Dec 24, 2011

Seasons Greetings...

barabara sounds sez:
Happy jazzy holidays to one and all.
Perhaps Santa Doraemon has brought a small present...

Nov 28, 2011

Archie Shepp - Ballads for Trane

barabara sounds sez:
I've been on a bit of a Shepp jag recently, and this is one that's been on regular late-night rotation here at chateau barabara. Laid down in 1977 for the Denon label, it's pretty short — less then 40 minutes in all —  but oh so sweet, full of those intense, breathy notes Shepp plays so well. This is not the fire music he was playing a decade or so earlier. Check out the opening track, Mal Evans' Soul Eyes, and the one Trane track on this date, a classic take on Wise One. As far as I know, this was never issued outside Japan, and the original album now commands a fair old price — and there's a premium on the CD too these days.

an amazon review sez:
Just happened to listen to this right after "Four for Trane". A stark contrast to that CD, this REALLY IS a series of ballads performed beautifully by Mr. Shepp and his band. The feel of this album is what one would expect from a "ballads" compilation, but there is no lack of inspiration. The whole band remains focused throughout, and they put enormous effort into every phrase.

1.Soul Eyes; 2.You Don't Know What Love Is; 3.Wise One; 4.Where Are You?; 5.Darn That Dream; 6.Theme For Ernie

Archie Shepp (ts, ss); Albert Dailey (p); Reggie Workman (b); Charlie Persip (d)

Nov 21, 2011

Sadik Hakim Trio - Witches, Goblins, etc.

barabara sounds sez:
It's a fantastic name for an album, strong cover art too. And if the music is slightly underwhelming — conventional is the word used by allmusic — there's still some lovely piano trio work to be found here. 

Sadik Hakim is certainly no household name, leastways, not in the barabara bailiwick, and this SteepleChase side is the only album of his I've ever come across. So I've dropped a bit of background info at the bottom. Here's a potted version: 

Hakim (birth name Argonne Thornton) was the legendary pianist who played with Charlie Parker (the 1954 KoKo session), Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon (Dexter Rides Again) and Lester Young (I'm Confessin'). In 1982, he played "'Round Midnight" at Thelonius Monk's funeral, a year before his own death. sez:
Argonne Thornton (who in the late '40s changed his name to Sadik Hakim) had a particularly unusual boppish style in the '40s, playing dissonant lines, using repetition to build suspense, and certainly standing out from the many Bud Powell impressionists. Later in his career his playing became more conventional. Hakim originally studied music with his grandfather and started performing at local gigs in Minnesota. After a period in Chicago, he was heard by Ben Webster, who hired him to play with his group in New York (1944-1945). Hakim recorded with Webster and Dexter Gordon, was on part of Charlie Parker's famous "Ko Ko" session, and gigged regularly with Lester Young during 1946-1948, appearing on many recordings with Pres. After playing with Slam Stewart in 1949, in the 1950s Hakim worked fairly regularly with James Moody (1951-1954) and Buddy Tate's Orchestra (1956-1960) but never became too well known himself. Later in life he lived for a period in Montreal (the second half of the 1960s), performed in Europe often, and toured Japan (1979-1980). Other than sharing an album for the Charlie Parker label with fellow pianist Duke Jordan in 1962, Hakim did not record as a leader until 1973; during the next seven years he would lead dates for CBC, Japanese Progressive, SteepleChase, and finally in 1980 for Storyville.

Sadik Hakim piano; Errol Walters bass; Al Foster drums

1. Moon In Aquarius; 2. Witches, Goblins, etc; 3. Our Bossa Nova; 4. No More Sue; 5. Portrait Of Cousin Mickey; 6. Booger's Dilemma; 7. Peace Of Mind; 8. Say What You Mean; 9. Peace Of Mind; 10 Booger's Dilemma

And there's some interesting autobiographical stuff here at Tony Flood's House of Hard Bop — plus Tony's own recollections of meeting Hakim.

Nov 18, 2011

Michael Garrick 1933 - 2011

Sad news to hear of the passing of Michael Garrick — one of the greats of British jazz. Bacoso has posted a very fine appreciation of the man on the ever-essential Orgy in Rhythm — along with an excellent mix of Garrick's music by Black Classical. 
RIP — and thanks for all that music!

Nov 6, 2011

Toshiko Akiyoshi / LewTabackin Big Band - Salted Gingko Nuts

barabara sounds sez:  
Autumn's here: time for one of my favorite seasonal snacks. Great with beer, even better with sake, and perfect too with Toshiko's peerless big band music. This one (on Baystate from 1978) is particularly nutritious. It's a 16-piece aggregation, but they played together so much over the course of that decade that they sound like one seamless unit. There are also some great solos from Bobby Shew on trumpet and Gary Foster (alto). Tasty... 

Yawno sez: 
The Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Orchestra's first few recordings were made for RCA (usually released first in Japan and then later in the U.S.) but, after that association ended in 1978, most of the big band's recordings ended up being released by their own private Ascent label. The orchestra (based in Los Angeles) was one of the finest big bands of the era, as can be heard on this superior outing with Akiyoshi on piano, Tabackin displaying very different styles on tenor and flute, altoists Gary Foster and Dick Spencer, and trumpeter Bobby Shew. The leader's arrangements reflect both her roots in swinging bop and her Asian heritage. Highlights of the excellent set are "Chasing After Love" (based on "Lover"), the lyrical "Elusive Dream," and "Son of Road Time."

There's lots more about Toshiko over here on Susan Fleet's web site.

And All About Jazz has some nice interviews, including this one here...


Oct 26, 2011

Pharoah Sanders - Journey to the One + Rejoice

barabara sounds sez:
The great great Ferrell just finished the second of a two-night stand here. So, in honor and awe, here's a couple of his finest mid-period sides on the Theresa label. Rejoice is of course a bonafide barabara classic – just look and marvel at the outstanding line-up of musicians he has with him here – and without question cause for outright exultation.

As for Journey to the One, it's a bit of a cosmic cocktail of textures – from spiritual-jazz anthems and all-out trademark Pharoa-nics to ballads, and using koto, sitar, synths and more – but there are plenty of special moments here, not least the stately magnificent Bedria that closes out side 4. One of my favorites, in fact...

dusty sez (on Rejoice):
Fantastic 80s work from Pharoah Sanders – with a vibe that's a perfect extension of his classic work for the Impulse label! The album has Pharoah working with an amazing group – Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, John Hicks and Joe Bonner on piano, Art Davis on bass, and either Elvin Jones or Billy Higgins on drums. The sound is remarkably fresh – soaring and spiritual, but also more focused than in earlier years, with a great amount of soulful warmth. And although extra elements are added – like vocals, vibes, and added percussion – Pharoah's solos still dominate the whole album beautifully.  

amg (Scott Yanow) sez (on Journey):
…all ten of Pharoah Sanders's performances from the sessions. As usual, Sanders shifts between spiritual peace and violent outbursts in his tenor solos. The backup group changes from track to track but often includes pianist John Hicks, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Idris Muhammad. Sanders really recalls his former boss John Coltrane on "After the Rain" (taken as a duet with pianist Joe Bonner) and a romantic "Easy to Remember"; other highpoints include "You've Got to Have Freedom" (which has Bobby McFerrin as one of the background singers) and the exotic "Kazuko" on which Sanders is accompanied by koto, harmonium and wind chimes.

Oct 17, 2011

Abbey Lincoln - That's him!

barabara sounds sez:
Abbey's work from the 60s and on is probably better known, but this is a lovely early side notable for the stellar cast of musicians backing her, billed here as the Riverside Jazz Stars. I never heard Rollins sound so lyrical! At this point in her career the Billie Holiday comparisons are inevitable — but that's the finest kind of recommendation in my book.

cduniverse sez:
Abbey's first early peak [is] a wonderful and confident set with a stunning ensemble... Lincoln opens with Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Strong Man" — she was one of the performers who regularly recorded his songs prior to his own debut as a recording artist in the early '60s... The gorgeous and dramatic "Tender as a Rose" is presented acapella. Throughout, Lincoln's singing easily mingles jazz, blues and folk influences and phrasings. This strong album pointed the way to her ABBEY IS BLUE, her essential work recorded two years later.

AMG (Scott Yawno) sez: 
[On] Abbey Lincoln's second recording and first for Riverside, [she] is accompanied by quite an all-star roster... and, even this early, she was already a major jazz singer with a style of her own. Lincoln was careful from this point on to only interpret lyrics that she believed in. Her repertoire has a few superior standards (including several songs such as "I Must Have That Man!" and "Don't Explain" that are closely associated with Billie Holiday) plus Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Strong Man" and Phil Moore's "Tender as a Rose"; she takes the latter unaccompanied. "Don't Explain" is slightly unusual in that Paul Chambers is absent and Wynton Kelly makes an extremely rare appearance on bass.

Abbey Lincoln vocals; Kenny Dorham trumpet; Sonny Rollins tenor saxophone; Wynton Kelly piano; Max Roach drums.

Oct 5, 2011

Dizzy Gillespie's Big 4 + Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie

barabara sounds sez:
I don't listen to bebop too much, never have.    
It's probably a generation thing – it was already over and passe by the time I discovered it. And 
I was probably taking the wrong drugs anyway.   That said, I've always had lots of time for Dizzy, especially the Cuban connection, plus he was such a great showman, though I only caught him in the 70s. Though it was rather past the peak of his prime, he'd no way lost  his amazing chops. Just check out the tempo of some of the tracks on this excellent side from 1974 on Pablo, especially the tour de force that is Bebop (Dizzy's FIngers) which opens side 2. Bravissimo!

And then there was the album he recorded the same year in London with Oscar Peterson, also for Pablo. The pianist got the top billing (it was part of a series of duo sessions with trumpeters he did for the label). But there's no way Dizzy takes second place here. Just the one track this time, but it's a classic: you just can't beat it!

someone else (unattributed) sez [on DG Big 4]:
…superb production values, dynamic acoustic sound, and generally provocative mix of players and musical materials. Dizzy's Big 4 is one of the very best, featuring a dream team rhythm section that responds to all of Gillespie's virtuoso challenges, and then some. Ray Brown is one of the all-time greats, who startled the jazz world when he first emerged as Dizzy's bassist while   still in his teens; drummer Mickey Roker is a commanding percussionist and long-time Gillespie collaborator, while guitarist Joe Pass is a stellar virtuoso, with a series of excellent recitals of his own on Pablo.

Gillespie is in a particularly puckish mood on these sessions. Where the youthful Gillespie might have ordinarily opted for more of the bravura pyrotechnics, represented here by the relentlessly uptempo changes of "Be Bop (Dizzy's Fingers)", Dizzy's Big 4 is distinguished by the ballads "Hurry Home," "Russian Lullaby" and "September Song." Here the trumpeter's rich timbral shadings plumb deep new meaning from these familiar melodies. Most impressive is Dizzy's depth and range as a blues player, which further enlivens his improvisations on Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," his own latin styled funk on "Frelimo" and the hard bopping "Birks Works." (Mark Longman) sez [on OC&DG]: 
On Gillespie's second recording for Norman Granz's Pablo label, he joins Oscar Peterson for a set of miraculous duets. Benny Green, who wrote the liner notes for this album, compared this performance of Ellington's classic composition to the Armstrong and Hines rendition of "Weather Bird." Peterson melds a keen sense for complementary accompaniment with dexterous, interweaving polyphonic lines. The breakneck tempo does little to deter Gillespie, who navigates an unaccompanied section without wavering in the slightest. Both musicians bring their best to this date: both show incredible range, flexibility, and complete mastery of their instruments. The result is a well-worn standard transformed through harmonic freshness and rhythmic vitality into an iconic performance.

Sep 26, 2011

Art Ensemble Of Chicago & Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy - Live At The 6th Tokyo Music Joy '90

barabara sounds sez:
Back in February of 1990, the Art Ensemble of Chicago came to town to play at the annual Tokyo Music Joy festival – and they shared the stage with Lester Bowie's side project, his Brass Fantasy. This isn't the entire concert so some continuity does get lost, but it certainly gives a great sense of what a fun occasion it was. This is from the Disk Union CD, which gives us three tracks each of the two bands playing separately, and another four tracks of them together creating a rollocking brass-fueled celebration. Great stuff!

the chicago tribune (in 1991) sez:
What a splendid group Lester Bowie's Brass Factory has become. Three recent releases (from the magnificent DIW archives just now becoming available in this country) stake a claim for this ensemble as among the most exciting groups playing today. Bowie’s genius is in marrying edgy post-modern schtick with pure, old-time fun so that the pleasure of listening to themes from the "Phantom of the Opera" or the early rock and roll standard “Great Pretender” (let alone “My Way”) is not wholly in the listener’s head. This music goes right down the spine, which is where feeling begins. For a celebration of what new music can be when it retains its sense of delight, listen to these three discs – especially the one with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which has never been more wonderful.

an amazon reviewer sez:
The material is wonderful, playful, and varied, with the highest point probably being a truly New-Orleansy workout by the combined bands on "A Jackson in your House," a really goofy song from one of AEC's early BYGs. There are also some free-ish moments, but Brass Fantasy were more about PoMo pastiche and twisted traditionalism than improvisation, so they tend to transform things a bit, bringing Jarman and Mitchell and Favors and Moye "in" from the "outside"... Fans know that one of the most magical things about Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy was their ability to transform a pop song you'd never be caught dead listening to into something really magical and acceptable as music. On this disk, the unexpected bit of cultural salvage is Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night."
It's really wonderful, even if you hate Webber.

Sep 12, 2011

Masaru Imada Quartet - Now!!

barabara sounds sez:
Now! more from the TBM catalog, but this time not from my archives. Instead, it's another outstanding share from bongohito — who also contributed that awesome threesome over at Bacoso's place just recently. This was (I do believe) Imada's first album as a leader – though he recorded Maki in the same year with the same band – and it's a real corker.

Side 1 gets us under way in languid late-night mood, with Nostalgia, a stately ballad that gives Mimori a chance to open up on tenor. Next up is Alter, which opens with the spotlight on Ozu and Mizuhashi before developing into free exploration with plenty more good work by Mimori. But it's Side 2 that really delivers, two fantastic tracks, the mighty modal Gehi Dorian, which really cuts loose with a righteous groove. To close Imada and his crew dial it back a bit, and go out in lyrical style with The Shadow.

somebody else (can't find an attribution) sez:
Now! by Masaru Imada was the second album released by the fledgling Three Blind Mice label and the pianist's first leader album for the label. All four tunes are Imada's original compositions. The two slow numbers – "Nostalgia" and "The Shadow of the Castle" show his lyrical, "quiet but emotional" qualities. "Alter" is an adventurous tune whose focus is on free improvisation while "Gehi Dorian" is a modal composition as the title suggests.

Masaru Imada piano; Ichiro Mimori tenor & soprano sax; Takashi Mizuhashi bass; Masahiko Ozu drums

1. Nostalgia; 2. Alter; 3 Gehi Dorian; 4. The Shadow of the Castle

TBM-2; recorded August 10/11, 1970 at Aoi Studio, Tokyo; reissued on SACD 2000

Aug 30, 2011

Yoshio Otomo Quartet - Moon Ray

barabara sounds sez:  
Back again to the j-jazz archives. This side from Yoshio Otomo is pretty rare, and TJ (below) rates it highly. And yes, maybe it is his "most important work". But I've got to say, it's really not one of my favorites from the TBM catalog. To me it sounds about a decade out of date: Whereas his label mates are pushing the fusion/free envelope, Otomo-san has his feet planted firmly back in the 60s. But that might be a recommendation for some people. Let your own ears be the judge... 

AMG (Thom Jurek) sez:
Otomo is an alto player from the Jackie McLean school of tone and the Art Pepper institute for improvisation. In other words, his tone has an edge, but he always phrases and improvises melodically. With Tsuyoshi Yamamoto leading the rhythm section, the other two members, Tamiko Kawabata on bass and Arihide Kurata on drums, had to be ever watchful and vigilant that these proceedings didn't escape them altogether. The set opens with the hard blues wing of the title cut by Artie Shaw. Otomo pushes his alto in the front line toward the lower register, establishing the feeling from the outset before going back up top for his solo. Yamamoto comps forcefully, rhythmically changing the modal interval from inside. It works, and swings as it echoes the blues of jazz yesteryear, though the emotion and sophistication of the players is unquestionable. The other tunes here, Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer's "Emily," Oliver Nelson's "Shufflin'," and Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin's "If I Should Lose You" are all played with grace and sensitivity. There isn't any over-teching anything -- a real temptation by Japanese jazzers in the '70s to sound authentic. This is as authentic as anything because the feeling is in the music. That comes through loud and clear on the only original of the set, "Love Comes Quietly," where Archie Shepp's dictum that you can hear every minute of every hour of every day a cat puts into his horn on a ballad: All men are fine soloists, and the melody itself is gorgeous, worthy of the rest of the company it keeps here. A great obscure reissue, and a fine introduction to Japanese jazz.

Yoshio Otomo alto sax; Tsuyoshi Tamamoto piano; Tamio Kawabata bass; O "Jess" Kurata drums

Moon ray; Emily; If I should lose you; Love comes quietly; Shufflin'

TBM 3007. rec. April 21/22, 1977 at Epicurus, Tokyo

Aug 16, 2011

David Murray - Lovers

barabara sounds sez:
David Murray laid down not four but five [see comments] albums with the same band in the same series of sessions in New York in January 1988 for the Disk Union (DIW) label. This was the second of them — the others were Deep River, Spirituals, Ballads and Tenors — and probably the most overlooked. 
AMG likes Spirituals best — maybe because it's the least 'out there'. It also rates Ballards but doesn't even bother to write up Lovers. There's very little else out there on the web about these albums either, but the review of Ballards pretty much sums this one up too. As the man sez, these were some of his best albums of the decade. Excellent sound quality too. 

amg (Stephen Cook) sez:
Ballards is oneof David Murray's finest records. Like the three [sic] other excellent DIW releases that came from the same productive New York Sessions of January 1988 (Spirituals, Deep River, and Lovers), it contains a mix of originals by Murray, pianist Dave Burrell and drummer Ralph Peterson Jr., and it also includes fine bass work by Fred Hopkins. The rapport these players have on this record is stunning. They effortlessly move through a program of cool yet smart after-hours explorations that, in spite of the multi-layered arrangements, come out sounding almost artless... Murray displays his usual inventiveness of phrasing and tone... but thankfully suppresses his penchant for gratuitous outbursts, keeping his solos flowing. This sort of studied, yet loose playing is heard from all the quartet members, including Peterson, who, like Murray, also has the tendency to eat up the scenery...

Aug 7, 2011

Mal Waldron Trio - Spring in Prague + No More Tears for Lady Day

barabara sounds sez:  
More Mal – in fact a double-header, both featuring his trio with John Betsch and Paulo Carduso, both recorded in Germany and issued in Japan on the Alfa label.

No More Tears (recorded Nov.'88) is all mellow and introspective, like Mal is still feeling the grief all those years later. Whereas Spring in Prague (Feb.'90) is infused with much more vigor, reflecting the upheaval that had been going on in Eastern Europe in the previous year. Check out 'We demand' and 'Let us live': these are strong statements. In contrast, the title track is softer, an elegy no doubt looking back at the events in Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Apart from the allmusic review of No More Tears, there's very little out there about either of these albums – such as whether No More Tears came out first on Alfa or Timeless – so if anyone has any info, let's hear from you.

allmusic (Steve Loewy) sez:  
Not to be confused with the trio session recorded in the early '70s, Blues for Lady Day, this recording takes the same familiar trio format to revisit several tunes associated with Billie Holiday, as well as a few written in her memory by Waldron. The pianist is in a somber mood, perhaps because of the theme, though his performance is up to his usually high standards. A master of understatement, Waldron favors lingering chords that hang laconically even with the faster tempos. He rarely inserts an unneeded note, but instead concentrates on total sound. Drummer John Betsch brings out the best in each tune, pushing Waldron when appropriate. Bassist Paulo Cardoso makes little impression, particularly as a soloist, where he sometimes appears trapped by the structures of the songs. He is more successful as an accompanist. The delightful ambience of the trio results in a laid-back atmosphere that soothes and calms. A fine antidote to a stressful world and a lovely tribute to Lady Day.

Jul 24, 2011

TBM triple whammy

barabara sounds sez:
If you've got off on some of the recent j-jazz gems I've posted in recent weeks, then you're going to love the latest post over at Orgy in Rhythm. It's a triple helping of rare 70s sides from the legendary Japanese record label, Three Blind Mice.

All three are highly recommended — especially the rare Fukumura Quintet album.

Jul 12, 2011

Isao Suzuki Trio - Black Orpheus

barabara sounds sez:
Sukuki is one of the j-jazz greats — and this is one of his top sessions, laid down for the TBM label in 1976. The album title is a bit of a red herring, since the only music from Black Orpheus is the first track, the classic
Manha De Carnaval. That's also the standout track — but the whole of the album grooves very nicely too, thanks to Yamamoto's nifty keyboard work, especially on the Rhodes, with Donald Bailey anchoring everything most effectively.

someone else (can't remember where I found this) sez:
Isao Suzuki is one of the most important recording artists on the TBM label. Until his last album “Touch!”, he usually recorded with Kazumi Watanabe on guitar and his old friend Kunihiko Sugano on piano. However, he thinks highly of Tsuyoshi Yamamoto on piano and at a joint concert with Kenny Burrell, Suzuki asked Yamamoto to join him. Yamamoto’s powerful technique and taste for swing are a good match for Suzuki.

While Donald Bailey is a really exciting drummer. Donald grew up in Philadelphia and has amassed a lot of experience, including playing with top organist Jimmy Smith for nearly eight years. Unique in his drums setting is that his snare is fixed extremely oblique and tom-toms were fixed close to the snare. In addition, various bells and chimes are usually hung up. His favorite style is jazz mixed with latin beat. His simple but exciting jazz beat is very attractive and influential in the group.

bass & cello; Yamamoto
piano & electric piano; Donald Bailey drums

Manha De Carnaval; Angel Eyes; Who Can I Turn To; In a Sentimantal Mood; Blues

tbm-63 recorded in Tokyo, Feb.20 1976

Jul 4, 2011

Toshiyuki Miyama and his New Herd - Orchestrane

barabara sounds sez:

New Herd Play John Coltrane: the album subtitle is all you need to know. And it's big, bad, big-band brilliance. Just look at that line-up; four trumpets, four trombones, five saxes. Fasten your seat belt and hang on for the ride!

The three numbers on side one warm you up nicely, mixing some fine modal soloing with slick-smooth ensemble playing on those classic compositions. And then you're ready for side two: all four parts of A Love Supreme like you've never heard them before. Yamaki's charts are just superb. This is probably the best thing Miyama ever recorded with his New Herd. It's certainly one of my favorites – if only for that beautiful cover art. Bottom line: it's a barabara classic!

Miyama Toshiyuki leader/conductor; Yamaki Kozaburo guitar/arranger; Takeda Kazumi 1st tp; Kishi Yoshikazu 2nd tp; Yamaguchi Kojiro 3rd tp; Kamimori Shigeru: 4th tp; Kataoka Teruhiko 1st tb; Uetaka Masamichi 2nd tb; Shiomura Osamu 3rd tb; Fukushima Teruo btb; Suzuki Koji 1st as; Shirai Atsuo 2nd as; Mori Mamoru 1st ts; Nukita Shigeo 2nd ts; Tada Kenich bs; Takano Kiyoshi p; Fukushima Yasushi b; Nakamura Yoshio dr.

1. Impressions; 2. Naima; 3. Giant Steps;
4. A Love Supreme i) Acknowledgement; ii) Resolution; iii. Pursuance; iv) Psalm

rec. Mar/Apr. 1977; issued Denon YX-7566-ND; CD reissue 2005

Jul 1, 2011

Art Farmer - To Sweden With Love

barabara sounds sez:

Two reasons why Art Farmer is not as well known as he should be: a) he joined the jazz diaspora in Europe, settling eventually in Austria; b) while he may have blown a beautiful horn — flugelhorn in this particular case — he didn't write much memorable material of his own. That's not a problem here, because he's taken traditional Swedish folk melodies and rendered them in very cool versions that swing very nicely indeed. He's also got some top top sidemen with him here including Jim Hall and the great Pete LaRoca. Jazztime calls it a "minor masterpiece" and that's not overstating the case. Short (not much over 30 minutes) but sweet indeed.

cd universe sez:

…the band transforms the melodies, making each one swing gently, and opening up the tunes to intense, meditative explorations. Farmer's flugelhorn and Hall's guitar lines are perfect foils, unfurling quiet, complex lines around each other like twin wisps of smoke. sez:

After the 1962 breakup of the Jazztet that he'd co-founded with Benny Golson, flugelhornist Farmer formed a pianoless quartet with Jim Hall that made three LPs for Atlantic before disbanding in 1964. Recorded in Sweden with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete La Roca, this inventive group rises to the challenge of playing a program of Swedish folk songs, all but one arranged by Farmer. The unfamiliar tunes means zero reliance on standard chord progressions and the sort of automatic reactions a familiar set of tunes might engender. The combination of Farmer's lustrous, lyrical horn with Hall's magical touch on guitar makes this short count CD the minor masterpiece it is. sez:

Farmer and his crew use Swedish folk melodies as the basis for each of the six songs here, and at points it begins to sound like modal jazz in the 1960s had some odd Nordic strain that's gone heretofore unremarked upon. Farmer's never allowed himself to be bullied or hurried, favoring wide swaths of tone over speed or even exactness. Hall's perfect at this game, playing clean and pristine single notes and then ripping into a grit-filled series of riffs that precede an unerringly risky solo of bent corners and blunted runs.


Art Farmer flugelhorn; Steve Swallow double bass; Jim Hall guitar; Pete La Roca drums

Jun 21, 2011

Duke Pearson - Angel Eyes

barabara sounds sez:

By request, a re-up. Better bitrate this time, and improved scans of that groovy album cover.

dusty sez:
A rare pre-Blue Note session from Duke Pearson – very mellow, very soulful, and with a quality that's unlike most of his later work! The album's a trio side, recorded for the Jazzline label, and it features Pearson on piano, Thomas Howard on bass, and Lex Humphries on drums – the last of whom brings in some wonderfully lyrical lines on the kit, very much in the manner of the free, dancing rhythms used on records with Donald Byrd. Pearson's piano has a sharper edge than usual – these dark, moody tones that are totally great – almost a rougher version of his later sound, with a great sense of depth. Bob Cranshaw's bass and Walter Perkins' drums are featured on one number – and titles include a killer take on "Jeannine", plus "Say You're Mine", Le Carrousel", "Bags' Groove", and "Exodus". Plus the CD features 3 alternate bonus tracks!

track listing: 1. Bags' Groove; 2. Le Carrousel; 3. Angel Eyes; 4. I'm An Old Cow Hand; 5. Jeannine; 6. Say You're Mine; 7. Exodus; 8. Le Carrousel [alternate take]; 9. I'm An Old Cow Hand [alternate take]; 10. Say You're Mine [alternate take]

The original post complete with commentary and comments is still up here...