Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bill Evans - London 1965

Bill Evans (August 16, 1929 - September 15, 1980), the pianist's pianist, literally invented modern jazz piano. His use of impressionist harmony, his inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire and his syncopated and polyrhythmic melodic lines influenced a generation of pianists, including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett.

Here's a rare chance to see the Bill Evans Trio appearing in London on March 19, 1965 for the legendary BBC TV series Jazz 625. Chronologically, this is the third Bill Evans Trio from a lineage of great trios consisting of Chuck Israels on bass and Larry Bunker on drums. The presence of Humphrey Lyttelton as host, a man who has graced Brithsh TV and jazz for decades, only adds to the enjoyment of this musical tour de force.

P.S. All videos from my personal collection, posted on various video hosting web sites.

Friday, July 20, 2007

John McLaughlin - Remember Shakti

Ιn the mid-1970's many believed John McLaughlin had committed commercial suicide by abandoning electric instruments and Western sensibilities in favor of an all-acoustic group with Indian musicians. In fact, record sales for this group, Shakti (translates in Sanskrit to "female creative power" or "goddess") were quite disappointing. Sometimes though, a musician has to follow his muse. In this case, McLaughlin was led to create a very fertile groundbreaking group in the form of Shakti. Shakti was really the first band to truly capture the essence of what we now call "World Music." Shakti's dependence on Eastern musical models infused with Western jazz-like improvisation made for an exciting and influential stew.

One doesn't have to look very far into McLaughlin's past to see why such a band would appeal to him. His own inclinations toward Eastern music can be heard on side two of his earlier recording My Goal's Beyond. Certainly, he was influenced even before that outing by the pop mysticism of the times and his own involvement in seeking self-realization through Eastern philosophy, not to mention of course his study of Indian music.

Remember Shakti, formed in the mid 90s, features original Shakti member, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, one of the most respected musicians in India, U. Srinivas on mandolin, Shankar Mahadevan on vocals and V. Selvaganesh on percussion.

Remember Shakti, just like John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, is extremely multinational, and multigenerational.

This is reflective, serious East-meets-West music full of truly virtuosic moments and plenty of drama. Above all, this music is good for the soul.

Let's enjoy this unique group in their appearance in Vienne,France on July 2, 2004.

P.S. All videos from my personal collection, posted on various video hosting web sites.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dizzy Gillespie Sextet 1977

Enough cannot be said about Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz. He is maybe the second most important trumpet player after Louis Armstrong.

Together with Charlie Parker, he is credited with inventing bebop, the de rigeur jazz vocabulary up to this day.

So, let's stick around Montreux a little bit longer for yet another great concert given there on July 14, 1977, a 30-year jubilee of sorts, team up Dizzy Gillespie with Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, Jon Faddis, Ray Brown and Jimmie Smith and enjoy the ride.

P.S. All videos from my personal collection, posted on various video hosting web sites.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

JATP - Montreux 1977

JATP (Jazz at the Philharmonic), famous jazz producer Norman Granz's (1918-2001) venerable institution, started as a fundraiser in LA in 1944. After a few more similar events, Granz in 1946 began organizing extensive annual tours using classic swing and bop musicians in a jam session setting.

The importance of these sessions cannot be overstated, and many a career was launched through them, like Oscar Peterson's and Ella Fitzgerald's to name just two. Granz paid his musicians handsomely and did his best to fight racism every bit of the way.

Following that fine tradition, we see an all star group who flew all the way to Montreux, Switzerland on July 16, 1975 to give us this jazz gem.


Clark Terry tp, flg
Roy Eldridge tp
Benny Carter as
Zoot Sims ts
Joe Pass g
Tommy Flanagan p
Keeter Bets b
Bobby Durham d

For You.

Autumn Leaves 1/2. A classic

Autumn Leaves 2/2


If I Had You 1/2

If I Had You 2/2

I Never Knew (That Roses Grew)

Famous jazz critic Nat Hentoff telling us what a hell of a guy Norman Granz was, may he RIP.

P.S. All videos from my personal collection, posted on various video hosting web sites.