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.

jazztimes.com 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.

amazon.com 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