lunes, 29 de febrero de 2016

Monty Alexander • Meets Sly and Robbie



Review by Rick Anderson
Jazz purists may turn up the nose at this jazz-reggae summit meeting, but that's their loss. It's not that they wouldn't have the right to be suspicious -- experiments in jazz-reggae fusion do not have a distinguished history. But the combination of Jamaican-born jazz pianist Monty Alexander and reggae godfathers Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare works beautifully here for a number of reasons: first of all, Alexander is a gifted melodist with an unerring sense of groove (not always a given with jazz players), and second of all, Sly and Robbie emancipated themselves long ago from reggae's rhythmic strictures, so there's lots of variety on this album. The grooves are never less than bone deep: on "Monty's Groove," Shakespeare's minimalist bassline and Dunbar's funky drumming propel Alexander into inspired (if a bit restrained) flights of improvisation, and "People Make the World Go 'Round" is a slow, dark dancehall workout that gives Alexander's piano lots of open space to work with. "Hot Milk," the album's closer, is a touching tribute to the late reggae organist Jackie Mittoo, on which Alexander plays mournful melodica over a modified rocksteady beat. There are times when you might wish Alexander would cut loose and wail a bit more, but this album is a delight from beginning to end.

sábado, 27 de febrero de 2016

jueves, 18 de febrero de 2016

Paolo Apollo Negri • SXSW Odyssey



Paolo "Apollo" Negri makes his first trip back to the US since 2004's Sound of Danger tour with a pair of appearances at the legendary SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Entitled Paolo Apollo Negri's SXSW Odyssey, he will be joined by his long time friends The Diplomats of Solid Sound and brand new friends and label mates Flyjack, with funky harmonizing by The Diplomettes and Teresa Reeves-Gilmer.
First up will be the official SXSW showcase event that will feature a tight 45 minute journey through the 7 year collaboration with Hammondbeat Records from The Link Quartet to Fred Leslie's missing Link and everything in between. Then there is the soon to be legend day party at the historic Victory Grill which will feature 5 hours of funk from The Diplomats of Solid Sound, Flyjack, an encore of the showcase, and topped off with an no holds barred funk and soul jam.
All of this is commemorated with a brand new album exclusive for download. The first 1000 of which were given away for free at the SXSW festival and will be available in the summer of 2009 from iTunes. The album features 12 unreleased and exclusive songs from the Hammondbeat archives, all with Apollo either solo or in one of his many collaborations.
Do be sure to download the supporting documentation in the links section to find out more about the Hammondbeat releases that these lost session tracks are from.

Paolo Negri (Hammond organ)
Teresa Reeves-Gilmer (vocals)
Buck McKinney (guitar)
Brad Bradburn (bass)
Ed Miles (drums)


lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

Frank Wess • Flute Juice



Review by Scott Yanow
Frank Wess' first set as a leader in eight years finds the multireedist sticking to flute (his most distinctive ax) in a quintet with guitarist Chuck Wayne, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist George Mraz and drummer Ben Riley. The music is predictably excellent, lightly swinging and a bit more sophisticated than it might sound at first listen. Wess and his group perform four jazz standards (including "Love Come Back to Me" and "There Is No Greater Love") plus a couple of the leader's originals.

Personnel
Frank Wess - fl
Tommy Flanagan - p
Chuck Wayne - g
George Mraz - b
Ben Riley - dr

domingo, 14 de febrero de 2016

Bo Diddley • The Black Gladiator



For those of you who don’t know who Bo Diddley is, he was never shy about telling you; Bo Diddley is a man, a lover, a gunslinger, the originator who used a cobra for a necktie and made a chimney out of human skulls. Bashful, he is not.

But beyond the fact that about ninety percent of his songs were made up of personal boasts (most certainly a precursor to the braggadocio that would later appear in hip-hop), Bo Diddley was first and foremost one of the finest electric bluesmen, an architect of rock music, and a guitar pioneer. His career began in true in 1955 when the legendary Chess label issued the single “Bo Diddley” b/w “I’m A Man”, and he continued churning out incredible rhythmically focused music for the next decade, often employing the signature beat that was named after him. But in the post Sgt. Pepper era, the blues was increasingly dominated by white groups like Cream, Traffic, Led Zeppelin etc. who were not only incorporating the contemporary sounds of psychedelia, but were also getting “heavier”, that subjective term.

All in all, the old blues guys were starting to look rather anachronistic. Some of them were pushed into ‘updating’ their sound around this time, which resulted in some of the weirdest and most divisive blues records ever made, like Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud, Howlin’ Wolf’s This Is Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album and this, Bo Diddley’s Black Gladiator. However, whereas the first two delved into ‘white’ music and even used some of the most famous British bluesmen of the day as sidemen, Bo Diddley’s album went in the opposite direction and drew largely from the “black” music of the day, such as Sly Stone, James Brown, etc. What he came up with was an album rife with hard funk that largely wouldn’t have sounded out of place with George Clinton’s P-Funk ensemble and even sounded like a cruder, looser version of Miles Davis’ works of this era such as Jack Johnson and On The Corner. People picking up this album in 1970 must have had a real hard time figuring out what they were getting into when they found it in the record store, with the bright yellow cover punctuated by the melting blacks and Bo himself front and center wearing some kind of nightmare S&M gear. And for those record buyers who were familiar with Bo’s previous work, they were probably even more shocked when they took it home and put the record on their turntable.

The album is, by and large, a radical departure for one of the preeminent bluesmen of the classic ‘50s Chicago scene. But that’s not to say that Bo has given up some of his trademarks. Check out the opening track, “Elephant Man”, which is surely one of his finest songs ever, in which he explains in detail how he made the titular animal. Yes, you read that right. Bo Diddley is such a bad motherlover that he invented the elephant. The music meanwhile, is a pounding conjunction of hyper-organ riffing and a swinging rhythm section that is somehow extremely tight yet extremely loose, held together largely by Bo’s powerhouse, longtime drummer Clifton James. The verses are punctuated by Bo’s wailing (both vocally, and with his guitar, as he lets loose some fierce solos).

But the main draw that differentiates the album from others in his catalog is the organ of Bobby Alexis that flawlessly comps and seriously brings the funk, as does the rampant, incessant tambourine of backup singer Cookie Vee, who takes a larger role in the next song, “You, Bo Diddley”. As Bo asks such questions as “Who’s the greatest man in town?”, Cookie answers him repeatedly by singing the title back at him. As if there were ever any doubt, Bo.

Elsewhere, Bo keeps up the idea of incorporating black music with another slice of funky, empowering music appropriately titled “Black Soul”, where he embraces the nascent black power movement of the immediate post civil rights era. He also remains affiliated with the music of the past, wondering “If The Bible’s Right”. For a song that so easily lyrically fits with gospel, the accompanying music is preposterously secular. It’s the kind of thing that one would hear in a club, not in a church, the kind of thing that only a singular talent like Bo Diddley could get away with.

A few of the songs here actually follow traditional blues structures; “Hot Buttered Blues” is a slow 12/8 workout that wouldn’t have been out of place on a much earlier album, while “Power House” works over the same simple, classic groove that Bo used for “I’m A Man” and a number of others (conspicuously absent on this album is the actual “Bo Diddley beat”). But it is the two closing songs that might be the most entertaining. Firstly there is another bouncy, funky jam called “Funky Fly”, which probably got its title as it sounds like it was made up completely on the fly. Over a series of simple, circular riffs Bo shouts gibberish and spouts lines like “Make it funky now… back to work!”

Then, album closer “I Don’t Like You” just has to be heard to be believed. It begins and ends with Bo doing his best impression of an opera singer, which basically means that is sounds like someone who has never been to an opera trying to sing like Pavarotti. What’s even stranger is that the rest of the song is taken up by Bo and Cookie engaging in “the dozens”, another precursor to hip-hop, where they trade insults in some good-natured ribbing, much like Bo did years ago with his maraca player Jerome Green on Bo’s biggest hit, “Bring It To Jerome”. There is very little on this planet more entertaining than Bo Diddley saying “You gonna play football and get kicked”, to which she replies “You gonna play mountain and get climbed on”, only to have Bo immediately retort “Start climbin’, baby!” The divine mixture of high art in the form of operatic singing and the low art of schoolyard verbal sparring works brilliantly here and is something that could only have happened at a period when everyone playing the music game was expected to take risks and think outside the box and more importantly, outside their comfort zone. This is exactly what Bo Diddley accomplished on this album, and most explicitly on this song, a bizarre bastard child of two diametrically opposed genres.

All in all, this is a nearly flawless album that was and has been unfairly disparaged simply because it so far removed from everything else that the artist had done previously and would go on to do. The negative criticism is the result of blues purists having the proverbial stick up a certain orifice. The elements that make this stand out, like the organ and the highly syncopated funk attack, are combined with the aesthetic approach of a true artist. The from-the-gut compositions and the rough, visceral production are hallmarks of rock music as it should be made (unsurprising, since it was made by one of the guys who invented the damn genre). The only real flaw of the album is the bit of misogyny of “Shut Up, Woman”, which, while offensive and completely unnecessary, completely pales in comparison to the abject hatred of women that would be spewed forth by hip-hop groups decades later. If you can look past that, and try to get over the fact that this is not the typical album of twelve-bar blues after twelve-bar blues, this will be a highly rewarding experience. Just make it funky now, and get lost in the grooves. http://www.popmatters.com/review/157755-bo-diddley-the-black-gladiator-remastered/



viernes, 12 de febrero de 2016

Shirley Scott • The Great Live Sessions



Following her acclaimed partnership with tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis during the late '50s, organist Shirley Scott took her art to the next level when she teamed with tenor great Stanley Turrentine. Scott and Turrentine had chemistry. They shared an acute sense of dynamics and had an ability to create space for each other. The electrifying result is nowhere more apparent than on the lean, powerful soul-jazz of this set recorded in Newark, NJ, in 1964. Scott plays with a clean, driving, razor-sharp, single-note attack. She uses full-voiced chordal work sparingly. This makes the punch all the more potent and dramatic when she does unload with both hands. Turrentine, who was married to Scott at this time, phrases with authority and imagination. He is soulful, musical, and a great listener. Drummer Otis "Candy" Finch punctuates his straight-down-the-middle style with deft accents and use of color. Bassist Bob Cranshaw at times blends with Scott, playing notes that are more felt than heard. Elsewhere, his walking style contributes important textures to the overall sound. When this double LP came out in 1978, two sides had previously been unissued, and the other two had been released as the LP Queen of the Organ. Since then, nine of the ten tracks have been released on a CD also entitled Queen of the Organ. "Shirley's Shuffle" is the one track dropped due to space limitations. It must have been agonizing having to decide what to leave off this phenomenal date from one of the finest organ and tenor sax pairings ever. Jim Todd

Label - ABC Impulse (2 × Vinyl, LP)
Recorded live at the Front Room in Newark, New Jersey on September 23, 1964.
Sides A & B previously unreleased. Sides C & D were previously released on ABC Impuls

Shirley Scott - Organ
Stanley Turrentine - Tenor Sax
Bob Cranshaw - Bass
Otis 'Candy' Finch – Drums

miércoles, 10 de febrero de 2016

Memphis Black • Soul Club



Ingfried Hoffman, probably the leading exponent of the Hammond organ in Germany (he was also a pianist) spent many years playing with the Klaus Doldinger Quartet before branching out as Memphis Black (and/or the Memphis Soul Band) and then moving on to create library/soundtrack music.
Hoffman recorded two full LPs with this group, one as Memphis Black (‘Soul Club’) and one as the Memphis Soul Band (‘Soul Cowboy’).





jueves, 4 de febrero de 2016

Mongo Santamaria • Hey! Let's Party!



Review by Jason Ankeny
Hey! Let's Party represents one of percussionist Mongo Santamaria's first and most engaging plunges into the world of contemporary pop, galvanizing well-known chart smashes with the energy and abandon of Latin soul. It's a simple formula that proved remarkably successful and flexible across a series of likeminded LPs -- Santamaria approaches texts like "Walk on By" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)" with deep respect and understanding, creating soulful, righteous rhythms that snake in and out of the original melodies with brilliant precision. Even battered warhorses like Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" breathe new life, proving Santamaria's uncanny capacity for making the familiar funky.

Soul Sugar • Nothing But The Truth



Guillaume Metenier : Hammond organ, Clavinet, Piano
Kid Loco : Beats, Guitar, Piano
Directed by Mr Gee produced by Kid Loco

Funk / Soul / Acid Jazz / Trip Hop


martes, 2 de febrero de 2016

John Lewis & Svend Asmussen • European Encounter



Review by Scott Yanow
Violinist Svend Asmussen (who has had too few of his albums through the decades available in the U.S.) teams up with pianist John Lewis, bassist Jimmy Woode and drummer Sture Kalin on this 1962 session from Stockholm, Sweden. Most notable is the repertoire: six Lewis originals (including "Django") and Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." Asmussen fits in well with Lewis and brings a solid sense of swing to the somewhat complex music. This date was reissued in 1986 as part of Atlantic's Jazzlore series.


Willie Mitchell • Live




Willie L. Mitchell (March 1, 1928 – January 5, 2010) was an American trumpeter, bandleader, soul, R&B, rock and roll, pop and funk record producer and arranger who ran Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. He was best known for his Hi Records label of the 1970s, which released albums by a large stable of popular Memphis soul artists, including Mitchell himself, Al Green, O. V. Wright, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles and Quiet Elegance.

Born and raised in Ashland, Mississippi, Mitchell moved to Memphis when he was in high school. He attended Rust College.[1] At the age of eight, he began to play the trumpet. While in high school, he was a featured player in popular local big bands. He later formed his own combo, which from time to time included musicians such as trumpeter Booker Little, saxophonists Charles Lloyd, and George Coleman, and pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr.

Mitchell landed a job with the Home of the Blues record label as a producer, then left to join Hi Records as both a recording artist and a producer.

Known at the recording studio as "Papa Willie", Mitchell earned his nickname by taking over the reins of Hi Records in 1970 and guiding it through its most successful period. Mitchell's productions have been much noted for featuring a hard-hitting bass drum sound (usually played by pioneering Memphis drummer Al Jackson, Jr. of Booker T. & the M.G.'s).[citation needed]

A trumpeter and bandleader in his own right, Mitchell released a number of popular singles for Hi Records as an artist in the 1960s, including "Soul Serenade." It peaked at #43 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1968.

Through the 1980s Mitchell ran his own independent record label, Waylo Records. Acts on the label included Billy Always and Lynn White.

In 1987 Joyce Cobb recorded several singles for Waylo, one of which made it to No. 3 on the British R&B charts: "Another Lonely Night (Without You)".

He and Al Green revived their successful recording partnership in 2003 when Green recorded I Can't Stop, his first collaboration with Mitchell since 1985's He is the Light. Their 2005 follow-up project was Everything's OK.

Mitchell died in Memphis on January 5, 2010, from a cardiac arrest.

His final work was producing the final Solomon Burke studio album, Nothing's Impossibile, released in June 2010.


lunes, 1 de febrero de 2016

T-Bone Walker • Funky Town




Bob Devos • Shifting Sands



Bob deVos is an American jazz guitarist whose playing style is similar to that of Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery. He is most noted for his work with organist Richard Holmes.
Although no one in the family played a musical instrument, deVos spent much of his youth listening to the big band and blues records that his parents owned. He picked up the guitar at age twelve and within weeks he was memorizing guitar solos from these albums and performing professionally at age thirteen. As a teenager, he toured nationwide with a famous rock group, but chose jazz over rock in his twenties saying, "I needed more chord changes..."

DeVos started in jazz as a student of Harry Leahy and Dennis Sandole. In 1970, when Sandole sent his leading students out to audition for the organist Trudy Pitts, deVos was chosen to step in for Pat Martino. DeVos went on to be the guitarist for groups led by Richard "Groove" Holmes, featuring saxophone legend Sonny Stitt, and Jimmy McGriff and Hank Crawford. He later toured and recorded extensively with organist Charles Earland's group that included Eric Alexander and Jim Rotondi. He further developed his compositional and harmonic skills playing with many jazz greats outside the organ trio genre.

Currently deVos plays with an organ trio with whom he has released the CD, Shifting Sands. This album spent 28 weeks in the top twenty on Jazz Week's Top 50 Nationwide Jazz Airplay Chart.

DeVos says that he plays a Gibson Super 400 more than his other guitars; however, he claims his mainstay guitar is a custom archtop, designed by longtime friend Rob Engel. He also spends time tweaking his amps and has even built a few of his own, mostly out of parts from vintage Fender Amps such as the Twin Reverb and Showman. [wiki]


Yusef Lateef • Live at Pep's Vol. 1 & 2




Hristo Vitchev Quartet • Familiar Fields



Editorial Reviews
Hristo Vitchev is a modern jazz guitarist and composer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hristo leads his modern jazz quartet which features the Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Weber Iago, drummer extraordinaire Joe De Rose, and virtuoso bassist Dan Robbins. Hristo has toured nationally and internationally with a wide variety of formations and has also performed guitar clinics in Europe and Japan. He has written more than 270 original compositions, many articles on jazz improvisation, and a book on chordal theory and construction entitled Between the Voicings: A New Approach to Chord Building for Guitarists. The Hristo Vitchev Quartet's 2009 debut album, Song for Messambria (First Orbit Sounds Music) quickly received outstanding reviews by the international jazz community and was selected as one of the six best jazz albums of 2009 by E-JAZZ NEWS.

As jazz critic Edward Blanco describes, "Vitchev is the newest guitarist to enter the national jazz scene and does so with a stunner of a recording in Song for Messambria, one of the finest debut albums I've had the pleasure of appraising this year."

The record presents a unique blend of ECM-style modern jazz, classical, and Brazilian tone textures, and showcases the completely unique and masterful interpretation of the jazz idiom by each one of its members. In late 2009, Hristo Vitchev released his second studio album featuring Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Weber Iago. The Secrets of an Angel is an impressionistic landscape painted by the delightful and graceful conversation between the two instruments (guitar/piano).

As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes, "On the heels of his impressive debut recording, Song for Messambria, guitarist Hristo Vitchev returns along with pianist Weber Iago for a wonderful guitar/piano duet recording - The Secrets of an Angel...while the gentle title track shimmers like a glistening iceberg on a cold sea. The delightful two-part `The Last Pirate' is a highlight - brilliantly showcasing the exciting romantic bend inherent in Vitchev's music, while the nostalgic lullaby "Leka Nosht (Good Night)" recalls a faraway youth and rounds out this fine release."

In 2010 Hristo Vitchev wrote a large scale jazz work (The Perperikon Suite) especially to be premiered at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival. This 7 movements jazz suite is inspired by the ancient Thracian city on Perperikon (located on the territory of Bulgaria), and combines orchestral, classical, jazz, and fusion elements depicting the history and mystery of this enchanting place. For the recording of this project the Hristo Vitchev Quartet was joined by virtuoso vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Christian Tamburr.

On top of leading his own quartet, quintet, and duo projects, Hristo Vitchev also co-writes and plays guitar with Joe De Rose and Amici - an energetic jazz/fusion formation lead by drummer Joe De Rose. Their debut record Sounds for the Soul (First Orbit Sounds Music) was released in late January 2010 and it is already gaining critical acclaim on the international scene.

Hristo Vitchev has appeared on countless radio shows including the Bay Area's KCSM, KRML, and KKUP, and Jazz FM 104 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Hristo has also performed in world-class jazz venues and festivals including Yoshi's Jazz Club (Oakland, CA), Anthology (San Diego, CA), The Herbst Theater (San Francisco, CA) as well as major jazz festivals including the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA), 2009 and 2010 AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival (San Jose, CA), 2010 Redwood City "Jazz on Main" (Redwood City, CA), Okazaki Jazz Festival (Okazaki, Japan) and many more.

Hristo Vitchev- guitar
Weber Iago - piano
Dan Robbins - bass;
Mike Shannon - drums