Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Johnny Griffin - Arthur Taylor Quartet , Paris 1971

Tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin (b. 1928), affectionately called "the little giant" due to his diminutive stature by his fellow musicians, will certainly go down in history for his dazzlingly energetic solos, played lightning-fast with near perfect technique - one of hard-bop movement's shining stars.

He started his career with Lionel Hampton's big band in 1945 and by the time this French video was filmed in 1971 Griffin had been an expatriate living in France since 1963, same year as the great hard-bop drummer Arthur "Art" Taylor (1929-1995), one of the genre's foremost practitioners, who accompanies him here in Charlie Parker's famous blues "Now's The Time" along with two French musicians, Rene Urtreger on piano and Alby Cullaz on bass.

Charlie Parker's famous calypso - tinged "My Little Swede Shoes"

Thelonious Monk's famous blues "Blue Monk"

"Blues For Harvey" a blazing duet and a display of extreme musicianship by both these masters.

*all videos from my personal collection posted on youtube and elsewhere on the web.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Joe Zawinul - Leverkusener Jazz Festival November 2002

We continue the tribute to this jazz giant: In November 2002, a historic concert took place at the "Leverkusener Jazztage" in Germany to celebrate Joe Zawinul's 70th birthday. The musical retrospective of Zawinul's career featured the WDR Big Band along with several awesome soloists, including Zawinul's former bandmates from Weather Report percussionist Alex Acunia, drummer Peter Erskine and bass ace Victor Bailey. The program consisted of arrangements of Weather Report compositions by Vince Mendoza, "Db Waltz" fron "Domino Theory" and "Fast City" from "Night Passage" to be followed by a performance of the Zawinul Syndicate of the time proper. This is "Db Waltz".

This is "Fast City" from Weather Report LP "Night Passage"

It's time for The Zawinul Syndicate proper to take center stage in this magnificent 2002 concert. Joe Zawinul aided by Amit Chatterjee on guitar and vocals, Etienne Mbappe on bass, Paco Sery on drums and Manolo Badrena on percussion, all masters in their respective instruments give us wonderful moments with their all encompassing music. This music is indeed a celebration of life but not describable in some kind of style as Amit Chatterjee said.

Joe Zawinul summons Portuguese singer Maria Joao onstage for an exquisite duet which will make your hair stand on end, "Villa Lobos".

This is "Tower Of Silence", featuring amazing vocals from Joe Zawinul and guitarist Amit Chatterjee.

Goosebumps time. Joe Zawinul with Sabine Kabongo, an amazing Belgian - born singer of Congolese roots and long time member of the Syndicate and Etienne M'bappe on Duke Ellington's masterpiece "Come Sunday".

Time for the full Syndicate lineup of Joe Zawinul, Amit Chatterjee, Sabine Kabongo, Paco Sery, Etienne M'bappe and Manolo Badrena to blow the rooftop with their signature burner "Rooftops Of Vienna" as a conclusion of this wonderful concert.