Dec 30, 2009
Dec 28, 2009
It was 1997 and we were in Santiago de Cuba for Carnaval (it happens in mid-summer, not at mardi gras time) and we heard a rumor that Juan Formell and his crew were going to play a free gig, but nobody knew when. Turned out they had to wait until after Fidel's speech finished (it was being broadcast on every radio in the city). That eventually happened some time after midnight -- after a mere 4 and a half hours (short for the legendary long-winded el Jefe). The crowd was huge, and the cheap malty slightly sour beer dispensed from ancient tanker trucks soon ran out, but it was definitely a memorable night.
Te Pone La Cabeza Mala (standard translation: 'You make my head spin') was a massive hit on the island at the time, and each time they sang the chorus everyone made this spinning circular motion around their heads. These days I don't listen to timba too much, but at the time those indefatigable incessant rhythms were fresh, a new direction with Juan Formell in the vanguard. Needless to say, I went out and picked up the CD the next day, just for the title track alone.
There's a bit more on Los Van Van here.
Here we go with the full album complete with artist/track names. In case anyone missed the first post, this was a Japan-only sampler CD issued in 1999 to mark Blue Note's 60th anniversary. What you get is 60 snippets from some of the biggest artists on the label -- most of the obvious names and some classic riffs.
Dec 27, 2009
Dec 26, 2009
Here's a barabara sounds Boxing Day brainteaser to nurse your neurons back to life after all that Christmas over-indulgence...
Blue Note Nonstop 60 Trax was a Japan-only sampler CD issued in 1999 to mark the label's 60th anniversary. As the name suggests, you get 60 snippets from most of the big-name artists, some of them classic riffs and some perhaps less known. So can you figure them out?
Today's post is the whole album nonstop; to make it easier, tomorrow I'll post a new link with the tracks separated; and after that, I'll post it again with the tracks identified.Then, go over to the prodigious and brilliant Black Classical for some serious Blue Note action. Greg's Blue Note 70 mix — marking the 70th anniversary this year — is still up and still sounds outstanding.
Dec 24, 2009
Dec 21, 2009
Dec 18, 2009
barabara sounds sez:
The Nathan Davis Sextet from 1965, recorded in Paris with Woody Shaw on trumpet and issued on the SFP label. It's a classic — the man himself says so:
"The idea of naming the album "Peace Treaty" arose from the various meetings held between American and North Vietnam in Paris in an attempt to negotiate a cease fire and peace treaty during the Vietnamese Conflict.
It was during this period that I dedicated a lot of tunes that i was composing to the idea of peace, love and non-violence. When Claude Lenissois first approached me to do an album, he suggested that we record at the Comedie des Champs-Elysees because they had a good track record of producing good sound.
Everything fell into place because i was working steady with Kenny Clarke, René Urtreger, Jimmy Gourley Woody Shaw and Jean-Louis Chautemps on a regular basis at the 'Blue Note'. So we all had to do was fly Jimmy Woode in from Germany where he was living at the time.
Donald Byrd was also living in Paris and occasionally played with us at the Blue Note, so he came in and helped produce the record.
Time has proven it to be a classic."
Nathan T. Davis, Jan. 2007 — from the liner notes for the reissue CD
Nathan Davis - tenor & soprano sax
Woody Shaw - trumpet
Jean-Louis Chautemps - baritone sax
René Urtreger - piano
Jimmy Woode - bass
Kenny Clarke - drums
Jimmy Gourley - guitar
Dec 14, 2009
Dec 12, 2009
Directions in Music: Celebrating Miles Davis & John Coltrane - Herbie Hancock/Michael Brecker/Roy Hargrove
Naima is one of those magic numbers that kisses almost every musician that tries it on (and the rest of us). Just listen to Michael Brecker playing his heart out on this version. The rest of the album has plenty of moments too – hardly surprising given the line-up here – but that one track alone is worth the price of admission.
We have to admit, we had a lot of misgivings about this project before we gave it a chance and listened to it all the way through — but after all was said and done, we were quite impressed! While Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove and Michael Brecker all have the chops, recognition and reputations to make as many new recordings as they'd like, without resorting to pandering tributes, this project actually works beautifully and makes great sense. The group is rounded out by the elastic rhythms provided by John Patitucci (who seems to have graduated well beyond the sort of 6 string noodling he usually purveys) and Brian Blade. In most cases, we'd rather hear Miles doing Miles and Trane doing Trane, but this group manages to capture both the dark, brooding beauty of Miles' music and the deeper, soulful vein that Coltrane mined. Herbie sounds the best we've heard in ages and the highlight of this live set is a medley of Miles' "So What" and Coltrane's "Impressions", while the rest of the set is made up mostly of originals (2 more Coltrane pieces, "Naima" and "Tansition" are included) composed by members of the group like Hancock's "The Sorcerer" and Hargrove's "The Poet".
From the downbeat of the opening tune, The Sorcerer, Herbie Hancock reminds us why he was and is one of the most sought after pianist in the genre. His deftness, technique and mastery of the instrument and the music holds this group together with the same quality that he was noted for while a sideman for Miles Davis in the 60s. He masterfully connects this group’s form together and its opening sets the tone for the whole recording.
Whereas Michel Brecker isn’t considered to be in the forefront of the classical jazz idiom, his presence on this record is no aberration. He definitely shines in a solo rendition of Coltrane’s Naima. He proves, that his study of the master tenor man’s style has influenced his greatly. His own contribution to the project entitled, D-Train, is a fifteen-minute epilogue. It meanders through different time signatures while holding steady to its defining rhythm. Herbie Hancock does some of his best work on the recording in the improv section.
The young lion added to the project is Roy Hargrove. The ever-emerging Grammy award-winning trumpeter is no less than continuing the line of great players that spun the likes of Miles Davis. From is his first solo on The Sorcerer, where he begins his playing away from the microphone and hits you with an unyielding fury of notes and sound, the listener will be encompassed. Hargrove’s contribution, The Poet, is an obvious attempt, and by his own admission, to make use of space in the music. Space in the music is a trademark of Davis’. And like Davis, in this piece he seems to be searching for something in the music. His play is an example of his growth both as composer and soloist.
Another worth-reading review here too
And another date from the same tour (Aspen) was posted here on drfusion.blogspot
Dec 7, 2009
Nov 30, 2009
Nov 24, 2009
One of the most unique sessions ever cut for Blue Note — an album of very traditional Afro-Cuban jamming, led by percussionist Sabu Martinez! The music on the album's comprised mostly of percussion -- plus some occasional guitar, bass, and vocals shouted by Sabu, and group members that include Arsenio Rodriguez, Ray Romero, and Willie Capo. The whole thing's incredibly haunting — and about as different from the average Blue Note hardbop set as you could get! Titles include "Simba", "Aggo Elgua", "Tribilin Cantore", "Asabache", and "Billumba-Palo Congo".
The emotional kinship between the world of this recording and the world of jazz seems so strong at times that the distance between the worlds seems no wider than the pavement of West Fifty-Fourth Street which separates the Museum of Primitive Art from the Museum of Modern Art. Yet the step from Afro-Cuban music to jazz is a long step, for the European elements of jazz are always in the foreground, while here the latin elements of "latin" music are often imperceptible. It is mostly Africa that we hear in this recording: some rituals dedicated to African Gods, a good deal of singing and chanting in African antiphonal style, and all the instruments, whether obviously African like the quinto, a Cuban version of the slit signal drum, or as apparently European as guitar and bass, played like their African proto-types in African musical tradition. Still, the kinship is there to hear, for Afro-Cuban music shares with jazz the intense motor excitement, the rhythmic fluidity that Andre Hodeir calls vital drive, and the striving for ecstatic communion which supplies much of the motive force.
Nov 22, 2009
Nov 19, 2009
Nov 17, 2009
Nov 15, 2009
barabara sounds sez:
Swinging organ grooves from smooth bossa-lounge master Walter Wanderley. This was his first US recording, produced by Creed Taylor for Verve. The back cover of the original album was graced with a 'handwritten' blurb by crooner Tony Bennett: "If you like: Ella, Duke, Count, Sinatra... you'll love Walter Wanderly's music." Not sure about that at all. But the cover with its toucan and exotic pagan statue peering out of tropical foliage — that's classic. So is the wigged-out last half minute of the final track Bossa na Praia.
This certainly wasn't the first appearance of Rain Forest in the blogosphere — but it's a classic of its kind. So, in case anyone's missed it... it's now too late (DMCA takedown notification)
An album that not only broke the bossa big in the US — but a set that also really helped transform the sound of the organ in jazz! Not only is the record a key meeting of bossa rhythms and jazz organ — transplanted hugely to the US after a big initial Wanderley run in 60s Brazil — but the set also features some of the cleanest organ lines to ever hit these shores -- a big difference from the heavier flutter that some of the US organists were using a few years before, and a sharp shift towards cleaner keyboard sounds for the rest of the decade. Instrumentation's nice and spare — mostly bass and percussion, plus a bit of flute and guitar — and titles include the massive hit "Summer Samba", plus "Rain", "Beach Samba", "Song Of The Jet", "Cried, Cried", and "Girl From Ipanema".