo's contribution of electronics taking the place of a guitarist or pianist and adding a very interesting texture to the music. Parker and Drake are the premier bass and drums team in free jazz and lock into a superb groove for Brotzmann and Kondo to improvise over. While Brotzmann is most well known for his white knuckle free playing, there is actually quite a bit of nuanced improvisation here amidst the howling improvisational passages. The four performances flow together like a suite and the music should be welcome and enjoyed by fans of free improvisation.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Village Voice jazz critic Tom Hull has posted another Jazz Prospecting column on his blog. It's fascinating to watch how his reviews evolve over time and further listening:

"The Riverside Profiles series continues Concord's sacking of Fantasy's catalog, picking out five artists who worked for Riverside Records. Previous Profiles have appeared for Prestige, Stax, and Specialty. Two of these five previously appeared in a pre-Concord The Best Of series (Thelonious Monk and Chet Baker) but unlike the Prestige Profiles, the compilations are different this time: mostly shorter, around 60 minutes vs. 80. That's not such a bad thing, given that this sort of thing is really only useful for people who don't know or much care about the original albums. The other thing to note is that the sets all come with the same even-more-useless label sampler, adding cuts by Bobby Timmons, Charlie Byrd, and Art Blakey to the big five. I mention it under Monk, but ignore the "bonus disc" otherwise, not even describing these as 2-CD sets."

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Archie Shepp - Montreux One (Arista Freedon, 1975)

This album by Archie Shepp shows another side to the man who came onto the jazz scene in the mid 1960's as a New Ting firebrand. Accompanied by Charles Greenlee on trombone, Dave Burrell on piano, Cameron Brown on bass and Beaver Harris on drums, tenor saxophonist Shepp and the band cut quite a mainstream groove on part one of a two LP set of their performance at the 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival. Leading off with Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" Shepp takes his time improvising in a deeply meditative tone. "U-Jamaa" changes gears to some more slightly abstract playing, where Greenlee is featured on some flatulent, slurred trombone. "Crusificado" is straight up hard bop with a slight Latin feel, and a has a very nice piano trio interlude. "Miss Toni" has some fine soloing from Shepp and Greenlee in a uptempo straight ahead groove. Burrell adds another excellent solo over bass and drums. This was one of the albums that set the stage for Shepp's relative abandonment of free playing and embracing the traditions of bebop, blues and spirituals. It's an interesting record of a musician in transition.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Through the looking glass - Downloadable Alice:

Orgy In Rhythm has Alice Coltrane's rare Universal Consciousness album available for downloading: "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."

Big "O" presents Alice Coltrane's concert from UCLA in Los Angeles, February 18, 2006: "She is juggling waves of sound plasma. Flowing, shifting multidimensional webs and warps of energy that are grounded in the earth and far beyond the earth's gravity. She is channeling from above and below at the same time but there is no above and no below. She is an ethereal antenna in a fluid state of grace and balance."

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Catching up with some of the records I plucked from the bargain bins recently, all three are apparently out of print but are worth looking for:

Gabor Szabo - Blowin' Some Old Smoke (Buhdda, 1970): Guitarist Szabo made his mark recording with Chico Hamilton and Charles Lloyd before launching a solo career with some fine records for Impulse! in the 1960's. As did Wes Montgomery and Grant Green before him, he drifted into performing more pop based material, and this album features hits of the day like Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" and "Dear Prudence" by the Beatles. These actually work pretty well with some organ drones providing a slightly exotic air. Some of the pieces on the second side of the LP show more promise with organ and percussion laying a fine foundation for Szabo to improvise over.

Earl Hooker - You Don't Have to Worry (Bluesway, 1969): Slide guitarist Earl Hooker is revered amongst guitarists, but his Bluesway recordings seem to be MIA on compact disc. That's a shame because there's some fine music to be found here. Hooker was never really comfortable as a singer, so here he sticks pretty much to the guitar, adding some excellent fretwork to songs with several different vocalists. His great original "Blue Guitar" gets a reworking, as do two Elmore James chestnuts, "The Sky is Crying" and "Look On Yonders Wall." There is a bit of a pop sheen to the music as was par for the course in the late 60's, but it doesn't detract from the music.

Count Basie & Joe Williams - Just the Blues (Roulette, 1960): Basie made some wonderful music with vocalist Joe Williams and this is another fine example of their work together. Williams could be suave and sophisticated when crooning "Travlin' Light" and down and dirty when belting the blues, like on the covers of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway" and "Mean Old World." This was the key to this group's success, and that diversity combined with some good charts and soloing makes for an interesting album.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Charles Tolliver - With Love (Blue Note/Mosaic, 2007)

Trumpeter, composer and arranger Charles Tolliver is one of the unsung heroes of modern jazz. Tolliver made his debut with Jackie McLean in the mid 1960's and ever since, he has investigated the intersection of composition and improvisation as a leader, sideman and educator. Tolliver's profile has been on the rise lately with his excellent sideman appearance on Andrew Hill's Time Lines LP and a short residency for his big band in New York. So, he really makes an appropriate choice for the first collaboration between the Blue Note and Mosaic labels in newly recorded music (they have collaborated for years on re-issues.) There are some wonderful musicians making up the band: saxophonists Billy Harper and Craig Handy, pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Victor Lewis among many others. The music is extraordinarily exciting, beginning with the blasting original chart "Rejoicin" which features an excellent solo from the leader and very good ensemble playing. The title song, "With Love" builds slowly to an explosive conclusion with the entire group whipped into a ferocious swing. Next up is a very interesting re-arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" with Tolliver leading the way with some excellent trumpet soloing. The great tenor saxophonist Billy Harper gets an excellent solo spot on "Mournin' Variations" which Tolliver originally wrote for a Max Roach project. The music starts off in a meditative fashion before evolving into a Mingus-like holy rolling swing. The recording is rounded out with performances of the originals "Suspicion" and "Hit the Spot." The first has a bit of a different feel thanks to Tolliver's son Ched, who contributes some fine electric guitar, and the final tune is a blow out for the whole band that is nearly head spinning in its power. This is an astoundingly good progressive big band album, with great charts and superb playing. Kudos all around but especially to Blue Note and Mosaic for taking a chance on this startling music. Very highly recommended.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Shirley Scott Plays Horace Silver (Prestige, 1961)

Organist Shirley Scott logs a nod to the compositional prowess of Horace Silver, covering six of his compositions on this excellent although apparently sadly out of print LP. Joining Scott on this LP are Henry Grimes on bass (Grimes is most well known for his avant-garde connections, but he played with a lot of mainstream jazz musicians including Sonny Rollins) and Otis Finch on drums. A concise and swinging version of "Senor Blues" opens the program with some fine group improvisation. A grinding and flashy version of "Sister Sadie," which closes side one is a real keeper, propelled by Grimes loping bass and Finch's splashy drums. This is a very fine performance with Scott using sustained chords to build tension and keep the pace fast as the trio motors along. Bass players are somewhat rare on organ dates as the organist will often play the bass lines on the organs pedals, but here Grimes really stands out adding extra lift and swing to the music. The album is closed out with happy and swinging versions of "Doodlin'" and "The Preacher" and a relaxed mid-tempo version of "Strollin'" where the organ is padded beautifully by walking bass and cymbals. This is a very good LP which is long overdue to be reissued on compact disc or in a downloadable digital format.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Neko Case - Live in Austin (New West, 2007)

This disc, recorded live for the Austin City Limits television program in 2003 is a stop-gap follow up to her wonderful 2006 disc Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. She has a stripped down acoustic band accompanying her on this album and the music takes on a rootsier, more intimate feel than the reverb drenched sound on Fox. For me, this was a great way to catch up with some of her older material because I was one of many that jumped on the Neko bandwagon in 2006. The tasteful small band backing her is made up of pedal steel guitar, upright bass and background vocals and accentuates the melancholy nature of her songs and her soulful vocals. Neko is in superb form, singing her hauntingly evocative original songs as well as covering Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain" very well, giving the music a jaunty, upbeat feel which temporarily breaks the spell of her more languorous songs. Her friend Lisa Marr's song "In California" is a very wistful and image filled song about longing for home. Neko's own "Maybe Sparrow" stands out amongst the originals as it begins to morph in to the emotionally full bodied version that would eventually appear on Fox. This well performed and produced live album is well recommended to fans of roots music.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Holmes Brothers - State of Grace (Alligator, 2006)

The Holmes Brothers are one of the finest roots bands making music today, they can take nearly any song from however unlikely a source and spin it into gold. Combining old school r&b, soul, gospel and blues, create a sound that is all their own. This album is very well produced by Craig Street who has also worked with Cassandra Wilson amongst others and achieves an unobtrusive and warm sound. The breadth of the music they cover is extraordinary. Slowing down Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny ('bout Peace, Love and Understanding)" to a soulful lament for peace is an inspired move, as the most famous version of this song is Elvis Costello's breakneck version from Armed Forces. But who would have thought that Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" could be turned into a crooning tear stained ballad? These fellows could probably sing from the telephone book and sound good. They aren't just a talented cover band and have some good original songs on this album like the funny "Gasoline Drawers." Throw in a little country in performing songs by George Jones and Hank Williams, and a rollicking cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" and all of the tempos are covered on a varied and highly recommended disc.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet - Memories of T (Concord, 2006)

There are so many mediocre tribute albums that I approached this one with quite a bit of trepidation. Monk's music was so original and so unique to him and just a few other colleagues, that it's rare for another to capture the essence of Thelonious. Fortunately, drummer Ben Riley was one of Monk's chosen intimates and this first hand knowledge is one of the things that make this disc special. This is a pianoless (!) septet that is made up of in various combinations: Riley on drums; Don Sickler on trumpet; Bruce Williams on alto and soprano saxophones; Wayne Escoffery on tenor saxophone; Jimmy Greene on tenor saxophone; Jay Brandford on baritone saxophone; Freddie Bryant: guitar; Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass; and Peter Washington on bass. The arrangements are by Riley and Sickler and they really breathe fresh life into the Monk songbook. The group improvises together on the songs well and the individual tune lengths are kept pithy and to the point. Bryant deserves special praise, as he shifts from providing rhythm to fleet soloing very well. All of the familiar Monk melodies are here, but "Nutty" stands out from the pack to be the song that really strikes home. The melody is played with such joy and verve by this band that one can imagine the ghost of Thelonious dancing around like he used to do on stage. This is a fine album and a worthy pickup for all fans of Monk's compositions. Much like Bach or Beethoven, Monk has entered the canon where tributes abound. The Monk songbook isn't very large, but there's certainly room for a sequel or two and this band deserves the opportunity.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

I have a new podcast available for downloading. These are examples of some of the music I have been enjoying lately. BTW, I switched to Podomatic for podcast hosting, so if you have been downloading my podcasts via an RSS feed, please update to the new address.

Artist - Title - Album
Jimmy McGriff - Keep Loose - The Worm
Kneebody - Poton - Low Electrical Worker
Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet - Let's Call This - Memories of T
Charles Tolliver - Rejoicin' - With Love
McCoy Tyner Trio Feat. Micheal Brecker - Impressions - Infinity
Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda - The House That Trane Built
Big John Patton - Fat Judy - Hip Hammond & Soulful Grooves
Microscopic Septet - Baghdad Blues - Off Beat Glory
The Holmes Brothers - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding? - State of Grace

Send comments to: Tim
Wired Magazine Blog post: Long lost third picture of Mississippi Bluesman Robert Johnson found… and now sold. From his eBay auction, “While at the swap meet digging through a photo album of old south delta type photos, I came upon this picture of what I believe to be Robert Johnson. It is not verified, but if you hold it side by side to one of the (2) other only known photos of him, you will see for yourself.”

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Yusef Lateef's Detroit (Atlantic, 1969)

This is an R&B and funk themed album loosely based on Yusef Lateef's old stomping grounds of Detroit, Michigan. There are fairly large ensembles at play here, running from eight to ten musicians with a string quartet in tow on a few tracks that give a glossy sheen to the proceedings that would make the fellow Detroiters at Motown Records proud. Lateef stands out on tenor saxophone and flute with a three-strong trumpet section riffing behind him and Eddie Gale sparking off some fine electric guitar. Ironically, the highpoint of this funky album is the lone acoustic track, the standard "That Lucky Old Sun" which features Lateef's deep, dark hued tenor spinning tales over piano, bass and drums.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From Do the Math: There is a very interesting article about drummer David King: "But then King’s covers aren’t about defining a musical style or attaching himself to a genre. They are about acknowledging music that informs his own. King is known throughout the jazz world for his improvisational skills, which draw from a dizzying repertoire that includes everything from bebop to nineties pop. For King, there’s no bourgeois or high-brow music, no elite school of rock, no exclusive church of jazz. King is about sound and making good music, not about making good jazz, good rock, or good electronica, though he makes all three."

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Podcasts Aplenty

The Anderson Tapes has a tribute called Journey Without End: The Music of Alice Coltrane. "In Memoriam: Alice MaCleod Coltrane, This epsiode is dedicated to the life, vision and spirit of Alice Coltrane."

Taran's Free Jazz Podcast has a two-part episode up featuring an interview with saxophonist and pianist Joel Futterman and much music.

Illasounds keeps pumping out quality podcasts, and they offer aother fine tribute to Alice Coltrane and Michael Brecker (did they ever play together?)

Finally, Bending Corners offers another great jazz-and-groove podcast. This episode is called Trigonometry. "Music fit for winter weather, this set explores the systemic, angular, and calculating side of jazz-n-groove; prefect for those long, dark, and frigid winter nights gazing up at the crystal clear sparkling stars."

Send comments to: Tim

Monday, January 15, 2007

Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank is really feast or famine when it comes to music collecting. On one level it's a too-hip music store made semi famous by occasional visits from big-name rockers who live on the Jersey shore, in a town that too hip for its own good. But on the other hand, they offer records in big bins below the pop CDs and the records are dirt cheap running around $1.99. As you can imagine, most of the records are dreck, basically every album that Herb Albert or Kenny Rogers ever made, but every once in a while, like an old prospector in Treasure of the Sierra Madre you can really strike gold. Yesterday was one of those days, when I took a ride there to whittle away a rainy morning before an afternoon of playoff football on the telly. I've gotten to know a few people who work there, I think they've gotten used to a strange, nerdy man always pawing through the records. I found a couple of nice pieces while sitting on the floor in the lotus position before the vinyl bins – some of us worship strange gods indeed. I found nice copies of Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi and Rahsaan Roland Kirk's Blacknuss along with some Clark Terry and James Moody. I was getting ready to check out when one of the guys that works there, ironically named Tim also, said “Hey, we just got a bunch of new records in with a lot of jazz, wanna check them out?” Feeling like Indiana Jones heading for the crown jewel, I was led into the garbage strewn inner sanctum and found the motherlode. Some very good records including Danny Zietlin's Columbia debut, and live Ben Webster from the 1970's in Copenhagen, but the most exciting things were a mint copy of Andrew Hill's Blue Note gem Compulsion which I had only heard a bit of previously when a cut was posted on the Destination Out blog. Even more exciting that that was finding a copy of Cecil Taylor's collaboration with The Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Michael Mantler and Carla Bley's short lived creative music label. I was thrilled to say the least. And unlike Indy, I didn't have to face gigantic rolling boulders and blowdarts on my way out. Wow... queue that John Williams theme music!

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sad news: Jazz World Mourns "It has been a sad weekend for the jazz world with the death of two prominent musicians. Alice Coltrane and Michael Brecker both died this weekend."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Downtown Music Gallery curated the month of December at the open-eared jazz club The Stone and have posted an epic review entitled: December 2006 at The Stone: "Nels Cline is another of my favorite guitarists and a good friend who has finally gotten some well-deserved recognition playing with Wilco as well as from his awarding-winning Andrew Hill tribute disc from last year. I knew Nels had to be a part our celebration and offered to give him another night to play with his longtime cohort Vinny Golia. Nels chose the incredible Zeena Parkins to do duos with and this was wonderful idea, as he had them both play both acoustic and electric instruments. " (thumbs-up to the excellent Avant Music News, where I heard about this review.)

Also, there have been reports on the Internet that Alice Coltrane has passed away. I truly hope this isn't the case.

Send comments to: Tim

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Max Roach & Archie Shepp - Force (Uniteledeis, 1976)

This very rare out-of-print LP goes for quite a bit of cash on the web, so it was very nice for the OOP free jazz blog Church Number Nine to make it available for downloading. Shepp and Roach aren't really what you might think of as compatible musicians, with Roach being one of the architects of bebop and Shepp the New Thing firebrand. But an interesting thing happened as their careers developed. Archie Shepp, like his musical descendant David Murray came inward from his free jazz beginnings to embrace a core of bebop, ballads and blues while Max Roach extended his reach by duetting with the likes of Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. On this set, there are four vinyl length duets, each of which allow both Shepp and Roach (particularly the latter) to make some very fascinating solo statements in the free context. They also show some admirable teamwork, with neither trying to dominate the situation. So, unless you have some serious cash to drop for the vinyl, this makes for an excellent download for open eared jazz fans.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

ABC News: The lady is a stamp! The U.S. Postal Service honors the First Lady of Song Ella Fitzgerald with her own postage stamp Wednesday. The 39-cent stamp is being released at ceremonies at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and will be on sale across the country.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The New York Times has an article from Ben Ratliff, covering the Dewey Redman memorial concert: "Few jazz musicians these days have so much X factor in them, some quality that lies outside of technical discipline, harmonic scholarliness, high concept or compositional skill. Mr. Redman was never a master of improvising through chord changes in the traditional sense. But first in the late 1960s as Ornette Coleman’s tenor player, later in groups with Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden and finally as a bandleader himself, he made it clear that he had a natural, communicative power to engage and provoke."

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Sonny Stitt - Move On Over (Argo, 1963)

Sonny Stitt made many records throughout his lengthy career and a great many are still out of print. I found this one from the princely sum of $2.99 while crate digging over the weekend. It's Stitt's (tenor and alto saxophone) standard profile - bop, ballads and blues. There's no discographical information on the LP (why?) but a little Internet sleuthing comes up with Joe Diorio on guitar, Eddie Buster on Hammond, and Nicky Hill joining the front line on alto saxophone. The record kicks off in fine fashion with a swinging version of "The Lady is a Tramp" which has some strong boppish saxophone over fleet guitar and swirling organ making a happily jaunty performance. "Stormy Weather" and "Dexter's Deck" turns the heat down to medium boil with the saxophones playing off of one another. "Love Letters" also uses the two saxophone set up to its advantage with the melody being played in tandem and then the two splitting up and trading short solos in the middle of the performance. "My Mother's Eyes" and "Move On Over" are the ballads, where the gentle melodies give way to some playful sparring. This is a very solid mainstream jazz LP and is definitely worthy of being picked up if you see it in the used vinyl bins.

Send comments to: Tim

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Various Artists - Righteousness (Blue Note UK, 2006)

In the late 1960's after Francis Wolff and Alfred Lion retired, Blue Note Records became part of the Liberty Music Group and began to probe some of the funk and soul elements that were popular at the time. This collection explores some of the music of that period where rhythm and blues, black power and expanding consciousness met jazz. In retrospect, this really wasn't a radical shift. Soul had always been a hallmark of Blue Note's core music of hard bop and organ groups, and the music presented here just heats that up a notch. Lonnie Smith's "Psychedelic Pi" and Donald Byrd's "Slow Drag" continue this dimension most directly, mining a deep groove and riding it over lengthy performances. The civil rights movement had a huge impact on music as it did on society as a whole, and it pervades this entire collection, most notably on Bobby Hutcherson's "Black Heroes" and trumpeter Eddie Gale's "Black Rhythm Happening." Vocalists play a larger role as well, like Andy Bey singing on Horace Silver's "Peace" and the bizarre "Acid, Pot or Pills." Andrew Hill even hooks up with a string quartet and vocal choir for his selections. This is a very interesting collection of music that was in it's own way experimental, not in the free way of John Coltrane or Cecil Taylor, but in expending the soul roots of Blue Note's history and unknowingly paving the way for DJ's to come.

Send comments to: Tim

Saturday, January 06, 2007

There's a new issue of the online jazz 'zine Point of Departure on the Internet: "Earlier this year, I attended a jazz convention in Europe. Everyone associated with the host country’s jazz scene were very upbeat about its future; their musicians were on the brink of becoming an international force in the music. During a visit with a local jazz veteran, he showed me an article that ran in Down Beat during the early 1970s, a dispatch from the same country, which detailed the very upbeat mood of the scene and the consensus that their musicians were on the brink of becoming an international force."

Also available is the January issue of the experimental and improvisational music web journal Paris Transatlantic: "Let's hope they also read this month's lead feature, a selection of no fewer than seven long out of print masterpieces that are just crying out for a deluxe reissue."

Send comments to: Tim

Thursday, January 04, 2007

There are a couple of new and interesting podcasts up for your listening pleasure:

Taran's Free Jazz Hour: "Broadcasting/Podcasting free jazz, avant-garde jazz, creative and improvised music. The show brings you the opportunity to hear the sounds created by the jazz greats of yore as well as contemporary artists keeping the flame." The December 30 podcast, focuses of the ESP label and free jazz from Sweden.

Illasounds: "Jazz from bebop, swing, hard bop and cool to avant garde, free jazz and jazz rock plus soul, funk, latin, salsa, Brazilian music, blues and rare groove." The December 28 podcast called The Drum Thing features the greatest drummers in jazz.

Send comments to: Tim

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The online webzine Big O has several live concerts avaliable for downloading, music that they call "Recordings of Indeterminate Origin." Among the most interesting are:

John Coltrane Live at Temple University, Philadelphia, November 11, 1966: "This show has been known to circulate as an audience recording but this version is an excellent FM broadcast. It is also a complete show and is certainly a must for anyone into jazz, not to mention Coltrane diehards. In less than a year from this concert, Coltrane would die suddenly of liver cancer. But he is in superb form here. And to call John Coltrane, who was into free jazz, an "innovative sax player and composer," as he has been so described, doesn't even cover half the tale."

Sonny Rollins Live in Graz, Austria, June 1966 and November 12, 1966: "The first two tracks are of particular interest because this is where Freddie Hubbard gets into a war of words with the audience, with the famed trumpet player letting fly a number of "muthaf...s.""

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

John Lee Hooker - Hooker (Shout Factory, 2006)

This lavish boxed set is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive survey of John Lee Hooker's lengthy career. Hooker was active for more than 50 years, and in the early years recorded under a variety of pseudonyms so this is quite a daunting task. The first couple of CDs cover the early groundbreaking solo recordings he made for labels like Modern where his ominously pounding foot and over-amped guitar propel classics like "Boogie Chillun" and "Let Your Daddy Ride." Slowly expanding his band to include second guitar (usually Eddie Burns) and drums he moved on to Vee-Jay and Chess for the blasting "Mad Man Blues" and deep down in the alley for "Tupelo Blues." After years toiling on the blues circuit, the blues revival found him touring around the world as the "king of the boogie" and disc three shows him recording with the blues-rock band Canned Heat on "Burning Hell" and waxing his immortal ode to alcoholism, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer." The final disc shows the elder statesman/lion in winter recording with a variety of blues and rock luminaries most successfully a simpatico relationship with Van Morrison that produced two gems, "I Cover the Waterfront" and "Don't Look Back." The liner notes and discographical information is very good with nice essays and photographs. Longtime Hooker collectors will have most of this music already, but those looking for an overview of the great musician's entire career should be pleased.

Send comments to: Tim

Monday, January 01, 2007

Emusic is sporting an exclusive interview with Ornette Coleman: "Coleman became the last great revolutionary (at least thus far) in jazz. Yet Coleman’s influence has become so pervasive that today his music doesn’t sound daunting or extreme. This is especially true of Sound Grammar, his first recording in nine years, in which the alto saxophonist, now 76, occasionally switches to trumpet and violin and is accompanied by two bassists — for the most part, one plucks, the other bows — and his son Denardo on drums."

Bending Corners has an excellent James Brown tribute podcast available for downloading: " The soulfather's body may be gone, but his music remains with us forever. And so thankful (for his music) we are! Like so many others, here is BC's take on the "James Brown Tribute". These aren't the most popular or well-known of his tunes, but they definitely got the groove! Pappa's bag has popped. Peace to you, brutha. RIP."

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