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...

Jun 11, 2011

Mal Waldron - My Dear Family

barabara sounds sez:
The great Mal in somber mood here on this late-period (1993) offering. Apart from the opening track – a fine take on Footprints featuring some nice work by Grover Washington Jr (yes indeed) – just about everything is slowed down and very introspective. Just perfect for an overcast rainy-season afternoon or in the wee hours with a bottle of good whiskey at your elbow...

Allmusic seems to think it's a bit of a downer, but the cd universe reviewer gets it spot on. Make your own mind up, though. Note: this is the JP version that was issued on the Alfa label, hence the different artwork – if "art" is the right word for this handsome scribble with crayons :-)

a review on cd universe sez:
Yet another exemplary set by pianist and composer Mal Waldron. The core trio (Waldron, drummer Pheeroan akLaff, bass player Reggie Workman) is occasionally augmented by trumpet player Eddie Henderson and Grover Washington Jr. The opening number – the only one to include all five players – is a bracing arrangement of Wayne Shorter's Footprints. It's followed by Waldron's own Left Alone, a composition he originally performed with Billie Holiday in the '50s. The set is a judicious mix of Waldron originals and smartly surprising covers (including Jean Pierre by Miles Davis). The production is clear and warm, with a natural ambiance and full sonic range.

allmusic (matt collar) sez:
It is a joy to hear him (Washington) stretch out a bit on this straight-ahead session. His supple tone mixes well with trumpeter Eddie Henderson and both musicians take full harmonic advantage of performing with the moody and expansive Waldron. The only disappointment here is the overall somber quality of the selections. Despite an inspired version of Footprints and an unexpected choice in the funky Jean Pierre, the album lags... Waldron could have earned more kudos with his inclusion of the Japanese traditional song "Sakura Sakura" – an interesting foray into world jazz – if he had only bookended it with some bright up-tempo numbers. Still, this is a superbly performed album by stellar, world-class musicans and should please most hardcore jazz fans.

Mal Waldron: piano; Eddie Henderson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Pheeroan akLaff: drums; also Grover Washington, Jr.: soprano sax

track listing:
Footprints; Left Alone; Sassy; Sakura Sakura; Here's That Rainy Day; Jean-Pierre; Red Shoes;My Dear Family

Jun 4, 2011

sleep walker - sleep walker + works

barabara sounds sez:
While I’m about it here, I might as well drop the other two Sleep Walker albums: the excellent self-titled debut; and the third, the “remixes/best-of/new bits and pieces” Works. Not the first time they've been out in the blogosphere. And there's not much more I need say about these bangers – except if you've not heard them before and you like a nice bit of premium club jazz, then your ears are in for a treat. Enjoy!

dusty sez (about Works):
…a collection of singles, remixes, and new tracks, all representing some of the best work from this ultra-hip club jazz combo! As with their full albums, the style here is jazz-based at the outset - played in a classic mode that has plenty of echoes of Impulse Records during the Coltrane generation – but forged into a tighter, leaner groove for the 21st Century – a mode that's sometimes rhythmic and aimed at the dancefloor, yet which never loses any sense of depth or creativity from a jazz perspective! Saxophonist Masato Nakamura contributes some incredibly great tenor and soprano work to the tunes – and Hajimi Yoshizawa's modal piano lines pulsate tremendously throughout. A few cuts are remixes, but still very much embody the Sleep Walker sound - with new instrumentation, as the group makes a live jazz take on the tracks they're supposedly remixing!

dusty sez (about Sleep Walker)
A monumental bit of club jazz – one of the best new records we've heard in years, with a sound that's right up there with the best of Impulse Records from the classic years! The album's a side project of Japanese producer/keyboardist Hajime Yoshizawa – and unlike his other records, which have a much stronger dance/soul approach, this set's almost purely straight jazz – done with majestically searching solos on both keyboards and sax, the latter of which is played by Masato Nakamura, who has a tone that almost recalls Pharoah Sanders! The whole thing's great – a brilliant piece of Love Supreme jazz, co-produced by Kyoto Jazz Massive, who give the record enough of a bounce to make it appeal to fans of recent work by them, Koop, or Jazzanova as well. An instant classic – and a mindblowingly deep record that we'll be playing for years!